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Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Politics | 5 comments

We will never know what would have happened if Trump had lost the nomination

imageSome relatively sane Republican commentators have been comforting themselves with the idea that anyone other than Donald Trump would surely have easily dispatched Hillary Clinton. The notion is built on the idea that he is so awful and that until recently polls have been so close that she must obviously be nearly as awful.

On that claim, a recent article by Walter Shapiro at Roll Call does a strange thing. It’s headline, “Losing an Election that a Rational Republican Might Have Won,” has little to do with the core argument of the piece, which is that if the GOP nominee had been someone other than Trump it is very likely the presidential general election would have contained a serious policy debate on issues important to the health of the nation.

Mr. Shapiro, to my mind, is not saying that another Republican would necessarily have defeated Mrs. Clinton, though the implication is there, only that we would have had a better chance of choosing a president based upon policies and ideas worthy of the occasion.

Mr. Shapiro writes:

Never in modern history have issues played so scant a role in a presidential campaign. Most of the vitriolic opposition to Hillary Clinton stems from her home brew email server and the blurred ethical lines between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during her tenure. Trump himself acknowledges this content-free campaign every time he suggests that his sexual misdeeds are less reprehensible than Bill Clinton’s.

Whatever else may be true of Hillary Clinton’s ethical lapses, there is little doubt she was prepared to campaign on the issues. Just as obvious is that Mr. Trump was wholly unprepared to understand let alone discuss any important issues of the day.

Fifteen years after 9/11, the voters deserve to hear a robust debate on the merits of America’s drone wars from Yemen to Pakistan. Three years after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA’s monitoring of citizens’ telephone calls and emails, the nation has yet to hold an honest political discussion of the tradeoffs between privacy and security in an age of terrorism. On the domestic front, what is the formula for breaking the congressional logjam on funding infrastructure projects? What are the most effective ways to battle addiction to heroin and painkillers? And is there any relief possible for those workers who have already lost their jobs from NAFTA and other trade treaties?

If another candidate had won the GOP nomination it surely would have been a different general election campaign. As for how that candidate would have performed, who knows. Rubio seemed unprepared for the big stage despite being highly toutet. Bush was low energy. Cruz is obnoxious, and Christie still has his bridge problem. Still, any of them would have been able to articulate a coherent platform, our decision might have been based on something more rational than what confronts us now, and the country would have been better off for it.

It’s always fun to discuss what might have been, even to suggest that another outcome is most likely, but as any fan of alternative timeline science fiction knows, change anything and you change everything.

It’s good entertainment, but a waste of time in politics.

Cross-posted at Phantom Public

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Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • dduck


  • Slamfu

    Lol, the runner up would have been Ted Cruz, who before Trump came along was the least likeable of the rest of the ridiculous GOP lineup. Even his own party despises him, like Trump. They needed another Romney, and the closest they came was Kasich who I don’t think even broke single digits, probably because he was the most reasonable and could actually talk about policy in complete sentences. Today’s GOP electorate doesn’t seem to go in for that sort of thing, and I’m as sure as I can be Clinton would have run circles around any of them too. She just might have had to actually work for it, instead of just letting Trump have the mic and do her work for her.

  • rudi

    The Right is still delusional. This crazy piece by PJM Roger Simon is bat shit crazy – Only Trump can heal our political malaise.
    I read this in the early morning before my caffeine IV kicked in.

    Many Americans are justifiably worried about how our country can be brought together after this most divisive of elections in years.

    Those who think that Hillary Clinton can do it are living in dreamland. The continued WikiLeaks revelations—and they are probably just getting started—coupled with the ongoing investigations on many fronts, lies multiplying on decades of lies, Obama himself implicated, will wound Mrs. Clinton, her husband, and their putative foundation through her entire administration and weaken her both at home and abroad to such a degree that her ability to govern will barely exist. It will be tragic for our country and the world.

    Everyone honest knows Trump is right in one regard—she is a crook, a crook who got away with it.

    But Trump, if he wins, will create aftershocks reverberating way beyond his enemies on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Beverly Hills. We may see riots, strikes and urban discontent unlike anything we have seen in many years.

    In order to govern in this parlous situation, Trump has to break one of his campaign pledges immediately. He must pardon Hillary Clinton,

    Yes, if Trump wins a pardon will lease the attack dogs in Congress and Ted Cruz. Trump will even invite the Clinton’s for tea and a sleep over in the WH.

    • The Ohioan

      The name Roger Simon puzzled me. Roger Simon is a writer at Politico. Roger L. Simon is a Hollywood screenwriter who started P J Media. His prognostication sounds more like a screenplay than a political assessment. P J Media is one of those YAHOO news sources I never read. Gee, what I’ve been missing!

    • dduck

      @rudi: “Yes, if Trump wins a pardon will lease the attack dogs in Congress and Ted Cruz. Trump will even invite the Clinton’s for tea and a sleep over in the WH”
      41 years ago: Ford: “Being forced to resign the Presidency and live with that humiliation the rest of his life was a severe punishment in itself, the equivalent to serving a jail term.”

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