Doesn’t have a chance?

When the public says they’re looking for that so-called generic Democrat whom they would overwhelmingly favor over President Trump, they mean U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, of Colorado. They just don’t know it yet.

In 2013, he was one of the “Gang of Eight” — four Democrats and four Republicans — who crafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill (including a path to citizenship) that won support in the Senate but couldn’t get to a vote in the House.

He was the superintendent of Denver’s public schools, credited with increasing enrollment, decreasing dropout rates, getting more kids to college, engaging with the community and, in the words of The Denver Post, acting as “a force — pushing reforms and steering [the school system] to a culture of success.”

In any other year, he would be considered a progressive Democrat able to win in the states that don’t have first-in-the-nation caucuses.

He is pro-gay marriage. He supported Obamacare and supports a public health insurance option — not the abolition of all private options. He co-sponsored the DREAM Act and opposes open borders. Last January, he took on Ted Cruz on the Senate floor, in an impromptu speech that revealed Cruz’s hypocrisy. In his last election, Bennet received more votes than any other Democrat ever has in Colorado — over 30,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton — and he had more votes in rural counties than any other Democrat in statewide history.

His late father was Christian. His mom, a Jew, survived the Holocaust.

Can he win against Trump? Can he beat a crowd of socialists, spiritualists, serious academics, and political newbies and oldies in a process dominated by people disappointed by Barack Obama? Yes.

Only in processes dominated by minorities of minorities in multicandidate fields in which “blocs” the size of my neighborhood command the attention of the international press corps could it possibly make political sense to claim that Obama was too conservative.

So what does a great candidate like Bennet do when he could beat Trump but is polling zip in Iowa? He does what insurgents have always done. Today, he is the insurgent, and Iowa is for insurgents. The liberal litany must be getting tiresome. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is too young, still. Iowa wants a grown-up, a man who has done things.

Move to Iowa, Mike. Go from town to town, dawn to dusk. Sign people up. Create an organization. When you’re not there, head to New Hampshire — back and forth. Send the family. Send people who know you. The rest of the candidates are locked up by the teachers unions. You get to speak for the kids and their parents. People there listen. They ask questions, take this business seriously. That’s why everyone pays attention.

So, be the insurgent. Take on the conventional fringe wisdom about what the party must be for and against. Have the courage to stand up for what still is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party: equality and justice, not open borders and the end of private insurance.

The thought of Trump defending Obama against the Democrat contenders’ attacks leaves me shaking my head. Someday, they’ll understand just how amazing a president Obama was — amazing enough that they actually thought it was easy. It isn’t. But it’s not impossible.

Michael Bennet for president. He could win, and for all the right reasons.


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