2020 U.S. Presidential Elections: Reflections Outside the Box

14 Jan

Four Reflections on What Would Help Democrats Defeat Trump



It is time to consider how the Democrats might win back the presidency and gain control of both houses of Congress. With the recent near stumble into a major disruptive war, with high risks of escalation beyond the Middle East, this election may well determine the future of the United States as a constitutional democracy as well as whether regional and global peace, security, and stability will be restored in coming years. It is time to think outside the box, or at least enlarge its contents. The ‘electability’ tactic should not be used  to throw the nomination to a candidate who will demobilize and dilute a part of the anti-Trump consensus or alienate American youth upon whom the future depends. 


Here are a few ideas that seem worth discussing:


  • Can Michelle Obama be persuaded to enter the race for the Democratic Party nomination? She seems to possess the qualities of leadership and the unifying values that are needed at this time, and none of the existing candidates possess to a similar degree. Although holding no prior political position, and never running an organization, she seems to possess the strength of character and access to the best advice that would compensate for this gap in experience. She also has the benefit of being in the White House during the eight years of the Barack Obama presidency.


  • Can Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren be persuaded to merge their candidacies by one dropping out, and swinging support to the other. My preference would be for Warren to withdraw, especially if she doesn’t do well as Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, and endorse Sanders, especially if he does well in Iowa. If she makes such a laudable move, it is hoped that Warren would be promised the top economic policy position in a Sanders presidency.


  • Induce Barack Obama to enter the fray by highlighting the danger of a second Trump term, by pointing to the erosion of democracy by voter suppression of various kinds, and through gerrymandering that deliberately distorts representation in local, state, and federal government. This is not a time for a former president to defer to the decorum of silence. Jimmy Carter has been addressing these issues, but Obama is certain to draw more favorable attention, especially if Michelle Obama remains on the sidelines. George W. Bush could further redeem himself if willing to call upon Republican senators to respect the Constitution rather than their partisan loyalties.


  • Can ways be found to heed the anti-war and anti-nuclear admonitions of Tulsi Gabbard, the only primary candidate, with the partial exception of Sanders, who has addressed meaningfully these issues, and in the process proposing a less militarist image of a future U.S. global role. Gabbard comes with the baggage of some unfortunate past interventions in public debate on controversial policy issues (for instance, Syria, India), and even withheld her vote on Trump’s impeachment in the House. Nevertheless, she had demonstrated intelligence, courage, independence, and a willingness to revise her positions, and deserves a place on the stage, which the MSM and the hard left have effectively denied her. Money and media editorializing should not have the last word if we seek to restore a flourishing democracy. It is worth recalling that she resigned from the Democratic National Committee so that she might support Sanders in the 2016 primary battle.



6 Responses to “2020 U.S. Presidential Elections: Reflections Outside the Box”

  1. mymarkx January 14, 2020 at 2:41 pm #

    The last time the Democrats won the Presidency and controlled both Houses of Congress, all they did was cut social programs and start more wars. I don’t think we need Democrats to do that. Trump can do that for us if that’s what we want. It isn’t what I want, but I’m not looking to Democrats for hope and change because they’re not capable of it.

  2. Frances January 14, 2020 at 6:38 pm #

    If Hillary Clinton had won the last election, WW3 would have started then. Just do some research on how many bombs Obama had dropped and how many civilians killed under his term in office. No matter who you vote for, a politician always gets elected.

    • Richard Falk January 15, 2020 at 7:35 pm #

      I agree, but at least a Hillary Clinton presidency would not have
      been as destructive and reactionary with respect to domestic agenda.
      I voted for her with great reluctance for the reasons that you suggest.

  3. Beau Oolayforos January 14, 2020 at 8:15 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    On the bright side, we are in the fortunate position that ANY of the challengers, Democrat or otherwise, would make a far better US President than “Low IQ” Donald. From there, a main criterion should be electability. Sanders seems to have the inside track, especially with AOC’s endorsement, which is significant not just for herself, but because of her abundant, youthful, progressive following.

  4. commonsensetheologian January 15, 2020 at 11:38 am #

    Are the dems really that smart?

    • Richard Falk January 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm #

      It is not intelligence, it is mostly a matter of anti-progressive self-interest..

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