Every week the presidential race gets more and more interesting, and this last one did not disappoint. For those new to the political game, and for those who hate politics, I say enjoy this dual contest while you can, because what’s happening is a once in a lifetime election battle. This is quite rare.
It is no secret (except to some of their fawning supporters) that both major parties’ front runners have major flaws.
With the Republican, we need only wait till the sunrise of a new day to hear something outrageous, insulting or vulgar, even threatening, as the candidate’s poll numbers stay steady or actually increase, go figure. The “Hey, it’s my turn already!” Democrat, just cannot believe some 74-year-old leftie has been embarrassing her (as if that was still even possible), as she bobs and weaves through her drip-drip released private server emails, all the while looking over her shoulder at the FBI.
The circus is in town, ladies and gentleman, and I must admit, I love it. Well, let me be clear. As a political junkie, I love the entertainment of it all.
A part of me of course, is a bit horrified that this might, when the nomination process is over, be the best we can do. I worry about who will end up triumphant, and at what cost, during the process and after. The United States needs some serious help and the world is a mess. We require, not just a good leader, but a great one, to fix what has been and continues to be made broken and damaged by someone who seems to be running out the clock when he is not making things worse.
A couple days before the New Hampshire primary, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright under Bill Clinton, stumping for Bill’s former secretary of state wife said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” That would only refer to helping liberal women of course, but in any event, Hillary Clinton visited her own special place in hell as she lost pretty much every New Hampshire demographic. Including women. By 11 points.
Clinton did win people 65 years of age and older as well as those whose annual incomes were $200,000 and more. I am assuming that last demographic included those who received $200,000 and more for giving speeches to institutions stupid enough to pay such big bucks to the greedy who can never seem to accumulate enough wealth. (Hey, it’s a good gig if you can get it. Where do I go to be able to line my pockets just for running my mouth? I would make so much money!)
Who knew a year ago, or even a couple months ago, that a so-called “Democratic Socialist” or whatever the hell Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is would pretty much tie Clinton in Iowa and pound her in New Hampshire? Sanders received 82% of New Hampshirites 18 – 24 years of age. 82%! The youngsters liked his give-away promises on education, healthcare, the minimum wage and more. Free college tuition! Free pizza! Free beer! Free pot! What? Only free tuition for those who aspire toward higher education? For now.
And should gulp, Sanders become president, Israel will “Feel the Bern,” or I should say the “burn.” Sanders said on Meet the Press on February 7 that he gets foreign policy advice from James Zogby (founding member and leader of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the founder and president of the Arab American Institute), and of all groups, the very left-wing, J Street, which by its own admission is against the “Jewish establishment.”
Yes, Sanders has come a long way in such a short amount of time. Sure, this “outsider” was a mayor for eight years, a congressman for sixteen and a senator for nine, and until these last few months, he was well known for the following accomplishments: . Um, uh. Well, he was good on Saturday Night Live a little over a week back.
Believe it or not, it did not strike me until I heard it, that Bernie was the first Jew to win a presidential primary. I am neither surprised nor disappointed by my non-reaction. Had former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman won a primary when he was running for president, that would have made an impression on me. Being Jewish, Brooklyn accent and all, is not the first thing about which I think, when I think of Bernie Sanders. Not the second either. Or even the third or fourth. If Sanders doesn’t tout his Jewishness, why should I?
The Vermont senator did meet with the ridiculous reverend, Al Sharpton, because while there were few black voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, perhaps half of those who will be casting Democratic ballots in South Carolina will be African American. And there are more coming in more states. The meeting won’t help.
The two “I am more progressive than you” Democrats debated again and said pretty much the same things they said in previous debates, except for Sanders criticizing Clinton for writing that she had been mentored in some fashion by Henry Kissinger (huh?), and Clinton criticizing Sanders for not always being in agreement with President Obama.
Now I still think, with the primaries and caucuses to come, and with the anti-democratic Democrats’ “superdelegates” wink and a nod, the fix-is-in, apparatchik process, Clinton still wins in the end, and comfortably. Bernie Sanders is not the one who will beat Hillary Clinton. If she does fail, it will be have been Hillary who beat Hillary. (I think you know what I mean.) But these primary/caucus season wounds are not helping her cause to say the very least.
In the other circus ring, businessman Donald Trump won big in New Hampshire as expected and Ohio Governor John Kasich (full disclosure: he is my first choice) came in second, benefited by a moderate electorate, his positive campaigning, and Florida senator Marco Rubio’s poor performance in a debate only days before, and his own very good debate performance. New Jersey governor Chris Christie, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (who?) suspended their campaigns.
After saying he would not sue over Texas senator Ted Cruz’s not being a natural born citizen making him (supposedly) ineligible to be president, businessman Donald Trump said he may do just that if Cruz “doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads.” Donald himself has been so squeaky cIean, hasn’t he? I will spare you the latest “Trumpisms.” I guess the only one The Donald thinks should be allowed to play political hardball is The Donald.
Trump also follows his own rules and doesn’t care how he is harming the discourse. He didn’t mince words in last Saturday night’s South Carolina debate, interrupting at times, and calling Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush liars. He also revisited his opposition to the Iraq War, blasting George W. Bush, using nasty and false language Democrats have used. The nearly 60,000 veterans in South Carolina (and many Republicans around the country) probably didn’t appreciate Trump’s comments.
I think Trump believes as long as others are splitting the mainstream Republican vote, he will have enough of a base to win the nomination and get some Democratic votes in the general election if he speaks as they have, at least on Iraq. Yeah, right.
The purist Cruz pulled a recently-placed ad after it was revealed one of the YouTube ad’s actresses had performed in softcore porn movies. I wonder though, what was worse for the senator’s evangelical base? That the lady had formerly bared all in erotic films, or that those in Cruz’s ad were really only acting and not authentic supporters of the senator. You needed actors?
Florida senator Marco Rubio, smarting from his debate performance in New Hampshire where he responded to charges of his being too scripted and rehearsed by um, being too scripted and rehearsed, did a good job in Saturday night’s debate. He didn’t repeat his robotic meltdown, and he and Cruz went at it again about who has been, and can be, toughest with illegal immigrants, Marco calling Cruz a liar. Cruz held his own in the debate and gave as good as he got.
By the way, this “who can be harshest” rhetoric relating to the undocumented is self-destructive and playing into the hands of the Democrats. It would be nice for Republicans to get Hispanic votes for a change, especially in swing/battleground states. I cringe when I watch this kind of exchange, and when I watch exchanges on who will be toughest relating to social issues. Independents and moderates will decide the next president, not extremists.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush did fine in the debate. He didn’t shrink from attacks by Trump and he deftly punched and counter-punched when prodded. I thought Kasich did very well. He stayed on message, telling his Ohio success story, and doing his best to stay away from anything negative.
Oh yeah, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Why he is still in this, I don’t know. Although I think he is a decent man, I think he never should have gotten into the race in the first place.
Nevada’s Democratic caucus and South Carolina’s Republican primary are on Saturday, February 20. A quarter of Nevada’s voters are Hispanic and they are expected to help give the state to Clinton.
As of today, South Carolina continues to show a strong Trump lead with Cruz in second place. About 60% of the voters are evangelicals and that bodes well for those two who are receiving the majority of that support. Will Marco Rubio bounce back to take second or third? Will Jeb Bush, whose family (including his brother) is very popular in the state, do well? What about John Kasich? South Carolina and other upcoming conservative Southern states, are not conducive for the most moderate of the candidates.
Finally, will former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg jump into the race and make this a full-fledged three-ring circus?
One very good thing about this political spectacle is that it has garnered lots of interest and voter involvement. The sudden and sad passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will add to that. On both sides. So stay tuned my friends. More mishigas is coming.