Living in Society

A Leak During The Political Season

Black Friday at the home, farm and auto supply store.

The sound of footsteps in the hallway told me something was wrong. There was leaking.

I pulled on my jeans, shut off the main water line, and took a look.

The safety bucket on a table under the tankless water heater was overflowing. I dumped the bucket outside and began mitigating the damage.

Shutting off electricity and natural gas to the unit, I isolated the heater by closing the intake and outlet valves, then made sure the leaking stopped. Once it did, I turned the household water back on. Success! At least we have cold water until a plumber can get here.

This minor trauma occurs just as the political season enters my least favorite part: the final nine weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Iowans are privileged to get attention in the presidential nominating process. The blessing and curse of first in the nation caucuses is presidential candidates get vetted, a non-standardized process. As new information comes out, media and engaged party members take it in and process it. Sometimes voters switch support for candidates after new information arrives, sometimes they hold fast. We know a lot more about them today than we did last January.

My support for Elizabeth Warren grows stronger with each day. Every new revelation or negative ad or statement evokes a response. She’s thoughtful, persistent and driven. For Warren the key challenge of the next Democratic president is confronting the corruption in our governance. Warren has the background and skills for that task. All of these are qualities I value in a president.

The rock of candidates is Bernie Sanders. His message has been consistent since I first heard him speak in 2014. The only significant campaign change has been his October heart attack. I view him unchanged and he’s back on the trail. I won’t be a fan until Sanders switches his party registration to Democratic.

I haven’t been to a Biden event although he’s leading national polls. He doesn’t seem like the same Biden we got to know in 2008. Some of his most loyal fans from then have found someone else. During an open election Democrats divide into camps to support different candidates. It can become rancorous. If Biden’s the nominee I’ll work hard to elect him.

The biggest surprise has been some of the U.S. Senators in the race haven’t done better. I’m referring specifically to Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, any of whom would have made a fine nominee.

I also heard Julián Castro, Marianne Williamson, Amy Klobuchar, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Sherrod Brown, and Pete Buttigieg speak in person. Of these I favor Brown (he decided not to run) and Klobuchar (who is my second choice).

While I’ve been more involved with politics than expected this cycle, the national results matter more than the brief bump someone gets in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. That California and Texas are holding their presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, makes the 15 jurisdictions and Democrats Abroad voting March 3 more of a decider than the four early states. I look forward to supporting the eventual nominee in the general election.

I’m hopeful of retaining Iowa’s Second Congressional District in the Democratic column. I’d also like to see Joni Ernst defeated in an effort to regain control of the U.S. Senate. Neither of those contests will be easy and my political activism will be figuring out how to help the eventual nominees after the June primary. I feel a need to do more than donate money to them.

There you have it. My view of the election cycle in context of dealing with a plumbing problem. For one of these I need an expert, for the other some tolerance of an as yet incomplete vetting process and common sense on Feb. 3 and beyond.

I’m confident I will find these things. Hopefully the plumber in a couple of hours.