Saturday, April 25, 2020

Race for the White House # 69

For people around the world, it likely feels like the weeks are running into each other and that is how it feels in doing these write-ups. Nonetheless, the Presidential election continues to get closer with each week, although it is becoming increasingly possible that this will not look like any modern campaign we have ever seen. Big nominating conventions? Campaign rallies? Face to face Presidential debates? All of that may gone from this political season. Campaigns may even change forever. I used to love all these "theater" aspects of politics, both from history and from the campaigns I live through. Presidential politics definitely took a horrible turn for me four years ago and nothing has changed since, so I guess I might be more fine than some with saying farewell to it all.

Of course, democracy is important and this election will be critical. I cannot vote for Joe Biden as a matter of personal conscience, but I also cannot envision myself saying one word to try to talk anyone else out of doing so. The current President, Donald Trump, continues to demonstrate on a daily basis that he is in over his head and even if that were just all it was, he is morally unfit, by virtue of his ceaseless lying and self-serving. At a time of crisis, this is the last thing we need. The performance of Trump at the daily White House press briefings may be a reason why battle ground state polls out the past week show Biden in a good position. For his part, Biden continues to speak awkwardly from his basement, but only political junkies and die-hard partisans really even think about him these days. The best thing Joe Biden has going for him politically is that he is not Donald Trump. The Front-Porch campaign of William McKinley from 1896 may be getting a socially distancing update.

Nonetheless, Trump's overall job approval ratings remain very static. People made up their minds about him a long time ago and are mostly sticking to their corners. For some people, there is literally nothing he can ever do to win them over or to allow them to praise him. At some extent, that is unfortunate and dangerous for democracy, but at least they have the general principle that DJT is a rotten SOB to fall back on, that I find it hard to argue with. For others, there is literally nothing Trump can ever do or so to cause them to lose his support. Whether they genuinely like these things about Trump or are simply rock-solid in their hatred of his political opponents, they are with him until the end, no matter what the price.

The last election was pretty close though and decided on the margins in a handful of states. Trump and his team really have no margin for error. That is why political advisors for the incumbent may have prevailed on him for now to severely cut his public exposure at the press briefings. Can he stand to not get the attention though? Will the reality show host violate sound political advice for the sake of tv ratings? After all, reality show host is basically what he remains to this day, which is why he cannot help his inner con-man by contradicting the medical experts with whom he shares a podium and who infers nutty things such as ingesting Lysol may cure Covid 19. When cornered, he pulls out an old trick and says he was being "sarcastic" , yet in the next breath speaks about what he said as if he wants it to be taken seriously. Does America get it about this person? Most do, but some still choose to overlook it for other reasons.

The best thing Trump had going for him in his reelection campaign was a strong economy. Now, with the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression, that card is out of the deck. To be fair, Trump cannot be blamed personally for the current economic calamities, but he is the person at the helm of the ship of state. This is of course why Trump and his backers so desperately want to "re-open" the economy, even as polls show a vast majority of Americans worry we may do so too soon and suffer the life and death consequences because of it. Mixed messages are galore. Trumpian Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ignored all advice and opened up large parts of his state's economy this week. Let us pray that he turns out to be more right than wrong, but even Trump, whom spends much time praising and encouraging the "re-open" protesters through Kemp under the bus on this and said he was premature. Any politician who does not understand the way loyalty works in Trump's world is an idiot.

Nonetheless, as the curve flattens, people are going to become gradually less scared of the virus, whether that is a mistake or not. Some states, such as my own, are extending stay at home orders and will be requiring masks at all public places, while other states will continue to loosen regulations. Americans for now continue to be willing to sacrifice in a necessary way, but let us be honest. A month from now, as June approaches, patience will be far thinner. People will be willing to take more risks, and eventually, we will have to try to find some balance between protecting the health of people from a virus and protecting the health and well-being of people from a radically altered society and shuttered economy. The measures we put in place were probably all necessary, but they are meant for a few months at most.

For now, the Coronavirus Pandemic will obviously continue to dominate cable news and political discussions. This is a positive thing for Joe Biden, for reasons already mentioned, but also for the fact that in any other time, there would be far more attention being paid to a woman named Tara Reade.

I do not know if Reade is telling the truth and I hope she is not, but she has claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Biden in 1993 when she was a staffer. Apparently, she told others at the time. Just yesterday, an old clip from Larry King Live was unearthed from that era in which Reade's late mother claimed that she had a daughter who was mistreated by a "prominent Senator." Many people who remain loyal to Bernie Sanders are talking about this as are creeps like Donald Trump Jr., who of course ignores the fact that his father has been accused (and all but admitted to) multiple acts of sexual assault.

I briefly talked about this development last week, but if times were "normal" in the political world, this story would have taken on much larger dimensions since. It should of course be pointed out that the Biden campaign is denying anything improper ever happened, and that Reade was a public backer of Bernie Sanders in this campaign. Still, her story appears to be more credible and more corroborated in regards to misconduct than sexual harassment allegations from a previous decade against Clarence Thomas ever were and certainly more so than the claims made decades later about a teenage Brett Kavanaugh.

The world of partisan politics being as is, led many on the left to not even question the veracity or motives of the accusers, nor did it matter if it actually happened. The allegations itself made against political conservatives were disqualifying and that was all that mattered. Many on the left will treat what is being alleged against Biden with complete silence and disregard. For my part, as has always been the case whether the accused is a Democrat or Republican, I just hope truth prevails.


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