The Grand Unified Field Conspiracy Theory

Of all the wacky conspiracy theories afloat these days — and they are more plentiful than ever — the wackiest and most dangerous is QAnon. The theory is that President Donald is secretly working to round up and arrest a shadowy international cabal of well-positioned Satan-worshipping child molesters who have been running the world for decades. All of Trump’s critics, according the theory, are in on it.
As far-fetched as that might sound, a lot of people believe it, and President Donald Trump subtly encourages that belief. His son has “retweeted” QAnon posts, people in “Q” t-shirts have long been prominent and welcome at the rallies he used to hold, and he’s never refuted the theory, and he’s set to endorse several Republican House candidates who openly embrace QAnon. Given that the theory casts Trump as a messianic figure bravely fighting the powers of darkness, and explains his frequent misspellings random capitalizations in his “tweets” as code talk to the faithful, so he’s not likely to dispute it.
It all started when someone calling himself “Q,” which refers to the highest level security clearance, claimed he was working within the “deep state” and was aware of its international Satanic child molesting program. There’s no way of knowing who “Q” actually is, and nothing to back up his claims, but conspiracy theorists don’t require any proof to be convinced.

Some of “Q’s” prophecies have already been disproved by events. He told his followers that special investigator Robert Mueller was actually working with Trump against the cabal, and only pretending to be at odds with the president as cover. Some of the QAnon followers still probably believe that, but they’ll have to come up with something pretty ingenious to explain why. “Q” had also predicted that Trump would round up all the villains before they thwart his presidential reelection, but he has only three months to make that prediction come true, and we wouldn’t bet on it. Jeffrey Epstein an Ghislaine Maxwell did run a child ring and had such friends as former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain as well as Trump, but Epstein died of reported heart attack while in prison and Maxwell is in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, and although Trump has wished her well she’s probably not powerful enough to escape justice. In any case, it’s not the mass round-up that “Q” promised.

QAnon is a spinoff from the “Pizzagate” theory that was popular during the 2016, which theorized that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from the basement of a specific D.C pizza parlor, and it inspired a gunman to invade the restaurant before discovering it had no basement and giving himself up local police, explaining that he’d received “bad intel.” QAnon has also inspired several acts and criminal cases, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded it is one of the “anti-government, identity-based, and fringe political theories” that “very likely motivate some domestic extremists to commit criminal acts,”
Still, Trump will give the QAnon “community a wink and a nod, and welcome its support. The president is an avid fan of conspiracy theories, blaming his Russian and Ukrainian scandals on the “deep state,” and is already warning that a Democratic plot is afoot to use mail-in ballots to deny him a landslide reelection. Most sane people reject such fanciful conjecture, and although they’re dwindling in numbers we hope they’ll still prevail on Election Day.

— Bud Norman

Firing the Manager

If this were an ordinary summer we’d be in the middle of a Major League Baseball season about now, and some of the losing teams would be firing their managers. In most cases the team is losing more because of bad players than a bad manager, and whatever genius is hired as a replacement won’t turn that out around, but it’s easier to replace a manager than a team and the fan base must be reassured that the franchise is still trying to win.
In this extraordinary summer the only spectator sport to watch is politics, so we’re watching all the state and national polls with the same obsessive fascination with which we’d ordinarily poring over the box scores and batting statistics, so we noticed that President Donald Trump has fired the manager of his reelection campaign. In his stunning upset campaign of 2016 Trump promised we’d be sick and tired of winning by now if he were elected, but the firing of the campaign manager is further evidence that he’s losing at the moment. We see people posting on Facebook and calling to talk radio who are sure Trump is cruising to a landslide reelection, but they might as well face the facts as Trump has done.
All of the statistics indicate otherwise. The lotest poll, which is from the generally reliable Quinnipiac University, shows presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a 15 point lead over Trump, even the friendly Rasmussen poll show Trump trailing, and the average of the polls has Trump well behind albeit it a mere 9 points. Trump’s average disapproval rating in the polls is some 15 points lower than his average approval rating, and although Trump claims his own polling shows otherwise he has fired his campaign manager.

None of the other statistics bode well for Trump. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19 continue to mount, even the most Republicans states are re-instituting public health restrictions, which doesn’t bode well the 40 million or unemployed Americans, and it’s not likely to “magically disappear” by Election Day. Nor will racism, another big issue of the summer, which Trump has said can be “quickly and easily solved./div>

Last night we got bored and counted up all the states where polls showed Biden was ahead by at least eights points, and added up their electoral votes, and according to our calculator the total was 258. The magic number is 270, so at this point in the season Trump is already in a hole. We also calculated the electoral votes of all the states where Biden is leading by less than eight points, and it adds up to a President Herbert Hoover-style landslide defeat. Which is ample reason to fire the manager./div>

The defenestrated campaign manager Bradscale was no Joe McCarthy, if you’ll forgive us a perhaps obscure baseball allusion, but we can’t hold him entirely accountable for the team’s poor performance He got the job by being Trump’s successful “digital director” in ’15 and being friends with presidential daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and doing whatever the boss told him to do. He gained a brash reputation of his own, and was reportedly making a fortune from the campaign, but Trump hates that and it didn’t prevent Trump’s plummmeting polls. Still, we figure he was managing a losing team, and that the genius who replaces him probably won’t turn things around.
Biden isn’t leading in all those polls because he’s the 1927 New York Yankees of presidential candidates, if you don’t mind another baseball reference. It’s more because Trump seems to recall the legendarily losing ’62 New York Mets, whose Hall of Fame manager Casey asked during that season “Can’t anybody here play this game?” In politics as in baseball the fundamentals matter, and team Trump will have to quickly improve its numbers on a lot of vital indices. There’s plenty of season left if baseball were happening, but we’re in the late innings of a presidential race, and we don’t see a new manager turning things around.

— Bud Norman

The Rough and Rowdy Republican Senate Primary Here in the Sunflower State

There’s an open Senate seat up for grabs in Kansas, which only happens every generation or so, and it’s proving very interesting. The Republican field is now down to three viable candidates, and they’re now going after one another with a ferocity unfamiliar to this politely Republican state.
The three Republicans left standing are Kris Kobach, a former Kansas Secretary of State, Roger Marshall, a former obstetric an gynecology doctor and two-term Congressman for the vast and rural First District of the state, and Bob Hamilton, a successful plumbing and heating and air conditioning entrepreneur from the Kansas City suburbs. At first their advertising in our mail boxes and on the local news broadcasts was all about who was most loyal to President Donald Trump, which struck us as odd given that Trump has never been very popular even among the state’s Republicans, but lately they and their allied political action committees have taken to accusing one another of all sorts of horrible things, ranging from Republican heresies to outright corrupt and criminal behavior.
At the beginning of the race the presumptive frontrunner was Kobach, but even then he had problems. As Secretary of State he instituted to such seemingly commonsensical rules as as requiring a photo identification to vote, but his anti-immigration zealotry soon led to rules that were challenged in the courts, and the Yale Law School graduate Kobach not only wound up losing the American Civil Liberties Union but having to pay fines for contempt of court. He was rewarded for his efforts by Trump, who appointed him to chair a commission to prove that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote because Democrats conspired to have more than three million illegal ballots cast, but the effort was disbanded because of opposition from both Democratic and Republican Secretaries of State, and even Kansas ws restricted by law from providing some of the information Kobach demanded, and the commission never issued a report.
Nonetheless, Trump so appreciated the effort that he offered Kobach the job of “immigration czar,” which we find nowhere in the Constitution, but that didn’t happen after Kobach gave a list of demands that included regular use of government jets for his weekly inspections of the southern border. Still, it was enough that a political action committee funded by the free-market Club For Growth could accuse of him of letting Trump down. Kobach responded that the Club For Growth is an anti-Trump organization, which was true when there were when still other Republicans vying for the Republican presidential nomination, but since Trump seized the nomination they’ve been pretty docile, and Kobach can’t claimed to have done Trump much good.
Worse yet, less than two years ago Kobach managed to lose a gubernatorial to a Democrat, and a woman Democrat at that. Gov. Laura Kelly is the sort of centrist Democrat that Kansans elect now and then, and Kobach’s anti-immigration didn’t prevail in a state where immigrants are sustaining the economy in the southwest quadrant of the state and are providing hard work and great food and friendly interactions everywhere else. All the Republican poobahs back in D.C. were horrified by the possibility that that he might lose a seat the Republicans had held for 100 years, and polls where showing that the presumptive woman Democratic nominee was ahead, and even Trump was urging former Kansas Congressman and Central Intelligence Agency director and current United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to run for the seat, but the ambitious Pompeo decided for reasons indiscernible to us to stay put in the Trump administration,
For now the Republican establishment seems to prefer Marshall, who won his Congressional seat by winning a primary against Rep. Tim Huelskamp, whose anti-establishment zealotry had so annoyed the party’s leadership that he lost Kansas’ place on the House Agriculture Committee. Since then Marshall has continued to campaign as a moderate voice of reason, but he also trumpets that he’s a loyal soldier in the party of Trump. There have been ads showing him express doubts about a border wall while addressing Wichita Pachyderm Party, and endorsing notoriously moderate Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president over Trump, and that won’t play well with the significant portion of Kansas Republicans are pro-Trump and anti-establishment. It’s also come out that he was once charged with reckless driving, and had the charges and sentenced reduced by a politically-connected judge.
Hamilton seems anodyne enough, the sort of pragmatic self-made businessman that Kansas Republicans like, but a group called Kansans for Marshall accuse him of “tweeting” nice things about Hillary Clinton, supporting the lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgendered rights movement, and various other wrongdoings. So far as we can tell from what’s left of the Kansas media there’s some truth to it but has been overblown.
At this point someone stands accused of wanting to give thousands of jobs to foreigners, but that’s because of H1B visas that only go to people with rare educational credentials and are unlikely to join a street gang and are need to keep America’s high-tech industry competitive, but at this point we can’t keep up with it, or who’s funding which ad and what their motives might be. The only thing we’re sure of is that who ever winds up winning will emerge victorious but dirtied.
In an ordinary election year in Kansas that wouldn’t matter much. Since it came into the Union as a proudly Republican Free State in 1861 Kansas had only three Democratic Senators, the last one elected in 1932, and usually the Democrats nominate someone who will placate the liberal base but won’t put up a real fight. The Republicans usually nominate someone sensibly Republican and conservative and more less centrist, who won’t get kicked off the Ag Committee, and everyone in the the state is accustomed to Republicans winning.
The annus horribillis of 2020 is not an ordinary election year, however, in Kansas or anywhere else, and from the barstool where we’re watching all those internecine attack ads on the evening news from political sidelines we think the Republicans should be worried. The only times Kansas ever gave its few electoral votes to a Democratic presidential nominee were in the landslide elections of 1932 and ’64, and even then the margin was slim, but the latest polling shows the presidential race is tight not only in Kansas but also in Texas and Georgia and Arizona and other reliably Republican states, with Trump trailing in the “swing states.”
The presumptive Democratic nominee for the Kansas seat is Barbara Bollier, a retired anesthesiologist who has long served in the Kansas legislature without any scandals or taint of left-wing tendencies, and is facing only token opposition from cranks with no name recognition or funds to launch any attacks on her character or record. The Democrats who nominated all those far-left sacrificial lambs in past elections will decry her centrism, but they’ll show up on Election Day to vote against whatever Republican she’s running against, as she’ll come out of the primary un-muddied, and for now she’s neck-to neck with all the Republican contenders.
At the moment the polling suggests that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is slightly ahead of Trump in Kansas, which means he’ll need to spend time and money here that usually would have spent elsewhere, and with Texas and Florida and Arizona and Colorado and other once-reliable Republican states in play it could be a disaster for Trump and his Grand Old Party, even here in Kansas.

— Bud Norman

Saving Dr. Fauci

In one of the many depressing stories about the coronavirus, we read that Dr. Anthony Fauci now requires an enhanced security detail due to several death threats against him. As the government’s top expert on infectious is perhaps America’s most essential worker at the moment, but his willingness to present hard facts and occasionally contradict President Donald Trump’s statements seems to have some provoked a murderous rage in some deranged individuals.
They’ve been encouraged by some of the Trump-friendly media, who believe that the measures Fauci has advocated to fight the coronavirus outbreak cause harm to the economy that outweighs the number of lives they might save. They also believe that Fauci isn’t helping to get Trump reelected, and that also outweighs the number of lives that might saved.
The cache of e-mails that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee and leaked to the public during the last election included a missive from Fauci praising Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and although Fauci has served every administration since President Ronald Reagan brought him on board that was enough for internet publications such as Gateway Pundit and American Thinker to tar him as a Hillary-loving partisan. His long and distinguished career as a public servant are considered suspect in certain circles, as it suggests he part of the “deep state” conspiracy against Trump and everything good. When Trump referred to the State Department as the “Deep State Department” during a press briefing Fauci could be seen slapping his forehead, and that was proof of his complicity to a number of viewers.
The Trump-friendly made a general distrust of scientific experts, as well, as they’re seen as pointy-headed know-it-all “elites” undermining democracy. As recently as last week radio-talker Rush Limbaugh was advising his listeners that “the ‘deep state’ extends very deeply, we did not elect a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know.”
Trump has lately begun striking the same somber tone and citing the same grim projections as Fauci, though, and seems to be taking Fauci’s advice more seriously than he does Limbaugh’s. We hope the Trump-friendly media will lighten up, and that Fauci survives not only the coronavirus but also the result craziness.

— Bud Norman

On an Ironic April Fools’ Day

President Donald Trump is no longer downplaying the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, and is now warning that as many as 240,000 Americans might die. As a Facebook friend of ours pointed out, that’s more than the American death toll from World War I and the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.
The president also now acknowledges that it won’t be over by Easter, that Americans will have to stay at home as much as possible at least through April and perhaps past May, and that the economic consequences will be grim. He also wants you to know that the lack of testing and shortages of essential medical supplies are the fault of President Barack Obama and various nasty Democratic governors and his good friend the Chinese dictator, and the media are only reporting all the horrific news to make him look bad, but at least he’s stopped peddling the pie-in-the-sky optimism which encouraged far too many of his most die-hard fans to go out and potentially expose themselves to the virus.
America has until November to assess the job Trump has done in responding to this crisis, and there’s no telling what things will look by then, but clearly mistakes have already been made. Despite the eight long years we spent criticizing Obama on an almost daily basis we don’t blame him for a disease that came along three years after he left office, we see no reason why any Republican or Democratic governor should have to flatter Trump to get needed federal help for they states, and now that Trump admits that all the “fake news” about a public health emergency wasn’t so fake after all we wish he’d stop castigating reporters for asking questions that he’d rather not have to answer.
Whatever the eventual coronavirus death toll might be, Trump will boast that it would have been far worse if not for the actions he took, and he’ll be right about that. The experts Trump is at long listening to say the death toll would be in the millions if no actions were taken at all, but surely Trump isn’t the only possible president who wouldn’t have simply ignored the problem, so far most of the action has been taking place at the state and county and local levels, and as much as we still despise the damn Democrats we can’t see how any of this mess is their fault.
We’re hoping and praying it all ends as well as possible, even if that redounds to Trump’s political benefit, and we’re doing our part by mostly staying at home and going slightly stir crazy and trying to hold public officials accountable. It’s not so much that we’re so very patriotic and selfless, but that there’s currently nowhere to go, even with gasoline prices at the lowest we’ve seen in many decades.
Stay well, dear readers, no matter what you might decide come next November.

— Bud Norman

The Big News That’s Not Entirely About Coronavirus

The coronavirus craziness continues, with the Kansas governor shutting down all the public schools for the rest of the year and President Donald Trump wanting to send everyone in the country a check for a thousand dollars, but Tuesday at least gave us something else to write about. There’s still plenty of politics to be played, although for now the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination looks to be over.
Despite everything there were three more state primaries on Tuesday — it was supposed to be four, but Ohio decided to put it off until summer — and front-running former Vice President Joe Biden won them all by landslide-to-comfortable margins, so after Biden’s big wins on “Super Tuesday” that pretty much knocks self-described socialist and last-man-standing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders out of the race. Biden won big in the populous and delegate-rich states of Illinois and Florida, where Sanders also fared badly last time around against former First Lady and Senator and Secretary of State and presumptive First Woman President “Crooked Hillary Clinton, and the upcoming states don’t look any more promising for Sanders, who didn’t offer any comment on the results.
Even in the age of the coronavirus, and perhaps especially so, that’s worth noting.
Which we figure is bad news for Trump, who so feared Biden’s nomination that he got himself impeached trying to extort dirt from a foreign ally about Biden’s son. Better by far to run against “Crazy” Bernie Sanders and his pie-in-the-sky utopian promises, which make Trump and his own oversold and thus-far underdelivered promises seem relatively sane.
Biden is a boring and often inarticulate fellow, and over a political career that stretches back to the administration of President Richard Nixon he’s not done much for either good or bad. Come November the electorate might well find that an attractive alternative to the undeniably entertaining yet even more inarticulate Trump, whose bull-in-a-China-shop approach to governance so far seems to have exacerbated this coronavirus craziness. Trump is now offering thousand-dollar checks to every American, and billion-dollar bailouts to various big-bucks industries to keep the economy afloat, which his Republican base probably won’t mind, but by November he’ll have a lot of explaining to do to the rest of the country, and Biden will have been out of power and utterly blameless for any of it. He’ll be able to point out that Obama created an agency within the National Security Council to deal with pandemics, and Trump sent it packing, and that none of the pandemics that occurred during the Obama administration led to schools and bars and other essential businesses shutting down.
At this point pretty much the whole country is in a panic about the coronavirus and no one seems more panicked the the President of the United States, and we expect that will last until at least next November’s Election Day, which we cautiously hold out hope will happen. We can’t see any happy ending, but we’ll also hold out hope for the least worst outcome, whatever that is.

— Bud Norman

Go Ahead and Panic

The National Basketball Association has indefinitely suspended the rest of its regular season, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association won’t allow any fans to attend its men’s or women’s “March Madness” post season basketball games, so we’re starting to take this coronavirus pandemic seriously. Universally beloved movie star Tom Hanks and his wife have reportedly tested positive for the disease, so apparently no one is safe.
President Donald Trump went on prime time television from the Oval Office on Wednesday to reassure the public that there’s no need for panic, but he also announced he’s banning any travel from European countries for the next 30 days and is preparing to deficit spend billions propping up a suddenly ailing economy, so you can draw your own conclusions based on how much you trust his self-proclaimed very stable genius. From what we’ve seen of it over the past three years, we’re inclined to panic.
Trump was loudly sniffing at the end of every sentence, but he’d been doing that long before anyone had heard of a coronavirus, so we’re not bothered by that, even if Trump has come in contact with with several people who are self-quarantining themselves after coming into contact with people who have contracted the virus. We’re more bothered that Trump fired all of his National Security Council’s experts on global pandemics when he came into office, spent the first weeks of the pandemic claiming it was yet another hoax concocted by his political opponents to make him look bad, so far failed to deliver on a promise of testing for everybody, and has urged people to keep going to work and coming to his campaign rallies even if they have reason to believe they’ve contracted the virus.
Even before anyone ever heard of a coronavirus Trump was eager to restrict any interaction between America and the rest of the world, and the travel restrictions he’s imposed in the wake of the pandemic might well prove sound public policy, but it’s not good for either the global nor the intertwined American economies. Trump has declared himself pleased that Americans will stay in America and spend their dollars here, but as a luxury hotel mogul he should know that America gets more from international travel it spends, and that when basketball games and music festivals and intrastate business meetings and domestic airline flights and cruise ship bookings are being cancelled and supply chains are being interrupted there will be serious economic repercussions.
All the smart money is already panicked about it, with all the major stock exchanges down by 20 points over the last weeks into what is now officially Bear Market territory, after a remarkable 11-year run of Bull Markets, which any Republican will have to admit is eight years longer than Trump has been in office. Trump is urging the Federal Reserve Board to further lower interest rates, which are already pretty much zero, and to keep up the “quantitative easing” of freshly printed money that Republican used to decry, which now have the 2- and 10- and 20- and even the 100-year bond yields at pretty much zero, and is promising to add a few few puny billions of dollars to the nation’s latest $1 trillion dollar deficit to offset all the economic carnage. We’ll find out today and in the coming days how the smart money reacts to that.
Shortly before Trump’s address to the nation, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who seems to know even more about this coronavirus thing than than Trump, warned a House oversight committee that “Things will get worse.”

In any case we’ll hope for the best. We won’t being showing up at anyone’s campaign rallies, as no one seems to know what to do about this, but we will try to show up at the West Douglas Church of Christ and Kirby’s Beer Store, and maybe even watch all the great basketball on our computer or some local tavern’s television. If we’re lucky, life will go on.

— Bud Norman

The Seeming Quick End to the Democratic Primary Race

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, as the great baseball player and aphorist Yogi Berra so memorably put it, but even with most of the states yet to weigh in over spring and summer the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination already seems to be pretty much over. After a couple of “Super Tuesdays” former Vice President Joe Biden seems to have it wrapped up, and self-proclaimed socialist and last candidate standing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seems knocked out.
Which is an interesting and important development. Sanders’ supporters are as fervent bunch as President Donal Trump’s most die-hard apologists, and when he won the opening contests in Iowa and New Hampshire he seemed unstoppable. Biden kept coming in third or fourth behind relatively sane and centrist but openly homosexual former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was vying with Sanders for the party’s sizable loony left vote, and his debate performances were as lackluster as his fund-raising and campaign organization and general appeal to the electorate.
Biden scored a big Saturday win in South Carolina, though, largely because of the endorsement of iconic civil rights leader and longtime Rep. Jim Clyburn and the fact that Biden was the loyal vice president of first black President Barack Obama and most white South Carolinians are Republicans so black votes comprise a majority of the state’s Democratic party. Since then he’s been on a role. Despite being out-funded and out-advertised and out-organized by Sanders, he won 10 of the 15 “Super Tuesday” races, which knocked out all of his rivals for the votes of relatively sane and centrist Democrats, all of whom urged their supporters to vote for Biden. It also knocked out loony left darling Warren, but she’s not yet made an endorsement, and Biden won’t get all of her votes.
Yesterday was a sort of “Super Tuesday II,” and Biden once again got the best of it. He won by a landslide in Mississippi, where most of the white folks are Republicans and the Democratic is therefor majority-black, but he also won by a wide margin in very diverse Missouri, a state the Democrats can reasonably hope to win in November, as well as the very winnable state of Michigan, which was probably the Sanders campaign’s last hope. Sanders won in Washington, solidifying his hold on the loony left Left Coast, as well as North Dakota, where  all the Democrats would fit in your living room and don’t have a chance of winning the state’s electoral votes.
Four years ago Sanders gave former First Lady and Senator and Secretary of State and presumptive First Woman President of the United States a hell of run for her considerable money, and he scored an important victory in Michigan, where his left-wing populism was appealing to the disaffected denizens of the Rust Belt State. Trump’s right-wing populist appeal to those same voters proved slightly more appealing to the same disaffected voters, however, and this time around a majority of the state’s Democratic voters to go with the desultory Democratic status quo rather than the radical alternative.
This time around, it seems a good bet. Trump would clearly prefer to run against “Crazy” Bernie Sanders rather than “Sleepy” Joe Biden. Trump got impeached trying to dig up dirt on Biden, even though there’s plenty of dirt already on the public record that he could have used, and he’d have a good argument that Sanders is truly crazy. Biden is arguably “sleepy,” but at this point the general electorate might well prefer that to a hyperactive president who’s awake in the wee hours and “tweeting” all sorts of outlandish nonsense.
We have no affection whatsoever for this Biden fellow, but we figure the Democrats could have done far worse, and that he’s a more formidable challenger for Trump than Sanders would have been. He’s old and gaffe-prone and not always honest and has exhibited creepy behavior around women, but Trump is arguably worse in every regard. The Obama administration inherited a recession economy and after the Republicans won Congress eventual delivered too-slow but steady growth, and Trump was planning to run on the same slow but steady economic growth, but it’s now within the realm of possibility that argument won’t work on Election Day.
Those Sanders supporters are a fanatical bunch, and many are vowing to sit out the race, but Biden now has an entire spring and summer and early fall to remind the left coast and the rest of them how very much they hate Trump, and he’ll have plenty of money. We expect the entire party will be unified by the convention, and that a large number of independents will be on board, and that not just a few of us old-fashioned Republicans will be sitting it out on the sidelines. Here’s hoping the rest of the country chooses wisely between its bad options.

— Bud Norman

“Super Tuesday” and Beyond

There’s still a lot of politics left to be played, but after 14 states and American Samoa weighed in on “Super Tuesday” the Democratic presidential primary seems to be coming down to a race between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Which offers the Democratic party a choice between left-of-center and way-the-hell-left of center.
The biggest winner of the night was Biden, who looked to be down and out after disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada, but after a big victory on Saturday in South Carolina he wound up winning in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. As we write this he’s also clinging to slight leads over Sanders in Maine and Texas, states Sanders had been expected to win easily, so it’s an impressive showing.
Sanders did well enough to remain a formidable contender, even if he’s no longer the clear front-runner he seemed to be just last week. He won in his home state of Vermont and way-the-hell-left-leaning and delegate-rich California, as expected. He also won in Colorado, where marijuana is legal, which might or might not have something to do with the result, and in Utah, which we were surprised to learn has enough Democrats to bother holding a primary. No one else in the once-crowded field did anything to give their voters hope.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar had vied with some success for the relatively sane centrist votes, but both dropped out after disappointing finishes in South Carolina and urged their voters to go with Biden. Our guess is that Klobuchar helped Biden to win Minnesota, and that Buttigieg’s endorsement will help when Indiana holds its primary. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke ran a surprisingly strong race against Sen. Ted Cruz as a relatively sane centrist, but went loony left during his failed presidential bid, but he’s still popular with Texas Democrats and his endorsement of Biden was probably helpful in the state.
Multi-billionaire media mogul and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has been spending millions of his own dollars in a bid to court the relatively sane and centrist vote, and for reasons we do not claim to understand he won most of the delegates from American Samoa, but otherwise the best he did on Super Tuesday was a couple of distant third-place finishes. He can afford to keep his quixotic campaign going until the convention or beyond, but we expect he’s too shrewd a businessman to do so. Once he drops out Biden will get all of the relatively sane and centrist votes in the Democratic party, and that just might comprise a majority.
Massachussets Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been challenging Sanders for all the loony left votes, but after South Carolina and “Super Tuesday” that probably won’t last much longer. She suffered the ignominy of losing her own state to Biden, fared poorly in the nearby states of New Hampshire and Vermont and Maine, and the loony left clearly prefers Sanders. When she inevitably drops out all of her votes will go to Sanders, whether she endorses him or not, and the very sizable loony left portion of the Democratic party will be united behind him, and that just might comprise a majority.
Which makes for a fascinating Democratic presidential primary race between a couple of septuagenarian straight white guys. The ratings should be sky-high, which will surely irritate straight white septuagenarian President Donald Trump but might wind up helping his reelection chances if it gets ugly enough to divide the Democrats, which it probably will.
On the other hand, Trump has a unifying effect on the Democratic party, and he’s not popular with independents and a stubborn nine or ten percent or so of us old-fashioned Republicans can’t stand him. As we figure it at this point in time it’s well within the realm of possibility that either Biden or Sanders could beat Trump in both the popular and Electoral College votes. Seventy out of 77 pollsters back that up, and both candidates have a case to make.
Sanders supporters argue he will bring both a massive youth vote and a widespread blue collar yearning for economic justice to the race, and win back all those voters who didn’t like Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and stayed home last time around, but they didn’t seem to show up on “Super Tuesday.” The establishment types backing Biden argue that he’s a more reassuringly boring alternative to Trump’s grotesque reality show, and that argument might prove persuasive.
We’re still registered Republicans, and will leave it to our many Democratic friends to choose how far they’ll go in what we consider the wrong direction. The Kansas Republican party has chosen to not hold a primary, depriving us of the chance to cast a futile protest vote against Trump, so we’ll be watching it all play out from our prime seats on the political sidelines.
We must admit it’s binge-worthy stuff, even if we can’t foresee any possible happy endings.

— Bud Norman

A Big Day in the Nevada Casinos

The state of Nevada hosted a couple of noteworthy on contests on Saturday, with a rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder that was the biggest heavyweight championship boxing bout in the past few decades and the Nevada caucus being the third contest in what’s looking like a knock-down drag-out contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The clear winner of the Nevada caucus, which is arguably the more important outcome of the night, was self-described socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He didn’t get a majority of the vote but his sizable plurality of the vote gave him 13 of the state’s 16 delegates, and after his arguably first-place finish in the Iowa caucus and inarguably first-place finish in the New Hampshire primary he’s the darling of of Democrat’s loony left and and clearly the party’s front-runner.
There are still several territories and 42 states to go, and the next one is South Carolina, where the Democratic electorate is mostly black and a thus a very moderating influence on the party, what with its religiosity and disproportionate military experience and entrepreneurial bent and all that compared to white Democrats. So there’s a good chance that former Vice President to first black President Barack Obama and relatively sane centrist Joe Biden will get back in the race after a couple of disappointing finishes. Biden came in a respectable second in the vote count, which might allow him to eliminate a couple of pesky competitors for the relatively sane centrist portion of the Democratic partying the upcoming Super Tuesday states, which might or might not be sufficient to win him the Democratic nomination at the end of what could well be a long, tough fight between the Democrats.
Which is good news for President Donald Trump and his unified Republican party, at least for now, but we’d advise them to not get too cocky about it. Trump lost the last popular vote by three million to the worst possible relatively sane centrist candidate they could have come up with, and for now he’s trailing both Sanders and Biden in the polls in the swing states that narrowly won him an Electoral College majority.
We’re not the betting type, and won’t take any wagers on how it all turns out, but we don’t expect any happy outcomes. Trump would do better against a divided Democratic party, but he’s never been all the popular himself, and given the divided state of the union and how much all of the the Democrats and most of the independents and a few stubborn Republicans such as ourselves dislike Trump it looks to be another close call in the Electoral College and another blow-out in the popular vote.
Meanwhile in Nevada, the Irish-British-Roma Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury won his rematch of a much disputed contest against the ferocious American Deontay Wilder with a seventh-round technical knock-out, which still leaves the heavyweight division in disarray. The chiseled black-British champion Anthony Joshua lost a heavyweight bout against by technical knock-out to the pudgy but tough and surprisingly quick Mexican-American champ Louis Ruiz but regained his three titles by a clear majority-decision in the rematch, and the next big heavyweight fight is clearly Fury versus Joshua. We have no idea how that might turn out, no more than we have any idea how the fate of the country comes out in the next election, but as much as we detest heard-injury sports it will all be well worth watching and hard and hard to turn away from.

— Bud Norman