FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Super Tuesday’s Vote for Chaos

and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Super Tuesday was planned by both parties as the coronation of a candidate, followed by six months furious fund raising to finance the fall race for the presidency. Such hopes were deliciously dashed on Tuesday as chaos descended on both parties.

John McCain won his Republican primary contests largely in states which will probably vote Democratic in the fall ­ New York, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey and California. In the “red states” likely to vote Republican in the fall, he had to split the vote with both Romney and Huckabee and even when winning rarely rose above 40 per cent. Huckabee won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia. Romney won Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Utah.

Across the last two weeks conservatives have paraded incredulity and disappointment that their party should have selected a traitor like McCain. At the end of last week, Ann Coulter, the Saxon Klaxon, announced if McCain gets the nomination she would not only “vote for” Hillary, she would “campaign for her if it’s McCain” because Clinton “is more conservative than he is”.

Rush Limbaugh has been frothing at the mouth about McCain for months. A few days ago the dirigible of drivel screamed to his vast audience that Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina was “so close to McCain he’s likely to die of anal poisoning.” On Monday Richard Viguerie, one of the creators of the modern conservative movement said McCain has only a short time to reach out to conservatives–to “stop the bleeding before it’s too late.”

The same day saw the most ominous message from all, from the mouth the Rev James Dobson, now the single most influential voice among evangelical Christians. He damned McCain conclusively: “I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.”

Although the main newspaper in John McCain’s home state, the Arizona Republic, endorsed him earlier this month, the paper’s editorial verdict on McCain the last time he sought the nomination, in 2000, was being tossed around the internet:

“But there are other aspects of McCain’s character, less flattering, also worthy of voter attention and consideration … . Many Arizonans active in policymaking have been the victim of McCain’s volcanic temper…McCain often insults people and flies off the handle….If McCain is truly a serious contender for the presidency, it is time the rest of the nation learned about the John McCain we know in Arizona There is reason to seriously question whether McCain has the temperament, and the political approach and skills, we want in the next president of the United States.”

The conservative movement, which has dominated the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan, has been destroyed by the neocons and their war in Iraq, and by George Bush with his Clintonesque “No child left behind” education bill, his multi-billion expansion of Medicare and his relatively enlightened position on immigration. Amidst this immolation McCain’s candidacy has flourished but at the probable expense of the Republicans taking the White House.

Against McCain the conservatives have had no reliable champion. Romney has no identifiable fixed position, except one of assurance that he had hundreds of millions in the bank. Mike Huckabee embarrasses the conservatives because he constantly stresses class issues and during his terms as Arkansas governor had an enlightened posture on immigration, parole, social services and public works projects. In fact Huckabee is the only candidate, on either side of the fence, who speaks to the old LBJ model of rallying the voters by glorious visions of publicly financed employment ­ savagely denounced by McCain. Hillary and Obama never talk with any enthusiasm about big programs to provide jobs, thus continuing Bill Clinton’s obeisances to Wall Street and grandstanding as a deficit buster. On Tuesday, for voters either side of the fence, the state of the economy was the paramount concern.

It’s becoming clear that as the economy tilts into recession prominent conservatives are coming to the conclusion that it might be no bad thing to have a Democrat win the White House this year, get stuck with recession and the mess in Iraq for four years, until the Republicans recapture the Congress in 2010 and the White House in 2012. On Super Tuesday Limbaugh came right out and said it in plain language: “If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit rather than a Republican causing the debacle. And I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative.”

The Democratic Party is also fractured. Super Tuesday left the nomination hanging until the Convention, when the “super delegates” will tilt the balance, in a blizzard of under-the-table pledges and bribes in the smoke-free caucus rooms. The fissures were glaringly exposed in yesterday’s votes. Hillary won eight states ­ Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Obama won thirteen ­ Alaska, Alabama, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah where polygamists presumably rallied for Obama in honor of his father.

Hillary won the white south in Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and maybe Missouri. She won the support of women, a commanding slice of the Hispanic vote and (in California) the Asian vote. Above all, she maintained a decisive grip on the white over-60s. The youth vote, long predicted but only this year materializing at the polls, is Obama’s . Courtesy of Bill Clinton’s outbursts in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the black vote has gone to Obama on a scale that dwarfs Jesse Jackson’s historic triumphs in ’84 and ’88. So if t comes to the nomination of Hillary Clinton by super delegates, there will be a lot of alienated and angry black and youthful voters.

Presidential elections these days are really decided by swing voters, classed by the pollsters as “independent”. Super Tuesday showed Obama as the Democratic candidate who is more capable of winning this vote. It was independents and first-time voters who gave the Illinois senator his victories in states like Idaho.

Brace yourself for a funding scandal. The Clintons have to find money fast. Obama is outraising Hillary by $3 to $1 and can continue doing so, since Hillary’s big donors have reached their legal limits whereas Obama’s legions of small contributors can go on giving him money.

Super Tuesday had some particularly pleasing features, such as the repudiation of the Kennedys by the Democrats voters of Massachusetts.

Looking ahead to the fall, John McCain will have the hard task of selling his 100-year American presence in Iraq to a electorate that by a majority of about 70 per cent wants the troops home. If Moqtada al Sadr and the Shia decide to fight it out in a summer and fall campaign against the Sunni New Awakening, and the Surge’s supposed success dissolves in a sea of blood he may fare even worse than Bob Dole against Clinton 1996.

Looking ahead to a Ms. Clinton administration, should it come to pass, we’d guess that the political price tag of an expanded health insurance program will be the privatization of social security, which was proceeding rapidly forward under Bill Clinton until the day that Monica Lewinsky snapped her thong.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail