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    Tidying Up the 2020 Democratic Field in the Race for President

    By Andrea Shorter–

    I confess: I am a bit mesmerized by Marie Kondo. You know Marie Kondo? The author and YouTube sensation turned Netflix pied piper of tidying up cluttered households in search of sparks of joy? I’ve watched episodes of the streaming series, and it’s oddly addictive. Who knew that watching other people cleaning up their sock drawers could be so satisfying, inspiring and life changing.

    Admittedly, I have yet to read either of her books introducing her trademark lifestyle brand to western civilization, as we so desperately need a guiding hand to help us to organize and graciously part ways with the pileup of soul and space sucking amass of clothing, appliances, toys, computers and so on cramming our humble dwellings and office spaces. Not to worry, though. Her books are on my must-read list before 2020, after I finally finish (throat clear) the pile of must-read books and periodicals from 2017, or maybe 2015. Meanwhile, I still feel sparks of joy (or is that an anxiety attack?) from my carefully curated stack of non-fiction titles and dated (read: vintage) home decor magazines teetering on the far end of my coffee table. It works for me.

    As the 2020 presidential race gets underway, perhaps Ms. Kondo’s methods can help us to declutter and tidy up our choices from what is bound to be a cluttered and clunky field of candidates vying for the top job. There will be a lot of clamor to cut through and sort out, which could be as overwhelming as finally going through those closets, pantries, garages and cubicles perilously spilling over with stuff we don’t really need, use or even love (sad emoji face) anymore. Breaking up can be so hard to do.

    With the Democratic field of at least 20 predicted heavy, middle and bantam weight contenders either exploring or actually having entered the ring, we still have a long way to go before anyone actually claims the primary nomination in July 2020. The lineup so far boasts of a mix of declared and thinking of declaring hopefuls, including U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and now Kamala Harris (yes, that was me you saw in the crowd cheering on my friend Senator Harris at her announcement rally in Oakland), Former Secretary of HUD Julian Castro, and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg—the only openly LGBT person exploring a bid. Right on.

    Bets as of this writing remain heavily hedged on the entries of former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders into the gallery sooner rather than later. Whatever the complex or not-so-complex categories of criteria by which we ultimately determine the best bet of the lot to win back the White House, it is too soon to say who will be just the right amount of left or centrist, will win middle and southern states’ appeal, and reflect new power generation or tried and true. It is therefore too early to predict who we will want to save or send off with a nice “thank you for your service” as we move on to the end game.

    Meanwhile, whoever enters the race, LGBT equality must be a clear, present and definitive part of their platform—otherwise, he or she has no business running for President as a Democrat. How’s that for a first step at tidying up the field and sparking a little joy?

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights and marriage equality. A Co-Founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.