416 Reasons To Keep Watching The Show
by Elisabeth Wadsworth
It is hard to look at a newspaper right now without seeing a reference to "The Election." And can I be honest? It excites me.
I was a political science major. I read The Federalist Papers long before they were woven into the Hamilton soundtrack, and I studied elections before anyone besides birds were tweeting. I loved politics and our American experiment then, and I do love it, in all its brokenness, now. And although I get excited with every cycle, this time around I find myself both overwhelmed with the coverage, and annoyed by the mass generalizations made about state trends, how women vote, and what issues are most relevant. In this era of hyper-drive politics, which leaves little room or time for nuance, I sometimes find myself wondering: do we have anything to learn?
Yes, of course we do—you know that and so do I. In fact, I recently learned that The Washington Post is counting the number of days until the 2020 election. I learned this when Lustre gathered together to hear from a renowned expert, Professor KC Johnson, about the current trends in the 2020 US Presidential election. As a friend of Erica's, I was invited to listen in with this wonderful community of women.
There is something magical about physically gathering together. We hear each other's questions and we have the opportunity to feed off the energy in the room. Lectures like this leave me more engaged, more hopeful, and more curious. The art of gathering, as Priya Parker reminds us, is more than just a category of people coming together. And perhaps especially when it comes to politics (which can be so polarizing), it becomes more important that we practice listening to one another.
But back to these 400+ days. Guess who was leading the GOP, 416 days before the 2008 election? Giuliani. And for the Dems? It was Clinton. 416 days before the 2012 election (when Obama was clearly going to be the Dem nominee), the GOP front-leader was Rick Perry.
The irrelevance of front-runners this far away from election day may be of little comfort, but it certainly makes for some fascinating prospective scenarios that could play out as we get closer to the first caucuses (Feb 3rd in Iowa) and primaries (Feb 11th in New Hampshire). KC verified a few thoughts for us, and challenged us with a few others:
The main Democratic Party agenda for 2020 is to ensure Donald Trump is not reelected.
White middle-class women in the Midwest will be a key voting bloc.
Amy Klobuchar (Senator from Minnesota) should appeal to this demographic, but she has not gotten the national traction as one might expect.
Joe Biden is not polling as well with the college-educated segment, but who will this segment vote for in the primaries?
Trump may not have delivered on his economic promises, he seems to have delivered on his cultural promises.
Even if a Democrat wins in the national election, the Democrats need at least four more seats in the Senate in order to control the agenda.
The lecture would not have been complete without a very active Q&A, of which we took full advantage. That's why I appreciate forums such as Lustre offers that allow us an opportunity to exercise our curiosity, to ask sophisticated questions, and to sit with nuance and detail instead of sweeping generalizations. More please! And thank you to KC for bringing us your expertise, your openness and your enthusiasm!
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Elisabeth is a portfolio manager by day and a writer by night. She enjoys championing others in their creative endeavors and believes that we ought to find joy in work and vocation. Elisabeth thrives in the pace and variety of New York City, her home of the past 12 years.