Tag Archives: Florida

Mississippi is still burning

AFP/Getty Images news photo

“President” Pussygrabber appears with appointed Repugnican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith at a rally in Mississippi in October. He stands behind her not only literally but also figuratively.

Some who have read my rants against identity politics might conclude that I don’t take racism and sexism (and other bad -isms) seriously. I do, which is why I have a problem with identity politics, which too often devolves into anti-white racism and misandry, but right now we’re talking about white racism.

We’re talking about Repugnican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who on Tuesday will vie in a run-off election in Mississippi to finish out the U.S. Senate term of Repugnican Thad Cochran, who retired on April 1, citing health issues, and whose unfinished term ends in January 2021.

Upon Cochran’s resignation Hyde-Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Mississippi’s Repugnican governor in April, but she had to face the voters earlier this month in order to keep the seat until it comes up for election again in November 2020. Because no candidate won more than 50 percent in this month’s election, the run-off is on Tuesday.

First, Hyde-Smith drew attention to herself when she said of a political supporter, on video, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Mississippi had more lynchings than any other state, according to the NAACP, which puts Georgia at No. 2 and Texas at No. 3. Yet Hyde-Smith claimed that “this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me.” It’s interesting how quickly wingnuts turn from casual victimizers to “the victimized.”

Then came the revelation from the Jackson Free Press, a Mississippi newspaper, that as a high-schooler Hyde-Smith had attended an all-white “segregation academy” whose yearbook was called The Rebel.

The newspaper reports:

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith attended and graduated from a segregation academy that was set up so that white parents could avoid having to send their children to schools with black students, a yearbook reveals.

A group photo in the 1975 edition of The Rebel — the Lawrence County Academy yearbook — illustrates the point. High-school cheerleaders smile at the camera as they lie on the ground in front of their pom-poms, fists supporting their heads. In the center, the mascot, dressed in what appears to be an outfit designed to mimic that of a Confederate general, offers a salute as she holds up a large Confederate flag.

[Here is the yearbook photo the newspaper published:

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith appears third from the right in a 1975 yearbook photo of cheerleaders at Lawrence County Academy. The mascot appears in the middle dressed as a Confederate colonel holding a rebel flag.

Apparently the high-schoolers called themselves “the rebels.” Nice.]

Third from the right on the ground is a sophomore girl with short hair, identified in the caption as Cindy Hyde.

The photo, and the recently appointed Republican senator’s attendance at one of the many private schools that was set up to bypass integration, adds historic context to comments she made in recent weeks about a “public hanging” that drew condemnations from across the political spectrum.

Lawrence County Academy opened in the small town of Monticello, Miss., about 60 miles south of Jackson, in 1970. That same year, another segregation school, Brookhaven Academy, opened in nearby Lincoln County. Years later, Hyde-Smith would send her daughter, Anna-Michael, to that academy.

Hyde-Smith graduated from Lawrence County Academy in 1977, meaning she would have already been in school elsewhere at the time the academy opened.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ordered public schools to desegregate in 1954 and again in 1955 to do so with “all deliberate speed,” Mississippi slow-walked the integration of its schools as long as possible, trying a variety of “school choice” schemes, state legislation and court cases to stop full integration, including arguing that white kids should not go to school with so-called “genetically inferior” black students. …

The [Lawrence County Academy] yearbook, provided to the Jackson Free Press by a former student who asked not to be named, is one of very few pieces of evidence still available that identify the segregation academy as the recently appointed senator’s alma mater.

While Hyde-Smith regularly touts her subsequent education at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi, her high school has been conspicuously absent from the senator’s official statements, speeches and public biographies. Even her Facebook account suggests her education began with community college. …

Lawrence County Academy shut down in the late 1980s due to dwindling attendance — one of the now-defunct early [segregated] schools that sprang up in response to integration. Among those that survived, though, was Brookhaven Academy, where Hyde-Smith chose to send her daughter, Anna-Michael. …

As many have pointed out, Hyde-Smith might not have had a choice if her parents sent her to the segregation academy, but Hyde-Smith certainly knew what she was doing when she sent her daughter to a segregation academy.

And if there were no shame about having attended the segregation academy, then why does Hyde-Smith never divulge where she went to high school?

Tomorrow, “President” Pussygrabber, who has campaigned for Hyde-Smith before, is to headline two rallies for her in Mississippi.

Andd the Repugnicans complain that their party is so unfairly painted as racist and white supremacist.

No, it simply is that we judge you by the company that you keep.

One of the many reasons that I never vote for a Repugnican is that the party is the party of the former slave states that committed treason when they seceded after the election of Abraham Lincoln (my favorite U.S. president, I’ll add).

Of course, treason wasn’t the slave states’ largest crime; what they did to the black slaves — awful crimes against humanity — was their largest crime.

Any political candidate who associates himself or herself with the Repugnican Party cannot credibly dissociate himself or herself from the stances that the party has taken, which include white racism and white supremacism, anti-labor unionism and pro-plutocracy, misogyny and patriarchy, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-environmentalism, etc., etc.

The Civil War never really ended, obviously, and we Northerners (literal and philosophical Northerners) must continue to fight it.

In the meantime, on Tuesday Hyde-Smith faces former Democrat Mike Espy, who is a black, and the Mississippi Clarion Ledger notes:

… National Democratic fundraising groups and leaders believe [that Espy] has a chance, especially after recent comments by Hyde-Smith talking about voter suppression and attending a “public hanging.”

They are pumping last-minute cash into the race, as prominent names such as Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker visited to drum up excitement for the former U.S. representative and U.S. agriculture secretary.

The last time a Democrat from Mississippi was elected to the Senate was 1982; the last time a black senator represented Mississippi was shortly after the Civil War.

An Espy win won’t give Democrats control in the Senate, but it could signal a larger political shift in the historically conservative South. Yet Espy often downplays the historic nature of his run.

“I’m proud of that but I’m not dwelling on it,” he said in another recent interview. “I want to be a senator for everyone. I’m trying to get votes from everyone, regardless of race, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability — or even party. I’m going to Republicans and Democrats talking about the issues that concern them.”

Despite a long-shot bid for any Democrat — Trump won Mississippi by 18 points in 2016 and has endorsed Hyde-Smith — Espy has generated several bursts of national attention and excitement on the campaign trail in recent weeks. Sometimes, they have been thanks to his opponent’s mistakes. …

Yes, but we’re still dealing with the South. In Florida, the purplest of the Southern states, Repugnican Ron DeSantis, running for governor against Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is black, infamously warned the state’s voters not to “monkey this up” by electing Gillum, and DeSantis still won (“won”?).

This Civil War has been a long, hard slog.

P.S. Peter Berkowitz is on the right, but I do agree with this take of his on identity politics (you knew that I couldn’t resist):

… Identity politics … directs students [and everyone else, I’d argue] to think of themselves as members of a race, class, or gender first and primarily, and then to define their virtue in terms of the degree of oppression that they believe the group with which they identify has suffered.

It demotes the individual rights shared equally by all that undergird American constitutional government, while distributing group rights based on its self-proclaimed hierarchy of grievances. It imperiously pronounces collective guilt and summarily rejects appeals. It nurtures a sense of victimhood in those it purports to protect and empower.

In the guise of fighting domination, it aims to impose its will on all. In these ways and more, identity politics trains students [and, again, everyone else] to turn up the heat of the tribalism that threatens to engulf the nation. …

The sister doctrine of intersectionality adds that all crimes and sins committed by the unjustly privileged oppressors — typically white men — are indissolubly connected while righteousness inheres exclusively in the oppressed, comprising people of color and women. … [I]dentity politics affirms that victims are neatly distinguishable from, morally superior to, and entitled to greater political power than, the villains. …

None of this is to minimize what historically oppressed groups — including mine (gay men) — have suffered throughout way-too-often-ugly American history. And I agree with only some of what Berkowitz has to say in his column to which I linked (his advocacy for home-schooling and for charter schools, for instance, I disagree with); and even though I agree with some of his points, which are logical and which jibe with my own observations and experiences, I do question his overall motives, frankly.

But this is to point out that it’s very, very easy, if we let them, for the victims (and the “victims” — that is, those who aren’t actually victimized today but who nonetheless cravenly falsely claim victimization for personal and political gain) to become the victimizers.

When we say that human beings shouldn’t be treated based upon their race or biological sex (or upon other demographics/traits), but upon the content of their character, we mean it or we don’t.

If we oppose oppression only when it’s our own group that’s being oppressed, then we are in the grip of toxic identity politics. And that is worlds apart from the true spirits of diversity and of liberty and justice for all.

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

Updated below (on Monday, November 12, 2018)

Bernie Sanders and Andrew Gillum.

Associated Press photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it always simply about race? Always?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cory Booker is a great fit. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated below (on Wednesday, November 7, 2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope that a runoff happens.

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

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Hatred is on the November 6 ballot

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

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

It begins:

Consider the past week in America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for gregory bush trump

Associated Press photo

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

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

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

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

AFP photo

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

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

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

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

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

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Omar Mateen’s alleged lover: ‘He was looking for love’ in a homophobic world

The United States of America long has been like one big dysfunctional family, and like the gun massacres before it, the Orlando gun massacre has served much as a national Rorschach test.

American Islamophobes have called the Orlando massacre “radical Islamic terrorism” (or some close version of that) since this conveniently fits their (usually homophobic!) worldview, even though it apparently has been much more about homophobia than about Islam, and even though fundamentalist Christians and Jews are quite homophobic, too. (Less than a year ago, an “ultra-Orthodox” Jewish man stabbed six people at a gay pride event in Jerusalem. This was after he’d already similarly stabbed people in 2005 and served prison time for it. Um, yeah.)

Of course the Orlando massacre has resurrected the pro- and the anti-gun-control camps, who focus more on the weapons that were used to commit the violence more than they focus on the victims of the violence and on what drives unstable people (usually men) to violence.

And race hustlers — you know, self-serving, egomaniacal people of color who, ironically, are as obsessed with race as are white supremacists (and who, just like white supremacists, paradoxically, usually consider their own race to be superior to others) — have tried to make the Orlando massacre all about race. In (Only) Black Lives Matter style, some race hustlers even recently jaw-droppingly utterly shamelessly commandeered a vigil for the Orlando victims and proclaimed that the massacre actually was all about race (most of the 49 victims were Latino and some of them were black*:

).

It’s correct that race and sexual orientation (and age and gender and…) often intersect, but Jesus Fucking Christ, early on it was pretty crystal clear that Omar Mateen shot up the gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12 not because it was filled with brown-skinned people whom he hated for being brown-skinned, but because it was filled with non-heterosexual people (indeed, most of the dead in the carnage were gay men).

In fact, ironically, a gay Latino man who claims now to have been Mateen’s down-low lover has claimed that Mateen liked brown-skinned men.

The Spanish-language Univision reported yesterday:

Omar Mateen, the Muslim gunman who committed the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, was “100 percent” gay and bore a grudge against Latino men because he felt used by them, according to a man who says he was his lover for two months.

“I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” he told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview in English and Spanish [yesterday].

He said Mateen was angry and upset after a man he had sex with later revealed he was infected with the HIV virus [sic — “HIV virus” is redundant].

Asked why he decided to come forward with his story, he said: “It’s my responsibility as a citizen of the United States and a gay man.”

The man said he had approached the FBI and been interviewed three times in person by agents.

Univision was unable to independently verify his account. The FBI confirmed to Univision that it had met with him.

The man, who did not want his true identity revealed, agreed to an interview wearing a disguise and calling himself Miguel. Speaking in fluent Spanish and accented English, he said he met Mateen last year through a gay dating site and began a relationship soon after. He and Mateen were “friends with benefits,” he said.

He described Mateen as “a very sweet guy” who never showed a violent side. He loved to be cuddled. “He was looking for love,” he said.

When Miguel heard about the massacre on the news he said he was stunned. “My reaction was that can’t be the man I know. It’s impossible that the man I know could do that,” he said.

Mateen opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle during a Latin-themed night at Pulse in the early hours of June 12, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more. He was killed in a shootout with police hours later. Most of the dead were Hispanic.

Investigators are still looking into the motives for his rampage.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters [yesterday] that investigators may never be able to pinpoint a single motive and have not ruled out witness reports suggesting Mateen might have had gay interests. “While we know a lot more about him in terms of who he was and what he did, I do not want to definitively rule out any particular motivation here,” she said.

In a 911 call from the club, Mateen pledged solidarity with the Islamic State group, and officials say he had explored websites of armed Islamic extremists.

Miguel recalled on one occasion Mateen expressed his criticism of the U.S. war on terrorism and the killing of innocent [Muslim] women and children. “I told him, ‘You’re totally right,'” said Miguel.

Mateen never revealed his name to him, saying only that he was 35 years old and married with a son [at the time of his death Mateen was married and had a son, but was 29 years old], Miguel told Univision. He said they met 15 to 20 times, the last occasion in late December. He said he believed Mateen’s second wife knew he frequented gay bars and that his marriage was a smoke screen to hide that he was “100 percent” gay.

“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin [emphasis mine] — but he felt rejected. He felt used by them — there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,” Miguel said. “I believe this crazy horrible thing he did — that was revenge.”

Mateen, who liked to drink, expressed frustration over his father’s extreme views on homosexuality, which included a belief that “gay people [are] the devil and gay people have to die,” Miguel said.

Mateen was especially upset after a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed he was HIV positive, he added.

“He [Omar] was terrified that he was infected,” he said. “I asked him, ‘Did you do a test?’ Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test. … It came out negative, but it [the virus] doesn’t [show up on a test] right away. It takes four, five months.”

“When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was ‘I’m going to make them pay for what they did to me.'”

As Univision noted, this new information has not been independently verified, and of course it’s possible that “Miguel” is an attention whore who has made some, most or even all of this new information up, but “Miguel’s” details are so specific that I surmise that he’s telling the truth, at least for the most part.

Lots of things have intersected here. It’s true that the United States and Israel have slaughtered far more Muslims than vice versa over the past many years, and while I’m not Muslim (I don’t believe in “God” any more than I believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy), I’ve long noted the nauseatingly disproportionate body count, perhaps especially between the Palestinians and the Israelis. If it pisses me off and I’m not even a Muslim, I can’t blame any Muslim for being pissed off at how Christians and Jews have slaughtered Muslims in far greater numbers than vice-versa.

And indeed, the continued slaughter of innocent Muslims by the West keeps the jihadists going. Of course, that’s what the war hawks (most of them chicken hawks) in the United States and Israel want.

And I don’t for a nanosecond believe that the Second Amendment covers military-grade assault rifles, for fucking fuck’s sake. Nope. It couldn’t have, not when the Second Amendment was written long before these killing machines even existed.

And I applaud those Senate and House Democrats who recently have stood up to the Repugnican Tea Party in Congress, most of them treasonous whores for the National Rifle Association, on the subject of gun control, but one wonders if the Congressional Dems would have done this if it weren’t a presidential election year and if it weren’t a safer subject to go after. (Big corporate money in politics, for instance, is something that even most so-called Democrats don’t want to seriously address, because most of the legislators in D.C. are shameless corporate whores. Being against gun violence is about as safe as being steadfastly against terminal cancer and baby raping. It’s not what I’d call a particularly courageous stance.)

I never said that I’m not subject to the national Rorschach test myself.

As a gay man, I can’t help seeing the No. 1 cause of the Orlando massacre as having been homophobia.

While we may never know exactly what happened, Omar Mateen apparently was a closet case who chose to shoot up the gay nightclub because most of its inhabitants were gay. (That apparently is the truth, whether or not his motivation at least in part was concern about possibly having contracted HIV from one of the brown-skinned men whom he loved to be with.)

How devout a Muslim could Mateen have been if he drank and partied so much, as has been widely reported? If he did claim that he was acting as a jihadist, as has been reported, it could have been part of his closetedness — he was using Islam and the macho, macho jihad as his beard, so to speak — and/or out of his reported anger at how Muslims have been treated on the world stage.

But my money on the No. 1 cause of the Orlando massacre is homophobia.

Had Omar Mateen not grown up and lived in a homophobic environment — reportedly his home life was homophobic (his father says that he hasn’t forgiven him for what he did, but his father probably should be asking us for our forgiveness for the way that he apparently raised his son), and of course the world remains homophobic — then his reported quest for love might have been fulfilled.

And those 49 people whom we lost on June 12 most likely still would be with us today.

P.S. Out.com has bios on all 49 victims of homophobia here.

P.P.S. to the race hustlers and other identity-politics Nazis: You’re not progressives. You’re not helping anyone. Ironically, you’re not even helping yourselves, but are harming yourselves, and you need to stop hijacking public gatherings and trying to make them all about you, you sanctimonious, self-righteous, hypocritical, whiny little bitches.

Your interest group is one of many interest groups, and E pluribus unum. It’s long past time for you to stop acting in your own selfish, narrow interests and start acting in the interests of the whole.

That means stepping back and letting other interest groups have the spotlight sometimes, you stupid fucking selfish assholes.

P.P.P.S.: If you think that the issue here isn’t homophobia, but Mateen’s concern that he might have had contracted HIV (and sought revenge), know that where homophobia thrives, such as in the black and Latino communities, the contraction of HIV in “MSM” — “men who have sex with men,” which often is a clinical euphemism for closet cases but also includes out gay and bisexual men  — is much higher than it is within the general population.

Homophobia kills. Every day.

*And many of the victims were Puerto Rican, and many Puerto Ricans are a mix of Spanish and African blood.

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For gun massacres, it takes a village

<p>Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, June 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius) </p>

Reuters photo

Distraught individuals comfort each other at the Orlando Police Department headquarters after the United States’ worst gun massacre in history at a gay nightclub early this morning in Orlando, Florida. Because most of the victims were gay men, whose lives are expendable, this latest gun massacre won’t be in the national discussion for very long, though, and this latest American massacre demonstrates that although same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry finally was recognized a year ago this month, plenty of ignorance surrounding and hatred toward non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals remains.

What a quandary for American wingnuts and other homophobes! The largest slaughter of innocent Americans on American soil since 9/11 — perpetrated by a Muslim man, of course* — must be condemned, but at the same time, most if not all of the Muslim’s victims were queers!

Seriously — this is a conundrum, since most American haters of Muslims hate non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, too; homophobia is something that fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews all have in common.

I say this with confidence: Even though early this morning we saw the largest shooting massacre in American history (50 fatalities [including the gunman] at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida), we won’t talk about this gun massacre for nearly as long as we talked about the last gun massacre, the one in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were slaughtered by a Muslim man and his Muslim wife in December.**

And that’s because heterosexual (and gender-conforming) lives still are valued much more than are non-heterosexual (and non-gender-conforming) lives in the United States of America.

I’m confident that just as millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die of AIDS, millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die in Orlando this morning. (These individuals of course would take issue with my use of the word “innocent” in the first paragraph.)

You know, though, even though I’m a gay man, I don’t feel a bunch of hatred toward the perpetrator, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan and a U.S. citizen (and who was shot dead by police after he’d committed his carnage).

Nor do I feel a generalized hatred toward Muslims, although I believe that their belief system, along with Christians’ and Jews’, is bullshit (with their “God” essentially being a Santa Claus figure on crack [He sees you when you’re sleeping/ He knows when you’re awake/ He knows if you’ve been bad or good/ So be good for goodness’ sake!]), and although I recognize that a relatively tiny percentage of them are capable of great evil (as is the case with all human beings).

I do, however, blame toxic, backasswards, patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic religion, with its hocus-pocus, bullshit beliefs, and I blame the fact that Omar Mateen was born and raised in a nation whose highest court not even a full year ago finally ruled that under the U.S. Constitution, non-heterosexual individuals have the same human and civil rights that heterosexuals do.

When it comes to massacres, it takes a village to make them happen, people.

We need to examine the village much more than we need to examine the perpetrators.*** They are the symptoms of the village that creates them.

*Actually, of course, it remains that case that a typical American is significantly more likely to be shot and killed in a mass shooting by a white person who considers himself to be a Christian than by a Muslim.

Um, yeah.

**The Los Angeles Times put out this graphic of past gun massacres in the United States:

Note that this latest gun massacre took a real leap in the body count from the previous record. The L.A. Times grimly keeps a growing, running roundup of gun massacres in the United States here.

***That said, I’m confident that Mateen was mentally ill (his ex-wife has said that he was) — you can’t massacre people unless you are mentally ill (and the mentally ill widely don’t get the help that they need in the United States) — spurred on by the ignorance and hatred within his environment (including, of course, the ignorance and hatred that routinely is spewed within religion in the name of “God”), and, of course, I have to wonder if he was battling with homosexual urges himself.

I mean, reportedly he went ballistic when he saw two men kissing in public in Miami recently.

Why? Why would that drive you to shoot up a gay nightclub, if you were heterosexual and comfortable with your heterosexuality?

It seems to me quite possible that the sick and twisted Mateen, by killing gay men who unabashedly were being who they are in public (at least in the nightclub), was trying to kill the homosexuality within himself.

Finally, I don’t wish to exclude lesbians from mention, but the official list of victims in the Orlando massacre that has been released thus far indicates that most of the victims were male and Latino. I don’t know if any lesbians were killed, too. I see one female name on the list, and I don’t know what her sexual orientation was, and of course not all of the males slaughtered there necessarily were gay, but, it being a gay nightclub, I’m guessing (safely, methinks) that most if not all of them were.

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The lack of conscience of a liberal: Paul Krugman’s new low against Bernie

Updated below (on Sunday, April 17, 2016)

In last night’s debate, it’s quite true that Bernie Sanders was dismissive of Billary Clinton’s big wins in the Deep South.*

I’m glad that he finally went there in the debate; I’ve gone there many times here myself.

But leave it to New York Times liberal (note that I said “liberal,” as in “limousine liberal,” not “progressive”) columnist Paul Krugman, who brands himself a progressive economist yet whom supports the center-right Billary Clinton, to proclaim, in his latest Bernie Derangement Syndrome-induced screed, that Bernie’s spurning of the South minimally is just like Sarah Palin’s having called the red states the “real America” — but probably also even is about Bernie (and, by extension, apparently, his campaign and his supporters) spurning black Americans. But only Krugman actually raises that specter:

… Over the past week, Mr. Sanders has declared that Mrs. Clinton leads only because she has won in the “Deep South,” which is a “pretty conservative part of the country.” The tally so far, he says, “distorts reality” because it contains so many Southern states.

As it happens, this isn’t true — the calendar, which front-loaded some states very favorable to Mr. Sanders, hasn’t been a big factor in the race. Also, swing-state Florida isn’t the Deep South. But never mind. The big problem with this argument should be obvious. Mrs. Clinton didn’t win big in the South on the strength of conservative voters; she won by getting an overwhelming majority of black voters. This puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it?

Is it possible that Mr. Sanders doesn’t know this, that he imagines that Mrs. Clinton is riding a wave of support from old-fashioned Confederate-flag-waving Dixiecrats, as opposed to, let’s be blunt, the descendants of slaves? Maybe. He is not, as you may have noticed, a details guy.

It’s more likely, however, that he’s being deliberately misleading — and that his effort to delegitimize a big part of the Democratic electorate is a cynical ploy.

Who’s the target of this ploy? Not the superdelegates, surely. Think about it: Can you imagine Democratic Party insiders deciding to deny the nomination to the candidate who won the most votes, on the grounds that African-American voters don’t count as much as whites?

No, claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming. …

Maybe I have Krugman’s intent wrong — maybe (but probably not) — but why would he write such phrases as “on the grounds that African-American voters don’t count as much as whites” when no one ever said or otherwise even semi-indicated that that was the case?

Blacks voted more for Billary than for Bernie, especially in the earlier contests. She has worn — depressingly successfully — the mantle of wanting to be our “third” “black” president. I get that. (But that doesn’t mean that most black Americans are smart to vote for Billary — no one is smart to vote for her, unless he or she is a fellow millionaire or billionaire who wants to preserve his or her own little private empire by maintaining the insanely unjust socioeconomic status quo.)

The problem that Bernie, his campaign and many if not most of us Berners have with the South — which Krugman conveniently doesn’t mention in his hit piece — is that it indeed is a conservative, Repugnican Tea Party bastion, a spiritually dead, barren land where for the very most part Democratic presidential candidates don’t win presidential elections.

Therefore, one calling him- or herself the mostest Democratiest presidential candidate when he or she actually does the best in Repugnican Tea Party/red states and his or her opponent does the best in actually Democratic/true-blue states is, um, odd. This is, after all, the Democratic Party primary race that’s going on right now.

Further, the Repugnican Tea Party doesn’t exactly embrace such deep-blue states as California and New York and Massachusetts; why the holy fucking fuck, then, should Democrats, or at least those of us who actually are left of center, embrace such deep-red states as Texas, South Carolina and Georgia? (And Florida, while it might not be in the Deep South, is in the South, as is Texas. And both states were slave states, which Billary can “brag” that she won, so please, Paulie Boy.)

Are all of these political concepts foreign to Krugman? (He is not, as you may have noticed, a details guy.)

All of this said, a pledged delegate is a pledged delegate and at the party convention should count the same regardless of the state from which that delegate hails, and we progressives in the blue states probably should not abandon the good progressives of all races and of all other demographics who have the misfortune to live in the red states. I get that, but at the same time, the red states make it very, very difficult for us denizens of the blue states to wuv them.

The red states have, after all, been holding the nation back even before the Civil War. They have been a drag on the nation, not a boon to the nation. But we blue-staters are to just adore the red-staters even while the red-staters routinely openly show nothing but contempt for us, even though our tax dollars keep them afloat.

We Dems and those of us who lean Dem (usually having no other real left-of-center electoral option) have to ask ourselves if we really want our party to be overtaken by red-state beliefs and values (even more than it already has been, that is) — and, again, we should ask ourselves if the members of the Repugnican Tea Party would allow their party to be overtaken by blue-state beliefs and values.

Krugman does make one apparent quasi-valid point in his column, albeit buried within what as far as I know is a patently false accusation:

… So the Sanders campaign is arguing that super-delegates — the people, mainly party insiders, not selected through primaries and caucuses who get to serve as delegates under Democratic nomination rules — should give him the nomination even if he loses the popular vote.

In case you’re rubbing your eyes: Yes, not long ago many Sanders supporters were fulminating about how Hillary was going to steal the nomination by having super-delegates put her over the top despite losing the primaries. Now the Sanders strategy is to win by doing exactly that. …

To be clear, I haven’t yet seen or heard or read (in print or via video) any actual proclamation from Bernie himself that he wants the super-delegates to vote for him to give him the nomination even if Billary won the majority of the pledged delegates (the delegates won in the primary elections and caucuses).

I’ve seen this meme that Bernie “wants it both ways,” that he’s only OK with the super-delegates voting for him regardless of who ends up with the most pledged delegates, but, again, I’ve yet to see, read or hear him make that claim. (If you have a link to a credible, neutral source, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll check it out.)

I’ve long understood Bernie’s argument to be that if he manages to win more pledged delegates than Billary does, then the super-delegates should follow the will of the people who voted and caucused and vote to make him the nominee. That seems fair and democratic to me, even though under the current rules of the game the super-delegates certainly don’t have to do that.

I doubt that the meme that Bernie “wants it both ways” is true because I don’t see the super-delegates swinging to Bernie unless he manages to win more pledged delegates than Billary does. I don’t see Bernie seeing that happening, either. Call him whatever you please, but one thing he is not is stupid.

Secondly, if the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates doesn’t end up as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee (under normal political circumstances), the Democratic Party will have a real problem on its hands, since Democratic and Democratically leaning voters nationwide are split almost 50-50 between Bernie and Billary, and one of the two winning the nomination through the super-delegates alone is going to be a real problem with about half of the members of the party.

Bernie knows this, and I very much doubt that he’d really want to be the presidential nominee with the dark cloud over his head that Billary, not he, had won the most pledged delegates.

Only if something serious were to happen — such as Billary being indicted (between now and the party convention) for her home-brewed e-mail server as secretary of state — could it be justified for the super-delegates to hand the nomination to Bernie if Billary had won the most pledged delegates.

Otherwise, wherever possible, we must respect the will of the voters, even when we believe, even quite correctly, that they’re quite wrong.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: I believe that Billary Clinton would be anywhere from lackluster-at-best (like President Hopey-Changey) to disastrous as president of the United States of America. And, again, I believe that unless they’re rich, those who support Billary aren’t very smart people, as voting against your own best interests isn’t very smart.

But you aren’t a true progressive if you don’t respect the democratic process. And Bernie and his followers are true progressives. And I’ll say it yet again: Despite the talk of Bernie “wanting it both ways,” I’ve yet to see, hear or read any assertion of his that the super-delegates should choose him over Billary even if she has won the most pledged delegates going into the convention (and details guy Krugman, alas, provides in his column no link for his assertion that Bernie anti-democratically and hypocritically “wants it both ways” on how the super-delegates should vote).

Krugman’s claim that “claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming” is bullshit and condescending, as we Berners have known from Day One that preventing Queen Billary’s dynastic coronation would be an uphill battle. Very few among us don’t know that Bernie’s path to the nomination is razor-thin right about now. We have, in fact, done our research.

And Krugman indeed appears to be accusing Bernie Sanders of being an anti-black racist, because he ends his hatchet job with this:

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Mr. Sanders should drop out. He has the right to keep campaigning [Oh, gee, thanks for the permission there, Paulie Boy!], in the hope either of pulling off huge upsets in the remaining primaries or of having influence at the convention. But trying to keep his campaign going by misleading his supporters is not OK. [It isn’t, but he isn’t.] And sneering at millions of voters is truly beyond the pale, especially for a progressive.

Remember … : We’re all real Americans. And African-Americans are very definitely real Democrats, deserving respect.

Krugman ends his hit piece by claiming, or at least heavily insinuating, that Bernie (and probably also his campaign and his supporters) have claimed that black Americans aren’t “real Democrats” when that isn’t at all the case. Krugman makes a false accusation and then attacks his own false accusation.

I cannot tell a lie: I don’t like the South. Many but probably most in the South don’t like me, a Californian progressive, either.

But when I think of the South and its politics and what’s wrong with its politics, of course I don’t think of black Americans, who historically and traditionally have been (yes, “have been” means that they still are) the victims of the South’s politics, as the problem of the South; for the very most part I think of the backasswards white Americans who hold this nation back, as they have for generations, as the problem of the South.

And when you look at all of Billary’s votes in the South, I’m quite confident that she received far more votes from stupid white people (if they were smart, they wouldn’t support her, unless, again, they’re rich) than she did from black people.

As far as black Americans are concerned, sure, we can call them “real Democrats,” since the term “Democrat” since the 1990s has degenerated to its center-right/Clintonian designation of today, so close to Repugnican that the distinction between Democrat and Repugnican is like the distinction between Coke and Pepsi, but if black Americans support Billary Clinton, we can’t call them both progressive and informed.

But ditto for everyone else in the South who has voted for Billary — again, most of them white people, I’m sure. Neither Bernie Sanders nor we Berners have singled out black Americans in our critique of the South.

Liberal, Billary-lovin’ Paul Krugman did that.

It’s a new low in his obedient, lockstep support of his fellow limousine liberal Billary Clinton, who one minute is telling us how much she loves black Americans and then the next minute unpresidentially is participating in what is to many an offensively racially insensitive skit.**

Perhaps Paul Krugman sees a juicy Cabinet post for himself in being one of Boss Billary’s hit men.

Update (Sunday, April 17, 2016): I stumbled upon an earlier anti-Bernie screed by Krugman, from April 8. Apparently his attempt to portray those of us who are anti-Billary as anti-black began no later than then. He wrote: “Given her large lead in delegates — based largely on the support of African-American voters, who respond to her pragmatism because history tells them to distrust extravagant promises — Mrs. Clinton is the strong favorite for the Democratic nomination.”

Again, I’m quite confident that Billary has won far more votes from whites than from blacks, even in the South. Blacks are an important part of the Democratic coalition, as are feminists, Latinos, non-heterosexuals, Asians, labor-union members, young adults, et. al., et. al., but Krugman, by repeatedly singling blacks out, is, methinks, up to something here.

His theory that black Americans gravitate toward Billary “because history tells them to distrust extravagant promises” is um, rather novel, and reads as though it were written by a Billary campaign operative: “Black Americans like progressives who can get things done!”

Methinks it’s much more the case that as Billary and Bill’s political careers began in Arkansas, and as Billy Boy was deemed the “first” “black” president, Billary simply has inherited that support, probably especially among older black voters. Also, of course, she’s been running for president at least since 2000, and is much better known than is Bernie Sanders (or at least she was so when the primary elections and caucuses began).

And if Krugman is going to write that blacks prefer Billary because “history tells them to distrust extravagant promises,” how about I write that blacks prefer Billary because history tells them to distrust old white men? I mean, as I wrote at the time, the only discernible reason that Black Lives Matter slacktivists hijacked two of Bernie’s campaign appearances last summer is that he’s an older white (albeit Jewish) guy. (I mean, he’s a progressive who’s on their side, so very apparently it primarily was his race that was their problem with him, and secondarily his sex and his age.)

Krugman in his April 8 column also casually brushes aside Billary’s disastrous 2002 vote for the Vietraq War (she said she was sorry!) and in criticizing Bernie’s policy positions as unworkable, writes, “You could argue that policy details are unimportant as long as a politician has the right values and character. As it happens, I don’t agree.”

I disagree with Krugman. Policy positions emerge from values and character, not the other way around, and in any event, all of us must realize that the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate must approve legislation in the first place (and the courts often get involved, too). And it’s the legislators’ job, not the job of presidential candidates, to hammer out all of the details.

It’s the job of leaders to give an overarching vision, and we have seen that in this race:

Billary’s “vision” is to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, with us commoners expecting no more than a crumb here or there; we are naive if we expect more than that bullshit incrementalism, an incrementalism that is so slow and that gives us so little that it never is anything remotely approaching commensurate with what is taken away from us — in large amounts and with great rapidity — by our plutocratic overlords.

Billary’s “vision” and “message,” in a few words, are “Stay the course.” Indeed, as I’ve noted many times, she uses Caretaker in Chief Barack Obama as her political human shield repeatedly.

Bernie’s vision rejects such foot-dragging incrementalism and rejects the status-quo bullshit that President Hopey-Changey has embraced and that Billary Clinton promises to continue. Instead, Bernie envisions a “revolution” in such areas as income inequality and combatting climate change; whether or not actual revolution can materialize is up for debate, but what isn’t very debatable is that if you don’t call for revolutionary acts at all, under your presidency there most likely would be no such acts.

Having been outside of the corporatized, duopolistic Democratic Party — and yes, corporate whore is a very appropriate way to describe way too many self-identified “Democrats” —  is the only way that Bernie Sanders can promise, with any credibility, that as president he actually would stand up for us commoners instead of doing the bidding of the Democratic Party establishment’s corporate sugar daddies.

Being funded by us commoners instead of by the millionaires and billionaires (with the average contribution being $27), as Bernie never tires of proclaiming that he is, is proof of Bernie’s allegiance.

Billary has zero credibility on these matters, which is why Bernie is doing as well as he is — within 1 percent to 3 percent of Billary among Democrats and Democratic leaners nationwide.

The vast majority of those who critique Bernie Sanders and us Berners as naive, foggy-eyed dreamers want Billary Clinton to win the White House because the socioeconomic status quo, which as president she would work tirelessly to preserve, benefits them.

These anti-Berners include limousine liberals like Paul Krugman — those whom the current socioeconomic system benefits greatly but who are concerned that if they don’t say the right things,*** one day the rabble might, just might, come after them and their wealth with torches and pitchforks.

*He said:

… Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South. No question about it. We got murdered there. That is the most conservative part of this great country. That’s the fact.

But you know what? We’re out of the Deep South now. And we’re moving up. We got here [New York]. We’re going to California. …. And having won seven out of the last eight caucuses and primaries, having a level of excitement and energy among working people and low-income people, doing better against Donald Trump and the other Republicans in poll after poll than Secretary Clinton is, yeah, I believe that we’re going to win this nomination, and I believe we’re going to obliterate Donald Trump or whoever the Republican candidate is.

I don’t know that he had to say “Deep South.” Just “South” would have sufficed.All of the South is backasswards — yes, including Florida (and, of course, Texas).

**Yeah, that skit — for the most part I’ll leave it to others to decide whether or not they’re offended, as I generally don’t believe in offense mongering, especially on someone else’s behalf (that’s one of the corollaries of our wonderfully toxic identity politics), but when I first saw video of the skit, actor Leslie Odom Jr.’s claim to be offended by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of the term “C.P. time” was so realistic that I didn’t realize, when I first watched the clip of the skit, that it was a pre-planned skit; I’d thought that Odom Jr. genuinely was registering his offense at a spontaneous joke by de Blasio, and when Billary stated that “C.P. time” means “cautious politician time,” I truly had thought that she had just very nimbly tried to rescue de Blasio from his poor-taste gaffe. (That the whole thing was scripted makes sense; the highly scripted, polished and pre-prepared Billary usually doesn’t think on her feet like that, nor has she ever struck me as that clever.)

I think that it would be difficult to call de Blasio a racist, as his wife is black and his two children are biracial, but minimally, we certainly can call him tone-deaf, and ditto for Billary for having participated in that skit, and what the hell was Leslie Odom Jr. thinking?

***The reason that the Democratic Party has embraced toxic identity politics and jettisoned socioeconomic justice is that for the very most part doesn’t hurt anyone’s bank account to, say, be pro-choice or to support same-sex marriage…

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