Saturday, July 06, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 27

After writing so much last Saturday, I will try to offer some shorter thoughts this week on Independence Day weekend.

Patriotism was of course a big buzzword on July 4, as Americans celebrated our holiday the typical ways. The nation's capital though saw a bit of an unusual celebration though as Donald Trump delivered a much hyped speech at the Lincoln Memorial. For the most part, the words were quite appropriate and unifying and he gave a bit of a mini-history of our various military branches. However, it must be said that "airports" were not a part of the story of the American Revolution. Not sure how that got in there, but the President blamed a rainy teleprompter for some reason. Oh well.

This event also featured fly-overs by military planes, etc. Since this sort of thing regularly happens at sporting events, I did not really give it too much though. There was months of speculation though about a full on military parade featuring tanks and marching troops down the streets of Washington D.C. As far as I know, that thankfully did not happen. This is just all sort of a noisy mix to me. I understand and agree with those who think Trump just wants to make the celebration all about himself, but yet I also understand those who feel we should never be ashamed in celebrating our patriotism and yes the "greatness" (which has always been there) of the United States. People who hate Trump were looking to get offended over something this week and people who love Trump were looking to get offended at those who were offended. Ultimately, both efforts sort of fizzled. Maybe that is a good thing.

More disconcerting to me this past week was the story of Nike pulling back a release of new red, white, and blue athletic shoes featuring the historic Betsy Ross flag on them. Apparently, paid Nike endorser, ex-NFL Quarterback, and non-voter, Colin Kaepernick objected to them and said they could be tied to the era of slavery. For some reason Nike gave in out of a desire to not offend anyone. Many conservatives were offended though and vowed financial revenge on Nike.

If Donald Trump is to be reelected, this story might be one of the major reasons why. It just symbolizes the backlash that exists among Americans against the excesses of the politically correct or "woke" left. This shoe did not have the Confederate flag on it. (Was Kaeprnick confused by that?) It had the original U.S. flag, and yes, not every part of American history is something to be proud of, but that flag is the direct ancestor of the one with 50 stars that currently exists, and the one in which Union troops fought a Civil War which had the ultimate effect of ending the sin of slavery. I did not care when Nike hired Kaepernick, who is most famous for refusing to stand during the national anthem, but I sure cannot understand why they left him have so much influence on this matter. Politicians like Trump and those in his party will use wedge issues like this to their advantage and it is hard to logically fault them for it, even though of course there are much bigger issues facing us all.

On July 4, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, a longtime critic of Trump, wrote an Op-ed, in which he formally left the Republican Party. I cannot say I blame him. I still will hold out hope that one day, likely after Donald Trump is no longer the leader of the party, there will be a re-awakening and an acknowledgement over just how wasted these years have been, and that the party can return to what made it the political home for so many Americans over the generations.

Amash will no longer have to worry about a GOP primary in Michigan, although it remains less clear if he will still retain his committee assignments on Capitol Hill. Odds are, he will not be seeking reelection in 2020, but perhaps running for President himself as a Libertarian or Independent.

With two dozen Democrats continuing to run for President, the list may be getting at least one name shorter. Mike Gravel, the 89 year old curmudgeon, without hope of qualifying for a debate stage (where he would have likely attempted to savage the frontrunners) is saying his campaign is winding down as his own intent was to ever make it to a debate. On the other side of things, ex-Governor John Hickenlooper is vowing to remain in the race despite press reports of major dysfunction in his campaign and the recent replacement of his entire top staff.

New fundraising numbers and polls continue to come out. Pete Buttigieg raised a massive amount of money in the last quarter, but slipped some in the polls recently. Kamala Harris needs to increase her campaign warchest, but has clearly gained ground since the debate both nationally and in key states, at the expense of the perceived frontrunner.  Joe Biden, who has much money and remains nominally ahead in national and most state polls, has tried to do some damage control over the past week. He admits he was not ready for the way that Senator Harris went after him in the debate and attempted to try to shame her a bit by saying she knew his late son Beau well. Will the Democrat campaign continue to have the pros and cons of federally mandated 1970s school busing as a major issue? If so, it is worth noting that many Democrats (like Biden) found it unpopular at the time and it might be a bit tough to defend all these decades later.

Biden will clearly need to do better in the next debate, scheduled for the end of this month on CNN. It is not known if Harris will get to appear on the same stage as him or if others, such as Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker will have that opportunity. It is also being said that Harris has had a history, in her brief national career, of failing to deliver at key moments as well. Soon enough, she may be having just more than Joe Biden calling her out.


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