In the most difficult depths of the U.S. civil war, President
Lincoln had not yet settled on General Grant as the army
commander, and there was widespread doubt that the Union
cause would prevail. In January, 1863 (six months before
Gettysburg), he was so frustrated with one of his top generals,
Joseph Hooker, that he penned a letter to him that concluded:
“......Beware of rashness, Beware of rashness. But with energy
and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories.”
The major U.S. parties are now each in a political civil war.
Although her sizable victory in the South Carolina primary
has made Hillary Clinton’s quest for the Democratic
nomination much more likely, some very dark clouds for her
candidacy remain (including, not the least, a significant
drop-off in Democratic turnout in the four caucuses/primaries
so far held while GOP turnout is dramatically up).
On the Republican side, a garrulous outsider, who continues
to break virtually all the traditional rules of political combat,
seems on the verge of running away with his party’s
nomination. He has caused terror not only in the GOP party
establishment, but with many grass roots conservatives who
find him too profane and too otherwise outrageous.
A common statement now being expressed by many Democrats
and some Republicans is: “If Trump wins, I’m moving to
Canada.” With all due respects to this emotional outburst,
I need to remind everyone that Canada has strict immigration
laws, revised in 2002, and disagreeing with the president of the
United States is not one of the legal categories for immigration
to our neighbor to the north. Don’t plan on going to Canada.
The winner of the presidency in 2016 will be the winner of a
majority of the electoral college. Presumably, he or she will also
be the winner of the popular vote. If there are only two major
candidates, the winner will hopefully have won a majority of
the popular vote. If there are serious independent and write-in
candidacies, the winner will likely have only a plurality of the
popular vote --- a circumstance quite common in post-World War
U.S. presidential elections.
Panic and desperation, either on the left, the right or even in the
center, is not going to resolve the 2016 election (nor are they
going to solve our national problems), Nothing is yet decided, as
I write this. The voters will decide this contest, not endorsements,
editorials and op eds, insults or emotional outbursts.
As I have been writing for months, the 2016 election cycle is likely
to be transformational. All civil wars, military and political, are
transformational. Will either political party find their General
Grant? And if so, who and when?
Those questions need to be answered. But until they are, I think
we need to keep in mind Old Abe’s admonition, “Beware of
No matter who sits in the White House, this is an extraordinary
nation, with an enormous economy, military, culture and vitality
that affects the whole world. In our many crises over the past 239
years, we have had a few defeats, but many more victories, and
even more achievements.
Let the voters speak.
Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
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