Saturday, October 05, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 40

Impeachment in the air, cries of treason, heart attacks, speculation of epic comebacks, by departed characters, allegations of cougarism; this week in Presidential politics was like a soap opera.

For Democrats, we know that Elizabeth Warren likely did not actually have an affair with a young Marine bodybuilder as alleged by alt-right grifters with a history of pushing hoaxes, although it might help her image a bit if people thought it was true. We do know now that Bernie Sanders, the oldest of all Presidential contenders, suffered a heart attack this week in Nevada. Thankfully, the episode was relatively mild and the Senator has now been released from a hospital and is recuperating at home in Vermont. The campaign seemed to go to some lengths though to avoid confirming the diagnosis until it was absolutely necessary.

For now, Sanders is saying he will be among those taking part in the next debate this month, and indeed some headlines this week showed that he was the top fundraiser among all Democrat candidates. Already lagging in some polls though, this medical scare cannot be considered a good thing and many will speculate that Sanders might exit the race. If that happens, the burgeoning Warren campaign (which also raised more money than perceived front-runner Joe Biden) should benefit. This incident with Sanders, which was to some extent captured on camera, when he took the rare step of asking for a chair during a campaign event, is also bound to raise questions surrounding the health of all the septuagenarians running in both parties, including the incumbent and the former Vice President.

Mostly though, this week was about the back and forth in Washington D.C. involving the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats. Donald Trump and his allies are of course firing back with both barrels accusing opponents of "treason" and taking part in a "coup." He is not acting like someone who is welcoming all this for political reasons. His rhetoric is only likely to get more toxic and the divisions between those who love and hate Trump will only grow more heated.

Indeed his behavior has become more brazen this past week. Some will argue that he has committed several impeachable offenses while speaking on live television. If it were any other President at any other time, that would have been considered a given. Instead, Trump seems to feel that if he doubles down on his position, then people will think his behavior is normal. He continues to insist he was right to ask Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter and now has publicly asked communist China to investigate them as well. (This week he sent out a laudatory Tweet congratulating China on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Communists coming to power. Does he have any idea what exactly that has meant for China and the world?)

At this point regardless of all the talk about whom exactly the whistleblower was and what they were motivated by and whom they might have conspired with and who knew what when, etc, etc, it seems pretty obvious that Trump actually did what people are upset about. He asked foreign governments to produce political dirt on the person considered his most likely 2020 political opponent.

For some Trump backers, such an action is totally fine and in fact something to like about him. I find that mind boggling. There is no way that any of them would have ever said that about any previous political figure. To some others in the Republican Party, there is a concession that what Trump did was improper but that it does not rise to the level of an impeachable act and that we should be cautious in how it is treated. Few in the GOP have been willing to go as far as Utah Senator Mitt Romney in saying that it was "wrong and appalling." For that, Trump has been attacking Romney on Twitter by calling him a "pompous ass" and whether sarscatically or not, calling for his impeachment.

This will continue to play out. Democrats are becoming more emboldened and they also seem to have some political knives out for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who initially lied about being on the Trump call with Ukraine. Vice President Mike Pence, to his discredit, but in no surprise, is defending Trump on this publicly, and some on the left seem to think he can be brought into this whole mess too. Obviously, if Trump leaves office, Pence becomes President. Some though have visions of a President Pelosi and are talking about this possibility that Pence might get impeached too.

Look, if there is any evidence that Pence did something illegal, than that is what should happen. However, there does not appear to be any actual evidence of that. Those who want Trump gone or at the minimum held Constitutionally responsible, should keep their eye on the target and not overreach. It would definitely run the risk of creating a backlash if Democrats without legitimate cause, tried to impeach two for the price of one in order to bring about an immediate change in the party that holds the White House.

Interestingly enough, Trump might welcome trying to drag Pence into all of this, just to save himself or muddy the waters. The Vice President should watch his back and remember that he is the only person in the Executive Department that cannot actually get fired. He took an oath to the Constitution not to Donald Trump. Today, there seems to be chatter that Trump and his elk might be looking to use rumored to be departing Energy Secretary Rick Perry as the fall guy on the Ukraine call. Could Perry have masterminded this all? Has anyone seem him debate?

Needless to say, this is all up in the air as to what will happen to the political fortunes of Donald Trump and yes, to Joe Biden as well. Democrats seem pretty convinced that the GOP will not be abandoning Trump in any way, shape, or form, but Trump supporters are now suggesting that former presidential candidates like Mitt Romney or John Kasich are looking to primary him and that means that Trump must be backed even stronger.

These same voices on the right are also convinced that Trump, by putting the focus on Biden, has ended any hope he has of becoming his party's nominee. I think that is way too premature to say, but I agree to the extent that the fundamentals of the nomination contest could work out for Elizabeth Warren. However, they seem convinced that the party elders are furiously looking for someone to replace Biden because they fear Warren cannot win. (For months many said that Michelle Obama would ultimately be nominated when the dust settled and the whole primary was for show.) Now, these predictors are saying that Hillary Clinton is preparing to run again or going back even further, John Kerry!

Honestly, both former Secretaries of State and failed Presidential nominees would probably jump at the nomination in a heartbeat if they could be given it. I do not see that happening though. Nonetheless, Colin Powell should maybe keep his phone nearby.


Post a Comment

<< Home