Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
As we all know, a Snapshot captures the picture or image as of a particular moment in time. Today’s conversation is about how I perceive various issues and situations today, August 9, 2020. .What value these thoughts have for an event that will happen November 3, 2020, is up to each individual.
- Presidential Campaign. As of today, Joe Biden is ahead in the composite national polls by a margin of approximately 8 points. He also leads, or is within the statistical margin of error, in the so-called “battleground” states – i.e., the states President Trump needs to win in order to win re-election. Ergo, if the election was being held today, Mr. Biden would defeat President Trump. Game Over? Not by a long shot. At the same point in time in 2016, Hillary Clinton led then-candidate Donald Trump by about the same margin.The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.
- Political Parties. A recent poll indicated that nation-wide, fewer than 40% of those polled identified as Republican, a significant drop. Prior to the poll, the parties polled about even in identification.The same poll showed an increase in persons identifying with the Democrat party. Furthermore, the Republicans have about twice as many seats in the US Senate up for election this cycle than do the Democrats. Key party officials are concerned that the President’s lower poll number, both for personal approval and approval for his handling of the COVID pandemic and the economy, threaten the Republican majority in the Senate. This could lead to a shifting of funds from the presidential campaign to individual Senate races and a lessening of support by Republican candidates for the President.
- Professor Allan Lichtman. Allan Lichtman is a rather obscure history professor who only gets attention during presidential elections. Dr. LIchtman devised a 13 point test to determine who will win the Presidency. Whichever candidate gets 7 or more Trues is the winner. His method has been accurate EVERY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SINCE 1984, INCLUDING 2016. This year , Joe BIden has 7 Trues to President Trump’s 6. Winner – Joe Biden.
- VP Selection. Mr. Biden promised during the primaries to choose a woman as his running mate. This would be only the second time a woman has been a candidate on a presidential ticket – the other time was in 1984 when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. As of today, the leading candidates are Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman Karen Bass and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. All three are women of color, which is important to a key constituencies of the Democrat party. Senator Duckworth has the most compelling personal story, having lost both her legs while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq; she also is the first Senator to have a baby while serving in the United States Senate.Congresswoman Bass is a key behind-the-scenes player in Congress who was one of the House “managers” during the impeachment trial. Ms. Rice probably is the best positioned to succeed Mr. Biden should something happen during his term and he probably knows her the best since they served together for 8 years in the Obama administration. Senator Harris ran for the presidential nomination and thus has experience in national campaigning. Here is how I handicap the selection: Senator Duckworth and Congresswoman Bass are not that well known nationally and are not that well-known to Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden knows Ms. Rice well but she carries the baggage of “Benghazi” and being in the Obama Administration. Which leaves the “safe” choice of Senator Harris. However, who do I think Mr. Biden would really like to choose to run with – Senator Elizabeth Warren. Unfortunately, wrong skin tone and too far left.
- COVID 19. The pandemic continues to rage in the United States. We are reporting over 5,000,000 cases and more that 150,00 deaths, the most in any nation. The President continues to insist that the United States is doing great and that the “China virus” will just go away some day. At the same time, the administration is finally encouraging the wearing of masks and social distancing Several promising vaccines are in the testing stage and hold out hope for the ultimate solution to the pandemic. However, there still is a very long way to go.
- Economy. Still not good. Millions are unemployed and small businesses are closing, some permanently in droves. There is no effective national leadership; the President wants to throw the burden back on the States without providing in any federal guidance or monetary relief; that way, he can shift blame from himself to 50 governors. But, the states can’t print money as the federal government can and have no way of funding the massive relief programs that are needed.The Executive orders announced yesterday are of dubious constitutionality and questionable value. I am a senior citizen who contributed, and continues to contribute, to the Social Security and Medicare programs through my taxes. What impact will a “suspension” of the payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare have short and long term? Additional unemployment benefits sounds good, and they are truly needed, but are contingent upon the states contributing 25% of the additional benefits. Where will your state get that money?
- Congress. They are in recess (aka campaigning). And, when they finally straggle back in to Washington, will be in session for only a brief time before returning full-time to the campaign trail What have they done to deserve this part-time schedule geared to their re-election? What relief measures have they passed; what have they done to safeguard the security; of the coming election; are they dependent upon unemployment benefits or do they continue to collect their full pay while campaigning; how many pleading, desperate emails or letters have you received asking for $ to keep them in office? Voting matters, now more than ever.
My apology for the length of this post. Obviously I had a lot on my mind. It is up to US to right this ship. Benjamin Franklin was asked after the Constitution was passed what form of government had been created. His response -“A Republic, if we can keep it!” Can we?