Sad as her passing is, Nancy Reagan chose her exit well. She leaves this world for a better one reunited with her beloved Ronnie at a time when the Republican Party they helped to shape stands at a crossroads.
The Reagans worked miracles on the national and international stage. They showed how conservative government can bring peace and prosperity to all the people, and that lesson serves us well as we select the next president of the United States. For a walk down memory lane, I placed a photo tribute for Nancy Reagan at my blog, Mike’s America.
Contrast Nancy Reagan’s style and grace with another first lady, Hillary Clinton, who left the White House under a cloud of scandal that has never lifted. She’s currently dogged by Sen. Bernie Sanders on one side and the FBI on the other.
Many Sanders supporters realize the deck has been stacked against them, first with the few number of debates, and second with super delegates, nearly all of which are pledged to Hillary Clinton. These are delegates not won by votes in primaries or caucuses but because of who they are. There are no such delegates in the GOP. Ironic isn’t it that the Republican Party should be more democratic than the Democratic Party?
With the fix in on the Democratic side, there’s no surprise that the excitement (laced as it is with trepidation) remains with the GOP race. The Institute for Southern Studies ran the numbers, which show massive increases in voters for GOP primaries across the South, commensurate with a large decrease in voter participation in Democratic primaries.
The phenomenon is not limited to the South. There is a report that 20,000 Massachusetts voters quit the Democratic Party and fled to the Republicans, presumably to join the surge of new voters for Trump.
For years, establishment Republicans have lectured that conservatives need to be more welcoming of compromise to attract new voters. Now, those same establishment elites are horrified at the prospect of Trump becoming the standard bearer for that new, bigger GOP.
Imagine also the additional shock suffered by GOP elites after last Saturday when they realized that conservative firebrand Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appears to be the only viable alternative to Trump. On Saturday, Trump and Cruz won two states each, but Cruz took home more delegates. Cruz is the certified and viable conservative choice.
Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign and its allies spent more on television advertising than all the GOP and Democratic candidates combined in Saturday caucus and primary states. Rubio didn’t win a single contest but did manage to collect 18 delegates. However, on Sunday, Rubio won the Puerto Rico primary by a large margin (no other candidate campaigned there) and will collect those 23 delegates.
As of Monday, the delegate count stands at 384 for Trump, 300 for Cruz, 151 for Rubio, and 37 for Kasich. Up to now, states have assigned their delegates on a largely proportional basis, and Ted Cruz has managed to narrow the gap with Trump to 4 points or less in recent contests.
However, on March 15, a large bloc of states have winner-take-all primaries. It’s possible Cruz can narrow the gap with Trump and win some of these states outright in a two-man contest. So for now, if you don’t like Trump, Cruz is the only game in town.
Ultimately the GOP can pull together and then, perhaps, we can all go out and win one more for the Gipper. And Nancy too!
Michael Miller of Bluffton may be reached through his blog, http://MikesAmerica.blogspot.com.
We have asked two political junkies, one conservative and one liberal, to share their viewpoints on issues and politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Michael Miller’s experience in politics includes working in the Reagan White House political office. Blaine Lotz is chair of the Beaufort County Democratic Party and a former candidate for Congress.