Election 2016: Wherever You Go, There You Are

English: ‘Down Goes McGinty’, This cartoon par...
English: ‘Down Goes McGinty’, This cartoon parodies a popular comic song about a foolish Irishman who undergoes a series of mishaps culminating in a fall into the sea, where he dies. McGinty here is Democratic presidential nominee of 1900, William Jennings Bryan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Six months ago, who would have bet on Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, even given juicy odds? But here we are.

Who would have predicted the last two Republican presidents, the immediate past GOP presidential nominee, and the Republican Speaker of the House declining even lukewarm endorsements for their party’s horse? Yet that’s what’s happening.

Over on the Democratic side, who expected Bernie Sanders to erase Hillary Clinton’s 50-point leads and go toe to toe with her — or for that matter to win a single primary other than perhaps his home state of Vermont’s? Well, guess what?

And then there’s Clinton herself, not just continuing to run but continuing to win. This, even as she faces possible compelled deposition relating to her use of, and an ongoing FBI criminal investigation into mishandling of classified information via, a non-secure, privately owned mail server — a server allegedly hacked by, probably among others, now-incarcerated Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka “Guccifer.” A confidential source that I just invented tells me Clinton shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. I’m skeptical. But not as skeptical as I would have been a year ago.

Over in third party territory where I live, some activists are convinced that all this  #NeverTrump #FeelTheBern #WhichHillary stuff portends a breakout year for the Libertarians or the Greens. Again, I’m skeptical. Again, not as skeptical now as last Christmas.

There’s a major crackup/realignment going on in American politics, from the parties’ rank-and-file all the way up to leadership. The nation’s transpartisan ruling class is in the throes of something approaching civil war. Maybe, hopefully not,  one as dangerous as the crackup preceding the REAL Civil War.

The pundits, myself included, have been churning out novel theories to make sense of all this for as long as it’s been going on. Each theory enjoys a half-life of a week or so as it decays into the next. Those of us who arrogate to ourselves the job of explaining stuff to the rest of you are at least as lost at sea as you are. Not, as you’re no doubt noticing, that it shuts any of us up.

It’s going to be a long six months between now and the election. Maybe at the end of it we’ll have some kind of epiphany or valuable takeaway to show for it. But I wouldn’t bet on that either.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Also published on Medium.

  • I don’t think any sub-US faction would want to take over the US government in any civil war. The goal would be to secede and to leave as much of the remaining US government debt as tactically possible to the other side.

  • TellTheTruth-2

    pundit = TV talking heads. Many offering view concerning politics. <—- Talking heads vs thinking heads. Just TV entertainers who are skilled at talking over each other so what they say can't even be understood by the listener.

  • Delaney Coffer

    As this goes on, it’s important to remind oneself that most people don’t follow politics at all and even the few who do follow it in the shallowest of ways. The rise of Trump is in no way different than the rise of brakabama. They are both modern culture phenomena. Trump and brakabama understand this, but other people seem to imagine an American politics that simply doesn’t exist. The spoiled brat republicans who say they won’t support Trump think they are the forest and to hell with the trees. Run, forest. Run for your life. People who predict that Trump’s nomination will change the party are not mistaken. Just as when the democrat party nominated a communist street protester to be their standard bearer, their party changed. So will the republican party change as Trump attracts an army of non-freaks to stand in opposition to what the Satan spawn who run the democrat party are doing to their country with stupid grins on their corrupt faces.

    This is all perfectly normal.

    • Interesting take.

      My tentative prediction is that Trump will carry all the states Romney carried, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, possibly New York and New Jersey, and maybe even California. Everyone I tell this to thinks I’m nuts.

      • Well I sure hope you’re right about Penn, at least.

        I’ve already rolled my No-Brokered-Convention and Yes-Trump-1237 winnings over to Yes-R’s-Win-Pennsylvania. Somehow they are way down in the low 30’s and I really feel like if nothing else Trump oughtta be able to stir up enough discontent to get near parity.

      • Delaney Coffer

        If Trump wins California, I’ll send you flowers. hehe I see Trump winning by default. Bill Clinton’s wife could still be indicted for one or more of the multiple felonies she’s on record committing, making it a race between Trump and a lifelong bum who looks like something out of a Sid and Marty Croft show from the seventies. At any rate, it looks to be a good year for the LP. They might rock the world by getting as much as 2%. That’ll show everybody who’s really in the driver seat. 🙂

  • MamaLIberty

    I’m always glad to see politicians fighting with each other. Gridlock is good. One great thing keeping the idiots at bay is the fact that they ALL want to be in control, the only difference being just what they are willing to do to gain that ring of power. If they ever actually decide to cooperate and bow to one “king,” we will be in very deep trouble fast.

    I’m so glad we don’t get all the government we pay for….

  • Nicolas Leobold

    Thomas, u went the whole article without mentioning Gary Johnson once. 😉 lol