Connecticut’s presidential primary is coming up April 26, and the jockeying has begun. Governor of Ohio John Kasich, who has managed to corral a slender 145 delegates in a primary that a little over a year ago boasted 17 Republican presidential candidates, recently made his appearance in Connecticut and was warmly received by some legislators and editorial writers.
Mr. Kasich seems to be, at least here in the Northeast, the preferred candidate of what Trumpeters disdainfully call “the establishment,” meaning safe Republican politicians and, one supposes, Connecticut’s left-of-center media. In preparation for the arrival of Donald Trump, the Nutmeg Media – which has never understood or approved of the conservative movement – pulled out its critical party hats.
There may not be many surprises in the Connecticut primary mash-up. The delegate vote in Connecticut likely will be split between the three Republican contenders. As of April 10, the national breakdown is as follows: Cruz 545, Kasich 145 and Trump 742. Possibly Mr. Trump will leave Connecticut with a majority of delegates in his pocket.
The Boston Globe recently printed a “satirical” front page containing pre-fab stories covering a future Trump presidency. Screaming headlines on the mock front page included: “Deportations to Begin: President Trump Calls for Tripling of ICE forces, Riots Continue” – “Markets Sink as Trade War Looms” – “US Soldiers Refuse Orders to Kill ISIS Families” – “New Libel Laws Target ‘Absolute Scum’ in Press” – and so on. You get the idea.
Americans, Mr. Trump may hope, view satire as satire, and The Globe -- which, along with other left-of-center papers, has presided approvingly over the Democratic hegemon in the Northeast -- is The Globe.
The matchless scorn of the Trumpeters is directed at thoughtless professional dunderheads, the left-of-center media, moderate Republicans who twiddled their thumbs as the prosperous Hartford of Mark Twain became the murder capital of New England, and other impedimenta to the coming Age of Trump. Their scorn is well deserved. Barry Goldwater said during his own presidential campaign “If you lop off New England and California, you’ve got a pretty good country.” For the past half century, New England and California have been proving him right. All this and more has come to a boil under Mr. Trump’s flag.
Criticism of Mr. Trump in Connecticut will ramp-up as the state primary approaches. Conservatives view Mr. Trump as a flawed leader of a continuing conservative revolution because a) he’s not a conservative, and b) he’s not a Republican, both attributes that have satisfied the political predilections of people who think parties are dispensable. Mr. Trump has big mouth, a thin skin, a glass jaw, and he’s far too big for his political britches.
One of his most ardent followers here in Connecticut has said in so many words: “Screw the Republican Party. We don’t need it. We have Trump,” which is on a par with saying “We don’t need water taps; we have water” or “We should go to war with the army we’ve got, minus weapons.”
There are only two ways to build a party: You can form it around a set of ideas or you can personalize it, build it around a magnetic personality. After one of the bloodiest centuries in the modern period, one would think the world would have grown weary of strongman government. Who needs a strongman president? We already have one in the current Napoleon. Our constitutional and formative ideas have already been set by all the non-loudmouth intellectual giants who have preceded Mr. Trump.
We need a restoration, not a revolution. And if that restoration must be brought about by fierce rebel patriots, we want to be sure they are on the side of the angels. Mr. Trump, many believe, does not and will not pass this test.
Following the Democratic national convention, Hillary Clinton almost certainly will emerge as the designated Party driver. Republicans will choose between Cruz and Mr. Trump at their national convention. One of them will prevail. In the northeast, Mr. Kasich will receive a sufficient number of delegates to keep his pretensions alive until the convention, at which point he will become a power broker of sorts.
Neither this writer nor anyone else knows who the Republican Convention nominee will be.
Republicans have two relatively seasoned candidates, Cruz and Kasich, and a greenhorn in Mr. Trump. Most polls show Mr. Trump losing to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump hasn’t any political experience, and he has successfully, so far, been beating experienced Republicans with their experience. Facing Mrs. Clinton, a formidable candidate with several Damoclean swords dangling over her head, Mr. Trump may regret his lack of experience. It does, on occasion, come in handy.
On the whole, this has been the queerest election in a lifetime of queer elections. Republicans seem to be on the point of nominating a man, Mr. Trump, who is neither a reliable conservative nor a reliable Republican. On the Democratic side, an aging socialist, Bernie Sanders, is racking up more votes than Mrs. Clinton among young people who have not yet been pushed out of the socialist college cocoon into the wicked world.
Moderates everywhere have disappeared. The general populace is confused and, as such, has become prey to dangerous political Babbitry. The Supreme Court has been revaluating the values of the U.S. Constitution for several decades. The Congress has been ceding its constitutional power to a run-away subversive president. The Middle East lies prostrate under the drawn sword of Islam. Newspapers have been replaced by twittering banshees. And – worst of all – God, who once showered blessing upon America from sea to shining sea, appears to be hibernating, not that anyone can blame Him.
Don Pesci is a political writer.