The Democratic Presidential Primary: Viewing The ABC Debate

by @MichaelACanty

L-R Top-Bottom: B. Sanders,K. Harris,A. Yang, C. Booker, E .Warren, J. Biden, P. Buttigieg, B.O’Rourke

This discussion serves as an update to my original article; “The Democratic Presidential Primary In Four Categories” published prior to the CNN debates September 21st and 22nd. Since then there has been a reduction in the number of candidates that qualify for the second round of debates resulting in 10 candidates preparing to take the stage in Houston. The reduction offers observers a chance to key in on whether their choice still fits the bill or if any other candidate has made adjustments to increase their appeal.

Since the first debate the media has made its mark on shaping the narrative as a horse race focusing solely on polls and the comments their co-workers and friends in the political class make behind the scenes. Sadly their views do not reflect the mood of average Americans. To my dismay,we have not heard from any of the campaign embeds on how the ground games of any of the candidates, nor have we heard from local voters as they meet and listen to the candidates in Iowa or New Hampshire. Insiders have determined that the leader is former VP Biden who is the only candidate that is electable though his gaffes are explained away by anchors and pundits alike.

Candidates That Have Dropped Out

Candidates choosing to drop out of the 2020 primary race include Senator Gillibrand, Representatives Swallwell and Moulton (who both entered the race after the first article), Govs. John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee,

Remaining Candidates Missing Debate Stage

There have been no announcements and a few complaints critical of the long established and often communicated DNC rules to meet the next debates from Marianne Williamson, Sen. Bennett, Gov. Bullock, John Delaney, Reps.Tulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak and mega-millionaire Tom Steyer. Ryan took a shot at Biden’s capacity commenting on his “forgetfulness”. The press said his comments were in poor taste diminishing the opportunity for examination and debate. Occasionally journalists bring up the lack of enthusiastic support of the Biden campaign among Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina voters. In my opinion it’s time to meet the requirements to debate or get out of the way. For many voters, it has been quite frustrating with so many candidates to choose from that do not want to play on the established playing field. Many have stated they’re waiting for the herd to thin out.

Thursday’s Debate

We will all view the debate results from the, “Who speaks to my concerns” and “Who can beat #45?” perspective. Recent polling show may of the top tier candidates are also second choices once their first choice is selected,. Polling data says the top tier (Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Sanders and Biden) are really holding the most votes. Today I offer you a way to look at the candidates in not just in the eyes of your own values but from the perspective of the collective eyes of the groups that make up the Democratic base, it’s collective message and a sense of hope.

  1. Who Has Plans ‘For ‘Democratic Voters?

Elizabeth Warren clearly has the edge of all the candidates in this area as she has become the woman who, “Has a plan for that”. She can tell you how her plans will be paid for and who they benefit. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have offered specifics in a variety of areas (Bernie will say he was first) with some detail of how their plans will be paid for and implemented.

2. Who Is The Candidate Most Republicans Say They Like?

Joe Biden wins this one consistently. If there is any reason Democrats should be wary about this issue, it is the present GOP has expressed a need for bipartisanship and continuously choose Biden. The evidence shows it is only talk to satisfy media narratives if you look at their actions (i.e. votes), there has consistently been a way to say they’re for an issue yet when it is time to vote, they always fall in line with party members. In this case the friend of your enemy (yes enemy) is your enemy. I also believe underneath the, “Joe is reasonable and not a Socialist” is the truth that Biden has never won more than 1% of the primary vote in his last two runs and will be easy to beat in the general election. Why? He makes #45 look like his mischievous cousin softening his worst characteristics. People not invested in detail will easily say they both make gaffes, are old white men representing the status quo, are both called racists and have similar policies that reinforce systemic racism. GOP voters have revealed they see the Presidency as a binary choice and prefer Conservative judges so nothing about Joe is so severely different they would be inspired to make a change.

3. Who Really Cares About The Issues of Marginalized Groups?

This is the issue that currently divides the Democratic Party (and black voters) most. Black voters of a certain age are polling for Biden by a wide margin while young voters tired of seeing viral videos of racial aggression and the continuation of police misconduct want a candidate that is open about the impact of systemic racism and has a willingness to address it in their policies. Warren, Sanders and Harris have consistently risked public criticism to speak on issues important to black voters. Buttigieg talks freely yet discusses a plan he could’ve implemented in his own city. In a climate where some have become disgusted, even despondent witnessing America’s cautious sometimes frigid response to aggressive and overt racism, the 2020 Democratic candidate must be clear in their opposition to any form of racism.. All the candidates will say racism is a priority while unable to show past actions backing their words. This is the issue that will determine who wins the general election. If Democrats do not attract infrequent, young and new voters of color like the 1.3 million former Florida prison inmates, we will see another 2016. Sen. Harris unveiled a specific plan for voters with disabilities and a criminal justice plan undoing Biden’s 1994 crime bill blamed for the high black prison population over the last 20 years. Some say LGBTQ voters own the party but recent reports show Sen. Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have their attention. Unfortunately this is not reflected in polling among black voters. That said, if a person of color does not win the Democratic nomination, expect to see a black woman VP. Black women are the most consistent and reliable voting block in the party and that will not change in 2020. Some believe a whisper campaign of a Biden/Stacey Abrams ticket is the reason support among middle age voters is so high. We will see what gets revealed.

4. Who Looks Most Like Where The Democratic Party Is Going?

Senator Harris rings the bell as the post-Obama era candidate. Black, female, experienced in government yet not too conservative, not too progressive. She is also measured in her responses (at times too cautious) appearing to be thoughtful in her approaches. There is this constant unexplained dislike from some black voters implying she is not trustworthy. Too often it is not backed with specific details just generalizations. “She locked up her own people” and, “She kept black people in jail when she could’ve released them” are the most common statements. When asked for data, the conversation slows if not halts. This week she apologized for laughing at someone else calling #45 a “retard”. Although it was not a great moment it seems to be all the media has on her and they went full force on it. As it it’s just enough to “not like” someone of color without any factual reason. Sadly for black women in American society, it is enough to discount them without reason. It is hard to hear when it comes from people in the same or other marginalized groups . President Obama experienced something similar in 2007 until he won the Iowa primary. This gave South Carolinian (the home of the most Conservative black voters) voters proof a black person could win a primary/caucus resulting in a win down south. Black voters would do well to take the lead in the face of overt racism and the need for extreme political change to avoid the safe candidate. Waiting to see may result in an Al Gore, John Kerry or Michael Dukakis run. In this case, playing it safe translates to maintaining status quo resulting in a smaller voting base and (in my opinion) a #45 win.

Consider Your Fellow Primary Voters

Ultimately we listen to debates through our own concerns and judgments. I invite you to open up to the needs of your fellow voters that may not normally be your first concerns. In addition a politician’s ground game is a way to interpret leadership potential. Ultimately nothing matters until the first voting caucus in Iowa February 3, 2020.

@michaelacanty is a Social, Political and Entertainment Commentator, Human Development and Leadership Consultant, creator of weRwideopen an initiative established to openly discuss issues of race and equality and blogs, “Movies, Music, TVPlus”, “Politics Is Not a Bad Word”, and author of the upcoming book, “Today On This Day: Meditations To Live and Love By”

Race, Culture, Leadership & Passion Coach, Creator of weRwideopen, Politics Is Not A Bad Word, MoviesMusicTV & TodayOnThisDay: Meditations To Live and Love By