Saturday, May 04, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 18

Politics and horse racing. So many parallels to think about on this Kentucky Derby Day. A short while ago, 19 horses "ran for the roses" while no fewer than 24 Democrats are attempting to run for a nomination which may put them in near proximity to a Rose Garden.

Something happened today at the Derby that had not happened in 144 previous runs. The "winner" was disqualified on the track and long-shot was awarded the victory after a lengthy review. Controversy and disbelief abounded. Apparently, Maximum Security obstructed another horse and the chief steward at Churchill Downs was more willing to rule on obstruction than Robert Mueller was. So, candidates running for President, be careful how you jockey for position.

As mentioned, the Democrat field grows to almost comical proportions. We could very well see back to back nights of debates with 12 candidates on the stage each night. Of course, all of them have to take steps to qualify. Just when it seemed like Joe Biden might be the final "major name" to get in the race, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, shortly after facing a bout with prostate cancer jumped in. Montana Governor Steve Bullock has also apparently figured he has nothing to lose and is organizing the launch of his campaign. Just yesterday, many were surprised that New York Mayor Bill deBlasio is said to be jumping in as well. The office he holds has certainly not been a launching pad for others who have tried, but at least deBlasio can claim to possibly be the tallest person in the race. The Italian-German-American is also the most major candidate to be married to an African-American spouse (Wayne Messam, the Mayor of Miramar, Florida is as well). The two most widely known black candidates seeking the nomination are married to a white man in the case of Kamala Harris or dating a Latin-American actress as Cory Booker has confirmed he is with Rosario Dawson.

The reality for this historically large field of Democrats is that Joe Biden has gotten a significant bounce from his announcement and has an extremely impressive lead in some polls. Will that last? Probably not. Biden is already making some major gaffes on the campaign trail such as saying that China is not a competitor for the U.S. Right now though, Biden has been the man of the month for sure, as a sort of comfort food for Democrats who feel like they know him and trust him. Bernie Sanders is also considered a major contender, although there is some buzz that after some pretty poor optics for her campaign, Elizabeth Warren has been working hard behind the scenes in Iowa. One can envision a dogged John Kerry like beyond the radar campaign that could benefit her in the long run. There is of course also the Pete Buttigieg bubble which may not have gone away and the Beto O'Rourke competition that is going on as the two compete for voters, donors, and attention. Former Congressman Barney Frank joked (I think this week), that Beto might regret not being gay. Nonetheless, a CNN poll out this week showed that among all tested Democrats, it is the Texan O'Rourke who runs the best against Donald Trump, leading him by double digits. Many in both parties are skeptical, but I can sort of buy it considering the duality of the facts that O'Rourke is better known in Texas than many other candidates and elsewhere is enough of a "blank slate" to not have turned enough voters off yet.

Out of the two dozen Democrats running for President, I think Governor Bullock might actually be their strongest general election candidate. Otherwise, maybe someone like former Congressman John Delaney. However, they are likely far too "centrist" to even have a whiff of a chance. I will also maintain that Oprah Winfrey would be a stronger general election candidate than any in the field. Speculation also abounds that the Democrat family fight will turn into such a bloodbath, that ultimately, the party will turn at the convention to... Michelle Obama. Yeah, I do not see that happening.

The Democrats' nomination is worth having but the eventual winner of that prize will have the weight of the world on his or her shoulders as it turns to the demands held by many in the country that Donald Trump might be defeated. For all the political/news junkie focus on the continued issue of the Mueller Report and possible perjury by Trump's Attorney General and who will testify before Congress and when, as well as all the embarrassing tidbits about Trump's leadership style especially as it relates to foreign policy, it is also true that headlines about the U.S. economy are pretty stellar recently for Trump. Unemployment is the lowest in 50 years. As a conservative, do I believe that left-wing policies would have the economy in worse shape now? Absolutely. Does Trump deserve all the credit though? I remember when people of my ideological persuasion were of the mindset that it was the private sector that created jobs, not the government.

Eight years ago, Barack Obama ran for reelection with people very anxious about his economic policies but liking him personally. He was able to eventually win a competitive reelection. This cycle, an incumbent runs with the exact opposite of situations. Whether it is easy to admit it or not, people tend to like the "Trump economy" while disliking the man in the Oval Office.  Which factor will matter more next November? Of course, we do not know exactly what the state of the economy will be then.

So, as 24 "major" Democrats and as of this moment, Donald Trump and Bill Weld on the GOP side all seek to take part in the general election, I state what I have before that many partisans of both parties need to stop being so very cocky about their chances for victory. Both parties and both likely nominees have what could very well be fatal political flaws.

I suppose along those lines, I should mention that late this morning, I received a call from a woman working conducting a poll and I patiently answered all the questions for about 15 minutes. I stated I considered myself a conservative Republican and when asked answered that I was not very proud of my party these days and that I would welcome a "centrist" option for the general election. Much of the rest of it dealt with the "Green New Deal" which I expressed my thorough opposition to and then some proposal for a market-based carbon reduction plan of some sort that I did not know how to answer on.  I do not know for certain, but I highly suspect this poll was being paid for by Howard Schultz.


At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Democratic Socialist Dave said...

This is not to bait, challenge or tease you, Corey, but supposing that Trump wins renomination from the Retrumplican Party, are there any current or potential Democratic candidates for President that you could support ? (I'm including independent Bernie Sanders but not Joe Lieberman, whom I no longer consider to be a Democrat.)

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Dave. It's a very good question.

The most simple answer is that I cannot envision the Democrats nominating anyone that I could vote for. I wish that were not the case, as I would vote for an acceptable Democrat, against Trump, even as a protest.

I suppose I would have at least been willing to consider Bloomberg, but he is not running as a Democrat. I don't know otherwise. Maybe Governor Bullock of Montana? A litmus test for me would be someone who did not support Obama's Iran Nuclear deal. So, that would even make Chuck Schumer, Ben Cardin, and Bob Menendez acceptable on that alone.

Of course my sole vote in Illinois will not matter. The Democrat will easily win my state, whomever it is.


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