All You Need To Know #9
Whoa Nelly, it’s going to be a big week. Here we go.
First off, there’s a good chance Joe Biden will make his final selection soon. Last time we talked about Kamala Harris and Karen Bass. Harris is more outspoken, Bass is more of an unsung hero in the House. But now I’m starting to hear a third name more and more: Susan Rice.
I don’t even have to explain all the good things about Susan Rice because the only thing anyone is going to hear about her from now until November is Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.
Benghazi, of course, meaning the terrorist attack on a US diplomatic facility where American lives were lost. Afterwards, Susan Rice went on TV and said US intelligence believed the attack was related to a protest that had been inspired 18 hours earlier when the leader of al-Qaeda had called for attacks on Americans. Later it was determined it was a planned attack, not a spontaneous uprising, and Susan Rice’s comments were seized apon as evidence she was a liar. (Does that sound like a stretch? Because because it is.)
After ten hearings (six of which were controlled by Republicans) no one reasonable ever claimed she or anyone else acted improperly. Then a two year investigation was kicked off, again by Republicans, and she wasn’t found guilty of any wrongdoing at all.
I read Hillary Clinton’s book where she retells the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, and I’ve read a fair amount on it besides. No one credibly claims that anyone acted in bad faith. Susan Rice didn’t aid the attack, Susan Rice didn’t lie about the attack, and Susan Rice has said as much in countless hearings and interviews. And yet the fog of suspicion hangs around her, and always will as long as political opponents keep using the event against her.
If Joe Biden picks Susan Rice, it will be an absolute powder keg for the wacky side of the far right. There are people convinced that there’s a giant sex ring including children and all the power brokers in Washington are involved. These are the same people who believe in the Q conspiracy, or that the Clintons keep quietly killing off their friends, and these are the people that will be the most animated by Susan Rice. It’ll be like a soap opera to them: “Oh I remember this villain from a few seasons ago! Pass the popcorn!”
I don’t think Joe Biden is going to pick her, for this very reason. Much of the media to date has marvelled at how well Biden has been able to sidestep Trump’s repeated attacks. Some wonder if Trump’s heart is even in it anymore. But if Susan Rice comes back on the scene, he’ll find his groove again. I don’t imagine any of the Democratic strategists want that to happen. I still think it’s going to come down to Kamala Harris and Karen Bass, and in the end I’m seeing a Vice President Bass in my crystal ball. We’ll know soon!
Another big story over the past week is how Trump’s numbers seem to have stabilised, or even ticked up slightly. He’s currently down by about 4.9% against Biden in swing states, meaning he’s ever-so-slowly gaining ground. But as always, those numbers can be misleading. Trump is still down 4% in Florida, and if Biden wins Florida, that’s the end of the ballgame. 4% is not a small margin for a place like Florida, which historically is a toss-up right up until election day.
And of course we need to talk about Trump’s ongoing attack on American Democracy. Every person paying attention in the world knows that he’s going to call the election unfair, and contest the results. We know his talking points, and we know that discrediting absentee voting is going to figure large in his overall strategy. But there was an interesting twist this week. Someone informed Trump that he was suppressing Republican votes by talking about voting fraud, so he was forced to fire off this tweet:
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”
So his point of view is now that absentee voting is bad everywhere. Except Florida. Because there are Republicans in charge. Because Republicans can be trusted to get the election right. If you were cynical, you’d say the fix is in. But if you think the universe has a sense of humour, you could see it this way: Trump could lose the whole election due to Florida. A state he’s claimed is “Safe, and Secure, Tried and True.” That would be hilarious. Fingers crossed!
And that’s the good news this week. See you next week!