Most of the post-game commentary about the Super Tuesday primaries will focus on the voting results in Texas – especially if Ted Cruz barely prevails over Donald Trump or, even more amazingly, Cruz loses to Trump on the Texas senator’s home turf.
More inexplicable are the early victories by both of these men. A Trump presidential candidacy will cause Republicans to vote for a Democrat, any Democrat. Cruz as the nominee will not fare much better.
Stridency. Lies. Half-truths. Innuendo.
Trump is on track to alienating virtually everyone within the sound of his voice. His victory speeches are mere sound bites. He has no clear programs or plans. His campaign is based on trashing everyone and everything in his path. His message is one of criticism and gloom, not optimism and hope.
Cruz has a more specific agenda but his campaign is also one of alienation, not unification. He’s the new dirty trickster, more like Richard Nixon than Ronald Reagan, whose name Cruz constantly invokes. Reagan would cringe to hear this opportunistic egomaniac constantly mention him as a hero.
What is most frightening is not the emergence of these two men with their vicious, negative campaigns and their suffocating egos but the vein of anger and hostility in the American people they have opened.
If there is a light at the end of this tunnel it’s knowing there is serious unrest among the electorate regarding the status quo and Washington. Clearly, a correction in Washington and how it legislates is in order. Even the alienation being shown toward Hillary Clinton and her campaign from groups and individuals long considered loyal to her shows the country’s distaste for the old guard and insider politics.
If Trump wins the nomination, which it now appears he could do, the Republicans have the most to lose. He will redefine the GOP in a way that could be disastrous for the party.
In a story published Feb. 24, The New York Times outlined more than a half-dozen issues where Trump is in almost complete disagreement with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will serve as chairman of the Republican National Convention. Among those issues: Planned Parenthood, free trade, eminent domain, entitlement programs, domestic energy development, immigration, support for Israel. Ryan and Trump agree on the need for tax reform.
Trump’s views simply run contrary to traditional Republican positions on a long list of policy concerns.
In the most interesting, most entertaining and by far most puzzling election year in our lifetime, my view is that no clear winner has yet to emerge as the leader of each party. Brokered conventions seem possible for both Democrats and Republicans.
The Times’ story suggested that an open convention might turn to Ryan as the Republican nominee. And there is no shortage of voters who wonder if the Democrats might be better off with Vice President Joe Biden or even Secretary of State John Kerry than with Clinton or rival Bernie Sanders.
And what about former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has hinted at an independent campaign for president but has been both a Republican and a Democrat?
Bloomberg’s team from his days as mayor is still intact and on his payroll. Those folks are fiercely loyal to him and are highly talented. They can swing into action in an instant and mount a national campaign. And for Bloomberg, like Trump, money is a non-issue.
We have not seen the type of intrigue and entertainment that could emerge at the national conventions. And we really do not know who will leave those conventions as the parties’ standard-bearers.
Richard Connor is chairman of the parent company of Fort Worth Business, DRC Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.