Jerry Kremer

It’s time for a break from politics


Polls, polls, polls. It isn’t even 2024, and we’re bombarded with political polls, one after another. President Biden is a goner and Donald Trump is ahead by 2 points, but that’s within the margin of error, so it’s a statistical tie. Everyone is upset about the economy and the weather and just about everything else. As we enjoy the holiday season, do we need all of these interruptions in our daily lives?
I recall that, 49 years ago, the little-known governor of Georgia named Jimmy Carter declared his candidacy for president, and all the pollsters laughed. As a member of the Assembly leadership, I was asked to introduce Carter to the party conferences in 1976. I met him at the Albany airport and escorted him to the Capitol, where he got a tepid reception. I drove him back to the airport and wished him well. Nine months later, he was elected president.
In 1991, Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas, declared himself a candidate for the White House. Few people paid much attention to him. In 1988 Clinton had been given a speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention and he spoke for over a half-hour, when he was only assigned 15 minutes. Everyone thought that was so funny that he was invited to appear on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.” Four years later he was elected president.
What I’m getting at is that right now, no one has the slightest idea what will happen next November. The Republican Party is going through its primary process, which will most likely end with the crowning of former President Trump as its candidate. Biden is juggling two wars, a Republican majority in the House that would like to impeach him — without any evidence — so as to make Trump happy, and a host of other headaches.
Next March, Trump is expected to go on trial for his conduct leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. His former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is expected to be the star witness against him. Some legal experts think there is a strong possibility that Trump will be convicted by a jury of his peers. How would voters react to such an event, and would a conviction sway enough of them to make a difference? That will be one of many new factors that the pollsters will have to consider. Right now there are wars in Gaza and Ukraine. Biden has been a strong supporter of both countries, providing them with arms and moral support. Congress is currently in a state of gridlock about helping both countries. What if Ukraine loses the war to Russia? What if Israel wins its war with Hamas, but is stuck with administering the needs of the people of Gaza? These are two more headaches to throw into the 2024 mix.

Even though former President Trump is favored to win his party’s nomination, the picture will look very different if and when he does so. Once he is the candidate, voters will begin to focus on all of his actions and statements over the past few years. It’s one thing to talk about wanting retribution against your enemies, but when you’re the nominee, do voters look at you differently?
At this moment, the issue of abortion rights is not front and center. Those favoring a woman’s right to choose have won a series of battles in a number of states. Next year the issue will again be prominent in voters’ minds, and they will weigh which of the candidates supports their position. Biden’s and Trump’s stances are well known.
Now, however, it’s time to ignore the pollsters and the political columnists. Here’s hoping your observance of Hanukkah was memorable, and let’s wish the same for Christmas. Keep planning holiday parties. If you’re traveling, finish up your packing early. We need a break from all of the distractions coming out of the political world. Let’s have some fun, and be happy and healthy. After three years of Covid and so many other distractions, we need a break.

Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?