Good Sunday afternoon Class,
What will this week tell us? With the Indiana primary Tuesday, Cruz is banking on a strong showing (meaning that he must finish ahead of Trump), in order to stave off his winning the delegates before the convention to claim the nomination. If Trump wins Indiana, there is really almost no chance, barring a major upset in California (where Cruz is not positioned to do all that well), of anyone stopping Trump. So, almost six weeks since our last class, so much has changed, but even more has stayed the same.
Bernie Sanders just will not go away, but the wins he does achieve do not amount to enough to win him the nomination. Hillary Clinton has shifted her rhetoric to the general election, but it remains to be seen what will happen to the Sanders' supporters if she does.
Behind the scenes and now in open view, the Republican party trends closer and closer to a crack up. Despite the genial rhetoric about coming together, it is hard to see how either the Trump or Cruz forces team up. The establishment Republicans are themselves divided, uncertain whether a Trump win over Clinton would, in the long run, be good for them or the party.
A little history matters, and we can reflect on the 1968 Democratic convention and the 1976 Republican convention to see what might happen to each party, not so much in the short term, but long term.
In 1968, of course, LBJ left the race open to any number of nominees. The assassination of RFK made the choice even more problematic. We should remember that in many respects, with the exception of the Vietnam problem, LBJ and HHH were still popular among the establishment. Their challengers were from outside the inner circle. In the end, the party crashed at Chicago and only when HHH rejected his own role in the Vietnam policy did the party come together behind him.
In 1976, Reagan was the outsider, challenging Pres Ford, another insider for the nomination. He lost in a bitter struggle, and was considered anathema by many ,blamed for Ford's loss. But in a short four years after each of these fights, the parties had changed dramatically, and had to a large degree adopted the views and reforms of the outsiders. (With dramatically different results).
One might argue that in the nature of most change, it happens slowly, especially when the forces of change face entrenched power. This year, will Sanders get what he wants (once he decides what that is)? Will Trump become of besmirch the establishment? Is Cruz conservatism the future of the Rep party or but the ethers of a dying past?
While this election is important in its own right, one wonders if the most significant effect might not be yet visible on the horizon. This is one of the values of looking at history from a longer term viewpoint. Keep your eye on not only the returns, but on how the losers take their respective defeats.