Category Archives: political news

Texas GOP to Trump: You can’t do that

Donald J. “Ignoramus in Chief” Trump has demanded a delay in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Just one problem with that order. Donald Trump doesn’t have the authority to issue it. He cannot delay the election. The U.S. Constitution grants that authority to a second co-equal branch of government, Congress.

And to be sure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — a Democrat and a Republican, respectively — aren’t having it.

It’s one of those matters of governance that a president ought to know. Except that Donald Trump has no knowledge, understanding or interest in government, its limitations and its authority. So he issues a hollow, feckless demand.

What is remarkable, too, is that Texas Republicans have joined other politicians around the nation in telling Trump that he can’t do it, that he has no authority under the law. So, the Texas GOP is telling Trump: Knock it off!

Why the delay? It seems that Trump has this paranoid fear of losing his effort at re-election, so he wants to delay the balloting to, um, guard against a phony voter fraud scare he has cooked up.

Trump is doing all he can to muddy up the electoral system. He wants to suppress the vote, which is code for “suppress the African-American vote.” 

He keeps yapping about the phony inherent corruption with mail-in voting. It doesn’t exist any more than it exists in the current system of voting done in all but about six states. Trump is seeking to foment unfounded fear in mail-in balloting.

Trump is stoking electoral fear. He is the one who appears to be afraid of what might await him at the end of the balloting.

It is that Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden will receive more votes than Trump, that he will win election through a substantial Electoral College victory and that Trump will give up an office of which he has zero understanding.

Biden needs to be held to his own campaign pledges

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is making his share of campaign promises as he seeks to unseat Donald J. Trump Sr. from the presidency.

I am extremely cautious in my hope that he’ll be able to fulfill them. I man, Trump does have a way of pulling rabbits out of his hat … if not his a**. He could do so again down the stretch toward Election Day.

Biden is making some promises that I want to see him keep. For example:

He vows to improve the Affordable Care Act, not scrap it; he vows to rescind Trump executive orders removing us from the Paris Climate Accords and the Iranian nuclear arms deal; Biden promises to work closely with our worldwide allies and cease scolding them; he pledges to hold Russia accountable for the attacks it has launched on our political system and to force answers on the issue of paying bounties for the combat deaths of American service personnel; he vows an energy policy that stresses “clean” sources of energy.

Biden wants to restore our nation’s “soul.” I’m all in. Our soul has been co-opted by the fraud who occupies the Oval Office. Biden vows to lead the entire nation, not just the base that is most loyal to him … which is a promise we never have heard from Donald Trump.

Once the dust settles and Biden — or so I am hoping — is elected the nation’s 46th president, I am going to insist that the new guy keep faith with the myriad pledges he has made.

I am acutely aware that I won’t be alone in that effort. Good. The more of us the better … for the nation.

Shakeup = stability? Seriously?

What in the name of counter-intuitiveness am I missing?

Donald John Trump keeps insisting that his campaign is rockin’ and rollin’ along. That his team is well-oiled, well-groomed and well-positioned to guide Trump to a re-election victory.

Why, then, if Trump’s command structure is so awesome does he change the man who runs it? He replaced campaign manager Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien.

Oh, it must be that Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden — the presumptive Democratic nominee — by double digits. Or it was that disastrous Tulsa, Okla., rally that was supposed to overfill the arena, but drew a crowd that comprised about one-third of the arena’s capacity.

Where I come from, those things tell me that the campaign is in serious trouble. Hence, Donald Trump shook it up.

Time will tell, I suppose, whether this latest rumbling at the top of the Trump campaign team rights the ship. I am highly skeptical. I mean, the team has a boss who’s out of control.

Weird.

Texas becomes battleground?

The national political media continue feed my heebie-jeebies.

They talk about Joe Biden’s national polling lead over Donald Trump. They suggest there might be a Democratic “tsunami” about to sweep Trump and many of his Republican congressional sycophants out of office in Washington.

Why, many commentators are looking at a recent Dallas Morning News/University of Texas-Tyler poll that puts the former vice president up by 5 percentage points over Trump. They use that poll result as evidence that Texas is about to cast its electoral votes for the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Whoa, now! Let’s hold on. Let’s catch our breath.

I am not yet ready to toss Texas into the Democrats’ sack of political goodies. This is among the reddest Republican states in the country. Every statewide elected official here is a Republican. It’s been an all-R state since 1998. The state’s transition from overwhelming Democrat to Republican has been stunning in the speed with which it occurred.

Is Joe Biden the Democratic presidential candidate to carry Texas across a new threshold? Hmm. I have trouble believing it, although my heart wishes it would happen.

As the Dallas Morning News reported: “I really do think that Biden could win Texas, and I didn’t think that as recently as even a month ago. But the landscape has shifted so much,” said Nancy Beck Young, chair of the University of Houston history department and a scholar of Texas politics.

The Morning News poll does suggest that since Texas is being stricken so cruelly by the COVID crisis that Texans at this moment are enraged by Trump’s feckless and reckless response to the emergency. That well might be reflected in the polling results.

I think it’s fair to suggest, though, that if Biden somehow manages to win more votes than Trump in Texas then we are looking at an epic political landslide that will bury Trump. Moreover, if Biden falls short by just a little bit — say, 2 or 3 percentage points — then that, too, might portend a significant political defeat for Donald Trump nationally.

Still, the media keep fueling my nervousness. I get that’s the media’s job. It is to report the news and polling statistics that suggest a staggering defeat of the self-proclaimed “smartest man in human history” — or words to that effect — most certainly should get our attention.

Lincoln Project firing on all cylinders

It’s called the Lincoln Project.

It is a political organization comprising former and even some current Republican politicians and political operatives. They all have one important trait in common.

They want to defeat Donald John Trump in this year’s presidential election. Why is that so unusual? Well, let’s see: Oh, yeah … Trump calls himself a Republican.

But … is he really created in the same mold as the man after whom the Lincoln Project is named? Hardly.

Abraham Lincoln was the nation’s first Republican president. He is arguably the greatest man ever to hold the office. He fought to preserve the Union that had been torn apart by Civil War. The Union won the war, but that victory cost Lincoln his life at Ford’s Theater.

The party that Donald Trump now controls bears no resemblance to the party that Lincoln helped create. The Lincoln Project has taken an astonishingly high profile in this campaign. No only is the Lincoln Project working overtime to defeat Trump, it is working equally hard to elect a Democrat, Joseph Biden Jr., to succeed Trump.

As this election continues to take shape, I am struck by the number of GOP operatives — if not active-duty GOP politicians — who have spoken of their utter disgust with Donald Trump. GOP members of Congress remain essentially silent as Trump continues to bungle the national response to the COVID-19 crisis. Trump also appears feckless as the nation reels from incidents of brutality against African-Americans, not to mention his shameful silence over reports that Russian government officials placed bounties on the heads of American service personnel killed in battle in Afghanistan.

Thus, the Lincoln Project is looking for a suitable alternative to the man masquerading as president. At this moment, the only possible alternative happens to be Democrat, Joe Biden.

And so the Lincoln Project, which carries the name of arguably the nation’s greatest president, is seeking to remove the individual who to my way of thinking has carved out his own niche as the nation’s worst president.

Wishing media could dial back Biden’s poll reporting

The media are having a field day reporting on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s spectacular poll ratings against Donald J. Trump Sr.

Biden is leading Trump by double digits, the media tell us. Biden is leading Trump in virtually all the critical “swing states,” they report. Biden might already have enough Electoral College votes in the bank to assure his election in November, the reporting continues.

I want the media to dial it back. Why? Because it is beginning to fill me with a sense of hope that might not hold up as we head down the stretch toward Election Day.

My memory is vivid on some things. One of those matters involves what the media reported at this stage of the 2016 campaign. They said Hillary Clinton would cruise to an easy election.

I bought that narrative four years ago. I was so confident that I attended an election-night watch party with my wife at some friends’ house in Amarillo. We went there expecting Hillary Clinton to make a victory speech upon getting the concession call from Donald Trump.

Uhh, it didn’t happen. My worst political nightmare came to pass on election night 2016.

I am acutely aware that Joe Biden doesn’t carry nearly the negative baggage that Clinton did against Trump. I also am aware that much of Trump’s message that sold against Clinton is hitting the deck with a thud against Biden.

We have an economy in collapse, the nation’s response to the pandemic has been disastrous. Trump is campaigning against his own record as president, if you allow me to parse the rhetoric he keeps using.

I know the media have a role to play and a job to do. Part of all that is to tell us what the polling is telling us about the race as it develops. It’s just making me nervous.

Mayor Turner deserves a prize

Since politics has infected the discussion of public health and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on human health and welfare, I want to offer a prize to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The mayor has earned the prize for the most politically courageous act as Texas tries to reel in the impact of the pandemic.

Turner is a true-blue Democrat. He has just initiated a process he hopes will block the Texas Republican Party from staging its annual convention at the George Brown Center in Houston.

As you might expect, the Texas GOP has accused Turner of stepping on the party’s right of political expression. Turner, though, has put public health ahead of partisan point-scoring. The convention is expected to attract about 6,000 visitors to the Brown Center. They’ll be stuffed in there, exposing each other to potentially deadly viral germs.

Turner wants to prevent that from occurring in the city he leads. Can you blame him? I cannot.

The Texas Tribune reported this about the state GOP’s response:

Party Chair James Dickey responded later Wednesday, criticizing Turner for “seeking to deny a political Party’s critical electoral function” after the mayor recently allowed protesters to demonstrate there “without any of the safety precautions and measures we have taken.”

Dickey also said the party’s legal team was assessing the city’s ability to cancel the convention and weighing its legal options.

“We are prepared to take all necessary steps to proceed in the peaceable exercise of our constitutionally protected rights,” Dickey said in a statement.

I would expect the party leaders to invoke their “constitutionally protected rights.” Those rights, though, do not entitle them to put citizens in potentially dire harm if they attend this event, get sick and possibly die as a result.

Surely the state GOP deserves to have its voice heard. Why not do so during a “virtual” convention that doesn’t expose people to the effects of a potentially fatal viral infection?

Putin isn’t on the ballot, however…

Vladimir Putin just won’t go away.

The Russian president launched a campaign in 2016 — at the invitation of Donald Trump — to interfere in our presidential election. His aim was to disrupt our political discourse, to sow seeds of suspicion. He succeeded infamously.

Donald Trump benefitted from the Russian interference. The U.S. president hasn’t yet been willing to acknowledge the Russian dictator’s role in that political heist.

Now he’s at it again. He is injecting himself into the 2020 election, but in ways none of us saw coming.

We have these reports of Russians placing bounties on the lives of Americans fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trump is dismissing the media reporting. He calls it a hoax. He is angry at the reporting, but is silent about the subject of that reporting.

There he is, Vladimir Putin is injecting himself into the American political process. He isn’t on the ballot, but his presence on our political landscape seems to all but guarantee that part of our voters’ calculation on for whom we cast our ballots will include Vladimir Putin.

To be clear, my mind is made up. Still, Putin’s presence in our political discourse is maddening. He has wormed and wiggled his way into our processes. Putin can declare “mission accomplished” from his 2016 electoral interference. It’s not enough, though, for Putin merely to win that first round.

He is going to interfere yet again this year, along perhaps with China or Ukraine or any other nation that has an axe to grind with the U.S. political system.

To be clear, it is confusing in the extreme for me to grasp how the Russian bounty story is going to benefit Donald Trump. To that end, Putin’s continuing presence in our political process sends a seriously mixed message.

Still, the Russian brute is there. He is part of our political discussion.

If only he would just disappear. Forever.

Powell joins growing GOP parade lining up behind Biden

“I’m very close to Joe Biden in a social matter and on a political matter. I have worked with him for 35, 40 years … And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.”

There you go. Another longtime Republican — a man of considerable standing in military and diplomatic circles — has declared that Donald John Trump will not get his vote for re-election this year.

Retired Army Gen. Colin Powell is going to back the Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

I need to stipulate that Powell — who served as national security adviser, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and secretary of state for two Republican presidents — is not a Republican In Name Only, a RINO. He’s the real deal.

Gen. Powell also is a man of high principle and honor who says that Trump is unfit to serve as commander in chief of the U.S. military. Trump has veered too far from constitutional principles, according to Powell.

I am not going to venture too far afield with this blog post and suggest that the GOP dam is breaking, that the Republican wall that has surrounded Donald Trump is caving under the stress brought by Trump’s flouting of every possible presidential or constitutional norm.

However, Gen. Colin Powell’s declaration that he’s voting once again for a Democratic opponent of Donald Trump is a big deal.

Voter fraud issue is, um, a fraud

I want to give a serious full-throated shout-out to The Hill newspaper for providing a marvelous bit of perspective on the phony issue of voter fraud as it concerns the possibility of an all-mail vote for president of the United States later this year.

To sum it up: The fraudulent vote issue is a fraudulent allegation.

There you have it.

The Hill takes pains to point out that mail fraud is the rarest of political events in the United States. Moreover, it points out that in the state that began all-mail voting, the instance of mail fraud is even more rare than it is nationally. Oregon, the state where I was born, was the first of our states to conduct all-mail voting and has enjoyed great success in protecting the sanctity of this cherished right of citizenship.

Read The Hill story here.

Voter fraud has become a red herring, a canard, a phony excuse to keep more Americans from voting. Republicans are leading the amen chorus seeking to persuade Americans that mail-in voting invites fraudulent ballot-casting. The leader of that chorus is Donald John “Stable Genius in Chief” Trump, who of course tosses out that demagogic rhetoric without a scintilla of evidence to back it up.

All-mail voting is not the way I want to cast my ballot, but if the coronavirus is going to suppress the balloting because Americans fear potential deadly exposure to the virus, then all-mail voting is reasonable — and secure — alternative.

The voter fraud demagoguery needs to be called out for what it is: a bald-faced effort to suppress voter turnout as a dodge to protect certain politicians’ from losing their cherished perches of power.