04 March 2016

A distorted, vulgar repetition of 1964

If Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton is chosen by the Democrats, the 2016 election may seem like a distorted, vulgar repetition of 1964: a contest between a Republican who scares and repels people, including Republicans, and a Democrat whom many voters, including Democrats, don’t like or trust, leading to an outcome that may change the electoral map again. There are wishful hopes (Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, may be hoping) that no Republican will win the required number of delegates to secure the nomination in the primaries, which could lead to a brokered convention. But a Republican Party with the power to do the brokering no longer seems to exist. Of the two major not-Trumps, Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio, who in any other year might be seen as too far to the right even for the G.O.P., talks incessantly about uniting his party rather than his country, while Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, talks about uniting those who agree with his cruel, narrow outlook. Trump, meanwhile, could barely manage a wobbly disavowal of support from a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The Republican Governor Nikki Haley, of South Carolina, said the other day that the effect of a Trump candidacy on the Party would be to “make us question who we are and what we’re about.” But the other Republican candidates would also prompt that line of questioning.

- Jeffrey Frank, ‘From Goldwater to Trump: When Parties Fail to Stop Alarming Candidates’, New Yorker, 2 March 2016

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