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Sun Dec 20, 2015, 04:50 PM

The Democratic Primary

I thoroughly enjoyed watching last night’s Democratic debate. It should be evident to every rational, objective person that each of our three candidates are far superior to any and all of the republican party’s candidates. Yet, there are no requirements for potential voters to be rational; hence, as the republicans appeal to the irrational fears of the public, it is important that we appeal to people’s better natures.

Malcolm X taught that in presenting a choice to people, it was not necessary to tell them what to think. Rather, he said that if one places a clean glass of water next to a glass of sludge, a thirsty public could be trusted to make the correct choice. I also found myself thinking of an similar saying from my good friend Rubin ….that the difference between the Democratic and republican candidates is the same as the difference between sugar and shit.

I will support whichever of the three that the Democratic Party nominates in the 2016 general election. I recognize that each of the three offers different strengths, and weaknesses. There is no such thing as a “perfect candidate.” Each of the three’s ability to work with Congress is an issue to be considered -- especially if the republicans in the House and Senate are able to prevent the next president from being effective. There is simply no question that this has been the primary republican objective during the Obama administration.

There is no reason -- none -- to believe that the republicans in Washington will magically change, and be willing to cooperate with Democrats in the House, Senate, and/or White House. Indeed, consider their eagerness to undercut President Obama on issues involving military conflict in foreign lands, which was up until recent times considered part of statesmanship. Then think about the leading republican candidates in their primary contest. This in not an election that can be considered a contest involving “the lesser of two evils.”

I am not as familiar with Martin O’Malley, as with the other two. But he has impressed me as a decent, sincere individual every time that I’ve listened to him. I would be pleased to have him serve as President of the United States. I can also see him as a solid Vice President, in a time when the responsibilities of that office have expanded greatly. The more I learn about him, the more favorably impressed I am. And I especially enjoyed his presentation in last night’s debate.

I’ve held a high opinion of Bernie Sanders, since meeting him back before he went to Washington. I particularly like his ideas on domestic economic policy. I recognize the value of his inspiring college students to become active participants in the political system. In my opinion, his appeal is distinct from that of a couple candidates that I liked in my youth, Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. I am much more reminded of the reaction to, and the potential that Senator Robert Kennedy offered this country, in his brief presidential primary run.

I invested both time and money both of Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for Senate in my state. I was able to meet her on the day that she first announced her candidacy. A few years later, I had the pleasure of meeting her for a longer time, away from any crowd of people. In last night’s debate, I thought she came across much more like the lady who had really impressed me in the small, casual setting. I think that it is worth people’s time to read her 2014 book, “Hard Choices,” because I think it provides a more accurate view of her, than people may get from her presentations on the campaign trail.

No candidate is without flaws. More, no campaign is without contributions from supporters who can be at times offensive. That can include people who are working closely with the campaign, or simply someone advocating for them on an internet site. The higher the emotional intensity of the campaign, the more likely people are to both offend, and be offended. Being an imperfect human being myself, I am aware that I have both offended and been offended numerous times over the many decades that I’ve worked on campaigns, and discussed them on the internet.

I’m attempting to hold myself to a higher standard in the 2016 contests, including the presidential campaign. In part, this is because I believe that people -- myself included -- should attempt to be better, and thus do better, throughout life. While I am not foolish enough to think that I will not make mistakes, I am going to try my best.

But, more importantly, as an aging person who cares deeply about the future, I am fully convinced that there is a negative force gathering strength in America ….an entirely human force, with the ugly passions of anger, hostility, and hatred, that is increasing in energy. And, while I know that clowns like Cruz and Trump do not control that negative energy, they are surely riding its wave.

In order to combat that aggressively hateful republican wave, we need to harness the goodness within our party. And that simply cannot be limited to one candidate, or one campaign.

I normally do not post in DU:GD-P -- indeed, I very rarely read anything posted in this forum -- not because it is all “bad” …..but because far too many of its participants engage in the type of arguing that includes insults, cheap shots, and hostility. I’m sure that there are good OP/discussions here, advocating for each of the three candidates. But there are also people who compulsively -- and repulsively -- attempt to stain such discussions, much like a nasty Chihuahua, peeing on the furniture.

I do not believe that we have that luxury now. It’s important that we invest our energies in fighting the Good Fight.

-- H2O Man

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Democratic Primary (Original post)
H2O Man Dec 2015 OP
bigtree Dec 2015 #1
H2O Man Dec 2015 #2
bigtree Dec 2015 #3
H2O Man Dec 2015 #4
bigtree Dec 2015 #5
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2015 #6
H2O Man Dec 2015 #7

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Dec 20, 2015, 05:43 PM

1. I like the call for unity, friend

Last edited Sun Dec 20, 2015, 07:05 PM - Edit history (1)

...I'm reminded, reading this, that this discussion board isn't really a campaign, but rather, a community of like interests, much like our Democratic coalition, and folks here deserve something more than the vitriol we often rightly direct at pols and political operatives.

That also reminds me that we're in that period you've spoken of before as vital to our efforts to bring about a more progressive legislature, as well as the presidency. Our primary's our only chance to make that imprint, and it's no surprise to find folks who are firm in their individual choices. There's always hope we can come together after these partisan contests and remember that our progressive issues and concerns stand the best chance of advancing through the legislative process through the unity of our Democratic coalition of like interests.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 20, 2015, 06:45 PM

2. Right.

You nailed it. This community really owes it to itself to focus on winning in 2016. And not just the presidential contest, but as many congressional elections as possible.

I think the 2008 election of Barack Obama offered this nation -- and the world -- a unique opportunity. But people sat back, content with his victory, confident that he would solve most all of our problems. That was foolish: we blew that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Democracy demands an active, even demanding populace. But while we were quiet, we witnessed the terrible public behavior of the "tea party." Their sick behavior was a premonition of what will become reality, should a Cruz or Trump "win" in 2016.

I realize that many people take for granted a win in 2016. Yet, for example, a ticket that includes Rubio and Kasich means that Florida and Ohio likely go republican. And, as we know, presidential elections are not determined by popular vote; rather, there are 50 mini-contests. And as the levels of toxicity rise in the streets of America, we could have an even worse republican victory in '16.

This requires our best efforts. Nothing less.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Dec 21, 2015, 10:41 AM

3. kick

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Response to bigtree (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 21, 2015, 12:04 PM

4. Thank you.

I appreciate that you would "kick" this OP/thread. I have a feeling that any discussion here will be limited to you and I ....which not only isn't a "bad thing," but actually is good by me. While the chances that very many others are going to pay attention to two Elders engaging in a rational talk may be small, indeed .....the opportunity to converse with you remains one of my favorite things about DU.

I find myself wondering: what impact might the internet have had, if such a vehicle for communication were available in, say, 1968?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 21, 2015, 04:23 PM

5. ha!

...I have a feeling, like me with my own elders, folks may be listening more than they're letting on.

Very nice to hear from you on these pages. I truly miss engaging with you on issues beyond mere politics, but I've camped myself here for the election months, not having the energy or ability to juggle work and much more than the mostly trivial politics in pursuit of a nominee. I'd like to think that I'm a good influence on this cacophony of concern in GDP. At least, that's what I tell myself as seek out my daily dose of politics and political debate to distract from the chaos of the holidays (retail work).

Keep up these inspirational posts! If for nothing else, we can at least tell ourselves that our time isn't completely wasted here on trivial nonsense with an occasional H2O Man essay to inspire, enlighten, and inform us.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Dec 21, 2015, 04:54 PM

6. I'm disappointed in your posts lately

but still respect your thoughts....but not your choice of Hillary or her book
hard choices ............ my choice is not her and it shouldn't be yours.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 21, 2015, 07:58 PM

7. I haven't chosen anyone.

Almost without exception, all of my family, friends, and associates are decidedly pro-Bernie Sanders. That includes all four of my children, including the three that are politically active at the universities they attend.

Elections -- including primaries --always involve three groups: those who will vote for you/your candidate; those who will vote against you; and the undecided. Hence, it is that third group that one tries to appeal to. Second, one tries to not offend the second group, especially not to the extent that they will refuse to deal with you after the primaries.

Hence, even a limited understanding of the ultimate purpose of primaries leads to but one conclusion: that the stupid -- often fucking stupid -- bullshit going on in 95% of the "primary" discussions here are harmful in the long-term, and indicate that those who engage in them either are ignorant, emotional infants, or purposeful trouble-makers.

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