Saturday, August 13, 2016

Race for the White House- Volume 85

86 Days Until Election Day

The Olympic Games are in full swing, and like the past three election cycles, American swimmer Michael Phelps is winning Gold Medals and making headlines. In contrast though, this Presidential election cycle is easily like nothing that has ever occurred before and deserves a medal of its own for shamefulness.

As usual, there is not enough time to cover everything and hardly the correct words to convey the scenario. All that talk last Saturday about how Donald Trump was getting "back on message?" Well, that seems to be out the window. For all intents and purposes, this should have been another bad week for Hillary Clinton, with increasing discussion about her emails, and specifically the relationship between her time as Secretary of State and her role with the Clinton Foundation, alongside her former President husband. Economic news in America is bad and international fire spots continue to burn. The controversial father of the Orlando nightclub terrorist somehow showed up this week, right up front on stage at a Clinton rally in Florida. People are incredibly concerned about crime in the U.S., and yet Donald Trump continues to dominate the headlines, for the wrong reasons. Thus, Hillary Clinton is riding high in just about every poll that gets released and how it shows a snapshot of the race right now.

The main story this week occurred at a North Carolina rally when Trump, emphasizing the need to elect him to prevent Hillary Clinton from nominating Supreme Court Justices, said that "Second Amendment people" might possibly be able to stop her from putting those judges on the court. He said it in the same sentence after which it was clear that he was talking about her election as something that would have theoretically already occurred. So, to just about anyone listening at the time, it sounded like he was coyly saying that maybe supporters of the legitimate Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, may use their guns to ... I can't even write it. Whatever one thinks about Hillary Clinton, and I do not think much of her, it's just beyond deplorable. Maybe he was just saying they can shoot the judges? Maybe he was saying that Americans could hold an armed revolt against a federal government trying to take their guns away? No, I think he made an unplanned, and not serious, "joke" about assassinating a President.

This is about the 90th example of something that would proven to fatal to the campaign of any other candidate for any other office at any other time. I would be willing to maybe say this was just a gaffe from an unsophisticated candidate who often speaks very poor English, if it was not clear that he was making a joke at the time. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the night of easily dispatching his lunatic primary opponent, said it sounded like a "joke gone bad"  that should not have been said. A "joke gone bad?" Sounds like the entire Trump campaign. Eventually, Republican leaders need to find a way to renounce Trump once and for all.

In damage control, the campaign tried to say that he was merely calling for people who supported the 2nd Amendment to act at the voting booth, but that would have had more credence, if the campaign would have at least acknowledged that he spoke awkwardly and that he disavows all forms of violence. Instead, they said this was a made up controversy and that people did not hear what they really heard. Even if one is willing to say, as I am, that it was a "joke", that is being charitable to them for what was actually said. For the the first time ever, the Secret Service reportedly had to talk to a campaign of a Presidential candidate, who of course, also has Secret Service protection. Trump continues to put multiple lives at risk, including his own.

Also this week, Trump doubled down on rhetoric that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the "founders of ISIS." Of course, talking about how Administration policy may have emboldened ISIS is a legitimate campaign issue, and deserves far more than the way Trump diminishes all legitimate policy debate, but is he actually suggesting that Obama and Clinton are in cahoots with Islamic terrorists?

I was not even all that surprised from the line initially because I think he might have used it before and others, who share his Middle East worldview, have used that same sort of terminology about George W. Bush, and I consider it the kind of toxic political rhetoric that both sides are increasingly using, but Trump, when given the opportunity to state that he was just being rhetorical, said that he was literally saying that Obama and Clinton founded ISIS. Only days later did he say he was being "sarcastic" in the comments (which does not make sense linguistically either), but "not that sarcastic."

In the meantime, Trump is about to come out and do a rally in Connecticut, which is not remotely in play. This morning, I woke up, turned on CNN, and somewhat groggily listened to Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who somehow still has a job after suggesting that Obama Administration policies got Captain Humayan Khan killed in 2004, say that Obama got America into Afghanistan. Of course, we went into Afghanistan in 2001. How is Katrina Pierson not a national laughingstock? What is she possibly going to be able to do for a living in a few months? I am sure someone will pay her for... something.

Sort of an interesting development this week is that Trump is now talking more openly that he might lose the election, through theft or a "rigged system" but he seems almost resigned to losing now, which completely goes against his public image throughout his public life and in this campaign. He is saying he can go on a "long vacation" and inferring that after the election, if he is not President, he will still have a fabulous wealthy lifestyle. That ought to concern anyone who thinks he might actually be trying to win, or might win, a great deal. It also seems like he may very well be laying the groundwork to find an excuse to skip some, or all, of the upcoming Presidential debates.

Republican defections continue, with some moderates, and figures from past GOP Administrations now openly endorsing Hillary Clinton. Of course, there are many people, who like myself, do not support Clinton, opposing Trump and wanting him to quit, while there is still time. There was talk this week about how the RNC might choose to pull its resources and focus instead on Congressional races. That would be what I would advise. Trump has no chance of winning the White House, and does not deserve to. Trump said that if the RNC did that, he would stop funding the party. Trying to stem off talk of dissension, Quisling Chairman Reince Priebus appeared at a Trump rally yesterday.

This is still only August. What in the world is going to be said in October? I do think Republican leaders and Republican candidates are going to openly say the Presidential race is over long before November and that it is essential to elect other Republicans as a check on Hillary Clinton. I will continue to pray that Trump sees losing and disgrace in his short-term future and as his legacy, and drops out swiftly, because I think someone other than Trump or Mike Pence can actually still win the Presidency.

Finally, after having backed what feels like several candidates since this horrible cycle began, I guess I have a new one to support, although I probably will not get to see him on my general election ballot. Before this week, I have to admit I have never heard of Evan McMullen. Now, out of anyone running for President, the new Independent candidate, is easily the best option. The former CIA operative and U.S. House Republican policy advisor, launched his campaign, as an anti-Trump and anti-Clinton conservative option. Obviously, I do not think he has any chance to win, but I like what I read from his statements. He is advocating conservatism and is correct in saying that Trump is "inhuman" as it relates to his public life.

McMullen will be on some state ballots and that could prove to be significant. One place, will be Utah, where the Mormon candidate has some past ties. As many know, Mormons just do not like Donald Trump, and for good reason. Mitt Romney, (a Mormon himself) won the state in a rout, and polls have showed recently that Trump is just barely ahead there. This conservative Independent candidacy, if given attention there, could very well stop Trump from winning Utah, the most Republican state in the country. Trump publicly acknowledged this week that he has a "tremendous problem" in Utah, and seemed to infer that it was due to Mormons. He said it could cost him the whole election and cost the country the Supreme Court. If you really mean it Trump, the solution is simple, get out of the race. Let someone else take your place at once. The opposition to you on the right will be a thing of the past and we can do what is possible to unite and stop Hillary Clinton. You seem to actually want to get her elected though.

Godspeed, Mr. McMullen. You will almost certainly never be President, and might never hold any public office, but at a time when others have taken a pass, you have seen that desperate times required someone to be courageous and stand for what needs to be stood for. History may not forget it.


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