Saturday, August 01, 2020

Race for the White House # 83

94 Days Until Election Day

This upcoming week, we are supposed to know whom Joe Biden has selected to run with him as Vice President. Maybe. Sometime within the next two weeks though. Throughout American history, only a relative handful of people who had been Vice President have had this particular decision to make. It is somewhat unknown just how the final interviews will be conducted and if Biden will be able to conduct them in person due to our social distancing (or socialist distancing as this case may be to some.) In previous cycles, reporters might be staked out at the Biden home in Delaware or the activities of the various frontrunners would be closely watched.

The job seems like one worth having. For one thing, Biden is ahead of Donald Trump in the polls and even if the general public is not yet totally sold that on the possibility of Trump losing, most "insiders", including Republicans expect the incumbent to lose. That would make the person selected Vice President, and in this case, historically, the highest serving woman in the history of the United States government.

Then, there is the fact that Biden is nearly 78 years old. Even if he serves out his term as President, he would be 81 at the time of the next campaign and not a lot of people expect that he would actually run at that advanced age. Nonetheless, Biden seems to think he would. However, if the spot at the top of the ticket is open, an incumbent Vice President would seem to have a lot of support within the party in regards to 2024.

Last week I talked about several of the possible women Biden is looking over. (If this were Tinder, he would have to "swipe left" though.) In some regards it sound like a decision to be made off a restaurant menu. Duck(worth) or Bass? Include a side of Rice? We can understand that the jockeying is well under way within the various political camps of these ladies. Yesterday afternoon, a story broke that 10 years ago, Karen Bass, who has emerged as a surprise finalist, spoke at the opening of the big Scientology "church" opening in Los Angeles and was effusive in praise of Scientologists, a religious group that many people, including former members regards as a dangerous cult. Bass has said that she herself is not an adherent of the religion, but was speaking in general terms. A lot of people are now saying this all but rules out Bass. Where did this video clip suddenly come from?

If I had to guess, I would say that Kamala Harris is the most likely person to be selected. At a recent speech, Biden had visible talking points in which he was prepared to defend against the allegations of a rift between the two. Still, people associated with Biden, such as former Senator Chris Dodd, who has a role in this selection process, are said to believe that Harris is too ambitious and showed no remorse over basically accusing Biden of being a segregationist on the decades old school busing issue.. decades ago. She was said to even laugh and say "that's politics." It indeed may be, but I do not think it is a good thing for our current political system if so. She basically called Biden a racist in a planned attack, without actually meaning it, but just believing that the ends might justify the means. I think that is part of the political environment that helped produce Donald Trump and enables him to this day. Ultimately, it will be up to Joe and Jill Biden as to if they can look past this, but I would not blame them if they are upset at Harris. If not the California Senator, or the California Congresswoman with the new Scientology problem, maybe Susan Rice? She only has a son who was a vocal Trump supporter and nobody in the Democrat Party is going to ever have an issue with that, right?

This election is being held in 94 days no matter what Trump does to stir up confusion or any claim that he could possibly delay it. Many have always said this is a card he would eventually play, and with horrible economic news that came out on Thursday, he was quick to drop this bomb on Twitter. He seems to be deliberately claiming that "absentee ballots" which he has used before and plans to use again this November is different than "mail in voting." They really are not. More people voting by mail in ballots may indeed bring up some legitimate concerns, but during a pandemic, we probably have to be more accepting of the reality and take steps to mitigate potential issues. The more Trump casts doubts on the entire process, the less likely his supporters may be to use that way to vote and besides hurting him, the down ballot result on other Republicans could be pretty bad. Plus, it just seems now like Trump may be throwing in the towel by claiming the election will be "rigged." This statement was roundly criticized or dismissed across the board, even among usual Trump apologists in Congress. We can be sure he will re-vist it again though.

Other big events this week were a circus like House Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in which politicians from both sides pretended to question Attorney General Bill Barr, but instead mostly  just made partisan soundbites for their respective bases. Republicans continue to try to target Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Coronavirus, seemingly only because the very existence of this disease and the effects on our economy are somehow a reminder of the current bad times under Trump.

Then, there was the week of events that made up the funeral for the late Congressman John Lewis. At Ebeneezer Baptist Church, moments of incredibly moving tributes and music were interspersed with partisan political attacks. Former Presidents Bill Clinton (who also faced some potentially bad headlines this week on another matter)  and George W. Bush also spoke, but it was former President Barack Obama who spoke at the most length and most force. Democrats loves it and backers of Trump were quite upset. This is a sign though that Obama clearly wants part of his legacy to be helping in the defeat of Trump and he is likely to be more visible than he has down the stretch of this campaign trying to get his former Vice President over the finish line.

For now, many supporters of Trump still do not believe the polls that he is losing. Yes, polls have been wrong before, but in the case of an incumbent whom everyone has already made their mind up over, it is hard to see how things will change. Trump's heavily paid campaign brass, including a recent shift at the top job, are telling him that the polls will improve after Labor Day. If they do not though, and a sizable defeat appears on the horizon, Trump does not seem like the kind of person who would think of other candidates down the ballot and their need to protect their own election hopes. Trump will care nothing of them nor their political fate.


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