UPDATE III: Votes are still being counted, but I’m encouraged. It has been a good night for Trump but not that good. There’s no reason, I can see, for either Rubio or Cruz to get out at this point (Rubio’s big stand will have to be in FL in two weeks. He must win there).
Sure, Trump still is the front-runner and has the best chance of getting the GOP nomination, but there is a chance that either Rubio and Cruz will keep dogging him and denying him a first-ballot majority, or one of them may yet become the Anti-Trump and roll up more delegates than Trump. We’ll have to see how it comes out.
UPDATE IV: Ok, so the votes are counted.
First and foremost, the Democrat turnout has collapsed against 2008 and the GOP turnout was not just large, it was remarkably large, historic…record setting, I understand in some States. These are numbers which in normal politics would indicate a Republican landslide in November…but with Trump at the top of the heap, we just don’t know…and might not know until the votes are counted on November 8th.
Second, I don’t see any reason for Bernie to drop out on the Democrat side. Hillary did roll up some big wins, but the States that the primaries are heading to are much more Bernie-friendly. In the end I do expect the Democrat leadership to muscle Hillary into the nomination, but if I were Bernie – or one of his supporters – I’d carry on the fight. I’ve talked with a number of these Democrat Bernie supporters…unlike the Obama-bots, they don’t seem to be relentlessly nasty people. They are wrong, but not wrong-headed. I wish them well – I don’t want a Socialist United States, but I admire the sincerity and conviction of these people.
Third – now what, for the GOP? As I said last night, no reason for Cruz or Rubio to back out at this point, though Rubio has to win in Florida on the 15th to remain in any way credible. There is a chance – a small one – that the combination of Cruz and Rubio can deny Trump a first ballot majority at the Convention. This does not mean that Trump isn’t going to be the nominee – the only way to prevent that at this point is for a candidate to roll up more delegates than Trump does, and that is a vanishingly small probability. But if Cruz and Rubio come to Cleveland with enough delegates to prevent Trump from winning on the first ballot, then Trump is going to have to make a deal…and it will be a deal with two candidates who rose out of the TEA Party movement. In other words, if Cruz and Rubio are worth anything, they’ll be able to force Trump to make some moves which would make a Trump candidacy and Presidency far more palatable. Just as one scenario: Rubio gets the VP slot, Cruz gets a SCOTUS promise. That sort of thing would make #NeverTrump into #WTFOkIGuessTrump. We’ll have to see how that plays out (no, I’ll never be a Trump supporter)
Well, here it is – later this evening, we’ll find out…and I suspect that in a rare moment of agreement, both genuine Socialists and Conservatives will be equally disappointed in the result.
If, as I suspect, Trump does very well then for the GOP nomination it is all over but the shouting. Cruz, unless he wins big in Texas, is probably out first – Rubio will likely hang around until the Florida result. Kasich and Carson might also hang in there, but I can’t imagine why.
If by some miracle either Cruz or Rubio massively exceed expectations then it is a whole, new ball game…and even such things as a brokered convention is not impossible. On the Democrat side, even if Sanders does well, the whole DNC machine is so greased for Hillary that it won’t matter. Come what may, the Democrat powers-that-be are going to give Hillary a shot at it in November. And against Trump, one does have to put Hillary down as the favorite given all we know about American politics…except for the fact that all we know about American politics should have prevented Trump from even getting this far.
For those of us who will be wondering if a four to eight year bout of alcoholism is our best bet, there’s this from Ben Domenech over at the Federalist which oddly gives me a glimmer of hope:
…The Trump phenomenon is neither a disease nor a symptom – he is instead the beta-test of a cure that the American people are trying out. It won’t work. But this is where our politics are going: working and middle class Americans are reasserting themselves against a political and cultural establishment that has become completely discredited over time and due to their own actions…
…Democrats and Republicans who still think that this is a phase – a fever they just need to wait out before a return to normalcy – are utterly delusional. They keep talking about voters “waking up” to realize that Trump is a bad choice – but the whole reason Trump is the choice is because voters believe they have woken up to the truth about the American leadership class. The old order is breaking down, thanks to Iraq. Katrina. The financial crisis. The failed stimulus. Obamacare’s launch. The Tea Party. Occupy Wall Street. Sanders. Trump. The American people are trying to find a new way, and they are looking for outsiders to lead them through the wasteland.
To the establishment, this breakdown looks like chaos. It looks like savagery. It looks like a man with a flamethrowing guitar playing death metal going a hundred miles an hour down Fury Road. But to the American people, it looks like democracy…
No doubt about it, Trump is the result of the Ruling Class treating the people with contempt. Unlike some on the right (and everyone on the left) I don’t actually lump former President Bush in with this…even though, no doubt about it, he’s a member of the Ruling Class. But remember some of the things he tried to do – not least immigration reform and entitlement reform. He was left high and dry by precisely those who are now most bemoaning the rise of Trump. Had the rest of the Ruling Class had a tenth of the guts of President Bush – not to mention just an ounce of the humility be brought to the job – then Trump never would have happened. Neither would have Obama. One doesn’t have to agree with what Bush proposed – but every honest person has to admit that he made an effort to grapple with our problems in a positive way. The moment was lost – and we first got Obama to double down on the corrupt cronyism while ignoring the real problems (along with bitterly dividing Americans along class, ethnic and social lines), and now we may well get Trump…and if we wind up getting Hillary, it will actually be worse (cronyism and favoring the elite over the nation will become something on steroids with Hillary in office).
Now we’ve got a population which has zero faith in our system – and that is terribly bad for a democratic republic. Such governments can only rule by consent…and the consent of the governed is not being offered these days. The governed are enduring it, but they don’t like it and are starting to lash out. If Trump is blown out in an epic landslide in November, don’t think that the cat is then back in the bag…it will, actually, just infuriate people all the more. That is why I think Domenech is on to something – this is a sort of beta test. The people will keep bucking against this corrupt and nasty system we’ve got…and eventually they’ll hit upon a working method to overturn it. I just hope that when that time finally arrives, the person who steps forward to lead it is in the likeness of Washington or Lincoln.
As for me, I’ll remain what I have been all my adult life – a Conservative. I don’t know if I’ll remain a Republican…Donald Trump is very much a bridge too far for me. I’ll put my faith in God and walk untroubled into the future.
UPDATE: A bit more analysis from Allahpundit, regarding Senator Sasse’s firm decision not to back Trump and what is going on around here:
…The not so good point is when Sasse claims that Trump is filling a void created by the GOP when it grew too vacuous about “first principles.” Is … that what Trumpmania is about? I’ve heard lots of smart explanations for it — it’s a response to globalization and mass immigration from people who want jobs repatriated; it’s a demand for strength after a long period of national and cultural diffidence; it’s a rebellion by “Fishtown” after being taken for granted by “Belmont” for so many years; it’s “identity politics for white people” in a country that’s increasingly diverse. One thing it does not seem to be, except maybe to the extent that Cruz’s share of the vote overlaps with Trump’s, is an expression of frustration that the GOP isn’t as conservative or in touch with the Constitution as it should be. On the contrary, a lot of Trump fans seem like they’d be fine with Trump taking a dump on the Constitution and engaging in ambitious executive power grabs, like “opening up libel laws,” so long as it means increasing their share of the pie. (Sasse himself has criticized Trump’s caesarist tendencies but I wonder if he knows, or would admit, that Trump has some popular support for that.) Maybe Sasse is saying this simply because it’s part of his brand: He’s a conservative, therefore any problem with the party must ultimately boil down to “not conservative enough.”…
Sasse is partially right – but he is missing a large point. Partially because of the nature of things and partially because of relentless, Progressive miseducation, a majority of Americans only have a hazy idea of just what is in the Constitution. The other day Hillary said that the Constitution gives us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – which is, of course, in the Declaration of Independence, not in the Constitution. True, one can argue that the Constitution was enacted to secure such rights, but the bottom line is that, for instance, a right to life is not definitively stated in the Constitution (and if it were, abortion would be illegal…and probably the death penalty, as well). But I’ll bet most of her audience didn’t realize the error…heck, Hillary might not realize the error (she’s not a person I’ve ever felt to be all that intellectually sharp, nor a person with more than a cursory knowledge of history.
The First Principal that most Americans care about, in my experience, is fairness. It is why our Progressives can at times run so well among the American electorate: they claim the are for fairness (what they are actually for is the unjust punishment of identified target groups, but that is unimportant right now). It is unfair that illegal immigrants can get in-State tuition while American citizens can’t. It is unfair that we spend money to resettle refugees in our nation while some of our veterans go without medical care and housing. It is unfair that the rich and powerful have armed guards but average citizens are to be barred from owing weapons. The people don’t like it when they perceive that others are getting an unfair advantage – whether that advantage is real or imaginary. This is not the same as desiring absolute equality – our Progressives tout that ideal, but Americans are sensible enough to know that no matter what you do, we won’t all be equal in our work ethic and life choices. But a rough fairness and parity between all is desired – and when it isn’t forthcoming, people get mad.
Conservatism won the battle over gun rights because it was an appeal to fairness. Conservatism is slowly winning the fight over abortion because it is simply unfair to kill a kid because her parents were in some way lacking. But Conservatism has been losing the battle on things like economic policy because Conservatism is perceived (mostly incorrectly – but not entirely) as being unfairly biased towards those who already have quite a lot. Over Obama’s 8 years as he has serially provided special benefits for his cronies (don’t think that all those waivers for Obama donors and supporters over ObamaCare went un-noticed), Democrats are also being perceived as a party being unfair. This is why Democrat power has cratered everywhere outside the White House since 2008. Donald Trump’s rise is in response to this – he’s going to pay back these unfair people – Democrats and Republicans – in their own coin. Or, at least, that is what his supporters think. And even a lot of people who can’t stomach Trump are just as angry over the unfairness of our system…and are just waiting for someone more acceptable than Trump to come along.
Win or lose, Trump will blow the Republican party to pieces. Some people will march out of it, never to return. But on the other hand, the Democrat party is going to bleed support as well – the Trump Democrats will be a real thing in 2016 (saw a report today that large numbers of Massachusetts Democrats are re-registering Republican so they can vote in the GOP primary – and I’ll bet this is happening all around the nation). Where this will all wind up is anyone’s guess. I’m hopeful that true Conservatives will form a new party in 2017 – not with a mind towards capturing a majority of Congress (that is probably not in the cards, at least any time soon), but with an idea of holding the balance of power in Congress…and maybe even getting a true Conservative into the White House in 2020 or 2024 via a massively fractured vote (Lincoln, you might recall, was elected with a mere 40% of the vote in 1860).
UPDATE II: Interesting poll. Do keep in mind that I’m going to take all 2016 polling with a grain of salt, but it is very much worth it to look over. The headline is that Hillary tops Trump and everyone is latching on to that. But I found a few other interesting things.
1. Trump is rated vastly better than everyone else in the race on handling the economy. This is a nonsense belief, of course – but nonsense beliefs can move an election (2008, for instance). If the economy goes south over this year (a 50/50 shot, I think), then Trump will benefit.
2. Trump rates best among all GOPers on ability to improve race relations. I have no idea where this notion comes from.
3. Clinton is rated best on foreign policy. This is just stupid – any GOPer who gets the nomination is going to be able to shred Hillary on foreign policy. But, people are thinking Hillary is good at it, at least for now.
4. Trump, Hillary and Sanders – that is the order of the candidates when people are asked who would be best at gun policy. This is a rather Twilight Zone polling result.
5. Trump and Hillary are viewed unfavorably by a substantial majority.
6. If Bloomberg gets in, the House will probably decide who gets to be President.
7. The polling sample is a good mix between Democrat, Republican and Independent so it is rock solid as long as in 2016 the various party strengths are what they have been for a long while.