There were six people on stage last night for the ninth Democratic debate. That was a welcome sight, at first, knowing that each candidate would get a little more say. I missed seeing Andrew Yang, my favorite person in (now out of) the race. I missed seeing Tom Steyer, too, whom I would describe as the better billionaire candidate. I still miss Cory Booker being up there, he’s a joy to watch. I didn’t miss Tulsi Gabbard or Marianne Williamson, and I won’t miss Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar when they are gone.
Soon, I hope. Let Nevada be their swan song.
But I said it was a welcome sight “at first” because it was a vicious night. I know this is how it works – I lament it, but I get it. In the primaries you eat your own. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a Democratic Socialist like Bernie or a Pub-in-Dem clothing like Bloomberg or truly independent like – oh, I don’t know – like me, you bash the field you’re running against and then rally around the winner when it’s time. We saw it with Hillary and Don both in 2016. Even Ted Cruz became a lapdog to Trump after the nomination. Rabid opposition-turned-ardent supporter is the American way.
I can understand it and still dislike it.
So, last night we had an uncrowded stage and a bitter, vitriolic fight. Everyone jumped on Bernie right out of the gate, because he’s the front-runner. Then everyone jumped on Michael Bloomberg, because he’s a misogynistic, racist plutocrat like his pal Trump. But no one was immune. Pete attacked Amy and Amy attacked Pete and Joe attacked to his left and right and Elizabeth Warren attacked everyone, clearly with the knowledge she has to get off the ropes.
And she did. This was Elizabeth Warren’s best debate, despite the jabs, and she won the night.
But where does that leave us, gentle reader? I was really ramped up for last night, like a Rams playoff game-level of ramped up, and I walked away disappointed. I’m disappointed in my favorite contender, Bernie Sanders, for a subpar performance against the concentrated assault of his peers, and for flip-flopping on his medical records. I’m disappointed that Bloomberg was allowed on the stage with nothing but money. I’m disappointed that Biden and Klobuchar are still in the race. I’m disappointed by the vitriol.
I’m disappointed in myself.
This morning I was prepared to mark my ballot and mail it in. I’m registered NPP (no party preference) but I requested a Democratic Party ballot so that I could pick Bernie over, well, anyone. He’s got the best ideas. He’s got the most integrity. I respect the hell out of him. And yet…
Here I am, vacillating. My hand floats unsteadily over the bubble to the left of Bernie’s name. There’s Pete Buttigieg, Tom, 8 spaces down. Him. No him. Or her? I could really sock it to the establishment and go ahead and vote for Andrew Yang, anyway. He’s still on the ballot. Maybe I could even draw a little middle finger next to my vote. 🖕
What is it about Pete, though?
He’s steady as a rock. Charismatic. Eloquent. Persuasive. He’s a moderate democrat by his own admission, which means he might be more likely to get things done. But what things? The nation needs universal healthcare, gun reform, college for all, and a Green New Deal. Will Pete fight for those things or compromise them? Bernie won’t compromise, he’s been the same crusader he is today his entire life. We know that about him. We know who he is.
But is his inflexibility a burden or a boon?
I’m going to need a few more days with this.
And that’s fine, I have a few more days. Super Tuesday is March 3rd, twelve days from today. Bernie or Pete. Bernie AND Pete would be ideal. The cantankerous, anti-billionaire crusader and the unflappable, charismatic dealmaker. I’ll vote for that.
I’ll vote for anyone, come to think of it, running against Donald Trump. With the possible exception of Mike Bloomberg, who may just be a more sinister, smarter version of the charlatan we have now. In the battle against authoritarianism and plutocracy it might be better to have a buffoon than a schemer. Might.
I’ll get back to you on that.
But that’s where my head is today, in the battle for democracy.
Where’s your head at today?