Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich are apparently working in concert to keep the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, away from the GOP nomination. This game of ‘keep away’, or as I knew it growing up – ‘Piggy In the Middle‘ – is going on all around the Western world at the moment as populations fall out of love with their ruling classes.
Cruz and Kasich are apparently planning to undertake this strategy across Oregon, New Mexico, and Indiana – with Kasich being allowed by the Cruz campaign to focus on the first two, while Kasich will move out of the way for Cruz in Indiana. But where else have we seen tactics like this?
FRONT NATIONAL, FRANCE
In December last year, despite polling record results in the first round of voting, the Front National failed to win a single region in the French local elections.
FN leader Marine Le Pen lost out in the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais Picardie region after the Socialist Party, led by French president Francois Hollande, instructed its candidate to pull out of the race before the second round, paving the way for the centre-right Republicains to win by nearly 15 per cent in the second round of voting.
The “rounds of voting” sound very European, until you consider that Americans have the same thing, just at their party conventions rather than at the general election.
While the Front National had topped the popular vote in six of 13 regions, the second round of voting saw establishment voters rush to support the specific mainstream party they had been left with in the next round. It’s worth noting that they plan the same tricks at next year’s French presidential elections too, where Ms. Le Pen is currently leading in the polls, but wherein she will likely lose in the following rounds.
This is effectively Ted Cruz’s pitch.
The Washington Post reports: “The GOP race now rests on two cliffhangers: Can Trump lock up the nomination before Cleveland? If not, can Cruz cobble together enough delegates to win a second convention vote if Trump fails in the first?
“…based on the delegate selections made by states and territories, Cruz is poised to pick up at least 130 more votes on a second ballot, according to a Washington Post analysis. That tally surpasses 170 delegates under less conservative assumptions — a number that could make it impossible for Trump to emerge victorious.”
SOUTH THANET – NIGEL FARAGE
I witnessed first hand, in the British General Election in 2015, the Labour and the Conservative parties in South Thanet co-ordinating actively to keep UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage out of the British parliament.
While many believe missing ballot boxes, a lacklustre local campaign, or indeed the threat of a Labour-Scottish National Party government were to blame for Mr. Farage’s loss, the truth is that the fourth pillar of ‘where it went wrong’ was the collaboration between Labour and the Conservatives. (The fifth was alleged Tory overspending, and the sixth was the involvement of foreign-funded lobby groups, by the way. Groups, in case you don’t have time to click that link, that are funded by Hillary Clinton donors and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations).
Never was it more apparent than when Craig Mackinlay (Tory) and Will Scobie (Labour) posed for a photoshoot with a hard-left ‘Hope Not Hate’ leaflet that read, “Don’t Let UKIP Break Our Great Love’. They thought the great love they were speaking of was community cohesion. In reality it was the establishment love-in.
And of course the incident, apparently triggered by an alleged violent attack, gained local news headlines. But when I, as a Farage staffer, was hit in the face with a ladder by a local Greenpeace activist, no one in the media took any notice. At the time Mr. Scobie said: “I am keen to work with the Tories,” and information on the ground suggested the two camps were “staying out of each other’s areas” as UKIP struggled to cover the entirely constituency.
This allowed for a more targeted approach for the Tories, turning out their votes much better than if Labour had too challenged them in places like Broadstairs and Sandwich.
AUSTRIA – FREEDOM PARTY
This one is taking place at the time of going to publish. Last night, on April 24th, it was announced that the populist Freedom Party of Austria’s (FPO) presidential candidate had won the first round of voting.
But while messages of support flooded in from all over Europe, candidate Norbert Hofer will now proceed to a second round of voting in a run off against the Left-Green candidate on May 22nd.
Realistically, it would take a miracle for Mr. Hofer to win. The 11 per cent of Austrians who voted for the Social Democrat candidate, and the 18 per cent who voted for independent candidate are likely to swing for the Green candidate. But Austria’s election is closer than the French and English: and while Ms. Le Pen lost by 15 per cent, and Mr. Farage lost by less than 6 per cent, it is likely that Mr. Norbet will come within 5 per cent of the Green candidate in the second round of voting.
Indeed there are some who think that Mr. Hofer can pick up independent votes and win.
And the similarities with U.S. politics are noteworthy.
Mr. Hofer is campaigning under the slogan “Austria First” – perhaps similar enough to Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again”.
He has also said that Austria must stop taking refugees, adding: “I do not want this to become a Muslim country”.
If Mr. Hofer can beat the establishment tactic, it might give hope to Mr. Trump and others, that in fact the establishment can be nudged out of power. But if he doesn’t, it will be just the latest in a long line of establishment stitch ups against nationalist or populist politicians, and may give Mr. Trump pause for thought.
LISTEN TO RAHEEM KASSAM DISCUSS THE ISSUE ON BREITBART NEWS DAILY ON SIRIUSXM: