Wednesday, February 12, 2020


The New Hampshire primary was yesterday, 11 February. So, what is the political landscape today? Here is my take.

The big winner of the day was President Trump. His opposing party, the Democrats, are now badly divided in various ways, as age, ideology, gender. There is no clear front runner. Unless matters change drastically, the Democrats are headed to suicidal internal warfare and a bitterly divided convention. After the convention, the Democrats will have to work hard to heal the divisions and promote the candidate in a limited amount of time. All of this helps Trump.

It seems to me the next big news of the day was the probable end of the Biden and Warren candidacies. Unless they bounce back strongly in the new few weeks, their futures look bad. I am not surprised at Biden. He simply did not have the fire within to take on the schoolyard bully. I am surprised at Warren. She was riding high a few weeks ago. For a while, the bookies in Vegas were betting on her to win. What brought on her decline is still a mystery to me. However, her trajectory seems downward and I do not see what she can do to change that.

The next big news of the day was the strong showing of Amy Klobuchar. She has moved into the top three tier. I suspect that is because she is a sensible moderate who contrasts with the problematic Sanders and Buttigieg. I do not believe Sanders can win a general election against Trump. His programs are too radical for most Americans at this point. Buttigieg is a brilliant moderate but comes with the looming unknowable factor of sexual orientation. Should Democrats take a chance on him in a general election?

As I have said on this blog many times, history is cyclical. We had a period of sweeping democratic revolution in the late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries. Blacks, women, gays, the poor and the old were the main recipients of this great revolution. Then came the inevitable counter-revolutionary backlash to resist the changes. Donald Trump, who originally had little ideology, latched onto the backlash and became the successful demagogue of the counter-revolution. Those elements of society most distressed by the democratic reforms latched onto him as their messiah: Wall Street, the angry white working class man, southern whites, and evangelical Christians. The Trump/reactionary coalition worked both ways: conservative roll backs of the reforms in return for dictatorial power. Meanwhile, this coalition came at the cost of a great deal of turmoil and chaos as a part of Trump's governing style. This has left a lot of Americans exhausted by the endless disruptions, the constant, daily outrageous doings of President Trump. Trump fatigue is a common malady in America.

If my cyclical theory of history is right, after the counter-revolution backlash runs for a while, people long for moderation, stability, peace, and order. If this is true, Americans do not want new radical reform at the present. They want peaceful moderation and restoration of comfortable order in the government and society. Therefore, the "radical" candidates, as Sanders are out of touch with the times. His proposals of sweeping reforms are way ahead of their time. I suspect what most Americans want now is an end to the lurching back and forth of reform/reaction. As a nation, we long for sensible moderation, calm, and order to replace the jolting turmoil of the Trump years. In that case, the "moderate" candidates, as Klobuchar, should gain traction in the primaries as time goes by. If  my theory is true, the Democrats should nominate a safe moderate, not a radical or problematical candidate. 

Most Americans do not want Trump to be president, they never have. Given his consistent unpopularity, the Democratic candidate could very well gain a majority of the popular vote, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. The unknown would be the vote in the Electoral College. In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote by more than three million, but won the Electoral College, and the White House.  

South Carolina votes on February 29. Many states vote a few days later, on March 3. By then, we will have a much better idea of the political landscape of America. Meanwhile, I am still trying to decide for whom to vote. I am leaning to Klobuchar.