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Desperate times do not require desperation, but clear and thoughtful choices.

Bloomberg and Sanders gain strength, but to whose benefit?

Claiming that Trump has given transactional a bad name is a waste of breath—it had a bad name before Trump came along. This system of quid pro quo existed long before Trump arrived and will exist long after he leaves. The only nicety he has added is this: he has weaponized it.

Transactional politics has always been winked at because the results—or at least the intent—was to benefit the country. Maybe a trade deal with an adversary put thousands of Americans back to work, or the sale of some federal land to a developer meant affordable housing for a large number of families. It’s only when the transaction is self-serving—when it benefits only Donald Trump—that we talk about impeachable offenses. Or talked about them. His acquittal has opened the floodgates.

Like most things Trump, this is really an ethical problem more than a political one, and the particularly spineless and enabling Republicans do not have a monopoly on it, not when the Democrats are willing to make their own transaction...and yes, I mean their souls for Michael Bloomberg.

In 2016 the world was able to witness just how low Republican voters would sink, but now it looks as though the Democrats will gleefully cede any high ground they gained and support a candidate who represents everything they detest in Donald Trump—the racism, the sexism, and to a lesser extent, the wealth. Bloomberg is eminently more qualified, but that does not negate the fact that most Americans detest the idea of an imperial president, nor do they wish to replace him with a new plutocracy.

So far Bloomberg’s strong suit seems to be his ability to crawl into the sty with its current resident. It’s hardly the stuff presidents are made of, but so desperate are Democrats to watch Trump leave the White House (preferably in cuffs) that we are willing to support whoever holds out that possibility.

Tonight Michael Bloomberg makes his first debate appearance. I would be shocked if he doesn’t make a good showing, and if he doesn’t get off some zingers on the impeached president. But he represents desperation, the third-string quarterback in the last two minutes: he can throw the ball eighty-yards downfield but not necessarily to anyone. And though this may offend some, to me he shares that with Bernie Sanders—just another Hail Mary at the end of the game. Worse, it’s a call to the past, to 2016 when Hillary lost and Bernie was frozen out unfairly. The premise may be true, but the conclusion—Bernie would have defeated Trump—doesn’t have any real merit. And in this current cycle, when Bernie seems to be toting more baggage than ever, he spells doom.

We Democrats have grasped at the wrong straws for three years, from the Mueller Report to the impeachment. We should have accepted what history has shown—that even the worst, most inept presidents serve out their terms. To the Democrats’ credit, they did what they had to do—created impediments against the most flagrant Trumpian transgressions and illegalities. But now it’s time to look ahead to November, and winnow out their own viable candidate from the pretenders and charlatans—to find a person who will not embarrass us every time he steps in front of a microphone or a cameras.

November looms closer, but a regrettable transaction is not the answer.

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