So this is an interesting topic and one I have tried to address in the past. I know what I look for in a politician and like many of you, do not find 100% of it in any one party let alone a candidate. The majority of the country is divided ideologically into two parties. Not necessarily by choice but more so to vote against the person they dislike the most or for the person that has the best chance of winning. Strength in numbers is a choice many make at the expense of virtue.
Of the Democrats that have or are planning to announce their candidacy for President in 2020, who realistically has the best chance of securing the parties nomination? Ask 100 different people and you may get a few similar answers based on popularity. Some people go by initial fundraising efforts. Jeb Bush raised over $100 million dollars from Super PAC’s in a short amount of time in 2015. He failed to win a single primary and as the old saying goes, the rest is history.
If we go the initial popular route thru rankings in polls, hands down, the front runner is the septuagenarian independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Recent polls amongst voters in New Hampshire show him having a 30% approval rating. It helps that being so close to his home state, he has name recognition and also came in second place in his attempt to secure the Democratic nomination in 2016. Had the DNC not openly worked with the Clinton campaign to collude against him via pre-debate question sharing from then interim chair Donna Brazile or awarded super delegates through questionable means in the case of Nevada, Bernie might have been the front-runner who would have faced off against the Republican primary victor Trump. Whether he can regain the momentum that flamed out in the last cycle is yet to be seen.
Bernie and several of his counterparts have embraced socialism. Elizabeth Warren just announced that if elected she would eliminate student loan debt of up to $50,000 for over 42 million people and provide free college tuition at two and four-year institutions. Not bad if you are carrying around debt that you could not write off in bankruptcy and were having a hard time paying back. The initiative would cost over $1.25 Trillion over a decade and be paid for via an “ultra-millionaire tax” of 2% annually on wealth over $50 million and a 1% tax on wealth over a billion.
My personal feeling on borrowing money and over taxation is that self-responsibility builds character. Spending more than we can afford is the reason we have over $22 Trillion dollars in debt. You cannot run a house the way our leaders run the government. Creating another social welfare program and a greater reliance on the government to provide for our needs is the reason many of our existing safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare are on the brink of insolvency. That’s another topic for another day so I’ll stick to the primaries.
If you take a look at the 2018 midterms the Democrats put forward candidates who ran as moderates and focused on topics that mattered to the entire country like healthcare and a living wage. They also promoted former members of the military, which is palatable to voters across the aisle and the country.
Sure, Russian collusion was used in many attack ads along with tying their opponent to the president. Now that the Mueller report has been released with the president all but being exonerated in a court of law, what’s left is if the Democrats will pursue impeachment thru continued investigations of Trump’s finances and insist there was collusion and obstruction of justice though the special counsel opted not to indict him for it. There was a conference call amongst members of the party recently discussing that very topic. Reports say members were split on which direction to go. They have until November 2020 to make up their minds.
Another factor that will play a big role in determining who the ultimate front-runner will be is identity politics. For those who do not fully understand the meaning of identity politics, simply inverse the two words and you will get a clearer picture. When the politics of identity like race, gender, and sexual preference take precedence over experience, service to country and vision for the future you only speak to an echo chamber that doesn’t expand to anyone beyond your party’s base. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I cannot identify with your message because you demonize me based on my skin color or religious beliefs I will have a hard time listening to anything else you have to say.
So whom amongst all the announced candidates do I think has the best chance of not only winning in the Democratic primaries and becoming the parties nominee and possibly has the best chance to defeat Donald Trump come election day… Tulsi Gabbard. The 37-year-old Iraq war vet from Hawaii is the first Hindu to serve in the House of Representatives. She appeals to moderates with her views against wars revolved around regime changes. This is something that may work against her from those in the industrialized military complex but after being in Afghanistan since 2001 in a seemingly endless war against terrorism, the country may be ready for a change in direction.
When you look at all the qualities that the modern day Democratic Party finds value in, especially identity politics, Tulsi Gabbard checks off close to every box. She hasn’t gained much media attention since she announced her candidacy two months ago. If she can continue spreading her message and gain the support of some big money donors along with the financial support from the little guys who “donate an average of $27” as Bernie Sanders likes to tout she will have as good a chance as any to make it to the main stage of the Democratic primary debates. Once there she will have to prove her case to half of the country. If she makes it to the finals she will have to prove her case to us all. May the best person win!