Saturday, June 25, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 78

The pre-convention portion of the summer can often involve a bit of a lull in Presidential politics, but this year is so unorthodox, there always seems to be things to dissect.

Both presumptive nominees are said to be vetting running-mates. As of now, I would predict that Hillary Clinton will select Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Some other reports have a couple of different "Final Threes" on the list along with Kaine. One had Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and California Congressman Xavier Becerra. I tend to think that list is more likely than the one that is said to obtain Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and HUD Secretary Julian Castro of Texas. For Republicans, the names most mentioned for Donald Trump are Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and former Senator Scott Brown. It appears that Trump does not really respect New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enough to have him on the list. I think Sessions or Gingrich will eventually be the pick, but who knows?

The week began with sort of a splash with the somewhat unexpected news that Trump had suddenly fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. This was said to have been the result of infighting in the campaign and came at the urging of Trump's adult children. Apparently ultimatums were involved and Lewandowski was escorted out of Trump Tower by security. Some thought he might now fire away at the campaign that had fired him, but he seems to be remaining loyal to the team and will be a pro-Trump voice on CNN. The campaign is now in the hands, to whatever extent Trump allows anyone to run things, by Paul Manafort, an old Republican hand, who is said to have the task of increasing the viability and professionalism of the campaign for a general election. There has been so much talk about just how little fundraising Trump has done and the overwhelmingly massive cash on hand advantage held by Hillary Clinton. This, along with continued bad poll numbers for Trump, seem to go against all the narratives he used in the primary, mainly that he was very rich and a winner. All of this is leading to speculation as to just how much Trump really wants it and can convention delegates bound to Trump, be somehow free to vote their "conscience" at the Cleveland convention and produce another more viable nominee.  I can only hope so.

The metrics of the race are still overwhelmingly in Clinton's favor, although she continues to struggle to connect with large segments of the population. Bernie Sanders is now only sort of running an active campaign, and may have indeed overplayed his hand by waiting so long to formally endorse Hillary Clinton. They no longer seem to need him as much. The left is heavily invested in beating Trump and are hoping that the gun control debate, in the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack, will work to their advantage.

The latter part of the week saw news from the United Kingdom become a huge priority. It just so happens that Donald Trump was overseas in Scotland, when the somewhat surprising Brexit vote occurred, in which the UK decided to leave the European Union. This had the effect of a massive drop in the stock market across the pond as well as the news that Prime Minister David Cameron would be resigning and will likely be replaced as Conservative Party Leader by Boris Johnson (who resembles Trump).

It is not worth delving too much into the Brexit debate, but suffice to say this is yet another example of a candidate or a cause endorsed by Barack Obama to suffer a defeat at the polls. Trump, on the other hand, came out in favor of Great Britain leaving Europe, harkening some of the themes of his "America First" campaign. He was in Scotland, not to meet government figure or to try to establish foreign policy gravitas, but to shill for his golf course there. The timing just seemed to work out though, and he is apt to do, he gloated about the results, and congratulated Scotland, even though that portion of the UK voted to stay in the EU. Trump either just does not get it or does not care. It's ridiculous either way.

Still though, after a week of talk about how Trump was absolutely imploding, some are now wondering whether the British result, a decision in favor of populism, against the wishes of the elite, with issues related to trade and immigration part of the equation, might also mean that the polls in the U.S. could be wrong and the pro-Trump attitude may be stronger than expected. The divided 4-4 Supreme Court ruling this past week upholding a lower court ruling against Obama's executive amnesty on immigration also points to just how important this election is to the future of the Supreme Court. Regardless of that, I can never support Donald Trump.

The unfortunate result of all this is that Clinton is likely to be elected President, and will have tremendous impact on the judiciary. Nonetheless, the current events in both America and around the world, which have made something like Donald Trump possible should cause a lot of people to be uncertain about just what might be happening this year.


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