According to several polls, most Americans do not welcome an instant replay of the 2020 election—Trump versus Biden. An overwhelming majority of Americans want the country to move on for a variety of reasons—age, indictments, too much baggage and more. I agree.
The philosopher John Locke coined the term “tabula rasa” which means a mind as a blank slate with no preconceived ideas—a mind which has not begun to process ideas from outside forces.
So, here’s a concept. Let’s wipe the 2024 presidential candidate slate clean and start over. Let’s select two sane reasonable moderate Republicans and two sane reasonable moderate Democrats and give those currently running their walking papers.
You say it sounds farfetched. You say it’s not going to happen. You’re probably right, But a girl can dream. Here’s my dream scenario. Some well-respected legal scholars claim that Trump is not eligible to run because he violated the 14th Amendment by inciting an insurrection. What if they are right? What if the case goes before the Supreme Court and five Supreme Court Justices agree that this is so? That would mean Trump could never run for public office again.
Then, maybe, just maybe, if Trump were out of the picture, Biden wouldn’t feel compelled to run. Maybe, just maybe, he would step aside and encourage younger, more vibrant, more articulate leaders who are prepared to support future generations to run.
And maybe, just maybe, if Trump were out of the picture, some sane Republicans would step up to the plate and call for a reset to normalcy and promote civil discourse, compromise, and fiscal responsibility.
And were this dream to continue, who would those candidates on my wish list be?
On the Republican ticket, perhaps former Ohio Governor John Kasich as president and our own former Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan as Veep. These are two sane reasonable men who have tons of experience, know how to reach across the aisle, and who have appealed to both Republicans and Democrats. There are many more combos to consider—New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski as cases in point.
On the Democratic side, how about Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as a presidential candidate and California Governor Gavin Newsom as Veep? Both these governors have garnered votes from the other party, and both are young, vibrant and support climate change, Ukraine, sound economic policies and more. There are many other such Democrats waiting in the wings—Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Pennsylvania Governor, Josh Shapiro, Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo come to mind. (I would be most excited if a qualified woman were the Presidential candidate as it is past time for a woman to be president of the United States.)
You may ask why not consider some of the Republican candidates who debated last week? Why? Because six of the eight said they would support Trump if he were the nominee. They did not qualify their support and say unless he was convicted of a felony. They just blindly said they would support him. Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson did not raise their hands. But Christie has a ton of baggage, and Asa Hutchinson has his own age issue.
Wiping the slate clean is sometimes the right answer. When workplaces become toxic, or a Board is unethical, wiping the slate clean makes good sense.
Therapists who use the tabula rasa theory in their practices claim that patients who have anxiety, for example, suffer from that malady because of learned behaviors. Their therapies focus on unlearning those “target situations” and imagining “target situations” differently and therefore reactions become different as well. Basically, they focus on unlearning learned behaviors.
I say we as Americans should unlearn some of our past learned behaviors and react differently to some “target situations.” Let’s stop the vindictiveness, name calling and crude behavior and once again try civility, try listening to the other side, try compromise when appropriate, and try dealing with issues with a sense of compassion, kindness, and humility.
And remember as Buddha once said, “No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.”
Maria Grant was principal-in-charge of the federal human capital practice of an international consulting firm. While on the Eastern Shore, she focuses on reading, writing, piano, kayaking, gardening, and nature.