Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Donald Trump and the Triumph of the Tea He Party

Donald Trump survived the Ides of March with a win-loss record now of 20 to 12 (19 to 10 if we just count states). But what does it mean? It's the triumph of the Tea Party.

The Tea Party, properly understood, was just as much a protest against the Republican Party as it was against the Obama administration. I was never really a fan. So the economy kicked a little dirt in your face? Welcome to my life, bub.

The angry middle-aged persons (they weren't just white men) who came out for those rallies in 2009, 2010, and early 2011 had disappeared by 2012, seemingly discredited by the death of Osama Bin Laden, disgrace of Herman Cain, and poor showing of Michelle Bachmann in the 2012 Republican Presidential primaries. But now they are back, throwing punches, and casting votes.

It's not just Donald Trump. The Tea Party Class of 2010 included Ted Cruz getting elected as U.S. Senator for Texas, Marco Rubio as U.S. Senator for Florida, John Kasich as Governor of Ohio, Chris Christie as Governor of New Jersey, and Rand Paul as U.S. Senator for Kentucky. Carly Fiornia tried and fell short of getting elected U.S. Senator for California in 2010. Ben Carson counts himself as Tea Party too.

As a group, they have gotten 98.5% of the vote in the 2016 Republican primaries so far, while the candidates with more traditional Republican roots - Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Jim Gilmore - only getting only 1.5% (19,950,541 to 313,575). The Republican grass has been pulled out by the roots and left to dry in the late winter sun.

What does the Tea Party want? "Taxed Enough Already" was the original backronym. But it was never really just or even primarily about taxes. "Had Enough" does better service. As Donald Trump moves on to clinch the Republican nomination, as he almost certainly will, perhaps it should be renamed the HE Party.

Can HE win in November? So far in the primaries there have been 7.5 million votes cast for Donald Trump and 8.7 million for Hillary Clinton. But look at the almost 20 million votes for all the Tea Party candidates versus less than 15 million combined on the Democratic side for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Will all those Republicans support Donald Trump? HE is mad and Hillary Clinton is Wall Street friendly, the old school Republicans might decide. That may be what SHE is counting on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Force Protection Condition Bravo at My Cambridge Polling Place

I got up this morning and took my Jeep in for an oil change and new shock absorbers. Then I went to vote at the Cambridge Armory. It got a bit surreal.

Force Protection Condition Bravo means "increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists." If we were in the immediate area where a terrorist attack was occurring, a National Guardsman would come round to screw out the plate with the Bravo warning and screw in the plate with the Delta warning.

Then it was was shades of 2012 and Clint Eastwood's chair:
Was I supposed to vote here in the chair or over there in the direction the blue arrow pointed? I sat in the chair for over an hour figuring that one out.

Then came the color coded ballots, arranged in descending order by our Cambridge poll workers: red for Democratic Party, green for Green-Rainbow Party, blue for Republican Party, and purple for United Independent Party. Feel the hillariously subliminal bern: the Democratic Party ballot is decidedly more pink than red.

If you're wondering why purple didn't get put ahead of blue, there were no actual candidate names on the United Independent Party ballot. I was tempted to request the purple ballot and write my name in for Ward Committee, State Committee Man, State Committee Woman, and Presidential preference as a perfect unity ticket.