Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Another Example of An Impossible "Coalition"

Trump faces a serious problem: he was elected by an "impossible" coalition. These are not unheard of in U.S. politics and history.

Now, it's true that there are always factions within the two parties, and that these are sometimes at odds over a range of relatively innocuous issues. There is also the "swing" state issue, which creates the phenomena of the "Blue dog" or conservative Democrat and the Liberal or "Moderate" Republican.

But, on rare occasions, especially when a single or possible two major issues dominate the Presidential campaign, we get what we are witnessing now: an IMPOSSIBLE coalition.

One of the most recent examples of this was in 1968-72, and in that case it was the single issue of the Vietnam war.

Humphrey was attempting to form such a coalition between war hawk Wallace Democrats (former Dixiecrats in some cases) and the far Left and liberal doves, who wanted a de-escalation or  immediate exit from Vietnam.

Wallace's politically impossible position was to somehow win voters in the South who weren't being swayed by Nixon to vote Republican for the first time in a lifetime in support of strong military in Vietnam and a slowing of busing in the South, while simultaneously pulling the black support he still had to have to survive as a viable and sizable third party entity in the South and swing states.

One result was the God-awful 1968 Chicago Democratic convention, which brought to a blood soaked (literally) head the contradictory positions. The result was that divided Democrats couldn't carry Illinois--and in losing it, lost both the Popular vote and the Electoral College that year.

To use analogies from that, then, today the Tea Party represents the core in the more solidly Red states while moderate Repubs are in the Swing and border states--today's "Wallace" or conservative faction from 1968. These were pivotal to a GOP victory in the White House race.

Trump played for Tea Party support in one set of states in order to get that narrow margin of the Far Right he needed to beat out other Republicans for the GOP nomination. That would have SEEMED to have committed him to Far Right economic and political positions, across the board. Yet Trump appealed to such conservatives ONLY IN THOSE SELECT STATES. His rhetoric THERE matched the wishful thinking hopes of the Far Right, which finally thought it was hearing from someone who was 100% where they were on issues.

Yet, equally pivotal, this year, for Trump, ended up being those on the Left who balked at supporting Hillary's more centrist views on foreign policy, corporate America and limited public health care act set up under Obama. When Trump left Alabama (for example), after talking there like the conservative's conservative, he went up to Michigan and spoke exactly the OPPOSITE, saying he was interested in what Bernie Sanders, who was on the Left of Hillary's positions on several public positions including the narrow coverage of the current health care system--and that he would responsibly bring back jobs to the American industrial heartland.

New data now suggests that Russia also circulated "fake news" at key Left websites that helped to exaggerate the Left's break with Hillary. In any case, the coalition for Trump thus created put him over in pivotal Democrat and Swing states--the ones in which we saw the Green Party question and attempt to recount.

Those Left voters are simply not supporting Trump now that the Congressional Budget Office numbers show the "repeal and replace" is not an improvement over what we had already.

Meanwhile, any attempts by Trump to maintain credibility with his Left supporters, watered down his "purist" approach to "repealing" Obamacare. That, in turn, caused that purist group in the Far Right to refuse to back his own health care bill. 

Back to the drawing board means further conflict-fraught discussions, meetings, and formings and re-formings of the GOP. All in all, not a pleasant harbinger for the "Hubert Humphrey" of 2017, Donald Trump.

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