[THE THIRD WAY] Goodbye. Here are a few of my wishes for the next few years.

This is it. I’m graduating. With commencement comes the end of this column, and what better way to close it out than telling you what I think should happen in 2020 and beyond? The United States — and the world at large — has a few monumental tasks ahead of itself. We have to do the most we can to fight climate change, authoritarianism, out-of-control tech monopolies, and poverty — more than we’ve ever done before. Unfortunately, without the correct political conditions, we seem destined to sink further into chaos. I want to outline what those conditions would be along with other possibilities that could be more detrimental to the US.

The first, most pressing question is the 2020 primary. Though more than eight months away, the primary has been a large part of news coverage and the national consciousness for half a year. On the right flank of the ballot is Joe Biden, the 2-term former Vice President with few plans but “beat Trump.” On the left is Bernie Sanders, the vitriolic do-nothing socialist senator from Vermont. Neither candidate is ideal, and they’re very much in the top 2 of polls. I’m wary of Joe Biden, though he’s much better than Bernie Sanders, because Trump isn’t the only problem that needs solving. While I mentioned in the last column that Biden is clearly the favorite to win the nomination, his win would not be the best for the country. Biden’s message seems to be that everything was perfect back in 2015, and that trump, rather than being just a symptom, is the cause of our national malaise. This, while an electable message, is blatantly untrue. The world was hotter than ever in 2015, people were still more divided than ever, and the Obama administration passed barely any legislation due to unbreakable gridlock. One of the first things a hypothetical Democratic president would need to do come 2021 is pass sweeping climate legislation to avoid existential doom, and I do not trust Biden, a man far too old to see the worst of climate change, to pass it.

I’m hopeful that — if the democrats win the House, Senate and White House in 2020 — we’ll finally be able to do something to address climate change and the sprawling power of big business.”

Bernie Sanders presents the opposite, though strikingly similar, issue. Sanders proposes passing the full Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, and countless other policies his first year in office. Sanders’ extremism, ironically, would prevent anything from getting passed. He is against getting rid of the filibuster, which means he hopes to pass his sweeping climate and poverty legislation with 60 senate votes. As I’ve said before, this isn’t happening unless progressive candidates win more than 13 senate seats in 2020. The ultimate effect of sanders’ fiery stubbornness with the backdrop of actual responsibilities (not just renaming post offices) will be the passage of nothing. No 60, even 50 senators are ever going to agree that we need to nationalize the car industry and include a jobs guarantee in climate legislation. In this way, a sanders presidency will be similar to a Biden presidency, nothing will happen and our country will continue to worsen.

The person I think can take up the many large tasks of 2021 is Beto O’Rourke. While Sanders refuses to abolish the filibuster, O’Rourke is seriously considering its elimination. O’Rourke, further, is willing to go as far as possible in democratic reform in order to get our institutions working again. O’Rourke is the only candidate with a fleshed-out climate plan — one that shows the exact costs and that doesn’t include irrelevant riders like the jobs guarantee. O’Rourke’s plan includes private sector investments, which would be much more robust than Bernie and AOC’s nationalization (not to mention more likely to pass congress). The fact that O’Rourke is the only one with a serious and politically feasible climate plan puts him far ahead of any other 2020 candidate already, but there are more reasons that he’s the person to take us into the future. O’Rourke proposes regulating big tech, treating it “more like a utility.” One can plainly see that companies like Apple and Alphabet will never let the US government break them up — but incremental regulation is possible.

In order for O’Rourke to pass any of his proposals — and he understands this better than anyone — Democrats need to keep the house and win back the senate. In the house, Democrats need to simply hold on to the Romney-Clinton districts they won back in 2018, which requires nominating someone — like Beto — who doesn’t scare off suburban moderates. The senate is a bit more complicated. Democrats need to win 4 seats, given that they’ll lose Alabama, which requires a win in at least Iowa, Maine, Colorado, and North Carolina. These four states, though, are the easiest path of any to the senate in 2020, and they need to flip in order for this country to be put on track.

I’m hopeful that — if the democrats win the House, Senate and White House in 2020 — we’ll finally be able to do something to address climate change and the sprawling power of big business. I am sure, moreover, that winning this election is critical for solving the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. If there’s anything you should take from this — and all my columns — it’s to vote. Vote like your world depends on it, because it does.