THE summer solstice rose on a very different political world than just a few months ago.
The Bernie Sanders revolution which once carried so much hope for so many seems to have fizzled out, squashed in a tsunami of byzantine Democratic Party rules specifically designed to keep populist candidates like him from being their nominee.
And, it must be said, it was a revolution also done in by the candidate’s own inability to diversity his appeal — which is sort of the opposite of a revolution?
Whatever hard feelings the Berners have towards Hillary Clinton, they are likely to bury them out of shared disgust and contempt for Donald Trump.
Yep, the Republicans managed to hitch their wagon to literally the only public figure in America with worse unfavorable numbers than Clinton herself.
It’s truly a sign of our dysfunctional times that Clinton, one of America’s least trusted figures, under FBI investigation as we speak —another of her historic firsts! —is considered the no-brainer choice.
As for Trump, after shattering the record for most primary votes ever gained by a Republican candidate in the 160-plus year history of that party, he decided to... implode.
Instead of consolidating his presumptive nomination and his month-long headstart on Clinton, who still had yet to put Sanders away, Trump bizarrely doubled down on his penchant for outrageously offensive statements.
That willful self-destructive streak—along with his conspicuous unwillingness to fund or form even a token, skeletal campaign organization—makes you wonder if he was ever serious at all about being president, even a little bit.
Really, I’ve seen campaigns for county commission with about as much funding and organization than the Trump campaign. It’s mind-boggling.
Indeed, it almost gives credence to those conspiracy theories early on saying that Trump was just a stalking horse for Clinton, a Manchurian Candidate of sorts designed to make her look like a lower-risk option, clearing the way and giving her the easiest entry to the White House possible,
It sounded outlandish when first floated months ago, but does it sound so outlandish now?
At this point, after all the crazy things that have transpired—and it’s only June!—I don’t put anything past anyone.
What’s more likely, of course, is that Trump ran for president more to make a point, and/or to push his own business interests.
He might have been as surprised as any of us by the fanatic level of support he ended up receiving, and surprised that he may now have to carry the Republican banner into almost certain defeat.
I’m old enough to remember Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear in the middle of a fight he was losing.
Trump’s continued shenanigans remind me of Tyson’s ear-biting: Disqualifying himself so he won’t actually have to take the loss.
Either that, or he really is this cluelessly nasty.
The so-called #NeverTrump movement, the only entity in the country even less organized than the Trump campaign itself, claims to be taking one last bite of the apple, one more last-ditch attempt to strip the nomination from Trump either before the convention or after.
Seems like too little, too late. If anyone is going to take Trump out of the race, it will be Trump himself, and I think that's as likely as not at this point. But as we’ve seen, the only thing we know for sure anymore is that we don’t know anything for sure anymore.
So it sure looks like a safe bet that, barring an FBI indictment over the email scandal— always unlikely but now even less likely in the wake of Orlando — or some other wildly unpredictable event, Hillary Clinton will almost certainly be our next president.
Regardless of your opinion about Clinton, the fact that very soon she will be for all intents and purposes essentially running unopposed is not necessarily healthy for our system.
We live in days of partisan hyper-polarization, when everyone is either 100 percent Team Red or 100 percent Team Blue, when some people actually take pride in literally not knowing or speaking to anyone from the other Team.
But I confess to being a little old-school in preferring that the United States have a strong two-party system. Call me crazy.
Checks and balances and vigorous debate are, after all, supposed to be what make our system work.
Candidates for the office of the presidency, the world’s most powerful position, ideally shouldn’t waltz into the office in the manner of an incumbent city alderman winning a fourth or fifth term.
But it’s early still! And you know what we say about the weather in the South: If you don’t like it, wait a few minutes and it’s sure to change.
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"And you deserve better."
Thanks, Jim, for my new campaign slogan.