OK, I’m finally recovered from the shock. One of the gnawing questions haunting me since the early morning of November 9, 2016 is: “Where the hell do we go from here?” The reality that Donald Trump was going to be the 45th President of the United States had sunk in and as I fought to suppressed the nausea my coaching instincts kicked in. The game goes on no matter how outrageous the call or break is. Unless the world ends (and then it won’t matter) there will be another election and the surest way to lose it is to remain mentally buried in the last one. To that end I decided to discover the perfect 2020 Democratic presidential candidate – she doesn’t exist. Let’s explore.
As I commenced on my “Dr. Frankenstein mission”, (I guess this was the good monster), to construct the perfect Presidential candidate I started to list attributes. First off my candidate was going to be female. She would hail from one of the eleven states of the former Confederacy or one touching the Great Lakes. She would be young – by political standards anyway – in her 40’s, mid- fifties at most. She would be physically attractive. While educated she would not be a product of the Ivy League. She would be white or at least light skinned. While probably having some Washington experience she couldn’t have too much of it.
I know many of the criteria are repulsive on one or more level but I’m dealing with electability which is not always equivalent to my values or what is morally correct. Let me go through each of them briefly.
Gender: Women, especially “women of a certain age” (near mine or older) were tremendously disappointed that Hillary didn’t win. If their energy can be harnessed to support the 2020 nominee we have an instant, motivated and effective volunteer corp. It will also help unite solid Democrats and progressives who don’t give a hoot about party labels.
Region: I have little illusion of turning much of the South blue, but picking off say Florida, North Carolina and Virginia really hurts the GOP and helps the Democrat. The Democrats must regain lost ground in the Rust Belt if they are to win a national election – simply do the math.
Age: Young people (Bernie Sanders was the exception not the rule) are not going to get excited about someone who looks more like their grandparents than their parents. The Democrats need young people to be part of a winning coalition. By the way, they could care less about party labels.
Looks: This one really sucks! A female’s chances increase considerably if she is good looking. Women will like that as long as she isn’t too sexy. However, if she is too sexy for the ladies it will help swing over some male, otherwise chauvinist, votes.
Alma mater: Much of the American electorate hates the elites who they envision as looking down their noses at them. Nothing says elite to them more than an Ivy League degree.
Skin color/tone: In order to win you need some crossover and persuadable voters. Racial prejudice is alive and well in America and will still be with us in 2020. Does anyone really think Barack Obama would have won if he were dark skinned?
Government experience: Washington in particular and government in general is about as popular as a sexually transmitted disease. With the disaster the Trump administration is proving to be I’m not sure America will be willing to elect another rookie, but being perceived as too much of a Washington insider is pretty close to the kiss of death. Americans tend to elect Vice Presidents, Governors and Senator. Nobody has a female Vice President so I looked to the ranks of the Governors and Senators from the aforementioned states. Nobody checks all the boxes. In fact there were few that were even close. I’m not going to go over any of them individually today.
I expect the 2020 campaign to begin sometime between November of 2018 and February of 2019. Despite my history of being an early endorser, I’m keeping my powder dry for the time being. I like a lot of people but don’t have anything resembling a favorite at this point. I’m certain there are 20 or more Democrats out there with dreams of sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office and figuring out ways to get there. They are rationalizing how they are the ideal candidate and everyone else is fallible.
Whether the Republicans run Trump, Mike Pence or whoever I am certain the Democrats will offer an alternative much more appealing to me and other progressives! What progressives have to guard against is letting the perfect (which probably won’t exist) becoming the enemy of the vastly preferable. Oh, do we have fun ahead!
This article is part of a series dealing with the path forward for progressives to start winning at the polls again.
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