Friday, June 02, 2023

Tom on the GOP in 2024

 It seems that every Republican who has ever looked into a mirror and seen a potential president grinning back at him, (or her), has begun touring early primary states like so many 'Common Nightwalkers', (whores),in search of potential clients.

It's beginning to look like 2016, when a crowded primary field had the effect of handing the nomination to Donald Trump. Some pundits say that the result this year will be the same, due to Mr Trump's enduring popularity with his vaunted "base", combined with the aforementioned crowded field of presidential aspirants. 

But history doesn't really repeat itself, as the old adage suggests. Rather, similar themes tend to recur over time. In this instance, the Trump of 2016 was a relatively fresh face, (at least if you didn't read the New York tabloids). But the Trump of 2024 has been exposed as a grifter and narcissist who cares nothing for America and what it stands for. In addition, his legal problems are considerable. He's in the crosshairs of Fani Willis, the Fulton County DA, over allegations of electoral interference and fraud. He's facing charges in New York. And perhaps the most serious threat to his aspirations for a second term in office is the 2 headed investigation by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, who is charged with investigating Trump's potential interference with the orderly transfer of power (The events surrounding the Jan 6 insurrection), and the irregularities concerning the classified documents that he'd squirrelled away at Mar-A-Lago. 

And Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, who once appeared to be the inevitable successor to Mr Trump as the head of the GOP, has shown himself to be a small man who sells a message of mean-spirited disregard for anyone who is not White, Straight, or Christian, while engaging in battle with a cartoon mouse. He has the voice of a boy just now reaching puberty, and when he speaks, he vomits forth pearls of bumper sticker wisdom that are long past their sell-by date. When he grows up he wants to be Benito Mussolini. Our Ron will make the trains run on time, but they won't serve Black areas, nor will they pick up girls who are holding hands or young men who appear to be overly sissified.

The reasons for this exponential growth of Republican candidates for the presidency are twofold; the most important being the perception of the leading candidates as being seriously flawed human beings who bring to the table an inordinate air of perpetual grievance, and a fantastical ideation that largely rejects commonly accepted truths. 

Some candidates are banking on  people  longing for a "Return to Normalcy", rather than continuing down the path of discord and personal enmity that has characterized our recent political history. The phrase "Return to Normalcy", was the campaign slogan of Ohio Sen Warren G Harding in the 1920 presidential election campaign. His opponent, Gov James Cox, was also from Ohio. The third candidate in the 1920 race was the Progressive Eugene V Debs, who campaigned from prison, where he found himself sentenced on what were essentially political charges. The good news for Donald Trump is that someone has actually waged a presidential campaign from a jail cell. The bad news is that Debs only got about 3 percent of the vote. Harding won the election with over 60 percent of the votes cast. An interesting side note is that both major party candidates for the Vice Presidency later went on to become president themselves Massachusetts own Calvin Coolidge took office when Harding died after eating a Bad Oyster, although there are some who claim that he was murdered. Gov Cox's running mate was the former Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D Roosevelt of New York 

1920 was one of those elections that seemed bigger than life, largely because of the societal issues surrounding it. The incumbent president, Woodrow Wilson, had presided over a chaotic second term, in which he brought the US Into WWI, after winning the 1916 election on the basis that he kept the US out of the European War. Wilson suffered a disabling stroke in 1919, and Wiison's wife Edith and the White House physician, a Dr House, essentially ran the country for the remainder of Wiison's term. The economy had cratered in the wake of WW1, and unemployment rose to 12 percent in 1919.  As is the case today, Republicans have an instinctive fear of Socialism that may have had a basis in reality, since Russia's Communist Revolution had taken place only 2 years earlier.  Let it suffice to say that the months leading up to the 1920 election were tumultuous. Voters were sick of the never-ending drama that typified American politics. Sounds like what many people are feeling today 

Politicians seem to have the same ability that sharks have to detect trace amounts of blood in the water and to respond with aggression when they do so. Because Mr Trump is in great legal peril, and because Gov DeSantis's carefully constructed veneer of invincibility has not appeared strong enough to dissuade potential challengers who are detecting plenty of blood in the water off the Florida coast.

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