The Winter of Our Discontent

Alan Zendell, December 1, 2019

We exit the Thanksgiving weekend thankful for time spent with family and friends devoid of politics. That was especially true in my own family, as thirty people with views all over the political spectrum got together to just enjoy being with each other a few miles from where we all grew up in New York. Though no one uttered a word about it beforehand, there was a tacit understanding that the holiday would not be tainted by the toxicity of the state of our nation.

Today, two things are apparent in most of the country. It’s only December 1st, but winter has clearly begun. And the new week will start with Gerry Nadler gaveling the House Judiciary Committee into session to consider whether the president has committed acts worthy of impeachment. Knowing how Donald Trump has behaved throughout his life, no one will be shocked if the weeks preceding the Democratic primary race are even more hate-filled, divisive, and vicious than the previous three years have been.

A clear majority of the country disapproves of this president. They don’t like his behavior, his values, or his performance in office. But with only eleven months remaining before the next election it should be clear to everyone that whether Trump remains in office until next November is almost a moot point. The American people will then get to decide his fate, which is as it should be. I wish the word impeachment had never been raised, but that ship has sailed.

What is still to be determined is whether our Congress emerges from winter with a shred of dignity and integrity intact. That is the essential question for the future of our country. The events of the last decade have brought the viability of our two-party system into serious question. Approached objectively, it’s difficult to imagine how it will survive unless some as yet unforeseen cataclysmic event changes it. As moderates in Congress continue to abandon ship, the partisan impasse can only worsen. If our Congress were a single person, I’d recommend hospice care.

Which brings me to Michael Bloomberg, who at this moment does not appear to be helping the situation. That’s really a shame, because he’s one of a small number of Americans who could make a difference. We need more of his generally common sense centrist politics, but a failed presidential bid will only throw the Democrats’ chance of defeating Trump into even further disarray than they already are. If Bloomberg wants to fix the system, he’d be far better off spending his billions of dollars founding a moderate third party that can capture thirty or forty seats in the House and Senate.

Another thing that’s apparent to everyone except the people who most need to acknowledge it, is that it’s time for most of the Democrats running for president to drop out. I can’t name them all without looking them up, which is all I need to know. Be realistic. Mayor Pete’s a likable articulate guy, but America is not ready to elect a gay man president, period. Kamala Harris’s star has faded, as she has shown herself unable to manage an effective campaign. And Cory Booker, as impressive as he can be at times, won’t gain the traction he needs this year.

The other also-rans should say goodbye now while there’s time for the party to get its act together. Only then will viable candidates with moderate views find an open lane to compete in, and in that regard I’m looking at Amy Klobuchar. She’s the last woman in the field except for Elizabeth Warren, and one we need to hear more from. A tough prosecutor with impeccable academic credentials, (Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School,) this could be her time to emerge from the second tier if the others get out of her way.

Klobuchar is popular in the northern Midwest, especially the Rust Belt states of Wisconsin and Michigan, which the Democrats must win. I like the ticket of Biden and Klobuchar because aside from being someone with the strong moral character who is the perfect antidote to Trump, Biden will win Pennsylvania, and that should seal the election. Is Biden too old, too establishment, not in touch enough with young people? Is there a “perfect” candidate out there? Please, Joe, make amends with Anita Hill and move on.

Why Biden and Klobuchar? Because Elizabeth Warren, brilliant and courageous as she is, is simply wrong, as is Bernie Sanders. While most Americans support the ultimate goal of universal health care, trying to implement Medicare For All in one step would blow up our economy. The phased approach supported by Biden and Klobuchar is the only one that makes sense. What makes sense today is…

…Go Ravens! Go Seahawks!”

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