Monday, February 06, 2023

Wishful Thinking?

      It'd be reassuring to think of it as wishful thinking.  That would mean things were more or less normal in politics and both parties would run normal Presidential primaries, jostling, debating, looking sidelong at one another and settling on a couple of contenders that between them only made about a quarter of the likely voters feel bilious.

       Out in the real world, things are so far off the rails that the locomotives have been fitted with tractor tires.  Former President Donald Trump is the only declared Republican candidate and when asked if he would support his party's nominee even if it wasn't him (and there's some wishful thinking for you!), he said, "It would have to depend on who the nominee was."

      That's earth-shattering for the GOP, or at least it was before Mr. Trump's Presidency.  One thing you could count on from Republican politicians was party loyalty.  Ronald Reagan popularized the party's 11th Commandment in the 1960s: "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican," and they obeyed it to a remarkable degree.

       Those days are over.  They've been over since the 2016 primary.  As 2024 looms and opinions vary sharply on the political Right, there's a chance Mr. Trump would do more than fail to support his party's candidate if it isn't him -- he might try a solo run for the White House.

      It has never been a winning ploy.  Theodore Roosevelt helped put Woodrow Wilson in the White House by running as a Bull Moose (he wasn't alone; if you didn't like Mr. Taft or Mr. Wilson in 1912, you were spoiled for choice, not just Mr. Roosevelt for the Progressive Party but Prohibition, Socialist and Socialist Labor candidates (yes, the parties of worker unity were splintering even then.  Go figure).  H. Ross Perot diluted the 1992 and 1996 elections.  Third-party candidates not only don't win, they are credited with helping push down the losing candidate.  There's no reason to expect a different outcome if it happens again.

      I'd like to see parties of ideas -- ideas other than middle-school popularity and mudslinging contests  Ideas other than crazed conspiracy theories and denial of plain facts.  People in Hell want ice water, too.


Anonymous said...

You should be running - for something!

Roberta X said...

Run for something, run from something -- it's a fine line. I'd rather watch the show. They may have messed it up too badly to fix. I hope not.

Joe in PNG said...

Former President Trump has made the classic Strong Man mistake of confounding "what is best for America" with "what is best for Trump", with a generous helping of egotistical "Me or NOBODY!!".

There's a fun bit of antilogic going on as well. His fawning myrmidons insist that all his failures are due to the Ebil Deep State who conspired to shut him down as president... and he's the only guy who can effectively fight the Ebil Deep State.

Mike V said...

Politics have become so corrosive and personal that anyone who would be a good office holder generally won't touch running with a 10 foot pole. Just the idea of people contacting anyone you might have ever known and crawling through your social media for mud to fling is enough to make me cringe. Not to mention the ego it requires to think you'd be the best person to run the country. I'm not smart nor have ego enough to think I'd be the best person for even a local office.

People that want to be President scare me.

Goober said...

I've always said that anyone seeking a job as either or politician or a cop, are likely to be exactly the last people you'd actually want in either job.

There's a perverse incentive to both jobs, because both jobs give you power over people. And that means that individuals who desire power over people are attracted to the job. Not for the love of public service, or making things better, or accomplishing things for the public good, but rather just for raw authority.

This is not a good thing.