Hillary Clinton finally clinched the required delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, a feat that Donald Trump managed for the Republicans over a month ago. (If that sounds like a boast, it isn’t. It is a statement of the revulsion that Clinton inspires.)
My wild card scenario, or fervent wish, from last week that the delegates take their responsibility seriously and vote their own minds still holds. Only respect for the rules stands between us and the delegates providing better options than the charlatan or the criminal that the two established partied foisted upon us.
But assuming that the compulsion to follow the rules remains now that everyone is presumed and, therefore, predictions can return to normal expectation patterns, the race looks different today.
Clinton has secured the Democratic nomination, and Bernie Sanders’s supporters and any stray #NeverHillary voters on the left will enter their final stages of mourning. They will quickly arrive at acceptance. As that happens, the small poll leads Trump enjoys at the moment will likely dissolve.
Consolidation will do part of the job, and the full, negative, media attention on Trump will do the rest. Plus, Clinton has finally hit upon an argument against Trump that she can make stick, one for which his offence-is-the-best-defence style won’t work.
Dispatching the GOP will prove much easier. It will become the party of sexist, egoistical, lying, hypocritical, bigots that the popular people always told us it was.
The pressure against an indictment of Clinton for her security breaches will grow, as will the pressure for Obama to issue a pardon for her. If he does pardon her, he will tell the American public that we all must move on for the good of the country.
Thus, we shall prepare for another Clinton presidency.
What cracks me up — in both the humor and pressure senses of the expression—is how leading Republicans are still behind the knowledge curve. Peggy Noonan summed the problem up, as she tends to do, with the question, “The voters have rebuked professional Republicans and conservatives. What’s next for the GOP?”
What’s next? There is no next. The Republican party as we know it is dead. All of the questions about what party leaders should do now — they answered those questions months ago. The fact that few Republican pundits voiced the questions didn’t matter. Just as truth does not require belief, the silent questions got answered.
We now know who puts personal power and party before country. It is a longer list than we thought — and that is saying something — but now we know.
All the decisions and deals the GOP powers that be offer — from having Trump commit to a list of judges from The Heritage Foundation if he wanted party support to offering to be the Vice President to conjure up an air of reason and decorum and make the ticket palatable to the American electorate — those deals assume that the party players still have credibility. They don’t.
The introspection Noonan calls for — that was an insight for last summer. Now it is evidence for that the DC/NYC bubble is as opaque as it is soundproof.
Attempts at introspection don’t fare much better. To take one example, if Reagan Democrats of the 1980s never fully evolved to Republican principles it is because Republicans didn’t lead them to Republican principles.
Republicans of the George H W Bush era and beyond governed as Democrats-lite, always seeking the winning blend of social and economic issues for DC to dictate. This was foolish for two reasons: one, Democrats will always be better at that game because the hand-out policies they favour fail in the long term. It takes time for the government to run out of other people’s money. Time makes people forget.
Two, Republicans talked about one set of principles but acted on another. We got sick of the shysters’ shell game.
Geek that I am, I keep hearing Merlin’s proclamation to Uther Pendragon from Excalibur, “You betrayed the Duke, you stole his wife, you took his castle, now no-one trusts you.” Our Republican leaders of the last few decades did not lead. And now, no one trusts them.
The GOP is now the party of Trump, which is nothing like the party of Jefferson or Lincoln — neither by statesmanship nor by principles.
What the convention delegates choose to do might save the name. A new party will either emerge from within by delegates voting their conscience or a new one will form in the exodus.
But by all scenarios, the Grand Old Party as we knew it is finished.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)