No getting around it, there are lots of delusional people in American politics today.
Just this week, for example, the 2024 Republican presidential field expanded – again – and has now reached a total number of candidates forcing the party powers-that-be to set rules regarding how many will be permitted to share one debate stage (assuming former president Donald Trump agrees to participate) when the nationally televised forums roll around. The first one is scheduled for roughly two and a half months from now in August. Will Chris Christie be included? Or North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum? How about Mike Pence?
And just last week, Trump himself continued exhibiting bizarre behavior via his social media accounts by one, lashing out at his former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, a woman who did her job exceptionally well and stayed with him until the end (of his presidency), in addition to criticizing the pronunciation of Ron DeSantis’s last name. Who cares? But beyond the pettiness of Trump’s gestures, who is advising him to jab at his tough-as-nails cancer survivor former lead spokesperson and also mock the sound of his chief rival’s last name?
This is crazy stuff. Almost cringeworthy, considering we’re talking about a man who could very well be the next president of the United States and de facto leader of our movement. Are these ill-timed blurts going to generate votes in Iowa and New Hampshire for the virtual incumbent?
The delusions aren’t confined to Republicans alone as some Democrats are making the rounds fretting over the possibility that a third-party candidate could tip next year’s election to Trump, and that, despite history suggesting otherwise, that a “moderate” middle of the road candidacy could actually, gulp, succeed.
Is this delusional? Or could it really happen? In an article titled “Democrats worry third-party candidate will hand 2024 election to Republicans”, Rachel Schilke reported at the Washington Examiner:
“The third-party vote has significantly affected the outcome of recent elections. In 2020, the share of third-party voters, among other things, helped Biden secure the White House. However, in 2016, it contributed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's loss. Democrats believe the decline in the third-party vote from 6% in 2016 to 2% in 2020 made it easier for Trump to lose the second time around, according to NBC News.
“The party's biggest challenge will be the No Labels, a centrist party group working to gain access to ballots across all 50 states to open the doors for a third-party candidate in the presidential elections. No Labels is spending $70 million to launch an independent ticket in the United States. The group has gained momentum in Arizona, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon. Some senators focused on centrism, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), have been members of the group for years and have supported having a third-party option in elections.
“For the 2024 election, No Labels is seeking to offer alternative candidates for voters who, polls show, do not want to see another showdown between Biden and Trump.”
Blah, blah, blah. Every four years Americans go through the same media-fanned third-party song and dance, basically repeating that some percent of voters aren’t happy with the two major party candidates so they “search for alternatives” among the slate of smaller parties. These “purists” fully believe in the necessity of voting but seem okay with the realization that they’ve just thrown their one vote (unless you’re a Democrat, right?) away like a spoiled brat tossing his ice cream cone on the pavement because he’s ticked that the frozen delight wasn’t the right flavor.
I don’t know much about the group, but “No Labels” has been around for years, seeking to manage a mythical “consensus” candidate who isn’t too radically conservative (you know, the people who believe in limited government, liberty, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense, among other things) or kook-fringe liberal (proponents of nationalized healthcare, legalized drugs, abortion up to the moment of birth, an open southern border, welfare spending for all and a universal basic income, among other things).
In contrast, what does a “centrist” stand for? Do they oppose a large national debt, but are fine with a medium sized one? Or for keeping some of the “woke” crap infesting our military, but aren’t wild about “Black Lives Matter” and LGBTQIA+++ rainbow flags on embassies? Or for closing half the southern border? Or for legalizing pot but saying no to opioids? How about mandating “clean” energy but allowing for the sale of some gas-powered vehicles and stoves?
Hypothetically speaking, weren’t all the Founding Fathers, when they signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, members of some sort of “No Labels” fraternity? Yet they each harbored their own views on how the new government should be conducted, didn’t they?
Personally, I don’t think it’s a winning strategy for any candidate to openly promote the fact they’re “moderate” or “centrist” on any political issue. The principled people who decide elections presumably want politicians who believe in something, don’t they? Wasn’t his fungible ideology one of the knocks on Donald Trump in beginning of his ’16 run, the accusation that he didn’t possess an established set of principles? What does Joe Biden believe in other than whatever comes out of the mouth of nuts like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez?
Further, couldn’t the term “No Labels” apply to air-brain politicians like Kamala Harris as well? Political labels definitely don’t stick to the vice president, but there are others: “Nonsensical, unprepared, temperamental, apathetic, opportunistic, unfriendly, phony, ungrounded, unprincipled and unqualified” among them?
In all seriousness, it’s very unlikely that a group like “No Labels” could influence the outcome of the 2024 election, or at least not in a profound way. There is always going to be a certain percentage of voters who behave like an entity all to their lonesome, self-important folks who consider themselves above the unpleasantness of politics who essentially decide, without admitting it, that they don’t really care that much about freedom and they’re content to let someone else determine the future of the country.
Lots of RINO Republicans took this attitude towards Trump in 2020, reasoning that the alternative – the “nice guy everyman” Joe Biden – would steer the country back towards the center and away from the divisiveness of the Trump years. These are the citizens who believed the establishment media’s narrative on Charlottesville, thought Trump was responsible for hundreds of thousands of COVID deaths and that the culture war rages on simply because conservatives aren’t “tolerant” enough.
Are Democrats unfounded/delusional in their worries about a third-party sabotaging their chances in 2024? They should start with senile Joe himself, who can’t seem to remain upright these days. Does he really want to win the election? Does he really want to run, or is his reelection effort being prodded by party decision-makers who are terrified there isn’t another Democrat who’s sufficiently prominent to run on a national ticket?
After all, Biden isn’t acting like someone who’s itching to mount another exhausting campaign. Unlike Trump – and many of the other Republicans – Biden seemingly disdains conventional campaigning. Or maybe it’s because he can’t do it anymore. It’s funny how Biden often does that little shuffle “jog” as he approaches a microphone, but once he arrives at the podium it’s the same old senile Joe stammering through another prepared script of lies, fibs, distortions, invective (against Republicans) speaking to an audience full of party honks who applaud and cheer on cue.
By the same token, does Donald Trump actually want to win? For months he’s been laying the groundwork for a serious campaign against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but ever since the latter’s formal entry into the campaign, Trump’s behavior has been strange to say the least. Has Trump finally run out of semi-coherent digs to launch, or has his social media “magic” evaporated ever since he was banned from Twitter?
Just like Target’s brains should’ve figured that their over-the-top promotion of “Pride Month” would alienate a huge portion of their customer base, or Bud Light’s marketing folks should’ve known that putting a transgender weirdo on a beer can would turn off the conservative bar crowd, Trump should instinctively understand that poking at people like Kayleigh McEnany isn’t bound to help his cause.
It only makes him seem irrational. The “only Trump” voters would be with him no matter what he does, but what about those who are at least open to following one or more of the other candidates?
With the entry of several new competitors into the GOP race, it’s already evident that Trump’s “don’t be disloyal by entering a race you can’t win” admonishment to potential challengers didn’t work as conceived. Not all of the contenders are in it to win, either, as clearly Chris Christie is running for president solely to act as a fly on a horse’s rump – with the animal’s tail restricted from brushing it away.
Why? Is it personal animosity towards the former president? A belief that he’s not electable? Old scores to settle? Or a genuine belief that Trump’s time has passed and new blood is needed to carry the MAGA torch forward?
The presidential campaign cycle is long and every candidate – or party – is bound to make many mistakes over the course of months or years. Yet some errors are avoidable and it’s clear both the Democrats and Republicans are committing blunders that more experienced political operations shouldn’t be making. If Donald Trump truly wants to win, he should consider a course change.
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