Joe Biden keeps getting more unconventional. It started when he delivered short speeches and one-word answers like ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Now he and the Democrats are becoming even friskier, declaring that they want to push off their grand jamboree, the big enchilada, the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee to August, a week before Trump holds his own shindig in Florida. Smart move on a number of fronts.
For one thing, the original mid-July date simply allowed too much time to elapse between the Democratic and Republican conventions. Trump would have pummeled Biden relentlessly during those weeks. A let-down after Milwaukee would have been inevitable. Trump would have reveled in the build-up to his own convention. Now it’s a mano-a-mano competition as the two presidential candidates will get top billing within weeks of each other.
This is presuming that Trump gets the coronavirus under control, something that he’s made a hash of until now. With a record 6.6 million jobless claims last week, the economy is looking more than iffy. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a 9 percent unemployment rate until the end of 2021. Trump’s detractors are convinced that COVID-19 will administer the knockout blow to his hopes for a second term. While Trump won’t have to go on a breadline, he may have to shelter in place at Mar-a-Lago, bewailing the unfairness of it all.
His adversaries are getting more aggressive. They smell blood. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer got in some licks this morning he demanded that Trump appoint ‘a military man as czar’ under the Defense Production Act. Trump promptly replied that Schumer was talking through his hat: ‘Stop complaining & find out where all of these supplies are going, Cuomo working hard!’ At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for a fresh stimulus package that focuses on infrastructure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pooh-poohing the idea, arguing that Pelosi should ‘stand down’ but she doesn’t appear to be going anywhere but on the offense. She’s also established a select committee with subpoena powers to focus on what Ronald Reagan used to love to indict–waste, fraud and abuse. ‘Where there’s money there’s also frequently mischief,’ she said. But will the House, currently on recess, ever return to work? Maybe Trump will get his fondest wish and Congress will simply be in a state of suspended animation over the next year, allowing him to rule how he pleases.
Right now, Trump is attending to one of the most serious matters facing the nation, namely, the profligate use of his name by the Jeff Sessions campaign for Senate. Trump’s janissaries sent a letter telling him to knock it off. ‘We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the president supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election. Nothing could be further from the truth,’ the campaign instructed Sessions. Trump may be about to instruct Americans to don face coverings in public, but he isn’t masking his real feelings about his old attorney general. Who knows? By this summer, Trump may have done Sessions an inadvertent political favor by pushing him away.