Colson: Let them all dive into the Trump political dump
Tonight (as of publication day of this column, Aug. 6) the Republican Party will hold the first candidate debate of the 2016 election season, hosted by Fox News, Facebook and the Republican Party itself, in the city where I was born, Cleveland, Ohio, which also will host the party’s national convention next year.
The many absurdities that will accompany this “debate” into history are too manifold, too outrageous, to list without the risk of putting readers into a collective coma induced by fear and doubt.
But I can’t help myself.
First off, the fact that the debate is being held in Ohio makes me very suspicious.
I’ve got no inherent bias against Cleveland, you understand, since I took my first independent breath there and since it is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, an institution that I revere simply because it enshrines the music that made my youth so very interesting.
But Ohio, unfortunately, also is the state where in 2004 election chicanery — including voter suppression and electoral misinformation aimed at Democrats and minorities — gave the state to The Shrub, also known as George W. Bush, and cemented the national election in his favor.
Among other electoral maladies, Ohio in 2004 used the same punch-card ballots that, four years earlier, are widely believed to have been deliberately miscounted in Florida. The Florida results were so messed up that it was left to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the outcome, and we all can remember how well that went.
Ohio’s then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a devout Republican, did his best to suppress the votes of Democrats and minorities in 2004, just as Katherine Harris did in Florida in 2000. Ohio went for Bush that year, though by a margin nowhere near as slim as the 537 votes in Florida’s 2000 election, and critics of the Ohio electoral donnybrook still maintain that Blackwell stole the election for Bush.
Clearly, picking Ohio as the site for this debate was intended to have a symbolic impact, at least.
And the message to those who view the Republican presidential field as nothing but a gathering of clowns is this: “We (the GOP) cheated the electorate here in ‘04, and we’re pretty sure we can do it again.”
Moving on, the selection of contestants who will appear at this “debate” was to be based on national political polls taken on Tuesday, two days prior to the “debate” and one day later than my deadline for this column, so I’m not sure who will be there as I write this.
But it appears that the head clown, Donald Trump, will make the cut, based on his lead in the polls over the weekend, one of which showed Trump ahead at 20 percent of likely Republican primary voters, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 15 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and on down the long line of hopefuls.
It has been emphasized in news accounts of this circus that Fox News will be “the decider,” presumably about which polls to use to make this momentous decision and then picking the candidates who get to appear at the main event in Cleveland.
Already, news about this decision has started sliding around like a car with bald tires meeting an oil slick at high speed. What started out as a firm “Top 10” among the polls has in recent days shifted to “the top 10 or so,” which is in keeping with my view that Fox News never met a fact it couldn’t undermine or completely ignore at its own internal behest.
In any event, it appears at this point, on Monday, that Trump, Walker and Bush (sounds like a white-bread law firm) will be there, perhaps alongside Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and John Kasich, at least according to the rankings in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released early Monday morning.
Naturally, as of the weekend, all eyes were on Trump, who inexplicably seems to rank the highest in the eyes of those willing to admit they will be voting in an upcoming Republican primary somewhere in this country.
I’ve watched a few video clips of some of those voters, by the way, and it has left me with a slightly queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Some of these interviewees have actually said, with a straight face, that they like the way Trump thinks, and they like the things he has been saying.
So, the lesson here seems to be that if you spout off with bigoted, self-aggrandizing and outright ignorant crap with enough consistency and regularity, you can win support from a huge percentage of Republican primary voters.
Which many of Trump’s opponents have been doing, like political lemmings eager to dive into the same smelly pond with him, no matter what the cost to their integrity and credibility.
Which, I guess, is all right by me.