Saturday, January 12, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 #2

What is now the longest government shut-down in American history continues as both Donald Trump and the Democrats' Congressional leaders refuse to budge.  Earlier this week, the current President gave his first ever Oval Office address to the nation and was pretty bad at it. Immediately, after, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer followed, and were probably even worse. This is the best America has to offer?

So, as the fight continues over "The Wall" and what exactly will constitute a "Wall", we reaching the point where Trump will declare extraordinary executive powers to build "The Wall" without Congress's financial authorization as part of a "national emergency." Needless to say, had Barack Obama tried that, conservatives would have called for him to be jailed. If Trump does it though, many on the right will applaud, completely oblivious to the extent a future liberal President might go to use that same power to suit their own domestic goals. The reality though is that the "national emergency" route is a cop-out of sorts. It will immediately get tied up in the courts, and no "Wall" will begin, as the government will then re-open such as Chuck and Nancy wish. Trump's people probably see that as his best option at this point.

It is no secret that literally dozens of Democrats want to be that next President who just might use executive authority in a sweeping away. Some Democrats though have begun to announce that they will not run in 2020. Among them are former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, the bronze winner of sorts for Democrats from the last cycle. He has instead called for now former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke to run as a new generation Democrat. In future weeks, as O'Rourke's plans become more clear, we will look into his political celebrity and serious standing towards the front of the pack if he runs. California billionaire Tom Steyer also announced he will not run and will presumably continue running tv ads calling for Trump's impeachment.

Other Democrats are signaling they are definitely in though, through a variety of ways. On the last day of 2018, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced via a pre-packaged video that she was starting an Exploratory Committee. Basically, she is in, although her video and subsequent "livestream" of her awkwardly drinking a beer in her kitchen have been widely panned. While Warren has already gone to Iowa as a candidate, her political standing is believed to have taken a major hit after the revelation that despite her previous claims, she really does not have very much Native American blood after all.

This afternoon, one candidate entered the race in a traditional sort of way. An outdoor rally was held in San Antonio, as the city's former Mayor Julian Castro announced he is indeed running "for the future." He also served as Obama's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, though few Democrats could probably physically tell him apart from his twin brother Joaquin, the Congressman from the Texas city.

I think Castro will have an uphill battle in his quest for the nomination. While he is a prominent Hispanic Democrat, the last I had heard was that he does not even speak Spanish. I would be shocked if he has not taken intensive lessons to learn the language since. His candidacy will be complicated more than anybody else is O'Rourke, who hails from El Paso, Texas gets in. The Anglo O'Rourke definitely does speak Spanish and just ran a competitive statewide U.S. Senate race. Many people believe the politician with the childhood nickname of "Beto" is Latino himself.

By the time January is over, other Democrats will have declared their intentions. It sure looks like controversial Hawai'i Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is in as well as Washington Governor Jay Inslee. John Delaney, now a former Maryland Congressman has literally been running for over a year and few even know it.

How long will it take for some of the older Democrats in the field to make their final decisions? Those include Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has received all sorts of negative headlines about how his progressive 2016 team apparently had rampant sexual harassment of female staffers. Will billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor who nominally served as a Republican, make a bid for the nomination of the party he has since rejoined? Is anyone out there actually clamoring for Hillary Clinton?

There are two  other names worth mentioning this early on as the field is just beginning to take shape. Signs are clear that California Senator Kamala Harris, who is both African-American and Indian-American is putting together a campaign. She will be formidable, at least on paper. How she will perform with voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina remains to be seen.

Then, there is former Vice President Joe Biden. At 76 years old, stories in the media continue to come out suggesting that he is indeed very serious about running. Can someone like him still be nominated by his party? I think there will be some obstacles in his way if he runs, but based on name recognition at the moment, he is the "front-runner." I also believe that despite what Donald Trump and his fans may suggest, he may be the candidate they least want to run against.


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