On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the 2020 United States presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month's biggest stories.
This month's spotlight on the campaign trail includes interviews with the vice presidential nominees of the Constitution and Libertarian parties as well as the chosen of the leading Green Party presidential candidate.
At the beginning of May, with the Coronavirus Pandemic ongoing and s easing in some states, presumptive US Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden led incumbent US President Donald Trump of the Republican Party in the average of head-to-head opinion polls, 47.4 percent to 42.1 percent. In an April 30 – May 4 poll with then-US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Congressman included, Biden led Trump 47 percent to 40 percent with 5 percent for Amash.
Congressman Amash, who changed his party registration to Libertarian, contended for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, but dropped out of the race just ahead of the party's online US Constitution Party nominated a ticket of businessman Don Blankenship for president and Michigan Taxpayers Party chairman for vice president. For the US Green Party, former Minnesota joined the party and had signaled an intent to run but ultimately decided against it. Labor activist broadened his lead among pledged Green Party delegates, approaching the number required to secure the nomination at the online , scheduled for July 11. Hawkins, who is also the presidential nominee of the , had his hopes of a left-wing coalition dashed when it was reported the ballot-qualified Peace and Freedom Party of California and the of Vermont chose presidential nominee as their presidential nominee. Hawkins selected 2016 Socialist Party USA vice presidential nominee to be his running mate.. At the convention, the party's vice presidential nominee, , won the presidential nomination. Podcaster received the vice presidential nomination. In other third parties, at its own online , the
Biden first addressed the Georgia, Congresswoman of Florida, Senator of Illinois, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and were mentioned as possibilities. Biden said he planned to announce his choice around August 1. Continuing a trend from earlier months, Biden made a couple of in May. First, he juxtaposed numbers, claiming 85,000 Americans were unemployed and millions had died from coronavirus. More consequential, he told African American radio host "if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black." Backlash from the statement led Biden to express "I shouldn’t have been so cavalier [...] No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background." In another incident, as Biden remarked on investigation, shortly before President Trump took office, of then- -designee General Michael Flynn, Biden failed to mention his own request at the time to unmask Flynn's identity. The unmasking came to light shortly thereafter in a release of documents related to alleged abuse, which President Trump described as "Obamagate." An analysis of anti-Biden memes showed "Dementia Joe" as a popular characterization of Biden.from former staffer Tara Reade, on television program . When confronted with the accusation he penetrated Reade, against her will, using his fingers under her clothing in 1993, Biden told host "No, it is not true. I am saying unequivocally it never, never happened, and it didn't. It never happened." Meanwhile, a new allegation surfaced from a woman, a niece of Biden's opponent , who claimed Biden commented on the size of her breasts when she was 14 years old. The campaign called the statement "absolutely false." An organizer said Biden was not at the event specified. O'Donnell defended her niece's claim, saying it may have taken place at a different time. Biden searched for a female running mate. candidate of
President Trump made several controversial statements in May. Early in the month, he received additional fallout from a statement he made in late April about the use of disinfectant inside the body to treat coronavirus. He hinted that the Joe Scarborough was involved in the death of a Congressional intern in 2001. When Trump tweeted that state plans to use to allow people to vote from home would result in voter fraud, Twitter placed a disclaimer "fact checking" the tweet. In response, Trump issued an making social media that exercises editorial control open to liability. Twitter continued to edit Trump's tweets. Trump tweeted about the that followed the death of , an African American man who died in Minneapolis while a police officer restrained him. Part of Trump's tweet included the statement, " ." Twitter disallowed comments and likes and placed a warning over the tweet alerting viewers it promoted violence. Trump later said he meant looting leads to somebody getting shot, perhaps by rioters. The phrase itself has historic, racial overtones, of which Trump claimed to be unaware. Meanwhile, Trump attended the joint NASA- and delivered a speech to mark the occasion.would be disbanded, but later reversed himself. Nevertheless, the task force's daily press conferences did cease. Trump said he himself took the drug , which he promoted early in the pandemic as a counter-measure against coronavirus, despite reports about the side effects. He tweeted support for the protests to end statewide shutdown orders despite it undermining his own guidelines. He also promoted an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory suggesting Morning Joe host
By the end of the month, with coronavirus deaths surpassing 100,000 and protests and riots related to the death of Floyd spreading throughout the nation, Biden maintained his lead over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls, 48.4 percent to 42.5 percent.
William Mohr (Constitution Party)
At the Constitution Party's 2020 National Convention conducted online May 2, the party nominated businessman Don Blankenship for president on the second ballot. For vice president, the party unanimously chose— the Constitution Party's affiliate in Michigan — chairman William Mohr.
While Blankenship has been widely covered for his role as CEO of West Virginia, Mohr is relatively unknown. He was a candidate for in every election from 2006 to 2014. He received 3 percent of the vote in his 2012 run and 2.3 percent in his 2014 run.during the 2010 that resulted in the deaths of 29 miners, his subsequent conviction for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate safety standards willfully, his one year imprisonment, and his unsuccessful for the Republican Party's US Senate nomination in
In 2016, the Constitution Party ticket offor president and for vice president received 203,091 votes (0.15 percent) with ballot access in 24 states. For 2020 the party is currently on the ballot in 14 states.
With Wikinews, Mohr discussed how his nomination for vice president came about, his role on the Blankenship/Mohr ticket, and the prospects for the ticket.
((WSS)) How did your nomination for vice president come about? Did you seek the role or was it thrust upon you?
- Mohr: I neither sought the office, nor was it thrust upon me. My good friend, Darrell Castle, asked me to run and nominated me for the position. The nomination was immediately supported by many who know me well. Given the support I received in voice, text, those within the national delegates, and that I was chosen by Don Blankenship for his running mate, I decided to accept. I am humbly honored to serve my party and the nation in this capacity.
((WSS)) What are your thoughts on presidential nominee Don Blankenship? How do you complement him on the ticket?
- Mohr: Don Blankenship is a good man with vast knowledge in the political field. He stands firm on his positions, aligns well with the party platform and has an abundance of ability to lead this nation in the direction it needs to go. His political history demonstrates his ability to influence leaders around him. He has a backbone superior to most men and will be the strongest President we have seen in decades.
- Combined with my longtime message on the need for a return to morality in our states and nation, I am convinced that the Blankenship/Mohr ticket will simply be the best thing that has happened in Washington in a long, long time.
((WSS)) With the coronavirus pandemic hampering ballot access efforts, is it possible to improve on the electoral performance of 2016 presidential nominee Darrell Castle? What can you do to improve the visibility of the ticket?
- Mohr: The American people are beginning to wake up to the fact that they are being ruled by tyrants. Times are changing in our nation. Many current elected officials are promoting false information and gaining much power and control by using this virus as their vehicle. The so-called pandemic has enlightened the masses to the point of large demonstrations and protests. In recent years Constitution Party vote counts have increased considerably and we are winning more and more offices, small and large. Recent actions by elected leaders have only led the masses farther away from the big two parties. I expect to see a large increase in voters searching for alternatives, which will certainly create yet a greater increase in visibility for the Constitution Party.
Spike Cohen (Libertarian Party)
On May 23 at the online Libertarian National Convention, the Libertarian Party nominated Vermin Supreme, was not the candidate Jorgensen initially backed for the vice presidential nomination.psychologist Jo Jorgensen, the party's 1996 vice presidential nominee, for president on the fourth ballot. The next day, the party nominated podcast host Jeremy "Spike" Cohen for vice president on the third ballot. Cohen, who went into the convention as the running mate of performance artist
Cohen, who goes by his nickname "Spike", which he has explained derives from a character on ‘’libertarianism. In 2016, he was diagnosed with . He is co-owner of Muddied Waters Media, which features his podcast (((My Fellow Americans))).’’, was initially a but shifted to
With Wikinews, Cohen discussed his journey from neoconservatism to libertarianism, his role on the Jorgensen-Cohen ticket, and how to improve on the performance of the party's 2016 ticket of former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson for president and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld for vice president, which received 4,489,235 votes (3.27 percent).
((WSS)) What was it that turned you away from neoconservatism to begin your transition to libertarianism?
((WSS)) How would you describe your role as vice presidential nominee? How do you complement Jo Jorgensen on the ticket?
- Cohen: I think the role of VP nominee is to help complement the ticket for the party faithful, to support the POTUS candidate, to promote her policies and beliefs (which isn't difficult to do because they're mine as well), to broaden the appeal of the ticket to the public, and generally to support her in running for President. I believe that Jo and I present a unique opportunity to reach voters across many age groups, and to campaign in both traditional and dynamic, cutting-edge ways to a public that is more open to an alternative to the Republicrats and their nonsense than ever before.
((WSS)) How can you improve on the performance of Johnson-Weld in 2016?
- Cohen: Gary and Bill largely relied on outside agencies and beltway media connections to do their campaigning. A lot of complaints that I've heard from Libertarian activists and downballot candidates is that they felt completely left behind and unsupported in 2016. We are running an across-the-board, homegrown Libertarian campaign that is designed to lift up the whole party. We also aren't relying on corporate media to tell our story, but instead are going to focus on viral marketing and social media reach to create earned media exposure that will force the mainstream media to pay attention to us, on our terms. We believe that will get us the 15% we need in the polls to get in the debates, and when that happens, we have a serious shot to win. Imagine having the two buffoons with a long history of contributing to our problems, and who are now barely able to form a coherent sentence, debating against an accomplished, self-made, brilliant leader who will be able to debate circles around them. And imagine me debating Mike Pence and...whoever has the misfortune of being Biden's running mate.
Angela Walker (Green Party)
On May 5, US Green Party presidential frontrunner and the presidential nominee of Socialist Party USA, Howie Hawkins, announced his selection of a running mate for the 2020 presidential race. Hawkins, a union leader and co-founder of the Green Party approaching securing the delegates required for the Green Party's presidential nomination, tapped Socialist Party USA's 2016 vice presidential nominee Angela Walker.
Walker, a truck driver who currently resides in South Carolina, first met Hawkins in 2014 while she was running for Sheriff of , Wisconsin as an independent socialist and Hawkins was for for the Green Party. Walker received 20 percent of the vote in her race and Hawkins received five percent in his. That showing was Hawkins' best in three successive runs for governor — , 2014, . In 2016, Walker was 's running mate with Socialist Party USA. The ticket received 2,705 votes.
The Green Party, which received 1,457,226 votes (1.06 percent) with the 2016 ticket of Jill Stein for president and for vice president, is to nominate its ticket officially at its online national convention July 11.
Wikinews reached out to Walker to discuss how her past experience impacts the current race, why Hawkins/Walker is the best choice for leftists and socialists, and what goals she has for this campaign.
((WSS)) How does your experience as a nominee for vice president in 2016 help in the current campaign? How is your role the same or different from 2016?
- Walker: It's my pleasure to be the Vice Presidential nominee for the Socialist Party of the USA in 2020, as I was in 2016. The roles are the same: we want both the Green Party and the Socialist Party to grow and be welcoming spaces for people of color, people with disabilities, people along the LGBTQIA rainbow, people who have been wondering where they could fit into a party. Also, getting our platforms and party principles into communities is important. Marginalized communities in particular need to know that they have options outside the party duopoly we have in this country. Being part of a campaign I can believe in helps me reach folks in those communities.
((WSS)) Why should leftists and socialists support Howie Hawkins over Gloria La Riva or the Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Joe Biden?
- Walker: Many on the Left are very excited about the concept of climate change, and they're interested in having a available to them. They are also interested in social justice, making sure people are housed and fed and not abused by the state. All of these things are in our campaign platform. All of them. In detail. I can't speak for the LaRiva/ campaign platform, as I haven't read it. They are people who have my respect. And as to Biden, the fact that he does not support any of the issues people are asking for makes him a nonstarter. His cavalier statements and treatment of marginalized communities is also very problematic. Howie Hawkins is offering a platform that would improve the lives of everyone in this country while helping to reverse climate change. That is something I feel people can be confident about supporting. . They are interested in reversing
((WSS)) What are your goals for this campaign?
- Walker: My goals for this campaign are to help both the Green Party and the Socialist Party be welcoming spaces for marginalized people, and to get people politically educated around the country. Another goal is to help build true unity throughout the Left. We might not agree on everything, but there are many places where Leftists of different ideologies intersect. I want us to meet at those intersections and build from them. There is still a pandemic happening. There is an uprising happening. It is in the hands of the people how we help each other going forward, and I am looking forward to being helpful in those efforts.
- "SARS-CoV-2 surpasses 100,000 confirmed deaths in the United States" — Wikinews, May 29, 2020
- "On the campaign trail in the USA, October 2016" — Wikinews, November 6, 2016
- "State of Michigan Political Party Status" — , June 19, 2020 (accessed)
- Derrick Bryson Taylor. "A Timeline of the George Floyd Protests" — , June 18, 2020
- "William Mohr" — , June 17, 2020 (accessed)
- "2016 Presidential General Election Results" — , June 14, 2020 (accessed)
- "Ballot Access - Constitution Party" — , June 14, 2020 (accessed)
- "About Howie Hawkins" — , June 14, 2020 (accessed)
- "Spike Cohen for VP" — , June 14, 2020 (accessed)
- "William Mohr's Biography" — , June 14, 2020 (accessed)
- "General Election: Trump vs. Biden" — , June 13, 2020 (accessed)
- Mike Wall. "Trump hails SpaceX's 1st astronaut launch success for NASA" — , May 31, 2020
- Barbara Sprunt. "The History Behind 'When The Looting Starts, The Shooting Starts'" — , May 29, 2020
- Kate Conger and Mike Isaac. "Defying Trump, Twitter Doubles Down on Labeling Tweets" — , May 28, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Libertarian Vice-Presidential Nominee Will be Listed on Ballots as Jeremy “Spike” Cohen" — , May 28, 2020
- Alaa Elassar. "This is where each state is during its phased reopening" — , May 27, 2020
- Sarah Mucha. "Biden says he hopes to name vice presidential pick around August 1" — , May 27, 2020
- Brian Doherty. "Libertarian Party Picks Spike Cohen as Its Vice-Presidential Candidate" — , May 24, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Jo Jorgensen Wins Libertarian Presidential Nomination on Fourth Vote" — , May 23, 2020
- Brian Doherty. "We watched the Libertarian Party vice presidential debate so you didn't have to" — , May 23, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Liberty Union Nominates Gloria La Riva for President" — , May 22, 2020
- Paul Waldman. "How to think about Joe Biden’s gaffes" — , May 22, 2020
- Jonathan Easley. "Biden tells Charlamagne Tha God: If you don't support me 'then you ain't black'" — , May 22, 2020
- The Ranking Committee. "Biden vetting rumors are circulating. Here are the VP finalists we see." — , May 22, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Peace & Freedom Party Names National Ticket" — , May 20, 2020
- Zack Beauchamp. "Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine" — , May 18, 2020
- Robert Harding. "Syracuse's Howie Hawkins closer to securing Green Party presidential nod after NY win" — , May 17, 2020
- Julian Zelizer. "What Trump is trying to achieve with 'Obamagate'" — , May 16, 2020
- Victor Garcia. "Ari Fleischer raises concern about Biden after gaffes: 'Is something going on that's getting worse?'" — , May 16, 2020
- Justin Amash. "Thanks for your support ..." — , May 16, 2020
- Jonathan Turley. "The unmasking of Joe Biden" — , May 14, 2020
- Anthony Leonardi. "Reporter tells Biden internet refers to him as 'Dementia Joe' and 'Creepy Joe'" — , May 13, 2020
- Quint Forgey. "Trump promotes conspiracy theory accusing MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough of murder" — , May 12, 2020
- Jeffery Kluger. "Accidental Poisonings Increased After President Trump's Disinfectant Comments" — , May 12, 2020
- Jesse Ventura. "Thank you to all my supporters ..." — , May 8, 2020
- Matt Zapotosky and John Wagner. "Trump, reversing course, says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely’" — , May 6, 2020
- "National: Voters Divided on Alleged Biden Assault" — , May 6, 2020
- Howie Hawkins. "Angela Walker for Vice President!" — , May 5, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Constitution Party Nominates Don Blankenship for President on Second Ballot" — , May 2, 2020
- Trahern Crews. "Jesse Ventura Joins the Minnesota Green Party" — , May 2, 2020
- Joseph A. Wulfsohn. "Woman accuses Biden of sexual harassment over alleged incident when she was 14 -- but organizer denies he was at event" — , May 1, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Congressman Justin Amash Lists Himself in Congressional Directory as a Libertarian" — , May 1, 2020
- "Full Transcript: Joe Biden Addresses Tara Reade Allegations on ‘Morning Joe’" — , May 1, 2020
- Kevin Liptak. "Trump tweets support for Michigan protesters, some of whom were armed, as 2020 stress mounts" — , May 1, 2020
- Jesse Ventura. "OK, I've decided I'm going to test the waters ..." — , April 27, 2020
- Richard Winger. "Don Blankenship Wins Procedural Ruling in His Defamation Lawsuit" — , April 2, 2020
- Howie Hawkins. "You didn’t join the Peace and Freedom Party to support Democrats" — , February 16, 2020
- Rebecca Klar. "Former coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid" — , November 11, 2019