Wednesday, October 21, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: 2016 Campaign Update 1

Vice President Joe Biden finally made his decision about the
2016 presidential race, and he announced he will not run,
declaring that it was simply too late for him to mount an
effective campaign against frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Pundits and other political observers are already positing
less transparent reasons for his decision, including his
possible failure to secure President Obama’s public
endorsement or that the Obama administration has decided
to thwart the FBI investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail
controversy and potential criminal charges against her.
Earlier, moderate Democrat and former Senator Jim Webb
withdrew from the race, implying he might run later as an
independent candidate. This leaves Mrs. Clinton and Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders as the two remaining major
contenders for the nomination. Mrs. Clinton currently leads
Sanders in national polls, but trails him in some state polls.
Mrs. Clinton unfavorables remain very high, and recently
she has trailed many possible GOP opponents in national
and state polls. With most primary and caucus filing deadlines
now past or soon to pass, the Democratic race has settled into
a contest between Mr Sanders and Mrs. Clinton.

Businesman Stewart MIlls, who almost upset Democratic
(DFL) incumbent Congressman Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s
northwestern 8th district, has announced he is running again
for the seat. Citing his own polls that show Mr. Nolan weak in
his 2016 re-election effort, and his own determination to learn
from his 2014 run, Mr. Mills promised to go all-out in his
second bid. Mr. Nolan is still favored at this early point, but
the race has clearly moved closer to a toss-up next year.

Canadian political dynasty heir Justin Trudeau, 43, won a
major victory in the recent Canadian parliamentary elections,
and now succeeds Prime Minister Stephen Harper whose
conservative government led the United States’ northern
neighbor and largest trading partner for the past 9 years.
Several decades ago, Justin Trudeau’s father served as Liberal
Party prime minister for 15 years. The younger Trudeau
literally grew up in the Canadian prime minister’s residence.
Mr. Trudeau, in his first remarks after his victory, promised
a closer relationship with the U.S. Since his party is very
similar to the U.S. Democratic Party, this is likely to be true
for the next year or so while President Obama is in office.
While some American commentators are suggesting the
liberal trend in Canada has positive implications for
Democrats in next year’s U.S. elections, it is much more
likely that since the Canadian voters were fatigued with the
Harper administration after 9 years, the implications
actually favor the Republicans who will be running against
8 years of the controversial Obama administration. One
area where stark changes might come from Ottawa is in the
area of foreign policy. Trudeau has already said he will
withdraw Canadian forces from the anti-ISIS effort in the
Middle East.

The contest to fill the vacancy of retiring Speaker of the U.S.
House John Boehner will be decided by a GOP conference
vote on October 28. At present, there is only one major
candidate, a reluctant Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan
who was literally begged by many of his colleagues to agree to
run for speaker. Mr. Ryan, chairman of ways and means and
the father of young children had no initial interest in the
problematic speakership that is especially troubled by a divided
conservative GOP house caucus. Saying “I will take arrows in
the chest, but none in the back,” Mr. Ryan laid down firm
conditions, including new house rules and a virtual unanimity
for his candidacy. It does not appear that any of the announced
other candidates for speaker have enough votes to win.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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