F&L 2020: A Victory For Us All

“What do you perceive as problems that need to be solved and how would you, as President, go about solving them?”
Clark McNaughton

As I write this, Tulsi Gabbard is polling at 6% among New Hampshire likely-to-vote Democrats — but nearly 30% among independents, and fairly strongly even with Republicans.  More detailed questions reveal that a lot of people have her as their first choice, but instead are voting for a different candidate because they think she’ll lose — not in the General against Trump, but in the Primary.

Leaving aside the inanity of such a statement — if you all vote for her, she’ll win, you morons! — let us instead consider not winners and losers, not statistics or polls, but rather what it is we really want in a president.  After all is said and done, if our vote is to have any value whatsoever, we must cast it for what we value, and not merely what we think might win.  So let’s start this by figuring out what we’d want, and then proceed from there.

First and foremost, I think we can agree that the present situation, with two thirds of America despising each other and the final third thoroughly exasperated with the intransigence of the others, is hardly ideal.  Better would be if we could find solutions to our problems that the overwhelming majority could agree on.

At present, we have four Democratic candidates who are advocating for bipartisanship.  Not one of them is polling in double digits in New Hampshire.  Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobuchar are all performing poorly in the polls.  And yet if anyone expects to win the general election, they’ll need to be able to appeal to independents — and, if possible, to draw away some of Trump’s loyalists.  Each of these can do that.  From a tactical voting standpoint, voting for one of those four is simple pragmatism — and yet, nobody seems to be.

More to the point, that’s also the best bet for the nation.  We’re not all likely to join The Party, so when it comes to passing legislation there will need to be some discussion, perhaps some compromise, and some bipartisanship here and there.  That will accomplish things where party-line voting will fail.  Even if the Democrats should win House, Senate, and Oval all at once, it’s reasonable to assume that any excessive overcorrection that might be passed into law during that period will draw a vehement backlash from the voters until it’s been neutralized — and that’s hardly giving us effective solutions for our problems.

“…I guarantee that we’re gonna have different ideas about how we’re going to solve the… problems that we’re facing.  That is not a bad thing.  That’s a beautiful thing.  Because in this country we don’t want every single American to walk in lock-step and think exactly alike; how terrible would that be?  We want to have these conversations.”
Tulsi Gabbard, town hall meeting in New Hampshire, 08 Feb 2020

Let me be clear:  I am not endorsing Tulsi Gabbard (not yet, at any rate).  But I am most certainly endorsing this idea.  We need to come together as a country; we need to discuss and debate, have dialogue and interaction on the issues.  Otherwise, we’ll end up in an interminable cycle of back-and-forth and us-versus-them — and a house divided against itself cannot stand.

The other things we can all agree we’ll need from the ideal president are likewise straightforward.  We want someone honest, with integrity and a strong sense of personal honor.  We want someone who is smart enough to solve problems yet humble enough to ask for advice or even instruction when it’s needed.  And we want someone kind, with a conscience; in the end, we want a person who is actually good to be our choice.

Finally, we should surely have someone who can lead and inspire in time of need.  It’s a rare talent, but in our darkest days there’s no substitute for charisma.

Of the candidates I’ve met, few meet all these criteria.  Tom Steyer is not a fan of bipartisanship and he’s not terribly charismatic, though he ticks every other box.  Yang qualifies, as far as I can tell.  Michael Bennet also doesn’t have much personal magnetism, but he’s so pleasant you almost forget about it.  Gabbard meets every single criterion — and where Yang inspires enthusiasm and curiosity, Gabbard inspires hope, acceptance, and patriotic pride.

If the election were tomorrow, I’d vote for her.  It’s not, but if it were.

The Fear and Loathing 2020 Tour is by no means over.  We’ve got more candidates to meet and talk with.  As we do, we’ll do our best to pass on our impressions and opinions; that’s what we’re here for, after all, and we take our jobs seriously.

But tomorrow starts early.  So I’m signing off for the night; you can do your part by staying tuned through the weekend.  There will be more updates as the next 72 hours go by.

Good night, and good luck.

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