They’re Starting to Position Themselves for the 2020 Presidential Election

They’re Starting to Position Themselves for the 2020 Presidential Election

—November 6, 2018
While most Americans’ political attention is focused on the midterm elections, a few potential Democratic candidates appear to be positioning themselves for entering the 2020 presidential election. Consider that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was on a plane for Iowa within hours of the Oct. 6, vote to confirm Brett Kavaunaugh to the Supreme Court, and has pretty much been spending more time in key early voting Democratic primary states for the past few weeks than he has in his own state. While Booker’s stints in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina were ostensibly related to helping secure Democratic midterm wins in those states, there seems little doubt that Booker is stirring the waters for an impending run for the presidency. In fact, some pundits are already calling the self-proclaimed “Spartacus” a “top-tier contender” for the Democratic nomination.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), another pundit-described “potential top-tier contender,” wasn’t as quick to jump into key early voting primary states, but is starting to catch up to Booker with a recent multi-stop visit to Iowa and trips to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin. For her part, Ms. Harris told the press that the visits were strictly designed to support Democratic candidates in the midterm election, and had absolutely nothing to do with any presidential aspirations.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has made multiple trips to Iowa in the past couple of months, while Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has focused most of his attention on South Carolina. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who recently released DNA test results in a botched effort to settle her disputed claims of Native American ancestry, has reportedly “deployed staffers” to both Iowa and New Hampshire. Rounding out potential presidential candidates from the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), has recently been making the rounds in New Hampshire. As with Harris and Booker, these potential presidential aspirants claim that they are strictly trying to get out the Democratic vote in the midterms.

Several Democratic governors and a couple of Democratic House members who are presumably considering a run for the office have also been making recent rounds in Iowa.

However, out of all of the above-mentioned politicians, only one—Rep. John Delany (D-MD)—has officially announced his candidacy and filed an official Notice of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. The seriousness of Delany’s candidacy is perhaps marked more by his presence in Iowa—ABC News reported that he “has practically moved” to the state—than the official notice with the elections commission, given that more than 440 other potential candidates have filed notices with the commission.

While most of these official candidates for the highest office in the land may not have the name recognition of the above-mentioned already-in-office politicians, in America anything is possible. After all, who would’ve ever guessed that a billionaire reality-TV show host would become president?

So, who are these 440-plus official candidates? Well, let’s take a look at a few Statements of Candidacy and see if we can discern whether any of these candidates have what it takes to unseat the Oval Office’s current occupant. Here goes:

Sexy Vegan—hailing from West Hollywood, CA, Ms. Vegan affiliates with the “Freedom” party. The candidate included supplementary information including a picture of her legal ID, and informed the commission that her legal name was a “topic on the Dr. Phil Show.”

Not sure if that level of name recognition will get her into the Oval Office, but. . . . 

John Edward “Kingtamer” D’Aura—with a designated Henderson, Nevada campaign committee called “Committee for Saner Government with John Kingtamer,” Mr. D’Aura affiliates himself with the “Making America Even Greater” party.

Jackson R. Sweet—this Texas native affiliating himself with the Republican Party may be jumping the gun, but deserves credit for his optimistic long-range planning. Supplementary to his filing, Mr. Sweet informed the commission that the filing is for the 2036 and 2040 presidential election years, as he will not reach the 35-year-old age of eligibility for the office until 2036.

Mr. Bub Squeal Bubbington Sr.—an “Independent,” Mr. Bubbington’s officially named campaign committee is “Bub 2020.”

Bub for Prez!—It’s got a nice ring to it.

Grapelton Monroe Feret—an early filer from Philadelphia, Mr. Feret affiliates himself with the Democratic Party and has designated “Deez Nutz” as his principal campaign committee.

It should be noted that at least one “Deez Nuts” filed for candidacy in the 2016 election. Little doubt that a candidate with that name will file during this election cycle. In fact, the elections committee is only just getting started with the filings, which will likely get up into the many thousands before election day . . . and likely include a much wider assortment of “nuts.”

Of course, only one will ultimately be elected into the highest office of the land.

 

—Originally published in Discernible Truth.

Dog Whistles Are Silent. So How Can Left-Leaning Pundits be So Good at Hearing Them?

Dog Whistles Are Silent. So How Can Left-Leaning Pundits be So Good at Hearing Them?

—November 5, 2018

As much as the Left-leaning mainstream media claims Pres. Trump uses it, I have yet to see it. I’ve been watching him on television during many of his recent rallies, and reviewed some old footage, but have yet to see the president blow on that dog whistle. Same with many of the various Republican Senate, House and Gubernatorial candidates accused of blowing the whistle. Given that Left-wing pundits tend to claim on a daily basis that Trump and other Republicans use the dog whistle to send coded messages to specific constituents, you’d think that we’d be able to see those whistles dangling from around their necks like government ID badges.

And this leads to another observation: because dog whistles are silent, how can these pundits be so good at interpreting all those alleged coded messages being sent out by Trump and other Republicans?

The short answer is that they can’t. The longer answer is that Left-wing pundits have had to resort to accusing Trump and other Republicans of using dog whistles because they have limited distinct proof to back up their accusations of racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, misogyny, Islamophobia, Fascism, Nazism, or whatever else they want to accuse Republican politicians of fomenting.

By utilizing the dog whistle tool, pundits can shape the narrative in whatever manner they want through their interpretation of what song is being whistled. Because that dog whistle is silent, a pundit can say whatever he wants—the candidate’s words might be exactly what they mean at face value, but the pundit can claim it’s a dog whistle whistling “Dixie.”

How convenient . . . .

Trump: “There are likely criminal elements within the migrant horde; they have no legal basis to enter America; I am not going to let them enter our country; they represent another example of our broken immigration system.”

Left-wing pundits: “It’s a dog whistle to the racist, white supremacist component of his base.”

Not only can a pundit easily utilize the dog whistle analogy to smear a Republican politician, but to also cast dispersions on the politician’s supporters. And, it is such an intellectually lazy tool—the pundit doesn’t have to offer up any proof or supporting evidence to back up his interpretation of what the politician is “really saying”—nope, it’s a dog whistle and that candidate who just said “America First!” was really singing “Deutschland Uber Alles.”

According to Merriam-Webster, “dog whistle,” as utilized of late by political pundits, is “a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.” While the “dog whistle” in referencing a high-pitched whistle that humans cannot hear, but dogs can, has been around for at least 200 years, it’s use as a term to describe political speech only emerged to any real extent in the 1990s. The online dictionary cites a quote from the Ottawa Citizen in October 1995 as the earliest recorded figurative use: “It’s an all-purpose dog-whistle that those fed up with feminists, minorities, the undeserving poor hear loud and clear.”

That could be a pundit in 2018 talking about Trump or any number of Republican politicians. In fact, not a day goes by that some element of what a Republican says is not automatically referred to as a dog whistle. CNN’s Chris Cillizza today accused Trump of multiple racist dog whistles based on Trump’s use of former Pres. Barack Obama’s middle name (Hussein); calling Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum “not equipped to do the job;” and saying that Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is “not qualified,” for the office.

Maybe Cillizza is right, and all three of these examples represent coded messages sent out by Trump to his hard-core racist supporters. Or maybe Trump truly does believe that the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates are not qualified for the job. After all, he’d probably say the same thing if the candidates were white.

As for Trump’s use of Obama’s middle name being a case of “playing on racial animus,” I’d say that Cillizza might be correct if he were reminded that Muslim is not a race, and was then to substitute “racial” for “Islamic.” And, unless Cillizza has some kind of secret political dog whistle de-coder, it’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of dog whistle, if any, Pres. Trump was blowing in reference to the former president.

And then we’ve got Trump and the Republican Party’s recent campaign ad featuring cop-killing, illegal immigrant Luis Bracamontes, and a message blaming Democrats for letting him into the country and then letting him stay. One big racist dog whistle advert according to the Left-leaning pundits—an “outrage” and the most racist advertisement since the notorious “Willie Horton” campaign ad used by the Republicans during the 1988 Bush-Dukakis battle for the White House.

While pundits may claim “racist dog whistle advert,” at least half the U.S. population probably sees it as a justified warning against unfettered illegal immigration. Unfettered illegal immigration that seems to receive significant support (sanctuary cities, open borders, etc.) from the Democrats.

So, call that one a dog whistle all you want, pundits—We’ll just call it a clarion call to secure the border and enact meaningful immigration reform.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth.

Substance or Fluff—What Are Beto O’Rourke’s Legislative Accomplishments?

Substance or Fluff—What Are Beto O’Rourke’s Legislative Accomplishments?

—November 2, 2018

Campus Reform, a Right-leaning news organization that focuses on college-related news, sent a reporter to Texas A&M University to determine student-body voter sentiment about what is perhaps the most talked-about Senate election race of the fast-approaching midterms—that is the Texas Senate election between incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz and his Democratic candidate counterpart, Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. While the fact that most students interviewed expressed support for Beto over Cruz was not surprising, of interest was the fact that none of the students could name a single accomplishment achieved by the three-term congressman. One student, obviously lacking any sense of irony, suggested that Beto “resonates with young people because we are more aware.”

Hundreds of pundits have already weighed in on Beto, with commentary on the Right generally positing that the “remarkably unremarkable” Beto has never “offered any substantively impressive policy ideas,” nor “led on any notable issues in the House,” while commentary from the Left argues that Beto delivers “substance,” far beyond the “calculatingly cool” charisma that his detractors claim is all he offers.

So, substance or fluff, which is it? Perhaps we should turn to the historic record to determine what, exactly, Beto has accomplished as a legislator. If nothing else, Beto has proven to be an accomplished fundraiser, having raised the most money—more than $38 million—in one quarter of any Senate candidate in history, and on track to raising the most money ever in a Senate campaign.

All that money—more than $60 million and rising—has presumably been donated in support of Beto’s official platform and what he’s said on the campaign trail, because his official legislative record certainly does not lend itself to that level of support. Not that Beto doesn’t take his Congressional job seriously, but his legislative record just doesn’t seem all that impressive. During his almost three terms in office he has sponsored 75 bills and co-sponsored 1,034. Of these only one of his own bills has passed into law, while only 44 of the bills he co-sponsored are now law. Thus, if his own legislation serves as a barometer of success, the pinnacle of his Congressional career is marked by the 114th Congress’s H.R. 5873, which “designate[s] the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 511 East San Antonio Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the ‘R.E. Thomason Federal Building and United States Courthouse.’”

As for co-sponsored legislation, perhaps the most impressive bills he supported that became law included one which prohibits the manufacturing or importing of multi-line telephone systems that aren’t preconfigured for direct 9-1-1- calls—H.R.582—and a provision which improves U.S. Veteran’s Administration mental health services for veterans—H.R.203. Speaking of veterans, Beto deserves credit for his legislative efforts on their behalf, given that two-thirds of the passed-into-law cosponsored legislation involves veteran’s issues, while more than one-third of his own legislation is designed to support veterans.

Perhaps Beto’s lack of legislative success can’t be held against him given that Republicans have held control of the House of Representatives during his terms of office. Nevertheless, it still calls into question why he receives so much support, financial and otherwise. Part of it is undoubtedly inspired by the Left’s desire to unseat Ted Cruz at all costs. Beto also has that charisma—“Kennedyesque,” as described by many in the media—that Democrats tend to revere in their candidates. Beto’s charisma is such that there is even speculation regarding a future run for the White House by Beto, including talk that he could play a role in the 2020 election if he loses in the midterms.

Beto’s lack of legislative accomplishment reminds us of another charismatic politician who rode into the White House despite a distinct lack of such. But at least three of the four pieces of successful legislation bearing then-Sen. Barak Obama’s name as primary sponsor were a bit more substantial than re-naming a federal building.

—Originally published in Discernible Truth