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Jerry Shenk


Trump, Clinton and 'Pam's Dream'

by Jerry Shenk
 

A storyline in the long-running 1970s and '80s primetime soap opera "Dallas" distressed loyal viewers by featuring the divorce of popular show characters Bobby and Pamela Ewing. Ratings dropped, so, a year later, Pam woke up one morning, found Bobby in the shower, and an entire season was dismissed as Pam's dream.

If a similar "Pam's dream" scenario were possible for America, we would wake up one morning to find a conservative Republican and an honest Democrat -- today's Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale -- as our parties' presidential nominees. Instead, we're facing a choice between P.T. Barnum and Evita Peron.

Following South Carolina's GOP primary, the party frontrunners are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It's difficult to imagine two people with temperaments and character traits less-suited to the presidency. But, in a republic, votes determine nominees.

Elections often tell us more about ourselves and each other than about the candidates. Ultimately, voters who nominate those two and elevate either to the White House will get what they deserve. Unfortunately, the rest of us — the innocent — will get what they deserve, too.
Donald and Hillary can be stopped, but only Republicans can do it. Any plausible Republican candidate with a pulse can beat an opponent as inauthentic, uninspiring and dishonest as Hillary Clinton. But Trump isn't plausible. Although he claims to be, Trump isn't conservative, either. He has publicly praised Planned Parenthood, Canadian-style socialized medicine and Hillary Clinton: "I'm a big fan of Hillary. She's a terrific woman. She's a friend of mine." Trump has attempted eminent domain private property seizures for personal profit, has given money to Democrats, and he told Fox's Bill O'Reilly he favored a "path to citizenship" for thirty million illegal immigrants.
Trump's self-proclaimed business celebrity is diminished by his failures: four enormous Chapter 11 bankruptcies, Trump University, Trump Air, Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, Trump Ties (Made in China) and the United States Football League.

South Carolina narrowed the field, leaving a three-man race for the GOP nomination. Jeb Bush's post-South Carolina withdrawal was actually bad news for Trump. When Ben Carson and John Kasich bow out, conditions will worsen for the frontrunner.

Their combined votes in South Carolina far exceeded Trump's, so, if they wish to stop him, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz must change their strategies. Head-to-head polling shows both men beating Trump, so Rubio and Cruz have been hammering each other trying to become the lone surviving anti-Donald. This strategy may make sense to both campaigns, but, if the two have reached a political second-place standoff, it's not practical. Sooner rather than later, they must work together to defeat Trump. Failing that, like Jeb Bush, one must muster the selflessness and patriotism to step aside and allow the other to win the nomination.

Trump can be beaten in a two-man race, but not three. Pro-Hillary media know that either Cruz or Rubio can defeat Hillary Clinton, but Trump cannot. That's why they give Donald seemingly-limitless free publicity.


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