Democratic opponents are ‘two appalling choices’

Hawai‘i Democratic voters face an agonizing decision as mail-in ballots are getting filled out, continuing through the April 4 official date of the primary.

The Democratic Party has veered from a situation in which an impossibly large field of candidates was on the pathway to hopeless splintering of the vote to one in which the primaries and other developments have stripped all of the people of color and women from the field. The fact that the two billionaires who were running are also out is of little consolation.

This leads us to the situation today, in which two hopelessly old white male millionaires with histories of difficulty dealing with women’s issues are the only viable choices. It all but assures that the November election will pit either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump. More of an electoral nightmare is hard to imagine.

Biden, 77, supported the Iraq war — and it wasn’t just, as his debate appearances seem to want us all to believe, through just one Senate vote. He supported the war consistently before and after President George W. Bush pushed through a mass of fraudulent intelligence to justify an invasion that was, in the real world, fundamentally wrong. Thousands of young Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result.

The younger Bush was motivated by the failure of his father, President George H.W. Bush, to finish the war he started in Kuwait in 1990. No rational person could have seen George W. Bush’s war in Iraq as anything other than an attempt to protect his father’s legacy and put notches in his own pistol.

Then there is Biden’s record on women’s issues, starting with his appalling handling of Anita Hill during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Hill had accused Thomas of sexual harassment, which Thomas denied. But it was Biden’s utter contempt for Hill that assured that Thomas got on the court. Even today, he seems unable to keep his hands off women and girls he meets.

Biden’s television appearances are not reassuring. He loses his way mid-sentence and says things like he’s running for the U.S. Senate instead of the presidency. He often seems like he’s in a memory and verbal-expression fog.

Biden’s policy proposals are sometimes hard to identify since he associates himself so much with the success of President Barrack Obama, whom he served as vice president. But it’s clear that, whatever those policies are, Biden can’t articulate them other than by claiming credit for the achievements of the “Obama-Biden administration,” as if it were a collaboration.

Sanders, on the other hand, is not a member of the Democratic Party, whose nomination he seeks. Though Vermont, his home state, does not have party registration, Sanders has never identified as a Democrat. He has insisted on remaining an independent who caucuses with Democrats. That means he has no commitment to the range of candidates the party must run, nor to the complex challenge of the Democrats holding onto the House of Representatives and hoping to retake the Senate.

That’s one reason so many potential Democratic candidates across the country are putting as much distance as they can between themselves and Sanders.

More than that, as a congressmember and senator, Sanders has compiled a record of exceptional failure to push through his agenda. He is uncompromising, arrogant and unwilling or unable to find political common ground with others who do not toe the line of his ideology.

Plus, there is his age, 78, and his health history of having a heart attack while campaigning. He has released far less detail of his medical records than he initially said he would.

Sanders’ record on women’s issues is profoundly unhelpful. I believe Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s account of Sanders trying to force her to drop out of the race because a woman, he told her, can’t be elected. He has been unable to hold his campaign staff and volunteers to reasonable standards of behavior in terms of their attitudes toward women and their proclivity for vicious attacks on anyone who does display fealty to Sanders.

It is common in the news business for reporters to refrain from party registration or making political contributions. I did neither during the 26 years I spent as a full-time reporter. That said, I see my role as a columnist and freelance contributor to this newspaper as somewhat different from that of a full-time journalist. I do maintain Democratic party registration and have made small political contributions over time at the county, state and federal levels. In this primary season, I have donated a couple of hundred dollars to Warren, who is now out of the race.

Sanders would have you believe that he is waging a campaign in which Democratic Party elites and the national political establishment are working in lockstep against him. But this ignores the reality that Biden has received 4,888,395 votes from regular people in all of the various primaries, to 3,984,295 for Sanders.

And, no, you can’t add Warren’s vote total, 1,782,676, to the Sanders column on the theory that all of them would have gone to Sanders because former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose votes presumably would go largely to Biden, received 1,710,995. Biden’s total of actual votes — not from members of some mysterious band of elites — is substantially higher than Sanders’.

It is also true that Sanders is close to a single-issue candidate, with few, if any, views or proposals on foreign affairs. Nor does he offer a rational plan for how his signature program, “Medicare for All,” could actually be brought into existence and paid for in the political milieu of the U.S. in 2020.

I’m as much in favor of a single-payer national health system as you will find anywhere. I think Medicare is enormously successful. Biden would build on the success of the Affordable Care Act, adding a public option to private insurance.

Sanders does not recognize that it is politically impossible in this country today to move abruptly to a fully national, government-funded health system from the ineffective hodge-podge of private and government programs with which we are saddled. The future of our health-insurance system will be incremental, not revolutionary.

So here we are. One of two terribly unqualified old white male millionaires will run for president as the nominee of the Democratic Party against Donald Trump, a man whose commitment to lies, corruption and cruelty exceeds that of the worst presidents who have ever served.

The choice in the presidential election this year will be odious. Democrats may want, instead, to work for total reform of the party system that has proved itself utterly unequal to the task of selecting and electing a president. It has left us with two appalling choices.

•••

Allan Parachini is a Kilauea resident, furniture-maker, journalist and retired public relations executive who writes periodically for The Garden Island.

41 Comments
  1. Citizen Cane March 16, 2020 2:14 am Reply

    Ok, Allen, brilliant takedown of all the major candidates. Now we have a roadmap to full party reform…..thanks! So what’s your plan, vote for the Green candidate and help hand another four years (not to mention the House) to the Orange Disaster? You might at least take consolation, thanks to those preternaturally insightful black folks in South Carolina, in the remarkable turn of events that spared us all from the consequences of that runaway Sanders train—nightmare undone so quickly it probably gave Obama whiplash. Old Joe may be a bit slow on the draw and probably never was the best sheriff in town (he wasn’t my first choice either) but maybe his very unremarkable, avuncular persona helped draw voters into a much needed coalescence. He doesn’t have to be Superman. He just needs to get us to Jan. 20.


  2. nothings free March 16, 2020 4:23 am Reply

    Well, Allen, at least you’re 100% correct about the Democrats!


  3. Ken Conklin March 16, 2020 7:19 am Reply

    It’s good to see what Allan Parachini has written in this commentary. He uses his own words to express his personal views. In the future we will know how to judge the (in)accuracy of his reporting of “facts” in light of his prejudices.


    1. CC March 16, 2020 1:44 pm Reply

      Keep up the bravado, Westside—you’re gonna need it.


  4. Kurt Last March 16, 2020 7:26 am Reply

    The choice may be appalling, but it’s easy. The fact that a single American still supports Trump is a national disgrace and scandal. At this point in his administration, it’s impossible to exaggerate or overstate Trump’s depravity or incompetence. He’s not even trying to mask his sociopathy anymore. Either Biden or Sanders is a better choice without any question whatever.


  5. John Patt March 16, 2020 7:33 am Reply

    Stereotyping, bigotry, and prejudice are never OK except when applied to the demographic that I personally don’t like.


  6. Patrick Flores March 16, 2020 7:39 am Reply

    The political process in our nation is such a bankrupt situation, lack of character and integrity displayed with zero concern.
    Patrick H Flores


  7. kimo March 16, 2020 7:51 am Reply

    Excellent analysis. Thanks for the effort to inform and change.


  8. JKS March 16, 2020 8:00 am Reply

    You aren’t giving Bernie credit for his “Rape Essay”. If readers haven’t read it just google “Bernie Rape Essay” –lt’ll come up. Truly a classic of counterculture literature.


  9. sunandsurf March 16, 2020 8:28 am Reply

    I mostly agree but it doesn’t matter!
    VOTE ANYWAY!!!!
    Trump is hundreds of times worse than either guy.
    We can cross our fingers for a good the vice presidential choice.


  10. Paulo March 16, 2020 8:47 am Reply

    “Sanders does not recognize that it is politically impossible in this country today to move abruptly to a fully national, government-funded health system….” ???

    Calm down Mr P.

    Sanders knows we have Congress and a potus does not get to implement changes like that without Congressional approval. But it’s part of his platform and as such means it’s something he wants to strive for if he were to be elected. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that out of the 33 developed countries on this planet only one has no type of universal health care and it’s us. Not so great for those uninsured in supposedly the richest country in the world.

    I fully support Sanders but would accept Biden. I have never accepted trump.


  11. Ginger Doll March 16, 2020 9:29 am Reply

    With a sociopath now occupying the White House, anybody the Democrats nominate gets my vote.


  12. LMat March 16, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    Well, what do you suggest we do Allan? You purport doom and gloom, but offer no helpful insights. Your article makes people not want to vote at all. We’ve got to vote for one of these old, white men if we want the current old white man out…


  13. WestsideResident March 16, 2020 10:07 am Reply

    Easy choice: Trump

    Reelect our strong and faithful President. Don’t be a victim of the Marxist press.


    1. James March 18, 2020 8:37 am Reply

      If it’s such a ‘marxist’ press why are most of the mainstream news outlets either directing or tacitly supporting Biden, who has obviously from his record throughout his political life been a corporate Democrat. Doesn’t sound marxist to me! trump is weak-minded, easily manipulated and laden with an ego so immature that his utterances are barely recognizable as english.


    2. Kapahi resident May 6, 2020 6:47 am Reply

      Trump all the way! Build the wall, stop mass immagration, and protect the constitution.


  14. jake March 16, 2020 10:59 am Reply

    Anyone but Trump. ANYONE!


  15. Michael Mann March 16, 2020 11:25 am Reply

    Either get behind THE DEMOCRAT or accept four additional years of the evil currently occupying the office.

    The choice is yours to make, Allan. And yours to live with.


  16. randy kansas March 16, 2020 11:39 am Reply

    how about testing both Dem candidates even before the election, then you can make your choice between the 2:

    1. have them wake up the same time as Trump every morning;
    2. have them sleep 4-5 hours per night like Trump does;
    3. have them work elbow to elbow, along side Trump everyday for 60 days;
    4. have them maintain Trump’s schedule;
    5. see how they both hold up and pick the one best suited to run against Trump !

    thanks;


    1. Pete Antonson March 16, 2020 8:48 pm Reply

      Hey Randy, you left out all the golf we’re paying millions for! Why did you do that? Is it because trump models dishonesty so well and so often that you think it’s ok?
      You also left out his 6 hours of “executive time” which reportedly is spent watching FOX News and tweeting before getting to the office at 11am….https://www.businessinsider.com/president-donald-trump-daily-routine-2018-10


  17. nothings free March 16, 2020 2:22 pm Reply

    There is no-one alive that could do, will do, and must do to straighten out what the deplorable and evil Democrats have done to destroy our Country. For 8 years Obama and his apology tour BS tried hijacking our Country. The “politically incorrect” liberals under Obama succeeded in dividing our Nation like to other misfit group since the Civil War. They divided and created chaos between Black and White Americans, men and women, gays and straights, police and everyone, transvestites in the Military coming to a foxhole near you, little boys free entrance to little girls restrooms, and on and on! And now the Socialists have taken over Congress, and for those who think Trump is “evil” look in the mirror! He has done more for America in 3 years than all the past Presidents since Reagan. Now the Democrats have put their two best representatives before the world to see! Two disgusting old, do nothing, senile, “White Men” coming to save you from the strongest leader this Country has had since Lincoln You will not win snowflakes. You will be wimping and whining, frozen in the fetal position come November. In the meantime, enjoy the economy and jobs he created. Watch how he will overcome the Corona Virus like no other person alive would be able to. The world has followed his lead already, and all will be well. My advice? As soon as the virus starts to disappear, let’s say around May, buy every share of stock you can get your hands on. Then, in November when he’s re elected, take all your profits and buy as much as you can again! Double down just one time! By the time his second term is over, you will be financially set for the rest of your life! You will owe your economic and future lives to this man, but because of sheer incompetence, you can’t grasp that fact!


    1. Pete Antonson March 16, 2020 8:52 pm Reply

      I thought Disneyland was closed (thanks to trump!)! How did this guy get stuck in Fantasyland?


    2. James March 18, 2020 8:42 am Reply

      Thinking’s free…try exercising it rather than rant on…


  18. sillyputty March 16, 2020 2:52 pm Reply

    How about if Trump gets up everyday and works side by side with the average worker in this country and gets up at five am, drops off the kids, heads to a low wage eight hour job, then picks up the kids, drops them off at tutus house and heads out to the second overnight job and gets home at six o”clock in the morning to drive them to school, then drives home, sleeps till 2 o’clock then picks up the kids, drops them off at gammas then goes to the second nighttime job, and then on the weekends works two different Luaus in the evenings, and two part time restaurant jobs in the mornings, then collapses for maybe four hours, then gets up and does it all over again for the next week I wanna see Trump do that., Randy in Kansas, I don’t think your handle means what you think it means, BTW


    1. Tooindependent March 17, 2020 8:22 am Reply

      Silly putty if you do this daily or know someone who does… It’s your own fault and I don’t feel sorry for anyone who has made those choices. Don’t blame it on anyone but yourselves. This is why we urge children to stay in school get all the education you can.


  19. Adam H. March 16, 2020 5:31 pm Reply

    Dear ALLAN.
    You said…
    “This leads us to the situation today, in which two hopelessly old white male millionaires with histories of difficulty dealing with women’s issues are the only viable choices. ”

    Such opinions roll so easily off your tongue and you don’t even realize what a misguided and judgmental statement that is…
    So basically, If they weren’t so male, and old and white and wealthy then we’d be ok…
    it’s disgusting.
    it’s pure SEXIST. pure AGEIST. pure RACIST. pure CLASSIST.

    Let us rember the words of the Late Great MLKjr. who said ““I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    And Believe me people. I’m not defending these two failures. All I’m saying is when did we stop judging men by the content of their character and instead on the color of their skin, their age, their wealth????

    Let me be clear. The character of both of these candidates smells to high heaven. I would vote Trump over these two any day. Trump will destroy these two candidates. Mark my words.
    Biden is a walking case of Alzheimer. Marbles in his mouth, doesn’t know what state he’s in. Can’t remember SH!T. Don’t you just love the way he fondles and smells young girls and invades their space any chance he gets.
    And Bernie, wow. What a wretched old communist who only appeals to those who sincerely want more free stuff and lack the courage and drive to make something of themselves. His Marxist ideals are proven disasters.

    The American dream is totally under attack by all of you.
    We live in the most free, most prosperous, most inclusive society the world has ever seen and you want to throw it all away because ….????????????


    1. Pete Antonson March 16, 2020 9:24 pm Reply

      Oh really? A trump supporter is actually going to bring up issues of character? Really? This is almost too funny for words! There was that bus ride that really GRABBED us all, the porn star liaison while his son was being born, the porn star payoff on Valentines Day, the grinding totality of his narcissism and it’s oh so public need for vanity and loyalty, the dragging of contractors into court to make them settle for 20% of what they are owed, the unhealthy photos with and references of his daughter, The trump university scam, the golf cheating, using phony bronzer products and shoe lifts, charging the secret service (and taxpayers) full rack rates, his family’s kickback corruption while he is in office, raiding his own charity for personal expenses, and on and on and on.


  20. Tooindependnet March 16, 2020 5:39 pm Reply

    Amazing how many commenters show themselves as using the on going brainwashing of their political party to show everyone they can’t think for themselves.


  21. Tooindependent March 16, 2020 5:54 pm Reply

    Thanks Allan for your opinion… It’s nice to know there are people like you who belong to a political party and at the same time able to bad mouth his own party’s candidates even though they expect him to vote for one of them instead of Trump. The more writing you might do on this sort of thinking might be a good primer/ conditioner so when the elections are finally over people won’t fight and try to kill everyone because they lost again.


  22. Debra Kekaualua March 16, 2020 6:38 pm Reply

    If you still think that treason and voting in occupier rigged gigs is a good thing, you are all more stupid than the other “guilty kealoha stolen mail box” hui and individual frauders, maurader peoples, child sex trafficers, cartel, mafia, etc!

    RICO agents needs to expose the judiciaropolitical ol boy network of crackerheaded “leaders” top to bottom, cesspool hawaii, especially Garbage Island, Hawaii island, def more on Oahu.


  23. Pete Antonson March 16, 2020 9:42 pm Reply

    I sanded, sanded, and sanded some more, on furniture to be restored when I came home, in 1977, from the mind numbing stress of becoming a journeyman air traffic controller at Oakland International Airport,
    Allan, that’s what you should have done when Warren dropped out instead of writing this monstrous piece of garbage.


  24. Conrad K Adams March 17, 2020 4:52 am Reply

    Wow even you tgi?!?
    Even you are blind to TULSI GABBARD still being in the race??

    TULSI GABBARD STILL IN THE RACE!!!!
    VOTE FOR TULSI!!


    1. Michael Mann March 17, 2020 11:35 pm Reply

      There isn’t enough “NO” in the entire universe for me to adequately express how much I am NOT in favor of Gabbard anywhere in Washington, D.C., much less the White House!

      Gabbard is not “still in the race.” She is just hanging on like a party guest nobody remembers inviting and who won’t leave even though the hosts have gone to bed.


  25. E.J. Hands March 17, 2020 6:16 pm Reply

    What’s appalling is that (a) this biased ‘occasional’ reporter’s headline was printed by the Editor without any counter opinion printed alongside…and the fact that the frontrunner for the Republicans is about as appalling a president as this country has ever endured. Shame, Garden Island!


  26. Mark Beeksma March 17, 2020 9:04 pm Reply

    Allan,
    Good article.
    Biden may not know what state his is in or what office he is running for, but he sure knows how to work with his son to collect millions of dollars in Ukrainian bribes. I suppose the DNC is choosing to elect Biden to run for president in order to keep him out of prison. Apparently, once he becomes a political candidate, the Trump administration is forbidden to question all that bribery, even though it is now a matter of public record.


  27. behappy March 18, 2020 5:39 am Reply

    WowWow! So tired of all the Trump hating comments! It’s clear he has America’s interest at heart! Say what you will but I have been pleasantly surprised! As someone who has voted for all three major parties at various times of my life, this is the time to keep someone in office who has our country’s interest at heart. I know the tried and true Democrats will never vote for him as they go marching on holding their holier-than-thou moral signs not observing or caring about the past/present deplorable actions and words of their two candidates. What happened to the pink hats? Can they pull them out and go to the primary poll booth to vote for the candidate of their choice? I know the party of the highest hypocrisy (not morals) and their two candidates say it all!


  28. truth be known March 18, 2020 1:47 pm Reply

    Allen, perhaps we should be focused on who the two front runners choose for their vice presidential running mates as these “terribly unqualified old white male millionaires” might drop dead soon after being sworn in. I for one would like to see Tulsi Gabbard as a moderate, sensible, level headed candidate chosen for that position. What we don’t need is some left wing radical extremist.


  29. Sir Richard Pumpaloaf March 18, 2020 6:56 pm Reply

    The main problem is that they are old white men??? No, that’s not the main problem. The main problem is they suck as candidates. Part of Team Blue’s problem is identity politics has limits. You can go down your purity spiral if you like. But no thanks for me.


  30. notahippi March 20, 2020 7:12 pm Reply

    Vote Trump


    1. ... March 28, 2020 1:54 pm Reply

      …out of office


  31. Martha Hodges April 10, 2020 12:54 pm Reply

    Having just read this entire stream, I think the MAIN problem is clear and simple; FOX, AON and Trump say one thing and his followers swallow it whole. Any other source they deem “fake news”. So, why wouldn’t there be angry disapproval and defensive comments from Trump followers; including Mr. P who proceeded to use all the current Republican talking points against the Democrat candidates. Those of us questioning the fear-mongering of conspiracy theories and slanted spin know that Trump is no more than the con man he has always been. And we want to put an end to his autocracy.`


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