Politics, like life, forces tough choices

Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham’s latest presidential choice (for now), celebrates Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

“It’s like being shot or poisoned.”

Lindsey Graham

Our senior senator offered that grim analogy on Jan. 21.

The dreadful dilemma the failed White House candidate had in angst-ridden mind:

Whom would he choose as the Republican nominee if it came down to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz?

Those unsavory options have apparently become the party’s Final Two reality.

Or have they?

When Cruz thumped Trump in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, he raised the odds that the party might dump Trump — and Cruz? — at a “brokered convention” in Cleveland from July 18-21.

Keep in mind, too, that though Trump won the S.C. primary on Feb. 20, our state’s Big GOP Three — Graham, Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Nikki Haley — have expressed profound disdain for him.

Then again, Trump has won 21 GOP state (and territory) contests to 10 for Cruz, three for Marco Rubio (who dropped out four weeks ago but still has more than 170 delegates) and one for John Kasich.

As for the Democrats, surging Bernie Sanders’ impressive victory over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin on Tuesday further delayed — and threatened to help derail? — her long-expected coronation as the Democratic nominee.

Most experts say she’s still a lock. Yet Sanders has taken seven of the last eight outings, trimming Clinton’s overall lead in contests won to 20-16.

And aren’t lots of Democratic voters — especially the young ones overwhelmingly backing old Bernie — trying to tell the party something?

Meanwhile, the protracted trial by ordeal better known as the 2016 presidential race is testing not just Americans’ patience but our faith in Democrats, Republicans and our democratic republic’s system of self-government.

Instead of whining, though, put yourself to an enlightening test (not all questions are about the presidential race; answers at column’s end).

Name who said or wrote:

1) “Well done @TedCruz. Hopefully tonight is the turning point to deny @realDonald Trump 1,237 delegates. #WisconsinPrimary,” and “Bottom line — @realdonaldtrump’s domestic and foreign policy gibberish is beginning to catch up with him. #WisconsinPrimary.”

2) “Does Cruz really believe that Lindsey Graham loves him?”

3) “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

4) “So let the Hunger Games begin.”

5) “Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. ... Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet — he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.”

6) “I’m not a bad guy, I’m not a good guy. I’m the guy.”

7) “I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.”

1) Graham tweeted those jubilant reactions to Tuesday night’s Wisconsin outcome.

2) Pat Buchanan said that Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” which airs from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays here on 1340-AM and 950-AM WQSC.

3) Hillary Clinton said that Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” That didn’t upset just pro-lifers, who think “unborn persons,” as “persons” after all, rate constitutional rights. It appalled pro-choicers, who prefer the far-less-humanizing terms “fetus” and “zygote.”

4) Gaffney Republican Harvey Peeler said that Tuesday after announcing his decision to step down as majority leader of the S.C. Senate. He added also said he could be a more effective legislator while “not being concerned about herding cats.”

5) Donald Trump’s campaign issued that sore-loser statement Tuesday night.

6) Hero-turned-heel Roman Reigns, a night after taking the WWE title from “Triple H” at Wrestlemania 32 at Cowboys Stadium, issued that “the guy” proclamation to a disapproving crowd at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on “Monday Night Raw.”

7) President Barack Obama gave that “practical” advice about capitalism, socialism and communism to a group of Young Leaders of the Americas in Buenos Aires, Argentina, two weeks ago on how to “decide what works.”

But in case anybody, including our president, has missed the abundant evidence:

Capitalism, which motivates prosperity-building self-interest as history’s most powerful engine for not just economic but overall freedom, works.

Communism, a logically — and thus morally — bankrupt concept that has spawned tyranny, slaughter, misery and hopelessness on a massive scale, does not work.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.