It would be unfair to say that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the worst human beings ever to have a real shot at a major party nomination, except for the fact that it’s absolutely true that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the worst human beings ever to have a real shot at a major party nomination.
Vain, corrupt, entitled, abusive, exploitative, unlikable, irritable, irritating, incurious, comically unattractive, reckless… just throw these adjectives in the air, and enough of them will hit either candidate to draw a reasonably accurate picture of them both.
That’s not to say neither Clinton nor Trump has any virtues. They’re both hardworking, and they’re both shrewd competitors. If Hillary can’t connect to people the way Trump can, she makes up for it being a serious student in a way Trump can’t be bothered with.
And those are about all the virtues you’re going to find in what are otherwise the worst human beings ever to have a real shot at a major party nomination.
So thank God for Bernie Sanders and for Ted Cruz.
It’s not as though Sanders (the sometimes-hectoring Communist) or Cruz (the occasionally pandering opportunist) exactly bury the needle on the Charisma Meter. But probably the worst you can say about either man — aside from any policy differences you might have with them — is that they’re both skilled politicians.
Maybe even skilled enough to stop one or both of the worst human beings ever to have a real shot at a major party nomination from winning a major party nomination.
Trump’s ruthless ignorance on policy might finally be catching up with him, as a recent series of uninformed statements (about nukes, NATO, abortion, his own manager, etc.) turned what should have been a simple defeat in Wisconsin into a near-rout by Cruz. And to Cruz’s credit, he might remind you of Senator Barack Obama in 2008 — a candidate who understands his party’s Byzantine party rules, and who isn’t afraid to exploit them.
Clinton is so unloved by her own party that Sanders has been able to win the last six contests, some by huge margins, without hitting her where it really hurts — on her Foundation, on her emails, on her long history of abusing her husband’s victims and paramours. And Sanders is savvy enough to understand that hitting those weak spots might poison the well and split the party he so recently joined. Not bad for a guy whose most notable accomplishment to date was yelling at C-SPAN cameras in the wee small hours.
The delegate math for both men is difficult at best. Trump holds a commanding plurality, which he’s likely to maintain at least through the first ballot at the convention. The road for Sanders might be even narrower and more treacherous, but if he can stop Clinton in her “home” state of New York as he is trying to do… well then, the Democrats might finally nominate the genuine Socialist so many of them have always dreamed of.
But that’s all in the future, and as Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” What we can say right now though is that the impossible has become the merely unlikely — and that the unlikely might still become the merely difficult.
And we can also say, “Thank God for Bernie Sanders and for Ted Cruz.”