P&P4P – 2

The goofy-looking “acronym” of this title refers to a previous piece of mine “Preening and Primping for President” which seemed a bit long. As we are now in debate season for the Primary Elections held state-by-state in winter and spring of 2020, it seemed like an updated look at the candidates for the US presidency was due. Remember that this is all on the Democratic Party’s side of the fence since only one significant challenger to sitting President Donald Trump, a Republican, has arisen, and he’s not getting much traction yet.

A disclaimer is necessary here, in that given the limitations of the length of this piece, not all candidates will be discussed individually. No slight is intended in that respect.

The biggest change is that former Vice President Joe Biden has entered the fray and immediately leaped to first place among the field of 25 significant candidates. Of these, only 20 candidates are being invited to the debates. The current number of candidates of all parties is 799, up from 559 in March (270 Democratic, 109 Republican candidates, 34 Libertarian candidates, 14 Green) according to Ballotpedia.

Two debates have been scheduled and held so far, with no additional ones yet set. Each of these was held in two parts with ten candidates participating. I was able to watch most of three out of these four parts. The matchups, that is who was in each group, left many people wanting a better format. But with so many candidates, some randomized system had to be adopted in the interest of fairness (or minimize to UNfairness).

I think the best solution would be to have pairs of candidates debating, for real, not just answering questions, but challenging each other, getting deeper into issues after an initial query from the moderators. This way, voters could see how each candidate fared against every other. The candidates themselves would be able to present their thoughts and positions more fully. With the current setup, speaking time is so limited that they were often cut off by the moderators before completing their responses. I noticed that Biden hit this obstacle often. They would also get much more practice in preparation for the looming battle with their Republican adversary. With 25 candidates, that would mean 300 debates. Running two a day, they could all be done in five months. Think of how much better informed voters would be, and how much more interesting and exciting the election would be!

The debates were reasonably informative, with candidates mostly sticking to the rules, though often speaking beyond their time limits. There were some amusing barbs exchanged, but nothing acrimonious, and the discussions were largely substantive, even if not fully satisfying because of the time constraints. Some candidates seemed to get called on by the moderators less often; Tulsi Gabbard was one of them. This injustice should be corrected during future debates. Naturally, the front-runners were getting challenged more often by the others in order to try to expose their weaknesses. But ironically, this contributed to those same front-runners getting more time to speak, thus more exposure.

To my mind, not much has changed. The top three candidates in order of preference are Gabbard, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, from both an Armenian and overall-citizen perspective. All three are in the ANCA’s “supportive” category for rating presidential candidates. But Gabbard is the only one in that whole category with an A+. In fact, only one of the other candidates in this field even has an A-.

One candidate who I have been surprisingly impressed with is Washington governor Jay Innslee. His central focus is climate change, contending that all other issues should be seen through that lens. He should be appointed as “Climate Change Czar” in the next administration, but he is highly unlikely to become president. Plus, he got poor grades from the ANCA while in Congress. The other candidate who came off surprisingly strong is Andrew Yang, who spoke concisely and brought almost everything around to his core proposal of instating a minimum guaranteed monthly income of $1000 for every American.

Biden is out because he was useless as Vice President on the Armenian Genocide. Plus, in general his approaches to the issues confronting the U.S. today are insufficient to resolving them. Kamala Harris, despite her significant support, is also out for me. While she got a B+ from the ANCA and is in the “supportive” category, her record on other issues is too conservative, and her sources of financial support are too large and too corporate, not overwhelmingly small donors, which would indicate support from average folk.

Then there are what I’ll call “Republicans in Democratic clothing” candidates.  These are otherwise reasonable people who would have fit perfectly in the Republican party of the 1960s-70s-80s, but are outside the realm of the Democratic party’s energized base today.  There are also those who have no record of engagement with the Armenian community and are thus outside the pale of our interest, simply because they haven’t earned it yet. There are at least two who have anti-Armenian positions to their discredit.  Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania opposed a genocide resolution while serving and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has issued a “Khojalu genocide” proclamation.

At this point, I think Armenians should rally behind Gabbard with significant fundraising and organizing of events where she can get more exposure and earn support. The idea is to give her a measurable bump in votes during the Primary elections of the states where we have the largest and densest Armenian populations – California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York – even if that bump is localized to the districts where our communities live. This way, not only do we assist our strongest supporter in the primary field, but we also demonstrate Armenian voting power.  Get to work.

Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
Garen Yegparian

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  1. Some observations:
    -The next democratic debates have already been scheduled for 9/12 and 9/13 in Houston.
    -Stricter criteria has been established for debate participants.
    -As of today, only eight candidates have qualified. The field will narrow substantially.
    -As of today Tulsi Gabbard is not qualified.
    It is premature to talk about votes in the Primary Elections. It is yet unknown who will remain in the race; Probably Biden, Sanders, Warren and Harris.
    This is an incredibly expensive campaign. Big bucks are being spent and wasted. Raising money to fund these campaigns is not easy due to fatigue and conflicts between moderates and extreme left/liberals.
    We still have 16 months to go for elections. A very long wasted time.
    Who knows what will happen. In the meantime the circus continues instead of focusing and finding solutions to the problems facing the country.
    A sad state of affairs.
    Vart Adjemia

  2. Tulsi Gabbard did a public service and really outed Harris, That needed to be done . Tulsi Gabbard is the best candidate.She’s not divisive,Tulsi Gabbard is authentic,She has the character and desire to help we the people to stop foolishly fighting each other and politically neutering ourselves in the process. If we don’t resist being shepherded into division than we the people are and will remain politically irrelevant.
    The #1,2,3,4,5 top issues are saving our biosphere ,If we keep allowing these super predator maniacs who control our govt and media to keep having us warring over fossils we won’t save spit. We are toast if this insanity continues. If we join Tulsi to oppose this madness we have a shot, There’s no one else advocating for what needs to be done. Only Gabbard is showing the cahoonas to take on the brass and their weapon maker puppet masters .
    Donate , keep her on that debate stage.

  3. I support Gabbard but I predict her chances for running are quite small because 1. Zionist money is not behind her. 2. Zionist money is actually working against her. (The only people aware of Tulsi Gabbard are the ones on the internet… in the “mainstream” media she is nowhere to be found. Even on the internet, Google tried to suppress her search queries, which is by she filed a lawsuit against Google).

    Gabbard terrifies the Zionist/Neocon establishment of America because she makes too much sense, uses too much common sense, and has made it clear she does not want any Mid East wars. For example, everyone knows that if any politician goes to Syria on a “fact finding” mission, you are not supposed to visit the areas inhabited by the Christians and the majority population and protected by the actual Syrian government like what Tulsi did. Instead you are supposed to infiltrate Syria illegally with the help of Turkey and other terrorist channels and visit ISIS and Alqaeda commanders and organizers like what neocon hero John McCain did. Then that way you may have a chance in the ‘American’ government, that is, right after you establish a solid record of blind allegiance to Zionist interests and Israel.

    Just a note:
    Trump won because Israeli money was behind him. (Right field).

    Hillary almost won because Israeli money was behind her. (Left field).

    There is no third alternative.

  4. Since this article was published, here are the most noteworthy developments in the Democrats run for the Presidency.
    1- Five candidates have withdrawn their candidacy.
    2- The line up of the debate set for 12 September has been established.
    3- Ten candidates met the criteria established and will participate in the debate.
    4- It includes the 4 front runners; Biden Sanders, Warren and Harris.
    It will be interesting because the 4 front runners will be on the stage at the same time.
    The ten candidates who did not qualify, including Gabbard, may still qualify for the October debate if they meet the polling criteria established by the DNC.
    Still a long way to go until the first primaries on February 3 and 11 and Super Tuesday on March 3.
    A very long and expensive process. But that is our system, where ” money” more than anything else talks.
    Vart Adjemian

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