Thursday, May 7, 2020

Notations On Our World ((Special Weekly Edition): On Our World As #Election2020 Looms in the US

The POST-COVID is before us and things will not be the same as the clamor to open up gathers steam.    We look forward to being at the forefront of it as we wanted to share some mid-week #RandomThoughts on the state of politics as #Elections2020 gets heated.   

We begin with the following two charts courtesy the Cook Political Report and the Financial Times of London that underscores the challenging landscape President Trump and the Republicans have before them:

This is as The Lincoln Project has begun a concerted campaign in opposition to the President as exemplified by the following which drew President Trump's wrath earlier this week: 

We have also been on the prowl as Joe Biden inches towards the Democratic Nomination to challenge President Trump.   The Bulwark released this analysis on Joe Biden & his prospects that is worth noting:

1. Biden

It's still happening. Over the weekend we saw two pieces advising Democrats to start preparing for a post-Biden election. The first was fromElizabeth Bruenig. The second fromRyan Cooper.
Here's the part of Cooper's piece that struck me:
[G]etting mad is not going to get Democrats out of their Biden fix. Only one thing can do that—pressuring Biden out of the race, and replacing him with someone else. . . .
The Democratic National Convention is not until August 17, and before then he could be pressured into dropping out. If Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, a critical mass of the rest of other Democratic elected officials, and all the various Democratic-aligned activists groups all said in unison that Biden was unfit to be president, and should drop out for the good of the party, he probably would withdraw. The primary rules regarding candidates who drop out are somewhat vague, saying that delegates cannot be "mandated" to vote for someone else, and "shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them." But this would seem to allow Biden to instruct his delegates to support another candidate, and in 11 states there are specific rules for doing so. Realistically, no unclear legal technicalities are going to prevent someone else from getting the nomination if Biden refuses to take it.
Bernie Sanders would certainly be ruled out, despite the fact that he would have the second-most number of delegates. The entire point of the panicked scramble to endorse a clearly lousy candidate before Super Tuesday was to keep Sanders from winning.

The bold there is mine. Because Democrats are not in "a Biden fix."
Let's stipulate to a bunch of things about Joe Biden:
  • He's old.
  • He isn't the greatest public speaker.
  • He has the type of truth problems that you see with the median politician.
  • He has problems with the behavior of his son, Hunter.
  • He has this Tara Reade allegation hanging over his head.
All of those vulnerabilities are real. But he is most certainly not a "lousy candidate." Over the last year Joe Biden:
  • Led the Democratic field from pole to pole.
  • Beat roughly two dozen other candidates—including last cycle's runner-up—while being resource poor and getting almost no institutional support from the party apparatus.
  • Was the only candidate to hold a steady and statistically significant lead over the incumbent president both nationally and in battleground states.
  • Is currently on a track to win a landslide election in which Democrats widen their House margin and likely retake the Senate. 
This ought to tell you that despite whatever your priors are on Biden—and it's worth noting that both Bruenig and Cooper are long-time Bernie stans—he possesses some powerful advantages as a candidate.
We could argue about what these advantages are; my own suggestion is that they are tied uniquely to this moment and to the current president. I do not think that Biden would be in this position if he were running against, say, President Ted Cruz or President John Kasich.
But we are where we are.
While we're here, one of the things that strikes me about the Tara Reade story is how many observers are trying to fit her into the frame of Brett Kavanaugh.
Yet people seem to forget that there were four allegations against Kavanaugh. And only one of them was credible.
Everyone remembers Christine Blasey Ford. But there were also allegations from Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, as well as a fourth allegation from Judy Munro-Leighton.
The Christine Blasey Ford allegations were credible: the manner in which they were raised, the details of the account (which included the presence of others), and the existence of at least one quasi-contemporaneous relation of the allegation. Also, she testified to the account under oath.
No one can know with total certainty whether or not Ford's account was accurate, but it was credible enough to be examined and reasonable people could come to different conclusions about what had actually happened, even if no legal burden of proof could be met by the available testimony and evidence.
You cannot say the same for the other three allegations. The stories of Ramirez, Swetnick, and Munro-Leighton varied in their credibility, but none were even close to Blasey Ford's in terms of meeting thresholds for potential believability.
The Ramirez allegation was the strongest of these three, but even this collapsed when contemporaneous accounts claimed that at the time, Ramirez herself was unsure whether or not Kavanaugh was the perpetrator. 
The Swetnick allegation was so patently absurd that its implosion actually helped Kavanaugh by underlining for the public that not all women making accusations were on the level.
As for Munro-Leighton, she later admitted to making up her accusation against Kavanaugh.
What you see here is a wide spectrum of examples of credibility.
From a certain perspective, Reade's allegation might look like Blasey Ford's. Her quasi-contemporaneous relation of her story was closer to the event than Blasey Ford's and named Biden (Blasey Ford's was more ambiguous).
But in other respects, it looks more similar to the other three allegations. Reade:
Also, the timing of her change in story closely aligns with her strong support of Bernie Sanders. It's possible that new evidence may emerge, but as of right now the Tara Reade allegations look more like the politically motivated actions of the other three Kavanaugh accusers.

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