The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I wish I could believe it!

There is a post I read yesterday, dated a week ago but first coming to my attention yesterday evening, by Seth Abramson on the Huffington Post site, with the title “John Kasich Will Be the Republican Nominee for President.” I really wish I could believe things will play out that way. It would cap a crazy primary election season with the best outcome I could possibly imagine: a Republican ticket that I could enthusiastically support.

The major premise of Abramson's post is that:

Donald Trump needs 1,237 delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and not only will he not get to that figure prior to the Convention — he’d need to win well over 50 percent of the remaining delegates to do so, and even during his current run as front-runner he’s only won 46 percent of delegates — he won’t even get close enough to that mark to pass it via uncommitted delegates at the Convention.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich staying in the race through Cleveland not only will ensure that Trump can’t get close to 1,237 delegates via primary and caucus votes, it will also ensure that both men have a reasonable delegate total by the time they arrive at the Convention — more than enough to keep both of them in the picture in the view of Convention delegates.

So far I think he is right. There is a good chance, even a likelihood, that the first ballot in Cleveland will sho no majority for either Trump or Cruz. However, in his next point he strays into unpredictable territory; whether it will come about is unclear to me:

Republican Party elders have more than enough clout to make sure that “Rule 40(b)” gets changed prior to or at the Convention, thereby enabling Republicans like John Kasich who haven’t won a majority of delegates in eight states to nevertheless be considered for the nomination.

I hope so; it is very important that that rule be changed, and I think the probability of this happening is high enough that I cannot be certain whether it comes about. Certainly, without the change in the rules, Trump gets the nomination, even if Cruz is the one pushing hardest to keep the rule.

The next two points are crucial, and I devoutly hope Abramson is right:

After the first ballot in Cleveland — during which no candidate will have the require[d] delegates for nomination — most of the delegates will be free to vote for whomever they wish, and while Ted Cruz has craftily planted his supporters in many delegations, it’s not nearly enough to get him to 1,237 delegates on the second ballot.

Whereas Ted Cruz is loathed by the Republican Party elite, has lost to Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polls 55 percent of the time since November 2015, and has no actual accomplishments in government to point to, John Kasich hasn’t lost a single head-to-head poll to Hillary Clinton in 2016, is broadly if imperfectly acceptable to both Party elites and movement conservatives, and is far and away the most accomplished Republican primary candidate left.

If “electability” were what mattered most, the second of these would be very important. Will it? Most certainly Kasich is hoping so. It's also what I really wish would happen. I think that last point is the key to Abrahamson's argument. But the next point is equally critical:

Marco Rubio has deliberately held onto his 172 delegates so that he can create a unity ticket with John Kasich in Cleveland — a ticket that will begin with somewhere between 350 and 600 delegates on the first ballot at the Convention, depending upon how many delegates John Kasich wins going forward.

Has Rubio held onto his delegates “so that he can create a unity ticket with John Kasich in Cleveland”? I can't read Rubio's mind. He certainly has a plan to be an influence on the result. So Abrahamson's next point is a given:

Rubio is certain not to give his delegates away for free, nor to give them to his arch-enemies Cruz or Trump, nor to — as some suppose — merely fade into the background when he was and remains among the most ambitious politicians in the Republican Party.

And the next point is also certainly true:

A Kasich/Rubio ticket would appeal to both mainstream Republicans (Kasich) and Tea Partiers (Rubio), to both white and Latino voters, to younger voters who want to see someone relatively young on the ticket, to those looking for a ticket whose members run the gamut from executive to legislative experience at both the state and federal levels, and to those who believe all members of a presidential ticket should hail from a major battleground state.

Yes, a Kasich/Rubio ticket would be acceptable to many Republicans and to people who might be persuaded to vote Republican in November. It would be more than merely acceptable to me: John Kasich started off as one of my two favorite candidates, and ever since Chris Christie dropped out has been my #1 choice; Marco Rubio was originally the person I thought would be the Presidential nominee, and one I would not have any qualms about supporting if he had been nominated. The question is not whether Kasich/Rubio would be a good ticket; it is one which I have already said I would support with enthusiasm. The question is whether all these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which Abrahamson has put on the table will actually fit together to produce a Kasich/Rubio ticket in reality.

I hope so. I wish I could believe it will happen that way. Nothing could happen at Cleveland that would make me happier.

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