” The spring is coming !  »: Groundhog Day in the Groundhog Year of American Politics |  International

” The spring is coming ! »: Groundhog Day in the Groundhog Year of American Politics | International

” The spring is coming !  »: Groundhog Day in the Groundhog Year of American Politics |  International

First of all, the news: the marmot Phil abandoned his torpor this Friday shortly after dawn and did not see his shadow, so, according to the beautiful tradition without scientific basis and at least in this part of the world, the Spring will come early this year. .

Like every February 2, Candlemas Day, some 10,000 people gathered in Punxsutawney (pronounced ponxotouni) for America’s most famous weather forecasts. It dates back to 1887 and serves this backwater Pennsylvania town to claim the title of “Weather Capital of the World.” Bundled up from head to toe to spend a night at zero degrees in the middle of the forest, curious people from all over the country and some corners of the world waited for hours for a guy in a frock coat and top hat to raise the 7.22 to the animal with the frightened face. At his side, another man reads the verdict of the “forecaster of all forecasters”. ” The spring is coming ! » he proclaimed, and the audience erupted in joy.

Groundhog Day has always been a big event in Punxsutawney, but this year it broke its attendance record. The number of visitors continues to grow, three affable women who have run the local meteorology museum said Thursday, since its first in 1993. Caught in time, masterpiece of existentialist comedy. In it, Bill Murray, playing an embittered meteorologist, is forced to relive the same dispiriting day over and over again, during which he must cover up the work trespassing act of a sciuromorph rodent. Although almost the entire film was shot 850 kilometers to the west, in Woodstock (Illinois), it is the great tourist attraction of Punxsutawney and managed, also in Spanish, to introduce the name of the holiday into popular language, as the expression of a boring already seen. In English, Groundhog Day is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a situation in which the same generally negative or monotonous experiences occur over and over again without anything changing.”

Thus, this leap year, Groundhog Day took on another interest, since it was celebrated at the start of the Groundhog Year of American politics, a year marked by the more than probable repetition of the electoral duel between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Juxtaposition of recent images of Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump. P.A.

Polls confirm that a large part of the American electorate has the same face as Murray when the song is played for the umpteenth time. I got you, baby, by Sonny & Cher, who wakes him up every morning (the same morning) at 6:00 a.m. (another demonstration that cinema rarely imitates life: if you want to have a decent place in the woods, you will have to wait for Phil from 3:00 p.m.) . According to the latest poll published at the end of January by Reuters/Ipsos, 67% of those questioned confirmed their boredom “at seeing the same candidates in the presidential election”, as well as the desire for “someone new” to be present. voting. .

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That was the opinion of Bill, a 55-year-old retired teacher, on the cold night in Punxsutawney. “This country is a prisoner of time,” he said, before admitting that he sees “no other option” than Biden. “At least I know what I can expect from him. Trump scares me. Zack, a 20-year-old New York student, regretted having to vote for the first time “in such an unexciting election.” “For young people, they don’t give us alternatives; our system is designed for this,” he added. And if the “undecided” Mark, 54, who, originally from the Chicago suburbs, voted in 2016 for Trump and four years later for Biden, would like there to be other options (“I understand that no one wants the job of president, where half the country hates you”), Michelle at least sees the opportunity to “throw this guy out of the White House.” “With Trump, we have had four years of peace, and look at us now.”

The longest campaign

To the lack of enthusiasm for a Biden-Trump second round, we must add the additional annoyance that the confrontation represents, with few precedents in American politics (it has been more than a century since two tenants of the White House did not see each other again)), promises to be the longest electoral campaign in living memory. The primary process, which began in mid-January in Iowa with Trump’s landslide victory over his opponents for the Republican nomination, continued in New Hampshire with another drubbing, this time from Nikki Haley, the last rival in the running, which, as much as possible, but also very improbable, it can still come back. If the primaries are resolved as soon as it appears, there will still be five months until the Republican convention; six months for that of the rivals.

Next up for the Democratic side is this weekend in South Carolina, where another victory for Biden is taken for granted, who has already beaten a little-known candidate, Dean Philips, in New Hampshire, although the president is not not even included on the list. on the ballot papers. On Saturday, according to the poll aggregator Five Thirty Eight, he would be in the lead with 68% of the votes (compared to 5% for his opponent).

The argument from Philips, a Minnesota congressman and successful businessman, is that Biden has been a good president, but the worst possible candidate, especially given his advanced age: He will be 82 when he revalidates its mandate. to rent out in the White House and 86 at the end of his term. This is a widespread idea in the most left-wing democratic sectors, which joins others, such as the fear that its support for the war in Gaza will reduce its support among Muslims and young people, and the discontent of the black voter. In the party, no one was able to oppose him despite his physical and image weakness (he only has an approval rate of 39%) and we indolently waited until it was too late to present an alternative, while having fun with baseless speeches. theories, as a step forward from Michelle Obama.

Laziness was also the cardinal sin pointed out by the neoconservative analyst Robert Kagan in a long essay published in Washington Post which fueled the debate in the capital in December. Its title was A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending and stressed that the opportunity to raise a front against him had disappeared, hoping that justice would do its job: the tycoon faces 91 crimes in four separate trials, and a legal operation is underway to disqualify him on the basis of ‘a little-used clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, on which the Supreme Court will rule soon.

“So, short of a Trump or Biden health crisis, revenge is inevitable,” says Michael Kazin, a professor at Georgetown University whose latest book is a history of the Democratic Party. “Haley remains in the race in the vain hope that one of these court cases will turn her party’s voters against Trump, or perhaps because she wants to set the stage for 2028.” Kazin also believes that “it’s too late for Democrats to change candidates, unless Biden can’t continue for some reason.” Filing deadlines for many primaries have passed, and it takes time to raise funds, hire staff, mobilize support… And at this point, a serious challenge would only divide and weaken the party’s chances of winning. in November. It might have been a good idea for Biden to say about a year ago that he wouldn’t run. But not anymore”.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro at the Groundhog Day celebration in Punxutawney this Friday. ALAN RELEASED (Reuters)

A rising Democratic star, one of those who could have come forward, attended the early morning Groundhog Day celebration: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. He easily beat Doug Mastriano, a radical Trumpist, in 2022. Democrats are holding on to him in a key swing state, because of the number of delegates he brings. Biden needs it if he wants to stay in power, he won it in the 2020 election, but the latest polls give it to Trump next November.

Although nine months before the polls, even demographic gurus advise taking the polls with caution, in the same way that statistics also recommend doing with the predictions of the groundhog: it is right four times out of ten. Besides, in 2020 – the year when the Super Bowl had the same opponents: the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers – Phil also predicted that spring would come early.

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