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Stateside: Love Him Or Loathe Him, Trump’S Far From Beaten And Could Easily Win A Second Term

US President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

US President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

With CHARLIE HARPER

What a mess. We’re just over four months away from a pivotal presidential election in the US - and what do we see?

The incumbent president, Donald Trump persists in behaving in ways that seem to his allies and opponents alike as hobbling his re-election chances. As his polling popularity continues to sag, he yields to his own impulses and insists on travelling first to Tulsa, Oklahoma and then to Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona to hold what are clearly campaign rally events. Both states are seeing increasing coronavirus infection rates.

We have all heard the medical experts – and Democratic politicians – warning about the dire public health consequences of these vanity trips. Trump, whose transparency would be admirable if its revelations were not basically so vile, makes no secret that he misses the adoration of his base of supporters at such rallies.

So off he goes, never mind the health consequences. He got what many feel he deserved from Tulsa, where the big story turned out to be the quite surprisingly low turnout in the large downtown arena that his campaign had wrongly predicted could not hold half the expected number of his supporters.

Then it was off to Arizona, where both Trump and his ally, appointed senator Martha McSally, may be in trouble in November. The image of thousands of true-believing college students crammed into a mega church without masks to hear Trump rant will do little to encourage anyone still undecided to support the President.

Meanwhile, Trump’s November opponent Joe Biden is giving new meaning to the phrase “keeping a low profile”. If Biden’s public posture were any lower, he’d be underground. Critics say he already is basically in hiding, to avoid chances he might make some silly, casual remark that would offend young voters and liberal activists, both of whom he will need to turn out to vote in November if he is to prevail over Trump.

Last week, iconoclastic American film maker Michael Moore was interviewed on a liberal TV talk/news show. Moore, who gained serious credibility in 2016 by warning of Hillary Clinton’s impending defeat, was asked about his forecast for this November. The interviewer sat back in her chair, clearly expecting a Biden victory prediction.

Moore paused for a moment, looking soberly into the camera. “If Biden picks a vice presidential candidate who will excite black and young voters, he can win. If he does not do that, I think Trump will win again.” The interviewer was at a loss for a reply. But Moore’s solemn warning should be heeded by the Democrats and their candidate.

This is especially true because Trump’s supporters will surely turn out. Rarely has an American president shown such dogged loyalty to his “base”. Trumpers can hardly be blamed for reciprocating the fanatical loyalty he has shown to them and their core beliefs during the past three-and-a-half years. Yeah, Trump’s 35 percent will show up to vote in November. He’s counting on it, and so should we.

Still, the president’s poll numbers now regularly show a ten-plus point deficit to Biden. And there is talk the Democrat is finally closing the financial gap between his campaign and Trump’s. But the best news of all for Biden may have been that the University of Michigan has declared it would not host the second of three scheduled Trump-Biden debates set for this fall. The university cited public health concerns.

Biden should count himself lucky if this debate does not find another venue. For whatever else he is or isn’t, Trump is a formidable presence on the debate stage. Both in the lengthy series of Republican candidate debates in 2016 and in his showdowns with Hillary Clinton later that year, Trump projected a raw power that belied the weakness of his arguments and rude nonsense of many of his statements.

The compelling nature of his stature and manner forces opponents into a flinching, uncertain response that gives to many observers the subliminal message of Trump’s potency. This was not insignificant four years ago and it’s unlikely to be insignificant this year. That’s why Trump’s campaign recently proposed adding a fourth debate. Biden’s people wisely refused.

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Melania Trump

Peaking behind the curtains at the White House

A couple of new books appeared this week. Neither aims to flatter Trump nor his wife. But they will likely make a lot of money for their authors and publishers. They offer a few insights.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton announced during the Trump impeachment hearings just six months ago that he was preparing a memoir covering his 18 months in Trump’s White House. Rumours had him receiving a $2 million advance.

After a reportedly rancorous stretch at Trump’s elbow, Bolton apparently figured that living well off his book earnings was the best revenge.

“The Room Where It Happened” is sure to be a best-seller. He charges that the Democratic Party’s impeachment against Trump amounted to “malfeasance” because there was so much more than extorting Ukraine for which Trump deserved to be removed from office.

Widely circulated reviews of the new book quote Bolton on various aspects of Trump’s interaction with foreign leaders and nations. “The slowness and lack of agility on Venezuela was painful to watch.” Withdrawing US troops from Syria was “the most irrational thing I ever witnessed any President do.” “Pleading with (Chinese president) Xi to help him win the November election was stunning.” The president’s faith in North Korea was “unbelievably naïve”.

Impeachment testimony from Bolton’s staff on Trump’s infamous Ukraine phone call was corroborated. But we knew or suspected much of that. There are more interesting revelations in a new book about Melania Trump by a Washington Post reporter.

Born in Slovenia and still (along with her son Barron) a dual citizen of that country, Melania entered the US originally on a visitor’s visa and then received an H-1B work visa normally granted for “distinguished merit or ability”. She was a reasonably successful model at the time.

Later, she reportedly got a green card under a programme called EB-1, reserved for those with “extraordinary ability”.

While the rules were probably bent to facilitate Mrs Trump’s status in America, she is hardly the only one to benefit from some murky or questionable visa decision making.

The big reveal from “The Art of Her Deal” is the assertion that Melania, criticised for her lack of an independent public posture since moving to the White House, is actually quite happy with her life and with her situation.

The book reportedly describes Melania as “enigmatic, glamorous, secretive, strategic. She is a quiet loner and master compartmentaliser who made her deal with the devil and made it work because in many ways, deep down, she and Trump are cut from the same shiny cloth. She is as complex and complicated as her husband. She is more like him than it appears.”

Looks like any tears we might shed for Melania might be unnecessary.

Filling in blanks on the sports calendar

A sports tout months ago said the smart play was to assume there would be no American major sports leagues playing games for real this year. Was he right?

The NBA looked well organised to finish up its regular season as a tune up at Disney in Orlando, then move to a much-anticipated post-season with both Los Angeles teams as reasonable bets to win the championship. Now, with the spike in COVID-19 cases in too-early-opening Florida, the hardwood stars are reportedly having second thoughts.

Not that anyone’s paying too much attention, but the NHL seems to be having some misgivings, too. The NFL, lucky so far in the relationship of its schedule and that of the murderous virus, is still publicly hoping for as normal a season as possible under these dire circumstances. The virus’ expected second wave in November would defeat that hope.

Major League Baseball may be finally ready to resume “spring” training on July 1, begin playing a month from now and finish a 60-game regular season by the end of September, but watch out. As COVID case reports among teams multiply, the 2020 season may still skid off the rails.

Big-time soccer has resumed in Europe without fans. The major leagues in England, Germany, Spain and Italy are all playing on TV, and the late Champions League rounds are set for Lisbon in August. At least there’s that.

Comments

Porcupine 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Charlie, fair enough. But, Trump's loyalty to his base? Trump cares about one thing. Himself. Nothing more. You state, "For whatever else he is or isn’t, Trump is a formidable presence on the debate stage. Both in the lengthy series of Republican candidate debates in 2016 and in his showdowns with Hillary Clinton later that year, Trump projected a raw power that belied the weakness of his arguments and rude nonsense of many of his statements." No Charlie, he is not a formidable presence, except to those already muddled in their thinking. Which brings me to the true state of the cognitive abilities of the people the world over. Attention spans, IQ, and other mental awareness abilities such as reading comprehension, where reading is still a thing, are dropping in most places in the industrialized world. Some point to introduced chemicals into our biosphere, nuclear fallout and a whole host of other contaminants, including the contamination and nutrient loss of the food we eat. Personally, having watched the US devolve intellectually for 5 decades, I tend to believe that the electronic manipulation, both intentional and as a by-product of marketing, has led to a distracted, fearful, and science phobic people who are now easily led by autocrats who use the right cues and dog whistles to bring the masses into line. Yes, Trump may win again. But, not because he has anything to offer. You used the word vile, which I wholeheartedly endorse in describing Trump. In a decent country, Trump would not even be allowed a second interview, let alone a shot at an elected seat for anything. But, I said a decent country, yes?

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Porcupine 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I am presently of the opinion that only a morally deficient idiot could possibly vote for Trump. And, I need do nothing to prove my point. It is in stark evidence all around us, even on your TV.

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joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The simple reality is that Trump has many issues, but dementia is not one of them. Trump has accomplished more for the average American voter by reducing unemployment, increasing black home ownership, strengthening the military and signing massive trade deals that will benefit the USA. He did more for the economy in three years, than Biden did in 40. Once unemployment number come down and they head into the debates, Biden will lose easily!

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Porcupine 1 month, 2 weeks ago

joeblow, Noam Chomsky calls Trump "the most dangerous criminal on earth." It is hard to argue. Even though you are abjectly wrong on trump's supposed accomplishments, "leadership", to those intellectually capable of understanding the term, is a disaster for the world. I made an exception for the months after the election for the many of my family and friends, all college educated, who voted for this vile individual. Now, after exposing himself as an utter imbecile, devoid of compassion, humanity, intelligence and morality, some continue to support him and make excuses for Trump. I have no tolerance for this reckless and cavalier treatment on the state of the world, especially the US. As a US citizen, I have spent 45 years there as a business owner, and having attended 5 colleges and universities and still have connections there. There is no aspect of American life that Trump has not negatively affected. Clearly, you are spending too much time watching Fox News, devoid of scholarship and a learned point of view. One cannot spend a minimum amount of time reading and not bump into the thousands of solid negative critiques of Trump's whole persona by political analysts, scholars, medical experts, nearly anyone who can still think. I am not particularly bothered by Trump. He is just one truly bad apple. What I am most fearful of is the amazing number of ordinary looking human beings who still can manage to put together an argument for voicing their support for the most dangerous criminal on earth. Such as yourself. Truly fearful.

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joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

... opinions are like noses, everybody has one! If you consider stepping down from your high horse with that supercilious air of faux intelligence that surpasses all others, you may be able to better see facts for what they are! Chomsky, like every other voter only has one vote. Its not a matter of peoples personal feelings about Trump, but whether or not those with differing feelings vote in larger numbers to win the electoral college! Its important to be objective enough to see how things will move. People will say what they want at the end of the day, barring any intervening acts, either Trump or Biden will be president. With that said Trump has at least a 50% chance of pulling it off!

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milesair 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Some people equate arrogance and egotistical B.S. with leadership. It is NOT leadership. Spouting off and saying racist things that his moronic base want to hear is also NOT leadership. Trump owns these qualities lock, stock and barrel! Racism is far from over in the U.S. and Trump has brought out the bigots in droves making it OK to be a bigot once again. Some soothsayers predict he will win re-election but all the polls that Trump hasn't paid for, show him loosing to Biden, even in states that Trump won in the last "selection." This man hasn't got the brains to even wear a mask during this pandemic because it makes him look weak! His minions claim that forcing them to wear a mask is taking their "freedom away." Never mind that spreading this virus to others by not wearing a mask is taking their freedom away. Conservatives have a crazy definition of freedom! I am not going to predict the future by predicting the outcome of the next U.S. election before it happens like some people have but if Trump "wins" again it will be the downfall of the U.S. as a free nation. I can only hope that he loses and takes the GOP down with him! The world will be a better place for it.

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Jim 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Biden's mannerisms, facial expressions, and forgotten or mis-used words indicate dementia. Very sad to think of this elderly man in a debate and forbid as the President of the US. Biden is selected as a control puppet for Democrats. Looking at a variety of news sites, the Dwmocratic party is promising more government handouts, but in reality wants to create America into a controlled "Seattle" experiment, take away rights, supress the people and turn America into a communistic society through manipulation of Biden. Follow the money and power trail, Antifa supported legislation back by threats to some people, and financial support to others. America needs a President to stand up to the internal conversion of the US.

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jt 1 month, 2 weeks ago

“Peaking” behind the curtains? Does anyone read these articles before they get published?

I’ll take a case of mild dementia over the current rotten tangerine any day of the week.

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joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

... your feelings don't matter unless you can vote!

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tribanon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Trump will easily secure another 4 years. The recent spate of rioting, looting, desecration of national monuments, etc. all over America has virtually assured that will happen no matter how bad Covid-19 or the economy may be come early November. Law and order and protection from violent acts and behaviour are now at the top of the list of things most Americans care about. Biden's dementia is just a bonus for Trump that he now probably doesn't even need. And keep in mind that Americans don't vote for vice-presidents so it really doesn't matter who Biden picks as his running mate. Democrats have made way too many mistakes since November 2016 and you can see that Trump is now about to go into cruise made and enjoy every moment of the campaigning run up to early November. The stars could not be better aligned for him and he knows it. Meanwhile the lib media polls will remain in left field....far from reality.

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JokeyJack 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Trump will win without any doubt. Americans have seen over the past 3 1/2 years all of things he has pointed out that have shown how their country was being destroyed by the liberal left. They have seen all of the foolish hearings - hearing after hearing - that accomplished nothing and proved nothing - but more importantly caused the Democrats not to accomplish anything. They have nothing they can point to as an achievement.

Trump on the other hand has a number of things he can point to as be done, and a lot more he can point to as not done but show clearly how the Democrats prevented it from getting done.

Now add their absolute love and praise and worship of the Corona Virus, along with their placing on a pedestal those who are literally burning and destroying cities (much more of that is going on than is being reported by the way). Tearing down monuments of Lincoln and others who have done so much for the black race in America (which is just stupid), and in effect creating new monuments to those who wish to destroy it.

The country of Ghana in Africa has publicly stated (just a couple weeks ago) that any African Americans who wish to return home are welcome to do so. They will be greeted and assisted in relocating. They are serious. It is an option for the looters to consider since they feel that the USA does not want them.

On that point they could not be further from the truth. The guy from BET is a billionaire and there are dozens of millionaires (not just from the sports world) who are black. Many entertainers that are loved by all races, Congressmen and women, mayors, generals, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and so on, even a President who was a person of colour.

There is NOTHING standing in the way of the success of so-called "African" Americans in the USA, if anything they have an advantage over many due to specialist scholarships for study and "fair" hiring practices.

I wonder how many actual Africans would be willing to swap places with "African" Americans today, right now, this minute? Tens of millions I am sure.

Trump has worked tirelessly to help ALL Americans, and will win the election hands down and reclaim the House as well. Nancy needs to start working on a catchy name brand for her new ice cream parlour.

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