Alyssa Milano: The key to beating Trump? Elect all of the Democratic candidates
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 Sanders…. goes head-to-head with Sen. Elizabeth Warren” 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 Bash tried to get Sen. Kamala Harris (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 Trump 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 Putin’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 Biden 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 Castro’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 Yang, 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 Buttigieg 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 Gillibrand as Commerce secretary. Amy Klobuchar as Agriculture secretary. Former candidate Jay Inslee bringing environmental issues to the level they deserve as the helm of the Department of Energy. Strong union supporter Tim Ryan as Secretary of Labor. Treasury Secretary Delaney. Recently withdrawn Congressman and Veteran Seth Moulton as Secretary of Defense. Bullock at FEC. Bennet at Interior.
And how could Michelle Obama 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.