New Yorkers have been mere observers in the Presidential nominating process up until now.  But this coming Tuesday, April 19th, we finally get our chance to weigh in.  If you’re interested, here are my thoughts and recommendations.

Hillary for President

HillaryHillary Clinton’s wide-ranging knowledge, tireless work ethic, matchless experience, and steely resilience make her the best prepared non-incumbent candidate for President in my lifetime.  I admire Hillary’s governing philosophy, which is well-explained in this Times op-ed from a few weeks ago.  And on a personal level, I have found Hillary to be warm, engaging, responsive, and sincerely committed to public service.  Finally, it is no small thing that our nation has a chance to elect its first woman President, a giant and exciting step forward in America’s long, unfinished, and sometimes painful quest to honor its ideals.

I could say much, much more, but President Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau already made the case so perfectly in this essay back in February that I simply urge you read it.

To sum up, Hillary has my strong, unequivocal, and full-hearted endorsement.

Feel the Bern, But Vote for the Hill

I have had plenty of good-natured debates with friends who support Bernie Sanders.  And there is much I admire in Sanders myself.  He has raised the profile of vitally important issues – from our dreadful and debilitating campaign finance system to the pernicious effects of inequality.  And let’s face it: his rumpled anti-style has some serious appeal.  (Plus ya gotta love the Larry David impersonation on SNL.)

Bernie SandersIf Sanders were a doctor, I would give him high marks for his diagnostic skills and bedside manner.

But when it comes to prescription and treatment . . . not so much.  And those are pretty important parts of the job.  In the Presidency, it’s not enough just to articulate values, unless you also connect those values to achievable plans.

In short, Sanders’ revolutionary rhetoric may be better at stirring some souls, but Hillary’s thoughtful, more fully-considered strategy – together with leadership skills honed over decades of high-level service –  will be much better at actually changing lives.  To me, that’s what really counts.

Given what’s evolving on the Republican side, the stakes of this election are unusually high.  Please cast the vote that does the most good for our country.

Rice for Delegate

One of those Sanders-supporting friends is my colleague on the City Council, Jared Rice, who will be on the ballot as a Sanders delegate.  Even as I vote proudly for Hillary, I will vote with equal pride for Jared and urge you to do the same.

Jared RiceThat may sound contradictory, but under the unusual rules of the primary election, there is actually no contradiction at all.  Let me explain . . .

The number of delegates won by each presidential candidate will be based on the proportion of the vote they receive in each congressional district.  By voting for Hillary, you can maximize her share of local delegates.

However, you are also able to cast a separate and distinct vote for up to 6 individual delegates (out of 12 running.)  The delegates who receive the highest number of votes are then chosen to fill up their respective candidate’s allotment.  Here’s what the ballot looks like:

Primary Ballot

Even if Hillary wins big in our district, Bernie is almost sure to get a delegate or two, and I want to help Jared become one of those delegates.

It’s more than just personal friendship.  It will be good for New Rochelle to have a presence at the national convention in Philadelphia.  Plus, even though Jared is passionate about Bernie, he is also firmly committed to a strong united effort in the fall, and that will be important in bringing the convention together.

So, that’s my advice to my fellow Democrats: Hillary Clinton for President, Jared Rice for delegate.

If you’ve read this far, then I appreciate your considering my input.  And whatever your choice, please be sure to vote.