Another Tuesday, another primary. Here’s a look at who emerged victorious last night, and who is doomed to be a loser evermore.
Remember that guy? The Great Right Hope? The Last Gasp of the Establishment? The Op-ed Prince? Surely you do -- it hasn’t been all that long since he lost his home state and all but literally said that he was going to go home and be a family man. Well, thanks to early votes from people who couldn’t see the writing on the wall, early returns had Rubio getting 18 percent of the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona. Which is a higher percentage of the vote than he got in many other states when he was, you know, still actually running and campaigning and everything! It’s a hilariously pathetic and appropriate coda for a campaign that was always better in theory and probably should have stayed that way.
No one took Boaty McBoatface seriously when he was the front-runner name for Britain's Natural Environment Research Council’s new polar research vessel. The organization had wisely asked the Internet to vote on the boat’s name. After hours of leading the polls, pundits still thought that a more inspirational or fitting name would win. Some of the more experienced and admired candidates were Endeavour, Falcon, and Shackleton. Even less-qualified names that weren’t quite so silly, like “It's Bloody Cold Here,” failed to catch up. Improbably, McBoatface remained the clear favorite, and it seemed likely to win the race. However, the aristocratic boat-naming establishment has announced that if Boaty McBoatface wins, they might just ignore the democratic choice and pick another name. Lord West told the BBC, "It's a typical thing of the Brits going mad — normally silly season, rather than this time of the year."
Sound familiar? If Boaty McBoatface fails to win this contest abroad, it’s clear that he should come over to the U.S. and join the GOP presidential race. He seems to have all the necessary qualifications to be quite the challenger to Mr. Trump — and could make the seemingly lost race against him quite a bit more interesting.
The Vermont senator is far behind Hillary Clinton in the delegate count, but the next couple of primaries are designed to make him feel good about his chances (even if they still aren’t that great). Idaho and Utah gave him yuge victories today, and many of the next states on the calendar look like the ones he’s been winning so far — rural, and mostly white. It’s doubtful that his likely wins will help him poll vault over Clinton’s lead, but they will give him a reason to stay in the race — keeping his fans and his coffers happy, and stopping Democratic voters from getting bored, or Hillary getting out of campaign shape before the general.
But, in the big scheme of things, Hillary’s still ahead. Her win in Arizona didn’t hurt.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
After months of talking about big and beautiful walls and kicking out millions of immigrants, Donald Trump will probably become the Republican presidential nominee — which means that Joe Arpaio’s style of immigration policy is attracting the attention of a much larger audience. The sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, who endorsed Trump, told the Guardian earlier this week, “I’m not trying to say he copies me. It just so happens we see eye to eye. … He’s somewhat like me. Or I’m like him. I don’t know which way it goes.” Like Trump, Arpaio was an Obama birther. A federal court also accused him of racially profiling Latinos. The AP reports that he claims to have given 4,000 TV interviews over the more than twenty years he’s been sheriff.
And Arizona residents apparently can’t help voting for either one of them. Trump just won the state by a considerable margin.
Yay, you got some votes!
(Yeah, we don’t know why, either.)
The Temperamental Anti-Trump Taco Tosser
An unknown person threw a taco at Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. What could compel a man to throw a taco, of all things, at the facade of a building, I do not know. Consider this: The damage that could be done by a thrown taco is minimal, rendering it a purely symbolic act. Which must be weighed against the immense, incalculable value of even a mediocre taco. I can’t imagine the depths of anger from whence the desire to throw a taco could spring, let alone the mindless fury that it would take to follow through on such a dark vision. I will keep this person in my prayers, for deliverance from the demons that must surely haunt them. If you, too, consider yourself a person of faith, I hope you’ll join me. If not, even heartfelt well-wishes can surely not hurt. May God have mercy on us all. It could have been any one of us.
Donald Trump’s Hands
This week’s New Yorker cover featured an extended riff on Donald Trump’s baby carrot fingers.
This did not make Donald happy. He apparently can’t stop thinking about it. The Republican front-runner went to go talk to the Washington Post editorial board earlier this week, and delivered an extended soliloquy on his very large hands. He said the word “hands” 22 times — more than he said the words “great” or “ISIS.” If the cable TV shows are going to put Trump on air 27 times a day, they could at least mention his hands at least once every single time, or feature a chyron that reads, “BREAKING: TINY-FINGERED MAN GRASPS ARIZONA,” to chip away at his ego bit by bit. This may be the only way.
Last night, Utahns resoundingly announced that they are on Team #NeverTrump; the front-runner only got 14 percent in the state. It’s a pretty lonely place to be, however, given that Trump is still happily smashing his opponents’ hopes into smithereens. And, it might prove even lonelier in the fall, if Trump wins the nomination. While many Republicans have said that they will support Trump in a worst-case scenario, polls show that Utah might vote for Hillary Clinton instead. Utah hasn’t gone blue since LBJ was president. Of course, the state’s GOP voters might change their minds in the upcoming months, but their distaste for the candidate does highlight his biggest flaws. During the fight over whether to let Syrian refugees come to the U.S. last year, Utah governor Gary Herbert was one of the few Republican leaders to say he was willing to welcome them to his state. Mormon Republicans have also been in favor of immigration reform, so Trump’s less-than-compassionate plans to kick everyone out haven’t been terribly popular. Mitt Romney, the volunteer conductor of the anti-Trump train, voted for Ted Cruz in Utah on Tuesday, showing that Donald Trump has managed to bring people together in strange ways, although not in the way he meant it. So, Mormon Republicans may have won tonight, but looking long-term, those fuzzy feelings seem unlikely to last.
The Cruz/Trump Bromance
In ancient times, the olden days, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, both outsiders who were insurgents threatening the establishment, had something of a détente, in which they mutually refused to criticize each other. And when that truce was threatened, when Trump got it in his head that Cruz was preparing to attack him, Cruz went out of his way to allay Donnie’s fears.
This is classic, cynical Ted Cruz. Of course, he never thought Donald Trump was “terrific,” or even had any sort of respect for the man himself or his political positions. Neither was he attempting to maintain a collegial and polite campaign. The only reason he refused to criticize Donald Trump was that he hoped that Trump would soon drop out and didn’t want to alienate Trump’s skittish, cultish fans. And, of course, his complete lack of respect for the voting public meant that he had to slather it on so thick that we could all see the insincerity dripping off in huge globs. He couldn’t just stop at saying that he wouldn’t attack Trump, he had to call him “terrific.”
Anyway, those days are long gone. Yesterday, Trump decided to attribute a gross, slut-shaming ad from a third party to Ted Cruz so that he could pretend to take offense at the ad, and, in taking offense, vaguely hint at some kind of dark secret in the past of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi.
Cruz fired back, of course:
So yeah, you could say the bromance has soured. Just when you thought the Republican nomination couldn’t get any uglier, it totally did. That’s what you get for foolishly setting a floor on this national disgrace.
Earlier this month, a super PAC with one mission — stopping Trump — ran an ad featuring the many awful things the Republican front-runner has said about women.
When asked about the ad on CNN, Trump said, “This — a lot of that is show business stuff … I don’t even know some of those statements. I mean, I’m hearing these statements. I don’t even know what they are. Nobody respects women more than I do.” A day earlier, after that Washington Post meeting we mentioned above, he told an editor, “I really hope I answered your question, beautiful.”
He didn’t really answer her question, either.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, half of women in the country have a "very unfavorable" opinion of Trump.
Heidi Cruz is probably among those women.
Anyone Who Disagrees With Trump's or Cruz’s Views on Terror
After the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning, the Republican presidential candidates quickly began trying to one-up each other in fearmongering. Ted Cruz said he still wanted to carpet-bomb ISIS “into oblivion.” His campaign also released a statement noting that “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." Trump tweeted, “I have proven to be far more correct about terrorism than anybody — and it’s not even close. Hopefully AZ and UT will be voting for me today!” This morning, Trump was among the first people consulted on cable news about the attack. He told CNN, “Frankly the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or have the laws, waterboarding would be fine. … The waterboarding would be fine, and if they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding.”
The attacks in Paris, and Trump’s promise to bomb the hell out of ISIS, helped solidify his lead last year. Now, the only remaining person who can even sort of challenge him in the primary sounds nearly identical on this issue. The fact that some of the tactics they propose would be considered war crimes, or at least highly discouraged by most international authorities, has not stopped the candidates from voicing them. And yet these two candidates are the only viable options left in the GOP primary, which means that fear could be a governing force in America come next January.
Ohio governor John Kasich, who is far behind Cruz and Trump in the polls, told reporters yesterday that “we don’t want to create divisions where we say, ‘O.K., well your religion, you’re a Muslim, so therefore we’re going to keep an eye on you.’ … the last thing we need is more polarization.”
Sorry, you’re still not going to be president. Also, people are still watching Fargo, and the Roots are on TV more often than you. And Jeb Bush just endorsed Ted Cruz. Actually, you didn't want that endorsement. It is probably bad luck.
The Current Version of Human Civilization
While we fiddle with the shambling circus that is the American presidential election in the second millennium, the world continues to turn. And warm. Look at this graph.
February 2016 is by far the hottest month on record. It’s worse than even this graph can show, though. Scientists believe that it might be the hottest month in thousands of years. If that’s not bad enough, some new research has come out that says that even if the world manages to limit global warming to what we thought were reasonable levels, we might see catastrophic changes to the environment within a matter of decades. Look at this paragraph. Just read it. We’re putting an alarming space here to set this quote off.
“The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century.”
Now, to be sure, this is an extreme projection that’s outside of the current scientific consensus, but the fact that scientists are looking at it and not laughing it off as totally absurd … that’s not encouraging at all. On the plus side, maybe Trump’s reign will be cut short sooner rather than later.
Sorry to break in here with a personal note -- this is Ezekiel. For heaven’s sake, there are TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-ONE DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE ELECTION AND GOD KNOWS HOW MANY DEBATES, GAFFES, TOWN HALLS, AND MINI-CONTROVERSIES THAT I’LL BE PROFESSIONALLY OBLIGATED TO CARE ABOUT I CAN’T TAKE IT I WON’T DO IT LET ME OUT OF THIS HORRIBLE FUNERAL MARCH I WANT TO LIVE I WANT T—
The Concept of Universal Suffrage
In Arizona, lines were long to vote in the primaries. So long, in fact, that some people had to wait HOURS to cast their vote in the primary election, not because of high turnout (though turnout was, indeed, high), but because Arizona, for some reason, decided that there should be only 60 polling places instead of 200, a reduction of 70 percent. This would be an outrage in any functioning democratic state. Fortunately, we just live in America. Where people say stuff like this with a straight face.
Ahh, yes, of course. The value of something is derived from its price. I’m pretty sure Adam Smith wrote that somewhere, for sure. It’s always amusing when people are all about “free markets” and “capitalism” or whatever but have such vague ideas about the theory underlying either. Almost as amusing as when people pretend that they want all registered voters to be able to vote but also want to make it harder for them to do so. It’s almost like they don’t really believe in democracy or something.