I watched very little of the Republican debate last night. These are not designed to inform the voters or challenge the contestants. They are TV shows. Those old enough to remember the Gong Show have to notice the similarities. The only difference is the old Gong Show had more self-respect. Chuck Barris had no illusions about what he was doing.
I caught some bits and pieces on-line, mostly through twitter. The clips I saw of Chris Christie pulling Rubio’s underwear over his head made me laugh. I’ve said for years now that Rubio is Miss South Carolina with a penis. The guy is as dumb as plank, but he can memorize his lines. As long as he is not asked to go off script, he sounds convincing. Last night he sounded like every other dumb actor.
Trump supporters on-line were jubilant. I suspect they feared a rally by the open-borders people behind Rubio in New Hampshire. The Conservative media was all prepared to make second place the new first place, just as they did after Iowa, by making third the new first. I flipped on Fox and it looked like they were covering a funeral so I’m guessing they think it is curtains for Rubio.
What’s somewhat interesting about all this is both parties are facing a problem they thought they would never face. That is, the voters picking a nominee off the unapproved list. If Sanders wins big in New Hampshire, it’s hard to imagine Clinton recovering. What’s coming through loud and clear is the voters would rather lose than win with Hillary.
The Republicans are facing a similar problem. If Trump wins New Hampshire, it’s hard to imagine any of the dwarfs surviving the night. Bush, Kasich, Rubio and Christie will have lost badly in the first two tests. Cruz and Trump will be the remaining options. Unless one of the dwarfs has a magical election night and finishes second, there’s no argument for keeping them in the race.
My guess is the old hands in both parties are quietly discussing what they do to prevent these unacceptable options from winning the nomination. The Democrats have changed their system to give the party elders enough of the delegates so they could block Sanders if they choose to do it. That would mean having another option like Biden, Gore or maybe Warren. A Biden – Warren ticket could placate the Sanders people.
On the GOP side, it’s not as easy, but they can still throw a wrench in the works. One way would be to rally around the first dwarf on Tuesday night. Let say Kasich finishes second. The other dwarfs drop out and endorse him as king of the dwarfs and they make an explicit statement that they are doing it to stop Trump.
That crystallizes the rest of the race as the sensible wing versus the crazies. The media will pile on and it could probably be enough to prevent Trump from getting the required delegates. The dwarf league would ignore Cruz, seeing him as a drain on Trump. The trouble with this is it would be so transparent it could very well work in Trump’s favor.
The doomsday scenario for both parties is the Michael Bloomberg option. Bill Kristol has already said he will bolt the GOP if Trump is the nominee. It’s not hard to imagine the Conservative Industrial Complex following him and supporting Bloomberg as the “least bad option.” They could decorate their banners with quotes from Buckley about strategic voting.
At the same time, Progressives would suddenly have an option they could support if they don’t like Sanders. Instead of a blood bath at their convention, they could let Sanders have the nomination, but make clear that real liberal democrats will be backing Bloomberg as the reconciliation candidate. “He’s the only guy who can unite both parties!”
All of this sounds farfetched, but the prospect of a Trump – Sanders election sounded laughably absurd a year ago. We live in an age where the ridiculous quickly becomes the norm. Twenty years ago, comics told jokes about men marrying men. Today, they threaten you with prison for even remembering those jokes. Mark Steyn was purged from National Review for repeating an old quip about homosexuals popular in the 50’s.
We are in a great transition, so everything is on the table. Just look over at England. One party evaporated. The other is run by a lunatic, leaving them with the Tories and that weird Scottish Nationalist Party. Predicting that five years ago would have gotten you committed. Heck, the smart money five years ago said Labour would return to power.
Some on the Alt-Right think the parties are reorganizing along globalist-nationalist lines. Others see one party being the white party and the other the NAM party, making America something like Rhodesia, I guess. Then there are those who suspect Brazil is the future, where a light skin oligarchy rules over a massive dark skinned ghetto. Maybe some combination of all of those things is the answer.
The simpler answer could be that globalism simply has no constituency in a mass media democracy. Global capitalism outlandishly benefits a very small portion of society. People being what they are, this massive inequality opens the doors for candidates antithetical to global capitalism. That was the lesson 100 years ago and it maybe the lesson today. Of course, 100 years it took a blood bath to drive home that point.