Hillary’s SC win and Forrest Trump’s continued blood-shooting-from-his-eyes assault on the White House provides the perfect moment to pause, take a deep breath and look around.
Disruption has exploded the “normal” election cycle; the giddy mainstream coverage Trump continues to generate via his carpet bombing campaign has made friendly fire casualties of the “normal” campaigns of his frenemies.
Take Jeb! 1 His campaign did not vary an iota from the way both his older brother and father ran theirs: Jeb! had more than sufficient old-school money (over $100 million) lined up early, and additionally had inherited his family’s tried and true team of political hacks and Jeff Roe knock-offs. Then he had that fancy logo: Jeb! 2 He spoke in the meaningless platitudes Americans have expected from their betters running for office, risking nothing while appearing to stand for considered (and slowly implemented…if at all) change – but not anything significant, and certainly not a lot of it.
And it should have worked – it’s what got his dad and younger brother way too close to the nuclear football. In fact Bill Clinton ran the exact same type of campaign.
But…Disruption! Trump’s Molotov cocktail approach to politics, and the mainstream media’s sudden fascination with infantilism, altered the known political universe, leaving traditionally run campaigns shell shocked, their candidates stumbling around like TBI patients. 3
Hillary’s campaign in most ways mirrored Jeb!’s, with the exception that Clinton gamed all the super-delegates early so that, no matter how close the results of the primary/caucuses, she was always going to win the nomination. As I mentioned over at Jimmy C’s place, the fix was in. 4
But, again…Disruption! Bernie’s guerilla campaign has forced Hillary to publicly fight for what by Divine Right should naturally be hers. Now add in an ongoing FBI probe into her past activities and there’s no way she strolls to the nomination. And should she emerge from the primary victorious, then…More Disruption! Donald Trump!
Because a Clinton/Trump match-up will not follow the traditional lesser of two evils voter turn-out.
Every time Hillary mentions her long, and infamously storied political career, Trump will beat her bloody with the details. Moreover she won’t be able to look down her nose at Trump and calmly belittle his total lack of experience, ideas or manners. Instead Trump, head down, will bull her into a corner and repeatedly hit her below the belt: “Benghazi! White House blow jobs! Dan Foster was murdered! White water! Gawd, you’re hideous! Isn’t she hideous, America? Look at all that down covering her jaw!”
Clinton’s supposed firewall, The American Woman, may not be effective, especially since her Jeff Roe-like hacks have been pushing overly hard on the notion that all women should support Hillary.
Not only has that meme not caught on, many women –especially in the 20 to 50 age group—have rejected the sales pitch completely, instead purchasing the Sanders off-brand. And there’s a valid reason for that.
Think about it – what does a Clinton presidency offer American women especially? A continuation of Obama’s presidency, n’est-ce pas? More military intervention (and attendant body bags), economic policies that still have millions of Americas (including women) living in poverty while the banks and financial houses continue to drive us closer to yet another recession without fear of penalty? A probable ReThug controlled Congress still intent on gutting a woman’s right to control her own body? Does any of that sound attractive? Maybe that’s why the voters so far have, at best, been lukewarm to Hillary. Sanders has proven that there is more out there than business as usual. 5
Trump, ridiculous gas bag that he is, certainly is not the same-old, same-old; the
conservative wing-nut faction of ReThugs no longer has to settle for just the marginally nuttier of two or three candidates (Look, America! Magic underwear!), they can get their full freak on.
With Trump they get to vote their pulsing ids. Fuck the lesser of two evils, kids – we’re gonna build a wall around them! We’re Gonna Be Great Again!
In fact Trump and Sanders’ (wildly different) guerilla campaigns look to have put paid to the whole lesser of two evils model of presidential politics, perhaps forever. This has been building over the last couple of election cycles: how long would Americans passively select between candidates who only promise to not make things worse? The last Great Recession economically destroyed millions of Americans, people who have never recovered and have in essence been told: “Let them eat Twinkies…but not on food stamps.”
That policy didn’t work out all that well for the French aristocracy, nor would I anticipate the current American plutocracy enjoying a similar outcome.
More and more Americans are painfully aware Congress is populated solely by special interest drones programmed to aid and abet the rich in their pursuit of money for nothing. It has taken a while but there finally appears to be a generation of people who have woken up to the fact that Ronnie Raygun’s Piss Down economic policies not only didn’t work then, they don’t work now 6: the masses not only don’t have boats to be raised, the only tide rising promises to destroy cities like Miami and New Orleans.
On a fundamental level both Trump and Sanders are but variations on the cult of personality, charismatics 7 who hope to snatch the White House by rocking the plutocrats (Jeb! & the Assorted Motley ReThugs 8 and Hillary) and feeding hope to the fed-up masses: Make America Great Again!; Free Education!
It’s possible Trump will obliterate Clinton in the general election; I would hate to think 60-70 million Americans are that ill-informed, but a Trump win would thoroughly behead the politics-as-usual consensus that’s ruled since Nixon. However I anticipate Hillary will somehow connive her way into the White House, no matter how many small children she has to sacrifice to do so.
The take-away from all this is obvious but won’t be apparent until 2020: others will follow where Trump and Sanders have dared to tread.
Eventually one of them will succeed. 9
- Please… ↩
- Don’t laugh; Hillary is using much the same thing. ↩
- Except Carson – he’s always acted like a TBI patient. ↩
- The Democrat’s primary nomination process is risible for being the antithesis of democracy itself. Or maybe it’s profoundly sad – my opinion varies daily. ↩
- No, I don’t think he captures the nomination but, as I mentioned to Jimmy C, the disillusionment engendered within the 20-50 group over a Hillary nomination and subsequent (putative) presidency should translate into a much more wide open 2020 election cycle. ↩
- Hello Kansas! ↩
- Might be stretching the definition in Sanders’ case. ↩
- Seriously, isn’t that a GREAT rock band name? ↩
- Else? Hmmm…l’appel du vide? ↩