Tag Archives: Candidates

205. How Candidates Really Get Elected

28 Feb

Commentators and reporters often make demands of candidates that only serve purposes such as dramatizing and attracting attention. At the same time, I am generally pleased by the way our traditional press and reporters operate. Some self interest is always present, so it is mostly up to the candidates themselves, to stay out of trouble. There are two types of potentially troublesome demands: urging attacks on fellow candidates, and the other is to provide detailed plans. 

Attacks and competition can lower the likely success of all candidates in a party. Providing a lot of details, sometimes is OK, but every detail can cause rejection by a certain segment of the population. For example, I would suggest that those in favor of Medicare-for-all should say something like this: “our general goals are to provide complete low cost and even zero cost, to all citizens. I (the candidate) will work hard towards this goal. And any such legislation brought to me that has the support of Congress and the people, I will sign into law. Healthcare is so complicated and with so many opposing interests, no one person can make final decisions. I will encourage the appropriate Congressional and citizen committees. And of course,  every plan developed will require OMB estimates of cost. A good immediate plan could simply be improvements to ObamaCare, while more comprehensive new plans are gradually implemented.

Traits for a successful candidate. 

The candidate must be likable. Sounds superficial, but very important for votes. This trait answers my title question: “How candidates really get elected.” This factor probably is most important, but some other traits below could be significant.

The candidate must emphasize key issues for voters, like wages, health care, and jobs.

The candidate must have a substantial history of worthy causes and patriotism.

The candidate should be free of scandals and dishonesty. Sometimes this does not matter much. If folks really like you, then these are less important.

The candidate must look and act “presidential.” This means reasonably good looks, and a mostly serious demeanor with only a few humorous exceptions. Sad to say,  superficial features are very important, particularly to less well educated people.

The candidate must answer questions well and have a pleasant voice.

The candidate must demonstrate that he/she has good judgement. This can be demonstrated by how he/she organizes and runs his/her campaign. All his interactions with people should be appropriate.

            A Good Candidate is Not Necessarily a Good President

The characteristics of a good “candidate” are not necessarily the same as a good president. A really good president would have very good analytic abilities. He would be able to understand and deal with very complicated issues. He should have working experience with this type of thinking.  A candidate could do well, even without this ability.

My assessment of the candidates.

When I study the current list of Democrat candidates for president, it appears to me that every major candidate has a significant flaw. First, I want to say that most are very decent people and all would be a great improvement over Trump. Here are the details.

Age is significant. Three contenders if elected, will reach age 80 in their first term in office. Bernie Sanders is the oldest and also the most radical. He has to lose some votes for these two reasons. In his first primary, I voted for him and I respect him a lot, but he is not as sharp as he was previously. Like POTUS, he has a very dedicated following. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg has some serious political problems, but could be a good president. He should be welcomed and respected because he promises a lot of financial support to whoever emerges. He has a lot of relevant experience and can deal with tough problems. Joe Biden (former vice-president) has a lot of support from black people and unequaled amounts of experience. He is likable in many ways and would make a good president. But he has always made “gaffs” and he tends to be even more inconsistent at his current age. I have personal experience with old age and realize the memory, mental capacity, and strength limitations. Ten years ago, all three could have done well in debating Trump.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is very capable and was my favorite for many years. But I and others were disappointed by her nasty attacks of other Democrat candidates. These attacks could be overlooked, but lately she has not pleased the voters enough. She also developed a health care plan that was very expensive — definitely a victim of too much detail in her plans. Also, she is losing some votes to Sanders.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is highly intelligent, strong, speaks well, and is very young. I think he has the ability to be a great president and could defeat Trump in debates. In my eyes, he has no flaws, but he will lose the redneck votes because of his love preferences. This is a shame because he is a great person.

The other candidates are good people, but so far, at least, have not gotten enough votes. Senator Amy Klobuchar is really outstanding and has the ability to be a great president. Also, she has a good record of electability. Billionaire Tom Steyer has a good recent record of the right values, but so far, not enough votes. I don’t know of any “flaws,” but for one thing, there is a lack of name recognition. There is a small possibility that he could emerge because others have serious flaws. Governor Jay Inslee dropped out, but I viewed him very favorably.

For me, the best choice is not so clear. One problem is that a candidate could do well with Democrat voters, but not so well with the general population (an example is Bernie Sanders). For people like me, it is best to wait and see who is most supported by the voters, before my actual decision.

 

 

198. The Democratic Presidential Candidates

1 Jan

CandidatesDebatePic3Here are my thoughts about the Democrat candidates for President. I have included all those doing well in the polls and a few others that I think are notable.   The ages shown are as of Election day 2020.  Source for the ages and titles is: Jim Geraghty, National Rev, Feb 1, 2019.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 79, I have always liked Bernie, he is a proven patriot and established progressive. Would make a good president, but is really too old for the stresses. For most of his first term, he would be in his 80′s.  After 80 there can be serious losses of memory and other mental capacity.

Former NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg, 78, a decent and experienced man, but not likely to get enough votes.

Former Vice Pres. Joe Biden, 77. I have always respected Biden, but never thought he had the speaking ability to be a great president. He would not be my first choice, for one thing, he is too old to be optimal. However, if nominated or the best choice for beating Trump, I would certainly support him. He could gather a set of top experts that would help him to do well in office.

Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren, 71. I have followed her career for a long time and know her to be patriotic and a supporter of the people. She really could drain the swamp, which is much worse than most know. I like “Medicare for all,” but she may have pushed this too hard. If elected, she might be able to do more for the middle class, and for our country, than any of the others.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, 69 I was disappointed when he dropped out early. He pushed climate-change programs long before it was so popular. He appears to be a very competent governor and so far, has no negatives. My studies of his record as governor would suggest a good choice.

Democrat Activist Tom Steyer, 63, has $1.6 billion. Around 2011 he started an interest in politics and liberal causes. He launched a group “NextGen America.”  He is a Democrat, and supports progressive positions: climate, immigration, healthcare, and education. Mostly, he was an investor, but for the last eight years, has worked hard for the people. I know of no negatives and he could be a good choice.

Minn. Senator Amy Klobuchar, 60. This lady has a great record of winning elections and speaks exceptionally well. I am impressed by her intelligence and ability to answer difficult questions.  She could be the best President if elected, but may not be the best candidate. I think that some people would say that she does not have a presidential charisma, on-the-other-hand, she wins elections. I would be happy with her election.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, 59, is not likely to be nominated, as of today.

California Senator Kamala Harris, 56, is younger and strong. I think she lost some support because sometimes she did not express herself well. Could be very good in 2024.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, 55. Not well known, but could emerge.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, 51. He is strong and has good ideas, but does not seem likely to get enough votes.

Entrepreneur   Andrew Yang, 45has proposed a number of unusual far left plans, such as a “Universal Basic Income” of $1000 per month. He is intelligent and answers questions well, but probably too radical for many voters.

Cal. Congressman Eric Swalwell, 40, dropped out early. He is comparatively young, but has considerable strength, speaking ability and charisma. Could be a choice for Veep, or may be great for the 2024 election. He could develop into a top leader.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 38, makes a great impression because of his high intelligence and great speaking ability. He seems to have a good understanding of the main governmental issues. Could be a great president if elected. For some, however, may not have enough presidential charisma. An asset is his good record in the military. If nominated, I suspect he could do well in debating Trump.

So, who do I think is the best candidate? For a while, it was Eliz Warren. Now what I see is that each of the top contenders has certain compelling elements, and for me it is hard to pick out one. I think I will have to go with whoever gets the most votes in the primaries. Most important, as many others think, is beating Trump.

 

145. How to Evaluate Democrat Candidates

13 Feb

With so many Democrats running for the presidency, it is important to develop a good system, which leads to your actual vote.

I want to start by saying that the details of specific proposals should not be a major factor in your choice. We must look at more general statements of goals and ignore the details because after the election, the hard work of developing detailed plans will begin. After the election all the specific plans will be over-ridden by various research findings, hearings, and committee work. (Please see my blog no. 133 for more info.)

Here are the factors that I think are most relevant, starting with most important.

First, the candidate should have a long history of promoting Democrat values, such as supporting the non-rich, fighting climate change, higher taxes for the very rich, support for allies and NATO, sincere concern for election integrity, and willing to govern with maximum possible transparency.

Second, the candidate must be physically healthy and strong. An ideal age is 50 to 65 to ensure these qualities, which should last for eight years. There could be an exception for people that are a little older than 65, but are in great health.

Third, the candidate should have traits that people like and will generate votes. A long history of winning elections should be considered. Any significant negative could play a role, but we must be careful to accurately judge the effects of a negative factor.

Fourth, although a Dem. President will have really good consultants and staff, to do a really great job the chosen President must be highly intelligent, adaptive, open to various opinions, and respectful of traditional gov workers.

I think that any candidate that scores highly on all four factors would do a great job for our country. I could mention one more often discussed idea, which is to select a person that is most likely to beat Trump, regardless of other factors. Well, there is some merit to this. Imagine how we will feel, if we chose a fantastic candidate, and then Trump wins another term !!  Unfortunately, we can only speculate about how to deal with this concern.

 

 

134. My View of 2020 Gov

12 Jan

Please see my previous blog for a list of the most popular Democrat presidential candidates. I rated Elizabeth Warren as my top choice for President. Since I wrote blog #133, I still rate her tops, but feel more positive about Kamala Harris. Warren has a unique combination of strength, inspirational leadership, intelligence, and social skills. I think she would be able to gather the best consultants and utilize their knowledge.      Kamala is also impressive in these factors and maybe her time will be 2024.  Here is a possible view of a 2020 gov:

President: Eliz Warren,   Vice Presidentt: Eric Swalwell.  I think a female-male combination would be a good balance.  Eric has great voter appeal and appears capable.

Kamala Harris should have a prominent position, perhaps Sec of State, or chief of staff.

Top cabinet positions could be filed with Beto, Joe Kennedy, and other capable young candidates, where they could be effective. In many cases, such positions should be filled by outstanding professors, gov agency officials, and other well-established experts in special fields. Any position where science is important, should be filled with appropriate scientists (or similar), not political allies.

I would expect that Elizabeth would have regular consultations with Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry.  Al Gore and Jay Inslee could help with climate-change issues. Imagine a president that consults with really good people. Under Obama, this was the rule.

Traditional government agencies should be immediately restored with the best personnel. Hopefully, there could be many judicial appointments with progressive orientations. I assume that Pres. Warren would rely heavily on experts in foreign policy, military matters, environmental factors, scientific and health applications/research, correcting income inequality, taxation, infrastructure improvement, education, and many other areas. It is exciting to anticipate this governmental revision.  Many other good configurations are possible, and I look forward to a Democrat victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

133. The Age of Candidates

3 Jan

Below is a list of 2020 Presidential Democrat Candidates with their age and highest office.  I am older than all of these candidates so I know how important age is in being able to function in this demanding environment. The older candidates may have diminished memory and intellectual functioning.  (Trump likely suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which could account for his bizarre behavior.)

My list below includes all those with at least some national name recognition. All things considered, Elizabeth Warren, at this time, appears to be the best candidate. Several people listed immediately below her name could be her running mate,  and future presidential candidates.

Eliz. Warren’s age of 69 is marginal, but she likely could have four good years, and is a top choice, for sincerity and standing up to Trump. She is powerful and an excellent speaker. She has been known for solid ideals and would support the middle class, which the Repubs have ignored. She really would drain Trump’s swamp.  It’s also possible that any of the few at the top of the list could emerge in a year as the ultimate candidate.

I think Eric Swalwell  at 37 is very promising. Great charisma and looks presidential. But right now, a little too young for the top spot, but could be veep. In a few years, Joe Kennedy could gain popularity, but right now is not a great orator. I just added Jay Inslee because he is devoted to environmental and climate factors, seems well-organized, and is a good speaker. Beto O’Rourke might be a good running mate for E. Warren. I have just added (on Jan. 29) Senator Sherrod Brown to my list of good candidates. He has many years of elected public service, looks presidential, and has an appealing sensible manor.

Elizabeth Warren 69 Powerful inspirational, intelligent, now best choice

Beto O’Rourke 46 Rep. Very popular, but lacks experience

Kamala Harris 54 Senator, aggressive outspoken, maybe 2024 election

Eric Swalwell 37 Rep. Very charismatic, looks presidential speaks well

Jay Inslee 67 Gov. Washington St. Emphasizes Climate Change

Tom Steyer 61 wealthy, impeach advocate

Cory Booker 49 Senator aggressive, good speaker

Sherrod Brown 66 Senator, held political offices since 1974

Kirsten Gillibrand 51 too radical a feminist for my taste

Tim Kaine 60 Senator, OK, but not exciting

Amy Klobuchar 58 Senator, Centrist, likeable not powerful

Joe Kennedy 38 Rep. Not a great speaker, has the Name, future?

Andrew Cuomo 60 Gov NY

Terry McAuliffe 61 Gov Va, DNC chair Bill & Hillary supporter

***** Great people, but too old or otherwise past their time:

Bernie Sanders 77 Great ideals, very popular, but now too old

Michael Bloomberg 76 Mayor NY alternated parties

Joe Biden 75 ex Veep Well known and very likeable.

John Kerry 74 presidential nominee

Hillary Clinton 71 won pop. vote, would have been great pres.