Friday, May 15, 2020

Joe Biden, Flawed Candidate, Donald Trump, Flawed President

PR Newsstory 4 | Life as a Student

Funny how the standards people apply to an opposing politician are never applied to a politician they support!

I have been getting unsolicited text messages from area code 855.  They include messages supporting Trump and attacking Biden, with links to sketchy conspiracy sites.  I googled this and apparently a lot of people are getting texts from the same number.  Funny thing, the list of unwanted calls and texts dates back to 2014, when people were receiving calls from "the collection agency" claiming their paychecks were going to be garnished and their bank accounts closed.   Makes you wonder whether it was the same people in both instances - merely reusing the same number for a different scam.

I don't know if they felt these messages would "persuade" me to vote for Trump - they have just the opposite effect - reminding me time and time again of the sort of folks who do support Trump, and some of the odious things, lies, and misdirection he is responsible for.

Take this latest thing he is pushing - the "Crime of the Century" as he calls it - that government officials asked the NSA for the name of the person who was caught dealing with the Russians (Flynn).  For some reason, Trump claims this is a "crime" - unmasking a criminal - and wants us all to believe this is somehow worse that Watergate or the Lindbergh kidnapping.  When asked what the actual "crime" was, Trump himself cannot articulate it.

Somehow it feels like we are in Back to the Future II, and Biff Tannen is now President - a two-bit bully who is dumb as a stone, but looks out for his own interests - only.  Where is Marty McFly when we need him?

Once again - as always - we are going into a Presidential election where people claim they don't like either candidate - "hold your nose and vote" some say.  Others say they will stay home and not vote at all - leaving the field clear for the people who obsess about politics and actually like or even love one of the candidates.

And that is the problem for Biden.   While Trump's approval ratings are not very high, he has a core group of people who love him and will go to his little Nuremberg rallies and fly Trump flags from their pickup trucks.  The stay-home-and-not-vote crowd fail to realize that if they stay home, they are, in effect, voting for Trump, as his die-hard fans will get out there and vote for sure.

And the die-hard Biden fans?   That's the problem - there are none.  Joe Biden is by all accounts a decent guy (and no, I don't believe these all-too-convenient allegations from a clearly insane woman who runs a cat shelter and has an eating disorder) but he doesn't inspire passion in people the way Trump does.  Trump has years of experience as a "reality television" star and even spent some time in professional wrestling.   He knows his audience and how to pander to them.

No one flies Biden flags - not even from the hatch of their Prius.   And that's the problem for Uncle Joe.

Is Biden a flawed candidate?  Sure - they all are.   It cracks me up that the likes of Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris claim they were better candidates that Joe.   Comrade Sanders would raise the ire of every middle-of-the-road Democrat, and has a past history of financial malfeasance dating back to his early days as a failed carpenter (like Jesus, right?) before he became a failed politician.   Point to one thing Sanders has done while in office for decades other than to collect a paycheck and make soundbites.

What really cracks me up, though, is that the attacks on Biden today are coming from the Trump camp - in Trump's classic, "I'm rubber, you're glue, bounces off me, sticks to you!" strategy.   Trump ducked out on the draft, but deflected accusations of cowardice by impuning the military records of real war heroes.    So Trump, who has a record a mile long of sexual harassment, rape, payoffs, and God-knows-what-else - as well as a history of serial mail-order wives - claims the moral high ground, even as he brags about "grabbing pussy".   Bounces off him and sticks to... Biden?

It makes you scratch your head.  People say Joe Biden isn't fit to be President because he touches women's hair and because one clearly crazy lady who is being paid by the Koch brothers or the Bernie brothers to raise allegations more than a decade after they occur but less than six months to election time make allegations of rape when - let's face it - no one would rape her on a dare.

Will people really fall for this nonsense again and again?  Maybe.  Maybe not.   We keep up hope, thinking about what Lincoln said, "You can't fool all the people, all the time."    That may be true, but you need only fool enough in some swing States to get into office.

And maybe that is why Biden swept to victory in Super Tuesday and other later primaries.   People realized shit's about to get real, and it was time to put away socialist fantasies about free everything, or electing a gay mayor or whatever.  Four more years of Trump means four more years of financial chaos, loss of the Obamacare program (with no replacement, even though Republicans have had a decade to propose one, and even both houses of Congress to pass one!).

That is the strategy of the GOP this time around - and any time.   You won't persuade a die-hard Democrat to vote for Trump.   But perhaps you can persuade him to not vote at all or stay home.   And you hear about this all the time - even during the last election.   People didn't like Hillary, because she was a flawed candidate (and again, they all are, every time, so get over that).   So they either didn't vote, or left the top-tier blank, or wrote-in Bernie or something else stupid.   By doing so, they handed the election to Trump.   They might as well have voted for him.

And yes, when I was young, I did stupid things like that.   When Carter was up for re-election in 1980, I voted for John Anderson - in my first Presidential vote.  While it probably didn't make much of a difference in that particular election, such third-party candidates and protest votes have swayed elections in the past.

Stay-at-home and protest votes handed the 2016 election to Trump.  Stay-at-home and protest votes for Ralph Nader handed the Florida electors (and thus the election) to George Bush.  Stay-at-home and protest votes for Ross Perot handed the election to Bill Clinton.

The Ralph Nader thing I never understood.  I mean, I am sure the guy was sincere, and his analysis of the safety of the air-cooled, rear-engine car - the Volkswagen Beetle - was spot on.   But how in earth could this ever be seen as qualification to be President of the United States?    People say they want an "outsider" but given Trump's track record, is that really a good idea?

So maybe we need to take aside these arguments that attack character and posit that a candidate is "flawed" or whatever.  Because whatever the Right says about Biden is doubly or triply true about Trump.  Maybe - just maybe - a better idea is to concentrate on policies and positions, and not weird conspiracy theories.

The next four years are going to be a rocky time - a time when we need to compromise on a lot of ideologies in the interest of getting things done and getting our country - and the world - back on track.  You have to ask yourself which candidate looks best poised to accomplish this, and vote accordingly.