Monday, February 08, 2016

An End to the Carnival? Maybe?

Well, tomorrow is the first primary of this election cycle. Finally! I was amused by the fact that the New Hampshire voting is taking place on Fat Tuesday, the traditional ending to the Mardi Gras or Carnival season. After that comes the rigor and intensity of Lent. It will be time for sacrifice and discipline and introspection within the Christian community for 40 days, excluding Sundays, of course.

What if we could hope that Mardi Gras New Hampshire (how's that for an oxymoron!) is the end to the carnival we have been witnessing for the past year or more? What if the carnival ends tomorrow? What if, after this, we get down to issues, debate reality, stop posturing, deflate the rhetoric and think about the country instead of ideology? Yeah, I know...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
-John Lennon
What are the odds? Pretty slim I would say. Up until recently the Democratic candidates have been doing okay with all that.  Until the Establishment discovered that Bernie Sanders really does have support. Out comes the name-calling, innuendo, and craziness.

The GOP on the other hand has been at it like that for a long time. If there is an extreme right-wing answer to a question, one of the leaders will give it. Marco Rubio spins into the moderate of the leading candidates. Donald Trump is looking for a way to get out on his own terms. Ted Cruz is still looking for someone who knows him to say they like him. The Establishment-type candidates are sinking lower and lower.

Yes, some of this is the media. But the GOP candidates are as much to blame. When they make statements that are often proven to be false and then continue to reaffirm them, they are not being up-front with anyone. When one refuses to be in a debate because the moderator may ask unfair or tough questions, we can guess it is about image and not the issues.

What's New Hampshire's track record? Fairly good, actually. The GOP winner in NH has gone on to the nomination 12 out of 15 times; the Democrat- 9 out of 15. If Hillary and Cruz win tomorrow, their chances will drastically increase since they also won in Iowa. (Winning both is a big deal historically.)

But this election, so far, has been setting its own standards of "history." One commentary I read online even sees this election as one where we may be seeing the first major realignment of American political parties in a long time. The anti-establishment element on both sides is, he says, quite significant. (I didn't save the location. Sorry. Will continue to look for it.)

Not to say the sideshow elements of this carnival will end after tomorrow. Unless there are two clear, decisive victories, some of that will continue. Any shift in "who's leading" after tomorrow may continue more aspects of the carnival. But, I have the hunch that in all reality the fun and games are over. Mardi Gras comes to an end and the hard work will happen. Super Tuesday is a few weeks away and that will mean lots of intensity.

My guesses? Very slim win by Cruz; larger win for Sanders.

The repercussions? Back to work guys. Stop strutting down Bourbon St. and let us see who you are.

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