Hubert Humphrey

Is It Time For A New Generation Of Leadership For The Democrats?

After watching both Democratic Presidential debates this week, one has to ask the question:

It is time for a new generation of leadership for the Democrats?

The Democratic Party, historically, has regularly gone for younger candidates for President than the Republicans.

Witness Franklin D. Roosevelt, age 51; Adlai Stevenson, age 52; John F. Kennedy, age 43; Lyndon B. Johnson full term, age 56; Hubert Humphrey, age 57; George McGovern, age 50; Jimmy Carter, age 52; Walter Mondale, age 56; Michael Dukakis, age 56; Bill Clinton, age 46; Al Gore, age 52; Barack Obama, age 47.

Compare this to Dwight D. Eisenhower, age 62; Gerald Ford, 1976, age 63; Ronald Reagan, age 69; George H W Bush, age 64; Bob Dole, age 73; John McCain, age 72; Mitt Romney, age 65; Donald Trump, age 70.

So nominating Bernie Sanders, age 79; Joe Biden, age 78; or Elizabeth Warren, age 71—all of whom would be the oldest first term nominated Presidential candidate—might be the wrong way to go!

Might it NOT be better to nominate, at their ages at the time of the Presidential Election of 2020?

Pete Buttigieg age 39

Tulsi Gabbard age 39

Eric Swalwell age 40

Julian Castro age 46

Beto O’Rourke age 48

Cory Booker age 51

Steve Bullock age 54

Kirsten Gillibrand age 54

Kamala Harris age 56

Amy Klobuchar age 60

The Misunderstanding Of The Terms “Liberal” And “Progressive”

A new debate is emerging over the use of the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive”.

There are those who think there is a real difference between these two political terms, but this blogger and author wishes to make clear that he sees no difference in reality.

The term “Progressive” became popular with the rise of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Senators Robert La Follette Sr of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska in the early 20th century. This term became notable due to these Republican officeholders and others.

But in the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal ushered in a different term, that the reforms of the 1930s were “Liberal”, and for the next half century, “Liberal” was the preferred term, promoted by President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and others in the Democratic Party, and by Republicans including Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Senator Jacob Javits of New York and others.

With the rise of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency, with the attacks on “liberalism” by conservatives, the term “Progressive” returned to favor, and this author chose that term for the title of his blog, when he began it in 2008.

But I consider the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive” to be interchangeable, as both represent the promotion of the virtues of government; the need for economic regulation; the promotion of social reform; and concern for human rights and environmental protection. Additionally, the importance of international alliances and agreements is paramount, and the avoidance of unnecessary wars and military intervention except if truly a threat to national security, is essential.

So for instance, World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War were justifiable, while the wars in Vietnam and Iraq were not justifiable, and support of military dictatorships around the world suppressing freedom has always been unethical and immoral.

So as I stated on my Personal Profile page since August 2008, I am proud to call myself a “Liberal” AND a “Progressive”!

Is It Essential To Have A Woman On The Democratic Ticket In 2020, The Centennial Of The 19th Amendment? If So, Amy Klobuchar Is The Right Choice!

The question arises whether it is essential to have a woman on the Democratic Presidential ticket in 2020, the Centennial of the 19th Amendment.

The experience with women on the national ticket is not a good one. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York ran with Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale in 1984, and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska ran with Republican Presidential nominee John McCain in 2008.

Having said that, the potential women who could be on the national ticket are far superior to Ferraro and Palin.

Many observers have the feeling that no woman could engage in adequate verbal combat with Donald Trump on a debate stage.

But what about engaging in debate with Vice President Mike Pence? That seems much more promising.

The issue is which woman would be seen as best to debate, in the sense of coming across as even tempered, calm, rational, and effective in any debate with a male opponent, as neither Ferraro nor Palin came across well when debating George H. W. Bush in 1984 in the case of Ferraro, or Joe Biden in 2008 in the case of Palin.

The gut feeling this blogger and scholar has is that Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar would probably be most effective in a debate. She is not seen by the population as emotional, shrill, or as someone who would be perceived as overly feminist in her views. Understand that this whole issue is not a problem with the author, but he is trying to perceive how white working class males would judge a woman candidate.

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand would all have “problems” that would make them negatively seen by the group which helped to elect Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. This is reality, not what the author wishes was so, but we cannot deny the issue of misogyny.

Klobuchar would make a great Vice Presidential running mate, from the Midwest, and yet with a tradition inherited from Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone, of Democratic Farmer Labor commitment that made Minnesota one of the most advanced states politically in the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

The odds of her being the Presidential nominee seem highly unlikely at this point, but she would be an excellent choice to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency with an older man as President, such as Joe Biden.

New York City Mayors, Other Mayors And The Presidency

New York City has had Mayors who have sought the Presidency, but never has a NYC Mayor reached the White House.

With the announcement by present NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio of him becoming number 23 to run for the White House, this is a good time to look back at failed runs for the White House by NYC Mayors, and the history of other Mayors who have run for President.

DeWitt Clinton was the Federalist nominee for President in 1812 against President James Madison, but lost.

John Lindsay switched from the Republican to Democratic Party in 1972, but lost early in the process and withdrew his candidacy by April.

Rudy Giuliani was leading in polls in 2007 as a potential Republican nominee, but flopped badly and withdrew in January 2008.

Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat, considered announcing in 2016 and 2020, but decided not to at the present time, due to Joe Biden entering the race with similar views.

Additionally, a future President ran for Mayor of NYC in 1886 as a Republican, and ended up third, and yet went on to the White House, and that was Theodore Roosevelt.

Additionally, we have former Buffalo, New York Mayor and New York Governor Grover Cleveland who went on to the Presidency in 1884.

Other Mayors who ran for the Presidency include:

Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who went on to the Senate and Vice Presidency, but lost the Presidential election of 1968 to Richard Nixon.

Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, who ran for the Democratic nomination unsuccessfully in 1972.

Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, who also served in Congress, and was a Democratic candidate unsuccessfully in 2004 and 2008.

Martin O’Malley of Baltimore, Maryland, who also served as Maryland Governor, and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Additionally, two Presidents who succeeded after the death of the incumbent President, had served as Mayors of small cities–Andrew Johnson as Greeneville, Tennessee Mayor; and Calvin Coolidge as Northampton, Massachusetts Mayor, and was successful in winning his own term as President in 1924.

And now, of course, we have four former Mayors running in the Democratic Presidential competition:

Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey

Julian Castro of San Antonio, Texas

John Hickenlooper of Denver, Colorado

Bernie Sanders of Burlington, Vermont

We also have three sitting Mayors now running for the Democratic nomination:

Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana

Bill de Blasio of New York City

Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

Can Joe Biden Overcome The Obstacle Course Awaiting Him In 2020?

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his campaign on Thursday, starting off as a front runner in polls.

But can he overcome the obstacle course awaiting him in 2020?

In his long career of 44 years in national office, 36 in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President, the longest public service record of any Presidential candidate in modern history, Biden came across as genuine, sincere, decent, and compassionate, and gained millions of fans, including this blogger and author.

But he also made judgments that are problematical, including being against school busing in Delaware; supporting the credit card industry in his state, and in so doing, undermining the ability of debtors to protect themselves by bankruptcy; his lack of protection of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, for which he continues to apologize but in an unsatisfactory manner; his support of an interventionist foreign policy in Iraq; his many gaffes, many of them harmless but still giving him a reputation for loose and thoughtless language; and his habit of being too touchy feely with women and girls, although never accused of sexual improprieties.

Biden also promoted tough crime and drug laws in the 1990s, which are now looked at as blunders that put too many African Americans in prison unjustifiably, and his leadership at different times of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been criticized. His ability to “cross the aisle” and work with many Republicans is seen by some as a weakness, while others see it as a strength.

Biden is a centrist Democrat in 2019 at a time when many progressives are much further to the left than him, and one wonders if he could gain the support of those to his left if he wins the nomination, as he is perceived as too close to the traditional power centers of the party.

Joe Biden has many positive attributes, but his negative side and shortcomings, as seen by many critics, could doom him in a race against Donald Trump, when the most important thing possible is to insure that Donald Trump does not gain a second term, as that would be destructive of every progressive goal in the short run and long run.

This blogger and author has always looked at Joe Biden as a hero of his, as much as earlier, Hubert Humphrey was his model of what a political leader should be like. But Humphrey had the same problem 50 years ago of being admired and praised, but seen by many as not the best choice to oppose Richard Nixon in 1968, against Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.

So the same quandary of 1968 awaits us in 2020, to find the best person to be successful against the greatest menace, Donald Trump, that we have had in a half century of American political history, far more damaging than Richard Nixon.

And while Hubert Humphrey was 57 at the time he ran for President in 1968, Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election, and as in 1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008, Democrats were able to elect a “new generation” leadership of John F. Kennedy (age 43); Jimmy Carter (age 52); Bill Clinton (age 46); and Barack Obama (age 47).

Should that be the direction for 2020 is the ultimate challenge for the Democrats.

And will Joe Biden be able to win the white working class of the Midwest and Pennsylvania? Will he be able to keep the African American community around him? Will he be able to draw moderate independents and alienated Republicans, who do not wish to vote for Donald Trump? Will he be able to win suburban whites, who veered toward Democrats in 2018? Will many seniors who supported Trump come back to the Democrats they once supported? And will enough young voters who have supported Bernie Sanders, who is 14 months older than Joe Biden, extend their allegiance to Biden if he stops the Sanders juggernaut?

These are the questions that will dominate the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2020.

The Decision Of Sherrod Brown Not To Run For President Opens Opportunity For Amy Klobuchar Of Minnesota To Be The “Midwest” Candidate

The decision of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to forego an opportunity to run for President as a Midwesterner in a time when the Midwest is clearly the battleground in the Electoral College in 2020 is a open opportunity for Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to be the “Midwest” candidate.

Klobuchar is the only Midwesterner likely to run, although Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, a fellow moderate, has hinted at running, but being a United States Senator is an edge over being a House member.

The main point against Klobuchar is the report that she is a nasty, unpleasant person to work for, but even if that is true, the record shows many others also have that reputation, including Presidents ranging from Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, to Donald Trump in the last half century.

Also, it is said she is too ‘moderate” in that she does not believe that everything promoted and promised by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others is possible in the next term, and that she will not promise what she sees as campaign propaganda, leading to disillusionment when it is not possible to accomplish these massive pledges.

This seems perfectly reasonable to this author and blogger, and Klobuchar has a solid record of accomplishment, and of “crossing the aisle” to gain bipartisan support on legislation. She is in the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) tradition in Minnesota, the heir of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, and even Al Franken (unfairly forced out of the Senate) by bullying over unproved charges of sexual harassment promoted aggressively by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, for whom this author and blogger lost all respect.

Klobuchar will be 60 in 2020, close to the ideal average age of most Presidents taking office, and she would bring to the Presidency a sensible commitment to social justice, avoiding extreme statements that would only assist Donald Trump and Mike Pence in their reelection campaign.

She would also bring a reasonable woman into the Presidency, more cautious and sensible in her rhetoric than the alternative female candidates.

And if she chose Julian Castro of Texas, we would have a Democratic ticket of a woman and a Latino, overcoming two barriers at once, and leaving Castro, who would be age 46 in 2020, open to a future run for President after two terms of President Klobuchar, and be the precise average age of Presidents, mid 50s, in 2028.

Five Women Contending For Democratic Presidential Nomination: Who Has Best Chance, Or Will They All Cancel Each Other Out?

The Presidential Election competition for 2020 is certainly the most diverse ever seen.

Instead of seeing one woman or two women competing as in recent elections, we have a total of five women trying to gain the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The question which arises is whether America is really ready to elect a woman President in a nation which has so much misogyny, while so many other nations have had women leaders without any controversy.

The question is who has the best chance, or will they all cancel each other out, and we will end up with a male Presidential candidate in the end.

It would seem to this author and blogger that of the five women candidates for President, that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who has the appeal of being potentially the youngest President at age 39 in 2020, has zero chance of being the nominee. Only one sitting member of the House of Representatives, James A. Garfield of Ohio in 1880, ever was elected President, and tragically, was assassinated six months into office, after being shot after just four months in the Presidency.

Among the other four, it would seem that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, with her bullying of former Minnesota Senator Al Franken over unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment, would be the second most like to fail in her bid for the Presidency.

The other three, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Kamala Harris of California; and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota all would seem to have a much better chance of survival.

However, Warren might be more to the left than the nation would tolerate; and Harris, being of a mixed race background, might face a daunting task of overcoming both racism, and what all women candidates face–misogyny.

So on paper, Klobuchar, from the Midwest, and coming across as more centrist a progressive, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone, might have the best chance to be nominated and elected.

Time will tell ultimately whether any of the women will survive, or even if any of them might be a Vice Presidential running mate, with only Klobuchar, and possibly, Harris, agreeing to be in that role.

Losing Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Clay, Charles Evans Hughes, Hubert Humphrey

When one looks back in American history at losing Presidential candidates who should have been President in their times, three names stand out:

Henry Clay of Kentucky, 1824, 1832, 1844

Charles Evans Hughes of New York, 1916

Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, 1968

All three of these Presidential candidates were exceptional public servants.

Henry Clay was the most important legislator of the first half of the 19th century, known as the Great Compromiser, for his promotion of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise Tariff of 1833, and the Compromise of 1850. He was the youngest Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and also served a number of terms in the US Senate. He stood for a stronger national government, in the Alexander Hamilton model, and had a great impact on many others including Abraham Lincoln, who became a Whig Party member due to the influence of Clay on him.

Charles Evans Hughes was the progressive Republican Governor of New York, in the Robert LaFollette-Wisconsin model in the early 20th century, served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, resigned to run for President against Woodrow Wilson in the closest electoral vote election since 1876, and third closest electoral vote election of all time, and then went on to be Secretary of State. Finally, he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1930s, the New Deal era.

Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic Senator from Minnesota, a leading liberal figure, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis before going to the Senate. He was seen as a premier liberal in Congress, responsible for many of the ideas that became the Great Society. He was Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, unhappy in that position and forced to support the Vietnam War in speeches, which undermined his Presidential campaign in 1968 against Richard Nixon. He came back to the Senate after his Presidential defeat, and sadly died at the young age of 66 in 1978.

If these three losing Presidential candidates had won, the history of the United States would have been vastly different.

Losing Vice Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (1960) And Edmund Muskie (1968)

A category of political leaders very easily forgotten are Vice Presidential candidates on a losing Presidential ticket.

Many of them are seen in history as disastrous for one reason or another, including William E. Miller, who ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro, who was the running mate of Walter Mondale in 1984; John Edwards, who was John Kerry’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2004; and Sarah Palin, who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

On the other hand, we can find at least two Vice Presidential running mates who were true giant figures in American political history.

One was Richard Nixon’s Vice Presidential choice in 1960, former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr of Massachusetts, who lost his seat to John F. Kennedy in 1952, but was United Nations Ambassador under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; and later Ambassador to South Vietnam under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; and also sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 1964. Lodge was a true star figure, the only one of the four candidates in 1960 not to become President, and there are scholars who think he might have been a better President, than Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He was certainly a solid figure in American foreign policy, and had 16 years service in the US Senate.

The other Vice Presidential running mate who was a star figure was Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, who was Hubert Humphrey’s choice in 1968. Muskie ran a dignified campaign that year, and later sought the Presidency in 1972, but derailed by the “Dirty Tricks” of the Richard Nixon reelection campaign, and lost the nomination to Senator George McGovern, seen as an easier candidate to defeat, which indeed he turned out to be. But Muskie served 21 years in the Senate, and then was Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Both men would have been exceptional choices for the Oval Office, but never had the opportunity, but their legacy needs to be honored and remembered.