When I came across a list of books by the, then 24, Democratic presidential candidates, I decided I was going to read them. Luckily, the major candidates have whittled down, so I’ve read 11 of the books available (not all have books). Interestingly, no bookstore had them all. One would think they would have a display of all the presidential candidates’ books (Dems/ Repubs/Indies), for us all to get to know the candidates better.
Reading their books did allow me to get to know the candidates better. Their backgrounds, family lives, and passions. Reading their stories did influence my thoughts on who I’d like to be President, and who should step aside, along with some that would make excellent Cabinet members.
Here are my thoughts…
1. Elizabeth Warren—This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class
Warren walks the talk. She has been poor, middle class and what I would call well off. However, I don’t believe she has ever forgotten her origins. The book describes quite well where she feels the country has gotten off track. Warren outlines how decisions of the extremely wealthy, through the politicians they have purchased, affect those of us in the 99%. I truly get her vision for America, and truly believe it is possible. But, it is only possible if those of us in the 99% come together to vote and effect the change. The gist of the book, to me, is, if we join together and VOTE, we can take our country back and forge a path that lifts us all up, not just the extremely rich and their politicians. She would make a great President or Vice President; she and Buttigieg would make a great team.
1. Pete Buttigieg—Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future
Mayor Pete’s book was the first I read, mainly because a co-worker couldn’t stop talking about South Bend, and about Mayor Pete. Buttigieg is smart! Mayor Pete has struggled with identify, and come out, literally and figuratively, a better person for it. As he has run for the presidency, we have been able to see him struggle with big concerns, such as race bias, and watched him learn and grow. He has allowed us to see he isn’t perfect, but he is willing to listen, learn and work to do better. That is exactly what his book is about, struggling, learning and growing. He is forward thinking, analytical, and has a vision for the future. A vision we can achieve together as a nation. He would make a great President or Vice President; he and Warren would make a great team.
2. Cory Booker—United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good
Cory is hugely understated, which is both a blessing and a curse. He is a deep thinker, purposely put himself in a place totally unfamiliar to his life’s experience to make a difference, and brings people together to effect change. It doesn’t feel like he wants the limelight or to take credit for his actions, seems a true team player and doesn’t care who gets the credit. To me, these character traits might be why he hasn’t surged ahead. He would make a great head of HUD.
3. Amy Klobuchar—The Senator Next Door: A Memoir From the Heartland
I couldn’t finish her book. Not because it was bad, but because it was run of the mill. Klobuchar seems your every day person with the normal ups and downs. It just wasn’t a page turner or compelling enough to read to the end. She seems very much the anti-Trump in terms of demeanor and charisma; she lacks a grand vision. There just isn’t anything to get excited about or behind in terms of where she wants to take the country. The Senate is where she can do her best and help move the Warren and Buttigieg agendas forward.
4. Andrew Yang—The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future
What a stark prediction he paints for the future of jobs in the U.S. However, he is on-point as he talks about how technology will change the job market and the coming job displacement. Yang is spot-on in terms of how this will drastically affect males and service workers. He paints a scary future. Then, he brings us back to the potential for the future that isn’t as bleak as the first part of his book makes it out to be. That is, if we take action. His revisiting and enhancing of Universal Basic Income (UBI), is something I could get behind and can see the benefit to us all. Yang would make a great Secretary of Commerce.
5. Beto O’Rourke—Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico
O’Rourke is nothing if not passionate, as we remember from his reaction and comments after the mass shooting in El Paso, albeit I don’t happen agree to using profanity when one is seen as a leader. Then, he also shows us low energy and confidence during the debates. O’Rourke’s book did enroll me into the idea of legalizing pot. I’d rather it made money for the country, while bringing down crime. Read the book just to see how much the war on drugs, and more specifically marijuana, has cost us. O’Rourke would make a good head of HHS or DEA.
6. Julián Castro—An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up From My American Dream
Castro’s story really is an example of the American Dream working for the good. The story holds you from the very beginning. As someone who came from poverty and moved into the middle class, his story resonate with me. He is a role model of possibility and shows it takes more than one’s self to make it to the top—one needs family, friends and mentors, as well as drive and determination. If it weren’t for his undignified attack on Biden (and I’m most definitely not a Biden supporter), showing a hint of immaturity and actually straying from who he wants to be as described in his book, he would be higher on my list. We already have a President who attacks and belittles, we don’t need another one. Castro’s weakness towards being highly competitive may have gotten the better of him, and I personally don’t want this type of behavior in the White House. I think he would do well to become a Senator, Governor or Secretary of Education.
7. Kamala Harris—The Truths We Hold: An American Journey
No, just no. She has accomplished a lot, for which she should be very proud, but she comes across as thoroughly self-absorbed in her book and during the debates. Harris has shown she is a good attorney and a good senator, and a brilliant legal mind. It is the self-absorption and “all about me-ism” that is a turn off. For me, she is another Trump in terms of thinking she has all the answers and it being all about herself. I believe she could use, and practice, some humility. Once she has that, I’d be open to her as President in 2028. For now, she should stay in her senator role or be U.S. Attorney General.
8. Bernie Sanders—Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance
Sanders walks the talk and has not faltered from his message from the beginning of his political career. He has great ideas to lift all people up and truly cares about our welfare. His thoughts on campaigning and reaching out to all voters in red, blue, and purple states are compelling. Sanders has experienced a lot in his life and has truly effected change. He was my candidate of choice in 2016 and believe he would’ve bet Trump. However, his time has come and gone, especially now that he has some health issues. He ran once and lost, it is time to set aside his ego and step aside for the next generation to effect change. Time to drop out. Sanders is a great leader and motivator, things we need in the Senate right now. I believe the DNC, with its own ego issues, is just plain stupid for not having Sanders as its head to fulfill a 50-state strategy and bring many many voters under the Democrat umbrella, enough to win the House, the Senate and the White House.
9. Joe Biden—Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose
The story of his experience dealing with his son’s illness is heart wrenching; I can only imagine the helplessness, pain and loss of losing a son the way he did. One can feel Biden’s journey while reading and how it affected the lives of his family. I truly sympathize with the Biden family. However, this doesn’t make Biden the best candidate for President. Just as with Sanders, Biden’s time has come and gone. Right now it is ego keeping him in the race. If he truly cared about the country, he would set his ego aside and step aside for the next generation to effect change. His gaffes, think black students when talking about poor students, and his being out-of-touch, think record players in children’s rooms, it is time for him to be a great grandpa and elder statesman who is available for advice, helps with fundraising for the DNC, and is a bulldog to get under Trump’s skin. That is where he should focus his energies now.
10. Tulsi Gabbard—Is Today the Day? Not Another Political Memoir
Here is another no, just no. In reading this memoir, which is really a collection of interviews, I’m not sure what she has to offer the country as the leader of the free world. There just didn’t seem to be any true substance the mass of voters could latch onto to help her to victory. I kept thinking she wants to be the victor of the spoils, but to what end. I do commend her military service to the country. In terms of military presence around the world, she does offer some things to think about. However, one can’t usually be a one- issue candidate and get elected. She might do well as the Secretary of Defense, but I think her calling is where she currently is as a Representative for Hawaii.
Several of the other Democratic candidates have authored books. I did not read them since these candidates are no longer in the top tier, which is telling in of itself.
I believe for the good of the Party and the country, only Warren, Buttigieg, Booker, Klobuchar, and possibly Yang, should stay in the race. The others can feel free to endorse and help their candidate of choice become the nominee. But, as I said for Sanders and Biden, the other candidates should set aside their egos and step aside for the good of the common.
I’d be curious of your thoughts after you read their books?