Saturday, October 15, 2016

Race for the White House- Volume 94

24 Days Until Election Day

I guess it is 24 days and my numbering has been off for a long time. Who really cares? I will make the adjustment now.

What else can I say about this crazy Presidential campaign? I have been thinking about it less and less, especially on the weekends. The third and final debate will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday night, assuming both candidates show up, and I will not even be watching it, as there will be something far more important to me on television. I am sure I will catch highlights and hear analysis.

In the meantime, the Town Hall debate took place in St. Louis, Missouri this past Sunday night. Besides for the fact that Ken Bone, an Illinois coal industry employee is getting his 15 Minutes of Fame in the "Bone Zone", it was not exactly a proud night for America. I just have a horrible feeling about both major party candidates, but one far more than the other.

Donald Trump is just a horrific person, even if somehow, every single one of the recent allegations of sexual assault and harassment, which have been publicly leveled against him in the past week, are made up. It is just hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on that as has of course been captured openly bragging about having committed sexual assault. Unless you want to take his word for it that he was just making all that up in order to make himself look better. Trump and his campaign are certainly using the sexual assault allegation angle against Bill and Hillary Clinton, as seen by his guests at the debate, so I guess this is all fair game. The more we know about Donald Trump, including how he seemingly had a pick-up line for underage girls ("I'll be dating you in a few years"), just adds to the litany of reasons why he is completely unacceptable. Still, a lot of Republicans feel like they have no choice to defend him, and even some of those who last Saturday called for him to exit the race are claiming they will still vote for him. One has to wonder just what exactly it takes? I am certain that many of his ardent supporters would excuse literally anything he would do, including mass murder.

Despite some hopes, Trump did not quit the race, due in part to getting better than expected debate reviews, which is pretty crazy itself, as I will get into a bit as I talk about the debate. Nonetheless, Trump is openly warring with Republicans who have said they can no longer defend him, including House Speaker Paul Ryan. Even before this latest controversy, Trump's direct mail pieces (against my wishes, I get them sent to me) has him running against Congressional Republicans and calling them untrustworthy. Now, Trump is fighting just as much with Ryan as he is with Hillary Clinton. If this goes as continues, even after the election, Trump will be denouncing the Republican Party. If people follow him in that mindset, there will be nothing short of Civil War in the GOP. That is not an appealing prospect, but as a Republican that wants to see the good prevail over evil, it may be necessary.

The beginning of Sunday's debate was horrible for Trump, as he dismissed his 2005 words, once again as "locker room talk" and seemed annoyed to even have to answer for it. For her part, Hillary Clinton had some pretty good rehearsed lines to talk about Trump. Throughout the entire debate, Trump sniffed a tremendous amount and generally looked terrible. It was by far the worst body language for any candidate in any debate, yet that did even really get that much discussion. He paced the stage and seemed to try to get in Hillary Clinton's space at times. He also did something questionable to a chair. A million internet memes were born.

So, in spite of all of this, especially at the beginning, and despite the fact that he was his typical rude jerk in his interactions with the opponent and moderators, it has to be said that Trump did better than the first debate in terms of being able to address substance and score some points against his opponent. His supporters were buoyed, thanks to the low expectations. It is also worth mentioning that on Syrian policy, Trump openly disagreed with the position taken by his running-mate Mike Pence, and dismissively said that they had not talked about the matter.

My sense is that the first half hour of the debate and Trump's weak answers related to his personal behavior were what mostly mattered, but after that portion, despite all of Trump's weaknesses, Clinton was not entirely on her game. She perhaps came in expecting him to just self-destruct, and early on, it looked likely, but she did not go for the knockout blow and struggled a bit to defend herself. After all, she has a ton that is hard to defend.

Even if the poll numbers inch a bit and here and there, there should be no conclusion that Clinton likely has an insurmountable lead and Republicans like me should just hope the downballot damage is as limited as possible. Clinton will likely try to keep somewhat of a low profile, knowing the end is in sight, while Trump will lash out even more crazily, taking about international conspiracies against him and denigrating the looks of women who accused him of sexual assault, as if that should give him the benefit of the doubt.

In the meantime, Wikileaks keeps releasing information. They certainly were able to infiltrate the Clinton campaign and got all sorts of emails and other things. Besides for some damaging aspects of Hillary Clinton's speech transcripts though, I do not think there is anything too earth shattering in the emails. It should be no big surprise to anyone that John Podesta, and any others are on her team, act like political people and that it can be kind of a nasty business. There is no real evidence of criminality. The Russians are almost certainly behind these leaks and they are not friends of America in this regard. It is hard for me to have any sympathy for partisan Democrats, but I do think the way this has been gathered is pretty dirty and might very well have been done to my party by enemies of America. I guess I will just wait and see if an email is ever found that provides definitive proof that the Clintons recruited Trump to run as a Republican for President as a plant.

I have run out of things to say about the race today. I am sure next week will provide even more embarrassment for us all.  (My extremely smart two year old niece can name  both Presidential candidates and recognizes who they are, which I find kind of sad. I am even sadder that the first President she will remember will be elected in this contest.)

Yesterday, I think I have found out that Independent conservative Evan McMullin has official write-in status in Illinois. I will have to look into that further to be sure, but if so, it means I could write in his name and it will actually be counted. (There is talk he could win Utah and in some crazy way even have a chance to be elected via the U.S. House). Otherwise, I was just going to write in Mitt Romney and know it would not even be counted in  my state. So, at the least, with all due respect of course to Mitt, I will feel quite good about the decision to write in the name of a candidate I had never heard of a few months ago and whom I still know very little about.

Finally, I am pretty sure Ken Bone will vote for Hillary. After all, he had to suffer through watching Trump up close.