The 2016 election is starting to shape up: the Republican convention is over, with a Trump/Pence ticket, and the Democratic convention is coming up soon.
I’m feeling a little foolish for not thinking through an essential part of the Trump candidacy.
I’ve been puzzled from the start how a narcissistic blowhard like Donald Trump would ever withstand the job of being President of the United States. It requires skills that he not only doesn’t have, they are skills that he apparently can’t even grasp. I can’t imagine him staying awake through an entire national security briefing without shouting at some five-star general, “You’re Fired!”
How could Trump be President?
The answer is both simple, and obvious. He won’t.
He’s going to delegate the entire job to his Vice President. Every bit of it. From persuading Congress, to appointing Supreme Court justices, to managing the nuclear codes. Donald Trump will be an absentee president.
I guess I did kind of see it coming: I mentioned in an earlier post that Trump would surround himself with sycophants who would stroke his bottomless need for inflating his own ego, a machine that would make him a puppet inside the machine, a machine that would turn to purest evil. What I missed is that Trump won’t even be inside the machine. He’ll be out on his yacht, when he’s not preening in front of a camera. He’ll get “regular reports” from his Vice President on how that worthy is doing his job, which he won’t have time to read, because he’ll be too busy Tweeting grade-school insults to foreign heads-of-state who slighted him in some way.
“Mike, just give me the bottom line,” he’ll say to his Vice President, adjusting his cummerbund for some state dinner, turning sideways to the full-length mirror to check his waistline. “Is the country moving in the right direction?”
“Oh, yes, Sir!” the Vice President will say. “You don’t have a thing to worry about.”
“Great! Keep up the good work. Let’s make America Great Again!”
Trump is already a catastrophe for the Republican Party, and if he wins the election, a catastrophe for the nation.
In the meantime, we have the Sanders/Clinton situation. I still have no idea how the super-delegates are going to vote, nor does anyone else. At this point, given the polling numbers, it’s irresponsible for them to nominate Hillary. On the other hand, I have no idea whether responsibility is anywhere near the top of their list of priorities. So we’ll have to wait and see.
But here’s the thing: nobody hates Bernie.
A lot of people hate Trump. Pence is — if anything — worse. I’ve never seen such a broad outpouring of open contempt, hatred, and fear of a US Presidential candidate. I’m not sure it has ever happened in US history.
A lot of people hate Hillary just as much. The level of insanely violent hatred she inspires in extreme right-wing quarters is actually frightening. Since I have relatives in that quarter, I’ve seen this hatred first-hand.
Both of these extremes are matched by a broad tail of people who should be supporters, according to the pundits and their conventional political theory, who actually are not. Trump is driving lifelong Republicans completely out of the party, and those who remain to support him appear to occasionally choke on their own vomit. Hillary has a lot of lifelong Democrats wringing their hands and making excuses for her declining poll numbers; the Independents are not coming together under her banner, even when faced with a monstrous buffoon like Trump.
Nobody hates Bernie. Not everyone likes him, or his politics. People certainly get upset about his young, loud, disruptive supporters.
But nobody hates him.
It’s actually not clear who earned the majority vote in the Democratic primary, but it seems safe to say that that both Bernie and Hillary were close enough to tied that, even if we reversed all the suspected fraud in the election process, the nomination would still be up to the superdelegates.
What’s growing clearer is that a Hillary nomination offers a much better chance of handing us President Trump. Or rather, President Mike Pence, a franchised subsidiary of President Trump, Inc.™
The latest poll numbers I’ve seen have Bernie beating Trump by ten points. Hillary actually loses to Trump. Polls change, but there are disturbing trends. Hillary’s numbers keep going down, and neither she, nor her campaign, seems to have any idea how to improve them. Bernie’s numbers keep going up, and he’s not even campaigning.
Bernie has the potential to unite the Democratic Party, draw in much of the Independent vote, and even draw Republican votes away from Trump.
Hillary simply doesn’t. She might unite the Democratic Party, if she tries really, really hard, but Independents are and will remain indifferent, and she will not draw any of the Republicans who can’t stomach Trump. The only way she can bolster her position is to convince more people to vote against Trump.
We’ll see what happens next week.