And then there were five

Staff Columnist

Politics is quite a bitch

For those who opt to run;

But not all those who get the itch

Will end up having won.


After his dismal showing in South Carolina, Jeb Bush finally bowed to reality and ending his doomed campaign for the presidency.

In many ways, it’s a darned shame.

It’s a shame because Jeb would without question been a better president than his older brother, George W, who was good at starting wars, but left them unfinished.

It’s a shame because, Jeb Bush was apparently the anointed heir supported by the longtime Republican “establishment.”

As this is being written, one of the voices of the past, former Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole, has endorsed one-term Senator Marco Rubio for the post.

Rubio himself, after coming in a close second in the South Carolina primary, proclaimed that the race was now a three-person contest, disregarding the fact that bottom feeders Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich vow to remain in until the bitter end.

The three persons he refers to are front runner Donald Trump, four-month Texas Senator Ted Cruz and himself.

Senator Rubio has a lot of good qualities, but as our earlier columns have indicated, his ambition may have outrun the fact that he does not yet appear quite ready for prime time.

The unprecedentedly bizarre aspect of the initially large Republican array and the lopsided polls and victories enjoyed by businessman Trump are clearly the result of large scale public dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Nearly eight years of legislative log jams, government shutdowns and excessive pork barrel allocations, coupled with failure to balance budgets drained by unnecessary and unpopular wars, have resulted in a revolt against professional politicians.

For all of his brashness and frequent failures in the area of “political correctness,” businessman Trump has appealed to citizens fed up with Washington’s bickering and self-serving professional types.

Trump has won handily in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, and history would seem to indicate that any GOP candidate who carries both states is practically guaranteed the eventual nomination at the convention in July.

Furthermore, the continued back-and-forth vitriol between Cruz and Rubio does not hurt Trump: it actually helps him.

His approximately 35% national base leaves the remaining votes to be split in various percentages among the remaining candidates, with the ultimate outcome likely to demonstrate some interesting vagaries.

For example:  on super Tuesday, Cruz will likely carry his home state of Texas, while Florida’s Rubio could very well lose his home state because of the resentment of thousands of former Bush followers at the Senator’s disloyalty to his former mentor and sponsor.

Ohio will probably devote its delegation to its favorite son and governor, Mr. Kasich, at least initially.

The game of politics sometimes resembles the game of poker, in that there are often “wild cards,” the result of which cannot be predicted.

For example, there has been some talk that New York’s former Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s disgust at the present contest is such that he may throw his hat into the ring as a third party candidate.

Bloomberg’s history is on the liberal side, but he was elected as a Republican, and the effect of a three party race is almost difficult to predict as to which of the main parties it siphons votes from.  (Some voters still credit Ralph Nader with George W’s success in the 2000 election.)

Another unpredictable wild card would surely hit the table if Donald Trump is denied the nomination by political machinations at the convention itself, in derogation of a previous statewide sweep by the Trump juggernaut.

Trump has promised not to run an independent third party race, but he is a proud man, unaccustomed to losing contests.

If he feels cheated, he may very well mount an independent run.

But even if he doesn’t and chooses to sit the November contest out, his tens of thousands of non-political adherents are likely to stay home or worse, come out with revenge votes supporting whoever the Democrat nominee is.

Bottom line:  whether you’re a political junkie, an interested citizen, or a poker player, relax and enjoy the coming months.

The show is something you can’t make up.

Richard Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians.He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.com
























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