The Man For The Moment?

Hope you’ve had a good week. Just having some fun on this Saturday morning. This isn’t really a political post. 🙂

We know that Republican President Donald J. Trump is not proving the most popular of US presidents – certainly not as of yet anyway. Apparently quite a few Democratic presidential hopefuls sense that 2020 is their big chance. According to an influential conservative opinion magazine, the list of potential Democratic candidates is long:

We’re up to 18 candidates, and that’s not counting the celebrities and media figures who might think Trump demonstrated that political experience is not only no longer required, but a liability: Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Mark Cuban, and so on. Quite a few Democrats see Trump’s victory in 2016 as a fluke, a historical accident, a twist of fate that can be explained only by Russian mischief. If President Trump’s job approval remains low, a lot of Democrats will conclude that the 2020 race will be the easiest path to the presidency in their lifetime.

Those termed Democratic contenders for 2020 always start with the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren…

However, Democrats need to understand they cannot refight 2016 in 2020. Trump’s victory has itself altered presidential politics – at least for now – before our eyes. Billionaire businessman, multiple-marriages father, TV personality, tweeter, unapologetic sayer of just about “anything,” he reached the presidency running as a Republican after having, during 2015-16, essentially eaten alive all of the Republicans’ “traditional” presidential wannabe politicians. Never having held elective office before, he is not even really a Republican; in many ways he is America’s first “independent” president.

Meaning if Democrats really believe some ordinary “machine” Democratic governor, or mayor, or even a senator, stands a better chance in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did, they are deluding themselves – yet again. Even a well-known celebrity like Oprah Winfrey probably would not win either: remember, leaving aside that she is black and a woman, she has no children and is unmarried. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is too young, Jewish (unfortunately that is a reality that cannot be ignored), and is not nearly so well-known among American voters as some seem to think he is; nor is he necessarily highly-regarded even if he is known to them; lots of people think Facebook is, well, creepy.

In short, Democrats need to get real in 2020. Unseating any sitting president, even an unpopular one, is not easy. The country had a Democratic, married, black father as president from 2009-2017. It rejected Democratic, married (who may be in an “estranged” marriage), white grandmother, former senator and first lady Hillary Clinton. (Yes, she “won” the popular vote; but that is irrelevant: constitutionally that is not how presidents are chosen and never has been.)

In 2020, Democrats may indeed need a celebrity to face Trump. However, I would go so far as to argue that it must be a man, and he must be a “happily” married, white Christian (Roman Catholic seems acceptable), younger than Trump, but not so much younger as to be perceived as lacking gravitas, and have young children as a look to the future: a “conventional” life arrangement that fits with the life pre-conceptions of a majority of the voting population. And given Trump is married to one, an immigrant wife would be fine.

Ah, and what might we have here? It is reported that actor George Clooney, his wife Amal, and their newborn twin daughters, are relocating to California from here in Britain. It is said in media – often snidely – that Clooney has security concerns in Britain. But if you know where they live in Berkshire, I don’t really believe security is a major factor.

Amal Clooney (Lebanese citizen by birth and a naturalized British citizen) is not a US citizen. With she and George married now for longer than 3 years, shortly after taking up residency in California as his spouse she would be entitled to apply for US citizenship. She could possibly become an American within a year. I’m unsure where their daughters were physically born, but assuming they were born in the United Kingdom George’s daughters are US citizens because he is a born US citizen.

To seek political office in the US, you must reside in the US. Suppose political activist and well-known liberal Clooney has already decided he wants to be governor of California? (The current governor of California, Democrat Jerry Brown, is term-limited by law. His period in office ends on December 31, 2018.) And suppose as part of that “strategy,” Amal wants to apply for US citizenship (perhaps spurred on also, separately, by their children being US citizens they have as a couple decided she should be one as well)? And what if that’s why they are really relocating?

[Photo by me, 2016.]
[Photo by me, 2016.]

The Oxford-educated (she studied at the same Oxford college my nephew just graduated from) barrister, Amal, who argues before international tribunals, would find herself in a California Homeland Security office with an immigration official having verbally to answer 10 questions – out of 100 she had been given in advance – on US history and culture. To pass she must get at least 6 of them correct.

Number 3: “President Lincoln is most famous for doing what in office? A) Ending slavery B) Writing the Declaration of Independence C) Battling vampires.”

Melania Trump did it.

California is now so heavily Democratic that if Clooney announced he wanted to be governor, it would probably be his job for the asking. Election as a governor would establish his political bona fides. Imagine this 2020 US presidential contest?: Recently elected Democratic governor of California (by far the country’s now most populous state), George Clooney, immediately announces he is seeking the presidency against incumbent Donald Trump.

The White House from Pennsylvania Ave yesterday afternoon.📸 . I'm (sadly) old enough to remember when traffic whizzed by on it and it was an active road. It is understandable why the public has been gradually pushed increasingly back for security purposes, but I thought it felt kinda sad, too: concrete barriers, fences and armed to the teeth police and secret service are everywhere. Naturally it also attracts a type: Melody (I think that was her name) had a microphone and loudspeaker and was running for president while reading from the Bible (she's seen to the right, under the tree, in an all white outfit); and another guy had set up a stall on how the world is coming to an end, or some such. I bet given the likelihood of ever greater "security creep," someday we won't be able to get even this close to the building to see it – that they will just fence off the whole area. . #travel #tourism #washingtondc #WhiteHouse #photo #photography #photos #instatraveling #authors #writers #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #politics #history

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Democratic-voting Californians would probably forgive Clooney for that quick move for the White House given how unpopular President Trump is among them in California. Trump may at this point seem “damaged,” but as 2016 proved you cannot ever count him out. Nor can you face him as a “traditional” politician, nor with one, because he isn’t one himself.

Clooney would be a non-traditional and celebrity Democratic nominee who could not be taken lightly. If he were the party’s standard-bearer, it would make for a US presidential election for the ages: two entertainment titans, partnered with their comfortable before cameras, foreign-born, recently naturalized American citizen wives, slugging it out for the presidency.

And if we had thought 2016 was a weird presidential election, if that happened in 2020, the world hasn’t seen anything yet. Given Clooney’s known political opinions, he must loathe President Trump. If he were approached and given a chance to make history in unseating this president, would Clooney be able to resist?

But if Clooney isn’t interested in seeking any office, it won’t happen, of course.

However, as a fiction writer, it made for an amusing “What if?” weekend post!

Hope you’re having a good one. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.