Wednesday, February 10, 2016

GOP State of Play: Whaa? Oooohh...

The Republican Party has spent the last eight or so months pretending what was happening wasn't happening. Now it has happened.

Nobody knows what this guy actually believes. Weird, huh?

(updated below)

My friends have spent the last few months playing the "Trump can't be the GOP candidate, it's gonna be Marco Rubio." For myself, I've said, "No, it could be Trump or not, but it's not going to be Rubio." Recent events have proven me likely right. That raises the question, "Can it be Cruz?", to which most people say some equivalent of, "Heaven forbid!"

Since anyone with money and a big mouth can be elected president, it's not prudent to say -- as many people have been saying -- that the Republicans are descending into chaos and irrelevance, and that's okay. Sorry, it's not okay, mostly because any current candidate can be elected in any number of situations. A good example in my lifetime was 1968. That year started out with dreams of ending the Vietnam War and of a continuing expansion of civil rights. It ended with the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and some pretty nasty and destructive riots. Democrats flirted briefly with anti-war proponent Eugene McCarthy before settling on Hubert Humphrey, whom most of us in the anti-war movement had never really heard of. America ended up electing Richard Nixon, a political has-been of epic proportions, who drove the Vietnam War to unimaginable heights of destruction and death. Never say never.

Thus I really don't know what to say about where the 2016 election is or is going. This Media Matters compendium of opinions on the current mess is a good primer. Quoting Vox's Ezra Klein:
Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he's a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he's also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it's hard to know if he even realizes he's lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.
Trump is in serious contention to win the Republican presidential nomination. His triumph in a general election is unlikely but it is far from impossible. He's not a joke and he's not a clown. He's a man who could soon be making decisions of war and peace, who would decide which regulations are enforced and which are lifted, who would be responsible for nominating Supreme Court Justices and representing America in the community of nations. This is not political entertainment. This is politics.
Yep, you got it, Ezra. Meanwhile, I'm checking home prices in the Netherlands.

Update. Chris Cillizza offers the "establishment" view of the GOP state of play, and it rhymes with "crude."

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