It is a lovely Wednesday afternoon and time for the pre-holiday Blogger Candidate Forum. The Forum is opening his presents early this year, thank you Mr. Donald Trump and company, the gift that keeps on giving.
Three cheers to U.S. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan setting former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn straight. Retired General Flynn resigned from his high level position in February 2017, amid accusations that he was not forthcoming to Cabinet members about his contacts with Russian agents. General Flynn was first of five Trump aides to plead guilty in the special counsel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. In exchange for his guilty plea, General Flynn freely cooperated to office of the special counsel. So much cooperation that the SCO argued this month that General Flynn should should receive no jail time. However, Judge Sullivan had a different idea. Despite the SCO's positive recommendation, Judge Sullivan could not hide his disdain for General Flynn's criminal behavior and told the courtroom that he and only he would decide what, if any, prison time General Flynn should get, postponing his sentencing hearing until March. For an encore, Judge Sullivan struck done he Trump adminsitration's heinous asylum rules for victims of gang and domestic violence. In essence, Judge Sullivan dismissed new rules that would deny asylum to the victims, based on a credible threat hearing. He called the laws "arbitrary, capricious and in violation of the immigration" (nbcnews.com; Dec. 19, 2018). Oorah
As the 2018 draws to close, speculation over who will seek the Democratic nomination for president in the next election cycle. Will any Republican defy conventional wisdom and challenge an incumbent president? Too soon, you ask? No it is not. Speculation over who will be the Democratic nominee began during the midterm election cycle and the list is long. Right now there are several standout potential candidates: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Kamala Harris (D-CA); Representatives Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Beto O'Rouke (D-TX); former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (politico.com; Dec. 7, 2018; date accessed Dec. 19, 2018) All are viable, exciting candidates who have much to offer and could seriously challenge Mr. Trump. Which of these and other potential candidates has a good chance? Shall we have a look.
Thor Hogan of The Washington Post suggested that the Democrats need a young nominee to beat Mr. Trump (washingtonpost.com; Nov. 26, 2018; date accessed Dec. 19, 2018). Right now, serious speculation is swirling around Senators Warren and Sanders; former VPOTUS Biden. Some have suggested Hillary Clinton or John Kerry might roll the dice again. Mr. Hogan points out that the one thing they have in common is they are all over 70 and a few are pushing 80. Of course, age is only a number to this esteemed group of people but it is a problem for the party (Ibid).
Mr. Hogan writes, "Historically, older Democrats have faced significant challenges when seeking he highest office. They have found it difficult to galvanize progressive voters, who are attracted to fresh policy ideas and bold thinking" (Ibid). On the surface of things, the age of a major-party has little influence on the final outcome of an election. Mr. Hogan points out, "Since the 1932 election,not he average age of presidential nominees,..., has been 57 years old" (Ibid). If The Candidate Forum was in the business in pairing candidates, The Forum would pair an older, more centerist candidate with a younger, more progressive running mate. If you take a look at the last two successful Democratic nominees--Bill Clinton and Barack Obama--both were in their late forties when they were first elected to the presidency. The late President John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he was elected. What they all have in common is that were able bring together different generations with a progressive platform--social insurance program expansion, restoring economy fairness, health care and energy independence. Only Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman were older when they first elected to the presidency.
Therefore, the Democrats might want to look to a younger candidate at, or near, the top of the ticket. Recently, talk of a nomination run has swirled around Rep. O'Rourke. Rep. O'Rourke came perilously close to unseating Republican incumbent Senator Ted Cruz and judging by the chatter Twitter, a lot of Senator Cruz's constituents would not have been sad to see go. Rep. O'Rourke is a charismatic candidate with a lot of fresh ideas that resonated with Texas voters but can he translate the excitement his campaign generated to the national stage? However, do not count out the older candidates.
The Des Moines Register, CNN, and MediaCom surveyed Iowa's likely Democratic caucus goers to find out who are they most likely to select. Why Iowa? Iowa is the first state to hold a caucus in the next election cycle and the results of the Des Moines Register/CNN/MediaCom poll potentially sets the stage for the contest that will envelop the state over the next 14 months. The results were clear, VPOTUS Biden and Senator Sanders led the field as likely voters indicated that they preferred a more experienced candidate than a less experienced one (desmoinesregister.com; Dec. 14, 2018; date accessed Dec. 19, 2018). Interestingly, likely voters took an interest in Rep. O'Rourke and, for some reason, thought that former First Lady Michelle Obama should run for president instead of Hillary Clinton. Ms. Obama has publicly said she does not want to run for any public office.
It is still early to speculate who will be the Democratic nominee for president and The Forum will return to the subject over the next year. Another situation that The Forum will keep an eye on is whether or not there will be a viable Republican challenger to Mr. Donald Trump. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich's name has been floated as a possible challenger but it remains to be seen if he will defy conventional wisdom and challenge the incumbent president. The looming ominous cloud in the horizon is special counsel's report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Will it mean that the president could find himself fighting off impeachment or calls for his resignation while campaigning for re-election? Or, will he be in the clear? Regardless, the president is in a vulnerable position and may not be re-elected. It should be a very fascinating new year.