Tag Archives: identity politicians

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

Kamala Harris
Getty Images photo

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

Ted Rall nails it, as usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S. On a related note:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pelosi probably should go. She won’t.

Photo caption: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. holds a news conference followin...

Getty Images photo

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference the day after the Democrats won back the U.S. House of Representatives. Pelosi seeks to be speaker of the House again, a gig that she had from January 2007 to January 2011, and depressingly, she’ll probably succeed.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Nancy Pelosi. She never has struck me as progressive, having focused not on advancing a progressive agenda but having focused instead on fundraising, which might be a necessary evil but which certainly isn’t inspiring. (Bernie Sanders has managed to raise a lot of money and be inspiring, so it’s possible to do both.)

And Team Pelosi’s recently cravenly having taken a page from the Billary Clinton playbook and claimed that anyone who wants to see Pelosi replaced is sexist/misogynist is just another reason why Pelosi should go. (I’d say that craven identity politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but, alas, these days it’s the first refuge of the scoundrel.)

Pelosi has had the job of leading the House Democrats since 2002, when she became House minority leader, and then in January 2007 she made history when she became the nation’s first female speaker of the House.

That was an accomplishment, but Pelosi has been the Democrats’ boss in the House since 2002. It’s time to let someone else do the job, for fuck’s sake.

I won’t make an issue of Pelosi’s age (she is 78). After all, I support Bernie Sanders as our next president, and he is 77. But as president even he would be limited to eight years, for fuck’s sake; Pelosi has had about 16 years.

On that note, some say that Pelosi should stay on because the Democrats have just taken back the House, for which she should be given the credit. OK, but the Dems have controlled the House for only four years of her 16-year reign; what about the other 12 years when the House Dems were in the wilderness under her “leadership”?

Past generations used to step aside and allow new blood to take over. Not baby boomers* like Pelosi, though. In their narcissistic minds, they’re the only one on the planet who can do the job.

Even “President” Pussygrabber apparently seriously is rooting for Pelosi, claiming that if necessary he can get her Repugnican House votes to get her to the 218-vote threshold to be elected House speaker, probably because of her long record of supporting the socioeconomic status quo.

My guess is that Pussygrabber and his ilk would rather have to deal with the devil that they know, the centrist Pelosi, than perhaps an actual progressive fighter.

All of that said, I’ve heard the “argument” that Pelosi should go because the Repugnicans have savaged her for years. Um, fuck the Repugnicans. They’re going to savage whoever the Democratic leader in the House might be, and since when was it the Democratic House leader’s job to keep the Repugnicans happy? And when did the Repugnicans ever worry about keeping Democrats happy?

No, Pelosi should go because she’s had the job long enough and because she should step aside and let a fighter (not a mere fundraiser) take the job.

But she won’t. 

Because she’s Nancy Pelosi.

*I agree with Bruce Cannon Gibney, author of A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America that the baby boom generation began earlier than usually claimed, that it began in 1940. Pelosi was born in 1940.

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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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Identity politics loom over 2020; will the so-called Dems fuck it up again?

Boston Herald file photo

Politico reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, pictured above in 2006 with Barack Obama, is Team Obama’s favorite for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Never mind that Patrick works for Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital; if we actual progressives have a problem with that, then we’re “racist.”

Friday was former President Barack Obama’s 56th birthday, and we witnessed another national spasm of Obamamania. (“Barack Obama Day,” a commemorative but not a legal state holiday, begins in Illinois next year.)

Thing is, academic historians and political scientists on average list Obama as only the 17th best of our 43 past presidents.

(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])

So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.

(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)

And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])

So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.

What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.

By comparison to these two, yes, Obama, in retrospect, looks like he indeed was the second coming of Abraham Fucking Lincoln (indeed, when Obama first announced that he was running for president, he did so in Springfield, Illinois, and apparently tried to look Lincolnesque).

But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.

I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”

Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.

But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.

(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)

Indeed, Politico depressingly reports that Team Obama, including Big Bad Obama himself, is pushing for former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to run for president in 2020 — never fucking mind that Patrick works for Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital.

(Wikipedia notes of Bain Capital: “Bain Capital is a global alternative investment firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. It specializes in private equityventure capital and credit products.” Orwellian terms like “alternative investment” and “credit products” should send shivers up and down your spine, like they do mine.)

If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothingno thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”

Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)

I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”

I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”

Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”

That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.

Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.

I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.

For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.

If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.

No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).

Bernie Sanders already went before the American electorate and he won 46 percent of the pledged (democratically earned) delegates to Billary’s 54 percent, and he won 22 states — a remarkable achievement by a largely previously unknown underdog against Billary “Crown Me Already” Clinton, who was in her second run for the White House.

Although the craven, sellout members of the Democratic Party establishment still act like he doesn’t even exist and didn’t come in at a fairly close second in 2016 despite the Billarybots of the Democratic National Committee brazenly having cheated to help BillaryBernie Sanders remains the most popular politician in the United States of America.

And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.

Really, I need say no more.

P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.

One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.

True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.

But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.

That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.

P.P.S. I’m not the only one who does not want to see a Deval Patrick candidacy. Slate.com’s Ben Mathis-Lilley writes:

The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.

And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?

No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”

You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.

As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.

Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.

This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.

Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:

pasted_image_at_2017_08_01_11_31_am

Federal Reserve via Jordan Weissmann

Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.

One group that believes that Democrats shouldn’t overtly represent the interests of the wealthy, in fact, is the current Democratic Party. Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New Yorker who counts Wall Street executives among his most prominent constituents (and top donors), is on board with a 2018 Democratic platform that frames the party’s agenda as a matter of increasing wages while diminishing corporate power.

Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?

The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)

The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”

And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …

Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this*

how i lost by hillary clinton cover

— but never would buy Billary’s own forthcoming predictably bullshit account of how she lost the 2016 election, whose No. 54 placement on Amazon.com’s top-100 book list right now gives you an idea as to how much Americans still care about her.

And hey, how great it is to be a baby boomer! You can blow a presidential election spectacularly and still get another lucrative book deal!

*OR Books describes How I Lost By Hillary Clinton like this:

Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.

Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.

At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.

That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.

The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]

Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.

Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.

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