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    Looking Ahead to the 2020 Presidential Election

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    It’s finally here, the 2020 Election Cycle, when hopefully the great nightmare of the Trump presidency will come to a crashing halt on November 3. If only real life were like the TV show Dallas when Bobby Ewing’s fatal hit-and-run in the eighth season was merely a figment of his wife Pam’s bad dream.

    For anyone not weaned on mid-1980s network television, Patrick Duffy’s character was killed and the show went on without him with considerably less male “hotness.” For many rea$on$ (yeah, it was about money), he magically reappeared hot as ever and soaking wet in the ninth season finale in what the Associated Press called “the most famous shower scene since Psycho.” The storyline wiped out a year of continuity and the series picked up where it had left off as if Bobby had never been dead. 

    If only we could all wake up from the Trump bad dream and see Barack Obama walking across the White House lawn. Or better yet, rewrite history and see Hillary Clinton stride up to the podium in the White House press room.

    While the New Year is supposed to be about looking ahead, I want to look back to last year when candidates were ramping up their campaigns. In my Bay Times article from last June ( shorturl.at/ortB1 ), I made some bold predictions about the 14 candidates who appeared at the State Democratic Convention in San Francisco. Some of my observations and pronouncements are still valid, others are downright embarrassing, and one is particularly disappointing. 

    So, let’s get inside the wayback-machine and see how I did:
     

    Senator Kamala Harris (CA) – This is heartbreaking; I stand by my comments that Kamala is brilliant and everything we could want in a president. She could have stood up to Trump in debates and beat the lying, cheating, war-mongering, stuffing out of him.  

    Beto O’Rourke (TX) – No surprise here. I didn’t expect him to last long. I hope he runs again in Texas; my in-laws need someone to vote for.  

    Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) – She was my #2 choice at the Convention and right now she’s tied for my #1. She shows up at #3 in most polls, but that could all change. Her message that the economic system is rigged against ordinary people should incentivize the ordinary people to stop voting against their own self-interests, which is probably what Hillary Clinton meant when she referred to Trump voters as a “basket of deplorables.”

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) – That didn’t last long. Now her claim to fame is that she attended Dartmouth College with California’s first female Lieutenant Governor, our beloved Eleni Kounalakis.

    Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI) – What was I thinking? This is in the category of “embarrassing.” Sorry, Ms. Gabbard, your anti-LGBT rhetoric, past activism against gay marriage, support of conversion therapy, and wimpy “Trump loving” vote of “Present” in the impeachment hearings will never get any love from me.   

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg (IN) – This is going to be controversial: he’s still not my guy for president, but he sure is doing well in the polls. I don’t think a former mayor of a small city (population of 100,000) is ready to be president. Pete, I love you, the LGBT community loves you, and while Calvin Coolidge was mayor of Lesbianville, aka Northampton, Massachusetts, before becoming president, he had a few other jobs in between, like governor and vice president. Do that and then run for president.

    Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA) – His was another “blink and you missed it” campaign. I was right when I said he wasn’t going to be president in 2021. I’ve met him twice and he is very bright and super friendly, so I hope he moves up the food-chain. We need him serving in elected office or in the Cabinet.  

    Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) – I’m really torn on this. Senator Klobuchar might just be the horse that hangs back in the race and then turns on the jets at the final turn. Or, the tortoise in the race with a group of hares. She’s the “indie label” musician who is high on talent and authenticity versus the major-label artist with big-money backing but a flash-in-the-pan music career. She brings the electoral importance of the Midwest to the table and can deliver the states that kept Hillary from winning.  She’s also just moderate enough to be accepted by both the liberal factions of the coastal regions and the middle-of-the-road voters in the flyover states. She’s a former prosecutor, so she could run circles around Trump in the debates. I also like the idea of putting up campaign signs that say “Amy.” (Editor’s note: Lou’s partner is talented actress/singer Amy Meyers.) I wish someone named “Louise” (who is not me!) would run for office. I’d donate just to get the signs.  

    Former Governor John Hickenlooper (CO) and Governor Jay Inslee (WA) – I didn’t have much to say about them and they both dropped out. Inslee is a good climate change guy. Put him in charge of the EPA or appoint him secretary of the interior.

    Senator Cory Booker (NJ) – He’s still in the race, but he’s hitting a wall and didn’t qualify for the December debate. It’s a tragedy that the once-promising diversity of the original pool of candidates has been squeezed out.  

    Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) – Still not my guy and I’m running out of column space, so on to:

    Former Mayor and Cabinet Member Julian Castro (TX) – Another example of loss of diversity in the field.  

    Former Congressman John Delaney (MD) – Who? And guess what, he’s still running. Good for him, but I still don’t know much about who he is.  

    With a few additions and subtractions, there are currently 12 candidates still in the race. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer make up the Billionaire Boys Club. If past is prologue, we might get another white male billionaire in the White House. Either one is better than the current occupant, but so is my orange tabby cat Wilbur, and I wouldn’t vote for him for president.

    Former VP Joe Biden is still the guy to beat, and while I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Anita Hill during the 1991 hearings, if he wins the nomination, I will vote for him and so should every Democrat and Independent voter in the country. The statistics show that Trump won because 3rd party candidates stole votes away from Hillary and many Democrats skipped over voting for president.  

    It goes without saying, the country cannot endure another four years of Trump. His version of “draining the swamp” was to empty it of anyone with talent, qualifications, and the will to stand up to him and call him out on his ignorance. We need a leader who won’t play “whack a mole” with foreign and domestic policy. There are no more adults in the room to rein in his impulses. The consequences of another Trump victory are too dire, and failure is not an option.  

    By the Numbers

    24 – Total number of Democratic candidates in the race in June, 2019
    14 – Number of candidates who spoke at the State Convention
    7 – Number of the “Convention 14” who are still in the race
    7 – Number of the “Convention 14” who dropped out
    12 – Number of major candidates currently running for the Democratic nomination
    29 – Total number of Democrats overall from the “beginning of time” who declared candidacy for president (including dropouts and current candidates)
    18 – Number of days until the Iowa Caucuses
    47 – Number of days until the California Primary (March 3) 

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is a Former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a proud graduate of the Emerge California Women’s Democratic Leadership program, was a San Francisco Commissioner, and has served in leadership positions in multiple nonprofit and community-based organizations.

    Published on January 16, 2020