Today, I should be celebrating you know.
It’s only taken 6 months since I began preaching it, 2 months since Marco Rubio dropped out of the race because he was tired and frustrated, and only recently that Trump appears inevitable.
So when I read today that Cruz and Kasich would be going back to Operation Divide and Conquer, I should be pleased, right? You know, John Kasich is a good man, who is completely sympathetic to the hearts of Americans, to the ideas of young and elderly people alike. So why then do I feel uneasy in my stomach, like I am about to watch an execution? It is because John Kasich is not a nice man, he is a pragmatic, establishment man who will carry out whatever it takes for his particular interests to survive, and he will cross anyone who gets close. I mean, I am writing this blog and already John Kasich is out betraying the Divide and Conquer strategy because John Kasich doesn’t want to “Hashtag” Never Trump. John Kasich is rooting for Trump and even more, Hillary Clinton. He is the voice and epitome of the insider calling out for the maintaining of the Status Quo.
So I am going to use Roman history to teach a lesson about men like Donald Trump, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz. Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, the tale of the First Triumverate’s Civil War in Roman history can tell us a LOT about our current presidential primary race and the future of the nation.
Roman History Briefly
I guess I should begin this by explaining Roman history and that I am a Romanophile. The legacy and traditions in Rule of Law and Citizenry we inherit from the Roman Empire and Roman Republic are just a piece of my fascination from youth to adulthood with Rome. In the end part of the BC/BCE era, Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus were Roman Consuls, part of a Triumverate of political-military leaders who kept Rome under control and expanding, while preventing too much republicanism and democracy from getting into the Roman culture. It was an oligarchic (aristocratic/nobility-based) republic where if you had money, land, and blood, you had a name that was important. If you lacked any of the three but could talk (like Marcus Tullius Cicero), you had a name. Otherwise, you were unimportant.
At some point, the relationship between Pompey and Julius failed. In Roman history, the death of their mutual friend and ally, Crassus, as well as the death of Pompey’s wife, Julius’ daughter, created the opportunity for friction between the men to grow. Initially, the Roman people loved Julius Caesar and the Senate despised his antics and war/fear-mongering personality. As friction and prestige grew in Caesar, Pompey Magnus could not tolerate his ego and his person being attacked and through Senate cajoling, declared open civil war against Caesar, marking Caesar out as an enemy of state. Some figures to point out that supported Pompey were Marcus Junius Brutus, Cato the Younger, Metellus Scipio, and Marcus Tullius Cicero. These men used taxation and levies of the Republic to try and fight Caesar’s legions. But unfortunately for the Senate, the warhero Pompey was not one for risk and even when he had Caesar pressed, he relented from battle because he didn’t want to get caught in surprise. Pompey was not a clever man, like Caesar was, and his legions were not veterans of war and battle like the legions of Caesar.
Eventually, in the battle of Pharsalus, the forces of Caesar despite mounting pressure, starvation, lack of reinforcements, and even a number disadvantage, through excellent tactics and use of terrain, defeated Magnus’ army and the Senate spirit. The coalition against Caesar splintered, with some like Cicero and Brutus submitting themselves and being forgiven by Caesar; others like Scipio and Cato the Younger fought bitterly until their suicides in Africa; and Pompey, left alone of his Republican allies and lacking troops, fled to Egypt, hoping to find open arms, new resources, and a new front to fight from. Instead, he found treachery and was assassinated by the Ptolemy after being ‘welcomed’ by them.
Why Roman History Matters
I have begun to theorize that like a lot of history, that we are repeating parts of the Roman Republic. Not just in how we do architecture of our government buildings, or our laws and how we carry out government, or even names of government branches. Rather, we are now repeating Roman History in the days of Julius Caesar and I will bullet some figures of the modern period who are acting/holding some eerily similar positions and attitudes to their Latin predecessor.
- Julius Caesar, the upstart warmonger/fearmonger politician who loves the people and hates the aristocracy, despite being one. Donald Trump
- Octavian Caesar, a young and ambitious man who historically unifies the Roman Empire and brings peace for a time under his name. While Caesar’s nephew, he is declared through death and will Julius’ son. Yet to arrive
- Marc Antony, a man by his nature, a fighter in everything. Seemed distant from the people’s hardships and was never loved by the People. Hated and hated by Cicero. Chris Christie
- Pompey Magnus, the old warhero of Conservatism, the last hero of the Republican ideal. Ted Cruz
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, a man who neither outright castigates Caesar, nor loves him. Aids the Pompey cause until it is all lost and Pompey broken. I often in humor, jest I tribute him. However humor appears to be becoming reality anymore.
- Marcus Junius Brutus, a young man ambitious to escape the name he holds, to be known for himself alone as a figure. Marco Rubio
- Cato the Younger, a man obsessed with the old Traditions of the Republican ideal, Stoic and opposed to the passions violently that Caesar trumps: Lindsey Graham
- Metellus Scipio, a warhero who is not known for his glorious battles or efforts, but the rather brutal way he has subverted others’ efforts politically and militarily. Despised by Caesar, even mocking him in life and in death. John McCain
- Ptolemy XIII, the young King of Egypt who is trying to hold his own against a usurper of his crown of King, his sister Cleopatra. His minions will kill Pompey, robbing him of the death he deserved as a Consul of Rome. John Kasich
- Cleopatra, the woman ruler who believes herself a God destined to raise Egypt above the disaster of being subordinated to the Roman ideal. Hillary Clinton
- What of Bernie Sanders? He in history would already be gone. Representing through language and ideology the person of Spartacus, right now he will not move much history. But the lasting revolt he led, likewise Sanders has lead in the Democrat Party, will cause a belief in the need for reform in the institutions he sought to destroy.
But Back to Reality Now
Following Ted Cruz’s easily foreseeable defeat in New York, and the expected trouncing in New England, Pennsylvania, and inevitably in California and more of the Midwestern states, one begins to wonder WHERE Ted Cruz can win without Trump’s inevitable storm eclipsing any potential momentum. Well that was supposed to be the point of the Divide-and-Conquer strategy, formerly between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio against Donald Trump. But the Divide part no longer holds serious weight. Kasich lacks all the personal charisma of Marco Rubio, all the flavor of Establishment Man that Jeb Bush was, and all the tolerability for whiny words I gave Rand Paul.
The blue here in the Trump column are states that Trump is winning currently in polls. The Red are the states that Cruz and Kasich had agreed to divide.
Where is the potential advantage in allying with John Kasich? He holds ONE victory, in his own kingdom. Sure Rubio couldn’t do that, but Rubio was betrayed by both Cruz and Kasich in that endeavor.
Where can John Kasich actually win? New Mexico and Oregon? For a man who is supposed to be a viable threat in the General Election or a useful ally, these are two states that HOLD no meaning for most Republicans. Like California, they are part of the West-Leftist Coast, a stronghold for Liberal values. If John Kasich even wins strongly there in the primaries, it won’t mean anything outside in the General. And furthermore, those states would give him at most 68 delegates, if he blew Trump out in the proportional vote. Trump will win at least twice that many between California and Pennsylvania.
Why does John Kasich continue to run, if he cannot win, save the reasoning of being a spoiler? And worse to contemplate for those who hate Trump or just do not want his victory, who has John Kasich been a spoiler to this ENTIRE election? Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and thus tells me that whatever good feelings you have about the man, support for John Kasich is actually support for Donald Trump. He might as well declare himself VP-in-waiting for Trump. Even if Trump doesn’t get to 1237 somehow in the first ballot, do you think John Kasich is going to forfeit his opportunity to be amongst greatness? No in that second ballot, John Kasich will betray us to Donald Trump.
Why else would a man who has nothing to gain at this point, and holds no love for Cruz or Rubio, have been so vigilant in destroying their chances? Because all along John Kasich was the Establishment Spoiler, he was the way to ensure that a LEGITIMATE CONSERVATIVE, in either Rubio or Cruz but others as well, NEVER made it to the Presidential Mountaintop.
So here I stand today, praying that Ted Cruz backs out of this hazardous agreement before it is too late. John Kasich is already ditching the agreement, saying his supporters should still vote for him in spite of the alliance with Ted Cruz. Even though Cruz gave consent to pulling out of Oregon and New Mexico, John Kasich wants NO PEACE with Ted Cruz. He sees Cruz as the enemy, a bane to his own growth.
The only solace is that men like Kasich are doomed to destruction. They have chosen to play the Devil’s Gambit thinking they can win by choosing one of the two Devils in the gambit. But the problem with the Gambit is that it requires victory through destroying both devils. Inevitably, the devil you are merciful or friendly too WILL betray you. And like all those who have chosen a Devil and been betrayed, he will be written off from history of any worth, save for the titles he held prior to his betrayal. Because once you’ve chosen a devil and failed to defeat it, the rest of the population will not forgive your cowardice. This election has placed us all in this game and rarely do people find joy in this dangerous game. It is a game, however common to politics, and common to history.
I expect that by the time Indiana, New Mexico, and Oregon come along, that this alliance with already be in tatters. It doesn’t do Kasich any good to have Cruz make it to the convention, he might be a tangible threat and candidate. No Kasich is praying that Cruz blows up from this, that the perception of dirty-politics ruins him. And if he succeeds, he will have all but assured Trump the candidacy, and most likely in his eyes, the VP. I don’t expect to reward such barbarity, but John Kasich thinks Trump is just another machinist in the political waters. He doesn’t realize that Trump is enough of a madman to actually punish him for what he is doing.