Monday, March 7, 2016

The Convention with a Who-would-have-thought-of-it break!

It's kind of like the Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians watching the Republican candidates go down one by one.   We've  had crowded fields before, but this one was downright claustrophobic with all those candidates on stage.  So many that the Republican National Committee decided to go with the top ten polling candidates in the initial debates, but now there are only four left. The only hope for Kasich to stay alive is to win Michigan tomorrow.  Rubio also finds himself in a must-situation in Florida on March 15.

If you recall the movie, the real killer faked his own death only to come back and haunt the other hotel guests.  So, we should be looking for one of the candidates who dropped out early.  Maybe even Rick Perry, who still thinks he has a shot at the nomination.

It's just too bad there is no winsone candidate like Shirley Eaton to provide sorely lacking sex appeal.   For that we have to rely on Megyn Kelly, who got a second chance to square off against the Donald at the last debate and once again proved to be his arch nemesis.  It's just hard to figure out what so many persons see in Donald Drumpf.  He's certainly no Hugh O'Brian, but apparently that's how he thinks of himself. If he tanks this Tuesday, many political pundits will no doubt be pointing to Megyn as the person with the smoking gun.

Donald has managed to turn his supporters against the media.  It doesn't matter whether Politifact points out his many lies and omissions or if Megyn calls him out on Drumpf University, Donald is oblivious to such criticism.  He has managed to corner a 35 - 45 per cent share of the GOP base and it appears that is enough for him to complete his hostile takeover of the Republican Party.

Yet, he doesn't have a "yuge" lead among delegates at this point.  He has 384.  Ted is not far behind with 300, and Ted and Marco together have more delegates (451) than Donald, so the longer both of them stay in the race the less likely Donald is of getting a clear majority to carry the nomination.  Then there is John Kasich with two big Midwestern states coming up where he can add significantly to his delegate count (37).  This may very well end up being a brokered convention.

In case you are curious, the last brokered convention was 1976 when Gerald Ford found himself short of the total number of delegates needed to secure the nomination and had to strike a deal with the Reagan camp to be the party's nominee, only to go down in the general election against Jimmy Carter.

At that point, all bets are off.  Delegates are allowed to go anywhere they want once released by their initial candidate.  The RNC would be able to step in and flex its muscle, offering favors to various candidates to align behind the party pick.  Of course, there is the danger that this would so incense independent delegates that all hell would break loose on the convention floor, and you have to figure Drumpf would be the one to benefit from this chaos.   The kind of lose-lose situation the Republican National Committee was hoping to avoid when it fielded its GOP 'Dream Team" last Spring before Donald crashed the party in June.

Ted is also a wildcard.  He and Donald represent the sizable anti-establishment vote that is far outstripping the establishment vote to this point.  The RNC has been very rough on Ted, so he really has no reason to be a team player at this point.   For all we know, he could align himself with Drumpf in the end, as so many evangelical voters have.

Rubio's candidacy has failed to catch fire.  He scored a surprise victory in Minnesota and won Puerto Rico.  He has to win Florida to have any hope of keeping his candidacy alive.  Kasich has to win Michigan, as there is no such a thing as a noble second place finish at this point. Like Rubio, he must also win his home state of Ohio on March 15 to remain a viable candidate, which oddly enough he finds himself trailing in the polls to Drumpf despite being a popular governor.

All along I felt the Republicans' best option in the general election is a Kasich/Rubio ticket, but this is largely because the two represent Ohio and Florida respectively.  Neither has much charisma, certainly nothing to compare to the Donald, who has amassed a devoted following that isn't likely to leave him at the convention door.  How the RNC accommodates him remains to be seen.

His best hope continues to be that the primaries play out like Ten Little Indians.  Only then can he claim the title of Big Chief.

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