I am lucky to be able to vote in the US as well as NZ, and very much relish the opportunity in both countries. In the US I am registered as a voter in Florida, which is a closed primary state. “Closed” primary states are those in which a voter has to declare a party preference prior to the primaries in order to vote in them. For years before and after I established a residence in Florida I listed my political affiliation as “Independent,” something that allowed me to choose a primary to vote in the “open” primary states where voting preferences did not have to be declared prior to primary season (they only have to be declared and ticked off on the day at the balloting station). In 2008 I decided to switch my declared affiliation to Democrat so that I could vote in the Florida Democratic Party primary given that not only were Obama and Hillary running for president, but there were races for the US House, Senate and local seats that needed to see Republicans defeated.
This year I am going to switch affiliation to Republican. Why? Because that way I can vote for Donald Trump in the Republican primary in the hope that he makes it to the GOP National Convention next July. It has been a very long time since either major party has had a brokered convention where several candidates are in the running for the presidential nomination, and should The Donald survive until then the craziness will be well and truly on. Since he is totally unqualified to be dog catcher much less president and unelectable in the general election, it is my sincere hope that he hangs in all the way to the convention and either becomes the GOP candidate, determines who is, or runs a third party candidacy after losing out in the convention to one of the others. The only thing better would be for Kanye to join that gaggle of fools and trolls but, alas, he is going to wait until 2020 to run.
Already The Donald has become to the GOP what Miley Cyrus is to pop muzak: a wrecking ball. The Republican National Committee must be choking on their Cohibas (illegal until the recent diplomatic reopening with Cuba) and dying a slow death every time he speaks or when they read the polls. Because let us be clear: Trump appeals to the stupidest, xenophobic, economically illiterate, racist, bigoted, misogynist, white cultural supremacist elements in US society. He follows in a long line of populist demagogues that extends back through Ross Perot to Pat Buchanan, George Wallace and Huey Long. Â He may purport to speak unvarnished truth but in fact what he says is most often non-sensical rubbish that fails to address reality much less the intricacies of democratic governance with a division of powers: he is going to “do the deal” with whomever; most Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers; he will “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it” (along 1,900 miles of topographically challenging terrain that includes numerous sensitive ecological zones and wildlife corridors); he will deport “illegals ” and their “anchor babies,” Â (all 14 million of them); he will simultaneously confront China, Iran and Russia; he will make the US military “great” again so that no one will “mess” with it (forgetting that the US spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined–US$610 billion or 20 percent of US federal spending and 3.7 percent of GDP–and still has people “messing” with it); he will provide better women’s health care in spite of gutting Planned Parenthood and removing health care for “alien” women because he “cherishes” women in general (ignoring the fact that two of his wives were not citizens when he married them). Everyone in politics but him are incompetent or idiots. His speeches are endless repeats of these and other inane mantras interspersed with self-congratulatory self-praise and personal insults directed at his rivals, all other politicians and anyone who disagrees with him.
The truth is that he has no plan, has no policy agenda, has no friggin’ clue what it is like to deal with the complex issues that confront the US. And that is why the rednecks and dimwits like him. He makes the hard seem easy.
What is great about this is that he is forcing the other GOP candidates to respond to him, and they have stepped up to the plate in predictable style. Among other gems, Ben Carson (the neurosurgeon) says homosexuality is a choice because men go to prison straight and come out gay; Scott Walker just suggested that building a 3,987 mile wall on the Canadian border is worth looking into; Jeb Bush wants to abolish Planned Parenthood and believes that the invasion of Iraq “turned out well;” Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio want walls and deportations even though they are children of recent immigrants who were legally documented after, not before their arrivals. They all claim that the US military and its veterans have been crippled by Obama even though it was Bush 43 who ordered them into two simultaneous wars while cutting back veterans benefits as well as the budget for post-combat trauma rehabilitation. They all claim that ISIS is an Obama invention even though it was Dubya’s purge of Saddam’s army that provided the leadership material for what became ISIS’s fighting forces. They all oppose gun control and climate change science and all support hacking, fracking, drilling and spilling regardless of environmental consequence. They all oppose abortion and gay marriage even if some of their past records indicate otherwise. The list of idiocy goes on but should not surprising given that Rick Perry, Rich Santorum, Mike Huckabee and several snivelling weasels remain in contention.
As things stand now, the GOP primary is a circus. There may not be any juggling or animal acts, but there sure are a lot of clowns, and The Donald is the ringmaster. Even if the number of viable candidates drops to 2 or 3 by the time of the GOP convention, it will be Trump who sets the Right’s narrative for the general election. Yippee!
It looks like the US media has decided to sit back and watch the circus unfold. Fox News tried to undermine him in the first debate that it aired, but his nasty personal attacks on the female panelist only strengthened his support among the troglodyte crowd and has forced Fox to backtrack and give him coverage as the Party favourite. All other outlets are content to watch the train wreck proceed while offering the mediocre tedium that passes for informed analysis by the usual spectrum of pundits. As a result, the GOP favourite, Jeb Bush (or “Mr. Low Energy,” as The Donald calls him) has seen his coverage slip to the sidelines along with the other yokels. Likewise, for all of the Fox News chest beating, Hillary Clinton is getting a general pass by the press because her sins are run of the mill when it comes to DC politics and her campaign is about practicable policy, not theatrics.
The key to the outcome will be seen in January when the first GOP primaries are held. If The Donald does well in them he will be hard to stop. So the RNC has to find a way to do him in either before then or to go all out nuclear on him should he prevail in Iowa or New Hampshire. That is when the questions about his draft dodging, drug use, association with organised crime, commercial racism, trust fund baby status, adultery, academic record embellishment and a host of other peccadilloes and not-so-small sins will find their way into the mainstream media. But even then he may be too big a juggernaut to derail in time for the GOP to coalesce around another candidate who may stand a chance in the general election.
I cannot begin to express how delighted I am to watch this unfold. The Donald may well force the GOP to split into two, with the Tea Baggers on one side and the corporate sponsors on the other.
Either way, he is single-handedly killing the US Right as a unified political force.
For that I have one thing to say: Go The Donald!
catch the Rachel mad doe clip on the tonight show -the art of the deal.
“he has no plan, has no policy agenda, has no frigginâ€™ clue” â€” reading that immediately made me think of John Key.
or is that comparing apples with grenades?
An interesting confession Pablo. Do you have any issue with others joining the NZ or UK Labour parties in order to effect the same change? I know UK Labour is trying to validate their members list to prevent this sort of thing leading to the election of Corbyn.
Although I have my ideological preferences, I believe in tactical voting where and when possible. If the anti-Corbyn forces have the opportunity to do so given UK Labour’s constitution and electoral procedures, then they should be free to do so.
One good aspect of tactical voting is that it tends to elicit a reaction from the parties affected by it, so it is not always a case of stacking the deck. But in the case of the The Donald it could well be because the GOP is in disarray. Hence my decision.
You’re not the only one excited about the Don winning the nomination or even the presidency. US politics has long since disolved into farce and he would be the perfect president, specillay if he could get Palin as Veep.
But seriously your right, he is forcing the republican party to be open about all its ugliness in order to keep up with him and in that way he is actualy the death knell of the party as when he is done it will be impossible for the voters to forget or the party ot go backwards.
Trump is the Republican nightmare and its no wonder they are trying desperately, and currently failing, to get rid of him at any cost. I think the only option they have not tried is sex scandle or “targeted removal”.
A Trump/Palin ticket would go down as one of the most epic tickets of all time. Along with Anne Coulter, Palin has endorsed The Donald. I just read that late last year she said that she was an expert on immigration because during her time as Alaska governor she had to deal with “Eskimos and other foreigners.”
That statement is simply too good to be true but it apparently was uttered on a Fox News prime time show. So I say please, please, please Mr. Trump, pick Sarah as your running mate.
I am starting to think that maybe the Clintons did put The Donald up to it. If so, they are geniuses.
“I am starting to think that maybe the Clintons did put The Donald up to it. If so, they are geniuses.”
Not if Trump beats Hillary in November next year. And who knows maybe it could happen. American politics does seem that crazy. It would especially ironic Pablo as you would have voted him in as the Republican candidate with your mischief vote (I can’t bring myself to call it tactical voting lol).
Sorry Art, but Trump has no chance. There are way too many sane voters who see him for the buffoon that he is. That is why my tactical vote matters.
Watching the Republicans self-destruct is indeed awesome. The last thing the world needs in 2016 is a Republican president.
However, a small part of me says “be careful what you wish for”. Yes Trump seems unelectable, but most people also thought his crazy train would have gone off the rails a long time ago. And they said the same about Corbyn. History is full of surprises. A Donald Trump presidency is not one I want to see…
Alas, I fear that The Donald may be peaking and he will be eclipsed by the time primary season rolls around. That scuttles my plan to vote for him in the hope that he makes it to a brokered GOP convention. So what I may do instead is stay registered as a Democrat and vote for Sanders in the primary. I do so in the hope that Bernie garners enough votes and delegates to extract some left-leaning concessions from HRC when it comes to matters of domestic policy.
Yep I’ve seen a few polls now that show him trending down. I suppose it was inevitable ;) Still a few weeks of entertainment left no doubt.
BTW as an aside, I caught up with an old UoA friend recently in London. One of the things we talked about was how your classes in Pol 106 really inspired our enthusiasm for IR (this was back in 2005). At the time I was trying to decide whether to major in Pol Sci or not. You converted both of us! I still remember your quote “War is a business of death”. Thought you would like to know. People don’t give enough positive feedback these days.
As another aside, I went to see Stephen Walt talk at LSE today and missed out. Theatre was totally packed! But he did walk behind me.
Ok enough name dropping and sickly saccharin comments … !
Let’s hope that the GOP race descends into farce as the weeks go on.
It is always good to know that I made a positive difference in someone’s life. Not that it mattered to the University of Auckland management a few years later.
Too bad about missing Walt. If you are at the LSE in the future you should look up my friend and former colleague from Singapore, Leigh Jenko. She teaches Chinese political theory and has visited my wife and I in NZ. She and her husband (who is an expert on Chinese law at UL) are brilliant and worth meeting.
Trump will also attract a sizeable number of blue collar Dem. voters. He’ll do so because many US voters – of all persuasions have been cowed into silent submission about immigration. A fascinating time.