At DFW, Watching The Results Come In From Nevada

Lisa and I are at DFW, waiting to board our flight to the UK.  We’ll be away from the U.S. for two weeks.

I’m watching the results coming in from the Nevada caucus.  Sanders is running away with it and, just like Trump in 16, he’s benefiting because all of the sane choices were too busy fighting each other to focus on him.  Lots of conservatives and Trump supporters are rejoicing because they think Sanders will be the easiest Democrat to beat.

I’m not celebrating.  If Sanders continues to stay strong and wins the Democratic nomination, it will mean that a lifelong Marxist who surrounds himself with some of the most vile anti-Semites in public life will have a very good chance of becoming our next president.  This is nothing to celebrate.  Anyone who thinks that Trump couldn’t lose to Sanders is fooling themselves and regardless of anything, an contest between two autocrats is nothing to celebrate.

I’m happy that we’ll be away from all of this for 2 weeks.

Bloomberg Was Not Ready For Prime Time

I just finished watching the latest Democratic Debate.  It was broadcast on NBC and it’s the final debate before the Nevada Caucus on Saturday.  It was also the first debate that Michael Bloomberg qualified for.

It was certainly the feistiest debate so far.  Warren’s trying to make a comeback after blowing it in New Hamsphire and Iowa so she was on the offensive tonight.  Biden needs to make a comeback but tonight, he was just rambling Joe, bragging on himself nonstop and coming across as confused whenever anyone disagreed with him.

Everyone focused most of their attention on Mike Bloomberg and, for someone like me who has always found Mike Bloomberg to be insufferably smug, it was glorious to watch him have one of the worst debates that I have ever seen in my life.  Bloomberg’s problem is that, like a lot of 79 year-old billionaires, he’s not used to people disagreeing with or challenging him to his face.  Other than his first campaign, I can’t remember Bloomberg ever having a tough race in New York City.  (And his opponent in that first election was Mark Green, one of the few politicians who comes across as being even more smug than Bloomberg.)  Bloomberg seemed to be lost on stage and, after the endless hype that has surrounded his candidacy, that was not the right impression to make.  After spending weeks bragging about how only he could take on Donald Trump, Bloomberg struggled to even keep up with Amy Klobuchar.  Bloomberg came across as being the boss that everyone hates and, watching him live, it was easy to imagine Trump dismantling him if the two of them ever end up on the same stage.

As much fun as it was to watch Mike get taken down a peg or two, everyone spent so much time going after Bloomberg that hardly anyone lay a finger on Bernie Sanders and Sanders is the one that they should have been trying to take down if they want to stand any shot at winning the Democratic nomination.  I get that the candidates don’t want to get Sanders’s supports angry with them (because they’ll need those so-called Bernie Bros to vote for them in November) but it’s hard not to feel that the 2020 Democrats are making the same mistake that the 2016 Republicans made with Trump.  They’re all assuming that, if they can just get everyone else out of the race, they can beat Sanders in a one-on-one race or they can at least keep Sanders from winning enough delegates to take the nomination on the first ballot.  It’s a foolish plan, though.  It didn’t work for Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich and it probably won’t work for Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg.

Final thought: No one, tonight, came across like someone I would trust in the White House.  I thought the 2016 election provided me with the worst options of my lifetime but it looks like 2020 is going to prove me wrong.

We Lost 3.

In the wake of New Hampshire, we’ve lost three Democratic candidates.

Do you know Michael Bennet was still running for president?  What about Deval Patrick?  They’re both out of the race now.

Patrick entered the race too late to make a difference.  Maybe if he had run in 2016, he would have had a better chance but, by the time this year rolled around, most people didn’t remember who he was.

Michael Bennet was the type of candidate who, in the past, would have been treated like a serious contender but who, in 2020, was just too conventional to make much of an impression.  Bennet tried to make his ability to win in a swing state a part of his appeal but is Colorado really a swing state at this point?

Andrew Yang has also dropped out and I’m going to miss him.  He was the last likable candidate in the race but, in retrospect, he was always more of an online phenomenon than a real world contender.  Hopefully, he’ll run for office in New York.  Since New York is going to keep electing Democrats anyway, it would be nice to see them elect one who isn’t a jerk.

Predicting New Hampshire

Predicting New Hampshire seems like it should be a lot easier than trying to predict Iowa.  In New Hampshire people just vote and that’s it.  Primaries rule.

The polling has been pretty consistent for the last week so I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to predict that the top five will be, in this order:

  1. Sanders
  2. Buttigieg
  3. Klobuchar
  4. Warren
  5. Biden

Biden at least has a chance to rebound in South Carolina, assuming he can stop saying weird stuff at every campaign stop.  But I think this is pretty much it for Warren.  If she can’t do better than fourth in New Hampshire, it’s hard to imagine her making a Super Tuesday comeback.

This will also probably be the high point for Klobuchar, who, for the most part, is benefiting from Bloomberg skipping New Hampshire.

I Slept Through Most Of The Oscars

It wasn’t intentional.  I hadn’t gotten much sleep since Friday and, even before the ceremony started, my eyelids were getting heavy.  I dozed off immediately after Brad Pitt won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

The first time I woke up, Eminem was performing and I saw an unimpressed-looking teenager sitting in the audience with yellow-green hair.

“Who’s that?” I asked my girlfriend.

“Billie Eilish,” she replied, “She was like a few months old the last time Eminem was relevant.”

The sight of a three hundred middle-aged white people bobbing their heads to Eminem put me immediately back to sleep.  I did wake up in time to see the big four awards — director, actor, actress, and picture.

Parasite‘s a good film and Bong Joon-ho is one of the world’s great directors, so I don’t have any complaints about it winning.  Joker would have been a disaster if not for Joaquin Phoenix’s performance so, again, no complaints.  As for Renee Zellweger, I’ll just take everyone’s word that she’s great in Judy.

My Only Thought On Impeachment…

…is this.

I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and I believe that we would be in much stronger shape, as both a nation and a society, if he had won.  I don’t necessarily think that Romney would have been remembered as a great President but I do think he would have been a good one and he would have brought dignity and integrity to the office.  So much of what Romney said in 2012, especially where Russia was concerned, has turned out to be correct.

The way that Romney was treated in 2012 was disgraceful.  Instead of campaigning against him on the issues, the Democrats and their allies in the media attacked Romney as a person.  They accused him of giving a man’s wife cancer.  He was accused of being a bully and a racist.  Harry Reid falsely accused Romney of not paying his taxes and then smirked about it later.  As Obama was already in a strong position, there was no need to attack Romney personally beyond the fact that he was a Republican and he was daring to criticize a president who had inspired a fanatical cult of personality.  (With Romney’s vote on removal, this has now become a reoccurring theme in his career.)  And if you want to know one reason why so many Republicans don’t care about how much Trump pisses people off or violates the previously sacrosanct rules of decorum, it’s because they saw what was done to someone who attempted to play by the rules and be civil in 2012.  When even Mitt Romney gets accused of being evil, it’s easy to see how pointless it is to try to be reasonable.

Mitt Romney is someone who I have a lot of respect for.  I did not agree with his vote to convict Trump.  My feeling has always been that the whole impeachment charade was a circus and that Pelosi essentially allowed herself to get pushed into it by the Resistance dingbats who were elected in 2018.  That said, I still respect Senator Romney.  I still think we need more public servants like Senator Romney.  And I would still happily vote for him again.

Trump’s State of the Union

Here’s just a few thoughts on Trump’s third State Of The Union speech:

Trump is an underrated public speaker.  He may not be “quotable” as some of our other Presidents but he’s a showman.  Tonight’s SOTU was a show from beginning to end.

Undoubtedly, the very online left love it when the Democrats glare and frown through one of Trump’s speech.  What they need to consider, though, is that Trump is not giving the State of the Union to reach out to them.  Instead, he’s giving his speech to reach out to the undecideds.  When you refuse to applaud good economic news or when you refuse to give a standing ovation to the last Tuskegee Airman just because Trump was the one who introduced him, it makes you look petty.  A better response would be to applaud the good news and then release a statement acknowledging that things are good but suggesting that they’d be even better if we had a president who wasn’t obsessed with picking fights on twitter.

The Democrats seemed demoralized tonight.  Last year, they were high off the fact that they had just won back the House and they were looking forward to the Mueller Report and impeaching Trump.  This year, they just looked pissed off.  Again, it’ll play well with their base but no one else.

Pelosi ripping up the speech would have been more effective if she had done it while Trump was looking at her.  Instead, she just ended up looking like Dean Wormer reacting to Flounder throwing up on his shoes.

Of course, I’m not sure any of this matters.  By Friday, we will all probably have moved on to something else.

62% of Iowa is in

At least that’s what Tony Price, the chairman of the Iowa State Party says.  I just watched his press conference and now I’m waiting for the actual results to be announced.  Not surprisingly, Price came across as being annoyed with everything during his press conference.  I would to if I were in his shoes.

This has been a disaster for the Iowa Democratic Party.  (As has been pointed out, the Republican caucus went off without a hitch but, in all fairness to the Democrats, the Republicans only had 3 candidates to keep track of and it’s not like anyone was expecting a sudden surge for either Joe Walsh or Bill Weld.)  Nearly 24 hours later and there’s still questions about not only why the app failed but also who was responsible for building the app in the first place.  It’s a mess and we’ll be hearing conspiracy theories about this for years.

The results are now coming in and right now, Buttigieg has very narrow delegate lead over Sanders, 26.9% vs. 25.1%  Warren has 18% and is just barely over 15%.  Klobuchar has got 12%, so it’s possible that everyone overestimated her Iowa ground plan.

When the results first came in, I thought Buttigieg had won 26.9% of the votes cast but no, that 26.9% means that he’s won the majority of state delegates so far.  Sanders, as of right now, is leading the popular vote but he’s running second in the delegate count.  So, in other words, nobody knows anything and the caucus system is stupid.  Thank you for confirming that, Iowa.

Last Night’s Caucus

At least on the Democatic side, last night’s Iowa caucus was an amazing clusterfuck.

For reasons that still aren’t clear but which are being blamed on failure of the new, heavily hyped app that was supposed to make voting easier and more transparent, a total of zero votes have been officially counted in Iowa.  That’s as of this morning.  Zero votes have been released.  Zero delegates have been awarded.  Buttigieg gave a strange speech last night in which he said that anecdotal evidence led him to believe that his campaign had won Iowa.  The campaigns have little choice but to move on to New Hampshire while the Iowa results are still up in the air.

Two thoughts:

  1. This is the latest example of people automatically assuming that the answer to every issue is new technology.  People of a certain age put too much trust in the idea that there’s an app for everything.  Sometimes, the old ways — like writing down a name on a piece of paper and then letting someone else count the results and announce the vote totals — are still the best way.
  2.  The rest of the country is having a good laugh at Iowa’s expense right now but I feel sorry for the volunteers who sacrificed the last few months of their life to work in Iowa and I feel bad for everyone who went to the not-inconsiderable trouble to attend a Democratic caucus last night.  This morning, they’re essentially being told that all of their efforts were pointless.

It’s time to reconsider not only the caucus system but why we allow two states to have such an outsized role in our presidential selection process.  Reform needs to happen but it probably won’t.

For now, everyone’s just waiting to see who supposedly won last night.  I say supposedly because, after all this, no one but the declared winner is going to accept the totals as being accurate.