We really don’t need another rich businessman for president. That’s what I thought upon learning that Rep. John K. Delaney announced he is running in 2020 and in essence moving to Iowa now.
That belief was further strengthened looking at his website and statement, “Why I’m Running for President,” By John K. Delaney. It reads, “The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible. This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.” Hell, if the politics of the Democratic Party are so broken why fight for its nomination?
In reality, Delaney wants to weaken the Democratic Party and its ability to choose its standard bearers. He introduced the Open Our Democracy Act (H.R. 2981 in the 115th Congress). This bill, which went nowhere, “proposed to make election day a federal holiday, make all congressional primary elections open elections so all eligible voters can participate in them, and to end gerrymandering by requiring independent commissions to draw the districts in each state.” Guess he forgot he won his seat because of gerrymandering/redistricting. I would question why he wants the Democratic nomination for president and then wants to open up all primaries. What is the point of a political party if anyone, without being a member, can choose who will represent the party in a general election?
There is nothing original on Delaney’s website. A few overused platitudes and then you get to read what turns out to be the principles of the 2016 Democratic Party platform. Statements like, “Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship. We are letting critical opportunities to improve the country pass us by. And we are not even talking about the most important thing: the future.” He then borrows liberally from Hillary Clinton’s campaign when he says, “We need to be smarter, fueled by more investment in science, education and research. We need new ideas on the future of jobs and work, one where we build a stronger and more vibrant middle class. We need to encourage a more just and inclusive form of capitalism and reduce barriers to small-business formation, start-ups, job creation, investment and growth. We need to strengthen our safety-net programs and create a new social contract. We need to reform the systems of education, health care and immigration, and encourage more volunteerism, impact investing and public service. And we need to take affirmative steps to reduce our security, fiscal and climate risks. This is what my campaign will be about.”
One reason our politics is a mess is candidates like Delaney who think it’s a game and you can buy a seat at the table or a nomination. He has been in the Congress a little over four years with no real accomplishments and is clearly bored. Instead of announcing for president why isn’t Delaney working with the various committees nationally and locally trying to elect Democrats across the board if he believes in the party enough to want to lead it?
We are facing a disaster with Donald Trump in the White House, which heightens the need to win governorships in New Jersey and Virginia in 2017 and then a host of others, state houses and the Congress in 2018. It takes an egotist to think if he doesn’t help and instead launches a Don Quixote like campaign for the White House this early that anyone will be convinced to vote for him in 2020. There are a host of accomplished Democrats who have served in various legislative and executive positions over the years, have a great grasp of government and who don’t get bored easily who will announce after the 2018 elections especially if we win back the Congress.
I don’t know or dislike Delaney and am really just using him as an example of what is broken about our politics. It is politicians looking to enhance themselves and their own opportunities instead of working on the things that need doing for the American people today.
The Democratic Party isn’t broken. There are people across the nation wanting to work for it and with it; others wanting to run under its banner. If Delaney has a lot of extra money to spend there are plenty of useful places he could choose to help strengthen the Democratic Party. Going on a long-term ego trip in Iowa isn’t going to help anyone.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.