Why Isn’t the Dem Primary a Contest Between Klobuchar and Warren?

Both are well-qualified candidates in a political party that prides itself on equal rights for women. Why aren’t they front-runners?

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar speaking with attendees at the Clark County Democratic Party’s 2020 Kick Off to Caucus Gala at the Tropicana Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. February 15, 2020. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

Answer: You get a question to which everyone already knows the answer- so no one even bothers to give it.

You get a riddle to which the answer is so obvious, the riddle itself is reduced to a rhetorical question with no need for an answer.

If Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were instead Sen. Andy Klobuchar and Sen. Ernest Warren, there would be no need for moderate Democrats in swing districts to be in a complete uproar over Bernie Sanders.

There would be no need for Democrats to fear losing to Donald Trump- again- in November.

There would be no need for billionaires like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer to have further over-crowded the already over-crowded Democratic field of primary contenders. Both could be meaningfully contributing to the campaign of a well-qualified Democratic woman even now.

Sen. Kamala Harris would have been an excellent choice and her campaign could have used the help of a ruthless pragmatist like Mike Bloomberg or a seasoned rain-maker like Steyer.

If Sen. Andy Klobuchar would have turned in the kinds of debate performances voters have seen from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, he would have blown away any competition from a certain upstart former mayor of a small town in Indiana.

In this thought experiment Sen. Andy Klobuchar would have been a sitting U.S. senator, ‘nuff said. Sitting U.S. senator beats former small town mayor, hands down.

With Pete Buttigieg we get comparisons to Barack Obama; with Sen. Amy Klobuchar we get a great deal of waffle about likability and a re-hashing of the age-old sexist argument that women can’t be funny.

Instead of sitting U.S. senator Amy Klobuchar- articulate, relentless, politically astute, serious, experienced and in the prime of life- the Democratic Party powers-that-be would prefer to allow former Mayor of New York, and former Republican, Mike Bloomberg to buy the nomination out from under her.

Democratic Party leadership, completely ignoring Klobuchar is on the verge of embracing a 78-year old man whose many dubious claims to fame include “Stop and Frisk”, soda bans and a history of sexist, racist and classist remarks. This is to say nothing of Bloomberg’s unfortunate slip of the tongue on Tuesday night during the South Carolina debate when he said he’d “bought” the 2018 mid-term elections for Democrats and actually seemed to expect credit for a moment.

Like that little sound-byte isn’t going to feature prominently in more than a few Republican campaign commercials. At this rate, Republican ad-campaign consultants might be the only ones still enthusiastically watching the Democratic debates.

During that same debate, poor Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to resort to a hopeless retread of her recent bout of attacks against Bloomberg during the last Nevada debate. Twitter seemed to love it; but obviously not enough voters heard her the first time as she was still having to share the stage with a billionaire plutocrat who calls women “horse-faced lesbians” and “fat broads”.

Elected Democrats and those in the media are putting all the focus on Bernie Sanders, even using Sanders as justification for embracing Bloomberg. Yet, if Sen. Ernest Warren had made the point during the last debate that Bernie Sanders has good ideas- like Medicare for All, that the party should happily embrace- but is himself an unnecessarily divisive messenger, would progressive liberals in the party currently endorsing Sanders have listened?

Moderate Democrats already have their answer to Bernie Sanders; they’ve had her all along. As have liberal progressives wondering how to grow the base of support for their platforms.

If Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems increasing perturbed, is it any wonder why?

She is being completely overlooked by the liberal electorate for saying Bernie Sanders told her a woman couldn’t win against Trump. Sanders probably did say that; he obviously thinks it, too, or he would have dropped out and thrown all his support behind Warren after his heart-attack sidelined him last year. She would be in the lead right now.

No one in the Democratic Party seems to think a woman can win.

Even Democrats current third choice is another 77-year old man. In spite of his history of unsuccessful runs at the presidency, Joe Biden is still considered a safer bet than any of the two well-qualified women running against him.

Biden is a deeply flawed candidate, and not just because he is past his political prime and often appears lost at sea during debates. Biden has a corruption problem. And his signature gaffes- while always a political liability- have become so bad Biden frequently embarrasses himself by forgetting what state he is in, and even forgetting for what office he is running.

Worse is Biden’s career-long tendency of plagiarizing other people’s speeches and purloining their life-stories. Biden has often been caught and called-out for outright fibbing about instances in his past. His latest contention- now refuted, debunked and walked-back by Biden campaign spokespeople- that he was arrested in South Africa trying to visit Nelson Mandela being no exception to the embarrassing rule.

Republicans aren’t going to be as kind to Joe Biden as his fellow Democrats are on good old “Uncle Joe”, the “one we know”. They aren’t going to call Biden’s troubling dishonestly tall tales, fibs, flubs, gaffes, or shaky history.

Republicans are going to call Biden’s untruths exactly what they are: Lies. “But Trump lies!” is not good enough. Two liars don’t tell the truth; lies don’t cancel each other out.

Undecided voters, moderates and independents increasingly understand why people don’t like Donald Trump. But watching the Democratic primary unfold, many don’t understand why people think Democrats are any better.

The Democratic Party is treating the women still in the race for president as if they would make excellent Vice Presidents.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is a woman who lost an important election to Donald Trump. That does not mean a woman can’t win; it only means Hillary Clinton couldn’t win.

Yes, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren also happen to be women. But Hillary Clinton has a great deal more in common with Joe Biden than she does with Klobuchar or Warren.

Like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton was a legacy and a deeply flawed political candidate with a corruption and credibility problem. The Democratic Party ran her at a time when it was convinced that a Clinton legacy was a shoo-in for the presidency. Republicans, who collectively put their faith in a Bush legacy in 2016 made the same error.

The Democratic Party, in choosing Clinton over Sanders in 2016 by fair means or foul, thought Clinton the safer bet. What the party failed to take into consideration, what the party is still failing to take into consideration, was just how much the Democratic policies of the previous administrations- including Bill Clinton’s- has hurt the working class.

This same blindness to the baggage of big names like Biden, Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders has given the Democratic Party three front running men no one thinks can win against Donald Trump.

Democratic mega-donors beg party leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chuck Schumer to get behind a moderate candidate soon to stop Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, these same authorities completely ignore both women in the field, including moderate Amy Klobuchar and beg everyone to endorse Biden or Bloomberg before it's too late.

Running a woman isn’t a one-off; it isn’t novel. It isn’t an aberration or a risky endeavor just because Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. Before Clinton, Republicans put a woman on their presidential ticket; Republicans will likely do so again after Trump as there are quite a few female Republican rising stars in the party.

Women already hold nearly every elected office in the land, from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Women are more than just electable; women are inevitable at every level of elected office.

But by ignoring both of the two best candidates still in the race, the Democratic Party is proving itself still populated by people who seem to think that the best man for the job is always a man.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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