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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,227

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A few thoughts about the 2020 Democratic nomination for President

No doubt a good number of folks here remember that I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. Probably a lesser number remember that I supported Hillary Clinton (once the field narrowed) in 2016. I kept Sanders as my avatar until this last election day. I did so because it was my opinion that he received an unfair degree of criticism on DU during a time when we needed to stay focused on the midterms and unity within the Democratic coalition. That was my low key way of objecting, though I know some others saw things differently. I haven't written a specifically pro Sanders OP in well over a year, and this isn't going to be one either.

I am wide open in regards to who I will support in 2020. I fully expect to fully support whoever our nominee ends up being. I haven't ruled out supporting any of the often mentioned potential candidates for the Democratic nomination with the likely exception of Michael Bloomberg, though I would work hard for him over Trump or any other Republican who could end up running as their candidate for President. So yes, given my choices once they narrow I could even return to supporting Hillary, even against Bernie, though that is at this point is an unlikely scenario.

Here are the four factors that are important to me, in the following order of importance.

1) Defeating the Republicans in the Presidential election.

2) Advancing a progressive vision for America (I realize that's a vague term but I'll no doubt flesh out what that means to me more as the 2020 primaries draw nearer.

3) Unifying the Democratic coalition to the extent possible given the above priorities.

4) Ushering in younger leadership for the Democratic Party and our nation as a whole.

The fact that I supported Sanders in 2016 will give some clues about what I feel a progressive vision for America entails, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I will support Sanders again in 2020. We have many fine potential candidates for President and my number one priority above is by far my highest priority. I want to watch how the contest for the Democratic Party nomination for President shapes up for awhile. I want to see who catches the attention of the electorate, who inspires enthusiasm, within which elements of it and why. I want to weigh who has the best chops to compete in the current political environment. A lot of us already have pretty well defined opinions about who will bottle the lightning this time around, and why, along with who will fail. But I don't want to get trapped in my own preconceived expectations about any of that.

For example, any regular reader of DU knows damn well that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (for mostly different reasons) are seen as risky and or controversial nominees by many here. That is relevant information but only to an extent. DU is not the world, nor even the Democratic activist world. I remember years past when I was part of a core group of Wes Clark supporters (Clarkies) on DU. We were a pretty powerful force both here and on other left leaning websites and online forums. We were passionate enough that mainstream media took note of both our enthusiasm and of our commitment to Wes Clark, and factored that in as a plus for Clark as a potential presidential candidate - which was true. Something similar can be said of Howard Dean's supporters (Deanies). Still other factors led other candidates to prevail over both Wes Clark and Howard Dean in 2004 (and in the jockeying during the run up for 2008.)

So if Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden etc. proves to be more or less popular with the electorate than they appear to me now through the prism of DU discussion, I will take that into account. We have to win in 2020, and to do so we have to remain, to at least a meaningful extent, open minded now.

So it's official. Trump is a doubly illegitimate President (at least)

Government agencies have determined that the Russians interceded in our election to help throw the victory to Trump. Government agencies have determined that Trump ordered hush payments to women in violation of the law to prevent his personal misdeeds becoming known prior to the 2018 election, so as not to cost him votes.

Just a swing of less than 100,00o votes total in three states, and he would have been toast.

And you can throw in that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes on top of all of it.

Illegitimate Presidency.

Why did the Moscow Trump Tower negotiations stop in June?

I think in large part it's because the calculus shifted for Putin. They had Trump fully hooked by then, with or without the hookers. The pending Tower deal was more valuable to them as a secret than it would be as public knowledge. What did Putin need with a tower in Moscow? He is reportedly one of the richest men in the world in control of a vast nation. Trump was the one hungry for more fame and more money. Putin gathered the evidence showing that Trump was beholden to Russia for personal gain. Trump weaponized that evidence for Russia by denying to the American public that he had any dealings with Russia.

A lucrative real estate deal was bait for Trump and he took it hook line and sinker. Once Trump became a potentially serious bet to become President it was against Russia's interests to finalize the Tower deal. It was never cancelled, it was put on the shelf. If Trump lost the election as most predicted, it seemed at the time that he would launch his own media network to capitalize on his new national standing, even in defeat. The Tower deal could have been re-dangled before Trump then as an incentive for him turning his new media network into an improved propaganda outlet for Putin, an upgraded RT for right wing American viewers.

But if Trump "won" as he actually "did", with Russia's "help", Putin had the goods on him.

You know how Republicans who didn't support Trump got treated by the "Republican base"?

A backlash is building against Democrats in the House who refuse to stand by Pelosi. It won't burn all of them, but if the activist base turns against you, mere seniority and incumbency won't save you in a primary.

Whether you feel a backlash is fair or not, wise or not, doesn't change this fact. It is growing.

Fake Facts, Fake News, Fake Elections...

Facts can't be trusted if they are unfavorable to Trump. News can't be trusted that it is unfavorable to Trump, and elections can't be trusted if they are unfavorable to Trump. Republicans know their marching orders, and they have learned to fall in line. Accusations of stolen elections in Florida etc. now are merely a prelude to 2020 and the likelihood that, should he run again, Trump will lose in a fair election. That is not acceptable to him, so elections themselves must be condemned. The "outrage" expressed by Scott is a trial run in preparation for confrontation in 2020.

OK, the 2018 votes have been cast. NOW I don't mind arguing about possible 2020 candidates

I also picked a new neutral avatar because at this stage I am open to a number of possible Democratic nominees for President in 2020, (and of course I will support whoever wins the actual nomination.)

I tried to stay true to my word and for the most part stayed out of extended debates akin to re-fighting the last primaries before the midterms that, IMO, mostly served to divide us when we really needed unity. I checked, I posted well over 100 OP's in the last year and none of them championed or bashed a past or future Democratic candidate for President. That likely won't be true of the next 100.

I want to acknowledge DUers who hold strong pro or con opinions about any past or future candidates for President on our side, who chose not to make those feelings a central theme of their posting here while we needed to stay focused on winning the 2018 election.

We did it. Our Blue Wave was powerful, and very very real. Next we retake the White House and Senate.

Overall a good night - with dark shadows

Largely through the hard work of the Resistance the Republic lives to fight another day. With Democratic control of the House, Trumps crimes will not be swept under the rug. There will be no more tax givaways to the rich. Republican corruption will be probed. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Obamacare have protection in the House of Representatives, where Democrats now govern by a relatively comfortable margin. This is all HUGE. Had Democrats failed to take the House everything was at grave risk with a power hungry and emboldened Chief Executive reigning unchecked in the White House. This can't be overstated. Thus if for no other reason, it was a good night.

Americans now have voted, with significant majorities, against Trump in the popular vote in 2016, and now against Republicans in both the House and Senate if the cumulative votes for members of both bodies are tallied by party preference. That at the very least says something at least mildly reassuring about the American people, even though our political system is slanted toward rural America by granting every state two Senators regardless of its actual population. With the House systematic gerrymandering in favor of Republicans muted some of the Democratic surge but it could not stop it. And the machinery by which Republicans managed to install those gerrymandered districts has now shifted somewhat against them. With Democratic pick ups in important Governorships and with Democratic gains in State legislatures. much of that gerrymandering now can be reversed for subsequent elections.

Democrats elected new generations of leadership last night, something our Party desperately needed. Many dynamic younger candidates won seats in Congress, they represent a positive future for all of us. The same holds true for State and local contests where strong new candidates were recruited - and won.

It remains frightening however exactly how much racism remains active in America, and how many low information voters continue to fall in line behind a wannabe Strongman in Trump. This would terrify me if our resistance had not proved its mettle against him last night. We rounded a corner with Democratic non presidential year turn out finally starting to surge. The battle is now engaged. We have to build on these victories and not be discouraged by our losses. Remember, this was still "an off year election" and statistics about the economy favored the Republicans. The odds of an economic slow down before 2020 are relatively high. The potential for damning information about Republican rule emerging from Democratic oversight in the House are great. And then there is the work of Special Counsel Mueller yet to be fully revealed.

New leaders are emerging in our Party even if all of them could not yet break through last night. We must keep up the fight, we are actually (slowly) winning.

Losing ground in the Senate stings but it doesn't reduce Democratic power.

The Senate was incredibly important to Democrats after Trump became President because all of our hopes to stop the worst abuses of his power lay with that body, where Republicans had a narrow majority and a few "less extreme Republicans" had the power to vote with Democrats and prevent a Trump victory. The obvious example was McCain casting the deciding vote that prevented the repeal of Obamacare. The House was hopeless, Trump could get anything he wanted passed there. There was a shred of hope in the Senate...

But in reality those "less extreme" Republican Senators virtually always fell in line with Trump when the chips were down. Like they did with Kavanaugh. If Democrats lose one to four seats in the Senate this year, when the playing field was sloped heavily against us, it essentially means that Trump can now win votes there by less narrow margins. Democrats still however have enough votes to filibuster so that is unchanged. We risk fewer defections from our caucus now on cloture votes because the Senators who we lost in this election for the most part are the ones who were most likely to break with the majority of Democrats anyway.

But our need to tie up Republican legislation in the Senate just disappeared since we now will control the House. The Senate is no longer the battleground we have to fight on to do so. Nothing can pass through Congress now without the Democratic House signing off on it. Yes a Republican Senate will still do a lot of damage on its own, in particular in regards to the Courts, but no more damage than they were already doing over the last two years. Probably the most significant victory Trump wins by Republicans picking up seats in the Senate during these midterms is that it now becomes even harder to get the two thirds vote of the Senate needed to remove Trump from office should the House impeach him.

Meanwhile the House Republican Freedom Caucus no longer has defacto veto power over what legislation is introduced in the House, the way that it did under Ryan for the last two years. I am saddened and angered by the Senate results, but Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, in practical terms, dwarfs the significance of any Republican gains in the Senate.

I heard someone on MSNBC today reference the "hot economy"

It was in the context of how counterproductive it was for Trump to be burying taking credit for a great economy underneath all of his racist immigration fear mongering. Every time the media uses that now tired meme they are carrying water for the Republicans, stressing their talking point for them when they can't make it themselves.

But it is worse than that. This is not "a hot economy." We have a halfway decent economy, almost exclusively due to Obama's rescuing the U.S. from the Great Recession, that is on a unsustainable tax cut for corporations and the rich, crack cocaine high. Unemployment figures may be low but that is irrelevant when tens of millions of American households are still struggling to get by, living from pay check to pay check and unable to save money for even a the slightest emergency.

Overwhelmingly corporations did not pass tax cut savings on to their workers, and even the one time bonuses some of them did give out are long gone while the tax breaks they still enjoy stretch on unabated. CEO pay still is going through the roof while average earnings still are virtually stagnant. Stock prices surged initially, in part from all the money companies poured into stock buyback, but very recent losses have left the DOW flat for all of 2018. Meanwhile the federal deficit is rising faster than a storm surge, looming large in all of our futures.

Meanwhile no one is asking, "If this is a hot economy, what will the next cold economy look like?" Everyone knows it is coming, most likely sooner rather than later. Economic expansions do not continue indefinably, and ours is already overdue for a significant "correction". It is criminally complicit for the media to buy into glowing Republican claims of a "hot economy". Not for most Americans it isn't, and distant storm clouds are already gathering

Our earliest American colonists weren't "the best Europe had to offer"

At least not in the eyes of those holding power they weren't. They were misfits, heretics, radicals and/or impoverished if not literally enslaved. Many were considered criminals and/or subversives. Our nation was founded in large part by people who were seen as "cultists" in England: Puritans, Quakers and the like. Maryland was an early refuge for Catholics who were denigrated by the British Crown. The first (non native) Americans were mostly castoffs, unwanted at home and often unable to provide for their families without fleeing their country of origin. They were virtually all refugees. As were the many generations of immigrants who followed them here. The early elites of America could never have built this nation without them.

No, the refugees who populated America supposedly weren't the best that their homelands had to offer. They didn't come here bearing great wealth. Very few of them found welcome on these shores because of the technical skills they possessed. But collectively they built one of the greatest nations the world has ever known. They had courage, they had perseverance, they had the will to make a better life for their children, and in the process they built a better nation for us all.

Only the worst that America has to offer see poor people walking thousands of mile with their children and only the few possessions they can carry on their back as a grave threat to this nation. Only the worst that America has to offer see those who flee torture rape starvation and death as an invading force who threaten our security and American values.

And on top of everything else, those who fear the slow approach of "a caravan" of a few thousand hungry unarmed refugees are quite simply pathetic. Whether or not all of them should be welcomed here, whether or not all of them are walking this way for officially sanctioned reasons, they do not create a national emergency for America. Their numbers would barely add up to a halfway decent crowd at one minor league baseball game. If history is any guide, and it damn well should be, they ultimately have far more to ultimately offer America than our nation may offer to them. These are the type people that America has always been made of.
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