Summer Starts The Year. Most of this year has been like living on an ice floe, or behind glass, or encased in cotton. Now that summer has started, it feels like things are speeding up. It feels like the year is just starting. If that assessment resonates with you, there are three stories to watch in the next few weeks that may bear fruit as major game changers. Or not. First, Britain votes on June 23rd on whether to exit the European Union. If you read the analysts it’s all gloom and doom. Such an exit will trigger an economic collapse, or worse, plunge Europe into a collection of disagreeable states that triggered two world wars in the 20th century. Yet, if you think about it, there are many states that aren’t in the EU, both in Europe and in the rest of the world and we all seem to get along just fine. The world isn’t going to stop trading with Britain whether it stays in the EU, or not. Second, Movements such as the British Exit movement are characterized by the worldwide media as “Populist” or “Nationalist”, or worse “Xenophobic”. Explanations are offered to suggest this is the effect worldwide of the Trump candidacy. What if that isn’t it at all? What if people are struggling to come to grips politically with overbearing and increasingly incompetent governments, and central banks who seem to be doing more harm than good. The west seems to have a disturbing faith in government as a solution to all that ails. What if governments, politicians, technocrats and elitist ‘leaders’ are the problem? Is it possible we have lost the language to be able to define the problem, since almost every story about the economy leaves one with the impression that there’s only one way to address economic stagnation in the US and the rest of the world and that is to stimulate demand. What if stimulating demand isn’t the issue at all. Since we’re all so steeped in one way of thinking regardless of what ‘side’ of the political divide we’re on, we seem to be struggling with the issue of how to describe the tyranny of government. Our political system doesn’t seem to have the capacity to address it, mainly because we don’t seem to have the language to name the problem. Thus, people get described as ‘populist’, or ‘xenophobic’, and non governmental solutions get described the same way. If we talked about government in terms of Monarchy, perhaps Americans would better understand the increasingly unlimited power of government over our lives, and the unlimited ability of government to fail. Maybe that’s what the British in favor of an exit are saying. Third, republican candidate for the nomination for president Donald Trump may suffer death by a thousand cuts, politically speaking in the next few weeks as more and more issues come to the forefront concerning his campaign effort. Vulnerable Republican Senators are so concerned about losing the Senate they managed to get Marco Rubio to announce he is running for Senate in Florida after all. Moreover, Romney supporters are getting appointed to powerful posts on the rules committee, a ‘conscience clause’ rule change is in the offing, former Bush Administration officials are endorsing Hillary Clinton and it was revealed this week Trump’s campaign only has 1.3 million dollars on hand for a national campaign, and isn’t fully staffed. Get ready, a major challenge to Trump is in the works, with all the usual suspects working behind the scenes. Did someone say Jeb Bush? Romney? Ryan? Rubio? Time will tell. Sponsored by Karow Contracting and Brush Studio in the West End, Saint Louis Park.
Confessions of a Delegate. As commentators, political junkies, your next door neighbor and just about everyone speculates about the number of delegates garnered by candidates in the 2016 primary race, I thought it was time to actually talk to one of the delegates to a past convention to get an idea of what it’s like. Thus, Confessions of a Delegate. Mark Johnson was a republican activist supporting Texas Congressman Ron Paul for president in 2012. Johnson was part of the storied Minnesota Delegation, one of five state delegations pledged to support Paul. We’ve all seen the shots on TV from the convention floor. What was it really like to be on the floor at the convention? What was it like to experience the power of the establishment first hand, a republican establishment bound and determined not to allow the Texas Representative a chance to speak to the convention or have his name entered into nomination from the floor. What did the establishment do? They changed the rules before the convention (the now famous rule 40b) and prevented a so called ‘minority report’ on the rules committee from being entered into consideration and voted on, making sure Minority Report author Morton Blackwell’s bus didn’t make it to the convention in time for the vote. The establishment also disqualified the Maine delegation and replaced them with Romney supporters. Why is this important. This fight is nothing compared to what could happen if none of the candidates reach Cleveland with enough delegates pledged to them to achieve a nomination on the first ballot, an outcome which appears more and more likely, an outcome all three remaining candidacies appear to be preparing for. Now ‘retired for the time being’ Johnson talks about his experience and has some advice for the delegates elected to their conventions in 2016. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate. (Editor’s note; At one point I refer to what happens when delegates get to ‘Tampa’, since we were talking about Tampa and 2012. I meant to say Cleveland, where the GOP convention will be held in 2016.)
South Carolina’s Vote. The big first in the south primary is over, and the undisputed winner is New York’s Donald J. Trump. What must have made Trump’s night, Governor Jeb Bush suspended his presidential campaign. More ‘suspensions’ are sure to follow as actual votes, upend story lines, predictions and prognostications. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton defeated Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Nevada Caucuses. Will it make any difference for the Vermont Senator’s chances to defeat the former Secretary of State this week in the Democrat South Carolina primary? Probably not. Caucuses are completely different animals from primaries, where people actually vote. Let’s not forget on the GOP side, Ted Cruz won the Iowa Caucus, but lost to Trump in New Hampshire and South Carolina. As the news rolled over the wires, I took a little bit of time outside a hotel where a huge celebration was taking place, to make some observations about the race, the presidential primary systems, and the difference between traditions, law, and a written constitution. Are you ready to have traditions — not the constitution — fundamentally change the way the United States chooses its president? Between the tradition of state by state primaries, a grueling campaign effort that wastes money and winnows candidacies and efforts to slave the Electoral College not to state legislatures but to the popular vote — and by ‘constitutionalist republicans’ no less — how we elect a president is changing, and judging from this primary cycle’s wacky, craven, foolish, disgusting and sad efforts by politicians described by the same kinds of words, not for the better. IS the cream rising to the top? Good question. Also in this podcast, the first excerpt of the Bob Davis Podcast Radio show, heard on GCN Live. Expect an announcement regarding this new show around the beginning of March. We’re in Key West Florida for this podcast, getting some maintenance on Mobile Podcast Command and preparing for the next leg of this massive road trip, which takes us back up Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Red Neck Riveria to New Orleans, Texas, back up 35 to Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.