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Hobson's choice

There will be a lot of whining in coming months (and I'll be contributing mightily to it) about the Hobson's choice we're going to be facing this November between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A "Hobson's choice," for the uninitiated, is a choice in which there are two options: 1) take it, or 2) leave it.

I personally plan to leave it. If the choice is indeed between Hillary and Il Duce, I'll do what I've never done before: stay home on Election Day. I see no virtue in casting my vote for some third party crackpot I agree with no more than I agree with the non-choices the major parties would in that case be offering, and I consider the very offering of that Hobson's choice to be a clear signal that the system itself is so broken that not participating in it at all- even down to the level of the gutless state and local officials who could have resisted Trump when it might have done some good, and didn't- would be my most appropriate and perhaps even my most effective response.

But let's not forget that we did this to ourselves. Sane Republicans could have united behind a Marco Rubio or a Jeb Bush or a Carly Fiorina or somebody before our votes had been so diffused for so long that we no longer mattered, and the Party faced the not-quite Hobson's choice between Trump and Cruz. I say "not quite" because as theologian Jack Kilcrease remarked a while back if Cruz is nominated the Republicans will merely lose an election, whereas if Trump is nominated the party will lose its soul.

And let there be no whining about Hillary Clinton's presidency. Trump and Cruz voters will have nobody to blame but themselves for narrowing the race to the two candidates neither of whom can possibly beat her. But it will ill-behoove the rest of us to point fingers; after all, we let them do it. We could have stopped them.

As it is, the GOP will probably nominate the only candidate in recent memory with worse negatives than Hillary has. As I've noted before, one-third of the Republican party has seen the threat of the other one-third of Republicans who say that they will not vote for Trump and raised them, promising not to vote for any Republican other than Trump. That itself really says all that needs to be said. We might as well start calling Hillary "Madam President-elect."

Moreover, as the article linked to in the first sentence of this post points out, only 47% of Republicans (!) and 27% if the total electorate even thinks that Trump is qualified to be president.

True, only half of he voters say that Hillary is qualified.
But that's nearly twice as many as say that Trump is.

Until recently the polls have been relatively even, although Hillary has not only consistently beaten Trump, but has only beaten Trump of all the major candidates. But recently Clinton's leads have consistently been in the double digits. General election voters are not apt to be as easily mesmerized as Republican primary voters have been. I expect Trump to lose even to a weak candidate like Hillary Clinton by a Goldwater/McGovern/Mondale-type margin.

But as has been the case concerning Trump's qualifications, his positions, and his personal fitness for office, his supporters are and always have been in denial concerning his electability- or lack of it. In my precinct caucus here in Des Moines, the speaker for Trump actually made the bizarre statement that Trump- the only major candidate among the Republicans who lost to Hillary in the polls, and who did so consistently- was the only candidate who could beat her!

And they actually believe that. On Planet Trump, they think they're backing a winner. And on a certain Wednesday morning in November, they will awaken to a very rude surprise indeed.

No doubt their explanation for Trump's electoral obliteration will be a conspiracy, or that everybody in the country cheated, or something along those lines. Doubtless the Donald- unable to face at long last the stark reality of just what a loser he really is- will make such a claim. Will there be violence? I doubt it The Trump people will be in shock.

And Donald Trump- thank God- will no longer be a threat. Oh, I imagine he'll remain on the fringes of the national political scene and even retain much of his following. But he will no longer be taken seriously as a candidate for president, and will gradually descend to the level of the joke he really has been all along. His angry supporters, in rebellion against reality, will, of course, get even angrier. But to no avail. If we're lucky, they won't vote anymore.

But Hillary will be president. The Republicans will lose at least one and possibly both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court will be securely in radical hands for a generation. Roe and Obergefell and like abominations will be safe forever. Our culture and mores will continue to deteriorate. There may or may not be an effective opposition party to Hillary; I and many others would not want to be associated with a party that had nominated Donald Trump. The war between the ideological kamikaze squad that backs Ted Cruz and the pragmatists dismissed this year as "the Establishment' will continue for the carcass of the elephant.

And we- all of us- will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Ourselves and a loser named Trump.


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