Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 2016

Party like it's 1992.

I don’t write much about politics, because there’s already so much of that out there, and because I hate getting into arguments. But this year’s presidential election has been so bizarre, so entertaining, and so frightening, that I feel compelled to put down a few words.

On the Republican side, it looks like the nominee is going to be Donald Trump. I can’t believe I just typed those words. Until very recently, no one took Trump seriously as a candidate, and with good reason. He is a walking cartoon character, a golem that someone put an orange toupee on and sent out into the world to wreak havoc. And yet he has continued to amass delegates while “respectable” candidates like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio have one by one gone down in flames.

It seems to me that the key to Trump’s appeal is his certainty. He projects total confidence because he really believes that he could walk into the White House and fix everything, because he is smarter than everybody else and such a great wheeler-dealer. Nobody who has any actual experience in government, and knows how hard it is to get things done, can replicate that kind of clueless bravado. However fake most everything about Trump is, the swagger is real, and people respond to that. In the words of the great American philosopher George Costanza, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Trump’s only remaining challenger is Ted Cruz, who somehow has managed to emerge as the “reasonable” alternative, even though he is a far-right, theocratic, sociopathic wingnut. It appears that we are witnessing the Republican Party self-destructing in real time. Right now it is a flaming bag of poo, and soon someone’s foot is going to come down to put it out. What remains is going to be a huge mess spread all over the place.

On the Democratic side we have Bernie and Hillary. One of the very few positive things to come out of this campaign is the knowledge that a self-declared socialist like Bernie Sanders can gain traction with voters. But the writing is on the wall – it’s going to be Hillary, and she’s going to beat Trump like the red-headed mule he is.

The only time I get excited talking about Hillary is when I’ve just finished talking about Trump. The idea of a Hillary presidency seems thrillingly non-apocalyptic by comparison. And of course it will get the whole business of the first woman president out of the way, and say what you will about Hillary – she is competent, and she won’t fuck it up. Plus we’ll get Bill The Big Dog Bubba Clinton back in the White House. It’s going to be like 1992 all over again! Kurt Cobain is going to be be resurrected and make a new record! We’re all going to start using AOL again!

OK, probably not. But life will go on. That’s something.

3 Responses to “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 2016”

  1. Merle Baggard Says:

    Feel the Bern Bill.

  2. The Old Man in KS Says:

    A nominee for the Supreme Court & an effort to normalize relations with Cuba. Does Obama have any realisitic hope of getting either of these past the asswipes in Congress, or is he just trying to help the ultimate Dem nominee for pres & congressional candidates by providing campaign issues?

  3. bill Says:

    Merle: I love the Bern. I will be happy to praise him, support him, even vote for him. Just don’t ask me to say he’s going to win, because I am a reality-based life form. But every day he stays in the race pulls Hillary to the left, and that’s a good thing.

    Old Man: What makes these both smart strategic moves is that he wins either way. Either the Repubs have to do something, or they have to hand the Democrats a club to bludgeon them with. If the Republicans blow this, they will lose the presidency and both houses, and possibly never exist in any meaningful form again. It’s going to be an interesting year.

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