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McRaven for president in 2020

The list of people defying President Donald Trump gets longer by the minute. But one voice rose above all th...

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 9:40 AM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 9:40 AM

The list of people defying President Donald Trump gets longer by the minute. But one voice rose above all the others last week. Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven penned an op-ed in the Washington Post asking Trump to revoke his security clearance, so he can add his name "to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."

Why is this a big deal, you ask? After all, many top government officials from both parties have condemned Trump.

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William McRaven

Here's why: McRaven is not your average admiral. As commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) from 2008 to 2011 and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2011-2014, McRaven oversaw the Navy SEAL mission in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and its impact..

If Democrats want a trump card against Trump, they should consider McRaven as a candidate for the presidency in 2020. For one thing, he's an actual American hero. When it comes to the military, Trump blusters or throws tantrums at or about them. But McRaven took out targets. That's a contrast that would work decisively in McRaven's favor.

But to really understand why McRaven could be the ideal candidate to oppose Trump in 2020, let's go back to 2016. That year, during the Republican primaries, the question on everybody's mind was which establishment candidate with actual government experience would win the nomination. Would it be Gentle Jeb Bush? Mundane Marco Rubio? Stodgy Scott Walker? Few imagined the answer would be Disquieting Donald Trump, the "outsider" real-estate developer. But from a field of safe picks, the self-styled populist candidate emerged, unexpectedly, victorious.

That, along with the impressive showing of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, made it clear: In politics, populism has become the name of the game in America.

And with democratic socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning upset over 10-term Democrat Joe Crowley in New York's 14th Congressional District in June, many Democrats are convinced they need to field a presidential candidate from the populist left to fire up the base in 2020.

But what if the unexpected happens again — this time on the Democratic side? What if, from a crowded field of populists such as, say, the senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders, an establishment Democrat emerges, instead, with the nomination in 2020? If that happens, it could be because McRaven throws his white Navy admiral hat into the ring. Imagine it: Trump vs. McRaven.

Some rather somber statistics from June's Gallup Poll explain why McRaven's background is ideal -- not because he is a populist (he isn't) but because he is unexpected. In our bitterly polarized era, only 37% of the public expresses a "great deal" of confidence in the presidency. A whopping 44% express "very little" or "none." When it comes to the church and organized religion, only 38% of Americans have a "great deal" of confidence in those institutions.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who have a "great deal" of confidence in Congress is barely out of the single digits.

But one institution rises high above the rest, with no other even coming close. That institution is the military, with 74% of the country expressing a "great deal" of confidence in the armed services, and 20% expressing "some" confidence. Only 5% have "very little" or "none." In this ranking, small business is a distant second, and the police come in third.

Historically, a background in the military has been an asset for a presidential candidate. Of the 44 men who have served as president, 31 of them (about 70%) served in the military before becoming commander in chief, according to the American Legion. Although the traditional military-vet candidate is Republican (think John McCain), more Democratic veterans, especially women, are running -- and winning.

Trump ascended to the White House thanks to about 80,000 votes scattered across the traditionally Democratic states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With Trump's currently dismal approval rating -- despite a roaring economy -- couldn't Democrats win those votes back?

They might be able to if they choose a candidate with a background that nearly everyone respects. Despite uneven progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's one military operation that Americans across the spectrum herald as an undisputed success: the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In fact, Americans approved so highly of that operation that Barack Obama, who was president at the time, saw his approval rating rise instantly by six points.

(McRaven, by the way, isn't the only one saying he'd be honored if Trump would revoke his clearance, too -- he appears to have started a trend. Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden told CNN he'd be fine having his security clearance revoked, too, after Jake Tapper asked him about McRaven's op-ed.)

It's not surprising that, as Trump bungles nearly everything he touches on the planet, he daydreams more and more about space. Meanwhile, McRaven can point to accomplishments right here on Earth.

A previous version of this op-ed incorrectly identified William McRaven as commander of US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) from 2011 to 2014. During those years, he was commander of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), of which JSOC (which McRaven commanded from 2008 to 2011) is a component command.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
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