It is better to show up than to give up
– Bernie Sanders
As Barack Obama celebrates his 56th birthday today, his first in retirement, plans are underway by his allies to push another African-American, a former Massachusetts Governor and a close friend of Obama, Deval Patrick, for 2020 Presidency.
This came at a time when a whole host of democrats including Obama’s Vice President Joe Bidden and Attorney General during Obama’s Presidency, Eric Holder had dropped hints about their 2020 ambitions. The ever increasing number of Democratic contenders is largely owing to the plummeting approval ratings of Donald Trump, which is fast ruling out a second term for him or any other GOP candidate.
Among the hopefuls are two women, 53-year-old Kamala Harris, a daughter of a Tamil Indian mother and a 51-year-old former New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. In general, Obama’s backing is likely to give any candidate a head start in the democratic nomination. However, one wonders whether the former President is making the right choice this time. While Obama nostalgia is almost palpable, it is also true that Barack Obama would not have become the US President had he not been the son of a white mother and been absorbed within the white culture. Son of black parents, 61-year-old Deval Patrick is the Managing Director of Bain Capital and was also the one time Vice President of The Coca Cola Company.
Even otherwise being youthful and holding an enviable war record alone is unlikely to appeal to the young
Though he had served under President Bill Clinton as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Patrick’s reputation today however is more of that of a businessman than a Government official. Chances of US citizens favouring another businessman over a politician after Donald Trump are quite dim.
Besides, Bain Capital is co-founded by Mitt Romney, Republican Party’s nominee for 2012, who was in the eye of scandals in 2012 as Obama camp launched scathing attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital. One may well ask how ethical it would be for the Obama camp to field another boss from Bain Capital after ruining Romney’s chances over the same outfit. Among the hopefuls is also a 38-year-old Congressman Seth Moulton, one time US marine, who at the age of 25 led one of the first US platoons to Baghdad in the US war in Iraq.
The young Moulton, who also headed a platoon in the do or die Battle of Nasiriyah and served four tours in Iraq, has earned the Bronze Star Medal for his performance in the war. Moulton who is also armed with three degrees from Harvard is a favourite among a few hawkish democrats. However, Moulton has been dubbed too ambitious, brash and grandstanding by many, especially after his demand to remove Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in house, claiming that she should be replaced by youngsters like him.
Even otherwise being youthful and holding an enviable war record alone is unlikely to appeal to the young. For instance, during the 2016 Presidential Primaries, it was the 75-year-old Bernie Sanders, who was often accused of dodging the Vietnam War draft as a conscientious objector that drew the largest number of millennials to meetings. The Vermont Senator, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Primary even today attracts thousands of youngsters to his meetings. The longest standing independent US Senator, Sanders’ loss at the Primary is today seen by most US citizens as the greatest US tragedy in this millennium. A closet nationalist with four decades of a political career, Sanders has an appeal that goes well beyond parochial party confines.
Youngsters think he is progressive, someone whom they can rely on. The adults today believe he is the steadiest of all US politicians with a clean and consistent career record. According to latest surveys almost 40% of Democrat voters think that Sanders will run for 2020 despite his age. This week he launched his proposal for medical health care, a Government- run health care system for all citizens, with a massive advertising campaign on Facebook and Google. Even with Obama’s support the likes of Patrick will find it really tough to match up to Bernie Sanders, undoubtedly the best candidate the Democrats can boast of today.