Now that Ted Cruz has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency it would seem to have put to bed the notion that if only a conservative enough candidate could be found he would be a shoe-in for election. If you can’t win the Republican nomination running as the true conservative, it would seem obvious that you can’t win the general election. Who would have been more conservative (whatever that means now) than Ted Cruz? Unfortunately, no candidate is so perfect that the “No True Scotsman” fallacy can’t be applied.
But there’s a pretty simple explanation for it: most Americans aren’t ideological.
I think there’s a kind of Maimonides Ladder of politics. At the lowest level of actualization are those who are completely disengaged from politics. Being motivated by party affiliation or ideology are somewhere in the middle.
Now the prevailing wisdom seems to be that a) Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee; b) the Republican Party is broken; and c) he will go down to ignominious defeat in November. See Howard Fineman’s post at Huffington Post for why (c) might not be true.
I think something entirely different is going on. Non-ideological, inconsistent, and even incoherent Americans are frustrated with the candidates that have emerged from the conventional party structures. What that might portend for November I have absolutely no idea.
Something that might be going on is that we’re witnessing a complete shuffling of both of the present political parties. As I’ve said before I’m completely baffled by what’s been going on in American politics for the last eight or nine months (maybe longer).
Expect Bernie Sanders to be absolutely deluged with demands that he “suspend his campaign”. What in Sen. Sanders’s life to date would lead anyone to believe he would do that? I think that he’s banking on the many known unknowns and maybe even some unknown unknowns that continue to dog Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Who knows? He could be the last man left standing.