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I Said I Wouldn’t Back A Dem Until The Primaries. Then the Stakes Were Raised...

About a year ago, I made it clear on my Facebook and twitter feeds that I was impressed by the names who were considering a 2020 run at the Democratic nomination for president. I also argued that the bitterness from the two divergent camps in the 2016 primary season was in no small part responsible for the unabashed disaster known as the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

I was deathly afraid that if people dug in too early on a candidate, similar resentment could eventually lead to similar results. Despite everything we now know about Russia’s attempts to sow the seed of discord within the Democratic Party (Just stay home, or vote for Jill Stein) there was no convincing evidence that the same thing couldn’t happen again.

Let’s face it. Donald Trump is not George W. Bush. During the 2000 campaign we may have suspected that Bush was unqualified to lead and held disastrous views on most issues. But there was also a chance he would be an inconsequential, one term president who didn’t fuck up beyond repair. I mean, it runs in his family.

Trump, on the other hand, was as transparent as one could be. He told us he was coming for our immigrant friends. He promised he would appoint judges with the sole litmus test of “will you overturn Roe v Wade”. He made his feelings on women, people of color and Muslims well known. Despite all of this, enough would-be Democratic voters did not show up to vote for Hillary Clinton to avert this disaster.

I sure as hell didn’t want to go through that again. Did you?

But the game has changed, friends. Not only has the field of candidates grown to a laughable 23 Democrats (including the mayor of Miramar, Florida and a self-help guru), but early polls point to a very easy path to victory for Vice President Biden.

Biden stands to gain from the same dynamic that propelled Trump to the nomination three years ago. He doesn’t need a majority of support, he simply needs the other contenders to continually split the vote in each state.

Yes, we’re 8 months away from Iowa and New Hampshire. A lot can change. But if we wait until the primaries to rally behind an alternative, it may very well be too late.

And let me be clear. I love Joe Biden. He served honorably as Veep for eight years and was arguably more progressive than President Obama himself. He was a welcome change from the evil manipulations of his predecessor. I believe that in his heart, he wants what’s best for every American regardless of income, race, creed, orientation or gender.

But the totality of his record gives me pause. As does his recent remarks that republicans will have “an epiphany” when Trump is defeated and will suddenly be willing to act in a bipartisan nature.

Joe Biden has been in Washington DC since before I was born. There has been zero evidence that Republicans have been interested in any bipartisan legislation since the Contract With America class of 1994. They wouldn’t let his boss pick a Supreme Court Justice. They openly stated that they wouldn’t pass a single Obama proposal regardless of how enticing it may be. Biden should know more than most that Republicans consider the Democratic Party to be enemies of the state.

We need someone who will return the favor.

Enter Elizabeth Warren.

Ironically, while I was pontificating about the need for Democrats to be measured, Warren was the only candidate I dismissed. I felt like she completely botched the Ancestry/DNA roll out. And she did.

My fear was that she would get down in the mud with Trump and try to out-mock him, out-insult him. Nobody’s every going to beat Trump when it comes to mud-wrestling. Nobody.

All Warren has done since that fateful blunder was roll out policy after policy. Her proposals are nuanced. They have readily available soundbites like “ultra millionaire tax”, “strengthen democracy”, “equal justice under the law” and a host of others that are nearly impossible to object to — the way Republicans have been running bumper sticker campaigns for 40 years.

But behind the soundbites are thoughtful, paid-for, and reasonable courses of action. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about anything Senator Warren has proposed, none of it seems unreachable.

Despite this, there is nothing in her history that portends to her values being negotiable. She is unapologetically progressive.

Furthermore, this is not a knock on any of the other serious candidates. I would just as proudly cast a vote for Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigeig and others.

And of course, Bernie Sanders.

I was a proud Sanders donor and primary voter in 2016. Bernie has made an undeniable mark on the history of the Democratic Party (and save me your nonsense about how he’s not a registered Democrat — let’s not act like the DNC isn’t without sin.) Should Sanders capture the nomination, I will proudly donate and vote for him once again.

But I’m not naive enough to ignore the reality that there are enough Democrats who still harbor ill will towards Bernie over the 2016 election. It’s a circular argument: Hillary didn’t reach out to Bernie’s supporters, Bernie’s supporters never warmed to Hillary. Chicken and Egg. And it’s over.

Warren is just as progressive as Sanders, and has offered a wider and more comprehensive vision of exactly how she would implement her proposals. She’s also more adept at navigating the Senate. And she carries no leftover scent of 2016.

I’m not here to bash Bernie. I love him. But Warren is the better, safer play.

And then there’s the Gilead Factor. There is no mistaking the fact that there is an active war on women being launched by Donald Trump’s Republican Party. A bill was just passed in Alabama that calls for a longer sentence for terminating a pregnancy that derived from rape than it does for rape itself. And the state Senators who passed this — all white men — were clear: this is intended to go to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But what if it does more than just overturn the long held established law? What if the lunatics on the bench hold up the sentencing guidelines for doctor’s who perform abortions, or the right to an abortion in the event of rape or incest?

The next time the Republicans hold 50 Senate Seats and the White House, that draconian Alabama law can be codified in federal law.

Is that likely? Maybe not. But do you want to risk it?

I shudder at the idea of identity politics, I really do. But we saw how successful women were in knocking off Republican incumbent congressmen last fall. We see the clear battle lines that the GOP has drawn against women’s autonomy. We’re long past due to send the message to my seven beautiful nieces that they can be President some day.

We have Nazis killing people in the street while the president calls their cohorts “fine people”. Children are being ripped from their mother’s breast and thrown behind a cage at our southern border. Billionaires are getting feted with (more) tax cuts while the White House tries to end guaranteed health coverage of people with preexisting conditions. This isn’t America anymore, and we probably only have one chance to take our country back.

This will be the most important election of our lifetimes. Party unity is going to be paramount. There is no reason why a Bernie supporter should be unable to accept a Warren nomination. There is no reason why a moderate or mainstream Democrat should be unable as well.

And while it’s not even yet Memorial Day, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t either.

Liz Do This!

Freelance Journalist, Guest Writer at HuffPost, Middle-aged, music-loving, baseball-watching, beer-guzzling progressive.

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