Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Vote Project: This Is The End

                   
This seems like an appropriate soundtrack after last night's results. Trump destroyed Rubio in Florida and, indeed, knocked him out of the race. Kasich stopped the bleeding by winning Ohio, but Trump picked up Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri so it really wasn't the night that anti-Trump forces were looking for. But Rubio is out and only glancing at the primary calendar was enough to drag me from the depths of my despair. There's actually a decent amount of states for the GOP out there and if Kasich can pick up enough of a bounce we still might end up with a contested convention and a chance to block Trump from the nomination.

Will it happen? I don't know. Kasich is going to need to pick up Rubio's donors and some money, I think, to make a credible run at it- just winning Ohio isn't going to cut it. There are states where I think he has a shot down the stretch including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut. (Though apparently he's not on the ballot in Pennsylvania? The fuck?) I think Trump takes New York and New Jersey, for obvious reasons. Cruz? He'll probably play better in the Midwest/Mountain West- so I'd expect him to pick up Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin- maybe Utah, New Mexico and Indiana. I think Trump takes Arizona and I have no earthly idea what the West Coast (Washington, Oregon and California) is going to do.

I think the only way forward if you're not a Trump fan (which I'm not) is to hope like hell Cruz and Kasich can pick off enough delegates to deny Trump a majority. Kasich's win in Ohio made that more likely- a Rubio win in Florida would have all but assured it. Prevention is the best that Cruz and Kasich can hope for at this point and it seems like it's going to be a somewhat forlorn and depressing hope, to be completely honest about it.

On the Democratic Side of things, it was a very good night for Hillary Clinton... she cleaned up- taking Ohio, North Carolina and Florida by decent margins and squeaking out victories in Missouri and Illinois to go five for five on the evening. There are more Bernie friendly states to the west still in play, but I think the avalanche is building and despite an unexpected win in Michigan, it seems that Bernie can't come up with anything to stop Hillary's momentum.

So, it's most likely (barring shenanigans by the GOP at a contested convention or an indictment for Hillary) going to be Clinton v Trump in the general election. Pretty much if there was a match-up I hate more than the dreadful prospect of a Clinton v Bush Redux, it's probably this one. Trump is, well, awful and Hillary is.... underwhelming.

And here's the most terrifying thing of all: a Hillary win is not guaranteed. I'm getting tired of people giving confident predictions of a landslide wiping away the Trump phenomenon. It's not in the bag. Don't pretend that it is. If half of Bernie's fans stay home- or strangely enough, flip to Trump, we're going to have a race. Hillary is bad on trade (which puts Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania on the table), bad on criminal justice reform, bad on foreign policy (ignore Conservative foaming over Benghazi- look at Libya in general, which, despite President Obama's protestations to the contrary, can't be dumped squarely on Cameron or Sarkozy.) I have two degrees in political science and I have no idea what happens if it's Clinton versus Trump. None.

I'd like to think that America hasn't completely lost it's shit, but a lot of people are pissed off right now and the mood of the country is such that it wouldn't surprise me if the electorate really does decide to douse the place in gasoline and light a match.

So where does this leave my vote? Up in the air, I think. I can't rule out a tactical voting scenario if it means making sure Trump doesn't win Iowa, but at the same time, I'd much rather be voting tactically for Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. I think I'll be putting this post on hiatus for a couple of months and coming back in June to see where things stand. Maybe I'll be more confident in my choice by then- or maybe, I'll have to pop some Tums, hold my nose and vote for Hillary. Either way, it's probably time to start investigating third parties.

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