Donald Trump isn’t the republican nominee, and Ted Cruz hasn’t been mathematically eliminated . . . yet.
At roughly noon on May 4th, after running fourth in a three-man race for seven consecutive weeks, John Kasich finally suspended his presidential nomination campaign (raising the obvious question of, “What the hell took so long?”), leaving Donald Trump as the “sole survivor” of what was originally an eighteen-candidate republican field. And, go figure, before Cinco de Mayo was in the books, various talking heads and keyboard pundits were acknowledging, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, that The Donald was now the presumptive republican nominee. However, to channel L. P. Berra, this campaign ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and despite a certain well-circulated AP report, a certain critical milestone hasn’t yet been tallied into Trump’s column, and so June 7th is still going to matter . . . very much.
Did the Michigan Republican Party pull another fast one with RNC delegate allocation?
Those of us who’ve been hanging around RightMichigan since prior to 2014 likely remember well the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco of 2012. As a quick refresher, on Tuesday, February 28th of that year, Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum in the statewide popular vote, 41.10% to 37.87%. However, because 28 of Michigan’s 30 post-penalty delegates were awarded on a district-by-district basis (Romney and Santorum splitting the state at 7 districts each), and because the statewide vote totals were so close (requiring the two at-large delegates to be split one each), the resulting 15-15 delegate tie didn’t exactly square with the RNC/GOPe’s preferred media narrative that Romney won his native state. Thus, in the telephonic equivalent of a late-night, backroom deal, the MIGOP Credentials Committee (then consisting of Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Bill Runco, Mike Cox, and Eric Doster) voted 4-2 – Hughes was not present at the meeting – to creatively interpret State Party Rule 19C, and award both at-large delegates to Romney. The resulting backlash fueled an eleven-week effort that culminated in a two-day Showdown in Motown, with the end result being the ballot box blowout ouster of the national committeeman regarded as the chief engineer of the ex post facto railroad job.
It’s probably not going to draw much attention (likely because damn near no one noticed), but the potential for a Grand Theft Delegate con job similar to the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco of 2012 was averted, largely due to one person explaining a key state party rule in a way that eliminated the possibility of applying that rule by political discretion, and instead imposed a resolution rubric according to plain mathematics.
To understand the Butterfly Effect, one must understand whence the butterfly came.
To say that the 2016 Republican Presidential Campaign has become interesting since June of last year is a bit of an understatement, to say the least. An out-of-the-blue “chaos injection” on June 16th (that FOX News polling saw coming as early as March 31st, but no one else picked up on until late May) became the nationally-recognized front runner not five weeks later, completely leapfrogging the “heir apparent” (who promptly went into a freefall, and has now exited the campaign). Because of this chaos injection, one candidate, who was until that point considered to be irrelevant, leapfrogged to become the national runner-up about five and a half weeks later (and was the national front-runner for three days in November), and two young guns are now openly tussling for second place nationally, neither of whom were supposed to have a realistic chance to begin with.
As should have been expected, the thorough derailing of the coronation train for the republican heir apparent makes the professional political establishment very unhappy, and, of course, they’re hell-bent on doing something about that. But the reason that all of their scrambling is increasingly ineffective is that they don’t seem to really understand the causa provocare of the outsider’s challenge, perhaps because they really don’t understand the degree to which the typical voter is disgusted with the political status quo in America, or why. Thus, predictably, the flailing increasingly exposes them for who they are and what they intend, which conversely makes the outsider’s job that much easier.
Someone needs to impress upon the MRP legislative and executive leadership that “NO” means “NO” . . . period.
Roughly nine months ago, We the People of Michigan, by a record-breaking 4-to-1 statewide margin, told our elected nobility in Lansing “HELL NO” on a proposed tax increase, which they’d tried to sell as a road proposal, but which the voting public saw clearly as a political sausage job that produced a cronyist’s grab bag of goodies. Thus, every single county in this state, without exception and in no uncertain terms, clearly delivered a mandate-level message that we are no longer interested in extending the legislature a taxpayer-funded line of credit, until such time as they get their spending priorities in order. You would think that a statewide vox populi shellacking, with a turnout rate typical of the biennial congressional primaries, would clue in the GoverNerd, and the rest of the MRP/MIGOPe professional political establishment, that We the People are done being their ATM.
You would think that . . . but you would be wrong. Six months after that ballot box rejection, while most of us were tucking our children into bed (or monitoring local election results), the lords and barons in the Michigan Legislature essentially told we the proletariat that our opinion is irrelevant, and that “no” really means “don’t ask again” – which, of course, they didn’t – by passing a “road funding” tax package that was nearly identical to the core of Proposal 15-1, less the elements required to force it onto the ballot. In doing this, they flatly rejected the clear will of the people, imposed through legislative fiat that which they couldn’t persuade the electorate to publicly ratify, and took yet another step toward government by aristocracy.
New Poll: Peabody Up, Courser Tied For Third in Historic Special Election
You may remember that, a few days ago, I had made reference to the Courser-Gamrat saga – at least from the perspective of Todd A. Courser – playing out very much like a classic six-act Shakespearean-style tragedy, in which the catastrophic resolution for TAC was the modern “ritual suicide” of a Nixonian-style resignation, right as it became obvious that republican leadership in the State House had finally brokered a deal with democrat leadership to tally the votes necessary to expel him from their membership. I also mentioned that, unlike the theatre, real life doesn’t end with the final curtain, as we saw play out a mere week later. To quote Brian Began from an Inside Michigan Politicspress release from last Friday:
“Much like the residents of Elm Street and the campers at Crystal Lake, the Lapeer County Courser monster just won’t go away. It’s the sequel nobody wanted, and it’s coming to a ballot box near you this November,” said Brian Began, Elections & Research Director of Grassroots Midwest. “This is not a conventional primary, but a 30-day sprint. Courser has a steep climb, but should he convince enough of his allies to support him in November, Republicans could again be dealing with a nightmare scenario.”
So, instead of Romeus Montague, Began believes that we may rather be dealing with Freddy Krueger . . . yikes. Popcorn, anyone?
Two apostles can teach us much about handling a current scandal.
For a little over a week now, we’ve been . . . treated . . . to a bit of a media circus revolving around a couple of tea party legislators in the Republican House Caucus in Lansing. Predictably, there has been much hand-wringing and calling for heads coming from key figures within the statewide republican establishment. Also predictably, there has been much hand-wringing and calling for heads from within the statewide tea party movement.
I say “also predictably” because many of the high profile tea partiers in this state have developed a habit of happily piling on any politicos from “our side” who screw up publicly. Given the way that these people are finding fault with every single republican POTUS candidate for 2016, I suspect that Jesus Christ himself could be on the ballot, and two out of every three tea partiers in Michigan would still figure out a reason to crucify him. Speaking of which . . .
Did Watergate teach you nothing? (Yet another case of not learning from history.)
I got wind of this via a phone call at around 07:41 this morning, while I was still getting my head screwed on straight (on my first actual day off in about three weeks), and quite frankly, I have no idea how to categorize this one. “Wrong-headed thinking” seems like a solid characterization, and I’m well-aware of the double entendre involved.
The current battle is to simply stop the inertia of decline, but we need to follow through.
“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.” There seems to be some dispute as to whether this was actually said by either General George Patton or Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, but everyone seems to agree that one of them said it. Whether we’re discussing a military battlefield or a political one, it’s pretty sound advice either way, often more commonly worded as, “be selective about the fights you pick.” A logical corollary of this maxim is that if you’re going to accomplish anything, then (a) you should have a realistic expectation of what can be accomplished, and (b) know why winning this particular battle will advance the larger goal. And, as any strategist or tactician worth the title will advise, the smart thing to do is to already have a plan for follow-up in place . . . because you’re going to need one should you actually win.
This is where Michigan’s constitutionalist insurgency has done a marvelous job of dropping the ball post-2010, and as a result now has a task that’s four times harder than it needed to be. The upside is that this fight is still winnable, if we stay focused on a realistic expectation of what we’ll actually accomplish by winning it.
Will Proposal 15-1 become a bridge too far for the GoverNerd?
According to a colleague of mine, the power of government (at any level), over its law-abiding citizens, is directly derived from the taxation authority. Think about that for a moment or two. In a truly free society, the government has no means to control the behavior of its citizens who aren’t actual criminals, nor will those citizens tolerate any such action from their duly-elected public servants. And while the citizenry does indeed pay taxes – because even in a free society, the government still has the authority to tax – control of the taxation mechanism isn’t left to the arbitrary whims of government functionaries, and the true tax burden is plainly visible for all to see.
By that measure, it’s been at least five decades since Michigan was a truly free state. Since being gifted with an income-based taxation model, and a full-time legislative model, the state that was once the engine of freedom has progressively mutated into a socialist laboratory, at best a generation between now and whatever bankruptcy chapter awaits a nominally sovereign state collapsing into receivership. And in that regard, I don’t think it overly dramatic to suggest that this statewide special election to decide the fate of a legislative piece of sausage is similar to Gettysburg . . . if we don’t stop them here, then where will we ever be able to stop them at all?
The upside is that We the People received a bit of good news on this front yesterday, though how this’ll ultimately play out is still an open question.