Super Tuesday

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)

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Monday, Monday

Things are not looking too hot in Syria:

CIA-backed rebels in Syria, who had begun to put serious pressure on President Bashar Assad’s forces, are now under Russian bombardment with little prospect of rescue by their American patrons, U.S. officials say.

Over the past week, Russia has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded groups and other moderate opposition in a concerted effort to weaken them, the officials say. The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly armed and trained.

The Russians “know their targets, and they have a sophisticated capacity to understand the battlefield situation,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and was careful not to confirm a classified program. “They are bombing in locations that are not connected to the Islamic State” group..

If they are really hitting the necessary targets – and I suspect that they are – then we can only assume that our security has been breached. This would come as no surprise as security under the Obama Administration has been notoriously slack. Syria is turning into a geo-political debacle for us.

The LA Times asks if Clinton can change the gun debate. The answer is “no”, but I’m very hopeful that she’ll make this a key element of her campaign. The American people are, if anything, more in favor of the individual right to bear arms than at any time in our nation’s past. I can’t think of anything better for us on the political front than Hillary, desperate to shore up leftwing support, going on a gun control rampage.

Just to set the record straight for any Trump supporters out there – if Trump does emerge as the nominee, then I’ll vote for him. But Trump is flat wrong on eminent domain.

The Libertarian Moment is stated to be over. I’ll state that it never began. I respect my Libertarian-minded fellow conservatives. I fully understand where they are coming from. I agree with them on a lot of issues. But the United States will never be Libertarian – and any desire for it, if pressed too hard, will just backfire. Better to just get with the right balance – the maximum freedom possible consistent with orderly government.

The Carson campaign finds some uses for Hillary’s Hard Choices.

Out and About on a Sunday

Because you knew they’d say it – Joaquin is caused by Global Warming Climate Change Climate Disruption:

…Hurricanes love warm water and the sea surface temperatures in Joaquin’s path are the warmest ever on record.

Thank humans for that…

This winter there will be a blizzard…or, there won’t. It doesn’t matter. It’ll be Global Warming…

So, a new national poll shows Carson leading Trump. I’ve wondered if Trump would flame out. Well, strictly speaking, I expected him to flame out, weeks ago. He didn’t – but that just advised me of the depth of anger at the Ruling Class. But, maybe he’s on the way down, now? Time will tell. I hope we keep getting these flavors of the month until people realize that Bobby Jindal is like 10,000% better than everyone else in the race.

But I doubt that’ll happen. As an aside, Obama’s approval rating in the aggregate at RCP is 45.5%. Generally, the President’s party scores right around the President’s approval rating on election day. There is nothing which will happen over the next 13 months which will improve Obama’s rating – and plenty of things can happen which will drag it down. Really, we can win this thing next year – imagine how hard it will be for Hillary to out-poll Obama…

Obama says that Syria is not some sort of super power chessboard. It is precisely that. Really, that is all we need to know about Obama – he hasn’t a clue.

Jake Tapper – who is a pretty smart guy – just doesn’t get it about Islam. In fact, of course, no one in the Ruling Class really does. The reason they don’t is because they, themselves, don’t really believe in anything in the sense of being willing to sacrifice life or, at least, comfort for it. Those who believe in something – even if you consider it a wrong thing – will always win out over those who don’t believe in anything. We can be friends with the Muslim world – but only if we are very firm in our own beliefs and show ourselves full willing to sacrifice in their defense.

The thing about immigration in Europe is that the Europeans have no real reason to keep them out – it is not like they are of a mind to defend a Christianity they don’t adhere to, or a liberty which is already vanishing anyways. Even if you want to think that they’d like to keep, say, Germany German for the sake of Germany’s children, you’re up against the fact that Germans have 1.4 children per woman – far below replacement level. There aren’t a lot of German children for Germans to be concerned about. Unless the people of Europe radically change their world view, they are doomed.

“Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities…” The Ball and the Cross, chapter 7

Campaign 2016: the Extremely Silly Season

I hang around on Twitter quite a lot these days, and one thing I’ve noticed in the intense battle among the right about Trump. People are really getting nasty to each other over this subject – and it is people on both sides of the divide (though the Trump people are probably 52% of the nastiness). Here we are, well-poised to actually win the 2016 campaign, and we’re tearing each other apart.

Trump is running for Obama’s position – which isn’t actually President of the United States, but of “American Strong Man”…the guy with the pen and the phone. Sick of Obama just doing whatever he wants? Then vote for Trump – he’ll do whatever he wants, as well, but you might like some of his actions. You won’t like others, of course – but some on the left don’t like some of Obama’s…but he does get some crucial leftwing things done and without any fussing about law and the Constitution. For the Trump people, what Obama illegally did on immigration can be undone by the stroke of a pen by President Trump, and that is good enough. For a lot of extremely frustrated people on the right, this is the only way to go. Think of it like this: suppose we elect President Cruz and he submits a bill to a Republican-controlled Congress to build a 50 foot high wall on the border. Ok – and then the Democrats will filibuster and McConnell will sadly inform us there’s nothing we can do…and, at any rate, the border wall polls badly with moderates and we have a mid-term coming up in 2018, so we’d better just let the matter be…and tack on an amnesty provision to a must-pass highway spending bill. That is the sort of nonsense the Trump people see coming down the line after they work their tails off to elect a regular Republican as President. Better to go with Trump, in their thinking: he’ll just send the Army to the border and seal it off. Legal? Doesn’t matter if it’s legal – legality is whatever the President can get away with, which is just about anything because it is almost impossible to get 67 Senators to vote to convict in an impeachment trial.

For myself, I prefer our Republic – but it is rather moribund right now. It has been frozen by a century of the government simply doing what it wants. Laws are passed which have no warrant in the Constitution. Some people get prosecuted and others don’t for the same crimes depending upon political calculation. Congress abdicates it’s authority. The Courts rule based upon the judge’s desire. Both major parties are primarily devoted to the interests of their donor class. This all needs to be fixed.

For me, Trump is not the man to fix things – to be sure, this is a biased source, but Bobby Jindal laid out some of the reasons why those backing Trump may wish to reconsider:

He does not believe in limited government and he has told us that over and over. From his belief in socialized medicine to his desire for tax increases, he’s told us over and over that he’s got no problem with big top-down style government. He’s only got one real problem with Washington – that he’s not running it.

Donald Trump is for Donald Trump. He believes in nothing other than himself. He’s not a liberal, he’s not a moderate, and he’s not a conservative. He’s not a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. He’s not for anything or against anything. Issues and policies and ideals are not important to him. He’s for Donald…

…if you are a conservative, it wouldn’t matter if he won. He believes in nothing, we have no idea what he would do.

Do read the whole thing. I am getting a little worried about this – both in the way the Trump supporters are so massively over-protective of their man Trump, and the way some on the right are having shrieking hissy-fits over the very concept of Trump running. Jindal goes to the heart of the matter – Trump is right about a lot of things, but he isn’t the man to bring us to a conservative America. Trump has done a great service to our nation and to our party by breaking the logjam of political correctness which has increasingly hemmed us in and forced to debate only on Progressive terms. But he won’t do what we want him to do, except perhaps by accident.

Bobby Jindal actually reduced the size of Louisiana’s government. Scott Walker gutted the basis of Progressive power by curbing the public sector unions and ending tenure in Wisconsin’s public universities. Ted Cruz has been fighting the battle for our Constitution. So has Rand Paul. Ben Carson has been articulating a fine vision for America – and he’s done very hard work to make life actually better for people in his career. In short, we have among our candidates people who will do what we want – or at least attempt to do what we want. Trump is an X Factor – we don’t know what whim will suddenly seize him once he’s in the White House…we don’t know which of his Progressive friends will convince him that some absurd, Progressive idea is great and get Trump behind it.

I’ll grant this much – if Trump wins the Republican nomination, he’ll get my vote. No matter how he does, he simply won’t do worse than Hillary – or Sanders, or Biden or whatever worn-out, has-been, Progressive political hack the Democrats dredge up for 2016. But Trump is not our best hope – we have a vast number of superbly qualified people running in our primary, and we should choose among them. Jindal has a bit more to say:

The Democrats have practically gift wrapped this election for us. It’s as if they know they’ve run the country into the ground, and they are running their worst possible candidate who is running the worst possible campaign…

That is true – and we should heed a few words of wisdom. Time to get serious about things.

Debate Open Thread

Carly Fiorina did very well in the early debate. She is a formidable candidate. Can you imagine a Trump/Fiorina ticket? Speaking of Trump, if he can dial down his ego, add more details to his ideas, and act presidential – he just might run away with this. This will be a fun night, well at least for us political junkies.