The Scary Campaign

(Even More Google Hit Bogosities)

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So we've done phoniness. And craziness. How about scariness? (Cue spooky music.) What liberty-loving American can help from being a … little apprehensive looking over the field of presidential candidates? Can any of them be trusted near the nuclear football? Or even a legislation-signing pen?

Once again, the leader in our poll is not surprising. And, again, (roughly speaking) the more likely the candidate is to win, according to Betfair, the more scary Google hits they accumulate.

That makes total sense to me.

Candidate WinProb Scary
Hit Count
Donald Trump 46.9% 55,000,000
Joe Biden 14.9% 26,400,000
Pete Buttigieg 4.9% 8,250,000
Bernie Sanders 9.1% 2,900,000
Kamala Harris 6.5% 891,000
Beto O'Rourke 2.5% 648,000
Elizabeth Warren 4.2% 538,000
Andrew Yang 2.4% 291,000

"WinProb" calculation described here. Google result counts are bogus.

  • Back in January, Mark Weinberg wrote a CNN opinion piece that would seem to be right up our alley: What really makes the Trump presidency scary. Oooh, what?

    And so it continues. With no end in sight to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump, who rightly said a government shutdown should be blamed on the White House, now seems unwilling to accept responsibility.

    As a result, hundreds of thousands of innocent government workers -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents -- are being forced to go without the paychecks they need to feed, house and clothe their families. (These are government workers who, by the way, Trump decided will not receive any pay raise in 2019.) And millions of citizens nationwide are being forced to go without some of the government services on which they may depend.

    Ah, yes. The Great Government Shutdown. It went on for weeks after that. And, yet, somehow the nation survived.

    Can't we do better than that, scary-wise?

  • Well, there's always Joe Biden. His wife, Dr. Jill, has gone on Comedy Central to calm the nation's fears: Jill Biden Promises ‘Daily Show’s’ Trevor Noah Joe Biden’s Creepy Behavior ‘Won’t Happen Again’. After some of the softballs you expect:

    Then Noah broached what has been the clearest obstacle to Biden achieving that goal to date: as he put it, “the story of him just being too massage-y with people.” He asked Jill Biden if she thinks it’s “strange or fair” that she has been asked to speak to these issues on behalf of her husband or if it’s “part of the game.”

    “No, I think that’s part of it,” she answered. “And look, it took a lot of courage for women to step forward and say you know, you’re in my space and Joe heard that. And it just won’t happen again. He heard what they were saying.”

    "Massage-y". Nice euphemism. Nevertheless, the date on that article is yesterday (May 30). Two days before that Joe Biden Made This Creepy Statement to a Ten-Year-Old Girl. Quoting an NYT story:

    Mr. Biden did have one interaction that raised some eyebrows among online commentators: After a 10-year-old girl asked him a question about the divided state of the country, Mr. Biden gave a lengthy answer that touched on the importance of immigration to the nation’s fabric, before remarking to the young questioner, “I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking.” She told him that her favorite subject was journalism, so Mr. Biden proceeded to bring her to the back of the room, where journalists and TV cameras were congregated, and put his hands on her shoulders.

    It's just Joe being Joe. That is to say, scary and creepy.

  • At the New Republic, Bob Moser reveals Why the Religious Right Is Terrified of Pete Buttigieg. Examining Mayor Pete's trashing of Mike Pence and the reaction thereto:

    A gay and devoutly Christian president would represent one more great stripping-away of the dehumanizing myths so long, and so successfully, propagated by the religious right: In this case, the notion that the gays (much like the communists, the atheists, the feminists, the blacks—name your pariahs) want to “take over,” with the ultimate aim of destroying traditionalist Christianity and all its fine values.

    When Buttigieg made it emphatically clear, on Sunday in Washington, that he was not going to make nice—that he would use his newly powerful platform to call out the bigotry behind the religious right’s “love”—he sent a bone-chilling message to all the Erick Ericksons out there. The very basis of their faith, after all, is fear: fear of God, fear of sin, fear of difference. By liberating himself from his own fears—both personal and political—Buttigieg has evolved into a dangerous figure for the champions of American intolerance as he prepares to formally announce his candidacy this coming Sunday. He’s demonstrating a level of blessed assurance that his detractors are showing they lack. His strength is laying bare their weakness. Of course they’re furious—and scared.


  • Hey, but how about this Vox article from Emily Stewart: Elizabeth Warren 2020 has Wall Street very afraid. Does she really?

    As president, she would almost certainly promote a bigger corporate clampdown. In August, she unveiled the Accountable Capitalism Act, which as Vox’s Matt Yglesias explained would “redistribute trillions of dollars from rich executives and shareholders to the middle class” by requiring corporations to consider the interests of not only shareholders but also consumers, employees, and their communities when making decisions. She has also proposed a wealth tax on Americans with more than $50 million in wealth.

    Beyond her legislative proposals — which, depending on which party is in control of Congress, might have a hard time getting through — Warren would also be able to exert control through executive branch appointees and what is likely to be a regulatory push that moves in the opposite direction of what Trump has done. She would be able to appoint the heads of entities such as the CFPB, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and the Treasury Department, for example. Those individuals would likely be in line with her hardline stance on financial regulation and corporate interests.

    I'm pretty sure that a President with the power to “redistribute trillions of dollars" is scary all by itself, and not just to Wall Street.

  • And then, of course, there's Bernie. In the NYT, columnist Thomas B. Edsall notes: Bernie Sanders Scares a Lot of People, and Quite a Few of Them Are Democrats. After that promising headline, it turns out the scariest thing about Sanders is… that Trump might beat him.

    At a more subjective level, Sanders’s rhetorical tone of righteous indignation has served him well with Democratic voters, but it remains untested among the independent and swing voters who cast ballots only in the general election.

    Democrats are banking on making the 2020 election a referendum on Trump. How likely are the more controversial aspects of Sanders’s politics to blunt that strategy and turn the contest into a referendum on both Trump and Sanders?

    If there were only some way Democrats could nominate "Not Trump" instead of an actual human being!

Last Modified 2019-06-04 1:03 PM EDT