Saturday, October 26, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 43

One hundred days from today, Democrats and Republicans will gather across Iowa in the first leg of the voting process to choose the President. While many candidates are running in the middle of the country, the choices will not be sufficient to many in the middle of America who will regret not having more or better choices. Such is democracy. Right now, the winner of the GOP Caucus seems certain and the Democrat contest is believed to truly be between just two contenders.

In the meantime, the nation's capital and a stadium of "racing past Presidents" is hosting the World Series this weekend, for the first time since the early 1930s. The incumbent is expected to attend Game 5 tomorrow night but may not be recognized in a formal way. The reaction to him might be far from friendly (although World Series crowds, even in D.C. itself) are likely to be very white and very rich.

Much can change though in the course of 100 days in politics. This week saw some minor changes announced as Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan ended his blue-collar oriented campaign for President. Since he has not been in the last couple of debates, many have forgotten that he was still even running. That also applies to several other back of the pack Democrats who have been eclipsed by the likes of Andrew Yang. Ryan is now focused on seeking another term to his House seat, but he could be a bit of an outside the box choice for Vice President, provided that Elizabeth Warren is the one to pick a running-mate.

While a candidate like Julian Castro of Texas is now asking for money to stay in the race (a tactic that worked not long ago for Cory Booker), Hawai'i Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has made it clear she intends to stay in the race. In fact, she has made it clear she will not run for reelection to her House seat, which after all the hubub last week raises eyebrows about if she will indeed perhaps abandon her party or try to somehow run as an Independent candidate. If she does, would she take left-wing votes from the eventual Democrat or take the votes of "contrarian trolls" from Donald Trump who like her isolationist foreign policy views.

Joe Biden continues to be in a tricky place. Some polls show him comfortably ahead nationally, even gaining ground in recent weeks. However, his fundraising has not been impressive. This is leading him to go back on a pledge to not utilize a Super PAC. In fact, other Democrat candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, are suggesting that they will not do various fundraising things that past nominees have. That leaves the party risking running well behind Donald Trump financially in the fall.

State polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire are telling a bit of a different take for Biden. To be fair, he is in striking position to win both, and if that happens, it could effectively wrap up the contest for him early on. However, what happens if he loses both to Warren? What if he comes in third place somewhere or worse? That would make it virtually impossible for him to recover. That is why so many are thinking that in spite of the current national polls, Warren might still be in a better position. This has lead to fear among many Democrats about her electability against Trump which is why there is increased media chatter about Hillary Clinton or Michael Bloomberg jumping into the Democrat fray later in the game. (I even heard a local radio host this week mention Eric Holder.) Others, still think Michelle Obama will somehow emerge victorious when all the dust settles. Frankly, that might not be a bad result for the party, though I still think Oprah Winfrey is the most electable possible Democrat.

With former Starbucks honcho Howard Schultz completely out of the picture, there is news this week that Ed Stack the billionaire CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods (apparently Dick was his father), is testing the waters and conducting focus groups about running for President as an Independent. Stack is a longtime Republican donor but most recently made some headlines that pleased the left when his chain of stores stopped selling certain types of guns.Needless to say, I remain interested in any possible center-right alternative to the Democrats and Donald Trump.

My opposition to Trump remains rock-solid especially as each day brings more news and more unhinged reaction to the process that will result in Trump being formally impeached by the U.S. House before the end of the year. He also went ahead and said that as a "Never Trumper Republican", I am "human scum" as well as being "more dangerous than the Democrats."

I went ahead and sent $5 to the Presidential campaign of Republican Joe Walsh, a more recent convert to the NeverTrump cause, just to get a "Human Scum" window sticker. I will probably not put it on my car, but it might be a nice historical political artifact.

"Human scum" though? Well for one thing, I can look at the positive and point out that by saying "human", Trump at least thinks somewhat more of us than dark skinned immigrants. However, the message is clear. White House officials do not even try to walk it back anymore. They just agree that anyone who opposes Trump is "scum." The embattled President also used a reference to "lynching" this week to describe the current impeachment inquiry. I was very offended when I saw what he said and he was roundly denounced, especially by Democrats. Not surprisingly though, Democrats seemed to coordinate use of that racially charged word themselves 21 years ago when Bill Clinton was in a similar predicament. So, I am all but certain Trump used it for multiple reasons, including a "gotcha" against Democrats such as Joe Biden, who had to say he was wrong to use it in 1998, but that what Trump said now is worse.

It seems to be the defense of Trump on cable tv and on the internet is more and more desperate. A pro-Trump writer recently said that if Trump is defeated in 2020, it would be a "coup." That's about as crazy as it gets. The more common talking point is that impeaching him would "overturn the 2020 elections." Not really. After all, Hillary Clinton would not become President. Others use terms such as "regicide" as if Trump were a King and impeachment were murder.

Clearly, there is a lot of evidence against Trump (and Rudy Giuliani) as it relates to Ukraine but if Senate Republicans stand tough behind him, then he will not be thrown from office. Trump has called on Republicans to "get tougher" in defending him and this week a bunch of conservative House members took part in a stunt (not much unlike stunts Democrats have pulled in the past) to show up and demand access to the "secret" hearing rooms where impeachment witnesses were being interviewed. Of course, this is the same procedure that happened when Nixon was President and when Clinton was President and what Republicans did a few years ago in regards to the Benghazi scandal. So, this was all for show and all to personally get Trump to notice them. After all, Republicans on the relevant committees were allowed to be present at these sessions. Many of them who had the right to be there, instead tried to "break in" which is as goofy as it sounds.

Many on the left truly believe that people on the right are a "basket of deplorables." That line itself likely cost Hillary Clinton an election she was certain she had in the bag. I think that attitude towards any amount of Americans en masse is pretty sad, but Trump going even further and saying that Americans are "human scum" if they do not agree with him is even worse. I note though that he seems especially upset at the Republicans this week who do not like him. After all, some in his Administration are "testifying" against him and Mitt Romney continues to be, at least in the Senate the conscience of a party that seems to have lost it.

As Trump said, the number of NeverTrumpers in the GOP is small, but it is likely growing. He said something also about us being on "respirators." That remains to be seen, but for Americans like myself, clearly it will be necessary to speak out against the moral disgrace that is Donald Trump as long as we have the breath to do so.


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