Saturday, October 17, 2020

Race for the White House # 94

17 Days Until Election Day
We have reached the Final Countdown to the most unusual Presidential campaign season in American history. What do we have to look forward to in terms of October Surprises? Already, we have seen the incumbent President contract Covid 19, but he is now out on the campaign trail once again giving lengthy  remarks to outdoor crowds with many maskless participants. His opponent, Joe Biden, speaks far less frequently, and to basically non existent cars. He has done a couple rallies where people stay in their car and beep their horns in approval. If one came from outer space or as a time traveler, they might look at the optics of this race and think that Trump is headed for a big win, with enthusiastic support, over a hapless opponent. Indeed, to many Trump die-hards, that seems to be what they expect. However, the truth is far different. All indication are that with a little over two weeks to go, and with millions of Americans having already voted, Biden is headed for not only a win, but one of the largest for any challenger in American history. Republicans in the know around the country are fearing the worst and preparing themselves for a new landscape.

I am not going to attempt to go into detail about what transpired this past week. Frankly, I do not have the energy or desire to dwell on it. We saw Supreme Court confirmation hearings though, dueling town hall meetings in lieu of a scuttled Presidential debate which was suppose to take place under similar circumstances (and which perhaps has oddly ruined the career of the main faces of C-SPAN), and shadowy allegations, likely being pushed by Russia, of the former Vice President's troubled son Hunter involving crack, hookers, and potentially highly illegal kickbacks to his father.

Let us look at the final topic first. There is no doubt that Hunter Biden has had a troubled life and likely has led to significant headaches for his famous father. People remark that Joe Biden is not as "fast" as he used to be, and attribute it to age or perhaps senility. I think it is probably more due to the pain of losing his son Beau several years ago and having to endure the difficulty placed upon him by Hunter in recent years. Clearly, Joe Biden loves his children unconditionally. That is a good thing, but he also has shown a very thin skin publicly whenever one is criticized. Apparently, these emails, abandoned on a computer left to some legally blind technician wound up in the hands of Rudy Giuliani and eventually the New York Post. Trump acolytes have been salivating, because if what is said in them in regards to Joe Biden is true, would indeed be scandalous, but there is much to be desired about the background of the entire situation and frankly whether people would care or not. Perhaps Hunter Biden, in the depths of his drug addiction, did indeed use his father's name a lot and make all sorts of promises, but that does not mean that Joe Biden himself was complicit. The fact of the matter is the Russian misinformation has been a major part of the last two campaigns, all on behalf of Donald Trump, and Giuliani, once "America's Mayor" is not an honorable actor in our democracy at this stage of his life. Besides, the adult Trump kids are not exactly model citizens either.
The Supreme Court hearings were somewhat interesting and very conflicting to me. As stated before, I stand by my conviction, that based on prior precedent,  it is unfair for Trump to name a replacement for a dead Justice this close to an election. However, Republicans control the Senate, for now, and this nomination seems likely to pass before the election with perhaps 51 votes. Those watching the hearings probably came away more scared than ever before of Amy Coney Barret. As a conservative, I really liked her and was very taken by her intelligence and poise throughout the entire process. She is someone I would very much like to see on the Court, but not under these circumstances. I do not think Democrats came across well in their questioning of her, but at least they have yet, for now, attempted a Kavanaugh smear Hail Mary. Clearly, they were chastened by what happened two years ago. It is amazing though that the Senator Kamala Harris that I was impressed with as she took on Mike Pence in a Vice Presidential debate, came across as desperate as she did to me, in her questioning of Judge Barrett.

The bottom line seems to be though that if Democrats control the White House and both Houses of Congress, they will "pack the court" and thus this will backfire on conservatives. I said weeks ago now, to be wary of this action for precisely that reason. Biden is an institutionalist who rightly opposes such a power move, but his party is going to demand it and late this week he first indicated that he might be willing to accept it, and pledged to state a position clearly before the Election. I think his campaign, while riding as high as they may be, has handled that poorly. They should just be honest about the fact that they will pack the Court, if they can, as a means of political payback. Ducking and dodging makes them look Trumpian. If nothing else, they should use it as a threat against nervous GOP Senators who are being herded into a quick yes vote on Judge Barrett.

Thursday night was supposed to be the second Presidential debate in Miami, moderated by the eternally bland Steve Scully of C-SPAN (that is his job and I always thought he did it well), but that was cancelled because Trump might still have been contagious, and refused to agree to a "virtual debate. Scully has his own problems because he accidentally Tweeted "The Mooch" instead of sliding into his DM's, and then lied about being hacked. He is now suspended and a subject of ridicule. As the saying goes, the coverup is always worse.

Anyway, with the debate off, the candidates made their own deals to hold Town Hall events on national television. While the other candidate had already each done a similar event on the same networks, it did seem like a disservice to have these on at the same time, although Biden's was scheduled to last a half hour extra (#stamina.) The stage was set though for Biden on ABC from Philadelphia, with Trump on from  Miami on NBC. I commented to myself that there would be a lot of opportunity for America to See B.S.

I expected the Biden event to be a bit boring and it was, which is perfect for Biden. I also expected the Trump show to be a typical train wreck like performance, and it was. I was surprised though that Biden actually beat Trump in the ratings, as were most people. I thought "hate watching" alone would give Trump the ratings boost he would use to brag about on Twitter but more people tuned in to hear and see Biden. Perhaps that might be because he is less visible in this campaign or perhaps Trump Fatigue is just very real.
I could write an additional twenty paragraphs about the off the wall things Trump said, as he was pushed very hard at times by journalist Savannah Guthrie. For example, he defended a re-tweet of his in which it was said that Joe Biden killed Seal Team Six and that their raid did not kill Osama bin Laden but a body double. This is truly sick and pathetic stuff, as was his continued unwillingness to recognize and denounce what Qanon is all about. Most dangerous though is the claim that 85 percent of people who wear masks get the virus. That is logically ridiculous and I do not know if would be worse that he does not recognize that or more likely that he is is willing to lie so openly about it to try to fool people. I believe there was a study that showed that among those who did test positive, 85 percent had worn a mask, but clearly, a lot more are wearing masks at times, than those who will ever test positive for Covid. So, there is no correlation whatsoever. It needs to be remembered that people who get Covid do so for large part, because *others* are not wearing masks.

Today, at a large rally in Michigan, Trump seemed to approve of a crowd chanting "lock her up" after riling them up in his attacks on the state's Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Just a little over a week ago, Trump's own Justice Department unveiled a plot to kidnap her being hatched by anti-government militia types. I thought that perhaps Whitmer went a bit too far when she said Trump was complicit, his "Liberate Michigan " Tweets from months ago aside, but after today, it is much harder to defend him on even that.

Through it all, Election Day itself grows closer. If the polls are true, we will have a new President, but people on both sides remember that there was a surprise in 2016 in terms of many polls and whom actually won. In reality, the 2016 polls at the end were not really that far off, but if they wind up being so this year, polling as a science may never recover.

Also, this week, I received an email from Cook County stating that my "ballot is in the mail." I sort of hope it takes a while to get to me. I still have to make a decision about what exactly I will do for the top race on the page. Will I cast a write in again? Senator Mitt Romney had a couple written statements this week that I really agree with (and he basically expressed a preference for Biden over Trump) or do I just actually say screw it and actually vote for Biden? There are pros and cons to either option, but the choice I am certain about is remaining "Never Trump."


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