The Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Since then, Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have dropped out.
March 3, 2020, by David Silverberg
As Floridians, we’re left out of the party that is “Super Tuesday” when Democrats in 14 states and one territory (American Samoa) vote for their preferred presidential candidate.
By tonight, and certainly by tomorrow morning, we will likely know the nominee of the Democratic Party.
There will be anger and disappointment—even disgust—among some Florida Democrats no matter who emerges victorious.
Sadly, we have two weeks until Florida Democrats get to vote. The primary falls on St. Patrick’s Day, so prayer and alcohol are two possible consolations. Still, whether your preferred candidate makes it through to receive your vote or you’re faced with an unpalatable choice on March 17, there are important truths—vital, inalienable truths—to keep in mind. And these overshadow all else.
- There is only one real issue in this presidential election: Democracy or dictatorship.
For all the media focus on personalities and debate points and the candidates’ records and positions on any other issues, in the end the 2020 election will decide whether the United States will be a free nation of principles, law and institutions ruled by its people or a plaything subject to the tyranny of a single man. All other considerations of the presidential primary process are subordinate to that one great truth and consequence.
- Every Democratic candidate will work to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.
For all their differences of personality or position, all Democratic candidates can be counted upon to strive to fulfill the presidential oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Donald J. Trump, who governs as though he’s unaware that there’s a Constitution at all and routinely violates its provisions, was impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. He’s a tyrant in his heart as well as in his actions and his rule will become more tyrannical if it continues.
- All Democratic candidates will support the rule of law and fair and equal justice for all.
This seems so plain and obvious and self-evident but it is not. Donald J. Trump clearly believes he is above all laws and acts accordingly. He only escaped removal through a gravely flawed and deliberately biased trial in the Senate. He has pardoned, excused and commuted punishment for criminals and miscreants of all stripes and natures as long as they’re his friends and sycophants.
Any Democratic candidate will uphold the rule of law and will take seriously the oath to enforce it equally, justly and vigorously—and will submit to the laws on the books like any other citizen.
- All Democratic candidates will support the human rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Again, it would have been unthinkable in the history of the United States but we must worry about a president who attacks rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, chief among them those of the 1st Amendment: freedom of speech, the press, worship and the right to petition government. In 2020, those rights and all others are at risk. Donald J. Trump threatens all of them—and every other human right and amendment in the Constitution.
Far from the United States pursuing a mission abroad to ensure the human rights of all people, in 2020 American citizens must ensure that they preserve those inherent rights in their hearts and heartland. Any and every Democratic candidate stands to preserve and protect them.
- Truth matters to all the Democratic candidates.
President Abraham Lincoln reportedly said: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” But Donald J. Trump turns that on its head. His philosophy might be expressed as: “You can fool all the people all the time and when you can’t you should try—and that includes fooling yourself.”
In politics there are inevitably shadings of truth and attempts to spin events to one’s advantage. But the United States has never before had a president who lies so instinctively, so inherently and so incessantly. He not only lies to the nation and the world but to himself and then believes his own lies. It is safe to say that any Democratic candidate will show a decent respect for the truth and objective reality and will act on the facts accordingly.
- Science matters to all the Democratic candidates.
It is extraordinary that any modern human being would think that he could change the course of a hurricane with a Sharpie and then force respected scientists to confirm his delusion. It is extraordinary that any modern person would dismiss any scientific evidence he doesn’t like as a “hoax,” whether that’s climate change or the danger of a plague.
It can safely be said that every Democratic candidate will respect science and scientifically reached conclusions of fact and act on that rather than delusions and lies.
- Every Democratic candidate will be concerned with protecting and preserving the natural environment.
Far from dismissing science and actively working to destroy the very planet on which we all live, as Donald J. Trump does, every Democratic candidate will work to preserve the natural environment, to keep it habitable and to pass on livable conditions to future generations. There may be differences of degree or emphasis but there won’t be the wholesale dismissal of environmental conditions and environmental science as a “hoax.”
* * *
These are just a few of the crucial truths that set all the Democratic candidates apart from Donald J. Trump. The most fundamental, supposedly self-evident truths of the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are at risk.
It’s safe to say that the election of 2020 is the most critical since the first election of 1788; that it will determine whether America remains a democracy or lapses into dictatorship; that Donald J. Trump is a tyrant at heart and by both instinct and design aims to establish a tyranny over the United States more complete than any King George III ever imagined; and that every democrat—and that includes any person who believes in democracy at all—has an obligation to preserve, protect and defend the democracy and Constitution that has governed this nation and pass it on to future generations.
Against those kinds of stakes, the warts and pimples, the lapses and trivialities of different Democratic Party candidates fade into insignificance.
In Florida we don’t get to participate in Super Tuesday. But on March 17 and again on Nov. 3, we have to vote like our lives depend on it—because they do.
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
By Eric Larson
“I thought about Winston Churchill. How did he withstand it? And his family and friends? Mine is a more intimate account that delves into how Churchill and his circle went about surviving on a daily basis.”