Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

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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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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Good luck, Liz (you’ll need it)

Updated below (on Wednesday, January 2, 2019)

Boston Globe photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts celebrates her election to a second Senate term in Boston in November (above), and yesterday she declared her intention to run for the White House. She’d make a good president, but match-up polling has her barely beating “President” Pussygrabber in November 2020, while both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the clear front-runners for the Democratic nomination, both beat Pussygrabber in the match-up polling by double digits. 

I guess that maybe Elizabeth Warren deserves a political Brownie point or two for having gone first this time around, that is, for being the first upper-tier Democratic Party presidential candidate to have formed an exploratory committee for 2020.

But I just can’t forget that in 2016 we pretty much heard crickets from her, and she isn’t polling well right now; she has yet to hit double digits in any nationwide poll of Democratic presidential preference taken over the past three months.

By comparison, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have hit double digits in all of those polls.

Bright and shiny new object (to lift from Claire McCaskill) Beto O’Rourke only sometimes hits double digits in those polls, as does Billary Clinton when she stupidly is included in them. (I put the chances of Billary running yet once again at maybe 1 percent or 2 percent. Oh, I’m sure that she’d still very much like to be president, but even she probably doesn’t want the embarrassment of running again and failing spectacularly again.)

According to the nationwide polling, right now it’s really down to Biden and Bernie, but I’m not one to say, anti-democratically, that someone shouldn’t run, even if he or she doesn’t have much of a chance, as is the case with Warren. If you qualify to run for president and wish to run for president, knock yourself out; the voters will sort you out.*

As I’ve noted, Warren as of late unfairly has been attacked, and it’s been rather sad to watch her implode instead of explode, perhaps especially over her Native American DNA campaign.

I don’t think that she did anything wrong by pushing back against “President” Pussygrabber’s perpetually calling her “Pocahontas,” but apparently the whole episode backfired on her in the court of public opinion.

I think that Warren would make a good president, but I also think that as a presidential candidate she’d be smeared as just another Massachusetts egghead, a la Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. It’s not fair, but all is fair in love and war and politics.

Also unfair is the fact that while I always thought that Billary Clinton’s and the Billarybots’ claim that Billary faced sexism/misogyny always was bullshit — voters haven’t liked Billary primarily because she is unlikable and untrustworthy and reeks of corruption, not because she is a woman — I think that as a presidential candidate, Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny.

That’s not her fault, and you easily could argue that she shouldn’t be punished for it, but the larger issue is whether or not she can beat Pussygrabber in November 2020.

A Morning Consult poll taken in August showed Warren beating Pussygrabber in a hypothetical match-up, but by only 4 percentage points, while that same poll showed that both Bernie and Biden beat Pussygrabber by 12 percentage points each.

Recall that months before the November 2016 election, Billary Clinton led Pussygrabber by only single digits in most polls. By the time Election Day arrived, she was ahead of Pussygrabber by only a few percentage points. We all know how that ended up.

Unless the match-up polling changes, it would be too risky to make Warren the 2020 Dem nominee, especially when both Bernie and Biden do much better in the match-up polling against Pussygrabber.

(In that August Morning Consult poll, by the way, both Cory Booker and Kamala Harris lost to Pussygrabber, by 2 points and 3 points, respectively. They are non-starters, in my book. I mean, sure, go all-out for craven identity politics, but then also ensure that Pussygrabber gets a second term! Woo hoo! Smart!)

I’m OK with Warren being the 2020 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, but with both Bernie and Biden also being from the Northeast, should one of them snag the presidential nomination, as I expect to be the case, I don’t know that either of them would pick another Northeasterner as his running mate.

In the end, Elizabeth Warren might remain in the U.S. Senate for the remainder of her political career, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for the people of the nation. The Senate has few progressive fighters like she.

In the meantime, I’m focused on the Democrats nominating the most progressive candidate possible who also has a very good chance of beating “President” Pussygrabber (polling against “Pussygrabber” by at least double digits is where my own comfort zone is).

That candidate right now is Bernie Sanders. He fulfills both requirements, while no one else does. Everyone else is either not progressive (enough) or probably can’t beat Pussygrabber, or both.

Update (Wednesday, January 2, 2019): Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has written another thoughtful-as-usual piece on the unfair treatment of Elizabeth Warren by the corporately owned and controlled media.

I agree with most of what Taibbi has to say, and I too am concerned that the corporate media aren’t reporting the news so much as they are trying to influence the outcome of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary contest. (As I’ve noted, it would be no shock that the corporate media bash a candidate who promises to rein in corporations!)

That said, when I get behind a presidential candidate, over time I give him (or her) a lot of money (in proportion to my income, anyway), my time and energy (OK, mostly that’s blogging, but still…) and my emotional investment. Therefore, the candidate’s viability, as best as it can be discerned, matters to me.

Fact is, Warren isn’t looking great right now. (Yes, that might change, but right now… [I make no predictions as to who the eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be, but I can and I do look at and report what the current polling indicates.]) Even among those of her own party, Warren can’t get double digits in the nationwide polls. If she doesn’t excite her own party, how can she excite the national electorate?

That aside, Bernie Sanders (who gets double digits in the nationwide polls) generates more enthusiasm within me personally, perhaps because he remains necessarily critical of the Democratic Party where appropriate and when necessary, and also because yes, I do at least somewhat believe that it’s his turn.

He did a great job in 2016, given what he was up against, winning 22 states and garnering 46 percent of the democratically earned delegates to Queen Billary’s 54 percent. Had the Billarybots within the DNC and elsewhere within the establishmentarian party machine not rigged the process, who can say that Bernie wouldn’t have won the nomination?

Any other candidate who had done as well against party juggernaut Billary as Bernie did would be the heir apparent right now, but because he’s a democratic socialist instead of a Democratic Party hack, Bernie’s accomplishments in 2016 (and before and afterward) largely are ignored.

That’s some fucking bullshit, and I think it’s (past) time that we reward him by making him the presidential nominee this time.

Taibbi writes about “electability,” and yes, ideally that should be for the voters, not the corporate media, to decide. Yet there is a synergy between the voters and the media; both influence each other, for good and for ill, and there probably is no way around that.

Team Warren, in an e-mail it sent to Warren’s supporters today (I’m on her e-mail list), spoke about “commentators [who] spend more time covering Elizabeth or any woman’s ‘likability’ than her plans for huge, systemic change to make this country work for all of us.” (The e-mail makes it pretty clear that Team Warren views claims that Warren isn’t likable to be rooted in sexism.)

I never have seen Warren as anything other than likable (I gave her another donation today), but electability is, it seems to me, a valid concern, as long as it isn’t rooted in something like personal sexism, racism, homophobia or xenophobia, but is rooted in political dynamics, such as recorded in reputable polls.

Taibbi, quoting another writer, suggests that “Democratic voters should ignore such punditry, and simply vote for whichever candidate they would most like to be president.”

Well, I would most like Bernie Sanders to be president, and I am supporting him again for 2020, but, truth be told, I also want “President” Pussygrabber out of office as soon as possible — yes, I also want to win — and, as I already noted here, with Bernie, I believe, we get that two-fer.

Elizabeth Warren remains my second choice, and if she grows in popularity within the Democratic Party to the extent that she poses the largest clear and present danger to Pussygrabber’s “re”-election, then she might even steal me from Team Bernie.

*Well, a corrupt Democratic National Committee aside, that is. The corrupt DNC most definitely tipped the scales for Billary in 2016, but some reforms have taken place since then, so we’ll see how 2020 goes.

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Beto O’Verrated

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 what the fuck, if anything, he stands for. Reports Politico:

Asked if he is a progressive Democrat, O’Rourke told reporters, “I don’t know. I’m just, as you may have seen and heard over the course of the campaign, I’m not big on labels. I don’t get all fired up about party or classifying or defining people based on a label or a group. I’m for everyone.”

If you’re for everyone and everything, then you are for no one and you stand for nothing.

I get it: O’Rourke campaigned in Texas, where if you’re one millimeter left of center you must deny it at all costs, claiming against credibility that you’re entirely non-ideological.

So O’Rourke is a left-leaning coward in a red state or he truly has no moral compass other than saying whatever he thinks he should say to win your vote — even if that means that, as he has done so far, he really says nothing at all.

We’ve been here, done this, with Barack Obama. (The New York Times reports, unsurprisingly, that “veterans of former President Barack Obama’s political operation (and Mr. Obama himself) [are offering] their counsel [to O’Rourke] and hampering would-be rivals who are scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future campaign staff.”)

I, for one, won’t be punk’d again. (I voted for empty suit Obama in 2008, but not in 2012, after he turned out to be, at best, a centrist caretaker, not a bold and progressive leader.)

O’Rourke has pulled only single digits in the nationwide polls of Democratic Party presidential preference taken over the past two months, with the exception of one poll, which put him at 15 percent, but in all of these polls he has come behind Bernie Sanders, who in all of these polls has come behind Joe Biden.

It’s safe to say that for right now, anyway, according to the reputable nationwide polls, it’s Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2 and O’Rourke depressingly at No. 3, with everyone else in single digits.

(The MoveOn poll referenced in the editorial cartoon above that recently put O’Rourke at No. 1 was, to my knowledge, an entirely unscientific online poll that easily could have been rigged by the Betomaniacs, but even the MoveOn poll has Biden, Bernie and O’Rourke all in the top three.)

Worse, reportedly there is chatter within Team Biden about a desperate, twice-run-and-twice-lost Joe Biden making O’Rourke his running mate, as though one unappealing candidate plus one unappealing candidate somehow equals two appealing candidates.

Also, of course, even though I’ve railed against identity politics many times, I think that it would be a big mistake for the Democratic Party to run two white guys on its 2020 presidential ticket. (Only about one in three Americans is a white male.)

I’m for Bernie Sanders, who, ironically, is an actual Democrat, plus a non-white-guy vice-presidential candidate, perhaps Elizabeth Warren or even perhaps Kamala Harris, who, although she’s an empty slate much like O’Rourke is, at least won her election to the U.S. Senate.

As Matt Taibbi recently correctly pointed out, the corporate media hacks are busy trying to destroy Elizabeth Warren, trying to orchestrate her demise and then pretend that it was a naturally occurring event and not an event that they actively caused (perhaps probably to protect the corporations from which they draw their paychecks).

That said, Bernie would benefit should Warren not run or drop out (as he would, I’m sure, inherit most of her supporters), and it always has bothered me that while Bernie had the balls to run against Queen Billary in 2016, Warren sat it out — hardly courageous of her.

While the corporate media are unfairly savaging Warren, in the end it might mean a President Sanders — a wholly unintended consequence, I’m sure.

In the meantime, again, I very much hope that the ill-conceived love affair with Beto O’Rourke flames out as quickly as it flamed up.

P.S. I saw this on CNN, after I posted the above:

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the pole position in the first CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll among likely 2020 Democratic [Iowa] caucus-goers, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke joining him as the only possible candidates in the field with double-digit support.

The new Iowa Poll finds 32 percent of likely caucus-goers saying they back Biden as their first choice, 19 percent Sanders, 11 percent O’Rourke, 8 percent Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 5 percent California Sen. Kamala Harris, [and] the rest of the 20-person field testing below 5 percent support.

The top three candidates in Iowa, including O’Rourke’s third-place ranking, match the top three in a national CNN poll released Friday. Early results nationally are often driven by name recognition, but in Iowa, the campaign is already underway, with several of the tested candidates having made multiple visits to the state, and at least one having already visited all 99 of the state’s counties.

The field will, I believe, shrink soon enough, as the second- and third-tier candidates realize that they can’t possibly compete with the top-tier candidates.

There will, methinks, be jockeying for the veep slot, though, mostly among the second-tier candidates, including Harris, Cory Booker and maybe Warren.

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