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An Early Look at the 2020 Election (or Notes from Flyover Country)
Primary successes making Joe Biden the clear front-runner in the race for the Democrat nomination leading to the 2020 election came about because of some careful planning by the DNC, its allies in the civil service and large segments of big media. All of which reminds me of a story...
In the 1860s, according to one account, when Secretary of State William Seward was discussing the purchase of Alaska with Tsar Alexander II, the conversation turned to autocratic rule in countries such as Russia. By one account, Alexander, who in 1861 had taken steps to free Russian serfs from virtual slavery, gave Seward a bit of a lecture suggesting the United States should seriously consider emancipating its slaves also. Before 1861, entire villages in Russia (mostly east of the Urals) together with livestock, human and non-human, could be bought and sold like any other commodity, and sometimes were. If air travel had existed at the time, much of eastern Russia would have been considered “flyover country” largely inhabited by irredeemable peasants whose main job was to supply the needs of the wealthy Boyar classes of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities in the west.
Alexander was also supposed to have said he was not the autocrat people assumed he was and that the country was actually governed by “100,000 clerks”. A powerful statement at the time, but more understandable now. (In his first major book, The Innocents Abroad [Hartford, 1869], Mark Twain relates a humorous anecdote of Tsar Alexander personally leading a group of American travelers, including Mark Twain, on a tour of his summer palace near Yalta). Yet for all of his informal tendencies, populist sympathies and reformist policies the Tsar was rewarded by having his legs blown off and being partially disemboweled by an assassin's bomb about 20 years later.
At any rate, the Tsar's “100,000 clerks” comment may have been lost on Seward, or whoever it was that reported the conversation, but nowadays people are beginning to understand the reality of the Deep State – hundreds of thousands of clerks, housed like Stoor Hobbits and living in colonies both inside and outside the I-495 beltway, and along the I-66 corridor leading to Front Royal (VA). And all of them unaccountable to the electorate. Gogol's nightmares updated and amplified for the present.
As of this writing, the field of candidates for the November election has been reduced to three – Trump, Biden, and Sanders, not counting Tulsi Gabbard, the stealth candidate who dropped out after becoming the latest 13th floor of a high-rise hotel – to recall Jon Stewart's lampooning of American television reporters for their unprofessional coverage (non-coverage, actually) of Ron Paul in 2008.
Trump was elected by people who more than anything wanted to be cut loose from the death-grip of the Deep State, generally understood to be the anonymous and unaccountable clerks who issue the rules and regulations that affect the lives of everyone. And in common with boll weevils, bedbugs, late tomato blight, and other pests, swamp creatures are really hard to get rid of. That Trump is bombastic, narcissistic, unfiltered, and in desperate need of fewer and better adjectives, is a given. Yet in a weird sort of way his rough transparency is his strength in the eyes of his supporters. In their view, even though he can be as annoying as John Candy's Del Griffith character in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and despite his uncanny ability to make one long for a root canal almost every time he speaks at length, many people prefer him to the cloying, 'umble insincerity of a Uriah Heep who says “folks” a lot, feigns gravitas and self-deprecation, and will promise almost anything knowing most voters suffer from short-term memory loss. A politician, especially an outsider, who works at actually carrying out campaign promises is an anomaly at best, a dangerous freak of nature at worst, and definitely a threat to entrenched bureaucracy. Further to the point, the Deep State, as most everyone knows, is made up not only of the vast bureaucracy, but countless K Street lobbyists, international bankers, consultants, contractors, and others who directly or indirectly pick the pockets of taxpayers at every opportunity. And the swamp is being constantly fed by ex-congressmen and others who eventually discover the water's fine, even if a bit slimy, and jump right in.
Bernie Sanders' fatal weakness as a viable candidate gradually became apparent to moderate Democrats and power brokers of the DNC when they realized his distorted vision of and generous praise for various socialist societies around the world, would make him virtually unelectable in November. And almost anyone born in Cuba before 1959 or who has spent serious time living there (excepting foreign tourists, a pampered and carefully sheltered lot), must struggle to keep eyes from rolling whenever Sanders extolls the virtues of modern Cuban society.
The success of Sanders' wife's media-buying business is rather interesting. According to the CNN website, the Sanders campaign raised more than $45 million dollars in the month of February 2020 alone, while in 2016 $83 million of campaign contributions were spent with Old Towne Media LLC, a media buying company operating out of a suburban home in northern Virginia that has been profiting from Sanders' campaigns since 2006. Mrs. Sanders has been in the media-buying business for a long time, but her connection with Old Towne Media remains unclear even though Slate, Vtdigger, Dailykos and others have been investigating the relationship for several years. In any case, a large percentage, 15% at minimum, of all those small contributions of $17 or so ended up in the pockets of well-connected media buyers and political consultants, which if nothing else proves it pays to advertise, even when you drop out.
Joe Biden has survived mainly because when low polling numbers and dwindling campaign funds sidelined the opposition, the DNC was faced with the choice of an unelectable socialist and a life-long politician showing signs of diminished ability, not necessarily caused by age. In Biden's case his weaknesses could end up being the party's strength because Biden is the ideal Swamp candidate who could be manipulated if elected. If set up in a corner of the oval office and kept busy organizing his press clippings and memorabilia, he could make the occasional public appearance and the “100,000 clerks” could run the country as they please without fear of interference.
The effective alliance of the DNC and large segments of the television news industry — will certainly combine to put up an impenetrable force shield to protect Biden in press interviews and get him through the presidential debates. (some of you may recall Donna Brazile's controversial role in the 2016 debates and her subsequent allegations about the campaign itself).
The Libertarian Party will choose its candidate at their national convention, scheduled to take place in Austin (TX) from May 21st to the 25th. (I'm a registered Libertarian, just so you know). Some of those running you may have heard of, most not. At any rate, here's a short list (of more than 20) for your consideration.
Lincoln Chafee until very recently was the most widely known candidate. He's been both a governor and a US senator (RI), having changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat in 2013 and from Democrat to Libertarian in 2019. In any case, he's recently pulled out of the race, citing concerns over campaigning during the current pandemic.
Souraya Fass was born in New York City to an Armenian Catholic family that emigrated from Aleppo, Syria. After 2016 candidate, Gary Johnson's famous cringe-worthy “what's Aleppo?” remark in 2016, Syrian-Americans are owed big time. Fass has a Master's Degree in Political Science and Sociology, is fluent in English, Arabic and Spanish and has been an educator for 20 years. She's the one to watch.
Vermin Love Supreme promises “more fun than you can imagine this election year (and)... your choice of timelines” along with pony bacon and “funcentration camps – not just for kids.” He also wears a rubber boot for a hat.
In the weeks and months to come, there will be a lot of sound and fury punctuating the four years of constant hatred and invective that began the day after the 2016 election. For anyone curious, here's a guide to a few signs to look for in measuring the objectivity of upcoming press coverage. Study the facial expressions, body language, and vocal tone or inflection of many of the reporters at televised new conferences or the presidential debates, and more importantly, the questions themselves. “How do you respond to those who say...?” followed by an imaginary damaging accusation by an unnamed source, while hoping for an unscripted and unedited response that can be curated for maximum negative impact. Then observe and take note if the same approach is used when questioning Biden. At one time this technique would have been more effective in controlling the outcome of an election, however the public has had years of observing the process and is more sophisticated today than it was four years ago.