Guest Post from GP Community Member V The K.
2016 is shaping up like a rerun of 1988, an election coming on the heels of a two-term presidency by a strongly ideological president. And in 2016, as in 1988, the party in power is poised to hand the baton to a defeated rival from the prior primary campaign who served the administration loyally afterward; George H.W. Bush in 1988, Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
The Republican Party is in a comparable position to the Democrats 0f 1988; the party has been rejected in two successive national elections, its base is dispirited, and its governing philosophy repudiated by the electorate. Thus, Chris Christie of New Jersey, should he be the Republican nominee, is cast in the role of Bush 41’s hapless opponent Michael Dukakis; a man whose example he is likely to follow into humiliating defeat.
Here are 10 Reasons for that:
1. Christie and Dukakis are both blue-state governors with mediocre records. Christie and Dukakis have both been governors of liberal northeastern states. Both campaigned for governor as reformers, but achieved little in the way of actual reforms while in office. (For all Christie’s screaming at schoolteachers, all he’s really accomplished is increasing the number of years to get tenure from 3 to 4. Yeah, that’ll break the back of the teacher’s union.) Both are supporters of gun control, Amnesty for illegal immigrants, and massive Federal spending in their own states. (BTW: New Jersey’s economic performance under Christie: No so great.
2. Both gained notoriety by dealing with natural disasters. Both Christie and Dukakis burnished their “leadership” credentials during natural disasters. Dukakis went on TV during the Blizzard of ‘78 to deliver weather bulletins. Christie famously hugged Obama in the aftermath of “Superstorm Sandy” and yelled at Republicans to pass a massive “Relief” Bill that contained more pork-barrel spending than actual hurricane relief.
3. Both had rivals who were taken out by bad judgment. Before the 1988 primaries, the Democrat frontrunner was a good-looking senator who was the darling of his party; Gary Hart of Colorado. Hart took himself out of the race after being caught en flagrante with Jessica Hahn. Going into 2016, the Republican Party also had an attractive, much adored senator who was the clear frontrunner… until Marco Rubio got caught in bed with Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin.
4. The Republican Primary Field of 2016 is a Bizarro-World version of the 1988 Democrat Primary Field. Christie, like Dukakis, may face in the primaries: an ideological stalwart beloved by the activist base (Jesse Jackson/Ted Cruz), a congressman with deep ties to the party establishment but little appeal outside of it (Dick Gephardt/Paul Ryan); and a senator representing a political dynasty (Al Gore/Rand Paul). Should he prevail, Christie is likely to emerge as a candidate with an unenthusiastic party behind him, just like Dukakis in 1988.
5. Christie has his own Willie Hortons in the form of Abel Hernandez, Andy Maguino, and Jose Luis Galindo-Sanchez… illegal immigrants benefiting from New Jersey’s “sanctuary cities” who killed Americans. Maguino, notably, was sentenced to probation and community service after running down an old lady in his car and fleeing the scene. [Link]
6. Like Dukakis, Christie will also have his “tank” moment. For Dukakis, his desperation to prove he was not a weak-on-defense northeastern liberal led to a photo op riding around in a tank and looking like… a weak-on-defense northeastern liberal riding around in a tank. Christie has to do something to disavow his post -Sandy bromance with Obama. At some point, he is going to have to denounce his BFF, and in doing so, he is likely to end up looking very foolish because the gesture will be so transparently fake… like Dukakis in the tank.
7. Christie Will Need a Running Mate to Pick Up Voters His Party Is Losing. Dukakis picked Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate to reach out to “Reagan Democrats.” Christie will also have to choose a running mate more appealing than he is to a key voting bloc, in his case, women. He may choose someone like New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte; a northeastern moderate who shares his support for Amnesty and Gun Control.
8. Christie, Like Dukakis, will try and turn a negative personality trait into a positive. Dukakis tried to pass off dull detachment as “competence.” Christie tries to pass off being a jerk as “leadership.” The problem is that leadership and competence are just empty slogans. Bush 41 beat Dukakis by promising to continue Reagan’s policies; a promise he almost immediately broke by imposing massive tax increases, but “Read My Lips” got him into office, because he presented voters with something tangible – a continuation of Reagan Era prosperity. Dukakis lost, and Christie will lose, because neither man presents a compelling alternative to the person he did/will run against.
9. Both face opponents who are mediocre politicians riding the coat-tails of better politicians. If Christie is the Mike Dukakis of 2016, Hillary Clinton is the George H.W. Bush. Like Bush 41, she is the heir-apparent to a two-term president who wrought major changes to the country. Like Bush 41, she is an awkward campaigner with a grating speaking style.
10. Like Dukakis, Christie will lose massively. A lot of people are claiming Chris Christie is “the only man who can beat Hillary.” Most of those people want Hillary to win. Hillary will win by promising a return to the era of her husband’s presidency; and a large number of voters are incapable of critical thinking beyond “the last time a Clinton was in office, I was doing all right.”