Tag Archives: Democratic primary

Biden takes fight straight to Trump

Joe Biden has a huge hurdle to clear if he intends to take up residence in the White House in January 2021.

The former vice president must defeat an enormous field of Democratic opponents vying for their party’s nomination; then if he succeeds at that he will have to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.

The ex-VP’s opening gambit, released this morning via video, goes straight after Trump. I have to hand it to Biden. He is acting like the Democratic front runner.

Biden’s video takes dead aim at the president’s hideous comment about “fine people . . . on both sides” of the Charlottesville, Va., riot that erupted in 2017. One of those “sides,” let us recall, comprised neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klansmen. Biden noted in his campaign video that Trump sought to attach “moral equivalence” between haters and those who protested against them.

That was the moment, Biden said, that he realized the nation was facing the worst threat he has seen “in my lifetime.”

Biden’s front-running status is likely to diminish as his fellow Democrats start picking away at his huge public service record. It contains more than a few missteps, mistakes, misstatements and assorted gaffes along the way.

For now, though, the former vice president has decided that his No. 1 happens to be the current president of the United States.

To which I say: Give him hell, Joe!

Beto has one distinct advantage over rest of huge field

As I ponder the impact of Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the burgeoning Democratic Party presidential primary field, I keep thinking of a distinct advantage he holds over most of the rest of the thundering herd.

He doesn’t have a job at the moment.

Beto once served in Congress. He represented El Paso in Congress for three terms. Then O’Rourke decided to give up his House seat. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke ignited the Texas Democratic Party, which had been in a state of slumber, er . . . stupor for the past three decades.

O’Rourke almost won!

Now he wants to take the fight to an even higher level. He wants to become president of the United States.

He is running against a lot of U.S. senators, some governors and others who are gainfully employed. Beto doesn’t have a job.

One of the points he sought to make while losing narrowly to Cruz was that the junior senator from Texas spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes in the Senate.

The many folks who are running against him for president in next year’s Democratic primary will be unable to slather him with mud from that particular pit. He’s jobless at the moment and can devote his waking moments full time to the task of running for POTUS.

He’ll be able to parlay that advantage at least for a little while.

Then he well might have to cope with another high-powered politician with no gainful employment.

Joe Biden? Are you out there?

Looks like Beto’s running for POTUS

If you put a gun to my head and said “Make your prediction about Beto O’Rourke … or else,” I am likely to say that Beto is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Why else would be stand in front of a South by Southwest crowd in Austin today and tell ’em he’s made up his mind, but just isn’t ready to divulge what he has decided to do.

It sounds to me as though O’Rourke is lining up his ducks, assembling his campaign organization.

Run, Beto, run?

I mean, think about it! Were he not going to run, why would he have any reason to delay announcing a decision. If he’s going to stay home, find other work, do something else he would just say so. Isn’t that right? Does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?

So, Beto — who nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 2018 — likely is going to jump into the massive and still growing Democratic Party primary field that wants to challenge Donald John Trump for president.

I beg you, though, dear reader. Please don’t hold me to this if O’Rourke decides to stay home in El Paso.

My so-called “prediction” is based on a hypothetical circumstance. Please remember that if he decides against running for president.

Welcome back, Beto!

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but Beto O’Rourke is making himself quite at home in what might be considered “enemy territory.”

O’Rourke is the Democratic member of Congress who wants to succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at the end of next year.

He keeps coming back to the Texas Panhandle. He’ll be here Tuesday, conducting a town hall meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Austin Middle School in Amarillo.

What’s the deal? O’Rourke represents an El Paso district in Congress. He’s got a Democratic Party primary yet to win. He has returned back home to Texas during the August recess to resume his full-time campaign for the Senate seat occupied by Cruz.

O’Rourke has developed quite a fan following among local Democrats — yes, there are actually living, breathing Democrats in the Panhandle. They can’t get enough of this young man.

I’m curious about a couple of things regarding Rep. O’Rourke.

First, how much time is he going to spend mining a limited number of Democratic primary votes when there exist so many more in larger urban regions in, say, Dallas and Tarrant counties, in Bexar County, in Travis County, Harris County and, oh yes, El Paso County? Hey, it’s a big state and he’s got to get from place to place in a big hurry.

Second, if the young congressman gets nominated by Democrats next spring, will he come back to the Panhandle when the general election campaign kicks into high gear?

You and I know the rule of thumb regarding partisan Texas politics: Democrats generally have given up on the Panhandle, while Republicans take this region for granted. Just as national politicians campaigning for president focus on “battleground states” and ignore the trusty Red and Blue states, the same can be said for the intrastate campaign in Texas.

Do candidates for statewide office spend as much time in regions where the outcome is preordained? If I would run a Texas-wide campaign, I would focus my attention on those “swing regions” and seek to gin up turnout among my own partisans, be they Democrats in Austin and the Hill Country or Republicans in Amarillo and throughout West Texas.

I hope I’m wrong about Beto O’Rourke. Just maybe the young man will possess the energy and pizzazz to spend more general-election time far from his base of support.

You know, too, that I am no fan of the Cruz Missile.

Enough said.

As Dandy Don would say: Turn out the lights, Bernie

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont,, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The late Don Meredith had a couple of careers.

The first one was as a football player; he was a pretty good quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

The second one was as a football announcer, where he became the folksy voice of “Monday Night Football.” Dandy Don — the pride of Mount Vernon, Texas — was fond of telling audiences during a blowout contest that it was time to “turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

So it is, apparently, with the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The party’s over, Bern.


Sanders got thumped Tuesday in the New York Democratic presidential primary by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She took a giant step toward securing enough pledged and super delegates to become her party’s next presidential nominee.

Sanders and his team vow to fight on.

The question, though, is this: to what end?

The Democratic campaign has gotten testy in recent weeks. Clinton and Sanders have exchanged angry accusations. Sanders’ exit from the contest might not be graceful.

Then again, perhaps he could stay the course if only to keep Clinton sharp as she hones her strategy for the upcoming fall campaign against whoever the Republican Party nominates to run against her.

After the thrashing he took from Clinton, though, Sen. Sanders must be realizing his path to the nomination now has more obstacles than he can possibly remove in time for the convention.

It’s lights out, Bernie.


Bernie turns mean against Hillary


What in the world has gotten into U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders?

The kind old gentleman has turned into a grouchy curmudgeon as he seeks to forestall Hillary Clinton’s march to the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Sanders lit into Clinton at a Brooklyn, N.Y., rally over the weekend, firing up an already-raucous crowd.

Isn’t this the fellow who said he was “tired of hearing about your damn e-mails” during an earlier Democratic debate with Clinton? Isn’t this the man who pledged to keep his campaign positive?

It ain’t happening these days, I’ll tell you.

He’s teeing off on Clinton’s acceptance of big money from “corporate special interests” which, he says, have corrupted the electoral system. He’s questioning her “judgment” in voting to approve funds for the Iraq War. He’s labeling her a tool of the super PACs that have lined up behind her candidacy.


I’m sure it gives Sanders a rush to hear all the cheering, whoopin’ and hollerin’ from the crowds that come to hear his message.

It also seems to smack a bit of desperation from someone who needs to win Tuesday’s New York primary if he is going to remain a serious challenger to the Clinton juggernaut.

If he doesn’t win the primary, they might start blinking the “last call” lights on Sanders’ campaign.

I’ll say this about Sanders: He’s managed to dictate the terms of the Democratic primary debate. To that end, he’s scored a sufficient victory already.

This extreme negativity, though, is unbecoming from someone who once sought to stay on the high road.


Game changer in Wisconsin?

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt,  and his wave Jane acknowledge the crowd as he arrives for his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 2, 2016.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Bernie Sanders has scored the victory he was expected to get in Wisconsin.

Does that change the Democratic Party presidential primary game? Not just yet. The U.S. senator from Vermont has another big test ahead of him: New York. More on that in a bit.

The game now does appear to have changed in the other primary, the Republican one, where U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz drubbed Donald J. Trump in the GOP primary.

Cruz has cruised — pun intended — to a 20-point-plus victory in Wisconsin.

This sets up a longer-range battle as the GOP field slogs its way to the national convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump’s insults, his inattention to detail, his innuendo and his inability to articulate a detailed policy platform on any issue under the sun finally — finally! — seems to have caught up with him.

Is the Texan, Cruz, any better? To my way of thinking, well, no. He’s not.

There well might be a situation setting up whereby Trump arrives in Cleveland a good bit short of the delegates he’ll need to win the nomination on the first ballot. After that? All bets are off. Let the chaos reign!

As for Sanders’ victory in Wisconsin, he’s now heading into the belly of the beast. New York ain’t Wisconsin.

My concern about Sanders is that he is singing a one-note aria. Income inequality? The shrinking middle-class? Big banks? Wall Street hedge fund manager? What in the heck does Sanders intend to do about any of it?

The more I think about it, Sanders is sounding almost as demagogic on his pet issues as Trump is sounding on his.

Is Hillary Rodham Clinton the perfect candidate? Far from it. She’s flawed, too. But she’s been pounded and pilloried by her enemies for more than two decades. She’s still standing, still fighting back.

The way I see it, that speaks to this woman’s political courage.

Moreover, she did represent New York in the Senate for eight years and by all accounts — even from her Republican colleagues — became an effective senator for the Empire State.

I will await the next primary round to commence in New York. We’ll see if the game has changed for the Democrats as much as it appears to have changed for the Republicans.


Another Bush vs. Clinton? Not any longer

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts as she is introduced to speak at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

It seems like eons ago.

Pundits on the left and the right not so long ago were talking — some of them bemoaning — about the idea of another race involving presidential candidates named “Bush and Clinton.”

Well, as of Saturday night that dream/nightmare went out the window.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican primary race after getting battered in South Carolina.

The “Clinton” in this scenario? Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Democratic caucus by a comfortable — if not overwhelming — margin and has returned as the prohibitive favorite for her party’s presidential nomination.

I was not one of those who dreaded another Bush-Clinton matchup. I thought then, and I still do, that Jeb Bush could have made a strong case for his own candidacy. He has executive experience and did a good job as governor of a growing state. He’s not the squishy lefty that hard-right conservatives say he is.

Donald J. Trump drew a bead on Bush early on and beat his brains in.

Then we have Hillary Clinton. I refuse to refer to her as “Hillary,” as so many others have done.

She’s got some baggage. Her own legislative and foreign policy experience will be a plus as she plows her way to the expected nomination.

Clinton has that authenticity and likability matter she’ll need to resolve.

You know what they say about any span of time being a “lifetime in politics.” It could be a day, a week, a month — perhaps even an hour, or so it seems.

A year clearly is a lifetime.

What once was seen as quite probable is now gone. Vanished. Jeb Bush could’ve been a contendah.

It didn’t happen. Now, it’s on to the next round of unpredictable finishes.


Hey, Hillary . . . it’s time for a message


Chris Hayes is a smart young analyst who works for MSNBC.

Last night he offered a most interesting assessment of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

It’s that she lacks a message.

Hayes noted that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ big win in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday came because of his clear mantra: He intends to break up the big banks and drive relentlessly for income equality.

I’m not endorsing or condemning Sanders’ overarching theme. It’s clear as a bell, however.

Hayes’ assessment of Clinton’s message? It’s that she’ll do a good job and that she’s well-prepared to be president of the United States of America.

“That’s not a message,” Hayes said.

Bingo, young man!

She now finds herself playing catch-up with Sanders, who walloped Clinton among young voters who — I should add — appeared to actually turn out Tuesday to vote for their candidates.

It wasn’t Clinton.

Should Clinton be in panic mode? I’m thinking she has time to pull it together.

South Carolina is the next stop on the presidential primary parade route. The former senator/secretary of state can harvest plenty of votes there from a huge African-American base. Here is where she needs to enlist some serious help from her husband, the 42nd and unofficial “first black president” of the United States.

Clinton can paper over all she wants about the expected outcome in New Hampshire. The truth is she got walloped.

Chris Hayes had it right. She lacks a coherent message that resonates with voters who have a serious gripe about what they perceive is wrong with the political system.

Oh, I know too that she’s got those other issues hanging over her. Those e-mails, Benghazi, a perceived lack of authenticity . . . blah, blah, blah.

This once-invincible candidate is now looking, well, a lot less formidable.

Are you standing by, Vice President Joe Biden?


Both major parties seeing huge transformation?


I spent most of my day in airports and on airplanes today, so I was a bit out of the political loop.

Until I got home.

Then I found out that Donald J. Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire in a yuuuuge way. I also found out that Bernie Sanders buried Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

What does it mean?

Beats the devil out of me.

I’m not going to suggest just yet that both major political parties are in the midst of a major makeover.

Sanders’ win was expected, given that he is a virtual favorite son, as he represents next-door Vermont in the U.S. Senate. Clinton admitted as much earlier this evening when she conceded the New Hampshire primary to Sanders.

On she and Sanders will march to South Carolina, where a hefty African-American voter base is expected to give Clinton a built-in advantage.

Now, what about them Republicans?

Trump won by a lot. Perhaps the bigger tempest will occur among those who finished behind Trump. John Kasich finished in second place. Now the Ohio governor becomes the latest favorite of the GOP “establishment wing” to challenge Trump. What happened to Marco Rubio? Or Ted Cruz? Or Chris Christie?

As I finish up this post, I am hearing reports on cable TV news that Christie’s bid might be over. He savaged Rubio at the latest GOP debate, which appears to have inflicted near-mortal wounds on the young senator from Florida. Christie, though, didn’t get the bounce he expected. He’s heading for New Jersey, the TV talking heads report, to consider his options.

Look, I’ve noted already that some serious balloting is yet to occur. We’ve got the Super Tuesday event in early March, which includes big, bad Texas taking part in that primary donnybrook.

Will these results determine the future of both major political parties? Perhaps.

However, so help me, this election is impossible to chart with semblance of certainty.