It’s become a familiar tale in American politics – extreme demagogue defies odds to make it to the Presidential primaries. Along the way he manages to insult every demographic group from the Pacific Cost to the South to the Northeast. Even our friendly allies across the pond find themselves in his crosshairs. He throws insults out like they’re candy and a small but dangerous group of over-stuffed school bullies trail him along the way picking up the scraps he throws to them without questioning whether or not they should be accepting sugary bribes from a stranger. All the while neighbors try to ignore this intrusion, trusting the pattern that this individual’s rise will be short-lived and disappear as quickly as it came.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. And it would be shameful to not count myself among them.
I never thought Trump would last this long. I thought come Christmas time the GOP party leaders and people would have finally had enough of his crazy nihilism and come together to push him out. Instead, Trump now dominates a dwindling field as his hate, fear mongering, and cynicism have taken center stage. Even though the 2012 primary cycle demonstrated that the GOP has allowed itself to be a cuckold to a prejudiced and non-compromising base, a moderate (in the loosest of words) did eventually win the nomination. Not this time. We are now down to six candidates for the GOP ticket: Carson, Cruz, Jeb, Kasich, Rubio, and yes, Trump.
If the South Carolina debate Saturday night was any indication, any amount of civility, no matter how small, no longer exists. Instead, the GOP party will choose a candidate that represents the angriest and most intolerant part of the electorate. Even Jeb, who has been viewed as the grown up in the room, is not exempt and he is basically on his way out the door hand-in-hand with Kasich. Saturday’s “you lie” debate was ugly. The yelling, screaming, name-calling, and anti-anything rhetoric was the reigning theme of the night. The only topic the six candidates all agreed on was that President Obama should not be able to execute his Article II Constitutional right and responsibility of nominating a replacement for Justice Scalia. All hail Senator Warren for blasting out a note of common sense.
If this 2016 primary season has taught me anything it is that the moderate Republican branch I had hoped would reemerge to challenge and balance out the crazy is gone. They have effectively been stomped out. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe the GOP party will finally split, leaving the angry and hateful to fight their battles without the establishment coffers. And that will be the end of them. One can only hope right?
Until then, I will wholeheartedly be rooting for Obama to make a bold move with his next appointment. Screw the so called “consensus” candidates that Kasich pleaded for Saturday night. The stakes are too high and no matter who Obama nominates Mitch McConnel and his Senate goon squad will “delay, delay, delay”. The Supreme Court has had a conservative majority since the 1960s following the more-liberal pursuits of the Warren Court and it’s time for a change.
A few names of potential nominees have already started making the rounds. I personally would love to see him appoint California Attorney General Kamal Harris. Not only is she a fellow Californian but she is fierce and relentless. Harris is known as the “tough on crime” prosecutor and has been named as one of California’s top 75 women litigators. Fresh out of law school Harris worked for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 1990 to 1998 prosecuting child rape and murder cases. She was the managing attorney for serial felon cases while working for the Career Criminal Unit of San Francisco. In 2003 Harris became the first woman, black, and South Asian to be elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney. She is a vocal proponent for gun control and established a Hate Crimes Unit while District Attorney that concentrated on hate crimes against LGBT children and teens in schools. She is a supporter of same-sex marriage and is not afraid to go after predatory lending practices.
The next nominee is going to face an onslaught of Republican lies and smears. It is going to be a long, protracted fight and the individual Obama nominates will need a stiff spine. I don’t doubt the credentials of the other potential nominees but I believe that Harris is the right “man” for the job. She will not relent. She will fight for the little guy and will not allow herself to be swayed by strong-arm politics.
Even though she has already declared her intention to run for Senator Boxer’s seat in the coming election, Justice Scalia’s death has come at such a pivotal moment that I hope she will remain open to the possibility of a Supreme Court appointment. We need her on that bench.