Sunday, March 1, 2020

Hail Mary


Gonna go ahead and do my "please vote for Elizabeth Warren this Tuesday" post. Then hopefully I can set the politics down for a bit. Certainly I have something else to discuss. Right?

There are three major federal issues facing the U.S.A. One is the environment/climate change, an international problem which threatens the long-term habitability of the entire planet. Second is the inability of the U.S. economy to adequately redistribute wealth and the resulting widespread poverty and inequality of opportunity. Then there's the erosion of basic constitutional checks & balances, which by now have transformed the U.S. into something less than a meaningful democracy.

Only the two progressive candidates running for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, intend to and least try and address all three of these issues in a major way. Buttigieg and Bloomberg at least have significant environmental platforms; neither Biden nor Klobucher plan to do anything big at all. Accordingly, only the progressives merit serious consideration in this race. [Edit: just learned Mayor Pete has pulled the plug, so that's how real time this post is yo]

Sanders earned folk hero status for standing up to the Democratic establishment in 2016 and has built an impressive grassroots movement that might well deliver him the nomination. He's strong on every significant issue, and the strength of his grassroots movement promises to afford significant political capital once he's in office, should he make it there. A vote for Sanders is a vote well spent indeed.

But Elizabeth Warren is the best candidate in the race. She's just as good as Sanders on practically every issue--including various micro-issues that most candidates haven't even thought about. Where she distinguishes herself is in her detailed plans for how to actually get everything done and where the money will come from. As a long-time independent who's had to burn some bridges with mainstream Democrats to get where he is, Sanders would likely struggle to gain uniform Democratic support for his plans and ideas; Warren, by contrast, is well-positioned to have Dems line up behind her make stuff happen in the first 12 months or six months or even first 100 days. And she is a safer bet against Trump, as she would enter the general election cycle more or less free of the political baggage that dogs Sanders (and which figures to ensure he would--however unfairly--receive hostile treatment throughout the general election cycle from a mainstream media that has already declared him an extremist).

To be honest, 2016 was the most important election of our lifetimes and we already lost. There's a good chance the damage the Trump administration has inflicted can never be repaired, and little reason to be confident it will be even if the possibility exists. But maybe there's a chance. If a progressive can win the 2020 election, come into the White House with majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, get the Senate leadership to dispense with filibuster nonsense and then go FDR on shit for the next two years, then perhaps we do have some shot at preserving a habitable planet and restoring an acceptable level of legitimate democracy to the USA.  

Even with Warren, that's only a chance. But she's the best chance we have. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to take it.

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Getting real about the 517

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