Election 2020: The Silly Season continues

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Top photo by Tim Forkes

Sitting here on Wednesday morning, November 4, 2020, I’m wondering how the Democratic Party got it so wrong about Florida and Texas. How did the Democratic Party let Trump and the GOP paint them as socialists, thereby losing a big chunk of the Hispanic vote that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Wondering about U.S. Senate races in South Carolina and Texas. No one could actually expect Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn would be turned out of their Senate seats. Many of us were living in a fantasy during the month of October.

November 1 — Día De Los Muertos. Day of the Dead in English. It’s a Mexican holiday that is celebrated here in the states by Mexican immigrants and descendants of Mexico, Plus, it’s gaining some traction with other Spanish-speaking cultures from south of the border.

For instance: If you are an immigrant from a South American nation like Bolivia, Colombia or Peru — Brazil even, which speaks primarily Portuguese — and you have many Mexican American neighbors who are celebrating Día De Los Muertos, well what the hell, you speak the language, you understand the sentiments about your ancestors and voila! There are Día De Los Muertos decorations on and in your home and by golly, some of your family members are dressed in costume.

And, if you’re an open-minded Gringo, speak a smattering of Spanish because you are friends with people of Mexican descent who are celebrating Día De Los Muertos, then what the hell. Even if you don’t completely understand the traditions and purposes of the holiday, Día De Los Muertos looks like a very cool version of Mardi Gras — in November. Most people who are not Catholic don’t really get the significance of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday in particular, but that doesn’t stop them from making the trip to New Orleans or even Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for Carnivale, which is the same things as Mardi Gras. It’s a party with scantily-clad people dancing all over the place.

Non-Catholics don’t head to the nearest Catholic church for Ash Wednesday. Hell, a lot of Catholics don’t head to church for Ash Wednesday. I haven’t had my forehead marked with a cross of ashes in … (sorry mom) almost four decades.

What does this have to do with election just ended? Not much, but it’s a round about way to point out that that Hispanic population in the U.S. is not a monolith. It’s why the Democrats got South Florida and Texas so wrong in 2020. Democrats presented the Spanish-speaking voters with one or two issues they assumed were important to all Hispanics — immigration and health care — and assumed the Hispanic community would flock to the polls to vote for any and all Democrats on the ticket.

Instead, Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants and descendants responded to the Trump campaign tactic of tying Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and other Democrats to the dictators of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro and Hugo Chavez and voila! Really, does anyone from this country actually think Joe Biden is a socialist and that a former attorney general would actually defund police departments? No, but remind people from Central and South America about Hugo Chavez and then for the Cubans, Fidel Castro and his regime, which is still in power, and boom! The Trump campaign has taken a significant chunk out of the Hispanic vote in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

My friend who is an immigrant from a South American country and lived in Miami for many years had been telling me for weeks that the message her friends and family in Miami were getting — a strong message to the Spanish-speaking community — was that a vote for Biden-Harris was a vote to turn America into a bigger version of either Cuba or Venezuela.

If a non-political person — from the other side of the country — could hear and understand what was going on in the weeks leading up to the election, a time when people were voting early because of COVID-19, why couldn’t the Biden-Harris campaign, and more importantly the Florida Democratic Party, figure it out? And why did they give the Trump campaign a six-week head start at messaging this summer? Go figure.

In Texas, with a Hispanic community that is largely of Mexican heritage, the GOP and Trump campaign managed to cut into that community enough to sway the vote. How did they do it? Exit polls said the biggest concern for Hispanic voters was the economy. Never mind that the economy was tanked by the coronavirus and Trump’s absolutely devastating lack of a response to it. All the Trump campaign had to say was Joe Biden will lock down the economy and you will never return your jobs or businesses.

DNC Chair Tom Perez, how could you get it so wrong?

As of this moment there are nine states too close to call, but it appeared clear that Joe Biden will win Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan, and most likely Pennsylvania. That’s 270-plus electoral votes. And as of this writing, according to the Associated Press, Wisconsin and Michigan have been called for Biden. That’s 264 electoral votes for Biden and when the finally call Nevada, that’s exactly 270 electoral votes.

With 96% of the votes counted in Georgia, Trump has a slight lead of 76,053. The votes that are still being counted in Georgia are coming from counties that are heavily pro-Biden: Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb primarily. There are several other pro-Biden counties that are still counting votes as well as pro-Trump, but wherever there is ballot counting, in particular mail-in ballots, they are overwhelming going for Biden. And that’s why Trump wants to stop the counting. 

Thanks to the Republican Party, we now have a neo-Nazi, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and a straight up QAnon nut bar, Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia, headed to Congress in January. Most news organizations are making a big deal out of Cawthorn being the youngest member of Congress when he is sworn in. Yeah, that’s cool and all, but he made a pilgrimage to visit the vacation home of Adolf Hitler, denies systemic racism exists in the legal and law enforcement system and claimed a reporter quit a job to help men of color, like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, ruin white males running for office. Yeah, let’s see what he says in Congress next year.

Then there is Congresswoman QAnon.  Not only does she support the conspiracy theory about Trump fighting a cabal of Democrats and celebrities running a pedophile ring … and, oh yeah, she has posted Islamophobic and racist video messages on Facebook. She called George Soros, a Jewish megadonor for Democrats, a Nazi. Interesting enough, she doesn’t believe Muslims should be allowed to hold office. I wonder how that’s going to work when she meets Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, not to mention André Carson, who converted to Islam over 20 years ago.

The Democratic Party snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Maybe Jaime Harrison in South Carolina really didn’t have a chance to put Lindsey Graham out of his U.S. Senate seat, but running the same ad over and over again, instead of using Graham’s ongoing gaffes in new ads over the summer, was disastrous. The Harrison campaign and Democratic Party raised so much money they could have made new ads every week and placed them everywhere. They could have had a new blitz throughout the state, week after week to sway the voters. They didn’t need as many ads to raise money from knuckleheads in California — like me. I was happy to donate $10 to Jaime by the way.

And how the hell did Rep. Susan Collins of Maine retain her Senate seat? The U.S. Senator who actually said, “I hope the President has learned his lesson, but we will have to see,” after she voted to acquit President Trump on both charges in his impeachment trial.

There are so many questions for the Democratic Party. They had a slam-dunk election, the perfect storm of favorable conditions, from the absolutely immoral and corrupt practices of the Trump Administration to the enablers, like Collins, John Cornyn of Texas and Graham in South Carolina, all of that with the criminal mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic with its nearly quarter million dead, tens of millions out of work and over eight million pushed into poverty — and all they have to show for it is a tradeoff between two Senate seats (lost one in Alabama, picked up one in Arizona) and a hotly contested presidential race that is hanging on to the long, drawn out ballot counts in … checking … five states, four if you go by the Associated Press call of Arizona being for Biden, but let’s say five states: Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Dear God in Heaven Almighty … the curse of the occasionally devout Catholic —

— Just an aside: How many of you Catholics or fallen away Catholics have heard your Mom or grandma use that curse/phrase, “Dear God in Heaven Almighty”? Click “Like” and comment if you’re reading this via Facebook.

Anyway, how did the Democratic Party lose seats in the House of Representatives? I would like to see a real reporter or news show host sit down and ask these questions of Tom Perez and other DNC officials about how all this happened. Why were we given such a rosy picture? We should have learned by now  … well, there was no blue tsunami, no blue wave. It was barely a ripple that is hardly noticeable.

Here it is, Thursday morning, 50 hours after the last polls closed on the West Coast and we’re still waiting. It was torture listening to the Clark County, Nevada Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria explain why a county in a state with one of the lowest populations is taking so long to finish. Gloria explained, in painfully arduous detail, every step of the way, up to and including November 12 — a week from today — when by state law the election has to be wrapped up. Then the legal challenges can begin.

Probably — no, definitely — the pièce de résistance from the count in Nevada came early Thursday morning (early for me) when, amidst all the nut bar crazy Trump supporters NBC reporter Jacob Soboroff tried to get Trump’s former Acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell to answer questions about proof of his claims that there has been fraud in Nevada voting and ballot counting, including claims that no Trump/GOP observers have been allowed to watch the counts. Obviously — and unsurprisingly — Grenell had no answers for Soboroff because, and this is important, THERE IS NO FRAUD IN THE VOTING OR BALLOT COUNTING. Not in Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia or Pennsylvania. I love watching Jacob Soboroff do his job. Fearlessly he’s wading in there, surrounded by rabid Trump supporters, to report that their claims of fraud are BS. You should follow Soboroff on Twitter.

Now multiply that by four. None of the states want to hurry their counting, they all want to get it right. There are a lot of nut bar Trump supporters demonstrating and threatening poll workers, with guns where open carry is legal. And reporters like Soboroff, from many different outlets, including Fox News, wade into these crowds to report what they see and what they can find, despite the crowds denouncing them. In that video of Soboroff in Nevada you can hear demonstrators chanting, “Fox News Sucks!” They say that because like the AP, Fox has called Arizona for Biden.

The entertainment value can’t be ignored, like MSNBC’s Ari Melber quoting DJ Khalid when describing the Trump campaign after they wanted to stop the counting in states where Trump was behind. “Congratulations, you played yourself,” Melber said.

After a while I turn off the TV and switch on Netflix or walk the dogs. How often can we hear the talking heads tell us what we knew 24 hours ago? I love watching Steve Kornacki flipping through his Big Board on MSNBC, but he’s been repeating himself for the past 30 hours. 

I’m not going to labor on this any longer. We don’t know, officially, who will be sworn in as president and vice president on January 20, 2021; we don’t even know for sure which party will control the U.S. Senate. What we do know is that this election is a melodrama with the same cliff hanger reported hour-after-hour with no definitive outcome to declare.

The dogs will get a lot of walks today.

One last thing to report: we hit a new, tragic milestone in this coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday we had over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in the United States. Great. Now we have over 9.5 million recorded cases in the U.S. and sadly over 235,000 COVID-19 fatalities. Infectious disease experts not muzzled by the Trump Administration tell us we could be getting 150,000 new infections per day by the end of the year.

Stay safe, leave your guns at home and be sure to observe coronavirus precautions when you do leave the house.