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February 18, 2016

Election 2016: The Field Narrows

After watching Saturday night’s Republican debate from South Carolina, I am convinced that Donald Trump has neither the maturity nor the temperament to be the president. Just his accusations of Cruz’s and Rubio’s lying, shouting down candidates and telling them to be quiet, and his constant touting his wealth (self-funding) and his poll numbers make him nothing more than a self-aggrandizing bully. His outrageous promises, like banning all Muslims and having Mexico pay for building the border wall, are seen as near impossible at worst and impractical at best. How can anyone actually believe he will make these happen?

Maybe it’s because he talks tough and more confidently than most of the other candidates. You hear no equivocation in his pronouncements and he makes people believe that because he’s a successful business man he can make it happen as president. I think he must be clueless as to how the wheels of government grind out any semblance of action ever so slowly.

Without a doubt, we are seeing a rejection of almost anything that smells of establishment politics and the good news is that the people of America are speaking up and speaking out against the establishment, based on the support these insurgent candidates are garnering. The Obama administration has succeeded in diminishing America’s standing in the world, ridden herd on a moribund economy for seven-plus years, and perfected the art of class and race warfare. People are sick and tired and looking for the hope and change that Obama promised but failed miserably to provide. His kind of change has wrought an America that no longer looks exceptional to the world, resulting in Iranian provocations like capturing our naval vessel and scamming us into a nuclear deal while the ayatollah proclaims “death to America” in his speeches.

The insurgent Trump exploded out of the box and we saw Carson, another insurgent candidate, mount a challenge to Trump. Fiorina looked as though she might gain some traction in the early going, but she faded well before the Iowa caucuses along with gentle Ben. Trump seems to be holding his lead, no matter what he does or says because politics-as-usual is about as fashionable as a Nehru jacket these days.

On the Democrat side, we see the same phenomenon. Hilary’s coronation seemed all but inevitable until Bernie Sanders’ reincarnation of the “1%” movement took hold. Now, Hilary is fighting for her political life and even the women vote seems not enough to save her. Bernie has wrapped his socialist tentacles around the youth voters and has sucked them in with promises of free college and free health care for all and, of course, more regulation and punishment for the evil mavens of Wall Street. Seems as though they don’t know someone has to pay the price for all the freebies. Oh, never mind, the evil “RICH” will take care of that. Bernie has successfully marketed his socialistic class warfare into a populist campaign: demonizing all the right people and companies and promising things that people yearn for. People now think that the government exists to care for their every need, but no one understands, per the Constitution, what the responsibilities and limitations of government really are. At the most recent Democrat debate, when asked if there are any limits to what the government will do, Bernie scrupulously avoided the question and turned it into a diatribe about meeting the needs of the less fortunate; it was the classic emotional appeal that the Democrat-Socialist-Progressive party is so good at. Intentions count, but results? Eh, not so much. Witness the “war on poverty” so many years later.

This appears to be the year of the insurgent, but not all the insurgent choices are good for America. I have to say the establishment choices aren’t so great either. Bernie is the 21st century incarnation of Karl Marx, assuming the power of the state as supreme, thus incrementally squelching individual initiative, personal freedom and opportunity. Hilary, on the other hand, is nothing more than Obama v.III. Some choices.

Of the Republicans, Donald Trump is brash, with a mercurial temperament and an ego that probably exceeds that of our current narcissist-in-residence. Jeb Bush, as the original establishment candidate, along with Kasich is done — stick a fork in both of them. Rubio is another establishment candidate with some solid foreign policy credentials but little in the way of achievement; ask Rick Santorum. His youth and energy hearken back to JFK, but he lacks seasoning as first term senator.

That leaves Ted Cruz, perhaps the only candidate who can challenge the front-runner, although it with be a bloody slog to the top. As a senator, Cruz belongs in the establishment category, but he’s not really a great fit there. He has raised the ire of his colleagues with his filibuster tactics and opposition to the party on a number of issues. He’s just not well-loved by his RNC brethren so he fits better in the insurgent category. He seems a principled, constitutional conservative — not Reagan redux, but close. If this is to be the year of the insurgent, may the more principled, intelligent, conservative and constitutional insurgent rise to the top.

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