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Posts published in “Day: March 9, 2020”

The loaded ballot


I’ve written and/or broadcast opinions under the banner of “SECOND THOUGHTS” for more than 50 years. Damn! Doesn’t seem possible.

One of the major lessons learned over all that time is, occasionally, I’ll write one on a topic that generates a lot of flack. But, even with that well-learned experience, I’m about to do it again.

A few nights ago, a lady who runs one of those D.C. “think tanks” was opining on CNN about our current presidential primaries. She did fine for awhile. Then she said this: “The Democrat Party has some work to do. Its candidates are down to two men,” she said. “Democrats must put up more women. We need more women candidates. Democrats have done a terrible job.”

It took a few seconds for those words to sink in before I hollered at the TV, “You’ve got to be kidding!” She may run a “think tank” but there was more “thunk” than “think” in those words.

At our house two weeks ago, we cast our ballots for a woman running in that presidential primary. A thoughtful, smart, experienced, highly qualified woman. WOMAN!

I’ve never seen a political party open the tent flaps so wide as they’ve been in this contest. W-i-d-e! “Come on down,” seemed to be the Democrats new motto. At one time, 25 folks were scampering around the country looking for dollars and votes. A few shouldn’t have made the effort but nobody said “No.”

Let’s take a look at just three women running under the donkey banner.

Amy Klobuchar. Senator Klobuchar. In the U.S. Senate for eight years. Experienced. Former prosecuting attorney for Hennepin County in Minnesota. The state’s largest. She gave the run all she had and seemed well-prepared. Experienced.

Kamala Harris. Senator Harris. Woman of color. Former District Attorney for San Francisco. Good record on prosecutions. Tough questioner on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Good debater. Organized. Experienced.

Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren. Doctor Warren of Harvard. Law school professor specializing in bankruptcy law. Smart. Good debater. Offered many sound ideas for improving the country. In the Senate for seven years. Experienced.

What the Hell was that “think” tank woman talking about? The Democrat Party has done “a terrible job” of fielding women candidates? What hole-in-the-ground has she been living in?

Look across the aisle, Madam. What women do you see there? How many? Qualified? Experienced? Breathing? Name one!

No, the Democrat Party’s “open tent flap” acceptance of any and all candidates this year was good thinking. Let ‘em all in, give it their best shot and let the voters figure it out.

And that’s what’s happened. Now, our candidate didn’t make the finals and we’re not too happy with the two that did. But, given the damnable alternative, I’d vote for Bugs Bunny if that was the choice.

No, I can’t blame the Democrat Party when it comes to women running for office. There was no lack of qualified women. The three described above were certainly qualified, experienced and worthy of the race.

It’s not the Party’s fault they didn’t make it to the finish. That “blame” - if “blame” there be - rests with voters. Democrat voters in all the states where there were contests. The candidates offered were “qualified, experienced and worthy.” But, it was voters who made the final choice. Not the people running the Party.

And this. Exit poll after exit poll showed many, many people filling out ballots were looking for just one thing: someone to beat Trump. I think many swallowed hard, turned their backs on their favorites and voted for someone who appeared to them to be a Trump-beater.

Did sexism play a role? Yes, probably. But, not, I believe, enough to be a direct determinant of the outcome. The decision rested entirely with voters.

November’s election is not your normal election. Not like any I’ve voted in before in 60 years of going to the polls. The big issue this time - the BIG ISSUE - is what kind of country we want and, I hope that means for most of us, a country not presided over by one Donald James Trump.

The issue is cleaning the wreckage out of the White House and surrounding environs. The issue is restoring confidence and faith in our country and our institutions. The issue is showing our offspring that racism, hate, ignoring the needs of citizens, serial lying and self-profiteering are not acceptable.

Actually, the far right said it many years ago. “Take back our country!”

I’d hope the Board of Directors of that “think” tank would authorize a six-month sabbatical for their CEO. Get her out of Washington and into the “hinterlands.” Give her time to see the “real world” and to listen to a number of us who aren’t living along the Potomac.

This is a really important election ahead. Maybe the most important since 1776. The fate of this nation - as we’ve known it - is on that ballot. Our future - as we expect it - is on that ballot. The world we want for our kids and grandkids and their kids is on that ballot.