I’m rather ambivalent about the presidential election and even more so about the primaries, especially the Democratic primary, the endless senseless debates, the social media pie fights and the press’ obsession with polling. My friend Atrios, who started me off on this blogging thing, pretty much sums up where I stand primarily:
I suppose it’s weird to be a political blogger and not have all that much to say about the Democratic primary. I just don’t have any deep analysis that people who read this blog can’t figure out by themselves. I don’t like discussions of “momentum” or how candidate X needs to be up 5 points (or whatever) in Colorado (or wherever) in order to “remain viable.” It all starts to sound like sports commentary (they really need to get some points on the board! he’s got a hot hand!).
I don’t really find any electability arguments to be particularly persuasive. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, and you might find them persuasive, but I don’t have much interest in engaging them. Clinton will likely win, Sanders will likely lose, and while anything is still possible, that’s always been the case, though that is not an argument to stop working for either candidate if you are doing that.
As for the Republicans, it took a neo-liberal Democratic president in conjunction with a blue dog cowardly neo-liberal Congress to revive the near dead GOP in 2009. Once again, while it may be still in control of a completely dysfunctional congress, the GOP is on life support. What Charlie Pierce said:
The Republican Party was born of panic. It was a child of the regular economic panics that afflicted the American economy. It was a child of the blind panic produced by the general perception that the country was reeling toward destruction. It was a child of the panic afflicting the Whigs, who had been for decades the other party in a two-party system, but which disintegrated almost overnight in the aftermath of the presidential election of 1852, left in smithereens by the acceleration with which the country was hurtling toward disunion. The Republican Party was born of panic, and the Whig Party died of panic. And, somewhere in what admittedly must be a very boring corner of Valhalla, the old Whigs must be chortling at the panic now afflicting the Republican Party, which has fallen for the most pretentious disorganizer of them all. What goes around comes around, even if it takes 156 years to do so. Somebody pour old Zach Taylor another flagon of mead.
On Tuesday night, Donald J. Trump is odds-on to win at least seven of the 11 contested Republican presidential primaries. If he does so, he is better than odds-on to be the Republican presidential nominee. The facts are as stark as the slopes of Lookout Mountain in the early morning light. It is a consummation devoutly to be wished, especially by those of us who see the Republicans as having been cruising for this particular bruising ever since it so greedily ate the monkeybrains in the 1980s. But, from the people who make their living at being Republicans, we are seeing the kind of existential panic that you only see once or twice in a century. It’s Watership Down, with Super PACs and Mitch McConnell. [..]
As it happens, there’s a more recent parallel than the Whigs to what’s happening to the Republicans now. It happened to the Democrats in 1948, when the party splintered at its convention over civil rights, and Strom Thurmond and his segregationist bloc walked out, the first stirrings of the process that would lead to a Republican Party so attached to a white nationalist ideology that its voters have found it impossible to resist the blandishments of the right demagogue at the right time.
The Democratic Party let Thurmond and his delegates walk, and, after a brief attempt at being a separate political party, most of them and their successors found a home in a Republican Party. For a very long time, the Republican Party profited from this development as it slowly slipped into the entity we see today—a creaking machinery falling apart in the present because it never fully came to grips with its past. The odds are that, on Wednesday, there aren’t going to be nearly enough roosts for all of the chickens that Donald Trump has called home.
At the moment, I have no stake in this game. In the last two general elections I voted for neither the Democratic or Republican candidates. so far, I’m still not ready to play nice.