Thunderdome Quatro

So, I just wanted to get this out there before this 3rd “Super Tuesday” night is over and we find out how the GOP candidates did. A few weeks ago I was looking at the state of the political races and, like many, I’ve seen the parallels between the GOP race and the Democrats’ race. Over here on the GOP side we have a situation of Trump vs. just about everyone with the GOP establishment pulling for Marco Rubio with John Kasich as a distant second. As far as they’re concerned, it appears to be a toss-up whether they’d like to see Trump win or Cruz – and I think they’re actually pulling for Trump if it comes to that. Over on the Dem side of the aisle they’ve got Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders.

Trump and Sander appear to be the choices for people on the right and the left who are itching to flip the big old bird into the faces of the party elites who have lied over and over to their party membership. Clinton is obviously the choice of the Dem establishment. Rubio is the choice of Republican establishment types while actual conservative Republicans are supporting Ted Cruz.

Trump and his supporters have made a lot of noise about Trump running as a 3rd-party/Independent if he’s “not treated fairly” by the process. To my ears, it sounds like they consider any outcome but Trump getting the nomination to be unfair treatment. The Trump supporters are already laying the groundwork for the blame-game should Trump get the nomination and then lose badly to the Democrat, as so many polls are indicating he will. At this stage, though, the Trump supporters have been so crass and up in all of the rest of our faces that they’re running the serious risk of Republicans who didn’t support Trump with full-throated vigor – and that would include me, in case you’re wondering – simply returning the favor and sitting this one out. Of course, if Trump loses, they’ll accuse all of us of doing that, anyway, completely absent any evidence so, hey, why not? I have no confidence at all that Trump’s supporters will actually support any GOP candidate that’s not Trump and Trump himself is all too obviously willing to run as an Indy. So how does that play out?

Trump loses the nomination. (Let’s just say it goes to Cruz, for argument’s sake.) Trump harumphs off stage, announces that the nomination was rigged, then announces his Indy candidacy. His supporters curse loudly at the rest of us and cast their votes for Trump, splitting the GOP vote and opening up the lane for Hillary to waltz into the White House.

Unless…

The mood and energy over in the Dem house is actually very similar to ours. Bernie Sanders has a large following and, given his performances in the primaries so far, I do believe those followers are smelling blood in the water. Hillary ain’t looking as undeniable as she used to, and there’s still this FBI thing she seems so keen to blow off. To make matters worse, if the GOP process is looking potentially rigged, you need to get a load of the Dems’ process. These super-delegates that the party just handed out to their faithful and who get to cast vote for whomever they like (read that: Hillary) can single-handedly negate the votes of hundreds or thousands of Dem voters and they are not answerable to anyone. If Bernie winds up winning more of the primary, regular delegates than Hillary but she takes the nomination on the strength of those super-delegates, you could have a mutiny over there, too. Bernie, you recall, is not a Democrat. Never was. He’s an Indy who has caucused with the Dems in Congress because they’re closer to his views than Republicans, yes, but he’s still an Indy. Running as one is no real stretch. He could answer the thundering call of his supporters and decide to run as the Indy he is.

And, my goodness gracious, kids, what do we have then? We have 4 separate contenders for the presidency, each with a fairly significant chunk of the American electorate. I would remind everyone that in 1992, BIll Clinton was running against the GOP’s George Bush and an Independent Ross Perot. Clinton won that election, but do you recall what percentage of the popular vote he got? It was 43%. That’s right – almost 2 of 3 Americans did not want him to be the President but he won with a plurality anyway. If we have 4 roughly even candidates in the race, one of them could win with as little as 27% of the vote. Sure, the Electoral College is in play, but the concept stands.

In the year 2000 George W. Bush won the election with a helluva lot more than that figure and people are still calling his win illegitimate. If Donald Trump won with, say, 29% of the American voting public voting for him and the rest – over 2/3rds – voting for Not-Trump, just how legit do you think he’s going to look?

May we live in interesting times, indeed.

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