January 30, 2020

A Policy Declaration All Democrats Should Love

From the competition between Democratic presidential candidates so far, one might be led to think that policy positions are the most important criteria on which we should judge presidential hopefuls. In fact, many experts point out that voters tend to select the person, rather than the person’s policies. Certainly, expectation of what a particular candidate might actually do in office is important, but it can be difficult to rank candidates on policy alone if one considers objectives, the mix of objectives, and the likelihood of accomplishing what is being promised.

There is one pledge I would like to hear Democratic presidential candidates make, and it is a one that would be widely applauded by Democratic voters. In fact, it would be great if all Democratic candidates made this pledge. (That wouldn’t help differentiate the candidates, but it would increase peace-of-mind among Democratic voters.) The promise would go something like this:
I will appoint cabinet members and advisors who are experts in their field, rather than self-aggrandising grifters and political hacks. Furthermore, I will always give serious consideration to recommendations made by those I appoint and by career professionals within the government. I will listen to voices outside the government as well, but always with a healthy variness of the self-interest of those offering advice.
In most years, this would seem an odd pledge. After all, isn’t that what a president should do? This year, however, the declaration is a promise to undo much of the damage wrought by Trump and his minions—well, to begin to undo that damage anyway and to foster an environment that can advance the general welfare of the American people.

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