New Hampshire is voting. I recollect when this used to be an exciting day. Even if my nominee didn’t triumph, which he( they were all men) typically didn’t, I loved both the reliable customs and the unexpected little accidents. If retention acts( the video doesn’t seem to be online ), I recall Illinois Senator Paul Simon saying during his concession speech in 1988 that” our scaffold is strong “– right before the riser he was standing on collapsed.
Well, it’s not exciting now. It’s chilling. I’m depressed. Almost everybody I know, every Democrat anyway, is depressed. It’s a mess. Iowa was a shitshow and shouldn’t be first anyway. New Hampshire shouldn’t be second, it’s totally preposterous, yet the party shortfalls the stones to tell these self-important, second-tier states to go stuff it. The candidates don’t look like winners. The gathering is like it might be headed toward a face-off between a billionaire and a follower who wants to ban billionaires, neither of them genuinely Democrats.
And Donald Trump is going to be re-elected.
I shouldn’t say ” is soon to be .” You never know. Batches will happen. But right now, that’s how I feel, and that’s how most people I know feel.
Bernie Sanders’ stalwarts don’t feel that direction. He’s solidly ahead in a national poll for the first time, 25 percent to 17 for Joe Biden, and they’re stimulated. Good for them. I was pretty critical of Sanders in 2016. I’ve been less so this time around. I agree with most of his commentary of where this country has gone wrong. I get why young voters are enthusiastic about him. They’ve grown up in a country quite different from the one I grown up in, one in which nothing countervails the superpower of the affluent and the big corporations–no unions , no humility , no shared system of civic philosophy.
But man, he is a risky general election candidate. I know the theory of how he triumphs. I know that though turnout overall was action down in Iowa, youth turnout was up–a little higher, even, than in 2008. So that’s good. But if the rest of the people are staying home, that’s a great problem. Trump is going to generate massive turnout across all age group( yes, there are young people for Trump, ladens of them ). Read this recent piece by Tom Edsall in The New York Times if you’re not chilled enough. It seems like there are certainly going to be a few million more Trump voters this time than last.
All this is to say nothing of Sanders’ past radicalism. You can say all you want that beings don’t know or care about things he did or said 30 and 40 years ago. True–they don’t know or care now. But a duet trillion dollars’ merit of attack ads last-minute, they’ll know a good deal of things they don’t know now, and I’d gamble that a good deal of them will attend. Time remember this: At this top in 1988, there wasn’t a voter in America who knew the epithet Willie Horton. By that October, there wasn’t a voter who didn’t know his epithet.
Who or what is Sanders’ Willie Horton? We don’t know yet. But we can assume Republican oppo researchers know, and there’s probably not just one. And all that is to say nothing of his plans to more than double federal expend. I’m all for more federal expend. But even I blink at double. And regardles, I’m not a shake voter in a key state.
And yet, he’s going through this primary without facing serious challenges on all this. Here’s something else that soft Sanders admirers should understand( the hard devotees won’t hear any of these arguments ): There are certain issues that won’t come to the fore in a Democratic primary because Democrats don’t care about them that much. For example, religious faith and patriotism aren’t Democratic litmus tests. But you’d better believe they’re Republican litmus tests. Too, Democrats won’t viciously red-bait Sanders. Well, Republicans will. Democratic voters need to think about these things.
But it’s not just Sanders. The whole subject, while all of them looks a lot like good, dedicated people, has disappointed. Elizabeth Warren is a great candidate in many ways. But why she came out for Medicare for All, I’ll never know. I and everyone I know with whom I discussed it at the time recollected immediately, why is she doing this? This will surely come to grief, either in the primary or the general. Such an own destination. And indeed, her tergiversations on M4A are why she faded. She is a victim of sexism in many forms, overt and covert. No doubts concerning that. But if she’d staked out the most progressive health care position that was just short of M4A, she’d be leading right now, I have little doubt.
Joe Biden, what can you say? Here was the slope he “shouldve been” employed from the start: I’m running for three rationalizations. One, I can win. Two, I will rehabilitate prestige to the Oval Office; America’s word will be trusted again. Three, I have a long agenda of things I want to do, from health care to climate change to blah blah blah. Point three was key. It ought to have been preemptively reacted the charge that he was just interested in ” reinstatement .” I recognise his questions lie abroad, but this kind of clear message would have manufactured him much more impressive out of the chute.
Pete Buttigieg, I don’t hate him like all the cool kids seem to. He has a lot of ability. If he can beat Trump, penalize by me. But then he unveils this deficit-reduction rhetoric yesterday. Who knows, perhaps it will help him in today’s voting. But it’s not exactly arousing. Amy Klobuchar has get better and better as the weeks have delivered. Maybe she’ll bust out. But she doesn’t seem like she’s going to generate widespread excitement.
Then there’s Mike Bloomberg. Again, regard, if he can win, punishment. A new Quinnipiac poll has him just behind Biden nationally, and doing as well as any Democrat in a head-to-head contest with Trump. I’d be relieved and grateful to members who him for thumping Trump, but at the same time, it would be pretty sad that it took a multi-billionaire who became a Republican when it suited him–and backed George W. Bush in 2004, and Scott Brown over Warren in 2012–buying his nature into the White House.
As for the ones who ceased, they faced sometimes unfair obstructions, but the government has shortcomings, more. I liked Kamala Harris. But she wasn’t as ready for this as I’d hoped–she made that great attack on Biden in the first debate, but then within a few cases dates under questioning from reporters, she acknowledged that her busing arrangement was about the same as his. She didn’t have a strong financial content. Cory Booker didn’t either.
Finally there’s the broader question of why there’s no obvious wizard in the Democratic Party. What’s happened? Where are the pols who can transcend these divides and speak to everybody on the broad masses of the, wide left? Maybe the segments have become too deep, and no one can do that. I don’t know. I just know it’s a pretty bad time to be divided.