It has been written here previously (I’ve decided after nearly nine years, it’s OK to repeat myself on occasion) that when I moved to town 20-plus years ago, I asked a new friend about the local political landscape.
He dryly conveyed there were “not enough Democrats to make a golf foursome.”
The 2016 presidential election, in which Williamson County went solidly for Donald Trump, might indicate that’s still the case. But the Dems made a pretty good showing in our county’s primary a couple of weeks ago. About 24,000 votes were cast in the Democratic race, which is about 8,000 more than in the one for the GOP.
That can be interpreted a number of ways. Since we don’t register by party, we were free to vote in either primary. Crossover Republican voters, as well as independents, choosing to vote in a race with more candidates from which to choose, could have bolstered the numbers on the Democratic side.
And there could have been Republicans who voted in the Democratic race with the sole intention of casting a vote for the candidate they felt least likely to give Trump a run for his money. There’s been talk of trying to prevent that kind of manipulative voting, but since we don’t register a party affiliation, it seems that would be a difficult law to enforce.
In Williamson County and in the state of Tennessee, Joe Biden led the pack, as he did in the majority of states holding Super Tuesday primary elections. It has become a two-person race for the Democratic nomination, with Biden and Bernie Sanders the last ones standing.
The delegate count between the two of them is close, with California still counting votes. It could go all the way to the convention with neither of them conceding,
The other Democratic contenders have thrown in their respective towels, with some of them endorsing Biden and none endorsing Bernie Sanders (yet). Elizabeth Warren, who has not endorsed either candidate, had hoped to distinguish herself by coming across less radically liberal than Sanders but more progressive than Biden. She found little traction in that lane.
“Mayor Pete” Buttiegieg (how many different pronunciations did you hear of his name while he was still a contender?) was certainly a likeable candidate and saw early success by winning in Iowa. But with no realistic path to the nomination, he was the first to drop out after the last debate. I’ve given up prognosticating, but it would not surprise me to see him on the short list as a running mate for whomever ends up as the nominee.
Michael Bloomberg probably got into the race too late, and his debate performances were subpar to say the least. Sanders and Warren both came out swinging at him, with Sanders painting him as a privileged billionaire like unto one Donald Trump, and Warren taunting him about confidential legal settlements with women who had worked for him.
When one of his responses to Warren included an admission of how some ladies might have objected to a joke he told, an audible groan could be heard from the live audience. His gig was essentially up at that moment.
Like Mayor Pete, Amy Klobuchar had a certain likeability factor, but she also displayed a flash of temper at times, including during one of the debates when she was confronted about forgetting the name of the president of Mexico. Although Elizabeth Warren, of all people, came to her defense and pointed out the ludicrousness of the line of questioning, the dye for Klobuchar’s candidacy seemed to be cast around that time.
As for Tom Steyer, see previous reference to Bloomberg and being late to the party. The other candidates pretty much ignored him. He, like they, eventually went away.
Typically, as each of the fallen ones exited, they recounted their pride in having put themselves out there, with references here and there to how some said they couldn’t do it, but they did — a recurring theme in concession speeches.
It’s questionable as to what exactly they did. They each fell short of winning the nomination, which one would think would be the goal of entering the race. But I suppose they have a right to be proud.
Many pundits believe the Dems’ best path to unseating Trump is with Biden, who represents a more reasoned, moderate view. As always, the key to the election is winning over undecided voters. There is a school of thought that many of the undecideds could and would vote for Biden, but would not be able to stomach a vote for Sanders.
Interestingly, if either Biden or Sanders wins the presidency, he will be the oldest person to ever be inaugurated. Sanders is 78 and will turn 79 in September. Biden is one year younger. Both would turn 80 during their first term.
Who holds the current distinction of oldest president? That would be Donald Trump, who was 70 when he took the oath of office.
As is always the case in politics, what happens now is anyone’s guess. I read an opinion piece by a guy who said he would have never believed we would elect someone as president who is a socialist — until a few years ago when we elected a former reality TV host.
My thoughts exactly. I’m long past being surprised by any of this.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at email@example.com