Cage Match USA: The State of the Election
This week the presidential election campaign is turning into an ugly cage match. The Internet is full of charges and countercharges, many of which are demonstrably false and certainly posted by paid operatives. You can cluck and frown but there’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow as the blog Michelle Obama’s Mirror notes.
it appears there will once again be a parade of celebrities leaving the country if Trump wins. This time the émigrés will include Whoopie Goldberg and Al Sharpton. I fail to see the downside. Here’s my favorite “declaration” -- from Raven-Symonè, who I guess is another of The View’s co-hosts:
“My confession for this election is if any Republican gets nominated I’m gonna move to Canada with my entire family.” – Town Hall
Wow, she doesn’t even require it be Trump, nor that he actually get elected. Congratulations Canada! She’s all yours!
I’m sure Canada appreciates the caliber of personalities headed their way, butt with the recent influx of uneducated, unskilled refugees from the Middle East I doubt they really need any more help lowering the national I.Q several points – you know, to “level the playing field.”
The trigger for this week’s madness was what was absurdly called a “debate”, a format designed specifically to encourage the candidates to attack each other instead of explaining their views on significant issues. A Jerry Springer type gladiatorial contest to up the network’s rating. Did you watch it? I didn’t -- I like to get my information from the written word. I could get whatever meat was in it by spending a few minutes online and spared myself the discomfort of watching this disaster. I no longer consider watching these farcical entertainments a civic duty.
My friend Tom Lipscomb made the sacrifice of his time and equanimity. He reports on Facebook:
REMINDED ME OF THE JFK/NIXON DEBATE
THE VISUAL WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE POINTS BEING ARGUED
Trump's sheer physical height made Rubio's several telling points insignificant. Rubio looked nothing so much like one of those yapping little dogs chasing the tire of an 18-wheeler.
Of course the press has to act as if the conversation [was] on policy matters and the WSJ editorial page embarrassed itself this morning by picking up on the Romney/RNC dud "bombshell" [the call to Trump to release his tax records] and muttering darkly that if the GOP goes forward with a candidate with this kind of vulnerability, the Dems will have a feast with his bones.
Romney's desperate mission for the RNC made me visualize a Ramirez type cartoon with a frantic Romney in a car with a dog on the roof and a bombshell sticking out of the trunk, driving up to Fox News HQ!
Really? The Dems are running a commie and a criminal. Are the American people going to get all upset over a blustering real estate tycoon playing games with his taxes with an IRS they no longer respect like they wish they could?
Because in the end the press and pundits left and right haven't a clue what Trump's appeal is. And it is so simple. He is the embodiment of the American Dream, warts and all. He's what Willy Loman wanted to be.
And everybody's secretly wants a piece. You'll see.
As they say “your mileage may vary” but there’s no question that the campaign is driving a good many people to make intemperate remarks. NYT columnist Ross Douthat suggested Trump ought to be assassinated, and was forced to apologize. Senator Lindsey Graham stepped in it, too:
Calling Hillary Clinton the “most dishonest person in America,” Graham wondered aloud how the Democratic front-runner was “about to be the next president.”
“How could that be?” Graham asked the packed audience of hundreds of journalists, members of Congress and D.C. movers and shakers at Washington’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. “My party has gone batshit crazy,” the senator answered to wild laughter.
Graham continued, aiming many of his quips toward his former fellow Oval Office contenders.
“A good Republican would defend Ted Cruz,” said Graham, of the Texas senator, before quickly adding, “that ain’t happening.”
“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you,” Graham said, as the audience erupted in both laughter and some “oohs.”
Ha. Ha. I suppose when he finally leaves the august halls of the Capitol he could make a living teaching ballroom dancing to old ladies at Arthur Murray’s.
Senator Rubio who looks smaller by the minute and who certainly would be chewed up in a debate with even the aged and faltering Hillary was obviously buoyed up in the kiddie pool by the favorable press coverage he was receiving. But that’s insufficient to overcome the reality that he’s losing. Don Surber quotes Bryon York’s tweet:
Rubio, on Fox: Trump is a con man. Bret Baier: What state are you winning? Rubio: I didn't say he wasn't a good con man.
And that’s the point actually. Despite the passion of the Rubio and Cruz supporters, the nomination seems to be pretty much sewed up by Trump.
If you don’t know how this is possible, here are a couple of ideas.
Voters are fed up with the lame Republican conduct in recent years. James D set it out at Just One Minute Typepad:
Mitt Romney refusing to defend his wife when Dems mocked her for suffering from MS. And refusing to defend himself from Harry Reid's lies about taxes.
The whole Republican establishment turning on Sarah Palin within days of her convention speech.
George W. Bush refusing to defend himself against endless Dem slanders that undermined our efforts in Iraq and led to many more of our troops being wounded or killed.
The Republican congress allowing the IRS and other federal agencies to target and abuse their conservative supporters without lifting a finger to try and protect them.
If my choices are a loud, vulgar know-nothing who will punch back; or a polite, respectful gentleman who'll stand there while his opponent beats him senseless, that's an easy choice to make.
There’s that, of course, but there’s even more to explain Trump’s appeal than Republican impotence and the desire to capture a bit of the American dream of material success.
No one has better described Trump’s ability to viscerally connect with voters than did Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal this week.
Comparing the revolt against the EU in Europe with the U.S. election battles, she called it the revolt of the “unprotected” against the “protected” class.
There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.
The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful -- those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.
They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers… They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.
If you are an unprotected American -- one with limited resources and negligible access to power -- you have absorbed some lessons from the past 20 years’ experience of illegal immigration. You know the Democrats won’t protect you and the Republicans won’t help you.
Many Americans suffered from illegal immigration -- its impact on labor markets, financial costs, crime, the sense that the rule of law was collapsing. But the protected did fine… No effect of illegal immigration was likely to hurt them personally.
It was good for the protected. But the unprotected watched and saw. They realized the protected were not looking out for them, and they inferred that they were not looking out for the country, either.
The unprotected came to think they owed the establishment -- another word for the protected -- nothing, no particular loyalty, no old allegiance.
Mr. Trump came from that.
In Germany the incident that tipped public opinion against the Chancellor Angela Merkel ’s liberal refugee policy happened on New Year’s Eve in the public square of Cologne. Packs of men said to be recent migrants groped and molested groups of young women.
What marks this political moment, in Europe and the U.S., is the rise of the unprotected. It is the rise of people who don’t have all that much against those who’ve been given many blessings and seem to believe they have them not because they’re fortunate but because they’re better.
Now it seems the attitude of the top half is: You’re on your own. Get with the program, little racist.
Social philosophers are always saying the underclass must re-moralize. Maybe it is the overclass that must re-moralize.
I don’t know if the protected see how serious this moment is, or their role in it.
Rumors float of an imminent Hillary indictment and damaging emails are still being publicly released. There are signs that Democrats, too, are unsettled with their choices. From sources cloaked in anonymity, the press floats notions of ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Vice President Biden entering the race. At this point, however, the numbers suggest that the nominees will be Clinton and Trump and no amount of Republican angst that Trump will be the front runner is likely to change that in the coming weeks. It’s time to stop the cage match tactics and bear down on the hard slog to the White House against the Democratic candidates. Hillary (and even Sanders) are certain to continue to advance and even double down on Obama’s corrupt, blinkered domestic and international policies. We may not be certain of the path Trump will follow in undoing Obama’s disasters, but we can be certain it is not the path -- more of the same -- Hillary would take.