Dayton Daily News
A little advice to make you the life of the (political) party
Cory Booker is running for president. That makes nine announced candidates for the Democratic primary, and if you add everyone The Times lists from likely to “might,” you’re up to 22.
When you throw in the Democrats “thinking,” we’re way past two dozen. You’re a concerned citizen — when you go to parties, people are going to ask you who you like for the nomination. How are you supposed to maintain your credibility?
I offer a few suggestions. First, Kamala is pronounced Comma-la.
Second, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is only 29. She cannot be a candidate in 2020. If somebody brings her up, you can make this point, and everyone will nod wisely. You’re on your way!
Primary voting doesn’t start until February 2020, but there’s already a lot going on. People in Iowa have already met a bunch of candidates!
When the presidential parade comes up, the smart approach is to start talking about the issues — health care, taxes, immigration, climate change, corruption — and then sagely say that you’re waiting until the candidates are done changing their minds before you pick a favorite.
Or terrify everyone by posing a profound question. If someone asks you about New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, just respond: “Do you think he’s too close to the pharmaceutical companies?” Then nod thoughtfully.
Or try a diverting factoid. If a friend asks you if Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is too centrist, say something like, “Well, anybody who got $17,000 in campaign contributions from her ex-boyfriends can’t be all bad.”
If you’re feeling energetic, try starting a conversation about whether governors would be better candidates than senators. Then you could point out that John Hickenlooper of Colorado started a very successful brewpub business, which is just as impressive as Howard Schultz and his 30,000 or so coffee shops.
Everybody’s so angry at Schultz they won’t even argue with you.
How about a question we all can relate to, like age? A couple of the younger candidates have been talking about what South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg calls “intergenerational justice.” This would be an elevated version of a millennials’ complaint that the baby boom generation gobbled up all the ... stuff.
The baby boom generation, which is 55 to 73, has pretty much been the center of attention forever. There are at least seven members currently in the presidential-speculation swarm, including Senators Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. Kamala Harris is a borderline boomer.
Plus there are several big names who are too old to make the cut — Joe Biden, 76, Michael Bloomberg, 76, and Bernie Sanders, 77. We live in a nation where people can now have very full and productive lives long past the point when our predecessors were staggering toward retirement.
And wait! What about Generation X? Those are the folks in their 40s and early 50s, and they’re always getting ignored because boomers take up all the space while millennials jump up and down and whine loudly.
Three Gen-Xers have announced — see, they’re ready for their moment. That would be former housing secretary Julián Castro of Texas, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker.
Plus a bunch of maybes, including Beto O’Rourke of Texas, whose great fame comes from losing a Senate race to Ted Cruz. Since then, he’s sort of gone for a walk to think about things. I would suggest you refrain from worrying about him until he comes back.