By Samir Shukla
The year started with such promise. 2020. A lovely rhythmic and poetic number. It marks the end of a decade and gazes toward the start of a new one. So many plans were made when the year was born and then began to crawl along with promise.
By Samir Shukla
It's not over yet, but the voters have spoken. The Democratic primaries will roll on, in some form of postponed or other capacities, but Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee. I think Bernie Sanders should remain in the race till the end. This way there is no complaint hardcore Bernie supporters can make that the nomination was stolen from him. The DNC ran a fair and square nominating process, which began with the most diverse lineup of candidates ever.
By Samir Shukla
I'm smitten by devils. Not the ones that inhabit religions. I'm talking politics, which bedevils me like a cheap, shoddily written mystery novel. Election years, especially presidential election years, unfold at a rapid pace, where intrigue, suspense, tragedy, comedy, disappointment, elation, all are wrapped into a never-ending variety show.
By Samir Shukla
Penn Masala has a knack for expanding the human voice. Their musical modus operandi? It is A Capella, where singers perform without musical instruments. Their voices are the instruments.
By Samir Shukla
Decision time for Democrats
The reckoning for the dozen Democrats still running for their party's nomination to take on President Trump is now here. The February Fab Four - Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina - primaries and caucuses will winnow out the field further. The January Democratic debate featured six candidates. The DNC announced after that debate that any candidate receiving at least one delegate in Iowa will qualify for the New Hampshire debate in February. This gives couple more of the candidates a chance to elbow into that debate.
The real reckoning will happen the first week of March. I believe the race will be down to a couple, maybe three, contenders by the end of Super Tuesday or at the least by the end of March.
The biggest reckoning will be for hard progressives to decide between Sanders and Warren. The expected and inevitable conflict between Warren and Sanders has begun and is playing out in social media. Let's face it. They are essentially the same candidate, albeit Warren is more malleable. The trick will be for each to not damage the other too much after one is left standing.
Could this be the year a woman is elected? Only two of the three remaining women have a shot at the nomination. Klobuchar and Warren present two different views of Democratic politics. In my analysis Klobuchar is stronger in taking on Trump, mainly because many moderate and fiscally conservative Democrats will feel more comfortable with her. Warren would alienate a good bunch of them. Of course, that's a discussion for later, the first matter at hand is can either of them knock the boys out of contention?
A twist on NC's gubernatorial race
Here's an interesting note on North Carolina's governor race. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is running again and has one primary opponent; Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest is running for Governor's office and has one primary opponent. Both will likely win their party's nomination. The interesting thing is that according to Ballotpedia, “Seventeen states elect their governor and lieutenant governor separately, and currently three of them—Louisiana, North Carolina, and Vermont— have a lieutenant governor of a different party from the governor. Two of those states are holding elections for governor this year and both may require that the leading candidates balance working side-by-side on a day-to-day basis while battling one another on the campaign trail. This year, North Carolina and Vermont may see the incumbent governor face the state's incumbent lieutenant governor in the general election."
Incidentally, Ballotpedia (www.BallotPedia.org) is a wonderful source of information that is updated daily. It is easy to navigate, and their non-partisan take on all the races and candidates is refreshing and welcome.
A continuing assignment
I propose some homework. It's simple. Create a sweet marmalade of facts and spread it far and wide. The tough part is that this should also be done when your own candidate is clearly spewing B.S.; add this marmalade to your own ideology. People who complain about media the loudest are seemingly the ones that don't spend the time to visit multiple sources, sort out facts, and separate opinion from researched news. It's not easy trying to dislodge ideologically obtuse folks sequestered in their preferred spin zones. In moments of heated arguments, bring out that sweet marmalade, and watch the heat subside just a little bit. No matter how entrenched someone is in their bias, this technique can have a mellowing effect.
There are numerous reliable fact-checking sites (I've listed some below and will post more), including major media organizations that have their own fact check pages. When a spurious claim is made, do your own fact checking. It's not that hard. It takes a little bit of an effort. In this content-saturated world we are now in, it is even more important to find the truth via multiple sources. Media bashing is easy and for the lazy. The reality is everything today is “media." There are plenty of news organizations that still do the hard work of gathering and dissemination of information.
We all have our ideologies, but don't let emotions of the moment hijack your common sense and reason. Truth generally wins in the end. Let's do our homework in the coming months and spread that marmalade as needed.
Fact check sites:
Notable Election 2020 Dates:
February 7: Democratic debate in Manchester, N.H (ABC News, WMUR at St. Anselm College)
February 11: New Hampshire Primaries
February 19: Democratic debate in Las Vegas (NBC News, MSNBC and The Nevada Independent)
February 22: Nevada Democratic Caucuses
February 25: Democratic debate in Charleston, SC (CBS News, Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Twitter at the Gaillard Center)
February 29: South Carolina Democratic Primary
March 3: Super Tuesday. Several states, including North Carolina and Virginia hold primaries.
March 24: Georgia primaries
April 28: Maryland primaries