Should we be thinking about the 2020 presidential election?

By | January 15, 2018 6:50 am

Democratic Dialog – By Debra Wines

In my opinion, NO, we should not.  This past week there have been all kinds of speculations about celebrities and politicians who might be possible presidential candidates to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election.  Personally, I think it would be side-busting funny if Oprah Winfrey, a black, successful businesswoman, and TV and movie star, beat Donald Trump, but I do not believe it would be all that good for the country.  I believe Ms. Winfrey has more compassion and is much more intelligent than Donald Trump could ever be in his lifetime.  Ms. Winfrey is a wonderful spokesperson for many humanitarian and civil rights issues, and she supports a great many good and worthwhile causes.  Those things make her a qualified candidate, according to the limited qualifications to run for the office of the president of the United States, but it doesn’t make her qualified to BE the president.  I think the American voters need to stop looking at celebrities and reality TV personalities as qualified leaders of our country.  Donald Trump’s presidency is proving that name recognition is not a valid qualification to become elected to such a powerful position of leadership in our government.

We have more immediate concerns facing us in the current election year.  The establishment Republican candidates just for the office of Tennessee governor is disturbing, to say the very least.  Diane Black is in a full-court press right now as she pushes herself and her agenda closer and closer to Donald Trump, in hopes that she will “out-Republican” her other female Republican contenders, like Mae Beavers and Beth Harwell.  I find it interesting that Beth Harwell has not resigned from the Tennessee Congress while pushing forward with a run for governor.  Could it be that she doesn’t think she will win and therefore wants to keep her “day job”?

Mae Beavers seems to have a very “Tea Party” focused agenda, along with tapping into that fear of Muslims, Middle Easterners, and pretty much anyone who she thinks isn’t white or American enough.  Ms. Beavers is hosting a fundraiser at Trevecca Nazarene University, on Jan. 25  It is listed as a “Homeland Security Summit.” Three of the speakers are self-proclaimed experts on Islam and will be headlining the summit.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, all three speakers: Bill Warner, Cathy Hinners, and John Guandolo, have been linked to a number of hate groups.  From researching these three speakers, my impression is that if all Muslims can’t be removed from our country, then they should at least be put in concentration camps, so we can keep a better eye on them. Ms. Beavers, in my opinion, is a bit beyond paranoid of anyone that doesn’t look like her and her own white Republican constituents.

Earlier this year, she refused to meet with people from her district. She was afraid to hold town hall meetings where people might ask questions, and, if I remember correctly, she hired private security to keep her “safe” from people who wanted to express their concerns over policies she was supporting.  You need to ask yourself, how can anyone who is so afraid of meeting a small portion of Tennesseans be running for governor of the state?  Will she be willing to meet with potential voters all over the state of Tennessee, or will she only meet with a pre-selected few that share her limited view?  Ms. Beavers is a staunch family values, Tea-Party Republican and strong supporter of Donald Trump and his “Christian” agenda.  In fact, some of the things she has said she supports are very reminiscent of Donald Trump.

Beth Harwell is fundraising for her run for governor, but I do wonder how serious she is about running against Diane Black.  Perhaps she’s just hedging her bets by not resigning her current position.  I wouldn’t put her in the same league as Congressman Black because Ms. Harwell hasn’t spent the kind of time on the national stage as Diane Black has over the past few years.  That does not mean that I think she is any less a “Tea-Party Republican” than Ms. Black.  Ms. Harwell had no problem burying the Insure Tennessee Bill that Gov. Haslam supported that would have given approximately 300,000 Tennesseans affordable healthcare coverage.  With this new state legislative year starting, she has already indicated she will do nothing to move that bill to the floor for a vote by claiming the “Special” Insurance Committee she formed to “study” this bill is still “studying it.”  We need to keep an eye on what our state legislature is or isn’t supporting prior to the primary elections and the general election.  As Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tennessee, Ms. Harwell is our own Paul Ryan.  She may not be quite as heartless and self-serving as Mr. Ryan, but she has showed she is capable of being damn close when she doesn’t agree with the majority of Tennesseans.

As most of you who have read some of my previous columns know, I have very little respect for Congressman Diane Black.  In my opinion, she is a female version of Donald Trump, only with political experience.  She has proven herself to be a great fundraiser for the Republican Party, and she falls right in line with right-wing Christian fundamentalists who can smile and lie through their teeth about how they care for our veterans, “unborn” babies, the struggling, working middle and poor class, express their deep concerns for the loss of good paying jobs, wanting to improve healthcare and education, the needs of working women…yadda, yadda, yadda.  Once they hold carefully organized “rallies” and get out a press release telling voters how much they care so they don’t have to answer questions about their actual voting record on the above-mentioned issues, they spend millions to convince voters their opponents are just “left wing” liberals who want to give your hard-earned money away to lazy people.  The “Diane Blacks” of the Republican Party don’t want you to question them about how THEY are spending your tax dollars and adding billions or trillions to our national debt and deficit.

The Democratic Party, liberals, progressives, and independents are going to have to learn to put the past behind us and start working together to find and support people who are taking up the challenge to make a change in the way our political campaigns and our politics have been run.  If it isn’t practical or feasible for you to get out and participate in campaign rallies or “meet and greets” for candidates who are running for office, do some research.  See if they have a Facebook page or a website.  Contact them, ask questions, don’t just vote for them because you like their face or their name is familiar.  They want your vote; make them earn it.  They may not be able to answer all the questions you have for them, but don’t let them give you a line of BS.  Personally, I’d rather have a candidate tell me they don’t know how they would vote on a certain bill or how they feel about certain issues than lie to me.  As rational thinking adults, we know we will never agree with a politician 100 percent of the time.  I believe we understand that compromises will be made along the line, because no one, even politicians, are able to please everyone when it comes to every issue.

Our focus needs to be on the candidates who are running for public office, in 2018.  We also need to be cognizant of what our elected state leaders are doing, because there are several who are up for re-election this year.  We should pay close attention to the legislative agenda the current Republican majority is proposing for the future of all Tennesseans.  We need to decide whether we accept the status quo or are we willing to support and elect Democrats to better represent the needs of the majority of people who call Tennessee home?  The majority of Tennesseans can no longer afford to be ignored.  We have a voice and it is becoming critical that we not shy away from our responsibilities to our family, our friends, our communities, and our future.

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