The Winnowing of the Right


It’s a bit like watching a slow motion train wreck. You want to look away but you can’t. Where will the cars land; how much destruction will we see? I am of course referring to the Republican nomination race.

The Clinton-Sanders contest is interesting from a policy point of view as Clinton is pulled into the uncomfortable left by a persistent social democratic campaigner. It’s not over yet – though it will be tough for Sanders to overtake Clinton now. But there is no sense of long-term damage to the party as a result of their fairly polite contestation.

Even on the Republican side, the remaining three candidates seem to be trying to be a little less bellicose though how long that will last is anyone’s guess. After yesterday, Trump has taken a commanding lead but would still need to win over 60% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination before the convention. (By comparison, Clinton needs about 40% to retain her lead). With only a few winner-take-all contests left, that may be difficult as long as Kasich remains in the race.

And if Kasich leaves, Cruz – strangely enough – may be the biggest beneficiary. But Kasich will certainly hang in for a few more weeks. He’ll pick up a lot of Rubio’s votes and what is left of establishment Republican money. His goal is to arrive at the convention with enough delegates to survive the first round of voting and hope that delegates ‘see the light’ in the second or third rounds. Given that some of the delegates are even more committed than the people they support – this seems doubtful. But three rounds of voting might leave the party too demoralized to be effective come November.

Meanwhile, Trump will be trolling for additional endorsements. Christie gave one – and was quickly ushered off the stage. There was speculation that he was hoping to be the VP but that makes no sense. Trump, from New York, is unlikely to choose someone from neighbouring New Jersey, even if he does shore up his moderate credentials. I expect Trump will pick a nobody who will keep out of the limelight for 8 years (assuming Trump can win – still very much in doubt).

Ben Carson also endorsed Trump and was apparently quoted as saying he didn’t want to but Trump offered him a job in the Cabinet. You might want to Snopes that but it does seem like something Carson might say. Carson always came across as crazy but honest unlike the man he just backed.

In the meantime, the train keeps rolling while the people inside keep screaming, though whether in rage, fear or despair it is hard to tell from where I’m sitting. Probably a little of each. In any case, I’m going to try to stop probing this sore tooth for a few weeks to see if it makes me feel better.

I’d rather spend my days thinking about ‘sunny ways’ then the Sturm und Drang of American politics.

And that’s ten minutes.


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