When choosing a school, a restaurant, or a licensed contractor, most of us use criteria to make our choice. But very few people actually do this when choosing the candidates they vote for. The media doesn’t help with this either by asking nonsense questions like “who would you like to have a beer with?”
I offer here a set of criteria for progressives to use when choosing a candidate to support in our partly dysfunctional 2019 American political system. Having paid attention to this wild yet somehow predictable 2020 Democratic Primary over the past year, for your reading pleasure, I also score each candidate based on those criteria, although you are invited to tweak the criteria and score them differently if you would like.
There are a lot of candidates and a lot to examine, so this is not a short piece. Grab a coffee or tea and a comfortable chair.
Let’s get two things out of the way before jumping in:
First, basic terminology. I see essentially all politics, politicians, and movements as efforts to control the distribution of wealth and power, and each channels one of three forces:
– Reactionary, seeking to concentrate wealth and power into fewer hands
– Conservative, seeking to keep the distribution of wealth and power as it is
– Progressive, seeking to spread wealth and power more broadly among people
If you consider these strands of political energy and find yourself instinctively reactionary, you might not find much of this article useful. I am a progressive at heart and believe that spreading wealth and power more broadly is beneficial to all and creates a stronger and healthier society, and I consider the grand arc of progressive politics stretching back to Magna Carta to be a good thing and something that I hope will continue. Today, with AI, nanotechnology, weather manipulation, and the rest of the next wave of technology arriving every day, we can and must distribute power (ie decision-making) more broadly throughout the population.