Finally, the voting has started for the 2016 Presidential election. Finally, Americans can see some actual results as opposed to the never-ending analysis of polls (“Ted Cruz moved from 12% to 13% in South Carolina! What does this mean for Jeb Bush?” Wolf Blitzer was doing this for the past year.) And finally, Donald Trump has actually lost.
Yes, writing those words did feel wonderful. I’ve gone from feeling annoyed at Trump to revulsion at the carnival surrounding him and his nonsense. For months we’ve heard how everyone else is a fat/stupid/ugly/low energy/pedophile/cowardly loser except for him with his big beautiful wall keeping out those Mexican rapists and those evil Muslims. Finally, his big ugly bubble has been burst. Ignore all the facts, throw insults at everyone else, and brag about how awesome you are; this is political campaigning done by bratty 7 year olds or Venezuelan demagogues.
But Trump is certainly not done. He has a chink in his armor, but still stands at or near the top of the Republican field. Ted Cruz had a very good night in Iowa. Unfortunately, he’s not exactly a breath of fresh air compared to Trump. Cruz has been eager for much of the campaign to ride on Trump’s bandwagon, growling nuking the Middle East and how his Republican colleagues are sellouts for actually having doubts about suicidal political tactics. Fortunately, Marco Rubio came in a close third behind Trump last night. Out of these three men, I find Rubio to be the candidate who can actually win a general election and who has the best arguments about where to take the United States. I do think that some of the other candidates have a lot of positive elements, such as John Kasich and Rand Paul, but it’s hard to see much of a path to the nomination for them. Out of all the plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, I feel that Rubio is the best candidate.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have been having much more of an interesting race than expected. The more people are exposed to Hillary Clinton the less and less they like her. A grumpy old man from Vermont who never stopped living in 1968 has disrupted her long, grim march to the nomination. Sure, Hillary is qualified to be President and might be competent (or semi-competent.) But she is also unimaginative, dull, pandering, overtly scripted and weighed down with more baggage than any candidate in recent history. Also, she is highly secretive and ethically challenged, coming across as Richard Nixon in a pantsuit. She is ultimately a beatable candidate, as Barack Obama proved in 2008.
However, in 2016 Clinton’s opponent is Bernie Sanders. Sanders does genuinely believe in what he says, and is certainly authentic. Unfortunately, what he believes in is nonsense. As I said, 1968 never ended for him, and the revolution is always just around the corner. How will his revolution happen? The people will be so inspired by his promises of giveaways that they’ll magically flock to him and his comrades and put a nice red star over the White House and Capital Hill. And then, everyone will get free healthcare, college and everything else and live happily ever after. How will all of these trillions of dollars in goodies be paid for? “Wall Street! Corporations! Uhh, rich people bad!” It’s frightening that his drivel is doing so well. I had thought the Cold War had ended, and socialism was proven to be pretty awful. Never mind reality, though, Sanders magical land sounds nice. If this is the competition for the Democrats, vote for Hillary Clinton. Time to grow up.