Presidential roundup, June 2023
the visible primary takes center stage.
For many months, there has been a dearth of news in the public sphere.
This week, that seems to be changing, albeit behind the fog-of-war. The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, as well as the LIV Golf-PGA Tour merger are both likely1 to be the subject of discussion at some point in time. And the press event about AppleVision2 was fascinating, but ultimately about a product that will not launch this year.
But, today, our semi-regular coverage of the presidential race:
RFKJR rises, Williamson falls
The Democratic establishment is still operating under the belief that there will be no Democratic primary, merely a Biden coronation. So the battle between Robert Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson to be the top protest candidate is, thus, a sideshow.
But the Democratic establishment cannot control poll data. A recent CNN poll had Biden 62 / Kennedy 20 / Williamson 8.
The trends are also clearly blowing towards Mr. Kennedy. RFK Jr. recently had a town-hall with Elon Musk on Twitter. Marianne Williamson, on the other hand, is getting another round of press coverage about angry staffers quitting.
The question for the Democratic establishment: when Williamson drops out and Kennedy crosses 25 percent in the polls, do you start pushing Biden to the exits? And if not at 25%, is it at 30%? 40%? What if a serious3 health incident occurs?
Doug Burgum: Who is he?
I would expect Doug Burgum to do well among the cohort of voters who know what Great Plains Software4 is, but not among other voters. Currently, that cohort is smaller than a rounding error.
However, as this author is within that cohort, I cannot conduct impartial coverage5 of his campaign, and will not discuss his primary candidacy further.
Cornel West: the next Ralph Nader?
He will presumably be on the ballot in November 2024 in some states. Until the primary season is over, it would be unwise to make any further estimates of his campaign.
Mike Pence is running. He has never run a national campaign independent from Trump. So, despite having national name-recognition, there will be a sense of introduction coming from his campaign over the next few months. It would be a mistake to assume his well-known negatives will prevent him from winning the primary.
Tim Scott is running. It would be a mistake to say that a black man cannot win the GOP primary. Nevertheless, it is hard to see him as a favorite against Trump and DeSantis.
Ron DeSantis: can he right the ship?
My thoughts, summarized in a text message after his launch debacle9:
It is funny. More or less right when I decided “I don’t like DeSantis, and I’m not going to vote for DeSantis, but there is a sense he is minimally acceptable and Trump is not”, DeSantis started ducking everything up to the maximum extent possible.
Last November, DeSantis was on top of the world. Since then, he has been on a campaign of self-destruction.
… we can look the other way and move on.
Ryan Binkley: is he notable?
Every year, hundreds of individuals file campaign paperwork with the Federal Election Commission saying they are running for President of the United States.
A much smaller number are listed on ballots10. But as those deadlines are months away, the press must somehow choose which candidates to follow.
Ryan Binkley is, by one metric, a leading candidate: he is running TV ads in the Des Moines media market. By another metric, he is barely running a campaign at all; he is just a rich person in Texas who wants to say he ran for president.
As far as Wikipedia is concerned: the current verdict is “not notable”. His campaign staff wrote an article which was quickly deleted. No tragedy was committed there.
Larry Elder: who is he?
Larry Elder is a former talk-radio host who was a GOP candidate for governor of California in a recent election. Mr. Elder is also African-American11.
He remains near the bottom of the polls. But, he is registering on the polls, which is something Ryan Binkley cannot say.
The Kick-Off: pigs and hogs
Ryan Binkley did not show up to the Roast-And-Ride event held by Joni Ernst. But Perry Johnson12 did. The full line-up:
Donald Trump was a notable no-show from the Roast-And-Ride. While he is unable to fully avoid campaigning the way that Joe Biden is, he is still above the circus of a “cattle-call” event.
The fog-of-war is literal in Ukraine; it is unclear how the dam was destroyed or by whom. It is by nature metaphorical for the LIV-PGA deal, but the uncertainty there will last longer.
During the presentation, it was consistently called the “Vision Pro”. But, I think it is inevitable that it will eventually become known as AppleVision.
Recently, Joe Biden tripped over an obstacle on-stage at the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony. To the best of my knowledge, this was not a serious health issue.
It is unclear whether his age (and possible loss-of-function at elevation) were relevant. None of the contemporaneous public coverage will have the relevant information. But, perhaps, in 50 years, when Biden’s papers are public, it will be known.
Great Plains Software was an accounting suite for small-midsize business. Burgum was CEO from the mid-1980s through 2001, when it was acquired by Microsoft and became the foundation of its Microsoft Dynamics product line as Microsoft Dynamics GP.
For additional coverage, Burgum will have to hire a PR team.
There is a difference between impartial and neutral. What I cannot do is impartial coverage. I could do neutral coverage … but I would prefer not to.
the first rule of Newslettrs is: nobody clicks the links. Hypertext as a medium of mass communication is, in that sense, dead.
Last year, we could use Twitter embeds for this type of coverage. But … I have forgotten one book’s worth of information about Twitter already, and am looking forward to forgetting another book’s worth soon.
Christie did not skip Iowa quite as literally as some other candidates (such as John McCain in 2000). He did, however, get 10th place with 1.8% of the vote.
We would translate Chris Christie “skipping Iowa” this cycle as an admission of defeat by the candidate. For most people, running for president is a life-changing ordeal. For Christie, it is a pastime more enjoyable than golfing.
DeSantis had his “official” launch event on Twitter with Elon Musk, and the service crashed. We presume that, under previous management, such an event would not have crashed.
Unlike the Democratic caucus (which is a public vote conducted by standing in preference groups), the Republicans actually do have ballots for their caucus votes in Iowa.
Sixty years ago, it was very relevant that John F. Kennedy was a Catholic. Today, whether or not any of these candidates are Catholic is of no concern.
There is a joke here. A man on a comments forum asks: was that Mike Pence’s real bike? (Presumably not. Why would he have flown in a bike from Indiana?) (( But, also, Pence probably is the only candidate who owns a motorcycle. )) ( note businessinsider .com )