Yes, I know, I’ve been slacking. It’s been nearly a year since I last posted on the blog. With moving at the end of last summer and working more to pay for a new apartment, I just lost the motivation (and the time) to sit down and pour my thoughts into something remotely intelligible to share. Granted, that hasn’t stopped me from posting the occasional tirade on Facebook about some ridiculous idiocy I learned of that day. Still, I can’t make excuses for neglecting this project that I started almost three years ago. And for that, I apologize. I’m going to try to devote more time and energy to the blog in the coming months, for the sake of my sanity and my apparently shrinking Facebook friends list. And I will legitimately try, mind you, not just claim that I’m newly motivated before tapering off into oblivion again.
With that being said, it’s worth noting that a fair majority of my posts in the coming months will be centered on the 2016 election (yes, I know, you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am of writing about it). I’ll try my best to limit these posts in frequency, partially so I don’t lose my mind, and partially so the blog doesn’t just turn into a landing page for dysfunctional election rants. So barring any major changes or setbacks, I’ve thrown together the first in what will hopefully be a number of posts to be shared with you over the summer. You’ll have to bear with me, because it’s been awhile since I’ve clicked and clacked my thoughts into a comprehensive post that (hopefully) is interesting enough to not bore you to tears. Now then, let’s get this show back on the road….
I just read this very interesting piece from Politico Magazine. It’s full of assumptions (many of which have their standing in logic and history), but Bill Scher has a point. As much as pundits and alternative candidates talk about how we need to avoid political dynasties, Hillary and Jeb have one thing that many of the other candidates don’t have: name recognition. Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
I don’t doubt the claim that Hillary will make it through the relatively sparse Democratic challengers (namely Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley). She’ll definitely face some opposition in those primaries, with Sanders coming after her from the far left and O’Malley challenging her affiliations with corporate donors. Still, I find it highly unlikely that she fails to grasp the Democratic nomination.
On the other end of things, I’m not completely confident that Jeb Bush will be able to push through the
steaming dung pile growing field of Republican candidates. Even as I write this, Lindsey “Don’t Call Me Cooter Brown” Graham has announced his candidacy for 2016. It’s going to be a particularly long and tiresome primary season, and Bush will have to outlast not only the crazed Tea Party enthusiasts (i.e. Ted Cruz and Scott Walker), but the more serious candidates (namely Marco Rubio, who will be one of the first mainstream GOP candidates to break away from the “old, rich white guy” image). I’d say it’s definitely possible for him to do that, but it’ll be a steep hill to climb, and Jeb will have to try not to steer too far to the right to win the nomination, lest he have to violently correct course to meet Hillary closer to the center.
Of course, if it does come down to Jeb vs. Hillary, Lady Clinton (not an official title, of course, but I’ll accept any royalties made from the bumper stickers and t-shirts) does have one advantage over Bush: history. If push comes to shove, Hillary has the ability to point to her husband’s economic record, which to this day is a high point for many voters who were old enough to be working during the Clinton 90’s. Jeb, on the other hand, will likely spend most of his campaign in an attempt to distance himself from brother George, whose foreign policy and economic failures largely left the nation crippled and in chaos as he left office.
This goes back to name recognition. For Hillary, the family name is popular and loved by many voters. Despite the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton is to this day widely regarded as one of the most popular and successful presidents of the last century. While Hillary will have to forge her own path as she seeks the presidency, she does have that affiliation that will win her a metric shitload (yes, that is a technical term, and a measurement equal to 2.7 imperial shitloads) of votes. Jeb, on the other hand, walks a tightrope suspended above the Grand Canyon, and there is no net below him to break his fall. If he makes the wrong move, or suggests that he would follow in his brother’s footsteps, his campaign is all but finished.
There’s also one more angle that could play a major role in this battle of Hillary vs. Jeb: Fox News. As much as I like to throw metaphorical shit at the network (if you’ve been a regular reader of the blog, you know this all too well), they do have a firm standing with Republican voters, which will help Jeb. But in some ways, Fox’s role will act as a double-edged sword. They’ll be the go-to media outlet for rallying those on the right in support of Bush (or whatever GOP schmuck gets the nomination), but they might do more to hurt him in the general election.
Look at it this way: Fox’s rhetoric is dominated by fear, conspiracy, and victimization of the Christian right. While that’s going to help Jeb by lighting a fire under Republican voters,
if when Fox goes too far with their coverage, they’ll alienate a large swathe of undecided voters who will see their crazy talk as being representative of Jeb Bush. If there’s one thing that voters are beginning to unite around, it’s that we need reasonable people in office. And when Fox starts throwing the Benghazi card (and believe me, they will), along with the “women can’t be president because menstruation” card, and possibly even the Monica Lewinsky card if they’re feeling desperate enough, undecided voters (I’m looking at you, Ohioans) will quickly walk out of the Bush camp.
All this goes to say that, although I think it’s likely that we’ll see a Clinton-Bush showdown in 2016, we have a year-and-a-half until Election Day. As cliche as it sounds, a lot can happen between now and then. A new Democratic candidate could jump into the fray. We could be surprised by how moderate the Republican candidates are (excuse me while I contain a cynical snicker). Jeb Bush could suddenly decide that he wants to retire to the Scottish countryside and start a bird sanctuary called Two in the Bush (again, make royalty checks out to Justin Marden). In a year or so, I’ll revisit this post and see what’s come to fruition and what has not. It’s a lot of conjecture at this point in time, but I’m excited for the outcome. And amid all the uncertainty, we can always count on one thing: