I don’t know what it is about Republican voters this year but it’s deeply troubling. That goes double for Americans generally as Bernie Sanders’s campaign continues to roll on despite little chance of replacing Hillary Clinton as this year’s Democratic nominee.
What this heralds, if no act of God intervenes, is a presidential election going into November with two bad choices: Hillary or Bernie on the Democratic side vs. Donald Trump, the loudest mouth in the race and certainly the biggest boor, on the Republican.
What does this say about us, the voters, when these are the people who win our allegiance in either of our two major parties?
Sanders is a single-minded socialist with a beef against business per se and a vision of this country as rigged against the “little guy,” a charge he levels against a country that has led the world in opportunity and wealth creation.
Yet today a significant number of American voters clearly think as he does, preferring a system that leads to economic stultification a la Europe’s and a stifling of individual liberty. As the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz put it:
In an era when the young emerge from years of schooling that portrays the U.S. as the world’s leading threat to peace and justice in the world – as a militarist aggressor awash in racism, in a system run by and for Wall Street – the Sanders campaign was a magnet. Long instructed in the progressive faith that is now established religion on the nation’s campuses, they found in Mr. Sanders’s politics, and his view of American society, a confirmation of all they have been taught.
But it doesn’t stop there, for an equal if not greater proportion of voters these days are drawn to the gesticulating, camera-mugging Donald Trump, real estate magnate and reality TV impresario extraordinaire, whose outraged and outrageous rhetoric on the stump has tickled their ids and raised anger politics to a whole new level.
Blithely unaware of Trump’s manipulative methods, as he channels great orators like the late Benito Mussolini and insults his way to the nomination, Republican voters who support him seem to found their hero and leader in a man whose prior claim to fame lay in having parlayed his self-stoked personal celebrity into a billion dollar business.
Trump’s the guy who has told us, repeatedly, how great he is and how everyone else isn’t and that, unlike the others, he doesn’t need advisers because, of course, he consults with himself. A man, we can see, of substance and wisdom.
Against Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and against a presumptive Trump candidacy in the general, we have Hillary Clinton, a woman who is shrill, tired, and deceptive beneath an array of Damocletian swords dangling precariously above her head, swords stemming from Benghazi to ‘e-mailgate’ to the activities of the Clinton Foundation, not to mention the huge speaking fees racked up by the then-secretary of state and her former president husband, fees that dwarf what ordinary folks in the political or business world typically command, fees that suggest . . . what? That perhaps her paying hosts figured such costs were a good investment?
And Clinton not only promises to be a third term for the outgoing incumbent, doubling down on President Obama’s most controversial decisions to date, she bids fair to come down even further to his left, trumping the Vermont socialist himself.
This presidential election season is shaping up to be a humdinger with no one on the ticket for whom a rational conservative can cast a vote, and, if nothing changes between now and November, a president in the White House who’s as likely to sell the sheets in the Lincoln Bedroom as rename it as just one more bauble in a gaudy treasure trove of his personalized properties. Perhaps the Trump Taj South?
Maybe a nice casino on the White House Lawn would kick up property values in the neighborhood.
In this incredible election season the American electorate at last seems to have lost its collective mind.