We’re just days before the 2018 midterms, but it’s time to fasten our safety belts for the major whiplash that’ll happen November 7th, when Washington quickly shifts into 2020 mode.
Things are a lot different for the Democratic Party in 2020. Although Bernie Sanders put up a surprisingly big showing for an underdog in 2016, Hillary Clinton was the party’s clear choice from the onset.
Don’t believe me, just ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
However, there’s no such clear-cut favorite in 2020. Sure, some Democrats are rooting for Senator Elizabeth Warren. But pragmatists fear she’s a bit too left-of-center to win a national election.
Kamala Harris, the first-term democratic senator from California, has shown herself to be an aggressive fighter for progressive values, but does she have enough experience in Washington to be president?
If former vice president/America’s drunk Uncle, Joe Biden, throws his hat into the ring it’ll be a “big fucking deal.” But, let’s not forget, the Scranton Scrapper already as two failed presidential bids.
With so many wishy-washy candidates, I propose a Democrat that poses the sharpest contrast to the presumed Republican nominee, Donald Trump. A man who has the moral courage to restore America’s image abroad while providing the steady leadership needed to quell domestic chaos.
I nominate Jimmy Carter.
Much like the heroes and villains you see in comic books and movies, politics thrives on candidates that contrast one another. For every David Dunn in "Unbrakeable," there is a fragile Mr. Glass. For every intense Batman, an unhinged Joker. For every warm and positive Beto O’Rourke, a cold and calculating Ted Cruz.
Jimmy Carter grabbed national attention back in the mid ‘70s, by representing a stark contrast to the cynical and scandal-ridden Nixon years. Carter called for an elimination of government secrecy and repeatedly told voters, “I’ll never tell a lie.”
Jimmy Carter is an honest-to-goodness man of the people. The former peanut farmer spoke plainly, wore the type of clothing you could pick up in the Sears men’s section, and to this day, still teaches Sunday school at the Marantha Church in Plains, Georgia.
Personality-wise, candidate Carter would provide a day-and-night contrast to the bloviating, ostentatious, pathological liar that is Trump. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The contrast in their behavior is even more striking.
Through Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy Carter builds homes for the needy.
Donald Trump builds monuments to himself.
Jimmy Carter was the first president to put solar panels on the White House. Trump put a 30% tariff on imported solar panels to stop the growth of alternative energy.
The 39th president is a self-made man who lives modestly in a two-bedroom home that’s assessed about $167,000.
Our 45th president's (who inherited over $400 million from daddy) penthouse.
Carter and Trump also have divergent thoughts when it comes to women.
In the run up to the 1976 election, Carter confessed to Playboy magazine that he sometimes has impure thoughts about women. “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust,” he said. “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.”
In the run up to the 2016, Trump infamously bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy,” and committing adultery IRL.
Donald Trump is a cartoonish display of American materialism who routinely brags about his wealth and is known to inflate his net-worth for the sake of ego.
Carter once berated the American people for being too materialistic in his infamous “malaise speech. In his speech, which addressed the oil crisis and unemployment, Carter asked Americans to do some soul searching.
While the speech was popular when delivered, his inability to capitalize it would be his demise.
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose...
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.
America has clearly taken the second path of "self interest" and "fragmentation." It looks like this ...
.. and this.
Did Carter's speech predict the historical inflection point where America lost its way?
Could it have occurred just two years later, when Ronald Reagan defeated Carter and Americans pledged their allegiance to self-interest over community?
What if we could turn back the clock and take the first path instead?
Jimmy Carter of Plains, Georgia is 94 years old. Although constitutionally-eligible to hold the office of president for another term, his age and recent health battles make his candidacy as likely as the return of Reagan.
However, even though Jimmy Carter was a one-term president whose accomplishments in the oval office haven’t been lauded by historians, he has left a beautiful legacy as a human that shines even brighter in America’s current darkness.
So, when Democrats look for a candidate to run against Trump in 2020, they should know there is much more on the line this time than economic growth or international relationships.
America’s moral fiber is up for grabs and, for those looking to restore it before it's too late, there are few better examples of it than the life and values of Jimmy Carter.