Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Race for the White House Update: Live and Let Die

As Jimmy Kimmel observed, it's difficult to think of a better metaphor for the president's response to the pandemic than that.

-- Andrew Yang's lawsuit  was successful, and as a result Bernie Sanders is back on the June 23rd New York primary ballot.

I don't take this to mean any more than it is.  I do not anticipate Sanders re-entering the race for the nomination even if Sleepy Old Joe Biden withdraws or becomes "officially" incapacitated.  With so many of Bernie's former campaign staff having moved on -- to start Super PACs, with Nina Turner having joined the Movement for a Peoples Party and Briahna Joy Gray's full break with him -- I just don't see him getting the band back together.

If Biden has to check out ...

... then Tom Perez, the rest of the DNC, the superdelegates, are going to pick the nominee, and not the delegates at this summer's convention.  About that: it's 'On, Wisconsin'.

And while some Bidenites present convoluted logic for continuing to support him even when they believe he should drop out, all this speculation places tight focus on his choice for running mate.  The betting odds would seem to favor Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, but I'm still of the view that Amy Klobuchar or Gretchen Whitmer is ultimately his (or perhaps I should say, Anita Dunn and Jill Biden's) pick.  I discount Stacey Abrams for a variety of factors that I'll mention if I'm wrong and she winds up on the ticket.

Warren's replacement in the Senate (short-term; there was early gaming-out about this) would be a Republican.  And the last time Massachusetts held a Senate special election, Scott Brown won it.  Kamala energizes African American women voters, which may help in the South, but passing her over is perhaps a greater electoral danger than selecting her would be a strength.  Amy and Gretchen are ideologically and geographically the most compatible with Biden, as well as helping him swing the Midwestern states.

Otherwise my thoughts align with Perry Bacon's, who sees the Democratic Party strongly controlled by neoliberals, conservative Dems, former moderate Republicans, and #NeverTrump-ers.

-- That just ain't gonna be my party any more.  So with respect to the front-running third party for progressives, there were several breaking news items this week.

David Collins, the Texas Green Party's US Senate nominee, telegraphed this, and for my part I could not find any evidence that Ventura was publicly supporting Medicare for All -- despite him cracking on Mike Bloomberg for not doing so, back when MoneyBags was still in the primary -- during his "waters-testing" period, and this Tweet appears to reveal his hypocrisy regarding that.

Jesse can't afford an Obamacare policy?

Meanwhile, Howie Hawkins picked a running mate yesterday.

Walker was the vice presidential nominee of the Socialist Party USA in 2016, and ran as an independent on a Black Lives Matter platform for sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin in 2014.  Should Ventura actively campaign for this ticket, it could be an exciting fall season.

-- Justin Amash could also cause some trouble in November, as Geoffrey Skelley and Julia Azari write in, but as posted in the last White House Update, it's not clear whether that trouble will be Trump's or Biden's.  In other Libertarian news, the party put off their national conclave, scheduled for later this month.

(Last Saturday, May 2nd), the Libertarian National Committee voted to:
  1. Invoke the “impossibility” clause in its convention contract with the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas; and
  2. Postpone the 2020 Libertarian National Convention to a place to be determined, and an opening date no later than July 15; and
  3. Adjourn their e-meeting to (this coming) Saturday to consider options for that move.

Thomas Knapp, the author there, has more thoughts at the embedded link.

-- A former Lib contender has repositioned.

New Hampshire state Representative Max Abramson, who previously sought the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nomination before withdrawing in March, has decided to seek the presidential nomination of the Veterans Party of America.  Abramson broke the news last Tuesday on his campaign blog.  Last month Abramson told IPR that two different political parties had contacted him about running for their presidential nominations.  He did not specify which ones at the time.

According to Abramson, the Veterans Party of America is in the process of organizing for November on a platform of “restoring the Constitution and bringing the troops home.”  It plans to hold its national convention May 17 online.

The Veterans Party of America was founded in 2014.  In 2016, it ran reliability engineer Chris Keniston for president.  He appeared on the ballot only in Colorado and Mississippi and received 7,251 votes. ...

Although the party, which describes itself as “centrist,” is concerned with veterans’ issues, being a veteran is not a requirement for membership.

More about Abramson at the top link.

-- Trump will have a little competition from his right; the Constitution Party nominated former coal magnate Don Blankenship to be its presidential candidate last week.

Blankenship, 70, was the CEO of Massey, a coal mining company, from 2000 until 2010.  During his tenure, the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster killed 29 people in West Virginia. Blankenship blames the disaster on the negligence of officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.  The federal investigation that followed the disaster led to the prosecution of Blankenship.  At the criminal trial, the jury rejected three felony charges but found him guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws, a misdemeanor with a prison sentence of one year.  The prosecutors were later found to have committed reckless misconduct due to their failure to disclose witness memoranda. Blankenship continues to maintain his innocence and decided to run for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat after leaving prison in 2017.

During the three-man 2018 campaign for the Republican nomination, at least 105 media outlets and individuals falsely described Blankenship as a “felon” and/or “convicted felon.”  Blankenship alleges the coverage implied his responsibility for the deaths in the mine disaster and cost him the election.  He sued for defamation and the case is currently going to trial.  After losing the primary, Blankenship joined the Constitution Party and attempted to run as the Constitution Party nominee for the seat but was denied ballot access.

Blankenship announced his intention to seek the Constitution Party presidential nomination in October 2019.  During his campaign he sought to out-Trump Trump, meaning he wanted to present himself as a better reflection of the President Donald Trump’s moment than Trump himself.  This included a populist platform of restrictive immigration and protectionist trade policies.

Ahead of the national convention, Blankenship participated in a few presidential debates and won the non-binding primary in Missouri.  He also won the binding primary in Idaho that effectively left him as the nominee of the unaffiliated Idaho Constitution Party.

Blankenship’s running mate, William Mohr, is from the Michigan Taxpayers Party, the Constitution Party affiliate in Michigan.  He ran on the party line for state legislature in 2012 and 2014, receiving 3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in those elections.

According to the April 2020 print edition of Ballot Access News, the Constitution Party is currently on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

May do another electoral map next week as all these things settle out a bit.

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