Beyond the twin rolling disasters that are the Democrat and GOP primaries, one must wonder what it says about our country that the two current leaders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have unfavorable ratings of 54% and 63% respectively (in the RCP averages) and the candidate with the least unfavorable ratings is the “democratic socialist”, Bernie Sanders at 42.3%. Ted Cruz, the only conservative in the race, sits at 52%, slightly less than Hillary…and then we have the Forrest Gump of GOP politics, John Kasich, the candidate who doesn’t really know why he is running but like Forrest, he just can’t stop.
Neither Trump nor Sanders have displayed any grasp of policy, a forgivable sin for neither. Neither candidate’s espoused economic policies have been judged to survive the reality test. Neither’s social policies are sustainable. Sanders has spent a lifetime in government making “policy” (one wonders how after his recent Daily News interview) and Trump has been running for president since 1999 – when one spends 17 years of thinking about running for the highest office in the land, one would assume that the thinker would at least have learned some policy via osmosis.
Both Trump and Sanders are riding a wave of populism, Bernie for the simple reason that he confirms the bias of every progressive that “the Man” is holding them down, is responsible for all their ills and the answer is to take all his money and give everybody free stuff – something that has failed every time it has been tried, most recently in Venezuela – but the undying belief in shedding responsibility is alive and well in the Sandernista camp. Trump rides a wave of populism because he “says what he thinks” (which would seem to be detriment for a candidate who clearly thinks only in superficial 140 character terms) and he is “strong”. Again, this “strength” is something that seems counterintuitive in a candidate who issues forth tweets worthy of a junior high cheerleader, threatens to sue everybody at the slightest provocation (he once sued a reporter for saying he wasn’t as rich as he claimed) and whines like a spoiled child when he loses.
Trump and Bernie are the easiest to explain for me. Hillary and Kasich are the most difficult. Hillary is a total disaster, leaving scandal after scandal in her wake and the matriarch of a State Department that abetted the murder of four people in Benghazi because the Democratic Party didn’t want to lose the Presidency in 2012. She and her boss have shepherded a US foreign policy that has seen a win in Iraq and Afghanistan turn to an embarrassing loss (just as the Democrats did in Vietnam) and fostered the rise of the successor threat to al Qaeda, ISIS. She has had a Senatorial career devoid of any accomplishment any of her supporters are willing to name…but she is a woman and the identity politics of the progressive movement believe it is time for a woman president, just as they believed a black president would absolve them of all the latent racism that is always present in identity politics.
Kasich is the hardest to explain. His campaign slogan should be the old Alfred E. Neumann/Mad Magazine theme, “What? Me worry?” With a few minor differences, Kasich’s positions are the same as Hillary Clinton’s – he is the GOP transpoliticalsexual candidate. He is a big government “compassionate conservative” which means he is a special needs progressive, riding the short bus to the White House. He is only still in the race because he truly believes that if he keeps favor with the political bosses in Washington and presents little threat, the deals cut in the smoke filled rooms will go his way at the convention and he will secure the nomination. Like I said, the Forrest Gump of politics. Run, Johnnie, run.
For me, Ted Cruz is the only candidate who represents a chance to recover from this mess. Libeled and slandered by Trump, unfortunately the “Lyin’ Ted” moniker seems to have gained some traction while none of his detractors can point to a true lie. The is the only candidate who can answer any question with substance and is the only candidate with a documented record of fighting against the “establishment.” He has mostly stood alone – sometimes with Mike Lee and Justin Amash – against the continuing tide of progressivism that issues forth from the DC establishment. He is the only candidate who has actually argued cases of constitutional import in front of the US Supreme Court. He is “unliked” because he has consistently stood on conservative principles, willing to compromise on the “how’s” but never the “why’s.” He is different in every way to all the other candidates, Democrat and Republican – and by “different”, I mean superior.
This is why I remain a supporter of Ted Cruz for president.