Watching the debates, I wondered how many of the Trump people really cared much about any of it. My sense is the Trump vote is just the immigration patriots plus the red pill conservatives.The former only support Trump because of immigration. The latter support Trump because its fun to watch Judge Smails have a stroke over it. I’m obviously in the latter group.
Reading the news today, it’s pretty clear that the press has no idea how to talk about Trump. They prefer to talk about Farina and Carson, as they fit neatly into their respective boxes.There’s also a sense that Farina could cut into Trump’s support, but that’s a fundamental misreading of things. Some of the media is still hoping to revive one of the dwarfs, but that’s not a fun task at the moment.
Anyway, this debate is the start of the fall campaigning season. The next debate is the end of October, then another in the middle of November and another in the middle of December. They have a debate tentatively scheduled for January, but that’s the final stretch to the first batch of primaries. The next four weeks will make the field for the 2016 election season. So, where are we?
George Pataki will not take the hint. They gave Gilmore the wrong date and time for the last debate so he would not clutter up the stage. If Pataki does not take the hint, he will wake up with Gilmore’s head in his bead. My bet is they find some way to exclude him from the next round or he just throws in the towel. Maybe he and Gilmore can open a B&B together.
Caitlyn Graham‘s disturbing performance is not going to go unnoticed by his friends in the party. Graham is a reliable vote for the establishment so they don’t want him going bonkers and maybe needing to seek professional help. He’s also 60 and can hold that seat for another 20 years so they will have the talk with him and he will drop out before the next debate.
Rick Santorum was thinking he could live off the land through the fall and then make a run at Iowa. His appeal is to the cultural conservatives who vote against abortion and the homos. The trouble is those voters are more vexed over the Latinos than the homos and Huckabee is splitting what’s left. The Huckster has the connections to the churches so look for Santorum to get the hook or drop out next month.
Watching Christie on the main stage, I saw a guy who knew it was over and this was probably his last day in the spotlight. He was loose and goofy, just enjoying himself. A lot of Yankee Conservatives like him, but there are too many guys striving for this vote. There’s no money to keep him going so my guess is he quits and opens a muffin shop on the Jersey Shore.
The B-List Establishment Men
Jindal has been playing an interesting game. He has spent nothing so he can hang around as long as likes. His talk radio work has been to defend the party, promote his brand of reform and trash Donald Trump. Everyone knows he is running for a cabinet spot so it’s not about polling with him. He wants to get one shot at the big stage and hope to catch people’s attention. With his coevals in the group faltering, it’s not a bad strategy if he can hang around for another month.
The collapse of Walker is a good example of how mass media has warped modern society. Walker is a dork with a bald spot so voters are turned off by him. He also has a nasally voice which reminds people of the IRS guy at their audit. He raised a lot of money and he showed a little spunk of late, but he has another month to figure out how to not be Ned Flanders or he’s a goner.
Kasich is another guy on thin ice. The party men all thought he was going to be a great alternative to Bush and encouraged him to join the, telling him he would be the VP for Bush at the worst. If Bush faltered, Kasich would the next man up and get the nomination. That whole plan is unraveling now as Bush sinks and takes the rest of the establishment men with him. Kasich has no money and he needs to start producing or he will be out of cash by Thanksgiving.
The A-List Establishment Men
Bush has such a huge war chest, he can hang around until 2020 regardless of his polling. His problem is he is the second choice of a lot of voters who are currently backing other establishment guys. Once the lesser lights drop away in the next couple of months, his numbers will rise. That’s the plan at this point. Play the rope-a-dope and get to January as the sole Establish Man left in the race. If the other choices are yahoos like Trump, so the theory goes, the voters will come home to Bush country.
I put Rubio in this category simply because I can’t think of another place to put him. He’s got enough money to stick around through the first wave of primaries. He is an establishment guy that the party really wants to succeed. His trouble is he The Beaver to Jeb’s Wally. Since Bush is not going anywhere, I just can’t see how Rubio breaks out and becomes the company man. But, he has nothing to lose so he will stick around hoping for a miracle.
I’ve wanted to like Rand Paul, but let’s face it, he is a weird little dude. As I said during the debate, Rand is that guy in the neighborhood everyone suspects when a kid goes missing. It’s not what he says or his position on things. It’s that his priority list seems to be completely out of kilter. He’s deeply passionate about weed laws, but seems indifferent to immigration or taxes. He’s why most men outgrow libertarianism a few years after college. He will stick around until New Hampshire and then quit to focus on his Senate run.
Huckabee is another strange man. I just can’t look at him without thinking about him “marrying” his wife a second time so he could game the gift ban, treating the bribes as wedding gifts. Like other grifters from the Ozarks, he is tenacious and resourceful. Gypsies would be awed by him so he will stick around hoping to win the Evangelical vote in Iowa and get himself into the race as the morality candidate.
It pains me to put Ted Cruz in the weirdo category, but where else does he fit? He’s hated by the party and he only appeals to fringe weirdos like you people. His game is to be there when Trump collapses to pick up his vote as the rebel leader. He has the money and smarts to keep that plan working through the end of the year. As long as he sticks close to Bush in the polls, he can plausibly raise money and get into the debates.
Ben Carson looked like he was stoned during the debate and it was so bad that even the rump-swabs in the conservative press had to admit it. Unlike Trump, Carson is a novelty without a purpose. He has no signature issue and no real reason to be running. When you think about it, Caron’s argument is he is simply the most moral man on stage and therefore he should win. I suspect his vote starts to decamp to Farina now that she is the new shiny penny on the scene.
Farina is a gold plated phony, but she is now seen as the dragon slayer by the party. Farina worked for John McCain for a short while so she has party connections. No one seriously thinks she can be the nominee, but she could steal enough of Carson’s vote to be treated as the hot new alternative to Trump for a while. Her job therefore is to be the dutiful straw, appealing to Trump voters, but pulling her punches against the establishment men.
Trump is the most interesting political story in my lifetime. He’s the anti-candidate. None of the normal rules apply as he is now the symbol of protest. What should scare the party is that 30% number. That’s a lot of people who are ready to blow the party up to spite the establishment. The thing to watch is the polls over the next two weeks. If Trump keeps climbing, it’s time for Rinse Penis to turn on the bat signal as the party is in deep trouble.