I would like to say that I have shown considerable prescience this campaign season in drawing attention to trends the mainstream media catches up to only belatedly.
I was well ahead of the pack (January 13) in noting that the Republican Party had screwed the pooch in repeatedly lying to the very people who have now fractured the party by embracing Donald Trump, to name one biggie. But this insight and my navel gazing in general has had more to do with not being fettered by bossy bosses and daily deadlines than ouija board technics. Still, I’m gonna take credit for being in the vanguard (March 2) about a dirty little secret that is beginning to take on some currency: Trump is quietly planning an exit strategy because he knows he cannot win in November, and maybe not even win the Republican nomination, and he hates losing even more than he likes winning.
Yes, yes, yes. I know should be writing about the New York primary, which the man with the small hands and peculiar hair won in a cakewalk with 60.5 percent of the vote yesterday -- and the first time he's broken the 40 percent barrier -- after a couple of weeks of trying really hard to pretend to be presidential.
Trump not only increased his delegate lead over Ted Cruz, whose right-wing values did not prove to be a good fit with New York values, but relegated him to third place (a measly 14.5 percent) well behind John Kasich (25.1 percent). Trump so dominated that he won all of the Empire State's 62 counties except his ultra-liberal home borough of Manhattan, which faux moderate Kasich carried.
But there is an invisible magnetic field that keeps forcing me to ponder what’s really going on with Trump, one sign of which is that his campaign is shedding staffers like a bulimic supermodel sheds . . . well, you know.
Same for Jim Newell, who writes in Salon:
"How would Donald Trump cope with a loss, or as he might call it were anyone else in his shoes at this point, a 'chocking?' How would he spin such a convention defeat to prevent his brand and his legacy -- because he has earned himself a sizable legacy in modern American political history, regardless of what happens next -- from forever being associated not just with defeat, but with an inability to close out the greatest deal of his life?"
Trump would declare his loss a victory. He would spin his abject lack of grassroots organization into a pity party: I couldn't have won because the rules are designed to keep people like me out. I didn’t choke, the GOP choked.
And all the while he whistles to the bank as he returns to business interests “too crucial to leave to others,” as he explained in bowing out and cashes in on his hyper-enhanced celebrity.
Meanwhile, in another non-surprise, Bernie Sanders got his clock cleaned by Hillary Clinton in the New York primary by a 57.9 to 42.1 percent vote margin, although that did mask the reality that while Clinton won New York City and its suburban counties, in what likely was a backlash against the holier-than-thou Sanders' negative campaigning, while he won most upstate counties.
I love Sanders. I love his idealism. I love his ability to wow a crowd. I love his off-the-rack suits. I llove his ability to raise money from Biff and Buffy and not Super PACs.
But I have two big problems that have grown as the primaries have sped by, both of which not coincidentally will be reasons why he won't get the Democratic nomination. It's called magical thinking:
* After 35 years -- as in thirty-five -- in politics, he still hasn't built a coalition beyond wet-behind-the-ears sycophants who haven't gone out in the real world and for home glass ceilings are abstractions. What's with that?
* After a year -- as in 365 days -- of campaigning, he still hash't been able to offer concrete plans for translating his ideas for universal health care, free public college and reining in Wall Street, among others, into workable legislation. What's he waiting for?
And here’s a dirty little secret: The Bern’ and Clinton don’t really differ very much on the issues. In the two years they were in Congress together, they voted the same way 93 percent of the time. So much for day and night.
The New York primary was a timely reminder that while Trump and Clinton may have won, democracy was again the loser. Both candidates have astonishingly high negatives, which have served to lay bare how the political parties go about making sausage every four years.
"Make America great again?" asks Frank Bruni of The New York Times. "We need to start by making it functional."
Meanwhile, New York's voting and delegate selection rules are arcane, tens of thousands of voters were inexplicably purged from the roles and lines at many polling stations were absurdly long. And it's even worse elsewhere.
But don't expect things to improve in November -- or anytime soon.