Archive for June 14th, 2019

06/14/2019

DEMOCRATIC DEBATE CANDIDATES

INITIAL COMMENTS RE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WHO WILL BE DEBATING ON JUNE 26th AND JUNE 27th

Ten Democrats will debate on Wed. 6-26-19 and 10 more will take the debate stage on Thurs. 6-27-19. Before the debates begin, I have the following preliminary thoughts about the candidates.

10 DEBATE CANDIDATES (WED 6-26-19)

SEN AMY KLOBUCHER, MN: (YES) I see Sen.  Klobucher as a credible Democratic choice for President or Vice-President. As a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, she has won statewide. She has experience campaigning in urban and rural areas. She has shown an appeal to middle-of-the-road and independent voters. Amy comes from the Upper Midwest, a region where Democrats must prevail. Trump took Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2016. Klobucher would have the ability to speak to such audiences. I haven’t heard Amy make any outlandish comments of the sort that Republicans could use in negative ads. She is a former prosecutor who chooses her words carefully. There are a few minor flaws in her presentation, but nothing to disqualify her. I would recommend taking a look at her.

SEN CORY BUCHER, NJ: I do not see Sen. Cory Bucher as the best choice for the Democrats in 2020. Although he won in New Jersey statewide, I’m skeptical about his ability to campaign in rural Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn. His experience was as a mayor of an urban city, namely Newark, New Jersey. The issues he experienced are vastly different than those in the rural areas, where Democrats need to win. Also, while it is not his fault, the country recently had a black President, and the novelty of that issue is now behind us. John Kennedy was a novelty when he became the first Catholic President in 1960, but the U.S. has not had a Catholic President since. Biden would be the second. The point is Booker would not receive any help from those who just wanted to elect a black for the first time, as in the case of Obama in 2008. This is not the year to nominate an urban candidate.

SEN ELIZABETH WARREN, MA: Sen. Warren is a creature of the East Coast and therefore not what we are looking for in 2020. She has the dubious distinction of being from Massachusetts, the state that gave us losing campaigns from Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004). It’s easy to brand a Massachusetts liberal and that’s certainly what the Republicans would do if Warren were on the ticket. While she is a professor, who has written detailed policy statements, only a few voters base their votes on such information. They instead look for the “it” factor. Sadly, Elizabeth does not have “it.” Someone I know recently referred to her as a flake. I frankly do not think Warren would beat Trump in the critical battleground states.

GOV JAY INSLEE, WA: Gov. Inslee of Washington State won statewide, but he did it in a left-leaning state. Compare Inslee to Bill Clinton. Gov. Bill Clinton won the governorship of Arkansas as a Democrat four times. He was clearly a tough campaigner, as he was forced to address conservative audiences. He knew how to campaign in battle-ground areas. I’m not sure Inslee would do as well in swing states. He appears to spend much of his time on environmental issues like climate change. While that is ok, as many scholars have said, most eventually vote their pocketbooks. I’m not sold on an Inslee appearance on the national ticket.

REP TULSI GABBARD, HI I am very favorably impressed by U.S. House of Representatives member Tulsi Gabbard. She is a military veteran for peace and the best of the six women in the race. Although she has not won statewide, as a governor or as a U.S. Senator, she has credibility in Washington DC as a member of the House. She has foreign policy knowledge and she looks and sounds Presidential. She avoids the pitfalls of one-issue politics and instead appeals to a broad cross-section of voters. I think she would definitely carry Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn. She would wipe out Trump 60-40, if the election was today. I am not sure why she is not polling better. I would like people to check her out.

REP TIM RYAN, OH: House of Representatives member Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is the voice of the forgotten blue collar worker, would also destroy Trump if he had the chance. I really like this guy. He’s quick on his feet and well-informed. He comes from Ohio, a perennial battleground state. Although he has not held a statewide office, he has a following in the U.S. House. I think the country would embrace him. He’s level-headed. I have not heard him make any comment that could be considered foolish. He is worth watching.

FORMER REP BETO O’ROUKE, TX: While former U.S. House member Beto O’Rouke of Texas is articulate and he “almost” won a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, the bottom line is he did not. Yes, Texas is a red state and we should give him some credit for doing well, but if we put a House member on the ticket, I would select Rep Gabbard for her overall ability, or Rep. Ryan for his appeal the battleground areas of the Upper Midwest. I would not feel bad if O’Rouke were the VP candidate, but I’m still not sure his presence would even help the Presidential nominee carry Texas.

FORMER REP JOHN DELANEY, MD: I have to admit I do not know much about this former Congressman. If we are going to choose a House member, I’ve already mentioned Rep. Gabbard, Rep. Ryan, and former Rep. O’ Rourke. Given the three of them, Delaney would not be on my list.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NY: I do not support Mayor De Blasio. First, he doesn’t hold a statewide office or even a U.S. House seat. While he may know something about New York City, there is a whole lot of territory in between New York and California. I’m afraid the mayor wouldn’t connect in the middle of the country, where Democrats need to win.

FORMER HUD SEC JULIO CASTRO: I get the impression someone asked former HUD Sec Castro to run so there would be a Hispanic on stage. Identity politics is killing the Democratic Party. We have to get away from the “Hispanic candidate,” the “black candidate, the “female candidate,” the “gay candidate” and so on. Divide and conquer is what Republicans do. If Democrats divide themselves up into small fractional camps, all the Republicans will have to do is just sit back and win. I saw Castro on TV a few times and I was not impressed by his performances. I think he would lose to Trump.

10 DEBATE CANDIDATES (6-27-19)

FORMER VP JOE BIDEN: I like former VP Joe Biden. I think he would beat Trump. While Biden is in his late 70s, Trump isn’t far behind. If Biden won, he might become a one-term President due to health, but who knows? I think Biden does have baggage from being around Wash DC since 1972. Why did he vote for the Iraq War? Has he been in DC too long? Is he too beholden to foreign policy interests, who do not have the best interests of the U.S. in mind? Again I would take Biden over Trump any day, but I’m willing to wait and see if someone else emerges.

SEN BERNIE SANDERS, VT: When Sen. Sanders ran in 2016, he nearly won the nomination, because Hilary Clinton was such an awful candidate. This time, with 20 in the race, Democrats have a greater selection, and I’m not sure Bernie will get the nod. Back in 2016, I supported Sanders in the Wisconsin primary, but he raises some issues that concern me. Politics is all about how issues are framed. Bernie calls himself a “Democratic Socialist,” which is ok with me, but that label will certainly be used by Republican henchmen to make ads that may cost Democrats some swing areas. Bernie vocally opposed the Vietnam War, which again was fine, but hawks will use it against him. Let’s remember Trump had multiple deferments. I’d rather vote for an honest antiwar candidate like Bernie than a “chicken-hawk” like Trump. I find it very annoying when a guy like Trump avoids service, but then talks tough with threatens of force. Bernie could beat Trump, but it would be a nail-biter.

SEN MICHAEL BENNETT, CO: I hate to be blunt, but Sen Bennett of Colorado seems somewhat bland. I question whether he could inspire a large turnout. Perhaps I need to hear more from him. I assume he would carry Colorado, but I’m not sure he could do the same in the other Western swing states.

SEN KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, NY: While Sen. Gillibrand is photogenic, she won’t get my vote. I saw her on the News Hour telling the moderator she would be “the woman’s candidate!!!!” That was about as foolish as Hilary going around telling people she was going to “break the glass ceiling.” What bothers me about identity politics is that by appealing to one sub-set of the electorate, they necessarily exclude another group. Why would white male swing voters vote for a female candidate who goes around saying she will be the woman’s President? Why say such things? Why not campaign to all voters? Campaign on issues like foreign policy and the economy. I wasn’t impressed by Gillibrand.

SEN KAMELA HARRIS, CA: I was interested in Sen Harris at first, until I heard that she also fell prey to “identity politics” as she allowed herself to endorse black “reparations,” a losing campaign plank if there ever was one. While slavery was no doubt an abomination, the remedy is not to go into a Northern swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan and to ask the relatives of Union soldiers to pay reparations for a slavery, an institution they never had as a Territory or as a State. Yes, we can have social programs to remedy the long-lasting ill-effects of race discrimination, but the answer is not to use the word “reparations.” Sen Harris convinced me she didn’t think through the issue and that she knows little about the Upper Midwest, swing states once solidly in Abe Lincoln’s camp. Maybe Harris can redeem herself, but like Obama, she can’t be the black candidate. She must talk about representing everyone.

FORMER GOV JOHN HICKENLOOPER, CO: Former Colorado governor Hickenlooper does not have my support. He lacks the “it” factor. There is something about him that makes me think he’d lose to Trump. While I’m sure he would be a fine caretaker in the White House, I question whether he would stimulate much interest in his campaign or defeat Trump.

REP ERIC SWALWELL, CA: House member Swalwell of California hasn’t won any statewide race as governor or U.S. Senator. I’m not sure he made the case as to why he should be on the national ticket. The other four current or former House members will debate on the first night and at least some of them offer strategic reasons for being on the ticket, like Ryan of Ohio or O’Rouke of Texas. Since Swalwell is a white male, he fails to offer what House member Gabbard would bring to the table as an articulate female. I see no place at the table for Swalwell. Run for Senate or governor first.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, SOUTH BEND, IN Mayor Buttigieg sounds great, but he has never won statewide. He in fact recently lost a statewide race in Indiana. By now, it should be clear that I oppose the divisive nature of identity politics. Buttigieg is gay and that’s alright, but the question is whether his status will cost the Democrats swing voters, irrational as that may be. While Pete, as a 37-year-old candidate, is appealing to many young primary voters, we need to be careful not to put someone on the ticket who didn’t even carry his own state.

NO OFFICE MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: I could not believe the PBS News Hour actually gave air time to this candidate. There has to be a threshold for being taken seriously. This candidate has never held any public office of any kind. Under Trump, we’ve been going through a daily White House amateur hour. We don’t need another candidate who knows next to nothing about how the political system works.

NO OFFICE ANDREW YANG: I think I saw this guy speak once. He has absolutely no chance. Without ever holding an elected office, he has no credibility on stage. Frankly, he should not be up there with those who have prior experience in office.

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