Peter Cavanaugh

Hail, Incitatus

It’s drawing depressingly near - the most bizarre political elevation in human history since Caligula appointed Incitatus to the Roman Senate in 40 A.D., Incitatus being the Emperor’s favorite horse.

Barring unexpected oppositional developments, Donald J. Trump will formally accept nomination as the GOP’s 2016 Presidential candidate just four weeks from today on July 21 in Cleveland, thereafter becoming the ugly face and grunting voice of the Republican party for a frightening foreseeable future.

Hillary Clinton is now trouncing Trump in recent national polling by ever-increasing margins. Knowledgeable Washington pundits have started openly discussing the House of Representatives returning to Democratic control in November. Many are now forecasting a distinct possibility of the Senate doing likewise - all of this because 16 other Republican hopefuls couldn’t get out of each other’s way - allowing a clamoring clown to emerge triumphant as their party now dances at the very edge of dissolute disintegration.

If Trump continues spirally downward in voter sentiment over these next few weeks with verifiable velocity, watch for new signals of desperation.

Serious discussion is already underway at the highest levels to avoid bringing Trump into play for “down ticket” reelection bids by substituting George W. Bush in his place as a more palatable surrogate to draw crowds and engender support. What?

“George the Conqueror” hasn’t been seriously included on any significant invitation list these last seven and a half years. It has become generally accepted in all but the most recalcitrant circles that 2003’s Bush-initiated invasion of Iraq was a debacle on almost every level, costing us thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars in treasure trashed. “Dub-Ya” ultimately ended up replacing yesterday’s Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath Party with today’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS.

What a tag team. “Tonight, filling in for Grumpy, here’s Goofy.”

There’s also sudden collusion among a handful of pledged Trump delegates to consider the potential value of effectively becoming conscientious objectors at the convention, declaring that the candidate’s conduct since becoming presumptive nominee has become embarrassingly intolerable.

An amendment has been prepared by members of the Republican Rules Committee to provide a way out of requiring a vote for Trump on the first ballot. The exact wording states that delegates would be permitted a vote of conscience” for “allowable personal reasons” which would include “notorious public statements of support for positions that clearly oppose or contradict the policies embodied in the Republican Party’s platform.”

Don’t hold your breath. Since Trump has already rooted out 1,542 committed convention supporters with only 1,237 needed for his official selection, this means more than 300 of these would need to become functionally “conscientious.” Highly unlikely, but not impossible in the face of what might be shaping up as virtually certain annihilation in November by a month from now.

Meanwhile, it seems fair to observe the Democratic party is realizing its own share of internal challenges.

I’m baffled why Attorney General Loretta Lynch, appointed to office by Barack Obama in April 2015, is allowing Hillary Clinton to metaphorically twist slowly in the wind to such an agonizing extent over Secretary Clinton’s “private server” issue - an aging topic now having been laboriously investigated by Lynch’s FBI for almost a full year.

While exercising an abundance of caution in such matters is surely advisable, I suggest such extended reticence on the part of Lynch to reach definitive judgment is functionally raising serious questions about her prioritization of responsibilities. Be it good or bad for Hillary, let’s go.

And what’s this shallow talk about Hillary needing to “move toward the center” now that she has clinched the Democratic nomination?

Anyone suggesting such cliched claptrap had best reflect upon the last twelve months of progressive evolution in America’s electorate, particularly among younger members of our society who will define direction and determine our future.

Bernie Sanders didn’t win millions of votes and carry 22 states in Democratic primaries and caucuses due to his youthful vigor, fashionable dress and trend-setting hairstyle. Senator Sanders was singularly successful in authentically articulating a critical need for meaningful change on an immediately accelerated basis. This commitment is not going away. Nor is Senator Sanders.

And probably not that horse of a different color, the unctuously orange Donald Trump.