The May 19th Fox News poll of the likely presidential candidates raised an eyebrow or two although not nearly as much as it might have a month or two ago. In the anticipated Clinton-versus-Trump donnybrook, “The Donald” leads Hillary 45% to 42%—a far cry from Clinton’s double-digit lead in April. Of course, it’s only one poll, but that’s still quite a shift. How to account for it? Neither appears to have changed much as a person over the last few weeks—both remain disturbingly untrustworthy, a nice way of saying that both are bald-faced liars.
The narrowing of the margin of difference may be attributable to the disappearance of all rivals from the Republican field, from which Trump has surely benefited. Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s supporters may still be smarting from the monotonous Tweets about “Lyin’ Ted” and “Little Marco,” but it’s all but assured that when November rolls around, they will have fallen in line to vote for the “nominee.” With both of them out of race, their delegates and supporters have, in effect, been released to go with the only game in town. And who doesn’t suppose that an appreciable number of them have started playing the game already. Hence, the tightening race.
Is it the only game? As for a realistic third-party candidacy, such as The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol has advocated and National Review’s Andy McCarthy has very cautiously approved, “realistic,” as McCarthy himself has insisted, is the key word. The argument, familiar by now to many of us #NeverTrumpers, is that an independent Republican just might swing a state or two accomplishing what no other third-party candidate has done since 1826, namely, throw the election to the House of Representatives.
As the argument goes, the House would then prefer a Paul Ryan or Ben Sasse to Trump or Clinton. So far, so good. All that’s lacking is a Ryan, a Sasse, an anyone brave, foolish, or even interested enough to dedicate himself to five months of arduous campaigning on a shoestring budget with the slimmest chance of gumming up the works sufficiently to do the nigh impossible and in the process divide the nation in a way unseen since the Civil War.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for chancing it—the third-party run, I mean—but “it” means nothing without a candidate. As long as he, she, or it remains a phantom instead of a statesman, the third-party run, at least for an independent Republican, remains little more than a pipedream or, worse, a nightmare.
Speaking of nightmares, there’s Bernie. Yes, he’s Hillary’s scariest dream, but that doesn’t apply to the youth of this fair land. It’s pretty well known that voters from eighteen to thirty-five think Bernie is the “Bern” they should “feel” although exactly what they think they’re going to feel is another matter altogether.
A recent video (not too astonishingly backed up by polls) showed a number of “Berners” interviewed at one of his rallies, at which the little and not-so-little darlings were asked to define something that Bernie makes no bones about endorsing: socialism. Not a single prospective voter could do so, not even remotely.
The idea of the government, the almighty state, directing the economy, or, if you want to do it right, owning the means of production, is what socialism is all about. That’s another way of saying that it’s a form of totalitarianism. Would American’s young voters really like to see that? Strange as it may seem, another poll showed most youngsters appalled by the idea of Washington’s directing the economy. Golly, that would mean a bunch of bureaucrats (masquerading as “experts”) picking “winners” and declaring gigantic corporations and banks “too big to fail.” We can’t have that!
Odd thing, as those who follow political affairs can testify, we have gotten our share of “that” in spades for the last eight years under Barrack Hussein Obama who, I have little doubt, was cheered into office in 2008 by Bernie himself. Any bets on where the Bern stood in 2012? The senator from Vermont is or was no fool. The man who spent his honeymoon (or second honeymoon) in the Soviet Union knew a fellow traveler when he saw one.
But in 2016 everything has changed, mainly in the uncomfortable fact that Bernie is on the run—for president, that is—and needs more than those greedy Republicans to blame for the mess we’re in. Honestly, I don’t recall his complaining about Obama’s economy in 2012. Call me cynical, but maybe his campaign staff hadn’t done the math on his chances for a 2016 run; maybe there wasn’t a staff period.
Anyhow, as the campaign now stands, Bernie is and has been bellyaching about the dire straits the U.S. economy is in, sagely observing that the last eight years have brought us nothing of I don’t know what except misery. But let’s simplify the whole shtick: we need Bernie to give us something new, something borrowed, and, if experience and reason count for anything in economics, something all too blue, even if his loyal gaggle of youthful acolytes knows not what socialism really means.
How does this add up? Bernie has a baker’s-ten-thousand dozen of useful idiots, but no more than Donald and Hillary. The Fox News’ poll that places Trump over Clinton also found the quadruple bankrupt more qualified to “do a better job” on the economy (53 to 41) than his rival. But never fear, Clintonians; on foreign policy the edge went to Hillary (52 to 42), the Secretary of State who wrecked Libya, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and “reset” Russia, an economically struggling, basket-case of a country, into a world power.
“I’ve seen the future and it works,” crowed Lincoln Steffens after he saw the “miracles” of Lenin’s Russia. It turned out the joke was on him. Here in America we’re seeing the future now in an electorate of ignoramuses. How’s that gonna work?