“The greatest trend in American politics does not involve the demographic differences that separate voters by ethnicity and age, although these are considerable, but that an increasing plurality of our citizens strongly dislikes both political parties as well as their entrenched leaders.”
— Opening statement from Independent Candidate Jim Webb’s campaign website. November 2, 2015.
With the likelihood of both the disenfranchised Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson running as Independents as they leave the GOP nest, the sign of the times seems finally to reflect what decades worth of voter alienation now finally triggered the majority of the American people’s ire.
It is not merely on the right, but on the left as well. Given the consensus that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, unlikeable, and perhaps senile, do not vapor lock should the centrist Jim Webb find competition among his left-wing rivals.
Both Democrats and the Republican establishment collaborated to manufacture a new breed of political economy called corporatism. It was Margaret Thatcher who, in her last book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002), warned the consequences of “All corporatism – even when practiced in societies where hard work, enterprise and cooperation are as highly valued as in Korea – encourages inflexibility, discourages individual accountability, and risks magnifying errors by concealing them.”
Under the models of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and European Union, corporatism is not merely the ideology of big business driving economic growth through globalization, but rather globalization driving the geopolitical consolidation of absolute power into the inevitable one world government. Thus one understands that the welfare state will suddenly become synchronized with the scourge of “corporate welfare.”
The New Consensus in American Politics — We the People, Same as the Old
I hold no illusion either Trump and Dr. Carson will remain as GOP candidates. The GOP is not interested remaining a partisan stalwart should it be further deluged by Tea Party Reaganites, libertarians and actual political mavericks like “The Donald.”
A poll Trump tweeted an USA Today poll Friday suggests as many as 68 percent of his supporters would unquestionably vote for him if he left the GOP to run as an Independent.
A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent. https://t.co/ztP5d2ctZl
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2015
In fact it was Friday when the politically impotent Sen. John McCain revealed to the media that of all GOP candidates in the primary field, he disagrees most with Ted Cruz; while Sen. Lindsey Graham merely echoed George W. Bush in declaring him “an opportunist.” The level of contempt displayed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the deposed former House Speaker John Boehner remain only part of the story behind the schism which all but officially broke apart the 159 year-old party.
While for a year I have aggressively advocated for the Tea Party to leave the GOP even at the cost of a Democrat landslide victory with the coattails (or Hillary’s pantsuit to boot), I never foresaw the past week’s events that have all but officially caused the Grand Old Party to implode. Given the diversity of the center right-wing caucus, those associated with the Tea Party, Constitution and Conservative Parties and finally the Libertarian Party have nothing to lose and all to gain.
It is clear the GOP truly is willing to do more than merely lose the primary in order to win the election. Reince Priebus’ posse is too impotent politically to succeed at either.
The Partitioning of the Left
Far more intriguing given the recent schisms from both major parties is the equally uncertain fate of the Democrats. While the GOP paleo-conservatives will likely comprise of the Tea Party, Conservative, and Constitution Parties, the Left will splinter between what used to be known as “liberals,” democratic socialists, and “blue dog” Democrats like former Sen. Jim Webb.
Sen. Webb is an interesting case. His official campaign site, last updated November 4, included the following intriguing details of his impact on the race. It would affect Donald Trump much more profoundly than Hillary Clinton. It could not be more accurately conveyed the rising discontent of American citizens than to print:
“Equal-opportunity disgust is at play here, a phenomenon much different from, say, the dramatic tilt in 1974 toward the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal or the surprising emergence of the Republican majority in the 1994 elections.”
It is true how “far more Americans consider themselves to be political independents than Democrats or Republicans.” It is equally so that “seasoned political commentators tend to dismiss this trend, since many independents say they “lean” toward one party or the other.” “But our pundits,” the article claimed, “are misreading the reality of the numbers just as badly as they have misinterpreted so many other aspects of this year’s unusual presidential election cycle.”
Those pundits misread nothing. Polling numbers and the flow of money are asynchronous to their grand design.
The former Democrat candidate “could win nearly 10 percent of the vote as an independent candidate in two key swing states, a new poll found.” And in a three-way test between Mrs. Clinton, Donald Trump and Webb, “Clinton has a one-point lead over Trump (41-40), and Webb takes 9 percent of the vote. In both Iowa and North Carolina, Webb takes more from Trump than Clinton, according to the Public Policy Polling survey,” released November 4, 2015.
Webb, a former Republican, ran four months before dropping out of the primary when he failed to gain traction among voters “for not being progressive enough” for the Democratic Party. It is important to understand in reading how Webb is projected to receive nine percent of the vote as an Independent in North Carolina.
While a collection of differing media accounts remain afloat as to the fate of Bernie Sanders’ campaign once Hillary Clinton forcibly pushes aside her remaining competitors (Martin O’Malley is the other), at least one report by Ed Klein on August 25 “confirms” Sanders is prepared to run as an Independent, perhaps on the Democratic Socialist ticket.
Klein reported that “several Sanders campaign insiders say the 73-year-old leftwing firebrand is convinced the fix is in to give the Democrat nomination to Hillary—unless she implodes, at which point the party will line up lockstep behind Biden.” Furthermore, “These sources say Sanders believes that despite his ever-growing crowds of fired-up supporters, he’ll never overcome Hillary’s—or, for that matter, Biden’s—advantage in money, organization and endorsements.”
One Sanders aide gushed expansively that,
“In Bernie’s opinion Hillary is owned by Wall Street and is a hawk. There’s no way he’s going to come to an accommodation with her. He is not in this to compromise. The decision hasn’t been made when to make the announcement to go independent. Right now, things are going great and he very well may upset Hillary in the New Hampshire primary. But as soon as she starts piling up delegates with the help of Wall Street money and her formidable ground operation, Bernie’s going to pull out and announce an independent run Bernie’s polling has shown that he has a tidal wave of support among people across the country who have never or seldom voted. They’ll come out for him and pull the Independent Party lever.”
MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported that Martin O’Malley is already pounding away at Sanders’ history as a lifelong Independent having historically bashed the Democratic Party, citing “I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m not a former independent.” While charges against Sanders include his role in working against Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign have publicly swirled, Sanders reaction, angrily, was simply this is “categorically false.” Said O’Malley spokeswoman Haley Morris to MSNBC, “Senator Sanders cannot re-write history when the reality is that he owes Democrats an explanation, not a denial, as to why he didn’t have the President’s back in 2012.”
The Final Countdown: Who Would Win the Election?
With Trump’s threat to leave the party due to the plan by the GOP establishment to hold a “brokered convention” next year in Cleveland followed by Dr. Ben Carson’s, it might seem at least superficially, not only is the GOP dead, but perhaps now conservatism is on life support. In fact Hot Air’s Allah Pundit suggests that,
“If all 68 percent of those ‘Trump or bust’ likely Republican voters are telling the truth about sticking with him if he runs third-party, we’re looking at something like 17-20 percent of the total vote next November going to Trump, way more than enough to wreck the GOP’s chances. Even if half of them end up deciding to either stay home or vote for the Republican nominee in the interest of beating Hillary, that’s still upwards of 10 percent breaking away There are X factors, though. One X factor is Trump’s dynamism on the stump. If he campaigned aggressively as a third-party nominee, with the sort of frequent big rallies he’s doing now, the contrast with Hillary’s ‘low energy’ campaign and whatever the GOP nominee is doing might drive extra votes to him. I wouldn’t put it past him to get 25 percent especially if he finally opens his wallet to buy ads and build a national organization.”
As for Dr. Carson, it would not prove “the kind of game-changer that a Trump defection might be” given he has been steadily losing ground in the GOP primary race, though he remains firmly entrenched in the top tier.
As for the Democrat division, Hillary Clinton presently enjoys a comfortable lead of 51 percent to 42 percent over Bernie Sanders in Iowa according to the November 22-25 data from the Quinnipiac University poll. Mrs. Clinton has a slightly larger lead over Sanders in the October 2015 poll, again by Quinnipiac University, of 51 percent to 40 for Sanders.
“It’s not that Iowa Democrats are in love with Secretary Clinton right now,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. “They even think Sanders would be better handling the economy, generally the hallmark of the candidate who wins the Democratic nomination. But despite all the things about Clinton that gives Democrats pause, there is one thing that unites them: She looks like a winner in November.”
While Ted Cruz rapidly expands his lead in Iowa over Trump, a true shakeup in the GOP race, regardless of the means, will inevitably result in an earthquake whereby Priebus will seek to undermine the election in favor of Rubio or Jeb Bush. But if Sanders joins Webb to run as an Independent, it will all but assure not just the wildest election in nearly 200 years, but the end of the two-party political duopoly in its entirety.
Regardless, it appears the likelihood of the election being decided by the House of Representatives is not so absurd anymore. Rather, it may be inevitable.