Fantasy Election League
March 9, 2016
OK! I totally understand the notion that people like me who don’t want to see the current Republican campaign for President ever come to an end could well be playing with fire. I get that! So what? What do we have to lose? It’s not like a quick resolution to the buffoonery will move us forward in any significant area.
I’ve got to play it for laughs! It’s much better than binge-watching "House of Cards." I haven’t had this much fun since the Watergate Hearings. Like there’s a quantitative differential between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio on the integrity scale? If that be the case, I obviously need a much more powerful microscope than the model I’m currently using.
Although my best-case scenario evolves on an almost daily basis depending upon delegate counts and momentum shifts, in the parlance of NCAA basketball March Madness, my bracket has yet to get busted. In other words, a narrative remains for the GOP to dig itself into an even deeper hole.
For a while now, the lack of success by Rubio has been the linchpin holding my standing in the Fantasy Election League together. I’ve wanted him to stay in the race but, at the same time, not gather enough support from the traditional wing of the party to become an actual player. I need him to be the first to drop out.
That would leave the Republican establishment in a quandary as to whose candidacy to get behind. I don’t think there’s enough of a Xantac stash on the planet for them to rally around the senator from the great state of Texas. Over time, with his colleagues in the Senate, Ted Cruz has become the poster child of acid reflux.
There is an alternative, of course. They could turn over the reins of the "party of Lincoln" to Donald Trump. But as we recently witnessed when they called for an all-out "Stop Trump" blitz package prior to Super Saturday, that doesn’t appear to be very likely. (Damn! I swore I wouldn’t use "package" and "Trump" in the same sentence.)
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So, as far as whom to root for in the upcoming Florida primary, I find myself in a quandary of my own. It’s a given that I need Rubio to lose. But I don’t want either Cruz or Trump to gain enough momentum to put either on track to secure the nomination prior to the July Republican convention in Cleveland.
You see where I’m heading here? In order to grab a spot on the podium of my Fantasy Election League, I need a brokered convention. One where, somehow, the Republican establishment alienates both Trump and Cruz supporters enough to either spawn a third-party movement or, by taking their balls and going home, sitting out the rest of the process.
I loved the fact that the backroom dealmakers on the "Right" selected Mitt Romney as their knight in shining armor to lead the charge against that "disgusting" Trump character. If anyone can incite the anti-establishment grass-roots into accepting an even-more-implausible conspiracy theory than those they regularly have for breakfast, it’s ol’ Mitt.
Imagine, if you will, neither Trump nor Cruz hitting that old magic number of 1237 delegates needed to gain the nomination on the first ballot and Mitt (or one of his ilk) emerging at some later point, as the party’s nominee. Oh, to have the pitchfork and torch concession then.
Now, in lieu of Romney, imagine that the late-ballot nominee selected by the Republican powerbrokers back in Washington is none other than Marco Rubio — whose campaign they had funded all the way to the convention although he hadn’t been acquiring delegates or momentum along the way.
He’s their fair-haired-boy, you know. And, come to think of it, Rubio wouldn’t even have to remain an official candidate to be eligible to have his name introduced to the convention for a late ballot vote if no one else receives a majority of those already cast. See, I’m as paranoid and susceptible to left-field conspiracy theories as those across the aisle.
So, I have my Fantasy Election League bracket all dressed-up with nowhere to go. Who would I rather see run against Hillary or Bernie? Whomever the Republican powerbrokers find most distasteful, I suppose. Whoever would bring the most chaos and tumult to the table. Whoever would energize the opposition the most. You catch my drift.
Give me chaos or give me Trump — which is the same thing, hopefully.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.