Our illustrious purveyor Jordan Bloom recently made a great case for putting South Carolina senator and dandy Lindsey Graham in the Oval Office. His commentary is a must-read, if only for the utter hopelessness of making Graham America’s first official dictator. You see, the 2016 election is over. Better start looking forward to 2024.
Come January 20, 2017, we’ll welcome Hillary Clinton to the White House.
I have a running bet with a friend: the former first lady and secretary of state will be the next president of the United States. An October surprise aside, Clinton has this thing in the bag. The Republican bench for 2016 is as good as ever, but it matters little. Politics is tribal. Self-identifying Republicans and Democrats will vote straight ticket. Independents are the key to victory, and the Clinton campaign theme will resonate more with them than anyone named Paul, Cruz, Rubio, or Bush.
Hillary’s opening campaign ad has me more convinced than ever that she will be our first Pantsuit-in-Chief. Titled “Getting Started,” the video is not about restoring American greatness or bringing back lost jobs. It’s about simple things. The ad features a mother excited about her daughter’s first day of school. It includes a retiree sanguine about starting her garden, a Spanish-speaking pair of brothers opening a small business, a stay-at-home mother going back to work, an expecting couple, a college student on the verge of graduation, and a child ecstatic about playing the part of a fish in his school’s play. Oh, and it features a gay couple talking about getting married. Because of course.
After all these testimonials, Clinton appears and announces her candidacy. The ad is devoid of pomp. It’s Hillary aspiring to be a champion of “everyday Americans.” She promises voters that under her presidency “you can do more than just get by…you can get ahead and stay ahead.” And you know what? Her message works. The former senator appears plain-spoken and ready to help average Americans with the things they care most about: family, business, friendships, and personal effects. No Republican candidate thus far holds a candle to that kind of message.
Apologies to Gavin McInnes, but Ted Cruz will not be the next president. Americans aren’t going to choose a Canadian-born man as their leader. And as George Will points out, Cruz’s gambit of explicitly courting conservatives is destined for failure. A plurality of the voting public doesn’t identify as conservative. Counting on the blocs of evangelicals, economic conservatives, and immigration hardliners to make it to the Oval Office is a losing strategy. It also doesn’t help that the media has gone to great lengths to turn Cruz into a madman.
Rand Paul faces the same insurmountable odds. Libertarianism is not popular in America. In all likelihood, it never will be. Though I may agree with Senator Paul’s policies more than any other candidate, I’m realistic about his chances. That is: he has no chance. It’s a damn shame too, but normal folks don’t want to hear about Washington taking away their subsidized goodies. And they also don’t want to keep their liberty if it means feeling unsafe. RedState.com purveyor Erick Erickson is right when he admits, “most Americans are perfectly willing to trade freedom for security.” Paul is more reluctant than any other candidate to make that trade. That will be his undoing.
Marco Rubio, despite his young appearance and affability, doesn’t have the spunk to beat Hillary. He speaks well, as long as his throat isn’t parched. His campaign is focused on the future. He even calls his campaign “A New American Century.” Romantic visions of a prosperous America might impress consultants. But they do little for the working stiff who cares more about the well-being of his household than his country. Family checkbook over the national treasury is Realpolitik. Rubio’s previous – and continued – support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants also makes it harder for him to court working class whites disaffected by a lack of job opportunities. And don’t even get me started on his loathsome foreign policy. So, again, the deck is stacked against him.
Jeb Bush has enough support from the powers that be to pose a challenge to Clinton. He won’t win, but he can give Hillary a run for her (foreign) money. Jebbers, as I like to call him, has a better chance than his GOP counterparts because Americans enjoy familiarity. In the 21st century, the only thing more familiar than a Clinton in the White House is a Bush. And frankly, political dynasties fare better at maintaining the long-term health of a nation than ephemeral political aspirants. While a President Jeb Bush wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, Hillary has the winning flank of the culture war on her side.
Most other GOP candidates aren’t worth mentioning. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is about as excitable as a plastic bag. He took a valiant stand against public sector unions in Wisconsin. He even survived their vengeance-driven recall campaign. But that matters little in a country where the voting majority tends to cast a ballot in defense of the status quo. As for neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Rep. Peter King. former tech CEO Carly Fiorina, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, I’ll eat my shirt if any make it through the Republican primary.
The problem with Republicans is they spend too much times waxing philosophically about the Federalist Papers and Thomas Jefferson’s musings. America’s beginnings are important, but they are rarely taught in grade school anymore. Children are growing up learning that the American founders were slave-owning white elitists whose ideas about nature and government were tainted with privilege. Thanks to this foolhardy teaching, future generations are being left listless and unconnected to their heritage.
Additionally, as Yuval Levin points out, the conservative philosophy is no longer seen as a coherent body of thought. Instead, it’s viewed as “a brake on American life, while the Left holds the steering wheel.” If conservatives want to win, it means convincing “individual souls” rather than rely on society – e.g. national elections – to forge moral progress. Liberals have been fairly successful with that strategy. The question remains: how, then, do Republicans tap into the pathos that Democrats use to win? If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Rather, I’d capitalize on the idea, and live in a Mitt Romney-style abode.
I can only offer a humble recommendation: politics is won by appealing to things closest to the heart. Conservatives talk a good game about family values and fiscal responsibility. But they do a shit job of communicating them in a way that makes them relatable. Democrats love promising voters more money they can spend on their family. Republicans think that laissez faire economics translates into greater prosperity down the road. That fundamental principle is true, but is not immediately observable. It’s out of sight, out of mind for the typical voter.
We should get ready for another Clinton in the White House because here’s the thing: President Hillary won’t destroy the country – at least not right away. Most of the government is on auto-pilot, meaning that presidents have little sway on the day-to-day business of governing. Hillary will maintain the empire abroad, while doing her part to grow the state at home. Seeing as how every president since Harding has done the exact same thing, Hillary won’t be all that different from her predecessors.
The worst aspect about President Clinton the Sequel will be the onslaught of political-correctness and half-witted feminism. The real threat to America is losing the Judeo-Christian foundation that allowed the country to bloom into its present state. It won’t be whittled away by terrorist threats or economic overregulation. Instead, it will be slowly smothered by the culture of moral relativism both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton champion. And Republicans can do little to stop it.
Seeing as how most political predictions are about as sound as reading the palm of a guppy, I could be completely wrong about everything. Like always, time will tell.