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After several debates, countless interviews and media coverage, it is still difficult for me, and perhaps many others, to identify the best Democratic candidate for President. Each of the leading candidates has strong points and weaknesses, and so making the best choice is going to be difficult.

What I do know is that I want a candidate who can do 3 things: (1) effectively take on Trump during a heated 3-month Fall election contest; (2) generate the greatest voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket and (3) have an approach to governance  that seeks to unify the country.

Let’s examine each of these attributes in a little greater detail. In terms of a strategy for taking on Trump, some people want a candidate that can go toe-to-toe with him on the debate stage, an experienced prosecutor like Kamala Harris. I myself think this strategy may further polarize the electorate, as they take sides in a war of attack dogs. A better approach might be an ignore/deflate strategy, where the Democratic candidate scarcely mentions Trump by name

while continually casting light on the failures of his policy agenda to do  much good  except benefit  the wealthy. This bashing of Trump’s policies would need to be coupled with an effort to convince the electorate of the merit of the policies of the 2020 Democratic platform, and would need to focus on core issues such as jobs, healthcare, abortion, racial justice,climate change, immigration and gun control. The need to address income inequality should  be addressed in proposals for stronger fiscal and monetary policies, while minimizing ad hominem polarizing bashing of rich people.

The  strategy for generating the best turnout depends on a candidate who can motivate voters in several key demographic  categories  —African-Americans and Latinos, suburban voters, people in mid-country swing-states , and young people. Unfortunately at this point I don’t see any of the currant candidates  appealing to all of these important demographic groups. More progressive candidates like Warren and Sanders have an appeal to younger voters who want radical change. More middle of the road candidates like Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar, may appeal to mid-America and older African-Americans, but have yet to make inroads with younger voters, and with blacks in the case of Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

The third essential quality in a strong Democratic candidate is someone who stresses the need for unifying the country, who appeals to America’s morality and core values as enshrined in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Many Americans yearn for this after several decades of divisive politics.  A strong Democratic  candidate should offer a broad vision of reconciliation, unity, and respect for people who don’t agree with him or her. A unity approach also ought to put forward sensical ways for reforming the electoral system to make it more open, participatory, and responsive to the will of the people; reforms that would include  taking the money out of politics, protecting voting rights,  and linking the election of a President to the popular vote

There are those that say that such an approach is not what’s needed and won’t be heeded by the opposition. But I believe that promoting and  practicing an inclusive form of governance that  does not demonize the opposition is  desperately needed by our country right now. It is an approach that seeks to go beyond  the realm of the daily  Democrat/ Republican political power contest. There are some candidates who realizes the necessity of taking this approach, such as Corey Booker  Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden  but they have their own set of vulnerabilities.

Ultimately it is the Democratic voters in early primary states who will play the strongest role in determining the next Democratic candidate for President. Any candidate with a solid lead after these three primaries will likely emerge as the nominee. Let’s hope our brothers and sisters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Utah, and South Carolina choose wisely.

One thing is for sure though; although you can find flaws in each of them (as you can in all humans) any of the currant group of Democratic candidates is 10000% better than President Trump, who has more flaws than one can count. That said  we all need to actively support the chosen Democratic  candidate , whoever he or she may be, no matter what their strengths and weaknesses. No moaning and groaning, voting for a rogue candidate, or staying home. This election is too important.

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