Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Blogger Candidate Forum: A Few Thoughts

Hello Everyone:

It is a beautiful Wednesday afternoon and time for Blogger Candidate Forum. Today we are going to talk about the growing field of potential Democratic nominees and the latest in the ongoing shutdown. Before we get to that, a word or two about the weekend confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial.

By now, video of the chaotic confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial has gone viral.  Chaos is definite,y the word to describes the convergence of the Christian evangelical group known as the Black Hebrews, a group of high school boys at a pro-life march, and Native Anericans in town for the March for Indigenous People.  Depending on which version of the encounter between Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and Omaha elder Nathan Phillips, Mr. Sandmann comes off as either a hero or villain.  At the essence of the issue is protecting the flock, nuance disappears.  Any real conversation about what really happened at the Lincoln Memorial gets tossed out, in its place protect whoever is perceived as the victims: white parochial school boys or Native Americans.  Some in the conservative media have portrayed the firestorm surrounding the aftermath of the encounter as an "attack on Christians."  Some in the liberal media have painted boys as racist and privileged.  Regardless of how you interpret the encounter, one thing is clear, this and the successful nomination of Bret Kavanaugh, who like Nick Sandmann, came from an all-boys Catholic school raises questions about the type of environment the students are being educated in. Perhaps the school and archdiocese should take a big step back and examine what kind of character education are the students being given?  Eventually the news cycle of this encounter will die down, until the next time. Until our schools and communities meaningfully address the culture of toxic masculinity, this cycle will continue.  Alright, next subject. 

The 2019 shutdown drags on. Drags on is a very appropriate phrase because it seems that niether side wants to back down.  It seems ridiculous to shutdown a quarter of the federal governme over a sea-to-shining-sea border wall.  In fact, there is no point to any shutdown whatsoever. Be that as it may, we are a month into the shutdown and there seems to be no end in sight. Some Democratic lawmakers have urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) to just give the president the $5.7 billion he is demanding for the wall. Not going to happen. Also not going to happen is Mr. Donald Trump staging the State of The Union on the Capitol Building steps. What is the latest?

Right now, there are two spending bills set for a procedural vote tomorrow.  The first is a vote on Mr. Trump proposal: In exchange for the $5.7 billion in exchange for a three-year extension for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protective Status, two legal immigration programs he began to dismantle (; Jan. 22, 2019; date accessed Jan. 23, 2019). The Senate Democrats countered with a bill that would open the government, fund agencies at current levels, and allow a broader discussion on border security to take place after government re-opens, through February 8th. Both bills require 60 votes to pass.  Somewhere in the middle is room for compromise.  Both bills lack support.  The president's proposal is not likely draw any moderate Democrats and vice versa, given the president's promise to veto the Democrats' proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has allowed a vote on the Democrats' bill even though he does not support it (Ibid). As of now, the House has about nine bill for consideration.

For his part, Leader McConnell has been on the sidelines, waiting for someone to propose a bill that will have the president's support. He also declared that he would not take any show votes has little viability (Ibid). Although the Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, they would need seven Democrats to support their bill in to pass it.  Not likely to happen.  Similarly, Democrats would to peel off 13 Republicans to pass a House bill, making its way to the Senate.  Again, not likely to happen. 

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is ready to defend their position; willing to make concessions including an increase in borde security-related funding, despite opposition to the wall (Ibid). Their message has been consistent, Reopen the government, and then let's talk border security (Ibid).  The additional monies is an indicator of their willingness to compromise.  We will see what happens Thursday. In the meantime, we have the State of The Union.

The annual State of The Union is (was) scheduled for January 29th. At the time, Speaker Pelosi was not thinking shutdown but the timing of it comes off like incentive to reopen government. Citing shutdown-related security concerns, she suggested delivering the address in writing or from the Oval Office.  As of today, Speaker Pelosi rescinded the invitation and Mr. Trump threatened to hold an alternative event. Mr. Trump, pay attention, if you think you can provoke a confrontation by staging an alternative event, it will backfire bigly. 

Changing the subject, circle this date on calendar, November 3, 2020, the next presidential election. Go register to vote now. If you thought the 2016 presidential election was contentious, wait until the next one. Should the Trump-Pence ticket survive to the next cycle, expect to see it challenged possibly by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former Ohio Governor John Kaisich (R).  Another possible challenger is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R). Blogger is not holding her breath on that one. Could former Florida Governor Jeb Bush or Texas Republican Ted Cruz take another run at the nomination?  Who knows.  What is known is the field of potential Democratic nominees.

As of today, Senators Kamala Harris (CA), Kristin Gillibrand (NY), Elizabeth Warren (MA); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI), former Rep. John Delaney, and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are all in with more to follow. Former VPOTUS Joe Biden and Senator Cory Booker (NJ) are still considering runs. Each nomination candidate has the potential to be the party standard bearer but there is still a very long way to until the Iowa Caucus on February 3, 2020. What do we make of the field thus far?

We are excited that four very successful articulate women have entered the race. Of the four, Blogger believes that Senator Harris has the best chance of emerging as winner. Full disclosure: Senator Harris is from Blogger's home state.  Perry Bacon Jr., of FiveThirtyEigth describes as the "candidate who...embodies how the modern Democratic Party has changed over the last few decades" (; Jan. 21, 2019; date accessed Jan. 23, 2019). If elected, she would be the first African-American, South Asian woman to hold the office.  She has broad appeal across the party spectrum.  When it comes to issues of gender and racial equality, Senator Harris embraces the liberal agenda. Her own biography suggests that she is right in step with the way Democratic Party has become he party of woke women (Ibid). 

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what kind of traction the shutdown will have on the 2020 election.  The Trump-Pence ticket may try to shift blame to the Democrats or change the subject all together.  Meanwhile, as the shutdown drags on, furloughed federal workers are looking toward it other sources of income. As for the State of The Union address?  It is still on the president's schedule.    Also, the question looms whether or former VPOTUS will get in the race. He teases with idea but it is getting to the point where a decision has to be made.  Blogger will keep returning to the subject as the year moves forward. Yours Truly believes that within he next few months, we should see a clearer picture of the field. We will check back with this story next month. 

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