A few days ago I was in a conversation where a friend asked me who I might support in the 2020 presidential elections. For me, it all depends on how the 2018 midterm elections turns out. If a Blue wave occurs and the Democrats take both houses of Congress, I’d consider Bernie Sanders or someone further to the Left whose ambitious proposals would actually have a chance of passing in a Democratic Congress. If the Republicans hold the line and retain their majorities in Congress in 2018, I’d want a tough political infighter and savvy political strategist who could fight back against attacks by Trump, and out-strategize the Freedom Caucus and Mitch McConnell in the Congress.
When I look at the Democrats that many people think may run, they either seem too inexperienced or too old. My perfect candidate would be someone with at least 10 years of experience and has proven legislative skill to build coalitions, rally public opinion and pass legislation. I’m initially inclined to support progressive Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Brown is not a very charismatic politician, though. And I worry that he’s too nice and may be unable to fight back against the personal attacks that Donald Trump will level against any opponent that he will face.
I like Bernie Sanders. My politics is pretty close to his. He’s a man of integrity and conviction who can inspire the young. The big concern that I’ve always had with Bernie is this: does Sanders have the political skills to get his ambitious proposals through Congress and transform into law? The two presidents who were able to enact ambitious liberal programs, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, were both superb political strategists and tough fighters. Bernie Sanders has been in Congress since the 1990s. When I compare him with other progressive members of Congress in the same period (Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Paul Wellstone, Barbara Lee), Sanders doesn’t have as many major legislative achievements.
My major concern with a Kamala Harris or an Elizabeth Warren is a lack of legislative experience. I don’t know if they can get that experience the way the Republican Party is right now, with the extreme Right wing mentality in the GOP that punishes any Republican politician that tries to compromise and find common ground with their Democratic counterparts.
Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt were able to work with a saner and more diverse Republican Party that had liberal and moderate Republicans that they were able to find common ground with. Today’s Democrats don’t have that luxury. Liberal and moderate Republicans have long since disappeared from the GOP. The Republicans in Congress today can be broken up into moderate conservatives, libertarians, and far right Tea Party conservatives. There just isn’t much common ground anymore between today’s congressional Republicans and even the most conservative Democrats in Congress.
These are my thoughts and concerns. I might be right, I might be wrong. I don’t know yet who I’d support for President in 2020. I’m hoping the Democrats take at least one house, but hopefully both houses of Congress. And I’m hoping saner, less ideological Republicans fight the Far Right and regain some influence within the Republican Party.
FDR introduced a record number of pieces of legislation immediately after being elected during Great Depression. FDR signed the Emergency Banking Act and the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited the merger of commercial and investment banks in response to the 1933 bank panic. FDR also created the Civilian Conservation Corps which put 250,000 unemployed to work. FDR also signed into law new regulatory powers to the Federal Trade Commission and created the Security and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street. $3.3 billion dollars was appropriated to the Public Works Administration to stimulate the economy and create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history — the Tennessee Valley Authority which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. FDR promised to repeal prohibition in his campaign for Pres, and he did, generating new tax revenue to help pay for increase in gov spending. In June 1933 Roosevelt restored $50 million in pension payments, and Congress added another $46 million more. After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration which set up a national relief agency that employed 2 million people. FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act which established for the first time in American history the rights of workers to organize unions and participate in strikes. At the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was down from 20.6% in 1933 to only 12.5%. Total employment during Roosevelt’s term expanded by an astonishing 18.31 million jobs.
A short documentary on Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. The Economic Opportunity Act 1964 created a Job Corps similar to the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps; a domestic peace corps; a system for vocational training; and Head Start, a pre-school program designed to prepare children for success in public school. The bill also funded community action programs and extended loans to small businessmen and farmers. The Great Society created Medicare to provide health care for America’s senior citizens and the Medicaid program to provide health care to the poor. In 1965, Congress passed the groundbreaking Elementary and Secondary Education Act which for the first time provided federal funding for education below the college level passed the Higher Education Act, which created a National Teachers Corps and provided financial assistance to students wishing to attend college. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade job discrimination and the segregation of public accommodations. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 assured minority registration and voting. It suspended use of literacy or other voter-qualification tests that had sometimes served to keep African-Americans off voting lists and provided for federal court lawsuits to stop discriminatory poll taxes. The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 abolished the national-origin quotas in immigration law. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 banned housing discrimination and extended constitutional protections to Native Americans on reservations.