Alan Zendell, March 3, 2020
It was only eight days ago that Thomas Friedman published an op-ed in the New York Times that outlined a strategy to assure a Democratic landslide in November. Friedman suggested that whoever the presumptive Democratic nominee for president was after Super Tuesday should immediately announce who he or she would invite to join his administration.
Friedman proposed a collection of former rivals and centrists who could break the partisan logjam that has the country so polarized: Elizabeth Warren as Health and Human Services Secretary, Kamala Harris as Attorney General, Mayor Pete as Homeland Security Secretary, Cory Booker as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Mitt Romney for Secretary of Commerce…you get the idea. Very clever, except that a mere eight days ago, Friedman reasonably assumed the presumptive nominee would be either Bernie Sanders or Mike Bloomberg.
With Joe Biden back in contention, the idea still holds, and we can plug in a few other pieces. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate would bring the ticket I preferred from the start to fruition. How about Mike Bloomberg for Treasury? And if I were Joe, I’d recommend to my new Attorney General that her first act be to hire Andrew McCabe as FBI Director as both a just response to Trump’s shameful treatment of him and a symbol of how things will be after Trump.
I believe Super Tuesday is a day we’ll look back on as a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. It’s clear that the National Democratic Party believes Sanders can’t beat Trump, and they want to assure that he doesn’t lock up the nomination today. I agree with them, but I have to remind myself that they did the same thing in 2016, and look how that turned out.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 was a perfect storm of bad luck, missteps, and unforeseen events, all of which combined to defeat her. But one thing that could not have been foreseen was Sanders’ refusal to live up to his promise to do everything in his power to support her after the convention, and that could be a problem this year, too. Sanders is lauded for having consistent values and principles, as he should be. But when consistency became stubborn inflexibility, he came off looking like a bitter old man. Had he stumped for Hillary the way Elizabeth Warren did and convinced his supporters to get out and vote for her, it’s difficult to see how Hillary would have lost.
Mike Bloomberg is a major wild card, but today is all about Joe Biden. Today is also about a rapidly growing pandemic that threatens the health and lives of Americans, and the structure of the world’s economy. It’s a day when people are asking themselves who they wish was sitting in the White House right now. Who is most likely to guide us through a crisis with no agenda other than putting what’s best for the country first, and above all, who has demonstrated that he can be effective on Inauguration Day?
I’m sure Mike Bloomberg could handle the task, but Biden would step in immediately with a talented group of people who were old hands at how the government works and eager to support and work with him. Until we see the results of today’s primaries, our future is on Biden’s shoulders. And for that, we must applaud Mayor Pete, Senator Klobuchar, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Trump won the nomination in 2016 because the other Republicans in the race were too involved with their own egos. They all knew Trump would destroy their Party, but they never tried to unify to stop him.
I’m thankful that the Democrats learned from that, and that three former candidates had the class to fall on their swords for the greater good. It only remains to see whether they acted in time to save their Party from Sanders. I wish I knew Barrack Obama’s thoughts today.
Today is also my birthday, and I’m both pleased and dismayed to think that turning 77, I am younger than the three people most likely to be running against Trump in November. Ever optimistic, I wish to thank the people of South Carolina, as well as Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke for a wonderful birthday gift. Imagine – an entire day of optimism and hope that this will all turn out well. Will they survive into March 4th and beyond? I don’t know, but today, we opened our checkbook for Joe. The Force seems to be with us.