The Upcoming Contentious Election

Our hope is that the coronavirus miraculously disappears in time for American voters to safely visit their local polling places, but we’re not so hopeful about that we aren’t thinking about how to run a fair election just in case. One possible solution is having registered voters cast their ballots by mail, and although we don’t like it we’d prefer that to not voting at all.
President Donald Trump seems to disagree. He’s recently “tweeted” threats that he would withhold federal disaster funding from Nevada and Michigan unless they abandon plans for widespread voting mail, saying that it’s illegal and an invitation to voter fraud, He’s not made any such threats against several states that have Republican governors and are more likely to give their electoral votes to Trump, but we’ll assume that’s because those states have systems that are tamper-proof and perfectly legal.
Even so, something about Trump’s stand offends our traditional conservative sensibilities. American elections have long been run by state and local officials, which is in keeping with federalist traditions and has long bolstered the public’s faith in the voting process because they’e easier to keep an eye on, which is the sort of time-honed thing that conservatives once wanted to conserve. A president strong-arming state and local officials for arguably self-interested reasons is another thing conservatives used to grouse about, and we’re not going to abandon that principle for the likes of Trump. Trump is also “tweeting” threats to defund the United States Postal Service, a constitutionally-mandated function of the federal government, and we’ve got conservative objections to that.
Pretty much every Michigander we’ve ever known have been delightful people, and Trump’s specific targeting of their state strikes us as very stupid. Michigan has seen a large number of coronavirus cases and Covid-19 fatalities, its manufacturing-based economy has been worse than decimated by the economic downturn, the central third of the state is literally underwater after a 500-year-rain storm and dam failure caused by lack of state and federal infrastructure spending. Given that Michigan gave its electoral votes to Trump last time, albeit by the slimmest of margins, we can’t see how withholding much-needed federal disaster aid feuding with Michigan’s more-popular-than-he-is Democratic governor and a state Attorney General who seems on solid legal footing by mailing applicati,s to vote for is going to help him in the state.
Trump and his more articulate allies can make a compelling case that voting by mail permits potential voter fraud, but they made the same arguments when Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million last time around, and we retain some faith in American ingenuity. Let Michigan and Nevada and all those Republican states come up with their own solutions for holding an election in time of potential plague, and let all those neighbors who are Democrats and Republicans and kooks work it out on the state and local level, where we can better keep an eye on them. Some good might come of it.
No matter what the United States collectively come up with not everyone will be satisfied. That’s partly due to humankind’s infallibility and even more to do with humankind’s tendency to think the universe is rigged. Trump will contest the results even if he wins, the Democratic nominee might well have some legitimate objections if he loses, and in either case much of a divided country will regard their democratic republic as illegitimate. The legitimacy of our of democratic republic is the thing we most wanted to conserve in our political life, and we’d hate to see it become another victim of the coronavirus.

— 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

Democracy in the Desert

The state of Nevada has many fine people and is a lovely place to visit, especially those vast portions of it where you won’t find any people at all, but we don’t see why it should play such an outsized role in picking the country’s president. Only two other states had already knocked all the relatively sane Democrats out of that party’s race, a mere three had eliminated some worthy contenders from the Republican race, and now Nevada has apparently decided that it will all come down to the two candidates most disliked and distrusted by the American public.
That’s how the sporting press will perceive it, at least, and their perceptions might once again become reality. Former First Lady and Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regained her front-runner status over self-described socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders last week with a race-baiting win in Nevada after a shellacking in New Hampshire followed a highly suspicious win Iowa, and after another race-baiting win expected in South Carolina she’ll be back to being inevitable. The boastful real-estate-and-gambling-and-professional-wrestling-and-reality-television mogul Donald J. Trump just picked up another double-digit when in Nevada, too, following similarly strong showings in New Hampshire and South Carolina after a narrow loss in Iowa, which he attributed on rather flimsy grounds to fraud, so the storyline is that the next 56 states will be a cinch.
This analysis will suffice for a lead paragraph, but down toward the bottom of the inverted pyramid are a few facts worth noting. There have only been four states and a relative handful of delegates allocated, although Clinton seems to be picking up these “super-delegates” at a rapid pace, the dynamics of both races could still change in the upcoming states, especially as the Republican field narrows, and Nevada is a weird place. The vast empty stretches of the state are populated by the few people needed to staff the convenience stores required to get one from Reno to Las Vegas to the state capital of Carson City, and in each of those population centers the politics are conducted in a way that would have made state founder Bugsy Siegel proud. It’s a state where the Democrats are mostly black and hispanic and equally put-upon white casino and hotel workers, who are ripe for a race-baiting campaign, and where the Republicans are the ones who hire the Democrats and are not off-put by Trump’s past as a semi-successful gambling mogul, and both party’s caucuses were beset by the quadrennial complaints about incompetence and corruption.
This time around the Republican complaints were mostly against the Trump campaign, which of course will deny it and won’t worry at all that it’s supporters would be the least bit upset if even he had cheated, because at least he fights and the Democrats do it all the time, so that should at least deny the chance to call anyone else a cheater. There will be some sober reflection on whether runner-up Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or third-place finisher Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be the best one to run in a two-way race against Trump, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson will likely be sticking around to siphon a few essential-digits from the anti-Trump vote, and although the Trump victory can’t be written yet all the scribes will be working on it for the tickler file.
Nevada’s a fine place to visit, but it shouldn’t have that power.

— Bud Norman