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Gavin Newsom leads again

Getty Images photo

Gavin Newsom, then still mayor of San Francisco, is pictured above marrying lesbian activists Del Martin (left) and Phyllis Lyon (right) at San Francisco City Hall when same-sex marriage briefly was legal in California in 2008 (after a California Supreme Court ruling) before being shot down again by California Proposition H8 (and before being made legal again by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015). Martin, who had been with Lyon for more than 50 years before they were married in San Francisco in 2004 before having that marriage declared null and void, died two months after the photo above was taken. Then, as he is now, Newsom was ahead of his time.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’

“But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

— Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:38 and 5:39

Oh, to be surrounded by so many “Christians”!

These “Christians” (and some ignorant, hateful others) are pissed off that recently elected California Gov. Gavin Newsom this past week announced that as long as he’s governor — he just started his first four-year term and probably will get another term — no one on California’s death row (there are more than 700 of them) will be executed.

He doesn’t have the power to eliminate the death penalty in the state altogether, but as governor he does have the power to suspend executions.

I expect that the death penalty will be in abolished in California before Newsom is out of office.

Why?

Let’s back up a little bit: It’s much reported that Newsom has suspended state executions against the will of California voters. That’s pretty much bullshit.

California voters last weighed in on the death penalty in November 2016, but the statewide ballot measure that would have repealed the death penalty that the voters shot down didn’t lose overwhelmingly. It was 53 percent don’t repeal to 47 percent repeal.

Another death-penalty-related ballot measure on the same ballot, a really mean-spirited one, sped up the process in which the state should commit executions (because When the penalty is your life, hey, let’s get this over with already! What could go wrong?), but that one passed by only 51 percent to 49 percent.

Newsom isn’t up for re-election until November 2022. By then, I’m confident, the needle will have moved to majority opposition to the death penalty in the state of California.

And Newsom — who moved the needle on same-sex marriage when, as mayor of San Francisco, he declared same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction in 2004* — is moving that needle.

Newsom was elected governor over his Repugnican opponent in November 2018 by 62 percent to 38 percent, and in this solidly blue state he has the political capital with which to move the needle.

Those who have been iffy on the death penalty but who support Newsom and the Democratic Party are going to find their support for Newsom and the Democratic Party to be more important than any tepid support that they might have had for the death penalty.

And sure, let’s talk about the will of the California voters. Again, only a slim majority of them backed the death penalty — more than two years ago. A super-majority of them voted for Newsom about four months ago.

The bloodthirsty California wingnuts (a minority in the state, thank Goddess), as usual, don’t even make any fucking sense on this issue. The last person executed in California was way back in 2006, under then-Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger (a Repugnican, of course), and the executed was a legally blind and diabetic 76-year-old man in a wheelchair. (Woo hoo! “Justice”!)

For the past 13 years there have been no executions in California, but now it’s “important” that we crank up the lethal injection machine?

It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the survivors of those who have been murdered by stone-cold killers (the term that the wingnuts love to use). If a loved one of mine were murdered, no, of course I wouldn’t be happy. I might come to a place of forgiveness for the murderer, but probably not initially, during the shock of the event.

But the prime objective is to prevent the convicted murderer from ever murdering again, and keeping him or her in prison for life accomplishes that objective.

For the state to say, “Killing is wrong, so we’re going to kill you because you killed” not only is anti-Christian (see Jesus Christ’s straightforward rejection of revenge above), but it defies logic and reason. Acting as much as the animal as the animal is not civilized.

Even if you are indifferent to whether a convicted murderer is executed or is imprisoned for life, know that the costs to the taxpayer surrounding the death penalty are significantly higher than simply allowing the convicted murderer to die in prison, which itself is a pretty fucking harsh penalty.

And don’t get me wrong on Gavin Newsom. His style always has rubbed me the wrong way; he’s too slick for my tastes. (And I am disappointed that he has endorsed fellow Californian Kamala Harris, a “progressive” come lately, for president, which was premature at best.)

I did vote for Newsom in November, but that largely was because in California’s top-two system, I wanted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate to have every possible vote over his God-awful (redundant) Repugnican candidate. (And I am registered not as a Democrat, but as an independent — because I’m pretty left of center and that’s not where nearly enough so-called “Democrats” are.)

But while he’s not my style, Newsom is a leader, and I’ve long defined a leader as someone who doesn’t just follow along where the majority already is, but who pushes the majority to where they need to go.

By that measure, Gavin Newsom is a leader.**

He led on same-sex marriage, and he’s leading on the abolition of the death penalty, not just in California, but nationally.

P.S. I just saw this paragraph in a Politico story:

Mark Baldassare, head of the Public Policy Institute of California, says that his organization’s polling over the years has consistently shown that around 55 percent of Californians back the idea of life imprisonment over the death penalty. But “that can change’’ during high-profile ballot campaigns, when voters are often reminded of specific heinous crimes, boosting their support of the death penalty, he warns.

Indeed, the people of California apparently already are with Newsom on this, but yes, it’s easy to exploit the issue by appealing to fear and emotion over logic and reason.

*As mayor Newsom did not have the authority to declare same-sex marriage legal in his jurisdiction, and the California Supreme Court later shot him (and those marriages) down.

But, of course, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2015, history has absolved Newsom, who was ahead of history.

**As is Bernie Sanders, who has redefined the positions that a Democrat (or a Democrat in name only…) must take if he or she wants the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Sanders has moved the party to the left quite significantly (something that even one of his detractors had to admit).

Of course, as I’ve written before, I prefer the one who moved the ideas into the mainstream, not anyone who only has followed along and who, if elected, probably wouldn’t actually try very hard to enact these ideas, since he or she didn’t generate them in the first fucking place.

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Beto O’Verrated

My thoughts on Beto O’Rourke haven’t changed since I posted the piece below on December 15, so I’m simply running the piece again here (it’s below).

O’Rourke hasn’t been able to reach even double digits in the nationwide polling of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference, and for a while now, along with Elizabeth Warren, he generally has been around fourth (or fifth) place, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris (in that order), all three of whom poll in the double digits. (See here and here.)

I expect O’Rourke’s formal announcement of today to give him a bump of a few points in the nationwide polling (maybe five points), but I don’t expect that to stick, since he is a substance-free candidate.

Not only does he lack substance, but I don’t find his slacker-hipster style to be interesting (much more endearing) at all. I find it to be annoying.

O’Rourke needs to grow the fuck up already. We already have a man-child in the White House and we don’t need another.

P.S. I do hope that for however long he is in it, O’Rourke serves to further split the vote, only helping Bernie. My guess is that Joe Biden stands to lose the most from O’Rourke’s candidacy, as both Biden and O’Rourke stand for the same thing: nothing.

Robert's Virtual Soapbox

To those who found Barack Obama’s generic — and ultimately unfulfilled — campaign slogans of “hope” and “change” to be appealing, Beto O’Rourke’s “sometimes saccharine call to summon the nation’s better angels” (per The New York Times) appeals. Let’s smother this one in the crib, for God’s sake.

Jesus fucking Christ, I hope that Betomania doesn’t last long.

Indeed, Beto O’Rourke is the white Barack Obama, the candidate with the initials B. O. who is whatever you want him to be, just a blank, white wall upon which you project your probably-futile dreams of hope and change.

“Will a soon-to-be-former congressman, with an unremarkable legislative record and a [U.S.] Senate campaign loss, upend [the Democrats’] best-laid plans?” asks The New York Times, acknowledging that O’Rourke is quite substance-free.

Even O’Rourke himself apparently doesn’t know whatthe fuck, if anything, he stands for.Reports Politico:

Asked if he…

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It’s (still) Bernie vs. Biden

Updated below (on Wednesday, March 13, 2019)

Image result for bernie sanders joe biden death match

Indeed, Bernie Sanders represents the future, while Joe Biden’s probable candidacy is a lazy, unimaginative throwback to the past that never was that hopey or changey.

It’s too early to know how it’s going to pan out, many (if not most) people say of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential race. I disagree.

Running for a party’s nomination for president is such a monumental task that if you haven’t started already, you’re already at a disadvantage, unless you have the name recognition that Joe Biden does.

Indeed, in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, Joe Biden remains at No. 1 as to Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters’ preference for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with Bernie Sanders close behind.

Two recent Morning Consult polls with gargantuan sample sizes (one at more than 12,000 respondents and the other at more than 15,000 of them) both put Biden at 31 percent and Bernie at 27 percent.

That makes two old white guys the choice of almost 60 percent of the respondents, even though we’ve been told incessantly by the “pundits” that the voters are demanding a woman or a non-white candidate, but preferably a non-white woman (and, the younger the better!).

On that note, in the two aforementioned Morning Consult polls, Kamala Harris came in at No. 3, with only 10 percent in one of the polls and 11 percent in the other; this far in, she has only about a third of the support that Biden does and that Bernie does. (I still say that her best shot at this point is for the veep slot, if she’ll accept it.)

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee and Amy Klobuchar (and almost everyone else who has announced) might as well pack it in; they can’t sustain even 5 percent in Morning Consult’s polling.

Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke, who are tied at fourth place in Morning Consult’s polling, don’t do much better, with neither of them able to reach double digits. (Indeed, after third-place Harris, no one in the Morning Consult polls reaches double digits, which she only barely does.)

O’Rourke was a flash in the pan — stick a fork in him, because he’s done already — and if Warren hasn’t had any traction by now (and she hasn’t), she’s never going to.

This thing isn’t going to drag on and on and on with 10 or 12 or more (at least minimally viable, non-cuckoo) candidates, as has been predicted. The field will be winnowed probably by the first debate in June, I surmise, to fewer than around, oh, say, seven candidates, or maybe seven or eight of them. I don’t think that we’ll really have to worry about overcrowded debates, not after the first one or two of them, anyway.

Success breeds further success (and, conversely, the lack of success breeds further lack of success), and if you’re stuck in the low single digits — or even if you can’t reach even double digits — in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, who really wants to give his or her time, energy, emotional investment and monetary investment to someone who essentially has failed to even launch?

(As a gay man, I find Buttigieg, also a gay man, to be an interesting candidate, but if I’m realistic, no, he doesn’t have a chance. I’d like to see him run for the U.S. Senate or for governor, win, serve out at least one term, and then later perhaps run for president. I do think that he has potential.)

Again, I don’t think that this thing is going to drag out; I think that they’re going to drop like flies, and soon. Who can take on heavyweights like Bernie and Biden over the long haul?

Again, these two old white men already have the support of almost 60 percent of those voters who are up for grabs; sure, it’s early, but come on — what, exactly, is going to happen that is going to change that?

Well, to answer my own question, the only thing that would change that is if Biden doesn’t actually run, which I find unlikely to happen. He’s an asshole and I don’t want him to run, so I fully expect him to run.

On that note, interestingly, a Monmouth University poll taken March 1 through March 4 has a small sample size (only 310 respondents, and I’m a size queen where it comes to sample sizes, which is why I’m in love with Morning Consult, with its huge sample sizes) but asks respondents who their pick would be if Biden did and if Biden did not join the race.

With Biden in the race, he garnered 28 percent to Bernie’s 25 percent, which is somewhat close to Morning Consult’s findings, and with Biden out of the race, Bernie’s support went up to 32 percent, putting Harris at a distant second place at only 15 percent. So, again, even though the Monmouth University poll has a smaller sample size than I’d prefer, it’s easy to predict that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie immediately shoots to No. 1.

Indeed, I’ll happily go out on a limb and say that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie wins the nomination.

But the most likely scenario, I think, won’t be a repeat of what we saw with the Repugnicans in 2016, with ridiculously overcrowded debate stages, and a long, painfully slow winnowing process that ultimately benefited political outsider Pussygrabber (and thus ultimately would benefit political outsider Bernie, even though this time around he’s not nearly as much the outsider as he was in 2016).

The most likely scenario for 2020, I think, is that Biden runs and that it’s essentially a repeat of 2016: the establishmentarian, corporate-friendly, center-right, Barack-Obama-linked “Democrat” against actual Democrat (ironic!) Bernie Sanders — the dead hand of the past vs. the future.

Only this time, I think, Bernie will dispatch his party-hack opponent more quickly than it took Queen Billary, with her bots within the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere with the national Democratic Party power structure, to dispatch Bernie.

It was, after all, Bernie’s first rodeo. Not so this time.

Update (Wednesday, March 13, 2019): Once again, I have posted something and then felt quite vindicated by prognosticator-god Nate Silver, who on fivethirtyeight.com writes today in a piece titled “Joe Biden’s and Bernie Sanders’s Support Isn’t Just About Name Recognition”:

… But on balance, I suspect that smart observers of the political process don’t give enough consideration to early polls, such as the CNN/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa caucus-goers (conducted by top-rated polling firm Selzer & Co.) that came out last weekend. As we documented in a three-part series back in 2011, the notion that early polling is meaningless or solely reflects name recognition — a popular view even among people we usually agree with — is wrong, full stop.

Other things held equal, for instance, a candidate polling at 25 percent in early polls is five or six times more likely to win the primary than one polling at 5 percent. It would be equally if not more wrong to say whoever leads in early polls is certain to win the nomination. (A candidate at 25 percent is still a sizable underdog relative to the field, for instance.) But I don’t hear anyone saying that. At least, I haven’t heard anyone saying it about the Democrats leading in the polls — Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — so far this year. …

It certainly is worthwhile to account for name recognition and to go beyond the top-line numbers when looking at these polls, however. In particular, favorability ratings are useful indicators: few voters have a firm first choice yet, so it’s helpful to know which candidates they’re considering, which ones they’ve ruled out, and which ones they don’t know enough about to have decided either way.

When you look at those things, Biden’s numbers still look quite decent, even if he isn’t the sort of prohibitive front-runner that, say, Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Sanders’s numbers look a little weaker than Biden’s, but nonetheless pretty good. Both candidates have plenty of genuine support. …

Yup. That’s what I intuitively believed, so whenever I hear assertions that “it’s too early” to have anything like a decent idea as to who the eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be and that someone who barely polls in the double digits, like Kamala Harris, actually is the front-runner — and that there’s no way that an old white guy could win the nomination, I cringe.

Yes, it’s early, but Biden and Bernie are known (and, again, together the two of them garner almost 60 percent of the support for a Dem presidential candidate right now), and there isn’t much time between now and the first debates for the lesser-knowns to overcome either of them, especially when there are so many lesser-knowns splitting the remainder of the vote, which is only about 40 percent anyway.

Again, this crowded field isn’t really so crowded, not when you look at who really has a chance at the nomination, and those who don’t have a chance are going to drop like flies, probably sooner rather than later.

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Why the United States should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela

Two peas in a pod, really. Both have disturbing autocratic tendencies, including their mistreatment of the press, and if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wasn’t duly elected, U.S. “President” Pussygrabber certainly wasn’t, either; he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

I like and I respect Mexican-American telejournalist Jorge Ramos of Univision. A passionate advocate for Latin Americans seeking a better life, he has reported on their plight and has written several books about it as well.

I believe Ramos’ report of what happened to him and his crew when he recently tried to report on Venezuela. Ramos wrote for The New York Times:

I was expelled from Venezuela on Tuesday [yesterday] after a contentious interview with Nicolás Maduro, the country’s strongman. He stood up in the middle of our conversation and his security agents confiscated our television cameras, the memory cards and our cellphones. Yes, Mr. Maduro stole the interview so nobody could watch it.

We got the interview the old fashioned way: by making a phone call and requesting it. A producer from Univision — the television network where I’ve worked since 1984 — contacted the government’s communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, and asked if Mr. Maduro wanted to do the interview. The leader said: “Come to Caracas.” And so we did, with official entry papers in hand.

The interview started on Monday evening, three hours late, at the Miraflores Palace. Mr. Maduro had spoken a few minutes before with Tom Llamas of ABC News, and he seemed to be in a good mood. The humanitarian aid that the political opposition — with the help of an international coalition — had tried to get into the country over the Colombian and Brazilian borders had been largely stopped, and Mr. Maduro felt emboldened. This was supposed to be a good day.

But it wasn’t. The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him “Presidente” or “Dictador,” as many Venezuelans do. I confronted him about human rights violations and cases of torture that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, and with the existence of political prisoners. I questioned his claim that he had won the 2013 and the 2018 presidential elections without fraud and, most important, his assurances that Venezuela was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis. That’s when I opened up my iPad.

The day before I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution. That’s when he broke.

About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over. “That’s what dictators do,” I told him. …

I also heard Ramos give this account on NPR. Again, I believe Ramos; he is credible.

I don’t dispute such assertions as that Maduro is an authoritarian (if not technically a dictator, since there was at least the semblance of some election that at least initially put Maduro in power) or that many Venezuelans are so desperate that they’re combing through garbage for sustenance.

These reports are so widespread that I little doubt their veracity, although I’m always leery of the right wing shamelessly lying and exaggerating for political gain.

The problem, though, is how to solve the problems that plague Venezuela and who should solve them.

It should not be the psychopathic, fascist likes of “President” Pussygrabber or “Vice President” Mike Pence — who didn’t win their own fucking election, for fuck’s sake (Billary Clinton won by about 3 more million votes) — to deal with Maduro. (It’s always stupid white men, too; John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton — an abject wingnut who of course is “President” Pussygrabber’s “national security adviser” — also is a Venezuela hawk, of course.)

The people of the sovereign nation of Venezuela should deal with Maduro.

The claims of the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime and its jackbooted supporters that they care so much about Venezuela’s humanitarian problems are beyond laughable.

The Pussygrabber regime and its aiders and abettors don’t give a flying fuck about the American citizens in the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, for fuck’s sake, so for them to claim to care so much about the plight of the Venezuelans is incredibly incredible.

No, the right-wing, unelected Pussygrabber regime and its supporters want two things from Venezuela, not necessarily in this order: (1) its vast oil wealth (like Iraq’s, which was the No. 1 reason for the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) and (2) to install a right-wing government in Venezuela that will do corporate America’s bidding, especially in terms of just handing over the nation’s natural resources like a good Latin American nation should.

Did I mention Venezuela’s vast oil wealth? It has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Venezuela is not a democratic socialist nation. Its current government started off with socialist aspirations, but now it has an autocrat, not a democratic socialist, at the helm. (To be fair, this autocracy began under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but further to be fair, the Venezuelan right wing, with the full support of the unelected, illegitimate, right-wing second Bush regime, did try to overthrow Chavez after his democratic election — spectacularly unsuccessfully — in April 2002, which probably accounts for Chavez’s turn toward autocracy; I mean, you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you!)

It’s easy to criticize the Venezuelan government (the real one, not the fake one that the wingnuts so badly wish to install, as they tried to do in April 2002 [they tried to impose a right-wing oil magnate on the people of Venezuela as their new, wholly unelected “president”]), but look at the United States of America: The only reason that “President” Pussygrabber isn’t acting just like Maduro right now, perhaps especially in regards to the treatment of the press, is that the American system (thus far, anyway) has reined the “president” in.

Jorge Ramos again is a great example. Then-“presidential” candidate Pussygrabber infamously kicked Ramos out of a news conference in August 2015, telling him to “Go back to Univision” and motioning to one of his thugs to eject Ramos from the room. One of Pussygrabber’s jackbooted thugs (yet another stupid white man, of course) in the hallway to which Ramos had been ejected was more direct; he told Ramos, who is an American citizen, for fuck’s sake, “Get out of my country!”

Americans who act like Pussygrabber — who as I type this sentence is palling around with North Korean dictator (yup, wholly unelected and dynastic) Kim Jong Un, who treats his people far worse than Maduro treats his, replete with gulags — is better at heart than is Maduro are deluded or liars or deluded liars, and they’re huge fucking hypocrites.

Again, Maduro is simply doing what Pussygrabber would do if Pussygrabber could. (Totally unrestrained, my bet is that Pussygrabber would do far worse than anything that Maduro has done thus far.)

Therefore, the United States of America, as long as it remains occupied by the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime, should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela.

The United States of America right now could only make things in Venezuela worse, not better. The “aid” that the wingnuts wish to bring to the people of Venezuela is just a Trojan horse, because the wingnuts’ ultimate aim is the subjugation of Venezuela — not its betterment.

This is obvious to anyone who is honest, sane and who has been paying attention to the ugly history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

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Bernie surges in Morning Consult poll, gains new donors — and more hit jobs


Billary Clinton’s bitter (redundant) supporters, who still refuse to acknowledge what a shitty, widely despised candidate they had in Queen Billary, believe that Bernie Sanders should travel the nation only by stationary bicycle.

Bernie Sanders has surged in Morning Consult’s latest nationwide polling of Democratic presidential preference, now just 2 percentage points behind Joe Biden.

The Morning Consult poll, taken from February 18 through 24 (Bernie officially announced his second run for the presidency on February 19, a week ago today), puts Bernie at 27 percent and Biden at 29 percent.

The poll, with a whopping sample size of more than 15,500 respondents and thus a margin of error of only plus or minus 1 percentage point, puts Kamala Harris at No. 3 behind Bernie and Biden, with only 10 percent (she has been dropping in the Morning Consult polling), and Elizabeth Warren at No. 4, with only 7 percent.

Not only is Bernie climbing in the polling since he’s made it official, but The New York Times reports that in his first week as an official candidate, Bernie has garnered more than $10 million in donations from almost 360,000 donors — and that the e-mail addresses of the donors indicate that about 40 percent of them are new donors, so Bernie very apparently is expanding his base despite the “conventional wisdom” that this time around he would be “the victim of his own success.”

Of course, with soaring success comes blatant hit jobs, such as this one from Politico (apparently, if he wants to call himself a democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders should only walk or maybe bike to his appearances around the nation, and really, what fucking smug ingrates the Team Billary arseholes [redundant] are to have Bernie hold his nose and take an anti-emetic in order to campaign for the despicable Repugnican Lite Queen Billary and then piss and shit all over him after he has done so). But these obvious hit jobs aren’t going to work.

Dipshits are going to continue to vote against their own best interests — and thus vote for a Repugnican or a Democrat in name only/Repugnican Lite (such as Kamala Harris or Joe Biden or one of most of Bernie’s competitors) — and those of us who have at least two brain cells to rub together are going to vote in our own best interests, and we know that Bernie is our best bet, and that the ad hominem and ad nauseam attacks on him only mean that he’s doing something very right.

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Bernie’s No. 1

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake has updated his top-15 Democratic Party presidential nominee rankings, and inexplicably, he puts Kamala Harris (the establishment’s wishful thinking) at No. 1 and Bernie Sanders at No. 2.

Why inexplicably?

Because in reputable nationwide polls* of Democratic presidential preference, Bernie beats Harris by between 5 and 10 percentage points (see here and here), and because in his first 24 hours of fundraising after making his official presidential campaign announcement last week, Bernie garnered around $6 million from more than 225,000 individual donors, whereas in her first 24 hours, Harris raised $1.5 million from only 38,000 donors — that’s one-fourth of the funds and one-sixth of the number of donors.

I know only a few people besides myself who ever give a political candidate a dime, so the fact that Bernie’s first-24-hours fundraising haul was what it was demonstrates that people love him — and that they’re putting their money where their hearts are.

Even CNN, which generally has not been friendly to Bernie, and which employs the beyond-awful political “analyst” Chris Cillizza (whose “analysis” is comprised of his simply pulling shit from his ass), noted that Bernie’s first-24-hours take was “a record-smashing debut that easily outstripped his Democratic rivals.”

Keep in mind that the Democratic National Committee’s threshold for a Democratic presidential candidate making it into the primary debates, which are to begin in June, is based on the candidate’s polling and fundraising success, and Bernie already has qualified.

Here are the blurbs that WaPo’s Blake provided for both Harris and Sanders to “justify” his rankings:

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.): Nobody’s launch has been as impressive as Harris’s, save for Sanders’s fundraising haul. The California senator seems comfortable in her own skin, on-message and sharp, and it has made her a somewhat surprising early favorite in betting markets. The big early question for her, though, is whether her past “tough on crime” stance toward criminal justice fits with today’s Democratic Party.

and

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): The 2016 Democratic runner-up is the latest big entrant in this race (not that there was much question he’d run). And he started off with a bang, raising nearly $6 million in about 24 hours — about four times his nearest competitor. That’s coming from the base he already built, yes, but that’s also kind of the point: 225,000 people gave to his campaign almost immediately, signifying a sizable reassembled base with which to start in a crowded field where assembling such a base won’t be easy.

So, Sanders outpaces Harris on almost every measure — except for, supposedly, the betting markets, even though as I type this sentence, Bernie is slightly ahead of Harris on the betting market PredictIt.org.

And the claim that Harris “seems comfortable in her own skin, on-message and sharp” is rather demolished by this clip in which she very apparently desperately looks around for a lifeline when she (predictably!) is asked by a reporter about her premature tweet, meant to garner her cheap and easy political Brownie points, calling Jussie Smollett’s made-up hate crime against him “an attempted modern-day lynching.”

My view is that Harris actually isn’t ready for prime time (which isn’t a shock, since she’s been in D.C. for a whopping two whole years now), and/but that she gets a pass because she’s a woman of color in an age of toxic identity politics — and because she is establishmentarian: Like was the case with Barack Obama and Billary Clinton, our corporate overlords aren’t terrified of Harris because they know that as president, at most she would apply Band-Aids to our beyond-broken system of runaway capitalism.

Conversely, why does the establishment hate Bernie Sanders so much? Because he freely and repeatedly points out how corrupt the establishment is and because as president it’s clear that he’d actually do something about it — and because he’s so fucking popular because of that fact.

Indeed, of the announced candidates for the Dem presidential nomination, Bernie is No. 1, and if Joe Biden doesn’t jump into the race, Bernie’s competitors very most likely are toast.

But it’s fine for the establishment whores to keep on pretending that Bernie Sanders isn’t as strong and powerful as he is. The more that the establishment whores claim that Bernie is weak, against all actual evidence, the more their dupes will believe that their weak candidates are much stronger than they actually are. And this can only help Bernie.

P.S. Rounding out Blake’s top five are Elizabeth Warren at No. 3, Cory Booker at No. 4 and Joe Biden at No. 5.

I tend to go by the nationwide polling — you know, the measure of what Dem and Dem-leaning voters actually think.

And in the nationwide polling, it’s Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2, Harris at No. 3, Warren at No. 4, Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 and Cory Booker at No. 6. (Again, see here and here.)

The thing is, you’re not in it until you’re in it, so Biden’s and O’Rourke’s polling right now, of course, will mean nothing if they don’t actually run.

But by any measure, Bernie Sanders at least is at No. 2, a strong position in which to be. Again: Bernie haters, please keep underestimating him.

*How do I define a reputable nationwide poll?

First and foremost, it has a big sample size (and thus a smaller margin of error). I love the fact that Morning Consult, for example, will have thousands of respondents when most polling outfits don’t bother to get to even 600 respondents (and thus have sizable margins of error).

Also, a poll that includes someone who very probably isn’t even going to run, such as Billary Clinton or even Michelle Obama, to me is flawed from the get-go because it’s offering its respondents a “choice” that isn’t even an actual choice, contaminating all of the results.

Finally, a poll whose results are striking outliers from other nationwide polls that have large sample sizes — I am suspect of those polls and I usually disregard them as the outliers that they very much appear to be.

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No, Bernie Sanders probably ISN’T ‘a/the victim of his own success’

Updated below (on Wednesday, February 20, 2019)

Image result for bernie sanders copycat

Bernie Sanders started the fire, and his party-hack competitors don’t hold a fucking candle to him.

I’ve read a lot of the Bernie Sanders “news” coverage and “analysis” since he announced his 2020 presidential candidacy this morning, and it’s all the same old, same old.

There is the typical, old let’s-fabricate-a-conflict-if-there-isn’t-(much-of)-one trick — Will Bernie do better with black voters? Will Bernie put the allegations of sexual harassment by his staffers behind him, even though we’re completely ignoring the sexual harassment by Kamala Harris’ top staffer that resulted in a $400,000 taxpayer payout? Will Bernie do better with women voters?

I fully had expected this toxic identity politics bullshit, so probably what irks me even more is the trope, repeated endlessly by wolf-pack “journalists” mutually masturbating each other in their echo chamber, that “Bernie is a/the victim of his own success.” (If you think that I’m exaggerating, click here — this link will take you to the Google search results for “Bernie Sanders victim of his own success.”)

The “idea” is that because most of Bernie Sanders’ lesser “Democratic” rivals have co-opted his big and bold progressive ideas, everyone will forget, I suppose, that it was Bernie who originated these ideas, that it was Bernie who fought for them when they were deemed “crazy” and “pie in the sky” and the like, but now (some of them, at least) are considered litmus tests for a Democratic Party presidential nominee. (I’m talking “Medicare for All,” $15 federal minimum wage, free college tuition, getting Big Money out of electoral politics, etc.)

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t underestimate the ignorance of the low-information voter, but I surmise that there are fewer low-info voters in a presidential primary election or caucus than in a general presidential election, because it’s generally those who pay more attention to electoral politics who participate in primary elections and caucuses.

And most of these voters, I surmise, know fully fucking well that it was Bernie who first pushed these ideas, not one of the cheap knock-offs who are running now. (Maybe we can call them “Me Too 2.0”: Bernie Sanders supports that? Me too!)

Addressing the issue of whether Bernie will be “a/the victim of his own success,” there are two quotes that struck me.

The first, which I’ve already quoted, I’ll quote again, but I’ll quote more fully. Norman Solomon of Truthdig noted a week ago:

With a launch of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign on the near horizon, efforts to block his trajectory to the Democratic presidential nomination are intensifying. The lines of attack are already aggressive — and often contradictory.

One media meme says that Bernie has made so much headway in moving the Democratic Party leftward that he’s no longer anything special. We’re supposed to believe that candidates who’ve adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.

Bloomberg News supplied the typical spin in a February 8 article headlined “Sanders Risks Getting Crowded Out in 2020 Field of Progressives.” The piece laid out the narrative: “Sanders may find himself a victim of his own success in driving the party to the left with his 2016 run. The field of Democratic presidential hopefuls includes at least a half-dozen candidates who’ve adopted in whole or in part the platform that helped Sanders build a loyal following…”

Yet Bernie is also being targeted as too marginal. The same Bloomberg article quoted Howard Dean, a long-ago liberal favorite who has become a hawkish lobbyist and corporate mouthpiece: “There will be hardcore, hard left progressives who will have nobody but Bernie, but there won’t be many.”

So, is Bernie now too much like other Democratic presidential candidates, or is he too much of an outlier? In the mass media, both seem to be true. In the real world, neither are true. …

Indeed, the wolf-pack “journalists,” who are too busy lazily copying each other’s “news” stories and “analyses” to be able to write insightful analysis based in reality, need to get their narratives about Bernie straight; if Bernie is such a has-been loser, then why are his competitors copying him?

I also love this quote from Bernie’s former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver (who reportedly is sitting 2020 out because in our “woke” society of today, white men aren’t allowed to participate in Democratic presidential campaigns anymore):

“People in many ways are rightfully cynical about politics. And the fact that somebody has been consistent, including when it was not easy and including when it was perceived by many in the establishment to be politically disadvantageous to have stood for those issues, I think signals to voters that one is truly committed to those issues and that the person will aggressively pursue those policies and not trade them away when it’s hard.”

Absofuckinglutely. Look at Kamala Harris, who eagerly signed on to Bernie’s “Medicare for All Act of 2017” when she apparently thought that it would boost her presidential ambitions but who apparently recently backed down on a firm, bold stance on that; she apparently actually supports incrementalism, which ensures that the pro-corporate, for-profit status quo remains firmly in place (see also: Obamacare).

As Weaver indicated, how hard are those who just cribbed an actual political leader’s ideas actually going to fight for them once the campaign is over?

That is the question that we, the people, need to ask ourselves — not whether Bernie Sanders is “a/the victim of his own success,” for fucking fuck’s sake.

Update (Wednesday, February 20, 2019): Politico reports today (emphasis in bold is mine):

Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign is off to an impressive start: The Vermont senator crushed other Democratic candidates in his first day of online fundraising, and boasted social media stats that easily outstripped his competition, too.

The Vermont senator brought in more than $5.9 million from more than 220,000 donors in the 24 hours since he announced his presidential candidacy, according to his campaign. He easily eclipsed other announced 2020 candidates’ first-day fundraising figures — as well as his own in 2015, when he he raked in more than $1.5 million online in the first 24 hours.

Sanders broke small-dollar fundraising records in that campaign, and his staff has worked to amass an online media empire, posting more than 1,000 videos on his Facebook and Twitter pages over the past two years.

Another show of his digital strength: The Vermont senator’s announcement video racked up nearly 5.4 million views on Twitter in the first day, more than any other 2020 contender’s formal announcement or exploratory committee video, most of which have been online for weeks.

The rest of the field is playing catch-up with Sanders, currently the only candidate in the Democratic primary who begins on the foundation of a full-blown presidential campaign. But the numbers show that many of his followers are on board with his repeat bid for the White House, at least at this early stage of the campaign.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign said it raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her January 21 launch, and her announcement video has received almost 4.3 million views on Twitter. Sen. Cory Booker, who kicked off his bid on February 1, has seen his announcement video garner nearly 4 million views on the site.

On the day she revealed her exploratory committee on December 31, Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised more than $299,00 online. Her exploratory announcement video has gotten more than 3.8 million views. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who launched her campaign on February 10, raised more than $1 million in her first 48 hours, according to her team, and her announcement video received 150,000 views.

I stand by what I asserted four days ago:

My guess is that once Bernie’s second presidential bid is official, not only will his poll numbers go up and Biden’s and (most) everyone else’s will go down, but his pre-existing army of supporters from 2016 will flood his campaign coffers with individual donations (I sure will!).

We Berners aren’t dead; we are diehards and we’ve just been waiting for Bernie’s bat signal, and once it is illuminating the sky, it’s on.

It is on, indeed. (That said, it’s going to take at least a few days, maybe a week or so, to see the effect of Bernie’s official announcement on the nationwide polling of Democratic presidential preference.)

And the “Bernie Sanders is a/the victim of his own success” bullshit officially is dead and buried. Anyone who asserts that now is lying blatantly.

Another prediction: Joe Biden, if he officially announces, won’t do as well in the metrics as Bernie already has.

The people love Bernie, as evidenced by the fact that more than 220K of them gave him a donation in 24 hours, and by the fact that his online success also beats his competitors’.

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