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How to Kneecap Goldilocks: 2020 and the Democratic Primary

A Tough Look at All the Democratic Presidental Candidates

Mar 07, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s that time of year again. We have officially entered the 2020 Democratic primary. I know. You don’t want to think about it. The wounds of 2016 are still fresh and scary stories are harder to forget than happy ones. Hey, anything can happen. It’s still too early. Everything in politics is subject to change, and the old rules of political gravity no longer apply. Michelle Obama could run (she won’t). Kang and Kodos could show up. Who knows? One campaign stop snafu or debate stage brain fart could end a promising candidate. And it could all be for nothing if whoever is nominated can’t win back Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Handicapping is part of the game. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, she was as good a handicapper as she was a weak retail candidate. Most early primary candidacies are doomed enterprises. Whole races are won and lost in the handicapping phase. It’s Doom Town, yo. This thing is going to get bloody.

Haha, it’s not all bad. But most of it is… AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) is still too young to run against Ivanka in the final battle so I’m sorry. If what you’re about to read seems harsh, that’s the point. We’re in the goldilocks primary now. It’s time… time for a good ole fashioned business-style pre-mortem. A murder board, if you will… Murder board! Murder board! Murder board! Murder board!

There will be the hopeless Republicans like former-Governor Bill Weld of wherever and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. But those guys will eventually come to their senses. Hogan could barely pass a budget, and there aren’t enough people still alive who even know that Bill Weld existed; the current president has nothing to worry about from whatever used to be his flanks. There are no lanes. Not much can disqualify a candidate anymore. Howard Schultz is still out there trying to sell books and making an ass of himself.

No. The real show will be the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s normal for the party that’s been out of power to think they can take down a wounded, sitting president after a successful midterm election, but that doesn’t change the reality that incumbents are hard to beat. Democrats need to move past some of their party elders and find a way forward without Obama. The presidentTM will be watching closely and sending any tweet he can to interfere in the primary, and what he posts about the candidates will say as much as what he doesn’t. Opposition parties have a way of blowing it and handing reelection over to incumbents. And Democrats are really good at destroying themselves. Obama may be guiding the 2020 primary candidates but Russia is already helping Trump.

There will be the never-rans. Garcetti, Moulton, Ryan, Kennedy, Avenatti (lol, you never had a chance, dingus) and then there will be the real show. Eric Holder and Mike Bloomberg are out and Inslee and Hickenlooper are in. They just have an issue with getting voters’ attentio-zzzzzzzz.

Congress can impeach Trump, but that can sometimes backfire and strengthen a president. There will be no presidential perp walk, impeachment, no indictment. The impeachment question primary Litmus Test is going to be lit though. Don’t place your faith in Robert Mueller. No Republican has been able to stop Trump. Put those prayer candles away and light a fire. The best we can hope for is the president not running for reelection. The second best is narrowly beating him. There is no third option. Only one person can stop him, and odds are it could be one of the following people, if we’re lucky.

“Socialist” is the go-to word for conservative fear-mongering again. It didn’t quite work with Obama, but for someone like Trump, who is the personification of capitalism, Democratic-Socialists are the perfect foil. It might be better to not have a blood-on-the-walls Democratic civil war at the time we should be preparing for World War III, but hey, I’m just a sane person. I was never on the #BernieorBust train to intellectual oblivion. Trump is already warming up his “socialism is bad” act, so one way or another socialism is about to get a nice, big-balls, Super Bowl style, American debate. Which is good. Socialism is like religion. By itself, it’s great. It’s the vocal supporters who are totally obnoxious.

The only people remaining who can afford to vote left wing and third party are the crazies and the rich. The rest will die. You either swim with the current of progress or stand still in the luxury that only conservatism (and your parents) can afford. So that’s that. Let’s get to it. Trump has made it possible for anyone to become leader of what was once the free world. Now the president is just like everyone else: he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing.

Welcome to 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Biden has been at the top of the polls and hasn’t even announced a third presidential run. For an old known to run off at the mouth he’s awfully gun shy, having already been muscled out by Hillary once. Every moment he doesn’t say he’s running is another that allows Trump to prepare. But ask yourself: what’s taking Joe so long? He mangles his words from time to time but he’s also still a strategic thinker. At this point he’s waiting for the Mueller Report fallout. There’s nothing more unattractive than an old white man who won’t let go, but Biden somehow gets a pass, and he’s obviously well liked within the old Obama coalition. But at the end of the day, Biden knows that the Democratic party needs a fresh start. He may have more of an impact if he were to bow out and endorse someone.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

Someone was just talking about how insufferable Democratic-Socialists are… My feelings about Sanders are well-known. He’s an awful show horse, no question, but the past is the past. It’s time to let the 2016 grudges die. Sanders was the frontrunner before he got in the race and his donor base is worth the entire field combined. Yes, he’s at half the strength he was in 2016 as far as the polls go, a tribute to some Democratic voters wising up, but he raised a shit ton of money in the first 24 hours of his launch, and if it wasn’t clear enough yet: he doesn’t know when to quit. He could take it all the way to the convention. So he’s a bullshitter. They all are to varying degrees, but he’s the most popular politician in the country. The majority of his supporters are terrible, humorless swine, but fuck it. Sour grapes only work once, so if he loses again and you don’t want to vote for the Democratic nominee, people might start to think you’re the problem. Get down off your crosses because we’ll need the fucking wood.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke

To be honest, I missed the Beto boat. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about and didn’t see him coming. I was wrong. If he wants to maximize his impact he’ll need to shit or get off the pot. And soon. You can’t miss your moment in this game. It’s the most diverse primary ever, with the most diverse electorate ever, so there’s a little room for O’Rourke’s BDE (Beto Democrat Energy, get your minds out of the gutter, ya pervs). Even if O’Rourke does not run for president, he’s an interesting VP pick for whoever gets the nomination. But as far as the first Gen X president goes, fuck man, you could do a hell of a lot worse.

California Senator Kamala Harris

Besides Sanders, Harris had the best campaign launch of the race so far. Like Booker and Gillibrand, she’ll have the left wing idiot ankle-biting but nothing motivates people more than fear, and the president will take care of all that. I’m not going to lie: Harris is my pick. Until victory or defeat I’ll pull so many punches with her they’ll be able to name one after me. I’ve been waiting for her to run for president for a long time so it’s difficult for me to apply this murder board exercise to her candidacy. Kamala Harris is what the Democratic party should aspire to be, and she couldn’t be more opposite from Trump in every way. Considering the president’s history with women and minorities, Harris is the only choice to correct the historic mistake we’ve made. But you can’t ignore the early primary states. If you’re not in those conversations at the beginning of the race, you’re a afterthought. An momentarily absent campaign can lose momentum. I’m not sure about her strategy of skipping Iowa and New Hampshire in favor of South Carolina and Super Tuesday, but Democrats moved up the California primary just for Harris. It’s an audacious plan but she’ll need someone to siphon votes away from Sanders in order for it to be truly successful and Biden is too important to be doing anyone anymore favors, unless he still wants to be Secretary of State, which he does. The things left wing idiots complain about with Harris are exactly the things that will make her a better general election candidate. Is this wishful thinking? Maybe. Do I believe that progress is only made in fits and starts? Yeah. But there’s also something in the power of personality. Harris has always had It. The Bernie people will scream about how Harris is a neoliberal shill and blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzz, but the ability to cut corners is not the sign of the sellout; it’s the sign of a realist.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand had a launch so underwhelming no one could blame you for not knowing it even happened. She’s right on the issues but her elbows are too sharp for a lot of people in the party. The ruthlessness that makes me happy has already turned off a lot of powerful people. Like Booker, there might not be room in the race for her, but that could all change in the debates. She was pushing the #MeToo movement before there was such a thing, rightly dropped the hammer on Al Franken, and has voted against nearly everything Trump sends to Congress, but people are just trying to get by her for a little ranch.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar has been one of my favorites for an even longer long time than Harris but the stories about staff abuse are hard to stomach. Fair, unfair, sexist, or otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Reputation is everything. The point is #ThisTown talks. However, Obama never went after former Bush Administration officials for the war crimes they committed. It’s hard to see any future Democratic president being allowed to turn their back on Trump’s crimes, and if the stories about Klobuchar are true, she sounds like the right person for the job. The resistance has spent the last two years screaming for a ruthless prosecutor who can wreck the president. Trump’s election was like putting The Joker in charge of the Gotham police department. He has steamrolled career cops and too many Justice Department officials to remember. And who wouldn’t like the see Klobuchar bite down hard on that ass.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

Warren may have missed her shot at the throne in 2016. Clinton kept a lot of people from running for president. Some of them were simply not up to challenging her, and as a result, were squeezed out of the game. And timing is everything. Warren’s Native-American problems have almost disqualified her, and those issues help to clear Kamala Harris’ path. Klobuchar’s staff issues and Gillibrand’s elbows have rubbed people the wrong way. With so many women running for president, Warren has a role to play…it’s just not as the party’s nominee.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

On paper, Brown is the total package. He’s a classic gruff but good-natured, disheveled but sexy liberal, and he’s able to pull it off without alienating party donors. But there are rumors and dirt, and if those rumors were applied with the same standard as others, he could be very problematic. It might be best to not have that conversation at all.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker

I love Booker. I have love in my heart for him. I’m just not sure how much I like him. It will be interesting to see his sunny positivity make it through what has already been characterized as the most negative campaign ever. He had a lukewarm launch but a solid announcement video. He’s not really the attack dog type, so a VP slot is not in the cards. It’s all or nothing. He’s a man who should be president but his shtick might not work in today’s environment. Hopefully this first foray into national politics won’t be a nice trip to nowhere.

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Castro had a strong launch, but again, it was forgotten as quickly as it happened. He’s a tree in the forest. However, he’s still young and has a bright future. It would be cool for him to be president just so we can create theories about when his brother impersonates him.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete is cool, if transparent. As in, he might as well not even be there at all. He’s like a ghost of what we could be in a more civilized and decent time. He had a good presidential launch, but it comes with such an uphill climb it will get lost, not because of his orientation, but because of ours, unfortunately. Buttigieg deserves to be president. We just don’t deserve him.

Maryland Congressman John Delaney

Maryland, holla! As a Marylander I can say Delaney is a hilarious oddball. Yeah, he’s probably been to Iowa more than anyone, but in Letterkenny he’s what’s known as “spare parts.”

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard is a grotesque, insane traitor. She’s the Democrats’ version of Dana Rohrabacher. She’s a fake, bought out, Russian-backed weirdo not fit for Congress, let alone the presidency. If Democrats were a coven of witches, she’d be our Fairuza Balk. If Sanders flames out (and he could, considering he was never fully vetted), she’ll be the insane voter’s fallback. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

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