Democrats need someone to bridge the stark political divide for 2020. What we don't need is John Kerry

Like it or not, voters are tired of the political elite. They’re done with family dynasties, they’re done being talked at and they’re done with what they know. They made that pretty clear in 2016

Nash Riggins
Friday 30 November 2018 10:48
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Kerry should be incredibly proud of his achievements, but he’s a leader of yesteryear
Kerry should be incredibly proud of his achievements, but he’s a leader of yesteryear

America’s been without a leader for quite some time now. Our partisan congress is split down the middle, the judiciary is a quagmire and Democrats are at each other’s throats over who gets to hold a tiddly gavel. Add that seedy Twitter fiend we’ve got holed up in the Oval Office and it’s fair to say America is now effectively the Dyson of power vacuums.

Our reactive, self-serving government has got no sense of sustainability, morality or common sense. The republic is just chasing its tail at this point – which is why it’s time to grit our teeth, hit reset and start thinking about 2020.

That’s right: America’s presidential campaign season has officially begun. It’s a two-year, $7bn train wreck that brings out the worst in literally everyone and their dog. No one can escape it, you’ll need to unfriend at least 100 people on Facebook and the end result could spell disaster for the world as we know it.

In the red corner, what you see is what you get. Donald Trump’s catastrophically inflated ego can’t resist gunning for another four years – and despite his rock-bottom approval ratings, Trump will probably snag about as many votes in 2020 as he did against Hillary Clinton the last time round.

That means we’ll need a formidable challenger to rally the Democrats and charm swing voters. We’ll need someone fresh, charismatic and full of ideas. Yet above all else, we’ll need somebody able to bridge America’s stark political divide and help us to progress as a society.

What we don’t need is John Kerry.

Don’t remember John? Don’t sweat it. He’s like one of those bands you can’t quite place, but after Googling it realise they actually wrote the soundtrack to your 2002.

John Kerry is a politician’s politician, and he looks the part. That jawline could cut diamonds, and he’s got the swagger of a guy who’s just blagged his way through a casting call of the West Wing without even reading the script. Then again, what would you expect after 30 years in politics?

Kerry’s been a deputy governor, senior senator, US secretary of state and even ran against George W Bush for America’s top job in 2004. But apparently that defeat made Kerry hungrier than ever – because this week, he told a crowd of Harvard intellectuals he’s “going to think about” running against Donald Trump in 2020.

Sigh.

Now, let’s give credit where credit is due, here: John Kerry is a decent bloke, and America could do a lot worse (I mean, we are right now). For decades, Kerry’s been a middle-grounded, well-educated voice of reason in Washington. Just like Hillary Clinton before him, Kerry’s key strength has always been his breadth of experience. Kerry knows politics like the back of his hand – but in this day and age, that’s also his biggest weakness.

Like it or not, voters are tired of the political elite. They’re done with family dynasties, they’re done being talked at and they’re done with what they know. They made that pretty clear in 2016 when they rejected the most qualified presidential candidate in decades, and they made it clear again this month after electing the most diverse congress in American history.

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If we’re going to get rid of Donald Trump, the Democrats need to spot a pattern here before it’s too late. John Kerry has served his country honourably. He should be incredibly proud of his achievements, but he’s a leader of yesteryear – and if he couldn’t unite America when we were riding high in 2004, how the hell is he supposed to inspire voters in the age of Trump and Brexit?

Like so many other progressive heavyweights of the Clinton and Obama eras, it’s time for Kerry to hang up his gloves and make way for the leaders of tomorrow. The Democrats have a gaggle of high-energy, junior lawmakers oozing with promise – and instead of taking the path of least resistance, it’s time for the liberal establishment to stop living in the past and invest in the future.

We need somebody fresh who’s ready to hit the ground running and go toe-to-toe with a bona fide sociopath in 2020 – and we need them sooner rather than later. The clock is ticking.

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