As longtime Flyer readers know, we don't endorse candidates at election time, and didn't on the occasion of this week's presidential primary in Tennessee. But we do have some opinions. By now Super Tuesday is over, you've already voted, and we invite you to join us for a little bit of post-election armchair-quarterbacking:
On the Republican side, is there an alternative to Donald Trump?
There are things we find attractive about Ohio Governor John Kasich, who seems unique among the GOP contenders in that he appears to be both an experienced administrator and a pragmatic centrist, not a trash talker, a negativist, or a partisan demagogue. But maybe the punditocracy has it right: Only the Mambo Brothers, right-wing Senator Ted Cruz or former Tea Party darling and now ad hoc establishmentarian Senator Marco Rubio are serious alternatives to Trump.
The trouble with Trump, when you get down to it, is that he has no fixed principles. Like a hypocritical preacher, he can preach the world round or he can preach it flat. He can be free-trade or protectionist, pro-choice or pro-life, "liberal" or "conservative." In one campaign, he can rebuke Mitt Romney for advocating self-deportation of illegal immigrants; in another campaign, his own, he can advocate forced deportation on a massive scale. He is what you want him to be, and he wants everybody to want him to be something, namely, president of the United States. That, we hazard, is why he had so much trouble repudiating David Duke to Jake Tapper on CNN once he'd heard that Duke had endorsed him. He'd want the Miley Cyrus vote, too, if he thought he could get it.
Trump is all over the map. That said, we wonder if that gives Rubio and Cruz, who restrict themselves more or less to one side of the map, the reactionary one, any claim to superiority over Trump. The Donald tries to go along to get along. He will, for example, give lip service to the GOP shibboleth that "Obamacare" should be abolished, but he hints that he might replace it with something amorphous that sounds like universal health care. There is no such ambivalence on the part of Rubio and Cruz; they would insist on a full return to the Darwinian system of health-to-the-highest-bidder medical rationing.
And on the Democratic side, is there any alternative to Hillary Clinton?
We find much to admire in Secretary Clinton. She is strong, determined, and resourceful (all adjectives that she earned all over again in her redoubtable 11-hour standoff of a GOP lynching party at last fall's Benghazi hearing). A little too calculating sometimes, and almost clam-like in her self-containment, but she's smart and vetted, and her heart is in the right place — or near it — on numerous humanitarian and social issues.
In fact, she seems right on so many things that we find it frustrating that she can't be as simple and direct and, as they say, proactive on the issue of economic inequality as Bernie Sanders can. And because he can, frankly, we'd just as soon the Democratic contest went on long enough for the right kind of osmosis to occur between her point of view and his. Regardless of which one wins.