Monday, April 8, 2019

Let the Race Begin!

When I see the media projecting a November 2020 match-up between Biden and Trump, I recall the polls this far out of the 2016 general election.  Hillary had a whopping 40-point lead over Biden and Bernie among Democratic candidates, and led Republican hopefuls Jeb Bush by 13 points and Donald Trump by 25 points.  Yes, Uncle Joe was considering a run in 2016 but felt it was too soon after the death of his son Beau, so he deferred to Hillary, who ended up having a hard time getting past crusty Bernie Sanders in the primaries before bottoming out in November.

Polls mean nothing at this point.  That cannot be stated enough.  The Republican polls saw multiple lead changes heading into the first primaries.  At one point, Ben Carson led all Republican candidates before fizzling out.  After a good showing in Iowa, Marco Rubio was projected as the Republican sure bet, but then Chris Christie mopped the floor with him at a debate before the New Hampshire primary and very soon afterward dropped out of the race.   This left us with Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the mysterious John Kasich, who you never really knew was in the race or not.  In the end, Trump prevailed as none of the Republicans seemed to be able to match his raw appeal among the base of the party.

Yet, we still see any number of polls being put forward.  Biden and Bernie tend to lead these polls, but Beto recently took the top spot in a MoveOn poll.  However, Beto reminds me a lot of Marco.  The guy has appeal but when put on the spot tends to lose his poise.  Not so Mayor Pete, who is never at a lack of words to describe his positions, most recently calling out evangelical conservatives in supporting Donald Trump.  Good luck, Pete!

The most difficult thing for the young Democrats to overcome is the ghost of Hillary.  There are many Democratic voters who continue to feel she should be president, so any harsh words about her are sure to engender the wrath of a great many Democrats.  Mayor Pete found this out the hard way.  

The other problem is getting your voice heard among the 17 Democrats who have declared their candidacies.   It promises to be bigger than the Republican field we saw in 2016 as Joe Biden has yet to officially declare his candidacy, and I'm sure we will have others by the summer.  It is kind of like March Madness in college basketball.  You really have no idea who to choose among so many teams, most of which you never heard of before.

Our mainstream news media is supposed to handicap the candidates for us, but so far they haven't done a very good job.  We hear a lot about their shortfalls, but very little about what positions they take, how they voted in Congress or who really is Marianne Williamson, the Texas spiritual author who has advised Oprah Winfrey in the past.  It seems that if you want to get your voice heard you have to go on late night television and have your interview picked up by YouTube the next day.  Mayor Pete is apparently now surging in the polls.

Another guy who has caught media attention is businessman Andrew Yang, who is making a case for basic universal income so that we will have less disenfranchised Americans in the future.  This is a favorite theme of the so-called Socialists who are threatening to overtake the Democratic party, which guys like Howard Schultz and John Hickenlooper are warning us against us.  They want us to return to a "Centrist" vision of America, although it is anyone's guess what that is in the Age of Trump.

Then we have the women, who haven't been getting very much attention recently. There are a historic number of women running for President, which got plenty of airplay in the beginning.  Kamala Harris came out with a lot of fanfare at her first CNN town hall, but her one-day million dollar fundraising effort was overshadowed by Bernie and Beto, who both topped six million, so she fell out of the spotlight.  Liz Warren continues to struggle against all the negative impressions people have of her.  Tulsi Gabbard is not popular among Democratic women, largely because she supported Bernie last time around.  Samantha Bee can't stop poking fun at her.   Gillibrand and Klobuchar are also strong candidates, but are getting almost no attention.

It is really hard to say how this campaign will shake out.  There is no clear front runner if no one can get more than 20 per cent in the straw polls.  Biden, Bernie and Beto lead mostly because of name recognition, but that will change quickly once we have our first debate this June.  It is scheduled over two nights to accommodate all the candidates.

I'm sure His Trumpness won't sit quietly on the sidelines.  His strategy appears to be to call as much attention to himself as he can, so that we don't have time to think about his potential Democratic opponents, only how senile he is.  He doesn't even seem to know who the candidates are since he spends so much time talking about that "wonderful young bartender," Pencil-neck Adam Schiff, and Rep. Omar of Minnesota, none of whom is running for President.

If you are not a Biden or Bernie or Beto fan, I wouldn't worry too much.  This election is far from over and whatever poll you see you can pretty much toss out the window because none of them has any weight right now.  It's anyone's game at this point, even Governor Jay Inslee of Washington whom I'm sure none of you ever heard of before.  His state was the first to block Trump's Muslim ban back in early 2017, and has confronted Trump on other occasions as well.  

May the best woman or man win!  You've already got my vote in 2020.


  1. Of these, I find Andrew Yang the most interesting. This because he has promoted UBI which, contrary to right wing mythology, did not originate with Marx. For those of us who know our American history, we are aware that it was initially proposed by Founding Father Thomas Paine in his "Agrarian Justice" of 1795 (3 decades before Marx was born):

    In the world of right wing politically correct delusionalism, anyone who dares to stray from their twisted mysticism is, somehow, a "Marxist". Little do these delusionals know that so many 'socialist' ideas such as free college education, infrastructural building, social security, and UBI did not begin with Marxists. Instead, they began with our own Founding Fathers.

    It will be interesting to see how all this shapes out.

  2. I agree. Yang is very sharp and if he gets more exposure in the weeks ahead will turn heads.