Saturday, October 10, 2020

Race for the White House # 93

24 Days Until Election Day

Four more blogs! Four more blogs! I do not think I can actually write much today in the way I wish I could, but as always, here are my "rantings."
I am trying to take some solace into the fact that counting today,  I only have to post these four more times on Saturdays. I will be glad to have this election over with. I will not "covering" all the fighting afterwards, but of course will have a post tallying my predictions when all the dust settles.
Last weekend, I was sort of wondering if maybe the unthinkable could happen. As I was hoping for Donald Trump and all victims of the coronavirus to recover, I was thinking that just maybe he could use this brush with mortality experience to at least become a somewhat better person. That maybe he would, in a Scrooge like fashion, have some understanding of the mistakes he made, both in terms of his own health, and his overall governance in this crisis. Foolish on my part I know realize.
By late Sunday afternoon, it was clear that Trump is the same Trump, only this time hopped up on powerful steroids that might have made him act and speak even more recklessly. There is also a chance though that such behavior is Trump's default. By the time he risked the safety of his Secret Service agents on Sunday to take a "joyride" around the hospital and wave to supporters, the message was apparent. I do not have the space or energy to speak about just how disgraceful all the behavior has been this week, from the dramatic removal of his mask upon immediately entering the White House from his hospital return to the way he said that Covid is not something to be afraid of and that it should not dominate people's lives. From day on
, this virus has been a nuisance for Trump and his agenda and not an unexpected challenge that must be met, which is the very definition of leadership.

He caught the virus and luckily (and understandably) has  access to the best possible healthcare and therapies as those responsible would move heaven and earth to keep him or any United States Commander in Chief alive and healthy as possible. His case is not similar to the situation faced by regular Americans who might catch the virus. So many have already died. Lives for just about everyone else has been disrupted in other ways, big and small. We cannot avoid this reality anymore than we can the enduring danger of Islamofacism. For Trump though, it is always solely about Trump. He claims to be "cured" and that what he says was but a brief illness was a "blessing" and that this is all basically no big deal. It is good that apparently he has recovered to a good extent physically but emotionally and spiritually the man is still quite sick.

There was also the Vice Presidential debate this past week. Mike Pence and Kamala Harris met in Salt Lake City, separated by 12 feet and plexiglass shields. There was also a cameo appearance by a fly which to many appeared to be the highlight. I think the fly had a stronger debate than either Trump or Joe Biden had the week before. Before this infamous fly landed on Pence's head, allowing people to draw in any symbolism they wished, it was noticeable that something was going on with one of Pence's eyes. The debate itself was at times combative but nowhere near as much of a debacle as the Presidential one. Both sides seem to think their candidate did well or at least what they needed to do for the team at this point in the race. Republicans were quick to claim that Pence dominated the debate, although semi-scientific snap polls of debate watchers said different. Perhaps Trump sets such a low bar, that it is easy for Pence to look credible by comparison. I actually think Harris was more successful in this debate, even as I am someone who disagrees with her on many,many issues. I am not sure why the Democrat ticket does not have a better answer prepared when they are pressed about "court packing." They deserve some criticism for dodging that question, but in this debate, Pence dodged a bunch more and came across as a bit desperate at times. Despite what many folks on the right want to publicly admit, the polls are very bad for the Trump campaign right now and it will take nothing short of a miracle comeback or a complete failure of the science of polling for him to win. It defies belief that Trump this week, perhaps while feeling the effects of "roid rage" Tweeted an end to the negotiations for a virus relief package before the election. How could that possibly help him politically? Of course, he has now tried to move back on the position.

Another casualty of the week is that the second Vice Presidential debate, the "Town Hall" format is now off. The Commission on Presidential debates decided that this encounter next week should be "virtual" with the candidates in separate locations and away from the audience because after all Trump still has a very contagious virus and we have received less than full information about his health. Trump objected of course saying he would not do a virtual debate, even though they are happening all across America this year and also occurred in 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon. A candidate trailing like Trump should want more debates and be willing to make this sort of concession, but considering how poorly Trump's last performance went over, this might be a good thing for them. Nonetheless, Trump and his team have gone off on the Commission in a big way saying they were unfair and corrupt. It might be true that not even any of the Republican members of the Commission support Trump politically, but that probably speaks most to Trump and the way he has fractured what was once the Republican Party establishment. 

There are so many other things about this week in politics that I could cover, but I am going to try to wrap this up shortly. In regards to Trump and the Republican Party, it has been a very weird five years plus for me. I cast my first vote in 1996 and to this date have never voted for a single Democrat in any partisan election. I requested an absentee ballot to be sent to my home this past week, and I assume I will get it in time to return by Election Day. I suppose I figure that maybe voting at home will make it easier to have a safe place to cry or vomit or anything else that might happen.

It is no secret that I have been Never Trump from the moment he came down an escalator. This week though, I saw him, still infected with a virus, walk up a flight of stairs at the White House, and from the Truman Balcony make a show of taking off his mask, even as staffers inside the building where so many have recently tested positive were working. Trump's face had all his orange makeup intact. Who put it on him? Certainly, he had to have his mask off for that too. Then, Trump held a salute, for a long time. No, not because he was returning one from a servicemember or because a flag draped casket was passing by, but because he wanted a photo-op. Indeed, he did a couple of things two times so that the cameras making a White House video during this campaign season would record it correctly.

A fake salute on a balcony, as if he were responding to an adoring throng. Maybe I do have "TDS" but that really angered me. This was not "Presidential." This was about Trump wanting to look like some sort of strongman who "beat" an illness many others could not. It looked like something Kim Jong Un would do or Saddam Hussein or Mussolini. That comparison in that moment would have been considered a good thing for Trump. There is no way I can actually fully explain my thoughts in an eloquent manner on this.

So, at that moment, I had a thought for the first time. Maybe I would actually vote for Joe Biden. Maybe it had come to that after so long resisting that I would do such a thing out of personal conscience over deeply held issue differences and the fact that Biden is already going to win my state easily anyway. Yes, I was going to "root" for Biden to win the election, (while fully anticipating an opposition of much of what his Administration would do substantively), but that I did not actually need to vote for him.

I know that I do not *need* to vote for him but if I want my one anti-Trump vote to be counted among the totals in a way that is most "officially" part of the 2020 records, that is my best option to do so. I have not made up my mind fully on this but am getting closer. I hope the Biden-Harris ticket makes some further effort to specifically reach out to disaffected Republicans like me. There is more that they can do and I hope they do. I find it interesting and notable that during the debate, Harris mentioned that seven members of George W. Bush's Cabinet supported their ticket. I bet the Democrats never expected to talk that up, but I am glad they did. I will see what happens.


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