I’ve been comparing the Republicans’ no-majority nominating contest to the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago, when William Seward failed to secure enough votes for a majority on the first ballot, then lost to Lincoln on the third and fourth ballots. As the contest in Cleveland shapes up, a closer comparison may be the Democrats’ situation in 1860. In three conventions, the party split:

1) First convention deadlocks.

2) Second convention: establishment Democrats nominate Douglas.

3) Third convention: southern Democrats nominate Breckinridge.

In a three-way race, Lincoln won and the nation split.

I doubt Republicans will have three conventions this year – they are a little expensive, to start with – but if Trump does not win the nomination in Cleveland, his supporters will urge him to run on his own. Why would he not do that, given his degree of loyalty to the Republican party? Then the establishment Republicans who denied him the nomination will want to keep him off the ballot in as many states as possible.

We’ve seen a civil war brewing in the Republican party ever since Trump became a big man on the political campus. If you think the country is fractured now, wait till Honest Hillary raises her hand to take the oath at her inauguration. Most of the country distrusts her. How many people believe they need to give her a chance to prove herself? She has already distinguished herself for a key attitude you don’t want to see in a leader: the rules don’t apply to me.

America’s ruling elite at Donald’s wedding.

Honest Hillary could wind up with less support during her first year than than W. had when he left office, which is saying something. The same goes for Trump, for that matter: he is a self-centered, weak leader, with support only from his hard core followers. Both candidates are as divisive as a meat cleaver, and about as subtle.

Sadly, the leading contenders are empty tanks. Both are conceited, ambitious for the wrong reasons, with little interest in actual leadership. One is a walking joke who bores even himself, and the other is a failed public servant who thinks the world owes her one more chance to screw up. People said Reagan, and even Lincoln were unsuitable candidates. They misjudged both leaders. Now we have candidates who are clearly not the right person for the times, for the country, or for the job.

States fall because they lose wars, and because they do not take care to choose the leaders they need. Did you think this country would fall into ignominy, so soon after victory in the Cold War? Did you think it would happen with people like Honest Hillary and The Donald on offer? As commentators have suggested, two deceitful, corrupt political parties have brought these leaders on themselves. With little say and even smaller hope, the rest of us have to live with them.