Surfing the American Glacier, Part 1 / A South Carolina Primary Hangover

February 28, 2016


As a rule, 6:15 in the morning is too early for gin.


One might be able to pull it off in the afternoon, but it is not a drink with which to greet the dawn.


Traditionally, one would go with a Bloody Mary. But that requires Vodka, and I refuse to stock anything in my bar that reeks of Bolshevism.


I have whiskey, in all it's glorious manifestations. But I’m up to man's business, here. Brown liquor is fine for putting heartache into workable context. It's a blackout drug, though, and I'm trying to stare down the apocalypse, not hide under the covers until she hits the door and lets me get a few fitful hours of sleep.


I’ve heard speak of breakfast wine, and I have some. I think I do, anyway. It’s not in the bar, though. It’s in the kitchen, with the potato chips and animal crackers.


So gin it is, then. With tonic water. And a splash of grapefruit juice. I’m not a complete Philistine, after all.


It’s the morning after the South Carolina Primary, and it’s over.


Not just the primary, but the whole shebang.


Hillary used her acceptance speech to go Full Bernie, cozying up to his pet issues, talking about what a swell fellow he is.


The fix is in.


Conversations have occurred, and plans have been solidified. Bernie laid off the accelerator, drove into the ranch, rolled over, and showed his throat to the Clintonista dogs.


The plan worked to perfection. No reason, now, to sweat Super Tuesday. It’s a formality, and nothing more.


And it was clean and surgical. Political junkies were denied the street brawl they thought was in the offing, the scrappy underdog taking the champ to the final bell.


South Carolina politics is always dirty, a septic mix of desperation and stupid. Been that way since before the Civil War, when John C. Calhoun, parliamentary genius, Constitutional grifter, and raging prick, started screaming “STATE’S RIGHTS” into the ear of anyone who disagreed with his spew.


“States Rights”, of course, is South Carolinian for “we prefer our niggers in chains, and we plan on keeping it that way”.


It’s been adopted by others. From neo-confederates to those smug, mall-borne Libertarians in the Izod shirts and Dockers. But it’s a South Carolina hustle, through and through.


It’s irrelevant to any Democratic party electoral college calculus. South Carolina has been a Republican stronghold since Strom Thurmond got second wind and race-whipped the state into submission.


But as a primary grease filter, It holds serious sway.


The Clintons are made for South Carolina politics. It's everything they do well: small ball, big fish-in-the-pond politics, and an exploitable party presence. Easy to manipulate, but large enough to masquerade as strength.


And the Clintons are nasty fucks, make no mistake. They've never been content to dispatch an opponent, then move on to the next fight. No, they like to parade a bit, then leave a disposable stooge to burn the body down to the molars.


These are not “good people”. They are power mad and avaricious in the most evil sense, Hell’s Homecoming Couple, just waiting to get in one more foxtrot before Satan calls them home.  


There was no fight in South Carolina, no showdown. The Sanders campaign didn’t stand a chance against the Clinton wehrmacht, and they knew it. We all knew it.


But we had a little hope that it wouldn’t be so bad. The delegates, long since conceded to the Clinton stack, were less important than the performance. A good showing, under 15% between the two camps, would nudge expectation, maybe keep the flame burning a little for a late run.


But a 50% gap? Party’s over. Don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.


Bernie didn’t even take a seat at the South Carolina table, choosing to play small stakes poker elsewhere, by-the-numbers, trying to grind his way back into the big game.


Smart politics...if you’re running as an establishment chucklehead, rather than a slobbering, radical firebrand.


Bad strategy can make for entertaining spectacle. If

you dig politics as a spectator sport, here was some serious fodder.


Shit. We didn't even get that.


It was an ass-whipping, sure, but an artless and unentertaining one. Like Sonny Corleone beating Carlo into the gutter, then giving him the Florsheims to the ribs, it was a gratuitous beating that will probably harvest a shit storm down the line.


The Senate and multiple state houses will stay in Republican hands, a grinding tribute to the status quo that the Clintons knew they would have to embrace if they had any chance of slithering back into the White House.


They did so shamelessly. Even enthusiastically.


The Clintons and their soldati used the party machinery like a prison broomstick, and buggered democracy into a death whimper.


They limited voter registration, used the so-called Super Delegate field as a human break wall, and turned the DNC war chest into a cudgel to keep the rowdies in line. Hell, they were even able to keep Bernie under a bushel, limiting debate exposure to soft viewer times.


It was fascist politics of the most porcine, and they played it out like the naturals they are.


Who stands in their way?


As of now, it appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. There is some talk about winnowing down to he and Marco Rubio, with Rubio making a last “establishment” run, but it appears too little, too late.


Also too bad. He’d be the perfect opponent for the Dems. They would be forced to expend time, money, and energy on the off-chance that he could win the whole thing.


Which he can’t. He is easily exposed as a simp. Dan Quayle in brown face. Not “drool on your shoes” stupid, perhaps, but intellectually tepid, and possessed with the dynamic presence of a doomed, side character in Watership Down.


Standing just over his shoulder is Ted Cruz, with his well-thumped bible and that unsettling look of a man buying chloroform and duct tape in bulk. A favorite son win in Texas, come Super Tuesday, would juice him up with enough delegates to make one last charge.


Hell, there’s even talk of an open convention, with Rubio, John Kasich, and Paul Ryan all somehow being hypothesized into the equation.  


From this view, though, it’s Trump. His presence, and appeal to the angry, white goober wing of the Republican Party, is just too strong to push into the background.


No candidate is strong enough to beat Hillary. And Trump is probably the easiest, in terms of the Presidential election. The Dems could probably run a Blagojevich/Kanye ticket and beat Trump.  He’s a buffoon, and he may be the first candidate since Goldwater to fall below the 40% line.


Which is not a good thing. He is so distasteful that the Republican establishment will give little more than a glance to his campaign. They will focus, intensely, on keeping the Senate and House in red hands. They will pour money into state house elections, especially in purple states. They will allow, even encourage, down ballot election candidates to go rogue, to actively campaign against Trump.


The split ticket damage to Democratic candidates could be costly, in and of itself.


But the subliminal damage done to her party, as a bastion of progressive principles and activity, is even more deadly. They have allowed the voter base to atrophy, and the Clinton’s ham-fisted, scorched earth treatment, of any who don’t hew to their will, effectively marginalizes the party’s liberal wing, which is the key to real progressive change.


They will keep, in positions of party influence and power, toadies like Terry McAuliffe and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whose towering incompetence is matched only by their mad lapdog skills.

Jesus, what a cock-up. Too much grapefruit juice. 










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