Political observers say Donald Trump does everything wrong. He makes politically incorrect statements. He’s offended multiple racial and religious groups, as well as people with disabilities. Fights and arrests piled up at his rallies.
And yet Trump is the Republican nominee.
Some Republicans winced when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, refused to endorse Trump during his speech last week. The Texas Republican declared that people should “vote their conscience.” That was about the same time video boards at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland went haywire like they were something out of the Matrix. And then Trump doubled-down on Cruz the day after his Cleveland coronation.
“I don’t want his endorsement if he gives it,” said Trump.
Rather than accepting victory and moving on, Trump spent the first day after his convention to drone on about the guy he defeated.
Trump then went off on a rant again suggesting that Cruz’s dad associated with Lee Harvey Oswald.
A conventional candidate would have journeyed out on a triumphant bus trip through electoral vote-rich Ohio with stops in Toledo, Columbus, Dayton and Portsmouth the day after the GOP convention. No. Instead, Trump talked about Ted Cruz and his dad.
And yet …
You’d think the Democrats, seeing this, would do without the drama.
From the start, Democrats seem to have done everything by the book. They nominated the candidate the party elite thought they were going to nominate. A seasoned veteran, Hillary Clinton played things straight. She even drafted a relatively safe running mate in Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
But certain nagging problems just wouldn’t go away. Benghazi. Contretemps between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. And then the email hack and the leaks.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., insisted to Fox News on multiple occasions that she intended to remain as DNC chair through the end of her term. And on the eve of the Democratic convention, Wasserman Schultz is done. Donna Brazile will take over as interim chair through the convention. It now appears that Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, will preside over certain parts of the convention, even though Wasserman Schultz noted she would “open and close the convention.”
Is this how the Democrats wanted to start their show?
Did the Republicans want to end theirs the way they did?
It seems that both parties are now in chaos. It’s a tornadic year. These episodes underscore just how bizarre the campaign is.
But guess what? Chaos sometimes wins.
The 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds are arguably the best Major League team of all time. They captured back-to-back World Series titles. Their starting eight was stocked with Hall of Famers, MVP’s, a batting champion and multiple Gold Glove winners: Pete Rose. Joe Morgan. Ken Griffey Sr. George Foster. Tony Perez. Johnny Bench. Dave Concepcion and Cesar Geronimo.
The Reds played sound, fundamental baseball. They hit in the clutch. They didn’t make boneheaded baserunning errors. They swiped bases. They were brilliant defensively.
Reds ownership forbade facial hair for the players and required they don cleats with logos blacked out. Cincinnati wore crisp, eggshell white uniforms embroidered with red piping.
Despite the Reds devotion to discipline, order and “smart baseball” Cincinnati was not even the most-successful franchise of the 1970s when it came to world championships. That distinction belongs to the Oakland Athletics. The A’s captured three consecutive World Series crowns in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In fact, Oakland topped the Reds in ’72 for their first title.
The A’s were everything the Reds weren’t. The Athletics featured a ragtag gang of players which was talented, but far short of Cincinnati’s team. Oakland was more colorful. Consider the names alone on the pitching staff: “Blue Moon” Odom. “Catfish” Hunter. Vida Blue. Rollie Fingers. The lineup included stars like Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Sal Bando, Bill North and Bert Campanaris. Unlike the conservative Reds, the A’s sported garish, Day-Glo togs. Their colors were Kelly green and Fort Knox gold -- which bordered on chartreuse.
While the Reds banned mustaches, Athletics’’ owner Charlie Finley awarded bounties to players who grew them.
The A’s were as wild off the field as their uniforms. Perhaps ironically, the team had the moniker “The Swingin’ A’s” emblazoned on the team logo. Jackson and North got into an intrasquad brawl in 1974 in the visitor’s clubhouse in Detroit. Such turmoil would distract a lesser team. But not the Athletics. After the fisticuffs, Oakland went out and whipped the Tigers, 9-1.
The Reds did everything right and won.
But Oakland did everything wrong and stunningly won even more.
This brings us back to 2016 and the Trump and Clinton campaigns.
Disquiet dominates the electorate. Turbulence now pervades campaigns. There appear to be a lot of negative narratives – to say nothing of skyrocketing negative poll numbers for both candidates.
But sometimes in politics, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, there’s the brawling and strife along the way. But in politics, as in baseball, only one team wins the final game of the season.
In politics, only one team will win the final game this year at the polls. With the convection which stirs this year’s electoral maelstrom, it’s possible that doing things the “right way” doesn’t matter.
It’s a chaos.
And it might be more of an Oakland A’s year than a Cincinnati Reds year.