FREEWHEELING

In political science, 2016 will go down as the election in which the political parties – which used to exercise unchallenged control over the nomination – have seen their control of the process decline to near zero. With the withdrawal of Marco Rubio the GOP field is down to Kasich (who isn't going to win anything other than Ohio), Ted Cruz (who literally everyone hates), and a frontrunner about whom establishment Republicans are literally kept awake at night trying to think of ways to prevent him from winning.

On the Democratic side the party establishment is on the verge of getting exactly what it wants, of course. It is difficult to say whether that is because of the influence of the party or spurious to it; perhaps Bernie Sanders wouldn't have the juice to win the nomination regardless of whether the party supported him explicitly.

At least on the GOP side it is fair to say that the heavy hitters have had no influence on the outcome this year. The Koch Brothers' candidate didn't even make it to Iowa. Sheldon Adelson swung and missed, as did the other big money men who poured money into failing Bush and Rubio campaigns, among others. Republicans with the highest name recognition, people like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and John McCain, have done everything but beg party voters to reject Trump. The RNC has not lifted a finger to assist him but has given considerable support to other campaigns that have failed. The diminution of party influence, which began with the Democratic Party after the debacle of 1968, seems to have crossed the partisan aisle to reach its zenith.

32 thoughts on “FREEWHEELING”

  • I just watched the Trump press conference/victory speech/whatever in Florida, and really, I am just slack-jawed. Is he drunk? The incoherence doesn't even reach a Palinesque level. I haven't really listened to more than small bits before this, and I thought, this guy looks like he'll win, I should listen to him. Oh. My. God. This is what happens when the regular folks wrest control away from the party pros? I hated what the pros came up with in the past, but this is just awful – as if after working your way out of the nearly lethal quicksand pit, you step right into a tub of lava.

  • The lickspittles will whine for several more months. They have really lost their marbles and will insist on dumping more ink and collecting more money from their donor class slagging this classless boor Trump. Like Kevin D. Williamson's NRO article, they will go on further. They will berate the little poor people that picked Trump over all the candidates they proffered.

    Most of them know the election is already lost.

    But you don't keep your job in wingnut welfare all that long if you don't fall back in line and assert loyalty to the tribe.

    Trump will start on his home turf, and demand praise from the people on television. He will make Joe Scarborough and Chris Mathews and Hugh Hewitt and whatever Serious Person has a show on FOX or CNN compliment him in person on TV.

    He will also entirely ignore the losers in print. His base doesn't read them and neither does he. They will sputter out, then try to become relevant again by relying on total reader amnesia and move all the way to directly sucking up to Trump like their life depends on it. And the only people that will notice is us.

    The perpetually unprofitable National Review might well fold up shop like a useless Pajamas Media. It failed to deliver and probably won't again.

  • Also, what most haven't figured out is that Romney and McCain and the old GOP party didn't come out against Trump to stop him. The pivot to slagging the disobedient Base is part of a longer strategy.

    The GOP Party has lost control of their unruly and rebellious child ("I learned it from you Dad!"). The Old Man knows the reckless immature upstart is going to screw it up and has said "There's the door Big Man, I'm not stopping you, you're an idiot to listen to that con man Trump"

    and then, when Trump is crushed by the devil, Hillary Clinton, Old Man is going to be on all the talk shows. "I told you so" will intone all the Establishment GOP celebrities, and pundits, and talking heads. The Base will be back at the door, knapsack empty, dirty, cold, tired, wanting Daddy to fix it.

    This has become a teaching moment. The Base has forgotten who is in charge. The old party members are not trying to stop Trump. They are laying the groundwork to humiliate their own Base. The abusive father is going to teach that bitch a lesson. You don't like old-moneybags Dad and him playing favorites with Son #1%-er, but he's all you got bitch.

  • @Moops; while I think there some of what you described going on (after all, they are the abusive-daddy party), I think there's also the matter of the Frankenstein monster they created running amok and they're unable to stop it. Trump is just speaking aloud the dog-whistles the GOP has been blowing for the past 30 years.

    I remember Reagan–I wasn't old enough to vote for him (and wouldn't have anyway), but I was impacted by his bad policies. Then the GOP had a string of candidates that I didn't agree with politically, but I didn't think were ignorant, homicidal maniacs. I'm pretty sure The Wasilla Wendigo in 2008, was the first sign of them losing control; they felt sure men would vote for her because they could spackle enough plaster over her and dress her up like a porn librarian, women would vote for her because she had two X chromosomes, the religious whackados would vote for her because she had experience faking their language, and the rural disenfranchised would vote for her because "obvi" anyone who doesn't have a clue what's going on is the candidate for them.

  • What I'm certain of is that a Trump defeat will be played into call to return to the previous GOP business model. The white poor and glibertarians and evangelicals get social hierarchy re-established and rolling back egalitarian and humanitarian advances, and the GOP establishment can go back to giant tax cuts and further wage suppression. The GOP has never delivered aid and comfort or hope to the Base, and that's going to have to be good enough so long as the social and class order are held in place. Non-white below white, women below men, Christians as the dominant religion. As long as immigrants and blacks stay with a boot on their neck then the rest is up to them, no matter where the jobs disappear to or how little they have left. Trumpeteers think lots of these things could change under President Trump, but what they are going to get is President Clinton.

    They might even go so far as to make this policy explicit. NR is moving decidedly back to it's monarchy-craving former self. As the nut-job Scott Adams has even noticed, "Conservatism" is Jabberwocky and everyone gets it now.

  • At least Trump isn't dumb enough to believe the unskewing polling operatives who will look to fool him to think he might win the general. He has always seen bankruptcies coming WAY ahead and planning his profitable exit each time. His national stage will be a YUGE ego fest and he will settle his scores during the campaign, when the right wing media will have to kiss his ring. The nest will be well lined for his following decade as talk show guest, ghost-written books. He'll even write a book about all the crap that's broken in the GOP, and they will be unable not to make it a best seller. Future GOP candidates will actually *need* Trump's endorsement to capture his bug-fuck nuts Base support. That's what he REALLY wants. To be as important as real mega-Billionaire GOP backers, without actually having to give them the money. He builds up his brand, then uses his Brand to get what he wants. It will put him above Kock.

    The whole vanity campaign has been a way to create a new market for the Trump brand. He's seen the grift and wants in. What dark money SuperPAC wouldn't just hand Trump $100 Million for his endorsement in 2020 and lock down the wanna-be facists?

    Ben Carson was angling for the same, but had to change tactics to grift his campaign itself when he couldn't pull the numbers.

    I have no reason to think he wants to win the general, or believes he will.

  • I'm not so sure about Trump not wanting to be President. Sure, if he loses to HRC in the general he has everything moops describes.

    I do think, however, that he has caught the fever. He may not have started out with that insanity that warps the brains of presidential hopefuls. That shout that echoes in their head that IT HAS TO BE ME as President. He may not have started with that certainty akin to madness but I've a feeling he has it now.

  • @Sluggo; I admit it, I was absolutely thrilled with the GOP when they selected a woman for VP–I only *just* remember Geraldine Ferraro, and I couldn't believe the GOP was the first to put a woman forward. Then I saw her speak. It was instantly obvious that the GOP thought slapping lipstick on a rabid sow was the way to go. They had Olympia Snowe, they had Condi Rice…they had to pick Grifterella?!?!

  • There's no way Trump doesn't win, even if he's not elected. As moops pointed out, he's elevated his brand. He plays to the corn-fed and the in-bred and the homicidal bigots. Rill Murkkkuh surely has a huge population of those.

  • My wife has very little interest in politics. Or so I thought. She pointed out to me this morning that DTrump will have a difficult choice for VP. Who can he trust? Who "balances" the ticket. Christie? Rubio? Graham? If I were DTrump I wouldn't trust Cruz's followers. "God told me to kill him so Cruz could be President."

    Gotta say that if I were DTrump I'd have a food taster on staff.

  • One of the sweetest things about this year is remembering the right wing media in 2012 begging and howling for a True Conservative to come down and sweep away this vacillating milquetoast Romney. Why were the heavyweights and future stars keeping their powder dry? Bobby Jindal! Mike Huckabee! Scott Walker! Chris Christie! Even Jeb Bush! Why must they wait for 2016?

    Because no-one gives a fuck about them, is why.

    Which would also be the upside to a Cruz nomination – it won't completely shit on down-ballot races, return the congress, and break the Republican party like a Trump nomination would, but it will finally provide a True Conservative – who will be solidly poked in the eyes by the electorate.

  • @Andrew; I was just in a meeting that turned political, and the person I was meeting with was just outraged that Cruz "isn't getting the respect he deserves" because "he's the only one out there's who's TRULY pro-life!". Her pastor told her (and the rest of the congregation) so. I suspect there are plenty of pastors out there instructing their flock on who to vote for, and obviously common sense isn't playing a part.

  • I just never thought I'd see a candidate on the verge of clinching a major party nomination who makes Ronald Reagan look like a great statesman.

  • @Katydid: I saw something that confirmed my suspicions. We've come to a point where to the electorate you only have to say a few things to them and they'll happily stick their nose up your arse.

    It was some quote from some minister telling his people to vote Il Douche because he'll defund PP. That was it. Doesn't matter that he's morally bankrupt.

    On the Left it's simply say you'll defend PP, and people will vote for you, despite the fact you spent four years pushing a trade plan that will make it easier to send your job overseas. Not to mention making a mockery of how "boldly you'll fight for climate change", knowing full well that corporations will be able to do an end run on any legislation because of the secret tribunal clause that will nullify any EPA regulations because, PROFITS!

  • 2016 will go down as the election in which the political parties – which used to exercise unchallenged control over the nomination – have seen their control of the process decline to near zero

    On the republican side, maybe.

    But on the Democratic side, what we are seeing is a political party exerting massive effort to swing the primary toward the establishment candidate. The idea that the Democratic Party has seen its "control of the process decline to near zero" is ridiculous.

  • If there's anything 100% indicative that someone is too ignorant to vote it's the whole "If he runs the country like a business, we'll be much better off!" line that Trump supporters trot out all the time. The fact that he has run a good half-dozen of his businesses into the ground aside… this country is not a business. There are no parallels there. There are no comparisons there. Neither is this country a household. Anyone who tells you we have to run the budget like a household budget, or run the county like a business should automatically be disallowed from voting.

  • willf – You're assuming facts not in evidence. Namely that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is competent at anything.

  • Major Kong, I'm with you and when that day happens those neighbor kids running on my lawn better watch the hell out…….

  • Steve in the ATL says:

    Major Kong Says:

    I'll say we should run the country like a household the day I'm allowed to print my own currency and declare war.

    Exactly. Notwithstanding the rearguard action I've been fighting against my HOA for years.

  • The Koch brothers don't give a crap about the presidency anymore. They know the real way to control what they want is in congressional and local races. If they get the states to send their favorite representatives to Congress and if their candidates control the states and they've got all they need. See, e.g., Wisconsin. Or Texas.

  • @Major Kong, I'm pretty much in a cold war with my neighbor, he being the the mow-it-twice-a-week like a golfcourse type, and mine, well… it's habitat. All the birds and squirrels love my yard. More walls *ahem* fences will be going up this spring. And some rock edging. Also gotta trim the bushes to improve sight-lines.

  • @Isaac

    Would you like to borrow my two German Shepherds, for the benefit of your neighbor? They are over a hundred pounds each, loud and were born in Appalachia.

  • @katydid

    It was the Democrats who nominated Geraldine Ferraro as vp running with Walter Mondale in 1984.

    Obviously they didn't vet her or her family enough.

    What's with these female vp candidates? Do the men picking them think with their little heads?

  • @Sluggo, we have at present two Rottweiler/Border Collie mixes (smart, stocky sisters they are) and a vicious chicken-killing Schnauzer. The county regs only allow 4 dogs unless we get a kennel permit, which would require all kinds of infrastructure, fees, and intrusion.

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