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Things Are Looking Up

October 27, 2015

Don’t get me wrong – I like Bernie Sanders, a lot. Where he and Hillary Clinton disagree, I’m more likely to agree with him than her. I just don’t think American will elect someone who calls himself a socialist, even if he’s not really a socialist. (Sanders is a social democrat, not a socialist – but that’s a subject for a different post.)

I personally don’t think Donald Trump will, or even wants to, win the Republican nomination. But the mere possibility that Trump might win the nomination, combined with the unelectability of Sanders, if he were to be the Democratic nominee, threatens us with Donald Trump as the president of the United States, commander-in-chief, finger-on-the-nuclear-button and all.

Given the stakes, and the contemporary partisan divide, it’s much more important to elect the Democratic nominee than to nominate the perfect Democratic candidate.

So Clinton’s top-notch performance before the House select committee on Benghazi, on the heels of her top-notch performance in the first Democratic candidates’ debate, was a huge relief. In an odd way, it was also a big relief when Carson overtook Trump in national polling this week.

Carson is just a soft-spoken version of The Donald: Obamacare is slavery, gun control is for Nazis, people decide to become gay in prison. So on the face of it, Carson leading the Republican candidates is not really an improvement over Trump leading the Republican candidates.

But here’s the thing: Carson overtaking Trump shows that Republican primary voters have not settled on a candidate. Fully 80 percent of Carson supporters told pollsters that they aren’t sure they will end up voting for Carson – so there is plenty of opportunity for Carson to follow Trump out of contention. Americans have never elected a president with utterly no government experience, and Republicans have never nominated a candidate from the full-out loony right.

The betting markets give Marco Rubio a large lead in the Republican race, and the betting markets have a better record than early polling. A President Rubio would be no gift to American history, but his downside is a whole lot shallower than the downside of either a President Trump or a President Carson.

And Jeb Bush might yet make a come-back.

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