Democrats: Keep Your Eye On The Ball (Again!)

We do not know how the Mueller investigation will turn out or if there is compelling evidence of collusion with Russia. We do not know whether it will even make a twit of difference with Republican senators whose votes will be needed to convict, following an impeachment vote by the House. We do not know what the attorneys of the Southern District of New York will come up with involving Trump’s overt criminal activity or whether compelling evidence will change one Republican vote required for impeachment or make one staunch member of Trump’s hallowed “base” abandon him. After all, following the televised Cohen testimony, Trump’s approval rating actually went up.

But what we do know is this: Trump is the worst president in the history of the Republic and the most dangerous. As long as he is president, we will be in deep trouble. We have got to replace him.

On come the Democrat contenders for 2020. As of today there are twelve who have officially declared, three more who have formed “exploratory committees,” and another six or seven who are likely to throw their hats in the ring. During the course of the next 12 months, we could be faced with having to choose the best candidate among 20 or so contenders. How do we choose? How do we know who will be best? Will it make a difference? 

The answer is simple: we need the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump. And make no mistake. Electing a Democrat is far from a shoe-in. Trump starts off with at least 40 percent of the vote. If the election were an up or down vote, Trump would lose. A solid majority of voters detest him. But that is not the way it works. It will be a choice between two candidates, Trump versus someone else. The “someone else” makes all the difference. We surely learned this in 2016. The stakes could not be higher.

Much is being made about the new, far left progressives, who are transforming the Democratic party and moving the bar in their direction. If you know me, you know that I am a quintessential, bleeding heart Democrat. I go along with most of   the ‘’’socialist” stuff that Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and some of the others are promoting—affordable health care for all, more income equality, higher taxes on the rich, a guaranteed living wage, fairer elections, affordable housing, welcoming immigrants, and a much stronger safety net. To nominate someone who could be readily labeled “a socialist” by the Republicans, however, would be a disaster. We would lose. Democrats must nominate a center-left candidate, if we have any chance of dethroning the orange-haired-narcissist called Trump. We have got to appeal to the Independent moderates, disillusioned, traditional Republicans, and suburban, formerly Republican, women, all of whom  helped deliver the House to the Democrats in 2018.

Enter Jay Inslee. Now I had never heard of this guy until   a few weeks ago. He is the governor of the State of Washington now serving a second term and a former congressman. Last week a good, very progressive, far left, friend who is now an Inslee supporter, sent a link to an interview with him by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. I was blown away. Here is the link (It may take two clicks to work):

Now I know that we are still a year away from the first primary and a lot of water will flow under the bridge between now and then, but the interview with Maddow gave me a flicker of hope. He could be the candidate we need to beat Trump.

What appealed to me most about Inslee besides his  progressive record, his strong experience in actually governing, and his popularity in his state with both parties , is his message about climate change. 

Hello! Come on, people, this is the elephant in the room, the one, over-riding issue of our time. We are only talking about the survival of the planet Earth, as we know it. Yes, the issues of more equality, fairness, and a better safety net are important, but everything pales when compared to the climate change issue. 

The ironic thing is that Inslee is being written off by most pundits as an also-ran because of his low visibility on a national scale and the fact that he is a one-issue candidate. The Maddow interview shows that he is more than a one-issue candidate. His track record in Washington State is very impressive from a progressive perspective, but he has got his basic message exactly where it should be: Wake up, America, the time frame we have for averting world-wide catastrophe is very short! Every day that passes that we do not take the lead in aggressively tackling this issue is a day lost. 

Scientists tell us that at some point in the relatively near future, we may find ourselves on a pathway of no return. All it will take is the melting of the Greenland ice cap or the Antarctic ice pack or a combination of other factors like less snow to reflect heat from the sun. We will then be en route to a 20-30  foot rise in sea levels, more droughts, wild fires, mega storms, and  massive human displacement; and there will be nothing we can do about it. No one knows when the irreversible tipping point will be triggered. Some scientists say by mid century if we do not take significant action now. Sure, actual doomsday may not happen until a century or so from now, and it probably will happen slowly. But unless we humans on the planet Earth change our behavior and reliance on fossil fuels, many experts believe doomsday is inevitable. Read The Uninhabitable Earth, a new book by David Wallace-Wells. If this does not scare the bejesus out of you, nothing will.

There is hope, however. Our son-in-law, Peter  Ellis, is a scientist at the Nature Conservancy and an expert on climate change, particularly issues related to trees and forestation. He firmly believes that we now have the knowledge and technology to slow down the increase of carbon in the atmosphere by moving away aggressively from fossil fuels to solar, wind power, nuclear, and geothermal energy. This action, along with forest preservation and better practices for harvesting trees, could buy time for us humans on Earth to figure out and implement a lasting solution to the human causes of global warming.  It is not a technological challenge but rather a political one.

Skeptics point out that the United States is just one country and that it will require a world-wide effort with China and India, among others, as equal partners, which they believe is a pipe dream. This implies an attitude of hopeless surrender. Just let the chips fall. Besides, they point out, we will all be dead by then anyway. Why bother? 

But what about our grandchildren, great grandchildren and their children?

Inslee does not believe that failure and hopelessness are foregone conclusions. Look at the interview. He is an  optimist and a fighter. He may not stand a chance, but let’s hope he hangs in there and continues to remind us of the elephant in the room. He now is my candidate though I realize that it is very early in the nominating process and the winnowing down has not yet even started. If Trump is able to remain in power for six more years, God help us all. Inslee could be our ticket for assuring this will not happen. Six more years of Trump, the climate change denier-in chief, would hasten our demise. The stakes have never been higher.

7 thoughts on “Democrats: Keep Your Eye On The Ball (Again!)

  1. I am hopeful because most of us, from all générations, want our respective governments to listen to our demands for fairness, courage and imagination.

  2. “But what about our grandchildren, great grandchildren and their children?”

    RIGHT, Joe! That is the question – it’s not about us; it’s about them.

    BUT – it is up to us.

  3. The former Party of Lincoln has gone so far to the right that from their vantage point, the political middle is now “socialist.” So I don’t think we’re going to escape hearing that word, especially from a candidate as intellectually and ethically bankrupt as Donald Trump. He also is going to find even more childish nicknames for whoever opposes his infantile will; it’s all he knows how to do. I haven’t chosen a candidate yet. Pretty much all the ones running for the Democratic nomination would be an enormous improvement, and I would enthusiastically get behind any of them. The job of that candidate will be tricky: to appeal both to white and upper middle-class centrists and to this country’s rapidly diversifying majority. It can certainly be done, since the current Administration has not acted in the interests of either. Those of us who want a government that acts in the people’s interests indeed need to keep our eye on the ball, which will be working to elect whichever Democrat is nominated.

  4. In the face of the evidence on climate change, it is difficult to be hopeful… but the TED Talk by Greta Thornbug, the Swedish girl who has sparked a youth environmental protest movement accross Europe, is powerful and does inspire optimism…let’s hope this spreads like a California wildfire…

  5. Joe,
    Inslee televises well. I like his emphasis on the environment. But I know nothing else about him. For all I know, his ideas on taxes may be even more hair brained than those of Elizabeth Warren. So he is still an unknown quantity. But I agree with you entirely on the vulnerability of the Dems if they nominate a far left winger. For years I said I would never vote for HRC for anything and then had to eat those words when The Donald came along. So for three or so years I have been saying I would never vote for him for anything….
    CNBC ran a story about who pays our nation’s taxes. This was a couple of weeks ago. Source was the IRS’ Tax Policy Center’s projected 2018 taxes. The top 10% will pay 43% of all income taxes. The top 20%, 87% of all taxes. The bottom 60%, 4% of all taxes. The EFFECTIVE, not marginal, tax rates look like this. Top 1%, 27%. Bottom 50%, 4%.

    1. I knew I would get a response from the doctor on this one. You are right that we do not know a whole lot about Inslee yet, and he does televise and interview well. He is given close to a zero chance right now due to lack of knowledge about him and virtually no name recognition besides Washingtonians (the state) and political junkies. Along with his focus on one issue–climate change–and that is really the point of my last post. No other Democrat seems to give much of a twit about the ensuing climate catastrophe, yet it is the most compelling issue of our time. What is WRONG with us?
      A lot will come out in the debates, and I do not know what his tax policies are though I do believe the latest cuts were mainly for the rich, super rich and big corporations, which used the windfall to buy back stock. Money has to come from some place to rebuild infrastructure, broaden health care coverage and expand benefits that strengthen families like universal pre K and affordable day care, and support for climate change initiatives; and we have to work on establishing a true living wage that people can actually live on–with dignity. However, no silver bullets out there that I can see. If we get four more years of Trump, God help us all.

      1. I’d say the same were we to get Fauxcahontas or BS. I’m eager to see Inslee’s platform in full.

        The IRS’ tax stats suggest to me that it is the rich, not the poor, that are over taxed. The 4% effective tax rate on the bottom 60% is less than most sales taxes. All that needs to be more publicized.

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