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Justin Amash bids adieu

A grab-bag of politics, religion, and other news ahead of the 2020 election

Justin Amash bids <em>adieu</em>

Justin Amash (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Editor’s Note: This weekly feature will publish Fridays during the 2020 election season.

1. Amash’s adieu

Less than three weeks after jumping into the presidential race, Rep. Justin Amash (Libertarian-Mich.) jumped back out. Amash was exploring a bid for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, but the congressman said on May 16 he realized success isn’t likely under the current circumstances. 

That’s likely true—with or without a pandemic. But it also wasn’t certain Amash could win the party’s nomination.  Amash left the GOP in July 2019, but he filed paperwork to change his affiliation to the Libertarian Party on May 1, 2020. He officially announced his Libertarian bid just 24 days before the party’s scheduled convention. 

Amash drew media attention, but longtime Libertarian Jacob Hornberger had already won a handful of primaries. Those contests are non-binding in the party, but they revealed a base of support. 

In an online debate, Hornberger grilled Amash on a slate of issues, including his pro-life position. On abortion, the Libertarian Party platform asserts “people can hold good-faith views on all sides,” but says the government should stay out of it.

Amash didn’t deny his pro-life beliefs. But he said he thought a Libertarian presidency wouldn’t require him to compromise the party’s platform, since the party opposes federal funding for abortion. Still, there are other abortion-related issues a president must face, and it wasn’t clear how Amash would handle them. 

The Libertarian Party is set to hold its nominating convention online over Memorial Day weekend. The decision to go virtual came only after an extensive debate over party by-laws that require the group to meet “in a place” they agree on. A question they debated—perhaps one we’re all pondering these days: Is the internet a place? 

2. Swinging low

At a moment when nursing homes are suffering some of the highest death rates related to COVID-19, frailty isn’t funny. But, sadly, that’s the schtick in a recent Trump campaign ad pointing out opponent Joe Biden’s mishaps on the presidential trail.

Biden has stumbled with his speech and concentration at more than one public event this cycle. Though he’s struggled with a stutter since childhood, it’s still fair to ask reasonable questions about his mental acuity if he aspires to the presidency. 

But it’s folly for the Trump campaign to produce an ad that begins with an image altered to appear like Biden is being spoon-fed in a nursing home. The recent Facebook spot featured jaunty music and a string of Biden’s slip-ups. Another ad declared: “Geriatric mental health is no laughing matter,” while playing a jovial tune and showing Biden falter. 

Ben Carson, now secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was once a presidential candidate who liked to quote the book of Proverbs on the campaign trail. One of the Proverbs that campaign managers might keep in mind: “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense.” 

3.  Loving thy neighbor 

Nursing home residents are some of our most isolated neighbors, with COVID-19 contributing to a steep death toll at many residential care facilities. President Trump announced an independent commission to assess COVID-19 response in nursing homes, and to make recommendations to the federal government for preparing for outbreaks.

Emma Green of The Atlantic penned a moving story about nuns from the Roman Catholic order Little Sisters of the Poor, as they cared for residents falling ill in a nursing home in Delaware. “If you don’t have a strong faith, this thing would just succeed in crushing you,” one of the nuns told Green. 

A few weeks later, attorneys for the Little Sisters of the Poor were making oral arguments via telephone to the Supreme Court (the court was quarantining). The nuns are still battling regulations related to the Affordable Care Act requiring the religious order to provide contraceptives and abortifacients in its health care plan. 

Biden served as vice president in President Barack Obama’s administration when the rules rolled out. The case is a reminder that Biden, a lifelong Catholic, should face questions about his views on religious liberty during the presidential campaign. 

4. Sound bites 

The Atlantic also published an expose of QAnon, an anonymous online entity with a group of followers professing belief in a vast, deep-state conspiracy theory they say is aligned against Trump. 

Some of the followers also use Biblical language, and the article leans toward suggesting the group could be partly an outgrowth of the evangelical church. Denny Burk, professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offered a crisp response on Twitter: “I know what Christianity is, and Qanon ain’t it.” 

5. Off-the-trail

In non-campaign news, two NASA astronauts are scheduled to launch from earth on May 27 and soar to the International Space Station. The astronauts will fly in the Dragon capsule developed by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. (NASA encourages viewers to watch the launch online.) It’s the first manned flight for the California company—and perhaps the ultimate form of social distancing during an election year.

Comments

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  • SAWGUNNER
    Posted: Fri, 05/22/2020 08:51 pm

    Could WORLD assign someone to cover the campaign of Howie Hawkins?

    He is the GREENS nominee. 

    Former USMC and also more or less 100% Bernie style platform. 

     

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 05/24/2020 10:22 pm

    Why would Christians want to support a socialist who is against capitalism and supports the Green New Deal? 

    He even supports abortion where his position is the following:

    What is your position on abortion?
    Answer: Pro-choice, and providing birth control, sex education, and more social services will help reduce the number of abortions

    His party position is the following:

     “Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains ava...”

    The Democrats are seeking to divide our vote by causing us to vote for third party candidates. Rather we should support Trump who has been faithful standing against abortion, for Christian liberty, and he has fought our battles against the left who are trying to destroy Christianity. Make no mistake about it, as they viciously attacked Cavanaugh so they will attack the best Christian candidate with lies and propaganda that we put forward. 

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Tue, 05/26/2020 12:23 pm

    "But it’s folly for the Trump campaign to produce an ad that begins with an image altered to appear like Biden is being spoon-fed in a nursing home. The recent Facebook spot featured jaunty music and a string of Biden’s slip-ups. Another ad declared: 'Geriatric mental health is no laughing matter,' while playing a jovial tune and showing Biden falter."

     

    You seem to not know how politics work. The ad is an exaggeration to push home the point that Joe has clear debilitated capabilities which is a serious issue. We all have seen Joe become mixed up and seem to lose it at almost every interview. Having a president with these issues threatens our country at several levels.

     

    First, if Joe would become president then foreign nations could capitalize on it militarily, diplomatically, or some other fashion.  Our country would be left in limbo until the Vice President took over. 
     

    Second, a minority in the Democratic Party could end up selecting the Democratic presidential candidate, where the party insiders allow Joe to be the candidate until the last when another is chosen by a small minority. This diminishes our political process by taking away from the democratic process.