There are many colorful adjectives one could use to describe the 2016 presidential election thus far. It has been bizarre, historic, but more than anything it has been undeniably ugly in nature. The results of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary revealed something about this election that has become evidently clear: nothing that was expected to happen did. This race has defied all predictions as to who would become each party’s nominee, exposing some unsavory realities about the American electorate and the condition of its two political parties.
Just one year ago it seemed all but inevitable that the race would be between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Now Bush is polling at just 10% nationally, and the self-identifying Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders defeated Clinton 60-40 in New Hampshire.
Donald Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire primary with a 16-point lead over the second place winner, John Kasich. It is still difficult to comprehend how the phenomenon of Trump happened. At first it seemed like a bad joke, but that bad joke now holds a commanding lead in the polls as the Republican frontrunner.
Clinton’s defeat in New Hampshire caused intense panic within the Democratic establishment, but their anxiety pales in comparison to that of the Republican establishment. Just months ago, it seemed that Marco Rubio could be the establishment’s rising star to overcome Donald Trump, but now those hopes have been crushed. Chris Christie just dropped out of the race, but he took Rubio down with him.
At the last GOP debate, Christie and Rubio engaged in a fiery exchange that quickly went viral. Christie, whose campaign slogan was “Telling It Like It Is,” lambasted Rubio for his record as a senator, saying that the position does little to help everyday Americans, unlike his experience as governor of New Jersey.
Christie asked the audience to listen for what he called “the memorized 25-second speech” provided to Rubio by his advisors, and Rubio walked right into the trap. He repeated the exact same line not once or twice, but three times. It was a surreal exchange that could not have gone worse for Rubio.
Headlines such as “Marcobot Malfunctions” and “The Bot Bombs” were followed by stories of Rubio staffers in total shock and longtime donors fleeing in droves. With Rubio’s campaign in a downward spiral, a Trump nomination seems inescapable.
Having said that, it has been well established that in this campaign, it is wise to expect the unexpected.
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