Mike: Cynthia, in Maine, Rep. Larry Dunphy has left the GOP, Rep. Stanley Short kicked the Donkey earlier this year, and Treasurer Terry Hayes unenrolled from the Dems over a year ago. Meanwhile, Bernie left his independent perch to run for president. Are parties over, or just beginning?
Cynthia: Until somebody comes up with an alternative that won’t erode America’s standing as the most democratic and free society in the world, the two parties will rage on and we just have to ignore the guys dancing with lampshades on their head. And what a bash Republicans are throwing this season! Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are having tons of fun ripping each other to shreds. They put Jay Gatsby to shame.
Can we thank the boys over at Fox News for the GOP circus? It’s their early debate and related “rules” causing a lot of this fuss.
Mike: It’s the 300 candidates that create the circus, but you make a good point. The internal GOP fighting, both in Maine and nationally, is Exhibit A demonstrating parties are not all-powerful monoliths. They are merely groups of people with shared ideas organizing themselves to enact those ideas. Sometimes internal disagreements spill into spectacles, whether it is the Donald versus all comers or Bernie in a shouting match with black demonstrators.
If we magically abolished parties tomorrow, the void would be filled by other organizations. The Sierra Club, Chambers of Commerce, and SAM all put like-minded people together. An organized group is simply more effective than an unorganized mob — just watch any kids’ soccer game!
Cynthia: People who leave political parties seem so self-satisfied, though, it’s tempting. They must think Facebook determines the outcome of elections now anyway, so who needs a party if you’ve got friends?
I predict the same smug unenrolled conservatives who got Gov. LePage elected will use their apathy to help Donald Trump win the GOP primary, too. These people who triumphantly announce their unenrollment should do something snappy, though, like smash their cell phone in righteous indignation. Look what it did for Tom Brady and Lindsey Graham.
Mike: Wait — you’re saying 80 percent of Eliot’s supporters were conservatives who would’ve gone to Mike Michaud? No way! And I’d bet the Michaud campaign was much more savvy at Facebooking than the LePage team. But neither smugness nor social media win elections; candidates do. And those candidates need to appeal to their party and unenrolled voters alike.
But if you want to back a Brady ’16 ticket, I’m in. I expect he’ll have success in court, just as Paul LePage has over the past five years. Maybe he can mirror Gov. LePage’s electoral success as well. Wait — does that mean Manning is Michaud? And who is Eliot? Roger Goodell?
Cynthia: I’m saying if every “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” so-called independent had voted in the primary, Paul LePage wouldn’t have been the GOP candidate in the first place, wouldn’t have lost the biggest case yet at the U.S. Supreme Court and wouldn’t be interrupting Maine Law Court justices’ summer vacations over the meaning of adjournment.
Tom Brady has what it takes to be a GOP contender — a concussion, gobs of money, a cheating scandal, deflated balls — and with the lawsuits and everything he seems like a natural.
Mike: Now that would be fun. Gov. LePage isn’t a Patriots supporter, so he’d probably be on the same side as Ethan Strimling opposing TB12, while thousands of good New England Democrats would rush to enroll in the GOP to support Tom Terrific. Yankees suck, go Pats!
But your other point prompts a question: why would those who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal vote in the GOP primary? Why not register as Democrats to punt Libby Mitchell away from the nomination? Or sack Bernie and Hillary in favor of Jim Webb?
Cynthia: What party fiscally conservative and socially liberal people register with in order to vote in the primary doesn’t matter, frankly, but clearly it’s Republicans who need help in this election picking a candidate. Libby Mitchell, Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Angus King…they all recognize you need to be on a team to be effective, and they’re all fiscally conservative and socially liberal! In fact I’ve never met a sane politician who isn’t.
Speaking of insanity, the remarkable thing about Tom Brady and deflategate is that undoubtedly it will make him richer! He’s quoted in The New York Times saying after he “broke” his Samsung, he got an iPhone 6. Touchdown! If he’s exonerated he’ll be the new face of Apple. If he’s found guilty he’ll run for office.
Mike: The only run I want to see from Tom is into the endzone in Super Bowl 50. If he could then Gronk-spike the ball off Roger Goodell, then we’ll know the real party is just beginning.