Marianne Williamson – Nope.

I have thought of a million ways to start this blog post about the candidacy of Marianne Williamson, and none of them are keeping with the tone of dignity and civility that I’m aiming for here. So…

I think her primary policy idea is prayer?

Ms. Williamson is not without an impressive resume of good work done in the world – from the founding of Project Angel Food to feed HIV positive and AIDS victims in the 80s to her work advocating for peace in various forms. Good on her.

However, listening to her is like listening to a self-help book on tape, when you know that most of what you are hearing is meaningless, but maybe there’s a nugget of something you can learn.

What I found particularly interesting is that of all of the candidates that I’ve listened to so far, Williamson is the most defensive about her candidacy. When challenged by an audience member who suggested that her message was “abstract”, she became heated and insisted that she has more specific policies than any other candidate. (She doesn’t.) It was weird, uncomfortable, and poorly handled.

Williamson is all about God, and that’s okay. For her. It’s not okay that she seems to indicate that the rest of us need to be all about God/god, too.

I’m trying to decide if it is deal-breaker for me that she doesn’t have a college degree. I know a lot of incredibly smart people who do not have college degrees, and I know that it is possible to seek and receive a well-balanced education outside of the traditional college setting. I also know that a college degree – even advanced degrees – don’t make you an intelligent, reasoned person. But…

For so very many reasons, nope. Nope. Nope-edy-nope.

I primarily focused my research on this series of interviews from WMUR in New Hampshire. (WMUR interviews are still fantastic – and am finding that the questions asked are incredibly well thought out, range across many topics, and somewhat consistent between candidates. Great source to learn more!)

Is anyone taking her candidacy seriously? Can someone reassure me that you’ve read this, so that I didn’t lose two hours of my life listening to YouTube videos of interviews with her today for no good reason. Link me to any articles, videos or just let me know what you are thinking in the comments.

John Delaney – Worth a Listen

I was really prepared to not like or care about this guy at all. As it turns out, I don’t dislike him, he seems to have some pretty good ideas, and I still don’t care all that much.

Solution-Oriented, Bi-Partisan Problem Solver

Delaney’s core “message” is that he is a solutions-oriented guy who can work across party lines to get things done. Sounds reasonable, but also like something pretty much every candidate says. Unlike some other candidates, Delaney does have some really specific ideas on policies and programs, he’s really well-spoken and articulate about those ideas, and he’s enough of the centrist and pragmatist to actually work across party lines.

I’ll continue to listen to Delaney- but I’m not inspired.

I’m going to continue to pay attention to Delaney, mostly because he does have some solid ideas and he isn’t uncomfortably painful to listen to when he articulates them. But I’m not at all inspired by him. He talks about every issue he’s asked about as a “priority” and “the number one issue facing…”, and I don’t feel like it is really genuine. I don’t think he’s dishonest, but I think he’s not comfortable saying, “I haven’t actually considered that idea or that topic.”

Also, at the risk of falling into the trap of identity politics, he’s a middle-aged, white guy from the Mid-Atlantic states. It’s not a reason to write him off, but it’s also not an advantage in this race.

I primarily focused my research on this series of interviews from WMUR in New Hampshire. (WMUR interviews are fantastic sources of information, btw.)

Is anyone a big Delaney supporter? I’m particularly interested in anyone who has been following his career for a long time. Link me to any articles, videos or just let me know what you are thinking in the comments.

Andrew Yang – Tech Geek, Single Issue Candidate

I don’t think Andrew Yang wants to be President of the United States. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself in order to understand his candidacy. Yang has an urgent message about the impact of automation on the workforce in the next 5 – 10 years — specifically the loss of jobs in trucking, customer service, and retail. He seems to be using the 2020 Democratic primary as a way to get that message out. It’s a worthy message – but it’s his only message, and it isn’t enough to put him on my list of potential candidates.

Universal Basic Income

Yang has some good ideas, including the idea of universal basic income – which might not be the right answer, but it is an idea worth discussing. As the overall economy of the United States is actually growing, income inequality is increasing and the vast majority of the people are not seeing the benefit of that growth. The benefits of automation translates into corporate profits, but there is no motivation to use that profit to create additional human jobs. Keep automating to minimize the cost of human labor, and you keep growing profit. Yang’s solution is to provide a “dividend check” on that growth (funded by taxes on corporate profit) to all Americans. I don’t hate the idea. I don’t love the idea. That’s an entire series of blog posts in itself.

Yang is a No from me.

While he’s clearly smart, Yang is a single issue, single focus candidate. He’s not terribly articulate about anything other than automation and universal basic income, although he admirably tries to bring every issue back around to this point. I also think he’s very wrong on the Supreme Court, where he strongly believes that setting term limits.

My sources were primarily this interview at Georgetown University from February, and this series of interview from WMUR in New Hampshire from February.

Do you disagree? Is there something about Yang that I’m missing? Link me to any articles, videos or just let me know what you are thinking in the comments.

My Current 2020 Democratic Candidate Ranking

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As I do my own research into the candidates, I’m going to keep a ranking for my own purposes of where candidates fall. The ranking won’t be totally accurate or fair, because a.) I’m still learning about many of the candidates, and b.) at some point in the list, they all just become the same level of “no”.

Updated 04/14/19