Saturday, April 11, 2020

Race for the White House # 67

Every Saturday I continue to post these, but it feels more like we are in a race for something else.

While the number of deaths from the Coronavirus continues to climb, there is talk among experts that those might have or might soon peak as well as evidence of the "curve flattening" by smaller increases in hospitalizations in the mega-center of New York.

Of course social distancing remains in place and many government entities seem to be going even further in attempts to enforce it which is causing much paranoia among some in this country. Nevertheless, I am pleasantly surprised that Americans seem to be handling this situation as well as we are. Nothing is going to really change in terms of these restrictions for April, but maybe May will get a little bit better, and maybe June will bring some greater sense of normalcy. For me, my "new normal" will now be working at home and trying to do as much as I would have been able to do in the office in my living room. Good luck to me.

Also this week, voters risked death and other bad things to vote in Wisconsin. Somebody has to count those votes though , so while the Courts, all the way up to the SCOTUS determined the voting had to go on, it might take a while before we know results. This was an interesting situation. Every other state since mid March has delayed their primaries, but Wisconsin also had the first round of a Supreme Court general election. All sides involved in this come away looking pretty bad, but the Democrat Governor of the state tried to stop in person voting very late. Republicans, seeking a political opportunity to perhaps gain an edge in the local race, fought it, and ultimately prevailed. Time will tell who will win the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat and if the GOP does, if it will be worth it for them in the short term and long term to perhaps see many of there base voters, unafraid of a little coronavirus actually die because they went to vote.

This of course is also very much relevant to what might happen in November and if people will feel safe to vote. Democrats are calling for much more "mail-in" that presently exists while Donald Trump says that such a system is ripe with fraud and will allow Democrats to cheat him out of a second term. Of course, he recently voted by mail himself and numerous state Republican Parties actively encourage voting by mail and have for many years. This speaks to the cynicism of politics. Both sides want whatever advantage possible. Yes, there are legitimate concerns about so much mail in voting and the system is far from ideal, but both parties will want their voters to use it and the other side not to. Trump should at least just be honest about all that and so should Democrats.

Also this week, the general election sort of officially began, although our minds are on the larger news of the virus. After many of his voters likely risked their health to vote in Wisconsin, Bernie Sanders officially suspended his campaign and issued a nominal endorsement of Joe Biden. That means that out of the 30 plus Democrats to have run for President this cycle, Biden is officially the last donkey standing and is now the presumptive nominee of the party. Of course, some Democrats and many Republicans still speculate that somehow it might be taken away from him at a convention, real or virtual, by the now high profile Andrew Cuomo or perhaps someone else. I very much doubt it. As long as Biden remains healthy, he will be his party's nominee. Congratulations to him. I despise much of his politics and have criticism of some aspects of his personality, but he is at least a better person than Donald Trump. I cannot vote for him, but it will not matter in my states, and if some polls from this week are to be believed, Biden might already have a very large lead over the incumbent... or the race could basically be tied.

Some who wish to get their minds off quarantine and illness, will turn to the Veepstakes game. The Biden campaign is said to be actively working on selecting a runningmate and have a list of 11 that includes three frontrunners. Biden has already promised he will select a woman and that would be tough to back up from now. The "front-runners" are believed to include California Senator Kamala Harris, a one-term rival for the nomination, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who has been publicly targeted in Coronavirus press conferences by Trump as someone who seems to drive him crazy, and apparently Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Others believed to be in the "race" include Senators and former Presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. A name I heard this week was that of Atlanta Mayor Kesisha Lance Bottoms, an African-American, who might be appreciated by Biden because she endorsed him when there were still many other candidates in the race.

For the time being though, Trump will continue to dominate the national political headlines. He of course backed off his former musing of opening the country for tomorrow's Easter holiday, but he clearly is itching to get the news of unemployment and economic disaster out of the way. He falsely claims that he alone can "re-open the country" and said he will rely on his brain to do so. Of course, those matters are mostly up to Governors, who claim they will act upon evidence presented by medical experts. That is the right course of action and I hope that all Governors, Democrat and Republican, do the right thing. Nobody should open anything up too soon to help Trump and nobody should insist on longer shut-downs and more inconvenience to Americans, if unnecessary, just to hurt Trump.

As the crisis of Covid-19 will slowly become less of a public health issue, I believe all of this is likely to explode more and more in the realm of politics.


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