Blood May Start to Flow
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
It is less than two weeks before the Iowa caucus and less than three weeks before the New Hampshire primary. One thing is becoming clearer by the day, there is very little genuine happiness on the campaign trail. Both the Republican and Democratic campaigns are getting more and more ugly despite the fact that at this point the candidates only are running among their own.
Leaving aside the substance of the decision, it is remarkable to consider that both Trump and Cruz apparently were vying for Sarah Palin’s support and endorsement. This despite the fact that many analysts suggested that she single handedly may have cost John McCain the 2008 election. Her endorsement of Trump now before Iowa–apparently to Cruz’ great disappointment–was deemed more important that what it eventually might take Trump to shake off her blessing during the general election campaign. Similarly, Cruz may need to be careful not to offend Palin and her followers now, lest he need her later in the general election.
At the same time in the Democratic race, Hillary is being hit hard and fast now from enough directions that her campaign clearly has begun to factor in the possibility that she could lose Iowa and New Hampshire like President Clinton did in 1992; when he became the “comeback kid.” The State Department’s Inspector General’s new report indicating that enter private email server contained material above “top secret” (likely intelligence information) puts the entire email ruckus back in front of the voters; and Sanders does not even need to pound on it. Similarly a new poll—coinciding with the fact that it was discussed on Sunday night last, pre-Iowa debate—indicates that many female Democratic voters remain upset with how Hillary dealt with her husband’s persistent philandering; again not an issue that Bernie needs to raise himself. Finally, Hillary finds herself wallowing around on healthcare, gun-control, and taxes while Sanders continue to control the tone and focus in Iowa and New Hampshire. For Democrats—and even some Republicans watching the Trump-Cruz contretemps—there is a growing discussion of a Bloomberg candidacy, a brokered convention, and enormous possibility of stay at home voters.
The one good thing to say about the forthcoming Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary is that it is nice to finally have actual voters finally engaged in the action; albeit partisan voters. After over a year in some cases, there will finally be an actual vote—of sorts. On the other hand, what the American people just experienced over the past six to nine months is outrageous and embarrassing. This is how the greatest democracy in the world selects its leader! Compounding this situation is to consider the foolishness in the American system whereby so much weight is placed on the preferences of party loyalists in two very atypical small states; knowing the insane snow-ball effect these minor states’ contests will have on their respective party’s eventual decision. Finally, one cannot forget the millions of dollars being spent in this very strange process.
Sadly, there is no one even talking about fixing it.