Four Valuable Lessons Going Forward from Super Tuesday
Well, it is possible that America has seen more political changes in so short a time at some other period. But from Saturday night in South Carolina through Super Tuesday and a couple of days more, this beats anything I have ever seen. Even the Talking Heads on TV were reluctant to commit to anything. They feared they may be proven wrong in the next 30 minutes.
Lots of things to reflect on, for sure. And the drama is far from over. We have some big, important states yet to go (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania among them). Depending on how these go, Biden could arrive at the convention with a majority. He seems at least likely to have a healthy lead. But who knows?!
Four observations of value present themselves to us as the beginning of a foundation for the future.
Observation 1: Everyone looks better on the way out.
Almost every candidate who has left the campaign did so with good timing and grace. All pretty well left the political environment better than they found it. They all engendered respect and all should be back to have national impact. We are lucky to have them. I thought Kamala Harris was a bit abrupt in her departure, as were others in the lower tiers. Still, this was not done badly. One can be forgiven for finding it hard to give it up. Several did rise to the occasion, in my view. That includes:
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Gov. John Hickenlooper
Gov. Jay Inslee
former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
Secretary Julián Castro
Sen. Cory Booker,
former Rep. John Delaney
Sen. Michael Bennet
former mayor Pete Buttigieg
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Mayor Mike Bloomberg
and last (so far), Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Look at the size of that list! And that is not everyone! Many of these people made powerful, beautiful exists. They paid tribute where they should have, thanked those they should have, and encouraged us all to drive on. Well done, folks.
Observation 2: Early Voting Is a Good Thing. But Not Always.
I have almost always encouraged early voting, for all the obvious reasons. It declutters the actual election day, making it easier for everyone to vote. It simplifies the work of parties, when they are smart enough to track early voters. This allows them to focus mail, etc. on those who are yet to vote.
But this time around was different. With so many candidates on the ballot on election day, one could make the case that waiting to vote made sense. Those of us who voted early for a candidate that dropped out may feel we wasted our vote. It was not a waste; that vote helped make it clear what the electorate wants. Still, it feels better to vote for someone actually still in the race.
Observation 3: The Drive to Be Rid of Trump is Palpable.
So very many voters decided at the last minute, especially suburban voters. They did so in overwhelming numbers for Biden. Why? Because they find him the best shot at defeating Trump. Even if they like much of Sander’s offerings, they found him wanting as a messenger.
In the last presidential election, Sanders carried 16 counties in my part of NC. This week he carried 4. And his percentage of the youth vote slipped. In short, people want to get this done, and they see Biden, flawed and human as he may be, as the better shot. If that trend holds in the big states coming up shortly, it’s all over but the parade. Let’s see if it does come out that way.
Observation 4: It Ain’t Over Yet.
There is still a lot of drama yet to unfold. Many important decisions are yet to be made, by all of us. There still could be a contentious convention. That seems a bit less likely this week than last week, but still possible. How the two remaining Democrats model behavior for their followers is important. Hopefully, most will remember that when this is all over, we will all be on the same team. We all share the same goal of retiring Donald Trump. I hope both candidates are up to the task.
We are still months away from the conventions, not to mention the elections in November. Feeling out of breath yet? Rest up, friend. Much more is coming towards us.
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