I am writing to you to offer you my advice for winning the nomination and the Presidency. This is an update to my earlier advice which I hope you have seen. I have a few additional thoughts to add first.
You have done three things right in the last few weeks.
Pledge to Run a Civil Campaign and Challenge Trump to make the same committment
One you called Donald Trump up and had a civil conversation with him about the Corona Virus, gave him advice and listened to him as well. This one act shows what a leader is and can do. Bravo on the initiative.
I would follow up with a pledge to not go negative and ask that Trump commits as well to a civil tone throughout the campaign. If he fails to do that, well you at least tried and again showed what a mature leader is in contrast to the immaturity of Trump.
Two you talked nice about Bernie and his ideas. You need his support and Elizabeth Warren’s support.
Pick VP and Senior Cabinet nominees Now
Third you pledged to nominate a woman as your VP. I’d announce your pick now – as a way to generate momentum and energy.
I would also nominate Elizabeth Warren as your pick for Secretary of Labor, Bernie Sanders as either EPA or Energy, and Mayor Pete as your incoming Secretary of Defense. For Secretary of State (my old agency) I’d nominate Susan Rice.
I’d nominate them all along with your VP pick sooner rather than later.
Call for Virtual Convention and Mail in General Election
I’d call for a Virtual convention – August may still be a bit dicey to have a massive convention.
Re the fall election I’d call upon all States to offer mail in ballots as well as extended voting to reduce the crowds on election day itself. Accept the fact that results will likely be delayed by a week or so but so be it.
Corona Virus Response
Continue to highlight how you coped with the pandemics while you were in the WH. Continue to focus on how Trump blew it initially and is still not on top of the situation. Continue to call out his constant lies and misstatements. But, and this is key, continue to offer concrete suggestions as how to do it better, and praise Trump for all the hard work he is doing and that he is finally taking it seriously.
Reforming the Federal Budget
This is perhaps boring to voters but very important to the long term stability of the country.
I would call upon Congress to change how they do budgets and shift to a two year budgetary cycle. The first year of congress would be devoted to passing the two year budget, the second year would be devoted to oversight and supplemental budget requests.
Coupled that shifting to a calendar year budget. Eliminate the possibility of government shutdowns by enacting automatic CR’s if budgets are not passed on time. But also require budgets to be passed on time – December 1 in the prior year. If a budget is not passed on time, keep congress in town until the budget is passed. And if for some reason the budget is not passed, dinge congressional salaries until the budget is passed.
Second commission a study to look at our tax situation and make suggestions for common sense tax reform. Start by figuring out how much money the government spends in a given year, the reform the tax code to generate most of the revenue from taxes. Consider a national sales tax as well. Reserve borrowing for large scale infrastructure, and military spending. And consider a surcharge on income about 25 million per year.
I would also look at federal spending and ask that all departments identify lower priority projects with a required 5% reduction in federal spending per agencies except for health related and education related agencies which would be given a considerable bump up in spending. I would do this for three years so that in three years overall spending has been reduced by about 10 percent. Leave it up to the agencies to identify lower priority projects that should not be micromanaged by the White House.
For the defense department consider eliminating such things as golf courses, domestic PX and commissary stores and other non-essential spending.
Finally consider turning over some federal government functions to the states. For example the states could manage the national forests and perhaps the national park service.
The conservative idea of moving federal agencies out of Washington DC has considerable merit in my opinion.
The rest of my earlier suggestions follow with a few updates
I retired from the U.S. State Department in 2016 after 27 years of service. I grew up in Berkeley went to college at the University of the Pacific and graduated from the University of Washington (MA Korean Studies, MPA). I also served in the Peace Corps in Korea. I have been to 49 out of 50 states (minus Alaska) and 45 countries.
My advice, in a nutshell, is to make this a campaign about the future and your vision of the future. Paint your opponent Donald Trump as yesterday’s candidate, and mock him, calling on Grandpa Trump to retire to Florida and play golf. Depict him as senile, out of touch, corrupt and focused on returning America to the 19th Century. And call for progressive bold new ideas for the future of America. Be optimistic, be full of hope and good will. Freely steal from Bernie and Elizabeth’s proposals and adopt her detailed plans – after talking with her of course. Call for reform not revolution and stress competence vrs incompetence and chaos.
Avoid Hillary’s Mistakes
Hillary’s biggest mistake was in my view making it all about how bad Donald Trump is, and not giving the voters a real sense of where she wanted to take the country. and making it seemed that she thought she was entitled and it was her time. that is a big turnoff in politics.
She also took it for granted and did not compete everywhere. You have to out hustle Trump and go everywhere – hold virtual town halls everywhere until the Corona virus threat fades away.
You have to earn the trust of the voters and can’t be seen as thinking you are entitled to the presidency because you have done your dues so to speak. That is the kiss of electoral suicide – look at Mitch Romney and Hillary Clinton – both lost because they thought that it was there time and they were entitled to the presidency, the voters simply thought otherwise and showed them the door.
And in an age where the voters were ready for a big change to the status quo, being the establishment candidate was the kiss of death. Not to mention she refused to compete everywhere. And allowed Donald Trump to paint her as “crooked Hillary” and as too much part of the establishment which the public rightly destructed so much. She could have picked Bernie Sanders as her running mate, and perhaps defeated Donald Trump. In the end she won where it did not matter and did not compete where she should have competed.
So, in this upcoming election you have to tell the voters why you are so much better for them and the country than Donald Trump. It will not be enough to run against the Donald. People have to want to vote for you. Your experience counts for a lot but it is not enough. Your age is the same as Donald’s so that is a wash.
How to Beat Trump
there is one thing you must do right now which is to own your son’s alleged conflict of interest.
Here’s how I would shut up the 24/7 Hunter Biden nonsense.
First man up and apologize for your son’s alleged conflict of interest. Say that he did nothing wrong but perhaps he should have avoided working overseas to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Pledge that your family will not have any role in your administration other than your wife’s first lady duties. Say that a real man apologizes for his mistakes and the mistakes of people around him. Contrast that with Con Man Don – your name for Donald Trump – inability to ever admit that he made a mistake because he is such a stable genius.
re the charge that you are senile demand that Donald Trump and you both get a full mental health assessment at the same time. That should shut him up.
talk constantly about Donald Trump being the most corrupt president in US history and that he is guilty or gross nepotism.
Finally ignore his tweets. When he tweets something obnoxious dismiss it with the phrase ”
There he Goes Again”.
then talk about your bold yet pragmatic agenda over and over again.
GO BOLD OR BE RETIRED
The times cries out for bold progressive challenges and for fresh thinking. You have two strikes against you. First, your age and your experience. Can’t do anything about either but you can run as a can do moderate progressive who knows how to get things done. Then resist the temptation to campaign against Donald.
Make people want to vote for you as they share your vision of the possible future. and stop talking about Obama and the status quo – people don’t want to go back to the status quo that frankly was not working for many people. You can’t be the establishment’s candidate and win.
Here are my suggested policy proposals.
GO BOLD OR GO HOME!!!!
I would put forth a series of comprehensive bold future-oriented policies and reiterate them every chance you get. You could call them Joe’s Plan for the Future of America, or Joe’s Contract with the American People, something along those lines. Maybe
“Let’s Boldly Go into the Future,” and rename your campaign as “Joe for the American People” use one of your great assets your reputation for being an every day Joe. Your name is great for this messaging.
But be big, bold, brassy, optimistic and challenge your opponents to produce a better plan or shut up and work with you to solve the nation’s problems.
Call for Free College Education Coupled with National Service Requirements.
It is time to change the game plan in Washington DC. You need a new bold proposal that will unite the country and heel the divisions. My proposal is for you to embrace mandatory national service for three years. Everyone finishing their service would receive full funding for college, technical training or a grant to set up their own business because after all not everyone needs to go to college, we need to encourage technical training and starting up small business as well.
the key is that the service would be universal and all citizens and LPR’s between age 18 and 25 would serve three years – no exceptions. Most would be military, but people could serve as fine fathers. adjust police officers, adjust border patrol officers, adjust teachers, peace corps volunteers or serve in state/local and federal government positions.
Call for all Americans to serve three years in public service either in the military or in the government or NGO sector and in return, they will get four years of college paid for. For recent graduates , they can serve and get their college debt forgiven. To those who say we can’t afford this, say we can’t afford to continue to put our college students in crippling debt they cannot afford. And everyone, especially the rich, should shoulder the burden of national service. and point out that shifting to a mandatory national service requirement would save the Pentagon money on salaries. the cost would be modest – minimum wage, housing, medical care and college tuition after their service. People would serve between age 18 and 25 one year of training and two years of service, with an optional second enlistment for three more years of educational benefits through PHD/professional degrees. Starting at age 18 until age 25 people will be randomly selected to begin service. those who are 25 will have until they turn 26 to report for service. They would have one year to report for service.
Free College/technical training or money to open a business in exchange for national service
Most people will start college, or tech training institute, then do military or other service, and then return to college to finish their college. That is fine. Ensure that colleges will not only accommodate that but will also offer college credits for military and other on the job training acquired during national service. This would also cut the cost of college attendance for most people to a manageable three years instead of four to five years. And of course, ensure that people can go to technical training institutes instead of a traditional college as we really need to grow the next generation of technical workers as well. and also ensure that those who wish financial assistance in setting up a small business would receive that assistance as well as we need to encourage the small business start ups as well.
All Must Serve
And most importantly, shared national service will help restore America’s sense that this is our land, this land belongs to everyone. The rich and the poor alike. We are all in this together. We have lost sight of that. The military has become an army of paid mercenaries recruited from the lower classes. If everyone serves, there will be less temptation to send troops into harms way. This will be a win- win for everyone except for the student loan vultures. everyone who is a citizen or permanent resident must serve, foreigners on student visas or other short term visas could serve and receive a green card for their service.
Establish New Service Academies for the Diplomatic, Intelligence Services/ Space Force/NASA, and law Enforcement
I would also call for four new national service academies to be set up. One would be for diplomatic and intelligence service, the other would be for law enforcement, the third would be for the Space Force/and NASA, the last would be more technical scientific agencies of the Federal government focusing on science and technology issues. These academies like the military academies including a coast guard academy, and beefing up the maritime service academy, would take only those who finished their military basis service. this would be a great way to restore our diplomatic corps and intelligence services as well as our law enforcement person.
National Service Will Bring US together as one nation
I believe that this proposal could be enacted with wide spread bipartisan support. It would go a long way to help heal the divisions of our country and bring us all together as a nation. I hope you will fully embrace this proposal and I look forward to discussion it with yours staff.
Call for The Green New Deal
Point out time and time again China, Germany, and other countries are building the green energy resources of the future while the U.S. which invented green energy is moving back to the 19th century.
When critics say we can’t afford this, tell them we can’t afford to ruin the world for our children’s future. We can’t afford to continue burning fossil fuels. Climate change is real and the U.S. must lead the way forward. That is what great nations do, lead the world in embracing change, in embracing the promise of the future. We can do no less.
Call to Fix Obama Care
Point out time and time again that we still have a broken down too expensive too burdensome a health care system. Point out time and time again that we have the most expensive system in the world yet we are about 25th in terms of health care outcomes. No one in this land should fear going bankrupt if they need to get medical care. We can do this right and we must do it right.
I would acknowledge that Obama Care is not prefect and that if you had a chance to re-do it you would make it much less bureaucratic and less burdensome. But be proud of what you and Obama accomplished. Promise to fix it and make it work.
One potential fix would be to open the Federal Health Care system to anyone who needs insurance and continue to provide subsidies to keep the premiums down.
Another option would be an expansion of Medicare so it covers about half the country.
When Republicans proclaim that they will repeal Obamacare and replace it with something, call them on their bullshit. Demand to know the plan now or tell them to shut up and work with you to fix Obamacare.
and tie this into the pandemic and how if we had universal health care and paid sick leave people would not feel that they had to work even when sick
and contrast Trump’s inept handling of the pandemic with your handling of HINI and Ebola and how you would restore the American economy after the second great depression recedes after the pandemic fades away
call for a slight reduction of military spending and national security spending to beef up health care spending and universal education access.
Call to repair our alliances
Declare that our allies are our allies and our friends and we will work with them to solve the world’s problems and restore American leadership. We will rejoin the Paris Climate Change and work to make sure it works. We will rejoin the Trans Pacific Partnership. and we will figure out how to work with China and even Russia to solve problems of mutual interest such as climate change. Vow to restore partnership with Mexico and Canada and Latin America as well as India and Southeast Asia. and restore ties with Europe as well. Rebuild the UN and international organizations. and join the international criminal court. Finally close Gitmo as an affront to the American system of justice and human rights. Re Israel vow to work with Palestinians and Israelis alike to restart the peace process.
Offer a New Deal to North Korea
We will continue to negotiate with the North Koreans, offering them a way towards reunification with South Korea and rejoining the world economic community. You can damn the President here with faint praise. Say that it was good that he took the initiative to break the log jam and talk to the North but due to his inexperience and his naivety he was unable to make a deal. You can finish the job.
Offer to Talk with The Iranians
Tell the Iranians we are ready to talk with them and want a new deal that would benefit them and the U.S. along the lines of what we are offering the North Koreans.
Bring the Troops Home
I would call for most U.S. troops to return to the U.S., where they will be reposted along our borders and serve as adjunct border patrol agents and first responders as part of their mandatory new national service.
I would gradually reduce military spending and devote resources to rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. This must include high-speed trains, and must include perhaps hyperloop technology or Maglev trains? And the next generation of airplanes as well. We must rebuild our mass transit systems. We must embrace the development of driverless vehicles. and as mention we must beef up health care spending and assuring universal access to higher education. These must be the new national priorities. I would throw the republicans a bone offer to look at modest reductions in other government spending for example decreasing spending on NPR but not eliminating it, and a slight decrease in foreign assistance, and UN contributions etc and other government programs could be trimmed down a bit to pay for higher priorities.
Challenge the Republicans on their “you are weakening national security” BS. When the Republican scream you are weakening national security call them out on their BS.
Ask them how repositioning troops to help deal with national security issues at home weakens national security? How does going to universal military service weaken national security? How does getting out of endless wars weaken national security? How does closing a few bases in Europe weaken national security? Or closing a golf course? Or a commissary? Point out that we already spend more on national security than any other nation on earth. How does rebuilding America’s failed infrastructure weaken national security? How does providing medical care or universal higher education which benefits the entire nation hamper national security? Challenge them to produce a better plan.
Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Start by acknowledging we need to improve security at the border but the wall is a waste of time and money that will not solve the problem. We need a comprehensive 21st century immigration policy that balances the need for continued immigration with the need to ensure that immigrants contribute to our country and enrich our country as they always have and always will. Again throw the republicans a bone offer to ensure that E Verify is widely used by all employers and punish employers who hire illegals. I would also consider getting rid of the diversity visa program and the sibling immigration category but grand father people in that category giving them two years to complete the immigration process with no new applicants being accepted. I would also push English language skills for immigrants as one of the new requirements – they must be able to handle the immigrant visa interview in English. That is something I agree with Trump on.
Challenge the Republicans to come up a better plan and work with you to implement it.
Call for A Return to Space Including Lunar Colonies and Martian Colonies
It is time for the U.S. to lead the world again in space exploration. Offer to lead the way in building lunar and Martian colonies with the participation of the world’s other space powers.
Call for The Legalization of Marijuana, Emptying the Prisons of Marijuana Offenders
End the endless war on drugs. Repeal marijuana prohibition. Empty the prisons of marijuana offenders. End the private prison for profit system. End the prison pipeline that sweeps up brown and black youths and sucks them into prison for life. Reserve prisons for the most dangerous offenders, all other prisoners should be sentenced to community service, drug treatment or other non-prison sentences. Use the money saved by closing prisons for rebuilding infrastructure.
I like your gun control proposals. It is a step forward. Continue to push for universal background checks.
Fully Support LGBT rights
Fully Support the religious freedom of all Americans including non-believers
Call for a Return to traditional American civil norms that Trump has so badly damaged
For VP Pick a Hispanic woman preferably a governor.
But Kamala Harris or Amy K would be okay. Kamala has one thing going for her in my opinion she went to my elementary school Thousand Oaks but 8 years after I went there
I think that you get my point by now. Be bold, inventive, optimistic, full of hope and energy and you will prevail.
Make people share your bold vision.
Be cautious, small-minded, narrowly focused, and all about how bad the Donald is, you will lose.
GO BOLD OR be forced to retire and go home.
Jake Cosmos Aller