Guest Editorial Week of 8/31/20

By Thomas L. Knapp

An open letter to Michelle Obama

Dear Ma'am,
Where were you in late 2016 and early 2017, when a little bit of encouragement from a much-admired former First Lady might have sparked transformation and reform in the Democratic Party, bringing better candidates out of the woodwork and positioning them as real alternatives to Donald Trump's GOP?
Where were you last winter, when you could have used your bully pulpit to influence Democratic primary voters toward better presidential nomination choices than Joe Biden? Why didn't you come out and urge those voters to support Bernie Sanders, or Tulsi Gabbard, or Mike Gravel?
Where were you a month ago when a call from you would likely have carried great weight with Biden as he considered his choice of running mate? Why didn't you pick up the phone and tell him that some melanin and two X chromosomes couldn't magically turn a pro-carceral-state, pro-bad-cop, nowhere near ready for prime time party apparatchik into vice-presidential material?
Given your party's Herculean efforts to blow its second presidential election in a row, and your complete cooperation with those efforts, you've got a lot of nerve to lecture millions of Americans, wagging your finger at us and demanding that we not "withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning."
Look, it's true that I'm not really your target market. I've been a partisan Libertarian for 25 years.
The last time I voted for a Democratic presidential ticket was 1988.
Then again, the last time I voted (or expect to vote) for a Republican presidential ticket is never.
And I really, really, really want to see Donald Trump sent packing this November. Really.
Heck, I even donated a few bucks to Senator Gravel's campaign (he's a personal hero of mine) and might have been able to bring myself to vote for Congresswoman Gabbard if your party had had the brains and guts to nominate her.
I'm all in for my party's nominee, Jo Jorgensen. I admit that that was probably always going to be the case. But there was the possibility, however slight, that I might have been persuaded otherwise.
Unfortunately, it wasn't just people like me -- the hard cases -- that your party couldn't be bothered to even try to appeal to.
The Democratic Party told "independent" voters they don't matter. The Democratic Party abandoned "swing" voters to Trump.
Heck, it even thumbed its nose at its own substantial center-left wing.
And then it sent you out to make excuses for it and demand that everyone it declined to listen to reward its bad behavior and poor people skills with our votes in November.
Sorry, no dice. And you should be ashamed of yourself for accepting the assignment.
A. Voter

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (


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