If my party affiliation relied solely on national candidates, I would be an Independent. I stay a Republican to support state and local candidates. The national level of both parties represent themselves rather than us.
I haven’t made many comments about the presidential elections to date, mainly because I got tired of the numerous phone calls and political ads we suffered through. Since attending the Republican County Convention last Saturday, my mind is back on the election.
The original GOP field has been narrowed down substantially. The battle is between Trump and Cruz, with Kasich hanging in there as a last straw for the establishment GOP. The establishment appears to be pulling out the stops to take down Trump, who was the leader. I assume they will then go after Cruz.
It doesn’t surprise me that Cruz has made a huge surge. As a caucus worker locally, I noticed that there was not a “Trump or Cruz” or “Trump or Rubio” dilemma. It was nearly always a choice for Trump or a wavering between Rubio and Cruz. When Rubio suspended his campaign, nearly all of his supporters migrated to Cruz nationwide as borne out by my observation at the local caucus.
I think the GOP National Committee unintentionally took down Rubio. After their anointed choice, Jeb Bush, sputtered out the party then looked to Rubio. They seem to have missed the message that Bush didn’t catch on for a reason. That reason is that people are tired of business as usual. When the establishment GOP got behind Rubio, his overall support started to suffer. Just put the two facts together. I think Rubio got portrayed unfairly as an establishment candidate.
Rush Limbaugh believes that both Trump and Cruz scare the establishment. His explanation is that there is power in having a “seat at the table.” It doesn’t matter who is in office as long as you are an insider. If either Trump or Cruz is elected, establishment types no longer have that seat. He believes, probably justifiably, that establishment Republicans would rather lose the presidency than lose their power. Limbaugh’s opinion makes perfect sense in both parties. And then they wonder why Cruz and Trump are so popular.
Now that the Trump campaign seems to be leveling out and Cruz gaining, Trump is starting to show more of his true self. He has made a couple of missteps with poorly stated positions. He may not have clarity of thought on many positions. Now he is also claiming that Cruz cheated to obtain all of the Colorado delegates. While the Colorado GOP structured their delegate appointments in a way to benefit establishment candidates (if there were any) the rules were made last August. Cruz merely showed up and worked to get the delegates while Trump didn’t. Boo-hoo. That is a structural problem in the Trump campaign, not Cruz cheating.
Remember that Rubio and Carson have only suspended their campaigns. That means the delegates they won can be assigned to another candidate at their discretion. That is another wild card in the mix.
The GOP National Committee meets this month to set rules for the National Convention. It is rumored that they may change the rules to help insert their presidential choice if the convention ends up being either open or contested. If neither Cruz nor Trump get 1,237 delegates, the delegates can then cast their votes for anyone after the first ballot. If that happens, anyone could be the candidate. I think if someone besides Cruz or Trump is selected, the GOP will implode from within. I suspect a third party candidate would have a shot at success.
Enough of the GOP. On the Democrat side, we still have the anointed candidate, crook Clinton (did I really say that? It does have a nice ring) and the avowed Socialist, Bernie Sanders. What a slate of candidates. Obama has alluded that he won’t direct the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for violating security protocols with her emails, even though it is clear from those released so far that she broke the law. So she will most likely be the Democrat candidate.
All is not lost, however. Even if the Justice Department does not prosecute her, there are other ways she can be indicted. She can still be sued civilly. I just hope everyone waits until after the Democratic convention.
By the way, Happy Tax Day. You will need to work until April 24 to pay this year’s tax burden.
Tom Riggins’ column appears every other Friday. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.