Just before Donald Trump became the “presumptive Republican nominee,”- a HUGE presumption – our political landscape looked like this to us: we had Trump at the top of the hill, followed by the wretched Ted Cruz halfway down, and the base of the mound was occupied by John Kasich. Over the brow of the hills in the distance were Hillary and Bernie, in that order.
A few weeks later we have a new landscape to consider. We no longer have a scenic overlook. There is only one tableau. In effect, we have Trump still at its peak, followed by an angrier and testier Bernie Sanders, and the base of this pyramid is now occupied by Hillary Clinton. Talk about reversals!
Temporarily, we are putting recent polls to one side, and making our own kindergartner’s finger painting.
What’s changed obviously is the collapse of both Cruz and Kasich.
Now Cruz, in our mind, was never slated to ascend to the throne. We’ve stamped our feet and shouted about this mean-spirited selfish arrogant man enough.
As for Kasich, he who in an ordinary year would stand a very good chance indeed of becoming the party’s nominee –he has humility, experience, pride, vision – he was basically ignored by his party for the flash and dash of Trump and Cruz. Had the Republicans understood this man’s appeal to the nation, had even half a dozen senators endorsed him and taken to the trail to assist him, he might have had some chance at drawing the spotlight in his direction so that the rest of the party could see what gold lay in those Ohio hills. For reasons beyond comprehension, this did not happen.
A few words about the Democrats who haven’t had their fair share of our attention since last autumn.
Hillary this week pronounced herself the “Democratic nominee.” This seems to fly in the face of a few newly erected barriers to her easy ascension to the throne.
Number 1 is obviously Bernie Sanders’ determination not to be shoved aside like a pile of yesterday’s newspapers. Bernie has meant what he said in the beginning: he’s in this race to stay. Regardless whether this is good for his adopted party or for Mrs. Clinton makes no difference to him now. He’s mad, and he seems to have every reason to be so.
Number 2 is just as the Donald warned at the beginning, if he weren’t treated right by the establishment Republican party, he’d…do….something. So now Bernie is making the same inchoate threat. Both men were right. The establishments behind them wanted nothing to do with them, and treated them badly. In Bernie’s case, his mistreatment continues.
Number 3 which lead to the kerfuffle in Las Vegas last weekend. Bernie’s crowd got up on its feet and made trouble. And they were right to do so. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the national Democratic Party, a clear Hillary partisan, has dumped on Bernie at every opportunity. Bernie and company had had enough. Knowing that in many polls he outpaced both Trump and Clinton brought Bernie strength and confidence. From Wasserman’s p.o.v., Bernie isn’t even a Democrat. He’s an Independent. Ms. Wasserman Schultz is making the same ineffable mistake the Republicans made for so long: she’s not thinking about what might be best for the nation, but only what’s best for her party. Besides, Bernie is an Independent. He won’t even have coattails.
We imagine she will resign in November.
Meanwhile, Number 4, Hillary seems to be having a terrible time energizing her followers. Her “negatives” are higher than Trump’s. As a member clearly of the Democratic establishment, she’s in left field as far as the voting public goes. It wants nothing to do with the establishment, period. A p.o.v. for which both Republican and Democratic congressmen and women must take responsibility. And to be as fair as possible to all concerned, Barack Obama has a sizable share of blame in this rejection as well.
Number 5: But what may ultimately sink Mrs. Clinton is not her evident march to the nomination, but her insistence on bringing her husband with her. And putting him in a chair of some national responsibility.
Bill is hot on the trail. He’s the “chief explainer” of his party. Millions seem to hang on his every word.
But not everyone looks back at the nineties with reverence and respect. Some of us couldn’t wait to see the back of him and his wife when they left the White House. And we haven’t forgotten. NAFTA alone assures him a place in the pantheon of wheeling and dealing to the nation’s detriment.
Although we could not have anticipated Donald Trump and the astonishing size of his appeal to angry voters, more than a year ago we wrote that “Hillary won’t run and if she does, she can’t win.”
Well, she didn’t read this blog, apparently. And we have had some bad moments with that bald statement above, worrying whether we had put ourselves too far out there. But now we see her losing support among women (!). We see the youth vote going to Bernie. We see intelligent white men accepting Trump. And if in the end the Afro-Americans and Hispanics don’t rally to her side in overwhelming numbers she’s toast.
We can’t know what Bernie has planned for Philadelphia, or even whether he can take California as he hopes. We can’t know- although we shudder to think – what bizarre behavior and statements will come from the Trump camp. But we can guess that among the three, Hillary – despite her experience and know-how – is the candidate least likely to seduce the public into wanting to have a beer.