Now that there are a few declared candidates, the 2016 campaign season has begun in earnest. And I don't mind telling you that my mind is made up.
Or, at least, it is extremely unlikely that the lever I will pull on November 8, 2016, is different from what I think today it will be. There are some people who are bothered by that, and who want me to be bothered by that.
I'm a committed Democrat because I have a very clear vision for what I want this country to be. I want America to be a place of broad-based economic prosperity, of individual freedom, of help for those who need it, of learning and innovation and respect for knowledge and science, and of genuine justice for all. I take a long view, and that view is based on the realization that accomplishing those things requires consistently electing people who are committed broadly to the same things.
Like it or not, we have a two-party system in this country. There are good points and bad points to that system, but it is the system we have and changing it doesn't help me further my goals for this country.
So I know that for the 2016 Presidential election, I'll be voting for (electors pledged to) the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be.
All signs, including her logo, point to Hillary Clinton. I like her very much as a person. I know that she has spent a lifetime working to better the lives of people who need an advocate--children, the uninsured, and so forth. She is smart, well spoken, and capable of a transformational presidency not unlike her husband had.
I didn't vote for her in 2008. As it turns out, North Carolina (where I lived at the time) has a late primary, so by the time the primary election rolled around, Barack Obama had essentially sewn up the nomination. He got my vote, but he would have gotten my vote regardless.
It's not too late, exactly, for someone else to get in the race on the D side. But it seems unlikely. Will Joe Biden run? Maybe, but I just don't see much enthusiasm for his candidacy. Lots of people want Elizabeth Warren to run. I think she's possibly the best Democrat in Congress, and I would be thrilled with her as President. But she's not running, period. Bernie Sanders...he's a great guy, and I'm solidly aligned with his views, but he would be 75 years old at his inauguration. And he describes himself as a socialist. Martin O'Malley, former two-term governor of Maryland, might run. Great guy, and again, I like him a lot. But I don't know that he has the national stature needed to knock Hillary out of it, despite being the model for Tommy Carcetti, the ambitious councilman/mayor/governor from The Wire. (Great series, by the way. Well worth watching. It was available on Amazon Prime Video at last check.)
I have my issues with Hillary. Probably the biggest one is her close ties to Wall Street. And she voted for war in Iraq--something for which she has apologized, however. But most of my reservations have nothing to do with her and everything to do with the reaction of the Republicans to her presidency. They have proven that they will do ANYTHING, up to and including burning the country to the ground, to stymie progress that deprives them of power. I am fatigued of the treatment of President Obama; it will only get worse if she's elected.
But that's not really a reason to oppose her. I doubt that the GOP would really react any differently to any Democrat I could stand. And I've yet to encounter a Republican I could vote for. So I suppose I'm ready for Hillary.