In July, CNN made the decision to treat the Democratic debates like entertainment. It was a sporting event, with an inane WWF style-introduction designed to play up “in-fighting” between the candidates. “Tonight,” the “in-a-world” movie trailer announcer began, “a fight for the heart of the Party. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRestless progressives eye 2024 Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan MORE…. goes head-to-head with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenRestless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Biden eyes new path for Fed despite Powell pick MORE” and on and on like that for nearly four minutes. It would have been laughable if it weren’t so bad for our nation.
Then it got worse. The moderators were clearly more interested in getting the candidates to fight against one another than they were in facilitating a true discussion of the issues and outlining what’s at stake in the 2020 election.
In the very first question of the second night, Dana BashDana BashGOP governor says McCarthy should condemn Boebert's anti-Muslim remarks Democrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate O'Rourke won't say if he wants Biden to campaign for him in Texas senate race MORE tried to get Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisEmhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony GOP becoming a cult of know-nothings Stowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami MORE (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe Biden into a fight. It was a sad attempt to reignite the drama between the two from the first debate.
It wasn’t just them, and it wasn’t just that night. Normally respectable journalists have become provocateurs, apparently more beholden to the whims of their programming director and potential viral videos than their own history of quality journalism or the good of our country.
None of this might matter if this was a normal election against a normal president and electorate, but it is not and we must stop acting like it is.
Despite the media’s best effort to normalize this administration by cashing in on the entertainment value of the spectacle, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE seemingly thrives in this conflict and so do his voters. He basks in chants at rallies that validate his policies. And to make matters worse, there is evidence that Russia is trying to amplify the dissent of the Democratic primary, to the benefit of Trump. Which is what the Kremlin did during the Sanders-Clinton primary, to devastating effect.
The answer to defeating him, then, cannot be in politics as usual, or surrendering to entropy, division, and the whims of Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress More than 50 dead, one rescued in Russian mine explosion NATO to discuss ways to deter Russia: Lithuanian official MORE’s seeming propaganda.
If we want to get rid of Trump and his administration, we should not focus on electing one candidate. We should elect them all.
There is a Democratic dream team currently running for a single position. Like the party itself — and like the nation as a whole — this slate of candidates has a diversity of background, experience and thought. Instead of fighting against one another, they should pledge, right now before the next debate, to form a unity ticket under any eventual nominee.
If they let go of their own egos and band together to fight Trump; spoke in unison about the Democratic vision for America; and refused to succumb to the conflict narratives media outlets are all too ready to encourage. They would be unstoppable.
Imagine this: Vice President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE is currently leading the field, so let’s start there. With Biden at the top and a Harris vice presidency we would speak to the majority of Americans who prefer Biden to any other candidate.
At the same time, we would bring the perspective of a new generation of leaders to the highest offices in the land. Attorney General Cory Booker could take on the NRA and the racial injustices he so often faced as mayor of Newark.
Elizabeth Warren could lead the Department of Education and it would transform our nation for generations. Bernie Sanders playing the role, as Secretary of Health and Human Services would ensure every person in America could access health care we could afford.
In any administration, Julian CastroJulian CastroJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration Cruz trolled on Twitter for slamming Democrats who fled Texas MORE’s experience as a cabinet secretary and Congressman would be the perfect antidote to the Trump regime’s border policy as the first Latinx Homeland Security Secretary.
But it needn’t stop there. New voices like Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run At 28 percent approval, say goodbye to Kamala Harris being Plan B to an aging Biden Adams wins New York City mayor's race MORE, as the head of the Council of Economic Advisors would bring business acumen and the idea of basic income to the president’s ear.
Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegRestless progressives eye 2024 GOP becoming a cult of know-nothings The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) MORE applying his lived experience as an LGBTQ service member and executive expertise as a mayor to bear as the secretary of Veteran’s Affairs would be transformative to our nation’s heroes.
Beto O’Rourke as chief of staff to the president would guide the nation’s most important decisions with compassion and ease. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE as Commerce secretary. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair MORE as Agriculture secretary. Former candidate Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeVaccine mandates put unions in a bind Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Armadillo army takes over North Carolina town Washington redistricting commission fails, punts maps to Supreme Court MORE bringing environmental issues to the level they deserve as the helm of the Department of Energy. Strong union supporter Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats brace for flood of retirements after Virginia rout Ohio Republicans swing for fences in redistricting proposals Ohio redistricting commission gives up on US House map MORE as Secretary of Labor. Treasury Secretary Delaney. Recently withdrawn Congressman and Veteran Seth MoultonSeth MoultonBill seeks to aid families of Black WWII veterans deprived of GI benefits How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation GOP lawmaker says he did not threaten US Embassy staff in Tajikistan MORE as Secretary of Defense. Bullock at FEC. Bennet at Interior.
And how could Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson Obama'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Son gives emotional tribute to Colin Powell at service MORE say no to the critical role of Secretary of State if this unified group asked her to serve? Our reputation and luster around the globe would be instantly restored. If Biden doesn’t win the nomination, he would be a world-class leader in nearly any other department. Swap him out for anyone else.
The fact of the matter is that these candidates all agree on the “what.” Their generally minor differences are in the “how.” Instead of encouraging the cult of personalities surrounding each individual candidate, reaping the division this long and damaging primary will sow, let’s get behind them all. We truly have an embarrassment of riches in our field. We should not be winnowing it. We should be uniting it, pooling their resources and creating a complete ticket that no American could vote against.
The Democratic Party is progressive. The Democratic Party is moderate. And like America, the Democratic Party is diverse. This slate of candidates represents the breadth of the American experience and the excitement of new ideas and perspectives.
These are desperate times. The heart and soul of our nation is at stake. Our country cannot afford another four years of Donald Trump. Desperate times call for thinking outside the box with Democratic measures. If we want to beat Trump, we know whom to elect: All of them.
Or we can just keep proceeding with politics as usual and act shocked when he’s re-elected.
Alyssa Milano is an actor, activist and recently joined the ERA Coalition’s Advisory Council. She is also the ACLU’s ambassador for reproductive rights. For 15 years, Alyssa has been a UNICEF National Ambassador.