Several years ago, approaching middle age, I decided to vote. Actually, my wife shamed me into voting. She did this by registering, voting and telling me about it. Knowing full well I would have to follow suit. I voted, but never took it very seriously. Figuring all along it was all some sort of cosmic, karmic carnival game where you threw a dart at a wall filled with balloons and no matter how well you did the prize was never worth the investment. Welcome to the show that never ends.
Something happened in 2016, in fact is still happening, indeed seems to be accelerating, that made me change my mind. Moreover, it proved to me that my apathy was not only part of the problem it was a symptom of everything that was failing in American democracy. According to a study by Penn State only 58.1% of voting eligible population voted in 2016. It hardly seems like representative democracy when the president, no matter which president we are discussing, is elected by a majority of such a paltry percentage. It could not be considered a majority of the population no matter how you look at it.
I really think part of the problem is people just don’t think it is worth the trouble. Why bother? All you hear is seconds of canned crap being fed to us as news. Yes, I agree. So, with the permission of The Good Men Project, I will try to atone for all my years of indifference, and help anybody who will listen act with more intelligence than I managed, and to make a more informed decision, I have decided to dig into the candidates and try to shed a little light on the cloudy, confusing landscape of the primaries.
Alphabetically makes as much sense as anything, so let’s meet Michael Bennet.
Senator Bennet burst onto the national scene with his fiery, impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate during the government shutdown in February. It was a beautiful thing to see. Sometimes I watch it just to remember what politicians should be.
He was late to join the race for president because of his battle and ultimate victory over prostate cancer. This puts him at a disadvantage in fundraising and exposure. But, he is well known enough and has enough contacts he is still a formidable challenger.
His political views are centrist almost to the extreme. In fact, some of his plans seem almost too inoffensive to make any sense. To wit, he invokes the specter of universal health care, in the mold of ACA, with a provision for those who are happy with their insurance. Of course, the number of people who are truly happy with their health insurance is almost nobody. But, this approach appeals to people who aren’t happy and are willing to express their dissatisfaction and the insurance companies who are completely happy with the health insurance.
He does have the beautiful idea of forbidding retired members of Congress from becoming lobbyists. But, stops short of really coming down hard on lobbyists. Despite the fact that the whole place is beginning to reek of the smell of corporate cash and influence.
He wants to raise corporate taxes and is a “green” candidate who believes climate change is real and caused by man. Bennet is supported, in a big way, by the League of Conservation Voters. This is a fact I consider a plus.
How well he can roll in the mud with Trump during the brutal debates that loom on the horizon is anybody’s guess. Hillary Clinton was probably as tough as they come but she had trouble in the muck and crud. It is liable to worse this evolution. After so much in Washington Trump will have learned something useful, depending on how you define useful. But, with this many contenders for the title, and the bruising battle it is sure to become, the eventual candidate will probably develop a thick skin. Not to mention they will all have plenty of experience dealing with the insults and names that are already beginning in the Oval Office.
In essence, Michael Bennet is a great candidate for people who are looking for somebody with overtones of Clinton and Obama. If you are happy with the Democratic Party as it stands he might be your man.
On Deck, Joe Biden.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia