Saturday, June 27, 2020

Race for the White House # 78

In this unusual political year, it might be worth remembering that there is still a lot of time left for things to happen. In elections, those who look up at one point often finish down and vice versa. The end result of the 2016 Presidential election certainly was different than what almost everyone was expecting in June.

However, when an incumbent is involved, and especially a polarizing incumbent, it might be harder to etch a sketch the campaign. Right now, it looks like Donald J. Trump may be headed to a "huge" defeat. The entire Republican Party may suffer this November because of the drag of him on the ticket. All of this would lead Joe Biden, who is not exactly the world's most inspiring politician to be in the very lucky position of benefitting.

A week ago Saturday, people were preparing for a massive Trump reelection rally in Oklahoma. The rally was held and to be fair, there was a decent size crowd there by Covid 19 standards certainly. However, one could not help but notice the empty seats in the arena and the cancelled overflow event, because the crowd size was a definite underflow. The Trump campaign talked a big game about how may people would show up, only to become a laughingstock when the crowd was not nearly anywhere close. They blamed it inaccurately on protestors outside the arena and sought instead to focus on the large amounts of people who watched on television or online. Trump himself was said to be livid though. The "tickets reserved" may have all been part of a "trolling" operation by young people inside and outside of the United States to mess with the campaign. If so, it worked quite well.

Trump gave a rambling speech inside the Tulsa arena, as most supporters went without masks. He spent a considerable portion of a nearly two hour performance insisting that he can walk down a ramp and drink water. This was because of more trolling, done by the left and the media (often one in the same) regarding some curious video of him the week earlier at a commencement ceremony. While the facts of "something is wrong with Trump" may be overblown, I think the trolling is probably fair, because that is precisely what his campaign and his people did four years ago in regards to the health of Hillary Clinton and are actively doing now about Biden.

So, after all the divisive rhetoric before the sparse crowd and the subsequent mocking, Trump returned to the White House on Saturday night looking like a defeated man doing the Walk of Shame from Marine One, which his expensive red tie hanging loosely around his neck and carrying a crumpled MAGA hat. The next day, I could almost picture Trump taking a Sharpie to draw people into the empty blue seats of the arena from photos of the event. Since he would be doing this with a black Sharpie, he could claim they were all African-American supporters of his.

The polls right now look brutal for Trump, both nationally and in the states.Texas and Georgia appear to very much be in play for example. There is literally nowhere that is expected to be close where Trump is not apparently trailing. Speculation continues about campaign shakeups and reorganizing. Others in the party think that Trump just needs to be more focused and talk about the future and less about airing his personal grievances. Do they really think he can ever change? If the ship is going down, they are very much at risk of going down with it.

In the meantime, as the summer gets hotter, and Coronavirus cases rise rapidly in states south and/or west where it was previously thought to be an improved situation, there is much angst again in the country. At the rally, Trump said that the rise in cases are due to testing and he said he urged his people in government to "slow down the tests." That is a pretty remarkable statement and the White House defended it at first as a joke, as if the deaths of over 125, 000 Americans is funny, but then Trump himself said he was not joking. The messages continue to be mixed about what he really meant, but even if he did not actually order the stopping of tests, he made it very clear that he views this crisis about himself and his political standing above all else. He thinks that we would not be noticing the virus if there were no tests. That is like saying babies would stop being born without pregnancy tests being taken. We also now know that Trump himself has not spoken to the key medical and scientific people on his virus Task Force for weeks now, if not more.

I also notice far more now in the way of political division about face masks. Like most people, I do not like wearing a mask and wish I did not have to do so. However, it is the "law" where I live and most other places, so if I am going into a store, I know I have to wear one. I realize doing this may be less about me catching the virus as it is a sign that I am not trying, unintentionally of course, to give it to anyone else. This is sort of a social contract we all have with each other these days and most people get it, but the ardent fans of the Trump/Pence Administration seem to want to fight this, and they are not at all being discouraged by the President or Vice President.

Once again, for Trump, this is all about himself. He sees the mask as a sign of weakness and all his alleged germophobia aside, we now did not think much about protecting his health while cavorting with certain porn stars. He also sees people wearing masks as somehow being "against" him because they remind us of the virus and the dangers of it. He just wants to ignore this even exists and talk about a booming economy that is also a thing of the past. The medical experts in the federal government insist wearing masks makes a positive difference, yet Trump and Pence equivocate on that and certainly would never take part in any public demonstration of mask wearing as a sign of solidarity or influence. Joe Biden is frequently photographed with a mask on, which of course does not make him look any younger, but at least he is demonstrating responsibility.

We see viral videos of people refusing to wear masks inside of stores or declaring they have the right not to wear a mask for their own behavior. Others have bought into Trump's claims about the masks being political and are resisting in order to stand with him. Wearing a mask is "surrendering to the Marxists" they might claim. In their supposed pursuit of individual liberty they do not want to be seen as "lemmings" who follow government orders. Freedom is great and nobody is suggesting one has to wear a mask at home or when not around strangers,but being smart and considerate of your fellow citizens is an even better virtue as far as I am concerned.

Speaking of smart, what are the smart people in the Republican Party thinking these days? I know this has been a question that has been around since the last Presidential election as well. Then, it looked like Trump would lose and the party would have to move on afterwards. Most were preparing for that. He won though, and it has been a wild ride since. Now, as the incumbent, he is even further behind and there has to be fear that the political piper will have to be paid. Is Trump himself grasping just how much danger he is to losing in a landslide to Biden, which he would have to consider the ultimate embarrassment?

The man has declared financial bankruptcy multiple times before. Could he possible declare political bankruptcy and quit this reelection race in order to save face? I think it is unlikely to happen but also believe that any substitute Republican nominee would at least have a better chance of victory against Biden than Trump currently seems to. That is why Democrats should not want Trump to quit. Right now, he might politically be just where they want him.


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