America’s best shot at decency could be the mayor of South Bend
The 2020 race has already divided the Democratic Party. One lane panders toward the urgent need to defeat Donald Trump, even if it means moving toward a center-left platform. The other seems to be moving to the far left, subscribing to the Green New Deal, universal income and Medicare for all.
Personally, I feel as though the party's main priority is to defeat Trump. It is a matter of urgency, as I cannot fathom the possibility of the United States coming out of the plagues of Trumpism by keeping the stem of it in the Oval Office for another four years. The racism, white nationalism, xenophobia and homophobia will not simmer down if we have a president with those attributes. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) will not be solved, health care will continue to be stripped and God forbid there is another Supreme Court Justice appointed. The time to defeat Trump is now, and the party must do whatever it takes.
I would love to see a world in which a woman is president. Is the country ready for it? I have my doubts. I also consider myself a relatively centrist Democrat. One could say I am far to the left on social issues, gun control and climate change. I would never deny a woman's right to her own body and am for equality for all no matter their gender identity, race religion or sexual orientation. I don't think guns have any place in our streets and would support a ban on all semi-automatic weapons. Ideally, I would like to look at repealing the Second Amendment with the exception of extenuating circumstances. I believe climate change is the biggest threat to our nation and would support something like the Green New Deal, with limitations. I would also support Medicare for all, and I believe that health care is a human right. However, I can't get behind universal basic income. Unless somebody is physically or mentally unable to work, I don't believe that my tax dollars should pay for those who refuse to do so, and I think it is unrealistic for the Green New Deal to stop all carbon emissions.
I also grew up in a highly conservative town. There, I learned that not all Republicans are bad people and that it is possible to disagree with someone without assaulting their character. Joe Biden was severely criticized a few weeks ago for calling Mike Pence a “decent guy.” Let me be clear, I don't think Pence is a decent guy. He is a step behind the president's every move, a president who has little to no moral character. However, Biden quipped that the Democratic Party's problem with him is that he “likes Republicans.” I couldn't agree more. The problem with the left is we vilify those we disagree with and then expect to win elections.
Growing up in conservative America, I understand that voters are not going to get behind universal basic income, the Green New Deal or even Medicare for all. Kirsten Gillibrand’s compassion, Cory Booker's inspirational speeches on goodness and faith or even Bernie Sanders’ direct and quick rhetoric will not be enough swing key voters. Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania need to belong to the Democratic Party.
Biden has always been seen as a decent human being, liked by both Democrats and Republicans. He has continued to serve his country with pride after tragedy struck him, first by losing his wife, Neilia, and daughter, Naomi, in a brutal car accident, and then by losing his son, Beau, of brain cancer in 2015. This has made him highly relatable to people despite his imperfect record, especially regarding the Anita Hill hearing. He is a centrist, and has a history of bipartisanship, often citing his deep friendship with the late Sen. John McCain. Yet, one could hardly deny that Biden's age could be an issue, as he will be 78 on inauguration day in 2021 and 86 years old in 2028.
The good news is, I think the party has the Biden that we need – without the record and the age. Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He's a war veteran, often touting his military experience as a qualifying factor for his candidacy. What do swing Midwestern voters love? Patriotism. He supports Medicare for “all those who want it.” This can appeal to the progressive wing of the party, but also assure those who are skeptical of what has become such a bold gold platform it is the right way to go. His theory is to allow the public sector as a health care option while still allowing private insurance companies to flourish. He reasons that people will eventually realize the benefits of the public health sector, which will allow universal health care to be achieved as an end goal. He often speaks to the Midwestern voters and apologizes for the Democratic Party having let them down. He is an incredible voice for structural reform, often talking about our need to reform the Electoral College, deep-water size the Supreme Court by making it a 15 bench seat (five conservatives, five liberals and five voted in unanimously by the other justices). He has an ability to bring politics back to decency, pledging to write a positive campaign and avoiding personal attacks. In 2016, Barack Obama sighted him as a rising star in the Democratic Party. The first openly gay presidential candidate, he has room to make Progressive change. He cites that his generation was the one that grew up with school shootings and is the first generation on track to make less than our parents. He is a different candidate; it is not often one goes from being a mayor to the oval office. However, he is light years behind the experience of Trump, and a different candidate could be what the party needs to appeal to voters that are tired of the same faces in Washington. With Buttigieg’s Twitter followers and press coverage growing significantly by the day, his once longshot status is improving, which may be the only sign of hindrance to Trump’s reelection.