Bring on the PROGRESSIVE women

The ‘Big Four’ women leaders often touted as potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees. Clockwise, starting in the upper left: Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

Associated Press photos via Politico

Politico names sitting U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar (pictured clockwise, starting at the upper left) as the “‘Big Four’ women leaders often touted as potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees.” I can see Warren and Harris running with some success, but methinks that Gillibrand and Klobuchar don’t have enough recognition nationwide to have a successful presidential bid this early.

There has been talk of both election years 2018 and 2020 being another “Year of the Woman” (a reference to 1992, in which four women were elected to the U.S. Senate after the Anita Hill debacle of 1991).

I’m fine with that — as long as we’re talking about progressive women.

Earlier this month, California U.S. Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein (who ascended to the Senate in the “Year of the Woman” 25 years ago) told the party faithful (apparently of the 2018 mid-term elections), “I predict based on what I see out there [she apparently was referring to the ongoing sexual harassment-palooza] that we are going to have another Year of the Woman.”

Again, that’s fine with me — women long have been underrepresented at every level of government — but multi-millionaire, center-right sellouts like Cryptkeeper Feinstein aren’t OK with me.

I refuse to vote for a candidate primarily or solely because the candidate is a woman. That is, in my book, just another form of sexism. (Ditto for voting for a candidate primarily or solely because of the candidate’s race — that’s just another form of racism.)

I refuse to vote for Cryptkeeper in California’s June 2018 primary election because of her record (see here and here) — which includes having voted for the Vietraq War from which her also-filthy-rich husband war profiteered, her opposition to single-payer health care (she’s a multi-millionaire, so what’s the problem with health care?), her consistent support of unconstitutional government spying on citizens, and even her support of an unconstitutional ban on burning the U.S. flag — and because her insane wealth and her age (84) make her quite out of touch with her electorate.

If there were a more progressive yet still viable female candidate in the June 2018 primary election for the Senate seat that Cryptkeeper occupies with a death grip by her old, cold, mouldy dead hands of the past, then I’d vote for her, but thus far the only more progressive yet still viable candidate for the seat is Kevin de León, the current leader of the California Senate, so he has my support.

(That and Latinos also are underrepresented at most if not even all levels of government. Here in California, for a while now there have been more Latinos than individuals of any other race. It’s long past time for the octogenarian Cryptkeeper to release her death grip on power and allow California’s Latinos to be represented in the U.S. Senate.)

For 2016 I could not support Billary Clinton for president because she’s a center-right sellout in the vein of Cryptkeeper, replete with a vote for the Vietraq War (post-9/11 she’d calculated that it would benefit her politically; she miscalculated) and personal wealth in the tens of millions of dollars. No, she’s not just like the rest of us.

I refused to support Billary just because I was told that I was “supposed” to — that it was “her turn,” that we needed to elect our first female president (even if we had to hold our noses and take an anti-emetic to do it), etc. — and relentlessly being called a “Bernie bro” for having supported the most progressive candidate in the race, Bernie Sanders, didn’t at all shame me into voting for Billary, but only turned me off even more from supporting her, as I am confident was the case for the millions of us progressive males who misandristically were smeared as “Bernie bros.”

Team Billary and the legions of Billarybots either figured that they could vote-shame us progressive men (wrong!) or that they could do without the progressive male vote (wrong!). Inaccurately and unfairly — and quite hypocritically — calling us progressive men sexist and misogynist only made it worse for them.

And now we look to 2020, and Politico proclaims in an article titled “Why 2020 Will Be the Year of the Woman” that “In this post-Weinstein moment, Democrats are pining for the karmic justice of defeating Trump with shards from a glass ceiling.”

Again, women long have been seriously underrepresented in government. We have only six sitting female governors. Six. That’s it. That’s a paltry 12 percent of the governorships. Only 21 of our sitting U.S. senators are women (that’s 21 percent, of course), and only 104 of our sitting U.S. representatives are women (that’s 24 percent).

Such sad and pathetic figures as these alone should induce more women to run for office — not Harvey Fucking Weinstein. Fair representation — not revenge — should be the motivation.

I guarantee you that in every race, I’m going to support the most progressive yet still viable candidate, at least in the primary election.* If that candidate is a woman, then I am more than happy to support her, because not only is she the most progressive candidate, but her winning office would help gain women the increased representation in government that they have lacked forever now.

So, for 2020, thus far I support Bernie Sanders should he run again, which I think he probably will.

He was the only one with the guts to oppose the slimy Billary “Crown Me Already” Clinton, and, as I never tire of mentioning, in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary season Bernie Sanders won 22 states and won 46 percent of the pledged (actually democratically earned) delegates in the primary elections and caucuses, a remarkably strong showing for someone who had entered the race largely if not mostly unknown against someone who was running for the White House a second time.

Last year was not Queen Billary’s turn, but 2020 is Bernie Sanders’ turn. He fucking earned it — he campaigned his heart out and he still champions progressive causes — and a more progressive yet still viable presidential candidate for 2020 is highly unlikely to emerge.

On that note, if Bernie doesn’t run for 2020 but Elizabeth Warren does, then she most likely is my candidate for 2020. I love Liz, but, alas, I can’t forget that she essentially sat 2016 out, apparently not wanting to step on Queen Billary’s cape. Not only did she not dare to run herself, but she refused to publicly take a side when it could have helped Bernie.

Those were her choices to make, but our choices have consequences.

Many will want to push newbie California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris for president for 2020, as though she were the female Barack Obama. Not only are both Harris and Obama half-black, but, if she actually runs for president in 2020, Harris also will have in common with Obama the fact that both had served in the U.S. Senate for only four years — not even one full (six-year) Senate term — before having run for the White House.

Harris’ supporters will be supporting her much more for her race and/or her sex — good old identity politics — than for her unimpressive-thus-far record. Just sayin’: Her record at this point is awfully thin — I can tell you that as a California statewide elected official (attorney general) she always played it safe — and just as it was a mistake to send the inexperienced and accomplishment-free Obama to the White House in 2008**, methinks that it also would be a mistake to send the inexperienced and accomplishment-free Harris to the White House in 2020.

If Harris proves herself to be a progressive champion in the Senate (which, from what I know of her, is not super-likely but is not impossible), then yes, I’ll consider her for presidential races beyond 2020. But right now, I can’t say for sure that I’d even want her to be the vice-presidential candidate for 2020, as low as Sarah Palin lowered the bar.

My litmus test — which, again, is that I support the most progressive yet still viable candidate — is fairly fair. It’s based mostly on how progressive the candidate is or is not. It’s not based on sex or on race.***

It’s also not based on age, as long as the person, if younger, is mature and has enough life experience, or, if older, still can function well and (still) is in touch with the electorate (as Bernie Sanders is and Cryptkeeper Feinstein is not).

It’s not even based on religion, although I never could support a candidate who tried to shove his or her God bullshit down the electorate’s throats. (I prefer an agnostic or atheist candidate or at least one who, like Bernie Sanders, who I suspect is agnostic or atheist, doesn’t fucking proselytize.)

And, of course, if you’re not fully on board with equal rights for homosexual, non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, then you’re not at all a progressive — and your supposedly left-wing identity politics are just the other side of the coin that has stupid, right-wing white men on it — and fuck you.

So, progressive women: Step up to the plate as candidates for political office. I want to support you.

But I won’t support you only or even primarily because you’re a woman.

*I did vote for Ralph Nader for president in 2000, and for Jill Stein for president in 2012 and in 2016, knowing fully well at the time that the Democratic presidential candidates (Al Gore, Barack Obama and Billary Clinton, respectively) were going to win my state of California and all of its electoral votes no matter how I fucking voted.

It’s funny how people say that if you don’t vote for the Democratic/Democratic-in-name-only presidential candidate, you help the Repugnican presidential candidate win, but that would be true only if we elected our presidents on the popular vote or if you voted in a true swing state. California is not a swing state, and Americans sorely need to educate themselves on the Electoral College (and then do away with it).

**Recall that the arrogant, overconfident Obama, drunk on “bipartisanship” Kool-Aid, wasted his shitload of political capital in 2009 and 2010 trying to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican traitors in Congress while they were organizing their “tea party” and took back the House of Representatives in November 2010, severely crippling him for the remainder of his presidency, and then took back the U.S. Senate in 2014, further crippling him.

***My terms “most progressive yet still viable” might rankle some. You might argue, and perhaps if not probably correctly, that women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-gender-conforming individuals and others struggle to be viable candidates in a heterosexual white man’s world and that if they’re not viable, it’s society’s fault, not theirs.

But I usually can’t bring myself to donate to a political candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell, and at least in primary elections, I don’t want to feel that I have wasted my vote on a candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell.

(That said, again, in a presidential general election, under the Electoral College and living in the very blue California, my vote for president essentially doesn’t count, as it’s a foregone conclusion, in every presidential election, that the Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidate is going to win California and all of its electoral votes, the most of any state in the nation.

Speaking of California, did you know that California is the first state in the nation to have had two female U.S. Senators at the same time? That happened with the election of 1992, the “Year of the Woman.”

That’s pretty cool, but it’s still time for Cryptkeeper to go. She no longer represents her electorate well, if she ever really did. [She didn’t.])

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