Saturday, June 15, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 24

What's the best way to start this week's write-up?

I am kind of at a loss. Yesterday was John McCain Day of course, a great way to commemorate and trigger the current President.

Partisans on both sides continue to act outwardly in which the 2020 election is a done deal. Trump fans look to Job Approval numbers from Rasmussen Reports (the most accurate pollster in 2016, but after a change in ownership, the worst in 2018), showing the incumbent consistently right around 50 percent, which is more or less where Barack Obama was exactly four years ago.

Those who oppose Trump look at recently released national and state polls which show Trump significantly behind Joe Biden and other Democrats as well. The Trump campaign, after denying they had internal polls showing them trailing Biden was forced to admit that yes, back in March, those polls existed. Neither camp believes there might be any validity in the polls they do not like. Of course, the truth, as always, is likely down the middle on this.

As I have said for several elections now, every campaign has ups and downs. The first "big event" of the campaign will take place later this month in Miami where 20 Democrats will gather for the first of back to back debate nights. Not making the cut were afterthoughts Mike Gravel and Wayne Messam. Joining them in missing out were two relative late-comers to the race in Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. A case can be made that leaving Bullock out is doing the party a disservice. He had to get through his state's legislative session before he announced his candidacy and thus got a late start in fundraising. He can also of course claim to be the only candidate in the field with statewide success in a state Trump won.

Late this week, the "lineup" was announced and many camps are complaining. It makes sense that everyone wants to be on stage and get their potshots in at Joe Biden, but only half the crowd will be able to. Biden is being put on the second night, likely in order to garner a larger viewing audience, and he will have to face Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg, among others. Those others include first time candidates Andrew Yang and Marrianne Williamson whom theoretically might be standing right next to Biden.

The first night, besides including the tallest candidates in Bill deBlasio and John Hickenlooper, will be "highlighted" by the presence of Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts Senator, after a very rough beginning of the year politically, has steadily and doggedly moved up in the polls. In some states, she has even overtaken Bernie Sanders. It may not be long before those on the party's left come to the realization that Sanders and Warren are allowing Biden to be ahead at all by the fact that both are in the race. While Warren probably would have liked to be on stage with Biden, she will have the chance to potentially win more supporters is she can come away with what pundits or activists will say was a clear "victory" in the debate. As a matter of pure political theater, I will be looking forward to watching these. I will agree with virtually none of the policy proposals espoused, but hopefully Trump takes a rhetorical beating at least.

Each week, my incredulity continues to grow in not knowing what to say about Trump. This week, in an Oval Office interview with George Stephanapolous (of all people), Trump said that he would likely accept foreign "dirt" on an opponent in the election. This is clearly illegal. Trump supporters wondered what he was doing being asked "gotcha" questions by ABC News itself, but the political damage may have been done. A day or two later, Trump made comments in an attempt to walk back these remarks, contradicting himself, and saying that he likely would go to the FBI if approached after all.

I wish I had the energy to expand on all of this. I just know that had Barack Obama suggested he could do exactly what Trump said he could do, my fellow conservatives would have called for an arrest to be made in the White House on the spot. (And many on the left would have shrugged it off too.)

It feels like there is something I wanted to mention but am missing this week. I suppose it can wait until next Saturday, if I can think of it. Lately, I have been reviewing my blog archives, and it is amazing how much information I was able to include in my Presidential campaign write-ups. I am doing one month a day and am up now through July of 2012. (Thankfully, I have discovered I have been overwhelmingly critical of Donald Trump since 2011.) It is amazing how different the political landscape looked back then, but in some ways the dynamics of a campaign involving a crowded field of challengers against a polarizing incumbent are very much the same.


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