WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Who Can Beat Trump?

I barely watched the last Democratic debate. I did not watch much of the earlier ones either. The reason is simple: I’m voting for whomever the Democrats put forward because making Donald J. Trump a one-term president is of utmost importance.

The problem I see is I have no idea which of these candidates can beat Trump.

Spending time on policy topics is a waste of time. The American public does not care one iota about policies. To be sure, when presented with various policy positions, they will have opinions, but deep down inside, they do not care unless the policies affect them directly. I care about several policy positions and less about others. However, overall, I don’t care about the nuances between the candidates, and I suspect most Americans feel the same way.

All that matters is who is going to beat Trump.

Joe Biden should have run in 2016 when he was just 74. I know he didn’t because he lost his son in 2015, but he also lost his shot. Seriously, if he were 68 or even better 58, he’d be beating the field by even larger margins. Still, he has the added appeal of Obama voters who want to return to that simpler time, massive support from the Africa-American community and white-working class, and is incredibly popular. Unfortunately, his ability to form robust, long-remembered sentences is compounded by him mumbling and stammering. Yes, I’m aware of his stutter, but I don’t remember even hearing about his stuttering during the Obama years. I worry he won’t be able to handle the bluster of Trump’s Adderall (probably) fueled energy. He’s a good man whose time has come and gone. I’d rather remember him as the fun-loving vice president of Obama than a candidate from yesterday who doesn’t understand modern-day Republicans.

I very much like Elizabeth Warren, but I see far too much of the Hilary Clinton-level baggage when up against Trump and the Republican hate machine. One of the reasons I gravitated toward Barack Obama was his professorial demeanor. Warren has a similar appeal, but she also has the stupid ancestry thing over her head, among other encumbrances. She has fight, and she would win a debate with Trump, but she might not win the election. Adding Julian Castro has helped her, but I don’t know yet if that’s enough. I like her balance between having a strong vision for the country and then being able to execute her policies. I hope, if she becomes President, that she can do it.

The candidate who is most trying to act and sound like Obama is Pete Buttigieg. I love his candidacy when presented as the polar opposite of Trump, and he would mop the floor with both Trump and Pence in a debate, but I’m not sure he can walk into a room and have all eyes on him. He lacks charisma but has a Midwestern charm. He’s so smooth. I’m mostly worried that he has virtually no African-American appeal, and he should have a strong appeal to the young vote, but he doesn’t. What’s appealing to someone like me is that he represents generational change without a massive far-left agenda. Of course, that’s why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t endorse him. The other Midwesterner sill running is Amy Klobuchar, but she has zero gravitas and doesn’t have much traction. She will drop out of the race after the Iowa caucus when voters finally tell her she has no shot.

And then there was Bernie.

I don’t particularly like Bernie Sanders mostly because he comes across like a parody of a Brooklyn Jew and that he’s 78 years old. Can he beat Trump in an election? I don’t know. However, he knows his stuff and is battle-hardened after Clinton was anointed in 2016 before he could make the better case against Trump. He has never wavered in his beliefs, and that is comforting. His commitment to righting the wrongs of inequality are consistent and noteworthy. I can see him easily taking on Trump and exposing him for the con man he truly is.

On the other hand, he recently suffered a heart attack. He’d be the oldest person ever to enter the White House, and getting through his first term, let alone campaigning for a second term, would be a dark cloud over him. His appeal to young people is enormous. The AOC endorsement is important. Can he win? Maybe.

The billionaires in the race are not worth much thought. They are running vanity campaigns and are basically in the way. They don’t have a shot at the nomination and would be better served if they both put their money, campaign field offices, production, and on-the-ground marketing and promotion teams to work for the candidate chosen. Don’t be naïve; both Sanders and Warren would take help and would do so gladly.

I like this idea put forth by Robert Reich on Twitter –

Hell, if we’re dreaming, why don’t we convince Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer to float a billion dollars to Trump to resign? That would solve a great many problems.

So here we stand with Bernie and his energy, “Bernie-bros,” and young people inspiration and Grandpa Joe with his Obama connection, appeal to black and Midwestern voters, and a return to normalcy. At this point in early January before the Iowa caucus… I’m not feeling anyone quite yet.

Momentum is a funny thing. A win in Iowa can carry a candidate. Most people are just barely paying attention to the election. Once a candidate is set, I think it will move at a blistering pace. Who might the candidate be who can beat Trump? I’m not sure anyone knows.

Of course, I’m voting for the Democrat, whoever it is. Trump is a stain on the American experiment, and he should never have gotten a whiff of the White House, but here we are. An insane threat to the entire planet buzzes for another Diet Coke from the Oval Office and watches his impeachment trial, and we have to pretend that nothing is wrong.

Grandpa Joe, Mayor Pete, Professor Warren, and Brooklyn Bernie walk into an election. It sounds like the start of a joke. Let’s hope this time the election isn’t one.