According to the latest polls, a large chunk of the American populace thinks that the five candidates left in the in the 2016 presidential contest just plain suck. Three of the five have higher disapproval than approval ratings, while the other two are in positive territory, but just barely. A clear case of where the American public is sticking it to themselves. (We have met the enemy, and he is us, as Pogo famously said.) Let’s go over the numbers. Leading the way is, of course, Donald Trump with a 65% unfavorable score and only a 30% favorable rating. Maybe his bombastic, bloviating, bullying demeanor is not sitting too well with the general public. Nevertheless, Trump is the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination since he’s way ahead in the delegate count, and the big states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and California with upcoming primaries seem to be decisively falling into his column. His probable opposing candidate in November will be a badly damaged Hillary Clinton, who could be under Federal indictment for her e-mail fiasco. If she is, the presidency will almost certainly fall into Trump’s lap.
Next up on the unfavorable chart is Hillary, herself, with 55% in the minus column to only 40% on the plus side. A little better than Trump’s numbers, but not by much. Besides over 25 years of scandals involving both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and the Benghazi tragedy when she was Secretary of State, there is the mind-numbing fiasco of sending classified government e-mails over her unsecured private server. For someone supposedly as smart as Hillary, that act alone would constitute felony stupidity. She knew when she went to the State Department that she had presidential ambitions, yet acted with complete recklessness. In any event, it gives the Republicans a ship-load of ammo to fire away during the entire campaign season.
Next up in the presidential sweepstakes hall-of-shame is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with only a 33% approval versus 55% disapproval score. Cruz is the only viable candidate with a long-shot possibility of overtaking Trump for the Republican nomination, but he too has multiple problems. He has strong and sincere beliefs on all major issues, versus Trump who licks his finger, and holds it up in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, and that becomes his position-du-jour. (Such as as calling for “punishing” women who’ve had abortions on one day, and then calling them “victims” the next day.) The trouble is, Cruz’s positions are so extreme right-wing, that they turn off even a lot of Republicans living out-side the South. Cruz made the rookie mistake, when campaigning earlier in the South, of telling Southerners not to vote for Trump because he possessed “New York values.” While that may have helped him in some Southern states, he’s now paying the price with disastrous poll number projections, not only in the upcoming primary in New York, but in California and Pennsylvania as well. So he has to be considered a long-shot at best.
There’s a third candidate still in the GOP race-John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, who’s actually on the plus side in popularity rankings-41% versus 39%. (Just barely on the plus side.) While he’s a decent enough guy, he has never won a primary or caucus ballot. I’d say that his probability of obtaining the Republican nomination are about the same as my chance of having a chest of rare gold coins fall out of the sky and land at my feet. I keep looking upward but it doesn’t appear to be happening. That leaves us with with the one remaining candidate still in the race, Bernie Sanders, who has a remote possibility of overtaking Hillary for the Democratic nomination. Bernie also has a positive approval rating of 49%-42%, which is not great, but better than the others.
Bernie has the distinct advantage of not being burdened with all of Clinton’s scandals, but he has problems of his own. First of all, he would be age 75 when being sworn into the Oval office, which is pretty late in the game for such a demanding, high-stress job. Then he insists on calling himself a Socialist which, shall we say, does not have pleasant connotations throughout most of America. Of course, his benchmark is Socialist type governments that exist throughout most Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. I’ve often stated that that these countries have, perhaps, the most decent and rational societies on Planet Earth. Such as providing free health-care, free higher education, and other amenities to all its citizens. If you can put up with their brutal winters. Perhaps it’s the cold weather that forces them to act with greater decency and rationality than most other places in this world. In any event, even though Bernie keeps winning various primaries, the fix seems to be in for Clinton securing the Democratic nomination. So the strong likelihood is that the general election will come down to a choice of Trump vs. Clinton, the two candidates with the highest disapproval ratings. Ugh.
If Clinton wins, in all probability, our Constitutional form of democracy will survive and remain intact. But if Trump wins, you can kiss our democratic form of government sayonara. Even if the U.S. has a faux democracy, (as I’ve written about before) where the rich and powerful buy and sell politicians like beads in a bazar, it’s still better than the tyranny that would come into existence during a Trump administration. Trump would rule the way Vladimir Putin rules Russia, with the iron fist of a dictatorial despot. Trump has already expressed great admiration for Putin’s leadership style. (Read my previous posting called-“A Fine Bromance.”) If you like what Putin has done to Russia, you’re going to love what Trump will do to America.