President Donald John Trump. DJT. President Hillary Rodham Clinton. HRC. First Lady Melania Trump. First Gentleman Bill Clinton.Nope. Can't get my head around any of that. Who could have predicted that our presidential choice would be between a demented huckster and an unindicted felon? Or that Indiana would have been the place where voters could have said, "You know what? This is crazy. Let's just stop it." Instead, we will be known as the ones who put the wounded Ted Cruz campaign out of its misery.
And what is the campaign going to be like? We're going to have two people most Americans don't like slinging mud at each other for months. There have been elections for which I've had to hold my nose and choose the lesser of two evils. This is the first one in which the thought of voting for either candidate makes me ill.
I'm not one of those who think Clinton is going to crush Trump in November. Everyone has been misreading the Trump phenomenon from the beginning. Andrew Sullivan, in a nearly hysterical article about how ripe for tyranny this country is, does make a valid point about Clinton:
Remember James Carville’s core question in the 1992 election: Change versus more of the same? That sentiment once elected Clinton’s husband; it could also elect her opponent this fall. If you like America as it is, vote Clinton. After all, she has been a member of the American political elite for a quarter-century. Clinton, moreover, has shown no ability to inspire or rally anyone but her longtime loyalists. She is lost in the new media and has struggled to put away a 74-year-old socialist who is barely a member of her party. Her own unfavorables are only 11 points lower than Trump’s (far higher than Obama’s, John Kerry’s, or Al Gore’s were at this point in the race), and the more she campaigns, the higher her unfavorables go (including in her own party). She has a Gore problem. The idea of welcoming her into your living room for the next four years can seem, at times, positively masochistic.So start thinking about the possibility of a Trump presidency. Unlike Sullivan, I don't think it would be a tyranny. He would be an authoritarian, sure, but even if he had dictatorial impulses, our system is designed to block them.
My problem is that it's so disheartening to think about what will happen under the presidency of either of these two. They're both basically Northeast liberals who believe in the power of big government. If the voters had been choosier in casting their votes, we could have had a strong, clear choice of left vs. right for president. Instead, we really don't have a choice at all. Would America be any different under a Trump presidency or a Clinton presidency?
I know why Clinton is where she is. She's been preparing for this her whole life, and the Democratic establishment pretty much rigged the system for her to win — it was her turn, you know. Republicans used to be the ones giving it to the next guy in line, and that didn't work out too well. So this time, the GOP primary is a wide-open shootout, and look who's still standing.
And that's as much a mystery as it has always been. Voters aren't picking Trump for anything he believes or doesn't believe. He's been a pro-choice, anti-gun, universal health care kind of liberal, espousing views that go against everything the Republican base supposedly stands for. If self-identifying conservatives and evangelical Christians are choosing Donald Trump, clearly the point isn't him but the message choosing him sends. To vote for Donald Trump is send a great big "F—-Y—-" to the political establishment.
But what do they want that they're so angry at not getting? My suspicion is that it is not less government they want, but government that delivers more to them. In other words, we might just have the two candidates we deserve.
Whew. Think I'll go have a good cry now.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
After Pope Francis tweeted about Jesus' love for us (hardly a controversial topic, one would think), he was targeted with vile abuse by Twitter trolls. What kind of twisted jerk would do that?
Yowza! A new study suggests that Earth may be holding nearly 1 trillion species of organisms, but only one-thousandth of 1 percent of those organisms is identified, which means that 99.99 percent of all life forms are yet to be discovered.
Donald Trump keeps surpassing himself in absurd statements that astonish. Yesterday it was the claim that Ted Cruz's father "was with Lee Harvey Oswald" before he assassinated President Kennedy. Did I already mention "demented"?
CBS News (among others) is crediting Hillary Clinton for apologizing to miners for saying she would "put coal out of business." Actually, she did no such thing. She babbled on and on about how it was a misstatement considered out of contest. But she did promise to put coal out of business, and she meant it. So basically she is flat-out lying, and CBS is letting her get away with calling it an apology.
Another success story from the great education establishment: A Texas high school teacher has been teaching French for about five months, even though he does not speak that language.
President Obama orders federal agencies to stop asking job applicants about their criminal history. Great. Just what we need in government, even more criminals.
Finally, your brain limits you to just five BFFs. We each have about 150 "contacts," and they are layered:
Individuals, he says, generally have up to five people in the closest layer. The next closest layer contains an additional 10, the one beyond that an extra 35, and the final group another 100. So cumulatively, the layers contain five, 15, 50, and 150 people.