Bloomberg vs Rubio?
By Jeff Knox
(February 4, 2016) I’ve received a number questions about who I like for the 2016 Presidential Elections. Frankly, I’m not anxious to pick a horse. All other issues aside, from a GunVoter perspective, the only Democrat candidate that I would have even considered considering was Jim Webb, and he dropped out of the race months ago – though he has kept the door open for the possibility of an independent run, and possibly as a hedge in case one of Hillary Clinton’s many scandals ever actually catches up with her.
In the expansive Republican field, I have been unimpressed. Donald Trump has been talking an over-the-top conservative game, shoveling out a lot of what the late New York Senator Daniel Moynihan used to call “boob bait for the bubbas.” The fact is, until recently, Trump was a Democrat, and in years past often expressed support for various gun control schemes. In spite of his recent positions on guns, his record moves him way down my list of acceptable candidates. Most of the rest of the field has already been winnowed down, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio being the only other likely contenders at this point.
I have predicted that Trump’s huge popularity will not translate into actual votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, a prediction that has panned out in Iowa. I think the mainstream Republican base is just as mistrustful of him as I am, and the serious conservatives have always favored Cruz. I expect Cruz’s star to rise through the three contests remaining this month, but as Trump fades, the contest will shift from Trump vs. Cruz to Cruz vs. Rubio. By March 1, when 14 states will assign delegates on “Super Tuesday,” I think we will see Rubio surge. I’m not saying this is what I want to see happen; it’s a prediction, not a statement of preference. As I noted, I’m not picking a horse.
Of course much could change in the interim, but that’s how I see things playing out at the moment, and I’m not particularly concerned about it. As a single-issue voter with a conservative bent, I like Cruz, but I’m not sure how he would hold up in the General Election. I think that concern is probably shared by many Republicans. Rubio is not my favorite, but he is acceptable from a gun rights perspective, as are most of the other Republican candidates except for Christie and Kasich. Christie is broadly despised by gun owners, and many still remember that Kasich voted in favor of the ’94 Clinton “assault weapons” ban while he was in the House of Representatives.
Certainly there are other issues that are important to me, but my overriding concern is always going to be true support for the Second Amendment. My litmus test consists of two questions: What sort of people is this candidate likely to appoint to the federal bench and Supreme Court, and how do I think this candidate would respond to a horrific crime like Sandy Hook? The answers to those two questions guide my vote.
I have no doubt what kind of people Hillary or Bernie would appoint to the bench – Barack Obama’s name has been floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee – and I have no doubt what they would do in the wake of an atrocity like Sandy Hook. Given that reality, I intend to strongly support whoever is opposed to whichever one of them gets the nomination. Assuming the Republicans don’t go crazy and nominate someone like Christie.
Meanwhile, Jim Webb is not the only one talking about a possible third-party campaign. Recent reports have Michael Bloomberg considering a run. While all the talk right now is about him running as an independent, I don’t think that will happen. Instead, he is generating some buzz around his name as a way of positioning himself to jump into the race if the evidence against Hillary Clinton becomes so overwhelming that even Obama’s Justice Department is forced to take action against her.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that Bernie Sanders couldn’t beat Mickey Mouse in the General Election, so if Hillary falls, the Democrats are going to need a hero. A self-financed billionaire would be a tempting choice.
Even if he is not seriously considering a run, Bloomberg is using the threat of an independent run as a way of extorting favors from the candidates and the Democratic Party. Bloomberg likes to meddle and wield influence, and sometimes throwing a few million dollars around just isn’t enough, so threatening to use those few million dollars to fund his own presidential bid could be a way of capturing the players’ attention and getting bigger concessions on his pet issues like gun control. This may explain why the Democrats’ debates devolved to a contest of who could bash the NRA hardest.
Whatever his motivations, the idea of a Bloomberg presidency should be pretty terrifying to gun owners, soda drinkers, and minorities everywhere.
So I’m still declining to make a pick in the Republican primaries, but I will encourage GunVoters to avoid the trap of sitting this one out simply because their favorite might not win the nomination. This year’s election will not be a matter of hoping to elect the lesser of two evils, but rather an exercise in keeping the most dangerous candidate out of the White House. Doing that is going to require more than just voting, it’s going to mean working for the candidate – even if that candidate is not your favorite.
GunVoters need to come out in force this year. The Democrats have made the contest about our guns. We need to make sure they regret that decision.