Let me begin with an observation from my thirteen-year-old grandson, offered as the results from last night were coming in. “We can expect fire from heaven if this keeps up.”
First the lay of the land, and then some observations . . . and then an endorsement.
Trump was victorious in Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas. He also nipped in just ahead of Kasich in Vermont. Cruz won Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Rubio won Minnesota. So there you go. But take note of Oklahoma, in which you had to be a registered Republican in order to vote. A number of these states divvy up the delegates on a proportional system so that, unless you are down at Carson thresholds, you can take third place and still walk away with delegates.
Up to a certain point, it made sense to try to consolidate the anti-Trump vote by asking the guys who are getting lapped to withdraw from the race. But at another point, a bit farther down the road, the politics might get a little Middle America Byzantine, to coin a phrase. Trump has only about a third of the delegates he needs to take the convention. As a result of all last night’s doings, he only gained on Cruz by about 20 delegates.
All this means the #NeverTrump forces have two options. Either they can all drop out and rally behind the one person who has had the most success thus far in beating Trump (Cruz), which is not likely to happen, or they can stay in the race with the hope that their home states will keep them alive (e.g. Kasich in Ohio and Rubio in Florida). If that actually happens, it may be that the three alternative amigos may accumulate enough delegates in their respective regions to broker the convention — a situation where Trump is in the individual lead but does not have enough delegates to secure the nomination. But this is what we should call a “high risk” strategy. That risk could be minimized if we knew beforehand that Kasich and Rubio would suspend their campaigns if they don’t take Ohio and Florida respectively. As it happens, those primaries are 13 days from now, on March 15. So go get your popcorn.
But unlike Kasich, Rubio needs to decide now. The reason for that is because he has bargaining power now. If he loses Florida, he is done, finis, kaput, swan-songed, and has no significant bargaining power at all. His campaign will have joined the choir invisible.
So now some observations. I trust that my political reflections on the campaign thus far have made it clear that I believe Trump to be a classic American hustler, out for the main chance, not a man of principle, and guaranteed to disappoint his fervent supporters. I think I know what Trump is up to. But I also think that there is a great deal of cluelessness out there when it comes to analyzing what Trump supporters are up to. Members of our ruling elite, as well as those Christians who think that cultural engagement means currying favor with those ruling elites, are trying to analyze this movement by clutching their pearls and throwing all their dresses over their heads.
As I have already made my #NeverTrump bona fides plain enough, I would also like to register my disdain for the white-bread-sjw evangelical establishment, always tagging along behind the real establishment, always being outraged by what they are told to be outraged by. But the establishment is the one currently surrounded by peasants and their pitchforks. Hence the problem. A friend of mine called their objection to Trump boiling down to him being “unchurchladylike.”
As a starting point for understanding all of this, I would recommend The Ruling Class by Codevilla. After that, to apply such insights to this election cycle, I would recommend the following two articles, found here and here.
What we are seeing is a rejection of the old establishment left/right divisions in favor of a new outsider/establishment division. This new division has real teeth this time. Up to this point, it has been the basis for rhetorical excesses — virtually everyone runs against the Washington “insiders.” That is one of the earliest tricks that the insiders mastered. But then one day the real outsiders got mad . . .
So we are seeing in process two very real revolts against the ruling class, one larger and one smaller, one inchoate and the other organized, one emotional and the other principled, one populist and the other constitutionalist. But I think both of them are motivated by a profound contempt for the ruling classes.
The population that is in revolt knows that the ruling class holds them to be rubes and cornpones, the great unwashed, poorly-educated, and so on. I am just going to go ahead and call them the hoi polloi, even though hoi is the article in Greek and technically I should not have added the English article the. But as an Idaho-dwelling member of the hoi polloi, I drive a pick-up truck, and am not supposed to know things like that. The bottom line is that the people running the country, through politics, entertainment, the media, and so on, think that you there in the Middle America — are stupid. And this is the revolt against all that.
Now someone might say that if you are revolting against the idea that smart people think you are stupid, then selecting Trump as your leader scarcely makes your point. But Trump is not the counterpoint in an argument in a paneled seminar room. Trump is a wrecking ball. It doesn’t really matter, the thinking goes, at the end of the day, if all the people you just defenestrated still think you are stupid. Let them think that, just so long as they fit through the window.
Another way of saying this is that Middle America has a marked case of father hunger.
And so, we come to an endorsement. Up to this point I think that my sympathies for Ted Cruz have been evident enough. Out of all the men running, his positions have been closest to mine. He is a Christian by genuine conviction. In the new division that is developing, he is an outsider least likely to disappoint if elected.
And for the first time in a long time, the primaries will still matter by the time the campaign gets to Idaho. We are voting next week, on March 8.
Before saying what I am going to say, I do need to make it clear I am offering this endorsement as a citizen and individual, and not a minister. I am doing this at Blog and Mablog, a web site that is maintained and financed with our own personal funds. I am not speaking for Christ Church, or for any of the other ministries I am associated with. This is just me . . . me and my little old wisdom.
That said, I do endorse Ted Cruz for president, and would encourage everyone who respects that opinion to make sure to vote for him. Crawl over broken glass if you need to.