Saturday, May 14, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 72

Who would have ever believed a year ago that the contest for the Democrat nomination would still be ongoing in mid May while the Republican contest was essentially wrapped up, in favor of Donald Trump no less?

While Hillary Clinton remains all but certain to be the Democrat nominee, barring an indictment (Joe Biden this week expressed regret that he did not enter the race and said he had decided that Elizabeth Warren would have been his running mate), the presumptive one continues to lose contests. The victory by Bernie Sanders in West Virginia, where eight years ago, Clinton was an overwhelming primary victor, is especially curious. Democrats in West Virginia, who are likely a good deal more culturally conservative than Democrats most elsewhere, voted for Sanders over Clinton, as a means to punish her over her ties to the Obama Administration's policies on coal as well as her own stated views about shutting down coal companies and putting miners out of work. She tried to  awkwardly apologize weeks later in West Virginia, but the damage was done. Sanders was the easy winner the past Tuesday in spite of the fact that he is even further to the left and more anti-coal than Clinton herself. Go figure .

That gives West Virginia Democrats something in common with a good deal of Republican primary voters who had been complaining that Republicans officeholders were not sufficiently conservative and did not hold to principle, but then decided to vote for Donald Trump.

These are weird times in America and it can be very emotional to dwell too deeply on them. As I have stated before, I hope this is just a temporary sickness in America and that one day, the side of righteousness and decency will be restored. As I said a week ago, I remain firmly committed to speaking out against Trump and doing whatever I can to see him defeated. That is all I can expect voting for Clinton. That is still asking far too much. So, I really do not know what to think this week as there may have been more than expected signs of "party unity" and political figures saying it is necessary to support Trump, even if they look at it as the "lesser of two evils." To me, he can not be the lesser of evil, even against Clinton. His supporters will look to some very competitive national and state polls out this past week and think that we have a real race ahead for the fall. I still know that the fundamentals of the electorate and of American democracy in a general election work heavily against Trump, and if he is still on the ballot, he will lose overwhelmingly. Nonetheless, it remains clear with each passing week that Hillary Clinton is a truly awful candidate. She will become President after this year, barring something unexpected, and will possibly win big, but there will be trouble ahead .She is not going to be a unifying figure as President to say the least.

For now, the race is shaping up to a choice between two very unpopular figures in American life. A case can be made that they are both con artists who put ego and power ahead of all else. The columnist William Safire once said that Hillary Clinton was a "congenital liar." He then clarified it to say that it must have been a trait she developed after birth. Whatever that case may be, there is nobody in American public life today who could come close to being a bigger liar than Trump.

Clinton once told a made up story about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia. Trump told a made up story about thousands of Muslims, in America, cheering as the 9/11 attacks unfolded. Clinton, despite knowing otherwise, greeted the caskets and families of the Americans whose lives were lost in Benghazi and told them personally and the American people from the podium, with the bodies down in flag draped coffins before her, that a YouTube video was responsible. Trump told a Republican debate audience that he lost "hundreds" of friends on 9/11 but he has never been able to name a single one of them nor did he attend one funeral.

Clinton refuses to release the transcripts of highly paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs after leaving government and seemingly taunts her critics on the left for why she refuses to do so. Trump, after saying he would on several occasions, has now said that he will not release any tax returns, a modern first for a Presidential nominee to be, and says it is none of anybody's business what kind of tax rate he pays. He says he is under audit every year, which would be troubling enough on its own, if it were true, but that should not prevent him from releasing taxes, from any year. It just might be, like Mitt Romney has said, that Trump is either not nearly as rich as he wants people to think, pays very little taxes, or most likely, gives virtually nothing to charity.

A pox on both their houses.

So, some Republicans will continue to say that as distasteful as Trump is, we still have to support him to stop Hillary because of the Supreme Court, etc. etc.

I wish I could support a presumptive GOP nominee, to say the least, but not in this case, and it's not even a close call. He has advanced because of a con job and to look the other way now would just give validation to the con job and give credence for more of them in the future. I consider it a personal insult that a Presidential candidate, be they Clinton, Trump, or whomever, would think they could earn my vote or my support by stringing a web of lies. I can never go along with it.

Yesterday, there was an interesting story in the Washington Post about Trump. It is literally one of those things where we can say that in any other cycle or in any other race, or with any other candidate, in either party, this would be a political killer.

During his business career, Trump would call up reporters claiming to be either John Miller or John Baron, a public relations spokesman working for Trump. It seems like these reporters understandably recognized his voice though and knew they were really speaking to Trump. Yet, the fake publicist did get quoted several times over the years, whether it was related to New York City real estate manners or Trump's messy personal life, including bragging about all the women who wanted him.

Also years ago, in under oath testimony, Trump admitted he has done this, and in 1991 admitted, and even semi-apologized, that he pretended to be John Miller when speaking to a reporter from People magazine. I do not happen to remember this specific sort of detail of Trump's life, but others must have had it somewhere in the back of their mind. It all just goes to show how ridiculous the concept of Trump for President really is.

The Washington Post ran a story about this yesterday, and Trump, despite admitting it publicly decades ago, now, as a presumptive Presidential nominee, is saying that he knows nothing about this and the voice on the tapes is not him and that we should move on. He just feels emboldened to brazenly lie, now, at the present, about something that is so demonstrably easy to tell he is lying about. Someone who could do such a thing has no business being President, even if Hillary Clinton also lies.

In the meantime, the Republican Civil War continues on, and the general election comes even closer. Many in the media will certainly find it "entertaining", but American is likely to be even more sickened by it with each passing week. It is pretty clear that the mainstream media is going to have a whole lot more other Trump "stories" that will be trickling out as we go along.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

GOP will keep control of the United States Senate & US House in November!


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