Hey Scalzi, Who Would You Vote For as the Democratic Candidate If You Had To Vote Right Now?

Well, since you asked:

1. Kamala Harris: Because she’s hella smart, pretty savvy and because I think her background and daily practice in politics shows she’s not scared of anyone, least of all the Republicans. I also suspect that she would put together a very fine cabinet of equally smart and savvy people and be the best chance to reverse the four years of stupidity and cupidity we’ve endured to this point. Is she perfect? Lol, no, and I suspect people will be more than happy to expound on this in the comments. But I don’t need perfect at this point, and additionally I think she’s smart enough to know where she’s not smart enough, and will collect people to her to compensate. Also, she’s not old as fuck, and her personal baggage seems dealable. Plus she’d shred Trump in the presidential debates like he was a chicken straight out of the crock pot. Yeah, I’d watch that.

2. Elizabeth Warren: Has a plan for literally everything and is also generally fearless, and she loosens the bowels of the very very rich, which I think is what we need right now. Bluntly, for me at this point it’s almost a tie between her and Harris; I would be fine with either and I think either would put the GOP in a panic, and in Warren’s case they would run in circles screaming “Socialism! Socialism!” like they were on fire, which would amuse me. I’m not in love with Warren’s age as she would be entering the office, but in this case I don’t see it as a dealbreaker, and it’s not as if she’s the most ancient of the Democratic candidates anyway. Would also shred Trump in debates, who would be reduced to muttering “Pocahontas” at her like a warding spell.

3. Joe Biden: I mean, honestly, meh? He’s too old and he’s too old in his thinking and every time he opens his mouth some unforced error comes out of it. But this is 2019 and compared to the current occupant he’s a goddamn statesman. He’ll remind less engaged voters of the halcyon days of the Obama administration, when we had a president who wasn’t an active trash fire 24/7, and I think there’s some validity in the idea that Biden could get the votes of at least some of the dudes who voted for Trump in the last election because they were either overtly or latently sexist as shit and tried to hide it by being concerned about Clinton’s email rather than admitting their problem was that she was a woman and had been demonized by the GOP for over two decades running. There might be some on the left who will stay home if Biden wins the nomination, but, really, fuck them if they decide four more years of Trump’s incompetent, hateful authoritarianism is better than a Democratic candidate who isn’t perfectly aligned with their personal agenda. Fuck them right in the fucking ear.

4. Cory Booker: Smart, seems capable, centrist-ish, I think is probably more likely than anyone else in the current field to be find himself considered for the VP position, and I think he would take it, especially from Biden, who at 76 might not finish his term anyway, and so on. Would be a perfectly cromulent president. Also I’m one degree of separation from him as one of my best friends is reasonably close to him, so the chance I would somehow manage to cadge an invite to the White House in a Booker administration is ever-so-slightly higher than it might be otherwise, so all other things being equal, this adds like 1% to my overall total for likely voting for him.

5. Kirsten Gillibrand: Sure, why not.

6. Amy Klobuchar: Okay, fine.

7. Julian Castro: No major objection; another “In it for the VP slot” candidate, in my opinion.

8. Beto O’Rourke: Run for Senate again, Beto. Otherwise, yeah, all right.

9. Pete Buttigieg: Good with soundbites, light on actual experience, proof gay people can be as resolutely and blandly centrist as any straight person you might name, and if it came to it, sure, I’d vote for him.

10. Jay Inslee: I think Inslee is running either to be Secretary of Energy or Interior and/or some major policy advisor on the environment and clean energy, so good for him. On the extraordinarily small chance he becomes the candidate, I’d vote for him.

11. John Hickenlooper: Fun fact: I referred to him in one of the Old Man’s War books; look it up. Not exactly enthusiastic about him, but can’t think of much that would incline me against him, either, so: Yes, fine.

12. Bill de Blasio: Not really setting me aflame and I suspect he needs to focus more on his current job than his next one, which won’t be President anyway, but he’s not a flaming racist shithole like the current president, and if these are our choices, de Blasio it is.

13. Bernie Sanders: Jesus, I’m sick of this dude, who is not actually a Democrat anyway, is older than fuck, and who has the most querulously peevish supporters who generally make me tired the moment they open their demanding and entitled mouths. I’m happy that Sanders 2020: The Rebernening seems at this point likely to be swamped by the backwash of the Warren campaign, but I want to be absolutely clear that if the final choice is Sanders vs. Trump, I’ll press the button for Sanders so hard the plastic shell of the button might crack beneath my fingertip.

14. Andrew Yang: All right, if I must, although I suspect “must” won’t be an operative condition here.

15 (tie). John Delany, Tim Ryan, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet, Eric Swalwell, Seth Moulton, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, Mike Gravel: I mean, whatever, dudes, it’s nice you have a hobby this summer, and if a targeted and highly specific virus incapacitated every single other candidate above you, then I guess I’d vote for you over Trump. But really, now. Go home. Just, go home.

24. Tulsi Gabbard: Not as smart on foreign policy as she wants everyone to think she is, wants people to forget that she was anti-LGBT most of her life and is Russia’s favorite Democratic candidate, so that’s great. I’d vote for her over Trump, but think what it would mean if these were our choices.

25. Marianne Williamson: Awww, hell no. If we get here, I’ve already moved to Canada. I have the points!

And that’s where I am at the moment with these folks.

188 Comments on “Hey Scalzi, Who Would You Vote For as the Democratic Candidate If You Had To Vote Right Now?”

  1. Notes:

    1. This is a political discussion so the Mallet is out. Please behave yourselves and be decent to other commenters.

    2. If you are a Trump supporter and swing by to offer a largely contentless “hur hur Trump 2020!” cheerleading post, it’ll get deleted. Run along, this isn’t the place for that.

    3. If you’re a Sanders supporter enraged that I don’t hold your favored candidate in higher esteem, a) noted, and I don’t care, b) if you offer a largely contentless “hur hur, Bernie 2020!” cheerleading post, it’ll get deleted.

    4. If you’re posing as a centrist wringing their hands that none of the candidates above can be elected, well, okay, but could you not? “Centrist” wringing of hands that the Democratic candidate can’t win elections is kind of a tired trope, and please note that in the last seven elections, the GOP candidate won more actual citizen votes only once, relying on the Electoral College and/or the Supreme Court to secure elections the other two times, while the Democratic candidates both won the larger number of votes and the Electoral College. Democrats are perfectly capable of winning the White House.

    5. If you’re here to plump for a third-party candidate, meh, as long as it’s on topic, fine, but let’s not pretend they’re going to win or act in any manner other than as a spoiler.

    6. Reminder that I am not a Democrat (I register as unaffiliated, which cuts down on my junk mail), so any attempts to say some variation of “What all you Democrats fail to understand…” will make you look silly.

    7. Also, if you come here with disinformation about the candidates, I’ll delete the comment. If you do it more than once, you’re off the thread. Check your information before posting (or, if you know it’s wrong but plan to post it anyway, don’t).

    8. For those who need it, a refresher on my personal politics.

    9. Additional thoughts when they come to me.

  2. With you on the top 3 but would reverse 1 & 2. This is less about the candidate and more about geography. Like it or not 2020 will be decided by how OH, MI, PA, FL and to a lesser extent WI and VA go in the electoral college. Warren, as a nor’easter, has a better chance with more of those states (as does Biden) than Harris who will be seen (rightly or wrongly) as a “California liberal.”

  3. Your assessment of Bernie made me cackle out loud. Yes, to everything here.

  4. One data point: Booker has already said he’s not going to accept the VP nomination from a man, because he tbinks the ticket should be gender-inclusive, and I’m willing to believe him.

  5. I’d flip 1 and 2, I do think Harris will have to reckon with her history as a prosecutor. Put Castro over Booker and drop Biden out of the top 10.

    Gabbard? Hoo boy, I’d have a hard time voting for her, but if the option is Trump or someone marginally better than Trump? sure.

  6. I count it as a win that Yang made it onto your list. 😉

    He has a thorough and thoughtful understanding of the obstacles confronting the country and the world, along with evidence-based proposals to overcome them.

    His website has concise but detailed descriptions of more than 100 policy positions, each with defined goals and statements about what he would do as president toward achieving them.

    If he doesn’t make it to the White House, let’s make sure whoever does has proposals that are as wide-ranging and even half as well-articulated as these.

    Plus – of course all of us Democrats will vote for him if he becomes the nominee, but he also attracts Trump voters – remember, they will be voting too, whether we like it or not!

  7. What is supremely fucked up is how bad a candidate I am willing to vote for if I think s/he can beat Trump Alternatively, I guess there’s always a big hot cuppa hemlock.

  8. I ask myself: “Who is tough enough to handle Putin and His Ilk?” and I answer myself: Harris.

  9. Listed alpha within tiers.
    Tier 1: Harris/Warren
    Tier 2: Booker/Buttigieg/Castro/Gillibrand/Klobacher
    Tier 3: Most of the rest, minus Williamson and Gabbard. I have some standards and like you, have enough points for the Canucks to take me in.
    Tier 4: A flaming PortAPotty

  10. I love your top two choices and feel the same.

    Biden would be…lower down the list for me.

    I love your Bernie rant as well.

  11. Gawd, I sure hope neither Biden or Sanders is the nominee, because I think either would lose to Trump despite current polling showing them ahead. Of course I’d vote for either one. Your 4,5, and 6 would give me no trouble at all. I agree with you on all the rest, including 24 and 25. I don’t think Canada would be safe, though.

  12. Biden and Sanders are my last choices because, hey, we’ve already got an old white guy in the White House so replace him with another one? Ok, yeah, either of them is better than the Trumpenfuhrer.

    I’ve already sent Warren some cash, well, credit card info. Harris is a strong number 2.

  13. Mostly agree with this list. I might switch Harris and Warren (and definitely would if Warren were 4 or 5 years younger). I would like Biden except that he is definitely too old at this point so he drops below Booker for me. An odd side note, the only bumper sticker for any of the Democratic candidates I’ve seen so far was for Andrew Yang which is not what I would have guessed.

  14. I agree with 1 & 2. I would put Booker and Castro ahead of Biden. I’m glad to see Bernie way down your list. I would vote for pretty much anyone over Trump but if we got down to Williamson I would concur that fleeing the country is the best choice.

  15. I’m thoroughly annoyed with Marianne Williamson because she had a quote that I basically imprinted on in college and decided was like, my life motto the way only an extremely dramatic college student can. And now she’s had to go and be a disappointing human being who thinks magical thinking is as good as vaccines and all she had to do was just not. Which I mean, she lives her life for her and not for me and this is why I don’t get tattoos that reference living people, but gosh.

    There are several candidates I’m genuinely excited about, but there’s basically no one in the running (including Williamson, fml) I wouldn’t vote for over 45, even if in some cases I’d have to swallow back bile and brush my teeth afterwards. In a pairwise comparison, anyone in the dem primary is less of an asshole than 45 (and less of a thief, and less of a rapist, and less of an international criminal). This is the field we get when the bar to clear is “more qualified for the office than a bowl of rotten cabbage covered in black mold.”

  16. I’m just hoping either of your first two picks make it far enough into the primaries for me to actually vote for them over your #3 pick.

  17. If all else fails there’s always the write in option of the SMoD/Sentient Yogurt 2020 option.

  18. I don’t get a vote, being a dang furrner from that socialistic hellhole to your north, but I’m predicting a Harris-Buttigieg combo. And I remind skeptics that, as early as July 2015, I predicted Trump would win the GOP nomination and that he had a good chance of winning the election.

  19. I too would swap Warren and Harris. The rest of the stuff is bang on, especially the Bernie stuff. One thing I would offer, is that a lot (not all) of the Bernie or busters were amplified by, or even straight up Russian Trolls. I engaged with a specific one for most of the 2016 campaign. The unfortunate thing is that Bernie will probably be the troll-bait of choice this year too.

  20. Speaking as somebody who is not allowed to vote in any US election, but in the country often enough to have a Washington Post subscription, I’m still amazed by the fact that somebody like Elisabeth Warren, who would be a moderate social democrat in Europe, is considered „socialist“. Seriously, your political spectrum needs a left wing. (Mixed metaphors, I know.) It also needs a complete overhaul to come within waving distance of being a modern Western country. At some point you’ll have to stop being proud of being the best democracy of the 18th century and admit that your constitution was a good start, but by now is hopelessly outdated.

    That being said: I’d probably have a slightly different order of preference, but then again I’d vote for a bucket of sick over DT, if I were allowed to vote.

  21. I think even more important than the geographic draw of a candidate is someone who will bring out the younger voters (admittedly, at my age of 67, “younger” is a relative term)–the ones who enthusiastically voted for Obama, and then stayed home for Trump vs. Clinton.

    As much as I’d rather see the next president be younger than I am, Warren does bring out the younger segment, and her campaigning recently has been excellent.

    Harris took great strides forward during the debate.

    I’ve been a big fan of Castro for years (I’d really hoped that he’d be the VP candidate with Clinton). He’d do great as president or vice-president. Same with Booker.

    Biden (unintentionally) summed up his position with his “My time is up” line during the debate.

  22. Warren/Castro.
    Warren has solid accomplishments: books, expert on bankruptcy, banks, teaching, the CFPB!
    Castro: Hispanic so balance & connections, managed HUD so knows issues & Bureaucracies.

  23. [Also deleted, and also, this. Angel, you’re two for two on the bullshit. You are excused from the rest of this thread — JS]

  24. Biden: More concerned about returning the sensibilities of Civil War-era manners to the White House than about fighting like hell for gay people, women, and minorities. Hard no. If we want him because he might possibly attract flaming sexist assholes who handed us Trump because that’s just how flaming they were, that also says something about Biden as a candidate, and it’s nothing good.

    Hard yes on Harris and Warren. If either get the nomination I’ll be delighted. Will vote pretty willingly for any of the rest–with all their flaws and shortcomings any one of them is light-years better than Trump–except for Sanders, Gabbard, and Williamson. (Inslee is my governor and he’s progressive–he cares and although he has made the environment his centerpiece, he’s about much more than that. I hope he is able to communicate that as his campaign proceeds.)

  25. As a straight gray-haired white guy I think it’s time for gray-haired white guys to sit the fuck down, so I would put Biden with the other straight white guys. Otherwise I think your spot on though I think for me Warren has the edge over Harris.

  26. What scares me is that suppose Biden gets the nod…is one of the other’s gonna run as a third party? Because that’s a guaranteed way to get four more years of Cheeto.

  27. I have had my eye on Warren for a while now, and keep liking her. She’s working and thinking hard, and still holds my #1 place. Otherwise, found your analysis very well lining up with my own. Then I wondered — am I simply part of a sfnal egregore, or are other voters going to share these thoughts? Really hope the eventual polls show the wider electorate sees these points.

  28. Biden is better than 45. That’s basically the only thing he’s got going for him. If name recognition is enough to carry him into the general over his old genially-racist ass, I’ll vote for him, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    There are a lot of people who are REALLY uneasy over Harris, with good reason IMO, but she’ll do all right, I think. My money’s on Warren this time around, I’ve agreed with basically everything I’ve heard from her.

    Now let’s just hope the Republicans are willing to allow a peaceful transfer of power.

  29. I’m a Canadian, living in Denmark, but since the majority of my extended family is American, I’ll take the chance to put in my two bits.
    Your greatest president once said “A country divided cannot stand”, and if there is one thing that can be said about American current American politics it is its viscious divisiveness.
    So my question is who of the above would be most able to bridge the schism?

  30. I’d rank Biden a lot lower – his track record makes me worried that if he did win (both the nomination and the general), he’d be a pretty ineffective president. I can’t imagine him pushing through a meaningful climate change policy, or being willing to hold corrupt members of the Trump administration to account. His whole theory of politics seems to rely on using personal relationships with opponents to win policy concessions (see https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/26/18715650/joe-biden-2020-primary-democrat-senator-segregation), and that’s just not how Congress operates anymore.

    Otherwise, I’d swap 1&2, and consider moving Castro higher up the list.

  31. Rob Tell said: “As a straight gray-haired white guy I think it’s time for gray-haired white guys to sit the f*** down….”

    Rob – from your mouth to my wife’s ears. Only she says “anyone but a white male.”

  32. I was warmer on Bernie back in 2016 when the main other option was Clinton. The condescension from Clinton and her supporters–more from the latter than the former–was a huge turnoff, but I voted for her anyway because, come on. I’m principled, not stupid.

    I’m definitely in the “Kamala Harris is a cop” camp, but if it came down to a choice between her and Hell Gourd, it’s no contest.

    Biden is a trash fire.

    Warren is my #1 because she seems to really get what’s going on. A lot of the Democratic field lacks any variety of awareness.

  33. I’m a big fan of Warren and Harris but I’m not confident enough about the state of gender politics in this country to be particularly comfortable with a woman’s chances in 2020 – particularly against Trump. Which is frustrating and I’d love to be proven wrong, but I still think there’s a real contempt for powerful women that Trump is good at capitalizing on (even outside of the million things that obviously made Clinton as special case).

    That said if I have to vote for Bernie Sanders’ entitled ass after four years of 45, I will set something on fire.

  34. “So my question is who of the above would be most able to bridge the schism?”

    There is a tweet I saw recently that sums up how I feel about the current schism:

    “Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man. You take a step toward him. He takes a step back. Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man.” https://twitter.com/juliusgoat/status/1109516478783590400

    This schism is not caused by the Democrats. It’s caused by the Republicans who have stated outright that they want to consolidate power for their party and are willing to do so even to the detriment of the country and the democratic process. “Bridging the schism” with people like that means compromising on core values and sending the nation toward authoritarianism, if not outright fascism.

    To answer the question directly, Biden is the most likely to bridge the schism, because he values “civility” more over doing the right thing. Bridging the schism will hurt the US more than anything else right now. The GOP is fundamentally corrupt and should not be compromised with in any way in their current state.

  35. Fervent Bernie supporter here. Hands down the most honest and courageous politician in my lifetime, the one whose loyalties are most strongly and clearly allied with those of ordinary people (versus elites and corporations), and the truest leader in the bunch. (As evidenced by the fact that most of the other contenders are fighting to at least appear as if they’ve embraced single payer and other progressive stands that he has long championed.)

    To my knowledge, the only candidate, for instance, who has stood up and said EVERYONE (including currently incarcerated peoples) should have the vote.

    What he said in his closing statement at the debate – that if we don’t fundamentally change the power structure in this country nothing will change – is 100% true.

    Every candidate and cause has its zealous adherents. I think that many Bernie people – who skew young – see quite clearly that we are in an existential fight against those who would wreck the world and enslave everyone for their own profit, and that business as usual / incremental change / and let’s all be civil dearie is exactly what got us into the current mess.

    And John, just out of curiosity what’s the logic of you criticizing him for not being a Democrat when you yourself aren’t one?

  36. John, I would encourage you to look at Biden’s record on these things and then drop him the hell way down your list:

    – Integration / Segregation
    – Abortion
    – Incarceration / Crime
    – Women (current behavior & things he has said; Anita Hill)
    – Can’t we just work across the aisle? This is astonishing coming from Obama’s VP, considering that
    no, the Republicans were not at all willing to work across the aisle. See: judicial appointments and
    blocking SO MUCH that Obama tried to do. The answer is, no, Joe, WE CAN’T.

    Policy-wise, he is very bad news.

    And also look at Harris’s record as a prosecutor, where she supported the carceral state in what I can only term very bad ways.

    I mean, yeah, to get those criminals out of the White House and executive branch, of course I’d vote for almost any of these folks. Castro is smart! I’m glad Inslee is running on the climate crisis, which is the defining issue of our time. Mayor Pete seems like a smart guy who oughta run for Congress or Governor of Indiana. Hickenlooper and the guy from Montana (doIhavethatright): RUN FOR THE SENATE.

  37. I agree that Warren and Harris are 1 and 1A – Julian Castro really impressed me, as did Cory Booker. I don’t see Biden compromising on the right issues and it makes me very nervous to think about him serving as president. I will vote for any Democrat nominated. Frankly, at this stage I will never vote for any Republican ever again. They are too compromised.

  38. As the child of Canadians who was born in Michigan, I have the unique perspective of wonder WTF happened to the country of my birth and enjoying the benefits of living in the most temperate part of Canada. Theoretically I could vote for president but that would involve hunting down where in Eugene or Corvallis my mom lived when I was less than 4 years old.
    I keep flipping between Warren and Harris, depending on Harris’ latest mic drop moment or Warren’s latest multipart plan.
    Biden was a decent man, but I’m so glad Harris took the gas out of him, he’s not the future.
    On the same note, I’m glad Biden has taken so much of the gas from Sanders. Bernie’s already put in the paperwork to run for Senate as an Independent in 2024-if he doesn’t think he’s going to win, he ain’t.
    Booker has always carried himself well and didn’t screw that up, however, Castro was truly impressive in his debate performance.
    Beto looked out of his league, he needs to run for something else again.
    Mayor Pete sounded great but he needs to run for governor or senate as well.
    Yang’s Universal Income is a great idea, saves a lot of paperwork with welfare and pensions. That VAT sounds like our hated GST and HST-let me move on before I get deleted for swearing.
    The other dudes-nice try, but run for something else that needs you.
    Gabbard? Uncomfortably close to Syria and Russia loves her, so I’m suspecting she’s in the Stein-trump zone somewhere between useful idiot and active asset.
    How the F*** did Williamson make the cut?

  39. [Well, after spending five min trying to wipe the smudge off my screen that is your weird face watermark, I read over your thoughts. (I’m not saying your Smudge, and not saying your face is all that weird, but that background floating behind your text box looks like a smudge on my screen. Nevertheless–) ]

    I’m in a deep red state and in 2016 voted 3rd party. I know my vote did not change a thing (Trump was almost 20 point winner and 3rd party was at most 1%) but had no clue we were in for such a sh## show. I will not do that again, regardless of the outcome.

    If one of the old White men on this list makes it I will vote for them, but I hope it is not one of them. I like Harris. I watched she and Booker tag-team on Committee on the Judiciary, and they work well together. I think they would work well together as running mates. Warren would get my vote, but I’m not as warm on her as you are. Although, she is ahead of my view of Biden and would be on my short list. Sanders has great ideas, but I don’t want him as president, although he would get my vote.

    I hope whomever is nominated also gets support of those in your top four. I would like to see them all go across the country in support of the pick. They are an amazing bunch of people. Besides Sanders and Clinton, I could not name off the top of my head any of the people from the Democratic primaries from 2016. This time, I’ve seen a few of them in action and there are some quality people that give me hope.

  40. Harris was about #6 on my list until the debate Thursday night. That moved her up. I fear that running Sanders would kill the turnout and lead to things that I will not type.
    If I were betting at this stage it would be a Biden/Klobuchar ticket.
    Warren both thrills and scares me. Maybe that is a good thing. My biggest beef with Harris is that I personally believe that prosecutors should be banned from all elected office, but I’m probably a nut job.

  41. Hillary Rettig:

    “John, just out of curiosity what’s the logic of you criticizing him for not being a Democrat when you yourself aren’t one?”

    Because I’m not running to be the presidential candidate of the Democratic party. If I were, I imagine I would register as a Democrat, out of courtesy if nothing else. I don’t think one needs to be a Democrat to point out the actual fact that a candidate for the Democratic slot for president isn’t one; for the record, I also don’t think one would need to be a Republican to point out a similar situation on that end of things.

  42. Ok, learned not to use greater than or lesser than signs in post as now a big chunk is missing. I said that I could not type the words of what I thought a Sanders ticket would lead to

  43. That’s a good lineup. I’d vote for Warren before Harris, bump Castro and Inslee up a bit, and move Biden down.

    If Wiiliamson manages to get the Democratic nomination, I’ll vote for her. Afterwards I might think about moving.

    If the Democrats nominate a yellow dog that’s been lying dead in the hot August sun for two weeks, I’ll vote for it. It’s that kind of election.

  44. lead to things that I will not type. A big chunk of my comment is gone and the rest is in italics. Evidently I used the wrong characters in the post.

  45. If either Biden or Sanders was the candidate, the choice of Vice Prez would be of extreme importance, as the likelihood of their finishing out a couple of terms (or even one) is distinctly lower than that of a much younger candidate.

    And per a comment from above, the likelihood of any candidate bridging the political chasms now existing in the US is almost nil, considering that the opposition party does everything it can to tear the nation apart; power over the good of the nation at all costs.

  46. To expand on my last post (https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/06/29/hey-scalzi-who-would-you-vote-for-as-the-democratic-candidate-if-you-had-to-vote-right-now/#comment-864171) I recognize that I mostly talk about bridging the schism with GOP leaders. There should be no compromise with them IMO.

    But for Republican _citizens_…it’s hard to forgive for voting Trump. He showed his ass multiple times during the election, and they decided they liked it. Many of them are straight-up bigoted and voted for him because he’s a rich white guy, or actively encouraged the hate he is now sowing in the country. But I know not all feel like that, and many people had their own reasons.

    I don’t think any of the current crop is going to be the best for reaching across the aisle to Trump voters who haven’t already regretted their vote. But so far Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems like the real deal, and has already been laying groundwork for bipartisan efforts while not compromising her personal values. I will be shocked and disappointed if she does not run for president once she’s able to do so, and I think she may well be one of the best leaders we could hope for.

  47. Gravel, at least, should be separated from the other pile o’ dudes because his goal isn’t the presidency but a chance to push the Dems away from militarism. Were I American, I’d chip in a buck.

    Warren’s my #1. I’d put Sanders higher than Biden but under Harris because ‘not actually a Dem’ isn’t really the worst thing.

  48. Tier 1: Warren, Harris, in roughly that order.
    Tier 2: Castro, Booker
    Tier 3: Gillibrand/Inslee

    The rest aren’t really worth much and if we get to them, we’ve really screwed up. I’d vote for any of them aside from Williamson and Gabbard over 45. If we got to those 2 I’d just assume the simulation has broken and emigrate.

  49. “No one has mentioned, as far as I have been able to determine, a truly radical proposal from Bernie Sanders, made during the debate on Thursday. That proposal would allow the next president to “rebalance” the Supreme Court, without waiting for Justices to die or resign. In all fairness, the proposal does depend not only on a Democratic Party candidate winning the presidency, but on retaining Democratic Party control in the House of Representatives and winning a Democratic Party majority (perhaps even a supermajority) in the Senate. Maybe no one is expecting that to happen, which is why no one has commented on Sanders’ idea. My own explanation is that the commentators just weren’t paying attention.

    It seems to me that nobody even noticed that Sanders had advanced a completely new idea about what to do about our current, and highly politicized, Supreme Court. Maybe people should be paying more attention to what Bernie Sanders says!”

    From: https://www.gapatton.net/2019/06/180-astounding-proposal-by-bernie.html

    I like your numbers 1 and 2, but think you were too tough on Bernie. Most of the others good ideas came from him first.

  50. “At some point you’ll have to stop being proud of being the best democracy of the 18th century and admit that your constitution was a good start, but by now is hopelessly outdated.”

    Truest thing I’ve seen today.

  51. [Deleted, because lol, no — JS]

  52. As a foreigner my views are irrelevant and probably skewed, but I basically concord with Kristi Pedler above. I’m not keen on Biden and Sanders, Gabbard and Williamson are atrocious, and there are a few empty placeholders, but on the whole it feels like there are a lot of strong candidates in the field and I fervently hope one of them becomes President. I wish we had such an array of choices in the UK.

  53. Any of the above democrats in any order, then goddamn Bernie. Though Mayor Pete is my number one, no one over 70, no Harris due to her California record.

    Of course none of it matters unless the Senate flips and McConnell gets booted from Senate majority leadership, which unfortunately I can’t see happening. The bus full of middle aged white dudes should all be running for Senate, particularly Beto.

    I fully expect no democratic president will actually Investigate or prosecute the blatant corruption of the drumpster fire, in the usual wishy washy nation needs healing way. The 666 5th avenue deal alone needs a special counsel investigation for pulling the Kushner family out of bankruptcy.

  54. Pretty much my take on things so far; Harris impressed me last year in a Senate hearing and I noted that. I’ve been impressed with Warren for much longer. I remember seeing her on Front Line years ago explaining how the credit card companies were screwing over people, and she was the prime mover behind the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which the Trumpkins may have re-named to something that doesn’t describe the mission, which they are ignoring anyway because why protect consumers?). And by the time my state gets around to voting in a primary in June it will probably be a done deal. I would never vote for Bernie or Tulsi in the primary though.

    I will vote for a yellow dog before I vote for DJT though.

  55. I’d flip one & two. I agree about Warren’s age but Harris has that annoying tic many Democrats have: that wanting to look tougher than Republicans thing. Both Clintons shared that affliction and I get it, up to a point*: it used to be that the sobriquet ‘liberal’ was considered the kiss of death for a presidential candidate.
    Things have changed though and Harris is a bit like Biden, in that she doesn’t seem to be aware of, or like, that change.
    She’s still my number two though – and yes, it’s hard to envision any Democratic candidate anyone but an idiot or arsehole wouldn’t vote for.

    *Especially for a woman candidate

  56. I agree that Harris would probably do very well against Trump in the debates. (With the caveat that I also thought Clinton dismantled him pretty thoroughly, for all the good that did.)

    I’m not so sure about Warren, however. In my opinion, she has shown a tendency to allow herself to be rattled by Trump’s antics, and I worry that might carry over into the debates and the campaign more broadly. In this she reminds me of Buttigieg – polished, intelligent, well-spoken, and a little bit fragile – who I’m also not convinced would be the best matchup against an opponent like Trump.

    There’s more to a campaign than personality, of course, and Warren/Buttigieg have other strengths. But on that particular score, I would be more confident in a more aggressive and sure-footed candidate like Harris, Biden, or Sanders.

  57. [Deleted for very poorly-thought out cue-card positions that don’t have basis in reality. Dude, you’re gonna have to do better than “All Democrats want socialism” if you’re posting here — JS]

  58. For the people who don’t understand what the problem is with Sanders not being a Democrat – it seems to me that what he’s saying is that he’s just too damn pure to sully himself by becoming a Democrat. As someone who’s been voting for Democrats since Jimmy Carter, I personally find that pretty insulting. I would vote for him if he got the nomination but he ties with Ms. Williamson as my last choice.

  59. Previously I was thinking that Biden was the only one likely to win back some of the borderline Trumpers, and that too many of the other top contenders had some attribute that would piss-off too many. But now having seen Biden in the debate, I really do believe his time is passed, and that energizing younger voters will bring in more than we’ll lose from the middle-right. I think Bernie played a big role last time around in waking people up to new possibilities, but now, just nope.

  60. I’m with the many people here who would put Warren at #1 and Harris just below. I like Warren’s policy proposals better, especially her unequivocal commitment to a true single payer health care system and her prioritization of taking on the financial industry. I’d provisionally put Julián Castro at #3, pending more info about him; I guess he impressed me a lot more then he did you. And I was not impressed by Booker, who leaned too hard on the theme of being from the inner city.

    Joe Biden is WAY farther down my list than yours, below Sanders. I can’t deal with the creepy #MeToo factor that he would bring to the office, and his entire platform seems to consist of being the second coming of the Obama administration. He looked seriously out of it in the debate. His biggest gaffe was when he was asked what the first thing he would do when he became President, and his response started by debating the premise with “you underestimate what Barack Obama did” and ended with “defeat Donald Trump”; NOTHING he said addressed the question at all. His other biggest gaffe was his floundering response to Harris when she brought up his past record on busing.

    I agree that Bernie is not the right person for the office in 2020. But I love his IDEAS. He deserves major credit for shifting the Overton window. And I like Warren because she’s as close as you can get to endorsing the Sanders PLATFORM without being Sanders.

    Yang isn’t in it to win it. The entire point of his campaign is to move Universal Basic Income into mainstream political discourse. The NBC moderators appeared to agree; they rarely called on Yang and gave him little opportunity to saying anything beyond his one talking point. He spoke the fewest words in the debate by a large margin, and not because he didn’t use the time he was given.

  61. Kal Kallevig – Yeah that blew me away when Bernie proposed it. I’m a political junkie but had no idea that that was even possible. I think this is yet another case where he is so far ahead of the curve it will take the rest of us a while to catch up.

  62. I don’t get a vote yet, but I really hope to naturalise in time – “no taxation without,” y’know?

    Anyway: Troubled by the complete lack of anything resembling policy from Harris’ website. Conversely, impressed (and mostly in agreement with) the set of proposals offered by Yang: he may have flaws, but the breadth and (in some cases) data-based originality is delightful – I don’t think that he has any chance whatsoever but I *do* hope that he gets the ear of whomever does. I was prepared to be troubled by, and had to go do my own research on, the whole Warren-Native American line of attack, but I came away completely satisfied: her statements appear to be completely in line with actual reality, and releasing a DNA test got points for calling the Cheeto’s bluff. Her history of standing up for people against corporations is splendid. So I would pick Warren as a clear #1 right now; in my second tier would be Booker, Yang; not sure that Harris rises even to emerge from the remaining pack yet for me.

  63. > Douglas Redecopp says: How the F*** did Williamson make the cut?

    Support from the fan base of her writing. That was enough to clear the low bar for the first debate. It won’t be enough to clear the raised bar for the third one so she’ll be gone by September.

    The other thing I will add is that I’d like to see the five candidates who were left out of this round for lack of space get their shot at selling us on their candidacies in the second round in July. Hopefully enough of the people who were on stage this time will drop out to make room. It’s 99% certain that none of them will impress anybody enough to reach the third debate, but you never know.

    By September we should be down to fewer than 10 candidates, and that will let us get all the major candidates on the same stage together. Then let the games begin!

  64. Already contributed to Senator Harris. Will also support Professor Senator Warren! I was surprised that Hillary Rettig is Still a Sanders supporter. Hillary, Sanders is no more a socialist than Trump is, and cares no more for the people of this nation than Trump does.

    Sanders made a fool of himself by proposing that any President could rectify the Supreme Court. That Supreme Court stuff is in the constitution, mostly, except for the number of justices which is legislative, aka Not presidential at all.It was an astounding proposal because it is totally impossible — I was shocked that a sitting Senator appears to be less informed of how our Federal government operates, what the rules are, than I am, an aged hippy up a very rural holler. Astounded indeed.

    And he is NOT a member of the Democratic party, proud of that, yet determined that Democrats should nominate him to be the Democratic party standard bearer in these troubled times. Already signed up to run as an independent for the Senate, yet again.

    Sanders appears to be the favorite of the Russian state security apparatus, right beside The Donald Trump, who is wholly owned by Putin. Sanders was a stooge of the Soviet state before that group toppled from the weight of the command economy’s failure — now he’s a captive stooge of the Russian military intelligence arm based upon the evidence the Soviets maintained.

    Tulsi Gabbard is a right wing homophobic nut, Mariam Williamson is an anti-vax, anti-science nut. Neither of them is qualified for any public office.

    Most of the others at least appear to be Americans…

    Harris is my number one, Warren is wife’s number one. Biden is very low on my list, less so to my wife. I’m rambling…. sorry about that. I’ll stop. Now I’m going to sip a Gin and Tonic and study on what to fix for dinner.

  65. I’d go Harris, Warren. Buttigieg, Yang is some indeterminate order.

    Also, Williamson can’t POSSIBLY be anything nearly as bad as the current creature occupying the WH.

  66. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased for Warren since she’s my senator, but I’d be very happy with her, Harris, or Booker.

    I mostly agree with the rest of your assessment, except that Biden and Sanders are just barely above Williamson in my estimation. I will hold my nose and vote for them if it comes down to it, but they are both far past their use-by dates in their own ways. The people who whined that Hillary had too much baggage to be a good candidate seem all too ready to overlook that issue for these two. Hard to say whether that’s learning from the past or the same old sexism.

    I do agree that a fair number of these folks would make good cabinet members, though.

  67. Good list. I don’t have a favorite right now, like so many others, I’ll vote for anyone who doesn’t have trump in their name.

  68. Hawaii local here; Tulsi Gabbard does well enough on the local level, but POTUS? Naah. Her main attraction for me is punching back when Trump took a swing at her.

  69. Which is not to say she wouldn’t get my vote over a Republican candidate if a nuclear strike took out the rest of the Dem contenders.

  70. If I come up with amazing impossible Supreme Court ideas that will never happen, can I be Bernie Sanders?

  71. Sanders has given rise the the democractic equivalent to the Tea Party, inspiring people like Occasio-Cortes to reshape the climate. His participation in the 2016 race was more impactful on the state of the US politics than Clintons. For that alone he deserves a nomination – if only he wasn’t so old… Then again, Sanders has been old for a while and it hasn’t affected him before. I can see him as FDR, giving speaches from trains when he can’t walk anymore.

    Warren seems like the most likely choice for reconciling the corporate democrats and progressives – she’s a devil they know. I’d like to see a Sanders-Warren(or the other way round) ticket, but I think they’re both polling too high for that right now. Let’s just hope that doesn’t give anyone like Beto a chance – how a part-time libertarian sneaked into the Democratic party through Texas baffles me.

    Biden is a dummy candidate for distracting republicans. I’m not sure if he knows that, but that doesn’t make him a real candidate. I’ve heard bad things about Harris’s record as a prosecutor, mainly about being too focused on looking competent and tough on crime instead of actually tackling it. That’s the opposite of whom I see as a leftie, but I suppose some people might miss the difference.

    People trying to give off centrist vibes at this point, like Buttgieg are ill suited to current US politics. Such people allowed Republicans to get away with denying Merric Garland a place on the Supreme Court in the name of following procedures in letter, not spirit. Dems need someone with a vision, who won’t be stopped by procedural quirks, republican obstructionism and tradition.

    That’s why it’s proposals like a Wall Street transaction tax coming from Sanders and right to repair from Warren that matter. At this point it’s important to take control of the discussion and get the public aware of problems and potential solutions, so that nonsense like the “they’re after our flatulent cows” Republicans pulled off in response to Occasion-Cortez’s Green New Deal appears nonsensical to the majority of voters.

  72. My ranking, irrespective of electability, would be

    1. Warren
    2. Harris
    3. Castro
    4. Gillbrand
    5. Buttigieg
    6. Inslee

    and the rest (and a moldy potato) in a heap at the bottom, a pile which would still get me to go to the polls and vote for the candidate with D next to their name, because lordy hell the consequences otherwise.

    I’ve given money to Warren so far; if for whatever reason she has to drop out I’ll start donating to Harris. If the two of them became the ticket I’d be overjoyed; I expect some dude to get the other slot though, because This Is America™ >.>

    I’m so freaking tired of hokesy handsy outta-time “I have a black friend who was a better person and president than I’ll ever be” Biden and I really hope he doesn’t get the nomination. We have a wealth of candidates this year; we don’t have to settle.

  73. I dearly love Joe Biden, and truly regret that he did not run in 2016, but I have to concede that his sell-by date has passed. Same goes for Sanders.
    So far, Harris has impressed me the most, though I didn’t much care for her comment linking 45 to science fiction. https://twitter.com/KamalaHarris/status/1144431141279162369
    As for John Hickenlooper (of Colorado; 11th on your list) and Steve Bullock (Montana Governor; tied for 15th on your list), I say the same thing you just told Beto O’Rourke: Run for Senate, PLEASE. If the Republicans keep control of the Senate, nothing can be done about Mitch McConnell, who is, in my opinion, a greater threat to democracy than 45.

  74. Reading through this comments section gives me hope. I’ve been pushing Warren since 2014, and I noticed that she started getting the most buzz on my Facebook newsfeed the past few weeks. It’s the same throughout this comments section, and I hope that’s a portent of things to come.

  75. “Deleted for very poorly-thought out cue-card positions that don’t have basis in reality. Dude, you’re gonna have to do better than “All Democrats want socialism” if you’re posting here — JS]

    I thought the subject was the Democrats running for President. Excuse me for posting under that assumption. Now, which candidate doesn’t want Medicare for all, including undocumented immigrants? And if that isn’t socialism, what is? BTW – I’d been interested in an example of Trump being a racist.

  76. As someone who donated to both Gillibrand’s Senate and Presidential campaigns despite being on the other coast, seeing zero mentions of her in previous comments – apart from lists – is disappointing but part and parcel of the campaign in a nutshell.

    I like her ideas. I like her demeanor. And she’s a fighter (which we’ll need in the general). But she doesn’t have an elevator pitch in the league of Warren or Harris, her campaign isn’t good at pushing any message at all, and the media is actively ignoring her (at least two of the moderators spoke more in the debate than Gillibrand did).

    So my list is vaguely similar:
    Inslee (he’s my governor, and I wish he hadn’t committed to being a one-issue candidate even if that was his intention)
    Mayor Pete
    The Centrist Comity Brigade (Biden, Klobuchar, Hickenlooper, etc.)
    Drink Heavily

  77. I’m all in for Harris, but will vote for whoever the Democrat nominee is. Now, with that out of the way I’d like to address the “Harris is a cop” trope. When I served on a civil grand jury for a year in the 1990s we worked with the county DA. We also sat as a criminal grand jury and I ended up getting acquainted with the defense attorney later on through his then girlfriend. I had occasion to ask both of them why they’d chosen the “side” that they had. The DA said that what he wanted was to put bad guys away. The defense attorney said that he wanted to defend accused people based on the presumption of innocence. Both are right. Our system of justice requires both. Senator Harris clearly screwed up as DA and has owned it. But the job she was elected to do is by no stretch a “bad” thing. And there is nothing wrong with “being a cop” (my dad was in law enforcement his entire working life).

  78. I’m voting for Warren but I will ultimately vote for whoever becomes the nominee. My motto is ANYONE is better than Trump.

  79. Jim Lewis – I believe referring to “s***thole” countries ( all of which are non-Nordic) and expressing preference for people from Nordic countries to move here IS racist. Also, categorizing immigrants with brown skin as criminals does not sound very inclusive. Medical care for all? If my neighbor contracts a highly contagious but cure-able (if treated and fatal if not) sickness, I would far rather see them treated at the expense of the community then allowed to die, and in so doing infect others in the community.

  80. foxstudio @9:13: I like Harris a lot and pretty much my only misgivings are because of what I’ve heard of her career as a prosecutor. (I’ll admit that while I’m more politically aware than the average person, the crowd of Democratic candidates has kept me from doing too much in-depth investigation or having a lot of ambient knowledge of any candidate whose name doesn’t rhyme with Boe Jiden or Sernie Banders).

    My basic understanding is that she was pretty much in line with Democratic party orthodoxy on crime in the 90’s — which is to say, terribly inclined to incarcerate brown people. There are certainly edge cases, but I don’t think she was that out of step with the party at the time. (If I’m wrong, I’d welcome evidence of such!) I really do think the party itself needs to address this at some point; party platforms are ridiculous documents, but they do allow a statement of beliefs….

    My only remaining problem with her (and to be clear, at this point, she is my number one choice for the nomination) is that I haven’t heard her really grapple with that. I listened to her Pod Save America interview, and I’ve seen a few other interviews and it just doesn’t feel like she…gets it.

    I hope she does — get it, that is. And then can explain to us how what she thought was right then now seems wrong, because she was wrong.

    This is something that drives me crazy about US political discourse, that admitting you were wrong (aka ‘flip-flopping’) is taken to be some kind of cardinal sin. Of course it’s not! If you change your mind for good reason, it’s evidence of growth! Celebrate it!

    And, goddammit, we need leaders who can do that.

    Note, I am a white 47 year old cis-male, so I do recognize that I may be more willing to forgive some of her prosecutorial decisions than others might be.

  81. @kal and Hillary – “That proposal would allow the next president to “rebalance” the Supreme Court, without waiting for Justices to die or resign.”

    It should bother you that he doesn’t realize this is not constitutional. It should also give you pause that neither of you know this either.

    @ Jim Lewis – Since Medicare for all is socialism according to you (it’s not, go study) then I would hope you will decline its use when you’re 65 and that you encourage your loved ones not to use it. I mean, to do otherwise would be a shade hypocritical.

    Ah, but you don’t care… you just don’t want brown people (er, immigrants here ‘illegally’) to have access to it. So, let me get this right… would you rather those people just die if they get sick? Because if so, we don’t have a policy disagreement, we have a morals disagreement.

  82. My first and second choices are the same as our host’s. I’d put both Biden and Bernie way the heck down at the bottom of the heap. I like Castro and Booker as second-tier candidates.

    But I’d vote for any of them in a hot minute over the current incumbent.

  83. Inslee was the big surprise for me in the debates. I hadn’t heard of him before but thought he said things that needed saying and said them well. I don’t really have a top any number yet, just vague “not too bad” and “I hope not” buckets

  84. @foxstudio @ 9:13: I’m terribly sorry, I edited my comment and somehow left out the part where I actually responded to you ;(. What my earlier comment was fleshing out was that, while I think some of the “Harris is a cop” rhetoric is over the top, I do believe that she has not really reconciled her record with a modern understanding of mass incarceration (specifically as it impacts marginalized (and more specifically, black and brown) communities).

    Certainly the adversarial system of judicial practice has lots of advantages, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the prosecutor is by far the most important player in the judicial system today. Honestly, it’s a travesty that they are elected in most jurisdictions, but, well, one fight at a time.

  85. Mostly agree, but would move Mayor Pete to 3rd place.

    I’m not sure Biden is going to hold up. His debate performance was terrible.
    He looked old and confused. It was sad watching his wife rescue him from a reporter after the debate.

    And the “boy/son” issue was a brain fart – he tells this story all the time but normally says “They never called me senator, they always called me son” which makes a lot more sense. Not sure where the “boy” came from.

  86. Jim Lewis:

    “I thought the subject was the Democrats running for President”

    It is. However, just because you make dumbassed statements about them doesn’t mean I’m obliged to treat the statement seriously, or keep it on my site. Your medicare argument is also dumbassed, but at least it’s an argument. That said, you give all indications of being a sealion, so unless you can do better, fast, you’ll be invited off the thread. Get smarter fast, please. Thanks.

    PS: If you think medicare is socialism, wait until you get a load of the military!

  87. Mostly down with that.

    But Kirsten Gillibrand was a former, happy, tobacco lawyer. Then she was an NRA backing representative. Then she was the queen of MeToo. Pretty flexible ethics if you ask me, plus anybody who defended tobacco is a murderer.

  88. I’m Warren over Harris, simply because as a Californian, Harris was pretty transparent that every election she won was intended to be a stepping-stone towards a higher political position. Now, I understand that that is usually how it works, but as someone who has voted in elections where she was present, it felt a bit disingenuous that I knew if she got X position, she wouldn’t be in it for long and would spend half of her tenure running for the next office.

  89. John Scalzi:

    But I don’t need perfect at this point…

    I hope everybody has this attitude in November 2020. We are at the point when Democrats need over 55% of the vote to win legislative control. If the Republicans get to pick the voter districts after the 2020 Census, that number will go up.

    I’m torn between Harris or Warren at this point. Warren would be the better president, but Harris has the best shot of winning. The choice between Warren and Harris is like choosing a Lamborghini or Ferrari, so a win either way.

    Beto is a Harry/Hermione shipper, so forget him.

  90. Okay, I’m not going to comment on individual candidates (I’m Australian, I don’t get to vote in your elections, even if I do have to put up with your multi-year election campaigns, darn it). What I’m going to suggest instead is a set of three questions you really need to be considering asking each of the candidates before making decisions.

    1) What are you going to do?

    With this one, you want specific answers. You do not want generalities like “make America great again”, “stop the boats”, “jobs and growth”, “healthcare for all” or “universal basic income” or whatever their three or four word buzz-phrase is. Instead, you want actual, specific, measurable targets to hit. You don’t want vague generalities, you want specific line items.

    2) How are you going to do it?

    This question is important. If a candidate has heaps of nice specific targets, but no idea how they’re going to achieve them, they’re not going to be an effective administrator. What measures are they going to put in place to achieve those goals? How are they going to determine those goals have been achieved? Do they have a road map for how to get there from here? If they don’t know how they’re going to do things, they’re just selling you bullshit to get elected.

    3) How are you going to do it if the Republicans don’t/won’t co-operate?

    This last question is the true test for whether or not the candidate is paying attention to the current political environment. Your country doesn’t have a parliamentary system like the UK or Australia, where the leader of the government is the person representing the party with the maximum votes in the people’s chamber – your president CANNOT guarantee they’re going to get Congressional or Senate support for their proposals. So, assume the Republicans are going to do to the next Democratic president what they did to Obama – they’re going to block everything on the grounds of “we aren’t letting you win” (to the point of cutting off their noses to spite their faces, if necessary); they’re going to refuse to negotiate; they’re not going to concede a single inch of ground. How is the candidate going to deal with a hostile Congress or Senate? What will they concede on, what will they compromise on, who are they going to throw under the bus?

    You need to start asking these questions early, and you need to start asking them often. Because that will determine whether you’re going to get a workable president in place of the current disaster area in the White House, or just a substitution of a Disaster Area in a blue tie or nice skirt-or-pantsuit for the Disaster Area with the MAGA hat.

  91. This is the sort of thread that will spout trolls whilst I sleep, so I’m closing it up until the morning. Sleep well, everyone.

    Update: Comments back on!

  92. OK then, from the tenor of the majority here on this thread there is no healing in sight, of bridging the schism between Dems and the GOP.
    Then the aim of whoever gets the nod from the Dems must be to strengthen the unity of the party.
    In your last Presidential election, according to the Media, a large number disgruntled Sanders supporters didn’t turn up to vote for Hillary, something that certainly contributed to putting Trump in the White House.
    So again I’ll ask the question, who will have the greatest chance of gathering the various wings of the party?

  93. I am a big fan of a government that is as limited as it is frugal, so not one of the current crop of Democrat candidates appeals to me. It pains me to say this (to a very mild degree), but I just don’t like the direction that the Democrat party is going. Also, I do not like politicians who promise to violate the Constitution, at all, so I just don’t see myself voting for any of them.

    As a resident of Washington State, I would suggest looking at the mess that Inslee has made of the state before thinking about voting for him. What he has allowed to happen to this once great state is contrary to his whole platform of Environmentalism that he has been running on. Worrying about the idea that humans are solely and directly responsible for Climate Change (which I am not at all convinced of at this point in time) while ignoring real problems plaguing Washington State, and others, is silly at best.

  94. You left out two candidates.
    Candidate 26. Dead Hooker, and Candidate 27. Slow-walking Zombie: I will vote for anyone…living, dead, or something in between, in an effort to expunge Trump from the White House.

  95. “I hope everybody has this attitude in November 2020. We are at the point when Democrats need over 55% of the vote to win legislative control. If the Republicans get to pick the voter districts after the 2020 Census, that number will go up.”

    This. I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for president in the primary, but in the general I’ll vote for any of the current field (even the left-leaning analog to Ben Carson that would prompt our host to move to Canada, should it come to that) to keep the current occupant of the White House from doing further damage to the Republic for his own gain.

    But if we don’t want Republicans to cement in rule-by-political-minority, then changing things at the state level, and in the Senate, is crucial. A 5-4 Supreme Court (including the two justices Trump got to pick) just forbade federal courts from lifting a finger to stop even the most blatant partisan gerrymandering, which in multiple states has given the GOP a majority of seats with a minority of votes. We have to change the balance of power in as many state legislatures as we can, or the GOP will be able to make our districts even more skewed after 2020 than they did after 2010. (Especially if the citizenship question– which the court temporarily blocked by a narrow margin but in a way that could still allow it if the administration can quickly come up with slightly less blatant lies for why they’re adding it– skews the population counts to begin with.) While we’re at it, we should get independent districting commissions set up in more states, so that neither party can draw the lines to put its interests over its constituents.

    Similarly, the Senate (which by its nature gives some voters more say than others, at the moment in more red states than blue ones) needs to flip, if we’re going to have reforms at the federal level even brought to a vote, and to have judges who allow shenanigans like gerrymandering and other attacks against equal representation rushed through confirmation when the GOP is in the White House, while judges picked by Democrats are kept from even having hearings. Flipping the Senate in 2020, even with a Democratic voter majority, is an uphill battle, and Democrats need to support their candidates in every state, and field strong challengers for GOP-held seats.

    As others have noted above, some of the current aspirants for President might do better running for Senate or other government office. And those of us in a position to give money or labor to candidates’ campaigns might also want to support candidates in those crucial Congressional and state elections at least as much as we’re supporting our favorite presidential primary candidates.

  96. Good rankings list. At this point, it is a waste of time arguing to move people one or two positions up or down!

  97. I’d reverse Warren and Harris, but otherwise yeah.

    Also re: “socialism”–also, please explain why that’s a bad thing. Or not, because I’m really not interested in hearing the same old wet-your-pants-because-of-FREEDERM, shades-of-McCarthy arguments again.

    On vacation with family a month or two ago, in the middle of my usual heated political debate with Dad (who is a liberal, but we like sparring) I said that his generation either needed to get the fuck over the Cold War* or start dying off already, and while I liked many of them personally, the less they’re willing to do the former the more I’m okay with the latter. I stand by that.

    * See also: Vietnam, which thank God has not come up so far in this election, but JFC I remember the 2004 election and…who went, who didn’t go, who supported it, who didn’t…there are people old enough to drink whose parents weren’t adults when it happened. Nobody but the oldest and fartiest of old farts cared, or should, and yet aforementioned people would not shut up about it and move on to other stuff.

  98. As a New Yorker, it would be hard to rank De Blasio ahead of almost anyone (well, Williamson and Gabbard). He has about as much business running for President as [your worst candidate here]. As for Gillibrand, meh. When your claim to fame is driving Al Franken out of the Senate, you don’t get any points from me.

  99. For “and to have judges who allow shenanigans” in my comment above, read “and to avoid having judges who allow shenanigans”. I should have read over my comment at least one more time before posting; sorry about that.

  100. Now that you have listed your faves, how about your early odds on which of these we might actually see on the ticket.

  101. I’d vote for Buttigieg, but I hope it’s not this election. He needs time to gain some real experience. I need time to learn how to spell his name without peeking at the answer.

    I was all for Beto for Senate, but I don’t think he’s ready for the bully pulpit, either. Answering debate questions in both Spanish and English was an obvious stunt, given the venue, but it meant he had only half the time to tell us what he stood for. And despite taking place in Miami, it was primarily a televised debate.

    Booker made a mistake by following Beto after he went there.

    Harris seems the front runner now (if you don’t count the polls). I didn’t like her prepared stunt when she called out Biden. Most debate “zingers” are rehearsed (Say it ain’t so, Joe. There you goin again), even the most effective ones, so maybe it doesn’t matter. It just felt a little contrived in the moment. I do think she’ll mop the floor with someone as predictable as Trump.

    Biden and Sanders seem a little too old. Yes that’s ageist, but they’d each be by far the oldest to take on the job if elected. George Washington was twenty years younger than they are now when he was inaugurated.

    To be sure, I’d vote for any of them over Trump. And if the primary were today, I’d probably go with Harris.

  102. Good morning, John. You took umbrage of my description of “Medicare For All” as Socialism. From Wiki:

    “Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. Wikipedia”

    Now that is Socialism, But it doesn’t make the country socialist any more than government built and maintained roads do, but when you eliminate private insurance, which Bernie does and the others do/don’t, depending on who they are talking to, it then moves the country towards total socialism and edges towards communism.

    “a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

    Maybe there’s a story there. The Evil Doctors who oppose being forced to work for the State versus the State and the Good Doctors who support the State. Kind of like “The Fireman.” The Good Doctor is awakened to the evils of rationing by a beautiful girl who is refused treatment because her disease is genetic… He then joins the guerrilla doctors… End by having them reciting the Hippocratic Oath.

    BTW – Just purchased “The Ghost Brigades.” Hope I enjoy it as much as I did OMW!

  103. It’s useful to keep in mind that females have a life expectancy that’s about five years higher than males in this country. That can be said to widen the age gap between Warren and the old white men — Sanders and Biden. Sure, that number is purely statistical, but from what I can see of Elizabeth Warren’s levels of cognition and energy, it may be an understatement for her. I don’t think her age is a factor worth considering. Biden’s and Sander’s definitely are.

  104. Then again, Sanders has been old for a while and it hasn’t affected him before. I can see him as FDR, giving speaches from trains when he can’t walk anymore

    FDR was 50 years old when he was elected President.

  105. The British (still, just) have a system in which health care is “socialised” by the US definition, (although private insurance is permitted, it’s not widely used) and I can assure you that whatever the British political system is, it’s not Communist. I don’t know _what_ the political system is, and nor does anyone else at the moment, but it is very definitely not Communist.

    One healthcare system that might be worth a further look is the VA; as a Brit married to a USN nurse I was treated by the VA for a (very) small malignant melanoma, and the treatment was straightforward, fast, and effective. Probably quicker than I could have been treated by the NHS, though we did live next door to a large naval hospital. Of course, the USN might have gone Communist while no-one was looking.

    The real snag is, as always, money. The last numbers I have are a few years old, and the UK was spending 8% of GDP on healthcare and the USA 14%. The outcomes were about the same; UK had better childhood survival rates, and the USA longer cancer survival times, but it was basically a wash. That means the various USA gatekeepers are consuming about 6% of GDP, and no-one, but no-one, lets that sort of money walk away. I suspect that like the USA’s gun problem, the USA’s health care problem isn’t fixable. Nor is it clear, given the direction the UK is heading, that the NHS will survive..

    C W Rose

  106. Many of the commenters here are a little uneasy with Harris because of her record as a prosecutor and put her below Warren for that reason. That’s understandable, but Warren has her blemishes as well (announcing her DNA test results was one of the most stunningly tone-deaf things a Democrat has done recently, and really shook my faith in Warren’s judgment). I might give Warren the edge on aspirations in her policy proposals, but Harris, who is hardly less aspirational, has the edge in practicality and grip. Her record and style as prosecutor suggests to me she’d be more effective as president than Warren. But YMMV.

  107. I’d recommend listening to some long form interviews of Pete Buttigieg to really grasp his intellect and passion for true leadership. The Politics and Prose interview is a great introduction . https://www.politics-prose.com/video/shortest-way-home-pete-buttigieg

    I’d also recommend his book which The Guardian called the best political memoir since Obama. He’s a real writer. I fear that folks who haven’t learned about him before the current media blitz are relying only on soundbites and clickbait headlines. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/17/shortest-way-home-review-pete-buttigieg-president?CMP=twt_gu

  108. ABT (Anybody but …), with Warren then Harris as my favorites and Biden as my pick for VP (again). But ABT is all but irrelevant if Democrats don’t gain control of the Senate. With a 50-50 split Democrats can pack the Supreme Court. Harry Reid abolished the filibuster for lower court nominees. McConnell abolished the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees as well. Schumer can abolish the filibuster for issues involving the Supreme Court. Democrats can increase the size of the court to 15, approve 6 honest judges, and the Court is balanced and ready to overturn obvious political decisions like 2nd amendment expansion, corporations are people, money is free speech, gerrymandering should be addressed by gerrymandered legislatures, etc.

  109. “I might give Warren the edge on aspirations in her policy proposals, but Harris, who is hardly less aspirational, has the edge in practicality and grip. Her record and style as prosecutor suggests to me she’d be more effective as president than Warren.”
    Absolutely! Also, Warren’s stent with the republican camp makes me a bit wary, even if her shift to the left is nearly 23 years in the past. Some, many, in fact, might regard this as immaterial, but there it is.
    More importantly, Harris’s measured “food fight” remark was classic; passion is great, but I want maturity, control and sobriety to look forward to after crawling through what we’ve got now.

  110. Upon reading this thread, I guess the option of non of the above won’t cut it. I mean, the current POTUS is a toxic mess who may just undo the party he supposedly represents, but d*** I don’t like the spew coming from the majority of the democratic party these day. Universal health care? Absolutely! But keep in mind this is the party that brought us the current trainwreck system we live under right now. I will keep my own favorite to myself for now as it really doesn’t matter unless he/she makes the cut as the primary process goes forward.

    Just a few random thoughts:
    -Picking a president where being female, minority, or having a gender orientation is NOT why I’m going to vote in the end. I feel we have candidates who are one or more of these characteristics is a good thing, but again not something that makes them better.
    -Seriously, I want to hear the person before I make up my mind, not some regurgitation of “Healthcare for all”, or “Green New Deal”, we must “have common sense gun laws” (or some variation of the same) being blindly put forth as the salvation of the nation coming directly from the DNC party platform with minor variation of exact wording.
    -If picking a president were a popularity contest, I’m sure we’d have some winners by now, but its more. We are picking someone who has very serious issues both foreign and domestic to deal with over the next few years.. I want the BEST person, not the best for the Democrat Party, or best Republican Party member. (I’m still praying the GOP actually puts a person up to run against the current President, but my high hopes are fading.)

    More than enough said…

  111. AI Mychalus:

    “But keep in mind this is the party that brought us the current trainwreck system we live under right now.”

    Yes, the GOP is entirely blameless in how the ACA is currently operated and administered, especially since January 2017.

  112. @Jim Lewis: At this time, the Medicare For All proposals don’t include nationalizing health care providers, so even if most (or all) of their income is ultimately paid for by the federal government, it’s really no more socialist than the military-industrial complex providing armaments to the Department of Defense. I also expect that any Medicare For All that passes will end up having the equivalent of Medicare Advantage insurance policies, where private insurance cover things that MFA does not.

    Personally, I didn’t watch the debates, didn’t read the transcripts, only read a few recaps. My earlier take was no on Sanders, didn’t like him piggy-backing onto the Democratic nomination process back in 2016, still don’t. I think 40+ year full time politician Biden is out of touch with the country. I’ll probably start really looking into the candidates after half of them drop out, but with the exception of Williamson, they’d all be better than Trump.

  113. Also, with regard to Biden and Sanders, I am unforgiving on issues of race, and Biden’s defensive, “I worked with a Black president for eight years” was too much like the “I’m not a racist! My best friend is Black.” Rhetorical maneuver for my liking.

    Sanders’s performance made me feel sad, and a bit embarrassed. Many of his answers to direct questions were of the “old man ranting on the bus” variety. Certainly, he was not the only candidate to let fly with non-answers (I’m looking at you, O’Rourke), but his non-answers, in particular, were the most painful to hear, as they were polemical, shouty, and ridiculously off the mark.

  114. It’s so nice not to have my choice limited to which older white man I’ll accept. (Though I keep seeing memes that seem to be based on the premise that it must be either Biden or Sanders.)

    My current top three are Warren, Harris, and Booker; all current Senators as it happens. Booker would make a good VP; I wouldn’t want to see either Warren or Harris wasted in that position. (Harris would make a damn good AG; come to think of it, so would one Hillary R. Clinton, who isn’t running for anything.)

    Jay Inslee is absolutely right that there’s really no bigger issue than the climate crisis (which shouldn’t be treated like a debatable political position). I don’t really know much about the rest of his positions, but that issue has got to be kept in the conversation. I’d like to see him in the Cabinet.

  115. As someone not from America, I’d quite like it to be Biden. I admit I don’t know the full ins and outs of US history, but he strikes me as the one least likely to screw my country up any further. That is what I want from an American President.

  116. @rickg,

    “It should bother you that he doesn’t realize this is not constitutional. It should also give you pause that neither of you know this either.”

    I refer you again to the post from which I got the quote:

    Here is more from the post which includes the complete text of Article III. Nothing I saw there makes it clearly unconstitutional:

    “All the Constitution says is that there shall be a Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the Congress shall determine. How the court system is organized and operated depends on what the Congress decides.

    Bernie Sanders is suggesting that we should think about having a Supreme Court in which the membership rotates on some basis. All Justices, once appointed, would have a lifetime appointment (as the Constitution mandates and assuming no impeachable offense), but nothing in the Constitution says that Justices of the Supreme Court, once appointed to that Court, must serve on the Supreme Court for life. We could rotate justices off and onto the Supreme Court.

    Think about it! That’s a new idea! Difficult to accomplish? Certainly. Desirable? Maybe or maybe not. But it does seem to me that this is a new idea worth thinking about, and debating. Properly executed, this idea might help “depoliticize” what has become a very “political” Supreme Court.

    What’s going on here? Could it be that Bernie Sanders is actually calling upon the Congress to take control of this country, and to do so with both courage and innovation?

    YES! That is exactly what Bernie Sanders is doing, and he should be celebrated for the role he is playing to help make American democracy great again!

    That’s MADGA, for those who like acronyms.”

  117. re. A I Mychalus – “the salvation of the nation coming directly from the DNC party platform with minor variation of exact wording.”

    I’d really like one candidate to say “To *hell* with the DNC platform, they lost in 2016, they have no bleeping business writing MY campaign rhetoric.”

    ABT? Absolutely, but that isn’t going to be easy, and binding the DEM candidate to platform planks many centrists and independents find too far left is not going to make it easier. Leave the candidate/President room to maneuver, dicker and, yes, compromise to get the do-able done.

  118. Yeah, I’d rank Biden (aka “Senator from MBNA”) considerably lower. Even if he is articulate and bright and clean.

    And re Sanders I agree with Scalzi’s ranking. I’d add re positions he’s “championed”: He’s been in Congress for almost 30 years. How much progress has he made on those positions? Compare and contrast to Warren.

    @rick gregory As I hope the above indicates, I’m no Sanders fan. But what about his SCOTUS plan is unconstitutional?

  119. What can I say when I have all of the interest but none of the eligibility?

    I have few qualms with your list as it is way too early to say anything other than the Senate is key and that the Supreme Court will be a populist lapdog for the rest of my life if the Republicans form the majority next term.

    With respect to John Lewis and Medicare: I do not know of any country (England?) that has full blown socialist medicine, but I can tell you a bit about Canada’s. To keep it short, (1) the provinces control health programs and always have, (2) the federal government cost-shares medical expenses with the provinces to ensure the ‘have-not’ provinces have the same basic offerings as the ‘have’ provinces, (3) doctors and other medical professionals can practice wherever they like, (4) I personally pay $600 per year when I file my tax return for my share of healthcare costs in my province – which means I am nearly upper middle class, (5) and I pay about $45 per month for supplemental healthcare including generic pharmaceuticals and another $40 per month dental.

    This is a really long-winded way of saying that private insurance isn’t going away and publicly funded Medicare is not free.

    The problems that everyone faces (regardless of nationality) should revolve around catastrophic illnesses and accident, not around hospitals issuing invoices on the somewhat unreasonable assumption that anyone arriving at Emergency for potassium tablets is a Saudi Prince with a suitcase filled with C notes.

    (JS: edit it down as you wish)

  120. I woulda dropped Sanders off the list entirely if not for the fact that he attached himself and is still leeching off of the one of the two parties within reach of winning the General Election.

    As for Sanders pulling the Dem’s leftward? Pfft. All of Sanders’ position were held by Democratic politicians in one form or another. M4A? HRC had single payer as part of her campaign in 2008.

    My favorite is Warren, but I’ll vote for Sanders if he survives the primary. At least he is better than Trump

  121. but nothing in the Constitution says that Justices of the Supreme Court, once appointed to that Court, must serve on the Supreme Court for life

    Er…I refer you to Article III, Section 1: “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” Unlike all the other offices in the Constitution, which had the length of their terms specified, the Constitution says that judges staying in their offices as long as they behave well. I.E., for lifetime.

    And lifetime tenure was not an oversight — it was something that the Founders talked about as important, most notably Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 78.

  122. FDR was 50 years old when he was elected President.

    FDR also had a reduced life expectancy.

    I don’t generally find the “age argument” against Sanders (or Biden) particularly convincing. I’m not Bernie or bust – I’m not even committed to voting for him in the primary – but given his energetic comportment and his apparent good health, I don’t see any real reason to hold his age against him. There are people who experience catastrophic deterioration in their 50s; there are others who are spry well into their 80s. And the simple fact that Sanders and Biden are capable of running for President in their 70s already makes them outliers; a Presidential campaign is arguably just as demanding (possibly moreso physically) as the job. As far as I’m concerned, if a candidate is capable of running a successful campaign, they’re capable of being President.

  123. Bruce, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, it’s a duck!

    I’ve seen no details on MFA, but at this time Medicare pays only 80% of doctor bills and a fixed amount for the hospital stay. $1316 for the first 60 days of a benefit period and $329/day for day 61 – 90. Then there’s the drug benefit which has various deductibles and co pays based on the tier. So yes, you need a supplemental or advantage plan.

    In the conversations I’ve had with youngsters, most think that Medicare is free. It’s not. (They seem to confuse Medicare with Medicaid.)

    How that realty will set with the Far Left of the base I do not know. But my guess is, not well.

  124. Kal Kallevig@1557;
    Rotating Supreme Court Justices. Oh You Sweet Summer Child You. (And Sanders.)

    And just how will you and Sanders keep the Senate from other substitutions of Neil Gorsuch (actually that was purely on Anthony Kennedy’s head wanting a Republican to install a favorite) & Brett Kavanaugh by blocking Merrick Garland?

    Lifetime appointments are a disappointment, but that is when you write, call, and protest your Senator to keep them from voting disappointments into the Federal system. Lifetime appointments also keep Notorious RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) in the system, blocking disappointments.

  125. Sarah Marie: I supported Sanders in ’16 because I liked his policy proposals better than Clinton’s. This time, I agree, we have better options, and on him four years older is definitely visible.

    Regarding Warren as an ex-Republican: I wouldn’t believe she’s a sleeper agent who’s suddenly going to revert into Mitch McConnell. What ex-Republican with her progressive views means to me is a certain manner of analyzing the issues, one which I share as a long-ago ex-Republican myself, who gave up on the party when it turned Reaganward.

  126. @rickg etc: yes if Sanders proposed an unconstitutional idea (rotating the supreme court), that was bad. but I’m waiting to hear from legal journalists before passing judgment on that. The fact that the media hasn’t seized on that as a huge faux pas makes me think his point was valid.

    *robin: I’ve said for years that Warren will provide a baseline for 2016 in the sense that you’ll be able to see how much opposition to HRC was really sexism vs. policy. I’m not denying that there was (and is) sexism, but it’s pretty clear given the Warren fervor (and now Harris) that a lot of the opposition to HRC was indeed with her policies. I’m both not surprised and – after personally having been repeatedly called a sexist (after a lifetime of proud outspoken feminism) for the “crime” of supporting Bernie – feel personally vindicated.

    As per my OP I’m a strong Berner but personally be okay voting for Warren – and, esp. in opposition to Trump, most of the other Dem candidates. And the vast majority of Bernie supporters I meet say the same.

    *malikaithered – thanks for the link (with cites) of Harris’s seriously problematic career. You saved me the trouble of summarizing, and also I will be sharing that link with others.

    *John: Bernie isn’t running for president of the Democratic party but the US. Given the lock of the two parties on the presidential election process, what else is he supposed to do? I’m guessing that you value being a team player, and I can see the value in that. But what if you perceive the team as corrupt and/or destined to marginalize you and your constituency? (Also, while the Dems may have deplored his independence, they were happy to have him caucus with them. So why isn’t he entitled to “use them back.”)

    Also John: thanks for this thread, which I know was work for you. But it’s yielded one of the best political conversations I’ve been part of.

  127. I don’t generally find the “age argument” against Sanders (or Biden) particularly convincing

    If he won two terms, Sanders would be 87 when the next President got inaugurated; you may be comfortable with that, but I’m not. Reagan, who was younger than Sanders will be at inauguration in 2021 when Reagan left office in 1989 had pretty clearly fallen prey to the onset of dementia for the last few years of his term. Counting on Sanders or Biden to remain vigorous is a pretty big throw of the dice.

    the simple fact that Sanders and Biden are capable of running for President in their 70s already makes them outliers; a Presidential campaign is arguably just as demanding (possibly moreso physically) as the job

    Neither of them has actually gone through a full presidential campaign yet, so that’s not relevant.

  128. I found the two “debates” actually way more interesting than I thought I would. Almost everyone up there offered at least one thoughtful position on some given topic (even Ms. Williamson — she might be too much into “unplanning” for my taste, but I totally believe that she wouldn’t throw babies into cages or shut down the government because her ego was hurt, so much better choice than the one offered by the GOP).

    In no particular order the ones that interest me the most are: Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Booker, Castro. Although I am worried about the way several people kept promising to do things by executive order — I get that there is a problem with the do-nothing Congress, but there is also a problem with the executive branch overusing executive orders. This has been a serious trend in American politics since at least 90s and I don’t think it is good one.

    And Sanders’ comment on rotating judges out of the Supreme Court — I think that might be inspired by this proposal put forward by law professors, Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman that was published on Vox: https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/9/6/17827786/kavanaugh-vote-supreme-court-packing. I remember reading the article last year.

  129. Nice list!

    To make my own, I’d switch your #1 and #2. Because Wasrren is just all-around awesome, whilst Harris is mostly awesome, apart from the time she spent as California AG, where she did nothing to make a failing justice system better, and might have made it worse.

    I’d also switch your #3 an #13. Of the two old men, I’d prefer the slightly divisive outsider to the too-grabby too-chummy-to-republicans one.

    But it’d be wonderful if everyone but our shared top two just dropped out.

  130. Warren without doubt #1. Harris is too much cop and doesn’t have the deep thinking in areas such as the greatest internal emergency (about which voters seem quite united) which medical costs and access and their deep systemic connection to families going broke and homeless. Warren studied and learned. As she has about many other issues. Also Warren can speak to the white female midwestern-western voter, particularly the older ones. That’s her first language. But she doesn’t speak southern — but then neither does Harris.

    I don’t like Harris because her area is law enforcement, and thus her deepest ties, like all law enforcement is to their own kind (and like military is to the military). However, she is tough, which is needed, and her age is optimum for the presidency. But I don’t trust her, even so.

    I really like the idea of a Warren – Castro ticket as of this time. But I can also imagine how the trumpers will go at them. But otoh, people now understand he’s deranged and may be more prepared to handle the out-of-the-blue biz such as stalking and looming he did to Hillary on the stage. But the word is coming in more often all the time these days that the t is failing, getting deeper into either alzheimer’s or dementia, which is why Ivanka is in Korean with him. When he suffers that alzheimer’s sundown syndrom, not recognizing where he is or the faces of the people around him, he still recognizes her and calms down.

  131. @BB,
    Exactly! I might have considered Sanders but for his abysmal performance on the debate stage; it would have been nice to hear him answer the “how” questions regarding his plans for the country.

    And I don’t foresee Warren stepping on stage at inauguration, morphing into a bright red elephant and roaring “Muahahahahaha! Foolish democrats!” My concerns have more to do with how or whether what might remain of her conservative ideology will impact the people I care about, most especially those who happen not to be “white female midwestern-western [voters].”

  132. And to be clear, I do not mean to imply that I don’t care about that demographic. I’m saying that I expect my candidate to be able to speak to brown folks from all over the country.

  133. “Jesus, I’m sick of this dude, who is not actually a Democrat anyway”

    Oh the irony that this is your first isssue with sanders. Not policy. Not something he said. But that he fails the Democratic loyalty test.

    Given how the republican packed supreme court just ruled that state gerrymandering is totally legit in our democracy, and oh, 4 out of 5 state maps are made by republican politicians, i would vote for moldy bread if moldy bread got the democratic nomination, regardless of what party moldy bread might also associate with.

    Because, jesus I’m sick of republicans gaming the system via the electoral college, i’m sick of republicans gaming the system to keep Garland out and put a rapist dude-bro in the highest court, i’m sick of seeing states pass laws designed to challenge roe v wade and outlaw abortion with the republican packed right wing court.

    and I’m sick of democrats fucking impaling themselves on perfection as the enemy of good candidates. So at this point, i cant even bring myself to point out the issues i have with various democratic candidates, because i would literally vote for moldy bread at this point.

    I dont recall the primaries being so cutthroat as they have been. In 2016 Clinton supporters had to shit on bernie supporters. And bernie supporters had to shit on clinton supporters. But then bernie held out until the last moment to endorse clinton. And clinton and her supporters couldnt give the middle finger to bernie fast enough once she got the nom.

    It appears that folks are thinking the problen with the 2016 dem primaries is that they werent *devisive* enough.

    Moldy Bread(D) 2020

    And his vp: mayonaise gone bad.

  134. Patrick Linnean,
    If we do not control the Senate next round we will be screwed, regardless. The question is not about lifetime appointments, as you said they have points on both sides. The question is about the organization of the court and just what it means to have a lifetime appointment? Does it mean that any given justice must hear every case? If it is to be defined by the legislature, then that might introduce some flexibility. And with the current crop of justices, we definitely need some flexibility.

    Aaron Homer,
    Thanks for that Vox link. It points out a couple of approaches that might well be constitutional and break the current hammer lock at the same time.

    Let’s get to work on the Senate

  135. Like most here, I mostly agree but would put Biden further down. Down around Sanders who I would vote for, but think his “purity”, and the fact that a large number of establishment Democrats don’t like him personally would result in no re-election and another four years at least of Republican rule at that point. I want two term legs on my candidate. I don’t personally find any Republican currently in government to be much of an improvement over 45. I see what way that party has gone, and I don’t think they are going to improve any time soon.

    Hickenlooper has stated that he has no desire to be a legislator where he isn’t in charge. Further, even in “moderate” Colorado, there are a lot of us Democrats for whom “socialist” is not an insult. I don’t see how any Democrat can’t realize that almost half the party voted for a socialist in the last Democratic party primaries. Hickenlooper, has decided that he wants never-Trumpers and never-socialists and that there enough of those for election. I don’t think so. Accentuating the wedge within the Democratic party is a bad idea.

    I am left of Harris, but she’s my number one, yes for all the reasons John mentions, but also because she seems to realize that there are socialists and centrists within the party and that we need all of them reasonably enthusiastic to vote so that they all show up.

  136. I attributed the Vox link to Aaron Homer, it should have been Kathryn.


  137. John,

    I read your interjections and responses to comments with interest. Don’t think I’m not aware of the role the GOP played with the ACA. Was it the German statesman Bismark who said that “politics is like sausage, one shouldn’t look too closely at what goes into its making”?

    Both parties are to blame for ACA, but this thread is about the Democrats so that is where it stays. What I have not heard from anybody in the current ticket is any sort of diversion from what is essentially party platform. Others have commented on this, so I need not add more except to add once again I am profoundly concerned over some of the goals in said party platform.

    In the end we must pick one person to be president. That person needs to protect the core values of what makes our country what it is. We may differ on the details, but in the end who gets elected POTUS needs to represent us all, and negotiate the best deals he or she can on behalf of ALL the people, not just the party they belong to. In this regard Biden is and continues to be on top. He’s not my first choice, but in this he is dead on.

  138. I’m Warren then Harris, but it is a close race between first and second.

    It was pretty clear from the debate that Swalwell is there less to actually win the presidency (because that’s not gonna happen) and more to push the conversation about gun control, and I respect him for that. It certainly has more of a point than a lot of the other folks up there.

  139. Warren’s age doesn’t bother me. She appears to be more fit than Hillary was in 2016, at least. And women live longer than men.

    Actually I just double-checked Warren’s age and she’s older than I thought, which is impressive because she doesn’t seem like she’s 70.

  140. Warren, Harris, Booker, Castro.

    But I don’t get to vote until April 28, (NY) and I think it maybe over before then. American Samoa (and others) vote on March 3, with 1321 delegates.

  141. “What I have not heard from anybody in the current ticket is any sort of diversion from what is essentially party platform”

    As always, the platform will be updated and approved at the convention.

  142. “i would vote for moldy bread if moldy bread got the democratic nomination, regardless of what party moldy bread might also associate with.
    Because, jesus I’m sick of republicans gaming the system via the electoral college, i’m sick of republicans gaming the system to keep Garland out and put a rapist dude-bro in the highest court, i’m sick of seeing states pass laws designed to challenge roe v wade and outlaw abortion with the republican packed right wing court.
    and I’m sick of democrats fucking impaling themselves on perfection as the enemy of good candidates. So at this point, i cant even bring myself to point out the issues i have with various democratic candidates, because i would literally vote for moldy bread at this point.”

    My reservations about Warren and my distaste for Sanders notwithstanding (but they remain, despite my fervent wish to fumigate our government), I agree with the above with my whole heart. Here’s hoping we don’t suffer death-by-splintering in 2020, because dirty children in cages sleeping under metal blankets, fathers and daughters dying in flight from deadly homelands, the constant threat of nuclear war, racist, misogynist POTUS whisperers, the gutting of the ADA, and the ever present threat of the removal of the social services that keep my hard working, college educated, but financially unstable family and friends alive are just as sickening to me as are the things mentioned above.

  143. Joining in the chorus, I’m also with you on 1 and 2. And I’d also push Biden a lot further down my list.

    Through my eyes, Harris’s background and record are complex and worth understanding in full — including the context that she was a black woman elected *without* the support of law enforcement groups. I don’t think she acquitted herself perfectly. This does as good a job as anything I’ve read at examining her record in context: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/1/23/18184192/kamala-harris-president-campaign-criminal-justice-record. I’ve never had any time for the criticisms of her as too careerist: I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before I can take that accusation seriously when directed at a black woman in US politics, and if I’m overcorrecting there, so be it.

    I would very much prefer that we not continue the generational lurch backward any further, but I like Warren enough to suspend that preference. I also don’t think she’s perfect.

    Mostly I hope right now that I get the chance to vote for one of these two in the primary! That would be fun. When it comes to the general, I’m afraid that the enormous stakes will mean that it’ll be a nerve-wracking affair even if I’m lucky enough to be head-over-heels in love with whatever Democrat I’m voting for.

  144. My state has partisan primaries and I’m registered independent, so I don’t start tracking candidates this early.

    That said, I’m praying the Dem candidates can pull together behind whoever gets the nod. The last thing this country needs is four more years of Captain Combover, and if his opposition is fragmented (even if it’s just a split between Democratic Nominee and Runner-Up Who’s Going Third Party/Writein Candidate) that’s what we’re getting.

  145. Well, all I can say as a non-American (albeit with close American family) is that the gerrymandering and vote suppression tactics of the Republicans are truly appalling, actively anti-democratic and cynical. For people to make statements about the Democrats not respecting the constitution in the context of what the Republicans have done suggests not only a one-eyed view, but also a myopic one. If you don’t want to live in a democracy, that’s fine, but it’s an awful waste pretending to have elections (money, time, conflict). Why not just rename your system an oligarchy and be done with it?

    Anyway, for mine, not enough of the Democrats brought up climate change as a major issue. This is an existential threat not only to the US but also to all of the rest of us. We must do something now as a human race, or we’re all up the creek (and there’s no paddle). Anyone who doesn’t do anything substantial about it is effectively mortgaging the futures of everyone under 50 – that’s many of us, all of our children and all of our grandchildren. It’s insane to decline action on the basis that it would be bad for business.

  146. I just got a hold of Warren’s audio book; I’ve heard Harris’s. I’m not saying these are excellent, objective sources, but they’re interesting ones. I guess we’ll see what we see.

  147. p.s. 11 more debates‽ Please dump the audience, the pre-planned applause lines are silly.

  148. I like Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Booker & Castro.

    Big No’s to Bernie & Biden. They reek of “But it’s owed to meeeee!”

    Sadly, I think trump will take it again and then our govt will move from being a kleptocratic oligarchy to a trump crime family dictatorship, fully supported by all but 1 Republican. This belief could be influenced by living – not by choice but circumstance – in a red town in a crimson red state. It’s been rough being surrounded by so much hate & negativity but these comments give me a tiny jolt of hope so maybe I’m wrong. I surely hope so.

  149. @Molly
    I share your fears, and I’ve never been the “wish upon a star and keep your little candle of hope burning” type. Still, my sanity, such as it is, means begging on a star for a POTUS and congress that won’t have millions of people dying or dead over the next 30 years.

  150. I wish Kloubachar had a better showing. I like Centrists. I don’t think I could vote anyone other than Democrat this time, so maybe it is moot. There are a lot of us around.

    I also like Kloubachar because she can own the Mid-West. That might be a big thing this time.

    I think I would love to see Harris as President, but I am not sure she can defeat the Trump model of being elected. She’ll hold both coasts but the middle is still shaky.

    I think Biden and Bernie are past their best sell by dates. I am not sure they can pull the young voters away from their phones long enough to vote.

    Gillibrand scares my with her entitled whining, I hope not.

  151. Comments off for the evening. Back up in the morning!

    Update: Comments back on but will automatically close in a few hours. So if you have thoughts, get them in.

  152. The question is about the organization of the court and just what it means to have a lifetime appointment?

    Congress: Hey! We decided to have rotating Supreme Court justices — you’ll still be a justice, but you just won’t always actually be, you know, deciding cases.
    Supreme Court: Yeah, no.

    (The legislature can assert whatever it wants to about what ‘lifetime’ means, and then the Supreme Court can happily come along and declare that meaning unconstitutional.)

  153. I enjoyed your piece on your thoughts on the candidates John. It made me chuckle several times. I shared it with several friends.

    My main concern with this election is will we actually have an election that represents the will of the people? Republicans are, more than ever, doing everything they can to suppress the vote. Foreign powers are also trying to rig the outcome.

    I will vote, but it is too early for me to know who I will vote for. Right now, I’d have to say Warren. I like the way she scares the hell out of wall street, but it is too early to tell for sure and I haven’t done adequate research on any of the candidates.

  154. It’s Harris for me. I love Warren’s fighting spirit, and I will happily crack her button on election night if she gets the party’s nomination, but right now, I’m not hearing or reading what I need to hear or read to convince me to cast a vote for her right now.

    All that said, if it’s between that orange tub of dumpster broth and my neighbor’s dead dog, ole Tootsie it will be.

  155. I have similar thoughts about Harris as Michael T., I live in CA but am well aware of how we’re regarded by a lot of the country and I don’t know if someone from here can have wide national appeal. I don’t really have a strong favorite right now and I’m not sure who I’d vote for if the primary were today. I’ll probably end up voting for whomever seems to have the best polling in key states, the most momentum, etc.

    Someone online said they just liked how the name Hickenlooper sounded. I tend to agree, it sounds like a name you’d give to a big goofy dog, and now that’s what I picture anytime I hear his name.

  156. Our primary isn’t until June, so I expect the deal will be done by the time I get to vote. But it really doesn’t matter, any of the top 16 or so of these folks will do fine. The president can’t do the things s/he promises to do alone anyway. It doesn’t matter if the successful candidate has plans to implement medicare for all, a public option or some other hybrid option. S/he will have to get it thru the Congress. The next president will need to choose smart, capable, DECENT people to serve in her cabinet. We need to elect senators and representatives who are also smart capable and Decent. Mitch needs to go away. Gun violence, climate change, Afghanistan, and so on, same deal as health care. The plans of candidates are just air castles, Obama had him some great plans, but without the support of the congress they were not doable. Trumplestiltskin has horrible awful plans, and with the senate as co-conspirators he’s had way too much success. Most of the people on the debate stage seemed to be acceptable… but they’re just one piece of the puzzle.

  157. OK everybody, but what’s the Hickenlooper reference in OMW? I don’t remember it

  158. Going to go with the Harris/Warren ticket in either order, and after that either as presidential nom with most of the rest of the slate as VP. I’d like to see Warren remain as the replacement for Ted Kennedy, the ‘Lion of the Senate’, but if she is called to serve as POTUS, I’m very much down with that. Her books are incisive, articulate, and spot on for the things that ail this country, plus fixes. I would vote the ‘Party of the Dead Fish’ rather than most current Republicans at any level. At one time I voted for a Republican who had done a decent job as mayor to be a governor, and things went rapidly downhill once she took office; the Peter Principle at work.

  159. Right now I’m pro Harris, Warren, Mayor Pete for sure–others will vary as time goes on.

    I will say, after following that link about how evil Kamala is, that you anti-Harris people need to edit and fine-tune your outrage. It reeks of desperation and will cost you.
    As an example, the whole outrage over making parents responsible for their kids going to school. Gee–I’m from Iowa and they have the same kind of law there and the world didn’t fall in.
    The solution, of course, is to get your damn kids to school. And stop whining about poor and working class people finding it a hardship.
    I’m in San Francisco so I’ve seen her and voted for her. She’s ambitious and yes, she’s screwed up at times. How dare she not be the perfect progressive candidate.
    The vox link above from julia is great at explaining the tightrope she’s walked.

  160. As an example, the whole outrage over making parents responsible for their kids going to school. Gee–I’m from Iowa and they have the same kind of law there and the world didn’t fall in.

    Uh, that’s not even in the top-10 of things people object to about Harris as a law enforcement person.

  161. “…you anti-Harris people need to edit and fine-tune your outrage. It reeks of desperation and will cost you.”
    THIS! And the toll won’t stop there. The problematic implications of the Harris hate aside, allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good may wreck lives, ones that have and continue to be regarded as expendable, or even harmful to, the country. Warren is not my first choice, and none of the other hopefuls are on my radar, but I will gladly eat my veggies when and if I’m called upon to do so. Sure hope others are prepared to open up for the choo-choo.

  162. A little surprised by all the ageism. Elizabeth Warren might have been born 70 years ago, but she isn’t anywhere near as “old” as Cheeto Benito. Like other commenters here, I’m more worried about the gender politics. I think Warren would be the best president, but I think Biden-Harris is the ticket to crush the MAGAs.

    I know millenials hate Biden but I don’t care. We can start caring about what millenials think when they actually show up to vote no matter who is on the ticket, just like the way boomers do.

    I also wasn’t that impressed by Harris’s well-rehearsed, voice-cracking, YouTube-ready takedown of Biden’s position on busing 50 years ago. Good politicians often don’t take the pioneering position when it’s politically sensitive. Does no one remember that Obama opposed marriage equality less than a decade ago?

  163. “Simply talking about race, white supremacy, and racism can
    lead one to be typecast, excluded, placed lower on the food
    chain in the existing white-supremacist system. No wonder
    then that such talk can become an exercise in powerlessness
    because of the way it is filtered and mediated by those who
    hold the power to both control public speech (via editing, censorship,
    modes of representation, and interpretation). While
    more individuals in contemporary culture talk about race and
    racism, the power of that talk has been diminished by racist
    backlash that trivializes it, more often than not representing it
    as mere hysteria.
    Individual black people/people of color often describe
    moments where they challenge racist speech at meetings or in
    other formal settings only to witness a majority of folks rush to
    comfort the racist individual they have challenged, as though
    that person is the victim and the person who raised questions
    a persecutor (Hooks).

  164. Warren for preference, Harris if I must (again, her record with incarceration is really troubling), Booker and Castro look like they’d make decent VPs.

    Great Uncle Biden needs to retire and be moderately personable but vaguely racist and sexist elsewhere, and Sanders keeps saying things that really damage my belief in his ability to see intersectionality as a real thing.

    I’m glad there’s somebody pushing for a better spotlight on environmental issues and hope it inspires the front-runners to take that seriously.

  165. A little surprised by all the ageism

    It’s not ageism to wonder if the person is up to the physical and mental rigors of the job. They may be but it’s not an -ism.

    but she isn’t anywhere near as “old” as Cheeto Benito

    Well, yes, I don’t think he is up to the job, either. For more reasons than his age, so many more reasons.

  166. And I, for one, am not inclined to die on the hill in a generation war between boomers and millennials.
    I get that Biden is comforting to some people because white, male, and grandfatherly; I’m willing to bet that Harris, whether or not said people are willing to admit it, isn’t the preferred face of America or it’s “values.
    And again, the defensive, “I can’t harbor any residual racist ideology because Obama” maneuver was half-dead before it flew from his lips, and it lay on the floor at his feet to rot and stink him up.

    And I didn’t hear anything especially memorable from him regarding climate change. But hey, he and many of the boomers for which he is comforting will likely be safely dead when the climate-related shit comes home to roost.

    PS: I wonder whether or not the neo-Nazis chanting about Jews and replacement in Charlottesville were voters?

  167. Dear John,

    At this point I’m waiting to see what gets winnowed out until shortly before the California primary, before I even try to decide. That said…

    On Sanders: way back when, he entered the race to change the discourse, to move the position of the Democratic Party. Then he discovered he might actually win and changed his goal (one could hardly blame him). The thing is, he accomplished his initial goal — most of the candidates are embracing the most important parts of this platform. Which means he has substantially rendered himself irrelevant. Now he’s just another old white guy, one with slightly better ideas and a somewhat deeper commitment to them, but not so much as to distinguish him. That puts him pretty far down on my list.

    The “not a Democrat” thing? So don’t care! I’m all for the party being hijacked and remade. Plus, the simple reality is that running as a third-party candidate guarantees you will lose and that no one in the two parties that matter will pay attention to you. He did the right thing for the right reasons, so far as I’m concerned. Still, he’s way down on my list.


    This is almost an aside, but can we PLEASE put to bed the myth that the Supreme Court gave the presidency to Bush. It didn’t. The Constitution established hard time limits on the electoral process, and the clock was going to run out before there was a final, certified count in Florida. There are then several ways it can go, but every one of them leads to Bush becoming the president. Barring the Supreme Court jumping the shark (if only they had!) and issuing a ruling that favored Gore, he’d already lost. My God, I wish he hadn’t, but that was the only way it could play out BEFORE the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

    Which is why pretty much every legal scholar out there has no effin’ clue why the SC got involved! Lots of theories, all over the map, but no one knows and they ain’t talking.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  168. @DAV1D You can wonder without using their birthdate as opposed to their demonstrated level of functioning.

  169. Another Californian and close observer of state politics, here, who likewise praises @Julia’s vox.com link about Kamala Harris for its reasoned approach. I first noticed Harris as a capable district attorney for San Francisco, who then ran for state AG in 2010 against a GOP-backed LA prosecutor named Steve Cooley. Cooley wasn’t horrible but was somewhat retrograde (e.g., pledged to defend Prop. 8 whereas Harris promised the reverse), making it a bright for the state when Harris secured a narrow victory.

    Some of Harris’s deeds and failures to act during her two terms as AG were disappointing, but are properly seen against both the Tough on Crime era and Harris’s need to work with prosecutors when she was regarded with suspicion on multiple grounds (San Francisco liberal, opposed to executions, first black AG, first female AG, first Indian AG) — as the vox.com article describes.

    FWIW, I’m like others in being torn between Warren and Harris, and watching the race with interest. But every time Harris makes me smile by eviscerating some Toddler-in-Chief toady in Senate testimony, I’m newly glad to have supported her for Senator and thinking the slogan ‘Harris 2020: Because America needs a good prosecutor’ might just be apt.

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