With the much-ballyhooed Monday’s Iowa caucus finally underway, the voters — we are told — are starting to speak.
Perhaps, but does whatever they say really mean anything in a Presidential election?
Rick Santorum won a close victory over Mitt Romney in the Republican GOP caucus in Iowa in 2012. Rich who? He was gone before the primary season was over.
Eventual GOP nominee John McCain finished with just 13 percent of the caucus vote in 2008. Mike Huckabee, Romney and Fred Thompson finished ahead of the Arizona senator who went down to defeat to Barack Obama in the general election.
Since 1972, only 43 percent of winners of the Iowa caucuses made it to the nomination for Democrats and 50 percent for Republicans.
The Iowa caucus provides one percent of the delegates needed for nomination in the Republican and Democratic Presidential primaries.
A caucus is not even a reasonable sampling of voters in the state.
So why all the hoopla?
Because, in the end, hoopla is about all we have to define the American political process.
Substance took a hike from the nation’s political system back in the days of first President George Washington who, in his farewell address, urged the nation to get rid of politics when it comes to determining our leaders. Truth? Long gone, if it ever was even in the building.
Got my first taste of Presidential hoopla at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. For a young reporter, the mayhem, screaming and shouting inside the convention hall and more mayhem, shouting and screams of pain from the riots in the streets of the Windy City seemed both excessive and out of place in our government.
A lot less violence in the streets four years later in 1972 but still a lot of hoopla and shouting inside the convention halls.
For something that should be a solemn event in a country — selecting candidates for the top elected job in the land — the nominating process is dominating by a carnival atmosphere where so-called “adults” dress up like idiots, wave signs and banners and issue catcalls from the floor.
Fast forward to 2016 to a Presidential campaign season where megalomaniac Donald Trump — the womanizing, often bankrupt, thrice-married misogynist Donald Trump is leading the current campaign carnival.
Trump is a showman — nothing more. He used his father’s money to build a real estate and casino operation that re-brands itself after each bankruptcy, dallies with voluptuous women, muses about bedding his daughter, brags about how he got rich when others involved with him ended up broke, ran fixed beauty contests and a phony “reality” show before the networks dumped him.
So what qualifies him to be President? Not a damn thing. He tailors his comments to what polls say he needs to say. He dallied with thoughts of running for office before on political positions that are no polar opposites of his current — and outlandish — promises. He’s a blowhard in an expensive suit and an elaborate “comb-over” hairdo.
His closest competitor, the polls say, is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, an ultra-right winger credited with shutting down the government with a hard-core filibuster temper tantrum a few years ago and now wants to put his childish antics at play in the White House. He’s a tea party darling who wants an America wallowing in the dark ages.
On the Democratic side, we have a former Senator, First Lady and Secretary of State running neck and neck with a self-declared “Socialist” Senator.
Hillary Clinton may or may not have violated the law by using a private email server for sending and receiving classified information and is also under fire for looking the other way when former President Clinton chased woman and let an intern perform blow jobs on him in the Oval Office.
Not only is the 2016 Presidential campaign a carnival, it’s damn near a pornographic one with the leading Republican candidate for the nomination saying the Democratic First Lady was “schlonged” by America’s first African-American President and suggests she can’t lead the nation because she might get PMS.
Eight years ago, a little known nitwit from Alaska, a governor and former sports reporter who liked to bed college basketball stars, became the GOP candidate for vice-president and did everything possible to destory whatever chance John McCain might have to win the Presidency.
Sarah Palin — who couldn’t name a single daily newspaper she reads, couldn’t name many foreign leaders and who thought the Queen ran the government of England — represented, many thought, a new low in American politics.
Donald Trump took that designation away from Palin. He also says he wants her in his cabinet when he becomes President.
Can America sink any lower?
Oh yeah. All we have to do is watch and wait.
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