This past Tuesday was rough for anyone not a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump supporter.
Dubbed “Super Tuesday II” because cable news journalists are uninspired, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida were all up for grabs. Republican candidate, Senator Marco Rubio was already riding out to the horizon before Tuesday but hoped his home state could offer an eleventh hour respite, if not a thin veneer of dignity to end his doomed bid on. Neither was to be as Donald Trump shellacked the sitting senator by around twenty points.
Rubio’s concession speech was just as sad, as a pro-Trump heckler insisted on disrupting the speech. I’m no fan of the guy, but heckling his concession speech is like booing a boxer who gets dropped within the first three seconds of the first round- give him a break, he’s already down.
Senator Ted Cruz’s argument that he is the only viable alternative to Trump is losing steam after he got shut out Tuesday. If he does not outright win upcoming Arizona he is done for and will be known as no more than a better-funded Rick Santorum, i.e. someone only capable of carrying the Evangelical or ultra-conservative vote (and he hasn’t even done that exceedingly well).
Homeboy Governor John Kasich won Ohio by eleven points in a strong show of defiance to the front runner’s style of campaigning. This may be Kasich’s sole win in the primaries but that doesn’t mean he’s not counting out the chances of a brokered convention, in fact he’s depending on it. The premise is infuriating, not only Trump but Cruz as well. Cruz, hated by most of his peers in the Senate, has no chance at winning the ballots if decided by his colleagues on the convention floor.
While I respect the argument that the votes of the people should represent their choice, this has never been a direct democracy. It is a representative democracy, and it always has been. Delegates, super delegates (for better or worse), electoral colleges, caucuses, convention floor ballots, these have been the tools of our representation for some time and were not devised for this election for the benefit of any particular candidate. With one hand many in the GOP pen op-ed thinkpieces about the disaster that will befall the nation if Trump is elected while pulling the lever for him with their other hand all the same.
This is a turning point for the nation. The Trump campaign is no longer a joke. It is a sweeping devaluation of human life that threatens the safety of millions. His open disdain for truth and journalism, his cheerleading of torture and base aggression threatens the very Constitution; and I mean no hyperbole in that. If the campaign is brokered, the Orange Fuhrer has already hinted at riots, using the same passive aggressive decrees and non-committal hints he always does to keep his tiny, tiny hands clean. A writer from the Daily Beast likened the vague threat to typical mafia strong arm tactics.
“It’s a nice democracy you got here,” the forgotten writer opined, “It’d be a shame if something happened to it.”
Of all people, it was Mitt Romney who recently asked what we are going to tell our grandchildren we did when Trump tried to rise to power, how will history look back at us when the very nature of what America is supposed to stand for was threatened? I’m not saying to support whatever Establishment goon the party puts up or even to support the Democratic alternative, but do not sell out whatever principles you do hold just for lack of choice. I do not, for one second, allow the argument that Trump supporters can look the other way to his bigotry and overall vileness just because they want “something new”. If that were true, then start something new, leave the party if he is what it becomes. If the status quo is not for you, if your argument is for a smaller government, fascism will not serve you well. Make your own party. Stand on your own principles, whatever they may be. I may not agree with the Tea Party at all, but at least the Freedom Caucus had the wherewithal to live or die by their convictions.
There are other arcane primary practices that should probably be phased out. Personally, I think caucuses in general are outdated. Candidates Sanders and Cruz, who were both shutout on the caucus-free Super Tuesday II, do much better in caucus states than their competitors but those states often have a low delegate count and are rarely winner-take-all.
Sanders supporters cried foul when Hillary won the Iowa caucus on the flip of a coin and the Nevada primary by the draw of a high card. While both practices are ridiculous, they were the rules that both candidates agreed to enter into before the competition began. To call the winner a cheater or to claim that the election was robbed, through no reason other than your own loss, is beyond petty and undermines the value of Sanders message.
My argument is the same for the Super Delegates, a failsafe measure to safeguard against a Democratic equivalent of Donald Trump. Despite Clinton handily leading the delegate count to win the nomination uncontested, the Sanders campaign was complaining that she has the super delegates in her back pocket. However, now that the delegate math shows it near impossible for Sanders to win the nomination outright, it is he who is now calling on the reviled super delegates to push him through in the West. What’s good for the goose unto the gander, and so on. And more power to him, the man is running a campaign for the Presidency of the United States for god’s sake. Cable news should be ashamed that none of them aired his Tuesday night speech, instead, MSNBC, CNN and FOX all opted instead to film the podium on the empty stage of a Trump rally.
But let’s be unapologetically real. Sanders needs 60% of the remaining delegates. This is not impossible but it is really, really unlikely considering that Clinton, former senator of New York who is endorsed by the state’s current and former influential mayors, will be cleaning up a few states of her own (including New York), let alone draining delegates in others states she comes in a close second. If it becomes 100% clear that Sanders no longer has a chance at the nomination, and I mean only if it becomes 100%, then he needs to step aside and stop attacking the Democratic candidate. His arguments will be used as the foundation of Trump’s counter campaign as he will seek to convert Sanders’s populist leaning supporters.
Sanders decided to run under the Democratic banner, despite being an Independent. He openly admits this was done for better airtime and more eyes on his campaign. Totally justifiable, but in benefitting from the clout that the Democratic banner offers, he is now tied and obligated to the party for better or worse. That means supporting the democratic nominee and helping that person reach the White House, as she would for him if the situation were reversed, just as she did in 2008 for Obama, and as all preceding failed Democratic candidates have in the past. Any dents made against Clinton after it is clear he no longer has a chance at the nomination is an act in service of the Orange Furher and will make him just as complicit as Joe Scarborough.
If Clinton achieves the requisite 1,237 delegates outright and Sanders continues to find her nomination incompatible with his values than he should leave the party he was never really a part of to begin with. Either way, there is a fork in the road for Sanders and his supporters. Are they in it for Sanders alone, or will they coalesce around the best choice remaining for the country if he is neutralized? You don’t get to have it both ways.