As primary season kicks off in earnest, many Democrats are wondering whether to back the candidate who best represents their values, or the one most likely to beat Donald Trump in the general election.
Folks, this is no time to listen to your precious little hearts. Dems MUST rally around whoever who can galvanize enough of the base to challenge Trump — only to fall heartbreakingly short because of voter suppression, outside interference, and the Electoral College.
Whether you’re a centrist, a progressive, or a straight-up Bern-it-down socialist, we all have the same goal: winning the popular vote by 5 million, and losing the White House on a technicality.
So ask yourself: Who can come within a hair of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, then lose two of the three because of Facebook?
Who can create a veneer of competition in ostensibly purple states like Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia, where voting machines always seem to break down whenever a person of color steps in front of them?
Who has the toughness and smarts to crush Trump in the debates, technically making them 3-1 vs. him if you weigh those conversations as much as the actual election?
Who can build a broad enough coalition to narrow the Electoral College deficit to the thinnest, most painful of razor’s edges?
Who can make November 8, 2016, feel like a childhood trip to the ice cream shop?
Listen: If a candidate can’t lead the polls by so much that the sane half of the country gets complacent and stays home on Election Day, they don’t deserve your vote. Period.
We need a nominee who can woo enough Independents to drag this thing out until the morning after, maybe several mornings later, before tearfully conceding.
We need a nominee who can inspire hope, because people have to believe they can win in order to experience the agony of very nearly winning.
So throw the platforms out the window, mute your favorite wonks, and send FiveThirtyEight a virus that wipes out all their little ideological charts. Which candidate is electable enough to gut you?
Which candidate will propel you to the Toronto Craigslist page at 4 a.m. on Election Night, just to see ballpark rent prices?
Which candidate will take this thing all the way to the Supreme Court, where five robed creeps none of us elected will hand the presidency back to the guy who spells “hamburgers” with a D?
Which candidate will take a match to any remaining shred of faith in humanity?
That’s the one, because that’s all that matters now: really coming so, so close to beating Trump.