Reflecting on the year in politics has me feeling all kinds of things.
Exasperation: Has Mayor Bloomberg really already dropped $100 million on campaign ads? And will it work??
Terror: How terrified of the Bernie supporters should I be while writing a question online about how terrifying Bernie supporters can be online?
Sadness: Why am I still so sad about Sen. Harris dropping out of the race?
Disbelief: Why the hell is Sen. Warren going after Mayor Buttigieg for fundraisers when she has done the same for…
Wait. Wait a moment.
These are not helpful. This is not the mindset with which I want to start off 2020. This is not the mindset that will tee up victory in 2020.
And with so much on the line in the New Year, I’m going to make a shift. I will continue to stay informed and engaged, but I will be more conscious of the mindset I have around the 2020 elections, and the Democratic presidential primary in particular.
Starting with gratitude.
As I step back and reflect on the Democratic presidential field, I feel an immense amount of gratitude for those who filed to run, challenge one another, and share their vision for our party, country, and world. It’s easy to laugh at or be overwhelmed by the number of people who filed to run, but I view this with a sense of gratitude and pride. And not just the candidates, but also the people who joined their campaigns as volunteers, staff, and donors.
Most of all, I’m grateful to the women who stepped up to run — and not just for president but for all levels of elected office — despite the sexism and double standards they face along the way. Sens. Harris, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, and Warren — thank you. Marianne Williamson and, yes, Rep. Gabbard — thank you.
To the other top contenders — former VP Biden, Mayor Buttigieg, and Sen. Sanders — thank you. Through a gauntlet of town halls, rallies, and the occasional butter sculpture, you are exhausting yourself every day to try to win the nomination and save us from the brink of disaster.
To the optimistic and aspirational candidates who are still in the race — Sens. Bennet and Booker, Mayor Bloomberg, Secretary Castro, Rep. Delaney, Gov. Patrick, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang — thank you. You wake up each day, take time away from your friends and loved ones, and work hard to do what a relatively small number of people have done in our country’s history.
A special kudos to former Gov. Hickenlooper for running for US Senate in Colorado — a must-flip seat if we are to wrestle back power from Moscow Mitch McConnell. Thank you for stepping up — and hopefully inspiring at least one other candidate to follow your lead!
To the other ten candidates — Gov. Bullock and Inslee; Mayors de Blasio and Messam; Reps. Moulton, O’Rourke, Ryan, Sestak, and Swalwell; and Richard Ojeda — I had to look up some of you, but you all stepped up to a challenge that is daunting and important.
With six debates, eighteen presidential candidates, and a historically diverse group of contenders, 2019 has shown how strong the Democratic party is — even as I want and expect more. Because that’s, in part, what it means to be a Democrat. I can hold both pride in being a Democrat, while continuing to point out our shortcomings and flaws. The Democratic Party is why I have healthcare (thanks, Obama), why I was able to marry my husband, and why my retirement-age mom is able to stay in her home thanks to her monthly Social Security checks.
I have this vision of these 18 amazing candidates rallying together — like some public servant Justice League — and getting supersized by the grassroots leaders and other candidates all working together to reclaim power and, yes, defeat the evil doers. Maybe it starts with a unity rally or dinner or crowd surf (h/t to the Yang Gang). Whatever it is, we all unite together and focus on the real battles ahead.
With my healthcare, my marriage, and my mom’s financial stability on the line, doing anything else would be stupid.
So, as I count down the days till the New Year, I will replace the exasperation, terror, sadness, and disbelief of 2019 with what we will need to win in 2020.
Gratitude. Pride. Hope. Determination.