I guess it was time in 2016 for our two major parties to face the fact that eight more years of partisan wrangling wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered. President Obama promised two things; change and a more conciliatory politics. He had the votes in his first two years to pass Obamacare and increasingly little else. He was a community organizer oddly disinterested in organizing the new community he and his family moved in to lead. The Republican Party decided to lead by saying no to virtually 100% of Obama's initiatives and each side dug in deeper and worked hard to reinforce their distance from the other.
Fast forward a few years and watch Donald Trump enter the political campaign by riding down that golden escalator to greet his fans and begin his own campaign to eliminate the rather large field of Republican competition. Since he wasn't a Republican or a politician, but the ultimate self-promoting businessman and reality TV star, he had his own independent following and the media followed him and ate up his unique nationalist appeal with a fervor that only comes when one knows that every exposure of the Donald added points to the success of the network doing the exposing. It was an amazing show and an amazing ride for this very special man who has thrived by making his name synonymous with lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Along the way he committed a long list of gaffs that one would believe were individually more than enough to exempt any politician for a run at the golden ring. But Trump wasn't a politician, didn't ascribe to the traditional contours of the campaign, and instead of costing him support grew each time he misspoke (or did he)? His speech separated him from the field and launched him on a trajectory that propelled him beyond the boundaries of normal politics and above the reach of his competitors.
There were those who lost and drew their own lines in the sand. They couldn't follow the lead of a man who not only broke but made a joke of all the rules and those smaller people who followed them. There were people cast out along the way including John McCain, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and others who each had to deal with their own Republican Party and its need to enforce the pledge of loyalty that all the candidates signed back in the day. They were in effect committed to ride the train right off the cliff with eyes open.
"I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is," the pledge reads. "I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party."
A smart step to prevent DJT from going Third Party a year ago morphed into a demand that could sink the Republican Party and not only its presidential chances but its control of the Senate and much more. And now a tape is released that is so vile that has finally created an irreversible rift between the Republican Party leadership and their candidate for President. I don't know what to say but will not repeat the words of the candidate.
His team organized a quick apology-non-apology to refocus the media on the target of Bill Clinton. But that was a non-event and the fallout began in earnest. Later they taped a full-blown apology-non-apology by the candidate. He was more angry than sorry except for the fact that his words had finally caught up with him. So he mentioned all the former President had done again and how his opponent, the Democratic candidate for President, had enabled her husband to take advantage of women.
Somewhere between Obama's call for change and Donald Trump's we lost our way and can't seem to put one foot in front of the other to find our way back. What are we looking for? Is it a better more-innocent post-War America where everything seemed to hum along? Business as usual wasn't all that good either. But somehow the pacing of our 24/7 21st-century world has allowed us to forget principles of decorum and print things in the newspaper, say things on the nightly news and bring millions of internet users into a virtual version of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, AKA a state of nature with all against all pushing further and further into what little is left of our non-social-networking lives. We await the next melodic call of our cell phones to read yet another cruel example of somebody falling on their behind.