Saturday, February 23, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 8

This week, one of the pressing questions of Campaign 2020 was answered. Independent socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is once again running for President as a Democrat. This time, far more people start out in the campaign knowing whom he is, but he will have far many more opponents than he faced in the 2016 cycle. Nonetheless, polls show Sanders at or near the top nationally and especially in his neighboring state of New Hampshire. His campaign announcement brought with it the largest dollar haul of any candidate to date, so Sanders in many ways has more going for him than he faced in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, where he ultimately exceeded all expectations.

Bernie is one B to fall into place, but what about Biden, Beto, Bloomberg, Brown, Bullock, and Bennet? Does deBlasio count as a B name? Clearly, the field is huge, with just so many B names in the field. There is also a Butigieg and Booker in the field already. The former and Bernie Sanders are the among the three whitee males to have officially gotten in thus far, with Bernie being one of two straight dudes.

From an ideological and messaging standpoint, it becomes clearer each week that the Democrat candidates believe they have to run to the left in order to win the nomination. That might ultimately prove to be the most successful strategy but it is also something that may hurt them in facing Donald Trump or any other Republican. This is something that Democrats have to be wrestling with at the moment, at least internally.

In a continuation of a theme, there are a lot of people out there who clearly want to take down Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. The (anonymous) tales of working for her as a staffer are continuing to increase and the other day, the New York Times published a particularly brutal account of what it is like to work for the Senator. The anecdote about a salad and a comb is particularly disturbing. Does the "average voter" care about this though or how Klobuchar treats the people that work for her? I happen to think they should, but the last couple years have definitely shown Americans these days are willing to overlook a lot for more selfish objectives.

Speaking of selfishness, the biggest story of the week involved actor Jussie Smollett and the City of Chicago. This is all also happening now on the eve of the first round of an open race for Mayor in which over a dozen candidates are competing for what is certain to be two runoff spots. I happen to find Mayoral politics a bit more interesting than the early stages of the Presidential contest at the moment.

In any event, late last month, the actor from the Fox show "Empire" who is African-American and openly gay claimed he was attacked by two masked white men wearing red "MAGA" style hats who called him names, beat him up, poured a substance on him, and placed a rope around his neck. He also claims they yelled, "this is MAGA country." Donald Trump probably received about 7 percent of the vote in this particular Chicago neighborhood. This also all supposedly happened at 2 am in subzero weather.

I was a bit skeptical of this story from the start, thinking it smelled of a hoax, but I knew that law enforcement had a lot of tools at their disposal and would be in good place to find out the truth. Weeks later, despite Smollett's insistence that he was a victim of  a hate crime (which just about every prominent Democrat and Donald Trump himself denounced), the evidence seems to suggest that the whole thing was staged by Smollett, less about his desire to make an anti-Trump political statement, but to increase his public profile to get a raise on his tv gig.

Just disgraceful all around, while of course understanding that Smollett, who has now been charged with a felony, deserves his day in court. It is ridiculous though that he has not taken the earliest steps to apologize for such a brazen lie that he knew would divide people across the country and waste the resources of Chicago, which happens to have a serious violent crime problem.

Redemption is possible for all sorts of people in America, but it will be a long time before Smollett is ever forgiven by many people, including his supposed allies who believed or wanted to believe his story. For now, though he has to worry about the prospect of facing prison time.

Of course, this was another example of the left jumping to conclusions or advancing a fake narrative against Trump supporters in order to tarnish them as evil people. Doing so only helps the Trump forces and makes it more difficult to point out the very real problems that due exist as they relate to what Trump stands for and the beliefs held by many of his most ardent followers.

Is America likely to learn anything from this Jussie Smollett story? Sadly, probably not. We will continue to march towards the vote in 2020 polarized and distrusting of each other. Even more unfortunate is that is exactly the far left and Donald Trump himself prefer, not even to mention those in Moscow who wish us ill.


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