Again: No, Kamala Harris is NOT No. 1

“Why Democrats Won’t Choose a White Guy for 2020” is the offensively titled headline for Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie’s latest piece on Slate.com’s homepage. Click on that headline, and you are taken to a web page with the equally offensive headline, “Democrats Have Made One Thing Very Clear About 2020: They’re Over White Men.”

Wow. 

The usually thoughtful Bouie “argues” that the midterm election results prove that Democratic voters don’t want a white male as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Bouie is dead wrong.

Who voters want to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives often if not even usually is very different from who voters think should lead the entire nation. I absolutely would not want my Democratic U.S. representative, Doris Matsui, to sit in the Oval Office for even one day. She’s a woman and an Asian and I have voted for her in the past, but the milquetoast, always-play-it-safe, establishmentarian Matsui is not presidential material at all.

But entirely aside from the fact that Bouie compares apples to pineapples when he claims that the midterm election results directly bear on Democratic presidential preference for 2020, the fucking nationwide polls themselves prove Bouie dead fucking wrong.

At least two reputable nationwide polls of Democrats as to their 2020 presidential favorite have been conducted this month.

A Harris poll of 680 Dems and Dem-leaners taken November 5 and 6 showed that 25 percent preferred Joe Biden, 18 percent preferred Bernie Sanders, and only 4 percent preferred Kamala Harris. (The poll inexplicably included Billary Clinton, who garnered 12 percent for third place, which means that Harris came in at fourth place, tied with Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.)

A Morning Consult poll of 733 Dems and Dem-leaners taken November 7-9 similarly showed that 26 percent preferred Biden, 19 percent Bernie, 8 percent Beto O’Rourke (who I wouldn’t have included, but whatever, but I will note that he is — horrors! — a white guy!), 5 percent Warren, and 4 percent for Harris, putting her at fifth place.

Yet Bouie wrote this:

… If there’s anyone who sits at the intersection of what Democratic voters seem to want in a candidate, it’s Sen. Kamala Harris of California. A nonwhite woman, she looks like the most active and loyal parts of the Democratic base. A black woman with South Asian heritage, she would make history as president. She’s close to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party (but not so progressive that she doesn’t have real opposition on the left, tied to her controversial record as state attorney general) and has built herself up as a tough, unapologetic opponent of the administration (although she has voted for some of Trump’s nominees).

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, likewise, would satisfy an apparently strong desire from Democratic voters to elevate a candidate of color to the White House. (This desire is why you also shouldn’t dismiss former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is also considering a bid for the nomination and has support from top Obama allies.) …

OK, but Kamala Harris pulled in a whopping 4 percent in both of the aforementioned nationwide polls taken just this month. (And Booker did even worse. Patrick wasn’t included in either poll, but I don’t see him doing any better than Harris or Booker.)

If Harris really is “what Democratic voters seem to want in a candidate,” then why is she pulling 4 percent in nationwide polls of these voters?

Bouie isn’t practicing journalism (that is, reporting); he’s practicing his own wishful thinking. Worse, rather than reporting what reality is (as best as reality can be discerned and reported), he apparently wishes to shape reality by claiming, falsely, that we all want Kamala Harris when no, we don’t.

You know, as a gay man, I’d love for us to have our first non-heterosexual president, but I’d never report that the gay candidate were the people’s No. 1 choice when he actually was garnering only 4 percent in the polls. Just sayin’.

And it is, to put it mildly, unseemly for black Americans to promote only black candidates, to put race over ideology and accomplishment. Note that Bouie (who, if you didn’t know, is black), if he can’t have Kamala Harris, happily will settle for Cory Booker or Deval Patrick. Such helpful, totally non-self-serving suggestions!

After his fever dream, Bouie seems to more or less come back to his senses when he concludes:

With all of that said, the very fact of a President Donald Trump should inspire humility about our ability to forecast or predict electoral outcomes. The midterm elections offer strong signals about what Democratic primary voters might want in a presidential nominee, but there’s no way to know how these candidates will perform once they hit the trail. Indeed, there’s no way to answer the only question that really matters for the 2020 race — who can beat Trump?

Well, again, I strongly dispute Bouie’s assertion that “The midterm elections offer strong signals about what Democratic primary voters might want in a presidential nominee,” as, again, many if not most of us want different things from our U.S. representatives and from the president of the United States of America, but Bouie and I do agree at least on one point, and that is that “the only question that really matters for the 2020 race” is “who can beat Trump.”

Thus far, the nationwide polling tells us that Dem and Dem-leaning voters have not ruled out a white guy, despite Slate.com’s offensive headlines to the contrary. The total white-guy vote (votes for white-male candidates) in the aforementioned Harris poll is 47 percent, while the total white-guy vote in the aforementioned Morning Consult poll is 57 percent.

It’s too early to write the obituary of the white-male presidential candidate, as much as so many would love to do.

Let’s continue to talk about diversity, and let’s acknowledge that white men are indeed losing their political dominance over time and that overall that’s a good thing for a fair and just United States of America, because it’s not fair and just for a minority of Americans (in this case, white males) to run the whole show.

But let’s not take it in the other direction, where we wish for the tyranny of the minority over the majority, and let’s fucking face the fact that whites remain the largest racial group in the United States of America (at more than 60 percent).

If we truly want to beat Pussygrabber in 2020, we’d better stick to the political realities rather than indulge in our own selfish, tribalistic political fantasies.*

*Democrats did this in 2016, when they incredibly stupidly fronted the God-awful candidate Billary Clinton, fucking pretending that she isn’t hated as much as she is, and they expected a good outcome from that.

Early on I saw clearly that with the deeply unpopular Billary as the nominee we very well might run right into the wall, but the Billarybots could not or would not see that possible fate. Fools.

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For too many, their main problem with Bernie Sanders remains that he is white

Updated below (on Monday, November 12, 2018)

Bernie Sanders and Andrew Gillum.

Associated Press photo

Bernie Sanders campaigned relentlessly for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, but for too many, Bernie remains unacceptable as a Democratic Party presidential nominee because he is a white man, whether they’ll come out and say that or not.

The 2020 Democratic Party primary fight has begun, because already it’s being declared yet once again that Bernie Sanders isn’t good enough on black issues.

Before I delve into that, let me make a point: We’ve never had a Latino U.S. president (and Latinos comprise the largest non-white racial group in the United States). Or a Native American president. Or an Asian president. Or an openly non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming president. Or, for fuck’s sake, even a biologically female president. We haven’t even had an openly non-“Christian” U.S. president; claiming to be a Christian, as even Pussygrabber has, always has been a prerequisite to sit in the Oval Office.

Yet many so-called Democratic voters, if the next Democratic Party presidential nominee isn’t black, are going to scoop up their marbles and go home. (Not that that is racist or black supremacist or anything…)

So the latest “controversy” that “proves” that Bernie Sanders actually is a crypto-white supremacist is a recent remark attributed to him by The Daily Beast, which reported three days ago:

Democratic officials woke Wednesday morning searching for answers as to why the party was unable to win several marquee Senate and gubernatorial races the night before.

But for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the explanation was simple. The candidates who under-performed weren’t progressive enough; those who didn’t shy away from progressivism were undone, in part, by “racist” attacks.

“I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders told The Daily Beast, referencing the close contests involving Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia and ads run against the two. “I think next time around, by the way, it will be a lot easier for them to do that.”

Sanders wasn’t speaking as a mere observer but, rather, as someone who had invested time and reputation on many of the midterm contests. The Vermonter, who is potentially considering another bid for the presidency in 2020, mounted an aggressive campaign travel schedule over the past few months and endorsed both Abrams and Gillum. He also has a personal political investment in the notion that unapologetic, authentic progressive populism can be sold throughout the country and not just in states and districts that lean left.

Surveying the victories and the carnage of Tuesday’s results, Sanders framed it as a vindication of that vision. The candidates who performed well even though they lost, he said, offered positive progressive views for the future of their states, including Gillum, Abrams, and Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. Those who were heavily defeated, Sanders said, didn’t galvanize young voters, people of color, and typically non-active voters.

“I think you got to contrast that to the votes of conservative Democrats who did not generate a great deal of excitement within the Democratic Party,” Sanders said, alluding to a host of Senate Democrats who lost re-election on Tuesday night. “[They] did not bring the kind of new people, new energy that they needed and ended up doing quite poorly. In admittedly difficult states. Missouri and Indiana are not easy states, but neither is Florida or Georgia or Texas.” …

Sanders … credited Abrams with a “brilliant campaign” for her efforts to bring non-active Democratic voters into the electoral process. He marveled at O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess, which allowed the Texas Democrat to raise $38 million in the third quarter of this year — the largest of any Senate candidate in history — and earn more than 48 percent of the vote against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). And he noted that Gillum helped generate turnout that led to the successful passing of Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights to 1.5 million convicted felons in Florida. [This is great news that would warrant a blog post on its own, but I can do only so much…]

“I think he’s a fantastic politician in the best sense of the word,” Sanders said of Gillum. “He stuck to his guns in terms of a progressive agenda. I think he ran a great campaign. And he had to take on some of the most blatant and ugly racism that we have seen in many, many years. And yet he came within a whisker of winning.” …

Of course the anti-Berners ignore the second paragraph (and, well, every other paragraph as well) and focus like a laser on the third, which contains the juicy quote, “I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

On the bare face of that, of course I disagree with it. If you are a white voter who feels uncomfortable voting for a candidate primarily or solely because the candidate is not white, then you are racist, whether you’re fully conscious of it or not. Even just an “innocent” belief that elected officials “should” be white because that’s what you are accustomed to is, of course, deeply rooted in racism.

But I don’t know exactly what Bernie meant by his statement, and therefore I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Did Bernie mean that some white Democratic primary voters, knowing how racist their states are, hesitated to vote for black candidates because they figured that they’d only lose in the general election because of the racism in their states? Not wanting to lose an election because of racism doesn’t make you racist yourself, and it seems to me that there is a good chance that this is what Bernie was trying to say, albeit woefully inartfully.

What about white voters in Georgia and Florida who didn’t vote for either Abrams or Gillum primarily because they believe that Abrams and Gillum are “socialist” and they won’t vote for a “socialist”? Or primarily because their political tribalism precludes them from voting for anyone outside of the Repugnican Party (even if they wouldn’t brand Abrams or Gillum a “socialist,” although they probably would)?

“Socialist” Bernie Sanders campaigned for Abrams and Gillum relentlessly, not just in person, but in many, many e-mails (including, of course, fundraising e-mails for them) that I received myself over the course of months. Wouldn’t that be enough to brand Abrams and Gillum “socialist” at least by association?

Is it always simply about race? Always?

It’s also possible, it seems to me, that Bernie Sanders, if he was quoted accurately by The Daily Beast, was trying to be overly diplomatic in trying to win over some white voters who tend to vote only for whites by giving them an out on the charge that they are racist — believing that if you label them as racists, of course they’ll never consider voting for you.

That’s certainly not a tack that I would take, but if that’s what Bernie was trying to do (not likely but not impossible, from what I can tell), was it unforgivable? No. I’d call it rather stupid and inadvisable, as well as unnecessary (I don’t believe in coddling racists, or that it’s politically necessary to do so), but not evil. 

Full disclosure: I am a gay white male progressive and I have given both Abrams and Gillum campaign contributions ($30 each, if you must know; how much did you give to either of them?), and I hope that they ultimately win; Florida started a recount of its gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and some other races yesterday, and in Georgia, if the finalized vote count puts Abrams’ despicable Repugnican opponent below 50.0 percent, then there will be a runoff election early next month.

I gave to Abrams and Gillum in part because they’re black in that I believe in a truly representative democracy. How soul-crushing it must be to live in Georgia, for instance, which is about a third black, and never see yourself represented in the governor’s mansion or in the U.S. Senate for your state. That’s some fucked-up shit.

But I wouldn’t have given a penny to Gillum or Abrams if they were Repugnicans (I judge you by the company that you keep!) or if they didn’t espouse progressivism but instead espoused the stand-for-nothing, do-nothing, pro-corporate centrism that the likes of DINO Claire McCaskill still espouses even though her sorry arse just got tossed from the U.S. Senate for being a worthless, milquetoast piece of shit.

I have supported Abrams and Gillum primarily because they are progressive; that they have stood a chance of making our democracy (what’s left of it, anyway) more representative of all of the people has been the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.

That’s why I find it disturbing that so many so-called Democrats don’t care how progressive a (so-called) Democratic candidate is or is not; all that they care about is that he or she is black and calls him- or herself a Democrat.

I don’t support Kamala Harris for the White House for 2020 because as attorney general of California she was rather unremarkable and because she hasn’t been in the U.S. Senate for even two full years yet. Her getting cheeky in some Senate hearings, while laudable (and at least somewhat entertaining or at least gratifying if not entertaining), is not enough to vote for her for president in 2020.

And Cory “I Am Spartacus” Booker is just another corporate whore. As one black commentator put it early last year:

… The Democrats leading the charge against Trump must meet exacting qualifications. They have to be loyal servants of the one-percenters, of banksters, hedge funds, charter school sugar daddies and privatizers of all kinds. They must be dependable supporters of apartheid Israel, of military contractors, drone warfare and U.S. military interventions of all kinds around the world.

To boost their party’s fortunes in this new era, Democratic party spokespeople need to be gifted hypocrites willing to pose as advocates of immigrants and champions of civil liberties going forward, even though they unflinchingly supported the biggest deportation and mass surveillance regimes in history implemented by the Democrat who just left the White House. They must focus narrowly on the handful of issues on which corporate Dems actually disagree with Republicans like abortion rights, and not stray to areas which might indict their own party along with Republicans.

And they must absolve their party of responsibility for running an incompetent campaign by blaming the Russians. Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.

Cory Booker is a great fit. …

Yup. We were punk’d by Barack Obama, who barely lifted a finger to push through a progressive agenda and who accomplished little outside of some spiffy speeches. He was dignified, sure, but he actually did next to nothing. Shame on us if we’re punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Cory Booker and probably such as Kamala Harris.

On that note, The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake is out with his quasi-quarterly rankings of the competitors for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates. Here are his top five now, from one to five: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker.

I find Harris’ spot at No. 3 inexplicable. She hasn’t even been well known here in my home state of California, so how she could win a presidential election eludes me entirely. I did vote in November 2016 to send her to the U.S. Senate, but she hasn’t proven herself there, as it hasn’t even been two fucking years yet.

Obama had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years of his first six-year term before he ascended to the White House (his naivete of the “Game of Thrones”-like workings of D.C. was glaring) and that was a huge mistake, one in which I won’t participate again.

For a long time, if not always, Aaron Blake had put Bernie Sanders at No. 1, so Bernie’s slippage to No. 2 on Blake’s rankings to me indicates that perhaps Warren is seen by the Beltway establishment as the perfect fusion/hybrid of an establishment candidate like Billary Clinton and a populist candidate like Bernie Sanders; she’s to be a parting gift for us Berners. But that’s the coward’s way out.

I can support Warren if she fairly and democratically emerges as the presidential nominee, as she is my second choice behind Bernie, but I still have serious concerns about her ability to win a presidential election. I’ve said it a million times before, but I’ll say it again: I would expect her to get labeled as just another weak egghead from Massachusetts; I would expect her to get Michael Dukakis’d or John Kerry’d. (You heard it here, perhaps first.)

In the meantime, I expect Bernie Sanders to continue to be attacked as not good enough for blacks, even though as president the black front runners Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably would do no more for black Americans than Obama did, but would be, like Obama was, mostly just symbolic — and even though it would be great, if we must apply affirmative action to our electoral politics, that we don’t demand only a white or a black president and continue to shut out all of the other groups that never have been represented in the White House.

And I expect Bernie’s continued support for black progressives like Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum to be dismissed cynically as just Bernie’s dishonest attempt to shore up his pro-black bona fides — this from actual racists and racial supremacists whose main problem with Bernie Sanders, today as it was the case in 2016, is that he is white (and of Jewish heritage).

These hypocrites must continue to call Bernie Sanders a racist in order to try to obscure their own racism and racial supremacism and their own rank, racist political motivations.

P.S. This is interesting: The Washington Post reports that just more than 2,000 voters (Democrats, Repugnicans and independents) in 69 battleground U.S. House districts were polled on November 5 and 6, and that those who reported that they supported a Democratic candidate (33 percent of the total number of those polled) were asked to give their preferences for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

The poll found that Joe Biden was their No. 1 choice, with 35 percent; Bernie Sanders was at No. 2, with 15 percent; Kamala Harris at No. 3, with 12 percent; Elizabeth Warren at No. 4, with 10 percent; and Cory Booker at No. 5, with 7 percent.

I don’t see Cory Booker winning (the vice presidential slot maybe), that’s for sure, and while I think that Aaron Blake probably accurately captured the top five candidates, I don’t agree with the order in which he ranked them.

For instance, while he put Warren at No. 1, the poll put her at No. 4.

Also, while Biden looks strong in the poll, what really matters to me, it seems, is which candidate, Biden or Bernie, if both of them run, inherits most of the support of the other candidates who drop out over time. For instance, if Warren were to drop out while Bernie and Biden were still in the running, I do believe that Bernie would inherit most of her supporters.

Also, of course, if Biden doesn’t run and Bernie does, I have to wonder how much of Biden’s support Bernie would get. (My best guess is that most of Biden’s support would go to the other much more establishmentarian candidates rather than to Bernie.)

All of that said, I’m not sure if polling voters in certain battleground districts is reflective of the field of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters as a whole, but, again, I do believe that with a high degree of accuracy, we can state that the top five contenders for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination (alphabetically) are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

I am a little tempted by such dark-horse candidates as California U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell or lawyer Michael Avenatti, but if you haven’t been at least a governor or a U.S. senator, you’re probably never going to make it to the White House. I can’t say that I want to support a presidential candidate who has little to no chance of winning.

Bernie Sanders, as long as he runs, of course, remains and probably will remain my No. 1 choice until the final nominee emerges.

And yes, while I could not bring myself to vote for Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton in 2016, I’m most likely to vote for the Democratic nominee, even if it is not Bernie, over Pussygrabber in November 2020.

P.P.S. OK, I just stumbled upon a CNN poll taken early last month. The poll of Dems and Dem leaners put Biden at 33 percent, Bernie at 13 percent, and Harris at 9 percent. (Warren comes in just behind Harris, with 8 percent, and behind Warren comes Cory Booker, tied with John Kerry at 5 percent.)

I’m thinking that it’s probably safe to say that the top three are Biden, Bernie and Harris.

Biden, methinks, would represent the old-guard/establishmentarian vote (as well as a good chunk of the Obama-by-association/black vote, from which Billary benefited in 2016), Bernie would represent the progressive-regardless-of-race-or-sex vote, and Harris mostly would represent the non-white/identity-politics vote, and it might also help her that she’s a woman (speaking of identity politics, as taboo as that might be [rank tribalism over ideology in electoral politics is a fact]).

I don’t put Warren in the top three. In the top five, yes, but not in the top three. I think that the Beltway pundits overestimate her popularity among actual Dems and Dem leaners, many of whom, myself included, like her enough as an individual but just don’t see her beating Pussygrabber in 2020.

Update (Monday, November 12, 2018): I don’t want to do another P.S., so here’s some more discussion on this topic:

CNN inexplicably puts Kamala Harris at the front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, as though Beltway wishful thinking were fact (maybe there is something to that “fake news” charge…).

Seriously, though, here is CNN’s Beltway-wishful-thinking-filled ranking, in this order: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar(!), Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders (at No. 6!), et. al.

Right.

The polls — you know, surveys of the voters who actually will decide this thing (not CNN’s “analysts”) — show something quite different. Another poll, this one from Politico/Morning Consult of 733 Dem and Dem-leaning registered voters taken from Wednesday through Friday, shows Joe Biden with 26 percent, Bernie with 19 percent, Beto O’Rourke with 8 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 5 percent, Kamala Harris with only 4 percent, and Cory Booker with only 3 percent.

So while CNN dreams of Kamala Harris — its “analysts” fantasize that the “2018 election convinced us that Harris seems to be exactly what Democratic voters are telling the party and its politicians they want representing them going forward,” Politico reports something else:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) enter the 2020 election cycle as the leaders for the Democratic presidential nomination to take on President Donald Trump, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of last week’s midterms.

More than a quarter of Democratic voters, 26 percent, say Biden is their first choice to be the Democratic nominee. Another one-in-five, 19 percent, would pick Sanders, the runner-up for the nomination in 2016.

The two septuagenarians — Biden will be 77 on Election Day, 2020, and Sanders will be 79 — are the only two prospective candidates to garner double-digit support. The third-place candidate is Rep. Beto O’Rourke (R-Texas), who built national name-recognition through his losing Senate bid last week, with 8 percent. …

I surmise that O’Rourke will flame out as a presidential contender for 2020, and that he came in at third place in the poll only because of the immediacy of the midterm election (and he did do well for Texas), but all (or at least almost all) of the reputable recent nationwide polls consistently put Biden at No. 1 and Bernie at No. 2.

Because CNN puts Bernie at a laughable No. 6, I surmise that we can expect CNN to attack Bernie throughout the entire process, because CNN’s “woke” “analysts” don’t want Bernie to win. 

Don’t get me wrong; I certainly right now don’t count Kamala Harris out (I pretty much count Booker out, and I’m on the verge of counting Warren out if her polling doesn’t improve), but, again, the polls of Dem and Dem-leaning voters thus far show that the top two front-runners are Biden and Bernie, whether the identity politicians like it or not.

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Nate Silver: House, Senate and White House ‘all potentially in play’ in 2020

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders greet one another on stage at the Friday night rally. (Steven Senne/AP)

Centrism is dead. Vanilla won’t win in 2020. (Above, progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders appear together at a rally in Boston in April 2017.)

I love comparing “President” Pussygrabber to Richard M. Nixon — they are so much alike (except that Pussygrabber has more money than did Nixon and Nixon had more brains) — so here goes again. Yesterday The Washington Post noted in a piece wonderfully titled “For Democrats, a Midterm Election That Keeps on Giving”:

… Democrats appear poised to pick up between 35 and 40 seats in the House, once the last races are tallied, according to strategists in both parties. That would represent the biggest Democratic gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974, when the party picked up 49 seats three months after Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency.

Republicans will gain seats in the Senate, but with [Senate] races in Florida and Arizona still to be called, their pre-election majority of 51 seats will end up as low as 52 or as high as 54. Meanwhile, Democrats gained seven governorships, recouping in part losses sustained in 2010 and 2014, and picked up hundreds of state legislative seats, where they had suffered a virtual wipeout in the previous two midterm elections. …

Yup. Under President Barack Obama the Democrats lost the House and the Senate and lost around 1,000 seats in the state legislatures. I chalk that up to the fact that Obama was a caretaker president at most, and that under his “leadership” the party got complacent — no, went to sleep, more accurately.

So there were Democratic gains this past Tuesday, but there is still a lot further to go.

One commentator for The New York Times says that the Dems taking back the Senate in 2020 might not be as easy as we’d like to think; he writes:

… This year, the Democrats were defending 26 seats, and the Republicans just nine. The Democrats’ 26 included 10 incumbents in states that President Trump carried. In 2020, it’s the Republicans who’ll be defending a majority of the seats — 22 out of 33.

That sounds hopeful, if you’re a Democrat. But if you look at the map, you see that most of the Republican-held seats are in states that would elect a dog before they’d elect a Democrat. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming — you get the picture. All told, there are about 14 states where the idea of electing a Democrat to the Senate is all but inconceivable, and another three or four where it’s perhaps not inconceivable but where the stars would need to align just so. The numbers for comparably Democratic states are perhaps 12 and I think zero.

Specifically with respect to 2020, if you had to ponder five possible pickups that would give the Democrats control, here are the states and senators on whom the Democrats need to focus: Susan Collins of Maine; first-termer Joni Ernst of Iowa; Thom Tillis of North Carolina, another first-termer; Cory Gardner of Colorado, a third first-termer; Jon Kyl of Arizona; and I suppose David Perdue of Georgia, or maybe John Cornyn of Texas, should the exciting Beto O’Rourke decide to take him on.

From that list, I trust you can see the problem. If Democrats are having to count on North Carolina (where the party last elected a senator in 2008) and Georgia (2000) and Arizona (1988), they’re barking up an awfully tall tree. …

Well, it’s good not to take wins — and “blue waves” — for granted. But Nate Silver offers this:

… [P]retty much every political battle [from now on] is going to be pitched with an eye toward 2020. And 2020 will be a unique year in that the House, Senate and presidency are all potentially in play.

How the presidency goes is anybody’s guess. But Trump took advantage of the Electoral College last time around, winning the tipping-point state (Wisconsin) by about 1 percentage point even though he lost the popular vote by 2 percentage points. If Trump has the same edge in 2020, that could go a long way toward winning him a second term.

The thing is, though, that the Electoral College advantage is historically pretty ephemeral. Relatively subtle changes in political conditions can make the Electoral College go from helping you to hurting you. In 2008 and 2012, for example, the Electoral College worked toward Democrats’ benefit, as Barack Obama would likely have won it in the event of a popular vote tie.

So here’s some slightly scary news for Trump: The 2018 map looked more like 2012 than 2016, with Democrats performing quite well in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three states that essentially won Trump the election two years ago. …

Silver states that in 2020 the Senate potentially will be in play. I’ll take that. Again, I won’t take it for granted, but I’ll take it. (I am a bit disappointed to read Silver’s statement that the House that the Dems just recaptured potentially will be in play, too, but, again, it’s best not to take anything for granted, as the Dems learned painfully in November 2016.)

What 2020 prognosticators might miss, methinks, is that in November 2016, while it was clear to me what kind of “president” the vile Pussygrabber would be, it (astoundingly) wasn’t clear to many of those who actually voted for him.

It is clear to many if not most of them now, and Pussygrabber’s approval rating remains stuck around only 40 percent, where it has been stuck for most of the past two years. I don’t see it getting any better; his latest incredibly unhinged “press conference,” in which he made Nixon look like Lincoln by comparison, is indicative of the fact that the next two years won’t be an improvement over the last two.

This can’t bode well for Pussygrabber and the Repugnicans for 2020 beyond the deep-red states whose mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging denizens don their red “Make America Great Again” caps.

My own dream scenario, of course, is that Bernie Sanders becomes our next president in 2020 and that the Dems win control of both houses of Congress, enabling President Sanders to push through a progressive* agenda starting in January 2021.

Had Bernie won the White House in 2016, he most likely would have faced a divided or a Repugnican-dominated Congress, and this (Repugnicans doing their damnedest to thwart him at every turn) would have been claimed by wingnuts and by worthless centrists to be “proof” that progressivism doesn’t work, and so I’m fine with the four-year delay for Bernie if it means that as president he can get shit done.

P.S. On a related note, I haven’t yet mentioned that I’m delighted that DINO U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri lost her Senate seat on Tuesday. Stubbornly and stupidly unfazed by her defeat, she actually told The New York Times this: “People need to realize my problem wasn’t getting Democrats to vote for me. I hope that no one thinks that because some of the red-state Democrat moderates lost that means we have to nominate a progressive [for the presidency for 2020].”

The Times goes on: “The more sensible answer, Ms. McCaskill said, would be to find Mr. Trump’s political and stylistic opposite, perhaps ‘even a boring candidate.’ She mentioned a handful of little-known senators and governors who exude vanilla.”

Jesus fuck. McCaskill is ultra-vanilla, and look how that turned out for her. She just fucking lost but claims that she has the winning formula! Fuck Ultra-Vanilla McCaskill and fuck former slave state Missouri. We progressives won’t bow down to them.

Pretending to be what you’re not just doesn’t work. Voters want authenticity, not duplicity, which is why genuine asshole Pussygrabber beat inauthentic asshole Billary Clinton, who is a political weather vane on crack.

McCaskill, along with West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin** (and some others), should have switched to the Repugnican Party a long time ago. No one respects spineless, middle-of-the-road panderers, which is why centrism — and vanilla — don’t sell.

That’s why McCaskill lost her seat, and why it’s a fucking joke that outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake, who didn’t run for another term because he’s so unpopular in Arizona, says he might run for president. If he does, he’ll do as well as Lincoln Chafee did.

Pick a fucking party and pick a fucking side: Repugnican (evil) or Democrat (good [or at least with the much higher potential of being good]). It has come to that.

*No, I don’t shy away from the word “socialism,” but capitalism will, methinks, be with us for a long time, and in the meantime, the best that we can hope, probably, is to mitigate the serious damage that capitalism causes to people and to the planet through the most progressive policies that we can push through.

**Lest you think that Manchin is beloved in his state, know that thus far he is reported to have won 49.5 percent of the vote to his Repugnican challenger’s 46.3 percent. I venture that if a Libertarian candidate hadn’t also run and thus far garnered 4.2 percent, the Repugnican probably would have won.

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We are at the beginning of the end of our long national nightmare

Updated below (on Wednesday, November 7, 2018)

As I type this sentence, Politico reports that the Democrats are projected to take back the U.S. House of Representatives.

That is the one and only thing that I really, really wanted to happen in today’s elections, if nothing else good happened.

If a Democratic U.S. House and a Repugnican U.S. Senate results in gridlock for at least the next two years, then so fucking be it. The Repugnicans stymied President Barack Obama when they took back the House in November 2010 and held it for the rest of his presidency. (Not that Obama was an ambitious progressive anyway, but still…) Payback is a bitch.

Just as the unelected, illegitimate “President” Pussygrabber ramps up his fascism, including sending troops to the southern border to “protect” us from impoverished, desperate human beings (just like Jesus would do!), talking about shooting any rock-throwing immigrants (er, “illegals”), and talking about unilaterally altering the U.S. Constitution by executive order, it’s time to rein in his sorry, orange, tinpot-dictator ass.

The American system works. It takes time, but it works.

We are on a course correction, and we are at the beginning of the end of our long national nightmare.

Update (Wednesday, November 7, 2018): Other good news from last night includes Democrat Tony Evers’ victory over piece-of-shit Repugnican (redundant) Scott Walker for the governorship of Wisconsin. Woo hoo!

Also, I’m delighted that Democrat Jacky Rosen beat incumbent Repugnican Dean Heller for the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, the state in which I plan to retire. Also, the Democratic candidate also won the state’s governorship, so as of January, Nevada will, like California, have two Democratic U.S. senators and a Democratic governor. I hope that Nevada keeps getting bluer before I finally move there.

And in neighboring Arizona, the race between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Repugnican Martha McSally for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Flake is too close to call, The Arizona Republic’s website reports right now.

Arizona is still pretty fucking red, but I hope that it, too, becomes more and more blue over the years, and I’m thinking that Democratic powerhouse California is having a blue-ing effect on its neighbors.

My biggest disappointment from yesterday’s election is that actual Democrat Kevin de León did not beat DINO Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein for the U.S. Senate seat for my great state of California, but thus far in the initial returns, De León has done better than the polls had suggested he would. Polls had Cryptkeeper ahead by double digits, but as I type this sentence, Cryptkeeper is ahead of De León by 8.8 percentage points, 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent.

A lot of Californians obviously want progressive change, but I don’t expect the crusty Cryptkeeper to be humbled by the fact that for an very-long-term incumbent she didn’t do nearly as well as she should have.

I’m also disappointed that Andrew Gillum didn’t win the governorship of Florida, but it was damned close (49.7 percent to 49 percent as of right now, per The New York Times).

I’m thinking and hoping that those progressives who did well but didn’t win yesterday, such as Gillum and De León — and such as gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, to whom I also gave a donation (but it’s Georgia) — will run again and will win next time.

P.S. Oops. Apparently Stacey Abrams still might pull out a win, despite the fact that her Repugnican opponent, Brian Kemp, is Georgia’s chief elections official who won’t recuse himself from overseeing the election in which he’s the Repugnican candidate for governor.

The votes in Georgia have yet to be finalized, and should Kemp’s final total fall below 50.0 percent, a runoff would be required in December, as for the governorship in Georgia, the winner must garner at least a simple majority, not just a plurality.

I hope that a runoff happens.

Finally, The Arizona Republic right now reports that the race between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally still is too close to call and might take days or longer to be settled. Shit, for red Arizona, it’s good news even that the race is too close to call.

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Want to end birthright citizenship? Change the Constitution!

I personally have no problem with any human being born on U.S. soil automatically legally being a U.S. citizen. I don’t feel that it’s any real skin off of my ass (and it was no accomplishment of mine that I was born on U.S. soil), and I view immigrants — and so-called “anchor babies” — as an overall asset, not a liability, to the nation.

That said, I don’t think that it would be unconscionably unreasonable to require at least one parent of a child to be a citizen of the nation in which the child was born in order for the child to be a legal citizen. I don’t see that as onerous.

I’m a gay man, and I have no plan to reproduce, but let’s say I were heterosexual and my pregnant female partner and I were traveling in another country, and during our travels, she gave birth in that country, perhaps on time or perhaps prematurely.

Would I believe that that nation automatically would have or should have to accept my child as a citizen of it, when my child was born there when my partner and I were just passing through?

No.

Therefore, again, I am not vehemently opposed to requiring at least one parent of a child born on U.S. soil to be a U.S. citizen before that child automatically is a legal U.S. citizen. (And that said, I think that only one parent should have to be a U.S. citizen; that should be enough.)

But — and this is a colossal “but” — the U.S. Constitution today clearly and plainly states that any human being born on U.S. soil automatically is a legal U.S. citizen.

The only way to change such a constitutional provision is to change the Constitution. 

If the xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant right wing wuvs the Constitution as much as it claims, then it strictly must follow the requirements to change — amend — the Constitution. And the rest of us actual patriots must not allow them to do otherwise.

There is no way around that. No fucking executive order and no vote by Congress alone can change the Constitution. Three-fourths of the states, or at least 38 of them, must approve any Constitutional amendment before it becomes part of the Constitution.

Our Constitution — no human being and no political party — is the supreme law of the land. Otherwise, we have tyranny.

And fuck tyranny. Fuck “President” Pussygrabber and his belief that he is a king who can issue royal edicts, the Constitution be damned.

Dictators despise constitutions because constitutions wisely and presciently constrain their powers.

We, the people, must constrain the power of “President” Pussygrabber, first by taking back the House of Representatives on November 6, and then, perhaps, by impeaching his treasonous, sorry ass.

Impeachment would demonstrate to Pussygrabber that the Constitution, not he, comes first and foremost.

We are a nation of laws, and we threw off monarchs long, long ago.

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Hatred is on the November 6 ballot

The right-wing nutjob (from Florida, of course) who sent at least a dozen pipe bombs or pipe-bomb replicas to several prominent members of the Democratic community (not one of which actually reached its addressee in person, to my knowledge [mail to prominent individuals is screened — duh!]) is, of course, a big supporter of “President” Pussygrabber. He is shown above at a Pussygrabber KKK rally in Florida.

CNN has rounded up all three recent hate crimes in the United States into one article, titled “72 Hours in America: Three Hate-Filled Crimes. Three Hate-Filled Suspects.”

It begins:

Consider the past week in America.

Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random [it wasn’t really random, since he was hunting black people, very apparently], at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.

After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the president, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.

And [yesterday] morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.

Those three incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.

The pipe-bomb douche — a body-builder who apparently shaves his armpits and reportedly once was a male stripper (not your usual MAGA-cap wearer) — of course is a well-documented supporter of the “president.”

What I’d like to know is whether he never intended a pipe bomb to go off or if he wanted one or more to go off but is too fucking stupid to have been able make one that actually works.

And I knew that it was a wingnut who had sent the pipe bombs or pipe-bomb replicas — that is wasn’t a “false-flag” operation — when I saw the image of the package that he sent to former CIA Director John Brennan, supposedly from former Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on which he misspelled Brennan’s surname as “Brenan” and misspelled Schultz as “Shultz.” (Gee, that wouldn’t be a tip-off, the sender misspelling his or her own name!)

Wingnuts, including our “president,” are known for being unable to spell and for making typos.

On that note, the pipe-bomb douche put “Florids” instead of “Florida” in the return address on at least two of the packages, and he used a ridiculously large font and unnecessarily put the word “to” in front of the address and “from” in front of the return address, which only a fucktard who doesn’t know how to properly address a package (that is, a Pussygrabber voter) would do.

The pipe-bomb douche is a mixed-race man (Italian and Filipino), apparently, who is 56 years old and apparently was living in that van covered with anti-Democratic and pro-Pussygrabber signs and stickers.

In the less-publicized Kentucky incident, a 51-year-old white man targeted and shot to death two black people, a man and a woman, very apparently because he wanted to kill black people. Here is a lovely news photo of him, apparently escorted, ironically, by black law enforcement officers:

Image result for gregory bush trump

Associated Press photo

After this white-supremacist genius couldn’t get inside of a black church in order to shoot it up Dylann Storm Roof style (those inside wisely had locked the doors) — he opted instead for the nearby grocery store, where he very apparently went hunting for black people.

Yesterday’s massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, was the deadliest hate crime of this past week, with 11 shot dead and six more injured.

The synagogue shooter is a 46-year-old white man —

Police have reportedly been dispatched to the area near the home of Robert Bowers [Pittsburgh Police Department/AFP]

AFP photo

— who reportedly isn’t actually a fan of “President” Pussygrabber because he deems Pussygrabber to be too cozy with Jews.

(I don’t get anti-Semitism. I am an atheist and so I reject Christianity, Judaism and Islam, not just for their hocus-pocus, Santa-Claus-like bullshit, but also for their long history of patriarchy, misogyny and homophobia, but as long as someone doesn’t try to oppress me with his or her bullshit religious beliefs, I believe in live and let live, and if we’re going to judge someone, we should judge him or her upon the content of his or her character, paramount, probably, in regards to how he or she treats others.)

Still, this anti-Semite who acted upon his hatred in Pittsburgh isn’t a “man” who would vote for a Democrat, and Slate.com points out correctly that Pussygrabber for years now has stoked the current toxic environment in which for resentful, stupid, mostly middle-aged white males (and the stupid white women who support them), there are plenty of scapegoats to blame for the fact that they are losers: there are the “illegals” (Pussygrabber’s favorite scapegoats), Jews, blacks, Democrats, socialists, gays, feminists, transgender individuals, Muslims, et. al., et. al.

This is the sociopolitical (and sociopathic) background in which the nation will go to the polls in only nine days.

Those who might one day find themselves to be one of the victims of these hate-filled, white-male losers — and those who care about these hate crimes — might want to be sure to vote, because, no matter what “President” Pussygrabber’s treasonous, insane-by-definition supporters might claim, hatred indeed is on the November 6 ballot, and it’s up to each and every one of us to vote for it or to vote against it.

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Bernie battered by Beltway hacks

Bloomberg news photo

A candidate who actually would serve the best interests of the American people instead of just paying lip service to that must be destroyed, you see. (Bernie Sanders is pictured above introducing a “Medicare for All” single-payer healthcare bill in September 2017.)

Politico’s David Siders still is hot on the Bernie beat, with these two headlines over the past few days: “Sanders Admits His Age Is an Issue in 2020” and “Sanders Hints at Reckoning with Warren Over 2020 Ambitions,” two rather sensationalist headlines that don’t quite live up to the “news” stories to which they are attached.

Of his (and others candidates’) age, Bernie, who is 77, is quoted as having said, “It’s part of a discussion, but it has to be part of an overall view of what somebody is and what somebody has accomplished.

“Look, you’ve got people who are 50 years of age who are not well, right? You’ve got people who are 90 years of age who are going to work every day doing excellent work. And obviously, age is a factor. But it depends on the overall health and well being of the individual.”

Agreed. I’d take a senior citizen who is a true progressive (and in decent physical and mental health) over a younger, pro-corporate centrist sellout (Hi, Kamala! Hi, Cory!) any day.

So while the headline “Sanders Admits His Age Is an Issue in 2020” is, I suppose, technically and denotatively true, its connotation easily could be that Sanders himself says that (maybe) he’s too old, which, of course, he does not.

Also, of course, the first paragraph of “Sanders Admits His Age Is an Issue in 2020” is this: “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday agreed with Joe Biden — a fellow septuagenarian [Biden is 75 years old] — that age will be an issue if he runs for president in 2020.”

Hmmm. Why isn’t establishmentarian Biden also mentioned in the headline, then? Are we protecting Old Uncle Joe for some reason?

“Sanders Hints at Reckoning with Warren Over 2020 Ambitions” also doesn’t live up to its hype. It sets up a conflict between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren that apparently doesn’t actually exist.

Again, perhaps the headline technically and denotatively is true, but “reckoning” is a pretty strong word. This is how the “news” story “backs up” its sensationalist headline:

Asked whether he and other progressive contenders should hold talks in an effort to ensure one of them prevails, Sanders told Politico, “I suspect that in the coming weeks and months, there will be discussions.”

Not much actual drama there, so let’s put “reckoning” in the headline!

Politico adds: “The jockeying among progressive candidates has sparked worry among some hard-left activists, who fear they could split the vote in the 2020 primary, ceding ground to a more moderate Democrat.”

Perhaps, to the extent that that many people outside of us political nerds are even thinking about 2020.

But, it seems to me, the 2020 field will sort itself out. We don’t need to resort to the traditional, tried-and-failed, anti-democratic “Democratic” tactic of trying to push some candidates (usually the left-of-center candidates, of course) out of the running before the contest has even begun.

If we’re true advocates of democracy, we’ll let the people — not craven party hacks — decide.

That said, if we’re going to make it about Bernie vs. Liz, I’ve made it clear here that I support Bernie. Not only does he deserve the nomination that he was cheated out of in 2016, but he is much more likely to beat Pussygrabber than is Warren.

For starters, Bernie’s nationwide favorability ratings long have been much higher than have Warren’s.

In fact, Bernie’s high nationwide favorability rankings have been unmatched by any other politico.

The David Siders set don’t like Bernie, but we, the people, do.

Bernie always polled much better against Pussygrabber than Queen Billary ever did, and look what happened with that.

I have nothing against Warren, but I just don’t see her beating Pussygrabber, and it’s more important to me that fascist Pussygrabber be denied a second term than it is that we have our first female president.

If we can have both — Pussygrabber’s defeat and our first female president — at the same time, that’s great, but thus far I don’t see a female candidate who is likely to win in 2020.

That’s just the cold, hard political fact. Don’t predictably lazily and knee-jerkedly call me a “sexist,” because I would be fine with Elizabeth Warren as president. I just don’t think that she can get there. Not in 2020, anyway.

In the meantime, despite his runaway popularity, expect Bernie Sanders to continue to be treated horribly by the members of the Beltway media, who see pro-corporate politics as their best bet to maintain their petty positions of power, carrying water for their corporate masters.

Because it’s not about the people, you see; it’s about the corporations, which, we are told, are people too.

P.S. In fairness to David Siders, usually some editor determines the headline, but if inaccurate, sensationalist headlines routinely are put on his submissions (and they are), then he needs to decide whether or not he still wants to work for Politico.

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