Sooner Or Later: The Rapid
End To The Primary Season
Long before anyone had imagined it would come to be, the ink
on the handwriting on the wall was dry. It is now clear that Hillary Clinton,
the first woman to lead a major party ticket for President of the United
States, and Donald Trump, a reality TV star and billionaire with no prior
political experience, will be the nominees of the two major parties for
President. What’s wrong with this picture?
The first thing that is wrong is that I would bet the
majority of Americans want more choices. This is like being hungry at a
baseball game and there only being gas station sushi on the menu. No hot dogs
and no peanuts.
The second thing is that the vast majority of Americans did
not weigh in on this choice of nominees due to the convoluted system of
primaries and caucuses that dominates the selection of these candidates and
serves neither fairness nor democracy.
The third thing is that in a long line of flawed candidates
for the highest office in the land, from Nixon to Dukakis, these two stand out.
She’s been around so long that my youngest son was barely in school when she
became First Lady. He’ll be thirty soon.
so new at politics that he doesn’t know what he thinks and has no philosophy
beyond the use of insults and innuendo. At least Hillary’s positions embody
many of the principles of the Democratic Party—minority rights, wage equality,
and the right to choose. Albeit, her foreign policy stance is usually
considered more hawkish than a typical Democrat. Then there’s Bernie pushing
her further to the left than she is usually comfortable being, but she can walk
that back in the general and probably will. Count on her requesting a $15
minimum wage, but settling for $12. She will not be promoting a single payer
health care system and she is still more of a free trader than Bernie is comfortable
As for The Donald, no one is quite sure what he will do
about anything beyond building a wall on our southern border, locking out all
foreign Muslims, making great trade deals, ripping up the one with Iran, and
trying to repeal the ACA which, despite what he thinks, will necessitate an act
of Congress which may well have a Democratic Senate if Mister Golden Hair
drives people away from down ballot Republicans. This is not standard GOP
positioning. Free trade, interventionist foreign policy and a pro-life stance
may vanish from the GOP platform under the aegis of The Donald, the man in the
high Trump Tower.
It is safe to say that you will need to fasten both your
seat belt and shoulder harness for this one. The name-calling ought to be
bleepable. The innuendo incendiary and the ads works of art in bad taste.
Welcome to the 2016 US Presidential race. And only six
months to go!
I don’t really think Hillary and Bernie will have all that
much trouble appearing together on the stage at the DNC convention for her
coronation. What to do with Bill is another matter.
The GOP has a tougher problem. Every Republican nominee for
President who is still alive has pledged to stay home from the convention in
Cleveland save for Bob Dole (yes, he’s still alive). How Mr. Trump can
reconcile his xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and crassness with the rest of the
party remains to be seen.
But the real tragedy for Republicans will be that if they
lose to Hillary, they still will not have answered the question as to why they
have performed so badly in Presidential contests for the past 30 years. Since
1988, Republicans have only won in 2004 (they lost the popular vote in 2000). Why?
the candidates have not been conservative enough or they have not been of high
enough quality. With Trump, they still will not know the answer to that
dilemma. He’s neither a true conservative nor a quality person.
the 2012 loss, the GOP took stock. It needed to attract more minorities and
women if it was going to win at the national level. Then, they go and nominate
The Donald. Go figure.
or later the Republicans are going to have to come to grips with the changing
demographics of America and realize that their message of intolerance and free
market capitalism does not resonate with an ever more diverse generation of Americans who see
capitalism as a failed system providing huge student debt, underemployment,
massive foreign debt and a Wall Street that is out of control.
or later both parties will have to grapple with this new reality. And a Baby
Boomer ex-First Lady and a reality TV star do not constitute a reasonable
response to the concerns of most Americans.
Sooner or later…but not this year.