Third Party & Independents Archives

Tit-for-Tat for Ted and John

Will the Kasich-Cruz axis - or the JT Team if you wish - last long enough to fulfill it’s function? That means all of a week - or a week and a day seeing it was announced late Sunday evening. Can they hold it together through more than 7 grueling days and countless probing questions from evil journalists who snidely will wish to know: is this for real? And it has to last until May 3. That’s a long time given the way this nomination race has played out so far.

Already Kasich has had two little stumbles, or slips of the mask. First, he waffled - an appropriate analogy seeing he's a pancake guy - on whether his supporters should still vote for him in Indiana. That's where, according to the deal, they should all vote for Ted to keep Trump from taking Indiana, in what has become #NeverTrump's brave last stand. Although that privilege may just fall to California in the end.

Then Kasich - on Fox speaking to Neil Cavuto in clear language that he might have regretted immediately afterwards - said the rules of the 2012 convention don't really matter. The convention rules committee hasn't worked out the 2016 rules yet. And he has some pals on the RNC rules committee who're fixing to shore things up for the state's governor: John Kasich. This being a reference to rule 40 and the requirement that a nominee win at least 8 primaries.

Yes. Rule 40 is a recent thing. And convention rules are as malleable as the will of the right people. Not necessarily the will of the majority of delegates. To, literally, say nothing of the will of a majority of primary voters. But rule 40 and the rest of the rules have not mattered the way they will in Cleveland for a long, long time.

So Kasich's two moments of stubborn self-proclamation reveal that he still is convinced he is the one to beat Hillary. And looking downwards from that hard-won (if only in his imagination) hill, then he must also be the GOP nominee. Of course he thinks that. But he could have waited 8 days at least, in order to give Cruz an honest shot at Indiana.

Some collusion. Collusion to work effectively must be based on a certain level of reciprocity. You do me favor A. And I do you favor B. Of course, those are usually not simultaneous transactions, and that leads to the problem of trust. Who goes first? And who potentially takes advantage of a first mover - who in this case is vulnerable having given a favor in exchange for the expectation of a yet-to-be-returned favor?

The answer is a tit-for-tat strategy. You cheat me. I cheat you. You do me a favor. I do you a favor. Who starts the game and who cheats first, are areas of study by game-theory policy wonks. But the basics are pretty clear: for collusion to be effective, there has to be a way to punish those who deviate from the agreement.

Will Ted tit-for-tat with John? And if John tats instead of tit-ing, will Ted (h)it back? It sure can sound silly, but Ted and John are playing a tricky, even desperate, game which could hurt them more than it does Donald. And even if it does stop Trump in Indiana; who will actually benefit by the end of the convention will remain unclear until the end of that convention.

Posted by AllardK at April 25, 2016 10:16 PM
Comment #404336

Too little, too late for this strategy to work for Cruz and Kasich. Their egos prevented them from realizing what they needed to do to stop Trump. After last night’s results Trump is highly likely to win the nomination on the first vote.

To be fair, a lot of people failed to anticipate Trump might actually win the nomination. At first, including Republicans, Democrats, and me, saw Trump as a joke- a carnival barker, or as Governer Perry so aptly put it, a barking carnival; a Birther from 2012 running solely for the purpose of self-promotion. He is so obviously unfit for the job it was hard to take seriously. Still is. Yet enough Republicans responded to his angry tone and overt appeals to racism, hatred, bigotry, and xenophobia that
Trump actually won primaries. It was funny and terrible at the same time.

According to a recent poll, over half of his voters believe Obama is a Muslim. Is it any wonder an appeal to the very worst in the American character found its home among many Republican conservatives?

In a nutshell, the GOP base turned on the GOP establishment. Talk show radio hosts like Limbaugh, Beck, Levin, Hannity, and others encouraged this. The establishment pushed an agenda for the rich- tax cuts, trade agreements, rejecting minimum wage increases, catering to Big Banks and calling for the repeal of Dodd-Frannk even as foreclosures swept the country- and at the same time, the establishment pretended to go along with the kooky agenda of the social conservatives.

I just returned from Canada. Several times the same thing happened. When Canadians found out I was from Portland, Oregon, they wanted to talk about Trump. They acted as though Trump was going to win the White House, and they wondered what the hell was wrong with Americans. The US seemed to get its act together under Obama, and now… this?

At immigrations and customs there was all kind of construction, and Canadians openly laughing about building a wall to keep out Americans, and how America was going to pay for it. Actually, the construction was intended to accommodate the increase in tourism. Construction throughout the Northwest has been booming.

Last item- according to the latest ADP weekly jobless claims report, the number dropped to the lowest since 1973. The economy is strong.

And Trump is going to do what now?

Posted by: phx8 at April 27, 2016 1:56 PM
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