The list of lost causes in the 2016 presidential race continues to grow and the in fighting has taken a decidedly ugly turn.
On the democratic side, 73 year old Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders has declared he is in. Sanders, a self described democratic socialist officially announced his candidacy on the shores of Lake Champlain the other day. He addressed one of his favorite issues, income inequality by saying, "The grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable."
Unfortunately Sanders' campaign may also be unsustainable. When your highest profile backers are the guys who own Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream you are probably going to find it tough to compete against a multi million dollar machine commanded by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It has been speculated Sanders presence in the race is solely to force Mrs. Clinton to the left, which he might well do. However, he has the dangerously bright eyes of a true believer. If the far left wing of the democratic party feels deserted by her, Sanders, who is an independent, might be able to scrape together enough backing to run as a third party candidate. If that happens he becomes a real danger to the Clinton campaign. He'll never win, but he could drain off just enough votes to cost her close contests in key states. That is what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore and his idealism left us stuck with George W. Bush.
On Wednesday, former republican senator, Rick Santorum declared he is running. Santorum placed second to Mitt Romney in 2012, which makes him, if any thing, consistent. In 2006 Mr. Santorum ran for re-election to the Senate and lost by 18 percent of the vote. It was the worst loss by an incumbent senate republican in the history of the party.
During the last election Santorum's campaign was kick started by a surprise win in Iowa. NBC News pointed out the brain trust which engineered that upset is long gone. Two of his three senior advisers are now employed by Mike Huckabee, while a third is retired from the game. Another important Iowa backer is working for Ted Cruz.
Yesterday, for reasons known only to himself, former New York governor George Pataki announced he was in. Pataki can be thought of as a moderate which will lead to his immediate evisceration by the likes of Cruz, Walker, and other thugs on the far right edge. His only chance, if he has one at all, will be to play to the non tea party middle, portraying himself as an honest version of Chris Christie and a guy not named Bush.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul went on MSNBC and said, "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party." That's something you don't normally hear from a republican. It led Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal to claim Paul is, "unsuited," to be president. Other GOP contenders are circling above the Paul campaign like vultures waiting to pounce on his perceived neo isolationism. This might be the opening they've been waiting for.
On the up side the senator from Kentucky appears to be the only republican candidate who actually read the exit polls after the last election. He has repeatedly tried to appeal to minorities in the early stages of the race. That doesn't mean it will work, especially in the GOP primaries where minority participation is spotty at best. To make matters worse one of his opponents, Marco Rubio is Hispanic and another, Jeb Bush, not only studied in Mexico and speaks the language, but married a native of Mexico City. A third, Dr. Ben Carson is African American which, in theory, should give him at least a head start with that demographic.
Finally we come to Donald Trump. Trump, who is more of a carnival barker than an actual candidate, told Greta Van Susteren he has a, "fool proof," way of defeating ISIS. In true Trumpian fashion, he refused to say what it was. According to him, "If I run and win I don't want the enemy to know what I'm doing."
He cryptically added, "...and it will be absolutely 100%--they'll, at the minimum, come to the table, but actually they'll be defeated very quickly."
Yes, it's the old, I have secret plan ploy. The last shyster to play that card was Dick Nixon in 1968. He told everyone he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. If memory serves it didn't really work out the way we had all hoped.
So there we have it on another muggy Friday here on the southern plains. Idealists and losers are running amok spending money they don't have in an effort to gain an office they'll never occupy.
Hey, who says America isn't great?