As we roll into Wisconsin today, the shape of the battle is fairly clear:
- Sanders will win by a little.
- Cruz will win by a medium amount.
Barring an upset, this is for the Democrat establishment the "bad outcome" and for the Republicans, the "good one." It is likely that Sanders would be a much weaker general candidate than Clinton and it is likely that Trump would be a disaster so if Cruz can get the party to find a way to a contested convention they're hoping they can hit him and ditch him and give it to Paul Ryan.
After that, it's a good bet to count on Hillary-Hate to bring the Trump/Cruz die-hards into line.
These Stop-X campaigns are usually quixotic: by the time they rise, the damage is done and (as per John Dickerson on the Slate Political Gabfest, if there's a Stop-X movement it usually means the grass-roots enthusiasm is with "X." So good luck.).
Let's take a look at the Stop-X movements and see what we think.
Why?: Sanders probably only launched to get his economic message out there--but he caught fire in a major way and now he's a contender. Kinda. The problems with him are with key Democratic coalitions (minorities) and his status as a socialist (a Democratic Socialist, you Omnivorous idiot). The problem is that however you parse it, this isn't a recipe for success in the general. Polls right now give him good favorability numbers--but they also gave Hillary great favorability numbers until she was a candidate. Then they plummeted. Expect a full-testicular-attack on Sanders to do the same.
What?: What's going to (likely) stop Sanders is the basic DNC rules/calendar. Between a bunch of super-delegates who have their careers invested in a strong top-of-the-ticket and the limited number of caucuses, the DNC rules giving proportional delegates everywhere, Sanders can stay in a long time--but unless Hillary gets indicted or something, he's too far behind to win.
Is It Fair?: Yes. The complaints about the process are as follows:
- Super Delegates suck, yo. Undemocratic!
- The DNC pulled [ some dirty trick ] on Sanders to shut him down, bro. Uncool.
- The Media is freezin' him out bitch.
- Hillary voters are either (a) shills, (b) establishment bankers, (c) stupid, racist minorities, or (d) voting with their sexist vaginas.
Super Delegates: These have been around forever and thank goodness for them. Hillary people felt they were unfair when they went over to Obama--but the fact is that the Super Delegates are people who are, literally, invested in the party--in a way that just-plain-voters or just-plain-members are not. The GOP is really wishing it had a bunch of Super Delegates right now--and rightly so.
Dirty Tricks: This cry always happens. Usually in caucuses where there is all kinds of chaos when it goes well. The solution here is to get rid of caucuses, not to attribute to malice what can adequately be described as a set of really stupid procedures. Of course if we got rid of caucuses, it'd be a Hillary-Romp . . . no wonder Sanders voters don't want to hear that.
The Media Bias: Right now the media is freezing out everyone but Trump. It turns out that they're in it for money. Who knew? If you self-identify as a socialist, of course, you see that as part of the problem--but that's also why Bernie won't win: most people identify with being in it for the money.
Hillary Voters: Are they naive and stupid? Or just malign, racist, or sexist? It's a good question. Keep asking it. AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE ON THE INTERNET. That's good.
Grade: A - The Stop Sanders "movement" isn't actually a movement. It's a set of rules that seems to be guiding the Democrats to a strong centrist candidate with a lot of cross-tab support.
Why?: Trump is a potential disaster waiting to happen. Sure, he might turn out a slew of white voters who never came out before and, sure, he might manage some awesome pivot to the middle--but is any of that likely? No. It's likely flash-fry the GOP and damage conservatism for a generation.
Also Why: Because a faction of the GOP is actually toxic and love the toxic things he says (and don't care about the potentially smart things he could be saying but isn't). After 2012 there was a lot of "Let It Burn" in conservative blog comments sections. Conservative blog writers, I think, mostly patronized their more extreme readers. What bad could come of that anger? Hey, it gets them to the polls.
Now there's a Let It Burn candidate.
What?: The Stop Trump movement involves a complicated mix of heavy spending for Cruz, an attempt to confirm the rules at the convention to let in Paul Ryan, and some fantasy unicorn-dust to make the Trump-Voters fall in line.
Is It Fair?: No. It might be wise or necessary--but it is not fair. For the "rules are rules" crowd, the Omnivore has heard several comparisons:
- It's like overtime in a football game. If you win at the end, you win--hey. If you're tied, you go to overtime. Nothing wrong with that, right?
- The bylaws of the convention allow for re-writing of the rules. They get to do that. You get to do whatever you want. All good, yeah?
- Trump isn't a Republican anyway. Certainly not a conservative. Should never have let him run in the first place.
Overtime: What if a football game hadn't gone into overtime (said in the same patronizing voice) in decades? What if in overtime the refs changed the rules to make one team lose and gave the Heisman to some dude in the audience with a great beard? All good, you wouldn't complain? Riiiight.
Rules-are-Rules: They are too, boy, I tell you what. How would you feel if you got your Paul Ryan in there and the Electoral College gave it to Hillary? Hey, rules are rules. You wouldn't even complain. Not one bit. Oooookaaay.
Trump Isn't a Republican: Well maybe. Why'd Romney stand on a stage with him in 2012? How come Rush Limbaugh and Hannity haven't relentlessly made that point? Oh--they're in for the money. Yeah--they are. What are you, a socialist?
Grade: F - The Omnivore considered a "D." The reasons were (a) Paul Ryan would be a great choice for nominee and the plan, as it stands, might install him. The odds are too low to get an A or B. The using-and-abusing Ted Cruz(ing) though degrades it to a C.
The lack of fairness cost it another letter grade. That would be a "D."
But here's where the "F" comes in: there is no discussed viable plan to re-knit the party after a convention. Either no one has thought that far ahead or else no one cares. This is the Iraq invasion all over again--but instead of tearing down a Saddam statue it'll be tearing down a Trump statue and replacing it with, basically, Jeb Bush (the Establishment incarnate).