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December 16th, 2015


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01:32 am - Not Just Trump
Mocking Donald Trump is admittedly fun, but it also worries me, because it’s at least as much of a popular sport for establishment Republicans as for progressives. Sure, he’s an open bigot who says hideous things and had mind-bogglingly terrible ideas, but I think it’s also very important to keep in mind that with the exception of being more open about his bigotry, he’s not particularly different from the other Republican candidates.
Barring some near-miracle, the Republican nominee for president is going to be Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio. Cruz has essentially the same ideas as Trump, with a side-order of dominionist fundamentalism, and the only real difference between Trump and Cruz is that Cruz sticks with the standard Republican tactic of using racist dog-whistles rather than going for Trump’s open racism. I not only wouldn’t expect Cruz to be any less hideous a president than Trump, I’d expect Cruz to be pretty much the same sort of hideous.

Marco Rubio has some different ideas than Trump and Cruz. For one thing, he’s not fanatically anti-immigrant like those two. However, that hardly makes him a better choice. In addition to his anti-healthcare, anti-feminist, anti-poor, and anti-environment ideas (some of which are worse than Trump’s suggestions), Rubio is the most openly militaristic of the three and embraces Shrub’s doctrine of military interventionism. If you want the US to be involved in another large, pointless, and horrific war, Rubio is your candidate. Also, Rubio actually isn’t hated by the Republican establishment, like Trump, and to a lesser extent Cruz is, which means he’d be far more effective at working with other Republican leaders than those two, and thus would be more effective at his agenda, which makes him my least favorite choice out of this impressively ghastly trio.

Ultimately, I don’t see any of these three, or in fact any of the top-tier Republican candidates as anything other than hideous in more or less the same degree, and so when I hear a wealth of anti-Trump statements, I fear that if (as is definitely possible, but also far from certain) he doesn’t get the nomination, too many people will decide that since we don’t have an open bigot running for president, the actual Republican candidate can’t be utterly hideous.

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Comments:


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From:martianmooncrab
Date:December 16th, 2015 10:09 am (UTC)
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and sadly, I think that Jeb! will still get the nomination, because once your Daddy has been the head of the CIA he still gets his way.
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From:heron61
Date:December 16th, 2015 10:15 am (UTC)
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I really doubt it, Rubio has pretty much eaten his support.
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From:martianmooncrab
Date:December 16th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)
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it will still be an interesting convention when they start the nominations.
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From:benlehman
Date:December 16th, 2015 12:12 pm (UTC)
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Barring some near-miracle, the Republican nominee for president is going to be Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio.

If you want to bet on this, will you give me odds?
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From:heron61
Date:December 16th, 2015 08:38 pm (UTC)
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As to which of the three will be the nominee or that any one of them will be? If you meant the second, I'm eager to know who else you think has a chance.
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From:rjgrady
Date:December 16th, 2015 06:04 pm (UTC)
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It pretty much has to be Rubio. He's the only establishment candidate who isn't hopelessly tainted. He's a hardliner, not a moderate, but he's not... insane.

Trump is a garden variety bigot with non-garden variety narcissism. I'm not even sure how serious he is as a candidate; he may have an ulterior motive, like pushing Rubio or Clinton to the right, becoming a political kingmaker, or just making his retirement interesting. The idea that he's running a spoiler campaign is far-fetched, but not actually inconceivable.

Cruz is crazy AND incompetent. Aside from antagonizing his Senate colleagues, embarrassing the state of Texas, and running with the wrong crowd... he doesn't know what he was doing. The last time the Senate had to make a deal to pass the omnibus, he thought he had a better idea. By keeping the Senate in session, he allowed the Democrats to push through dozens of stalled nominations his GOP allies had been fighting.

The thing, while it's terrible to have a President with bad policies and sketchy personal virtues in office, almost anything is better than having a President who actually is not very good at government. George W. Bush was not actually idiot, compared to your average person, or maybe even the average Congress person. But the President is not supposed to be average; the best outcome in a democratic process is to sort out the most qualified person to lead. Mediocre as he was, W. is going down in history as one of the worst presidents. And Cruz would be worse. You would have a person in charge of the nuclear arsenal who doesn't even know how and why it might be advantageous to end a legislative session, or extend it. He can't even get endorsements from his own party in his own state. He's like a cross between Joe McCarthy and Barney Fife.

So, while a Marco Rubio would be a ride on a time machine to a previous, notably worse decade for human fights, at least, at the end, there would still be a reasonably intact country. We wouldn't be standing on the smoldering ashes of WWIII, or living under what Trump considers ideal economic conditions, or watching the GOP have a civil war of their own as they try to replace chaos with governance. The sad fact is that the modern GOP does not have a majority capable of governing competently. Rubio, at least, could join forces with the Democrats and pursue some non-suicidal policies.
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From:heron61
Date:December 16th, 2015 08:41 pm (UTC)
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That's definitely the view of the Republican leadership, but voters seem to have other ideas. My guess is that the leadership will eventually back Cruz simply because he's not Trump.

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