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More Than a Few of These Democratic Candidates Should Really Take Samantha Bee’s Advice

There are currently 23 Democrats in the race to be the party’s 2020 presidential nominee and I think we can all agree, that’s just too many damn people. Some of them are laughably underqualified; some appear unqualified when compared to other candidates in the race; others are just packed into too crowded a field to ever have a chance of standing out. Some of them haven’t been able to meet the 1% polling requirement to participate in the upcoming first debates.

To all of those candidates, Samantha Bee has some fantastic advice: RUN FOR SENATE.

On her show Wednesday night, Bee argued that we don’t need 23 candidates for President and we need more than just a Democrat in the White House, anyway. “Winning the presidency would be great,” she said. “But real change is impossible unless the Senate changes hands, too.”

There are a lot of reasons why someone might not want to work in the Senate—number one being having to work with Mitch McConnell, obviously. But as Bee notes, “The beauty of elections is if you run and win, then you’re the Mitch McConnell.” Meaning if we flip the Senate (which won’t be easy but isn’t impossible) then Democrats don’t have to answer to a soulless turtle troll. But also, if you’re not willing to work with someone as difficult as McConnell, you’re probably not going to be a very effective president, are you?

Other Democrats have even worse answers for why they’re jumping the queue and going straight for the top. Like the candidates from western states who don’t want to “endure long round-trip flights to Washington.” Again, if you can’t handle that, leading a country might not be the best job for you.

And then there’s John Hickenlooper who says he’s “not cut out to be senator” in his home state of Colorado because “you don’t get a team” to work with in that position, or at least not as big a team. “It’s not the same as operating an enterprise.” Basically, he says, “the Senate doesn’t attract me,” which is funny because as Bee says at Hickenlooper, “99.7 percent of Democratic presidential voters aren’t attracted to you.

If Hickenlooper ran for Senate, he’d be up against an incredibly vulnerable GOP incumbent. He could actually win–something that absolutely no one would say about his presidential campaign. And he’s not alone. Montana Governor Steve Bullock is running for president, despite no one outside of that state knowing who he is. And it’s not just those polling below 1% that should arguably really be focused on their home state rather than shooting straight for the White House.

Indiana doesn’t have a Senate race in 2020, but there will be elections for the U.S. House, the Governor, the State Senate, and the State House—all of which are currently under Republican control. Does Pete Buttigieg really think he’s needed in the White House more than he is in trying to turn his state slightly more purple?

“Democrats are often reluctant to run races they can’t win,” says Bee, “but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.” The Senate is really freaking important and it’s worth fighting for. Plus, I’d say about 18 or so of the guys in the 2020 crowd are already running a race they can’t possibly win so really, what’s the difference?

(image: screenshot)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.