My Presidential Nominee Wish List


Thursday night was the third debate among the Democratic candidates for President. The field has tightened: due to the rigid qualification rules, a mere ten candidates made the cut this time.

Barring changes, the same ten will take the stage in October, plus Tom Steyer, the veryvery wealthy man who launched his “Need to Impeach” campaign way back in October, 2017.

I found the debate a bit more revelatory than the two previous ones, and I thought the ABC moderators did a decent job. But I’m still not getting the sense of the candidates that I’m seeking. I’m wondering how many of you feel the same.

Despite the over-trodden, unilluminating, and needlessly divisive discussions about extending Obamacare vs Medicare for All, I don’t think the candidates are so far apart on any of the issues.

They all support ensuring universal healthcare; countering our nation’s growing economic inequality; implementing sensible gun safety legislation; beginning immediately to vigorously address climate change; reversing the anti-immigration policies that are damaging our values and threatening our economy; and seeking ways to heal the terrible divisive racial and other wounds that currently exist in our country.

But we still need more discussions centering on their foreign policy views.

Perceptions differ, and I do worry about the electability of the three current front runners.

I wonder whether/to what extent they can both energize the base and build the diverse coalition to drive vast numbers of voters to the polls, thereby resoundingly putting us on a new path and bringing Senate and House candidates along with them. I welcome your views on this matter in the comments section below.

What am I looking for in the Democrat’s eventual nominee—and, if you’re interested in a change from the current administration–what are you looking for?

As I watch and listen to these candidates, I try to picture each one in the Oval Office, in the Situation Room, and in meetings with allies and adversaries. I am trying to gauge their judgment and temperament.

Will they surround themselves with the best people they can find? Then will they listen, truly listen, to the advice they’re given, ask well-informed questions about that advice, and insist upon factual backup before making important decisions? Will they keep their cool in scary and potentially dangerous situations?

Do they demonstrate some innate wisdom in dealing with other people? Will they be careful and measured in their stewardship of the still most powerful nation in the world—and be able to undo the damage to our standing that’s been done over the past few years?

Do they possess the empathy that will enable them to understand the diverse problems that Americans are grappling with right now—so they can seek solutions that help people feel that the government is working—and is on their side?

Will they explain to us what their overall vision is on where they want to take this country, and how they’ll forge common ground on the often divisive issues we face so that they can work with Congress to move us forward?

Can they inspire us to be our best selves and advance us toward the national ideals we’ve long expounded?

I hope the debates that are held between now and the Iowa caucuses reveal more about these important aspects of the Democratic candidates. I’ve seen glimmers of what I’m seeking here and there, but I’d like to see a lot more.

Please let me know your reactions—to the candidates, the debate, my “wish list,” what you’re looking for, and anything else that comes to mind.


30 thoughts on “My Presidential Nominee Wish List

  1. I’d love an Elizabeth Warren/Mayor Pete ticket, because I see them as the brightest candidates who will focus on doing right by most of the population. However, in my view the need to beat Trump is so vital we need to go with the candidates who have the best chance of winning. For a long time it looked like that was Biden, but his tendency to misspeak is becoming more of an issue. Perhaps an all female ticket of Warren and Kamela Harris. The prospect of Trump/Pence losing to them is delightful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wouldn’t that be something? Warren is definitely gaining ground; do you think she can pull together enough voters to counter those who want to vote against trump but won’t consider her? And now there’s the “hypocrisy” charge because she banked so much money from special interests before saying she wouldn’t accept special interest money. I worry how that will play out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your questions are always so thoughtful. I like Cory Booker, but I’m not so sure about a running mate except that it has to be a woman. I wonder how much looks actually factor into this, I always think that plays a big part, shallow as it seems. At first I thought Biden was the guy to beat but now I’ve changed my mind. Bernie Sanders is not going to cut it and I wish he would drop out. But Stephen Colbert does a great impersonation of him. I do like Pete but he looks so young that I worry about it. When the field is narrowed down to five or six I’ll have a better idea. It’s just a hot mess right now, but no matter what I’ll vote democratic!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought Cory Booker did really well in the recent debate; it will be interesting to see if he moves up in the polls as a result. Then, too, he’s under fire for being essentially absent during Newark’s current lead in the water crisis. He also was not stellar in helping Newark’s schools when he was mayor. Mark Zuckerberg gave the city large funding that seems to have been frittered away by outside consultants and never reached the classroom level.

      I agree with you about Bernie, and Stephen Colbert does great impersonations of everyone!


  3. Your statement about picturing them in the Oval office and dealing with foreign policy issues etc is an interesting one and I’ve been mulling it over. At present, I can’t picture any of them there, as no one really stands out from the pack, like Obama did. Hopefully someone will rise to the occasion, although none of them seem to have much charisma. I liked Pamala Harris in the early days, but am liking her less now, (after she attacked Biden), and feel she doesn’t have enough political experience. (We elected Trudeau here with not enough political experience, and I remember the deer in the headlights looks during his early days, when he realized he was actually going to have to do this job.) How many of these candidates actually want the job, as opposed to wanting to win and get their name out there, hoping for a plumb portfolio down the line. Elizabeth Warren seems to be coming up in the polls, and Biden going down. I don’t see Biden as president, a nice guy but overall not strong enough. (Same as I don’t see Mike Pence as president should something happen to Trump. He’d be a bandaid at best). I don’t know much about Elizabeth Warren, but she seems to have enough political experience, and seems sharper than the two male front runners, although they all seem around the same age. I guess of the top three, no one really stands out, and of the rest, they still seem to be unknowns. I wish they had run a really strong candidate right from the start. As a funny note, we are having a federal election here this fall, and as none of our three choices are popular, there was a cartoon in the paper of an election sign for Bianca Andreescu, the 19yr old Canadian who recently won the Tennis open. That girl has it – confidence and star power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a thoughtful response from our gentle neighbor to the north. I wish more Americans were paying as close attention and considering as carefully as you are.

      I agree with you about Harris: I thought more highly of her earlier on. I feel she lacks authenticity, somehow, but I’m waiting to see more of her. She does have executive experience, having run a huge agency in California, and she has charisma and would certainly be a strong debate opponent in the general election.

      One candidate whose positive qualities I think are overlooked because of the charisma factor is Amy Klobuchar, who has an admirable record of accomplishments in the Senate. She is a doer—a powerhouse who connects well with people and is known for her sense of humor—a useful trait in these times. But she hasn’t gained traction.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Annie – remember my mother gets CNN so I do try to stay semi-informed, and although I didn’t watch the whole debate I did see highlights and discussion of it, although I admit I don’t know the background of a lot of the candidates. I guess it’s still anybody’s horse race.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Post from Prague! My simple thoughts. No one looks presidential until they are in the job.
    Biden. No longer sharp.His time has passed. Same with Sanders. We need a new generation of leadership.
    I still seriously doubt that Warren can win although I like most of her ideas. She is too easily labeled a”socialist” and many people still fall for that old GOP tactic.
    Buttegieg is too intellectual for Americans.He will be resented for his obvious intelligence.
    Beto is just a showboat with little substance.We already have one of those in the White House.
    I like Harris less every time I see her. She comes across as someone who will pander and not have the core values even as she talks the good line.
    As time goes on I like Booker more and more. He seems to have common sense.
    I also like Klobuchar more and more.

    So,at this time I would support a Booker/Klobuchar ticket. Both are solid human beings who are liberal yet practical and tough enough to take on the insulting GOP candidate.
    Booker from the East attracts the liberal and minority vote.
    Klobuchar from the Midwest attracts the moderate vote and adds regional and gender balance.
    Both have dignity and the common sense to deal with problems at home and rebuild our foreign relations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joseph,

      I appreciate your czeching in from your vacation. (Sorry, my penchant for bad puns is a character flaw that I’ve no desire to correct.)

      While you may be right that no one looks presidential until she/he is in the job, I find the debates too heavily rehashing issues and not giving us the opportunity to see much at all about the decision-making and leadership qualities that are essential to the office. I’d like to see moderators ask some hypothetical questions with real-world implications.

      As you can see from my post and previous responses, I agree with a number of your candidate assessments–most critically, about the three current front-runners. I do like Klobuchar a lot; I like a number of Booker’s qualities, and his rhetoric is often wonderful, but he does have that mayoral baggage I noted earlier. But I do hope the post-debate polls give them both a boost. And why Booker/Klobuchar rather than Klobuchar/Booker?

      I think it’s unfortunate that Steve Bullock isn’t being given a chance for more exposure. I’m partial to governors as candidates because of their executive experience, and a progressive governor who’s popular in a red state could be an attractive option.

      Enjoy your travels!


      1. I said Booker/ Klobuchar for one reason. I think many middle class women will not vote for a woman president. Recall that Clinton, probably the most qualified candidate ever to run did not get the majority of the middle class women’s vote, according to the tracking polls. I will not venture my psychological theory as to why. But I fear that the generation that still seems to be the voting generation will not accept a woman. Maybe as they (we), die off?


      2. I realized that, and it’s not a groundless concern. However, I think things are very different now—and I also think it had a lot to do with real and imagined fears/dislike of Hillary, especially after Comey’s intervention. And trump has awakened suburban women in a big way, to his detriment. I also think Amy’s more moderate speech makes her more reassuring than Booker’s sometimes fiery rhetoric.

        Now all we need is for them both to rise in the polls…


  5. Well, hello there. Might a member of the opposition have a moment of your attention? I am kind of amused that I am watching the complete opposite of 2016. This time I am the guy who has a deeply, deeply flawed but inevitable candidate while you guys are the ones wrestling with an unwieldy number of folks who have not really made it to the first string. Be careful – last time for my side there was one guy who had a plurality of support at best but he really, really had deep support from his fans.

    So I ask myself whom among the Democrats has that kind of support. Bernie has a loyal following, but it seems stuck under a fairly low ceiling and I don’t see it. In fact I don’t see that one person whose fans are really on fire for their guy/gal. Warren may come the closest and she has been gaining some ground. But there are a lot of influential Democrats in the financial services industry and I don’t see her making any friends there.

    I agree with your assessment of some of the others. Beto? Why has this tall, attractive guy who has not accomplished a single thing still there? Harris? She is just too clever and calculating for her own good. Booker should be doing better than he is. But he’s not.

    I am reasonably comfortable with Klobuchar. And I was disappointed that Tulsi Gabbard did not get a lectern. But a Democratic primary process is not geared towards nominating moderates out of a large field. And don’t think for a moment that I have any idea what will happen next summer or the following November.

    In 2012 Obama was not all that popular in large swaths of the country. And then the Republicans went and nominated Mitt Romney who was supposed to be “Mr. Electable” but wasn’t. I wonder if that may be Biden’s role this year. And a word about Biden, if I may. When did he become an elder statesman? I always kind of remember him as an affable but none-too-original lightweight. But he comes from Scranton and understands (and respects) people who work for a living, so he has that going for him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, hello to you, JP!

      I am delighted to welcome you to this discussion, and once again I find us in agreement on various points. I think your overview is insightful, and my concerns about Warren are precisely what you stated–though I worry financial services folks aren’t the only ones who may be afraid of her. She’s not too far to the left for me (except I think Medicare for All is not a wise idea at this point), and I feel her Consumer Financial Protection Agency brainchild was a solid gift to the American people, but the top of my agenda is to send Donald Trump packing, and I’m not sure she can do that.

      I’m intrigued that you say you are “reasonably comfortable with Klobuchar.” I’d like to put that on a bumper sticker: “My clever conservative friend says he’s…” and drive around with it to all my progressive friends who want to win first and foremost! She has so much going for her. Perhaps she’ll surprise us all.

      Thanks for sharing your observations.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My top picks are now Elizabeth and Amy… not that this would necessarily be a “ticket.” It could be — and not necessarily in that order. But if Amy were top of the eventual ticket, I think Elizabeth would serve the country better in another position (other than Vice President); maybe Secretary of the Treasury. I personally would be fine with Elizabeth on the top of the ticket. Whatever happens, I’m voting Democrat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, and welcome! “Whatever happens, I’m voting Democrat” are my treasured words. If enough people feel that way, we’ll be ok. I think Elizabeth is terrific in so many ways, and one thing that would bode well is that she’s built a large and effective organization, demonstrating she has those important managerial and delegating capabilities. But I do worry about her electability, and the alternative is just too horrendous to contemplate.


      1. Thanks so much, Marleen. And I appreciate your encouraging words!

        I heard an NPR interview with Amy today. She was most impressive. I think this tour of the must-win states that’s she’s on now is a really good strategy: she’s being interviewed and getting more exposure.

        I’ll be visiting your blog as soon as I can. Nice to make your virtual acquaintance.




      2. I don’t have a URL/blog, Annie. The biggest drawback of this fact is not being able to effectively click the like star.


      3. Marleen,

        Do you know you can sign up via WordPress and will then be able to provide “likes” to your heart’s content? A number of my subscribers (I dislike the word “followers,” which sounds so sheeplike) do that and don’t have their own blogs. Sometimes, though, when you want to comment, you must change the privacy setting on your Web browser; otherwise WP requires you to provide all your information every time in a two-step process that is really annoying. I found that out the hard way, and I now know what to do, if I can help you.



  7. It’s becoming somewhat easier to choose. I’m definitely leaning toward a Warren/Klobuchar ticket. or Klobuchar/Warren ticket but is our country ready for a two woman ticket? It’s so hard to know. Would a Warren/ Booker ticket be more acceptable with the general population? I find it so uncomfortable to have to choose based upon who is more likely to win rather that who I think would best govern our country.


    1. I agree about the decision-making, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been faced with it; it’s simply the most urgent! We dare not get it wrong! As I’ve said previously, I really worry about Warren’s electability-despite her many strengths.

      Two women running together? I have zero sense about whether that would be brilliant or disastrous. It might be a step too far when the stakes are so high.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Agree that for me, anyway, a clear contender has not yet emerged. Many of the candidates have appealing elements, but no single person appears to have pulled ahead of the pack philosophically or charismatically. It’s been interesting to watch Warren’s rise, but is she electable? Bernie and Biden have, in my mind, slipped from possibility. I still really admire Buttigieg, but he, too, is unlikely to emerge as the front runner. I hope he receives serious consideration as a VP or cabinet member. Stakes are high. The issues are hugely important, one after the next, but as I’ve remarked here in previous times, my bottom line is who can win? Thanks, Annie. I always learn so much from you and your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Denise–

      You certainly have company in your undecided position. If a poll I saw yesterday is correct, 91% of Democrats haven’t yet made up their minds. That’s encouraging, I think.

      I love Mayor Pete, and in some respects I see him as the most presidential–thoughtful, deliberative, smart as can be, with an historical and world-encompassing perspective. I do believe he has a promising future in politics–perhaps even as VP or a cabinet member in 2021.

      I am hopeful that there are enough of us who are eager to vote for whoever wins the nomination–regardless of one’s personal preference–and that person has sufficient strength to bring along a Democratic majority in both House and Senate. The stakes, as you, I, and so many others believe, have never been higher.

      Thank you!



  9. You put together a comprehensive list of attributes that a potential future president should have. Frankly, while I’ve watched the debates, if find the format irritating. All it’s good for is sound bites, given the limited time candidates have to answer the questions and I don’t like how the moderators seem to be pitting each candidate against the others. I have been paying more attention to one-on-one interviews people like Rachel Maddow and others have been having with each candidate. They are more in-depth interviews and the candidates can give more informative answers. Right now I’m leaning toward Elizabeth Warren, but she is somewhat professorial and I’m not sure she can actually win in the general election. But still, at this point, I think she’s the cream of the crop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I share your views of the debates; in fact I’ve included several of the points you made in my posts.

      I wish I thought Warren could win; she has many strong points. Of course, if she wins the nomination, I’ll work like hell to try to help her win the election. She sure has that fabled “fire in the belly,” and she’s organized an admirable, effective organization.

      Liked by 1 person

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