Monday, March 14, 2016

The Final Four

Atlanta, GA— And so it has come to this. Donald Trump has not imploded. The people have not woken up. The laws of political gravity have not taken affect. Men who talk about shooting people on Fifth Avenue or punching protestors "in the face" can be president, after all. Donald Trump is bullet proof, that’s the word on the street. Nothing he says can hurt him…believe me, he’s tried. He said John McCain wasn’t a war hero, saying he liked people that don’t get captured. He mocked people with disabilities, and said unrepeatable things on stages all across the nation, but still, Donald Trump stands, immovable, at the top of the polls.
Tomorrow, from Florida to Ohio and beyond, Republicans will cast their vote. In Ohio, as Mitt Romney backs him, Mr. Kasich is actually looking good, with a possible shot at winning his state. But in Florida, where 99 delegates are up for grabs, Marco Rubio is on his last leg.
Remember Marco Rubio? That young Cuban-American whose father was jailed in Castro’s Cuba? The young man who didn’t have a chance at becoming speaker of the house of Florida, and then got the job. The young man who didn’t have a chance to become the Republican nominee for Senate, and then did. The young man who didn’t have a chance to become Senator, but then did it anyway. And now he doesn’t have a chance, he is told, to win Florida. For some reason, he just won’t believe it.
And, somewhere in all this, is Ted Cruz. He must be a man who doesn’t know his own mind right now. While on the one hand Mr. Cruz would surely like to knock Mr. Rubio and Mr. Kasich out of the race, he knows that if Mr. Trump wins both Florida and Ohio, the odds of stopping him are somewhere between zero and negative one.
The best case scenario would seem to be for Mr. Kasich to win his state, thus denying Trump those delegates, while at the same time Mr. Rubio loses Florida, thus knocking him out of the race. Mr. Kasich will still be about a thousand delegates short of the nomination, Mr. Cruz will be sitting nicely in a real two man race, and Mr. Rubio might finally have more time to spend watching football.
How will it actually turn out? That is for the voters to decide. But if Mr. Trump loses either Ohio or Florida, or both, we could very well be on the way to the most exciting end imaginable to this long reality show-a contested convention. It will be one fantastic finale to what has really been an epic show.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Rise Again

Mitt Romney is back. Like Odysseus at the end of the Odyssey, like the Rohirrim returning at Helms Deep, the bow is strung, the prince has come over the horizon, and he is prepared to save what is left of the Republican Party.
Early on in the race, in a twist that now seems almost comical, it is believed that Mitt Romney decided against another try for the presidency due to his fear of being beaten soundly by Jeb Bush. Ah…those were the days. Before the orange dragon had risen, before building walls was a thing, and before we all learned that it doesn’t take sentence structure to make a presidential candidate.
Perhaps some days Mr. Romney regrets that move. Perhaps there are days when he wishes he had climbed into the blood sport ring and traded jabs with those decades his junior. But then there must be days where he knows he is too old for that stuff anymore.
But now he has been called out of retirement. Like the proverbial Roman general who was off in the provinces tending his fields, Mitt Romney has heard the call of battle once more. He didn’t want to go, I would guess. Who in their right mind would want to battle against the monolith that is a man-Donald Trump? But Romney has come.
There are two thoughts on Mr. Romney stepping in and endorsing every candidate and any candidate not named Donald. Some, like myself, are glad that the GOP’s elder statesmen has done what elder statesmen do, speak out. We doubt it will change many minds in Fort Trumptner, (thanks, Politico), but sometimes you have to do the right thing, even if it doesn’t accomplish much.
Others feel that this was the wrong course of action. They feel that Mr. Romney embodies the now-hated “Establishment” of the Republican Party. They fear that “Releasing the Romney” (thanks, Colbert), will actually have a negative effect on the other candidates as Donald Trump is now seen as the ultimate outsider.
Today, across the nation, people are voting. We will see if Donald Trump continues to lose his grip on the GOP, or if we are all firmly in his grasp, and are only waiting now to be eaten.
Mr. Romney’s speech will not swing the pendulum suddenly, it won’t topple the walls around Fort Trumptner, but it is a step in the right direction. Welcome to the team of anti-Trumpers Mitt, thanks for taking to the trenches with us. Keep your head down, its about to get ugly.
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, March 4, 2016

War for the World

Donald Trump is seen speaking on television at Hockeytown

Atlanta, GA – We really do need to talk about last night.

One of the most important things for a candidate for any office to maintain is message discipline. You cannot let others dominate the conversation nor can you let others pull you off your platform and down into talking about other, unrelated things. Through everything that happened last night m, Donald Trump maintained shocking message discipline.
He managed to bring to bear all of his familiar and much loved talking points “he’s small, he’s a loser, I’m really rich,” while refusing to be knocked off his game by the facts. When Megyn Kelly showed clips of him clearly contradicting himself, he blew it off. When shown that the numbers for his proposals clearly did not add up, Trump maintained message discipline, repeating his platform “build a wall,” “the polls are good.” When confronted with the fact that Mitt Romney, the man who the party backed four years ago does not support him, Donald Trump reverted to a major part of his stump speech…screaming.
Marco Rubio had an ok night, although if I were a conspiracy theorist I would say he and Ted Cruz were already collaborating-having gotten together to stop the Donald. Both of them dancing around and punching Trump from the back and front, but neither dropping out so they can continue to maul him on the debate stage.
Rubio does indeed need to drop out soon, and will probably do so before he faces the inevitable and embarrassing loss of his own home state of Florida.
John Kasich was rather boring, sort of a cross between Charlie Brown’s teacher and a white noise machine. I can’t imagine he will last much longer, but he does seem determined to fight Donald Trump, whatever the cost. If for no other reason than to keep Ohio away from Trump, Kasich seems likely to stay in at least until then.
And then there was the winner of the debate, Ted Cruz. While Rubio and Trump were arguing about the size of Trump’s hands, calling each other “Little Marco” and “big Trump,” Cruz didn’t open his mouth; he just stood, trying not to laugh. Instead of calling names he argued about policy, while at the same time drawing a contrast between himself and two men who cannot win, and one man who must not win.
Perhaps Cruz should not have said “count to ten” to Trump, maybe he shouldn’t have encouraged him to breathe, although, to be fair, perhaps Cruz was just concerned about him. But for all that, Cruz did manage do a masterful job last night, and any team that put together such a debate performance for their candidate can be very proud of themselves and of him.
A word on the moderators: Megyn Kelly handled Trump well, while Bret Bair was alright. Chris Wallace had his moments, although there were some questions he asked that could have been phrased better.
Last night it was Donald Trump vs. the world, and the world is going to win this thing.

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Strange Case of Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump

Atlanta, GA – There was a time in the Republican Party when many decided they did not want to vote for a guy who screams crazy things, so they started supporting Ben Carson, a guy who whispers crazy things.
Doctor Ben Carson, just like Dr. Jekyll, was a great and well respected doctor; an all-around good guy that everybody liked and respected both professionally and personally. When he announced his run for the presidency, however, many people didn’t really know what to say. He had said in the past that although he might run, he didn’t really want to be president, but if he did get in it would be because hundreds of thousands of people had asked him to join the race.
Doctor Carson’s campaign emails in the early days often would state that he was the new Berry Goldwater, a candidate who didn’t want the job, but was going to be handed it by the people. Of course, the emails didn’t mention how badly Goldwater lost the election.
Doctor Carson began rising in the polls last year, while at the same time stealing Donald Trump’s playbook; say whatever comes to mind, and your poll numbers automatically go up.
His Hitler comments rocked the nation, as did his awkward pronouncements that the pyramids were silos for grain. But Carson’s numbers began to dwindle beneath the staying power of Donald Trump, and soon the good doctor was playing second fiddle to the backup band.
He refused to give up however, and in Iowa, when several campaigns interpreted him going home, (usually a precursor to dropping out) as a precursor to his dropping out, he started making hay, attacking Ted Cruz as somehow having stolen Iowa, which Carson never had a chance of winning, away from him.
Now, that is pretty much over. Doctor Carson has at last bowed to circumstances and poll numbers, which have him running behind the purple unicorn, and dropped out. But we are left pondering the phenomenon that let him stay near the top of the polls, if even for such a brief period of time.
Carson has no experience, he is not a great speaker, nor is he an interesting one. So why did so many people rally around him for so long? In the end, for the same reason they are rallying to Carson’s personal polar opposite-Donald Trump. America wants to kick Washington and all involved with it to kingdom come, they don’t care how it’s done, nor who does it, whether a billionaire or a brain surgeon.
For all the difference in their personalities-indeed the candidates are almost Jekyll and Hyde by comparison-Carson and Trump supporters are pretty much the same. The platforms the men have been running on are also very similar, shallow on substance, long on promises that things will be different.
Come November, they will be. In what way remains to be seen.
Andrew C. Abbott