President’s Day

Even though Americans have been drowned with political argument for more years than anyone likes, President’s Day seems like the time to begin preparing for the next election–at least for me, because I know I need to do it differently. I was taken by surprise in 2016 by the number of primary candidates and how poorly I did on getting to know who thy were and what they believed before my early vote-by-mail. It was so much easier to say, “Let it all sort itself out,” and just focus on the actual Presidential contest, but in retrospect, I don’t think that was a good strategy for someone who takes their vote seriously.

There were 17 Republican candidates in the last primary. The large number of candidates, representing varying and conflicting positions within the Republican party made it hard to grasp and left many, including me, surprised at the outcome. Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Chapman has written, “Two candidates are better than one, and five may be better than two. But 10 or 20 are a traffic jam. All those minor candidates won’t win, but they will make it harder for voters to sort through others to find the right one.”

In 2020, the shoe will be on the other foot with a Republican incumbent and many Democratic would be candidates. Now, at President’s day 2019, about a year ahead of the Februrary 3, 2020 Iowa caucus that opens primary season, the first wave of Democratic candidates for nominees is emerging .

I am not interested in your party affiliation and have no desire to persuade you who to vote for or against. Instead I am interesting in doing and sharing my voter “due diligence” to find out who these people are and what they represent. Please join me on my voyage of discovery, perhaps requesting or contributing information you would like to see added to each profile, giving us an alternative platform to the talking heads and bickering voices outshooting each other on the TV.

So let’s start with a brief overview of the five U.S. senators who have officially declared themselves candidate so far: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Cory Booker, born April 1969, is the Jr. Senator (D) from New Jersey. He graduated from Stanford and took a law degree from Yale. He became a staff attorney and then was Mayor of Newark for six years before becoming senator. He is the author of a book entitled United:Thoughts on Finding Common Ground.

Kamala Harris, born October 1964, is the Jr. Senator (D) from California. A graduate of Howard University with a law degree from University of California, she has been a prosecutor and Attorney General of the state of California. She is the author of a book, The Truths We Hold.

Amy Klobuchar, born May 1960, is the Sr. (D) fSenator rom Minnesota. She is a graduate of Yale with a law degree from UChicago. She has been a corporate lawyer and Hennepin County Attorney prior to becoming Senator thirteen years ago. She has written a book entitled The Senator Next Door.

Bernie Sanders, born in 1941, graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Political Science. He was the Mayor of Burlington for four terms, then elected to the House of Representatives and later became the Jr. Senator from Vermont, Independent (who caucuses with the Democrats.) Sanders has written several books including Where Do We Go From Here?

Elizabeth Warren, born 1949, is the Sr. (D) Senator from Massachusetts. She graduated from University of Huston, taught, took a law degree from Rutgers, had an academic career focusing on bankruptcy law. She has been a senator for 6 years and is the author of multiple books including This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.

This is obviously a very well educated slate of candidates. I guess I have my next two months of reading cut out for me. I hope I will hear your questions, corrections, additions before I add the other candidates or take up my next round with more detail on these.