Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Five Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Speak at “Town Hall”

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Five Democratic presidential hopefuls populated the CNN Town Hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday night. For those who play draw-poker, one would like to throw these five cards away, and ask for five new cards. But even if one was allowed to do that — in poker, or in selecting a decent presidential candidate among the Democratic Party pack — we should note that even those not at the Town Hall, notably former Vice President Joe Biden, also occupy the left-side of the political spectrum.

During the French Revolution, the radicals occupied a minority of seats to the left of the speaker in the Legislative Assembly. By the time of the even more radical National Convention, all the seats were occupied by radicals, as the Girondists, who were sitting among the radicals at the Legislative Assembly, were now supposedly the “right wing” in the National Convention, which held power during the infamous Reign of Terror.

This is an apt comparison with this Democratic field. None of them has called for the guillotines — at least not yet — for more conservative Americans, but the differences between the five left-wing Democrats are mostly cosmetic, and center more on electability questions than on differences of principles.

For example, when it comes to the question of impeachment of President Donald Trump, it was made quite clear that all of them believe Trump deserves impeachment. Some argue against it on grounds of practicality, while others throw caution to the wind, contending that he should be impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, even if there is no chance at all for conviction in the Senate.

“There is no political inconvenience exception to the United States Constitution,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) insisted, arguing, “if any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail.”

Much like Robespierre, who ran the French Reign of Terror and argued that even conducting trials for the “enemies of the people” was “counter-revolutionary,” Warren said that there really wasn’t much left to investigate on Trump. “If you’ve actually read the Mueller report, it’s all laid out there. It’s not like it’s going to take a long time to figure that out. It’s there.”

Perhaps concerned that the Impeachment Train was going to leave her behind, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined Warren in deciding that Trump should be impeached. She said that the special counsel’s report “tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice. I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment.”

Harris conceded that she is “realistic” that Trump would probably not be convicted of any impeachment charge voted upon by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. She blamed the Senate Republicans for that, because they are always defending him (as opposed to the Democrats, one could answer, who are always attacking him).

The other three hopefuls took a more cautious approach toward the impeachment question, although making it clear they, too, believe Trump deserves to be thrown out of office. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he would “leave it to the House and Senate to figure that out,” while Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the Town Hall, composed mostly of younger voters largely sympathetic to Sanders’ socialistic give-away programs, “Here is my concern: At the end of the day, what is most important to me is to see that Donald Trump is not reelected President.”

“But if for the next year,” Sanders continued, “all the Congress is talking about is ‘Trump, Trump, Trump, and ‘Mueller, Mueller, Mueller’ and we’re not talking about health care and raising the minimum wage to a living wage and we’re not talking about climate change and sexism and racism and homophobia and the issues that concern ordinary Americans — I worry that works to Trump’s advantage.”

Senator Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.) joined in taking a more cautious stance on impeachment, fitting in well with her effort to come across as the “moderate” in the field. She said that Trump’s behavior detailed in the Mueller report was “appalling,” but she wants to allow investigations to continue first. She argued that she looks forward to defeating Trump in the 2020 election, instead.

Perhaps the most amazing statement made by Senator Warren was her insistence that she took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If so, then that would seem to contradict her grandiose plan to have the taxpayers wipe out student loan debt and pay for “free” college tuition. After all, there is no provision of the Constitution that would remotely authorize Congress to implement her plan.

Still, Senator Sanders — the open socialist in the group — has been calling for “free” college tuition for years now. Senator Klobuchar, on the other hand, told the audience made up of many college students, “I wish I could staple a free college diploma to every one of your chairs,” but “I have to be straight with you and tell you the truth.”

Another issue that Democrats across the land are now pushing is to allow felons to vote. Some take the stance that their franchise rights should be restored once they have served their complete sentence (the law in most states), or immediately upon exiting prison. Senator Sanders, however, takes the most extreme position: Convicts should be able to vote even while they are in prison serving time.

A student drew out this radical position from Sanders by asking him if he believed the Boston Marathon bomber should be allowed to vote. Sanders said yes, answering, “I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, Well, that guy committed a terrible crime; not going to let him vote.” Such thinking, Sanders, said, was a “slippery slope.” After all, if you don’t let the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh vote, then the next thing you know, a speeding ticket has cost you the right to vote.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel was quick to respond to the view of Sanders that murderers, robbers, and rapists should be able to vote — even while serving time in prison — by saying, “If you had any doubt about how radical the Democrat Party has become, their 2020 frontrunner wants to let terrorists convicted of murdering American citizens vote from prison. It’s beyond extreme.”

“Beyond extreme” is a pretty good description of the Democratic Party field. Whether such extremism plays in Peoria, as they say, may very well determine whether the United States degenerates into a socialist democracy, or holds onto some semblance of common sense after 2020.

Image: JimVallee via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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