Voters seem overwhelmed by the number of Democratic presidential candidates vying for attention. That is a sensible reaction. so I have taken a look at all of the two dozen (and counting) candidates and here is my current take:
I see them as falling into a couple different categories. First there is what used to be called “favorite son” candidates. Disregarding the outdated gender slur, candidates of this type are politicians who mainly want to keep their names prominent so as to add fuel to their political careers. They hope to get a few first-round votes at the party's nominating convention from their home state delegates. To me this group includes Ohio Rep Tim Ryan, California Rep Eric Swalwell, Massachusetts Rep Seth Moulton, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Florida mayor Wayne Messam, Hawaii Rep Tulsi Gabbart,; and New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio. You may now promptly forget these as potential presidents. These incumbent politicians have no chance and will be gone by the new year, so that they can concentrate on their own re-election campaigns that they hope will have gotten a boost from their national campaigns. After the debate someone suggested Tulsi Gabbart for Defense Secretary and I'm fine with that.
Also, there are three other candidates that stretch the imagination to figure why they have declared for the United States Presidency: a tech guy named Andrew Yang, an activist author named Marianne Williamson and a former House member John Delaney . None of these three will be pardoning the turkey during Thanksgiving 2021, but that doesn't mean they don't have something important to add to the politics.
Jay Inslee should try to keep his governorship in Washington or if he is ready for the national stage, he can head the EPA. Julian Castro is another “huh?” for me, so let's put him back as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development where he served under Obama.
I don't doubt that all the above mentioned folks are fine people with something to say and that is why it doesn't bother me that there are so many candidates. Each has an issue on which they focus and that is good because there are a lot of issues to be discussed and no one candidate can emphasize every issue. This is what is called having a national conversation and I applaud that, but we do need to winnow the list down to a few serious possibilities.
Before getting into that I need to mention an article by syndicated columnist, Eugene Robinson. He posits that if the Democrats don't take the Senate, then it really won't matter much if they take the White House or not because Mitch McCon-NO will insure four more years of gridlock. Thus, I believe that winning the Senate is more important than taking the Presidency. I made a similar argument in 2016 and now look who sits on the federal courts.
For that reason I believe that Cory Booker should focus on getting re-elected to his Senate seat and, hopefully, he will be gone from the Presidential race before March 30 when he needs to file for re-election to the Senate.
Michael Bennett is an incumbent Senator from Colorado and doesn't even mention the Presidential race on his website, so why is he running?
Republican John Cornyn's Senate seat in Texas is open, so why doesn't Beto O'Rourke make a run at that? He came out of nowhere to nearly beat Ted Cruz.
If Montana Governor Steve Bullock wants to enter the national stage, he should run against Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines.
Former prosecutor and corporate lawyer, Amy Klobuchar, is already a member of the Judiciary Committee and wouldn't it be nice to see her chair that group? That is who vets judicial appointments. Apologies to ranking member Diane Feinstein.
Stacy Abrams is not a declared candidate, but is toying with the idea. She should run for Senate Republican David Perdue's open seat in Georgia.
Republican Cory Gardener is up for re-election in Colorado and John Hickenlooper should be trying to take that seat.
That still leaves us with 7 candidates. While I still wear my “Feel the Bern” T-shirt and love Bernie, his time has passed for me. Even though he may never be President, he has already “won” by changing the political conversation in this country. Issues he brought forth are now mainstream and I (we) owe him a great big thank-you for that. I would love to see him as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over SSI, Pensions, Taxation.
Kirsten Gillibrand is a fine person in a safe seat and incumbent who should chair the Senate Armed Services committee of which she is a current member. Wouldn't it be incredible to have the Chair of the Armed Services Committee and the Defense Secretary both women?
Elizabeth Warren is an amazing policy wonk, but somehow I just don't see her in the Oval Office. Her debate performance betrays that notion, so I still see her as a strong contender, but wouldn't Wall Street freak out if she were the Chair of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in charge of economic policy, financial institutions and consumer protection?
“Uncle Joe” Biden is a good guy who kept Robert Bork off the Supreme Court when he was on the Judiciary Committee, but his time also has passed. He is popular and so should campaign like hell for whoever is the nominee.
That leaves the two people still standing that comprise my current ticket for 2020 (although I would even vote for Seth Rogen if he were the Democratic nominee). Kamala Harris for President and Pete Buttigieg for VP. To me Mayor Pete is head and shoulders above every other politician alive today, but this is the ticket that I currently think can most likely beat his majesty, the self-appointed king of the United States.
A lot can happen between now and November 2020, but Democrats need to win with women, people of color and the millennials to take the White House and I think Harris and Buttigieg is the right combination to attract those voters. As an old white guy myself, let's leave us out of this one.