Short Views

Falling In (and Out of) Line

As I write, we have reached the stage of the Republican primary cycle that, since at least 1988, requires a pronouncement from the highest levels of the GOP: Now is the time for other candidates to back out and for all Republicans to support the frontrunner.  Continuing the battle for the nomination will serve no purpose other than making it easier for Democrats to win in the fall, which would be a calamity, since the worst Republican presidential contender is better than the best Democrat, particularly since control of the Supreme Court will likely be determined by the next president.  There are many flaws in this argument, but it has helped to keep the great bulk of restive conservatives firmly in the Republican camp and dutifully voting for the likes of George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney in the fall, even though many of these restive conservatives had voted for these nominees’ primary opponents earlier in the year.

This year, of course, no pronouncement has been forthcoming, though the likely Democratic nominee is the utterly charmless Hillary Clinton, and a Clinton victory certainly would push the Supreme Court to the left, because Antonin Scalia actually was the type of Supreme Court justice Republican nominees have long promised voters but all too seldom delivered.  That this argument has vanished reveals much about the reality of the GOP since the end of the Cold War.


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