Siddown you’re rocking the boat… It’s Over-Reaction Wednesday

This is The Monday Line (on Wednesday)
by Denis G. Campbell

OK maybe Guys and Dolls references do not work but what better for an evangelical, white bread state like Iowa than this tune? The US political boat was truly rocked Monday and here we sit on ‘over-reaction Wednesday’ trying to make sense of it all…

Monday night the 3 Democrats and the 12 Republicans were represented in Town Hall style Caucuses across the Hawkeye State of Iowa. There can only be one winner from each party. At latest count, five to as many as eight people claim that they ‘won’ Monday Night. Their minions jumped up and down in agreement for the cameras. And the media barked and frothed along in breathless wonder. Internecine, interparty squabbling reached epic levels on Twitter and Facebook.

President Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican (or Democrat).” was nowhere to be seen this cycle…

And the people all said, “siddown, siddown you’re rocking the boat.”

‘Team’ Democrat

Hillary strode triumphantly to the microphone late Monday in a race that was a statistical tie and claimed victory. Why? To preempt Team Bernie from beating them to that microphone. The minuscule margin of victory could be swayed up to ten times over by Governor Martin O’Malley’s anemic 1% of the vote so this was a statistical and virtual draw. (Gov. O’Malley withdrew from the race that evening.)

Bernie then claimed victory later that night, unfortunately most had already gone to bed. Bernie is not used to bare-knuckled Clinton style fights. He will improve.

What is worrying is the internal party rhetoric on overdrive. Clinton supporters HATE Bernie supporters. Bernie supporters HATE Clinton supporters.

Because I am standing for the Welsh Government, I have taken a conscious decision to sit out the primaries as a voter so I just bemusedly watch. (When successful I will also sit out the November election. It feels out of integrity to vote in another nation’s election whilst standing for office here.)

That said, integrity is anything but the by-word inside the Democratic Party this cycle. From a silly debate schedule to allegations of ground game caucus fixing, the fighting inside the party is ramping up to dangerous levels. In The West Wing episode ‘2162 Votes,’ Abby asks her husband, President Bartlett late night during the convention: “They’e STILL voting? What on earth are they doing?”

Jed’s reply? “Eating their young.”

In 2008, the PUMA’s (Angry Hillary supporters saying: Party Unity My Ass!) led the way into the convention until Hillary Clinton herself placed Barack Obama’s name in nomination by ‘acclaim’ and all was healed and forgiven. The wounds this time around seem very deep and very personal.

And progressive voters have a history of pouting, sitting home on principle and going rogue third party if they do not get their way (2010 and 2014 midterms handing the GOP huge victories because they were angry with President Obama). That could be very dangerous this cycle.

‘Team’ GOP

Iowa has a history of selecting losing candidates. Rick Santorum won four years ago, Governor Mike Huckabee in 2008. They were beaten soundly by eventual nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney. They only get it right with incumbent Republicans.

Yet the official winner with just under 28% of the votes was evangelical Herman Munster lookalike, Senator Ted Cruz, singularly, the most despised man in Washington.

The Republican clown-car slow motion crash continued with the top four finishers: Cruz,  Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson all claiming victory.

Cruz’ winning speech was so bad, conservative RW Murdoch-owned SKY News cut away mid scripture reading to Hillary Clinton’s mic grab. She said more in five minutes that Cruz had in the previous fifteen.

The Donald gave a three minute speech where he changed his tune (quel surprise) “from we’re going to win!” to “no one thought we would do this well (second with 24% of the vote) here.” Does America want or need a pathological liar as President? (Well, that was awkward…)

The real surprise was the third place finish of Florida Senator Marco Rubio (23%). His toothpaste commercial family stood on the podium and smiled. He said something vacuous and everyone cheered. He’s had a free pass so far from the media. History shows that when front-runners get under the heat lamp of the primaries,  it all falls to pieces.

Dr. Ben Carson went home to get clean clothes. No. Really. The once front-runner, finished fourth.

And then there were the rest… The main establishment candidates from Jeb! to Carly, Christie to Paul who seemingly either entered the witness protection programme of whose faces will appear on the side of “Have you seen me?” milk cartons.

Amazingly only Governor Huckabee dropped out of the race last night. The field has winnowed from its original 17 to 11 and that’s it… Even Jim Gilmore(?) is still in the race. They will have another debate on Saturday Night in New Hampshire.

Over-reaction Wednesday

There are more than 50 primary elections and caucuses to come (US Territories and Democrats Abroad) so everyone should chill for a few weeks.

I listen to The Dan Patrick Show daily to get my US sport fix. During the 17 NFL American football season, each Monday brings a surprise upset in one of 16 games over that weekend. The media froth at an individual or team performance and practically place them in the season ending Super Bowl that day! Dan has a term for it… ‘over-reaction Monday.’

The media is fully engaged in Ted Cruz’ ascendancy in a non-representative state and Donald Trump is finished. Too, Hillary won but she lost, go Bernie?

My advice? Put down the remote. Hide your telephone. Stay off social media and away from anything likely to raise your blood pressure. This was the first caucus in a majority white, conservative, Christian state. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. That does not mean you will be hit by them.

Everybody breathe. And… siddown, you’re rockin’ the boat.

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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