The Sheldon Primary and the occupation

Paul Pillar writes: From the 1890s until finally outlawed by the Supreme Court some fifty years later, one device used in the segregated South to maintain the white power structure and to prevent blacks from any effective political role was called the white primary. This was a sort of preliminary election, open only to white Democrats, that ostensibly was a nonofficial event not run by the state and thus did not adhere to laws and constitutional principles providing for equal treatment and universal voting rights. There would be a later official election in which blacks could vote, but it usually was meaningless because electoral contests had in effect already been decided in the white primary.

Now we have a procedure reminiscent of the white primary that is being called the “Sheldon primary,” as in political bankroller Sheldon Adelson. Republican presidential hopefuls are kneeling at the feet of the casino magnate in the hope of receiving his blessing, and thus his money, as the party’s nominee for 2016. It seems that Adelson, who together with his wife dropped $93 million on political campaigns in 2012, has concluded that he erred in that year in backing for too long candidates whose ideology appealed most to him but ultimately proved unelectable. This time he wants to anoint early on someone he can stick with right through the general election. He doesn’t want to see messy primary contests that would weaken the eventual nominee. If things work the way Adelson wants — and that he is willing and able to pay to make them work that way — caucuses in Iowa or the primary in New Hampshire will matter less than the Sheldon primary. Last time he let us have a good hard look at the likes of Newt Gingrich while votes in Republican primaries still meant something. Next time he doesn’t want primary voters to have that much of a choice.

For this man who will likely have such enormous influence on who will be the Republican presidential nominee, the Republican party isn’t even his first love among political parties. That would be the Likud party. [Continue reading…]

Over the weekend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, recognizing the importance of sucking up to Adelson, paid homage to Israel but while doing so made the blunder of referring to the “occupied territories.”

In Adelson’s eyes, of course, there is no occupation, nor is there a West Bank — “Judea and Samaria” is part of Greater Israel. Christie was quick to make amends.

I guess both Christie and Adelson can take comfort in the fact that “occupation” and “intervention” have of late become ill-defined terms.

Russia didn’t intervene in Crimea and occupy that part of Ukraine. It just extended a warm embrace and welcomed back some briefly lost territory.

The thousands of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon now in Syria? They’re just well-armed guests helping restore peace.

And if Palestinians starving in Yamouk aren’t too clear about how they are being helped by the Axis of Resistance, maybe it’s because hardly anyone these days seems to be able to coherently articulate what they are fighting for.

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