PRESIDENT TRUMP, JOE BIDEN, COVID AND OTHER CAMPAIGN ISSUES

As the 2020 election enters the home stretch I have a few observations.

  1. Biden’s campaign strategy of confining himself to his basement is beginning to backfire. In my opinion, at first, it made sense as he was able to avoid non-scripted speeches and random questions that would have exposed his cognitive weaknesses. Also, COVID concerns gave him a plausible excuse. As long as he was maintaining a comfortable lead in the polls there was no reason to campaign actively. As I wrote in a previous blog, so-called “porch politicking” had been successful for other presidential candidates in the past, such as James A. Garfield and Calvin Coolidge, but that was 100 or more years ago, and the country is very different now.
  2. As the race has tightened Biden has been forced to engage in real campaigning, and it has not gone well for him. His speeches have been lackluster; he has been drawing sparse, unenthusiastic crowds; and he still has not demonstrated an ability to answer unscripted questions. On the other hand, President Trump’s crowds have been sizeable and very enthusiastic, and he routinely answers difficult and hostile questions. One cannot help but notice the contrast.
  3. As I have discussed in previous blogs the Dems are on the wrong side of most issues, such as law and order and the economy. Most of them have refused to condemn the rioters, and many of them have openly expressed support for them. Pre-COVID, Mr. Trump built the best economy the country has ever had, and most people have confidence he can do it again.
  4. They have been having some success with portraying Mr. Trump as a “racist.” Many Trump-haters and far left Dems agree with that characterization. However, they have been levelling this accusation for four years now. During all that time they have been unable to support this accusation with hard proof and examples, and voters are beginning to recognize it for what it is – baseless, and a desperate argument one makes when he doesn’t have facts or logic on his side.
  5. The Dems have had the most success in portraying Mr. Trump’s response to the CV as slow and inadequate. According to the latest Hill-HarrisX poll, which was conducted from 9/18 – 9/21, only 45% of Americans approve of his performance with respect to COVID. Why is his approval rating so low? I’m not sure, but, perhaps, the volume of false and exaggerated criticism from his various critics has taken its toll. In any event, perhaps a review of the COVID timeline would help clarify matters. Perhaps, it will help expose Biden and other critics for the second-guessers and disingenuous liars they are.

a. January 9, 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed the appearance of a “mysterious” virus originating in Wuhan Province, China. This was the first inkling Americans had of its existence. Very little was known about the CV, including its origin, virulence, degree of contagion, and how to treat it.

b. January 21 – The CDC confirmed the first US case.

c. January 31 – WHO declared a global health emergency.

d. February 2 – President Trump issued a travel ban with respect to travel from China. A couple of days later he expanded the ban to include several European countries. You may recall he was vilified in the media and elsewhere. Even most of his advisors thought it was unnecessary. As it turned out, this action saved many lives, according to some estimates as many as 1 million or more.

e. What were the Dems doing at this time? They were focused on impeaching Mr. Trump. Many people, including me, denigrated it as a “fool’s errand” and a distraction. How right we were!

f. Joe Biden ridiculed the travel bans, calling Mr. Trump a “racist and “xenophobic.” Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo and Bill De Blasio, among others, were “pooh poohing” any dangers and urging people to come to their cities to enjoy and to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

g. As the year went on and the CV pandemic got worse Mr. Trump provided strong support to various state governors as needed including masks, ventilators, testing equipment and even hospital ships to handle any overflow of CV patients. Many states were ill prepared to fight the pandemic. Even the Federal government had inadequate medical supplies, but that was the fault of the Obama-Biden administration, not Mr. Trump. Many governors have been effusive in their praise for his assistance. Others have played the “blame game.”

h. He has cajoled private businesses into providing the above mentioned needed equipment.

i. Most importantly, he has gotten various drug manufacturers to fast-track the development of a vaccine, a few of which are now in final trials. A safe, viable vaccine might be ready as early as the end of the year. Many medical experts have praised this quick turnaround.

j. Yes, some 200,000 Americans have died, and that is tragic. But, it is now apparent that were it not for Trump’s quick decisive actions many more would have.

k. Through their use of revisionist history Biden and the Dems have managed to convince the public that Trump is culpable, but it was they who were late to address it. I would like to know what they would have done differently at the time. None of them has told us yet.

CONCLUSION

I give points to the Dems for the political effectiveness of their “blame Trump for COVID” campaign. However, as I have demonstrated, it is a false narrative. In my view, it is doing the country a grave disservice.

As I said, Biden and company have not explained what they would have done differently. Moreover, it’s not as though they made recommendations at the time that were ignored. Remember, for the first several months there was much contradictory and false information being disseminated from the medical experts, from WHO and, most of all, from China. In reality, no one understood the CV, its virulence and level of contagion and how to treat it. The real villain in this debacle is China, not Trump, but Biden is in China’s pocket, and, therefore, will not criticize it.

Hopefully, the public will wake up to the real facts regarding Trump’s response to COVID. Perhaps, they will come to light during the debates.

THE BATTLE TO REPLACE RUTH BADER GINSBURG

As most of you know, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing has left a vacancy on the Supreme Court to be filled. As I predicted in my last blog a fierce battle has ensued over the timing of nominating her replacement. In all likelihood, this will be as contentious as the election, itself, and, in the long run, may turn out to be even more significant. Why, you may ask? Because, the nominee could be on the court and ruling on matters for decades.

Predictably, President Trump and his supporters want the vacancy filled as soon as possible and by a right-of-center candidate. Based upon multiple media reports Mr. Trump plans to disclose his choice by the end of the week. He has committed to naming a woman. He has stated that there are five under consideration. The two most likely candidates seem to be Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa. Both are strong candidates and both seem to check the required right-of-center boxes. Barrett has more experience on the Appeals Court and is better known, but Lagoa has the added benefits of being Hispanic and from a key battleground state, Florida. The Dems and their supporters are strongly opposed not only to both of them but also to the very idea of any nomination.

It is important to understand one thing right at the outset. The Constitution states clearly and emphatically that the President is authorized to nominate Justices to the Supreme Court with the “advice and consent of the Senate.” It does not say “except during an election year.” So, legally, the Dems do not have a leg to stand on. Their sole avenue of recourse is to prevent the Senate from confirming a nominee.

That could happen as the GOP only has a three person majority. Furthermore, two Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have already expressed a reluctance to proceed before the election, and a few others are reportedly wavering.

Don’t be deceived by the media reports criticizing President Trump for taking this action. His plan is not without precedent. My research has disclosed that since 1900 there have been several instances in which a president, both Dem and GOP, has nominated and the Senate has confirmed a SC Justice in an election year. You may hear someone mention the “Thurmond Rule” as justification to prevent a nomination during an election year. This “rule” is named for former senator Strom Thurmond who basically made it up to justify blocking LBJ’s nomination of Abe Fortas back in the 1960s. However, it is not an actual “rule,” and it has no legal standing.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are being very disingenuous about this entire issue. Predictably, the GOPers are defending Mr. Trump’s proposed action, while the Dems are condemning it. As always, most of the media is supporting the Dems. In my opinion, their arguments are specious.

The bottom line is it is all about power. The Party that has it will want to forge ahead with the nomination; the Party on the short end will oppose it. The prospect of having an additional “friendly” SC Justice on the Court for life is too valuable a commodity to ignore.

If one does a little research one will find instances in the past where each of them has argued for the other side of the issue. For instance, as recently as 2016 former President Obama, VP Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leading Dems were pushing for the confirmation of Merrick Garland as a replacement for Antonin Scalia even though it was an election year, and Mitch McConnell and leading Republicans were opposing it. Even Ginsburg spoke out in favor of Garland’s candidacy. Now, supposedly she told her granddaughter she was opposed to an election year nomination. I understand their motivation. I don’t consider it hypocritical. In politics, it’s all about power. If you have it, use it while you can.

CONCLUSION

One reason why it is imperative to fill the SC vacancy as soon as possible is the strong possibility that the Court will be called upon to resolve presidential election disputes in one or more states (as in 2000), particularly with respect to mail-in ballots. In that event having only eight members could result in a 4-4 tie. That would throw the dispute back to the appeals courts and degrade the validity of the election results further in the eyes of many voters. That would be devastating as the key to the continued viability of the Republic is that the voters have confidence that elections are free and fair.

In summary, expect a lot of posturing and threatening from the Dems between now and the election. Already Chuck and Nancy have threatened that if the Republicans proceed “nothing [will be] off the table.” What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but in the past they have signaled they may seek to “pack” the Senate by pushing for statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, impeach Mr. Trump again, and/or seek to “pack” the court when they reacquire power. (The first one is farfetched; the latter two have already been tried and failed.)

As I said, I expect this issue to add to the divisiveness, violence, contentiousness, and mistrust we are already experiencing.

My advice to Dems. Grow up. Quit your griping. In the words of former President Obama, “elections have consequences.” If you don’t like what’s happening, try winning more of them.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG

She was diminutive in stature, but larger than life in all other respects. As a Supreme Court Justice her fiery dissenting opinions earned her the sobriquet “Notorious R. P. G.” Her 23 year tenure on the Supreme Court was one of the longest in history. She was a powerful and tireless advocate for the rights of women, minorities, and the disadvantaged as well as other liberal causes. As you will see, this attitude was shaped by her experiences beginning in childhood and continuing throughout her life.

As the de facto leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court she often clashed ideologically with the more conservative justices, such as Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist, but, at the same time, they exhibited a mutual respect for each other that should serve as an example for all officials in the legislative and executive branches of government.

Scalia often praised her tenacity as an advocate for her causes. Regarding women’s rights, he called her the “Thurgood Marshall of that cause – so to speak.” Those who are familiar with Marshall’s record and accomplishments regarding civil rights will recognize that as high praise, indeed. Despite their sharp ideological differences she and Scalia were close friends with shared outside interests, e. g. opera and cooking, and enjoyed each other’s company away from the Court. She was devastated by his untimely death in 2016.

Joan Ruth Bader was born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, NY. Her father was a first-generation immigrant from Ukraine. Her mother was born in the US. She had an older sister who died from meningitis at age six. Bader’s childhood nickname was “Kiki,” which was derived from the fact she had been a “kick baby” in the womb.

In elementary school Bader’s class had several girls named Joan, which apparently led to some confusion. So, Bader’s mom suggested that the teacher call her by her middle name, Ruth. Thereafter, “Joan” was kaput, and she became known as “Ruth.”

Ruth’s mother was determined that Ruth would receive a strong education, which was most unusual for a female in those years. Undoubtedly, this desire was fueled by her own experience. Due to limited financial resources, her parents could only afford to send one child to college. So, they sent her brother, and her desire for a college education was thwarted. That was very common at that time. Her desire for Ruth was to become a teacher, a noble profession to be sure, but a far cry from what she ultimately achieved. If that had come to pass think how different history would have been. Sadly, Ruth’s mom died from cancer the day before Ruth’s high school graduation, so she never got to see what Ruth accomplished.

Ruth attended Cornell and graduated with a BA in government. She made Phi Beta Kappa and was the highest ranking female student in her class. More importantly, she met her future husband, Martin Ginsburg.

In 1956 Ruth enrolled in Harvard Law School, one of nine women out of a class of 500. Supposedly, the Dean invited all nine females to a welcoming dinner at his house. A nice gesture, but the story goes he asked each of them “why are you at Harvard Law School taking the place of a man?” Can you imagine a Dean of a law school asking such a question today?

When her husband got a job in NY she transferred to Columbia. Upon graduation Ginsburg had difficulty finding a job despite the fact that she had been ranked tied for first in her class.. She was being denied due to her gender. The deniers included Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. It was only after one of her law school professors strong-armed a US District Court judge to hire her that she got a job.

Some of the highlights of her early career included the following:

  1. In 1963 her first job was a professorship at Rutgers, where she was told she would be paid less than a man because she had a husband with a well-paying job. At the time she was one of only 20 female law professors in the nation.
  2. In 1970 she co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, which was the first US law journal that focused on women’s rights.
  3. In 1972 she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which specialized in gender discrimination against women, of which there was plenty. She handled hundreds of cases, including six that she argued before the Supreme Court, winning five of them. (One might wonder how she lost the one she did.) Shrewdly, some of the cases she chose had male plaintiffs, which demonstrated to the SC justices that discrimination could and did cut both ways.
  4. In 1980 President Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals for DC.
  5. In 1993 President Clinton appointed her to the SC. She became only the second woman to serve on the SC after Sandra Day O’Connor.

During her tenure on the SC she was involved in many landmark cases. As I said above, she became known for her “fiery” dissenting opinions, earning the sobriquet “The Notorious RBG.” For me, the two cases that stood out are the 1996 decision that required Virginia Military Institute to accept female applicants and the 2000 decision that made George W. Bush president.

In recent years she was beset with a plethora of physical problems, such as broken ribs, a procedure for a blocked artery, and, of course, the big one, cancer. Through it all she refused to retire. She viewed her work on the SC as too important to abandon.

The tributes have been pouring in from various sources – both US and foreign, and both supporters and adversaries. Some examples:

1. President Trump called her an “amazing woman.”

2. Former President Jimmy Carter – “We [Rosalynn and I] join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a great woman.”

3. Chief Justice John Roberts – “Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature.”

Perhaps, this is not a time for politics, but as they say, in a presidential election year, “everything is about the election.” The election is the proverbial “elephant in the room.”

Pols on both sides of the aisle will be anxiously waiting to see (a) when (not if) Mr. Trump will nominate a replacement, and (b) who it will it be. Mr. Trump will be widely criticized, but it is the smart move, politically. The new justice would likely remain in place for decades.

The politics of replacing Ginsburg are very complicated. Most observers believe Mr. Trump will act sooner rather than later, while the GOP still has a majority in the Senate, perhaps even before Election Day. The president has already published a list of potential appointees, and chances are he will choose someone from that list. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled the Senate is primed to “fast track” a nomination.

On the other hand, the Dems desperately want Ginsburg to be replaced by a liberal. Thus, they want to delay matters in the hope that they will seize control of the Senate on November 3 and/or that Biden will defeat Mr. Trump. The matter is being further complicated by the fact that Biden has not yet published his list of possible successors, and he seems to be reluctant to do so. Remember, the new Senate will take over on January 1, not on Inauguration Day, so the GOP has a narrow window of time in which to act.

An additional complication is that the GOP’s control of the Senate is very tenuous. Only a majority vote is required for approval, but there are only 53 GOP senators, and many of them are embroiled in tough re-election campaigns. Therefore, they may be reluctant to support the Administration on a vote this controversial so close to an election. Additionally, two of them – Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – have already expressed reluctance to voting on a replacement until after the election.

In short, what we will likely get is the last thing we need in this already tumultuous election year. More controversy, more animosity, and more violent protesting/rioting. Stay tuned.

CONCLUSION

Ginsburg was the recipient of a slew of honors. For example:

  1. In 2002 she was inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame.
  2. In 2009 she was named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women.”
  3. In 2012 she was named Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.”
  4. In 2015 Time Magazine dubbed her one of the “100 Most Influential People.”

Ginsburg’s years’ long battle with cancer was well-documented. Many people grew to admire her strength, determination and dedication to her work. When a reporter asked her when she thought there would be enough women on the SC, she replied “when there are nine.” And she meant it.

During the latter stages of the Obama Administration many of her friends were urging her to retire, so that Obama could name a liberal replacement. She adamantly refused. She admired the longevity of Justice John Paul Stevens, who had retired at the ripe old age of 90 after having served 35 years. She wanted to beat that record. At the time of her death she had served 27 years, and was the fourth-oldest Justice in history.

Ginsburg passed away on September 18. She dedicated her life to fighting for the disadvantaged and was an iconic role model to women. She was loved, admired and respected by supporters and opponents alike. Rest in peace Ruth. You were a tower of strength, and you will be sorely missed.

9/11 REMEMBRANCE. HAS IT REALLY BEEN 19 YEARS?

Tomorrow, Friday, is September 11, a date that will always have special meaning for all Americans, indeed for all decent people worldwide. Like December 7 and November 22, September 11 is a date that will, in the words of former President FDR, “live in infamy.”

September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. ET, Americans’ safe and secure lives changed forever. Like the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and the JFK assassination, undoubtedly, most everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard of the attack. At that moment, the first hijackers’ plane crashed into the north tower of the WTC. This was followed quickly by a second plane crashing into the south tower, and, later, a third one crashing into the Pentagon. Incredibly and inexplicably, by 10:28 both towers had collapsed.

Later in the day, a fourth plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, PA. It is believed that this fourth plane was bound for a target in Washington, D.C., perhaps, the White House or the Capitol, and it would have succeeded but for the heroism of some of the passengers on board.

This year will mark the 19th anniversary of those horrific attacks. They resulted in just under 3,000 deaths. Most of those were workers who were trapped in their offices and consumed by fire or smoke/chemical inhalation. They could not escape because most of the stairwells were blocked.  Many victims have only been identified due to their DNA, in some cases many years later.

Compounding the tragedy was the fact that NYC’s 911 operators were not as well informed as they should have been. Thus, they were advising callers from inside the towers not to descend the stairs on their own. Some of them proceeded to the roof hoping to be rescued by helicopter. Unfortunately, helicopters could not land on the roofs due to the heat and thick smoke. Many of us who were watching on tv witnessed the awful sight of people jumping to their deaths (in some cases, actually holding hands with others for support) rather than awaiting their fates from the fire.

The horror of the attacks, themselves, was amplified by the fact that the victims were not soldiers but innocent civilians who were merely working at their jobs.  In addition to the thousands of civilians, police officers, firemen and EMS workers that were killed in the attacks, themselves, thousands more volunteer workers and even people who lived or worked in the vicinity ended up contracting various illnesses from inhaling the many carcinogens in the air and dying subsequently, in some cases many years later.  Many of us know or know of someone, such as Jamie Testa, a close family friend, who suffered this fate.  Even today, 19 years later, people are still contracting diseases and dying.  Horrifying as it may seem, some doctors have predicted that eventually these victims will exceed the 3,000 killed on 9/11. 

The primary illnesses are cancer, respiratory disorders, asthma, COPD and gastroesophageal reflux disorder. In addition, in the aftermath health workers noted a significant increase in anxiety, depression and PTSD. As I said, many of the above have manifested themselves years later. Even now, new cases are being presented. The number of documented cancer cases, alone, has tripled in the past few years. The physical, mental and emotional toll has been astounding. An estimated 18,000 people have contracted illnesses from the toxic dust. Moreover, there is speculation that 9/11 has caused health issues in babies whose mothers were pregnant at the time of the attacks, such as premature birth, respiratory problems, below average weight, and increased neo-natal requirements.

This was the deadliest attack on US soil ever. By comparison, the shocking Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which, as I said, President FDR characterized as “a date that will live in infamy” resulted in “only” 2,400 deaths, and they were mostly military personnel.

This year, due to the health threat of the CV many of the commemorations will be scaled down.  There will be an attempt to balance paying proper respect to the victims with the safety and health of the participants. 

For example, the 911 Memorial and Museum, which is the body in charge of the commemoration, has changed the procedure of the reading of the names of the victims.  911 M&M Director Alice Greenwald stated the overriding objective was to “balance safety and tradition.”

Many friends and family strongly objected to the changes.  A group called the Stephen Stiller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it had arranged its own ceremony a few blocks away (on the corner of Liberty and Church Streets).  Survivors would still read the names live but at a safe distance from each other.  Said Chairman Frank Stiller, “we need to ensure that “America know[s] what happened 19 years ago.  And they need to [experience] the emotion of the day [live], not [via] a recording.”  

Normally, the survivors read the names of every 9/11 victim out loud in real time on tv, including those killed at the WTC (in both 1993 and 2001), the Pentagon and on flight 93. This is a particularly poignant scene as the readers are typically the spouses, children and/or grandchildren of the victims. In addition to citing the name of the victim some of the readers add personal messages of remembrance. In my opinion, these readings of the names of the victims is a fantastic idea as it helps us to remember the horrific and cowardly terrorists attacks and continue to pay tribute to the victims.

However, this year due to COVID concerns, the procedure will be altered.  In lieu of the traditional live reading of the names family members have pre-recorded the victims names, which will be streamed on line beginning Friday morning.  The 911 M&M will permit family members to gather at the site to listen, but they will be spread out to observe social distancing. 

In addition, there was a huge controversy over the traditional Tribute in Light ceremony.  The Tribute of Light is an amazing spectacle.  It consists of 88 vertical lights placed on top of Battery Park Garage, which is located six blocks south of the former WTC site.  It creates two columns of light which represent the Twin Towers.

Initially, the 911 M&M announced that, due to COVID concerns, it would be cancelled.  But, under pressure from the survivors and other groups it was reinstated with appropriate safety precautions.  In an additional statement Greenwald stated “this means something to us so profound, we must have it.”  The objective was “how we could do it safely that became a question for us.”  I agree as I’m sure most of us do.

The 911 M&M committee effected these changes with good intentions and perhaps an abundance of caution.  They insisted they wanted to conduct the ceremony but, at the same time, “avoid close contact among the readers who are usually paired at the podium.”  It is scheduled to commence at dusk. 

Some of the surviving relatives and friends understood.  Anthoula Katsimatides noted “it [the ceremony] wasn’t cancelled.  It’s just been changed in such a way where we still get to pay tribute to our loved ones in a respectful and safe way.”  However, others were not mollified.  For example, Jim Riches, who lost his firefighter son, Jimmy, characterized it as a “slap in the face.”     

There will also be a memoriam at Shanksville, PA.  President Trump and the First Lady, will be the featured speakers.  Joe Biden is also expected to attend, but hopefully not at the same time.   

I understand this will also be scaled down due to COVID.  The names of the passengers will be read in tribute, but there will be no musical interludes nor any other entertainment.

In addition to the deaths there was significant damage to the economy of NYC and the US as a whole. The entire Wall Street area, including the financial markets, was closed until September 17. Air travel was disrupted. Americans’ psyche was severely damaged. The cleanup of the WTC area was not completed until May 2002. All in all, it took 3.1 million man-hours to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris at a cost of $750 million.  Internationally, countries were generally horrified and supportive, although some of the people in some Muslim countries, such as Iraq, were seen to be celebrating.

Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, with the others having originated from Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE. The terrorist group, Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, quickly claimed responsibility. Bin Laden had declared a holy war on the US and had issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans. Following 9/11, bin Laden became public enemy number 1. Eventually, the US exacted revenge, hunting him down and killing him.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Americans wanted to know how our intelligence agencies had failed to anticipate them. Who had “dropped the ball?” Amid many investigations and finger-pointing it became obvious that the major factor was a failure to communicate and share intelligence and information. For example:

l. The CIA had intelligence reports that a terrorist attack was forthcoming, but it was expecting it to be in Israel, not the US.
2. The CIA knew that two known terrorists had slipped into the US.
3. The FBI had information of certain anomalies at some US flight schools.
4. The Justice Department policies advocated very limited intelligence sharing, even with other agencies.
5. The CIA and NSA were reluctant to reveal sources of information and their methods of attaining it.
6. None of these agencies reported their information to each other or to the White House.
7. In 2004 Attorney General John Ashcroft testified to the “9/11 Commission” that the “single greatest structural cause…. was the wall that segregated or separated criminal investigators and intelligence agents.”

I hope that the coordination and information-sharing among these agencies have been enhanced since 9/11, but I have my doubts. As time has gone on, I sense that we have grown more and more complacent and the various alphabet agencies have resumed “guarding their own turf” rather than sharing intelligence and information for the greater good.

CONCLUSION

Americans’ lives have changed considerably since 9/11. Many believe that not all of these changes are good or even necessary. For instance:

1. The US created the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate and oversee intelligence activities and security. In addition, it passed the USA Patriot Act. These agencies have improved our readiness and security but at the price of certain civil liberties. There is, and should be, a balance between security and liberty, and depending on one’s political point of view the pendulum may have swung too far, or not enough, toward security.

2. Enhanced security at airports and train and bus terminals has made travel more complicated, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking. Some people have curtailed or ceased their travel entirely, particularly internationally.

3. Many parents are apprehensive, if not paranoid, about letting their children go outside to play or ride their bicycles in the neighborhood. Also, they accompany their children to the school or school bus stop and pick them up at the end of the day. The various terrorist attacks in schools in recent years have done little to assuage these fears and concerns. Schools have ramped up security protocols. Some have even hired armed guards. Some people have advocated arming teachers.

4. Many Americans have become very focused on enforcing immigration laws strictly to protect our borders, which has led to conflicts with those who view such an approach as “racist” and favor looser, or even open, borders.

5. On the plus side, there has been a significant increase in patriotism and gratitude toward veterans.

In my opinion, parents should make a concerted effort to educate their children on the tragedy of 9/11, what happened, how it happened and what it means. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation approximately one-third of Americans are under the age of 26, and, therefore, have little or no recollection or knowledge of this event. The danger is that as time passes the populace will forget, and we should never allow that to happen. Educate your kids!

Already, some people are “down-playing” the 9/11 attacks. For example, Rep Ilham Omar, one of the notorious “Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse” who has uttered many disparaging remarks about America and Americans, has summed up 9/11 as “some people did something.” Really? Is she kidding? It’s easy to write off her and others of her ilk as “kooks,” but she does have followers who place credence in what she says.

I encourage everyone to find the time to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It is on the site of the original WTC complex in lower Manhattan. It occupies approximately one-half of the acreage of the original complex. It features two huge waterfalls and a “survivor tree,” which symbolizes resilience and strength. Take the time to stroll around this beautiful area. Take one of the many tours. You will find them most informative. Yes, it is tragic to be reminded of the horror of that day, but, on the other hand, it is uplifting to be reminded of the heroism and resilience of many first responders and even ordinary citizens and to experience the healing that has occurred. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Undoubtedly, many of you experienced 9/11 firsthand. Please feel free to share your experiences.

THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE ELECTION

I am finding this election increasingly difficult to analyze and comprehend. Based on the candidates’ policies, Biden should not be ahead in the polls, but he is. I have observed a lot of conflicting information. For example:

  1. Joe Biden has been leading in all the polls all year. Presently, he is ahead nationally by anywhere from five to eight points depending on the particular poll, and he is slightly ahead in most of the swing states, although his leads have narrowed since the two conventions. Yet, I cannot figure out the source of much of Biden’s support. In my view, the polls are not consistent with what I am seeing with my own eyes.
  2. According to the evidence I have observed Biden is losing the enthusiasm test to President Trump. I think isolating himself in his basement for months has not helped his campaign. Now, he has been venturing out in public, but I have not seen any enthusiasm for his candidacy among the voters. I have yet to see him draw a large, enthusiastic crowd, a crowd that chants and cheers.
  3. He has seemed stale. The tone of his speeches has been drab and lifeless. We all know he is reading from a script that has been written for him, and it shows. In a recent speech he even ended a sentence by saying “end quote.”
  4. Attendance at his “rallies” has been limited to just a few reporters or a select few supporters. He either takes no questions or limits them to a few “softball” questions that are pre-approved by his staff.
  5. On the other hand, Mr. Trump routinely draws large, enthusiastic crowds wherever he goes. I see this difference as wholly inconsistent with what the polls are telling us.
  6. The Dems are on the wrong side of all the issues that voters care about.
  7. Historically, the number one issue in most elections has been the economy. People want to be able to provide for their families. In the words of the late Ronald Reagan they want to feel that they are better off now than they were four years ago and they want to feel that conditions will improve prospectively. They prefer optimism to pessimism. All the polls say voters have more confidence in President Trump to manage the economy. Don’t forget, prior to the CV he had led us to the best economy ever. Conversely, the Obama-Biden economy for their eight years in office was poor.
  8. Most voters are appalled and frightened by the rioting and lawlessness in the cities. Even though CNN and MSNBC have done their best to hide this most voters have seen the evidence on news outlets, such as Fox News, local news, and U-Tube. Perhaps, my favorite shot was of a CNN reporter describing a “peaceful protest” in one of the cities as we saw fires burning in the background. Even CNN host Don Lemon admonished the Dems on air that the issue was being mishandled. People want to feel safe. They want to be able to walk their neighborhood streets, sit in their backyard, go to the store, and go to work without fearing for their lives. They want to know their kids will not be killed while playing in their yard or walking to school.
  9. The Dems are seen as supporting the rioters, because (1) every city plagued by rioting is under their complete control and has been for years or, in some cases, decades; (2) they have either defunded the police or sharply curtailed their ability to deal with the situation; and (3) they refused to condemn or even criticize the rioters’ actions until recently, when they realized it was hurting their poll numbers.
  10. It appears as though the COVID pandemic is waning. Cases, hospitalizations and fatalities have been declining; businesses and schools are re-opening; unemployment, which at one point seemed headed to 25%, is down to 8%; major league sports are being played without major issues; there are various therapeutics available to treat the virus; and, most importantly, there are three separate vaccines in final trials. It looks like a vaccine will be available by year-end. These events are mitigating what the voters have seen as one of Mr. Trump’s biggest weaknesses. The Dems’ complaints that Mr. Trump is rushing the vaccines along for political purposes rings like “sour grapes.”

I am continually perplexed why Biden’s support in the polls is as strong as it is given some of the planks of the Dem platform, which Biden has repeatedly endorsed. The Bernie Sanders crowd had a heavy hand in its construction, and clearly it is a far-left platform with some elements of socialism.

For example:

  1. It supports the Green New Deal, which, among other things, advocates an end of fracking and all fossil fuels. So, why would anyone who works in the oil, gas, coal, auto, and airline industries vote for Biden? Don’t they realize his policies would eliminate their jobs?
  2. It supports no bail for criminals. So, if law and order is an important issue to you why would you vote for Biden?
  3. It supports open borders and free healthcare for illegal immigrants. That is a recipe for financial, economic and social disaster. Why would anyone vote for a candidate that advocates that?
  4. Biden has been promising a huge tax increase, which would be necessary to pay for his policies. If you buy his story that it will only be levied on the “rich” I have a bridge I can sell you.

These are but a few examples. I have described this in previous blogs. Biden and the Dems are relying on an uninformed and/or apathetic electorate. Any voter that digs a little below the surface would see the folly of the Dems’ platform.

CONCLUSION

I believe Biden’s popularity is a “mile wide and an inch deep.” Many of his supporters are not for him so much as against President Trump. I don’t believe that they will be strongly motivated to turn out in big numbers on Election Day. That is one reason why the Dems are so strong on mail-in voting.

Furthermore, I keep hearing reports of surveys claiming that as many as 12% of Trump supporters are reluctant to admit it to pollsters. If true, that does not augur well for the Dems. Perhaps, the Dems suspect this is true. That would explain Biden’s sudden change in campaigning strategy. It would also explain why some Dems are vowing to “fight to the end” and to never accept defeat and concede the election.

PIVOTAL ELECTION ISSUES

Traditionally, in national elections the Labor Day weekend, which is now upon us, marks the beginning of the home stretch. By that time, voters have generally begun to focus on the election and the major issues; both parties have held their respective conventions and formally nominated their candidates; and the nominees have commenced campaigning vigorously.

Such is the case this year. For example, the major issues have come into focus; the few battleground states that will actually decide the election have been identified; President Trump has gone on the road taking his case directly to the people as he did in 2016; and Joe Biden has left his bunker to campaign in person.

In my opinion, Biden would have been content to run his entire campaign virtually from his bunker/man-cave basement. He would have done so had he maintained his lead in the polls. Instead, in recent days, his once comfortable lead has shrunken to five to eight points, depending on which poll one views, and most of the battleground states are within the margin of error.

Moreover, the momentum is with the GOP. Therefore, Biden has no choice but to campaign in person and even answer questions from the media. In addition, any hopes he had of avoiding the scheduled debates is gone.

As I said above, at this point I believe the pivotal issues that will decide the election have come into focus. Hint: they are not what you might think. Some issues, which seemed so important not long ago now no longer appear to be pivotal to the election.

For example, a certain portion of the electorate hates President Trump on a personal level. We’ve heard this for four years now. They believe he is rude, crude, a racist and a misogynist, among other things. They will not give him credit for any positive thing he accomplishes; and they will not vote for him under any circumstances.

Similarly, many voters believe the moderate Joe Biden we remember from the 1980s and 1990s is gone. They view the current version as an “empty suit.” They are convinced he is mentally impaired, a puppet for the far left zealots, and will permit his handlers to impose socialism on the country if he wins.

There is nothing that can be done to change their minds. Those opinions are, as they say, “baked in.”

To be sure, things could still change. Some unforeseen external event, such as a war, a terror attack, a resurgence of COVID, a COVID vaccine, or a calamitous natural disaster, could impact the election. But, barring those occurrences, I believe the following issues will decide the election. Hint: they are not what some of you may think.

Rioting, violence and general lawlessness in the cities.

I have posted several blogs dealing with this issue. For the past few months we have seen these incidences spread and intensify. Property has been destroyed; including many small businesses owned by minorities and immigrants; the police have been hamstrung by ultraleft mayors, and innocent bystanders have been attacked and even killed; a portion of Seattle was occupied; the politicians in charge of these cities, all Dems, have done nothing to quell this rioting, and, in some cases, have even aided and abetted them.

These started as legitimate Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, but radical anarchist groups, such as ANTIFA, have long since hijacked the movement. Presently, it bears little resemblance to peaceful protests. In fact, there is mounting evidence that many, if not most, of these rioters are not local. They roam from location to location and are being supported and funded by organized groups of outsiders.

The polls show that the overwhelming majority of voters are fed up and afraid. They simply don’t feel safe in their own homes or neighborhoods. They want the violence to end. Many of those who can are fleeing these cities for safer environments.

Clearly, the Dems are on the wrong side of this issue. Their history with it is, frankly, laughable.

First, they ignored it. For weeks, prominent Dems, such as Biden and Pelosi, and most of their supporters in the mainstream media denied its existence. Biden called it “fear mongering.” Jerry Nadler, denigrated it as a “myth.” They failed to even mention it at their convention. Not a word. Zip, zilch, nada. Liberal mayors and governors refused to accept President Trump’s offers to help. Various Biden supporters have even given money to a fund that posts bail for arrested rioters.

When pressed on the matter they insisted they were “peaceful protests.” The height of this hypocrisy was a CNN piece that showed the reporter describing the “protests” as “peaceful” while, in the background, one could see fires raging. Talk about “fake news!”

For months, Biden was unwilling or unable to stand up to the mob and liberal governors and mayors in these locales. He refused to criticize, much less condemn, their actions. Probably, he was afraid to anger his supporters who were the perpetrators and abettors.

Now that the polls have turned against Biden and have indicated he is losing support among Blacks and Hispanics, who have been most affected by the violence, now that even CNN anchors, such as Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, have criticized the Dems’ handling of this issue, Biden has belatedly and half-heartedly condemned them. I say, too little, too late.

Now, the talking point is the rioters are Trump supporters. Huh? Does anyone actually believe this nonsense? If they are Trump supporters why are the Dems providing funds to bail them out of jail? The Dems are really scrambling on this issue, and if the violence persists it could cost them the election.

Mail-in Voting

Potentially, the entire election could be decided by mail-in votes. So what, you might say. A vote is a vote regardless of how it is cast. On the other hand, the system is subject to manipulation and fraud. There are various bugs that should be resolved before it is rolled out in a national election.

This issue is being hotly debated right now, and both sides are dug in. I will stipulate that there are legitimate points on both sides. I don’t want to rehash them here. Suffice to say, now is not the time to enact it on a massive basis as some want to do.

Here is the problem as I see it. The entire legitimacy of our republic is based on free, fair and honest elections. Regardless of the outcome, the people accept the result. This has not been a problem in the past. We have had many close and even controversial elections.

In my lifetime, the two that come to mind were 1960 and 2000. In 1960 there were suspicions that Chicago mayor Richard Daley had caused additional votes to be cast for JFK, thus swinging Illinois and the election to him. Chicago already had a reputation for such shenanigans. But, Richard Nixon did not challenge the outcome and the public accepted the result.

In 2000 Florida had a controversy with thousands of its ballots, the infamous “hanging chads” problem. The ballots were recounted several times and ultimately the Supreme Court had to decide the winner, George W. Bush. The Al Gore camp was not happy, but, ultimately they accepted the decision, and the country moved on.

In those years the country was not nearly as divided as it is now. In my view, there is a strong possibility of a controversy in a few closely contested states, such as questionable signatures, accusations of voter harvesting, or late submission of votes. We could end up with litigation or violent protests over the result lasting months if not years. I fear that whichever side loses will claim they were “robbed,” and that would be very bad for the country.

To be sure, there are many other issues that people care about, but I feel that these two have the greatest potential to affect the election.

CONCLUSION

Both sides agree that this will be an important election. I maintain that it will be the most crucial election in my lifetime. The result will impact our way of life for many years, if not forever. The country is divided as it is. We don’t need matters to be exacerbated by a controversial election.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION CONCLUSION

In my view, the last night of the RNC was quite a production.  Once again, there was a wide variety of speakers  representing people from very diverse backgrounds.  Yes, there were the usual professional politicians, like Rudy Giuliani and Ben Carson.  But, in addition, there were a plethora of regular, everyday Americans, each of whom had a compelling story to tell.  As on previous days, a few of them were former Dems, aka “walkaways.”  The penultimate event was a speech by the “big dog,” President Trump.  This was followed by the grand finale, a spectacular fireworks show produced by the first family of pyrotechnics, the Gruccis.

In my opinion, President Trump gave a rousing speech in which he outlined the various accomplishments in his first term and his goals for the second term.  In a sports parlance he “knocked it out of the park.”  More on that later.

For me, the following speakers stood out:

  1. Alex Alvarez, a Cuban refugee.  Alvarez, whose family fled Cuba soon after Castro seized power, told how the Dems’ promises are eerily similar to those of Fidel Castro in the late 1950’s and early 1960s.  They sounded good (who wouldn’t like the promise of free stuff) but, ultimately, they didn’t work.  One can readily see the results in present-day Cuba, and he fears that could be the US’s future under the Dem platform.
  2. Alice Johnson, who had been incarcerated in federal prison for cocaine trafficking.  Mr. Trump had previously commuted her sentence, and subsequently, he pardoned her.
  3. Ann Dorn, the widow of retired St. Louis policeman and security guard, David Dorn. Dorn had been responding to a report of a break-in at a friend’s store when he was brutally attacked by the looters.  Callously, he was left to bleed to death while the looters completed their theft and fled.  His murder received very little attention by the mainstream media, because it did not fit their narrative of police brutality.
  4. Carl and Marsha Mueller.  Their daughter, Kayla, a humanitarian worker in the Middle East, was captured by ISIS terrorists.  She was repeatedly tortured and raped by her captors for 18 months.  The Obama-Biden administration was unable or unwilling to make a deal to free her.  After 18 months she was murdered.

In my view, Mr. Trump’s speech struck the proper tone.

  1. He summarized the accomplishments of his first term, including, among other things, a tax cut, eliminating many burdensome anti-business regulations, re-patriating jobs from overseas, reducing unemployment of all categories of persons to record low levels, prison reform, rebuilding the military, building hundreds of miles of border wall, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving our embassy there, and defeating ISIS.
  2. He outlined his goals for the second term, including, among other things, rebuilding the economy, finishing the border wall, and re-establishing law and order in the cities.
  3. He contrasted his record with that of Joe Biden and the Obama-Biden Administration, reminding us he accomplished more in just 3 1/2 years than Biden has in nearly 50 years.
  4.  He attacked Biden and the Dems for failing to condemn, or even criticize, the aforementioned street violence in the cities.  He characterized Biden as a socialist, anti-middle class, and being soft on law and order and crime.  (Note: Biden has since criticized the rioting but tepidly and only because of the polling on the issue.)
  5. In general, Mr. Trump’s speech and the RNC as a whole, struck a tone of optimism and patriotism in stark contrast to the DNC, which was all about gloom and doom and racism.

CONCLUSION

Following the conclusion of the RNC there were some significant developments that bear mentioning:

  1.  Biden announced he intends to venture out of his man-cave after Labor Day to campaign in person.  I doubt this was planned.  Probably, his handlers realize that the tide has turned, and he cannot win if he continues to hide.  As I reported in a previous blog this type of strategy has been successful before, but it hasn’t even been attempted in some 100 years.
  2. A Cloud Research study reported that Republicans and independents are twice as likely to hide their true opinions when queried by pollsters.  This lends credence to the belief of many observers that the polls are underreporting Mr. Trump’s true level of support.
  3. Even so, the polls have reported that the race has tightened considerably.  Biden’s lead in most of the swing states is now within the margin of error.
  4. According to the latest Hill/Harris Poll President Trump’s support among AA and Hispanic voters has increased sharply to 24% and 30%, respectively.  This is more than double the usual amount of support.  If true, this is devastating news for the Biden campaign.  However, in the interest of full disclosure I should advise that a Morningconsult.com poll reported Mr. Trump’s support among “persons of color” had actually declined slightly.
  5. It has been widely reported that the Biden campaign did not receive a post-convention “bump.”  Early indications are that the Trump campaign received a 5% post-convention “bump,” which is roughly the historical average.
  6. The New York Times has reported that the DNC outdrew the RNC 21.6 million to 19.4 million, and Biden’s speech was watched by 24.6 million compared to 23.8 for President Trump.  You can interpret those statistics however you want.
  7. Pessimism is creeping into the Dem camp.  For example, both Michael Moore and Bill Maher, strong progressives and anti-Trumpers, expressed grave concern over the “enthusiasm gap” between Trump and Biden supporters.
  8. Probably, the worst development for the Dems, however, occurred immediately after the end of the RNC.   Various media outlets recorded mobs of Black Lives Matter supporters physically attacking innocent people who were merely trying to walk home or to their hotels.   Among the people being attacked were Senator Rand Paul and his wife, Brandon Straka, founder of the #Walkaway campaign, and his companion (both gay men) and Vernon Jones, a Black news commentator.  This was way beyond the usual name-calling.  They were in obvious life-threatening situations.
  9. The Pauls were only saved by two policemen who happened by.  This was very bad optics, particularly given that the victims were a US Senator, a gay couple and a black man.  Perhaps, the rioters have finally gone too far.  This incident may turn into the “Joseph Welch moment” that I have been talking about and hoping for.
  10. Despite the foregoing, it is not even Labor Day yet.  It may seem as though the race has been going on forever, but we are just now coming to the stretch run.  A lot can still happen to affect the race.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION UPDATE

A few days ago, I published a blog comparing the DNC and RNC (Day 1).  Briefly, my assessment of the DNC was that it featured socialism, pessimism, gloom and doom, chaos, lawlessness, and divisiveness.  Moreover, many of the speakers found it necessary to lecture the voters on how racist the president and his supporters were.  In my view, the principal theme was America is bad; we must tear it down and rebuild it as a progressive/socialist “utopia.”  Ask yourself, if the US is so bad why are millions of people so desperate to come here?

One might wonder, logically, how the Dem’s vision of America would be achieved, and who would pay for it?  Well, those pesky little details were not addressed adequately and honestly, although I think it’s obvious that we, the people, would be paying for it in the form of tax increases.  After all, the money would have to come from somewhere, and there simply are not enough rich people to cover the entire amount.  To paraphrase House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous and inane comment regarding the Affordable Care Act, “you will have to elect us to find out.”

On the other hand, I characterized the RNC as featuring capitalism, optimism, hope and promise, law and order, unity and a celebration of America’s virtues.  After three days of the RNC I would like to “double-down” on my initial assessment.  The RNC has been featuring what is positive about America, the “good” in its citizens rather than the “bad,” and, of course, patriotism.  In my view, that is a winning message.

The speakers have come from very diverse backgrounds, not just GOP officeholders, Trump staff members, and Trump family members, but also ordinary citizens.  The latter group has included individuals who have overcome serious obstacles in their lives, often with the assistance of President Trump.  These “feel good” stories have been most inspiring.  The speakers included a wide cross-section of Americana, for example, men, women, youngsters, African Americans, Hispanics, immigrants  (legal), military personnel, independents and even a Democrat or two.

Most of the speakers have been nothing short of compelling.  To me, the best ones were:

  1.  Jim Jordan, Congressman.
  2. Nicholas Sandman, former Covington High School student.
  3. Herschel Walker, former NFL Hall-of-Famer and longtime friend of the Trump family.
  4. Andrew Pollack, father of a murdered Parkland High School student.
  5. Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota.
  6. Pam Bondi, former attorney general of Florida
  7. Tim Scott, Senator from South Carolina
  8. Melania Trump, First Lady
  9. Lara Trump, president’s daughter-in-law
  10. The group of five legal immigrants that took the Oath of Citizenship live.

They were all memorable and compelling in their own way.  In my opinion, their stories went a long way to discredit the Dems’ assertion that president Trump is a racist, a misogynist, and, generally, not a nice, caring person.  If you didn’t see them I urge you to find them on U-Tube, and see for yourself.

Historically, following the convention the Party is the beneficiary of a “bounce” in the polls.  The size and duration have varied, but there almost always has been one.  This time, as reported by Reuters and Politico, the Dems did not receive one.  According to the latest CNBC poll Biden’s lead nationally and in the six crucial swing states surveyed – AZ, FL, NC, MI, PA, and WI –  has even narrowed slightly.   He is tied in NC and slightly ahead in the others.

Most pollsters will tell you that in polling momentum is critical.  Therefore, these results do not auger well for Biden even though he is still leading.  This pattern is eerily similar to that of 2016.  The same poll disclosed that Mr. Trump’s approval rating has improved slightly from 46% to 48%.

Concurrently, most voters’ concerns over the CV, though still high, have been diminishing.  This is likely a result of the fact that cases, hospitalizations and fatalities have all been on the decline.  Also, there seems to be real progress on various therapeutic treatments and even a vaccine.  The same poll disclosed that 66% of likely voters expressed “serious” concerns about the CV compared to 69% previously.  Furthermore, the latest Pugh Research poll found that the CV is not the top campaign issues.  The top issues are the economy and law and order.  The CV has slid to 3rd or 4th.  Again, these trends auger well for Mr. Trump.

CONCLUSION

The RNC has one day to go – the Grand Finale.  The featured speaker is the “big dog,” President Trump.  I think we can anticipate a very positive result.  I expect the audience to be well “north” of 40 million, and the post-convention bounce to be sizeable.

Furthermore, I would not be surprised if the next polls report a slight lead for Mr. Trump.  Regardless, I expect the election to be very contentious, acrimonious and very close.  We may not even know the winner until well after Election Day.  As Mr. Trump is fond of saying, “we’ll see what happens.”

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

The GOP national convention opened last night, and the contrast with the Dems’ convention was stark.  It was capitalism vs. socialism, optimism vs. pessimism, hope and promise vs. gloom and doom, law and order vs. chaos and lawlessness, unity vs. divisiveness, and celebrating America as the greatest country despite its flaws vs America is “systemically racist” and needs to be torn down and rebuilt.  I’ll give you one guess as to which was which.

Below please find some random thoughts and impressions:

  1. The GOP’s production was superior to that of the Dems’.  I realize this is a subjective comment, but it just seemed to flow better, and the speakers were more interesting.  Hiding in a bunker is simply not a good optic.  More on the speakers below.
  2. Mr. Trump made a point to address and emphasize the two areas that most of us perceive to be where he is most vulnerable – his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his personality.  Rather than address these issues himself, which might have appeared to be self-serving, he used surrogates.
  3. A few of the speakers, such as Jim Jordan, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott, reminded us that in January when the CV first appeared most of the country and virtually all of the media was focused on President Trump’s ill-advised and “trumped-up” impeachment.  This proved to be the ultimate distraction.  Nevertheless, Jordan reminded us that Mr. Trump took immediate and decisive action.  Most significantly, in mid-January he instituted travel bans with respect to travelers from China and Europe and formed a task force of medical experts headed up by Vice President Pence to deal with the virus.  In addition, we were shown recorded testimonials of several governors, such as Dems Andrew Cuomo (NY), Gavin Newsome (CA), and Phil Murphy (NJ), praising Mr. Trump for his prompt assistance and support.  In contrast, we heard quotes uttered in late January- early February from Nancy Pelosi assuring us that “everything is fine, come to Chinatown [in San Francisco to celebrate the Chinese New Year],” NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio advising us to “live your life,” and Joe Biden criticizing Mr. Trump’s early actions as “xenophobic” and “fear mongering.”  Now, the Dems conveniently forget this and would have you believe that Trump’s responses were slow and ineffective.  Hopefully, this reminder will end the oft-repeated false narrative that Mr. Trump did not act quickly to combat the CV.
  4. Incidentally, Cuomo should refrain from any further criticism of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus.  NYS has suffered some 32,000 COVID fatalities, which is the most of any state by far and exceeds the totals of the US’s three largest   states – FL, CA and TX – COMBINED.  As I have blogged previously approximately 15,000 of those fatalities occurred in nursing homes after Cuomo required these facilities to accept healthy elderly patients who then caught the CV from infected residents.
  5. I liked when Scott, in describing his humble beginnings, said his family went “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”
  6. With respect to Mr. Trump’s abrasive personality we were presented with testimonials from various ordinary citizens who spoke glowingly of their interactions with him.  Collectively, in my opinion, they were able to “humanize” Mr. Trump, show a softer side, and, in general, successfully debunk this false narrative.  These included Andrew Pollack, whose daughter had been one of the students murdered at Parkland High School, Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban refugee, various COVID careworkers,  the McCloskeys, and, most significantly, Herschel Walker, former NFL great.  Walker described his 37 year friendship with Mr. Trump and his family, including a family trip to Disney World.  Walker’s speech was one of the highlights of the evening.
  7. In its assessment of Day 1 CNN, a frequent critic of Mr. Trump’s, acknowledged that Messrs. Scott, Jordan, Pollack and Haley had been very effective speakers.  The network was critical of other speakers, such as Charlie Kirk and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
  8. I liked Donald Trump Jr’s speech.  I especially liked his characterization of Joe Biden as the “Loch Ness monster” of the swamp.
  9. In case you missed former President Obama’s speech during the DNC he compared Biden’s ideology as virtually indistinguishable from that of Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist.  Huh?  I agree.  I think his leftward drift has been fairly obvious, but the Biden campaign has been trying to characterize him as a moderate.  Obama’s comment destroys that false narrative.  In a vain attempt to shore up the support of the “Bernie Bros” Obama may have put a sizeable dent in Biden’s support of moderates and independents.

CONCLUSION

My expectation is that the next few days will bring more of the same.  In particular, I am looking forward to Melania Trump’s speech from the Rose Garden.  In my opinion, she has been unfairly maligned by Mr. Trump’s critics, especially certain members of the media, and this will be an opportunity for all of us to get to know her better.

I mentioned how well received and effective some of the speeches were.  Don’t be surprised to see excerpts from some of them pop up as campaign ads over the next two plus months, especially Walker’s and Obama’s.

In addition, I am very interested in the tv ratings for the convention.  The ratings for the Dems were rather underwhelming.  C-Span Live reported 76,000 views for the Dems compared to 425,000 for the GOP.  Early returns disclosed that approximately 22 million persons tuned into Biden’s speech.  This paled in comparison to Mr. Trump’s State of the Union speech and 2016 acceptance speech, which drew some 40 million each.  I expect that his acceptance speech later this week will draw at least that much.  I think these numbers are very significant.  They are consistent with the suspected “enthusiasm gap” between Messrs. Trump and Biden and are indicative of the hidden support for Mr. Trump that is not being captured by the polls, I expect this to be a decisive factor on Election day.

DEMOCRAT NATIONAL CONVENTION

If you’re a Biden supporter you may give a big sigh of relief.  Last night, the former VP got through his acceptance speech without incident.  No gaffes; no brain freezes; and no non-sequiturs.  To be sure, expectations were low, but I believe, at least, he met or even exceeded them.

With respect to style I think he did all right.  With respect to content, not so well, as I will explain below.

My main takeaways from the DNC in general and Biden’s speech in particular are as follows:

  1.  Most of the focus was on criticizing President Trump.  Attacking the opposition is a time-honored tactic, but at some point you have to offer solutions.  It’s not enough just to blame President Trump for everything and to accuse him of being a racist and a misogynist.  First of all, it’s not true.  But, more importantly, discerning voters want to hear what the Dems would do to solve all the problems that they say President Trump caused or exacerbated.  For example, it’s not enough to say he mishandled the CV.  What would they have done differently back in January and throughout the summer?   Second-guessing is easy and not acceptable.  Moreover, it’s not enough to rant about the economy.  Voters want to know what the Dems would do to fix it.
  2. Let’s not forget that Biden has been in government for nearly 50 years.  Many of these problems that he is complaining about have existed for most or all of that time.  In all that time, what has he done to resolve them?  Nothing that I can see.
  3. I don’t recall any condemnation or even criticism of the rioting in our cities, all of which are Dem-controlled.  They ignored this as if it didn’t exist.  But, it does.  We see it on our tv screens every night, at least those of us who watch the “real” news.  People’s livelihoods are being destroyed.  People are dying.  People are frightened.  People want to know what our elected officials plan to do about it.
  4. I don’t recall any substantive discussion by either Biden or any of the other speakers of many other issues that voters care about, such as healthcare, restricting gun ownership, confiscating guns, the Green New Deal, tax increases on the middle class, reparations, the economy, China, crime, defunding the police, Hunter Biden, and many others.  I have discussed these and other issues at length in previous blogs.  The Dems ignored them because their positions regarding these issues are not in synch with the majority of voters.   Most of them are viewed by the mainstream as radical, socialist and not practical.  They are hoping the voters will focus their attention elsewhere.
  5. They are pushing really hard for mail-in  voting.  This has been very controversial.  As I have discussed in a previous blog there are many flaws in the concept, and they should be analyzed thoroughly before we rush into it, and in a presidential election, no less.  Rather than debate the matter rationally, their attitude is that anyone who opposes it is a racist.
  6. On the plus side, I liked Biden’s story about his conversation with George Floyd’s daughter.  It was very poignant.

CONCLUSION

Now what?  Now that the convention is over will Biden return to his basement man-cave, or will he commence campaigning in public?  If he does venture out, will he take questions (and not just from friendly reporters)?  Will he honor his commitment to debate President Trump. or will he look for an excuse to cancel? And, what about Harris?  Will she expose herself to hostile reporters or will she continue to limit herself to friendly venues and audiences?

It will be interesting to see what strategy they employ.  I think their prospective strategy will depend on the following factors, which are somewhat intertwined:

  1. The size of the post-convention “bump” in the polls.   According to The Hill the latest Real Clear Politics poll reports that Biden is leading nationally by seven points.  In addition, he is ahead in most of the battleground states, although the margins have narrowed from those of a few months ago.
  2. How will President Trump and the GOP perform next week.
  3. What will be the size of the GOP post-convention “bump?”
  4. Historically, post-convention “bumps” have averaged around 5%, but this is an abnormal year.

I am anticipating a close election.  Don’t be surprised if something unpredictable and/or significant happens in the next few months to affect the outcome one way or another.