My Long-Shot Presidential Prediction

Months from now, you could be passing along this piece to someone as you say, “I knew a guy who called it back in November of ’19 who called it!”

This early, we simply just don’t know how next year’s presidential race will turn out. There are so many variables that could affect the outcome, not just in the election, but also in the nominating process. However, I have a feeling, a hunch, an inner voice that is saying to me, “You know, this seems awful familiar.”

Candidates who were long-shots at this stage of the game (before the first primary) ended up receiving the nomination of their party and winning the whole thing. Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, was a very unlikely candidate.  Ronald Reagan, a former actor from California? C’mon. And Bill Clinton, a governor of the hog-raising state of Arkansas made it to our nation’s highest office, coming out of what seemed to be nowhere.

I remember a fairly tight presidential race that took place in 1960. I wasn’t into politics, since I was only five years old, but I do remember hearing things.  Oh, I was oblivious to the mentions in the evening news or in the newspapers (since I wasn’t very good at reading quite yet). In fact, my memory of that time in my life is pretty limited and slowly fading. Yet, I do recall hearing something that I have cited over the years in conversations where someone states that a particular candidate could never be president because (fill in the blank).

During that Presidential Campaign of 1960, somewhere along the line I heard that there was no way that John F. Kennedy would be elected president because he was a Roman Catholic. As we know now, not so much a practicing one, but a Roman Catholic. The phrase that burned into my brain from whatever source it came from was, “Yeah, if he gets elected, he’ll have us all praying to Mary.”

There had never been a member of the Catholic church elected to be an American president until JFK cracked that barrier.  By today’s standard, a pretty small barrier, but that was just the beginning of the evolutionary 1960s.

Years from now, I’m going to remember hearing people say, “Oh, Pete could never get elected president because he is gay.” Here’s where I go out on the skinny branches–I believe Pete Buttigieg will be the next President of the United States.

Several months ago, when he was a true longshot, I sent $50 his way, hoping that by some miracle, his candidacy could catch fire. Up until recently, it’s been Biden, Bernie, Warren and all the others. I figure the others are hanging in there so they might be considered as a running mate.

I’m convinced Pete is going to surprise people in Iowa and then, once people see that it’s OK to vote for him, his campaign is going to catch fire.

Why Pete?  Have you heard him speak. He’s eloquent, intelligent, a moderate Democrat (which is more in keeping with someone who could get things done) and has all the youthful energy that JFK did when he took office. There’s that military background, toss in manners and decorum and a Buttigieg presidency could end up being an incredible unifying gift to this country.

However the election turns out and whoever becomes president will have a small impact on my personal life and happiness. So many people act as if it’s a life and death matter and it can be if you want it to be.

From my view, I only see a man with conviction, who served his country–first in the military and then, in public office–who isn’t afraid to take the really big swing and reach for the country’s highest office.

Very Kennedy-esque. However, he’s gay instead of Catholic. I believe our democracy can survive. And so, I’m going to go with Mayor Pete as the longshot winner.

However you feel, vote, and we’ll get our answer in a year.

God bless America. (picture flag waving here)

Tim Hunter

Electing a President

When you’ve been around as long as I’ve been, every now and then you feel this tremendous urge to count things. For example, the number of presidents that have been in office during my lifetime. Younger readers can do that off the top of their heard, but I have to go to Wikipedia and see the list. The answer? 12.

Yes, a dozen presidents have been in the Oval Office during my tenure on earth. Seven Republicans, Five Democrats. We’ve had a General, a Peanut Farmer, a former Michigan football player, a host of a western TV series in the1950s and another, the host of a Reality TV series during the early part of this century.

As an 11-year-old boy in Southern California, I once rode my bike over to the local Sears, where future president Ronald Reagan was making a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor of California. That’s about as close as I’ve ever come to a real live President of the United States.

I’ve been to the Reagan, Nixon and Clinton libraries. If you ever have a chance to visit a presidential library, do it, regardless of how much you liked them or their party. It’s a great reminder of their importance in the history of this country and a strong reminder that we’re all Americans.

I voted for my first president in 1972. Raised in a Republican household, my senior year of high school, I was actually a Young Republican For Nixon and campaigned door-to-door. I even got my Democrat neighbor, Gary, to vote for him. He never let me hear the end of it.

Over the years, I’ve voted for presidential candidates from both parties.  Believe it or not, in one election, I was disgusted with both of the main parties and voted for the whack-job Ross Perot. Over time, we learned what a mistake that might have been and realized that we could have learned the lessons we’re learning now decades ago.

What have I learned? I know that when it comes to our current situation, both parties get full credit for it.  You gave us those two candidates in the last election and it was a no-win situation. Friends that I’ve discussed politics with (and it can be done without calling each other idiots) know what I think. Here are the possible scenarios I see for the next election:

  • Scenario 1–A strong, sensible moderate Democrat steps forward and offers new, real ideas and takes us in a positive direction
  • Scenario 2–The far left side of the Democratic Party takes over, much like the Tea Party did in the Republican party a few years back, and while the Democratic die-hards love it, the middle part of America would rather ride it out with Trump.
  • Scenario 3–An Independent candidate runs, fragmenting the main party, which hands a victory over to the other party. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney offers a non-crazy Republican alternative. For the Democrats, Howard “Starbucks” Schultz, entices voters with sensible solutions with progressive thinking outside the party.

I know there are countless other combinations of “what if’s” but those are my top three most likely. Feel free to come back and remind me of those when Oprah and Michelle Obama win in 2020.

Politically, I try to stay in the middle. Doing that allows me to look at both sides, see who I agree with most and go from there. Today, we are so divided as a nation because somewhere along the line, people moved politics to the top of the list of what’s most important in their lives. It wasn’t always that way. People lived and laughed and played and worked and you didn’t necessarily know how they felt on politics. Much like religion. I don’t need to know what you believe. You have yours, I have mine.

Politics has become the new religion. It’s a “winner takes all, if you don’t believe like me, then you’re wrong” mentality. Put a D or an R near the name and I’ll tell you what I think about it, whether I know anything about it or not.

The evolution of my politics has been an interesting personal journey. When I began voting, I looked at each of the presidential candidates with questions like these in mind:

  1. What is their stance on the economy?
  2. Where do they stand on the war?
  3. What are their positions on the important social issues?
  4. Are we better off than we were four years ago?

However, as 2020 approaches, I’ve had to modify my qualifying statements:

  1. Are they mentally unstable?
  2. No, seriously, are they insane?
  3. Do you know what the hell you’re doing?
  4. Can you make us all feel that way?

Whether it’s a contesting Republican or a grounded, well-spoken Democrat, I hope and pray that 2020 will give us a choice the majority of us can live with and that maybe, just maybe, this country gets just a little less crazy.

Tim Hunter