Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"He is a Dangerous Man for a Dangerous Moment"

That title's from the last line in this TPM piece summarizing Day 1 in Cleveland.  Well worth a read.

The start of the party conventions seems a good time to check back into the state of the race, post-footballing holiday.  France was an absolute ball.  10 games in all, most of the Tour de Mont Blanc, and copious wine and other delicacies consumed.  Felt like the longest of 3 week vacations, such that the return to actually sitting at a desk for stretches of time is proving difficult indeed.  The mind straying as it does - with speed - to future voyages.  London, Ireland, Bali, New Zealand, New Orleans, Chile, etc.  Oh so much to see. 

This RNC is a shambles, an embarrassment.  Astonishing theatre in its craziness and unpredictability, but mostly just scary in the way the Trump phenomenon has successfully brought the most outlandish and ridiculous aspects of American politics into the mainstream.  The amount of votes this guy is going to get, no matter what he says or does or promotes or sanctions, is truly frightening when considered in the larger context.  Hopefully this week will help signal the beginning of the end of Trump, but in the most unpredictable of campaigns, no one would bet on it. 

I was surprised in looking up the dates of the Democratic convention today to find it will be rolling out immediately following, starting next Monday.  That's a short window for the announcement of Hillary's VP, which I now assume will be Kaine or Vilsack.  Safe hands from a swing state, and why not?  Would have liked the idea of Warren, but can see her playing a big part in the administration regardless, and likely from a more important position than the #2 spot anyway.  Surprised that Trump went with the safe Pence pick, but you can see the rationale, especially if Gingrich/Christie were the only alternatives.  Neither will matter, which means continued advantage to the Democrats.

Looking forward to seeing what stories the rest of the convention season holds in store, and what it may all mean for the race itself.  Since the identities of the nominees crystallized at the end of May, it feels a bit as though everything has been in a holding pattern, awaiting a small but solid Clinton win and (thumbs held) the utter humiliation of Donald J. Trump.  No need to panic until the fundamentals change, but there is a lot of time left to run off the clock until the first Tuesday in November, and a lot can happen in the interim that might trigger the unimaginable - which makes the watching of this live-action history all the more compelling.

And as potentially destructive as Trump may yet prove to be, it bears remembering what an alternative RNC week in a sane universe might have been.  In this article, Vox has nicely laid out the doomsday scenario for Democrats that I most feared would unfold back in January, when I was on my way down to New Hampshire.  My, how much has happened since.