Primary Cover?

Very late Tuesday afternoon heading into the early evening I was at soccer practice with my oldest grandson. (Like most Americans I “wear a lot of hats” and without a doubt my favorite is grandfather.) That’s when the news started to come in of counsel withdrawing from the Roger Stone prosecution in protest. Later that evening I watched New Hampshire Primary results with my wife. I content that the timing of these events was not coincidental. Let’s explore.

On Monday the career Justice Department attorneys working on the case of Trump confidant and convicted felon Roger Stone recommended a sentence of 7 to 9 years which fell exactly within the long established federal sentencing guidelines. Trump said he felt the recommended sentence was, “Unfair”. Note Trump often uses the word “Unfair” to describe actions he doesn’t like; it plays well with Bubba who feels that anytime he doesn’t get preference for being white he has been treated unfairly.

On Tuesday, presumably with Attorney General Bill Barr following a Trump implicit or explicit directive, Justice Department’s higher ups intervened and suggested the sentence recommendation be withdrawn. During the day Trump also made a few other retaliatory withdrawals of recommendations which I don’t have the time and space to cover in detail.

While at soccer practice I received three separate new alerts with reference to the Stone trial. They began with one lawyer withdrawing and ended with all four withdrawing in protest, one of them going so far as to completely resign. It’s far from the principle issue of concern in this matter, but for a moment I’d like you to consider the talent drain at federal departments that Trump is causing with his unethical if not illegal actions. The most talented are in a position to leave for much more financially lucrative positions. Once they leave they are highly unlikely to ever return and if we are extremely lucky their body-for-body replacements will have as much raw talent but will certainly not have the same level of experience. Bottom line: America loses for years if not decades.

Before I go on to look at the New Hampshire results and the current state of the Democratic race I want to leave you with one last observation on timing. Trump is not very talented but one thing he is good at is manipulating if not controlling the news cycle. It began in 2015 with the campaign. He received more coverage than any other candidate by miles. Why? The answer is because he was outrageous and that “sold”. Once in office he took the Friday news dump to a new level. Now, for the second time in less than a week he made major purge/retaliation moves – this time coupled with a “protect a friend” (and probably keep secrets buried) gambit. I believe in Nance’s Law much more than pure coincidence!

Now, turning to the New Hampshire results:

With 98% of the vote in and the benefit of rounding, the order of finish is Bernie Sanders at 26%, Pete Buttigieg at 24%, Amy Klobuchar at 20%, Elizabeth Warren at 9% and Joe Biden at 8%. To me the real winners are Buttigieg and to a greater degree Klobuchar. Falling well short of 30% is hardly a convincing win for Sanders. Warren being doubled by Klobuchar in neighboring New Hampshire is a disaster for her campaign. At, fifth Biden was beaten by every (at this point) viable candidate.

As of this writing Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick and Andrew Yang have suspended their campaigns. (You are excused and have a lot of company if you forgot Patrick was running.)

The next contest is the Nevada Caucus on the 22nd. The extremely powerful Culinary Union posted implicit anti-Sanders, and to a lesser degree anti-Warren, posters on Tuesday night. I don’t completely agree with the message of the posters but they will be effective. If Warren was looking for a comeback in Nevada she can forget it and it will make a Nevada win extremely difficult if not impossible for Bernie.

Who knows what Biden’s plans are for Nevada; he is counting on the South Carolina primary on the 29th to bail him out.

To me the biggest winner of the night was Amy Klobuchar. The question mark surrounding her campaign is does she have the money to keep playing at the nosebleed level? To me there are still five viable candidates at this point with Warren in big trouble and Biden with one “get out of jail card” remaining. But wait, there’s more.

It is increasing looking like Super Tuesday on March 3rd is the first chance of a defining moment in the 2016 contest. With it comes a wild card that has political scientists and junkies on the edge of their seats in the name and bank account of Michael Bloomberg. A huge question is how many viable candidates will there be coming out of Super Tuesday and will Michael Bloomberg be one of them.

The great news for the Democrats coming out of New Hampshire is that the turnout will not only exceed 2016’s but will eclipse the record turnout of 2008 which featured the then-hot trio of Back Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Amid all this chaos only two things are certain: Trump will commit more evil deeds and the Democrats will continue to provide fodder for political speculation and in the process cover for Trump until at least Super Tuesday.

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