The presidential primaries just started and I’m already tired and confused. Here’s what I’m confused about.
- Why run if you have no chance of winning?
- How much money will be wasted supporting candidates who have zero chance to get the nomination?
- How does a candidate with no prospects ask people for money…and sleep at night?
- What motivates people to donate money to candidates with no prospect of winning?
- The Republicans are cutting the number of debates in half, but are doubling the number of candidates who want air time for our attention.
- A lot of Democrats are struggling to find a viable alternative to Hillary Clinton.
Let’s look at a few of the no-chance candidates. In the Republican gaggle, you have:
- Carly Fiorina* – the terminated CEO of HP and losing candidate for Senate in California
- Ben Carson – the likeable, naïve physician with zero political or governing experience
- Rick Santorum* – a champion of conservative policy but a loser even in his own state
- Marco Rubio – a young, bright, well-spoken 2024 candidate with as much governing experience as Barack Obama
- Donald Trump – with his usual bombastic craving for publicity with no basis or understanding of issues who will sink as fast as he rose
- Ted Cruz – smart with minimum experience and an overly aggressive conservative extremist. Please stop telling me to repeal Obamacare until you give me an alternative.
- James Gilmore III* – former Virginia governor who appears to want to join the scrum. He hasn’t even made the polls.
*Didn’t make the prime-time debate.
I would go on, but you get the picture. On the Democrat side, you have mounting ethic questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails, her role in Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation’s donors from questionable sources which have encouraged the likes of Socialist Bernie Sanders, former Senator Jim Welsh, and a few unlikely governors, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee. And now maybe here comes Joe “Oops” Biden.
What can any of these people contribute? Do any of them really believe they can add some new ideas that will shoot them over the front runners to victory? Give me a break.
The Republican circus car is so crowded that last Thursday featured not one but two kickoff presidential debates. Fox scheduled a prime-time debate with the top 10 candidates in the most recent national polls. The network also held an earlier forum for those junior varsity candidates who didn’t make the first cut.
There were no real winners or losers in the jamboree. The Donald came off as his usual snarky self, but he’s the flavor of the month. He was the only one of the ten who refused to pledge allegiance to the eventual Republican nominee.
Chris Christy and Rand Paul generated the only real fireworks in their disagreement on whether our civil liberties are being violated by the government surveillance programs.
The three Fox News anchors were focused and fair
Only five more to go for the Republicans and six for the Democrats.
It is estimated that well over $500 million will be spent by all these candidates in the primaries. Five hundred million dollars in no piece of chump change. Do the donors have any clue how pointless their money will be?
The cause of a lot of all this wasted money is the Supreme Court decision in the United Citizens case, in which they stretched the definition of “free speech” to include spending money—huge, almost unlimited gobs of it.
I’m no linguistics scholar, but my definition of speech is words, not money. How the Supreme Court Justices got there, I’ll never understand.
If we have to pass a constitutional amendment to get rid of it, let’s do it. It’s a cancer on the whole political process. Campaigns don’t usually end because candidates give up; they end because they run out of money.
While we’re talking about changing the rules, why don’t we change the whole election process:
- Primaries 60 to 90 days max
- General 90 to 120 days max
No expenditure of money for any internet, print and/or broadcast media outside those time constraints.
It would save a lot of money and probably increase voter turnout.
In the past two Republican presidential primaries, the eventual winner led when 50 percent of the delegates were selected. By the time 75 percent were picked, the field was cleared and the party could declare a winner. In 2016, March 8 is the 50 percent date and April 26 is the 75 percent mark. Let’s all try to make it until then.