Sunday, May 3, 2020

Justin and Jesse

It's been said that the most violent storms start as flaps of butterfly's swings. here to two such wing flaps that could produce a tempest on Election Day, exactly six months from today.
Justin Amash (above) is a congressman from Michigan and a former Republican Party member who famously broke with his onetime Republican colleagues by calling for Trump's impeachment.  He has now formed an explanatory committee to run for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party ticket, offering himself as a small-government conservative who would appeal to voters turned off by Donald Trump and Joe Biden and offering a voice to the many voters who feel left out.  Although he would like to reach out to center-right voters turned off by Trump, he might appeal to those considering support for Biden, which would make Uncle Joe's bid for the Presidency - especially his efforts to win Michigan - troublesome.
And there's this guy, whom you might remember from the nineties!
Former Minnesota governor and pro-wrestling icon Jesse Ventura, the only member of Ross Perot's old centrist Reform Party ever elected to anything, is "testing the waters" for a run for the Green Party's presidential nomination.  Ventura gets that party's nod, he could be an even bigger spoiler for Biden than Amash.  Ventura is popular with young working-class men who follow Bernie Sanders - and like Trump, he provides entertainment value and charisma that an old-school type like Biden couldn't hope to offer up.  Given that Biden needs the sort of voters Ventura would appeal to, that could spell danger for the Democrats and delight for Trump.  Biden has enough problems to worry about - some of which I'll get to later - and a Ventura candidacy on the Green Party ticket wouldn't help.
To be fair, even if the Greens nominate their own current front-runner - Howard G. Hawkins - they could be a problem for Biden.  Hawkins, a Green Party co-founder and a respected trade unionist, could run a strong, serious campaign against Biden not unlike the one Jill Stein ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016.  He could, like Dr. Stein, get enough people to buy into a moment and think they could be part of a budding, growing movement.  Well, take it from someone who voted for Dr. Stein in 2016 and even went to one of her campaign rallies (remember campaign rallies?  they were the thing before COVID-19) - that's not going to happen.  I voted for Dr Stein in the hope that it wold help the Greens get five percent of the vote and thus qualify for federal matching funds this year, but not only did the Greens fail to reach the five-percent threshold, they haven't done a thing to build up their "movement" since.  Progressive purists are the biggest waste of people's time.  In all the time that Trump has been President, the Greens could have made more than a token effort to expand their party, and they could have made some progress (no pun intended, but it's an appropriate pun nonetheless) in down-ballot offices.  And if Bernie Sanders supporters were disappointed with the Democratic Party to the point of disgust, they should have called a convention and founded a new party. No.  So-called progressives don't want to do any of that.  They just want to cause trouble for the Democrats and annoy the hell out of everyone else.
Truth be told, if I may return to Justin Amash for a moment, there's a precedent for the Libertarian Party to wreck the Democrats' chances simply because of all the moderates who cold have voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but voted for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead.  On MSNBC, shortly after the 2016 election, Chris Matthews (remember him?) even showed evidence in raw numbers that it was not Dr Stein but Johnson who took away enough centrist votes from Hillary to deprive her of victories in key states.  
The bottom line: Candidates like Amash and Ventura are electoral candy.  Voting for them is a waste of time.  A better use of time is to work to make elections more free and fair in the future.  Going third party before then won't make things better. It could make things even worse.
 Look, I get it.  Joe Biden is not the best presidential candidate the Democrats could have put up against Trump.  The best candidate either didn't win the nomination or didn't run for it.  But I'm comfortable with him, much more than I could ever have been with Hillary, and I believe he will be a fine President - and we need to back him to get rid of Trump.  And to those progressives who are still steamed because Biden is the nominee . . . if you vote for Biden, you likely won't get everything you want.  But if you go third party or stay home on Election Day and let Trump win . . . 

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