Sunday, May 15, 2016

Who Gets the Bucket?

Alrighty then, it seems like a good time to see where the 2016 candidates are, now that the all-important Guam caucus is over for the Democrats (extra irony here, folks; our 'territories' are populated by US citizens and veterans, but they can only vote in primaries), Nebraska is in the win column for Trump, and West Virginia is done for both parties.

Voting in primaries will continue until June 14, so it ain't over yet, not by a thousand miles of squat, green peppermint trees.

Hillary Clinton's loss in West Virginia, again, didn't really affect her standing as the front-runner, thanks to the rather arcane 'superdelegate' math that the Democrats like. Engineered scandals and constant carping about her husband's shenanigans over twenty years ago, coupled with the futile whinging about emails, servers and Benghazi!, have eroded her poll numbers slightly against Trump.

Still, Clinton will come into the general election cycle after the conventions with a clear Electoral College advantage over any GOP nominee. Nineteen states regularly and consistently vote Democratic in the general; add only one swing state like Florida, and Hillary Clinton becomes the 45th President. That would cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth, particularly since many conservatives seem to think that having a vagina makes one ineligible (and nevermind their miserable wanking over Sarah Palin - GOP vagina-bearers don't seem to count).

Bernie Sanders' road is still the same uphill climb, but I think I see what he might be angling toward. By taking this all the way to June, even if Sanders loses the nomination, he might still be in a position to affect the Party platform for November.

Which leads me inexorably to Donald Trump. The presumptive nominee has been accepting the fealty of many in the GOP establishment and inner hierarchy, but many of the big donors are disdaining Trump in favor of casting their bread upon the downticket races.

That's not to say that Trump's being idle, oh no - right now he's trying to run away from the policy positions (now called 'suggestions') that he made last year, as well as doing his own particular brand of damage control regarding his past. To say that Trump was a lecher and a bear with women would be understating the matter, and the Party of Family values is slowly getting comfortable with a serial adulterer (after all, they're used to Newton Gingrich, go figure).

The big news recently was Trump's selection of a running mate. Ordinarily his chief fixer would be spearheading the vetting process, but Manafort's a bit tainted, having worked for various Russian oligarchs and other unsavory types. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandoski, is apparently heading up the VP selection, and there's no end of people running away from the job.


Traditionally, the Vice President balances the ticket; a nominee from the Northeast would pick someone from the West or South to broaden the appeal. Failing that, a VP is chosen to buttress areas where the President might be weak - Biden had the foreign policy chops to support Obama, for example. In other cases, the VP can become a stronger officer of state than the President - Cheney's the best example of this.

Roosevelt's running mate for his first two terms, John Nance Garner, famously said that his office was "not worth a bucket of warm piss," and you really have to have some sympathy for whoever Trump picks as his Veep. That man or woman will be the most marginalized Vice President in recent history; if he comes out of the Senate, he'll be ostracized privately. And no matter who he or she is, they'll be hampered by one important fact.

Trump will not want anyone who he thinks might try to undermine him, which will happen. He'll want a nonentity, preferably; someone he can keep under his thumb and relegated to opening bridges and attending foreign funerals.

That's where we're at right now.


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