Tag Archives: Kamala Harris

Will Bernie break our hearts?

Image result for Bernie leaves hospital

In the video grab above, Bernie Sanders leaves a Las Vegas hospital yesterday after what first was reported on Tuesday as “chest discomfort” during a campaign event and then later was confirmed to have been a heart attack. This bad news came after it was reported that Bernie had raised more money than did any other Democratic presidential candidate in the third quarter. Bernie’s campaign says that he is doing well and that he intends to participate in the next primary debate, which will be on October 15.

News of the apparent heart attack that Bernie Sanders had on Tuesday while campaigning his heart out in Nevada predictably raised the question of his age (he is 78 years old now, and if elected, would enter the Oval Office at age 79, making him the oldest president we’ve had).

Two stents were placed in one of Bernie’s coronary arteries, he was released from the hospital yesterday, and his campaign says that he intends to participate in the October 15 debate in Ohio.

Will this sink Bernie?

I don’t think so. It gives those who weren’t supporting him anyway a(nother) “reason” to justify their self-defeating snubbing of the most consistently progressive presidential candidate that we have, but those of us who steadfastly have stood by Bernie will continue to do so.

As long as Bernie does well in his public appearances and has no more significant medical incidents, I expect this to blow over. It’s early October, after all, and the first voting isn’t until February 3, when the Iowa caucuses take place — and this is the United States of Amnesia.

And I think it’s fair to ask the question if it’s OK to stigmatize someone for having had a medical event after which one can, with medical attention, live normally and capably for many years. I know that if I had a heart attack but most likely still had several decent years of life left, I wouldn’t want to be written off.

Good news for Bernie from this past week is that in the third fundraising quarter of this year, he raised more money than did any other Democratic presidential contender — $25.3 million.

Close behind him was Elizabeth Warren, with $24.6 million, and poor Uncle Joe Biden raised only $15.2 million — he was eclipsed even by Boy Scout Pete Buttigieg, who raised $19.1 million. (Unlike Bernie and Warren, the center-right Buttigieg [like Biden] takes contributions from Big Money, though, so don’t take that fundraising figure as grassroots support for him that doesn’t actually exist.)

If fundraising is a measure of excitement for your campaign — and I think that it is for those few who, like Bernie, don’t take money from corporations and lobbyists and other power players — then Biden should be shitting his Depends. (Ah, c’mon; I had to go there…)

On that note, Biden continues to drop in the polls. Right now his nationwide polling average is around 27 percent, and Warren is nipping at his heels, with an average of almost 24 percent.

Bernie is at third place, with 16 percent, and after Bernie, at a rather distant fourth place, is Buttigieg, with around 6 percent. (Poor charisma-free Kamala Harris, who yet has to make a compelling case as to why she should be president, is at fifth place, with around only 5 percent.)

As I’ve noted about a million times before, I expect Biden to tank, as he did when he ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1988 and in 2008, and, as long as Bernie’s health holds up, I expect 2020 to be a race between Bernie and Warren.

It can’t be a direct comparison to the 2016 Bernie-vs.-Billary race, because while Billary only “found” progressivism rather late in the game during the 2016 cycle, this time around, from the get-go, Warren deftly has mimicked Bernie’s progressive angle while at the same time not pissing off the Democratic Party establishment hacks.

Warren, it seems to me, has a very good chance of winning this thing (the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, I mean).

Unfortunately, Warren also has a good chance of losing in November 2020 — I still believe that Warren’s No. 1 weakness is that she so easily can be painted by the Repugnicans as just another clueless, weak egghead from Massachusetts, as was Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004.

Perhaps only the increasingly obvious and absolutely undeniable mega-corruption of the unelected Pussygrabber regime (including a copious amount of treason) can overcome this “swiftboating” tactic that has worked pretty well for the Repugnicans in the past.

P.S. With his hectic campaign schedule and his famously impassioned speeches, one might wonder why it took this long for Bernie to have a heart attack. Just sayin’…

I’m thinking that Bernie might want to slow down. He has, I think, built up enough political capital that he can relax just a little, at least for a little while.

Biden should tank, so Bernie probably doesn’t have to worry about Biden, and Team Bernie should, I think, emphasize the fact that he was an avowed progressive decades before Elizabeth Warren, who was a Repugnican as late as the 1990s, decided to join the club.

It’s a fair criticism — it is true, and it is, to me, anyway, at least a bit concerning.

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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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Bernie now No. 1 in WaPo’s ranking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After that, the nomination was all Kerry’s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beto O’Verrated

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert's Virtual Soapbox

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

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

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

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

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

Asked if he…

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My take: Jussie Smollett made it all up

goodmorningsmollett1

Actor Jussie Smollett cried during his first television interview after allegedly having been the victim of a hate crime on January 29. Meh. He very most likely was crying wolf. (He appears to me to be acting — fairly poorly — in that interview, by the way.)

I’ve been quiet on the alleged hate crime against TV show “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on January 29 in Chicago.

My inclination is to believe the victim, or at least to give the alleged victim the benefit of the doubt, anyway, but Smollett’s story was a bit over the top from the get-go: two male attackers, he claimed, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck and yelled, “This is MAGA country!” as well as racist and homophobic slurs.

Smollett initially reported that his attackers wore ski masks, but presumably they were white, since allegedly they had perpetrated a race-based hate crime against him and yelled “This is MAGA country!” (Indeed, in the TV interview mentioned above, by elimination he pretty much claims that his attackers were indeed white, which he apparently could see even though they were wearing ski masks.)

The details of the alleged hate crime against Smollett and its subsequent investigation are convoluted and go back and forth, with ample yes-but-no-but-no-but-yes. (You can read them here and here and in many other places on the Internet.) I won’t rehash all of them here.

But CNN reports today:

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollett paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.

The men, who are brothers, were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of “new evidence.

“The sources told CNN the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Smollett told authorities he was attacked early January 29 by two men who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.

The sources told CNN there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store in Chicago.

CNN’s attempts Saturday to reach both Smollett’s representative and attorney were unsuccessful.

Smollett identifies as gay and since 2015 has played the gay character of Jamal on the Fox TV drama “Empire.”

According to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the actor told detectives he was attacked by two men near the lower entrance of a Loews hotel in Chicago. Police were told the two men yelled “‘Empire’ fa***t” and “‘Empire’ n***er'” while striking him.

The day after the incident, police released surveillance images that showed two silhouetted individuals walking down a sidewalk, and police said they were wanted for questioning.

The two men were arrested Wednesday. Police on Friday said the men were being viewed as “potential suspects” and that detectives had “probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime.” [Note that that crime was not specified…]

But by Friday night they had been released, Guglielmi said, “due to new evidence as a result of today’s investigations.”

“And detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” he added.

One of the men has appeared on “Empire,” Guglielmi said. A police source also told CNN on Friday night that the men had a previous affiliation with Smollett, but did not provide additional details. …

It was reported that Smollett might have made up the attack because he feared that he was about to be written out of “Empire” — and presumably, the show-runners then would be hesitant to do so after he’d been attacked in a hate crime — but the show-runners have denied that Smollett’s role ever was in jeopardy. (Of course, for public relations reasons — to keep their target audience — they could be lying about that…)

In any event, if I had to put money on it, for whatever reason, I surmise, Smollett indeed made the whole thing up.

Not only was his initial report over the top — it would be rare for hate-crime attackers, who don’t tend to be all that smart or creative, to do all of the things that he alleged — and certainly they would have had to have been stalking him already, since they allegedly came prepared with props (bleach and a noose). And further, somehow they knew exactly when to bring those props with them: when the “Empire” star just happened to be going to Subway for food around 2 a.m.

Really?

Also, would real attackers really call Smollett “‘Empire’ faggot” and “‘Empire’ nigger”? Plain-old “faggot” and/or “nigger” I could see, but I rather doubt that they would mention the show in which he stars. Again: over the top. It’s bad writing because it beggars belief.

If Smollett actually is found to not have made the whole thing up, then I’d be the first to say so (and update this post accordingly) and offer and apology, but yeah, I very much doubt that Smollett’s story, in the end, will be corroborated.

If he lied — and he wouldn’t be the first to have lied about having been the victim of a hate crime — of course he has made it worse for those who come after him who actually are the victims of hate crimes, and of course he should be prosecuted for having lied to the police.

And I’ll come out and say it: the black community hasn’t been big on defending gay people, to put it quite mildly and charitably, so it seems to me that in this case they have responded more to the alleged racist hate crime against Smollett than to the alleged homophobic hate crime against him.

Just sayin’: The Smollett case apparently not only says a lot about Smollett and what apparent bullshit story he believed would fly in this age of toxic identity politics, but says a lot about those who were so quick to claim that he had to be telling the truth — before the details of the investigation ever even came out. It’s been quite the Rorschach test. (See: confirmation bias.)

P.S. Smollett apparently even fooled “President” Pussygrabber, who called that the alleged attack on Smollett “horrible,” adding, “It doesn’t get worse.” Actually, it does get worse, sometimes a lot worse; Smollett had only superficial (self-inflicted?) skin wounds, no broken bones, no damage to any organs, and he’s still very much alive.

On that note, Kamala Harris rather dramatically called Smollett’s account “an attempted modern day lynching.”

Again, two words: confirmation bias. Harris desperately wants that black base, I know, but she might show some, um, presidential caution before commenting next time. There has been no evidence presented thus far that anyone actually was trying to lynch Smollett, for fuck’s sake.

This woman was a prosecutor? Scary…

P.P.S. Cory Booker also called the Smollett account “an attempted modern-day lynching.” Of course. Jesus fuck.

I’m not sure who tweeted that bullshit first, Harris or Booker (tweets are given time stamps, but from which time zone[s]?), but it’s hard to believe that both would use the exact same phrase without knowledge that the other had done so first.

And, again, to stoke interracial strife before the facts of an alleged incident are even established — again, hardly what I would call presidential.

P.P.P.S. It’s being reported that Smollett has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney.

To be abundantly fair, hiring a criminal defense attorney doesn’t necessarily mean that you are guilty of a crime, but, um…

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Politico: Bernie Sanders has made 2020 presidential announcement video

Image result for bat signal

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

Politico reports today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated below (on Wednesday, February 13, 2019)

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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