Presidential Campaign Vignettes of the Week

U.S. Senator Cory Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to hold an oversight hearing on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in the wake of “egregious and appalling abuses” revealed in recent news reports.

Beto O’Rourke 

Young, charismatic, and set a record by raising $6 million within 24 hours after entry announcement.  As Walter Mondale said about Gary Hart in 1984, however, when it comes to Beto, where’s the beef?  

Joe Biden  

It’s almost official – he will be running to achieve the status as centrist consensus candidate.  Query as to outcome: Ed Muskie in 1972 or George HW Bush in 1988?  

Cory Booker  

Beto is cornering the charisma market, so Booker stock is devalued.  But if Beto flounders, Beto stock falls and Booker stock rises. 

Elizabeth Warren  

No personal appeal, no candidacy after September 1.  

Kamala Harris  

Presently practicing tightrope walk between mainstream Democrats and progressive Democrats.  If Biden flounders, Kamala becomes the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.  


The Trumpist GOP is using this word as their pejorative the way Joe McCarthy used the term “communist” in the 1950s.  The term connotes 1) Government ownership of all major industries and 2) redistributionist income policy.  Problem for Trumpists:  Under leadership of National Democratic Chair Tom Perez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, there are as many moderate Democrats in the House as Progressives, so Progressive agenda won’t dominate.  Sorry, Trumpists.  

Bernie Sanders  

Bernie is still an underdog but he experienced this past week three good news items regarding millennials.  First, college admittance scandal is deepening disillusionment among millennials, which comprise the core of Bernie’s base. Second, polls show that millennials are much more amenable to socialism than baby boomers.  Third, he posted impressive fundraising totals to date.  

Amy Klobuchar 

Showed analytical and political skills in analyzing “Medicare for All.”   Best Democratic dark horse bet.  

Kirsten Gillibrand 

I know her well.  She was elected to the US House of Representatives in 2006 while I was serving as Bush 43 Region 2 EPA Regional Administrator.  I met with her once a month due to her representation of Fort Edward, New York, the site of the General Electric Superfund Site.  She had formerly been an attorney with the eminent David Polk firm, and I thought she displayed much more political acumen than most lawyers from top law firms who go into politics.  When Hillary Clinton left the US Senate to become Obama’s Secretary of State, I accurately predicted that the then Acting Governor David Patterson would appoint Gillibrand to fill the Senate vacancy.  She does not have the political or policy skills, however, to make it as a presidential candidate. 

Trump unhinged  

First, climate science denial.  Next, denial of evil reality of white nationalism, as shown in New Zealand. Next, his fascistic threat to investigate NBC for his being mocked on Saturday Night Live.  Finally, out of control attacks on a patriotic American icon, John McCain.  Verdict from these four courses of action:  Trump is a bigoted, unpatriotic, parafascist, scientific illiterate. 

It’s not the Mueller report; It’s the US Southern District of New York (SDNY) and the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, stupid! 

The US Department of Justice has a policy against indicting a sitting president.  A growing number of legal scholars, however, do not extend this shield of immunity to criminal actions of a president that have nothing to do with abuse of presidential power or his election to the office.  Accordingly, an indictment against Trump arising from his activities as CEO of the Trump Organization could proceed, whether issued by the SDNY or the New York Attorney General’s office. 

For Donald Trump, RICO is a four-letter word. 

If the federal SDNY indicts Donald Trump under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, his assets derived from his activities as Trump Organization CEO become subject to seizure and forfeiture.  In that event, as I have consistently predicted, Trump will offer a deal to leave office if the RICO complaint is dropped.  For Trump, other than family, money is more important to him than anything else in his life. 

Chris Christie

Watch and listen to him closely on television, folks.  He knows Trump is in judicial peril, and the former New Jersey governor is getting ready to run.  He’s not my candidate, but I don’t sell him short. 

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.

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