Handicapping Super Tuesday and beyond

Handicapping Super Tuesday and beyond

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Whether Hillary or Sanders wins, it's bad for America. Is Trump any better? Unless Rubio wins Florida and Cruz wins Texas, we will have the chance to find out.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 28, 2016 — Super Tuesday is almost here. It’s not the end of the road, but it is a significant milestone along the way. Where does the country stand in the nomination process?

On the Democratic side it’s your cranky old uncle against the unindicted felon. Neither has any ideas; they compete with each other to see who’s the most progressive or socialist or most like President Obama. The terms vary slightly, but the result is always more and bigger government.

On the Republican side, it’s down to a three-man race. Even though both Kasich and Carson are still in the race, neither has a chance of winning. But there are reasons other than winning that candidates stay in a campaign.

One is to be a spoiler or a kingmaker, to deliver the margin of victory to someone else in return for—something. The quid pro quo might be the vice presidential nomination, a cabinet appointment or perhaps an ambassadorship. As a politician, Kasich may be in it for another job.

Carson isn’t a politician, so his motives are less clear. Sometimes candidates stay in a race to highlight an issue. In Carson’s case it is hard to identify an issue that is uniquely his. It could be to spite Cruz: The press loves to tell us that Carson is still angry about Iowa. If so, that continued animus is most unbecoming a candidate who runs on being a good Christian and an all-around nice guy.

Of the three real contenders, Trump seems the very opposite of the all-around nice guy. His personal attacks on Rubio and Cruz are downright embarrassing to watch. He has no plan, his record is liberal, and he’s running an Alinsky-like “Hope ‘n’ Change” platform. Is this the kind of man we want as the president?

As Sen. Mike Lee said while campaigning in South Carolina, anger is not a plan.

The press is pushing the Rubio underdog story pretty hard: coming from behind to win like McCain in 2008. His support for the Gang of Eight immigration bill dooms him among a large segment of the Republican base, however. We’ll see how he does in Florida on Tuesday. Some of Bush’s supporters came over to Rubio and the Florida Republican delegation endorsed him en masse. If he loses Florida, he’s pretty much done.

Cruz needs to win Texas and it looks like he will. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, his successor in the Texas solicitor general’s office, just endorsed him. That will be another race to watch, as will the other nine states with primaries Tuesday.

That number doesn’t include Colorado, which begins its caucus process Tuesday. Coloradans will elect delegates to county and state assemblies which will, in turn, elect delegates to the national convention on April 9.

None of this really touches on the issues that are at stake in this election.

Ted Cruz, interviewed by Sean Hannity in Nashville, was asked what he would do about the economy. Cruz replied that we know what works and what doesn’t work. What worked, he said, were tax cuts and less government regulation. He cited three examples: Coolidge in the 1920s, Kennedy in the 1960s and Reagan in the 1980s. Each time economic prosperity resulted along with balanced budgets under Coolidge and under Clinton after the Republicans won Congress.

The reverse is what we saw under progressives: Roosevelt in the 1930s and ’40s, Johnson in the late 1960s, and again now under Obama. Republicans—think Hoover and Bush 43—can be progressives, but Democrats can never be constitutionalists.

That’s what at stake in this election.

For the fourth time in a century we are at a crossroads. We need to determine whether we will return to the path of the rule of law and constitutional government or whether we will continue to wander down a road in search of a socialist-progressive-Marxist utopia.

Sir Thomas More coined the word “utopia” in 1516 from Greek words meaning “no place.” That’s not where we want to be. Putting personalities aside, if Rubio is trying to channel Reagan, then Cruz is channeling Coolidge. If they do well and either wins, we’ll have more than our first Cuban-American president; we’ll have a real shot at restoring this country to its constitutional roots.

If Trump wins, it’s anybody’s guess. He’s nothing if not a loose cannon. He would need a strong Congress to keep him in line. He would attempt to be as much a dictator of the right as Obama has been a dictator of the left.

It really doesn’t matter very much whether Clinton or Sanders wins on the Democrats’ side. The elevation of either to the White House would doom this country to four more years of fiscal mismanagement and executive overreach.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Don’t be misled by personalities, campaign bluster or biased reporting. Decide first what kind of country you want and then vote for the candidate who will best get us there.

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