“The Sunday Political Brunch”—March 12, 2017
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Mark Curtis, GoLocalPDX Contributor
I’ve had a lot of comments and messages in the last week regarding the Democratic Party response to President Trump’s joint address to Congress last week. Many of my readers wondered about the choice of former Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY), who gave the response. I think it’s a fair issue for discussion, so let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Bashing Beshear” – I’ll be honest; I thought it was an odd choice. Steve Beshear is 72 years old and a long-time Kentucky politico, who has served in various public offices since the 1970s. He was termed-out in 2016, after serving eight years as Governor. I have a lot of viewers and readers in Kentucky, so I want to make this clear: I am not criticizing Governor Beshear or his message. But isn’t he more about his party’s past, rather than its future? Actually, the answer might be a bit of both as you read on.
“Boosting Beshear” – Okay, don’t anyone accuse me of ageism, but I have a fascinating question: Why didn’t they choose Governor Beshear’s son? Andy Beshear came into office as Attorney General (D-KY) the same day his dad left office. The younger Beshear has been brash and has made headlines for successfully taking on some of the initiatives of new Governor Matt Bevin (D-KY). At the age of 39, Andy Beshear is certainly one of the faces of the future for the Democratic Party both locally and nationally. He has a long road ahead.
“Bench Strength” – I raise the issue of the Democratic Party’s future because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is 75; former Vice President Joe Biden is 74; and former Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is 69. As popular as each one once was, does any of them have the stamina for another Presidential run in 2020? Maybe; maybe not. The party has been widely criticized for not developing a “bench” much like a football or basketball franchise. The party’s future lies more with an Andy Beshear than with a Steve Beshear, and there are others of his generation we should discuss.
“Oh, No! Another Cuomo” – One of the potential Presidential candidates to keep an eye on is Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). As a practical matter, any time you can get a Democratic candidate from New York or California (or a Republican from Texas or Florida), you potentially secure a huge chunk of Electoral College votes. Yes, his dad was the late Governor Mario Cuomo (D-NY), but Andrew has compiled a long resume of his own. In the past 24 years, he has served in the Clinton cabinet and as New York Attorney General, before becoming Governor. At 59, he’s viable for at least the next two or three election cycles.
“West Coast Boast” – As mentioned, California remains a big electoral prize for Democrats. Right now, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is the odds-on favorite to become Governor in 2018. I’ve known and covered him for the past twenty years. Yes, he’s had some scandal; but, at age 49, a lot of that is behind him. If he’s a successful Governor (and a potential replacement for Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), he has quite a long political future ahead. He’s the architect of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States, which could cut both ways politically. Keep him on your radar screen (photo with former President Clinton above).
“Don’t Duck Duckworth” – Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is an authentic American war hero. She lost both legs and much of the use of her right arm in 2004, when the Army helicopter she was piloting during the Iraq War was shot down. When she came back stateside, she lost her first race for Congress in 2006. She was appointed at both the state and federal levels to work in veterans' affairs jobs before winning two terms in the U.S. House beginning in 2012 and then being elevated to the Senate in 2016. As a 49-year-old Asian-American with a base in a big Electoral College state, she’s a legitimate White House contender for the next 20 years.
“Castro Brothers; No, Not Those Castros” – I’ve written about them before, and they are worth keeping on your radar. Julian Castro was the Mayor of San Antonio for five years, before being named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. His twin brother Joaquin has just started his third term in the House of Representatives. The Castro brothers are 42 years old, so they have decades of political viability. Their only downside might be their seeming inability to carry the solid red state of Texas, but these young men are on a definite watch list for national viability.
“Why All of This Matters?” – I found the Steve Beshear response to President Trump jarring – not from a political policy standpoint, but rather from a party’s strategic standpoint. Steve Beshear is part of his party’s past; his son Andy is part of the party’s future. Many of the other younger candidates I’ve spoken of here are also part of their party’s future. It’s about building a bench. Let’s face it: The 2020 Presidential campaign began November 9, 2016 – the day after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
Who is your Presidential candidate in 2020? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.