Blowing Smoke

It's clearly too early to predict anything more than who will be wearing stripes and who will be wearing tomato sauce, but we are starting to see how the field for the Whitehouse in 2024 is shaping up. Let's take a look.

Blowing Smoke

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Hey Friends,

Good morning to almost everyone, especially if you are running against Donald Trump in the Republican Primaries.  

If you're wondering what that haze in the air is, it's not burning Canadian bacon. It's caused by hundreds of forest fires across Canada, leaving smoke to drift over the Midwest and Northeastern states. Several US cities have won the "worst air in the world" award.

In addition, a pair of pants are on fire, with plumes rising out of South Florida near the coast of Palm Beach.

I'll get to that in a minute...

But first, let's get to The News.

Hot Takes

Week 23 of 2022

Not Giving a Dam

Clearly, the Russian war is starting to make waves. In this case, literally, as the Ukraine counter-offensive gets underway, a large dam on the Dnipro River is destroyed, causing massive flooding, forcing residents to evacuate. (more)

Apple Launch

Apple made several announcements this week, launching new products and enhancements, including iOS 17 for iPhone, and the new Apple Vision, a virtual reality headset with which, for only $3500, you can experience real life in real life. (more)

India Pale Rail

A public train in India crashed last weekend, causing at least 275 deaths and many injuries. The crash reminds us that the 'two trains leaving the station at different times' word problem is one every student should master because it could save lives. On a serious note, that word problem is not that far off, even though it's not that simple. (more)

Binance Bungle

Binance was accused of operating an illegal securities exchange by the SEC. The evidence? They said so in an email (<— that email also contained the 'F' word). (more)

Pat Robertson Died

Hell called and asked if they could get more TV evangelists, but it's unclear where Pat went yesterday when he died at 93. (more)

Right To Vote

The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama blocked the power of black voters with its voting maps, which is gerrymandering at its best. (more)

That's it for the news. Now for this week's Feature.

The Dirty Dozen

The Weekly Feature

The number of candidates who have declared their run for President in the 2024 elections has grown to 12 that are worth talking about, even if just barely. This makes 11 a record number of Republicans to challenge Trump on literally anything. It's clearly too early to predict anything more than who will be wearing stripes and who will be wearing tomato sauce, but we are starting to see how the field for the Whitehouse in 2024 is shaping up. Let's take a look.

Trump Indicted in Documents Case

Donald Trump remains a factor in the race, with polls currently putting him comfortably in the lead, but he has been indicted yet again, this time with Federal Charges yet to be unsealed, although the charges are expected to be along the lines of obstruction after Trump knowingly blocked the recovery of classified documents. Trump addresses the charges on Truth Social with a barrage of lies and half-truths to claim innocence.

This historic scenario opens the door for other candidates to challenge Trump, and because of that, you see a frontrunner who faces legal charges and a full house of challengers.

While Trump's criminal charges keep him in the limelight, or in this case, the crimelight, they also have helped fundraising efforts. Between his criminal defense strategy and his partiality to cheap food, Trump seems to be funded for the long haul, so long as he doesn't need too many spray tans for his television appearances, inclusive of appearing in court or on a debate stage. The biggest question is whether he'll end up in the Big House or the Whitehouse.

Ron Desantis, amongst his challengers, sits in second place behind the Rival in Chief, slumping a little since his announcement on Twitter (which, for those of you who have forgotten, was a leading social media platform from the early 2000s). Ron's strategy is to talk about keeping schools open during Covid and banning their books because education is about meeting in the middle, where kids can learn, but not too much. Unlike Florida schools during Covid, Ron's announcement was attended virtually by over 600,000 people who didn't hear a word he said due to technical difficulties. Eventually, he did make it on the air for a smaller crowd to serve as the special guest for a Twitter commercial, which ended up doubling as the launch of his campaign for President and a boom to fundraising, bringing in over 8 million dollars in campaign donations.

Mike Pence prayerfully announced, before God, his family, and national television cameras, that he was running for the big seat too. Pence's advantage, at this stage, is that he is not facing jail time, but he's going to need more than insect repellant to shake off the stink of being Mike Pence. Mike is too Trump for the anti-MAGA voter and too Mike Pence for Trump fans. His run is also a historic one, as no VP has ever challenged his former boss. Pence strategically kissed Trump's ass publicly and repeatedly until he launched his campaign this week, saying that Trump asked him to choose him over The Constitution, after which Mike chose to run for President with the lowest ratings of any Vice President to seek the nomination.

Chris Christy seeks to warm the leather of the white house first chair by going straight for the former first throat, that is, Donald Trump's, whose jail tattoos are pending, making him prime for criticism amongst the right who might be fatigued with MAGA talking points. Christy presents himself as a fighter, whose already beaten Covid and is now ready to beat Trump on the debate stage. His only hope is to take up enough space on national media, which is not a camera angle joke in his case, but that goes without saying.

Nikki Haley, who many have already forgotten was running, is one of the most accomplished women in politics. Her supporters wish to show, through her, that the Republican Party is not racist or sexist while hoping to retain as many racist and sexist voters as possible. Nikki polls in single digits currently, but after saying, “The idea that we have biological boys playing in girls' sports – it is the women's issue of our time,” many think that she can be just as relevant as that statement.

Vivek Ramaswamy shows up on the polls at about 3.5% now, the lowest visible number above one. When looking to position his campaign, he said, “Call me a non-white nationalist, if you want.” for which his opponents will be happy to oblige.

Asa Hutchinson, Tim Scott, Larry Elder, and Doug Burgum are all declared candidates who bring a microscope on the campaign trail with them to convince funders that their poll numbers exist, along with a path to the Presidency, but either would need a major event to improve their positions, with the aim in the short term to be that people know they are running for the office. These candidates, while many have potential in their own right, have no chance in this climate without leverage to grab more screen time and build a bigger national profile.

Perry Johnson and Ryan Binkley have also declared their candidacies, LOL.

On the Democrat side, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the well-known anti-vaccine activist, has announced he will be challenging Joe Biden, but currently, it appears that the only thing he is vaccinated against is winning.

With this slate of candidates, we can see that the battle to be won for now is to beat Trump while hoping he also beats himself with help from the criminal justice system. The only way to do that will be to roast him, which is a major shift for the Republican Party.

Despite his lagging position on the map at this time, the only candidate who has demonstrated he can do so with sufficient vigor is Chris Christie, who still remains far behind the required number of donations to make the first debate stage, but his profile and institutional backers suggest he can get there. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing how this post ages.

(Here's more on each of the candidates from Politico.)

That's it for this week. Thanks for being here and sharing around the world.

Have a great weekend!

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