1. It’s Monday, July 17, 2017.
2. It’s the 115th anniversary of air conditioning.
Willis Carrier was looking to keep paper and ink functioning in a hot Brooklyn printing facility. Presto! His ideas led to conditioning people to not living without them.
3. My friends and former colleagues, Katie Benner of The New York Times and Laurie Segall of CNN, have focused recently on sexual harassment in technology.
In separate stories, both talked to women with horrific tales of abuse. Women seeking the funding to get their ideas off the ground – in the same way that men with ideas do – but facing a gantlet of groping, exposure, innuendo and come-ons that men don’t.
I’m pleased to see that this reporting by Ms. Benner and Ms. Segall is leading to a widespread discussion of the problem.
Like them, I don’t think any of us can be totally satisfied until there’s no impediment to the ideas of women – both in technology and other fields of endeavor – that improve the quality and length of all lives.
I’m proud to have worked with both of these women, and I know they’ll keep working on real, important journalism.
4. As an aside, one of the projects I’m looking to get off the ground is a website dedicated to the work of people I’ve worked with.
I’ve been very fortunate to hang close to people whose talent and diligence are second to none. Starting from my days at Northwestern in the mid-1970s and running through my years at CNNMoney, it is the blessing of my life to have hung out with people I believe are superstars.
Some are not even working in journalism – their talents extend to art and entertainment.
I hope to work all this out by later this year. I’ll do anything I can to showcase these folks, because I believe in the quality of the work they do.
5. I love the work done by the folks at fivethirtyeight.com, but something I saw on the site last week depressed me politically.
Their political team began looking at the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. And while they said he wasn’t the favorite at this point, they believed that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was the front-runner for the nod.
First, the difference.
Unlike four years ago, when Hillary Clinton stood alone in the party, the Democrats don’t have a strong single candidate right now.
If it’s anyone, it’s Sanders, who finished second to Clinton and came a lot closer to thwarting her than any reasonable expert expected.
Because of that, Sanders is the best-known of those in the party who aren’t named Clinton, Or, for that matter, Obama – while he can’t run, she can.
So, if you’re a Democrat, and you’re focused on either how awful Trump is – or, better, fighting this idiotic effort to erase Obamacare – the 2020 election isn’t on your radar yet. And if it is, the first name that comes to mind is Sanders.
But here’s second, in my mind: The problem.
6. On Election Day 2020, Sanders will be 79.
If the Democrats are going to win the 2020 election, they need someone who is unscarred by the political wars of the past decade.
Someone to excite younger voters and bring a fresh perspective to the party. Someone who actually has more invested in the future than the past.
That’s not a near octogenarian. Nor is it Joe Biden, who’ll be nearly 78 on Nov. 3, 2020. Or Elizabeth Warren, who’ll be 71. Or Hillary Clinton, who’ll be 73.
He’s in no way my first choice. But I honest-to-God would prefer a Mark Zuckerberg, 36 in 2020, who would at least have a decent understanding of the modern world that he’s played a part in creating.
What I would most prefer is someone with an understanding of the issues confronting this country. Security. Economic uncertainty. The environment. Infrastructure. A changing demographic. A connected world that isn’t going away despite the efforts of Trump and his sycophants.
There are Democrats who fit this bill. Senators like Kamala Harris of California, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Governors like John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Jay Inslee of Washington. Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans.
It would really help the Democratic Party if those folks are the ones who emerge as party spokespeople in next 18 months. They can start to energize the party and establish its positions to take into the congressional and presidential campaigns.
The bonus would be making the party more than just an anti-Trump sounding board. As I said a gazillion times during the 2016 campaign, people vote for something as opposed to against something.
Hillary Clinton tried too hard to make the campaign about fighting Trump – she should have spent more time telling people in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania what the party was going to do to make their lives better.
That’s what I want from the Democrats.
Bernie Sanders is a good guy, and he did a lot to get the party thinking about ways to reach the American people. If we ever enact a single-payer healthcare system, he’ll have been the guiding force.
But it’s time for new blood. It’s the best way to win going forward, and has the added bonus of throwing Trump off his game.
In 1902, there must have been tried-and-true ways to print in hot weather. Willis Carrier came up with air conditioning.
That’s how the Democrats should be thinking.