“The system is rigged!” Donald Trump shouts.
And there it is: possibly the only issue of importance that voters of all stripes agree upon.
Both major parties are controlled by a small group at the top, who determine the platform and select the party nominee. The challenge both parties face is portraying the selected candidate as having been democratically elected. Democrats created superdelegates to override their voters; the Republican system is more complex.
The GOP and What Passes for Normal
Each election cycle, disappointed Republican voters are puzzled when the nominee is announced. Yet the Republican presidential nominee profile is as predictable as it gets.
- Gender: Male
- Race: White or Hispanic
- Height: Tall
- Demeanor: Distinguished, commanding
- Issue focus: Fiscal and foreign policy
- Experience: Governor (preferred); senators and corporate executives considered
- Known as: Unrelentingly dull
- Support: Tepid
The primary process is deliberately confusing, and it comes down to 2,472 individual delegates. A candidate needs the support of at least half of the delegates to win the nomination. Each state has its own rules but in most cases, the delegates go to the convention and vote for the person who won the popular vote in their state or district.
Usually the nominee is a foregone conclusion and the convention is used to introduce the running mate. However, if no candidate has a majority, some of the delegates are unbound (i.e., they no longer have to vote for the candidate who won their state or district) and they re-vote. More delegates are unbound with every vote, until someone has enough votes to win. Gifts and promises of future influence are lavished upon the delegates by the candidates for months prior to the convention, just in case of a close vote. Thus, you have McCain/Palin 2008 and Romney/Ryan 2012.
Off the Rails in 2016
The Establishment of both parties will tell you 2016 has been catastrophic. The Democrats’ use of ‘superdelegates’ to disenfranchise their own voters was exposed. But thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican Establishment was hit much harder, much to the delight of the party base. The Republican base and the Establishment despise each other.
Of the three remaining contenders in the Republican race, only John Kasich is Establishment. It’s also mathematically impossible for him to win. His campaign seem to center around a vague hope that over 1000 delegates will defect to support him at the convention.
Ted Cruz is a senator, a pariah in Washington, D.C., and someone the Establishment has thoroughly rejected. Whether you think Senator Cruz is Lyin’ Ted or TrusTed, he’s gamed the primary system masterfully. Among other things, his campaign has been building support with the delegates for months.
And then there’s Donald Trump, the front-runner. The Establishment, the media, and the Left have pulled out all the stops to get rid of Trump, to no avail. Why?
Why Do the Establishment, the media, and the Left hate Trump?
Politics make strange bedfellows, but none stranger than the coalition formed by the Republican establishment, the left wing of the Democratic party, and the media against Donald J. Trump.
The Establishment stakes out hardcore positions on social issues, but it’s just a way to stir up their base. They only care about economic issues, and foreign policy with economic implications. Trump’s on the wrong side of every issue they care about, and he’s resonating with the base.
The Left loathes Trump, and they do have the most at stake. He’s challenged political correctness, and encouraged his supporters to challenge it. Political correctness is the bread and butter of the Left, and their power lies in labels. If, for example, the threat of being labeled sexist or homophobic no longer guaranteed social ruin, the Left is rendered powerless.
The media loves the high ratings and intense public interest that accompany Trump everywhere. However, they are closely allied to the Left and in their view, Trump is spreading dangerous ideas.
The Present and the Future
This coalition hit Trump on all sides. The media – from MSNBC to Fox News – denounced him. The Left launched a #NeverTrump Twitter campaign, and sent protesters to disrupt his events, block the roads, and physically stop people from attending. Celebrities
promised threatened to leave the country if Trump is elected. And the Establishment dispatched Mitt Romney to explain that Trump is bad, really bad. There was speculation this coordinated attack was going to bring the front-runner down, but then Trump casually swept five states last week.
In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway writes that when his rich admirers praised him, “I wagged my tail . . . instead of thinking, ‘If these bastards like it, what is wrong with it?'” America is beginning to assess Establishment candidates the same way.
No matter who wins the presidency, the election of 2016 is a harbinger of the fading power of the media, the Establishment, and the Left. Good riddance.