If Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and President Donald J. Trump have proven one thing above all else, it is that experience does, indeed, matter. Pelosi has demonstrated the value of experience in politics and how well she can get things done in our nation’s capital, especially when dealing with an unfit, unqualified and highly inexperienced egomaniac president.
Who best, then, to challenge Trump in 2020? The easy answer is anyone! First, there is no guarantee that Trump will be the Republican nominee. The possibility of impeachment looms large as we get ever closer to learning the findings of the Special Counsel investigation.
Will Congressional Republican enablers abandon Trump as it becomes apparent that his demise will result in their own? Will losing the support of his enablers result in Trump willingly stepping down rather than face the humiliation of an impeachment hearing? Unlikely.
Will the smell of blood embolden the likes of John Kasich or Larry Hogan or Ben Sasse or some other Republican to challenge Trump’s candidacy? Possibly. It all depends on how vulnerable he appears as a result of the findings of the investigation.
More likely is the impact of polls on Trump’s candidacy. Would Trump risk running and losing rather than simply claiming historical achievements on his one term not necessitating the need to continue in a second term? I think this is highly likely since spin is how he lives and breathes.
However, let us assume this is all pie in the sky speculation and he is the Republican candidate for re-election in 2020. Who, again, would be the best candidate to run against him?
Let us first look at how victory will be attained. Trump won the electoral college vote by winning some 70,000 votes among Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. There were many various explanations of how this could have happened, but the one that resonates with me is the fact that Hillary simply did not resonate with minority Obama voters in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Detroit even though she was viewed as another Obama term.
Is it even possible that this could happen again after a full term of Trump regardless of who the Democratic candidate is? I cannot imagine that happening again although I could not ever have imagined this country electing the likes of a Donald Trump yet that did, regrettably, happen.
So, who then? I like Sherrod Brown of Ohio and capturing the ultimate swing state of Ohio would be a sure-fire path to the White House. However, he just chose not to run.
I like Kamala Harris. Anyone who could get Jefferson Sessions to cry out “You’re making me nervous” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as I witnessed first-hand would be more than capable of exposing the disastrous presidency of Trump. I like Elizabeth Warren who, as much as anyone, is the voice against income inequality and the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Board to protect consumers from the type of abuse that lead to the Great Recession of 2008. I like Beto O’Rourke, and I like Amy Klobuchar. I like Julian Castro, I like Cory Booker, I even like Bernie Sanders although I would hate to see the election decided on how effective Trump is able to misuse the term socialist as a negative label.
Who, then, you ask in these times of needed change? How about old timer Joe Biden, and here’s why: First, I think it safe to assume that any of the Democratic candidates would receive the electoral college votes from the states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. If that assumption is valid, we must then look at the states won by Trump in 2016.
Since he is no longer an unknown, I would hope that he would not win those states as he did in 2016 and the results of the midterm election in 2018 serve to indicate that the tide has turned when it comes to Trump? However, even if he won most of those states, would he win Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania again? Is it possible that Joe Biden of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Senator from Delaware would not win those three key swing states? I am absolutely positive that he would not and, accordingly, win the White House in the process.
There is one caveat, however, that I would place on his nomination. Donald Trump will be 74 when he runs in 2020, and Joe Biden will be 78.
Age is a very definite concern amid all of the cries to move away from the so-called old guard and towards a newer and younger cadre of leaders. However, running against an incumbent, any incumbent, can be a challenge. While no one ever expected Trump to win in 2016, somehow he did.
As for Biden, no one is in better position to go up against the Trump administration. Biden’s experience and I emphasize the world experience here, in both working with Congress and his direct involvement in the Obama presidency makes him the most prepared to undo the Trump presidency.
That has to be the number one priority: to undo Trump’s undoing of the Obama presidency. Add to this his extensive experience in foreign affairs, something none of the other candidates, including Trump, can match, and you have a quality candidate AND tutor for the next wave of Democratic leadership. That is where the caveat comes into play. Biden should run as a one-term president with the commitment to groom his successor during that one term in office.
Biden’s agenda will have to include returning the United States to the international community and bring us back into the fold with the other 197 nations to combat climate change. He will have to address Trump’s war on immigrants as evidenced by Trump’s ending of DACA and his circumvention of the Constitution to fund his wall. On Biden’s plate, as well, will be re-instituting the many regulations eliminated by Trump, regulations that protect the safety of our water and air and require standards to be in place regarding building in flood zones to protect against the kind of floods we see all too often. Even more than re-instituting any of the enumerable reversals by Trump, Biden will have as his most important priority to restore our nation’s prominence on the world stage and our place as the leader of the free world. When his experience with the Obama programs is combined with his experience dealing with Congress, Biden becomes a better candidate to restore the Obama accomplishments than even Obama.
A 78-year-old, going up against a 74-year-old is not a major problem, but an 82-year-old running in 2024 is. Accordingly, my proposal for Democrats is that Joe Biden should make it clear that he is running for one term and one term only with the expressed purpose of digging our country out of the shambles left by Trump and restoring America’s place as the leader of the free world. Taking this approach, however, will require that his running mate in 2020 be someone who represents the next generation of leaders and possesses the attributes to energize the electorate. Other than Bernie, any of the other candidates mentioned previously would serve that purpose. To that list, feel free to add in Montgomery County’s own Congressman Jamie Raskin. No one knows the Constitution better than Congressman Raskin, and no one uses that knowledge better than Congressman Raskin to expose Republican hypocrisy.
Placing Harris or O’Rourke or Raskin or, for that matter, Adam Schiff or Joe Kennedy on the ticket with Joe Biden will allow the new vice president to learn from the master, Biden, and develop over the four years as he or she brings some new blood to the mix as they lead a younger generation of politicos who, it is hoped, will bring new ideas and approaches to addressing the many challenges this nation faces both now and in the future.