With the Iowa Caucuses kicking off the official primary season tonight it’s time for the Eclectic Eccentric’s official ranking of the Democrats left in the field. A number of factors went into these rankings but primarily my decisions boiled down to two factors: platform and electability. These are not static endorsements and are subject to change as primary season unfolds but going into tonight this is how it stands for me.
1. Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Warren wins the Eclectic Eccentric’s official endorsement. It was tight pick between her and Senator Sanders, and I will be content with either of these progressive champions winning the nomination, but three things tip the balance for me. The first is her ability to blend pragmatism and idealism. She is better at articulating concrete actions to achieve her goals than Senator Sanders and explaining the necessity of these reasonable steps. This leads into my second tipping point which is that Senator Warren is a better debater than Senator Sanders. Where Senator Sanders can come across as ‘old man shouting at sky’ at times and can repeat himself, Senator Warren has the teacher voice she can turn on that will serve her well in explaining her platform to the American people without allowing Republicans to paint her as out of touch or unreasonably leftist. Finally, Senator Warren is a woman and it is high time we had a female president. I don’t believe gender to be the sole reason to support someone’s candidacy, but I will use it as a tie-breaker when splitting hairs with another candidate I also greatly admire.
2. Senator Bernie Sanders
I supported Senator Sanders in the 2016 primaries and depending on Senator Warren’s viability come Super Tuesday I may end up doing so again. The man has been consistently on the right side of history on almost every issue that matters (gun control being an exception he has come around on) and has been right on those issues while other candidates in this race were still registered republicans or working with segregationists. That kind of moral clarity counts a lot for me. But 2016 is still an open wound for a lot of Democrats, and rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly) there are people that we are going to need come November who still blame Senator Sanders for Secretary Clinton’s disastrous campaign. Loudly proclaiming endorsements from the transphobic likes of Joe Rogan also does not do well to dispel the perception of toxicity in the Sanders camp. Still, economic and social justice are sorely needed in this country and Senator Sanders has the grassroots support to bring about fundamental change on these fronts. I have no qualms with people sticking with the revolutionary who brought them to the party in the first place.
3. Mr. Andrew Yang
Out of everyone on this list, my personal politics most closely align with Mr. Yang’s platform. Particularly when it comes to advocating for a Universal Basic Income. But flubs on the campaign trail and on the debate stage tell me that Mr. Yang is not yet ready for prime time. He should run for mayor of a progressive city and use that as a proving ground for his ideas, then make a return to the national stage. Mr. Yang is like a self-driving car. A great idea on paper and most definitely the future, but not something you’d trust to get your pregnant wife to the hospital just yet. This election is too important to trust to an untested commodity.
4. Mr. Tom Steyer
Tom Steyer is great on the issues, especially on climate change. And he seems like a pretty nice guy who is passionate about what he believes in. But like Andrew Yang, he lacks any previous experience in politics and now is not the time to rest our hopes on a neophyte. Mr. Steyer should take all of the money he is wasting on this vanity campaign and team up with Stacey Abrams and create the most advanced voter turnout machine in American history. That’s the best way for him to help America this election cycle. But such an act would require great humility as there would be no glory or power in such an endeavor. It would take a true patriot to pursue such a path.
5. Senator Amy Klobuchar
And now we get to a series of increasingly awful choices. All of whom would be better than the current occupant of the oval office but clear that low threshold and then return us to a status quo that benefits no-one, save a select moneyed elite. Of these, I suppose Senator Klobuchar is the least awful. I’m not sure when being from the Midwest became a qualification for being president but I’m fairly sure it’s the fault of CNN and the New York Times. Senator Klobuchar doesn’t seem to have any goals or vision of her own and is known to be abusive towards her staff. But she’s a woman and she’s from the Midwest so……there’s that I guess.
6. Governor Deval Patrick
Who? Yeah Exactly. Just another also ran filling the moderate lane. But while his platform is exceedingly bland and vague (his website promises policy details to follow but I doubt he’ll be in the race that long), he lacks anything screamingly awful in his background so this is where he ends up on the list.
7. Senator Michael Bennet
I went to Senator Bennet’s website to research his platform and I had to double-check to make sure he was, in fact, a Democrat. The way he decries the “Free Stuff” offered by other politicians is straight out of a Fox News playbook. Universal healthcare is not a government handout. It’s part of a social contract that says you shouldn’t die just because you’re poor. Also, it makes financial sense it keeps costs down and preventative care increases worker productivity which in turn stimulates economic growth. In other words, Senator Bennet can bite me.
8. Vice President Joe Biden
Whereas Senator Sanders has been right about almost every single issue over his many decades of service Vice President Biden has been wrong on just about every issue over the decades only reversing course when it became politically advantageous to do so. He is Hilary 2.0, an uninspiring centrist with too much baggage who, if he were any good at running for President, would already be President. In the era of scorched earth Mitch McConnell, Vice President Biden’s good old boy belief in bipartisanship is extremely naïve and dangerous. If he is the nominee, I fear a repeat of 2016.
9. Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Dark Money, private fundraisers, and a paper-thin resume are just a few of my problems with “Mayor Pete”. His poor handling of race relations in what is a pretty small town should be proof that he is not ready to be president. And his dog whistle call for “Midwestern Values” should be disqualifying. Mayor Buttigieg is a political climber who changes his stripes with the political winds. He lacks conviction and is driven solely by ambition. He is capable of beating Trump in November, but I doubt a Buttigieg presidency would produce any positive change of note for the everyday American.
10. Mayor Michael Bloomberg
A latecomer to the race, Mayor Bloomberg has used his billions to buy his way into the national conversation. Bloomberg has changed his political affiliation numerous times to fit his political needs and was still donating to republican’s reelection campaigns in 2018. With the amount of money, he has already spent he could have flipped multiple senate seats or bought houses for the homeless population of a large urban center. Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign is narcissism pure and simple and I for one have had enough narcissistic presidents for one lifetime.
11. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
The less said about Congresswoman Gabbard the better but her stance on Syria and Bashir al-Assad is disqualifying and her “Present” vote on impeachment was downright chickenshit.