Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

There is not, and there should not be, affirmative action for elections

Kamala Harris
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Your race and your biological sex aren’t qualifications for elected office, whether you were born a white male or a non-white female (or non-white male).

The identity politicians are apoplectic that white men are the front-runners for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Indeed, most nationwide polls of Democratic presidential preference taken over the past two weeks or so show Joe Biden at No. 1, Bernie Sanders at No. 2 and Pete Buttigieg at No. 3.

Kamala Harris, a two-fer for the identity politicians, had been in third place for a long time before she was bumped (perhaps only temporarily — who knows?) by Buttigieg.

Politico reported a few days ago:

Houston — The women of color who packed into a university auditorium here Wednesday for a first-of-its-kind presidential forum delighted in the rhetoric of candidates who vowed to make Donald Trump a one-term president.

But their frustration was just as palpable — over the heavy media attention being paid to white male candidates in the early days of the Democratic primary, and over polling they contended is feeding a misleading narrative that only a white man can defeat Trump.

“With all due respect to the vice president, he hasn’t even announced yet but he’s the front-runner?” Leah Daughtry, a political operative and former Democratic National Committee official who helped organize the “She the People” event, said of Joe Biden [who would go on to officially announce the next day].

“Racism and sexism are part of the fabric and the fiber and the founding of our country,” she added, “and the way that the [Democratic] candidates are being treated, it just reminds you of that. We’re not past it.” …

Thing is, it seems that the identity politicians’ belief is that we, the people (on the Democratic side, anyway), must support, preferably, a non-white female candidate for president (if it must be a male, he must be non-white).

But electoral politics don’t work that way. The people support and vote for whomever they support and vote for (even when they support and vote for appallingly awful candidates such as George W. Bush and Pussygrabber).

There isn’t, and there cannot be, affirmative action in democratic politics, because democratic politics is all about choice — not about having candidates of certain demographics rammed down the throats of the populace.

I understand the frustration and disappointment over the fact that female and non-white candidates are campaigning but aren’t gaining traction. Kamala Harris as of late can’t make it to even 10 percent in most nationwide polls, and Elizabeth Warren can’t do as well as even Harris, and Cory Booker is behind both Harris and Warren.

Beto O’Rourke is polling right around where Warren is — proof, methinks, that merely being a white man isn’t enough.

Harris, Warren, Booker and O’Rourke all, in my book, lack substance and/or charisma. Harris doesn’t have much of either, Warren has a lot of substance but not a lot of charisma, Booker has neither and ditto for O’Rourke, whose laughably contrived “charisma” isn’t charisma at all, because you can’t fake charisma; you have it or you don’t.

Obviously, because every U.S. president except for Barack Obama has been a white male (and Obama is half-white), within the collective American psyche, apparently, is the belief, if even subconscious, that the president should be a white man. Many, many women even hold this belief, even consciously (most of them are Repugnicans, but still…).

Obama overcame this challenge because of his charisma — and also because, as he acknowledged himself, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” (Indeed, upon that blank screen I projected — because of his campaign’s relentless, ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” — that Obama would be a progressive president. Boy, was I punk’d!)

Obama, an astute political opportunist, struck while the iron was hot; his window of political opportunity was rare and unique and it was brief. For Harris or Booker to believe that she or he easily could replicate Obama’s success simply because of his or her race not only is cynical and shallow and superficial, but quite obviously dead wrong.

I support Bernie Sanders not because he’s an old white guy — I loathe “President” Pussygrabber, but not because he’s an old white guy, but because he’s a fascist, treasonous criminal who wasn’t even actually elected — but I support Bernie because of those candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in the top three tiers (which I define as consistently polling at 3 percent or more in nationwide polls), he has the most experience in D.C. and is the most progressive, entirely unlike Creepy Uncle Joe, who is an obsolete Clintonian sellout.

I easily could argue that Bernie is the only true Democrat in the race, which is ironic, given how often he is criticized for not actually being a Democrat.

My second choice probably would be Warren, even though her campaigning has been tone deaf and even though it does bother me at least a bit that as recently as the 1990s she was a Repugnican.

The reason I’m not giving Warren money or otherwise actively supporting her is because the polls of those within her own party clearly show that she isn’t exciting them, and I don’t and won’t squander my money, time, energy and emotional investment on a candidate who can’t excite even his or her own base.

My third choice probably would be Buttigieg, but I’m still gun shy from Obama. Even though Obama was an unknown, I put my support behind him, hoping for that change, and I was bitterly disappointed to see that we didn’t get change, but for the most part got only more of the same. Obama was a caretaker president at best.

So I can’t dive in and blindly support Buttigieg, as I did Obama.

Plus, Buttigieg isn’t ready to be president. He’s precocious and ambitious, to be sure, but I don’t think that it’s time to turn over the Oval Office to him. I’d love him to run for governor or for the U.S. Senate — and win (and then do a good job in the office) — first.

And, unlike how the craven identity politicians would support (probably exclusively) only someone who shares their own demographics, I’m not going to support Buttigieg primarily or even solely because he’s a gay white man like I am. It’s not enough that he and I both happen to white, male, and not heterosexual. This isn’t junior fucking high school.

Again, if it’s indeed the case that most American voters believe that the president should or even must be a white man, that’s sad, but, in a democracy, in which the voters are free to elect whomever they wish to elect, whether you or I agree with their choices or not, what, exactly, can be done about that?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: qualified candidates who aren’t male and who aren’t white should continue to run for office, from local office to the presidency. Over time, their candidacies, successful or not, will change the national psyche. I know of no other democratic way.

Finally, it also should be pointed out that Biden and Bernie have run for president before, which is a huge reason that they are at No 1 and No. 2. On the national political stage they are fairly known quantities, unlike the likes of Harris and O’Rourke and Buttigieg. (Sadly, the problem with candidates such as Booker and Warren apparently is that they are known quantities…)

Ironically, at least for now, anyway, it seems to be Buttigieg who is filling the “hope” and “change” spot — that is, he is the bright and shiny newcomer on whom many voters seem willing to take the chance. (It had looked like that spot would be filled be O’Rourke, but he has turned out to be the flash in the pan that it was pretty clear he was going to be.)

And I’m sure that many black Americans, who tend to be homophobic, are pretty incensed that a gay white man apparently has displaced Kamala Harris, who “deserves” the presidential nomination because she’s a black woman, you see; the way that she was born are her “qualifications,” which is ironic, given that we’ve established that merely having been born a white male aren’t qualifications.

What I’m hoping is that young progressive politicians now, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Katie Porter and Rashida Tlaib (and Buttigieg!), get more and more electoral and governance experience under their belts and give us the diverse bench of qualified presidential candidates that we don’t really have now.

That, to me, seems to be the best solution — not to piss and moan ad infinitum that the American people apparently still prefer presidential candidates who are white men.

Whining incessantly about “sexism” and “misogyny” — while ignoring her glaring flaws and shortcomings as a president candidate — didn’t help Billary Clinton the last go-around.

Further such whining isn’t ever going to work in the future.

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Bernie now No. 1 in WaPo’s ranking

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake’s quasi-quarterly ranking of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates has Bernie Sanders topping the list of 15.

(Blake notes that “this list is in order of likeliness to be the Democratic nominee” and also notes that “The field is also largely set now, with just a few big question marks outstanding,” with which I pretty much agree.

The Post notes that Bernie returns to No. 1, but I don’t remember that he ever made No. 1 before — that spot usually was reserved for establishmentarian candidates who weren’t actually No. 1, like Kamala Harris.)

In ranking him at No. 1, Blake too-briefly notes of Sanders: “Sanders’s $18.2 million raised in the first quarter tops in the field. Now we’ll see if he can rekindle some of the magic of 2016, which I’m not sure we’ve really seen just yet. It would sure help if he can get past this tax-return unforced error.”

Even while calling him No. 1, the establishmentarian, corporately owned and controlled media can’t resist taking a shot at Bernie.

Bernie’s “tax-return unforced error,” I guess, is that although he’s been railing against millionaires and billionaires (or millionayahhhs and billionayahhhs) for years now, he has become a millionaire himself from book sales. (Bernie has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns no later than tomorrow.)

If you’re already a Bernie hater, then you ignorantly, smugly, disingenuously scoff at his financial success — a millionaire democratic socialist! — but how you earn your money fucking matters.

Bernie wrote books that people chose to buy, including his best-selling Our Revolution; he didn’t obtain his money by paying a bunch of overworked employees a non-living wage and/or by outrageously overcharging someone for a live-saving pharmaceutical and/or by contributing to the destruction of the planet in order to get his million. He earned it fairly and squarely. Therefore, I have no problem with his financial success — which, compared to the income of the titans of capitalism, is a fucking pittance anyway.

And why would it be a shock that someone with Bernie’s national renown — he did quite well against Billary Clinton in 2016, and because of his 2016 run he starts out in a much stronger position this election cycle — should have some money?

And as fucked up as it is, we do still live in a capitalist system — in which anyone, if he or she writes a best-selling book, for example, can get some moolah.

But I digress.

In his current ranking of 15, Blake drops Joe Biden all the way down to No. 6, noting:

Whatever you think about the complaints women made against Biden alleging inappropriate physical contact, Biden’s handling of it — deciding to turn it into a joke — was a reminder how quickly things can go awry with the freewheeling Biden.

I’ve been arguing for a while that his stock is too high, and this episode has helped affirm it. He’s got a front-runner’s poll numbers but needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008.

I agree wholeheartedly that Biden’s “stock is too high” and that he “needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008,” and not only do I very much not want the uninspiring, centrist, corporate-friendly Biden as the nominee (again, to me he is Billary 2.0), but I don’t think that he’ll emerge as the nominee, not in the current political climate, in which the party’s nominee won’t be decided by the national electorate (which for the sake of argument we’ll say is centrist), but will be decided mostly by party animals, who these days lean to the left.

But as much as I’m not a fan of Biden, I think that putting him at No. 6 is too low; I think that he still probably still belongs in the top three, as we never should underestimate the power of Democrats to pick (or just sit back and allow…) a shitty candidate to become the presidential nominee. I mean, they just did that in 2016 with Billary.

Blake ranks Kamala Harris as No. 2 (still too high, probably, given her single-digit nationwide polling numbers), Elizabeth Warren as No. 3 (probably too high, given that her polling numbers are even lower than Harris’), Cory Booker at No. 4 (way too high, as he can’t even get 5 percent in most polls), Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 (I believe that the ideas-free O’Rourke stands almost no chance, although he polls closely to Harris), and Pete Buttigieg at No. 7, behind Biden.

Buttigieg actually has a better chance than many if not most might believe, I think.

He has polled in the top three in at least two polls of Iowa voters taken over the past month, and polled in the top three in at least one poll of New Hampshire voters taken this month.

We shouldn’t forget the case of John Kerry, whose presidential campaign was on life support until he came back, Lazarus style, when he won the Iowa caucuses (which Howard Dean was “supposed” to win [he came in third]) and then won the New Hampshire primary — and then went on to win five of the seven states in the next contest, dubbed “Mini Tuesday.”

After that, the nomination was all Kerry’s.

Thus far I’ve focused on the nationwide presidential preference polls and have neglected to talk about the slingshot effect that winning Iowa and/or New Hampshire usually has on a presidential race. (The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the presidential primary season, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.) Win one or both of those two states, and you are in good shape.

(The only Democratic presidential nominee who hadn’t won Iowa or New Hampshire in my lifetime was Bill Clinton, who came in at second place in New Hampshire but still eked out a win of the nomination.

In case you were wondering, in 2016 Billary “won” Iowa by 49.8 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent — yes, it was that close in the midst of talk about cheating by Team Billary — and Bernie blew Billary out of the water in New Hampshire, 60.1 percent to 37.7 percent.)

I think it’s unlikely that Pete Buttigieg will pull a surprise win like John Kerry did in 2004 — I mean, Kerry had been a U.S. senator at that time, whereas Buttigieg has been only the mayor of a not-huge city — but it’s not impossible.

As the voters on the Repugnican side chose outsider Pussygrabber in 2016, it’s not impossible that the Democratic voters in 2020 will want a fresh, young face, and that would be Buttigieg’s.

Still, though, if I had to put my money on it, I’d say that Bernie Sanders is going to be the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee — not just because he’s the candidate I want to become the nominee, but because he came surprisingly close to Billary in 2016 and because the party today is more Bernie’s than it is the Billarybots’, as evidenced by how most of the contenders for the 2020 nomination have adopted Bernie’s key positions.

You don’t mimic a loser. You mimic a winner.

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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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Politico: Bernie Sanders has made 2020 presidential announcement video

Image result for bat signal

Bernie Sanders apparently is about to put out the official signal.

Politico reports today:

Bernie Sanders, inching closer to a second bid for the White House, has recorded a campaign video in which he says he is running for president in 2020, according to two people familiar with the spot.

It’s the latest sign the independent senator, the runner-up in the 2016 contest for the Democratic nomination, is nearing a presidential announcement.

Another hint that Sanders is getting closer to a launch: As Politico reported this week, the Sanders team has been interviewing people for top staff positions. Chuck Rocha, a political consultant who advised Sanders’ 2016 campaign, is expected to join him again if a second bid materializes.

It is unclear when, or even whether, the Sanders video will be released. It’s possible that Sanders could launch a 2020 campaign with an exploratory committee and then formally declare his candidacy later, a route other presidential candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have taken. …

I long have assumed that Bernie would run again. As I noted recently, he’d be crazy not to.

Bernie didn’t go away after his surprisingly narrow loss to Queen Billary in 2016. He has remained in the spotlight, introducing such progressive legislation as Medicare for All, most notably (most of the top-tier candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination signed on to Bernie’s Medicare for All bill), and he released three books after the November 2016 election and has traveled to numerous states since then.

Bernie remains popular — he remains the most popular elected official in the United States — and takes second place only to Joe Biden in reputable nationwide polling of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference.

If Joe Biden runs, once he starts running his center-right mouth again, the voters will be reminded of why they passed him up on his first two runs for president in 1988 and in 2008, I predict, so Bernie is a strong contender for the nomination.

Not only that, but fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver recently noted that past elections indicate that the more candidates who run in a presidential primary, the more difficult it is for party establishmentarians to ensure that their favorite candidate emerges as the nominee. Silver concludes:

… But the past electoral cycles where the field was nearly as big as this one shouldn’t exactly be comforting to [establishmentarian] Democrats, and it should be particularly worrying for next-in-line candidates such as Biden.

Democratic voters like a lot of their choices and feel optimistic about their chances of beating Trump in 2020. The large field is both a sign that there may not be consensus about the best candidate and a source of unpredictability.

Indeed, 2020 won’t be 2016, in which Bernie and Billary were the only two viable candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Recall that no other high-profile Democrat, including Elizabeth Warren, dared to run against Queen Billary in 2016; Bernie was the only U.S. senator who had the balls to do that.

So while Bernie isn’t polling at No. 1 (yet), again, Joe Biden, with his stale Clintonian pro-corporate centrism, is, in my book, a weak candidate given the Democratic Party base’s ongoing shift to the left. Billary either didn’t see that shift or believed that she safely could ignore it, and instead offered only rehashed Clintonism (always served cold) — and look how that turned out for her.

And (along with what Nate Silver stated) with so many Democratic candidates running, of course Bernie stands to gain from not having to face just one establishmentarian opponent, as he faced only Queen Billary in 2016, but in 2019 and 2020 he faces several establishmentarian opponents who are splintering the establishmentarian vote, including five other sitting U.S. senators.*

And, of course, because Bernie won 22 states and 46 percent of the democratically earned delegates in the 2016 primary battle, he starts off already fairly strong. Indeed, unlike the other, weaker candidates who already have announced, Bernie hasn’t had to jump in yet because he already has a sizable base of support.

Finally, the Democratic National Committee that rigged the game for Billary in 2016 — both Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile have said that the DNC indeed rigged the game for Billary — is not the same DNC of today.

Former DNC chair and Billarybot Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was incredibly corrupt, resigned in disgrace, and new chair Tom Perez is much more decent and fair; Team Bernie got some important DNC reforms, most notably the reining in of the anti-democratic “super-delegates” who helped Billary “win” (by making her appear to be inevitable [like with the Borg, resistance reportedly was futile]) before we peons even got to participate in a primary election or caucus; and Clintonism, for the most part, died when Billary tanked in November 2016.

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.

*Those five senators are Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Booker, Gillibrand and Klobuchar indisputably are establishmentarian party hacks, and Harris, in my book, is just co-opting Bernie’s positions in order to try to siphon off some of his support.

I have lived in California for more than 20 years now, and Harris never has been a remarkable progressive. She never has taken a position that wasn’t politically safe for her. (She publicly opposes such things as lynching — as though that were a bold, controversial stance, as though a majority of Americans support lynchings and as though lynchings still were commonplace. [Next, she’ll boldly come out against slavery!])

And Elizabeth Warren — I’m falling out of love with her. Not only is she not campaigning well, including the “Pocahontas” stuff, but she was too much of a party hack to oppose Billary in 2016 and she won’t call herself a democratic socialist, but either truly believes that capitalism can be reformed (it cannot be) or is just too fucking cowardly to embrace democratic socialism, as she was too cowardly to face Billary in 2016.

Liz Warren is more of an establishmentarian Democrat than anything else. (Also, of course, she used to be a Repugnican as late as the 1990s. Oh, yeah.)

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My prediction: Biden or Bernie and probably Harris; Liz probably out

Updated below (on Wednesday, February 13, 2019)

It’s just one poll, but a nationwide Morning Consult poll of 2020 Democratic Party presidential preference taken February 4 through February 10 shows Joe Biden with 29 percent, Bernie Sanders with 22 percent, Kamala Harris with 13 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 8 percent and Beto O’Rourke with 7 percent.

It’s just one poll, but the poll’s sample size is a whopping 11,500-plus, so its margin of error is only plus or minus 1 percent.*

If I had to bet right now on what the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket will look like, I’d bet that it’s Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, and Kamala Harris or Beto O’Rourke as the veep candidate.

Why?

Because both Bernie and Biden would want a younger running mate to cancel out the (real or perceived) age issue, and because Biden and Bernie, both being from New England, would want to balance the ticket out geographically, and Harris from California or O’Rourke from Texas would accomplish that.

That said, would Biden or Bernie want to put another white guy on the ticket? Biden maybe wouldn’t care, but Bernie, I think, would pick Harris over O’Rourke.

And maybe Biden’s advisers would steer him away from making another white man his running mate (if he were going in that direction), so I think that Harris has a pretty good shot at the veep spot (a better shot than does O’Rourke), whether it’s Biden or Bernie at the top of the ticket.

We’ll see, but if the nationwide polling continues in this vein, with Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2 and Harris at No. 3, I think that my prognostication might just come to pass. And it seems to me that while yes, it’s early (although the Iowa caucuses are less than a year away), the field is winnowing sooner than most might have assumed.

I don’t see room for Elizabeth Warren in this if Biden or Bernie becomes the presidential nominee. Not only is Warren still polling within only single digits, but she’s also from New England and she’s also older (she’s 69; Biden is 76 and Bernie is 77), so she wouldn’t balance out the ticket in terms of age or geography.

Liz apparently very much wants to be president, and I think that she’d do a good job, but the stars don’t seem to be lining up for her.

We’ll see, but at this point I don’t see her appearing on the 2020 ticket at all.

Update (Wednesday, February 13, 2019): I probably should apply for a job with fivethirtyeight.com. This morning the website posted “Our Very First 2020 Vice Presidential Draft,” and fivethirtyeight’s head honcho Nate Silver’s top two picks are Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris (in that order, from what I can tell).

Cory “Love and Unity” Booker’s name was kicked around in fivethirtyeight’s discussion, but the fact that he’s a saccharine fakey-fake, shitty Obama knock-off aside, he isn’t polling as well as Harris or even O’Rourke, and I think that if the presidential nominee is Biden or Bernie (the most likely case), there will be political pressure to pick a female running mate over a non-white male running mate.

So I stick with Kamala Harris as my No. 1 veep prediction and Beto O’Rourke as my No. 2, not because I want him as veep, but because he’s a shiny bright new object that the eventual presidential nominee just might fall for (especially if it’s a female nominee). That O’Rourke lost his last election, though, should prevent him from being anywhere on the ticket, in my book.

Finally, my calculus is pretty much the same as Silver’s, which he lays out thusly:

My suppositions are that (1) there will not be two women on the ticket; (2) there will not be two people of color on the ticket; and (3) there will not be two white men on the ticket.

But you could have a white man and a non-white man, e.g. Biden and Booker. [Possibly, but, again, I think that there will/would be internal and/or external pressure on Biden or Bernie to pick a woman, not a man, as his running mate.]

Or a white man and a white woman, e.g. Beto and Klobuchar. [I just don’t see O’Rourke getting the nomination, and I think that Elizabeth Warren has a better chance at the veep spot in this scenario than does Klobuchar.]

*There was another poll taken February 9 through February 11, but its sample size was only 500, putting its margin of error at plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, and its findings differ drastically from other recent polls’ — Biden comes in at only 12 percent and Sanders at only 9 percent in that poll, for example — so I discount it, frankly. Plus, the pollster is “Bold Blue Campaigns,” which I’ve never heard of.

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Will Booker and Harris split the black vote and do voters want an Obama 2.0?

Are Cory Booker and Kamala Harris the best Democrats have for 2020?
Getty Images news photo

Not only will official presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker split the black vote, but are 2020 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters really eager to be punk’d again by a Barack Obama 2.0 promising — but not delivering — “hope” and “change”? (Booker and Harris are shown above during the September 2018 Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, which they used to showboat their presidential aspirations.)

As much as Kamala Harris incorrectly has been painted as a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination over the past several months — it has been the wishful thinking of the identity politicians — the first time that she reached double digits in a nationwide poll of preference of Dem presidential candidate was quite recently: a Morning Consult poll taken January 25 through January 27 put her at a whopping 10 percent.

But that 10 percent came right after she’d announced her candidacy on January 15 (Martin Luther King Day) and had basked in the ensuing media attention. Once her 15 minutes are up, will she sustain double digits, even low double digits?

I doubt it, especially now that Cory Booker officially has jumped into the race. (I’ve already written what I think of Cory Booker [two words: corporate whore], so I won’t regurgitate all of that here.)

Not that Booker is doing great in the polls. In the nationwide polls of Dem presidential preference taken in January*, he averaged only 2.6 percent. (Harris averaged only 6.25 percent in those polls.) But once you’re officially in the race, your poll numbers tend to go up if you’re anything like a viable candidate at all, since voters would rather support an actual candidate over a hypothetical one.

And until today, Harris was the only black candidate in it officially. We’ll see now how much black support Booker does or does not siphon away from her.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders remain the top two front-runners, averaging 27 percent and 15.75 percent in the January polls, respectively.

Right now it’s probably safe to say that Harris is at No. 3 behind Biden and Bernie, but will she keep that place now that Booker has made it official? And right now it’s probably also safe to say that just behind Harris are Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke.

I still don’t expect O’Rourke to gain traction. He apparently thinks that he can jump in the presidential race whenever he wants to and reportedly stopped fund-raising months ago.

For someone who lost his last election, I don’t think that O’Rourke can afford to act like this, and my guess is that he knows that having lost his last election, he can’t win the Dem presidential nomination on the strength of only having been an unremarkable member of the U.S. House of Representatives with a squishy, centrist political philosophy, if you can even say that (much like Cory Booker) he has a political philosophy other than trying to be all things to all people, which means that he probably actually stands for nothing at all.

Warren seems to be in it to win, seems to be taking the long view, and with O’Rourke most likely flaming out and with Harris and Booker probably splitting the black vote, my guess is that Liz will find herself at the No. 3 spot sooner rather than later.

And Joe Biden. Joe. Biden. He’s so uninspiring, such a centrist sellout, with his last act being his sarcastic defense of his love for Repugnicans. This is not at fucking all where the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are at today, Old Joe, but please, please, please keep up your stale act.

Biden is the pick of those who haven’t paid much, if any, attention, to the primary race that’s already under way, and they knee-jerkedly pick the candidate they think most likely can win. He was Barack Obama’s veep, so he’s a shoo-in, right?

If Biden runs, it will turn out like his first two runs for president (in 1988 and in 2008): Once they hear him speak, the voters will be turned off and they’ll reject him.

Biden can’t win on the strength of having early support only from low-information voters, and he won’t generate the enthusiasm that several of the other contenders (you know, those who don’t love Repugnicans) can.

As far as the other candidates and potential candidates go, it’s much easier to say that you’re going to run for president, to tease a presidential run (and to even officially start one), than to actually run for president over the long haul.

Yes, for a long time now we’ve looked at a crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, but once reality hits, I think that we’ll see candidates and potential candidates drop like flies — that is, those who were talked about running will announce that they won’t run after all (like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California billionaire Tom Steyer), and those who prematurely got into the race, like Richard Ojeda, will drop out sooner rather than later, Martin O’Malley-style.

My prediction: Your being a billionaire won’t help you in this election cycle, in which income inequality is taking the spotlight, but will hurt you. Look at the vitriol that Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz quite deservedly has received for talking about being an independent presidential candidate.

Also: If the highest level that you achieved was the U.S. House of Representatives or the mayor of a city or an Obama cabinet member, you are toast. You better have had been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state. You very likely won’t replicate “President” Pussygrabber’s feat of having ascended to the Oval Office without first having been at least a U.S. senator or a governor.

And: If you haven’t been a consistent champion of the working class, but have been only a feel-good-platitude-spewing corporate whore, God save you.

On these notes, finally, I’ll go out on a limb and prognosticate that in the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, identity politics probably won’t be the problem that I’ve long thought that it would be. (The fact that Biden and Bernie have been at No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls for a long time now alone indicates this.)

Not only will Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably split the black vote, but thus far neither Harris nor Booker (especially Booker) has offered anything other than generic, feel-good platitudes, refusing to take any courageous, controversial stances (that is, to lead).

Obama really ran with his platitudes of “hope” and “change” and “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States,” but that political pablum won’t fly this time. Obama, an uber-opportunist, took advantage of a political window that was open only around the time he decided to run for president.

And, because Obama didn’t deliver on his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” but was a caretaker president at best, I don’t think that the voters have the appetite to be punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Harris or Booker. I sure the fuck don’t.**

I wasn’t going to talk him up in this piece (honestly), but when you dissect the current political dynamics, as I have done above, it seems to me that the one candidate who benefits the most from those dynamics is Bernie Sanders.

It is, methinks, his time.

P.S. This is a recent quote from Cory Booker, per Politico. The occasion was Martin Luther King Day, but still; this is what I mean when I say “political pablum”:

“King said we can never let someone pull us so low as to hate them. We need each other in this nation. We need people that are gonna put the indivisible back into this one nation under God. We need folks that are gonna mend up wounds and bind us back together.

“We’re not going to be measured by how much we hate someone just because they vote differently than us or think differently than us. No, we will be measured by our defiant love and our ability to pull people together and help them to recognize that the lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us.”

This is rehashed Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, more the latter than the former, and this “Kumbaya” bullshit didn’t work for Obama. How would Obama knock-off Booker have any more success than Obama didn’t?

Repugnicans don’t respond to unity talk; they just ram their right-wing agenda through while clueless, centrist Democrats talk about love and unity and kittens and butterflies and fluffy bunnies as a distraction to try to mask the ugly fact that they are corporate whores. Jesus fucking Christ.

*My methodology: I’m looking at only the January 2019 nationwide polls of 2020 Democratic presidential preference that are reported here on Wikipedia. And of these polls, as I have noted before, I reject and exclude the Emerson College poll taken on January 20 and January 21 because its results differ so wildly from all of the other polls’.

**I voted for Obama in 2008, thinking that he might actually deliver on his promises, but then when it became clear that he was only about style, about being a very presidential president, and not about substance — or, at least, certainly not trying to push through a boldly progressive agenda — I could not vote for him again in 2012.

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Race and sex are inherent biological characteristics — not qualifiers for office

Ted Rall nails it, as usual.

If there ever was any doubt that Team Kamala Harris’ political “strategy” was going to be to label you as a “racist” for not supporting her presidential campaign, her official campaign announcement today, on Martin Luther King Day, should remove all of that doubt.

“Vote for me — because if you don’t, that means that you’re a racist (and/or a misogynist/sexist)” is such an inspiring campaign message, which is delivered indirectly and even directly. (But it certainly captures the zeitgeist…)

If Kamala Harris had significant experience in Washington, D.C. — she has been there for two whole fucking years now — and if she were a dyed-in-the-wool progressive (she’s not; Google “Kamala Harris progressive prosecutor”), I’d be happy to support her.

That she’s a woman and that she’s half African-American and half Indian-American (“Indian” as in descended from the people of India, not Native American, although “President” Pussygrabber still might call her “Sacagawea” or the like…) would be the icing on the cake, because women and non-whites deserve much, much more representation in our state and federal governments.

But I never would vote for a fucking Repugnican candidate because she is a woman and/or is non-white, either. For me, political ideology trumps all else, followed by experience.

Comparisons of Harris to Barack Obama don’t fill me with inspiration. Like Harris, Obama had been in the U.S. Senate for only two years before he decided to run for president. Yes, he won his election, and he made history by becoming the first non-all-white president, but he did not govern as a progressive, but as a centrist caretaker.

Obama’s lame, unsuccessful attempt to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican traitors (redundant) in Congress during his first two years in the White House — his only opportunity to try to push through a progressive agenda, because it was only during those two years of his presidency that the Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress — displayed either a stunning lack of savvy as to how D.C. actually works and/or stunning hubris that The Great Obama could do What No One Else Had Ever Done: successfully bridge the divide between the right and the left, a divide that cannot be reconciled because the left and the right are as diametrically opposed as are good and evil (respectively).

Obama’s record looks much better than it actually was only because he was sandwiched between the two worst “presidents” of my lifetime, George W. Bush and Pussygrabber (both of whom lost the popular vote and then went on to take a wrecking ball to the nation).

Obama for the most part kept the status quo. I don’t want another status-quo-keeping “Democratic” president.

To be fair to Harris, she’s not the only candidate who officially has announced a campaign for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination who I cannot and will not support.

Julian Castro does not have my support. I’d love for us to have a progressive Latino president, but I don’t see a former mayor of San Antonio and a former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development being elected to the White House.

(Pussygrabber is the first “president” of my lifetime of five decades who had not first been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state before becoming “president.” Pussygrabber broke that mold — with a lot of help from Russia — but I don’t see that he changed the game for those who will follow him.)

Tulsi Gabbard? She’s only a U.S. representative. She has a snowball’s chance in hell, even if I could fully forgive her anti-LGBT past.

Kirsten Gillibrand? She’s a U.S. senator, but she’s also a sanctimonious piece of shit who way prematurely (and incorrectly) demanded Sen. Al Franken’s head on a silver platter — and who, just like Billary Clinton, changes her political positions on a dime whenever it suits her. (In fact, overall she’s just way too much like Billary 2.0, including the whole “vote for me or you’re a misogynist/sexist” bullshit, which is well understood even when it’s not explicitly stated.) She must never be president.

Richard Ojeda? Not only did he lose his last election, to the U.S. House (he was a state senator, so at least he has held elected office), but he voted for Pussygrabber in November 2016, not nearly long ago enough to claim convincingly that he has changed. (Plus, to be frank: Cuckoo! Cuckoo!)

Elizabeth Warren? She’s my second choice, behind Bernie Sanders. She has both experience in Washington, having completed an entire six-year Senate term, something that Obama couldn’t be bothered to do and something that Kamala Harris doesn’t want to be bothered to do, and her ideology fairly closes matches mine.

But Bernie Sanders remains my first choice. He has much more experience in D.C. than Warren does (he was elected to the U.S. House in 1990 and to the U.S. Senate in 2006), his ideology more closely matches mine (Warren apparently thinks that capitalism can be reformed, which is something that I doubt, whereas Bernie doesn’t shy away from the label of democratic socialist), and, while Warren didn’t have the cajones to oppose Queen Billary in 2016, Bernie did — and he did quite well, having won 22 states and 46 percent of the earned delegates (while Warren sat it out).

Bernie has my full support if he runs. He has earned it.

Again: Experience and ideology matter. Your biological sex and your race are biological characteristics that you inherited at birth — not qualifiers for elected office.

We have that quite twisted, and we need to untwist it, not only if we want to put another Democrat in the White House come January 2021, but if we care about the long-term welfare of our democracy.

P.S. On a related note:


I’m on Kamala Harris’ e-mail list, and received an e-mail from her campaign today titled “I’m running for president.” The campaign logo on the e-mail reads “Kamala Harris for the People,” and the e-mail begins:

Decency. Justice. Truth. Equality. Freedom. Democracy.

These aren’t just words: they’re the values we, as Americans, cherish. Right now, they’re all on the line.

We face the greatest crisis of leadership we’ve seen in our lifetimes, and powerful voices are filling the void, sowing hate and division among us.

We’ve witnessed an Administration that aligns itself with dictators and refers to white supremacists as “very fine people.” They’ve torn babies from their mothers’ arms and put children in cages.

They’ve slashed taxes for corporations and the wealthiest among us — placing the burden on the middle class. They’ve actively fought against efforts to combat climate change. Time and again, they’ve sabotaged our country’s health care. And they’ve attacked our free and independent press at every turn.

We know America is better than this — but it’s on us to build it. We’re going to have to fight for it.

Robert, I’m ready to take on that fight alongside you. That’s why, today, I’m proud to announce that I’m running for President of the United States. …

That e-mail is a litany of platitudes, as Ted Rall talks about in his editorial cartoon above (featuring a Kamala Harris-like candidate), and the e-mail quoted above outlines the “bold stances” (my words) that Kamala Harris always has taken as a politician here in California — that is, she’s courageously against such things as cancer, fatal drug overdoses and kitten crushing.

You’ll never see her take a bold, controversial stance on any subject; you won’t see her go out on a limb. It’s not in her DNA.

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