I'm pleased to announce that ChrisWeigant.com is applying for press credentials for both national political conventions this year. Longtime readers of the site will remember that I (and my lovely wife, whose blogs also appeared in the Irish Times) attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention, but seeing as how the level of political excitement this year (in both parties) seems almost unparalleled, this year we really want to see what both parties have to offer, in person.
Archive of Articles for March, 2016
Anderson Cooper just made some news, by asking all three Republican candidates for president whether they'd honor their previous pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee -- no matter who won. None of the three candidates now say they'll honor their loyalty pledge, although two of them tried to weasel out of even giving a straight answer. Personally, I can't decide which is more bizarre, the whole spectacle of a party loyalty oath in the first place, or the news that all three Republicans seem to have set a new world speed record by breaking a big campaign promise -- not after getting elected, and not while pivoting to the middle after becoming the nominee, but before the primary season is even over.
I wrote the following exactly eleven months ago, when Bernie Sanders announced his run for the presidency. I'm running it again today, for two reasons. The first is that I am otherwise occupied, with putting together my applications for press passes for both national conventions (wish me luck). So I was going over a lot of old columns, looking for ones I could cite. The second reason is why this particular article leapt out at me is that it is pretty prophetic in seeing clearly the concept of a how a Bernie Sanders campaign effort would be run. The biggest thing I missed was the fact that Bernie would be the first Jewish president, instead of just "another old white guy." But while not every word in it came true, I think I did a fairly good job of predicting the overall dynamics of the race as it has played out. So again, apologies for the re-run, but here's what I had to say about Sanders, from the very beginning.
Originally published April 29, 2015
We've had a President Jimmy and a President Ronnie, so why not a President Bernie?
Bernie Sanders just had a very good week. Six states voted in the past week, and Bernie won five of them. Overwhelmingly. Bernie got over 70 percent of the vote in four states, and over 80 percent in Alaska. All in all, a pretty good week. His delegate count has now hit four digits, with superdelegates added in. That's all pretty impressive, but rather than focusing on his chances for actually winning the Democratic presidential nomination this time around (which are still pretty low, even with that impressive string of victories), instead what intrigues me is how the movement of Democratic populism seems to be growing. If Sanders falls short this time around, the next time a populist runs they may actually succeed. Bernie has already gone a long way towards transforming the Democratic Party away from its embrace of economic centrism (the Bill Clinton and Democratic Leadership Council era) towards a much more people-centered party.
That really should be "Copulating Rodents, Batman!" for full effect. Or it should just come right out and use the original term being euphemized. But somehow we couldn't quite bring ourselves to use either one of those in our title today.
You'll have to excuse me sounding a little loopy, but we all tend to get that way in the brutal middle slog of the primary season. Around 30 states have voted on both sides, with no clear national winners yet. The delegate-counting has reached a frenzy, and you'd think every state would count at this point. The pollsters, however, obviously do not think this. I'll get to all of that in a moment, however, as the first thing I need to do is update my record.
You'll have to forgive me for using such a lethal metaphor in that title, but I did not actually come up with the comparison myself -- that dubious honor goes to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. One month after he ended his own presidential bid, Graham addressed the question of which GOP frontrunner he could support, in pretty graphic fashion: "If you nominate Trump and Cruz I think you get the same outcome. Whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter?"
It's time to play the "predict the results" game again, folks. Today's primaries and caucuses weren't getting all that much attention as it was, and now with the Brussels bombing tragedy, they are going to get even less attention. But we've got to remain focused, so let's concentrate on the two parties' races for the presidential nominations, once again.
No matter what the next primary election results show tomorrow night, one thing seems to be certain: we are in for a long slog of delegate-counting before either party's nominee is crowned. On the Republican side, this is leading to more and more desperation from the party's bigwigs, as they clutch at the thin straw of somehow yanking the nomination away from Donald Trump at their convention. All of this is going to take time to play out, but we're just going to leapfrog over it all for now and assume for the purpose of this conversation that Trump does emerge victorious as the Republican Party presidential nominee. Whether a third-party conservative challenge emerges or not, this means the next big question has to be who Trump is going to pick as his running mate. So buckle your seatbelts, because this is likely going to be just as bumpy a ride as the rest of the GOP nomination process has so far been.
That's a pretty ambitious subtitle, but we're not going to get to the deconstruction project until the talking points, we should warn everyone up front. And we could never hope to deconstruct all of the GOP's absurdities in one column, so we'll be focusing just on their all-over-the-map reasoning on why they're not going to do their constitutional jobs in the Senate on President Obama's Supreme Court nomination. So we'll have all that to look forward to. For now, let's quickly review the week just to see where things stand.