Early thoughts about 2020

Normally I’d wait until July at least to write about the 2020 election, but this year I’m making an exception.

After all, the Idaho legislature is off to a smooth start. Yes, there was a $90 million difference between Gov. Brad Little’s revenue projection and the legislature’s, but it seems to affect only one item–the hold-over to next year.

And there’s really little I can add to the discussion of the government shutdown.  Federal employees, citizens needing services, and local economies are hurting more every day over a wall that 60 percent of the people don’t believe would accomplish anything. It must end, but I’ve no insights into how or when.

Moreover, a new weekly column by FiveThirtyEight, an on-line affiliate of ABC, on “what the potential 2020 candidates are doing and saying” called to the political junkie in me.

Surprisingly, two Republicans were included as possible primary opponents to President Trump: former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Both have shown more spine in standing up to the president than most Republicans. Kasich recently said President Trump was wrong for not “putting the country ahead of his politics and being more flexible in his goals.”

Seventeen Democrats were mentioned. The two most articulate and experienced are leading all the polls right now: former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden is noted for being good-natured and compromising; Sanders, for being combative and standing by the middle class.

Either would make a great president except–both will be nearly 80 before inauguration in 2021. Donald Trump is the first president to be over 70 at inauguration.

Just how big a barrier is advancing age?

Five of the potential nominees named are women now serving in Congress. The best known–and my personal favorite–is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  An oft-cited scholar on commercial law, she has a clear understanding how government now funnel all gains from economic growth to the nation’s richest 10 percent. Warren is a strong, dauntless advocate for the middle class.

But just how big a barrier is being female?

Hillary Clinton was not only the victim of 30 years of vicious political attacks and the Russians’ online rumor-mongering, but she was held to a stricter standard than any of the male candidates.

In four one-on-one polls of potential candidates, Oprah Winfrey beat out both women and lost to both men.

And there is a full field of lesser-known male candidates with good credentials. Maryland Rep. John Delaney was the first to announce his candidacy.  He started out working in construction and founded two successful lending firms. He didn’t run for re-election in 2018 so he could campaign full-time. He’s opening offices and giving speeches in Iowa this month.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has championed human rights during 26 years in Congress. His two books, Congress from the Inside and Myths of Free Trade, explain his actions and beliefs.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is considered a “dark horse” even though he served 15 years in the U.S. House before becoming governor and chair of the Democratic Governors’ Association.  He sees climate change as a real threat, has both legislative and executive experience, and knows people with cabinet-level qualifications from coast to coast.

Five potential candidates are under 50. Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro are Hispanic; Corey Booker, black; Tulsi Gabbard, Samoan and Hindu; and Richard Ojeda, a 15-year military veteran.

One or more of these candidates must capture the minds and loyalties of the young activists which made the Democratic victories of 2018 possible. The country needs a new president.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019
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