Democratic presidential prospects

I enrolled Democrat to have a presidential primary vote — for a candidate who can beat Trump, and make America great again. Maybe after four years we can still climb out of this stinkhole. But after eight . . . .

Berlusconi — Italy’s Trump

In a recent column, David Brooks worries that we’ll follow Italy’s path. They too had previously elected a businessman-outsider promising to drain their swamp. Instead Berlusconi deepened it, ignoring Italy’s real problems, and degrading its politics with his corruption and shameless lack of decency. In Italy’s latest election, the responsible center was swamped by nutsy parties. Trumpism could similarly spin future American politics into a race to the bottom.

Several factors push that way. We’ve become poisonously, tribalistically partisan. It’s aggravated by the internet. We once thought the greater access to information would be elevating. Instead it’s a flaming cesspool of confirmation bias, falsehood, and incitement. Russia hardly even needs to lift a finger, we’re doing it to ourselves. For all our education (which rarely includes any civics now), voters are ill-equipped to perspicaciously evaluate what they see and hear. Thus we have the political equivalent of Gresham’s Law — “Bad money drives good money out of circulation.”

Trump exacerbates all this. We won’t wake up suddenly with our democracy dead. Instead, it will be the death of a thousand cuts.

You might think it easy to beat the worst president ever. But think again. Around 38% of voters stick with him no matter what. And the electoral college still works in his favor, enabling him to win last time with only 46% of the popular vote. To repeat that in 2020 he only needs to add around one in eight other voters to his 38% base.

Most of those others are solid Democrats, so actually, of the ones truly up for grabs he needs maybe a third. But that’s still a fairly low hurdle, hence Democrats cannot afford to lose many of those swing voters.

This means playing it safe. Democrats can easily blow this by nominating someone who will turn off enough swing voters; a sitting duck for the dirty campaign of lies, insults, and demonization Trump is sure to mount again.

So: no woman. No ethnic. No ideologue. Sorry, this is pragmatic reality. True, we elected a black president, but a lot of whites Democrats need in 2020 will not vote for another one. And while misogyny is not a big factor, it still does exist, and Hillary would have won if she’d had a penis.* We will have a woman president in due course. But achieving that is far less urgent than ridding ourselves of Trump.

Unfortunately, while Republicans have plunged to the dark side, Democrats — instead of grabbing the vacated center ground — have veered sharply left. The activist base was all gaga for Sanders, and still is.

Will he run again? Well, if you were him, why wouldn’t you? Hillary did beat him in the primaries (by getting more votes, not some sort of conspiracy), but with difficulty, and within the Democratic party she was actually a very strong candidate. Who could beat Bernie in primaries next time? Free college, free healthcare, punish Wall Street — the party’s left-wing base eats this stuff up.

Winning the nomination is one thing; winning the country quite another. It’s a ridiculous delusion that if only Bernie had been the nominee in 2016, he’d have defeated Trump. A grumpy overaged Brooklyn Jew who calls himself a socialist? Please.

Trump would not even need any of his moronic insults, with the word “socialist” a monster albatross hanging around Bernie’s neck. Efforts by lefties to sugar-coat it, as if it merely means government doing stuff like road building and fire-fighting, are dishonest and won’t fly. Call it “democratic socialism,” or “apple pie socialism,” but America won’t buy it.

What America might buy — hopefully, after four years of Trump, will be begging for — is a normal president. A sane, decent, avuncular white male with experience, competence, and understanding of the world, who tells the truth, is not a racist, fraudster or buffoon, and might help unite the country more than divide it. Who reflects America’s foundational principles, values, and ideals.

I have high regard for Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris is also impressive. But both are penisless. Elizabeth Warren is too, and too far left besides. Oprah lacks a penis and white skin. Cory Booker and Deval Patrick — great guys — have one but not the other. Andrew Cuomo has both and fancies himself presidential timber, but no one else does. (Almost as repellent a character as Trump.) Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy I don’t know much about, but he seems like the kind of plain vanilla candidate needed. And Joe Biden ticks all the boxes. Yes, he’s old. But old beats crazy. I’d be pretty confident of Biden defeatingTrump.

Will Democrats be able to resist the allure of shiny objects, and pragmatic enough to nominate a Murphy or Biden? Or will we follow Italy down the rabbit hole?

*Not one surgically added, of course.


2 Responses to “Democratic presidential prospects”

  1. Lee Says:

    President Harry S. Truman said

    I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

    But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are–when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people–then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

    So, I worry whether your recipe is effective. Furthermore, championing a candidate because he is white and male is a path to more racism, not less. That’s not acceptable.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    Truman’s words from 70 years ago are hardly applicable to today’s political landscape.
    What’s not acceptable to me is Democrats handing the next election to that stinking piece of shit Trump

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s