2020 American Politics
Thread title says it all.

I'm not looking for heated debate. I'm rather disgusted by all the political rants and memes on Facebook and Twitter. But I do have strong feelings about the political situation in America.

I detest Trump. Always have. Always will. In my opinion, evangelical Christian leaders are wrong to support him. His behaviour is completely unacceptable by the standards Jesus set. They supposedly cling to Trump because "he is for Israel". Trump is for Trump and no one else.

I voted for Obama in 2008 but was so disappointed with him as a President I did not vote for him in 2012. I hated the mandate in Obamacare. I hated the fact that he compromised with Republicans on important healthcare issues. But most of all I hated his foreign policy, which contributed to the disastrous events in the Middle East.

Since I began voting many years ago I have mostly voted for Republicans for President but not always. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 even though I didn't agree with all his policies. He was a Republican who ran as an indepedent.

I voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988 but switched to Ross Perot in 1992. I didn't agree with all his views but I felt he had a better grip on economic matters than George H.W. Bush and had more integrity than Bill Clinton.

Never been a Clinton fan.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. I hated the Iraq War but I didn't have any confidence in Al Gore (2000) or John Kerry (2004). Kerry especially alienated me with his body language, which was very practiced.

John McCain lost me when promised he would send American armies anywhere on Earth he felt they were needed. I just felt that was the wrong direction. Can't say I was impressed with his choice of running mate, either. Then again, I didn't like the fact that Obama ran with Joe Biden. But I was glad he didn't choose Hillary Clinton.

I'm sure I'm beginning to look chauvinistic but I didn't oppose Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton because they are women. I opposed them because I didn't like them as candidates. Neither represented what I wanted as leaders.

In 2016 I had to vote for a candidate because I didn't want to not vote as a protest against the really sucky candidates the Democrats and Republicans gave us. I was a Never-Hillary-or-Trump voter.

So I wrote Evan McMullin's name on the ballot. Not a wasted vote. I voted for someone I felt had integrity and whose declared values represented what I wanted to vote for. I still follow him on Twitter. He is a staunch conservative but a serious critic of Donald Trump.

So here we are in 2020. I'm not going to vote for Trump or any Republican who supports him. I don't care where they stand on the issues that matter to me. They have had many chances to stand up to Trump and defend our constitution and they put party before country. I hope they pay the price for their misplaced loyalties at the ballot box in November.

On the other hand, I'm not happy with any of the Democratic party contenders, either. I liked Bernie Sanders in 2016 but I lost interest in him. Chiefly because he is a bit too liberal for my tastes.

Bernie Sanders is not a communist and he doesn't threaten this country's future in any way with his socialist views. The United States has been a socialist country since the day it was founded and that isn't about to change.

Furthermore, I do believe we should have universal health care. By all estimates (even the most conservative ones) Bernie Sanders' universal health care would cost this country considerably less (about $3.2 trillion per year) than we pay (through corporate and private insurance premiums, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses) for health care now (about $3.7 trillion per year presently, but projected to grow by 10-15% per year).

People are gagging over the fact that Bernie says we'd pay higher taxes to cover the health care. WHAT HE SHOULD BE SAYING but doesn't articulate clearly is that THESE TAXES WOULD BE LESS THAN MOST PEOPLE NOW CURRENTLY PAY FOR HEALTH CARE.

In other words, Bernie's plan will save most Americans some money. They'll pay less, not more. But conservatives are doing a better job of conveying the false impression that Americans would pay more, not less, under Medicare for All.

Michael Bloomberg struck me as a moderate candidate when he first announced his intention to run for President. Unfortunately his Democratic rivals have dug up so much dirt on him I doubt he would be the kind of president I would want to support. I would vote for him just to get Trump out of office but I'm not sure what kind of trade that will be.

I don't support Elizabeth Warren because she - like Bernie - is wishy washy about the health care costs. Bernie does a better job of articulating his views but he just put his foot in his mouth again by downplaying the horrendous evil of the Castro regime in favor of arguing for socialist programs.

Bernie needs to stick to the European model of democratic socialism and just bake Fidel Castro at every opportunity. Unfortunately Bernie's personal history suggests he would never do that.

I've been told that Amy Klobuchar's views are more in line with my own. You can see her Website here: https://amyklobuchar.com/issues/

And I think Amy has about a snowball's chance of winning the democratic nomination. I'm not sure she would stand up to Trump's withering attacks, either. So far no one has been able to do that and it has nothing to do with their gender. I don't think either Bloomberg or Sanders will do well against Trump if they don't change their debate strategies.

I really don't know much about Amy Klobuchar but I think - based on what little I've learned - she would indeed represent my personal values better than anyone else in the field.

On the Republican side I kind of like Bill Weld. He doesn't stand a snowball's chance of displacing Trump on the Republican ticket. I would probably vote for Weld over Sanders or Bloomberg even though Weld doesn't support universal health care.

The socialist plans Sanders and Warren are promoting won't happen without a cooperative Congress. That means we'd have to vote the Republicans into the minority in both houses. They deserve to become the minority party. They need to cleanse themselves as their fascist pro-Trump members and bring in some conservatives who actually put the country first.

Congress has failed to keep Trump in check because of the Republicans' luke-warm endorsement of the constitution and the rule of law. They have proven themselves to be supreme political hypocrites.

Not that the democrats are perfect. I predicted that Nancy Pelosi would lead the House into disaster if she were made Speaker again. And she gave in to the radicals who wanted to impeach Trump and let them send a weak, flaccid argument to a pro-Trump Senate. Meanwhile, the House keeps passing bills that everyone knows the Senate won't vote on, let alone that Trump would sign into law.

So we need to get the Republicans out of Congress. I'd hate to see Nancy Pelosi serve as Speaker again but I could endure that if she had a Senate counterpart (even - dare I say it - Chuck Schumer) who worked with her to override Trump's vetoes.

I'm pretty sure - as things stand right now - that Trump will be re-elected. The Democratic Party insists on shooting itself in the foot at every opportunity. They are making opportunities to destroy themselves at the polls.

Regrettably that almost certainly means Trump will keep control of the Senate.

Something needs to change to get Americans to stop electing fascists into office. I don't know what it is. I have no idea of why anyone would want to support Trump but - near as I can figure - about half my friends support him. I mean people I've known for years, decades, support him.

America is only as great as its ability to live up to its constitution. Every generation has been tested and found wanting in some way. We don't want to return a racist, intolerant America. We need to move on to an America that embraces people and helps them achieve all they can.

And we need universal health care because the current system is causing hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to go bankrupt. Private insurance was never a good solution for taking care of millions of families. It became popular in World War II because corporations were prevented from raising salaries by the U.S. government. To compete for a dwindling supply of qualified executives and engineers, corporations began offering incredible benefits packages - the kind everyone has become used to today.

Unfortunately, between 20 million and 24 million Americans lose their privately funded health insurance every year. The system is the worst in the western, industrialized world. That is why I want universal health care for all (that and the fact it will cost us less in the long run).

It's not ironic to me at all that the same people who want to keep the destructive privatized health care system in place are afraid to acknowledge that human activity contributes to and accelerates global warming.

That is yet another reason to vote the Republicans out of office. I have no doubt the Democrats will screw up some things but they don't have a monopoly on stupid decisions. I'm tired of the conservative agenda. It has created a broken, dysfunctional government that doesn't comply with our laws or respect our constitution.

It's time for a change, in my opinion.

I just wish we had better choices on the ballot in November.
I want to know why Bloomberg enter the race so late. To take away votes from Biden?
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
Bloomberg evidently decided to run after the filing deadlines for Iowa and New Hampshire. He went with a Super Tuesday strategy, which Rudy Giuliani tried unsuccessfully a few years ago.

Bloomberg is sort of a special case, since he was wholly self funded and didn’t have to build an infrastructure of donors in the year leading up to the primaries. This became a liability, as he was perceived as trying to purchase the nomination outright. This, coupled with his poor debate showing and his very questionable overall strategy, sunk him.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
I think Bloomberg was legitimately worried that Bernie Sanders could beat Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. Frankly, I think Sanders would have been the stronger candidate but for now it seems Biden has the nomination.

Bloomberg may also have overestimated his appeal to Democratic voters. He apparently didn't realize how much baggage he would bring to the race, and that hurt him (in my opinion).
Never underestimate the power of ego in a billionaire
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
Well, I think a lot of people are wondering about Bernie's ego by now. I don't understand why he won't concede the race. Even if it would have been a struggle for him to fight through to the convention in normal times, the Democratic Primary season has been destroyed by the Covid-19 crisis.

And that means Joe Biden is the de facto Democratic nominee. But if Bernie forces the party to resolve this in normal ways, he'll push the fight into what appears to be a narrowing window of "return to normalcy" in late summer or early fall.

We're probably going to have to live through 1-2 more waves of Covid-19 infections before we make real progress in managing this disease. That means no rallies, no primary elections (or fewer), and no convention.

The less ambiguated the Democratic Party's nomination is this year, the more likely they'll be able to defeat Donald Trump in November.

And maybe the election is already decided one way or another because of the crisis. We'll never really know although I'm sure pundits will have plenty to say for years to come.
The entirety of the Democrat primary seems to have been geared towards making sure Sanders didn't win. That's all well and good, they did it before, and everyone knew they'd do it again. However, I'm very skeptical that Biden is actually going to be be the nominee come November. I fully expect some situation where he has to back out late in the game, and the DNC will proclaim it an "unprecedented situation," and then install whichever candidate they want.

It's not just memes or Republican/Trump supporter talking points; Biden is obviously in no condition to be running, much less hold the office. I'll be shocked if he's on the ballot come November.
I hope it doesn't come to that but we're definitely in new territory here. I don't know when primary elections began but I think early political candidates were just chosen by their parties in small nominating conventions without much lead up.

So unless there are some laws involved in governing the process, maybe it could happen that way.

Ironically, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have already given America limited forms of:

Single-payer Health Care

Supposedly all testing and treatment for Covid-19 will be paid for by the U.S. government. I hope I don't have to find out if that is true, although I do pay for hospital indemnity insurance. If I'm stuck with any hospitalization costs, I hope that applies.

Universal Basic Income

It's a start and I am sure that everything that goes wrong will be used to malign socialism.

But in a way Bernie Sanders has already won two significant policy victories.
The question of the Democratic nominee is a fascinating one. Ultimately, the parties set their own rules for naming a nominee. There is nothing sacred about the Primary/Caucus system, and the only area where Con Law impinges on the process is in voting eligibility rules.

The Primary system as we know it dates back only to 1968 and the debacle of the Democratic Convention. Since that time, both major parties have chosen to evolve towards a more populist system. Interestingly, the Republican system has been more “democratic”, as the Democratic system has maintained a sizable role for “superdelegates”, or party elders as a supplement to primary results.

Following Bernie Sanders’ (not unreasonable) complaints about the 2016 rules, the Democrats adjusted the rules for 2020, eliminating the role of superdelegates unless the first ballot of pledged delegates failed to produce a majority.

What do they do now? Significant changes to the system typically promulgate from the state and national conventions, which is pretty much a nonstarter this year. While Biden leads in pledged delegates, he does not yet have a majority, and I don’t see how he could amass one under current conditions. Under normal conditions, this would be resolved at the convention, but you pretty much can’t have one this year, and even if you could, the states who haven’t yet voted have no mechanism to select delegates.

It’s a big hot mess, and I don’t see a viable resolution that will be acceptable to everyone, especially if Sanders refuses to bow out.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
So, to continue this discussion.

Bernie Sanders has now officially bowed out of the race, although he asked his followers to continue voting in primaries to increase his delegate count for the convention. He hopes to have a greater influence on the Democratic Party's policy platforms this year and he needs to win as many delegates as possible for that.

Bernie did endorse Joe Biden for the nomination, and now Barack Obama has stepped up to endorse Joe Biden.

Of course, many people still feel there are problems with a Biden candidacy and potential presidency. While Biden is not capricious or narcissistic like Donald Trump, he's hardly a heart-warming idealist or visionary.

Despite whatever happens with the economy over the next few months, I think every press conference and video Donald Trump turns into a propaganda ad for his re-election weakens his position. Many people see much more clearly now that he is completely off his rocker.

I doubt that seeing Trump behave like an insecure and weak-minded fool will sway many of his hard-core supporters, but hopefully a lot of the people who voted against Hillary Clinton in 2016 will come out and vote against Donald Trump in 2020.
"Voting against" is a much more powerful source of votes than some people realize. :/ Unrelated to his other issues, many people say that's how Nixon was elected president twice - even Republicans weren't wild about him, but other choices were less appealing, and at least he had experience and contacts.

Which is what the case with Trump is now - virtually no Republican (as in a person who has held office or been a volunteer like a precinct chairman or whatever) cares anything for him, but they genuinely believe any Democrat would be worse. A Jimmy Carter or a Bill Clinton (a down-home working class Southerner perceived - inaccurately - as a moderate - could take the election away from Trump, and *some* see Biden as a northern version of that. But Bernie supporters within his own party, and women within his own party complaining about his roaming hands are likely, IMO, to hurt him within his own party.

Swing voters - i.e. people who voted for Obama, Clinton and Carter but also Bush and Reagan - could easily vote overwhelmingly for Biden, but I fear Biden *supporters* will cause them to vote for Trump. WHAT? HOW? Like this:

Idealized version:

70 year old white male lawyer with a doctorate, 50-year-old white female teacher with a masters, 30-year-old black entrepreneur with a bachelor's and a Phi Beta Kappa key: "we voted for Trump"

25-year-old Biden supporter with a community college degree: "wow - you're older and wiser and better educated - we must listen to your needs, respond to them, and address whatever issues you have, and give you a better alternative."

Realistic every day version: "Well if you voted for Trump then you're an ignorant uneducated racist - I'm not your friend any more!" Sad
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
I read an article last week in which a number of Bernie supporters expressed their probable decisions this fall. One said he would vote for Trump just to teach the Democratic Party a lesson.

They obviously didn't learn that lesson the last time around and I doubt they'll learn it this time around.

This election is too close to call but for moment I'll say that the winner will be whoever says the fewest stupid things. It's a race to the bottom with these two.

But I will vote Blue no matter what in November.
Yep - a lot of Bernie supporters were never Democrats, but GOP-voting Libertarians who clearly could then morph into swing voters with the right candidate. And yes, many took the way they were treated very personally. They might not vote red....but they will vote green...or just stay home.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
There's also the matter of his cognitive abilities, as alluded to by Boomstick. And why would Biden choose as his running mate someone who was exposed as being guilty of all kinds of serious wrong doing on live TV by Tulsi Gabbard? There's also the matter of Biden's dealings with China, which are suspicious, and his apparent support for the Chinese government. And did he not say 'I don't need your votes to win' ? Which brings us to the matter electoral fraud. Vote counters have been photographed with promotional material for Biden. Promotional material by vote counters for any candidate is illegal. And there are other irregularities that point to voter fraud by the Democrats as pointed out by Huckabee and Rebel News. The MSM cut Trump off when he was making accusations of voter fraud, which is unprecedented and unacceptable.

But I'm not a Trump supporter because in his 1st year as president he lowered taxes for the rich (and he's supposed to be a populist); Obama got rid of habeas corpus but Trump refused to reinstate it; Trump had 64 members of his Cabinet who were CFR members or Bilderberg attendees; and he didn't deliver very much on his promise to withdraw troops from the foreign wars. 

'Guaranteed annual income' is in Canada what we call 'universal basic income,' which I always supported and was also proposed by MLK,jr., and it was  a fundamental proposal by the populist, right-wing Social Credit, which I  voted for most of the time.

I like that Michael does not like the Clintons and was disappointed with Obama, but the US was never socialist. 

Also, why is it that American voters have to sign their ballots? Aren't ballots supposed to be secret? We don't have signed ballots in Canada.

And why did they invert the colours? That is such an irritant and annoyance.
The answer to the signature thing is that in some cases - since it varies state to state - people had to sign their mail - in ballot to verify that it came from them. Same way that you have to have a ID to vote in person. The one time I ever voted absentee, 40 years ago in the SC presidential primary, I had to have it notarized. Which was a challenge, since I was in Italy at the time, and regular Italian notaries didn't speak English. (I had to go to the US embassy to get it done.). But realistically, it wouldn't be secret if you had your return address on it anyway, and it could get lost if you didn't.

But, it's still secret if the votes are tallied electronically. If not, the elderly vote counter who tallies the votes has forgotten the voters' name halfway through entering the data (and doesn't care anyway.)

As to the reasoning, we elect people to make those decisions for us, and that's what developed based on their judgement. If it doesn't work, it can be changed.

The secret ballot idea is pretty recent in human history, and is often called the Australian ballot.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
Thanks for the explanation.
(April 14th, 2020, 06:42 PM)Michael Wrote: Despite whatever happens with the economy over the next few months, I think every press conference and video Donald Trump turns into a propaganda ad for his re-election weakens his position. Many people see much more clearly now that he is completely off his rocker.

I doubt that seeing Trump behave like an insecure and weak-minded fool will sway many of his hard-core supporters, but hopefully a lot of the people who voted against Hillary Clinton in 2016 will come out and vote against Donald Trump in 2020.

Looks like you called it.  Smile  Although a lot of actual Trump supporters came out of the woodwork too, and so Biden didn't help too many people hanging onto his coattails at the local level.

He's got a huge challenge, since the Bernie/AOC Left, the working class swing voters and minorities, and the Clinton Wall Street crowd, all will demand payback. Meanwhile the GOP can legitimately say that Trump was a former Democrat who appealed to the George Wallace/ Huey Long wings of both parties, and that he was never really embraced by the mainstream party.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
To elaborate a bit on the signature question, I have never seen nor am I aware of any jurisdiction in the US that requires that the ballot itself be signed. For in-person voting (the only kind I have ever used), however, I have always been required to sign something (and usually show ID and/or other proof of registration) in order to receive a ballot, but the ballot itself is anonymous. Similarly, as August mentions, I believe that it is fairly common to require signatures on the envelope of mail in ballots, but to the best of my knowledge the ballot itself remains anonymous in those cases.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
August, the bigger challenge for P-E Biden will be the near certainty of facing a divided government. Despite the loss for Trump, Republicans gained seats in the House and will almost certainly retain control of the Senate (Senate is currently 50-48 R pending the two Georgia runoffs. Dems must sweep those to bring a Harris tiebreaker vote into play which I rate as highly unlikely). The sweeping changes dreamed of by the progressive wing of the Dem Party (court packing, additional states, Abolition of filibuster, etc) are pretty much dead on arrival. Biden is in an unenviable position (stunningly so for a newly elected President). He can either reach across the aisle seeking compromise with a Republican Senate (which will infuriate the progressives and likely cost him seats in 2022) or he can play “pen and phone” games and risk a huge swing in 2022.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
I think a few million people voted more against Biden than for Trump. Certainly a few million people voted more against Trump than for Biden.

What really surprised and disappointed me was the down-ballot voting. If Georgia sends even 1 Republican back to the Senate, the Biden administration will almost certainly be foiled by Mitch McConnell. McConnell has abandoned all pretense of engaging in bi-partisanship, and even though Biden has a long history of working with him, McConnell post-2016 is driven in large part by the Trump "base" - those voters who only vote for people who support Trumpism.

It seems many people believe that they should balance the government between two political parties. I voted that way quite often when I was younger. And there are some policy positions Biden has taken that I disagree with.

But we no longer have a Republican Party that puts country ahead of partisanship. Trump's grip on the GOP is ironclad. He appointed all the state party chiefs and he clearly has the ability to punish most candidates for office who don't fully endorse him.

To fix this undemocratic situation, the country needs to punish the Republican Party in so brutal a way (at the polls - not through violence) that they abandon Trumpism and return to bi-partisanship.

However, I'm no fan of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I believe they squandered multiple opportunities to help the country through compromises with - of all people - Trump (well, Steve Mnuchin). Mnuchin has a bad reputation among liberals and independent voters who remember his past government work, but of all Trump's high-level lieutenants Mnuchin has proven to be the one with most compassion.

Many people begged Nancy Pelosi to cut a deal with Mnuchin and then come back and get what she wants in January. I know I wasn't the only person calling for her to do that on Twitter.

But she gambled that the Democrats would win more seats in the House and Senate in the election. And America lost.

I don't see any realistic chance of a new stimulus bill without Georgia's 2 Senate seats turning blue.

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