The Most Unpredictable Presidential Election CycleCommentary by Allen B. West
January 27, 2016
We are less than a week from the first electoral contest of the 2016 presidential cycle. The preseason is over and there is a word that describes what America has seen to this point, and may I borrow from Mr. Spock, “fascinating.” When this cycle kicked off last spring with the first candidates making their announcements, many had already decided who the heir apparent would be but, now, who knows?
On the Democrat side, it was all about one person just showing up. That was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the GOP side, well, it was the predictable choice of Jeb Bush -- after all, the last two previous GOP presidents were his dad and brother. Now, less than a week from the Iowa caucus it all seems quite confounding, even chaotic to some.
When asked about the difference between a socialist and a Democrat by Chris Matthews, both DNC Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Hillary Clinton absolutely bombed. If Mr. Matthews wanted an answer, he had only look at the sensation called Senator Bernie Sanders. The evident answer to the inquiry is none.
The challenge for America is to understand what is a Democrat Socialist? Or, as Hillary Clinton described herself, a Progressive Democrat? More importantly, we may have to ask, do Americans care?
There are four very pertinent points one can surmise as you “feel the Bern” realizing the Democrat Socialist philosophy of governance.
First, there is the principle of wealth redistribution. Bernie Sanders promotes the concept that what is yours, is not yours; it belongs to the government for their redistributive schemes. That belief is deeply rooted in the comment, if you own a business, “you did not build that.” The premise supporting that statement was that a government school educated you and a government road provided access to your establishment. That simpleton belief fails to grasp the idea that people who create businesses hire others, and when people are prosperous and successful they provide the largesse, by way of taxes for the government to build schools and roads.
After all, Margaret Thatcher alluded, “One of the inherent failures of socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” But, don’t tell Bernie Sanders.
Second is the principle of nationalizing production, meaning more government control of private sector industry. What are the negative results of such endeavors? Just walk the path from President Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act, circa 1978, to the financial crisis of 2008. The federal government delved into the mortgage industry because it believed that every American had a right to have a home. They did not embrace the concept of policies that enable Americans to own a home.
That leads to the third principle, social utopianism, you know, the society of the Participation Trophy. We are all equal and no one can achieve higher than the masses. And so we hear lots of talk about income equality, gender-neutral duty positions in the military, and social egalitarianism. Democratic Socialists, Progressive Democrats, and post-modern liberalism are centered upon government not recognizing the individual’s unalienable rights endowed by the Creator, but collective equality of outcomes as determined by man -- them.
And the final principle is that of creating and expanding the welfare nanny-state. We hear so much talk about the failed “war on drugs.” But there is another war that the progressive socialists declared back in the 60s -- the war on poverty. Trillions of dollars have been spent and we have only seen an increase of Americans living in poverty and on government subsistence. We are moving away from individual economic empowerment to economic enslavement and dependency. With that, comes the ensuing guaranteed electoral patronage, the real objective. It is one thing to have a safety net, it is a far different one to give away a hammock.
Just to remind folks, there is no such thing as “free.” But I think Sir Winston Churchill gave the best answer to Chris Matthews’ question, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, i.ts inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” I gotta tell ya, it does sound good but it does not end well.
On the GOP side, it appeared that the cast of very seasoned and qualified governors from successful states had an advantage. That was until they ran into the buzzsaw called the GOP base. There is a palpable anger that exists because the GOP asked for a majority in the House and Senate, and got it…the largest since after World War II. What was the result? I only have to say Omnibus spending bill, enter the political outsiders, namely one, Donald J. Trump.
It is a phenomenon that has never been seen before in American presidential electoral politics. The “established rules” are not applicable. When have we ever seen a presidential candidate that has a massive following who eschews any real policy declarations? Yes, I remember, 2008. No one could have ever believed that, in a time such as this, someone could rise to be a presidential candidate front-runner, seemingly without major policy positions.
We are living in historical times when you consider all that is happening in America and across the world. In the end, this race will come down to leadership and one who can convey the message of restoring this Constitutional Republic. But we may need a lesson on what that means.
Anyway, as my mom used to say in her sweet Southern voice, “Allen, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.” Who knows what will have happened a month from now, at the end of February? One thing is certain, it is certainly the nation’s most unpredictable presidential election cycle.