Monday, September 4, 2017

Nothing Worth Predicting- Yet

Between now and oh, 2019 or so, there are going to be think pieces aplenty on just who can be the savior of the Democratic Party in 2020. Who will be the savior of the party? Who will take down Donald Trump? Can anyone take down Donald Trump? At this point, you can pretty much pick a Democratic Politician at any level of government and someone can probably come up with a decent case for how/why they'd be a good candidate for the Presidency.

A couple of such think pieces jumped out at me this weekend: an extraordinarily detailed case for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and another proposing a joint ticket between Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. Both of these pieces are making things way more complicated than they need to be and missing the point just a little bit.

First, let's look at what happened last year. The Democrats won the popular vote and lost their vaunted 'Blue Wall' that they had been counting on to deliver them The White House again. So, what's it's going to take in 2020? Not that much in the grand scheme of things: flip Wisconsin, Michigan and either Ohio or Pennsylvania and win everything else you won in 2016 and that's the ball game. If you want to really cover your ass, pick up Pennsylvania as well- that way if the Republicans flip Virginia back, you're not out of the White House yet again.

So, don't over think it! Zuckerberg is an interesting outside of the box option- and for sure, he's making what appear to be some early moves- visiting all 50 states, some prominent stops in Iowa that kind of thing. But he's also a Silicon Valley, nouveau riche type through and through and while voters (for reasons passing understanding) seem to be ignore Donald Trump and his money, I'm not sure a more modern tech titan with the plain colored t-shirts and skinny jeans is going to be all that palatable to voters. I could be wrong- God knows I was about Trump. But my real nausea with Zuckerberg revolves around Facebook itself. It's become an incredibly powerful platform for delivering news and information to millions and while I'm sure any Presidential ambitions would involve Zuckerberg giving up control of the company, President Trump has already proven than there might be distance both legally and physically, but is he really gone?

Hotels are one thing, information is another. If the Zuck runs, then how do we know that Facebook won't conveniently block content and news articles to benefit the Zuck? They are a private entity, after all- they're under no obligation to let anything and everything be posted on what is, after all, their platform. I'm sure there's a lot more to it than this that will have to be unpacked in the event of a Zuck 2020 run- but the confluence of media and politics and the potential for the control and abuse of information? It should be enough to give every voter pause when considering the potential of a Zuckerberg Presidential run.

Kamala Harris doesn't seem to be overly loved by the Bernie-wing of the Democratic Party, but the real questions about the strength of her candidacy are probably going to come from her record as Attorney General in California.  Kirsten Gillibrand? I don't know enough about her, to be honest- but she's been Senator from New York for awhile now and New York is a big state. If she runs, she'll be a viable candidate. Someone palatable to the Bernie Wing of the party is going to be important- though I do think Cory Booker is getting a bad rap in article like this.  (I also think Senator Klobuchar, if she runs would be an interesting candidate with Midwestern roots.)

The only prediction worth making at this point in the cycle is that there's nothing worth predicting- yet.

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