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Undecided 40%
Joe Biden14%
Kamala Harris11%
Elizabeth Warren11%
Pete Buttigieg8%

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:20 AM

 

Electability

At this very early stage, the least persuasive arguments for me concern the putative "electability" of various candidates. I do think it is perfectly legitimate to advocate for your favorite Democrat with arguments that center on your assessment of their odds in a race against Trump. Point all you like at polling data (though I will choose largely to ignore that, however, with polls taken so far away from the election).

What I have no use for, however, is the argument that so-and-so is "unelectable." Don't forget, Trump himself was arguably the most "unelectable" occupant of the Republican 2016 clown car. More importantly, we can't forget that we Democrats (and sane independents) outnumber our electoral opponents. Trump lost the 2016 vote by 3 million voters. We can elect any Democrat we choose if we turn out our voters. Sanders is electable, Biden is electable, Buttigieg is electable, Harris is electable...

Again, if you like Biden simply because you think his odds against Trump are better than anyone else, more power to you as you advocate for his candidacy. By all means, make that case. But "unelectable" means something very different from, say, "riskier." Too frequently, vague murmurs about "electability" squelch discussion of a candidate's ideas and represent a timid approach to politics that abets the gradual rightward shift of American politics.

Clearly Biden is the early frontrunner, and while he's not my current choice, I'm OK with that. The campaign has just begun. My hope is that we'll see our field narrow and, as that happens, we get a robust contest of ideas that ends with maybe two or three genuine contenders going into the middle and late primaries. It seems very unlikely that this list of 2-3 candidates will include anyone who is truly "unelectable." What will determine "electability" is what happens in November 2020, shaped by whether we unite strongly behind our candidate coming out of the convention and whether the primary campaigns unfold so as to make this unity possible.

That doesn't mean primary candidates shouldn't point out important differences between themselves and their rivals. It does mean that how they do so matters. It also means ensuring that rival views get a genuine hearing. Even when the urgency of ending the Trump presidency is so strong, it still matters that we have a standard bearer who reflects Democrats' vision for the presidency.

If we can't beat Trump with Sanders, or Klobuchar, or O'Rourke, or Inslee... that's really on us. We'll be running against, hands-down, the worst President in US history. We will not nominate an "unelectable" candidate. Our task, eventually, will be to elect our party's candidate. But for now, it is to identify which of our many strong candidates will make the best President. Labeling a rival as "unelectable" is generally hyperbolic and can become an obstacle to the unity we need.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Electability (Original post)
caraher Thursday OP
MLAA Thursday #1
JI7 Thursday #2
caraher Thursday #6
earthshine Thursday #3
emmaverybo Thursday #4
mr_lebowski Thursday #5
IndianaDave Thursday #7
Demit Thursday #8
Kurt V. Thursday #9
LanternWaste Thursday #10
corbettkroehler Friday #11
brooklynite Friday #12

Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:23 AM

1. Excellent post. Thank you.

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:26 AM

2. Trump had Russian Support

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to JI7 (Reply #2)

Thu May 16, 2019, 03:14 AM

6. True

 

And the same will likely be true no matter who our nominee is. But it's a good reminder that election integrity remains an important problem we can't simply ignore.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:42 AM

3. Any of our candidates is electable as long as we all stick together.

 

The nature of the rivalries between the candidates and their supporters will change as we enter the time of the debates.

You made a great post.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 01:43 AM

4. Smart and incredibly articulate like your favored candidate. Will bear your convincing post

 

in mind and heart.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 02:15 AM

5. Well said (nt)

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 04:06 AM

7. This is a really thoughtful and important post. Thank you!

 

I'm pretty tired of seeing the words, "All that matters to me is electability!" As if only one or two people can fill that role.
You're insightful to point out the fact that ALL of our candidates are electable. We are at the beginning stages of the primary process -- which is the mechanism by which we decide together which specific candidate we want to carry forth the liberating ideals of the Democratic Party. Whoever that person is, we need to unite behind them and work hard to ensure that he or she is elected -- as you stated so effectively.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Pete Buttigieg

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 04:22 AM

8. Add "normalcy"

 

Any of the candidates would be a "return to normalcy," after Trump, so that's another baseless concept that should be retired as we try to determine the best candidate.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 04:44 AM

9. K&R

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2019, 03:08 PM

10. I think you're right. A lot of the criticisms are simply lazy thinking for lazy people.

 

There are a LOT of vague criticisms currently being used in place of measurable, testable, verifiable metrics (e.g., policy positions, vote histories within context, etc.) because (and really for no other reason) that's the best a lot of people have: a handful talking points that sound clever but are better at home on the back of at-shirt, followed with pronouncements of absolutism.

Unelectable. Too old. Too young. Not presidential. A host of meaningless Trumpisms that by their very nature cannot be supported. ("But I have a right to my own opinion!!!!" Sure you do, cupcake... and if your opinion is that 2+2=5, support that premise, and please show your work-- else the opinion is without merit).

These are the popular talking-points for no other reason than because the implicit counter-argument would be just as without merit. It's lazy thinking for lazy people, and are begging to be swept into the dustbin of fallacious thought.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2019, 06:53 AM

11. Exactly Why I Support Sanders And Will Vote For Our Nominee Without Batting An Eye

 

Whoever our nominee turns out to be, I will vote for her/him without hesitation, just as I did in 2016. I supported Sanders then and now. In 2016, I was happy to vote for Hillary in the general.

I respect Dr. Stein yet knew that voting for Hillary was the right choice. But for all of the foreign involvement, Hillary would be POTUS today and Bill would be First Gent. Imagine the possibilities!

Thanks to DUer Billsmile, I just learned the phrase, "Blue no matter who." Ditto!
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Bernie Sanders

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Response to caraher (Original post)

Fri May 17, 2019, 07:26 AM

12. Here's my response: you're wrong

 

It's incredibly presumptuous to assume that the electorate sees things the way we do and will obviously vote for any competent Democratic candidate. 38 years ago, we were convinced that everyone thought that Reagan was a terrible President and all we needed was a competent Democrat to run against him. Remember what happened?

I. for one, am NOT convinced that Sanders -- self-avowed socialist -- can obviously beat Trump. He would shift the election dynamics from a referendum on Trump to a choice election. Doesn't mean I wouldn't vote for him and try to get him elected; but I'd do so fully aware of the long odds.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
John Hickenlooper

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