HOW MUCH WEIRDER CAN THIS GET?

by Jnana Hodson

After the political campaigns moved on from New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, I haven’t blogged much about the races themselves. In part it’s a reflection that there’s no front-line experience to convey, not from my perch in the Granite State. In another part, though, it’s a fact that I can’t keep up with the escalating developments, which are becoming increasingly surreal – unimaginable things you’ve already read in the news. I mean, Bernie Sanders having a good shot at winning Utah in November? Has Hell frozen over?

Well-heeled Jeb Bush crumpling, and then Marco Rubio malfunctioning as a robot or Ben Carson losing his virtue creds by endorsing Donald Trump and now unlovable Ted Cruz accused of multiple extramarital affairs? And when all of the GOP candidates promised to support Trump, the man they’d just accused of being unfit, as the TV cameras witnessed, well – so much for their integrity.

(The possible Cruz retorts could get even weirder. I’m not even going there, not in public.)

And then Mitt Romney’s clumsy but brief ricochet into the spotlight? Anyone remember him?

If anything, what’s apparent is that the Republicans have no viable candidate. Their well’s dry. Caput. Empty. They’re zooming toward a stone wall or even their own train coming from the opposite direction. (Well, after all of their denial over global warming, we just had our warmest winter on record. For what that’s worth.)

The Democrats can’t get too complacent, either, not with some pundits seeing frontrunner Hillary Clinton “a hairline away from federal indictment.”

Months ago I raised the possibility of the Republican Party’s actually splitting, and that talk’s now common – however speculative. Will it actually happen or will everyone simply fall in line behind Trump, even if it means walking off a cliff?

And I also wondered about winding up with a brokered convention, albeit with Favorite Son candidates. The latter part hasn’t jelled, but the former just may be in the works, if party establishment can pull enough strings. And that raises the possibility of House Speaker Paul Ryan stepping up as the white horse. Or white elephant, depending. (One rumor has him writing his acceptance speech as you read this.)

Now come rumors of mounting a desperation third-party run headed by Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, which presents all kinds of fairy tale appeal at this point. Well, as they say, Dwight Eisenhower came late in the political season and look what happened.

A three-way race? Well, that also points us back toward the possibility of the winner being decided by the House of Representatives, as if that body can agree on anything these days. Very scary indeed.

As would a tied up Supreme Court, thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Since when has the National Rifle Association — a special interest group if there ever was one — had the right to choose a high-court justice? Want to talk about protecting the Constitution? (As I recall, the Founding Fathers were also aware of the threat of a tyranny of the minority, as well as a tyranny of the majority. McConnell should listen to their wisdom, rather than his own self-deluded ego.)

As would the scenario of having events spiral out of control altogether, leading to a (hold our breath) military coup. Keep this up, I’ll be afraid of going to bed. The nightmares could be truly spooky.

Meanwhile, the punch line comes back to the promise of making America great again? It’s a bad, bad joke, indeed.

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