First, a tip of this Democrat’s hat to a few of the Dems who’ve stated that they are not running for the party’s nomination for president in 2020:
- Hillary Clinton – This former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and FLOTUS, said last Monday “I’m not running.” The statement was followed by a big but, and there are seemingly people who will never get over their fear/hope that Hillary will run again, but I am taking her at her word. And I suggest that we all hold her to it. Call it tough love. I supported Hillary in 2016 but will not do so again.
- Michael Bloomberg – This billionaire* businessman and former New York City Mayor, wrote “I’m not running for president” in an opinion piece published on the Bloomberg web site last Tuesday. Another big but followed, because nobody with an ego big enough to run for president can resist telling us how they still plan to be important. Use your wealth and power for good, Michael.
Last night the Des Moines Register published a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers, which showed Joe Biden in first place with Bernie Sanders close behind. Here’s why neither of the two should be the nominee, starting with Bernie.
Not feeling the Bern
I kind of like Bernie — as an independent Senator from the not-at-all-representative-of-the-US-as-a-whole state of Vermont. I just don’t like Bernie as a potential president. For starters, he’s too old. There, I said it. Sanders will be 79 years old before Election Day 2020. We’ve seen what the presidency does to those who experience it, which is to say that it ages them tremendously. Bernie doesn’t seem infirm today, but it’s a long road ahead.
Bernie did well in caucuses last time around, but did poorly in primaries. He had trouble with women and African Americans. His record in the Senate is not impressive.
Bernie calls himself a democratic socialist. I — and a lot of people I know — object to Bernie calling himself a capital-D Democrat when it suits him to do so. Undoubtedly he’d like to run for president as a major party nominee. Republicans would laugh him out of the building, much as they did to Ron and Rand Paul when they sought the GOP nomination. There’s still a lot of bad blood left over from Bernie’s 2016 run. Talk to any Democrat – or Republican, for that matter — about rigging of the Democratic primary and you’ll get an earful.
Remember when conservatives used to call Obama a socialist? He wasn’t, but they called him that anyway. Why did they do that? Because it worked. What do you suppose they’ll do with a Democratic nominee who calls him or herself a socialist and talks about political revolution?
Donald Trump likes to play nice with Bernie, which makes me think that he’s just itching for a chance to go after him one on one. It would not be pretty.
Bottom line for me on Bernie: he’s not so much a Democrat, and I’m not so much a socialist.
Just say no, Joe
Joe Biden, who is not even a candidate, is the leading choice of Iowans in March 2019. He leads as both first and second choice, and he’s viewed as “about right” (neither too liberal nor too conservative) by 70% of those polled.
All this is great news for Joe Biden, right? Yes. And the minute he were to declare as a candidate, those numbers start going down.
Joe is a little younger than Bernie — less than 15 months — and would be 78 years old before Inauguration Day 2021.
I kind of like Joe, too. I liked him a lot as Vice President of the United States. He helped move Obama forward on some issues, such as marriage equality, so there’s that.
There is no disputing that Joe knows how the government works, particularly the Senate. And that’s part of the rub with Joe Biden. He’s done some things in the U.S. Senate that make a lot of Democrats cringe. The treatment of Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings springs to mind.
Joe Biden declined to run in 2016, not because he didn’t consider himself qualified, he said, but because he wasn’t ready to give it his all. How might it have worked out? We’ll never know.
Bottom line for me: Biden has not proven to be a strong presidential candidate in the past when he was much younger and certainly wanted the job. He passed on a chance to run four years ago. Whatever the polls might say, a lot of Dems I know think Joe’s time has passed, and I think they’re right.
Joe and Bernie, along with Hillary, Michael and others, have much to contribute to a Democratic administration. I just don’t think any of them should be on the ticket.
Who should be running? I’d like to see Senator Michael Bennet get into the race. He would surprise a lot of people, I think. He’s 54 years old, has experience in business and education prior to serving the past ten years in the U.S. Senate. He comes from a politically active line of Democrats.
And among the Democrats who are running, I lean toward Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, both of whom are young and positive. I’m one of those people who likes to be inspired. I also want someone who’s unlikely to push the nuclear button while I’m asleep or die of old age before morning.
I’ll be 60 this year, God willing, and I’d like the next president to have a vested interest in keeping the planet going well after I’m gone. The past several years have left a lot of people angry and hopeless, not feeling “great again.”
It’s time to select candidates looking and moving forward with hope and confidence. Those are the candidates that will turn my head in 2020.
*How rich is Michael Bloomberg? He’s #9 on the Forbes list. As of this writing, Bloomberg is worth an estimated $54.7 billion. Donald Trump, who once said “Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” is also, we think, a billionaire. Probably. Forbes puts Trump’s net worth around $3.1 billion.