Tag Archives: 2020 election

Should Democratic candidates recuse themselves?

My quest for fairness compels me to wonder aloud: Given that this blog — published by me — has insisted that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unfit to sit as a “juror” in the trial of Donald John Trump, might there be a case to be made against the four Democratic senators who are running for president?

McConnell has said he won’t be an “impartial” juror, even though he took an oath to deliver impartial justice in the Senate impeachment trial of the current president of the United States.

What about the individuals who are running for their party’s nomination to oppose Trump in the November election? Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennett have made up their minds on how they intend to vote when they get the order to cast their vote. They will vote to convict Trump. Period.

I can think of a few other Republicans as well who’ve said they have made up their minds, that they don’t need no witness testimony or evidentiary documents. Lindsey Graham? Ted Cruz? John Kennedy? Give me a break.

However, this pre-judging disease spreads across the aisle.

The four Democrats have staked out their views already. Sure, they insist on witnesses and documents. It remains to be seen whether they’ll get ’em. It’s beginning to look to me as though the fix is in. Republicans who comprise most of the 100 Senate seats aren’t likely to admit witnesses, even though they have plenty to offer.

The four contenders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, though, need to think long and hard whether they are any more qualified to serve with impartiality than the Senate majority leader who’s admitted he will do nothing of the sort.

Hey, fair is fair … right?

Election security becomes a highly critical ‘back story’

An essential element of the impeachment and Senate trial of Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States, is being pushed toward the back of the proverbial shelf.

I refer to election security. Specifically, the security of our sacred rite of citizenship against foreign interference.

You know the story. Russia attacked our electoral system in 2016, the same day that Donald Trump invited the Russians to look for the “missing emails” produced by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was Trump’s presidential campaign foe that year.

Then the president, immediately after Robert Mueller III released his findings into a two-year-long investigation into the Russia hack and interference, placed a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy. He asked Zellenskiy for a “favor,” which was to launch an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential foe for Trump in 2020. Yes, the president asked a foreign government for political help. He wants to “cheat” his way to re-election.

How in the name of cybersecurity can we stand by and let this happen?

I am acutely aware that government cyber geeks are hard at work trying to provide fool-proof locks against this kind of intrusion. What troubles me in the extreme is that the individuals at the highest levels of our government are stone-cold silent on this matter.

Donald Trump, the intended beneficiary of the 2016 Russian election attack, continues to dismiss the interference. He disparages intelligence analyses that says, “Yes, the Russians did it!” He calls that phone call to Zellenskiy “perfect.”

It was “perfect” only insofar as he delivered a clearly defined message to a foreign head of state. He wanted a “favor” and asked that government to attack our electoral system — again! 

What measures are we taking to protect our election system throughout its massive network?

Time for also rans to run for the sidelines

I won’t pussyfoot around on this matter.

The time has come for the Democratic Party presidential primary field to narrow itself to the leading, five or maybe six, contenders.

The rest of them need to go. Away. To the back of the room.

The leading candidates are now obvious to even the most casual observer. They are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and — yes, this one — Michael Bloomberg.

The rest of them are still polling in low single digits. They won’t gain any traction, no matter what they say or how much they contend their campaigns are about to ignite.

A couple of those back of the pack members disappoint me. I had some hope that perhaps Tulsi Gabbard might emerge. She didn’t. She cast that strange “present” vote on whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump. Then we have Deval Patrick, a late entrant. The former Massachusetts governor sought to light a fire among African-American voters. I haven’t seen the spark yet.

Why include Bloomberg in the field of contenders who should continue? Well, dude’s got a lot of cash. About 50 billion bucks. He’s going to drop a few million of those dollars into this race. He has a message. He needs to be heard. Yes, I am skeptical of a mega-rich guy jumping in late, skipping the early primaries and then presuming to be the candidate for whom primary voters will flock because only he can defeat Donald Trump this November.

I’ve noted already that I am highly satisfied with the quality of the Democratic field that is angling for an opportunity to run against the president. I damn sure don’t support all of them.

The field, though, needs to winnow itself down to a roster of candidates who can compete strongly for their party’s presidential nomination.

To be candid, I am weary of the constant bickering and dickering over who among them is being left out of these campaign joint appearances.

Take a hike, also rans. Thank you for offering yourselves for our consideration. This isn’t your time.

NY Times double endorsement: a head-scratcher

The fuddy-duddy in me is making me scratch my noggin over the New York Times’s decision to split its endorsement in the Democratic Party presidential primary, offering its nod to two of the challengers remaining in the still-large field.

The Times, admitting it was “breaking with convention,” went with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the party’s nomination. Warren is a champion of the party’s liberal/progressive wing, while Klobuchar bears the standard for the party’s more moderate wing. Therefore, the Times figured, why choose just one of ’em? They went with both.

Here’s where this endorsement strategy breaks down for me. Only one of them can emerge as the party nominee this summer. One candidate will get the nomination and will face Donald John Trump, the current president who is seeking re-election.

I am going to presume — and this is no giant leap into the unknown — that the Times likely will endorse whoever is running against Trump. Why won’t the Times take the leap that Democratic voters all across the land in primary states are going to take? They can’t choose two candidates. Voters’ choice is limited to just one.

A few years before resigning from my final job as a daily print journalist I enacted a policy that did away with endorsing in party primaries when there was a contest in the other party. The Amarillo Globe-News decided to make endorsements only in those primary races where there was no candidate waiting for the nominee in the fall. In the Texas Panhandle, that almost always meant that Republicans would have contested primaries while Democratic primaries had no candidates on the ballot.

My thought then was that primary contests generally are the work of political parties. A one-party primary, though, was tantamount to election. Thus, we would weigh in on a primary.

In all the years I interviewed political candidates and wrote editorials offering a newspaper recommendation on who voters ought to choose, I never wrote a two-fer.  My thought always has been that if we’re going to ask voters to make a choice, then the newspaper ought to show the same level of courage … and make a single choice.

Here is the Times editorial: You make the call.

I won’t argue the merits of the candidates’ points of view. I merely question a great newspaper’s decision to hedge on a critically important decision.

Modern-day hero comes to Biden’s defense

A real-life, modern hero has come to the defense of a politician who in recent times has endured some amazingly cruel taunting over a condition that once plagued him as a child.

Joe Biden once suffered from a debilitating stutter. His political foes are taking aim at him over if, mocking a condition he fought hard to overcome. The latest is Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, the son of the current president of the United States.

Lara Trump thought it was clever to implore the former vice president to “get it out,” to finish whatever thought he sought to make. Her crass quip drew scattered laughter from the crowd.

Now comes Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed that jetliner full of passengers on the Hudson River, to Biden’s defense. Sully wrote in a New York Times op-ed essay that he, too, suffered from stuttering while growing up in Denison, Texas. What’s more, he endured bullying, taunting as a child. He wrote that those memories rushed back when he heard about Lara Trump’s taunt.

Sully wrote: This culture of cruelty is what drives decent people from public service, and what makes millions of Americans recoil from politics, and even from participating in our democracy.

Read his essay here.

I have written already about how I feel Joe Biden’s pain. I, too, stuttered as a child and had to endure taunts from junior high school and high school “friends” who found it funny that I couldn’t get certain words out of my mouth. I worked through it all by myself. I got no help.

But my point is that Joe Biden doesn’t deserve to be mocked. He deserves to be honored for the courage he showed in whipping the problem … and in talking openly about it as a prominent American politician. Those who mock him should salute him.

Hoping for an issues debate in 2020 race for POTUS

You may choose to believe or disbelieve what I want to say next. That’s your call. I have no control over what you believe.

I want a serious issues discussion to unfold as we move into the guts of the 2020 campaign for the presidency of the United States. Sadly, and I say that with sincerity, I fear we’re going to devolve into a sort of 2016 Campaign 2.0.

Donald Trump will survive the Senate trial that will commence soon. He will run for re-election. Democrats will nominate someone from the field of contenders vying for the chance to run against Trump.

My serious fear is that Trump’s impeachment will dominate the campaign. What’s more, I also fear that the president will not want to veer away from it, given how I suspect he’ll spin the expected verdict from the Senate into an “exoneration.”

What should we discuss?

  • Climate change ranks near the top of my issues wish list. Trump has called it a hoax. Democrats say climate change poses the greatest existential threat to the nation’s security. Trump has rolled back environmental regulations. Democrats want to restore them.
  • Health care ranks up there, too. Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with an unknown plan. Democrats keep saying they want to tinker with the ACA, improve the parts of it that need work. Democrats want to protect the insurance coverage for millions of Americans. Trump isn’t making that commitment.
  • Federal spending? Yep, that’s a big one. Donald Trump has stood by while the budget deficit piles up to record levels. Democrats have become “deficit hawks,” trading places with Republicans who used to own that title.
  • Immigration reform is necessary. Trump keeps saying “Mexico will pay for The Wall.” Democrats don’t like building a wall along our southern border. They want to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Trump doesn’t have a plan.

All of this presumes naively, I’ll acknowledge, that Donald Trump is willing to discuss these issues in detail. He won’t go there. The president doesn’t read anything. He keeps telling us he is the smartest man in human history. He governs by “gut instinct.” Sigh.

I fear the president is going to concoct scandals where none exists with whomever he faces in the 2020 election.

There you have what I think will occur juxtaposed with what I hope happens. The idealistic side of me hopes for the best. The realist within me is preparing for the worst.

Bloomberg set to spend several fortunes on POTUS race? Wow!

There is something profoundly off-putting to learn that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is ready to spend a billion of his own dollars on his campaign to become president of the United States.

I’m not sure what Bloomberg is worth. I hear it’s anywhere from $20 billion to $50 billion. When he commits to spending as much as $1 billion of his own stash to become president, I realize it’s a mere drop of spittle in the man’s personal fortune. Good grief. He can piddle away that amount of money and never even miss it!

Is this what we can expect? Donald Trump’s election in 2016 marked a historical turning point in that regard … regardless of the countless other matters that have drawn so much public scrutiny.

Here we are again as we enter another election year.

Bloomberg is forgoing the early primaries. He is spending mountains of money on TV ads. They’ve been airing in Texas incessantly, focusing primarily on health care issues. Indeed, a Dallas Morning News story in today’s paper talked about how the still-large Democratic Party primary field is going to focus greatly on Texas as the POTUS train chugs its way toward Super Tuesday in March.

Does this portend a fight for Texas’s 38 Electoral College votes in the fall campaign once Democrats find a nominee? Well, time will tell.

I happen to one American voter who is likely to be turned off by the idea of a major party nominee purchasing a nomination with cash drawn from his bottomless pockets.

Perhaps there’s the issue, too, of the waffling that Bloomberg exhibited prior to getting into this contest. He made a fairly big show of telling the world that he would not run for president. Then he’s in, saying he was dissatisfied with the quality of the Democratic field fighting among itself to see who would run against Trump. Talk about presumptuous!

No one asked my opinion, but I happen to be one of those Democratic-leaning voters who is satisfied with the field that is running for the party nomination. One of them will emerge as the nominee and it is my hope the party selects someone with the right stuff to take on Donald Trump.

Moreover, my sentiment prefers that the nominee be battle-tested in a primary system that pits the nominee against the other candidates head to head.

Bloomberg is acting like someone who believes he should remain “above the fray.”

Uh, Mr. Mayor? That doesn’t necessarily play well with at least one primary voter. That would be me.

How does Bernie keep raking in all that cash?

I want to stipulate a political truism, which is that lots of money doesn’t always translate to lots of votes.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had tons of cash when he launched his 2016 bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination. He, um, didn’t make the grade.

Four years later, we have Sen. Bernie Sanders out there raking in huge sums of money. They’re from small donors, he keeps telling us. Sanders, who’s actually an independent senator from Vermont, is running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I am baffled how so many voters keep “feeling the Bern.” They keep pumping all that cash into his coffers. He finished 2019 with a huge haul of $34.5 million in the final quarter of the year. He’s loaded, man!

You may color me amazed, along with baffled. The man sings off a single song sheet page. Wealthy people are bad for the country, he keeps saying. Every single answer to every question seems to turn on “wealth inequality.” He wants to redistribute the wealth, you know … take from the rich and give to the not-so-rich. I guess it has its appeal, but I am not sure why.

I hate to bring age into this argument, but he is 77 years old. He would be the oldest man ever inaugurated president were he to win. I mention this with some trepidation as I just turned 70 myself this past month.

Sanders has yet to demonstrate a broad swath of knowledge on matters far from the income inequality theme he keeps preaching.

The war on terror? Climate change? U.S.-Russia relations? Middle East policy? We know what he believes about taxation.

Plenty of my friends are supporters of Bernie Sanders. I just won’t sign on until I get a sense of a more well-rounded, comprehensive platform on which he intends to run. So far, I am not seeing it.

But … he still is awash in campaign cash.

Go figure.

On second thought, Mr. Vice President …

I’ve already trashed the idea of Joe Biden considering — prematurely, I must stipulate — whether he would select a Republican to run with him on a 2020 presidential ticket to defeat Donald Trump.

It’s far too early. Biden appears to be pandering to GOP voters … you get my drift.

On reflection, though, I think it’s OK to play this out briefly.

Suppose Biden emerges as the prohibitive favorite to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. Suppose, too, that he is serious about looking for a Republican to run with him. A name does pop into my head: former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

  • Kasich ran in 2016 against a large field of Republican presidential contenders. He was among the last of them to fold under the Trump juggernaut. Kasich emerged as my favorite GOP candidate.
  • The man’s got serious policy chops. He ran the House Budget Committee in the late 1990s. He worked with President Bill Clinton to balance the federal budget.
  • He also comes from Ohio, a state that becomes a battleground for Trump and Biden.
  • Kasich also has endorsed the idea of impeaching Trump, which the House has done; Trump is awaiting a trial in the Senate.

Those all are positives. But … and you know what comes next; it’s never a positive statement.

Kasich is a white male. So is Biden. The conventional wisdom has been all along that Democrats aren’t going to nominate a ticket with two white guys running against Trump and (presumably) Vice President Mike Pence. The 2020 Democratic ticket more than likely is going to include a white male along with a male or female “of color.”

I’m just offering some food for thought here. We’re still a long, long way from pondering the party affiliation of anyone being considered by whomever the Democrats nominate as their presidential candidate.

Stop pandering to GOP, Mr. Former VP

Joe Biden now says he might consider asking a Republican to join him on a ticket to run against Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Hold the phone! C’mon! The presumed Democratic primary frontrunner need not go there, at least not yet.

First of all, he doesn’t have the nomination locked up. On the contrary, many of us out here who might be inclined to support the former vice president are still anguishing over his continual verbal missteps, gaffes and need for “clarification.”

Second of all, who among the nation’s leading Republicans would he consider at this moment? None of them is speaking up against Trump. They’re exhibiting supreme political cowardice by enabling the president to continue to embarrass the nation and the office he occupies. Trump takes their silence as a tacit endorsement of his conduct, which has gotten him impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Biden’s suggestion that he’d consider a GOP running mate came in response to a question in New Hampshire. It sounds to me like so much pandering to a potential Republican voting bloc that might be inclined to vote for a Democrat over a GOP president they consider to be an embarrassment.

Many of us are still waiting for a prominent Republican politician to offer a full-throated condemnation of Donald Trump. If one shows the guts to do such a thing, then we ought to talk about adding that individual to a Democratic ticket.