Culturally Discombobulated

Tag: ted cruz

46 long, dark nights for America: An unwelcome encore

​Forty-six long, dark nights to go.

Trump’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “Hillary Clinton just lost every Republican she ever had, including Never Trump, all farmers & sm. biz, by saying she’ll tax estates at 65%.”

Clinton’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “Charlotte should release police video of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting without delay. We must ensure justice & work to bridge divides.”

Daily election article of interest: Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future (pertinent essay from1994 that the London Review of Book brought out from their archives.)

Ted Cruz was newsworthy again today. As his name flashed up on my phone thanks to CNN’s breaking news notifications – what a revoltingly 2016 thing to write that is – I found myself struggling to recall the full depth of my feelings on Cruz. Hadn’t my final thoughts been mixed? Now, as we all find ourselves entranced by the Trump – Clinton death embrace, Cruz seems like a dinosaur from a previous political age – an oddity long presumed extinct. A Bob DODOle, if you will. 

Perhaps my memory is prosopagnostic because even his features seemed dim – it was like trying to recall a long-dead relative.

And really, I wish he had stayed in the some nearly unforgotten past of this campaign. Instead Cruz has reemerged to give Trump – a man who has insulted the looks of Cruz’s impressive-in-her-own-right wife and claimed his father possibly had something to do with JFK’s assassination – his endorsement. 

I had thought the refusal to endorse Trump at the GOP convention as being politically smart. A move that could leave Cruz well placed in 2020 – the purity candidate who hadn’t fallen for Trump’s hucksterism.  Butt I had also thought there been something honorable in his speech to the GOP conference? The way he had refused to play along in the coronation of a clown – it made him seem almost – I stress, almost- likeable. Now it seems all for naught.

Cruz writes that Trump, whom he had previously described as a “sniveling coward”, is the better option for President as Clinton cannot be allowed to implement all her policies, which is an argument that somewhat underplays Cruz’s achievements in showing precisely how obstructionist Congress and the Senate can be when it comes to a President’s plans.

Perhaps, as some are reporting, the pressure from some of Cruz’s main financial backers who are also heavily behind Trump wanted lyin’ Ted to fall in step.  The thought is that Cruz may be best drifting away again and become once again an opaque election memory.

87 long, dark nights for America: The faintly hypnotic quality of failed candidate’s B-roll footage

Eighty-seven long, dark nights to go.

Trump’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “I am truly enjoying myself while running for president. The people of our country are amazing – great numbers on November 8th!”

Clinton’s Daily Twitter Highlight: “We need to make sure every American has high-speed internet access. And we will.”

Daily election article of interest: London Review of Books: Diary – Christian Lorentzen: “My father voted for Bernie Sanders in the spring and says he’ll vote for Donald Trump in November…”

And what are you doing before bed this Saturday evening, Windram? Watching the almost bizarre B-roll footage of failed Presidential candidates?

An oversimplified explanation of B-roll footage is that it is supplemental footage that a crew films, a more precise explanation can be found here.

In our current Super PAC-era of American politics, however, B-roll footage is something a little different, a cute circumvention of campaign finance laws. While a Super PAC can be set up to support a specific candidate by making and running expensive ads for them, they are prohibited from actively coordinating with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign team. But if a campaign team were to upload to the web hours of professionally shot B-roll footage of their candidate, well, there’s nothing wrong in the Super-PAC taking this footage and using it to make ads in support of that candidate. It’s democracy at its finest.

And it’s fascinating; being both clearly stage-managed and yet making everything so trivial and banal that you think you can almost catch a glimpse of the real person behind the spin and fabricated persona. It is mundanity under an ambient beat, and as such is embarrassingly hypnotic – a sort of wonk’s lava lamp. You could play these videos on a never-ending loop as a modern art installation. It almost, almost, makes you long for the days of Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich. Those days feel like they are from a whole different eon rather than a few months ago. Watching them you can’t help but feel that the unsuccessful candidates are the lucky ones as they have been freed from the purgatorial life of a national campaign.


Exit, John Kasich

Back home in Ohio – the only state he was electorally relevant in – Kasich announced the suspension of his campaign.

It was striking – and surprising – that Kasich’s farewell speech was even more marked with religious flourishes than Cruz’s had been. Kasich spoke at length about the supporters that he had met on the campaign trail, those who had come to meet him and seemed overcome emotionally, even spiritually, by his campaign. I wouldn’t go so far as to say nothing in his campaign became him like the leaving it. Instead, he tried to take on the posture of a humble pastor, and, while not disparaging the sincerity of his faith, I did wonder if that was partly a stratagem by his communication team; play up Kasich as having been on a humbling journey of faith and in doing so hope that people don’t instead think that hanging around as long as he did was a futile, vainglorious quest that only made things easier for Trump.

It was a gray day here. I’m not too far from Trump Tower where the conspiracy theorist, demagogue, presumptive nominee and possible future President of the United States was being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer. For a while the heavens opened, unlike Kasich I don’t believe in an interventionist God, but perhaps, if he exists, he’s a demonstrably emotional one.

The GOP’s dark night of the soul – Indiana Primary, 3 May 2016

GOP – Trump wins Indiana

Dem – Sanders wins Indiana

Quick thoughts on the night:

So that’s it. The primary season is effectively over now. On a day that began with Trump making the bizarre (but in no way out of character for him) allegation that Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination, he ended it as the GOP presumptive nominee after Cruz suspended his campaign. Like a lingering odor, Kasich (the R.C. Cola of GOP candidates) is still there; officially now running fourth in a two-person race.

In one sense, Trump is the nation’s first infowars candidate. A person seemingly willing to believe the most ridiculous crackpot theories – Obama’s birth certificate, Rafael Cruz and JFK, etc. Had things been different and Trump not been born into money in New York, maybe he’d be hunkering down in his survivalist bunker in South Dakota..

Ignoring Kasich,* Trump is the last person standing. In the last year, this GOP nomination has played out like a sick, satirical rewrite of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”.

Cruz had called Indiana his firewall; on the basis of tonight it must have been a crappy freeware one. It’s not over until the fat lady sings, or in this case until the thin, former HP executive sings. Cruz suspends his campaign, and this is a real testament to the odiousness of Trump and his willingness for personal attacks on other candidate’s family that I actually find myself feeling sorry for Cruz. Certainly I hope Heidi is booking herself a deserved spa day.

Trump in his speech claimed that he had won – “big-ly”. I guess that’s one way of putting it. Jesus wept. Remember those slightly unfair comic caricatures of George W. Bush and his mangled speech? That’s real life Trump. Bizarrely, Trump in his speech, when not mutilating the English language, attempted to be magnanimous about Cruz and “his whole beautiful family”. You don’t get to do that the same day you connect a guy’s father to the killing of the US President. He also made a promise to his voters that “we’ll be able to say Merry Christmas.” This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) an election promise, it’s a crappy Bill O’Reilly hobby horse.

God knows who is going to be his VP pick. I’m going to put a fiver on Gary Busey.

I’m guessing that Gary Johnson, if he runs on the Libertarian ticket, could get a lot of extra votes this November from those disaffected GOP #NeverTrump voters who can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

So there we are. The presumptive Presidential nominee of the GOP is a man who made insinuations in a debate about the size of his penis. We’re number one!

We’re in a new paradigm, people. If Leicester City can win the Premiership, I’m not discounting Trump being able to win the Presidency.

On the Democratic side, Sanders won, but hardly makes a dent into Clinton’s delegate lead. In a telephone interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sanders insisted that he was going to carry on through the rest of the primaries. “I have,” he said “45% of the popular vote, but only 7% of the superdelegates.” No offense Bernie, but I rather think you’re obfuscating here, having 45% of the popular vote in a two-person race is the bigger problem.






*And most of the cable news networks did ignore him. He’s increasingly starting to look like that one Science teacher you had at High School who last you heard had a breakdown and hit a kid in class.

Cruz picks Fiorina

Watching Cruz announce Fiorina as his VP candidate, it’s the young woman stood behind Cruz that holds my attention. Such is the stage management of political campaigns she is almost certainly under strict instructions to sport as wide a grin as possible and to seem engaged in everything the candidate says. “Don’t just stand there like your Chris Christie,” was probably the brief. And so she reacts in a way no sentient being has ever before reacted to the words “Carly Fiorina” – screaming in delight, enraptured at the very thought of the former HP CEO. I’ll have what she’s having.

In fairness, this announcement makes sense as a way to get an increasingly Trump obsessed media to instead focus on the Cruz campaign with just a week remaining to Indiana. But in a world where the only path for Cruz to win the nomination is via a brokered convention, wouldn’t the VP slot be precisely one of those things the GOP would want to… well… broker?