By Catherine Conlan
I’m writing this on Super Tuesday night, watching primary results roll in. It’s been a busy 48 hours with our own Amy Klobuchar suspending her campaign shortly after Pete Buttigieg suspended his. (Her outlasting him was a major flex for those Midwesterners watching closely.)
By the time this is printed on Wednesday, Bloomberg will be considering whether he should continue pouring money into his efforts after winning only American Samoa. But for me, it’ll be more interesting to see what Elizabeth Warren does.
I’d like to see her stay in the race, and not because she’s in a position to win it all. Her views are different than both Biden’s and Sanders’, and can provide important perspectives and nuances in what would quickly turn into a two-dimensional race between “a return to normalcy” and “a new way.”
And she’s not a spoiler candidate, as most polls find that Warren supporters would pick Biden or Sanders as their second choice about evenly. When she does halt her campaign, it won’t mean a big boost for either of them.
Plus, her energy is infectious, which is refreshing in a candidate so driven by policies and the practical “how” of enacting them.
No matter who is still in the race by the time you read this, the rest of this campaign is going to be a bruiser, both among remaining candidates and then when the Democratic nominee finally turns their sights on Trump.
In Minnesota, switching from a presidential preference caucus system to a primary at least tripled turnout from 2016. Expanding the system is always a good thing, and that switch and excuse-free absentee voting are clearly getting more voices heard at an important part in the process.
So what’s next? For some of us who caucused last week (was it only last week?), the fun is only beginning. The coming weeks will bring unit party conventions and district conventions, where we’ll be focused on candidates and policies. As the summer progresses, coordinated campaigns will cycle up and we’ll rush headlong into the fall.
Whether or not your preferred candidate is the one on the ballot, it’s clear that the remaining crop of Democrats are generally solid on many workers’ and union issues. At the same time, we can’t fall into the trap of saying “Well, anyone is better than who’s in the White House now,” however true that might be. Settling for that outcome establishes a low bar that encourages lethargy once Trump is gone — or promotes despair if he wins a second term.
As fun as it can be, primary season is good reminder that many of us will probably end up voting for someone who was our second or third choice, or someone we didn’t even much like in the first place. Recently I’ve seen metaphors comparing voting to public transportation: It won’t take you exactly to where you want to be, but it will get you closer than you are now. And when you get to where you’re going, you start to do the real work.
Electoral politics are vitally important, but there are other ways to bring about change in our communities and workplaces — through mutual aid, direct action, organizing, donating money to established networks and infrastructures, and so on. Politics is an all-or-nothing game, but there are other games out there as well to improve our lives and the lives of others. And I’d like to think that this concept, at least, won’t be outdated by the time you read it.
And then there were…
By Catherine Conlan