NONE OF THE ABOVE

On Saturday night, after initial results had been posted from South Carolina, a very well-spoken white mother of three was interviewed.

She had not voted for Donald Trump, and was mum about whom she had favored. The question of the news-hound gave her pause at first and then she made up her mind. “Can you support the nominee of the Republican party?”

To paraphrase her reply: “For myself, no. There is no one else who shares my values. I may have to vote for the Democrats, a first time experience for me.”

We wonder how many other voters around the country could be that honest and secure in their feelings.

Which is to say, there may be millions for whom “None of the above” is really the right answer to that question this year.

Donald Trump: he’s forced us finally, and we assume the Republican party generally, to look at him as THE front-runner, the man who – having won New Hampshire and South Carolina both (a signal of imminent nominee status historically) is the force to be reckoned with like it or not. He comes to us flawed: everything is going to be great but he never tells us how, or how he’s going to pay for his visions, or with whom he intends to work, or what his international goals are. And apart from the adlib flavor of his appearances, he is astonishingly lazy…he’s had nearly a year in which to learn basic civics, basic international relationships, basic economics, basic tax theory, basic welfare statistic and plans, basic healthcare goals. It’s easy to say he wants to repeal Obamacare, but it’s not so easy to tell us what he would put in its place.

The Donald is relying still (over and over again) on “Making America Great Again” which is swell sloganeering but basically meaningless without a roadmap. And he’s not getting better.

The horror of the joke we realized when Trump announced on June16, 2015, grows daily.

Ted Cruz has specifics. But we don’t like him, or trust him, or want anything to do with this guy. He’s cruel and heartless and bright and dangerous, unsteady in his allegiances, worse than that in his voting performances.

What Cruz has in abundance is ambition, greed, smugness, the willingness to go it alone because he clearly loves himself and the powers of the presidency to such an extent that he is willing to forget voters altogether. And the Constitution, of which he purports to be so proud, and about which he claims to be knowledgeable. He’s going to be against immigration – this from an immigrant – he favors a flat tax which hits the middle class and the poor hardest – he’s still inches away from declaring he’s ready to “carpet bomb” ISIS which is, according to the Geneva conventions, is illegal. He’s a man who doesn’t worry for an instant about collateral damage to civilians anywhere. Nor is he at all concerned with the millions of US citizens who need nourishment and education and jobs. He is not above “dirty tricks” (recall his slippery performance in Iowa with Ben Carson’s candidacy) or automatic lying. And he believes he’s got the entire election in the bag. Bringing his daughters onto the stage Saturday night did not produce an “Aww” of endearment and sympathy; rather it brought forth a chorus of “Well, of course he would.”

He may win Texas on Super Tuesday, but if there is any hope for our country, that should do it.

Marco Rubio also has specifics. What he hasn’t got is experience or “gravitas.” Much like Cruz (and this is only part of their similarity) he has very little indeed to point to in terms of his quick three years as a Senator. (He does have more to show than Cruz, who has absolutely nothing but obstructionism to point to as a record.)

Rubio is a great speaker, as is Cruz, only more empathetic and sympathetic. And he has a team that is advising him well. He’s been able to put behind him gaffs that would haunt others for years. And though he’s the same age as Cruz, Rubio seems totally green. (Cruz on the other hand seems yellow with age and hoary with corruption.)

Are we really willing to allow Rubio time to learn what he must in order to be even a passable First Executive?

Rubio expects to inherit the mantle of the Establishment. And its money.

Which, of course, is what did Jeb Bush in, that and his lackluster campaign. He didn’t want to run. His mother told him not to. She was right. He has our thanks and sympathy.

Ben Carson is still on his own cloud. No man or woman in America knows what’s in this man’s mind or heart but goodness oft heard, and believed. It is not enough.

Bernie Sanders is pie-in-the-sky, appealing and warm and straight-forward and economically out in the desert where no one can follow him. He has one speech. He has more than one issue to discuss. He has money. He’s Don Quixote, and lovable for that.

Hillary Clinton has experience and know-how and is the best qualified candidate on either side. But millions neither trust her nor like her. She is this year’s Michael Dukakis – capable, far-sighted, and absolutely uninviting. Her support is both rabid and without depth. That’s not a good combination.
“None of the above” seems to be carrying the day.

But wait. There is a lone White Hat still atop his mount. Despite his poor showing last week, John Kasich is still with us. Add his experience in the House, his experiences as Governor of Ohio, his common sense and upbeat approach to the campaign as a whole – add all this to the moment we saw last week in which he embraced a troubled and depressed young man and despite the title of this column, we still have one man who might very well surprise us.

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