If nothing else (and there’s a lot else), 2016 has been a story of the struggle between sanity and any number of other alternatives.
Republicans chose…well, you know. With the biggest, deepest bench of fresh-faced, experienced, diverse candidates in a generation, maybe ever, Republicans instead have chosen…again, you know. Not sanity, that’s for sure.
Democrats, forced to choose between a fire-breathing democratic socialist and a very experienced but very under-investigation stick of margarine. Everyone tells you it’s better than the alternative, but it’ll probably end up the opposite. Ironically, as the corruptocrat has neared her inevitable nomination, it’s the socialist who’s become more electable.
Libertarians faced a similar choice this past weekend at their national convention. Gary Johnson was the frontrunner for president, and Bill Weld his choice for vice president, both experienced former Republican governors. Ironically it was exactly their extensive experience that became a liability at the convention.
More radical delegates vocally opposed Johnson and Weld in favor of ideological pure and consequently less well-known candidates. One of those candidates, Darryl Perry, who actually favors the dissolution of the United States, argued that increased media exposure and election funding for the Libertarian Party would kill it.
As the everlasting presidential primaries give way to the possibly even more grueling general election, polls take on a new irrelevance, and coincidentally a new furious pace. Now that pollsters don’t have to ask about two different races with a dozen different candidates in any number of primary states, they can ask about the all-but-certain general election contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump more often.
In the latest of these polls, Morning Consult finds Clinton leading Trump by just 2 points, 42 to 40.
The consensus just a month ago was that Hillary would soundly defeat Trump in November; Trump’s alienating of everyone from women to disabled people was unsustainable. But polls already show the race closing to a statistical tie, just in the last week.
It’s going to be a long five months.
As I’ve implored, third party candidates should also be included in these general election polls. There are going to be more than two options on everyone’s ballot in November, so it does little good to make people choose between only two options in polls designed to show the state of that election.
Fortunately, the Morning Consult poll does just that and includes likely Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson along with Trump and Clinton. With all three options, they still find a Clinton lead, but by 3 points instead of 2.
UPDATE: Trump has officially clinched the Republican nomination as of today.
It seems like it took five gruelling, facepalm-inducing years, but it was blink-and-miss-it news that the major party presidential primaries came to an all-but-official close this week. The result that we all predicted and dreaded six months ago: Trump vs Clinton vs …?
Although Bernie Sanders has not yet ended or suspended his campaign, the Democratic primary came to an arrangement this week that serves the same purpose. Hillary is less than 100 delegates away from clinching the nomination, and she seems content to coasting to victory.
That victory will officially take place with California, New Jersey, and the final round of state primaries next month. In the meantime, the Clinton campaign has shifted ad spending from the primary battle to the general election, now focusing on Donald Trump’s lifelong parade of horribles.
After a long public debate over what Congress should do to address the current debt and financial crisis in Puerto Rico, free market oriented reforms have won the day. While the government of the Commonwealth requested, and our Obama Administration supported, Chapter 9 bankruptcy, many Republicans in Congress and grass-roots citizen groups opposed that and argued for reforms in Puerto Rico instead. The legislation released in Congress clearly is on the side of reform and doesn’t include or enable bankruptcy.
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) as well as Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will create an Oversight Board to assist the Commonwealth in enacting reforms and reign in their out of control welfare state as well as managing their debts. The legislation does not contain any bailout provision nor does it provide for or allow Chapter 9 bankruptcy. PROMESA will bring order to the chaos in Puerto Rico, prevent a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, and will build a foundation for prosperity in the Commonwealth, and ensure its access to capital markets.
Puerto Rico has accumulated more than $118 billion in debt from bonds and unfunded pension liabilities. The government has been unable to manage this debt and has already begun defaulting on its repayment. On July 1, the Commonwealth is likely to default on an additional $2 billion in debt that includes $800 million of constitutionally backed debt.
Let’s be honest. When most people think of Libertarian candidates, they picture nutjobs. Your local conspiracy theorist ranting against various American institutions doesn’t often rally voters, which is why there are so few elected Libertarians across the country, despite the party’s 45-year lifespan.
2016 might finally change all that. Libertarians are going from metaphorical lone gunmen to experienced leaders in very short order thanks to the likely presidential and vice presidential nominees.
Gary Johnson, the party’s frontronner and previous nominee, has announced his preference for his running mate, Bill Weld. Like Johnson himself, Weld is a former Republican governor of a deep blue state, Massachusetts. The two also share a proven fiscal conservative record despite governing in such hostile territory.
If Johnson and Weld do win their respective nominations at the Libertarian National Convention in just over a week, the party will be able to claim the most experienced ticket of any party in decades.
Weld’s resume is impressive enough on its own:
- House Judiciary Committee counsel during Watergate
- US Attorney, appointed by Reagan
- led Criminal Division of Justice Dept, promoted by Reagan
- two-term Governor of Massachusetts
- nominated for Ambassador to Mexico by Clinton, but withdrew over political opposition
- Libertarian nominee for Governor of New York
Poor Hillary is feeling the Bern. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
It was supposed to be a coronation, not a dogfight. Her primary battle with socialist curmudgeon Bernie Sanders was supposed to be political Kabuki theater, with her dispatching the hapless but loveable (insofar as one can be loveable while embracing an ideology responsible for the deaths of a hundred million people in the last century) Sanders in a display of feminist power, the glass ceiling of patriarchal oppression shattered once and for all. Finally, a Uterus-Enabled American at the pinnacle of power!
Her path to the Democrat nomination was rocky from the start, having won Iowa by a hair’s breadth (0.3%), and then getting blown out in New Hampshire by Sanders. She and Sanders have since then traded blows, with Hillary leading the contests 27-20. With the Democrat super-delegates firmly in her corner the process was rigged for her from the beginning, but her inability to put Sanders away makes for poor optics, as they say, leading up to the general election.
That might explain why she is starting to get gimmicky in an effort to shut down Sanders and lock up the nomination.
Her latest gambit came this past Sunday when Hillary, speaking before a group of voters in Kentucky, said that she would put her husband, former President Bill Clinton “in charge of revitalizing the economy, because, you know, he knows how to do it.”
“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” ~ President George Washington, 1793, Fifth Annual Message
It appears that Barack Obama wants to end his time in office in much the same way he began; by touring the world, highlighting and apologizing for America’s supposed sins, and minimizing or ignoring all the good we have done in the world.
He began his first term with an apology tour. On April 3, 2009, in Strasbourg, France, Obama declared “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world…there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” Three days later, in a speech to the Turkish Parliament, Obama doubled down, saying that “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history…Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans.” These would be just two of many apologies Obama would make for America in the years to come.
This month, Obama becomes the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on it seventy years ago in a bid to bring World War II, the most deadly war in world history, to an end.
[Editor’s Note: This commentary by former Federal Election Commission Chairman, Center for Competitive Politics Chairman and Founder, and Capital University Josiah H. Blackmore/Shirley M. Nault Professor of Law Bradley A. Smith is reprinted here with his permission.]
A libertarian professor friend of mine took the opportunity of Trump’s nomination to write on Facebook:
The fact that the GOP appears to be nominating Trump, and the fact that libertarian-leaning conservative intellectuals in the GOP are (rightly) frothing at the mouth the most about it, only provides more evidence for my long-standing view that libertarian intellectuals who thought their (our?) home was in the GOP were making a very risky “pact with the devil.”
He went on a bit but that gets the mood and core message of the piece.
My response, which I’ll reprint here with light edits, was this:
Leftists are fascinating creatures. They claim to be the ones devoted to scientific inquiry, yet in reality they are only interested in the science that confirms their own biases, and they are willing to use government force to silence anyone offering any objections, criticisms, or facts which are contrary to their preferred narrative.
For example, though Leftists claim to be pro-science, they claim that gender is determined by how one “feels”, rather than the tried-and-true method of taking a peek in one’s Fruit of the Looms and seeking if you are an “innie” or an “outie”. This leads to their denial of the absolute and irrefutable biological differences between the sexes, and to attributing differences in men and women not to biology, but to social indoctrination.
Likewise, despite being repeatedly and demonstrably wrong for decades, the left also denies science in the area of global warming (or is it climate change? Or climate chaos? Or carbon pollution? It changes so often it is difficult to keep up). Hence the latest hysteria being peddled as science…climate refugees.
Climate refugees are those who are being displaced from their homes by changes in the Earth’s climate, which the left blames on global warming, which is in turn blamed on man’s drive to industrialization. As they tell the story, the more mankind industrializes, the more CO2 we generate, which in turn creates a force field around the Earth which traps greenhouse gases, which heats up the Earth, which melts the polar ice caps, which causes the sea levels to rise, which will lead to all of us living next door to SpongeBob at the bottom of the ocean by the end of the century.
After a crushing defeat in a two-man contest that everyone had begged for all year, Ted Cruz suspended his campaign in Indiana, effectively coronating Donald Trump the Republican nominee for president.
“We left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got but the voters chose another path,” Cruz said. “So with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
Though Trump has maintained 50-60% support in most recent primary votes, he is still woefully unpopular among a significant minority of Republicans, many of whom vow to not support him in the general election.
That pledge will now come front and center as the only viable alternative in the primary drops out. #NeverTrump Republicans have a decision to make. Fortunately, they have options.
As I outlined even before the first primary votes were cast, the November election is now almost certain to be between the two most unpopular candidates in modern history.
We will have a new president this time next year, one way or another. But on the current trajectory, he or she will take office hated by most of the country and with no mandate to impose much of a platform. What a waste that would be.