Like so many wood-paneled fights between ‘70s parents in various shades of sexual, financial and fuel crises, this year’s presidential preference primary has inspired few, angered quite a few and scared the shit out of nearly double those numbers. Actually, to be fair, the ‘70s – minus a Watergate scandal or Iran hostage crisis or whatever ¬– carried with them the last vestiges of civility in the political arena. In the ‘80s, the fringes started to show, with folks like Ross Perot and David Duke wide-eyeing from the sidelines and pushing everyone into their respective frenzies. And the ‘60s – minus a Cuban Missile Crisis and a war in Vietnam –saw their biggest campaign moments in the reflections from the sweat blobs on Richard Nixon’s debate-head when faced with the coming surge of John F. Kennedy. Neither era saw the amplified rhetoric we’re witnessing at the Klan rallies (ooops, Donald Trump rallies) in recent weeks, really, minus the Republican National Convention riots during the Vietnam War.
OK, so little has changed. We’re just a little more rock’n’roll and a lot less country now, throwing people out of rallies while simultaneously punching them in the gut while shouting xenophobia. Come on, evolution. Help us out here. Oh, wait. You did. Thanks, internet.
On Tuesday, March 15 – affectionately known as “mini-super-Tuesday,” because it’s cute like a small puppy – Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton virtually swept five states: Florida, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri. In Florida, the Clinton campaign reports, the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady nabbed 141 delegates – nearly double that of competing Dem. (-ish) Sen. Bernie Sanders. The popular vote showed a more than 30-point spread between the two in the Sunshine State, which was just about enough to silence the 30 years of violent criticism Clinton has fielded in her public and private life. Right?
Wrong. While Republicans have been running smears – all discounted eventually – now the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party is playing its #bernieorbust card (meaning, there’s a pledge to not vote for Clinton in the general should she win the primary). It’s a bit of a fringe movement of its own that smells something like green tea at a party, if you catch my drift.
Clinton, who in the LGBT scheme of things has been a fighter and an ally for social and HIV/AIDS global initiatives, issued her gaffe heard round the world at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, immediately apologized profusely (nice lady says something nice at funeral; news at 11) and reopened a discussion about our LGBT history. And so the Sanders-Clinton, “he said, she said” rift made its way into your local gay bar. While we were fighting, however, a fascist gained a lead of more than 50 percent in the Republican Party in a swimming pool of national unrest, racism and acrimony, hairpiece intact.
Let’s agree that the Hillary narrative is, if nothing else, dragging the discussion down. By all means, we should protect our rights (something both Sanders and Clinton agree on NOW). But right now we need to unite and fight an unfathomable and disgraceful conservative right bench. Go hug a small puppy. You’ll feel better.
Off the Marco
We’re not ones to dance on political graves here, but the demise of former Florida House Speaker and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s heralded presidential campaign will someday be buried in middle school social studies textbooks next to Terri Schiavo and Jeb Bush. Take a man of pretense but devoid of political substance, have him lie about his Cuban migration to Florida in print, have him take on the immigration reform issue in the Senate, take your hand out of his puppet posterior and throw him to the wolves with a tiny bottle of water. Boom! Failed candidacy. Rubio dropped out just 15 minutes after polls closed on March 15, because, well, he barely charted. Thanks for playing, Patrick Bateman. You looked great.
If you wanted to hear the cringe of an entire LGBT community with its hands willfully wrapped around a curling iron, then you should have been huddled around the community political theater surrounding Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s rousing endorsement of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in Tampa on March 14. Speaking in code, she said, “We have been friends for years and years, and I know his family personally. I’ve seen firsthand how he leads, and how he cares deeply about the people of this country.” That “firsthand” got called by the media, however, when some suspicious campaign finance deal – Trump donated $25k to Bondi’s re-election PAC in 2013, it turns out, likely prompting her to stop investigating Trump University. Uh-oh. Still, popular St. Pete blogger issued a Facebook comment on the mess, suggesting that in this absurd climate, Bondi will likely be named VP for Trump. Feel that burn?
You might think that as Republicans are recoiling from their Cruz-shaped Bible blisters or Trump-designed frauds, they’d be interested in at least giving the appearance of moderate behavior that could save their political brand. There are down-ticket races to concern themselves with. But jowl-lover and Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell is pulling his best dumbfounded Eeyore in allowing President Barack Obama – or, indeed – potential next-President Hillary Clinton from moving forward with a replacement for old, dead bag of hate rhetoric Justice Antonin Scalia on the court, even though Obama has already picked Merrick Garland, an unassuming bit of middle-of-the-road fancy who Obama has every right to nominate. McConnell is rumored to be taking a call with Garland, but doesn’t want to waste his time on actually doing his job and furthering the process. Jackass.