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Purity Tests Could Destroy The 2020 Democratic Nominee For President

I’m seeing a disturbing pattern in the nascent presidential campaign. Every time a new candidate announces or nears an announcement, that person is blasted by some of their fellow Democrats. When that happens, the mainstream media and the GOP piles on.

When Elizabeth Warren announced, she was trashed for her past paperwork regarding her Native American ancestry. Quite frankly, I didn’t follow it because I assumed it was just more Republican racism.

When Beto O’Rourke announced, he was attacked for joking around that he didn’t spend enough time with his wife and kids. Most politicians are away from home a lot. If Beto’s wife approved his presidential run, that’s good enough for me.

When Amy Klobuchar threw her hat in the ring, she was hit by anonymous allegations that she was mean to her staff. No former staffer ever went public.

Kamala Harris has been trashed over her past record as a prosecutor. My approach is to judge a candidate by his/her entire body of work. Overall, Harris has an admirable record of public service.

Kirsten Gillibrand has been criticized for representing the tobacco companies as a lawyer, her past support for the N.R.A. and for chasing Al Franken out of the Senate. Even though I have some doubts about her judgment based upon that past, I would support Gillibrand if she were the nominee.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is being attacked for alleged inappropriate contact with women. All of these contacts occurred in public places and there have been no allegations of actual sexual harassment or assault. Two of his alleged “victims” said they had no problem with Biden. At the same time, my right wing friends have gleefully fanned the flames of these allegations.

I suspect that Bernie Sanders’ time in the barrel will come. Bernie won’t be able to pass any purity tests. He voted for the 1994 crime bill and voted in 2005 to immunize the NRA and the gun manufacturers from civil lawsuits for damages. In 1972, Sanders wrote an essay in a now defunct alternative newspaper in which a woman fantasized about being raped by three men.

Could any of our past great presidents have passed these purity tests? Franklin Roosevelt interned the Japanese Americans during World War II. Truman ordered nuclear attacks on two Japanese cities. John F. Kennedy was a serial womanizer. Lyndon Johnson opposed civil rights early in his political career and got sucked into the Vietnam quagmire. Jimmy Carter declined to push for universal health coverage. Unfounded allegations of sexual assault were leveled at Bill Clinton by his political enemies. In budget negotiations with the GOP in 2011, Barack Obama offered up Medicare cuts.

I’m concerned that we’re eating our own and doing the Republicans’ work for them. The GOP noise machine is powerful — we shouldn’t help them. Moreover, the “liberal” mainstream media is gullible and easily manipulated by the GOP.

The 2016 election cycle is a clear demonstration of the ruthlessness and power of the GOP noise machine. When Hillary Clinton announced for president in June 2015, she had a 65% approval rating. By election day 2016, Clinton’s approval rating had been reduced to 47% by GOP attacks, the mainstream media’s unfair coverage and disaffected Democrats.

In my opinion, it’s not fair to compare our eventual nominee to a hypothetical ideal that doesn’t exist. We’re not running against Lincoln or Eisenhower next year — we’re running against Donald Trump. Every one of our candidates is much, much better than Trump. Elections are a comparative exercise and our candidates stack up well against the former TV reality star.

Trump is vulnerable. His approval ratings are in the low 40s and he is an historically unpopular president. Let’s not blow a very winnable election. A second Trump term would be disastrous for the country. Every progressive value we hold dear would be destroyed.

Even though Trump will probably be a slight underdog in 2020, we will have to be united to win. I don’t think the Republicans can beat us — we can only beat ourselves.

In past elections cycles when we were united, we won big. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama easily defeated their Republican opponents. In contrast, when we were divided, like we were in 2000, we ended up with eight years of George W. Bush. Similarly, Democratic divisions allowed Trump to win his controversial “victory” in the electoral college in 2016.

This is a national emergency. Trump must be defeated. I plan to support the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. Period. Full stop. The end. I would urge you to do the same.

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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