Sorry I'm late getting started this morning, but I'm feeling physically ill.
Can't quite figure out why. It's not my stomach; I don't have a headache; I don't have a fever. What could it be?
Oh yeah, it's my soul.
My soul is nauseous and it feels like barfing. Yeah, that's it.
Let's just stipulate right here that I probably shouldn't write anything this morning. The reason I'm getting a late start is that I had to take a block of time and bash out a towering screed—just to try to make myself feel a little less ill in the soul, you know? But my English reader/friend Tom, who screened it for me, says it's "a little raw" and I take it that's an example of English understatement.
But I have to ask my fellow Democrats and anti-Republicans (and now, anti-Populist-Insurgents) a question: who we gonna get next time? Who are we going to choose to champion the flag of traditional American liberal democracy in 2020? Should be someone who sees clearly, if you get the allusion. (Waaanh-waa.)
It can't be a cranky hundred-year-old Jewish socialist with a clear view of what's wrong but no plan to make it right.
It needs to be somebody with enough moxie for the fight, someone broadly likeable, someone without a lot of baggage—and, clearly, a male, because America would probably, I don't know, elect a male orang-outang from the forest over a highly qualified female with tons of experience who spent her whole life preparing for the job. Hypothetical example.
Russ Feingold is one of the best politicians in the history of the United States, but he's going to be 67 in 2020 and he just lost a Senate campaign to a [highly insulting description deleted] plastics manufacturer, albeit one seated high atop a giant heap of Koch millions, which doesn't speak all that well for his (Feingold's) draw in the hinterlands. Elizabeth Warren has the moxie and her views are right on track, but she didn't want to run this time and darn, she doesn't have the right chromosomes for this particular country, more's the pity. And she's going to be 71 in 2020. I'm only 59 and I get tired at the thought of driving to Buffalo once.
So who we gonna get? We need a champion. We need somebody good. And we need to start looking right now, because I don't know if you noticed but the house just caught fire.
One thing seems clear—20/20, pardon again the same bad pun—we have to decide. The party rank and file, that is. Us grassroots. If we let the DNC decide, the DNC that served us up the female Walter Mondale, avatar of the Clinton Restoration, '90s nostalgia, business as usual, it will no doubt give us whatever loyal insider who's next in line, and then any fool fake billionaire from reality TV could probably beat her. Him. Whatever.
I've written too much, I see. I really shouldn't write anything today. I know that.
I have a feeling I will, though. It'll be good for my soul.
(Thanks to Tom Burke)
"Open Mike" is the off-topic editorial page of TOP, when Yr. Hmbl. Ed. rambles afield. It normally appears on Wednesdays.
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Terry: "Mike, Mike, Mike! It's not that America doesn't want a woman president. It's that the Democrats don't. Let's look at the numbers:
Turnout 2012 for Obama: 65.9m; 2016 for Clinton: 59.1m; difference = –6.8m
2012 for Romney: 60.9m; 2016 for Trump: 59m; difference = –1.9m
"Bear in mind that we just elected a person with negatives in the 60% range. The Democrats own this mistake. They didn't even have an opposition candidate like the Republicans did—Evan McMullin."
Mike replies: It's true. It looks very much like this election was the fault of Democratic voters...about 5 million of them, or thereabouts, who all told pollsters of their support for Clinton and then didn't bother to go vote.
Ironically, many (as individuals) might have not voted because the polls were so certain Clinton was going to win. It made them complacent. The pollsters weren't even that wrong, although it certainly looked like they were. They just needed to add a crucial caveat to their forecasts: "Clinton has an 85% [or whatever] chance of winning assuming everyone who supports her actually votes."
Bruce: "God bless America. And keep Trump safe. Personally, I'm having a great year. First the Scottish referendum, then Brexit and now Donald. I can't see how any sane person could possibly have considered voting for Clinton given everything that's known about her. As Trump rightly said, 'A nasty woman.'"
John: "Any other Democrat could have beaten Trump. The system needs a shake-up. The problem is that the voters picked the wrong person to provide it. What amazes me is that half the country could vote for such a vile person. Where's decency?"
Michael Roche: "To the concerned outsider looking at America it is blatantly obvious your country is a deeply unequal society in both opportunity, living standards, healthcare, education, etc., etc., and your political establishment is either incapable of doing anything to remedy these problems or the people elected to public office are not concerned about these injustices. Quite honestly there was not a lot of difference between a career political insider of long standing who seemed to be happy with the status quo and could not be bothered to come up with even half a plan to improve things and a charlatan TV personality/business tycoon whipping up hatred and division and false hopes for the poor and disenfranchised of the richest country in the western world. All this played out in some sort of dystopian reality show daily for all to see on TV and in print media and all the overpaid pundits and so-called experts could contribute was that Trump cannot win, i.e. Hilary will win, and we can carry on as normal, nothing will change, people will continue to lose their jobs and homes, African Americans will still get shot by law enforcement officers and stand a much greater chance of getting put in prison than their white fellow citizens. None of this will improve under Trump but if these are the only choices presented to the electorate of this once great land of opportunity then no one should be surprised if tweedledum gets elected and not tweedledee."
Al C.: "Mike, another crushed soul here. I am a naturalized citizen. America gave me so much, for which I am eternally grateful, and which I can never fully repay. However, is this still my country? Why do 50% want to take it back? Back from whom?"
Mike replies: My sister-in-law had a neighbor explain to her that he supports Trump because he hates immigrants. My sister-in-law has a heavy Ukrainian accent. Evidently her neighbor did not make the connection.
John Camp: "I'm a lifelong liberal Democrat, voted for Hillary, was stunned by the election, and at the same time, think the Democrats (but not the county) got what they deserved. The Democrats were beaten by people for whom they've shown nothing but disdain for decades, Democratic elites who have lived lives that began with Harvard and Yale, and who constantly let slip their disdain—the 'clutching to guns and religion,' from Obama, and 'basket of deplorables' from Hillary. Our free trade agreements have undoubtedly helped lift much of the poor world, from Mexico to India to China, to some prospect of prosperity, while leaving our own Midwestern rust belt in despair.
"Trump is a racist, a sexist, quite possibly a criminal in several different ways. I'm hoping the shock of his election will help create a Democratic Party that goes back to its working-class roots; that would not include anyone like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris, but there are a number of good solid Democratic governors out there who might fill the bill, though they are not yet political stars."
Mike replies: A book for ya.
Amin (partial comment): "I didn't sleep at all last night. My kids woke up this morning asking if this means everyone hates us. Have been trying to convince them and myself that everything will be okay.
"I do admire you for writing about this today. You could easily lose some readers over it."
Withheld: "Well I guess this is the last time I read this blog, despite having enjoyed it otherwise for years. I felt the same as you four years ago. Life goes on. Take care."
Mike replies: Wait, you're confused. Your guy won this time.
Alan Carmody: "Mike, I know this is your blog but with the greatest possible respect, one of the reasons I come here is...to get away from the politics."
Mike replies: Well, there won't be much of it. With a blog as wide-ranging as this one, not everything is for everyone. Some things are for most of the readers, some things are for just a few; like a newspaper or a magazine, as a reader you have to pick and choose.
I'd hope that as much as 80% of the contents are appealing to most readers, and I don't know how low the percentage could go before a particular reader would go wandering away...60%? 40%? But not everything is for everyone, that much is certain.