I tuned into PBS news last evening, hoping for the best. I wanted to see how they analyzed the results of the two Democratic Party Presidential debates in Miami. Friday is when they do their week in review political analysis with centrist Republican David Brooks and centrist Democrat Mark Shields.
Personally, I was feeling mixed but generally pretty good about the debates. The major problem I and many other climate activists had with them was the relative short shrift given to the climate crisis by the debate moderators. The issue was there, but both nights it was toward the end, and it did not receive anywhere near the amount of time or seriousness devoted to it as compared to other issues, despite very clear signs, gulp, that we may well be entering climate tipping point territory [the latest: 114 degrees yesterday in France].
On the other hand my favored candidate, Bernie Sanders, had done well, as did my second choice, Elizabeth Warren. Overall, much of what was said by most of the candidates was progressive in orientation, which is a reflection of what is happening in the country. And Joe Biden did poorly, which was no surprise but which I was glad to see. The last thing we need is another Hillary Clinton-type DP centrist to go up against Trump.
Brooks and Shields, as has been true of other centrist political analysts, were noticeably upset by the results. Given that they are both likely Biden supporters, this is understandable. I’ve been thinking ever since he came into the Presidential race that he was likely going to self-destruct at some point, and that point may have come much more quickly than I thought it would.
As people have been commenting, the Joe Biden we saw Thursday night would be eaten up by Trump. But never fear, centrists and corporate Democrats, there are alternatives.
According to the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, Wall Streeters see alternatives to Biden, one of whom had a breakout performance Thursday night: Kamala Harris. Others mentioned in the article are Buttigieg, Booker, Gillebrand and deBlasio.
I’ve begun to think that some of us need to publicly advocate for a Sanders-Warren, or a Warren-Sanders, President/VP ticket. It is entirely possible that they are going to end up first and second in delegates and vote percentages a year from now, after all the primaries and caucuses are concluded. If that’s the case, why not go with whoever is first as the Presidential and whoever is second as the Vice-Presidential candidate?
This isn’t how things are usually done. Usually the VP candidate is chosen to represent a geographic region or an important constituency or a political subset not reflected by the Presidential candidate. And it is true that both Sanders and Warren are Senators from New England.
However, Warren, of course, is a woman, so that’s a big deal. She also has deep roots in Oklahoma, and Sanders has them in New York. Much more importantly, however, a Sanders/Warren or Warren/Sanders ticket, if they do end up as the top two vote-getters, can electrify the country with their clearly explained, progressive, working-class grounded positions, as well as their authenticity and ability to put Trump and Pence on the defensive. All of this will drive up turnout among those alienated from the two-party duopoly and the unjust political and economic system.
Driving up turnout is key, essential, to the making of Bernie’s political revolution, and he knows it in his bones. We aren’t going to defeat Trump in 2020 and the Trumpublicans going forward unless that happens not just in 2020 but on a consistent basis.
Progressives should be heartened by what is transpiring in the Democratic Party. What Bernie started in 2015 is continuing, deepening and growing. We are privileged to be present and active at this most urgent, most critical but also very hopeful time in US history.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.