Dem Primaries: Debates, “meh;” Process, “AWFUL”


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!”

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

11 thoughts on “Dem Primaries: Debates, “meh;” Process, “AWFUL”

    1. I guess I have a problem with buying an election…and that’s what Bloomberg is doing. Would he be better than Trump? Yes, but so would virtually any of the Dem candidates.

      Regarding your other choices, I think balancing a ticket is important. I was incredulous when Hillary picked Kaine. Yes, I know female/male. But why pick a straight white guy when she could have picked one of the Castro brothers to get out and solidify the Latino vote. Just plain dumb.

      Biden is scary. As my 11-year old Japanese friend says, “He’s OK, but he doesn’t finish his sentences. And sometimes when he answers a question he doesn’t make sense.” He showed those tendencies again last night. My dream ticket 6 months ago was Biden/Harris. Then they dissed each other, she couldn’t defend herself from Tulsi Gabbard and self-destructed And he started sounding like he’s a 78-year old man. Where’s Al Gore when we need him?

      And Elizabeth won’t shake Bernie’s hand because he lied about their conversation. And Bernie is 78 and just had a heart attack. Wow, can’t get much better than this!


  1. I know how much you value my opinion ha ha but here goes. I believe a certain percentage of registered Democrats are going to get out and vote no matter who the nominees is. I don’t know how big the percentage is. And there is another percentage of people who Are only going to vote for the candidate they want. That means they’ll stay home if they don’t get the candidate they want. The third percentage are the people who just can’t be bothered to vote unless there’s someone there they believe in who they feel will make it worth voting. Though, and let me make this clear, I am not Though, and let me make this clear, I am not a 100% fan of his, The only candidate that could possibly appeal to all three of these groups is Bernie Sanders.


    1. I value your opinion. I’m just not sure a 78-year old “socialist” with a heart condition is the guy. Obviously, if he’s the candidate he’ll get my and most Dem’s vote. But I’m not so sure some Dems won’t sit on their hands with Bernie as the candidate. Bottome line: Is he the best we can do? Are all these folks the best we can do?


  2. Excellent analysis, Ted, and what a terrible job CNN did last night!

    I hope against hope that BO reads your blog. At least the last 3 paragraphs. How can we help to convince him to come forward and lead? Maybe he’s waiting until there’s a nominee.



    1. I doubt BO reads my blog. HaHaHa. And I think you’re right, he won’t do anything until there’s a nominee. And that’s the problem. We need him to step in and not pick the nominee, but at least rationalize the process, get the gang together and develop a winning overall strategy, not individual strategies, which by definition, will all be losing strategies but one. The Warren/Bernie “cat” fight is a great example…one of them is lying, probably Bernie. And while the conversation might have been benignly hypothetical and matter of fact, they’ve stupidly brought it out in the open. But back to BO — I recall there’s a picture of him with RRP in your TV room. Doesn’t that give RRP permission to make the call and get BO to do something?


  3. Ted…….after watching the debate, it certainly made me concerned! The bickering among the candidates probably brought a smile to the President’s face! Then too, watching his performance in front of his supporters once again brought a grimace to my face. I for one see a Biden- Klobuchar ticket as being formidable! In addition, I agree with you……time for President O’Bama to become vociferous and add his strong voice to the Presidential race…..we need his active participation!
    Keep your thought coming Ted….enjoy reading them!


    1. Thanks for your comments, Jay. My only concern is that I don’t think Biden, at 78, has the chops anymore. I hold my breath everytime he answers a question. 6 months ago, I advocated a Biden/Harris ticket. You know what happened — they piled on each other. Someone legitimate has to emerge; we can’t leave this next election to a 50/50 chance.


  4. I like Klobachor and I like the rest of your suggestions. Not sure how we get this to happen but I’m with you!!!

    Sent from my iPhone



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: