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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

David Brooks, "Time for a Republican Conspiracy!": If Hillary Is Indicted, Could Bernie Win in November?

"When you're young, you look at television and think, there's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want."

- Steve Jobs

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Time for a Republican Conspiracy!," David Brooks expresses his anguish over the possibility that Trump or Cruz could walk away with the Republican presidential nomination:

"Rarely has a party so passively accepted its own self-destruction. Sure, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are now riding high in some meaningless head-to-head polls against Hillary Clinton, but the odds are the nomination of either would lead to a party-decimating general election.

. . . .

Worse is the prospect that one of them might somehow win. Very few presidents are so terrible that they genuinely endanger their own nation, but Trump and Cruz would go there and beyond. Trump is a solipsistic branding genius whose 'policies' have no contact with Planet Earth and who would be incapable of organizing a coalition, domestic or foreign.

Cruz would be as universally off-putting as he has been in all his workplaces. He’s always been good at tearing things down but incompetent when it comes to putting things together."

Brooks's solution:

"What’s needed is a grass-roots movement that stands for governing conservatism, built both online and through rallies, and gets behind a single candidate sometime in mid- to late February. In politics, if A (Trump) and B (Cruz) savage each other then the benefits often go to Candidate C. But there has to be a C, not a C, D, E, F and G."

The problem is that taken together, Trump and Cruz currently have the backing of some 54 percent of Republican voters. C, D, E, F and G collectively amount to less than a majority. Moreover, support of Trump and Cruz does not come from what Brooks labels the "Republican governing class." Rather, like it or not, their support is very much Republican "grass-roots," i.e. Trump and Cruz are giving Republicans exactly what they want.

All of which leads to the unthinkable: If Hillary is indicted, Bernie Sanders could walk away with the election in November. Why am I not amused?

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