This Election is Like Fentanyl

For a political junkie, that is.  For someone who simply cares about the future of this country, this election is nothing short of terrifying, but for a political junkie, this mess is like fetanyl to an opiate junkie.  Fetanyl, for those fortunate enough not to know, is an incredibly potent (from wiki:” Fentanyl is approximately 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and roughly 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade {100% pure} heroin“) prescription painkiller.  For a addict accustomed to heroin or more common prescription opiates, fetanyl (or many of its analogs) provides a surprisingly intense rush, and as such is usually highly valued.  Unfortunately, the very thing that draws addicts to fetanyl is also its worst drawback.  Fetanyl’s strength makes it incredibly dangerous as a street drug.  Anecdotally, I know of several overdoses caused by prescription fetanyl patches (and unless I state otherwise, all overdoses are caused by misuse and/or abuse of said drug.  I definitely believe fetanyl should be available to people who need it for pain reduction), and my own past experiences taught me to be very careful with fetanyl patches.  When you get into bags of heroin that contain fetanyl or an analog, you are getting into really scary territory.

This election is fascinating.  It is ludicrously long,  and completely unbalanced, yet both sides still have an amazing amount of drama unfolding.  The Democrats have been playing second fiddle, partially by the design of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s failed plan to make damn sure no one saw a Democratic primary debate this year, and partially due just to the sheer amount of crazy on the opposite side, but the story currently unfolding is incredible.  After losing to then Senator Obama in 2008, this was finally supposed to be HRC’s year.  Joe Biden gave her a bit of a scare before deciding not to run, but in the end the Democratic party mainly agreed that she would be the nominee.  Hell, her main competition wasn’t even a Democrat, he was a self proclaimed socialist Senator from Vermont.  The above mentioned chair of the Democratic party seemingly scheduled the debates to fly under the radar and insure that HRC would get through the primary season fresh and ready for the general election, while the GOP nominee would be limping in after a crowded primary fight.  Flash forward to today.   Sure, HRC “won” Iowa.  Sure, everyone already knew Bernie would do well in New Hampshire.  But if you are a HRC supporter you can not tell me you aren’t feeling the “here we go again” taste of 2008 right now.  I still feel that HRC will eventually secure the nomination, but I’m starting to come around to the idea that the previously unthinkable is possible as well.

This isn’t a normal election.  Just look at the other side for all the proof of that you’ll ever need.

I feel sorry for Jeb Bush.  Don’t read any of this as an endorsement, of course.  I still think his policy ideas are evil, it’s just a benign evil.  He’s not trying to be evil, that’s just the way he was raised.  He’s a Bush.  I don’t vote based on who I would like to have a beer with, but Jeb seems like a nice enough guy.  I wouldn’t mind having a drink with him, as long as we didn’t talk about politics or religion.  It’s hard not to feel sorry for the man when you see him bear hug a stranger who mentioned Bush could conceivably swing his vote, or quietly plead with a crowd to applaud his applause line.  Perhaps the memory of his brother’s time in office doomed Jeb’s chanced no matter what happened, but we’ll never know.  The crowded GOP field at first appeared as pins set up for Jeb to strike down.  Following his brother’s approach, he raised a ton of money before anyone else even knew there was an election coming up, giving himself the appearance of the eventual nominee.  Oh what sweet summer children we were back then.

If I would have told you, at this point last year, that 2016 would begin with Donald Trump finishing 2nd in Iowa before winning New Hampshire convincingly, you would have rolled your eyes and moved on to the next post or the next blog.  I never thought this was an impossible situation, but I admit I found it incredibly unlikely.  Like everyone else (well, almost.  Brad Friedman at Bradblog took him seriously the whole time) I thought Trump would fizzle out and one of the establishment candidates would take control.  Instead we have a complete revolt against the national GOP by the angry “base” they created over the past decades.  After Iowa it appeared as if perhaps Marco Rubio would be the establishment’s hail mary, saving the GOP from either Trump or Cruz.  That hope seems a bit further fetched now after Chris Christie finally justified his presence in the race by short circuiting Marco’s programming at the last debate.  Mr. Rubio finished back of Jeb and was shut out from delegates in New Hampshire.  Let me say that again.  He lost to Jeb.

Sure, Kasich came in second, but he isn’t a legitimate establishment choice.  He is far too moderate for the “base” that controls so many red states.  (And seriously, look at Kasich’s positions and realize how scary it is that he is considered too moderate.)  The GOP race seriously seems like it could come down to Ted Cruz v Donald Trump, and if that happens, what does the national party do?  If it was anyone else, the answer would be throw everything possible against Trump and hope for the best, but I can not see them siding with Cruz, a candidate many of them actively hate.

And yet, as fascinating as it all is, as much as you want to see what happens in the next debate, in the next primary, the dangers lurk below the surface.  The GOP’s Trump problem was hilarious until it wasn’t.  As long as any path Trump had to the GOP nomination ended in a general election defeat, it was all in fun.  As long as we knew Ted Cruz would lose in a landslide, it was a game.  “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”  What happens if we do lose an eye?

They don’t even have to win to do damage.

But with the revolution in the Democratic party unlikely to end soon, it becomes increasingly more likely that instead of the GOP nominee emerging from a bitter primary fight to find an untouched HRC with a full war chest and the whole Democratic party behind her, they find they have to face either a self-proclaimed socialist in Sanders or HRC, both having just finished an equally grueling primary fight.  And then the “what ifs” begin.  If the nominee is HRC, what if Sanders voters stay home?  If it’s Sanders, does he cause establishment wing Democrats to stay home?  Can a “socialist” win a general election in the United States?  (Fwiw, I consider myself a socialist mainly.)  If it’s HRC, did Bernie hit her on the e-mails?  Did it hurt?  Is there a terrorist attack preceding the election?  (I find this to be incredibly likely.  Terrorism is normally intended to force a response.  ISIS wants an apocalyptic ground war on their territory.  They have to know that they are much more likely to get their war with a GOP president, and that a terror attack will push votes to the GOP candidate.  They aren’t stupid.  I hope our anti-terrorism forces are on the ball.)

As I said, the “what ifs”.

With fetanyl, the danger is overdose, always lurking in the shadows, waiting for you to get sloppy.  With this election cycle, it is President Cruz or President Trump.  Catastrophic results to a fascinating ride.

For those of you who don’t love politics, I apologize.  All you get is a possible Trump or Cruz presidency.  You don’t even get to enjoy the high.


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