I hate to refer specifically to the comments of a writer I actually like – whose writing about why nobody On The Internet owes people their time helped me a great deal when this stuff was getting less fun for me – but there's a Twitter thread that captures a lot of what's wrong with liberal/centrist politics right now. She's hardly the only person to make arguments like this. It's just recent, and got a lot of circulation due to her high profile.
To summarize briefly if you don't care to wade through the entire thing:
1. Pete Buttigieg is good and we should like him even though his stances on the issues are bad
2. Bernie Sanders is bad ("cancelled") even though his stances on the issues are good
As best I can tell, Mayor Pete is likable so it's OK if he takes crappy positions aimed at appeasing the white suburban 50-plus Democratic base alone. Bernie is mean, or was mean to Hillary, or has supporters on the internet who are mean, or something, so it doesn't matter that he is about the only elected official standing up for something the writer of that tweet claims is important (felon re-enfranchisement).
This isn't about liking or disliking either Buttigieg or Sanders. That's not relevant right now. What makes this worth reading is that this is just stupendously dumb logic. It is so completely and obviously backwards that I will just assume anyone who agrees with this line of thought realizes it is illogical and just doesn't care.
The issue of letting the incarcerated vote (in the 48 states that do not currently allow it) isn't even a policy proposal; it's a question that came up during a media appearance. It is an absolute slam-dunk for any Democrat seeking to demonstrate that they as individuals and the party as a whole takes criminal justice reform seriously. Instead, most of them did what they always do and back down to appease uneasy white suburban voters. Two years from now they'll be asking, "Gosh why didn't black and hispanic voters turn out to vote for Mayor Pete? We tried everything!" To someone like this author, a Philips Exeter alum, it might seem self-evident why Pete deserves the benefit of the doubt. To the rest of us worried about the future, he just sounds like a guy who doesn't know what he stands for and reads West Wing monologues.
Issues are important to a lot of people. Not the symbolism of having a president who is Cool and Smart but won't actually advocate for anything. If that's the goal, nominate Beto or some model from the fashion runway. Nominate a celebrity everyone likes. If the candidates' positions don't matter, then go all-in with that theory. When the only thing that matters is that the elected official has a D next to his or her name, you get Rahm Emanuel and Andrew Cuomo. You have to be pretty goddamn comfortable in life, and thus unaffected by their worship of the status quo, to think that's the best we can do.
I get that a lot of voters, perhaps even a majority of voters, make decisions based on subjective Likability stuff that is nonsense. But there are a ton of candidates available, some of whom qualify as Charismatic or Likable and some of whom qualify as people who actually support useful and creative policy ideas. It is way, way too early in the process to decide that there's no chance to get a candidate who has both, so we need to simply accept another smiling empty suit and resign ourselves to platitudes.
Lastly, the phrase "There is no perfect candidate" is quickly becoming the "It's not a democracy, it's a republic" of people who support shit candidates. It is beyond obvious that no candidate is perfect; that's not an argument in favor of supporting a bad one when there are so many options available. If the car is rusted out you don't shrug your shoulders and say, "Well no car is perfect I guess!" You look at one of the other cars on the lot. If the rust bucket really does turn out to be the absolute best option available, somehow, then buy it. But be very wary of anyone telling you to suck it up and buy it because that's not merely as good as it gets, but it's as good as things ever CAN get.