Let's just go ahead and say it: Donald Trump, in all likelihood is going to be the Republican nominee for President. I had some hopes for Nevada... Trump didn't seem able to break through that 35% ceiling and the numbers were suggesting that, once the non-Trump vote was able to consolidate somewhat, he'd turn into a pumpkin and we could all go home. And then Nevada happened and blew that idea straight out of the water.
Trump break through that 35% ceiling, soaring to 46% and leaving behind Rubio (24%) and Cruz (21%) in second and third place respectively. Carson and Kasich pulled up 4.8% and 3.6% respectively- but no one has any idea what Carson is doing in the race any more and Kasich had written off Nevada and moved on to other things (like Michigan and saying things like this- which should really cause him to reassess his entire campaign.) Anyway- the idea that non-Trump votes will go universally to non-Trump candidates just doesn't hold up, I don't think. (A Trump preference cascade? It could be coming.)
I don't get it. The dude was a pro-choice Democrat like ten seconds ago and now he's well on his way to being the Republican nominee for President and he's doing it by committing heresy after heresy and not giving a damn about it. Maybe that fits the mood of the country- maybe our give a damn is broken and if that's the case, then you could argue that Trump is the perfect candidate for these times we live in. But... man oh man, why? The dude spits out word salads instead of policy positions, throws temper tantrums in public and gets away with it and not to mention the fact that while I think the immigration system is broken, I don't want hordes of Trumpian Brownshirts conducting door to door round-ups of illegal immigrants next year. There has to be a not insane solution to this problem. One that doesn't take us down the road to something that (sniff, sniff) well, if it smells like fascism and looks like fascism, maybe it actually fucking well is fascism.
The Republican Debate last night didn't seem to help matters any. Where the hell was this Rubio in January? Where the hell were these attacks in November or December? The other candidates have spent months dismissing, laughing and waving Trump away. They're not laughing any more- and it may be too damn late. (I feel like Kasich, while not attacking Trump directly might have missed out on a chance to lift himself above the fray, but I also think in a situation like this, being the grown up at the kid's table helps- and he certainly came across that way.) Maybe something will shift before Super Tuesday, but I feel like if Cruz, Rubio and Kasich don't win Texas, Florida and Ohio, it's Trump. If two out of three win their home states, we could be headed for a brokered convention.
The Democrats seem to be heading toward 'conventional wisdom' again. Despite the fact that I think it's mainly wishful thinking on the part of Conservatives at this point, I don't think Hillary Clinton is going to get indicted- either because there's straight up not enough there- or, more to the point, what we don't know and she must know about the current administration. But I still wonder... there are whispers and it just won't seem to go away and if something doesn't go away after this long, you have to wonder if there's not a touch of truth to it- somewhere.
Maybe the electorate on the Democratic side of things has a few more surprises left in it- but I think another solid Clinton win in South Carolina means that Bernie is looking at increasingly few pockets of territory where he can expect to potentially win. (New England, Minnesota/Wisconsin, the Pacific Northwest would be my bets.) This means his path to an upset and the nomination is looking increasingly narrow.
So where does this leave me and my vote? Nowhere good- in fact, I have to face up to the possibility of tactical voting this time around. How does that play out? Something like this:
The two mainstream, Corporate parties nominate people I detest (Trump) or dislike (Clinton) and I have to hold my nose and pick one to avoid the other being elected. The nice thing is that in this scenario, I have up until Election Day to decide, really- if polls in Iowa are close enough to make a difference, I might pull the trigger on this notion. If polls are outside the margin of error one way or the other, then that frees me up to consider other options. The third permutation to all this is if the national picture is pretty damn obvious- to the point where it won't matter where Iowa's electoral votes fall that too, would free me up to consider other options as well.
I hate it... especially since it's hardly a wasted vote if all the two mainstream, Corporate parties do is make shit worse, but Trump? As President? Nope. Nope. Nope. Can't do it,won't do it and if it's close enough to make a difference to vote for the other candidate, I might have to do it.