Over the weekend, the Associated Press did its "one year away" story about the American presidential campaign. That story is always in the can this time of year. Political reporters like round numbers. You do the 100-days-into-the-administration story, the one-year story, the halfway through story, etc., etc. It's the same hook no matter the president, no matter the party.
The AP's story this time around:
"One Year Out: A divided nation lurches toward 2020 election"
Some headline. But couldn't it have been used in any number of years?
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French diplomat of some note, once compared an American presidential election to a flooding river. Every four years, it rises to flood stage, dominating all discussion and news, and folks will say this one's different than the dozens before--that is, far worse.
Then, once the flood passes, everything goes back to normal again.
The campaign seasons have become extended (and how) since M. de Tocqueville's time, but the nation is no more divided than when he was here in the early 1830s. Instead of federalists and anti-federalists, we have Republicans and Democrats. The pundits may tell you the nation is at war with itself today, but there was a time when that was literally true. We the People might take a breath now and then, if only the press would allow.
Some notes on the weekend's political news, and it's coming fast and furious these days:
• Beto O'Rourke ended his never-never presidential campaign, officially. And the pundits had more stories to write. One of them picked through the remains of Beto O'Rourke's campaign, and came up with one of Mr. O'Rourke's jokes, one that didn't go over well during his very first swing through Iowa months ago. Apparently Beto O'Rourke told a crowd that his wife was still in El Paso raising their three children, "sometimes with my help."
If you're asking where's the joke, join the club. But given our times, he had to go on CNN to apologize for the statement. And detail how his wife set him straight, and how being flip about the home front was verboten and impolitic. Which tells you all you need to know about politics in 2019, and all you need to know about that candidate. Are we the voting public really so pure and frail that even a statement like that requires an apology? And the millennials we know argue when we call this generation overly sensitive.
The problem with Beto O'Rourke's campaign wasn't attempted jokes or wooden debate performances or Vanity Fair interviews. The problem was the candidate.
• The New York Times reported a slew of new poll numbers last week out of Iowa. The Times and Siena College poll have Elizabeth Warren at 22 percent, Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 18 percent, Joe Biden at 17 percent and a surprising Amy Klobuchar at 4 percent.
In a packed leftist crowd, we particularly like the centrists who know any progress in Washington is going to require Republican support, no matter who wins next year. Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar seem to know that. But can they convince enough people from their own party?
• At this stage of the game, with fewer than 100 days until the Iowa Caucuses, one has to wonder why we still have so many candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination. It feels as though there should be about five or six candidates left by now--just enough for a comfortable debate stage.
• Yesterday morning, once again out of breath, the networks reported that Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump in the latest Fox News poll. That's interesting. But only one of them is running for president.
• U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who's been in the news lately, was seen at a Bernie Sanders rally in her home state of Minnesota on Sunday. She's endorsed him, although a perfectly good Democratic candidate for president is also from that state. Ah, well, birds of a feather.
While Rep. Omar was speaking, and even later when the man himself, Bernie Sanders, took the stage, the crowd started chanting "Lock Him Up" when President Trump was mentioned.
Funny, but we didn't hear of any of those people being described as deplorable in the press.
The race rolls on, as does the commentary.
Editorial on 11/05/2019
Print Headline: Divided we stand