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Posts tagged 2020 Democratic presidential nomination
DEMOCRATS, THE CLIMATE CRISIS, AND THAT OLD SOFT-SHOE

Did you catch the Democrats on Cable News Network the other night discussing the climate crisis? Too bad—you missed some great dancing. Not a debate, but a return to a series of town halls where they interact with the studio audience and a moderator but not each other, it seemed to be set up in the early summer pyramid format, with the front-runners in the middle, sloping downward to the least popular candidates in the polls around teatime and closing time at the disco, save for Amy Klobuchar, who somehow bogarted her way into the middle past Kamala Harris, who I heard had some droopy polls, but nothing that would put her below Klobuchar’s 2%.

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AND THE SIGN FLASHED OUT ITS WARNING : THE DEMOCRATS DEBATE, NIGHT FOUR

I got everything done yesternight in time to get the TeeVee on in time to watch a little punditry. The big topic of the moment was whether Kamala Harris would reprise her assault on Joseph Biden; after a few modest spins on conventional wisdom, somebody said that she had better not, she had better watch her backside, because now that she had become a frontrunner of sorts, somebody, probably Tulsi Gabbard, would be coming for her. Give that woman Prophet of the Year.

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WHY DON’T YOU AND HIM FIGHT? THE DEMOCRATS DEBATE, NIGHT THREE

And finally it was time for another debate to help America choose the Democratic presidential nominee for next year’s election. I’m never sure who sets each debate up—The network? The party? Some nonpartisan commission of wise men?—but this time the debate moved networks, to CNN. This time they modified the drawing procedure to ‘seed’ the top four candidates so that two would be on each night, and—surprise, surprise—Joseph Biden ended up onstage with tormenter Kamala Harris and the two leading progressives, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were on together the first night.

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AND BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE WEPT: NIGHT TWO OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATES

So off we went. Again the evening began with pocketbook issues, which this time were not met with the same sort of discursive quasi-opening statements as the previous night. In other words, they mostly answered the questions they were given, yet another minor miracle in American politics. They all pretty much agreed on this, as they did on health care, though this night said topic, instead of morphing into a discussion of abortion, stayed, roughly, on topic. A show of hands of those who wished to abolish private health insurance got two takers, Sanders and Harris, but everybody raised their hands for covering illegal (or, as Democrats insist on saying, ‘undocumented’) immigrants.

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MY JAW DROPS—IT’S NIGHT ONE OF THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATES

Then came one of the most singular moments of American debate history, when the moderator called for short answers to the question of what is America’s biggest threat, and, amazingly, they all followed instructions, the downside being that, having slept through shorthand class, I can’t tell you what candidates Castro and Ryan said. However, Inslee brought the house down by saying ‘Donald Trump’, Delaney went with China (but ended up babbling on about how it was really Iran), Klobuchar went along with China, as did Booker, but Klobuchar threw in Iran, Booker climate change. De Blasio thought it was Russia, Gabbard nuclear proliferation, and Warren and O’Rourke went with straight climate change, no chaser.

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BERNIE SANDERS AND THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

In 1972 one could buy a board game called Who Can Beat Nixon?  I never succumbed to the very real temptation, and I imagine that it might have been a nice investment for sale on eBay these days, but I suppose that each player selected a primary candidate and off you went campaigning.  That the game was thought to have commercial appeal is an indicator of how much Democrats wanted to get rid of Dick Nixon.  There has been something of that level of obsession in the party for succeeding Republican presidents, perhaps excepting Ford and Bush 41, but I think never with quite the urgency that I sense toward The Donald.  And, indeed, the polls, for now, are showing that Democratic voters are valuing electability over ideology.

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I LOVE A PARADE, OR, HOW MANY DEMOCRATS, PART 2

But punditry took this very seriously and reacted with a spate of commentary bewailing that the Democratic Party’s supposed leftward lurch had made it all too difficult for a ‘pragmatic’ Democrat to win the nomination (in case you’ve missed it, the media’s favorite dichotomy this year is ‘Socialists’ vs. ‘Pragmatists’ in the Democratic Party), a subtheme being that the head-in-the-clouds Socialists think, presumably mistakenly, that The Donald is so unpopular, so beatable, that a true progressive can be elected and get to work on a real Left agenda.

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HOW MANY DEMOCRATS IS ENOUGH?

I’m not sure how we even get to two dozen as of now.  Time featured fifteen of them on its cover last week, and even one or two of those weren’t actually Democrats—I’m never sure where to put Michael Bloomberg.  When one got around to the actual article, their fifteen plus everybody else who got even a passing mention didn’t really get us up to two dozen, but perhaps we’ll get a stray state legislator or two eventually.

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