Saturday, April 27, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 17

It is now possible that the Democrat Presidential field has reached it's maximum of "major candidates" and various media or internet outlets are unsure on just how many can be counted. CNN is liking to go with "20 For 20" which sounds good, but they seem to not be counting former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel as among the contenders. Others, either neglect to include Marianne Williamson or Wayne Messam. Everyone seems to agree that Andrew Yang is a "major candidate." So, I am counting 21 for now, and I suppose that with the expectation that Stacey Abrams will run for U.S. Senate instead of President, we are just now waiting for Bill deBlasio, Michael Bennet, and Steve Bullock. Nobody but West Virginian Richard Ojeda has gotten into the race and gotten out  yet, but eventually those days will come. The candidate who should probably be most concerned right now, given the expectations game is New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who looks to be struggling to qualify to even make the debate stage when those kick off in June.

Beyond the 21 Democrats, there is also an active exploratory effort going on by Independent "centrist" Howard Schultz and two "major" Republican candidates in former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and Donald Trump. So, among the 24 my best option is Weld right now with Schultz just behind. I will continue to hope for better options. Larry Hogan, are you listening?

Of course, the latest announced Democrat is considered as of today, the person most likely to get his party's nomination and is feared by Trump and his supporters as their toughest possible opponent. Former Vice President Joe Biden is now officially in the race, for his third attempt to win the Oval Office Office, 32 years after he made his first run. This is Biden's third run for an election which will occur in three different decades, with a full decade of non Presidential bidding thrown in as well both times in between. That is all pretty remarkable.

It definitely remains to be seen just how successful Biden will be in his party. When he ran for the nomination in the 1988 cycle, he was the close to the youngest contender and considered among the most liberal. Now, he is of course among the oldest and considered among the least progressive, and that is after having moved considerably to the left since. Biden will have his share of big name endorsements (although he claimed he asked Barack Obama to remain on the sidelines.. yeah right), and big money donors, but left-wing activists and people involved in heavy social media posting seem to be very lukewarm at best about the Biden run. They want a candidate who represents diversity and who has a specific policy agenda that fits their left-wing agenda. For Biden, and those who are backing him, the one main issue they care about is that he might be able to beat Donald Trump. They may be the smarter ones.

Biden's rollout over the past couple of days has received mixed reviews. Perhaps the best thing he has going for him is that Trump has not been able to contain talking about him and giving him nicknames, etc. That definitely is a sign that Biden might be the candidate the White House fears the most. While Biden has yet to hold an official rally, his biggest media exposure came on an appearance on "The View" where he was open about his dilemma on whether or not he should hug the ladies on the panel. Apparently, he did not. There was no sniffing either. The biggest headline of the interview was that he recently reached out to Anita Hill and that it did not go well. In 1991, Biden, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman presided over the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. That battle came down to allegations of sexual harassment lodged against the black jurist by his former black female protege and colleague very late in the game. Liberals have long held that Hill was vastly mistreated by the "all white, all male" committee. I wish they would be willing to point to specific words or questions as to why. Biden, who voted to against confirming Thomas has said for months that he wished he could have "done something" back in the day to make things better for Hill, but apparently just reached out to her recently. Hill herself and others are now saying that since Biden refuses to directly apologize to her, that all of this is meaningless. Biden refusing to apologize is becoming somewhat of a theme in his battles with the left. That shows where the pathos of his party are and I think that is going to be a huge problem for him. Personally, I think if anyone deserves an apology, it is Clarence Thomas.

The time will soon arrive for Biden to have to answer specific policy questions. Earlier in the week, a bunch of Democrat candidates took the stage separately at a CNN Town Hall event to speak to likely primary voters. One issue that came up is if convicted felons, while serving time in prison, should have the right to vote. California Senator Kamala Harris, whom once was much buzzed about seemed bashful and embarrassed to answer yes, but that is how she answered. Far more proud of his position was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whom according to polls is Biden's strongest opponent. (Willing to answer the other way is current "flavor of the month" Pete Buttigieg, the outgoing Mayor of Indiana's fourth largest city.)

This question on whether or not felons should be allowed to vote was simplified by many to a specific one about the Boston bomber who is serving a life term in federal prison for an act of terrorism which killed three people and injured hundreds of others, including many who were permanently maimed. Bernie Sanders has made it clear that while the Boston Bomber may be a horrible person, he should have the same equal voting rights of every other American.

If Sanders is nominated, he will lose the general election, for reasons like this, even to somebody as despicable as Trump. I cannot fathom how any reasonable person should think that somebody serving a prison sentence should have the right to vote during that time. The argument about ex-felons regaining the franchise is a completely different discussion worth having, but what Sanders suggested is just completely extreme and radical and the Trump Attack Machine would never let this go. Is that what Democrats want this campaign to be about?


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