The primary season is winding to a close, and we’re in the middle of our last big bash on this, the 7th of June, at which point we’ll have our presumptive candidates.
And I’m nervous.
In part because there’s nobody I would vote for if I had the option running this time around. We’ve got a charlatan, a snake, and a dreamer as the only major candidates still in the race, and while I understand people who are looking for the lesser evil, I also, quite frankly, hold those people in a certain degree of contempt. Particularly when the numbers generally don’t back them up.
What do I mean by this? Fairly simple, really.
While Hillary Clinton may have been groomed for this run since 2000, the number of people who claim to be voting for her on the grounds that “she can beat Trump while Sanders can’t” is depressing, especially given that in most of the polls I’ve seen, Sanders outperforms Clinton in a hypothetical election vs Trump.
But those aren’t the numbers I’m talking about.
Because while I’ve mentioned that Democratic participation in the primaries is down, what I may not have driven home is that Republican participation in the primaries is up. Way up.
Looking at the numbers coming out of key states, you see a very worrying trend if you’re not interested in President Trump: in crucial battleground states like Ohio and Florida, Republicans voting in the primaries vastly outnumbered Democrats doing the same. In fact, the numbers look startlingly like a color-swapped version of the 2008 election, where Barack Obama won the presidency largely by carrying those exact states.
Hillary might be the darling of the Democrats traditional base, but the actual voters are pretty lackadaisical about supporting her, when you get right down to it. My previous predictions still seem strong to me: this could well be an election decided by what has become an under-represented demographic, the blue-collar worker. And Hillary has little strength there.
Trump, on the other hand…
Incidentally, don’t take any of my posts as me being supportive of Sanders, really. While he does push for some things that I like, so do others, and I don’t think Sanders is particularly realistic about how he plans to attain his objectives.
But at least his presidency would be interesting. Nothing would get done, of course, at least not right away. In the unlikely event that Sanders were to get to the general election, and the likely defeat of Trump afterwards, the Democrats would not be quick to forget how he thwarted their Chosen One. The Republicans would oppose functionally anything proposed by Sanders as a matter of course, and as such, with little to no support in Congress, the Sanders presidency would almost certainly be a non-starter.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. If the government is effectively deadlocked, that means that at the very least it can’t screw much up.
What might happen, however, is finally having a President willing to call out individual members of Congress in public, using the vast platform that the office grants him to point out the misbehavior of representatives who have long since become part of a machine, rather than the avatars of their electorate.
Trump makes me nervous. Not because I figure he’ll destroy the world or anything; that “Criticism of Hillary is a vote for Trump” bullshit makes me nauseous. No, criticism of Hillary is criticism of Hillary and if you can’t accept the notion that there is a great deal to criticize in the public persona that is Hillary Clinton, then you need to take either take a good long look at the candidate you’ve thrown your lot behind, or an even longer look at why you’ve chose to overlook the fact that she hasn’t always, in fact has rarely, made the right decision on many matters.
No, Trump makes me nervous because his success in the race speaks volumes about how far the corporatists have veered from the populists in their respective parties, of just how much influence “Big Money” wields in the election cycle, and most importantly how great the divide has become between the “common man” and our political class. It’s our own damned fault, of course, at least for the most part, but still.
Trump, much like Sanders, would be crippled in office by what would be likely to be a near revolt from both parties simultaneously. There’s a certain irony to me in the notion that, if elected, the greatest contribution Trump might make would be to push the Republicrats into the realization that maybe, just maybe, they need to appeal to more than just the people that are signing the huge checks they use to get elected, and offering them the sinecure lobbying positions they crave.
It’s also possible that he’ll simply drive them to double down on their current trend, to court that corporate interest even more strongly, because clearly if the people are willing to elect Donald Trump they can’t be trusted with political power.
And that’s how revolutions happen.
On the other hand… there’s Clinton.
There’s a reason the NeoConservatives have been lining up behind Clinton, you realize. She’s just like them, only with a more stylish wardrobe, another disciple of the endless cycle of interventions. Intervene in Libya, in Syria, force regime changes, and of course, fail to see the inevitable collapse that comes a result, the breeding ground for terrorism and extremists, and LO! it appears to be time to intervene yet again, because surely this time we can get it right and they’ll greet us with flowers and grateful tears as they march forward, two respectful steps behind us of course, into a bright new future of Democracy!
I find myself looking at the prospect of voting Libertarian this year solely because at least my conscience would be clear, and in the incredibly unlikely even that Johnson won, he’s the least likely to do any serious damage.
Cast your votes, put a bow on this thing, and I’ll just be napping until July, when I’m terribly afraid I’ll be able to see the plume of smoke from the devastated wasteland that was once Philadelphia, before the Democratic convention happened.