Where’s Party leadership when we need it?
I watched the Democratic presidential debate from Des Moines last night. I’m not going to comment on who won and who lost; that’s the job of the score-keeping pundits and talking heads. But I am going to comment on the process the Democratic National Committee is using to pick a candidate.
In a word, the process is AWFUl! The DNC rules have created a system that favors billionaires (Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer) and candidates who have been in the national public eye long enough to have significant name recognition (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden) and penalizes those potentially strong, competitive candidates without those attributes (Corey Booker, Kamila Harris…Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg being notable exceptions) who have to drop out.
Last night was the final debate before the first votes will be cast. But because of the DNC process, only six candidates qualified. And when those first votes are finally cast, the process makes it even worse because those first voters will be in Iowa and New Hampshire, perhaps the two states most unreresentative, not just of the Democratic Party, but of the country as a whole.
We have a long way to go. But I’m not sure that more time will lead to any greater insights that will allow the average voter to make the key decision: who is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump? Because if there’s any truth in this process it is this: Donald Trump cannot be reelected.
So what’s the answer to the question: Who should be the 2020 Democratic candidate for President? Up until tonight, I didn’t have an answer. I’m not sure I have now, but maybe it’s time to take a stand.
Here’s what I think:
- President: Amy Klobuchar
- Vice-President: Corey Booker
And what of the rest of last night’s field?
- Joe Biden should be appointed Secretary of State;
- Elizabeth Warren should be appointed Treasury Secretary;
- Pete Butgieg should remain in Indiana, run for Senate, and gain an additional Democratic seat;
- Bernie Sanders should remain in the Senate where he can introduce and help pass laws that wil benefit the people;
- Tom Steyer (along with Mike Bloomberg) should spend his $Billions making sure all this happens.
And for those candidates who have already dropped out:
- Julian Castro should remain in Texas, run for Senate, and gain an additional Democratic seat;
- Beto O’Rourke should remain in Texas, win back his former El Paso Congressional seat and come back later in his career to run for president;
- Steve Bullock should remain in Montana, run for Senate, and gain an additional Democratic seat;
- John Hickenlooper should remain in Colorado, run for Senate, and gain an additional Democratic seat.
You might quibble about some of these picks. Maybe Elizabeth should be substituted for Amy. Or maybe Bernie, heart attack and all, should be at the top of the ticket. Or maybe Stacey Abrahms should be selected for VP. But bottom line, against Trump, what we need is a sober, middle of the road candidate, without baggage, who stands for what we stand for and can stand up to Trump. I think Klobuchar can do that.
I can already hear the moans and groans out there. Klobuchar? What has Block lost his mind? Doesn’t he know that to beat Trump we need someone with star power? (Like, um, Hillary Clinton?) But before you call for the straightjacket, read David Leonhardt’s January 5 column in the Times (excerpted here):
“If you’re like a lot of Democrats, you worry that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too liberal — or at least that other voters think so. You’re also not buying the Pete Buttigieg hype. And you get nervous every time Joe Biden opens his mouth.
“So where are you supposed to find a comfortably electable, qualified candidate who won’t turn 80 while in office?
“Senator Amy Klobuchar has become an answer to that question in the final month before voting begins. She has outlasted more than a dozen other candidates and has two big strengths: A savvy understanding of how to campaign against President Trump and a track record of winning the sorts of swing voters Democrats will likely need this year.“
But whether it’s Klobuchar or any of the others left standing, how does all this get organized for the common good. How do we get Butgieg and Castro and O’Rourke and Bullock and Hickenlooper to go to Congress to help make sure the Democrat elected president can actually get things done? How do we get Mike and Tom to swallow their egos and spend their billions the right way? Where is the leadership to make all this happen? Where is the leader?
We all know who that person is, who that leader is. He’s the most respected, the most loved and the most revered Democrat in the country. He’s Barack Obama.
So, Barack Obama, if you’re reading this (and I know you are as you were one of my initial followers – LOL ), end your silence and exert your leadership. Take a stand. Make something happen. If not for the country, for your legacy. Use your influence and stature to stop the public Democratic bickering that plays to Trump and his base. Lead the party back to the White House and back to a majority in both the House and the Senate. Do it behind the scenes if it makes you more comfortable. But, Just Do It!
With a lying, incompetent, criminal running for reelection and House and Senate Republicans serving as his sycophantic puppets, there is no better time than now to take control of Washington and do the right things for the well-being of all Americans and for all the world.
Barack Obama, “Yes you can!”