Tag Archives: 2020 election

Issues might cause noggin to burst

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We’re getting ready to head down the stretch in this run for the presidency and so help me, the issues — personal, political and public — are threatening to make my head explode.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are getting ready to meet in their first of three debates. I’ll have more on that later.

I am trying to take all this in as we settle down for an evening of give and take between the Democratic Party challenger and the Republican Party incumbent.

I want Joe Biden to win this election. You know that already. There is no possibility for Donald Trump to collect my support. I detest the very idea that this self-serving narcissist even got elected in the first place. He did so against my strong protests. Now we need to get his ample backside tossed out of the White House.

It is mind-boggling in the extreme to even ponder how Trump can be anywhere near Biden in the horse-race aspect of this campaign. Trump has, in no particular order:

Disparaged men and women who serve their country in the military; denigrated actual war heroes; paid next to zero federal income tax; lied to Americans about the threat posed initially by the COVID pandemic; told an estimated 28,000 lies all told during his time in office; insulted political foes mercilessly; insulted our international allies; pretended to be a man of faith when everyone knows he is nothing of the sort; spoken kindly of KKK’men and Nazis.

I am trying like the dickens to wrap my noggin around all of this. My goodness, in a perfect world Joe Biden would be prepared to roll up a historic landslide, something rivaling President Reagan’s 49-state pummeling of Walter Mondale in 1984.

That base of voters remains loyal to Trump despite his lies, the reports of his tax cheating, his myriad boorish statements, the insults he hurls at opponents. They like that about him because, I have to surmise, he speaks their language; Trump speaks on their behalf. How does one cope with that?

So the debate tonight opens up a possible new lane for Joe Biden to travel. My version of political nirvana will unfold if the former vice president thoroughly thrashes the president and puts this race out of reach. Trump has given so much ammo to unleash.

May the former VP use it wisely … but with maximum effect.

Consider this possible bombshell

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I don’t want to predict the moment that Earth will spin off is axis, but there’s a potentially explosive scandal out there that might erupt, forcing the worst constitutional crisis in American history.

Donald Trump is about to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. That someone could be confirmed in a U.S. Senate vote before the Nov. 3 election.

We’ll go to the polls and the result might not be to Trump’s liking. He might decide to challenge the results that could show Joe Biden winning narrowly … God forbid!

Then the case could go to the Supreme Court.

Just suppose Trump’s selection on the court finds herself in the position of casting the deciding vote that might return Trump to office for a second term. Suppose as well that the appointee doesn’t recuse herself from any deliberation and that her vote renders a Biden victory moot on some legal technicality that no one can predict at this moment.

Whoever Trump nominates and is confirmed in my view needs to declare herself out of the game. She must not participate in any decision that could deliver a second term to the individual who selected her for a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court.

Oh, man, I do not want any of this to play out. My version of political perfection would be for Joe Biden to win in a rout, to bury Trump under an electoral landslide that produces zero doubt over the outcome … not that a landslide loss would dissuade Trump from trying to pull of some mumbo jumbo to steal an election result.

We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a hideous, horrendous, hell-raising crisis in the event we get a shiny new Supreme Court justice sitting on the bench awaiting an electoral outcome.

Recusal is the only option.

McCain endorses Biden

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I guess you could say that politics at times can travel full circle.

Consider this: The wife of the man against whom Joe Biden ran in 2008 has endorsed the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee’s bid for the presidency of the United States.

Cindy McCain, wife of the late senator and Vietnam War hero John McCain, says Biden is the “only man” who speaks for the nation’s values.

At one level this endorsement isn’t surprising. Biden and McCain were the best of friends. They came from different parties; they differed politically and philosophically. They also shared a love of country and a commitment to serving the public. Biden’s path took him to the Senate by the time he turned 30 while McCain’s journey took him to the Navy and then to the Vietnam War, where he was shot down and imprisoned (and tortured repeatedly) for more than five years; he came home in 1973 and became a successful politician.

Biden ran as vice president on a ticket led by Barack Obama in 2008. They defeated the GOP ticket led by U.S. Sen. McCain, who ran with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Biden and McCain never let their political differences interfere with the deep affection and respect they had for each other.

So it was today that Cindy McCain endorsed Joe Biden’s bid to become president. Sen. McCain would be quite pleased.

It’s visceral, man

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been voting for president in every election since 1972.

Not once have I felt such intense personal loathing for the man who sits in the president’s office … until right now.

Actually, my visceral animosity dates back to the evening when I heard Donald Trump had won enough Electoral College votes to become the nation’s 45th president.

Then it started. The intensely personal and persistent rage at the thought that Americans had sent this carnival barker into the Oval Office, given him access to the most dangerous weapon system ever created and handed him the keys to governing a nation that in a fit of anger forgot about the standards is used to set for the individual who they choose to lead us.

It’s not that I oppose Trump’s ideology. He doesn’t possess anything of the sort. He has no set of guiding principles. Trump does not adhere to a fundamental set of values. He views political relationships as transactional events; you do this for me and I’ll do that for you.

This individual had zero public service experience under his belt. He continues to exhibit zero interest in public service even now as he occupies the presidency.

The record of chock full of anecdotes and recollections of those with whom he has worked about how he talks about others, how he feels about Americans who idolize him. There is the prevailing sense that he detests the rank-and-file Trumpkins who flock to his rallies and cheer the lies that fly out of his mouth.

I have harbored these thoughts about Trump since before he became president. I didn’t want him to win the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016. I damn sure didn’t want him to defeat Hillary Clinton who, despite her own flaws, was eminently more qualified to serve as our head of state and commander in chief than the individual who won the election.

So, here we are. Another election is on tap. Trump is in pandering mode to be sure. He will select someone to sit on the Supreme Court in the wake of the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. My hunch is that he doesn’t know the first thing about any of the finalists he is considering, other than how they might appeal to elements of his political base.

He has failed the test of leadership at every level possible.

Yes, it’s personal with me. I want him gone.

It’s not just ‘Trump hate’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I read a lot of conservative commentary during the day as I look for topics on which to fill this blog and I see a few overarching themes on all the essays I see.

One of them deals with that many of them call “hatred of Donald Trump.” Sigh …

I won’t delve too deeply into what I have said about Donald Trump since he announced his presidential candidacy in the summer of 2015; goodness, it seems actually longer ago than that!

I just feel the need to summarize my belief about this individual: The man brought no public service experience into politics; his entire life has whirled around self-enrichment; he has no empathy; he lacks compassion; he is unfit for public office. There you have it.

Is that alone going to be fuel that drives me? No.

I do have a deep abiding respect for the presidency. I want its occupant to restore the office to its intended stature. That is why I am all in for Joe Biden.

To be candid, former Vice President Biden was not my first pick among the Democrats. I actually didn’t have a favorite among the two dozen (or so) candidates who burst from the starting gate. Biden stood near the front of the second tier of candidates in that initially large field.

But he got through it. He survived several beat-downs in the debates. He won key endorsements and them steamrolled to the Democratic Party presidential nomination. He emerged as the candidate to run against Trump. I now am all in — with Biden!

I know enough about Biden to understand how he wants to restore the nation’s “soul.” Biden believes Trump has robbed our national soul of the TLC he believes is an essential part of good government. I go along with that.

I have said before — to some derision among critics of this blog — that I am driven by love of my country and not hatred of Donald Trump in opposing his presidency. I will stand proudly by that declaration.

I love my country enough to go to war for it when ordered to do so, to want my president to be a role model for all Americans, and to be able to criticize my government when I believe it is messing up.

That’s love of country in a nutshell, man. So spare me the “you hate Trump” nonsense.

So much at stake … R.I.P., RBG

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This blog post was supposed to be a commentary on the stakes facing us in the upcoming presidential election and the impact it will have on the federal judiciary.

Then came the sad news: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today of cancer at the age of 87. Folks, the stakes just got exponentially greater by a factor I cannot at this moment calculate.

But I’ll go on with what I had written. There will be much more to say about the immediate future of the Supreme Court.

***

Americans aren’t just voting for president of the United States. We also are casting our ballots to determine the course of constitutional interpretation by the powerful federal judiciary.

Donald Trump wants another four years to drag the nation’s highest court so far to the right as to make it unrecognizable from where it stands at this moment. He has boasted about possibly making two more appointments, to go along with the two men he picked during his current term. Now comes the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and quite suddenly, the balance of the court becomes a gigantic factor.

Trump even has gone so far as to offer a list of 20 candidates for the Supreme Court that he would consider were he re-elected.

So help me we cannot let that happen.

Joe Biden has declared his intention to select an African-American woman to the nation’s top appellate court. He did vow to select a woman with whom he would run for office and has made good on that pledge.

Given what we know — or think we know — about Joe Biden’s own judicial temperament, I am hoping he would go for center-left selections to the Supreme Court.

Of course, all of this depends on Biden getting elected president in November.

In addition, we have this other key set of elections occurring. They involve the U.S. Senate, which at the moment has 53 Republicans — a scant majority — in control of the upper legislative chamber. Democrats have to flip four Senate seats to claim a majority.

This is big stuff, man. We already have seen how the GOP majority conducts itself with Supreme Court appointments. The miserable raw political move in stymying President Obama’s choice in 2016 of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia told me plenty about how dirty the GOP can get.

That said, Senate control ranks a very close second to White House control in this upcoming election. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are separate and have equal power under the Constitution. They are linked inextricably, though, through the power of our individual votes.

I am one American patriot who does not want to see this delicate government balance upended if we fail to act on the need for change in the White House and the Senate.

Trump campaigns against himself

Photo by Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock
By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We are witnessing what might become the most curious re-election strategy ever concocted.

Donald Trump seeks a second term as president by campaigning against his own record. He will say he has done things he hasn’t done. Trump will insist that all is going well in a country beset by a killer pandemic and an economic collapse. Trump will contend that we have ended street violence when in fact it is as bad as it’s been in 50 years.

All of this demonstrably verifiable. How in the world does Donald Trump seek to tell this nation that life is good when it clearly is nothing of the sort?

He cannot do it. Does that guarantee that Joe Biden will defeat him in the presidential election that is just 47 days away? Not at all. Trump has proven himself capable of electoral magic tricks, which he pulled off in winning the White House in 2016.

Trump keeps boasting about creating the greatest economy in U.S. history. He didn’t create a thing. He inherited an economy on the rebound. What happened? Well, the pandemic arrived in early 2020 and it all went straight to hell. Meanwhile, Trump talked it down, fed us a ration of lies about how he had the virus “under control.” Yep, and the nearly 200,000 deaths that have ensued didn’t really occur.

Street violence? He told us in his 2017 inaugural that the “American carnage” would end. It hasn’t. African Americans have died at the hands of police officers. Other Americans have protested those deaths. The protests have turned violent. More Americans have died. And, oh yes, we also have suffered through mass shootings in churches, night clubs, shopping centers. Yet the president insists he will restore “law and order.” If not now, when?

I am waiting to hear a vision from Trump about what he intends to do in a second term, which I hope with all I have within me won’t occur. Instead, I keep hearing about what he has done in the unfinished term when my own eyes and ears tell me a totally different story.

The record is out there for all to see.

This election matters … seriously!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

During my many years in print journalism, I sought to remind voters in communities in Texas and in Oregon — where I worked — that local elections mattered more than national elections. Why? Because the local folks set tax policy that paid for essential services we need and use: police and fire, water, garbage pickup, street upkeep.

That was then. The presidential election that awaits 49 days from now might supplant local elections as the most relevant to our needs.

It’s Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump. Biden wants to replace Trump and restore a sense of national honor, of empathy, of concern for our safety. Biden wants to lead the nation through the pandemic that is still killing too many of us daily. Trump is continuing to lie about what he’s allegedly done. Biden wants to protect Americans against all threats, even those that arrive in the form of a killer virus.

We are being forsaken by a president who doesn’t give a rat’s a** about us. His concern is focused solely on his re-election. One might be able to link the two matters — re-election and a president’s concern for U.S. citizens. Except that Trump’s continual lying about the coronavirus renders his actual caring about us absolutely moot.

It is true that presidents don’t set tax policy. City councils still establish how much we pay for essential municipal services. So do our county commissioners courts. None of this is meant to diminish their relevance in our daily lives.

I do intend to take particular note of the stakes of the national election and to suggest that this Biden-Trump choice means more to us individually than most of the presidential choices we have made … arguably since the beginning of this glorious republic.

Both candidates call this the most consequential election in history. I believe them and I intend to do all I can to ensure we make a change at the top of our political chain of command.

Biden needs to avoid this tag

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joseph R. Biden Jr. needs to do all he can to avoid being labeled by historians as the candidate who lost a presidential campaign to an incompetent, immoral, corrupt politician.

Donald Trump is the aforementioned individual Biden is facing in the upcoming presidential election. Will the incumbent slither his way to a second term as president? I have no possible idea.

I am hoping for all I can that Biden defeats Trump bigly.

However, Trump’s uncanny knack of wiggling free of political crises gives me the heebie-jeebies. While it is weird enough that Trump managed to defeat a demonstrably more qualified candidate for president in 2016, it would be far beyond bizarre for Trump — with the hideous record he has compiled in his current term as president — to pull it off again this year.

You have to get busy, Mr. Biden. Millions of us are counting on you.

Trump defames elections officials

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s incessant and profoundly absurd claim of a “rigged election” in the event of a loss to Joseph Biden rubs me raw at so many levels.

I keep wondering how county elections officials, regardless of their political affiliation, must feel when they hear Trump make those terrible and defamatory assertions about the fairness of the election in case he comes up short.

If you’re a county clerk and you run an election office you must wonder just how Trump believes you can “rig” an election to push Biden across the finish line ahead of the incumbent president.

I have known a number of county clerks in Texas and in Oregon, where I worked in journalism for all those years, and to a person — man or woman, Republican or Democrat — they are dedicated to their profession. They all take an oath to defend the same Constitution that the president swears to defend. They all swear to follow the law and to ensure that everything they do is above board.

However, we keep hearing from Donald Trump that they won’t do what they swear to do if they preside over an election system that produces a winner whose name isn’t “Trump.”

How in the name of good government can this fellow get away with making these specious, egregious and ridiculous allegations?

Donald Trump clearly is the first president in U.S. history to cast such a forbidding pall over a system we know has been compromised already by Russian spooks working to elect Trump in 2016. Indeed, the Russian interference four years ago and their second act that is underway as we sit here makes me wonder whether the “rigging” is working in reverse of what Trump says will occur if he loses his re-election effort against Biden.

None of that will shut the motormouth of Donald Trump. He will continue to defame local election officials. There is no other way to describe what he is doing.

It is defamatory language fit only for an autocratic demagogue. It has no place in a representative democracy that prides itself on the fairness of its electoral system.