Category Archives: 2020 Election

Bite Harder

It seems that yesterday’s post on China and the 2020 election, The Biter Bit, understated the nature of both Vice President Biden’s ‘Hunter problem’ when it comes to China and Trump’s own financial entanglements with a Chinese Government agent.

It isn’t just that Hunter had dodgy deals in Ukraine. It seems Hunter also had proximity to a deal with the Bank of China. Politico describes it as a “$1.5 billion deal announced in 2013 by partners of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.” In fact, it’s not at all clear it was for that anywhere near that much, and Hunter Biden didn’t get personally involved in the deal until much later — after his father left office.

But why let facts get in the way of a good story? As Politico goes on to note that, “Critics of the Bidens have seized on the fact that the agreement materialized just days after Hunter Biden traveled to China with the then-vice president, who was there on official business.” So that’s just close enough to a scandal to let the Trump campaign argue that there’s smoke, must be a fire.

But even the enhanced version of the Hunter Biden story may not matter, because it turns out there’s also a vastly enhanced version of the Trump Family story. Turning to Politico again:

Trump himself is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China: In 2012, his real estate partner refinanced one of Trump’s most prized New York buildings for almost $1 billion. The debt includes $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China — its first loan of this kind in the U.S. — which matures in the middle of what could be Trump’s second term, financial records show.

Steps away from Trump Tower in Manhattan, the 43-story 1290 Avenue of the Americas skyscraper spans an entire city block. Trump owns a 30 percent stake in the property valued at more than $1 billion, making it one of the priciest addresses in his portfolio, according to his financial disclosures.

Not a good look.

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The Biter Bit

It’s said in all the finest newspapers and no doubt many blogs fine and otherwise that one of Vice President Biden’s electoral liabilities will be the Trump campaign’s expected hammering of his son Hunter’s commercial contacts with various Ukrainian companies.  The facts of the Hunter Biden matter paint a picture of someone trading on the perception of family influence — getting a well-paid gig for which he was at best not particularly qualified.  If didn’t rise to the level of Billygate, it nonetheless has a bad odor.

Meanwhile, conventional wisdom also states that Trump could execute a double whammy, and accuse Biden of being ‘soft on China’. This, the theory goes, plays to the nativist Trump base, but also to other voters who object to China for being Communist, or for being a low-cost destination  to which manufacturing jobs run away.  Biden, a committed internationalist, will — conventional wisdom asserts — be unwilling to be sufficiently rude to a major trading partner and growing regional power.  And even if Biden tries to out-Trump on the anti-China front, he won’t be able to do it well or convincingly both because his heart won’t be in it and anyway, he’ll be letting Trump dictate the terms of the debate.

But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? What if both the ‘corrupt relatives’ issue and the so-called ‘China issue’ could actually rebound to hurt the Trump campaign more than the Biden campaign?  What if, for example, it were the case that voters could be persuaded to notice that it is Trump’s family that has been getting benefits directly from the Chinese government?

That is no doubt the thinking behind this hard-hitting ad called “Making China Great Again” from the Lincoln Project:

Incidentally, am I the last to learn that the phrase “The Biter Bit” was the title of an 1899 British black-and-white short silent film? Which of course you can now see online in its 1:08 entirety?

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Brutal – But Only the Beginning

This, from something that calls itself the Democratic Coalition, is a brutal ad by modern standards.

I think it may look namby-pamby by the time of the election.

Posted in 2020 Election, COVID-19 | 4 Comments

The Failure

Brutal. True.

Produced by the American Bridge Super-PAC.

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Something Happened

The other day I wrote, “Barring something strange on or after Super Tuesday, I plan to vote for Warren in the upcoming Florida primary.”

Well, something happened.  Since I haven’t voted yet I get to change my mind.  That puts me ahead of those Florida voters who already voted by absentee: they are stuck with their choices per the Miami Herald,

The candidates have the prerogative to change their minds about running. You the voter, on the other hand, are stuck. Voters in Florida don’t get a do-over in the voting booth or by mail.

“In the State of Florida, you’re only allowed to vote once,” said Suzy Trutie, deputy supervisor of elections for the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

So, Bernie or Biden?  Likely fruitless attempts at change vs likely successful attempts at status quo (with some status quo ante thrown in)?  That shouldn’t take very long to decide.

Posted in 2020 Election | 2 Comments

Recommended Reading

Dan Froomkin, What should Trump be doing differently about coronavirus? Elizabeth Warren has some ideas is a twofer: it draws attention to an important statement by Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on what we should be doing about the Coronavirus, and it has some savvy things to say about why Warren’s well thought-out ideas weren’t very prominently covered in the news (hint: horse-race).

Barring something strange on or after Super Tuesday, I plan to vote for Warren in the upcoming Florida primary.  In primaries you vote your heart, in the general election you vote you head.  Warren is the candidate whose speeches — and whose policies — inspire. I think she’d be a terrific Chief Executive.  Sanders has virtues, and I’m grateful that he moved the Overton Window.  I’m sure he’d be infinitely better than Trump, but I have some pretty big doubts as to how effective he’d be as an executive.

That said, the only ‘Democrats’ running who would really seriously challenge my ability to fill in the oval are Gabbard and Bloomberg. I’m pretty practiced at holding my nose when I vote in a general election.

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