Saturday, September 24, 2016

Race for the White House- Volume 91

44 Days Until Election Day

On Monday evening, on Long Island, two residents of New York will debate for the right to become the 45th President. Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Donald John Trump Sr. (whose names would otherwise be Blythe and Drumpf if not for official name changes) will debate and the United States of America will have to endure it. Few, if any, Presidential debates in history have been so anticipated or might have the possibility of swaying a race as much as this one. In many ways, the pressure is on for both nominees.

Since the last Presidential entry on Saturday, it has been another tumultuous week in America, as  concerns about terrorism continue, after a mostly failed attack in New York City, as well as racial unrest after two more African-Americans were killed by police. With all this angst and with all this turbulence, it makes you wonder where this is all headed this year. I have maintained from the beginning of this general election that Trump cannot win and that Clinton will defeat him easily. I still stand by that view, and her sagging polls have stabilized a bit in the past week, but there can be no confusion over the fact that this is a very unorthodox political  year. People want change. Eight years ago, I was surprised that a very left-wing Senator, with very little experience in anything substantial was whom American turned to, but they wanted something different. This year, with dissatisfaction still very high, could the radicalness of the Trump campaign actually prevail? I find it hard to believe that the same country could twice elect Barack Obama and then turn to Donald Trump. I would find it hard to identify with either country, but I might not have much choice.

So, as Clinton and Trump face off, with no other candidate meeting the polling threshold to join them, itself somewhat of a head-scratcher in a year with two candidates with record unfavorables, what will happen? Will Trump find a way to "look Presidential?" Will he be subdued and cordial? I somewhat doubt it. It is instinctive for him to fire back with insults whenever he is attacked and I expect Clinton will be attacking him a lot. This is not likely to be a policy wonk debate. It is likely to be a debate about qualifications, judgment, temperament, and how horrible the other person is. I will be rooting for moderator Lester Holt to make them both look bad. That is pretty much all I have at this point. However, I may not be able to help myself from wanting Clinton to get the best of Trump on character exchanges. He's that bad.

There will be somewhat of a circus atmosphere surrounding this debate. The Clinton campaign will be seating wealthy businessman Mark Cuban, who has been trolling Trump online in recent weeks, in the front row, and the Trump campaign is said to be going in an even more provocative direction. I would imagine Bill Clinton will be in the front row cheering on his wife. Just feet away, the Trump campaign is believed to have Gennifer Flowers as one of their guests. Rumors are also swirling around Juanita Broaddrick. Talk about awkward for the Clintons!.

In other news this week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz finally offered an official endorsement to his former GOP primary rival. That was just as Donald Trump predicted Cruz would eventually do. However, Trump actually praised the endorsement and accepted it, unlike what he said he would do right after the convention. So much for "vote your conscience" Ted. You are another weaselly political calculator just like the rest that bowed down to Trump. Maybe he will agree now that his wife is ugly and his father killed JFK too. At least I no longer have to feel any sense of confusion over any real positive feelings about Cruz from a character perspective. Suffice to say, I will not be backing him in 2020, especially after this.

On the other side of the coin, many establishment Republicans refuse to support Trump. This week, former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, of a famous political family herself, said online that former President George H.W. Bush told her that he was voting for Hillary Clinton. This vote pledge was not confirmed by the former's President's spokesperson but not exactly denied either. He may very well have wanted it to come out this way. I am not at all surprised that anybody in the Bush Family (poor  George P. who like many others felt the necessity to support Trump), is not going to vote for Trump, Bush 41 voting for the wife of the man who defeated him in 1992 has to be considered newsworthy. I do not at all agree with voting for Hillary Clinton, but my respect for George Bush is unchanged. Frankly, I can find it easier to overlook him voting for Clinton than I can for another one of my political heroes, Bob Dole, for supporting Trump.

The stage for the debate is set. I am a little surprised that Trump will even show up. Maybe he will regret doing so. We can talk about what happened next week, but this is a very rare debate where I will not be rooting for anyone, just against both, but especially Trump. If he is as thin skinned and completely as non-substance as I suspect, it will be spun as very bad news for his campaign. On the other hand, expectations are so low for him, that if he can hold his own at any level in terms of policy knowledge or likability, that could wind up being extremely bad for Hillary Clinton, who is struggling beyond belief to put away an opponent, who should be very easy to defeat.

Expectations for Clinton have also been lowered, and the Trump campaign has themselves and their supporters to blame for that. Can she even stand on stage for a full 90 minutes? Will she not pass out or have a coughing fit? I just know that any sort of pre or post debate handshake between these former friends (and spouses) is going to be very uncomfortable for everyone, including the television audience.

I do not expect to agree with Clinton on nearly anything she says from a policy standpoint Monday night (nor much from Trump), and I think she will not be able to help herself from appearing shrill and sort of cold, but if things go as I expect, I think there will be much discussion in the media after the debate about the "Clinton Comeback."