On Saturday, the Libertarians held their convention and they nominated Jo Jorgensen for president. It took four ballots for her to win the nomination, which is pretty typical for a Libertarian presidential nominating convention. Unlike the Democrats and the Republicans, Libertarians do not turn their conventions into coronations. If you want the Libertarian nomination, you better be prepared to fight for it at the convention.
Jo Jorgensen is from the pragmatic wing of the Libertarian convention. It’s doubtful that she’ll get the same amount of attention or votes that Gary Johnson got in 2020 or that Justin Amash would have gotten if he had run. I’d compare Jorgensen to Michael Badnarik, the activist who came from behind to defeat Aaron Russo and Gary Nolan for the 2004 Libertarian nomination. She’s a good advocate for the Libertarian philosophy and she can argue for the party’s platform without descending into extremism, which is one thing that set her apart from several of the other candidates for the Libertarian nomination. But with the national media’s natural antagonism to third parties in general and the Libertarians in specific, it probably won’t matter.
One of the biggest myths of 2016 is that Hillary Clinton’s loss was due to third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. It’s often accepted as a statement of fact that Hillary would have won states like Wisconsin and Michigan if not for Johnson and Stein. Of course, in order to believe that, you have to believe that all of those third party voters would have automatically voted for Clinton if not for the presence of Johnson or Stein on the ballot. (And, of course, that’s also assuming that all of those Johnson and Stein voters would have even bothered to vote if their only options were Trump and Clinton.) Because people still don’t want to admit that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate who lost the electoral college largely due to her own hubris, third parties have taken the brunt of the blame. Since 2017, the media’s message seems to be that you’re free to vote for whoever you want as long as they’re a member of the two major parties. For that reason, alone, don’t expect Jorgensen or the Green nominee to be given as much publicity as was given to candidates like Johnson, Stein, and Evan McMullin.
I’ll probably still vote for her.
That is the amount of money that Mike Bloomberg personally spent on his failed presidential campaign. That is a record-setting number. This is more money than any wining campaign has ever spent during a general election. Bloomberg spent over a billion of his own dollars to win 49 delegates and to permanently ruin whatever chance he had over being remembered positively and without an asterisk by history.
It’s Bloomberg’s right, of course, to spend his money on whatever he wants to spend it on. That he’s always felt he would be a great President is something that we’ve known for years. Though it’s easy to laugh at him now, a lot of people took Bloomberg very seriously when he first announced he was running. The media loved his chances, especially when it looked like Biden was struggling. Bloomberg’s commercials were everywhere. After the first three Democratic contests, there was serious speculation that the race for the nomination would come down to Sanders vs. Bloomberg.
But Bloomberg failed as soon as he got out on that debate stage and showed that he wasn’t prepared to actually be challenged. As he struggled to answer charges that he was a Trump-style sexist, it become obvious that, like many rich men, Bloomberg had become so used to only having to deal with yes men that he no longer knew how to effectively defend himself. Liz Warren destroyed him, just as effectively as Tulsi Gabbard earlier destroyed Kamala Harris. Both times, it was fun to watch because there’s nothing better than watching a smug candidate get bested by a so-called “lower tier” contender.
Ultimately, Mike Bloomberg proved that money can, at least briefly, make you a contender but it can’t buy you victory. Candidates matter. More than money, more than media hype, more than inside connections, candidates matter. If you can’t connect to a wide swath the voters, you’re just going to become another Mike Bloomberg.
The days are blending together and right now, there’s no end in sight.
In a time of crisis, people have to be able to trust that there’s someone looking out for their interests. What makes this crisis so difficult is that many of us no longer have that feeling. We don’t know how bad things actually are. We don’t know how close things may be to reopening. We don’t feel like anyone — in the government or the media — is willing to be honest with us about the situation and it makes us all feel even more alone. It’s hard to trust Trump’s positivity because we know that he’s loathes the idea of acknowledging that there’s a problem that he can’t solve on his own. It’s hard to trust the media’s negativity because the media has been telling us that the sky is falling for three years now.
Unfortunately, the election is not going to change that. Even if Biden defeats Trump, it’s going to be hard to trust a media that has such a clear rooting interest in one party. In 2016, we had a terrible choice. In 2020, we’ve got another terrible choice.
I wish I could be more positive tonight but realistically, I can’t be. Fortunately, there’s 7 Police Academy films on Netflix, just in case I need to remind myself that things could be worse.
I went grocery shopping this morning. I put on my mask. I waited outside of the store with a group of other people who were all wearing masks. When we were allowed to enter the store, everyone who worked there was wearing a mask. It felt as if I had left the house and stepped into a low budget science fiction movie.
I returned to the house and checked the news. I saw that Obama finally endorsed Joe Biden. A lot of people think it’s strange that Obama waited until there was literally no one left to make his endorsement but it didn’t surprise me. If Obama endorsed Biden and then Biden lost to Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, or any of the other major candidates (as it appeared he might at one point), it would have been a huge embarrassment. If Obama had endorsed anyone other than Biden, he would have been admitting that he didn’t have faith in the man that he selected for vice president.
Trump announced that he is halting American funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to examine WHO’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s about time.
Lisa and I are currently watching something called Tarzan in Manhattan. It’s a late 80s tv movie where Tarzan goes to New York and teams up with a private investigator played by Tony Curtis. Jan-Michael Vincent is in it, as well. It’s pretty bad but at least I know what I’ll be reviewing for the Shattered Lens tomorrow. As bad as this is, I’m glad that we found it before we forced to resort to binging our way through the Police Academy movies on Netflix. That day will come eventually but we’re still trying to hold it off for as long as possible.
We watched a little of Trump’s daily press briefing today. A lot of people are upset because Trump said, incorrectly, that he has absolute authority as President. It’s amazing to watch the people who celebrated eight years of “I have a pen and a phone” suddenly discovering why checks and balances are actually a good thing. One would hope that they would continue to remember it even after they return to power but I doubt they will. They’re not really upset about the potential usurpation of power. They’re just mad that Trump is the one doing it. America deserves better than it’s getting from both its leaders and its media.
Other than Trump’s press conference, the big political news is that Bernie formally endorsed Joe Biden today. They had a live stream conversation, during which Biden appeared to be reading from a teleprompter. Say what you will about Bernie, and I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with him about much, but Bernie doesn’t need a script to have a conversation. It may not matter, of course. Trump is such a divisive figure that the Democrats may not need a good candidate to beat him and there are a lot of people who will happily vote for anyone but Trump. But I still can’t imagine actually being enthusiastic about Biden on any level other than the fact that he’s not Trump.
In the UK, Boris Johnson is out of the hospital. That’s some good news to end on.
Allen Garfield died yesterday. He may not have been a household name but he was one of the best character actors of the 70s. He rarely had the lead role. Instead, he was usually the obnoxious foil to the main character. Invariably, he played people who you would not want to have to sit next to on an airplane. He played Barnett in Nashville and he was Gene Hackman’s sleazy rival in The Conversation. He was 80 years old and, because of a stroke that he suffered in 2004, he was retired from acting.
The singer John Prine also died yesterday, again of COVID-19. We’re losing a lot of voices as a result of this pandemic.
Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign today. Joe Biden’s been running for President since before I was born. I guess his dream is finally going to come true. If Biden wins, it will be due to voters rejecting Trump and not due to any great enthusiasm for Joe Biden as a candidate. The thought that we can’t do any better than Trump and Biden is not a happy one.
Despie my feelings about the presidential race, today is the first day that I’ve felt really confident that, eventually, things will get better. I just hope that everyone reading this is staying safe.
Chag sameach all.
Bernie Sanders had suspended his campaign. Unless something huge happens, Joe Biden is now the nominee of the Democratic Party.
Personally, I think Bernie did the right thing. He didn’t have a path to the nomination and every presidential primary, as of right now, is a huge health risk for anyone who shows up to cast a ballot. There’s no reason to ask people to risk their health to vote for you when, for the most part, it would have just been a symbolic act.
Is this Bernie’s last campaign? I think it will be but I imagine his movement will live on and there will be more openly Socialist candidates running in the future. If Biden loses in November, the Bernie supporters are going to come on strong in 2024.