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Hullabaloo


Friday, February 26, 2016

 

A mockery of a sham

by Tom Sullivan

If you were not too busy planning your move to Cape Breton Island, you might have noticed that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally attempted to attack Donald Trump in last night's debate, for whatever it was worth. Not much, says Matthew Yglesias, especially for Ted Cruz:

Rubio's attacks on Trump hardly seemed devastating, but they were well-delivered and at a couple of points genuinely funny and they certainly impressed the entire establishment Republican universe. In short, Rubio further cast the election as a two-man race between a paradoxically establishment-backed underdog and Trump as the outsider frontrunner.

That leaves no real role for Cruz to play, and voters who want to see Cruz in the White House increasingly need to think about whether casting a vote for Cruz amounts to wasting it. If you agree with Cruz that Trump is an inauthentic conservative who can't be trusted to implement orthodox policies, you should probably vote for Rubio. And if you agree with Cruz that Rubio is a shady establishment pawn who'll sell the base down the river for a bucket of amnesty, you should probably vote for Trump.

In short, the Republican primary contest has become, as Woody Allen once said, "a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." And not only the GOP's contest, but the whole shebang. Because finally, the American political system has met its match in Donald Trump, "no ordinary con man," as Matt Taibbi explains:

The triumvirate of big media, big donors and big political parties has until now successfully excluded every challenge to its authority. But like every aristocracy, it eventually got lazy and profligate, too sure it was loved by the people. It's now shocked that voters in depressed ex-factory towns won't keep pulling the lever for "conservative principles," or that union members bitten a dozen times over by a trade deal won't just keep voting Democratic on cue.

Trump isn't the first rich guy to run for office. But he is the first to realize the weakness in the system, which is that the watchdogs in the political media can't resist a car wreck. The more he insults the press, the more they cover him: He's pulling 33 times as much coverage on the major networks as his next-closest GOP competitor, and twice as much as Hillary.

Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn't know how to turn the cameras off, even when it's filming its own demise.

Indeed, media exposure for which networks charge his rivals millions they give away to Trump. It is simply stunning to watch MSNBC repeatedly cut away from its regular programming to cover yet another speech from the blond-tufted silverback. You want to scream at the TV, "Stop feeding it!"

Cape Breton Island sounds kinda nice this morning.