Your Thoughts Requested: Democratic Presidential Candidates (Also Some Thoughts on Cash Ransoms that Have Zero to do with Anything Else. You’re welcome.)

Alrighty. I’ve learned two important things in the last two days, as follows:

1. I’ll never be able to pay a significant cash ransom should any of my people be kidnapped, so cross fingers that doesn’t happen.


2. I just turned I Have to Be Home in Time for the Democratic Debates years old. 

Regarding Thing #1 — free tip from me to you — do NOT try to do bookkeeping in your head. Or, if you DO try to do bookkeeping in your head, be better at remembering expenses than I am. 🙄 Here’s the sitch… I paid a big farm bill via check. And I was pretty sure I had enough dollars in the farm checking account to cover it. So I didn’t double check. And then, in a shock to me and to zero other people because everyone else seems to understand my brain better than I do, there were NOT enough dollars in the account to cover it. That’s because I left the dollars in a different account. And did you know if you write a check without enough dollars in your account that the bank WILL NOT COVER IT just out of the goodness and generosity of their hearts? IT’S TRUE, friends. THEY WILL NOT. And then, because you don’t want to be more of an asshole to the People You Were Supposed to Pay than you’ve already been by writing a bad check, you will try to pull out All the Monies in cash so you can hand them a wad of bills like a drug deal instead of another check they may or may not want to trust.

And THIS is how you will learn, like I did, that coming up with a cash ransom quickly IS NOT EASY because banks have things called Wait Times to transfer funds from one bank to another. And they have Holding Periods for funds to actually clear. And suddenly you will realize your ability to source cash dollars is woefully small. 

For many years, we’ve had a rule in our family. It’s concise and clear. We call it the No Dying Rule, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. We shout it every time one of the kids leaves the house to run around with friends. NO DYING, CHILD! Kind of like our version of Make Good Choices, you know? Which is just another way of saying I Love You, really. And even though not all our family members have followed the No Dying Rule (which I’m UNPLEASED by), we stand by it as principally sound. 

Now we have to have a new rule. No Getting Kidnapped for Cash Ransom. I sat them all down and let everyone know yesterday. NO GETTING KIDNAPPED FOR CASH RANSOM, CHILDREN. TURNS OUT, MOMMY’S NOT GOOD FOR THE MONEY. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. I mean, we’re still allowed to be kidnapped, but we’re going to have to make it clear to the kidnappers that we’re only going to be able to pay in, like, farm fresh eggs or All the Crap We Have Stored in Our Garage (IDK what all’s in there, but you’re welcome to take a look, kidnappers, and take what you like) or broken plastic patio chairs. I feel like maybe we should apologize to the kidnappers in advance ‘cause we’re seriously cramping their style. No killing us because of the No Dying Rule and also no $$$ because I’m bad at maths. 

So that’s Thing #1.

And Thing #2 is that I HAD to watch the Democratic Debates. I was COMPELLED. Both nights. Like I’m an irrevocable Grown Up now. I have these memories of my dad sitting in his brown leather chair when I was a kid, our golden retriever draped over him, boring us into comas because he insisted on watching shows like 60 Minutes and, in later years, CSPAN. CSPAN, folks. And he would tell my brother and me to shush while we sat on the brown shag carpet lest he miss Important Things while we squabbled. It was the actual WORST. We were DYING of BOREDOM, and he cared 0%. ZERO. But last night and the night before, I sat on my couch with a golden retriever draped over me, and every time a child came into the room to ask me why “there’s never anything to eat in our house” (OMG) or how come “I have to do every chore around here and no one else does anything ever” (kill me now), I told them to shush lest I miss Important Things. 

And now I want to discuss those Important Things with you. Because I have Thoughts. And Questions. And I want to know what your Thoughts and Questions are, too. 

Here’s where I’m at right now with the Democratic Candidates. Although I will say first, I’m not a Democrat. I’m registered unaffiliated. I don’t think either party has a corner on the intellectual or policy or problem-solving market. I think some of the Democrats are bat shit crazy. Like, all the way on the Crazy Train. But I’m also so deeply distressed and disturbed by the direction of the Republican Party as a whole and the full and complete abdication of morality, compassion, justice, and ethics on a national scale (happy to site actual reasons if anyone needs more info on why I believe this way) that I’m finding myself moving well past my more moderate leanings of a couple years ago and well into progressive, if not liberal, territory as an antidote to the agony the vulnerable peoples in our community are experiencing.

OK. That said, here’s where I’m at:

Candidates Who Appear to Have the Intellect, Policies, Judgement, and Demeanor we desperately need to navigate the murky, difficult waters ahead for America:

  1. Pete Buttigieg — I liked him before last night, and he continues to impress me. I dig his policies. I LOVE that he’s more centrist/moderate than some of the other Democratic candidates. I think his experience in the military is important. I love that he’s a millennial. (Although I don’t love the other millennial candidates so 🤷🏻‍♀️.)
  2. Kamala Harris — She’s strategically brilliant, especially taking on Biden last night like he’s her only real competition. I mean — SUCH a good strategy. She’s articulate. I agree with most of her policies. She has some pretty awesome ideas for folks to rally behind. But my question about her is her record. What’s troubling in her record? I keep hearing this criticism, but I need to know more.
  3. Amy Klobuchar — Again with the policies. She’s also steady and calm. I don’t know that she has the “star power” to capture America’s imagination, but I also think that’s a GOOD thing if only America could get on board with not having the Personality Cults of recent years.
  4. Julian Castro — I mean, I knew before the debates that he was the only Latino candidate, but I hadn’t done my research on him. His ability to articulate thoughtful policy swayed me. I’m a fan. But I also don’t know enough about him yet. He’s on my radar, but what do I need to know that I don’t already?


Candidates who are 2nd Tier for me — generally, I think these folks would be… fine? But there are some bigger questions/issues I have with them.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand — I love that she’s campaigning on strong support for women. I think that’s critical. And I think she’s articulate and has the demeanor of calm confidence (and fire) we need in a president. I also worry (and you’ll see this more with other candidates below) that she has too narrow of a focus. I care about women’s issues. But I want a candidate to be more well rounded and concerned about ALL the critical issues. Am I wrong with her? What have I missed?
  2. Elizabeth Warren — I actually love Elizabeth Warren. I agree with 90% of her policies. I love that she’s fierce, clear, confident, and articulate. But I worry that she’s too extremely on the liberal end of the spectrum. I worry that she’ll inspire more fear in moderate voters than excitement. I worry that the conservatives will be able to rally too much support against her. But maybe those things shouldn’t be my focus? Maybe I’m way off?


Candidates I’d really rather weren’t because I think their time is past and it’s time to clear the board for others. I have Other Thoughts on them, but that’s the basic gist.

  1. Biden
  2. Sanders


Candidates I feel “meh” about at this point in time:

  1. Booker. I know. I’m sorry. People love him. I could get all the way on board if he runs against Trump. But at this point, I’m just meh. He didn’t stand out for me.
  2. Bennet, Bullock, Delaney, Gabbard, Hickenlooper, O’Rourke


Candidates too focused on Just One Issue:

  1. Inslee — I TOTALLY AGREE climate change is a critical issue and a crisis. But we also need a president who can juggle myriad crises and treat them all with the urgency they need.
  2. Yang — I need more from a candidate than $1000/month. It’s just… not enough to sway me at all. Not the $. The idea that that’s his main push. 
  3. Swalwell — Dude. I get it that it’s your generation’s turn. I even agree. But you have to run on more than that.


Candidates who rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps unfairly to them. Their demeanor and ways of expressing themselves just didn’t work for me. Am I wrong here?

  1. Ryan
  2. DeBlasio
  3. Williamson, although bless her heart


OK. That’s all I’ve got right now. 

1. No Getting Kidnapped for Cash Ransom.

2. THOUGHTS on Democratic Candidate.


Pretty please share your thoughts, too. I’m learning here, and I’m all ears.

With ❤️,




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36 responses to “Your Thoughts Requested: Democratic Presidential Candidates (Also Some Thoughts on Cash Ransoms that Have Zero to do with Anything Else. You’re welcome.)”

  1. I have no input or opinions to share, other than a round of digital applause to you and your commenters for a civil, open, thoughtful discussion about beliefs and politics. That is sadly rare elsewhere on the interwebs. If we could have more of this on a national scale, perhaps some actual improvements could occur. Kudos, y’all!

  2. You and me, complete political twinsies. (Also, dark hair and messy house)

    I couldn’t watch the debates live because I need to be able to skip over the times when they talk over one another (that drives me bonkers). BUT, I’ve since gone through and it’s crazy how we seem to come up twins in thoughts on 98% of what you’ve shared.

  3. Personally I think Mayor Pete isn’t ready for the big league. He needs to be better regarding issues of race, gender, and (sorry to say) sexuality. His rhetoric on queer rights is very 2000s, and it doesn’t work. We won’t go back.

    I am favoring Warren, Harris, Castro, and Booker, in no particular order. I would enthusiastically vote for any of those four. I could be happy voting for Gillibrand or Klobuchar. The rest of them are meh to ugh for me.

  4. My husband is a journalist. He kept saying “he won’t get the nomination, he won’t win”…and now here we are. In the twilight zone. Up is down and down is up. And he is not entirely sure he won’t be re-elected. I intend to support Kamala and Mayor Pete – I think they can get the nomination. I think – PRAY – those that said they wouldn’t vote for Hilary “just because” will find their brains this time. I worry that Biden will be seen as a reincarnation of Obama and those that hated him for no good reason will vote against him again. I worry that Mayor Pete (because I can’t spell his name yet) will be slaughtered by homophobic voters. It may be too early for this man. But when I have to choose someone, it will be anyone else but the orange Cheeto. (my apologies to Cheetos) Unfortunately, we are on the tail end of primaries so most of the choosing will be in other states before it gets to us. So choose wisely and remember – whomever it is truly cannot have years of baggage following them. Although, it worked for “he who shall not be named”.
    In disgust, from NC

  5. Waving in the starting-to-feel-very-dark from Canada, as we head into our own election time — where national Conservatives are trying to roll back rights for women, minorities, people with disabilities, etc. etc. etc. Especially fun here in Quebec, where our politicians have just voted in a bill that’s ostensibly to remove all religious symbols/garb from people “in power” (judges, police officers, teachers) — but it’s really just a big Eff You to Muslim women in any kind of headscarf.

    Good times!

    Stumbled across this post from The Mighty, where the site is publishing a roundup of all American presidential candidates, focusing solely on their takes on disability. Very limited perspective, of course, but gives me a fascinating perspective on which candidates are most likely aware of the nuances and services required for a subset of the population — but one of the largest “minority groups” out there.

    And from my recliner in Montreal, I send big hugs and Stay Braves and lots of hopeful grins that our combined voters are going to get their heads on straight and start looking out for the most vulnerable in our communities. xoxo

    • We’re a queer family with three kids with unique needs, living on a teacher’s salary….under Kenney. The horror show that is the far right, is in complete control of our lives (open season on teacher wages, LGBT teachers, and funding for education…special needs kids will be first under the bus). You can actually feel how emboldened the good ‘ol boys are here and it’s frightening. On Friday, we had our first open experience of another family physically removing their kids from our vicinity at a playground, all the while whispering furiously in their kids’ ears and looking at us. My kids didn’t understand what was happening. We’re having to be more careful than we’ve been in years. To the US from someone whose family is routinely targeted by the right: swing left. Swing as far left as you can manage because going down the middle to appease hatred and intolerance, is simply voting to appease hatred and intolerance, it’s not voting to affirm equality or kindness or compassion for your most vulnerable.

      • Thanks for this link, Andrea, and thank you for your story, K. I’m so sorry. Ugh. And you name part of what I’m struggling with. I keep hearing SO MUCH TALK of “compromise” and “both sides” but the truth is that when one side is actively harming the other, we CAN’T compromise and SHOULDN’T. Like MLK, Jr. said so eloquently, silence in the face of injustice only benefits the oppressor. And, as you said, and I’m paraphrasing, compromising with hatred and intolerance only continues to harm the marginalized.

  6. I have many friends who vote on one issue: the candidate’s stated position on abortion. This is the one deciding issue for them; they’re vehemently opposed based on their faith and feel they MUST vote against any candidate who supports legal abortion. If the Democratic nominee can’t find some way to let those people know that their concerns are at least heard and respected, they will vote for Trump again. Whichever person is the Democratic nominee I really really hope they will try to include people who are pro-life.

    • I have many pro-life friends (mostly people I grew up with) who vote on that issue alone, as well. And I agree they will almost positively not vote for a pro-choice candidate (even if that person appears to listen well to pro-lifers… for them, it’s not about being listened to, it’s about unborn lives, so it’s a black and white issue for them.) I hope, hope, hope that even if folks who are pro-life can’t vote for a Democratic candidate, they will also not vote for Trump based on his horrific policies that harm so many vulnerable people. I hope they’ll see the importance of being pro-all-of-life, including championing the lives of hurting and marginalized people.

  7. I’d urge you to take another look at Andrew Yang. His website lays out 100+ policies. He has a LOT to say besides Universal Basic Income. If you follow him on social media, you’ll see he has done an amazing job of uniting different people from all sorts of backgrounds and viewpoints. A lot of former Trump supporters are now in his camp, as well as a lot of progressives and moderates. I have yet to see another candidate with such a diverse group of followers. It gives me hope that we might see a united country once again. I can’t count the number of people who are donating to him who have never donated to a candidate before.

    That being said, if he doesn’t get further in the race, I would support Warren or Harris. I consider myself a progressive, FWIW.

  8. I am all for Warren. She is so: Smart. Articulate. Strong. Tenacious. Compassionate. And yes, Progressive. I believe she is the one who can explain the whys and hows of her progressivism to assuage the fears of those who have concerns. She has all those plans – no, really – and continues to think and plan. And how about Castro as her VP? I think that may be the dream team.

    And regardless of who ends up with the nomination next summer, we need to ALL get behind them and get this ship turned around.

    • I agree Warren has Actual, Real Plans and the ability to explain them well. I have little to no faith, though, that the folks who have believed and followed the sources Trump uses for “real” news will listen to any of her arguments. I fear they’ll hear “liberal” and “progressive” and “far left” and “not centrist/moderate” and write her off without ever looking at her actual positions/policies. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be nominated. That’s just what I see as the strategic reality and would require going in Eyes Wide Open with a plan to get out the vote from women, people of color, etc. I don’t know. Warren’s hard for me, exactly because I agree with her quite a bit, but I feel more nervous about her electability than I do about some of the others.

  9. Agree with you on almost all of this, even though I’m further left than you in general. Don’t know enough re: Klobuchar or Castro. Biden and Bernie need to pass the torch.

    Btw, Bernie Sanders looks like my dog.

  10. Pete Buttigieg is my number one choice. I like that he’s a millennial. I like that he’s a veteran. I like his intelligence. I like his husband. He doesn’t BS anything and answers the question asked of him. I loved his honesty when asked about the racial identities of the South Bend police force and that he “couldn’t get it done.” I love that while he’s a man of faith, and that influences his politics (in the way Christianity should by caring for the poor/orphans/widows/loving your neighbor), he understands that he needs to be for people of any religion or no religion. I love his confidence and calm demeanor, and that he can control his emotions. I love that he genuinely listens to people and is willing to consider their point of view even if it contradicts his own.

    TL;DR: Pete Buttigieg is amazing!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. The no BS thing is SO REFRESHING, isn’t it? PLEASE JUST GIVE US HONESTY AND INTEGRITY. And smarts. And good policies. And the first First Gentleman in the White House. 😉

  11. This post is awesome! Partly b/c I love you and trust your instincts (not that I won’t do my own homework eventually). Personally, I find this sea of candidates overwhelming and distracting and so haven’t fully tuned in yet. My thoughts boil down to two primary concepts:

    1. The Democrats need to be STRATEGIC. This is a game of strategy as much (if not more) than it is one of ideals or policies. That’s why Trump won (oh, and that whole Russian interference thing). For this reason, I think some candidates shouldn’t even be in the running. Okay, maybe very short term to raise awareness of some issues, but then, no. The party and the candidates all need to actively remember what this is really about: rescuing this nation from losing its way entirely to the detriment of the entire world, future generations, etc. etc. Therefore, even if they have great ideas, a candidate should self-evaluate and ask her/himself, ‘Strategically, not idealistically, not in a perfect world, can I win? Would I win? Will I win?’ If the answer is ‘probably not’ (and perhaps ‘definitely not’ in the current climate), then s/he should ask a different question and then act on it, ‘How can I better use my time, energy, and resources, to help a candidate that shares most of my values and hopes for this country and who, strategically, can win, to do so, and, thereby, personally contribute to the salvation of this nation?’

    2. In direct relation to #1, I don’t think any extremely left Dem can win in the end. We are all burnt out on the horror of the last 2.5 years (serious depression, people) but sending that pendulum aaallllllll the way to the other side WON’T WIN. Sanders has GOT to go. And as much as I love her and don’t really want her to go, I think Warren’s position is too far to the left and she will lose.

    I feel like I’m kind of jumping on the Harris bandwagon but again, need waaaaay more info (and promise to get it) before I make any sort of decision.

    Love you, Beth!

  12. I’ve been supporting Kamala since she announced her candidacy. I’ve had enough white men to last me seventeen lifetimes. I’m supporting women and specifically women of color wherever possible.

  13. We are watching with great interest and concern from our side of the Pond, and hoping that the Democrats can find someone who can win enough votes from the centre to get Trump out. It feels from here that too many candidates are swinging hard to the left and not trying to appeal to the people who felt that Trump was their best option. It seemed from the UK media that one of the problems for Hillary was that she alienated too many people; you need someone who will be acceptable to a broader population, not just their own base. Of course, that’s just the impression we get from here so undoubtedly not the full story.
    Meanwhile, we have our own ridiculous let’s-switch-horses-mid-race competition going on, with two candidates who will automatically become the next Prime Minister. One, if not both, of these candidates is a disaster as far as I am concerned.
    The one area where we are doing better than you is that bank transfers are pretty much instant here so we are better able to get our ransom money together! Yay us!

    • You’re spot on with your USA political analysis. Here’s hoping!

      And that’s helpful info re: banks in Britain. It we get kidnapped for cash ransom, we’ll try to be in the UK when it happens. It’s all about proper planning, really.

  14. Although Tim Ryan didn’t inspire me, I’m from Ohio and he verbalized exactly why Trump won – rallying the poor white disenfranchised rust belt manufacturer workers who have been ignored for 30-40 years. For whatever candidate wins, best to listen to Ryan’s message very explicitly or our country will be unrecognizable with 4 more years of Trump’s horrors.

    • Yes! What Sandy said. We need to narrow the field and then the remaining serious candidates need to address ALL the critical issues AND be strategic. Trump is a terror (tried for something worse and decided to leave it there), but he is STRATEGIC. If the Dems don’t “play” this right – yes, play – 50% of the country and the world will be chronically depressed for another four years.

      • I agree. Except I’m worried that there aren’t many Trump supporters who will listen no matter how well an opposing candidate addresses the needs of the vulnerable (including poor, white workers) — Trump and his allies have done such an excellent job of purporting that solid journalism is “fake news” and then replacing those sources with places that will parrot his lies, that I’m not sure there’s any avenue available where a reasonable opponent’s position can even be fairly heard.

  15. Williamson has officially become the laughing stock of NZ.

    And she fully demonstrated one of the (many!) things I don’t miss about living in the US – that arrogant belief that the USA is the BEST EVER and all the other countries in the world should look up to them.

  16. What you need to know about Julian Castro that you don’t already: My organization hosted a presidential forum last month that included four of the candidates. In addition to knocking it out of the park onstage like he did in the debates, he went out of his way to meet and thank not just the leaders of the event but the people actually doing the work to make it happen (of which I was neither, but my friends were). I would be so proud to call him my president.

    • THIS kind of thing makes all the difference to me! In my previous career in humanitarian aid, I worked with extremely wealthy, powerful, influential people who were on our board of directors and who were major philanthropists for our cause (international medical aid), and I learned quickly there are some folks who can SEE people — who, no matter their high station and levels of privilege, notice ALL the people around them and treat them like the valuable, amazing humans they are — and there are some who ONLY see other rich/privileged people who “matter” like they do. It was FASCINATING. Castro’s comment that the first place he went after announcing his presidency was to Puerto Rico grabbed me right in the heart. We NEED a president who SEES the vulnerable among us which means we have to have someone who’s not blind to everyone except people with influence. So far, I’ve seen that the most in Castro and Buttigieg.

  17. My list is pretty close to yours, although I’d swap Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Here’s an argument about Harris’s record as prosecutor and attorney general; the gist is that she came down hard on what progressives now see as the wrong side of a number of key issues, notably involving police and people of color/people without resources, the death penalty, and miscarriage of justice in court:

    I’ve had my idealism burned out of me, I think. I’ll vote for whoever wins the party nomination and can take Trump out of office, but no one is my dream candidate.

    • Remy …. your last comment resonates! It’s HARD to live as an idealist in this country right now.

    • Thank you, Remy! This is the kind of info I need on Harris to help make an informed choice. Not that the choice is really mine — and we all know I’d vote for a lamp post over Trump — but I want to be as informed as possible. And yep! I feel you on the idealism.

  18. Tbh I’m shocked. I read your blog regularly and I thought you were a liberal Democrat (like me).

    • I think many of us find Beth and her writing so relatable and feel such a kindred spirit in her that we assume she is very much like us in many ways.

      • I undoubtedly have more in common these days with liberal Dems than conservative Republicans, but growing up as an evangelical Christian in the 1980s (era of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Billy Graham as major church influencers) and as the daughter of a Marine absolutely have influenced my brain/heart/political thinking. The past decade has been full of unraveling what I was taught/told and applying critical thinking (albeit belatedly) to sort through which bits I still believe and which bits I needed to discard. The dissolution of our church has also very dramatically influenced me in recent years — the people to whom I once gave the benefit of the doubt (our church leaders) abdicated any claim to authority when they abandoned compassion and community and consensus in favor of their interpretation of a rules-based faith and their need for power which was hard to maintain with our pesky voices in the mix. As a result, I’m a VERY reluctant “joiner” — I feel claustrophobic when I imagine becoming a member of anything right now — a church, a political party, etc. So while I definitely have more in common with Dems than with any other political party at the moment, I’m nervous when it comes to pledging allegiance, you know? I’m distrustful of the systems right now. But I ❤️ Mayor Pete. 😉

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