The Democratic presidential debates have been as welcome as a toothache.
Bash, trash, clash, finger-point, knee-cap. Rinse and repeat.
I'm not watching.
Those appearing on-stage are all outstanding, thoughtful, bright individuals with the best interests of the country at heart.
Any would be better in the office than the impacted molar of a man elevated by a minority of voters to the highest office in 2016.
I know what Julian Castro was doing when he jumped on Joe Biden at the last debate to assert he'd had another brain burp and had contradicted himself on his health care plan. (An analysis by Politifact acquits Biden of any such offense, by the way.) Castro was posturing in a furious bid to gain traction with voters.
I know what Cory Booker was doing when he told reporters after the most recent debate that he is concerned Biden might "fumble" down the stretch – the same thing.
Booker and Castro, two fine men, know as well as you and I that if Biden gets the nomination they will go to sleep every night beseeching the gods to deliver him triumphantly to the Capitol steps for a soothing, eloquent and uplifting inaugural address. And they will be confident that Biden can deliver; and they will say so.
So stop it.
It's already tiring that what we know will happen in forums like this is considered significant: that Biden will have some trivial slip of the tongue.
So, what? We aren't electing contestants to "Jeopardy."
Biden calls himself a "gaffe machine." The proclivity is as much him as Donald Trump's fake tan is him.
Poll after poll shows that by a large majority, voters would prefer a gaffe machine over a semiautomatic fabulist like the con man in the White House.
People ask me whom I support among the Democrats. I say, "Them."
I'll vote in my state's primary for one of the survivors of the process. Then after the convention I'll petition the gods to have many more concerned Americans turn out than in 2016, resulting in a Democrat beaming on those Capitol steps in January 2021 while the fake tan man glowers.
Melania can wear her "I really don't care. Do you?" poncho.
I read something useful recently from blogger-author Tej Steiner urging the Democratic candidates to collaborate in their effort to oust the Trumps.
Steiner urges that the candidates "start to function as a united team while simultaneously continuing to compete individually for the nomination."
If the Democratic contenders are the fine people I know them to be, they will do what Steiner suggests -- agree "that they are a team unified in the understanding that removing Donald Trump from power is more important" than any other ambition.
In that spirit, I say this to those who might be inclined to do what Castro and Booker did in fits of debate-night passion:
What this nation needs is a kinder, broader, more diverse, more just leadership coalition than that which governs us today. As with other countries governed by coalitions, Democrats should think in terms of what that can mean.
Today's Republican Party is no more representative of this land than the cast of "Survivor" (with quite a few GOP players in Congress having excused themselves from the island).
Democrats: Do not engage in cannibalism. Wherever your passion might lie, having one of your kind as president will further empower those of varied progressive passions – be it the Obama brand, the Ocasio-Cortez brand, and all in between.
Once again, I'm not watching the Dem debates anymore. I am, however, voting in the primary – and beseeching the gods.
To help that along, I'm also begging Democratic survivors to cease the caged death match.