This is an installment of Matt Kass’ weekly political column “Left, Right, and Center”
Follow me, if you will, into a parallel dimension, to a reality where things are almost similar to ours, but just a little bit different…
In this universe, Democratic strategists and advisors are struggling to pivot after reports emerged that premiums for the affordable care act are set to spike. Analysts are speculating how this latest “October Surprise” will impact the Clinton campaign so close to Election Day, on top of the release of more emails from the hacking site WikiLeaks.
But most of the credit for pouncing on this moment has to go to the campaign of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. While it looked for awhile like Bush was momentarily going to lose the nomination to real estate mogul Donald Trump, he pulled through to shine masterfully in the last few debates.
He was described by many viewers as competent and in control next to the firebrand Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who slipped up on the stage. It also didn’t hurt that his campaign had $130 million in fundraising to dole out for TV ads in key primary states.
Bush carried primaries in states like Florida, North Carolina and Virginia; he eventually brought electors around to him. And at the convention, on the penultimate night in Cleveland, he laid out a masterful vision for what he saw a new brand of conservatism.
One of Bush’s only stumbles on the campaign trail has come during the debates. While his calm and reassuring style worked on the big stage of contenders, he’s been described as sleepy and lackluster when up against Secretary Hillary Clinton.
And yet, at the same time, Clinton hasn’t done enough to pull away in the polls. Part of it is due to the release of the emails, and part of it is due to the fact that youth voters haven’t turned out for her the same way they did twice for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
If you ask me, Clinton probably wishes that it were Trump running against her in the general election. One can only speculate, but you would have to think someone as fiery and unpredictable as he is would blunder right into her hands.
Right now though, she’s most likely the only person in America who wishes it were Trump as her adversary. Could you imagine if he were still running? He might do something crazy like refuse to accept the results of the election, or distract from the political process by threatening to sue journalists who provide negative coverage of his campaign.
Can you imagine the craziness that would ensue? It would flip the vaunted process of democratic elections on its head, and bring controversy and a sideshow carnival atmosphere to the whole proceedings. It’s almost nauseating to think about, but it’s great that we don’t as we head towards the conclusion of what has been a reliably mundane presidential campaign.
Thank goodness that didn’t come to pass. I’d hate to live in a reality where that’s the case. Although who knows, maybe some other crazy stuff is taking place there too. Maybe the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians are going against each other in the World Series.
Nah, there’s no way that would happen. Not even in a parallel universe.