Regardless of your party preference, you are bound to be wondering if what you are seeing in 2016 presidential politics is really happening.
So far, at least, things aren’t going as expected.
On the Republican side, we were presuming there would be a shakeout among the big field of conservative candidates, all of whom were advocating public policy in a relatively narrow range on the right.
The result, most seasoned political gurus and establishment types predicted, would be that the contender most like their predecessors in recent presidential contests would emerge, leaving the others as also-rans.
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Then along came Donald Trump.
If you explore the national media coverage of his growing lead in the polls, you will find there isn’t really much consistency in describing just what it is about him and his campaign that has so excited the body politic.
His unconventional style, manner and total rejection of political correctness is why, I believe, he’s so popular right now.
The prevailing wisdom was that his plainspoken bluster and style of campaigning would quickly run its course and he would soon drop out of the contest.
Not only has that not happened, but he has continued to distance himself from the rest of the Republican field of 17 contenders with no apology for all the things he has said or done that none of them would have even considered.
Voters have said for years they want a candidate who is unafraid to boldly proclaim positions on issues without equivocation or fear of either the media or opponents.
It seems they have finally found one.
For the time being, that formula is sure working for The Donald.
Can he sustain and grow his support to the point of winning primaries and garnering the nomination?
Some pundits continue to doubt such an outcome and predict that he will not succeed, while others have begun to describe various scenarios that lead him to victory.
Meanwhile Democrats are recognizing that plans for Hillary Clinton’s coronation have been derailed by her own arrogance and lack of integrity.
With the FBI joining the many investigations into her flagrant disregard for rules governing the management of public records, classified data and duty to protect our national security, her trustworthiness has taken some further serious hits.
Couple that with the absence of any substance in her campaign on issues or experience that would qualify her for the presidency, and the result is the emergence of those previously relegated to the bench of the Democrat team awaiting obscurity.
Among the latest voices of those describing the seriousness of her problems related to her secret personal email server and thousands of hidden emails, is that of former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
Pointing out that the investigation is not any sort of witch hunt or a vestige of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that Hillary has blamed for previous scandals, he points out that she may have barred herself from elected office if allegations of her unlawful behavior are proven to be true.
The disqualification would come not from some declaration of a partisan who doesn’t like her but specifically from federal statutes that forbid the holding of office by anyone who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys” the kind of records for which she was responsible.
We’ve indeed seen the development of anything but a conventional political season so far.
In the Republican race, it would seem it’s because people are excited about something and someone different.
Among Democrats, it’s the fear that the Clintons may have finally seen the expiration of their privilege of avoiding the consequences of their grievous transgressions.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.