2016 is Upon Us

Having been a political junkie most of my life, this election cycle is shaping up like one rarely seen before. It is doing so in a manner I hope is never repeated.

The first issue is the timing: It is still summer in the year before the election. To put that in perspective we can look at the past.

In the 1992 electoral cycle Bill Clinton announced his candidacy on CSPAN on October 3, 1991. 

That race did not get interesting until the first ‘bimbo eruption’ involving Gennifer Flowers with her accusation of adultery, then later of obstruction of justice, and pay-offs (all which were true), as well as successfully overcome.

Another measure worth noting is LBJ’s Shermanesque statemen: “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.” 

The date: March 31, 1968. The political season took off in a new direction just eight months before the actual vote.

Can we possibly wait until the World Series is over before starting this? Could running the country be given a priority?

A second interesting aspect of this early election cycle is that we can see that two men acting independently of each other, have connived to place themselves in a position to potentially determine the candidates for each party.

The president being the first poses an interesting scenario. It is hard to envision an incumbent president better placed to determine his successor. That may be by design, or it may be a perfect storm of circumstances coming together in recent months.

Barely a month or so ago it was a forgone conclusion that Hillary would be the nominee. Today, her campaign is in shambles and the DNC is pushing panic buttons. The Hill quoted a Democrat strategist, who asked that his name be withheld:

“At some point this goes from being something you can rationalize away to something that becomes political cancer. And we are getting pretty close to the cancer stage, because this is starting to get ridiculous."

In the same piece another progressive strategist stated:

“Look, this is a classic example of the cover-up being 10 times worse than the so-called crime -- though in this case there wasn't a crime,”

I am sure General Petraeus and Sandy Berger would disagree on that.

Guilt or innocence is secondary to appearance to the voting public. It is also secondary to the Decider-in-Chief: Barrack Obama, whose silence on the Hillary subject is deafening. He now has several choices:

One -- Continue doing nothing. Hillary’s poll numbers are plummeting, Comrade Bernie’s numbers are skyrocketing and a President Rodham-Clinton is looking like a long shot.

But how does that benefit the one for whom the president is most concerned about: himself. Truth is, should Hillary succeed him, his position as a political player in the future is weakened.

Let’s consider option two -- call in the DOJ and instruct the State Department to cooperate. The FBI has a professionally scrubbed blank server, but 30,000 e-mails already exist. If the president, or more importantly, Valerie Jarrett gives the go-ahead for a real investigation, then Hillary is toast. The impossibility of simultaneously fighting an investigation, while running a presidential campaign cannot be over stated. Though option two has the benefit of ending Hillary’s presidential ambitions, it may or may not get Obama control of his successor.

That brings us to:

Three – Strike a deal with Hillary. No investigation, no IRS probe of the dark billions ‘donated’ to the Clinton Foundation and no probe of the missing billions at State. Time is quickly running out on option three. The tradeoff with this option requires Hillary to withdraw. That would position the president to essentially name his successor. Best bets are Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden. Though some are talking about Al Gore, a long shot at best.

Regarding Comrade Bernie? Did you see him in Seattle recently, when the two “Black Lives Matter” women stole his thunder and he sulked away in defeat?

I almost felt sorry for the guy’s humiliation. Almost. I have not seen a presidential candidate look less presidential since John Kerry in the blue hazmat suit or Michael Dukakis in the tank.

For the Democrats it boils down to this: Whoever President Obama chooses to support, that person will be the nominee.

The man now placed to impact the GOP candidate is unfortunately the Donald. If there exists a man with a bigger ego than he, we have already discussed him in the points above. Trump is rude, obnoxious, and politically incorrect. He is also, much to the chagrin of the GOP, delivering messages that are striking home to many.

The fact is the GOP has failed to deliver on the promises made giving it control of the legislative Branch. Because of GOP recalcitrance, Trump has become the darling of the Howard Beales of the nation.

The problem for the GOP establishment (GOPe) is that they have helped to create a lot of Howard Beales due to their refusal to thwart Obama’s actions (healthcare, Border security, failure to deport, Cuba, etc). An additional truth is that the anger of the Howard Beales is fully warranted. The GOPe just does not recognize this simple fact: they have opened the door for a man like Donald Trump.

Trump refused to confirm support for the GOPe’s choice. His fear is that a Bush III would be a McCann or Romney redux. Both failed in part because the Howard Beales stayed home.

Trump mentioned a third-party possibility, an effort which would end in failure. The possibility of a third party campaign has the GOPe shaking in their penny loafers, with visions of Perot dancing in their heads. They need to take the Donald seriously, or at the least pretend to placate him.

In order for the GOP to assure itself of victory, no matter who the Democrat candidate is, it must offer a candidate who can channel the anger Trump has relit. There exist several possibilities, in the coming months (and months) of this protracted debate, one may come forward.

Just as Obama’s future appearance on stage in Philadelphia will signal a passing of the torch, Trump could play a similar role in Cleveland, though likely not as visible.

If Trump is relegated to a secondary role either by force or of his own volition, the GOP may be unable to deliver the voting bloc required to overcome a potential resurgence in the Democrat party.

The resurgence will arise once the Hillary issues are behind them. The reunification will represent the usual disparate coalition of groups, united more by hate for their opposition then by excitement for an individual candidate (Warren being a possible exception).

For the Republicans it boils down to a quandary: they can ill afford to let the Donald be their guiding hand, nor can they afford to ostracize him.