OpEd: May the best Democrat win


Anything they can do Trump can do worser. Trump can do anything worser than them. - With apologies to Irving Berlin.

I participated in a politely conducted disagreement with a co-worker not so long ago (and how's that for a diplomatically rendered opening). It was about Pete Buttigieg's viability as a presidential candidate. Mr. Buttigieg is currently the mayor of South Bend, Ind. and he is evidently regarded with enough affection by the folks there to simply be called Mayor Pete.

Of course the appellation bears an uncomfortable similarity to the one that was bestowed upon Rudy Giuliani after the September 11 attacks. Giuliani stopped short of walking down Fifth Avenue with a bunch of roses while Bert Parks warbled "There He Goes" on the sidelines, but it is pretty safe to say that he milked every bit of political mileage he could get out of the tragedy.

America's Mayor now bugs his eyes and bizarrely licks both sides of his mouth while he's trying to defend Donald Trump on television. It seems as if Giuliani's commitment to cleaning up sleaze was pretty much confined to the Times Square area in Manhattan while he was mayor and now he profits from it as Trump's lawyer in Washington. I suppose it can't be easy making excuses for his client, but Rudy's frothing and ranting makes you wonder why some concerned staff member doesn't put a stick in his mouth and tell him to bite down hard till it passes.

But I digress. The discussion with my co-worker probably had as much to do with age as it does to politics. He is young and I am not. He is convinced that the fact that Pete Buttigieg is gay will not have a significant impact upon his chances to win the presidency. I think it will. If that makes me a cynic at heart, all I can say is that no one lives through eight years of George W. Bush and another three years of Donald Trump and emerges on the other side with their faith in the innate goodness of the human race-much less the American political system--completely intact.

It is one instance when I sincerely wish that I am wrong, but if there is one thing I am sure about as the 2020 election gets closer, it is the fact that the candidate who has the best chance of ridding this nation of Trump and his entourage of groupies, grifters, and his dimwitted progeny is the only criterion we should consider. No grand gestures about paving new trails or breaking down barriers this time around. He or she has to win. Anything else is just frosting.

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Sen. Sanders gets huffy when anyone suggests that his candidacy in the 2016 election effectively diluted Hillary Clinton's prospects and left a man like Trump in the winner's circle. I don't think that is too far-fetched a conclusion. There are very few proposals that Bernie Sanders has supported throughout his long and distinguished political career that I disagreed with. If I thought he was too old to tackle a job as physically demanding as the presidency four years ago, I believe he is much too old to consider another run today, especially taking into account his recent heart problems. I'm aware that our current chief executive is no stranger to advanced age despite his futile attempts to comb it over. But I don't consider watching Fox News, playing golf, and tweeting to be exhausting activities. The most strenuous exercise Donald Trump gets is stretching out his arms on his imaginary persecution cross.

I'm not a huge fan of Joe Biden. There is something about the nice guy persona that irritates me when he is laying it on as if he had seen one too many Jimmy Stewart movies. If there was nothing but the specter of Clarence Thomas haunting Biden's past, I wouldn't hesitate to have serious reservations about his judgment, but there is also the fact, seldom alluded to, that Mr. Biden hails from a state that is to corporate interests what Venice is to people who like lots of water.

The Republican pit bull attacks upon Mr. Biden and his son reminds me of their outrage over Hillary Clinton's emails. It also implies that Biden is the candidate they are really scared of. Hunter Biden received $50,000 a month for serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Both Biden and his son should have had the good sense to recognize a maneuver that obviously had a potential for poisonous repercussions; one they had to know from the outset was only proposed to take advantage of Joe's political power and had nothing to do with Hunter's business acumen.

By Trumpian standards of corruption and incompetence, both Mrs. Clinton's carelessness and Mr. Biden's bad judgment are strictly of the tempest-in-a-teapot variety. Mr. Biden has acquired a reputation of being too demonstrably fond of women in a touchy-feely sort of way. The last time I checked, over 20 women have come forward to accuse Mr. Trump of sexual assault. And it's almost laughable to hear the storied old GOP choir sing laments about nepotism while the three eldest Trump heirs walk around with cash registers strapped to their waists. Ivanka's is color-coordinated, of course.

My choice for the Democratic nomination would be Elizabeth Warren in a heartbeat, but I am not sure that I am not diverting from the one absolutely central prerequisite for the nominee in favor of the person I believe to be most qualified to be president. Ms. Warren exudes an intelligence that intimidates a lot of people. This is especially apparent after three years of listening to a dolt who is incapable of speaking in complete sentences. Why a brilliant mind should be a hindrance to attaining one of the most complex and demanding positions on earth is a mystery to me, but I'm not going to get mired in philosophical quagmires when I consider what is at stake if Trump is allowed to run rampant for another four years.

If Joe Biden is the person GOP strategists are most frightened of, maybe we should start lining up behind him.

Alden Graves writes regularly for the Journal.


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