The end of party politics as we know it?

This 2016 election cycle has been interesting, confusing, and a little scary. What’s been most interesting to me is how the behemoths that are the Republican and Democratic parties are coming under fire.

The GOP is imploding. I have had more than a few friends tell me that if Trump is the nominee, that’s the end of their party. That’s just it. It seems that the GOP leadership has recognized that as well. For a while the focus was on Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist views regarding Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court replacement. Now the GOP is trotting out Mitt Romney (seriously?) to try to talk some sense into people. Newt Gingrich has weighed in. Discussions are being had by Republicans everywhere to find ways to ensure Trump is NOT the nominee, including rules that would enable them to take the nomination from Trump at the convention even if he’s won the required delegates.

Despite all this chatter by the party leadership, Republicans across the country are still voting for Trump in primaries and caucuses. The GOP should have known this was coming. They prepped their constituents for this with years of campaigning on fear and hatred. The real problem is that they ignored the majority of their base. People get pissed off after years of swallowing promises and ending up in no better a position than they were four or eight years ago. The results just never materialized. It says something that a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic megalomaniac has been able to capture the vote and race to the nomination.

Not surprisingly, this is also where the Democratic leadership is failing so miserably. The fact that Bernie Sanders is still in this race (regardless of what the media is claiming) demonstrates just how out of touch they are with the majority of the voters. People are desperate for change. They want to see the progress that’s been promised for years. They’re tired of losing out to corporations. They want someone who understands and represents them.

The Democratic Party isn’t imploding in the spectacular fashion that the GOP is. It’s more like the Titanic. Sanders’ popularity is them seeing the iceberg. The crash is inevitable, but they’re still pretending like something can be done, that they won’t go down. They can’t avoid that at this point, but if they act intelligently, they may be able to avoid catastrophic loss of life.

It says something that the vice-chairwoman of the DNC resigned her post to endorse Sanders. It’s been talked about for a while now how the party has been trying to derail Sanders’ campaign. It seems to me that they’re doing this out of fear. From their perspective Sanders is a wildcard. As an independent senator for the majority of his career, they don’t have an extensive amount of control over him. He’s not beholden to the same people the party is. This puts the party at risk. They’re doing what they can to save their own assess. They’ve forgotten what their jobs really are, who they’re supposed to represent. This failure will be what brings them down.

So what will happen next for the parties? Even if Trump somehow isn’t the nominee, how does the GOP recover? If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, how does she make sure that she brings in Sanders’ flock? How do the Dems move forward with candidate selection to make sure that they’re not in position of feeling like they’ve got to protect themselves from the people they’ve been elected to represent?

People are pissed off. We clearly want change. We want people who represent US, not congresspeople or presidents who have their own best interests at heart. If that’s what they’re about, they can find a company to run. We want results. We want sensible policies on healthcare, immigration, education, infrastructure. We want them to do their fucking jobs, even if it means compromising on things. We are rarely so far apart that some middle ground cannot be found.

Regardless of the outcome of the general election, it’s clear that changes need to be made by both parties. If not, the consequences will be dire for the people who have made careers out of ignoring the very people who elected them.

Super Tuesday… was it so super?

I have been watching elections with fascination since 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected. I majored in political science because I find it so interesting. But I have to tell you, I have no idea what Super Tuesday ended up meaning.

As far as the Dems are concerned, it seems like the Clinton people are treating this as a major victory. The reality is that the battle isn’t over yet. Clinton doing well in the South isn’t particularly a surprise. She’s Christian, more conservative than Sanders, and she’s from the South(ish). There are places for Sanders to make up some of the delegates. At this point in 2008, Clinton seemed to have the momentum, but we all know how that turned out. Obviously the question of the Superdelegates looms. I would be surprised if they went against the will of the people in the event that Sanders manages to overtake her in delegates.

On the Republican side… well, I just don’t know. Trump won a lot of states, but none with more than 49% and that 49% was in Massachusetts. Cruz winning Texas was no surprise. That’s his “home” state. Rubio won Minnesota, which also makes sense. Rubio isn’t as far right as either Cruz or Trump and Minnesota isn’t a super conservative state.

As a friend has pointed out, Trump has a lot of opposition. He’s average 60% opposition. So, while he’s winning, he’s not really winning. There is plenty of room for Cruz or Rubio to overtake him. But where? According to The Atlantic, Cruz expected to do a bit better in the Southern states. Cruz is calling for others to leave the race, but I’m not entirely sure why. He hasn’t proven to be a much better candidate than the rest of them.

Between now and March 15 there are 15 more primaries or caucuses. Florida and Ohio, both swing states, have their primaries on March 15. That may provide some additional insight. Many expected to have a clearer picture after yesterday, but so far, we’re staring at one big mess.

I’ve seen some friends who aren’t sure who to vote for in the primary/caucus. My advice is to pick who they want to be president, ignoring what the media has to say about who the likely nominees will be. If nothing else, the nominees will have a lot to think about as they go forward into the general election.