Saturday, December 07, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 49

Last Saturday, I commented upon the chances of 18 Democrats running for President, and was a bit harsh but realistic in my assessment of some. Were the campaigns reading? Probably not, but within 24 hours, Joe Sestak was out of the race. I know, I know, not really a huge deal there, but the next day saw Montana Governor Steve Bullock leave as well. He was not considered any sort of a front-runner at any point, but the same cannot be said for California Senator Kamala Harris. On Tuesday, when I was home sick with a cold, she surprised many by suspending her campaign.

It is amazing to realize how highly touted Harris once was as a Presidential candidate, both after her initial kickoff, and after a debate appearance this past summer. I know I even said I thought she might very well be on the ticket, perhaps as the Vice Presidential candidate. It has been all downhill for her since then though for a myriad of reasons. A big one, that many people have said, is that in television appearances, she was just not "likable." Females candidates sometimes suffer that perception worse than men, and is a big part of the reason why Hillary Clinton never managed to become President (though she continues to publicly say it may not be to late for her to get in again.) Harris was gambling everything on a strong showing in Iowa, but after an audit of her campaign finances, the  money was not there for her to continue. Perhaps by leaving the race, especially before the prospect of being embarrassed on a California primary ballot, she might have a chance of still somehow getting on the ticket or more likely a Cabinet position if a Democrat wins the election.

There are still other women running for President, especially Harris's fellow Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar (Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard whom many pointed to as the person who first seriously damaged Harris released a gracious statement about her), and Cory Booker and Deval Patrick are the remaining black candidates. (Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother.) Nonetheless, it know looks like based on the qualifications for the December debate, all candidates on stage for the Democrats will be white (per DNA tests for Elizabeth Warren), and this is something that greatly troubles the party in their push for diversity. It is hard to remember a GOP debate in recent cycles without Ben Carson or Herman Cain filling a spot. Without Booker or Patrick or Andrew Yang or Julian Castro (or Gabbard), the stage will be all white. Some have even quipped that that there will be more billionaires than people of color on stage. That would be true, thanks to Tom Steyer, even as Michael Bloomberg will not be taking part. I will expect the DNC to finesse their rules to indeed put lower polling minority candidates on that debate stage. Still though, it is virtually a given that the next Democrat Presidential nominee will be Caucasian. With each passing week, more and more people are taking the Pete Buttigieg campaign seriously. There is some serious angst on the far left about him with conspiracy theories about him having worked for the CIA.

There was much else in the news this week regarding impeachment proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee, a likely terrorist attack on a U.S. base yesterday in Florida, and all sorts of controversy stemming from Donald Trump's trip to London to represent out country before NATO.

Amid the daily news cycles, even in this Holiday Season, there is much anger out there in the political arena. We see this with Trump's Tweets and even those of his wife when they tried to spin an illy advised joke about their son's name by a professor in the impeachment hearing to their advantage by comparing it somehow to child abuse. We saw anger by Congressional defenders of Trump in the hearings as well and by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom after announcing that she will allow formal Articles of Impeachment to be drafted, took public umbrage "as a Catholic" to a question about whether or not she "hated" Donald Trump. (Clearly her Catholic values would have to be off-limits though in discussing her views on late term abortion for example.)

There was a weird and uncomfortable demonstration of anger though at a Town Hall meeting in Iowa by the increasingly weird and uncomfortable Joe Biden campaign. On the surface, things continue to look good for Biden, who leads many national polls, and has been gaining some endorsements, including that of former nominee John Kerry, whom at least we can now cross of the list of potential senior citizens attempting to make a Presidential comeback.

An 83 year old unidentified retired Iowa farmer stood up to ask Joe Biden about his son Hunter's involvement in Ukraine. He got some facts wrong, which Biden would have been ok in pointing out, but he angrily told the man he was a "damn liar."  I know family is a sensitive issue, but he should have had a better response than that. The conversation apparently went on with this Iowa voter expressing concern about Biden's age. The candidate then challenged the man to a push-up contest or to go running and seemed to call the portly gentleman "fat" which his campaign has said was actually "facts." He also challenged him an IQ test.  For decades, Biden upon getting angry has challenged voters or reporters to IQ tests or declared that he had a higher IQ than people challenging him. This was not the friendly "Uncle Joe." This was the mad dog Joe Biden of the 2012 Vice Presidential debate. Perhaps some angry liberals will appreciate it, but I think it was a bad look all around. The bottom line is that he has angrily sparred with voters in similar matter as a Presidential candidate going all the way back to 1987 and has not seemed to learn the lesson of his past campaign failures.

Afterwards, the man had some pretty harsh things to say about Biden and supporters of the former Vice President claim he is clearly a Trump supporter to bring up Hunter and Ukraine and Biden's fitness. In actuality, the man is apparently a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, whom even after all of this said he would still vote for Biden over Donald Trump. He referred to the current President as a "first class asshole." If only he led with that, perhaps Biden would have been nicer.

Instead, Biden revealed (not for the first time) a bit of the ugly side of his personality and the pressures upon him as a candidate this time around. As mentioned, some may like anyone who pushes back in a fiery way on someone who harshly questions them. Those who love Donald Trump surely do. This was a very Trumpian episode (and again, far from the first time) by Biden. Is this the best way to unite the country to both defeat Trump and better the unity of the nation afterwards?


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