An Embarrassment Of Riches

As I look at the ever-expanding field of candidates for the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination all I can see is an embarrassment of riches.  Unlike 2016 when our choice was limited to the lesser of two evils, depending on who you considered evil at the time, 2020 presents Democrats with a plethora of interesting candidates.  So much so that it becomes likely that the fight for the nomination will generate a good deal of interest.  One can only hope the interest is accompanied with a good deal of enthusiasm as well.

I must admit that I don't have a favorite in the contest thus far.  At the moment Joe Biden is still on the outside looking in and I think most of my regular readers know the affection with which I hold our former Vice President, so that pretty much opens up the whole field for me.  For most of my political life I have probably been best described as favoring the far left of the Democratic Party, which has put me pretty far out on the political left.  But over the past couple of years the party has drifted further and further to the left.  Now this doesn't bother me all that much.  I'm comfortable with the ideological drift of the party, it's just that I'm not feeling quite so lonely as I had in the past when I was the lone leftist within my circle of political acquaintances.  Nevertheless, the leftward drift of the party IS of some concern for me.  It's not that the party is too liberal for MY point of view but I AM concerned that the party is perhaps going too far to the left for the country.

I have always been aware that my political point of view is not shared by the majority of my fellow Americans.  The idea of having a federal government generous enough to meet the needs of most of its citizens has always appealed to me.  Taking care of the disadvantaged and the poor has been at the top of my priority list as far as what I expect from my government.  But at the same time I well aware that this is not universally accepted.  One of the major questions posed to people like myself who emphasize the idea that my government should be generous to the least of its citizens is, "How are we going to pay for it?".  And thus far there haven't been too many practical answers.

Yes, I know the automatic response to the question from the political left is to tax the hell out of the rich.  And this is fine as far as it goes.  But the fact is that the wealthy among have the resources available to them to avoid taxation no matter how high the tax rates go.  The obvious way around this dilemma, of course, is to devise a tax system with few if any loopholes.  And that sounds mighty inviting to me.  Except that once again, it will be the wealthy who will have a much greater influence on the tax codes than an ordinary Joe such as myself.  As long as our government remains for sale in the form of exorbitant campaign contributions to pliable politicians, this is always going to be true.  So the question is, who among the Democrats will generate enough appeal across a broad spectrum of support to end up being an effective President, one who will do good things for our citizens and yet do it responsibly?  I don't know.

I think everyone knows how I feel about Bernie Sanders.  His ideas may be fine, but I just can't stomach his attitude that he can run for President as a Democrat without actually BEING a Democrat.  Elizabeth Warren seems to have a fine head on her shoulders from a policy standpoint, but I'm not convinced she has the tactical or strategic skills necessary to WIN the Presidency.  Beto O'Rourke is a possibility, but in the end he seems to be Jerry Brown 2.0, just a tad too unconventional for most people's tastes.  That leaves a field of fairly liberal to super progressive  candidates who have yet to distinguish themselves from the rest.

Hopefully, over time, the field will shake itself out in much the same way as a rather large field of Democratic candidates shook itself out in 2008, leaving Barack Obama leading the pack and doing so in such a way that he could be elected President.  In the meantime I will watch and listen to the parade of would-be Presidents, hoping to find one among them who will stand out as a viable alternative to the disaster presently occupying the White House.  I'm afraid I will have to fasten my political seat belt because it's sure to be a bumpy ride.  Hopefully, at the end of the day, the country will experience a smoother landing than the one we had in 2016!

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