That headline is a joke only bridge players will get, so our apologies to everyone else. It refers, of course, to last night's Republican presidential debate, which Donald Trump refused to participate in. But even with no Trump on the stage last night, he seems to have (once again) proved that political gravity simply doesn't apply to him. In fact, we have serious doubts that we'll see Trump at any future debates -- after all, if he can blow them off with impunity, why would he subject himself to them in the first place?
Archive of Articles for January, 2016
Donald Trump, whether he wins the Republican nomination or not (or the White House, for that matter), has certainly turned the world of American politics on its head this election cycle. Trump is the undisputed king of Teflon -- because absolutely nothing he says or does ever sticks to him. His campaign has been pronounced "dead" or "toast" so many times now (by the inside-the-Beltway set) that it's impossible to keep count. Each time, his poll numbers actually rise rather than suffer the predicted collapse. This time around, after the dust settles in the fracas over tonight's debate, Trump will likely once again emerge stronger. Which is exactly what the Republican Party hoped would happen (albeit to someone other than Trump, but even so...) during debate season.
People are suffering and need your help! You're a United States legislator and you have just been presented with an up-and-coming bill. If this bill passes, people will receive aid and live better lives. However, special interests (that contribute handsomely to your re-election) don't approve of the bill. So who will you listen to? The people or the special interest groups? Why, the special interest groups, of course! After all, how does helping the people benefit you? That, right there, is an example of political corruption. More and more in modern society those elected to office to serve the interests of the people are being bought off by special interests to make sure any new legislation put into place benefits their businesses and their ideals; thus silencing any who might go against them.
Every so often, I feel moved to write a column that is no more, really, than spiking a metaphorical football in the endzone. To put it a different way, sometimes I write my opinion about something political only to then be almost immediately vindicated by someone much further in-the-know than I ever could be. Today is one of those days, so if you're not interested in me indulging in a little gratuitous back-patting, then I'd suggest you stop reading this now.
One week from today, the preliminary phase of the presidential campaign will finally be over and "primary season" will officially begin, as Iowans brave the cold weather to caucus for the candidates of their choice. For the remainder of February, the other three early-voting states will hold their contests, meaning next month will see the race sharpen for both Republicans and Democrats. As things stand, both parties have two clear frontrunners: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the GOP; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. At this point, both races are so close in Iowa that nobody really knows what will happen next Monday night. Will the polls turn out to be correct? Nobody knows. Will enthusiasm trump (pun intended) longtime voter turnout? It could happen on either side, and then again it might not.
Honestly, how often is it that you get to write such a great headline? In a week that also included a Sarah Palin speech that dominated the news cycle (to say nothing of the late-night comic cycle), writing such snarky headlines is just icing on the cake, really. Good times... yes, good times indeed for Democrats watching the horrorshow that is the Republican presidential nomination process.
I'd like to take a sober look today at where we could very well be a year from now. One year from yesterday, our next president will be sworn into office. There are two Democrats with a solid shot at reciting that oath. The question for either of them would then become how much they can actually get done with Congress. But I think both Bernie Sanders supporters and Hillary Clinton fans are guilty of glossing over a fundamental problem either one of them will have to face. Because in almost every scenario (excepting the rosiest that can be imagined), Republicans will likely still control at least one chamber of Congress next January.
Yesterday, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for president. "Of course she did," was the most common reaction to this news -- heard from both left and right. It is not only the most natural progression, but in fact it completes a circle of sorts. Because Palin really was the original Trump, in the world of Republican politics. Which is why I blame John McCain more than anyone else for the fact that Donald Trump is the clear frontrunner of the Republican pack right now. McCain's pick of Palin as running mate truly set the stage for where the GOP finds itself now.
Sylvester Stallone just got an Oscar nomination for his new movie Creed, which I mention purely as an introduction for a rather unusual column, because it's not that often I write about sports. Politics, of course, borrows tons of metaphors from the sporting world, but that's about the extent of my usual commentary on the subject. Also, I'd like to make it clear from the beginning that it's impossible for me to either praise or pan the new Rocky movie, since I have not yet seen it. I probably won't see it -- I think the last Rocky movie I paid money to see was the second one. So this is not a personal attack on either Sly or his movie.
So we had the fourth Democratic debate last night, and I suppose we should all be thankful that Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn't somehow manage to schedule it to compete with one of football's playoff games. I wouldn't be surprised if the debate had a pretty low viewership, appearing as it did on a Sunday night during a three-day weekend, but those who did manage to catch it saw a much more high-spirited contest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton than we've previously seen.