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Friday, April 19, 2024

Political pain is only the beginning



Some political “experts” see Donald Trump’s second place finish in the Iowa caucus as the beginning of a slide that will end his improbable occupation of the top dog slot in the Republican presidential nomination sweepstakes.

Of course, that joy could end next week if Trump rebounds in New Hampshire, where he leads polls for the GOP side of the ticket.

But the possible return of Trump to the top is not the only worry for the party of the elephant.

Ted Cruz won Iowa and that scares the hell out of establishment Republicans almost as much as Trump.

Like Trump, Cruz is despised by “normal,” Republicans, assuming that anything that involves the party can be considered anything close to normal.

A hard-core, right-wing zealot who declares war on anything that offers compromise, Cruz is one of those candidates who appeal to those who want to return the nation to the dark ages but has little chance to win the Presidency.

In other words, nominate Cruz and spend at least another four years with a Democrat in the White House.

So the powers that be are huddled in closed-door sessions at the Republican National Committee, developing ways to knock the Cruz express off track or at least find a way to stop him should be come to the convention this summer with enough delegates to vote him as the nominee

“It will not happen,” says one GOP consultant who, for obvious reasons, does beg to stay anonymous.  “It can not happen.”

Seldom used, but always available, rules exist in both parties to sidestep the wishes of voters and control a convention to deliver a more acceptable candidate.

We haven’t seen a brokered convention for a long time but Republicans are dusting off the rules of order for conventions and Democrats also mumble that they may have to consider something similar if socialist Bernie Sanders topples Hillary Clinton in enough primaries.

“It’s possible,” a Democratic consultant admitted in an email.  “Deciding on our leaders cannot be left to extremists.”

Democrats secretly hope the election in November will have Clinton on their ballot and either Cruz or Trump on the GOP side.  Either GOP candidate, they feel, will not attract enough of the moderates and minorities needed to put a hard-core conservative or a flamboyant billionaires over the top in November.

Of course, some of the same “experts” said a short time ago that Donald Trump would run out of steam quickly and socialist Bernie Sanders would mount a threatening campaign against Clinton.

If anything, Campaign 2016 has proven, to date, that the old rules don’t apply and the new ones, if they even exist, change rapidly.

Republican political professionals see Marco Rubio rising in popularity and fundraising after his third place finish in Iowa was just one percentage point behind Trump but other GOP wannabes are saying “hold on!”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, current governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio stepped up their attacks against Rubio Tuesday and call him too young and too inexperienced.

Our recommendation:  Get a fresh set of ear plugs.  This is going to be a long and loud election year.


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