As you can see, our Front Page Editor is not shy about his opinions as we head into the general election race. I don't share them but he takes a better photo than your humble columnist. He also represents a not insubstantial portion of Bernie-struck progressives. Now that [the real-estate developer] has made his nomination virtually inevitable, I do have a few observations.
1. It's amusing seeing the pearl-clutching, "how could we have been so wrong?" musings of the pundit class. See the New York Times' Nate Cohn here. If you want further laughs, there's always Thomas Friedman, sans taxi driver. As someone rightly tweeted, "@tomfriedman wrong on every single thing he writes, every day of his life, & it will not in any way jeopardize him."
Even a simple, small-town boy from Phoenix could tell that Trump was formidable from the get-go. He is a reality TV star in Moronistan. He doesn't give a damn about "conservative" dogma, but knows how to push just the right buttons with the real conservative base in today's America. He was facing nullities as opponents. Time magazine anointed Marco Rubio as "the Republican savior," among a host of covers crowning Chris Christie, Rand Paul et al. As commenter Concern Troll would say, "lol lol."
2. Neither "conservatism" nor the Republican Party are dead. They have merely taken off their human suits, shucked off the last of William F. Buckley intellectual respectability, seen their Gingrich Revolutionaries tote each other to the guillotine, and found their true north in [the real-estate developer].
There was not, as George Wallace would say, a dime's bit of difference between the creepy Ted Cruz and the pleasant John Kasich. All were in thrall of the nostrums of The Party That Wrecked America. The Party of Lincoln and TR, even a mass American political party, had been dying for some time. But don't be under any delusions.
The same political savants now predicting mass defections are wrong. When they get to the polling place, they will vote for [the real-estate developer]. Unlike the most fervent backers of Sen. Sanders, they know there's a huuuuge! difference between him and Hillary. More significantly, they will continue to vote Republican down-ticket. This will especially matter if Democratic fratricide continues.
3. Maybe John Nichols is right and the Democrats would benefit from a "contested" convention (quotation marks because Sanders has almost no chance to win enough delegates; Hillary didn't invest in Indiana because she was already pivoting to the general election, and won almost as many delegates there anyway).
Sanders might have leverage to push the platform to the left (and remember, the "center" in American politics has been shifted so far to the right that Dick Nixon would be considered a commie). Such a convention would make for riveting television. Such a convention could be clarifying, particularly if it resulted in a strong message about the benefits of big infrastructure investing and taking on climate change (check out the monstrous Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, heart of the tar sands that have done much to worsen emissions).
These are big "ifs." Patrick Buchanan's 1992 insurgent speech at President George H.W. Bush's convention in Houston was a disaster for the party and for Bush's chances in the fall. Everybody we know likes the points Bernie has raised about the banksters and the rigged economy. But we don't know everybody and my concerns about Sanders shelf-life, much less his electability as the nominee, remain (see here, here, and here).
The hatred that so many Sanders backers on Holy Social Media hold for Clinton baffles and troubles me. I don't hate Bernie — I am only convinced he is unqualified and unelectable. If he's the nominee, of course I would vote for him.
No difference between Clinton and the Republicans? She believes climate change is real and human caused — and must be addressed. She will make sane picks for the Supreme Court. Those two reasons alone are compelling.
As for the "long game," hoping she loses, or indicted or both, leading to a progressive "revolution" in 2020 — I find it unconvincing, to say the least. If you missed the essay, "America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny," I urge you to read it. The long game is the Democratic Party regaining control at the state level, or there will be no reversal of national suicide, only holding it off by holding the White House. As Gov. Roscoe's court-packing scheme in Arizona shows, the right is alive and unafraid to use its power in the most audacious ways.
Who are the Whigs? It's anyone's guess. Perhaps the Sanders wing breaks off and forms a potent third party, leaving the Democrats denuded. The Republicans will still be around, white, old, powerful. And they will have decisive "majorities" in a three-party system — if our elections matter at all after this year.
The heat is on, in Fort McMurray — which should be our climate-change, hair-on-fire, moment for major action — and everywhere else.