Here We Go Again
It looks as though Michael Bloomberg is entering the already over-populated Democratic Presidential parade which, to my mind, only throws one more wrench into the Dump Trump possibilities for 2020. While it is still beyond belief that the corrupt, criminal, incompetent, barely literate Trumpglodyte is in the White House, I am genuinely concerned that the Democrats are carefully arranging their circular firing squad to insure “4 More Years” of this Nightmare! It could well be that the final Democratic nominee is not on the Campaign Trail yet (there are Eric Holder rumors circulating this morning, for example) but, whatever the case, let’s take a look at who the candidates are right now, with Election Day 2020 now less than one year away.
To be fair, we’ll look at the current Democratic field alphabetically, considering what kind of a chance they may have to receiving the nomination and what they might bring to the table against the current Tweeter-in-Chief. (based on NY Times, Nov. 7th “Who’s Running” by 5 staff writers)
Michael Bennett. Currently a Senator from Colorado, 54 years old (underwent prostate cancer surgery in April but is “clean” now), focused on issues of infrastructure, economics, and technology. If you’ve had a chance to hear Bennett (which is rare, because he’s not a big “name” candidate) he’s very bright with some clear, sensible ideas. Has zero name recognition and is from a purple state. No chance.
Joe Biden. There are reasons Joe Biden didn’t get the nomination the last two times he ran. While he may be a nice guy, Biden is far from the sharpest knife in the drawer. Unless he runs with Barack or Michelle as his VP candidate, his ability to stick his foot in his mouth makes him a perfect foil for the cruel denizen of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He’s 76 years old and it’s difficult to say if he’s just not very bright or there is some creeping dementia going on.
Cory Booker. Senator from New Jersey, 50 years old. Obama-Lite. Excellent orator with a great track record (up-by-the-bootstraps kid, Stanford football player and Rhodes Scholar, Mayor of Newark) but he hasn’t been able to gain much traction among Democrats. He could be a longshot or a VP name.
Steve Bullock. The Governor of Montana and former State A.G. 53 years old. Like Bennett, another bright, young guy nobody knows. A Democrat who has prevailed in a deep Red state but governing Montana (population: around 1 million people in the 4th largest state, physically) is not governing the whole country and, despite his bipartisan success in the Big Sky State, he’ll be out of the running after Iowa and New Hampshire. Again, maybe a VP name.
Pete Buttigieg. The 37 year old gay war veteran is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and running a smart race. He is currently a darling among voters (and the media!), particularly younger people. He is focused on the environment/climate change and economic opportunity, offering himself as a “Moderate” in a field that is split between “Progressives,” “Liberals,” and “Moderates.” He’ll make a splash in Iowa and probably remain in the race through the Spring. However, Democrats, do you think this polarized country is read for a young gay President? (I think not – but I wasn’t sure they’d elect Obama either --- big thank you to Sarah Palin there).
Julian Castro. The 45 year old former Obama Cabinet member has made immigration reform and education key policy issues in his campaign but is failing to gain traction. He might have been a stronger candidate against Ted Cruz than Beto in that 2018 Senate race but clearly was looking at this Presidential run instead. Again, a possible VP but I doubt America is ready for a young Latinx President any more than it is ready for a gay man (or, possibly, a woman!).
John Delaney. 56 former Congressman from Maryland. What? You didn’t know he was still running? Oh, you didn’t know he was ever running? A nice Liberal guy. No chance.
Tulsi Gabbard. The 38 year old Congresswoman from Hawaii and Army National Guard veteran has a history of anti-gay activism and meeting with Syria’s Assad (after he used chemical weapons on his own people!). Fabulous rumors that she is V. Putin’s choice for the Dems. Like Trump, she’s an anti-interventionist American-Firster. Will fade by the time Super Tuesday rolls around.
Kamala Harris. 55 year old Senator from California --- former San Franciso DA and CA AG who’s record on criminal justice reform has become a thorn in her side. A wonderful speaker whose intense questioning of Trump nominees for the Cabinet and the Court regularly makes the nightly news. After a fast start, has steadily lost momentum and, again: will America elect a bi-racial woman? (Sorry, I’m getting more and more skeptical of our electorate).
Amy Klobuchar. The 59 year old Senator from Minnesota and former attorney has focused on appealing to swing state voters as a sensible, Moderate candidate who wants to take on the opioid crisis and prescription drug costs. Kind of a likable Hillary Clinton (policy wise) but probably will fade as the weather gets warmer.
Wayne Messam: I’ll bet you didn’t even know the 45 year old Mayor of Miramar, Florida was even running, right? Well, according to the November 7th NY Times, he’s on the list! The first Black mayor of Miramar, Messam was a member of the 1993 Florida State Seminoles National Champions. Keep moving, people, nothing to see here.
Bernie Sanders. We’re all familiar with the 78 year old heart attack victim who wants Medicare for All. Bernie is a phenomenon, for sure, but does he really have a chance? I know, according to current polls he’s running ahead of Trump --- and that’s great. But he’s a self-professed Socialist who wants Medicare for All (“You’ll be TAXED!” the Republicans will cry) and free college tuition (Who’s paying for that?). And, while I hate to bring this up (and this is true for Bloomberg, too) do we really think the American electorate will elect a Jew? Jack Kennedy barely squeaked by as a Catholic and, while we’d like to believe we’ve come a long way --- we haven’t.
Joe Sestak. 67 year old former Navy Admiral and Congressman from Pennsylvania. Yup, like Wayne Messam, you probably weren’t aware of this guy’s candidacy. Read on.
Tom Steyer. The 62 year old billionaire is listed as a “climate change and impeachment activist.” There’s no doubt Tom Steyer’s heart is in all the right places but can he really get out the Black vote, the white working-class vote, the youth vote? Probably not. He comes across as a stiff business guy who’s trying to do the right thing, which is nice, but he’s not the guy.
Elizabeth Warren. The 70 year old Senator from Massachusetts, former Harvard professor, and champion of the Consumer Protection Agency wants “big, structural change” (NY Times). Attacking income inequality and promoting Medicare-for-All with her “I Have a Plan for That” motto is appealing to a segment of the electorate --- but a “segment” is not going to displace Agent Orange. Like Biden and Sanders, current national polls have her running ahead of Trump but will she swing Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin? Don’t discount how much harder it is for a woman to run for an Executive position.
Marianne Williamson. The 67 year old self-help author and new age lecturer (NY Times) from Planet Xenon is another candidate with her heart in the right place --- but her head? Who knows where that is? How she’s still out there is a miracle, right?
Andrew Yang. The tech millionaire has run on the universal basic income idea, which is one I like and believe might eventually evolve into a viable possibility by the middle of this century, but Yang’s a longshot who will fizzle by Super Tuesday, if not sooner.
As far as Michael Bloomberg is concerned I’ll just say this: New Yorker. Short. Jewish. I won’t belabor how he wouldn’t even negotiate with the New York City Teachers Union the entire time I worked in that system (2008-2014), consigning us (the teachers) to living on 2008’s base salary for six years while all costs of living climbed in NYC and he convinced the City Council to allow him to run for a third term because “only he” could pull NYC out of the 2007-2008 fiscal crisis. Not my favorite candidate, as you might guess.
So, that’s the field. We may seem other saviors emerge over the coming months but I’m afraid what’s shaping up is a Classic Circular Firing Squad, leaving Trump’s re-election a genuine possibility.