I’m voting for the candidate who I think …

  1. can beat Trump;
  2. has demonstrated sound executive judgment over the years;
  3. and can accomplish my desired “Center-Left” policy agenda.

I started my list with Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren.

Beat Trump

No candidate is a “slam dunk” to beat Trump. There is no safe choice. Whoever is nominated will be lied about and attacked mercilessly. Whoever can deal with that stands a chance, and there’s no discernable distinction amongst my list. To base my vote on an assessment of who can best beat Trump is a fool’s errand.

And beating Trump simply isn’t enough.  Trump is but one symptom of a diseased polity and society.  The disease is corrupted politics and policy, where organized commercial interests far outstrip the voice of the citizenry.  Our malady is record wealth and income disparities, coupled with little movement between socio-economic levels where the American dream feels more like a 1 in 10 million chance lottery.  Our ailment is systemic privilege, built into our culture, our economics, and our politics that deprives our polity of all the resources required to overcome these challenges.

So I’m unable to determine who is significantly more likely to beat Trump.  And beating Trump is only the beginning of what needs to be done.

Track Record of Sound Executive Judgment

Presidents can’t be experts in the decisions they make.  Instead, their expertise must be an ability to identify and prioritize issues, a set of deep skills in selecting, challenging, and trusting their advisors, and a willingness and ability to respond to inevitable mistakes.

A substantial track record is required to reveal each candidate’s judgment in a variety of circumstances.  Mayor Pete falls off my list simply because the Presidency is too much of a stretch job based on his relatively short experience.  

Biden, Bloomberg, Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren all remain with adequate length of service to evaluate.  And while distinctions remain around war votes, health care advocacy, environmental focus, gun safety, criminal reform, civil rights and more, no candidate significantly outdistances or falls behind the pack.  Having said that, I really appreciate Sander’s consistency over the years.  I also appreciate Bloomberg’s business and political experience in demanding roles.

Center-Left Agenda

Sanders’ or Warren’s policy agendas as written go too far left too fast for my liking, while Biden, Bloomberg and Klobuchar don’t go far enough to solve the fundamental challenges we face.

Yet, no President can implement their exact campaign platform once in office.  Everything is subject to political compromise and the new crises of the day.  

I think the best chance of accomplishing progressive change is to stake a position to the left and to compromise toward the center from there.  When we start at the middle, we end up Center-Right, and that’s not good enough.  This means Biden, Bloomberg and Klobuchar can’t accomplish my policy goals, so only Sanders and Warren remain on my short-list.

Bernie or Liz?

Liz is a smart, ferocious fighter for the working class.  So is Bernie.

Liz has an amazingly deep and broad set of policy prescriptions.  So does Bernie.

Liz identifies and prioritizes problems well.  So does Bernie.

Liz is authentic.  So is Bernie.

Liz has been speaking and advocating for these issues for years.  So has Bernie, for decades.

This is Liz’s first presidential campaign.  It’s Bernie’s second.

Liz has eschewed PAC money and raised millions only from small donors.  So has Bernie, just lots more.

And that’s where I end up drawing the line.

Before any primary votes are counted, Bernie has collected donations from more than 1.5 million people while significantly outraising each of his competitors.  That’s unheard of.  And the pace and breadth is increasing, indicating significant support from the grassroots required to beat Republican special interests.  Is it a guarantee?  Of course not.  But it is an important distinction over his primary competitors.  And much more impressive than any recent poll results could ever be.

Bernie demonstrates the longest run of solid judgment amongst my shortlist.  Bernie put universal health care on the political radar, kept it there, and retains his position as architect and #1 advocate for “Medicare for All.”  Climate change and environmental safeguards have been center to Sanders’ policies for decades.  Campaign finance.  Criminal justice reform.  LGBTQ rights.  Trade pacts.  Votes against wars from Vietnam to Iraq to the endless war against terror.  And finally, a fundamental focus over the decades on workers’ rights which is ever-more important in a world of artificial intelligence and job reductions.  These and more demonstrate Bernie’s long-term focus on key issues and early positions that have proven correct over the years so that his positions have now become the central planks of the Democratic Party’s platform.  That’s pretty incredible.

If only we’d listened back then.

Time to listen now.

Bernie gets my vote, my donations, and my canvassing time this 2020 presidential primary.

My expectation is that he wins the nomination and the White House.

My dream is the Dems expand their House majority and win back the Senate while installing Elizabeth Warren as our new Senate Majority Leader.