After the Wisconsin primary, two things are clear: First, Republicans are finally (however sluggishly) waking up to the fact that The Donald may not be their best choice as a party standard-bearer; and Second, on the Democratic side, Herself’s campaign is starting to look like a repeat of 2008 (albeit, with a crotchety old white senator rather than a smooth young black one.)
We’ve heard it everywhere (including a lot of memes here on Facebook.) All the candidates are deplorable, (Is this really the best we can do?) as if some outside malevolent power has forced them upon us. But what has really emerged out of this chaotic campaign season is a stunning possibility – that for the first time in nearly thirty years, voters could have a completely clear choice between the conservative and progressive vision of government.
Think about it. Since Reagan, all the candidates: both Bushes, Dukakis, Clinton, Dole, Gore, Kerry, McCain and Romney, have all been in the (more or less) moderate spectrum of their respective parties (at least when they were running) and were life-time members of the government class. Obama is a true ideological radical, but he openly lied about it during his first election, so that in 2008 at least he ran as a moderate. Why has this been so? Because candidates in the general election run to the middle to woo a political class that has become the true king-makers in election politics – the Independents. We all know who they are – in every social institution from the Little League Parents’ committee to the United States Senate, they’re there – the people who you can never really depend upon to back you up in anything. Their Hamlet-like hand-wringing has essentially forced the political parties (and the rest of us) to abandon clear-cut choices that might actually improve government by giving us true direction (as under Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan) for a squishy middle where gridlock prevails except in extreme cases, (like the Iraq War and Obamacare) which end in costly disaster.
Should the nomination contest stay with the current front-runners, would any of that change? Of course not. Aside from immigration, Clinton’s and Trump’s true positions are practically indistinguishable; and their pitches: Trump knows how to negotiate a deal and Clinton will return to the realpolitik compromise of her husband’s presidency, promise no relief from what really ails our country – divided government.
But if Cruz and Sanders are the respective nominees, we would actually see an election with very real choice. Both men are articulate and very unlikely to moderate their long-held positions in a general election – it could (egad!) lead to debates where issues were (gasp!) substantially discussed and defined. And best of all, it would force that lumpen growth in the American alimentary canal – Independents (who fancy themselves as superior beings above it all, but are really just people who can’t make up their minds) to move their considerable haunches off the political fence.
All Independents have given us is over a quarter-century of divided government, which accomplishes little, does much harm and nobody likes. So let’s man up and make a real, adult decision. To my fellow Republicans, reject the hucksterism of Trump whose positions are inimical to all the members (social, religious, economic, conservative and establishment) of our party. Do you really want your nominee to be someone who changes wives like his ties and is the subject of lawsuit over a transparent con called Trump University? Have faith in your own beliefs and nominate Ted Cruz. To my Democratic friends, reject the corruption of Clinton, whose political cronyism embraces the heartless financial institutions you decry. Do you really want your nominee to be someone who is in the pay of high-finance, has repeatedly shielded her sexual-predator husband and is likely to be indicted? Have faith in your own beliefs and nominate Bernie Sanders.
Let’s have a real choice. Let’s have a real debate. Let’s have a real election. Let’s make up our minds and get on with it.