Saturday, May 18, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 20

Today, the Preakness Stakes saw a horse eject a jockey right out of the starting gate and proceed to run the entire course all by himself. In fact, Bodexpress apparently even finished ahead of a couple other horses in the race. Somehow there is a metaphor there for the large field of Presidential candidates all running for the finish line or perhaps one for an Independent bucking the system and trying to go all the way in November.

The Democrat field is now officially at 24 "major" candidates, not counting a former Delaware State Senator or a gadfly ex St. Louis School Board member who are technically seeking the White House as well. The most recent entrant to gain any press though was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who was roundly greeted with laughter among political watchers and protests at home in his liberal city. Everyone figures they have nothing to lose at this point, in spite of polls continuing to show that Joe Biden is now a clear frontrunner. The debates are yet to come though of course. Apparently, Democrats will hold them on back to back nights with roughly 12 candidates each night. How will it be determined whom gets on stage with whom though?

Today, the former Vice President had a bit of an official campaign kickoff with an outdoor rally in Philadelphia, where the Biden campaign will be headquartered. The visuals looked good on television, but clearly it was a somewhat smaller crowd than those that have greeted past Presidential candidates. Supporters of Donald Trump are of course big on "crowd size" and while Trump is probably only going to do indoor rallies, he never fails to be able to draw a crowd.

In regards to Biden, it is worth mentioning that he has explicitly ruled out the possibility that he will only seek to serve one term. For someone who would take office at age 78, which would shatter the record for the oldest elected President, I think it might have been a good idea for Biden to pledge to only seek one term right off the bat and focus merely on unifying the country during a four year period and not worrying about seeking reelection. Clearly though, Biden wants to keep his options open in regards to seeking reelection in his 80s. Bernie Sanders, who is a year older than Biden has not made any similar pledge either.

This was a bit of a tumultuous week in the stock market and Donald Trump's approval numbers may have taken a slight hit in the polls on the heels of economic anxiety related to the markets and his insistence on a trade war with China. Many are asking if Trump is being completely dishonest or even understands just how exactly tariffs work and how American consumers will pay the price. What will get less attention though is the fact that the moderate GOP Governor of Vermont has said he will not support Trump for renomination and still hopes for a current Governor to challenge Trump, in addition to ex-Governor Bill Weld. Also, Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash, long an iconoclastic Trump opponent, has become the first GOP Member of Congress to openly state that Trump should be impeached post Mueller Report. Amash is seen as a potential Libertarian Party candidate for President and could be a factor in his own state, at least. If that were to occur, I would have to seriously examine whether or not I might be able to vote for Amash. I like that he takes on Trump but I have serious disagreements with him on foreign policy and have wanted to see Amash unseated in Republican Congressional primaries. (The godfather of Amash's libertarian views is former Texas Congressman Ron Paul who ran for President through the years both as a Libertarian and Republican, but who this cycle has apparently endorsed Hawai'i Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, one of the couple dozen Democrats running.)

Clearly, there will be much jockeying for position among Democrats as the summer unfolds. Party activists though are asking themselves what it might take to get some of the Democrats to run for other offices in 2020, such as perhaps Pete Buttigieg for Governor of Indiana. Most significantly, this is having an impact on Republicans feeling better about keeping their Senate majority next year. After all, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Steve Bullock of Montana, and Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro, both of Texas, are running for President, not the Senate. To that list, you can include Stacey Abrams of Georgia, who has now said she will not run for the U.S. Senate, but still has not ruled out the possibility that she may become number 25.


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