Dear Mayor Pete,
Full disclosure: You were not my first or even my second choice of candidate for President. Beto O’Rourke was first, Elizabeth Warren was second. Luckily, one of my former coworkers is from South Bend and keep saying I needed to check you out by reading your book. Which I did (actually I read the books by each of top tier candidates to find out more on all of them), and I liked what I read. You are my candidate of choice and I’m with you as long as you are in the race. I’ve even invested in your campaign through several contributions, giving what I can when I can.
After watching you in the New Hampshire debate, you have me a little worried though. Yes, you won Iowa and yes, you are having a strong showing in the polls for New Hampshire. But, it doesn’t feel like you are doing any planning ahead past those first two states. It feels like you are taking a lot of potential voters for granted, as many of your predecessors have done, and current candidates are doing.
Stop doing so, or you will lose.
Here are some words of advice from an old white guy.
- Own your privilege as you have lived a privileged life. You’ve never really wanted for anything related to actual survival growing up. You didn’t worry about food, clothing, shelter or love while growing up. Acknowledge this and then learn to empathize (think Bill Clinton).
- Learn, and learn fast, how to empathize for those less fortunate. Get into a soup kitchen, visit one of the concentration camps housing children in Texas, ask to sit and listen to a sermon at an AME Church in the Deep South, find a Latinx family that will invite you to a family gathering in New Mexico or Texas, seek the counsel of strong African American Women, visit with Asian Community leaders in California, stop to read with and hear the life stories of students at Title I schools, visit homeless shelters in every city you visit. Don’t just talk about caring, show you care, and most importantly show you want to learn and be up-front about not knowing. I don’t know of any Person of Color who wants a White Savior. It is my experience they are extremely proud and very independent.
- Start talking about what you will do in your first 100 days in office to support and assist everyday Americans, the less fortunate and the middle class. Sit down with families of all backgrounds to discover their issues. The polls and pundits only know so much, and can be way out in left field.
- Start playing hard ball now against Trump. You might be trying to win the nomination by trying to beat the other current candidates, but I really want to see how you plan to defeat Trump in November. That is who you are running against, not Amy or Bernie or Elizabeth or Joe or Andrew or Tim or Michael, or any of the other candidates. It’s worth saying again, you are running against Trump. Act like it, show me your moxie, give me a demonstration of how tough you are and will need to be to defeat an authoritarian who believes he can do anything to get re-elected.
- You have said you speak multi-languages. Start using them to speak directly to those communities in ads and town halls. Whether that is two languages or seven, start using that skill.
- Start telling me the types of people you will have in your cabinet, who do you want them to emulate. What about Supreme Court Justices (oh, while here, stop talking about how you want to increase the size of the court or other plans you have, it is falling flat). Better to talk about the types of judges you would appoint.
- Stop talking down to us. You are very smart, and I want you to be a smart President, one who ponders and thinks things through. However, you are coming across as a pompous ass a lot. There are ways to be smart, but not by being condescending towards your audience. Again, you can take a lesson from Bill Clinton or Elizabeth Warren. They both are very smart, but have a knack for not talking down to us while explaining their ideas.
- Be consistent. Know what is on your website and be able to speak to it. Know what you said at a meeting 10 years ago about controversial topics. It is a lot to remember, but the media will find it and ask you about it every single time. Don’t get caught off guard.
- Own your time at McKinsey & Company. You used data to manipulate an outcome. That was your job. It paid well. You were fresh out of college. That I understand. It is the insincerity of how you explain your time there that turns me off.
- Last one: Get James Carville to give you some good advice and to practice with you for debates. He’ll put you through the wringer and tell you flat out what you are doing wrong. He’s a bulldog, and we need a bulldog to help win this. If you can get past Mr. Carville, you will be more than ready for prime time, you will be prepared for debates, you will have more confident in your answers, and you will have an arsenal of ideas to defeat Trump in November.
If you want the Presidency as badly as you say. Shake off the debate, get your act together, and plan for the infinite, not the finite, game. This is a chess game and you need to be thinking 10 moves ahead and what will happen if just one move hits an obstacle and you have to move in a different direction.
Good luck and one day you can invite me to the White House for dinner as thanks for my advice (having dinner at the White House is one of my bucket list items).
I believe you can bring us together as a nation after the current administration loses in November. I believe you can help elect Democrats up and down the ticket. I believe in you for thinking about the day after Trump. I believe in you for being forward thinking as we can’t go back to the past.
P.S.—I’m also open to being Secretary of Education since you will be needing someone who thinks to the future of education, and its importance to the Nation and our economy.