If politics didn't make up so much of our lives through media sources, talking about our next presidential election would not matter at this point in time. The reality of life as we live it makes politics not only part of our conversation but television has a way of force-feeding it to us, like it or not. We are months away from the thing we might call "serious campaigning," but to those on the road getting their names and faces in front of the potential voters, it can be very serious business. If you are supporting one of the many Democrats who have tossed their hats into the pool of candidates, you probably want them on the front page of a magazine, a nationally recognized newspaper or on the television circuit. In yet another area for most busy Americans, other country's interest in our election is probably still a "ho-hum" situation. However, it is hard to ignore the possibility of actual Russian interest in our political outcome.
It is hard to keep track of how many Democrats are actually involved politically in either running, considering running, or trying to measure their financial support. And, of course some are just gaining as much name recognition as they can early in the media circus. The mix of apparent actual candidates -- those who are official, or have really gone public by announcement -- varies widely in age, political experience and actual potential to be involved in the final four or final half-dozen. The real test of commitment depends on how long their finances last -- and where the National Democratic Party comes into the process. It is one thing to be the darling of the news media and have reporters follow your campaign to write articles detailing how, when and where you campaign. It is yet another to be a serious potential winner. We will be told about the candidate's abilities to debate, their fund raising skills and what they offer their supporters in meaningful campaign strategies. What most of us voters want to know however, is what their administration would do differently if elected. We can be entertained or opt out at this point -- it's still early.
The serious Democratic voter can probably search in earnest for a new hope to rise from the pool of candidates. Someone like a movie star (a la Ronald Reagan), a bright personable minority candidate (Barack Obama) or a self-described really rich unknown in political circles (like Donald Trump). The cast didn't look much like there was one of those when I checked over the week-end.
The number of senators in the group of 17 (or more) included a lot of older familiar names. Former vice president and ex-senator Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker were in the list along with Kamala Harris (CA), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). I probably missed some as well. They might all be talented and make good candidates, but there doesn't seem to be a new charismatic face in the group.
Perhaps the most interesting candidate may not be a household name to many and may not be even a very serious contender. I read an article about him on the Politico website. His name is Robert Francis O'Rourke of El Paso, Texas. His nickname "Beto" seems to be appropriate. It is about as unusual as his background. I didn't find out where it came from and I wasn't sure why he was running for the White House. He had been a member of the U.S. House from Texas for several terms and ran for the U.S. Senate against a well-known Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. He lost to Cruz by a nominal margin -- 2.6%. Not bad for a run against a popular Republican senator in a Red State. He is probably among the most interesting of the Democrats who are trying to separate themselves from the long list of candidates. There are apparently political connections and money in his family and the family of his wife. He sounds more like a candidate suitable for a run for governor than a presidential candidate, however. We'll probably hear more about him in political circles as the campaign progresses.
There are interesting individuals involved in the Democratic space. The list includes a mayor from Indiana (Buttigreg), a governor from Washington state (Inslee) and representatives, former representatives and business persons. One candidate is Latino, one a Hindu and one an openly gay man. So, there are plenty of choices for one to start to follow depending on personal interest, special interest or little interest. Forgive me if I missed someone of specific interest -- I lost track of who is listed as "In."
It could become interesting when we get to the debate phase of the process. Apparently there will be some upper limit to the number of candidates allowed on stage. That might be the first step in culling the field and finding out who is, or is not, a great debater and a charismatic figure on the stage.
Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.Editorial on 05/15/2019
Print Headline: Many throw hats into presidential candidate ring