The Election Chronicles, Volume 17: George Pataki Drops Out

Yesterday we heard from the latest Republican casualty: George Pataki.

He decided to suspend his campaign for President. When I told this to my wife she expressed surprise that he was still running. Yeah, it just doesn’t pay to be one of the “undercard Republicans” who never made it to the national stage. He shared the stage with so many Republicans who sought the 2016 nomination that the debates were split into two: those who did well in the polls and those who didn’t.

He came to the race with some credentials. He was governor of New York from 1995 to 2006, including the morning of 9/11.

He attempted to place himself as a candidate on the mainstream. He opposed the Affordable Care Act but sought an alternative. He described himself as socially liberal on abortion and gay rights and he may well have been the best Republican candidate for millennials, those born after 1980.

But, and I’ve said before, the Republican source of funding and votes are mutually exclusive. He just couldn’t get traction among his own party and his own party just refused to see how valuable he could have been in the general election.

Can I say this? It’s a good for the Democrats. As a Democrat I’m pleased.

The Election Chronicles, Volume 16: Lindsey Graham Drops Out

Many of us expect that some of the Republican candidates will soon see the handwriting on the wall and withdraw from the campaign. Yesterday that candidate was Lindsey Graham.

He suspended his campaign, recognizing that he has no path to the White House. He is an honorable man and he does this for no other reason than to increase the chances of a Republican successor to President Obama.

But it’s been an uphill battle. He clearly staked out a place for himself as a hawk, calling for boots on the ground against ISIS but just couldn’t gain any traction.

Donald Trump continues to consume most of the oxygen of the Republican campaign and it’s made it nearly impossible for serious candidates to have serious discussions.

Lindsey is much too hawkish for me and I never would have voted for him, but I do respect him for the conviction of his beliefs. We will be well served if he continues his work in the Senate.

The Election Chronicles, Volume 15: The GOP Confronts Trump and Have Only Themselves to Blame

The Republican Party has been absent from the White House since 2008 and they’ve not been happy.

They see 2016 as their opportunity to regain the Presidency but they’ve run into a problem: Donald Trump. It’s no secret that Trump thinks of himself capable of doing whatever he wants and he now thinks he can be our next President.

Most of the Republican establishment incorrectly assumed he was doing this as a way to gain publicity for his reality show The Apprentice. Somewhere along this path Don decided he could win and the polls seem to back this up, at least for the Republican nomination.

So what’s the problem? Well, Don appears to be run on a platform of lies. He claims that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the destruction of the Twin Towers. He claims that he witnessed people falling from the Twin Towers even though he was four miles away.

There are more examples, but many Republicans can’t understand why his numbers are strong while he continues to lie.

They shouldn’t be puzzled: they should be ashamed. They gave him the playbook.

The Republican party overflows with experiences where they have encouraged their supporters to ignore the facts and embrace their fears.

Let me give a few examples:

  • On 9/11/2001 we were all united in our grief and fear. We knew almost immediately that Osama bin Laden was behind it. And yet instead of concentrating exclusively on Afghanistan (who harbored bin Laden) the Bush administration claimed that our bigger threat was from Iraq. In 2003 we invaded Iraq, falsely claiming that weapons of mass destruction were poised in our direction. They weren’t and we now know that the Bush administration believed the information not because it was correct, but because it was useful to their beliefs.
  • Despite overwhelming evidence, the GOP continues to deny our role in Global Warming. They continue to insist there is no real evidence that climate change is related to the burning of fossil fuels.
  • During the Bush administration the bookstore at the Grand Canyon was directed to sell the book Grand Canyon a Different View by Tom Vail. Vail claims that the Grand Canyon was formed not by millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River, but by the Noah’s Ark Flood.

Simply put, the GOP spent the last 8 years telling their followers to ignore the facts and instead fear that President Obama and the Democrats are going to destroy America.

And now, much to their despair, Donald Trump has proven the master of their strategy. Don is a polarizing figure and his xenophobic platform virtually insures that he cannot be elected President. I wrote last month how the wheels are coming off on the Republican Party.

They have only themselves to blame.