Sunday, January 17, 2016
New York State of Mind
Everyone knows how obnoxious New Yorkers are! This is a stereotype that has been perpetuated for decades, largely to provide a sharp contrast to the rural voters Republicans aim at every election with their baseball and apple pie vision of America. Even to the point that the Abner Doubleday myth was invented so that many persons believe baseball was invented in a cow field in upstate New York rather than at Elysian Fields, New Jersey, where the New York Knickerbockers staged their first games.
But, this election offers something different. There is actually someone to defend the Big Apple in the GOP primaries, albeit not the best spokesperson you would like to have. Donald Trump took Ted Cruz's accusation that New York does not represent American values and threw it right back into his face. This may turn out to be the deciding point of the Republican nomination process, as in one fell swoop, Donald pulled the rug right out from under Ted's feet, his closest challenger. This right after the feisty Texan had scored one on Trump over the birther accusations that are now dogging his campaign.
No wonder the Republican debates are so much more fun to watch. Real issues are thrown to the wayside in favor of an us v. them battle royale that has seen Trump survive six staged fights to this point and likely to survive them all, as his opponents have been unable to rattle the Donald. Cruz may end up winning Iowa, the very antithesis of New York, but so did Rick Santorum last time around, and he proved no match for Romney.
The big problem Trump's challengers face is that the Republican electorate appears to want an obnoxious New Yorker, someone who will voice their complaints loud and clear, and it doesn't get anymore obnoxious than Donald Trump. Chris Christie is similarly trying to capitalize on his obnoxious Jersey personality to challenge Trump in New Hampshire, the second stop in the Republican ultimate fight championship.
Ted had hoped to feed off Trump's angry mass by cozying up to him, but it seems the "bromance" is over and Ted now has to go toe to toe with Trump, looking like a young unproven fighter looking to land a haymaker and knock out his much more nimble opponent.
Surprisingly, the nomination seems to come down to these two, as the others stagger around in a daze. Rubio tried to sound like he still had some punch left in him, but it wasn't very effective as Chris Christie literally stared him down. "Rube Rube" Rubio had been the Republican establishment's last best hope to rattle Trump, but Rube couldn't even score a hit on Christie.
Jeb was virtually a footnote two nights ago, looking as inconsequential as ever as he ducked questions and made the same hollow comments that have plagued his campaign. At one point, he tried to take advantage of Nikki Haley's rising stardom, especially since the debate was held in her home state, but he fell flat here as well.
For a Republican campaign that was said to offer the best of the best, it is looking a whole lot like a New Jersey used car lot with the only car standing out being that one with the gleaming Trump moniker stamped on it. Trump upstaged his opponents from day one, using one clever gimmick after another to put them on their heels, and they have been unable to get any footing since. Jeb Bush, the anointed front runner back in June, 2015, is now polling less than 5 per cent on average, barely qualifying to even participate in the main event.
It looks like the Republicans have no choice but to get into a New York State of Mind as more and more it looks like the nomination is Donald Trump's for the taking. I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but there seems to be no Republican challenger able to knock him off his lofty perch. Donald Trump wouldn't be any self-respecting New Yorker's first choice to represent them in an election, but a certain amount of pride had to well up seeing Trump triumphantly defend his city on a national stage.