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Galindez writes: "I know it’s only 2017, but the testing of the waters has begun in Iowa and New Hampshire."

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)

The 2020 Race for President Has Begun

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

13 September 17


know it’s only 2017, but the testing of the waters has begun in Iowa and New Hampshire. Progress Iowa, at its annual corn feed event, hosted Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend. Did Martin O’Malley ever leave Iowa? Bernie has been to Iowa twice in the last month and a half and spent Labor Day in New Hampshire. Representative Tim Ryan — yes, the one who challenged Nancy Pelosi for leadership in the House — will be in Iowa in a couple of weeks. I am also hearing that Representative Tulsi Gabbard is coming to Iowa next month.

It’s just the beginning. We know that Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and the most speculated non-candidate of 2016, Senator Elizabeth Warren, may be sticking their toes in the water soon. And when since 1988 has former vice president Joe Biden not been rumored as a possibility?

I hope Bernie signals his intentions early, so candidates like Merkley, Warren, and Gabbard avoid splitting the progressive vote. As for the rest? The more, the merrier. Harris, Ryan, Booker, Biden, and whoever else wants to can run to split the beauty contest vote. You know the voters who vote based on the package.

I have to admit that before I heard him, I thought Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend was the ultimate, perfectly packaged candidate who I was afraid would be an empty suit. When he ran for Democratic Party Chair, I heard all of the rising star praise and became skeptical.

He would be the first openly gay president, which would be a good thing.

His speech Sunday hit all the right notes, and he impressed me with his ability to articulate a vision, something our last nominee struggled to do. I will take a closer look at him if he decides to run.

The senator from Oregon was the one I went to see. Senator Jeff Merkley was the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016. During a meeting with Sanders supporters on Sunday evening, Merkley said there was fear then among many of his colleagues that if they didn’t back Hillary Clinton, there would be years of retribution. The senator said he doesn’t play that game, and he endorsed Bernie. So right away I applaud Jeff Merkley’s independence.

Pete D’Alessandro, who ran several states including Iowa for Sanders, introduced Merkley to the group, reminding everyone that the senator endorsed Bernie at a time when it wasn’t popular. Clinton was on a roll and Bernie was slumping. It would have been an easy time to stay neutral like Elizabeth Warren and not anger the Clinton camp. But Merkley stuck his neck out, which says a lot about his character.

I didn’t know much about the senator other than his endorsement of Sanders and his filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. I was impressed with his story. Too many politicians are in office because they feel that their wealth and privilege give them the right to the title of Senator or Governor. Not Jeff Merkley — he said he was tired of trying to get politicians to vote the right way, so he ran for office so he could do what is right.

I am still 100% behind Bernie Sanders, but in the event that he doesn’t run in 2020, we have an excellent bench of candidates lining up. Jeff Merkley is one of them. Mayor Pete, as they call him in South Bend, has potential as well; I need to take a closer look at his record. I’m always skeptical when party leaders call someone a rising star.

I am not among those who are angry with Elizabeth Warren for staying on the sidelines. I have reservations when it comes to Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy, but she is part of an impressive bench of progressives who would make great presidents. Our job is to keep the movement growing that Bernie started and get one of them into the White House in 2020. I still hope it’s Bernie.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

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+16 # Mainiac 2017-09-13 17:47
I live in Massachusetts. I supported Elizabeth Warren for a few months when she ran against Scott Brown — until I read her Foreign Policy statements posted on her web site. Her views on Israel could have been written by AIPAC. Her foreign policy, in general, is militaristic in keeping with her brothers’ views as military service members. They had admonished her not to embarrass them when she ran for office.

I would not vote for her for president. Let her stay in the Senate.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-09-14 06:15
Her Israel policy was probably written by AIPAC. They dictate to many members of Congress. Warren is no different. Although, I like Warren for her economic bully pulpitting, I'm coming to your view. Foreign policy is the most important now and in the future. We can't have any domestic policies until the empire ends.
0 # librarian1984 2017-09-14 11:29
Sanders could put her in a position where she has less to do with foreign policy. Treasury Secretary, maybe?
+19 # markovchhaney 2017-09-13 18:21
"He would be our first openly gay president, which would be a good thing."

I beg your pardon, Scott, but where were you last year when a lot of progressive voters made clear to the Democratic Party that having some magical identity card did NOT buy you their votes.

I have nothing for or against Mayor Buttigieg at this juncture. I know nothing about him other than that he's mayor of South Bend (now that you've mentioned it) and that he's gay (now that you've mentioned it), but it will take a great deal more than either of those things to make me vote for him for anything at all. The notion that I'd vote for him or withhold my vote based on whether he has sex with men, women, both, or neither is not only absurdly presumptuous but an insult to my intelligence. That the nation somehow NEEDS someone from a particular demographic other than "has great ideas and the wherewithal to get them implemented" is something that's escaped me, regardless of following politics for well over a half century. And 8 years of neoliberalism with Obama and his handlers in the Oval Office makes many progressives more than a bit suspicious of that sort of simplistic "identity politics" thinking.
+5 # LionMousePudding 2017-09-14 01:23
Get the chip off your shoulder. Scott did not write "I will vote for him because he is gay." He did not write "you should vote for him because he is gay." He wrote it would be a good thing.

Isn't there something wrong when 100% of our politicians fall into one category when there are other valid categories off adult citizen? Is it not a good thing when that becomes untrue? Was it not a good thing that we had a woman candidate for President-- regardless of her actual inappropriatene ss-- but the simple FACT THAT A woman finally made it-- that our society has come that far? Are we not allowed to think that is a good thing?

It was a good thing that this country was able to elect a Black candidate. Regardless of any other fact. It is a bad thing that only heterosexual white Christian men have ever been considered until recently. This does not mean that you have to vote for every person who is not heterosexual or who is not white or who is not Christian or who is not a man.

It is a good thing if we have progressed so far as to have a gay candidate. It will be a good thing if a gay candidate can win office. It will point out something about us as a society.
+7 # Saberoff 2017-09-14 09:32
Issues! I don't give a damn about gender, color, religion, height or hair! I'd vote for a Fungo based on his/her/its record, history, position on the issues and my own gut instinct.
Didn't we just do this sex thing?
0 # NAVYVET 2017-09-16 15:05
Well, it's probable that James Buchanan was our first, and (possibly) so far only gay president.
-12 # ericlipps 2017-09-14 05:02
Oh, nonsense. A lot of "progressive" voters made it clear that it was either Bernie or the hell with it. And thanks in part to them, hell is what we're headed into.
+4 # Scott Galindez 2017-09-14 12:02
I didn't say I would vote for him based on that. He impressed me with his ability to articulate a vision that could motivate voters. The only reason I mentioned that he was gay, is it was what made me take a second look...I thought he was the perfectly packaged candidate...If that was true he would probably be hiding it at the advice of his handlers.

I just said it was a good thing...
+4 # Billsy 2017-09-14 13:10
The single most important accomplishment of the 2017 shit show of an election was Sen. Sander's proving that one could mount a campaign solely funded by common citizens instead of corporate lobbyists and wealthy special interests. That renders Senators Booker & Harris as rather suspect despite their positive policy support for single payer health care. Let's not focus on "identity" politics based on gender, race or sexual preference but stick to policies and freedom from corruption okay? I've already observed some offensive memes suggesting that we stop infighting and unite, specifically targeted at demonizing progressives as "purists" or "idealists". They may well be the product of GOP antagonists, but whatever their source Insults & name calling don't unite. Focus on solid principles and policies that excite the progressive base, particularly millennials and we have a chance of regaining power & influence in 2018.
+15 # rural oregon progressive 2017-09-13 18:33
I agree completely, Scott... We are hoping Bernie will run, and announce early. Jeff Merkley is the real deal, based on what we have seen from him since he became our senator. There is no way that we can support Warren any longer (since she clearly put politics ahead of what was best for the country in 2016) and we remain very angry with her. If Bernie does not run, we would love to see a Merkley/Gabbard /or Turner ticket... Any combination of two of those three.
+13 # Street Level 2017-09-13 18:44
I hope it's Bernie too. Jeff Merkley would be my other choice.
-14 # ericlipps 2017-09-14 05:03
So what you want is a 78-year-old Jewish socialist from New York running in the deep-red states of the South. Good luck to you; you'll need it.
+7 # librarian1984 2017-09-14 11:32
When people hear his message they support him. Watch the WV town hall.

Sanders has been going to RED states since the election.

You'll be naysaying even when Sanders takes the oath of office. Your prerogative.
+3 # kyzipster 2017-09-14 17:23
The last time a deep red state in the South went for a Democrat in a presidential election was Bill Clinton I believe. Why the hell cater to them?

The South went for a sociopath from New York last year, not Hillary Clinton. As soon as a racist blowhard puts a 'R' by their name, they get over 80% of the Evangelical vote. Trump proved it just doesn't matter, it's tribal. Cult is more like it.

Sanders was very popular in my little corner of the Bible Belt, far more than Hillary.

The biggest problem with the DNC imo, is they're still running campaigns like it's the early 1990s and people were still crazy about Reagan. So much has changed but Democrats are tiptoeing down that imaginary center, as if conservatives will stop looking at them as baby killers and listen to common sense and reason. Ain't gonna happen. What they need is a candidate who inspires everybody else. That's Sanders or some other true progressive. Working class conservatives will follow along eventually, if Democrats offer something.
0 # kyzipster 2017-09-13 19:27
I suspect Warren will run and get the D nomination and Sanders won't run against her. Just a guess.

She's already flunking the progressive purity test at RSN. Yawn.
-1 # Saberoff 2017-09-14 09:35
Business as usual, on into the 20s. Yawn.
+1 # Citizen Mike 2017-09-13 21:28

Trump will not be the Republican nominee but will run as an independent and split the right.

The Democratic ticket will be Sanders and Warren. They will win because the right is split. Single-Payer will be the deciding issue.

A gay presidential candidate would be a protest candidate for social progressives but cannot win.
+4 # John Cosmo 2017-09-13 22:22
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but those of us who care about fair elections are still waiting for the DNC to clean house and get itself in order, and unfortunately it, and the Democratic leadership, don't seem to be up to that challenge.

It looks like the GOP isn't going to have to worry about a strong challenge from the Democratic Party.
+4 # Saberoff 2017-09-14 09:39
Wholeheartedly agree! However, don't expect a fair election from the Republicans either, of course.
+6 # vt143 2017-09-14 05:43
Oh, spare us! I propose a law that prohibits even talking about the next election until 3 months before a capital offense.
+8 # David Starr 2017-09-14 09:23
Bernie Sanders has to run again. He is, after all, the most popular politician in the U.S.
+1 # dusty 2017-09-14 15:30
The announcement today that some top Democrats are pledging to work together with Trump to work out something for DACA is the real first blow against progressives -- moving Medicare for All off the front page today instead of it being the biggest story of of this week or month. Pelosi and Schumer are already selling out to Trump to help his re-election instead of standing with Bernie Sanders, Karmela Harris and other Democrats who are progressive and moving forward a peoples agenda that serves toward the needs of the largest majority of the population. Yes, DACA needs problem resolution but so does medicare for all which would help DACA folks, their families and all the families of the nation. To focus on narrow issues moves the eyes off the big contradiction between the narrow economic desires of the 1% and the 99%.
+2 # kyzipster 2017-09-15 10:02
I don't disagree that establishment Democrats are not standing with progressives on health care and other issues and that probably won't change. 16 members of the Senate signing on is encouraging though. It might be enough to get the issue into public debate where it should be.

I don't see DACA as some sort of distraction to help the top 1%. I support them working with Trump on this very serious issue. We don't know the details yet but I would be disgusted if they chose blind obstruction, putting politics before responsibility.

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