I’ve been struggling for months trying to decide who I will cast my vote for. Frankly, it’s the most important vote, up until now, that I’ll cast in my life. It’s not the toughest decision I’ll make in my life. That happened in 2012. Those of you who sat with me at Thanksgiving to hear the story, the update, know why that decision was so hard. So do some very close friends. This isn’t the hardest decision, but it ranks among the most important.
I don’t want to relive November 2, 2016 again. I posted on Facebook that night that I had never had the polls close with me feeling scared. I did that night. I’ve had them close knowing my candidate would lose. But I had never been scared. Even as much as I detested Reagan and his policies, I never believed he’d undermine our country. I was scared four years ago. And we’ve seen what has happened. I blocked family members on Facebook that night. The nightmare needs to end, it’s time to start healing and to restore dignity.
I’ve been struggling this for a while. First, I was with Elizabeth Warren. Then Joe Biden, very briefly, then with Amy Klobuchar, then confused. In 2016 I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary because his message needed to be heard. I wanted Hillary to be the nominee, I thought, and still think, she’d be the better president, yet Bernie’s message needed to be heard. This time I can’t vote a message, can’t vote a feeling. Like all of us that identify as blue, the stakes are too high. I spent a lot of time confused. Last week I decided. Here is where I am.
Key to the decision was thinking through what kind of country I want to leave from my daughter. She’ll be twenty-two a week after the election and is a junior in college. Do I want a legacy of Trump or of someone who listens? More hate and division? Or a hope of some sort of healing? So here are my thoughts. Since my choice is last, you’ll be able to figure it out by elimination.
First, Mayor Pete, Pete Buttigieg. This is easy, he just dropped out. Still, he wasn’t on my short-list. Pete, go run for the Senate, be a Governor, get some real-world experience to better qualify yourself to be president. Come back in 2024, perhaps 2028 if we have a term-term Democrat as president, and run again. There are a long list of us that will be here for you. I’d be as proud to have you as our first gay president as I was when Obama became our first black president.
Next, Michael Bloomberg. Sorry, no thank you. The Republican who became a Democrat who has a somewhat (very?) racist and sexist history? No. The billionaire trying to buy an election, who seemingly started to slip in the last debate and say that he had “bought” the last election for the candidates he supported? No, no, and no.
Bernie Sanders: too angry. Yes, his message is great. I hope he doesn’t shut up. Frankly, no concerns, he doesn’t know how. But Bernie? You are not what this country needs today. There is already enough anger and division. You’ll only bring more. We need healing, not anger.
Amy Klobuchar? She’d make a great nominee, yet she somehow seems to have lost her way. When I’ve watched her on the debate stage I saw someone that hears scared, working and middle class, white America in a way that no other candidate does. She seems to get why the Trump voters moved to him in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and other states. She speaks in a way that can bring them back, yet unfortunately her voice seems to be lost in the din. Best option? She’ll make a great vice president.
Elizabeth Warren: I love her policies, her attention to detail. If I needed someone to help my daughter understand economics, the impact on people, and more? I’d send her to my senior Senator. Yet for president? She is too much of a policy wonk, stuck in the details person for most of the country to embrace. If (when) a Democrat wins? I don’t think we’ve ever had a woman as Treasury Secretary. She’ll be a great one. Understands economics, our markets, and will add a human face to the process that never has been seen there.
So, yeah, who’s left? Joe Biden. Tuesday I’ll be casting my vote for Joe. Early on I was headed in another direction. He looked lost in the early debates, deer in the headlights lost. But I kept watching and he moved me in a way no politician has in a long time. I watched him at a CNN town hall when he talked to a mother with a son who stutters. I saw the compassion of a man who has also been there. He listened, he cares. And that’s what we need now. I thought about my daughter and a conversation he might have with her. It would likely go something like this:
I talked to your dad last night. He asked me to spend a few minutes with you, said you’ve been struggling a little. But first, I want to ask you about Zaydee. Your dad said he died a while ago when you where pretty young. Do you miss him? I heard one of the things he loved was reading to you. Your dad said he died of a brain tumor. I don’t know if you know this, but my son died of the same thing. So Juliette, let’s talk for a few minutes….
He gets it. He listens and I’ve seen him connect to people in a way that no one else running does.