Clearly this is a political post and if that’s not your cup of tea, skip.
America is gearing up for the 2016 Presidential contest and the Republican after getting beaten the last two out is gunning for a win. The process starts early and runs long. there are, I think, 17 candidates running to represent the Republicans in the autumn contest. this far out early polls have very little predictive power about who the eventual nominee will be, but that can give you insight in the party, its factions, and its troubles.
Last week the first debates Fox News hosted the first debates. They held two, one for candidates who polled very low and another prime-time debate for the top 10. I did not watch the junior varsity debate, but I did watch the main event. Everything that follows is opinion only. I possess not special knowledge or training in this field.
It looked to me that the host, Fox News, long accused and rightly in my opinion, of presenting their material with a bias for conservatives and the Republican Party, managed the debate with bias for factions and candidates within the Party. It seemed to me that some candidates were treated in a manner that would enhance their standing within the contest while downplaying their weaknesses. Other candidates were subject to hostile questions to looked to me to have the intent of driving a wedge between the candidate the party’s base.
Candidates that were treated favorably in my opinion were Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker. Bush often received questions that allowed him to answer with his resume as a governor while sliding past the fact that these facts and reports were already nearly a decade old. Walker and Rubio were treated with opportunities to boast of their social conservatives ideals, playing well to the base. All three in political writings are often referred to as candidates acceptable to the business/establishment faction of the Republican Party.
Candidate treated less well included Trump, Paul, and Kasich. All three were questioned about stands or actions taken that might be considered heresies with the conservative base. Trump endured the brunt of the attack questions while Paul and Kasich both had fewer but given their positions more policy-oriented questions. (Paul in a previously proposed budget suggest cutting all aid to Israel and his isolationism doesn’t play well with the hawkish elements of the base. While Kasich was pulled onto the carpet for expanding Medicaid in his state, and thus committing the sit or working with Obama’s hated health care reforms.)
It is interesting to watch some conservatives react with anger and surprise at Fox’s behaviors during the debate. It hardly surprises me. If they present a blatant bias in other areas it is quite reasonable to assume that they have biases within the party and its contentious factions. As the old saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Far more fascinating to follow is is the entire war on Trump. Now in my opinion Trump is a buffoon, an egotist, and narcissist, and a terrible, terrible choice however he’s tapped into the anger and resent that Fox News and the conservatives have cultivated within the base of the party. Anger is not rational, and those who are standing for Trump are not doing so because of policy and position, but because of passion. They see someone standing up and ‘telling it like it is.’ The problem for the republican party is that what Trump is spewing is pretty much vile, racist, sexist, shit. Fox news tried to use this at the debates to destroy Trump. They launched their nukes and watched the monstrosity of their creation withstand the blast and grew stronger. Instead of driving a wedge between Trump and the base, they drove a wedge between the Base and Fox News. Trump threatened their ratings and Fox folded. (Revealing the critical flaw in running a news organization as a for-profit business. Can any report from them ever be trusted again?)
Trump has the go to keep running even if he can’t win. He has the money to do it big and loud, as he does everything. he has the petulant nature to run purely to hurt those who have hurt him. Where in the last cycle the fringe candidates like Herman Caine eventually flamed out and crashed, Trump has the cash to survive anything crisis he wants to survive. I do not think he can win the nomination, but I do think he can stay in the race, dividing support, and maybe even throwing next year’s convention into chaos if the leading candidate doesn’t have a clear majority of the delegates. All of that would critically wound the eventual Republican nominee, nearly ensuring a Democratic victory. But what tools, what weapons does the party have to placate Trump?
No matter what happens, it’s time to buy stock in popcorn.