An Interesting Few Weeks

It’s been an interesting few weeks.

Despite Donald Trump’s claims, Joe Biden won the presidential election.  Compared to what the polls were saying, it wasn’t a particularly impressive victory.  All of the talk about people lying to pollsters and hiding their support of Trump until they cast their vote turned out to be, to a certain extent, true.  Still, it wasn’t enough to win the election.

My personal take is that, if not for COVID, Trump would have won reelection.  People may have disliked him but they were happy with the economy and they were not happy with the idea of defunding the police.  But the pandemic exposed all of Trump’s weaknesses when it comes to dealing with a crisis.  At a time when America needed strong leadership, Trump was often too busy being Trump.  The Republicans dominated many of the down ballot elections, even in states that went easily for Biden, which suggests that the presidential election was less about embracing Biden and more about rejecting Trump.

My guess is that Trump will never concede but he will leave the White House in 2021.  Will he run again in 2024?  Considering that Biden and the Democrats are going to spend the next four years blaming him for every problem in the country, I imagine Trump will.  Trump is too thin-skinned to take that lying down.

For now, though, Biden has won.  The Republicans have increased their presence in the U.S. House and, depending on what happens in Georgia’s two Senate election, they’ve kept control of the Senate.  Gridlock is the future, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Am I Back?

Once upon a time, I thought it would be fun to have an old  fashioned blog, where I could write about the world and give me thoughts on whatever caught my interest.  I had a blog in high school and I had one in college so I figured I might as well have one in adulthood.

It started out as a fun but, in 2020, that ended.  The world has not been fun to write about lately.  I’m a political junkie and even I’m sick of the presidential election.  I had to turn off the first presidential debate.  That’s the first time that I’ve ever done that.

On August 25th, my aunt Kay died on COVID-19.  With my family spread out across the country and with quarantine still in effect for many of them, no one was able to attend the memorial service.  That’s the reality for a lot of people right now.  And, unfortunately, our leaders either don’t seem to understand or don’t seem to care just how difficult this is for everyone.

The world has changed and we don’t know what the future holds.  I’m going to keep blogging, though.  I can’t say that I have any special insight about what’s going on or what’s going to happen.  I’m just like everyone else.  I’m just hoping for the best and expecting the worst.

 

Biden Picks Kamala Harris For Vice President

Kamala Harris couldn’t even handle debating Tulsi Gabbard last year but I’m sure she’ll do just fine this fall.

At least Biden will be able to carry California.

I don’t find Harris to be particularly inspiring but I do think Biden made a better choice than Hillary Clinton did when she selected Tim Kaine.  Kaine brought nothing to the ticket.  Harris might, at the very least, get Biden some votes from people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to summon up much enthusiasm for voting for yet another elderly white person.

Correction: Kayne West Is Running

Kanye was running.

Then he wasn’t running.

Now, apparently, he’s back to running.  He’s on the ballot in Oklahoma.  He paid the $35,000 fee to get on the ballot so at least the voters of Oklahoma will be able to vote for Kanye if they want.

Fortunately, he already missed the filing deadline in Texas so I won’t be forced to make that choice.  Sometimes, you just get lucky and dodge the bullet.

Kanye West For President?

Yesterday, Kayne West announced that he was running for President in 2020.

A normal person would look at that news and remember that Kanye has a history of erratic and eccentric behavior.  They would realize that it’s next to impossible to join a presidential election at the last minute.  They would consider that it’s already legally impossible for Kanye to get on the ballot in several states.  All of the parties that have 50-state ballot access have already selected their candidates.  Even if some bankrupt, used-to-be-big party like the Reform Party nominated Kanye, that would still only get him on two states.  If Kanye can’t get a party to nominate him, he’ll have to get people on the ground to sign petition to get him on the ballot in the remaining states.  That’s not a small undertaking.  It’s not something that anyone can do just off the top of their head.

Beyond the fact that it’s next to impossible for Kanye to become a serious candidate at this late date, there’s also the fact that Kayne already announced that he was going to run for President in 2015.  Then, he forgot about it.  Now, he’s doing it again.  He’ll forget about it again.  That’s what Kayne does.

Normal people would just shrug Kanye off but this is 2020 and there aren’t many normal people around.  The amount of panic that I’ve seen online over Kanye running and potentially taking votes away from Biden is really something to behold.  (This, despite the fact that Kanye is currently more popular with Trump’s voters than Biden’s.)  People have so bought into the myth that Hillary would have won if just not for those pesky third parties that some of them are in full meltdown mood just because of Kanye acting like Kanye.

Kanye’s not going to run so it really doesn’t matter.  Still, if your candidate is so weak that people would rather vote for Kanye West than for him, the problem isn’t with Kayne.  It’s with your candidate.

Election Predictions

I don’t see Trump winning reelection.  I just don’t.  His main argument for reelection has always been that the economy was doing so well that it didn’t matter that he was an often clueless vulgarian.  But the pandemic has revealed his glaring weaknesses as a leader and I don’t think the economy is going to recover enough by November to convince people to give him another shot.  I see Trump losing in November and I see him losing big.  I see him taking down a lot of Republicans with him.

Joe Biden will be our next president.  He’ll be a terrible president, though I imagine few people will be willing to admit it until after he’s out of office.  Many people in the media seem to be assuming that, at the age of 80, Biden is suddenly going to become some sort of inspiring progressive visionary.  Biden’s been running for President since before I was born.  There’s a reason why he needed a once-in-a-lifetime crisis and a uniquely flawed opponent to win.

As far as the protests go, a lot of Democratic leaders have fooled themselves into thinking that the protests are about Trump as opposed to the system that Joe Biden has spent his entire life protecting and promoting.  Those who assume that Biden’s election will magically bring an end to all the strife are fooling themselves.

Like Obama, I see Biden coming into office with a huge Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate.  I also see him squandering that majority, in much the same way that Obama did.  The Republican Party will be pronounced dead in November just to come back to life in 2022.  Will Biden run for reelection in 2024?  Many are saying that he won’t but I have a hard time seeing someone who has been running for President for as long as he has just voluntarily walking away.

My main election prediction right now is that we’re all screwed until at least 2024.

Jo Jorgensen for President?

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.

Mike Bloomberg Spent How Much?

$1,047,623,103.81

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.

 

 

Lockdown Journal: 4-15-20

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.