Each morning, you think 2016 election cycle can’t get any more surreal, or bizarre, or disconcerting . . . the news cycle jostles you awake and says, “Oh yeah? Get a load of this!”
What the heck? I mean, really, what the heck?
Clinton held a rally in Kissimmee, FL, a suburb of Orlando, the site of June’s terror attack. She began her rally by paying tribute to those who were slaughtered by Mateen while the terrorist’s father, Seddique Mateen, sat right behind her, prominently displayed and in full view of the camera.
There he is, right behind Hillary’s shoulder:
This is no mistaken identity; Mateen spoke to reporters afterwards about why he wants Hillary Clinton to be president. He showed reporters a sign he made for her, declaring she was “good for national security.”
Yes, that father:
Florida corporations created by [the shooter’s father] Seddique Mateen, the Provisional Government of Afghanistan Corp. and The Durand Jirga Inc., are related to that border dispute.
And Seddique Mateen announced his candidacy for president of Afghanistan in 2015, one of several YouTube videos posted by Mateen related to the issue. A Washington Post translation of one video has the elder Mateen praising the Taliban: “Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in (the) Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said.
The obvious rejoinder: “She says she’ll keep the pro-Taliban folks who are close to terrorists out of our country . . . but she can’t even keep them out of her own rallies. Maybe she should try building a wall.”
Donald Trump might be the luckiest son-of-a-gun to ever run for president. If he can’t make some noise over this and make up five points quick, he should just close up shop and let Pence-Cruz handle it from here.
Meet Evan McMullen . . . That Other, Other, Other Guy Running for President
Finally, Evan McMullen, the independent presidential candidate for everyone who found our friend David French to be too much of a big name.
McMullin is a devout Mormon who was born in Utah and raised in western Washington. While attending Brigham Young University, he began a ten-year career with the CIA. Along the way, he also earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and worked in the investment-banking division at Goldman Sachs. Until this morning, he was the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference.
Unsurprisingly given his previous work, McMullin seemed especially interested in foreign policy, and was keen to draw a contrast between himself and the other announced candidates. ISIS’s terrorists “eat, drink, and sleep to destroy us,” he argued. “It’s real. They are extremely motivated. I know them. . . . I worked against them, and with them, convincing them to work with us. I understand their mentality. These are very motivated people. And many of them are very, very intelligent.”
One nice thing about McMullin: He’s actually done things with his life. We don’t know precisely he did at the CIA, but his LinkedIn page lists his experience as “Managed clandestine operations related to counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, energy, political stability, and counterintelligence, while serving mostly in hostile environments.” He seems like the kind of man who knows a thing or two about a refugee crisis; in 2001, he worked in resettling refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, Jordan. (According to the dates on his LinkedIn page, his United Nations refugee work overlaps with his CIA work. I’ll let you draw any conclusions you wish from that.)
The bad, and obvious news for McMullin is that he’s missed the deadline for appearing on the ballot in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The deadline for submitting petitions in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Ohio and Washington D.C. is tomorrow. He has only a few days to collect the needed signatures in a slew of other states. So in short, McMullin is basically running a write-in candidacy for president.
Seven states do not allow write-ins for president and vice-president.
Had McMullin gotten started at the beginning of the year, or even after Ted Cruz lost the Indiana primary, who knows? Maybe he could have qualified for some ballots as an independent and gotten somewhere. But with his name appearing on so few ballots, he seems destined to be an asterisk in this year’s election — even with the thoroughly dissatisfying choices before the electorate.
Utah Looks Safe for Republicans! Er . . . Yay?
It’s not all bad news for Trump this week; the talk of Utah being a swing state should quiet down a bit after this poll showing the GOP nominee with a comfortable twelve-point lead. In fact, Brian Schott at Utah Policy wonders if Hillary Clinton could finish third in the state, behind Libertarian Gary Johnson.
The rest of the polling news . . . looks pretty grim for Republicans. Hillary Clinton is now at a 7.5 percentage point lead in the RealClearPolitics average, and that’s including Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the mix. Clinton’s lead in Pennsylvania is growing, too.
ADDENDA: Clinton Cash, the story of how Bill and Hillary Clinton became enormously wealthy while she was in office as Secretary of State, is now available as a graphic novel! The more troubling donors of the Clinton Foundation, the shady deals, the unsavory donors, the troubling regimes making giant donations and seeking favor from the U.S. State Department; it’s all here! This adaptation of Peter Schweizer’s revelatory book is the work of two comic industry pros, writer Chuck Dixon, best known for his long runs on Batman, and artist Brett R. Smith, who’s worked with both Marvel and DC Comics.