Last Sunday, we attended a potluck dinner party. We were one of six couples there. Seated around the table were a cadre from our army of bike buddies. All of us still are or were members of the Kaldi’s Bike MS charity team. We talked cycling, travel and then I touched the third rail, politics. The demographics of this discussion was pretty homogeneous. We were all white, upper middle class, heterogenous, empty nest boomers and most importantly, Democrats. So, although I did touch the third rail of politics, there really wasn’t that much danger of causing that many sparks.
As of last Sunday, we had just endured a pretty bad week for the Democrats, what with a less than satisfactory conclusion to the impeachment trial, the unholy spectacle of the State of the Union address and the debacle of the Iowa Caucus. We were united in opposition to Trump, so most of the discussion had to do with a comparison of the Democratic candidates vis-à-vie their chances of beating him. The metric for choosing seemed to be for someone who could win.
Neither of the two frontrunners, Bernie and Buttigieg, seemed to garner much enthusiasm. Bernie was judged too liberal to win, likewise Warren. Buttigieg being gay was viewed as an impediment to victory. Biden, already wounded by then, seemed to have been most people’s candidate, but his show of weakness seems to have made people turn away from him. Everyone wanted a winner. There was some talk of Klobuchar, but since she hadn’t shown herself by then, it was only lukewarm at best. Most of the enthusiasm seemed to be reserved for Bloomberg. This gave me the chance to recite a New Yorker cartoon caption, “Look up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s the good billionaire.”
The Missouri presidential primary isn’t until the week after Super Tuesday, so a lot of water will have flowed under the bridge by then. However, Anne and one of the couples will have to absentee vote before then. Anne will be working as an election official on primary day and this other couple are traveling to India. They are planning on delaying as long as possible. There is nothing worse than voting early for a candidate, who then drops out before the primary. Bottom line, everyone is looking for that person who will win in November and the positions that they espouse are only important in how they effect their electability.
I’ve had similar concerns about Buttigieng and his being gay and I’ve had more than a few heated discussions with Democrats who insist that it won’t matter. It doesn’t bother me in the least but I do see it as an impediment to getting elected. He will be pilloried in a general election and I can’t see him doing well in the South or much of the Midwest.
He’s also backtracked on his support of “Medicare for all” and that seemed to happen just about the time that he was accepting donations from pharma and healthcare. Healthcare is a big issue for me.
I started supporting Amy about the time she announced and then jumped ship to Kamala Harris. Now Kamala is out and Amy made a good showing in NH. Seems like Amy has a long road in front of her but the Midwest and her more moderate politics might just give her the impetus she needs.
Right now Bernie and Bloomberg are the candidates who intrigue me the most.
I just hope that the party can keep from tripping over itself like it so often does.