Americans will take a lot, but they will not tolerate the continuing destruction of their nation by elites in both parties who believe they are untouchable. – Monica Crowley
In the final analysis (while I affirm Ms. Crowley's optimistic tone) maybe so, maybe not. Indeed, it's scary when such monumental world-shaping choices are seemingly left to the whims of fate. Recall 2012, despite obvious foreign and domestic policy disasters, Mr. Obama—an utterly failed, ultra-Constitutional, pathologically liar of a 1984-style despot—was re-elected. At the time, the combination of a not-quite so conservative Republican candidate Mitt Romney (who would never take the gentlemanly gloves off to fight for the presidency) coupled with 4 years of MSM propaganda Obama-covering slop force-fed to the American electorate resulted in millions of Republicans staying home. Mercifully, may that not be the case this time.
Mr. Trump (and to a lesser extent the more steady and viable Ted Cruz) is channeling the very apparent “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore” sentiments of the unhinged UBS news anchor Howard Beale (a fictional character played to Oscar glory by Peter Finch in 1976’s Network). And the political powers-that-be on both sides of the aisle better take heed: it is not the first time a long-shot political neophyte has upset the Establishment, causing a populist phenomenon that landed an unexpected person in the White House.
As past is prologue, the man that surprisingly wound up vice president, the famously gaff-prone Joe Biden, made an off-the-cuff remark on January 31, 2007 that inadvertently encapsulated the overall political mood of the country:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man.”
Only in Mr. Biden's wholly devoted and feverish mind has Mr. Obama been “the first” in anything. Further, despite bizarre and back-handed praise, Mr. Obama's on the job performance has been the opposite of “storybook” unless one considers the novels of prolific horror novelist Stephen King. In any case, the man with the curious habits of publicly groping women not his spouse—and swimming pool skinny dipping in front of female Secret Service agents—can attest to the cleanliness part: he's been providing slavish metaphorical tongue-baths to his boss for the last 7 years.
Upon reflection, Mr. Obama was elected as a protest to then unpopular George W. Bush and, by extension, the dynastic Bush family name (hence younger brother Jeb's current failure to gain political traction despite deep pockets and spending 50 million). To parallel, while Donald Trump may very well ride the anti-Obama, anti-incumbency fervor to the presidency in 2017, I'm willing to bet that America will not take another chance, this time on an untested Republican wild card. In any case, to his credit, The Donald gives as much guff as he gets. (It is therefore some comfort that at least one Republican candidate will fight to “make America great again.”) He'll need to in the face-off between the tag team that is Hillary Clinton and her devoted Goliath propagandist creature, the MSM.
I don’t know if the scribe of “The Art of the Deal” will get the Republican nomination, but from day-one Hillary's coronation as her party's nominee was certain. Therefore, the musing of numerous conservative experts make for good TV fodder and fill many newspaper column inches, but do any of them seriously believe for a moment—hand to Bible—that an unapologetic Socialist like Bernie Sanders will get the nomination? Despite a topsy-turvy political cycle, a recent Fox poll put that probability at 17%. To the detriment of the country, Mrs. Clinton is—and remains—the only Democratic game in town. So, Bill's checkered past as a Lothario doesn't matter. She need to do little more than show up, grin, and bear the slings and arrows that have been coming her way for 25 years. (That's old hat: what else has she accomplished over all this time?) Mrs. Clinton understands her enviable position: a 50/50 probability to the Oval Office. Those are way better odds than any other candidate on the political landscape—and there will be no political upstart à la Obama to derail things this time around.
The slight monkey wrenches in the latest Clintonian White House political calculation (that Hill and Bill are all about) are two-fold. The most obvious is the brash personality and plain-speaking style of Donald Trump. In her favor is the fact that she will be gifted the nomination he (or someone else) will have to fight very hard for. The fact that she is part of Washington’s elitist beltway bubble is counterbalanced (she hopes) by the superficial triviality of her gender à la Joe Biden's view of “firsts.” She has nothing else to run on, but doesn't need to. She's been given a complete pass for every equivocation, every outright lie and every sleazy corruption scandal thus far. Once again in this, history will repeat itself.
The FBI will likely do its Hillary-gate investigations in good faith. Then, the decisions pass to Mr. Obama and his Justice Department. The threat of federal indictment—Hillary's own personal sword of Damocles—will be a petty torment likely enjoyed by Mr. Obama. Especially given the report that there is no personal love lost between them. However, as everything with Democrats is party first, last and always, he will not derail her progress in favor of a last minute highly dicey John Kerry run or a laughable Biden one. To do so invites the probability of a Republican that will undo an America-damaging legacy he is so proud of. Therefore, Mr. Obama will content himself by making Mrs. Clinton sweat for a while under the bright lights of potential prosecution. It won't work: the ongoing shadow of scandal is just par for the course for any politician with the Clinton surname.
Complicating matters on the other side of the aisle is Paul Ryan-led Republicans who foolishly continued to fund things they promised to fight like Obamacare. The repeal bill was a hollow victory: necessary, but ultimately little more than symbolic. However, the act of appropriating actual money is not symbolic, it is very real—indicating that Mr. Ryan and his cronies are not “change,” but more of the same ilk of go-along-get-along politicians that have further alienated the public. In this same vein is funding Planned Parenthood and Obama's executive amnesty for illegal aliens. Indeed, 7 years of Republican coddling—and an outrageous lack of political backbone—are just as likely to make the electorate understandably skittish of new Republican leaders as they are of old Democratic ones.
Playing devil's advocate for a moment, if elected will Mr. Trump simply be a Republican version of Mr. Obama: another arrogant, inflexible, petulant blowhard? Or will it be the equally entitled, greedy, immoral “queen of mean” that is Mrs. Clinton’s reputation? If Trump loses he goes back to his business empire; Mrs. Clinton to her ill-gotten, influence-bartering “Clinton Cash” fortune. The real sword of Damocles hangs not over their heads, but ours (as we are not similarly bankrolled.)
I suspect that fate will turn on the small issues of steadfastness, trustworthiness and mostly likability. That will leave galvanizing Mr. Trump and polarizing Mrs. Clinton too extreme to successfully navigate the political turbulence. That leaves many worthy Republicans particularly Ted Cruz as perhaps our best option in 2017.