by Thomas L. Knapp…….
Six months ago, who would have bet on Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, even given juicy odds? But here we are.
Who would have predicted the last two Republican presidents, the immediate past GOP presidential nominee, and the Republican Speaker of the House declining even lukewarm endorsements for their party’s horse? Yet that’s what’s happening.
Over on the Democratic side, who expected Bernie Sanders to erase Hillary Clinton’s 50-point leads and go toe to toe with her — or for that matter to win a single primary other than perhaps his home state of Vermont’s? Well, guess what?
And then there’s Clinton herself, not just continuing to run but continuing to win. This, even as she faces possible compelled deposition relating to her use of, and an ongoing FBI criminal investigation into mishandling of classified information via, a non-secure, privately owned mail server — a server allegedly hacked by, probably among others, now-incarcerated Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka “Guccifer.” A confidential source that I just invented tells me Clinton shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. I’m skeptical. But not as skeptical as I would have been a year ago.
Over in third party territory where I live, some activists are convinced that all this #NeverTrump #FeelTheBern #WhichHillary stuff portends a breakout year for the Libertarians or the Greens. Again, I’m skeptical. Again, not as skeptical now as last Christmas.
There’s a major crackup/realignment going on in American politics, from the parties’ rank-and-file all the way up to leadership. The nation’s transpartisan ruling class is in the throes of something approaching civil war. Maybe, hopefully not, one as dangerous as the crackup preceding the REAL Civil War.
The pundits, myself included, have been churning out novel theories to make sense of all this for as long as it’s been going on. Each theory enjoys a half-life of a week or so as it decays into the next. Those of us who arrogate to ourselves the job of explaining stuff to the rest of you are at least as lost at sea as you are. Not, as you’re no doubt noticing, that it shuts any of us up.
It’s going to be a long six months between now and the election. Maybe at the end of it we’ll have some kind of epiphany or valuable takeaway to show for it. But I wouldn’t bet on that either.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.