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Picking a candidate to run against Trump 

The presidency of Donald Trump has passed its half-way mark. And from here on, news about Trump will compete with coverage of the people hoping to run against him.

Hillary Clinton, rather than Donald Trump, ought to be planning a campaign for a second term, of course. The reasons she isn't ought to guide Democrats, Republicans, and third parties as they prepare for the 2020 election. It's clear that Russia meddled during the 2016 campaign. And Russia hacked. But Russia didn't cast votes, Americans did. Enough Americans wanted Donald Trump to be president – and enough Americans didn't want Hillary Clinton – that Trump is the person preparing for a second term.

Enough Americans shrugged off Trump's lies and misogyny, enough Americans identified with his anger, racism, and xenophobia that he won the presidency, fair and square.

The anger, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia won't be gone when the next presidential campaign begins. And there's no reason to think that our gullibility in the face of fake news will, either.

We've become too wedded to headlines, too prone to seek only opinions that agree with ours. And as a New York Times article argued on Sunday, we've become too lazy to engage our reasoning skills.

In that climate, on November 3, 2020, we'll vote for president again. The first caucuses and primaries are just over a year away. The first presidential debates will be this coming June. Seven Democrats are already running, and some of the best-known likely candidates haven't announced yet.

Deciding who to vote for won't be easy. But we'd better do a better job during the selection process this time.
On my list of qualifications so far:

• I want a candidate who can defeat Trump. This is too dangerous a time for a protest vote.
• I want a candidate who can help turn the country around. Someone who can help us regain our status as a country that respects and encourages scientific discovery. Someone who recognizes the threat of climate change. I want a president who understands the need for regulations that protect us from harmful substances and harmful business practices. I want a president who respects and works with the leaders of other countries.
• I want a president who can move us ahead, somebody who can convince Congress that health care and quality education are a right that all Americans deserve.
• I want a president with the experience that the job requires.
• And I want a president who can pull the country together, someone who can educate, inspire, and lead. Right now, divisiveness and hostility in the country are a very real threat to its stability. We'll always have divisions, but we need leaders who respect their critics as well as the people in their base.

And while it's not a "qualification," I hope the next president will be a person of color, a woman, or both. It's hard to overstate the importance of our election of Barack Obama and what that said, to ourselves and to the world. Obama epitomized the America we say we are: a nation of many colors, backgrounds, and beliefs, one that celebrates its diversity rather than fearing it.

Far too often, we're not that nation, but on Election Day 2008, and again in 2012, we were. With the election of Donald Trump, our darker nature took over, for a lot of reasons.

We owe it to ourselves to right that wrong a little over a year and nine months from now.

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