Black Tuesday for This Democracy
Nobody expected it, especially Donald Trump. On Tuesday the week before, the super developer popped his buttons at the Nevada GOP presidential primary victory, claiming his late endorsement of ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made the sterling difference.
After Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado Republicans gave Rick Santorum reasons to cheer, the “The Donald” muttered that he did not understand the former senator from Pennsylvania’s attraction for voters. Talk of Mr. Trump’s coming to Washington for a cabinet post in a Romney Administration dried up, at least in the days that followed directly.
Mr. Santorum’s proclamation did not clear any confusion: “Conservatism is alive and well.” I thought the birth – and strength – of the Tea Party in early 2009 had removed all doubts. Coming into the election year, the paramount political question of the GOP was how much “birthers” and other Obama naysayers would influence November’s results.
The Pennsylvania gentleman, as remarked on by Mr. Trump, had surrendered his Capitol Hill seat – “The Super-Boss” reckoned – by the largest re-election negative count in Senate history. As I have written before, what Tuesday proved again was registered Republicans’ distaste for Mr. Romney. Because the Mormons lack fire? At least none I’ve known in my very long life, and they are resistant to friendship out of their own faith. But money is never a problem, in my experience.
On the record, the former governor reported over $57 million raised, which brought him some 1.2 million votes; on the other hand, Mr. Santorum counted a little more than $2 million that resulted in almost 570,000 supporters in the polling places. By comparison, Rep. Ron Paul netted over $26 million against Newt Gingrich’s nearly $13 million; they received 335,620 and 836,035 ballots, according to up-to-date reports.
Of course, the existential problem lies in turn-out. According to the reports, less than 200,000 Republicans showed up in Minnesota. Four years ago, an official estimate reckoned there was one in five of the party’s official membership that pulled levers voting in the primaries. For all the anger reflected in the media, most men and women agree with the ways U.S. governments operate. Or they’ve given up! That’s the likely reason.
Remembering the drums-tapping, bugle-blowing political rallies as I was growing up, I see inertia on all sides. Daily media stories impress the reality into our souls: bribery on all sides, officials stealing and bogus payrolls extended to families and friends. There’s little need to prove citizens do not vote, and at the same time “bad mouth” anyone who accepts responsibility for their actions in this democracy.
Even so, the results of the sparse turn-out – magnificently magnified by the media – turn my stomach, at my over 70-years profession and most of all with people who have converted the politics of my youth into something repugnant to everyone, except those who are “players.” They know who they are.
This republic has survived long past Rome’s similar structures. As many old bald men, I do not expect it to endure as long as my youngest grandchild. I may be overly optimistic, in that view.
Oy vey waya hasra! What a pity, in any language.