IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN

If you have been paying attention during this presidential election cycle you have reason to be gravely concerned over the future of America. I know most politicians lie, obfuscate and exaggerate to rile up their base. I have often said that pols only do two things well: get elected and get re-elected.

All that said, let’s review what the Dem presidential candidates have been saying they will do if elected. I will stipulate that not all of the candidates have spoken out in favor of all of the below listed items, but most of them have spoken out in favor of most of them. I am not making this up. You can find these statements easily with a little research. Just a few years ago, most of these policies would have been considered as wild ravings by the fringe far left. Now, they seem to be mainstream Dem ideology and accepted by a large portion of the voters. Think about that as you read on.

When you put the list together it can be frightening. Do they really believe in all these things? Will they really move forward on all of them? I don’t know. I hope not, but let’s take them at their word for a minute. Do you really want to live in the America they envision? Would any clear thinking person want to?

Some of these appear, at least to me, to be so radical as to be unrealistic, if not idiotic; others of them sound good, but they are not practical and would bankrupt the country; still others are a combination of the two. I will leave it to you to evaluate them for yourself.

I repeat, each of these has been espoused by some or all of the candidates, and most of them have received widespread support from much, if not most, of the mainstream media. I have written blogs on most of these proposals before, so I will just give a brief description.

1. Open/drastically relaxed borders. Supposedly, this is about helping the oppressed and persecuted, and there is some of that, but I believe it is more about economic and political power.

2. Free Medicare for all, including illegal aliens. Sounds magnanimous. Why not help those who most need it? However, common sense tells you it would bankrupt the country, particularly in conjunction with open borders. The proponents of this plan are being deliberately vague on details. For instance, no one knows how much it would cost, although the Urban Institute and Commonwealth Fund estimates approximately 32 trillion (that’s with a “T” folks) over ten years. Also, this plan would force you to switch from your current healthcare plan (Remember former President Obama’s disingenuous boast that “if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it?”). Moreover, keep in mind many doctors refuse to treat Medicare patients, so what would the impact on the medical profession be?

3. Tax increases/wealth tax. This would be needed to pay for all the social programs. Unfortunately, there are not enough rich people to pay for these programs, so this would affect the middle class as well (although most of the candidates have been dancing around this). Wealth tax has been tried in other countries and abandoned, for various reasons.

4. Reparations. How would it be determined who pays whom? For example, would someone whose ancestors did not arrive until the 20th century have to pay? Would an AA whose ancestors immigrated after slavery ended be entitled to any reparations? Not practical.

5. Forgiving student loans. This would be easily abused by both students and colleges. Need to establish limits and criteria or else those who did not attend college or did attend a sensibly-priced college would be paying for the long-term student who attended a high-priced college, studied impractical courses and/or failed to earn a degree.

6. Prisoners/teenagers voting. Ridiculous on its face. Convicted criminals should continue to forfeit their right to vote. Few teenagers have the maturity and life experience to make rational voting decisions. Furthermore, most of them know little about politics and care less.

7. Guns. They want to chip away at the 2nd amendment. This is a very complicated issue that merits a separate blog to do it justice. I am in favor of some sort of universal background check, but not outright bans. I don’t believe they work anyway, as evidenced by the high crime rate in Chicago, which has among the strictest gun laws in the country. A case in point would be the State of California, which just passed nine separate gun laws designed to restrict the ownership and use of guns, even for hunting.

8. Guaranteed jobs/stipend for all. This is pure communism.

9. Green New Deal. This is supposed to combat the climate change “crisis.” Even if one believes in climate change, this is one of the most idiotic policies I have ever heard. Small wonder, since one of its primary proponents is the intellectually-challenged AOC. (With a straight face AOC characterized climate change as so serious it was “our generation’s WWII.” Really? I think she needs to be educated on WWII, among other things.)

This policy is based on a false premise, that unless we institute radical corrective action to the environment immediately the world will end in seven years, or is it ten years, or is it 15 years. I can’t keep up. Some of the things we are told must be banned include, fossil fuels, internal combustion engines (so, no flying or driving, for instance), beef (due to cow farts), oil drilling, factory farming, and coal, oil and gas heating. Welcome back to the 19th century. Also, virtually every building in the country would have to be re-conformed to comply with GND standards. The cost is estimated to be several trillion dollars per year, and would take several years to complete. No one really knows, but according to GND supporters the world will have ended by then, so I suppose it will be moot. Also, we should restrict the number of children we have or eliminate having them entirely. Sound like something you could support?

CONCLUSION

The foregoing are just some of what we can expect if the Dems win. In a nutshell, it would be the “great giveaway” with vague or no plans of who is going to pay for all this largesse and how.

I know about half of the country hates President Trump on a visceral, personal level. Fair enough. They choose to ignore, downplay or twist his accomplishments. That is their right. But, if you strip away all the partisan rhetoric and bloviations life at the moment is pretty damn good for most people. Most people are, in fact, better off than they were four years ago.

On the other hand, think of the ramifications of these policies. Obviously, they will fundamentally change America. Will it be for the better or not? I would say most assuredly not, but I leave it to you to decide. That is what really makes America great. The voters get to decide in free elections. Just remember you will have to live with the consequences of your vote. It is true that “you get the government you deserve.”

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

We have now slogged through one week of impeachment hearings. In my view, the production was a good cure for insomnia. If you managed to watch all of it, you get a gold star.

The Dems have called several witnesses and “surprise, surprise,” as the late entertainer, Jim Nabors, might have said, no “smoking gun,” no firsthand account of any impeachable offense. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised at this. After all, the Dems have led us down this road several times before in the last three years.

During that time, they have promised us “proof” of Mr. Trump’s impeachable activities on several occasions, and none of those has turned out to be true. I won’t bore you with repeating those accusations here. I have covered them, in detail, in previous blogs. Suffice to say, the anti-Trumpers’ credibility is extremely low.

Below please find my opinion of the first week:

1. The “great divide” between the pro-Trump and anti-Trump camps has widened. Both sides are “dug in.” Each is firmly convinced that it is right and the other side is wrong. Every word, every witness, every development is being twisted into two divergent interpretations. There are very few undecideds left, and most of them are not particularly interested in the impeachment process.

For example, Mr. Trump has fired Ukraine ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch. Some of the Dems on the committee focused on how “mean” that was, and they spent much of their time asking how she felt. Was she upset? How did it affect her family? It appeared they were hoping she would break down and cry to create a sound bite for the news. That entire line of questioning was a real time-waster.

The pro-Trumpers pointed out correctly that all executive branch employees serve at the pleasure of the president. He can fire/reassign anyone at any time for any reason. It doesn’t matter if they went to Harvard or Yale, or are decorated combat veterans, or have vast experience, or are nice, decent, loyal employees. Moreover, it is not unusual for a new boss to want his own people working for him, people whom he trusts, people who will support him and execute his policies. Many of us working in the private sector have experienced this when the boss who hired them is replaced. Since when is criticizing or firing someone an impeachable offense? Yovanovitch is supposed to be a tough, seasoned diplomat. Suck it up, and move on.

2. None of the witnesses was able to offer any firsthand account of Mr. Trump having committed an impeachable offense. For example, one of the Dems asked Yovanovitch if she had any knowledge that Mr. Trump accepted any bribes or committed any criminal acts? She responded, “no.” To me, that, right there, said it all.

3. Adam Schiff continues to orchestrate the hearings in a strongly partisan manner. For example, he has continually refused to disclose the identity of the whistleblower; now, he is denying he knows the identity at all. (One would think that as head of the (un)Intelligence Committee he would have vetted the man’s story himself rather than delegating it to staffers.) Furthermore, he has refused to allow the GOP representatives to call their own witnesses; and he has restricted their lines of questioning. For example, yesterday he refused to allow Rep. Elise Stefanik to question a witness. Whether or not this was within the Senate’s rules is besides the point. Ironically, even though Stefanik is a Republican, she has not been a strong, consistent Trump supporter. She has, however, been a critic of the impeachment process, and that has not sat well with Schiff. After the hearings concluded for the day, she told reporters that “nothing in that room today, and nothing in that room earlier this week, [has] rise[n] to the level of impeachable offenses.”

I believe Schiff’s actions constitute a tactical error on his part. He should be bending over backwards to be more accommodating so as to defuse any accusations of partisanship. You may remember that for many months Nancy Pelosi had insisted that the process should be nonpartisan.

4. Mr. Trump has continued to be unable to restrain himself. His tweet about Yovanovitch was unnecessary. Yes, he is entitled to exercise free speech, like anyone else, but it gave the Dems something to salvage the day. But, even if one thinks his behavior is boorish or obnoxious that is not reasonable grounds for impeachment.

5. It is curious how the anti-Trumpers cannot agree on the grounds of impeachment. They are continually trying to change the narrative. First, it was a “quid pro quo.” Then, when that didn’t resonate with the public, they switched to “intimidation.” Now, in the third iteration, the word of the day is “bribery.” Just turn on CNN, MSNBC, or any of the network channels. All the commentators are suddenly using the same word, “bribery.” Amazing how they stay in lockstep as if they all got the same directive. Hmm. According to Fox News they got that word based on a recommendation from a focus group. Obviously, they are trying to find a word that resonates with the public. What will it be tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine.

CONCLUSION

The longer this continues, the more I see it as a serious tactical error on the part of the Dems. “Buyer’s remorse,” anyone?

1. The American public is not buying what they’re selling. Many, if not most, people, are not even paying attention. They don’t see any impeachable offenses. They see it as what it is, a charade. They are busy with their own lives, their own day-to-day issues and problems.

2. The longer this goes on the more vulnerable to defeat the newly-elected 30 or so Dem Reps from districts that Mr. Trump carried in 2016 become. It will be interesting to see how many of them actually vote to impeach.

3. If the House votes to impeach and the Senate takes it up anti-Trumpers may see it as a victory. However, there is a problematic side. (1) It could be a long trial extending well into the primary season. (2) GOPers will be able to call their own witnesses and cross-examine whomever they want. (3) The Dem senators who are running for president will be required to attend the trial, rather than campaign in the field. (4) The economy remains strong, unemployment remains at historic lows, the stock market is setting new highs daily, and ISIS leader, Baghdadi, is dead.

Yes, it looks like the Dems may be hoisted on their own petard.

BYE-BYE BETO; HELLO BLOOMBERG

Lost amid all the significant political news in the past two weeks was the withdrawal of Beto O’Rourke’s ill-fated, some would say contrived, candidacy. From the very beginning Robert Francis O’Rourke’s candidacy was nothing more than fluff, a media creation, a diversion. Slow news day? Do a Beto story. Here he is in a dentist’s chair; there he is in a restaurant addressing the other patrons, arms waiving wildly, standing on a chair; there he is again being interviewed by the border wall admonishing the government to “tear down that wall” as if he were Ronald Reagan addressing Mikhail Gorbachev; there he is again kowtowing to the “View” ladies acknowledging he has been a beneficiary of “white privilege” and apologizing for it. Did anyone take his candidacy seriously? Unlikely. Bye-bye Beto; maybe, we’ll see you again in four years. Or not.

Michael Bloomberg is another story. The best thing I can say about Bloomberg’s presidential prospects is he was a good mayor of NY. That said, in my opinion, he has very little chance to win the nomination, much less the election. He has no natural constituency. The Party leaders don’t want him to run. I can’t see him appealing to the current ultra-liberal wing that dominates the party presently. They are particularly incensed over his “stop and frisk” policy, which worked, by the way. The other candidates view him as a Johnny-come-lately interloper, another old white man seeking to represent the Party of Inclusion. Don’t the Dems already have enough of them running? If he is serious, his money will keep him in the race, but that’s about it. The Dem establishment is afraid he will ultimately run as a third party candidate, which would guarantee Mr. Trump’s re-election.

In my view, his declaration is a symptom of what I and many others have been saying, namely that the current Dem field is weak, and, despite what the current polls may say, none of the current crop has a realistic chance to defeat President Trump. (In my view, this is a major reason why they are so hell-bent on pursuing impeachment. It makes no sense otherwise, since polls show that most people don’t believe that Mr. Trump committed any transgression that rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Furthermore, they can’t convict him in the GOP-dominated Senate. Moreover, it will make the 30 or so Dems that won districts in 2018 that Mr. Trump had won in 2016 particularly vulnerable to defeat in 2020.)

Let’s look at the four leaders. Sanders, an avowed Socialist, is nothing more than a disrupter. I can’t picture Americans electing a Socialist.

Biden is a human gaffe machine with tremendous baggage in his past, which I have detailed in previous blogs. Also, let’s not forget the current mess involving his son Hunter. If Biden manages to secure the nomination this issue will surely be front and center in the general election. Moreover, he doesn’t seem to have the energy for a long, hard campaign.

Warren is doomed by her cockamamie “Medicare for all” plan, which she has admitted would necessitate a tax increase not just on the wealthy, but the middle class as well.

Mayor Pete? I don’t think so. Maybe in 2024 with a little more experience on the national stage.

The Dem establishment is getting desperate. It is like an open “casting call.” It reminds me a little of the 1960 election when the Dems were so desperate to keep Richard Nixon out of the White House that they prevailed upon Lyndon Johnson to resign his powerful position in the Senate and run as JFK’s vice president. He despised JFK, but he despised Nixon more.

CONCLUSION

Who’s next? Your guess is as good as mine. The Dems don’t exactly have a “deep bench.” One possibility being floated is former MA governor, Deval Patrick. Who? His chief qualification is that he is a close friend of Obama’s. He has issued denials, but we all know what that means.

Michele Obama is on many people’s wish list. She also has adamantly denied she will run, but who knows..

And then, there’s always Hillary. Despite her denials, it’s obvious she would love to run again. She’s just lying in the weeds, waiting in the wings, like a vulture, hoping to swoop right in and “pick up the pieces,” claim her “birthright,” which she steadfastly maintains was “stolen” from her in 2016. After denying continually and adamantly that she would not run, (as recently as March, she flatly ruled it out), now she is saying “never say never… I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.” By the way, who are these “many, many, many people?” Furthermore, as she is fond of saying, she did win the popular vote in 2016. LOL.

Hold on to your seats. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

VETERANS DAY QUIZ

Many of you have requested a quiz. So, here it is, and in honor of Veterans Day it has a military theme. Good luck and no peeking at the internet. No consulting “Alexa.”

1. Who was the US president during the first war against the Barbary Pirates? (a) George Washington, (b) John Adams, (c) Thomas Jefferson, (d James Monroe

2. The WWI battle that inspired the poem “In Flanders Field” took place in (a) Ardennes, (b) Charleroi, (c) Gallipoli, (d) Ypres

3. Each of the following presidents had been renowned generals, EXCEPT: a) Teddy Roosevelt, (b) Andrew Jackson, (c) Zachary Taylor, (d) Franklyn Pierce

4. “Pickett’s Charge” was the turning point of what Civil War battle? (a) Bull Run, (b) Manassas, (c) Gettysburg, (d) Fredericksburg

5. The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” refers to which Revolutionary War battle? (a) Boston, (b) Lexington, (c) Concord, (d) NY

6. Tripoli, the stronghold of the Barbary Pirates, was located in what present-day country? (a) Libya, (b) Algeria, (c) Tunisia, (d)Egypt

7. The Alamo is located in which city? (a) Houston, (b) San Antonio, (c) Austin, (d) Galveston

8. The US fought the Gulf War against (a) Iran, (b) Syria, (c) Kuwait, (d) Iraq

9. Who said “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead.” (a) David Farragut, (b) John Paul Jones, (c) Ethan Allen, (d) Jonathan Eli

10. Which was resulted in the highest number of casualties? (a) WWI, (b) WWII, (c) Korean War, (d) Civil War

11. Fort Sumter is located in which state? (a) North Carolina, (b) South Carolina, (c) Georgia, (d) Alabama

12. Custer’s Last Stand took place in which modern-day state? (a) North Dakota, (b) South Dakota, (c) Montana, (d) Idaho

13. Each of the following was a WWII battle in the Pacific theatre, EXCEPT (a) El Alamein, (b) Guadalcanal, (c) Okinawa, (d) Midway

14. Who was the US President during WWI? (a) Teddy Roosevelt, (b) Woodrow Wilson, (c) William Howard Taft, (d) Warren Harding

15. When General Douglas MacArthur said “I shall return,” to which country was he referring? (a) Australia, (b) New Guinea, (c) Guam, (d) Philippines

16. The Korean War began in (1) 1949, (b) 1950, (c) 1951, (d) 1952

17. Who was president during the Spanish-American War? (a) Grover Cleveland, (b) James Garfield, (c) Rutherford B. Hayes, (d) William McKinley

18. Where is Mt. Suribachi? (a) Iwo Jima, (b) Okinawa, (c) Tarawa, (d) Japan

19. Where is Vicksburg? (a) Alabama, (b) Louisiana, (c) Missouri, (d) Mississippi

20. When was the Veterans Administration founded? (a) 1870, (b) 1930, (c) 1950, (d) 1972

ANSWERS: 1. c; 2. d; 3. a; 4. c; 5. c; 6. a; 7. b; 8. d; 9. a; 10. d; (more than all the other wars combined. 11. b; 12. c; 13. a; 14. b; 15. d; 16. b; 17. d. 18. a; 19. d; 20. b.

Well, there you have it. Tell me how you did, good or (as my grandson used to say) not so good.

TRUMP’S PHONE CALL WITH UKRANIAN PRESIDENT AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER

As most of you know by now, the House Dems have initiated an impeachment investigation against President Trump. To no one’s surprise, they are being aided and abetted by their allies in the mainstream media. Their primary basis for it is the phone call on July 25 between Mr. Trump and Ukranian President Volodimyr Zelensky. Specifically, the anti-Trumpers are claiming that as a quid pro quo to a foreign aid package Mr. Trump pressured Zelensky to re-open an investigation into certain questionable activities regarding Joe and Hunter Biden.

In order to provide some context to this assertion it is important to remember that the movement to impeach Mr. Trump did not begin with the phone call. Actually, it began before he even took office. It began on Election Day 2016 even before the last vote was counted. It began as soon as it became apparent he had won the election to the surprise and dismay of the establishment.

First, there were various FBI officials emailing and tweeting each other about an “insurance policy” should he win. Many of us were mystified at the time as to what that cryptic phrase meant. Well, we soon found out. Soon after the election, the anti-Trumpers initiated a campaign to convince the voters that Mr. Trump and his campaign had participated in election fraud, for instance, tampering with voting machines. After all, in their minds he couldn’t possibly have won legitimately.

Then, he was accused of conspiring with Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. Many of you will recall the infamous “dossier” and legally questionable FISA warrants. These led to the Mueller investigation, which took three years and millions of dollars, and in the end the team of attorneys, whose objectivity was open to question, found no collusion and no obstruction. Not content with that aforementioned conclusion the House (un)Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Mueller to testify hoping to find that elusive “smoking gun.”

They also subpoenaed a bevy of other people, including former FBI Director, Jim Comey. All of them “struck out.” On various occasions Chairman Adam Schiff has sworn he was in possession of damaging information, and in all cases he was ultimately shown to be lying. And on and on it has gone. Yada, yada, yada. I can’t keep track of all the disinformation, obfuscation and outright lying, nor do I want to.

In the sage words of Hillary Clinton, “what difference at this point does it matter?” Mr. Trump has been the president for three years and we are less than one year until the next election. By the time the impeachment process and possible trial in the Senate will have concluded we will likely be at or near Election Day. So why bother? What is the point? I will provide my opinion on that below.

In summary, none of these claims has provided the “smoking gun” that the anti-Trumpers have longed for. For three years the Dems and their allies in the media have subjected the country to one false claim after another while the Congress has accomplished virtually nothing of substance. It has ignored the major issues the voters want addressed, what they elected them to address, such as healthcare, border security, infrastructure and income inequality. And now, comes the latest one – the phone call.

The Dems and their allies in the media, aka the anti-Trumpers, have adamantly claimed that the phone conversation contains a quid pro quo, a foreign aid package in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens. I have read the transcript as, probably, most of you have. I did not see any “smoking gun,” no blatant quid pro quo. The foreign aid package is not even mentioned. The tone is cordial. Mr. Trump congratulates Mr. Zelensky on his “great victory.” Zelensky praises Trump for showing him a blueprint for success, eg. “I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge.” Zelensky actually states he wants to “drain the swamp” in his own country. He notes some of the changes he has made already, such as the ambassador and the prosecutor. He assures Mr. Trump that “all investigations will be done openly and candidly.” In the ensuing press conference Zelensky made a point of asserting that “no one pressured me.”

Keep in mind, the foreign aid package could have been delayed for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the Biden investigation, for instance, until we had some assurance that the corruption that had plagued the Ukraine in the previous administration was being addressed. We’re not really sure. Don’t assume the worst.

The one comment that anti-Trumpers have seized upon is when Mr. Trump said “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son that Biden stopped the prosecution[,] and a lot of people want to find out[,] so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution [True. It’s on tape.] so if you can look into it…” Zelensky “ensure[d] [Mr. Trump] that we will be very serious about the case.” That’s it. No mention of the foreign aide package, nor a quid pro quo.

That said, if one is an anti-Trumper desperate to “get him” on something I can see how one could choose to interpret that exchange as a subtle threat of a quid pro quo. But, I think that is a big stretch, certainly not enough on which to base an impeachment of a duly-elected president less than a year from the next election.

And now to the 500 pound gorilla in the room – the whistleblower. The Dems and the media have been steadfastly guarding his identity, ostensibly to protect him. But, if they are going to use his information in the impeachment process common sense would say they must identify him so that the GOP representatives can cross examine him. Also, that pesky little document known as the Constitution states that Mr. Trump, like anyone else, has the right to face his accuser. Otherwise, how do we know what he is saying is true? Are we supposed to take Schiff’s word for it? The same Schiff who has lied repeatedly? That is preposterous on its face.

According to Paul Sperry, reporting for “RealClearInvestigations” the identity of the whistleblower is Eric Ciaramella, a CIA analyst who had been assigned to the White House. Sperry quoted national security advisor, Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, as saying that Ciaramella’s name has been “bandied about on twitter feeds and intelligence blogs” for weeks. It’s an open secret in the media. “CNN, the NYT, the Washington Post, even the President all know.” So, what’s the point of all this secrecy?

According to Sperry, Ciaramella is a holdover from the Obama WH staff who has worked closely with Joe Biden and John Brennan, among others. According to a former NSC official he has, on many occasions, leaked information negative to the Administration to the media. Furthermore, before going public he met with Schiff’s staff, or possibly Schiff, himself for “guidance.”

Given the foregoing, he is hardly an objective observer, and his comments should be taken with a big “grain of salt.” Why am I not surprised. Supposedly, next week he and other witnesses will be called upon to testify publicly, and then we can all form our own opinions.

CONCLUSION

So, what are fair-minded people supposed to make of all this? Why are the anti-Trumpers pushing so aggressively for impeachment. Everyone knows, that even if it were to pass the Dem-dominated House it would have virtually no chance of passing the Senate with the requisite 2/3 vote. In fact, Mitch McConnell has indicated there is a chance that the Senate will not even “take it up.”

In my opinion, the anti-Trumpers are desperate to defeat Mr. Trump in November, but they realize they have little chance of doing so, particularly with the current field. I believe that is why Bloomberg has entered the race, and other candidates, such as Hillary Clinton, may follow. Therefore, they are hoping that the impeachment process will be their “Hail Mary.” Good luck.

To be fair, according to the Constitution the House has an absolute right to proceed with impeachment if it concludes that there is sufficient grounds, such as “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Although the Constitution does not define that phrase clearly the Founding Fathers intended for it to be a high bar. I don’t think disliking the president personally meets that test, but that’s just my opinion. Note, only three presidents have been impeached – Johnson, Nixon and Clinton – and none has been convicted in the Senate.

No one really knows what it means, but Gerald Ford, the only person to have served as both president and vice president without having been elected to either office, provided some guidance. During the Nixon impeachment investigation he famously intoned “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” So, based on that, if a majority of the House wants to impeach Mr. Trump based on ambiguous language in a phone call, I say go for it. Just remember that Bill Clinton received a big bump following his impeachment and his “crimes” were a lot more serious. So, beware of the consequences, particularly among Dems who won in 2018 in states that Mr. Trump carried decisively in 2016.

MASSACRE IN MEXICO

Now, they’ve done it. Now, they’ve gone too far. The cartels, that is. It’s bad enough that they routinely murder ordinary Mexican citizens indiscriminately, flagrantly, and violently. (According to Fox News some 90 Mexicans are murdered per day. That’s nearly 33,000 per year folks, and that’s just the ones we know about. In addition, the Mexican government reported some 30,000 persons missing in 2016, the latest figures available. It is likely that is a low estimate. The Washington Post puts the number at 40,000. Regardless, it is horrifying since the likelihood is that all of them are dead as well.)

It’s bad enough that the cartels intimidate and murder journalists and government officials from the president of the country on down to minor local officials. It’s bad enough that they pour drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, into the US, which are poisoning Americans at a record rate. It’s bad enough that they rape and murder innocent migrants who are travelling to America seeking a better life. Now, they’ve “graduated” into murdering innocent Americans, including women and children. More on that later.

Heretofore, most Americans have been ambivalent about the aforementioned crimes. They don’t condone them by any means, but, for the most part, they are not cognizant of the extent of the problem. They’re too busy with their daily lives, and the murders are occurring out of the limelight in another country. They haven’t been too keen to support aggressive action against the cartels, such as securing the border or deploying troops. But now, things may be different.

Most Americans were shocked and angered by the savage, unprovoked attack. Moreover, the cartel gunmen were not content to murder the innocents; they burned them alive, including women and children. In my opinion, they weren’t content to merely “poke the bear” so to speak. They issued an “in your face” taunt to America, to which I believe we are compelled to respond. More on that later.

It is no secret that crime has been one of, if not the, most serious issue in Mexico, and drug trafficking has played a major role. There has been ample evidence that the cartels, not the government, run the country. By many measurements Mexico is a failed state.

The UN has estimated that 90% of the cocaine sold in the US is distributed through Mexico. The drugs enter by land, sea, air and tunnel. They enter by the kilo and by the individual packet. Once in the US the cartels coordinate further distribution with various gangs, such as MS-13. US government officials are very aware of the problem, but so far, for various reasons, they have had limited success in rectifying it. This is not exactly “breaking news,” but I feel it needs repeating here to provide a proper background to this latest atrocity.

A small group of American Mormons has been living in the mountains of northwest Mexico, near the Arizona-New Mexico border since the 1880s. Yes, their village is in close proximity to the Sonora drug cartel. Yes, there have been isolated instances of violence, such as the murder of anti-crime activist, Benjamin LeBaron in 2009, but, for the most part, they have managed to co-exist. As Adam Langford, whose great-grandfather was one of the original settlers, told a Washington Post reporter a few days ago, “basically, it was ‘we won’t bother you if you don’t bother us.’ ” Ironically, Langford offered that many in the community had been wondering if it was “time to move back to the US.” Indeed, the village’s population has dwindled to about 100.

As most of you know, this peaceful co-existence was shattered suddenly and irrevocably last Monday, November 4. According to the Washington Post cartel gunmen stopped a caravan of three SUVs on an isolated dirt road and suddenly, for no apparent reason, opened fire.

Among the murdered were three women and six children, including babies. They were shot at close range, including one mother who begged them to spare her children. This would seem to contradict the notion that has been put forth in some quarters, such as the Mexican government, that it was a case of mistaken identity. How could the gunmen fail to identify a woman with her hands raised, not to mention the children? Also, spent shell casings were found just a few yards from the cars.

Most of the evidence indicates they were targeted deliberately, perhaps, by a rival cartel as part of an intensifying turf war with the Sonoran cartel. Langford characterized it as “a massacre, 100% a massacre.” I submit, it doesn’t really matter why it happened, so much as it did, and it may not be the end.

According to reporter Peter Orsi the incident occurred at 9:40 am, and the Mexican soldiers did not arrive at the scene until 6:15 pm. Why did it take several hours to respond? I know law enforcement is spread pretty thinly in the area, but that is a flimsy excuse. During all this time eight surviving children, five of which were wounded, lay hiding in the mountains, no doubt scared to death.

CONCLUSION

Okay. So now what do we do? How do we respond? It is not an easy answer. I have heard and read various opinions, ranging from merely lodging a diplomatic protest to deploying troops in Mexico. I am not necessarily advocating either of those actions, but I recommend the following:

1. Put more pressure on Mexican President Obrador to toughen his policies toward the cartels. Heretofore, he has taken a very passive approach and has resisted implementing tougher policies. He may be afraid; or he may have been bought off or threatened. I don’t know, but Mr. Trump has various ways to pressure him to a more aggressive approach. Economic sanctions? Close the border? Maybe offer a quid pro quo of sorts? (Just kidding, or maybe not.)

2. Offer assistance or aid, perhaps a joint military operation.

3. Strengthen the border. Surely, the anti-wall crowd can now see the folly of their intransigent position (or maybe not).

4. Designate the cartels as terrorist organizations.

5. Explore what the UN can do, although generally they are of little help in situations such as this.

6. Whatever action President Trumps takes, ideally, it should be with bipartisan support.

There are probably additional approaches that I have not thought of. I welcome your constructive thoughts/comments.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – NOVEMBER

Below please find a list of what I consider to be significant historical events that occurred during the month of November.

11/1 – All Hallows Day, aka All Saints Day. Many of us observe the day before this holiday as Halloween.
11/1/1848 – The first women’s medical school opened in Boston, MA. It was founded by a Mr. Samuel Gregory and “boasted” twelve students. In 1874 it became part of the Boston University School of Medicine, becoming one of the first co-ed medical schools. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, today, women comprise approximately 1/2 of all medical students.
11/1/1950 – President Harry S Truman, whom many historians consider to have been one of our greatest presidents, survived an assassination attempt by two members of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement.
11/2/1962 – President Kennedy announced that all Soviet missiles in Cuba were being dismantled and their installations destroyed, thus signaling the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. On 11/20 he announced that all missile sites had been dismantled. Unbeknownst to the general public, that crisis was probably the closest we ever came to nuclear war.
11/3/1948 – The Chicago Tribune published its famous, or infamous, headline “Dewey Defeats Truman,” arguably, the most embarrassing headline ever.
11/4/1862 – Richard Gatling patented his first rapid-firing machine gun, which utilized rotating barrels to load, fire and extract the spent cartridges. The gun bares his name.
11/4/1942 – In the battle generally considered to be one of the turning points of WWII (along with Stalingrad and Midway) the British defeated the Germans at El Alamein (North Africa).
11/7/1811 – General (and future president) William Henry Harrison defeated the Shawnee Indians in the Battle of Tippecanoe Creek, which was located in present-day Indiana. The battle gave rise to the chief slogan of Harrison’s presidential campaign – “Tippecanoe and Tyler too.”
11/7/1885 – Canada’s first transcontinental railroad was completed, opening up the western part of the country to settlement.
11/7/1962 – Former Vice President Richard Nixon, having lost the California gubernatorial election decisively to Edmund Brown gave his famous farewell speech to reporters, telling them they “wouldn’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen this is my last press conference.” As we know, Nixon made a comeback in 1968 narrowly defeating Hubert Humphrey for the presidency.
11/8/1895 – Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the electromagnetic ray, aka, X-rays.
11/8/1942 – The Allies landed successfully in North Africa (Operation Torch).
11/9&10/1938 – All over Germany Nazis terrorized Jews, burning, pillaging and vandalizing synagogues, homes and businesses in what became known infamously as Kristallnacht.
11/10/1775 – The Marine Corps was established as part of the Navy.
11/10/1871 – Explorer Henry Stanley finds Dr. Livingston after a two-year search. There is doubt that he actually uttered the attributed phrase “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”
11/11/1973 – Egypt and Israel signed a momentus cease-fire accord sponsored by the US.
11/13/1927 – The Holland Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel built in the US, which is named not for the country, but for Clifford Holland, the engineer who designed and led the construction of the project, opened connecting NYC and NJ.
11/13/1956 – The Supreme Court declared racial segregation on public buses to be unconstitutional.
11/15/1864 – Union soldiers, under the command of General William Sherman, burned much of the City of Atlanta.
11/17/1869 – The Suez Canal opened after taking 10+ years to complete.
11/19/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.
11/20/1789 – NJ became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
11/20/1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials began. Twenty-four former leaders of Nazi Germany were tried for various war crimes.
11/22/1963 – President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald who, in turn, was later assassinated by Jack Ruby. Hours later, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president while on board Air Force One.
11/28/1520 – Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan rounded the southern tip of South America, passing through what is now the Strait of Magellan, crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.

In addition, the following notables, who made significant contributions to society, were born during November:

Daniel Boone (frontiersman) – 11/2/1734; President James K. Polk (11th President) – 11/2/1795; Will Rogers (humorist) – 11/4/1879; Walter Cronkite (tv anchor/journalist) – 11/4/1916; John Philip Sousa (musical conductor) – 11/6/1854; James Naismith (inventor of basketball) – 11/6/1861; Marie Curie (chemist who discovered radium) – 11/7/1867; Billy Graham (evangelist) – 11/7/1918; Edmund Halley (astronomer/mathematician who discovered Halley’s Comet) – 11/8/1656; Christiaan Barnard (pioneer of heart transplant operations) – 11/8/1922; Richard Burton (actor) – 11/10/1925; George Patton (WWII General) – 11/11/1885; Auguste Rodin (sculptor of “The Thinker,” among others) – 11/12/1840; Elizabeth Cady Stanton (suffragist) – 11/12/1815; Grace Kelly (actress/princess) – 11/12/1929; Louis Brandeis (Supreme Court justice) – 11/13/1856; Robert Louis Stevenson (author) 11/13/1850; Robert Fulton (inventor of the steamboat) – 11/14/1765; Claude Monet (pioneered impressionist painting) – 11/14/1840; Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister) – 11/14/1889; Louis Daguerre (invented daguerreotype process of developing photographs) – 11/18/1789; James A. Garfield (20th President) – 11/19/1831; Indira Gandhi (Indian Prime Minister) – 11/19/1917; Edwin Hubble (astronomer for whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named) – 11/20/1889; Robert Kennedy (JFK’s brother, Attorney General and US Senator from NY) – 11/20/1925; Charles De Gaulle (French WWII hero and president of France) – 11/22/1890; Franklyn Pierce (14th President) – 11/23/1804; William (Billy the Kid) Bonney (notorious outlaw) – 11/23/1859; William Henry Platt (aka Boris Karloff) (famed horror movie star) – 11/23/1887; Zachary Taylor (12th President) – 11/24/1784; Andrew Carnegie (financier and philanthropist) – 11/25/1835; John Harvard (founder of Harvard University in 1636) – 11/26/1607; Anders Celsius (invented Celsius, aka centigrade, temperature scale) – 11/27/1701; Chaim Weizmann (Israeli statesman) – 11/27/1874; Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, (author) – 11/30/1835; Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during WWII) – 11/30/1874.

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION QUIZ

Some of you have requested a quiz. So, here it is. Be careful what you wish for. You know the drill. No peeking at the internet. No asking “Alexa” or “Siri.” Good luck.

1. Who was the only president who was an independent? (a) Abraham Lincoln, (b) John Adams, (c) Teddy Roosevelt, (d) George Washington

2. Who was the first Democratic president? (a) Andrew Jackson, (b) James K. Polk, (c) John Adams, (d) FDR

3. Who was the first candidate to run as a Republican? (a) Abraham Lincoln, (b) Franklyn Pierce, (c) James Madison, (d) John C. Fremont

4. Each of these incumbent presidents who ran for re-election were denied their party’s nomination EXCEPT: (a) John Tyler, (b) Rutherford B. Hayes, (c) Andrew Johnson, (d) Chester A. Arthur (Hint: each had been elected VP and had ascended to the presidency upon the death of the president.)

5. Five presidents have won despite having lost the popular vote, including each of the following, EXCEPT: (a) Rutherford B. Hayes – 1876, (b) Benjamin Harrison – 1888, (c) John Quincy Adams – 1824, (d) James Madison – 1808.

6. Which election was infamously known for the “hanging chads?” (a) 1892, (b) 1996, (c) 2000, (d) 2004?

7. There have been 19 Republican presidents. Who was the first? (a) James Monroe, (b) James Madison, (c) Abraham Lincoln, (d) Teddy Roosevelt

8. Four presidents have won election despite having lost their “home” state, including each of the following EXCEPT (a) James K. Polk, (b) Woodrow Wilson, (c) George H. W. Bush, (d) Richard Nixon

9. Which was the first election to be decided by a vote in the House of Representatives? (a) 1820, b. (1824), (c) 1912; (d) 2000

10. FDR was elected four times, defeating four different opponents, including each of the following EXCEPT: (a) Alfred E. Smith, (b) Alf Landon, (c) Wendell Willkie, (d) Thomas E. Dewey.

11. A third party candidate has never won or even come close. The last election in which a third party candidate won any electors (except for “faithless electors”) was (a) 1912, (b) 1916, (c) 1960, (d) 1968.

The following questions relate to famous campaign slogans. Match the slogan with the correct year in which it was FIRST used.

12. “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” (a) 1920, (b) 1928, (c) 1932, (d) 1948.

13. “Don’t change horses in midstream.” (a) 1864, (b) 1956, (c) 1936, (d) 1944.

14. “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” (a) 1836, (b) 1840), (c) 1852, (d) 1856.

15. “America First.” (a) 2016, (b) 1948, (c) 1916, (d) 1920.

16. “54-40 or fight.” (a) 1844, (b) 1848, (c) 1876, (d) 1884.

17. “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” (a) 1932, (b) 1948, (c) 1980, (d) 2016

18. “Happy days are here again.” (a) 1932, (b) 1936, (c) 1948, (d) 1952

19. “A square deal for all.” (a) 1904, (b) 1932, (c) 2004, (d) 1908

20. “Where’s the beef?” (a) 1968, (b) 1972, (c) 1976, (d) 1984

ANSWERS

1. (d); 2.(a); 3.(d); 4.(b); 5.(d)(The others were Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016) 6. (c); 7.(c); 8. (c) (The other was Trump in 2016.); 9. (b) (Jackson had won a plurality among four candidates, but the House chose John Quincy Adams.); 10. (a) The other was Herbert Hoover whom he defeated in 1928.); 11. (d) (George Wallace); 12. (b) (Hoover); 13. (a) (Lincoln); 14. (b) William Henry Harrison; 15. (d) (Warren Harding); 16. (a) (Polk); 17. (c) (Reagan); 18. (a) (FDR); 19. (d) (Taft); 20.(d) (Mondale).

Well, how did you do?

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – OCTOBER

October has had more than its share of significant historical events. Please see below:

10/1/1908 – The first Model T cars, designed by Henry Ford, went on sale.
10/1/1938 – German troops occupied the Sudetenland section of Czechoslovakia.
10/1/1949 – The Peoples’ Republic of China was founded with Mao Zedong as its leader.
10/1/1979 – The US formally turned the Canal Zone over to Panama.
10/2/1967 – Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African American associate justice of the Supreme Court.
10/3/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln promulgated a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving (later changed to the fourth Thursday).
10/3/1929 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was officially renamed Yugoslavia.
10/3/1932 – Iraq gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/3/1974 – Hall of Famer Frank Robinson became the first African American to manage a major league baseball club (the Cleveland Indians). Later, he also became the first AA manager to be fired.
10/3/1990 – East and West Germany were united as the Federal Republic of Germany ending 45 years of separation.
10/4/1830 – Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands.
10/4/1957 – Russia ushered in the Space Age as it launched the first satellite, named Sputnik.
10/5/1908 – Bulgaria proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
10/6/1927 – “The Jazz Singer,” the first “talkie,” opened in NYC.
10/6/1928 – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek became the president of the Republic of China.
10/6/1973 – The “Yom Kippur War” commenced as Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks against Israel, which was busy celebrating the most sacred of Jewish holidays.
10/6/1981 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated.
10/7/1985 – Palestinian terrorists seized the cruise ship, “Achille Lauro,” and threatened to blow it up if their demands were not met. They infamously murdered an elderly wheelchair-bound passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, by pushing his wheelchair off the deck into the sea.
10/8/1871 – The Great Fire of Chicago destroyed much of the city. Legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started it by kicking over a lantern in her barn.
10/8/1918 – Sergeant Alvin York, arguably the US’s greatest war hero, single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing and capturing nearly 150 enemy soldiers. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the French equivalent, the Croix de Guerre.
10/8/1998 – The House of Representatives voted to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton.
10/9/1962 – Uganda gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/10/1973 – Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid allegations of income tax evasion stemming from his tenure as Governor of Maryland.
10/11/1939 – Scientist Albert Einstein issued a warning to President FDR that Germany was seeking to develop an atomic weapon. His warning led the US to marshal its resources to develop its own atomic weapon (the Manhattan Project).
10/12/1492 – Christopher Columbus landed in present-day El Salvador, erroneously thinking he had found the elusive northwest passage to India.
10/12/1811 – Paraguay declared its independence from Spain.
10/12/1822 – Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.
10/13/1792 – George Washington laid the cornerstone of the White House.
10/13/1884 – Greenwich, England was established as the basic time zone from which all time is calculated.
10/14/1066 – The Normans defeat the English at the decisive Battle of Hastings, which resulted in the Norman’s conquest of England.
10/14/1912 – Former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot while campaigning for re-election, but he survived.
10/14/1947 – Test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first to break the sound barrier.
10/14/1964 – Martin Luther King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/15/1991 – Following several days of contentious hearings regarding allegations of sexual harassment against a former aide, Anita Hill, the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
10/16/1701 – Yale University was founded in Killingworth, CT as the Collegiate School of Connecticut.
10/16/1793 – French Queen Marie Antoinette, known for her extravagance and contempt for her subjects (“Let them eat cake.”), was beheaded.
10/16/1853 – The Crimean War (Russia, England and France vs. the Ottoman Empire and parts of present-day Italy) began.
10/16/1995 – Louis Farrakhan led the Million Man March on Washington.
10/17/1777 – The Colonial Army defeated the British at Saratoga in what many historians believe was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
10/17-25/1944 – The US succeeded in decimating the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was the largest naval battle in history.
10/18/1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial commenced with indictments against 24 former Nazi leaders.
10/19/1781 – English General Cornwallis surrendered to the Colonial Army at Yorktown, VA. marking the end of the Revolutionary War.
10/19/1987 – This day was dubbed “Black Monday” on Wall Street as stocks plunged 508 points or 22.6%, the largest one-day decline ever.
10/20/1818 – The US and Great Britain agreed to establish the US-Canadian border at the 49th parallel. The 5,525 mile border is the longest in the world between any two countries.
10/20/1944 – General Douglas MacArthur, who upon fleeing the Philippines in 1942 to escape the Japanese Army boldly asserted “I shall return,” returned as promised.
10/20/1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of President John Kennedy, married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
10/21/1805 – The British Navy defeated the combined naval forces of France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar, obviating the threat of their invasion of England.
10/21/1879 – Thomas Edison successfully tested an incandescent lamp.
10/21/1915 – AT&T transmitted the first successful transatlantic radio voice message (Virginia to Paris).
10/22/1962 – President Kennedy warned Americans of the existence of Russian missiles on Cuba. The so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis” was probably the biggest threat of nuclear war during the Cold War.
10/23/1942 – The British Army led by General Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against the German Afrika Corps, led by General Erwin Rommel, at El Alamein, Egypt. Montgomery’s victory marked a major turning point in WWII.
10/24/1931 – Notorious Chicago gangster, Al Capone, was sentenced 11 years in prison for income tax evasion.
10/24/1945 – The UN was founded.
10/25/1854 – 673 British cavalrymen took on a Russian force in the Battle of Balaclava. This famous Crimean War battle was immortalized in a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson entitled “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
10/26/1881 – In the infamous shoot-out at the OK Corral the Earp brothers and “Doc” Holliday defeated the Clanton Gang.
10/26/1825 – The Erie Canal, the first man-made waterway in America, opened for business.
10/27/1904 – The NYC subway system opened with a run from City Hall to West 145th Street as the first underground and underwater system in the world.
10/27/1978 – Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/28/1636 – Harvard University, the oldest university in America, was founded in Cambridge, MA, funded by donations provided by John Harvard.
10/28/1846 – The ill-fated Donner Party departed Illinois for California.
10/28/1918 – The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded by combining three provinces that were formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Moravia, Slovakia, and Bohemia.
10/28/1919 – Prohibition commenced as Congress enacted the Volstead Act.
10/28/1962 – Russia agreed to halt the construction of offensive missile bases in Cuba and dismantle existing bases, thus ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
10/29/1929 – The stock market “crashed” ushering in the Great Depression.
10/30/1938 – A radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” without commercial interruption caused widespread panic, as many people thought that Martians had actually invaded Earth.
10/31/1941 – The Mt. Rushmore monument was completed after 14 years.

BIRTHDAYS – Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi – 10/2/1869; Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President) – 10/4/1822; Frederic Remington (artist)- 10/4/1861; Chester A. Arthur (21st President) – 10/5/1830; Robert Goddard (“Father of the Space Age”) – 10/5/1882; George Westinghouse (engineer and inventor) – 10/6/1846; John Lennon – 10/9/1940; Eleanor Roosevelt – 10/11/1884; Mary Ludwig (aka Molly Pitcher (Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, NJ) – 10/13/1754; William Penn (founded Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is named for him) – 10/14/1644; Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower (WWII war hero and 34th President) – 10/14/1890; Lido Anthony (Lee) Iacocca (auto industry executive) – 10/15/1924; Noah Webster ( teacher and journalist who compiled first dictionaries) – 10/16/1758; Oscar Wilde (Irish playwright and poet) – 10/16/1854; David Ben Gurion (“Father of Israel) – 10/16/1888; Eugene O’Neill (playwright – “The Iceman Cometh”) – 10/16/1888; William O. Douglas (associate justice of the Supreme Court) – 10/16/1898; John Birks (Dizzy) Gillespie (jazz musician) – 10/21/1917; Pablo Picasso (artist) – 10/25/1881; Hillary Rodham Clinton – 10/26/1947; James Cook (English explorer) – 10/27/1728; Theodore Roosevelt (26th President) – 10/27/1858; Dr. Jonas Salk (polio vaccine) – 10/28/1914; Bill Gates (Microsoft) – 10/28/1955; John Adams (2nd President) – 10/30/1735; Emily Post (arbiter of etiquette) – 10/30/1872; Admiral Will (“Bull”) Halsey (WWII fleet commander) – 10/30/1882.

SHE’S BAAAACK

Guess who has injected herself into the 2020 presidential election mix, albeit on the periphery? Hint, her initials are HRC. She has been appearing on various talk shows, ostensibly to plug her new book, but her words and actions indicate she still has illusions of power and reclaiming what she believes is rightfully hers – the presidency.

She is continuing to assert that she did not lose the 2016 presidential election “fair and square.” She is claiming she was “robbed” of the presidency by Mr. Trump’s collusion with Russia, and she was victimized by the racism and sexism exhibited by a certain portion of the electorate. Furthermore, she has been stepping up her criticism of Mr. Trump. Her current mantra is that he is an “illegitimate president” who should be impeached. The two have been engaging in an amusing twitter war of words reminiscent of high school. Essentially, he challenged her to run, and she replied “Don’t tempt me. Do your job.”

In my opinion, the subtext of all of the foregoing is that if the Dem Party were to fail to agree on a candidate she would be available to step in. I don’t place a lot of credence in her recent denial to CNN. Pols who want to be drafted always deny that they’re interested.

If you view that as a farfetched scenario consider the following:

1. Many voters, especially independents and moderate Dems, are not exactly enamored with any of the candidates for various reasons.
2. These candidates have dragged the Party far to the left, considerably further than the electorate.
3. Recently, each of the top three candidates has encountered problems, which could weaken, if not derail, their respective campaigns.

Biden has been ensnared in his son, Hunter’s, highly questionable business practices in Ukraine and China. Joe has been caught on tape bragging about how he pressured the former president of Ukraine to fire the special prosecutor who was investigating his son.

Sanders was recently hospitalized with a heart attack, which caused him to suspend campaign activities temporarily. Given his age, this has made many voters uneasy about his health.

Warren has been caught in yet another lie, this time regarding her first teaching position. Briefly, she has claimed in several campaign speeches, that she was fired from that teaching position because she was pregnant. Her words were “my principal ‘wished me luck,’ and [then] hired someone else.” In reality, according to a 2007 video, at the time she had been teaching on an “emergency certification,” because she had not completed enough education classes. Furthermore, the CA Board of Education actually accepted her resignation “with regret” and offered to extend her contract. Since this was not the first time she had been caught in a lie, one has to wonder about her character and credibility. HRC is cognizant of all this, hence, her not so subtle campaigning.

CONCLUSION

In my view, Dem insiders realize Mr. Trump may be vulnerable, despite the fact that, historically, few sitting presidents who are presiding over a good economy and peaceful conditions have been defeated for re-election. He is very unpopular, personally, and despite a very good economy, the defeat of the ISIS Califate and many other accomplishments, he can possibly be beaten with the right candidate. They also know that the current crop is weak and likely not up to the task. I think that is why Pelosi has been fast-tracking the impeachment process, and why HRC has raised her profile. As I said, the clear subtext is “remember me? I am available if needed.”

All that said, we are still four months away from the first primary in Iowa. A lot can and will happen before then. All the major polls show Mr. Trump losing head-to-head to the Big 3.

However, one caveat about early polls. As Reuters pointed in a recent article, historically, their reliability has proven to be questionable. Many respondents state their preference chiefly based on name recognition. In addition, voters often change their minds as the campaign progresses. Also, there is not necessarily a correlation between those who respond to polls and those who actually vote. Finally, there is evidence that many Trump supporters are reluctant to admit it, even to a pollster.

Regarding early polls, in August 2007 HRC led Obama by 20% and ended up losing. In 2016 Trump was trailing Clinton right up until the votes were cast. And, in the most famous case of all, in 1948 Truman was so far behind Dewey in the polls that the Chicago Tribune actually printed an early post Election Day edition with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.” So, don’t bet the house on these current polls.

Perhaps, one candidate will distance himself, or herself, from the field and sew up the nomination before the convention. Maybe, a new candidate will emerge. But, if the Dems end up with a wide open convention, don’t discount HRC.

Ugh!