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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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Death magically makes all of us saints

Editorial cartoon by Ted Rall

Boy, has the biography of the late former President George H. W. Bush thoroughly been whitewashed.

The credible groping allegations that came late in his life pale in comparison to the other harm that he caused to millions of people at home and abroad.

I was a victim of the first George Bush recession of 1990 and 1991 right out of college, and I vividly remember the first George Bush Gulf War of 1990 and 1991, which, along with the recession, was a great way to start out my young adult life: in an environment of unnecessary war* and unnecessary poverty created by the elite for the elite.

Of course, Son of Bush would go on to unnecessarily slaughter even more people in the Middle East and cause even greater economic collapse here at home — not to mention how 9/11 happened even after the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” and how Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 Americans, most of whom were expendable because they were black and/or poor.

So why has George H. W. Bush magically been rehabilitated in death?

For two reasons, that I can see:

One, most people are assholes who fear death, and when they see that someone else has died, they are reminded of their own assholery — and, of course, most paramount, they are reminded of their own mortality. It’s not actually about the person who died; it’s all about them. When they die, they don’t want people telling any ugly truths about them; they want to be whitewashed, too.

Also, of course, compared to “President” Pussygrabber, even the George Bushes seem like Abraham Lincoln — in style, anyway. (In substance, at least under Pussygrabber thus far we haven’t had another bogus war or another economic collapse. [Not that either or both of those things couldn’t still come yet, and yes, Pussygrabber has acted like an acid on what we call our democracy, and the damage from that is difficult if not impossible to calculate.])

Perhaps the ignorant masses conveniently “forget” what an evil asshole George H. W. Bush actually was because it makes them feel a little bit better about the Joffrey Baratheon-like “president” that they allowed to rise to power. (Yes, Joffrey Baratheon — a cruel, crass, wholly unfit and quite illegitimate ruler.)

Also, of course, I’m sure that there are many who think that praising George H. W. somehow hurts Pussygrabber.

And/or maybe they believe that praising George H. W. somehow will inspire Pussygrabber to clean up his act. But look at George H. W.’s act.

I, for one, certainly hope that Pussygrabber doesn’t match the damage that George H. W. Bush so casually inflicted upon so many millions of others.

I do, however, very much hope that just like George H. W., Pussygrabber humiliatingly is booted from the White House after only one term.

And it will be interesting to see how the ignorant masses try to whitewash Pussygrabber after he finally dies and goes to hell.

*The “Highway of Death” that Ted Rall mentions in his editorial cartoon was a war crime.

Good guys don’t commit war crimes. And no, an American never automatically is the “good guy.”

P.S. Here’s a lovely photo from the “Highway of Death” war crime:

In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo.

Also know that the wonderful George H. W. Bush opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he later claimed he regretted, but he then went on to perpetrate the blatantly racist Willie Horton fiasco — and infamously to refer to his own grandchildren as “the little brown ones” — so methinks that he didn’t regret it all that much.

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Best-case scenario: Dems win Senate, decide next high-court justice

APF/Getty Images photo

Two pussy grabbers in a pod: Brett Kavanaugh and “President” Pussygrabber shake hands after the “president” announced Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in July.

I never would predict that the Democrats will win the U.S. Senate back in November as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. (Fivethirtyeight.com right now, as I type this sentence, gives the Dems an 81.3 percent chance of winning back the House, but only a 32.6 percent chance of winning back the Senate.)

Still, after our ongoing long national nightmare, I can dream.

I believe U.S. Supreme Court “justice” nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, that back in the early 1980s, when he was 17 years old and she was 15 years old, he drunkenly sexually assaulted her (gee, can we add under-aged drinking to the sexual assault?).

We already have one known sex fiend on the nation’s high court; we don’t need another. (Nor, for that matter, do we need yet another right-wing white man; the court has not been representative and reflective of the U.S. population forever.)

Because of the statute of limitations, it’s too late to prosecute Kavanaugh, but in most cases 17 years old is old enough for an act to be indicative of one’s character, I believe, and because I believe Kavanaugh’s accuser, I believe that he is unfit to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, his radical-right-wing views aside.

Anyone who can’t understand why a victim of sexual assault would remain silent for years (Ford did recount the sexual assault to her therapist in 2012) probably hasn’t been the victim of a sexual assault. Especially if the perpetrator has power and status, of course a victim easily could choose to remain silent, expecting (often if not usually correctly) to be even further victimized if she or he were to report the incident.

The Anita Hill debacle didn’t happen until 1991; she was treated atrociously, including by perennial presidential wannabe Joe Biden (a DINO) and by soulless mercenary David Brock, who went on to work for/with DINO Billary Clinton (because, you know, she’s a feminist).

If it was that bad for Anita Hill in the early 1990s, how much better do you think that it was for Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s? Her perpetrator went to prep school and then to Yale. He had a future, you see; hers, on the other hand, was disposable.

So this is what I’m hoping — dreaming — will happen: Brett Kavanaugh will go down in flames, as he deserves. There won’t be enough time before the November mid-term elections for the treasonous Repugnicans to try to ram through the installation of another Nazi on the U.S. Supreme Court with a simple majority Senate vote instead of the historically required 60 votes (as they did with Neil Gorsuch, whose seat on the Supreme Court is stolen property).

Then, the Dems will take back the Senate in November, and one of two things will happen:

(1) They won’t allow “President” Pussygrabber to put another wingnut on the high court — they will stick to the simple-majority Senate vote requirement that the Repugnicans have felt was just fine for Gorsuch and now for Kavanaugh. (Let the Repugnican traitors have a taste of their own bitter medicine; their “nuclear-option” change in the Senate rules should remain in place.)

The best that Pussygrabber would be able to do in this scenario is to put a moderate on the bench, as Obama was willing to do (with the Senate controlled by the opposing political party) with Merrick Garland.

Or (2) if they really find their spines (which is not nearly as likely as is scenario No. 1), the Senate Democrats will simply do what the Repugnicans did during President Obama’s last year in office: simply refuse to put anyone new on the bench until after the next presidential election. (Yertle McConnell proclaimed that democracy demanded that!)

If the Repugnicans did nothing wrong by depriving Obama of the presidential right to name a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the last year of his presidency, then they will have nothing to bitch about.

I tell you what: If the Democrats actually recapture the Senate in November, a feat in and of itself given the electoral map, and then actually refuse to allow Pussygrabber to put another “justice” on the Supreme Court — finally showing that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander — I probably will switch my voter registration back from independent to Democrat.*

The Repugnican traitors shamelessly play hardball while the Democrats cluelessly try to sing “Kumbaya.” Until and unless the Democrats’ spines finally calcify, they don’t deserve our full support.

*I had changed from Green to Democrat to be able to vote for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary, but after the anti-Bernie Democratic National Committee e-mails were released in July 2016, I changed to independent (“no party preference” here in California) out of rage and disgust.

The Democratic Party would have to impress the hell out of me for me to ever join it again.

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How many more whacks can the Pussygrabber piñata sustain?

A woman hits a pinata of Donald Trump during a protest in Mexico City, on October 12, 2016 (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)

AFP photo

A woman takes a hit at an effigial piñata of Pussygrabber during a protest in Mexico City in October 2016, before our long national nightmare officially began in January 2017.

For better or for worse — now, for worse — the United States presidency was built to be durable. The president, whether actually elected by the majority of the voters or not (tellingly, neither of our last two Repugnican “presidents” were), gets a fairly long term of four years, plenty of time with which to do plenty of damage, and it’s incredibly difficult to remove a sitting president.

Unless the president obviously, unarguably is incapacitated, such as through coma or death, he gets to remain in office, and sure, you can impeach him with a simple majority vote of the U.S. House of Representatives, but to actually remove him from office then would take at least 67 votes in the U.S. Senate. That’s never happened in our nation’s history. (I generally am against super-majorities, especially super-majorities of two-thirds. If we must have a super-majority, to me it shouldn’t have to be higher than 60 percent.*)

When we have a shitty president, our options aren’t many. Ensuring that his party doesn’t control both houses of Congress helps, and I am confident that the Democrats will take back the House in November. (Fivethirtyeight.com right now gives them a 78.2 percent chance of doing so.) That will be yet another significant blow to the Pussygrabber piñata, which has taken many hits so far.

Not that Pussygrabber would flinch all that much (at least publicly) after losing the House; he’s never understood or respected the U.S. Constitution, so he’ll still try to be a dictator. He’ll try; he’ll be slapped down by the checks and balances that the nation’s founders wisely and presciently built into our system of governance.

But, as I have noted before, Pussygrabber does make the cockroach jealous in terms of his ability to survive what should have killed him.

The pussy-grabbing tape publicly revealed in October 2016, for fuck’s sake, should have ended him.

And it’s been nothing but a parade of books about the Pussygrabber White House, first Michael Wolff’s best-selling Fire and Fury, then White House insider Omarosa Manigalt Newman’s Unhinged (which, whatever we think of her, still sits at No. 60 on Amazon.com’s top-100 selling books list as I type this sentence), and now, Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White Housewhich because of pre-orders right now is No. 1 on Amazon.com’s best-seller list (it officially come outs on Tuesday, which is September 11…).

When people independently are reporting the same things, um, yeah…

There have been plenty of other whacks on the Pussygrabber piñata, of course, including the indictments and convictions and guilty pleas of Pussygrabber associates, most notably of former Pussygrabber “presidential” campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Pussygrabber personal attorney Michael Cohen (which didn’t happen even a full month ago), and plenty of wholly self-inflicted hits, such as Pussygrabber’s disastrous meeting with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin in Finland in July, during which he surreally casually treasonously threw the United States of America under the bus.

Old-school Repugnican John McCain got in a postmortem dig by barring Pussygrabber from attending his recent funeral, which was attended by Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as by Joe Biden and former U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Gary Hart and current U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, all Democrats.

The New York Times last week released that interesting, anonymously-penned op-ed titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” and tag-lined “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

The op-ed didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, wasn’t much new, except that it purportedly was written by someone still working within the Pussygrabber regime (my best guess is that it was lodestar-loving Mike Pence, who would personally benefit immediately upon Pussygrabber’s exit), and of course Pussygrabber made the situation even worse by tweeting:

Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!

Wow. Let’s unpack that: Saying or reporting anything that “President” Pussygrabber doesn’t want you to is tantamount to threatening “National Security.” Wow. No First-Amendment or whistle-blowing protections for us peasants where it comes to Mad King George!

To equate yourself with the nation (and your ego with the nation’s security) itself is beyond insane. Pussygrabber is not the United States of America; he is an aberration and an abomination. We know this now; indeed, we have known this for some time now, and we don’t need to wait for the historians inevitably to record his “presidency” as such.

And The New York Times is not “failing.” In fact, this never has been true during Pussygrabber’s “presidency,” and Pussygrabber will lie pathologically about anything, will spew even lies that easily are thoroughly debunked.

Forbes reported back in July 2017 of the Times that “the paper enjoys 2.3 million paid digital subscriptions, up 63.4 percent from a year earlier. Its stock is currently trading at a nine-year high, hovering around $20 per share and giving the company a market capitalization of about $3.2 billion.”**

Forbes added: “Like most traditional media organizations, the Times has weathered setbacks thank to falling print subscriptions and ad revenues. But Trump’s presidency appears to have breathed new life into the organization. Since the election, the Times has made itself a must-read, trading political scoops with The Washington Post on an almost daily basis.”

The Times reported 2.9 million online subscriptions last month and published this graphic:

Indeed, I renewed my online subscription to the Times after years of dormancy because I value the Times’ and The Washington Post’s fairly relentless coverage of “our” illegitimate, dangerous “president” (I subscribe to both online, and yes, their current success has a lot to do with the unelected maniac in the Oval Office).

But back to that “presidential” tweet: Most chilling about it, of course, is Pussygrabber’s dictatorial assertion that “the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her [the writer of the anonymous op-ed] over to government at once!”

Who the fuck does Pussygrabber think he is — Vladimir Putin? (That was [mostly] rhetorical, but feel free to answer it literally.) Although Pussygrabber has done his best to be a human wrecking ball of our republic, in the end, although sometimes slow, such as the Mueller investigation, in the United States of America the rule of law still applies.***

The Times legally does not have to divulge its sources, and the specious “National Security” argument won’t work. Further, at least one federal former prosecutor says that the author of the anonymous op-ed has broken no law at all, either by having provided the piece for publication or by having admitted to any illegal activity within the piece itself.

Another whack to the Pussygrabber piñata is planned to come later this month, when Michael Moore releases his new film on the unelected Pussygrabber regime, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” a twist on the title of his 2004 film about the unelected Bush regime, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

Here is the poster for “Fahrenheit 11/9”:

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

Pussygrabber’s “win” of the White House was announced on November 9, 2016, and thus “Fahrenheit 11/9.”

True, “Fahrenheit 9/11” was meant to help to deny “President” Bush a second term in the 2004 presidential election and failed to do so, but I’ll take just about any new movie by Moore, and, again, it should be yet another whack on the Pussygrabber  piñata, followed by the Repugnicans’ loss of the U.S. House of Representatives later this fall.

And, of course, Pussygrabber’s approval ratings remain stubbornly stuck around the low 40s, which not only doesn’t bode well for the mid-term elections in November — widely considered to be a referendum on Pussygrabber — but doesn’t bode well for his “re”-“election.”

Pussygrabber’s average approval ratings have been historically low, which is like a constant hitting of the Pussygrabber piñata, weakening it even further and further, if only slowly.

Will there be a final, spectacular, perhaps inevitable blow to the Pussygrabber piñata? And who will strike it? Robert Mueller at any time? The Democratic-controlled House finding its spine and impeaching him? Bernie Sanders beating him in November 2020?

We’ll see, but in the meantime, this will, methinks, remain a fairly slow-moving train wreck.

We’ll probably finally see that piñata spew its contents all over the ground one day, but by the time that comes, we might be too exhausted from our long national nightmare to be able to derive all that much pleasure from it.

*On that note, the threshold for a new U.S. Supreme Court “justice” to be put on the bench used to be a vote of 60 or more in the U.S. Senate, until Yertle McConnell changed the Senate rules in 2017 to require only a simple-majority vote for Supreme Court “justices” in order to get Pussygrabber’s picks seated on the court.

The only way for loser Pussygrabber to “win,” once again, was to cheat.

**Forbes does note that maybe Pussygrabber, who is no wordsmith, means that The New York Times is “failing” in its coverage of him and his “presidency,” but most often when Pussygrabber criticizes a company, his criticism is that it is not doing well financially, even though he’s had six bankruptcies.

***It is because there are so many competing different interests within the United States, I surmise, that no one group of people can have power indefinitely, as it is the case in the thugocracy of Russia, which Pussygrabber wants to replicate here in the U.S.

(In March, Pussygrabber remarked that it’s great that China now has a president for life, and that maybe the U.S. will have that too someday. Maybe Pussygrabber was joking, but “jokes” like that aren’t funny. It wasn’t funny when George W. Bush “quipped” in December 2000, “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”)

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On the late, not-great John McCain

The late U.S. Sen. John McCain has been lionized over the past week — when you die, you become a saint, even though everyone dies, just as everyone shits and pisses and farts — and I’ve yet to say anything about it. I don’t want to say all that much; he has received too much postmortem attention as it is.

John McCain, who was “my” senator (when I lived in the God-awful state of Arizona) from 1987 to 1998 (when I finally left Arizona), was not a great guy. He staunchly believed in American exceptionalism and imperialism and militarism and white-collar gangster capitalism. While perhaps McCain was not overtly racist, as American exceptionalism and imperialism and militarism and white-collar gangster capitalism always have vastly disproportionately benefited white Americans, there you go.

When I lived in Arizona I remember McCain’s television campaign ads. He used the Vietnam POW story endlessly. What’s the good in being a POW if you can’t exploit it for personal and political gain later? (He did ease off on the POW thing in his failed 2008 presidential run, but then again, the POW thing had gotten him that far.)

McCain left his first wife of about 15 years, Carol (she’s now 80), with whom he had a daughter (and he adopted her two existing children), to marry the younger, apparently much more attractive, and, perhaps most of all, quite rich Cindy (who now is 64), who had been a blonde cheerleaderAccording to Wikipedia, McCain’s first marriage “falter[ed] due to [McCain’s] partying away from home and extra-marital affairs.” (That link is to the reliable Arizona Republic, by the way.)

In his very first term in the U.S. Senate, McCain survived the savings and loan scandal (he was one of “the Keating Five”), which should have been the end of his political career. But: Arizona.

McCain was not a moderate. McCain was not bipartisan, even if that were a good thing. He was a Dr.-Strangelove-level fucking wingnut, replete with his chilling refrain of “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

McCain only pretended to be above it all. That made him only a sanctimonious prick, because what he actually stood for was quite dark. He knew that he himself, being an over-privileged white man whose lifelong opportunism had served him quite well, never would have to suffer the consequences of his own horrible actions and decisions. He ensured that he himself always would be quite safe and much more than comfortable.

No brand of Repugnican is good for the United States of America, be it the smug, Goldwater-style Repugnican that largely if not wholly died with McCain, or be it the openly craven, Pussygrabber-style of Repugnican that we see today. The two types differ only in style, not in substance.

I have two words for John McCain: Good riddance.

P.S. It always has struck me that McCain’s opposition to Pussygrabber was more out of sour grapes than out of anything like principle. McCain had wanted to be president for years, and lost in 2000 and in 2008, and then here comes the likes of Pussygrabber — not a Vietnam POW but a Vietnam draft dodger — to become “president.”

That drove McCain insane, methinks. He viewed it as a colossal injustice, I am confident.

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Super-delegate and caucus reforms making the party democratic again

Getty Images photo

The Democratic National Committee voted yesterday to strip the so-called super-delegates of their anti-democratic power. This means that in 2020, should Bernie Sanders decide to run for president again, the deck won’t again be stacked against him from Day One by constant reports of how many super-delegates, the vast majority of them self-serving party hacks, already have promised to vote at the party convention for an establishmentarian, center-right, Repugnican-Lite, pro-corporate, DINO sellout candidate. (Above: Demonstrators urge the DNC to strip super-delegates of their power at the DNC’s summer meeting that just wrapped up in Chicago.)

The best news for the Democratic Party in a long time came yesterday, when the Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly voted to effectively eliminate the power of the so-called super-delegates.

Against the wishes of a minority of dead-ender DNC assholes who had come to savor the fact that their votes for the presidential nominee have counted much, much more than the votes of us mere peasants, the DNC yesterday demonstrated its new-found realization that if the party wants to save itself, it actually needs to be democratic. (Who knew?)

The party is, however, taking baby steps toward reform. “Saturday’s vote officially [bars] the super-delegates from voting on the first ballot to choose the party’s presidential nominee unless a candidate has secured a majority of the convention using only pledged delegates, whose votes are earned during the primary process,” explains CNN. The super-delegates may vote in a second round of voting if no victor emerges with a majority of delegates in the first round, so while their undue influence has been reduced sharply, the petulant, spoiled babies were thrown some pacifier. (The equivalent of super-delegates in the Repugnican Party must vote the way that the people of their respective states voted, so even the Repugnican Party doesn’t have an anti-democratic, aristocratic system of super-delegates.)

And while I’ve written before that presidential caucuses, which are plagued with irregularities (that is, opportunities for cheating), should be dumped altogether and replaced with presidential primary elections, the DNC yesterday also voted to encourage (again, baby steps) states that still hold caucuses to switch to primary elections, and voted to require states that still hold caucuses to allow some form of absentee participation, given that it’s forever been unfair that those who for whatever reason cannot get to a caucus have not been able to participate in the democratic process.

The dead-enders within the DNC (all or the vast majority of them Billarybots) probably view these positive reforms as being for the benefit of Bernie Sanders, and while he did push for these reforms, having been the victim of the corrupt, calcified, anti-democratic DNC himself, these reforms are good for the people and are good for democracy — and thus are good for the party.

On that note, McClatchy reported (in an article titled “Loyal Democratic Donors: We’re Done with the DNC Until They Get Their Act Together”) just a few days ago:

While Democratic donors have eagerly opened their wallets ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, helping Democratic candidates and groups largely outraise their Republican counterparts, one notable exception has stood out: The Democratic National Committee — the party’s signature organization — has posted its worst midterm fund raising totals in more than a decade.

The DNC has so far taken in $116 million before the November midterm elections — $9 million less than it had taken in at this point in 2014 and more than $30 million less than it had taken in at this point in 2010, the last two midterm cycles.

By contrast, the Republican National Committee has nearly doubled the DNC’s haul this cycle, bringing in a total of $227 million. And of the six major federal committees of both parties, the DNC has by far the most debt ($6.7 million) and the least amount in its bank account ($7.8 million).

After 2016’s defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump, many of the group’s most consistent donors are putting their money elsewhere. A McClatchy analysis found that more than 200 donors who had given more than $1,000 to the DNC in each of the past two midterm elections have failed to pony up any cash to the DNC this time around, despite continuing to support other Democratic groups and candidates. …

Indeed, many if not most ordinary (that is, non-super-wealthy) Democratic donors now give through the wildly successful Democratic fundraising website ActBlue, where they — we — can decide ourselves to which Democratic candidates to give money and how much.

I have given almost $4,500 in a series of donations over the past several years through ActBlue (my average donation is $13) because, frankly, I don’t at all trust the center-right, pro-corporate DNC with my money. (The No. 1 recipient of my donations via ActBlue has been Bernie Sanders, to whom I’ve given more than $1,000, and Elizabeth Warren is at No. 3, with almost $250. At No. 2 [$275] is Kevin de León, who I hope unseats DINO U.S. Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein in November.)

“The [DNC’s] poor [fundraising] showing could limit the DNC’s ability to provide support, such as direct financial contributions or get-out-the-vote assistance, to candidates and state parties in November. And it puts them at a disadvantage heading into the 2020 presidential cycle where the committee will play an even larger role,” notes McClatchy, but, again, Democratic candidates are getting money via ActBlue, which is a much more democratic venue anyway. (ActBlue’s home page right now reports that since it began in 2004, it has collected more than $2.5 billion in donations to Democratic candidates and groups.)

With ActBlue, we, the people, decide where to put our money. We can bypass the center-right, pro-corporate, anti-democratic Democratic Party bosses, which is wonderful. And that’s how it should work: If avenues are blocked, then we, the people, must create our own, alternate but equally if not even more effective, routes around the obstacles.

For years and years, the DNC weasels took our support, including our money and our votes, for granted. Where else were we commoners going to go? While the DNC continued to rot in order to preserve the undue power of a relatively few weaselly insiders, we, the people, have been doing our own end runs.

Because the DNC and the party establishment as a whole fell asleep at the wheel years ago, we, the people, took over, such as via ActBlue and by supporting progressive (that is, actually Democratic) candidates whether the center-right, Repugnican-Lite party big-wigs wanted us to or not. (Bernie Sanders, of course, is the largest example of that, but there have been many others.)

It has been a long struggle, and it is not over, but we progressives are taking back the Democratic Party, bit by bit. And when — and if — the DNC can be trusted again, its reputation and thus also its fundraising will improve.

In the meantime, yes, it’s time to look to the 2020 presidential election cycle.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll reported last week puts Bernie Sanders against Pussygrabber in a hypothetical presidential match-up at 44 percent to 32 percent, so anyone who says that Bernie Sanders can’t beat Pussygrabber, as he could have and probably would have in November 2016, is, of course, full of shit; Bernie has a double-digit lead over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling already, just as he had a double-digit lead over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling leading up to the 2016 Democratic Party National Convention.

Joe Biden also beats Pussygrabber by 12 points in the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 43 percent to 31 percent, so 2020, it seems to me, could be a lot like 2016 if both Bernie and Biden run; it would be the progressive champion against the party establishmentarian.

However, as Biden already has run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination and lost twice (in 1987 and in 2007), I don’t see him as strong a candidate as some would assert. He would be the anti-Bernie vote, but I don’t think that that would be enough. Also, Billary Clinton was the holdover from the Clinton-Obama years, and wouldn’t Biden, as the holdover from the Clinton-Obama years, remind a lot of voters of Billary’s colossal failure in 2016?

In the Politico/Morning Consult poll Elizabeth Warren comes in a No. 3, still beating Pussygrabber but by a much smaller margin, only 34 percent to 30 percent, with 36 percent undecided.

Billary Clinton was within only a few percentage points over Pussygrabber in the nationwide polling averages for a very long time, all the way up to Election Day, and look how that turned out.

If we want Pussygrabber out, we need to select, as the Democratic Party presidential nominee, the one who polls the best against him; we (well, the Billarybots and other zombies) fucked up big-time in 2016 by passing up Bernie Sanders for the candidate who polled much worse against Pussygrabber than Bernie did.

I’ve noted many times that while I like Liz Warren, and would be fine with her as a vice-presidential candidate, I think that as a presidential candidate she’d be painted as a female Michael Dukakis, another clueless egghead from Massachussetts, and I think that while Billary Clinton did not face much actual sexism, Liz actually would.* (That said, if it’s between Biden and Warren, I pick Warren, who is my No. 2 choice behind Bernie. I still cannot support Biden, not for the primaries.)

Also in the Politico/Morning Consult poll, Pussygrabber beats U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Attorney General Eric Holder and others by 2 percentage points to 10 percentage points, so unless their polling improves drastically, these second- and third-tier candidates are non-starters for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination for me, and we can’t allow craven identity politics to sink us in 2020 like they did in 2016.

(“Bernie bro,” “brogressive” and the like only backfired, as Billary wasn’t a victim of sexism, but only suffered appropriately and deservedly due to her utter unlikeability due to her inherently corrupt nature and shitty character, which enough voters sure sensed if they couldn’t articulate.)

Methinks that 2020 is going to be a bumpy ride, with identity politics vs. electability once again rearing its ugly head, but at least the road is made a bit smoother because the so-called super-delegates have been defanged and because quaint but corruptible caucuses apparently are on their way out.

*I agree with fivethirtyeight.com’s Perry Bacon Jr.’s sentiment when he writes:

… How comfortable should we be, as a society, with discouraging members of traditionally marginalized groups from pursuing political office because other Americans might have a negative view of those potential candidates’ gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics (or some combination of these characteristics)? After all, a candidate can change her ideology if her platform isn’t appealing to voters — but many of these traits are immutable. …

I agree that of course it’s not fair to punish the victim for the voters’ prejudices and biases and bigotry, but when push comes to shove, it does come down to whether or not you want to win the fucking election. In the 2020 presidential election, for a great example, which is more important: booting Pussygrabber from the Oval Office (presuming that he’s still there, of course) or making a point?

And there are plenty of reasons to reject Kamala Harris and Cory Booker that have nothing to do with race, such as their history of coziness with corporations, their lack of leadership and accomplishment in the U.S. Senate, and their lower name recognition and popularity — and thus their lower polling — than the top-three front-runners Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Of the two, I’m more fond of Harris than of Booker, but she has not been in the Senate for even two full years yet, for fuck’s sake. It’s way too early to talk about her being president. As I have noted before, I think I’d be OK with her as the vice-presidential candidate for 2020, but that’s as far as I can go.

In 2016, aside from the copious intra-party rigging that was done in her favor, apparently the idea was to make Billary Clinton the nominee — even she didn’t poll nearly as well against Pussygrabber as Bernie Sanders did — in order to make a point (namely, that the Democrats could nominate a woman [likability and popularity of said woman entirely aside]). How well did that turn out?

If we make that mistake again, we deserve whatever we get.

And I’m no hypocrite; I personally always have disliked DINO Billary Clinton but love Elizabeth Warren, but if it looks like Warren can’t beat Pussygrabber, then we go with the stronger candidate who can. It won’t be enough for me that Warren is a woman.

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Bernie already won

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Bernie Sanders doesn’t pick easy fights, which makes it easy for the legions of do-nothing, know-nothing dead-enders among us to declare that he’s lost even when he’s actually winning.

“Bernie and his army are losing 2018,” proclaims Politico’s David Siders.

“Bernie Sanders is sputtering,” Siders writes. “Two years after his defeat in the 2016 presidential primary, the Vermont senator has amassed a growing string of losses in races in which he has intervened.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Bernie has been on the national political scene only since 2015, when he informally announced his candidacy for president on April 30 and formally announced on May 26 of that year.

And yes, Bernie came in second place in 2016, but it was a surprisingly strong second to Queen Billary Clinton — he won 22 states and 46 percent of the pledged delegates (delegates that he had to win in primary elections and caucuses). He pretty much came from nowhere to do that, and he never has been given widespread credit for that.

Bernie Sanders successfully is pushing the needle to the left. That in and of itself is a triumph. For years the Democratic Party has been stuck in the center-right, do-nothing, punk-the-people Clintonian-Obamian bullshit, and that’s finally starting to change. It’s getting harder and harder for corporate whores who call themselves Democrats to continue their scams on the people, and that’s a great thing.

No, the job isn’t done, and yes, the Democratic Party could slip back into its corporate whoredom, but for the time being, progress is being made, even if it’s only in baby steps.

I look to Mexico’s next president, democratic socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for inspiration. He ran for president three times (in 2006, 2012 and this year) before he finally won. Had AMLO, as he is widely called, given up because of the naysayers’ negativity, he never would have become Mexico’s president-elect.

Bernie, like AMLO, is one of those rare types who just does it amidst a chorus of mediocre-at-best pieces of shit proclaiming that it can’t be done.

Like AMLO, Bernie lost his initial races. In the 1970s he ran twice for governor of and twice for U.S. senator for Vermont and he lost all four times. He didn’t finally win an election until he lowered his sights a bit and became mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1980.*

Had Bernie given up — and many people would have after having lost four elections in a row — he wouldn’t be in the U.S. Senate right now.

Center-right politics have been stubbornly persistent in the United States of America for decades now, and that dynamic isn’t going to be reversed overnight. But as the more conservative voters finally die, taking their selfish, short-sighted, right-wing bullshit to their graves with them, and our youth — who gravitate toward democratic socialism — more and more take over the reins of power, we are going to see the nation going more and more to the left.

Take a very recent election — yesterday’s special election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Ohio. Right now it’s “President” Pussygrabber-endorsed Repugnican Troy Balderson at 50.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Danny O’Connor’s 49.3 percent, a difference of only 1,754 votes out of 201,394 votes cast, with the results of around 8,300 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still to be officially announced.

Even if Balderson ekes out a win, Pussygrabber won the congressional district by 11 points in November 2016, so in the big picture, the Repugnicans should expect to lose the House of Representatives in November of this year. (Right now, only around 41 percent of those polled say they’ll vote for a Repugnican for the U.S. House in November, while around 48 percent say they’ll vote for a Democrat.)

And because yesterday’s was just a special election, Balderson and O’Connor will run against each other again for a full two-year term in November; even if it turns out that Balderson won yesterday, he will lose the seat in January if O’Connor beats him in November.

Yes, probably most of the vote swing in the Ohio congressional district is due to the revulsion of “President” Pussygrabber, whose nationwide approval ratings remain mired in the low 40s, than to great love for democratic socialism, but the pendulum is swinging back to the left.

It’s not until the end of his piece that Politico’s David Siders more or less eviscerates his own claim that Bernie’s losing, which is a nice and tidy and dramatic — but overall inaccurate — conclusion. Siders quotes two individuals thusly:

“What it is is that most people don’t realize that Bernie Sanders actually won. … What [Sanders] wanted to do [with his 2016 presidential campaign] was mobilize millions of people to get politically involved, and he achieved that in droves. Change is slow. Progress is slow. But it’s inevitable. So, even if we have some devastating losses, we have to stick at it.”

and

“My philosophy — and I think it’s what Bernie was going for — [is that] the Republican Party, years ago when they couldn’t win elections, they did some soul searching and ran people at the local level. Thirty, 40 years later, they control every level of government. … That’s what the Democratic Party needs to do. They need to get some fresh faces, go back to their roots and reorganize.”

Yup. It’s a long, hard slog to the promised land. We can’t give up now. Expect the naysayers, who never are going to contribute anything valuable themselves, to attack and to try to hinder progress.

Ignore them, and keep on doing what they claim can’t be done.

P.S. I must direct you to this piece on NPR, which ran on June 8 and which pretty much is the antithesis of David Siders’ piece for Politico. It is titled, “Bernie Sanders Is Losing Primary Battles, but Winning a War.” I reproduce it most of it here:

Since most of the congressional candidates that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed this year are losing contested primaries, then Sanders’ political clout must be fading, right?

“That’s a stupid argument,” Sanders told NPR this week. [I love Bernie.]

“You know, he has a much broader look at politics than just elections,” Sanders’ long-time strategist Jeff Weaver said.

That is evident. The 2016 candidate repeatedly questioned the political value of his endorsements, and even expressed some mild indifference to the race-by-race results of the primaries he’s waded into.

Sanders’ broader goal is to get more first-time voters and first-time candidates involved in the political process, and to keep pushing progressive policies like a Medicare-for-all health care plan into the Democratic mainstream.

If that takes more than one election cycle, so be it.

“I hope they [his endorsees] win,” Sanders said. “Maybe they don’t. But if you get 45 percent of the vote now, next time you may well win.” [Emphasis mine.]

In the U.S. House primaries that have happened so far, Sanders has endorsed six candidates in contested races. Only two of his chosen House candidates have won contested primaries, and one was an incumbent: Rep. Nanette Barragán of California.

Even if many of his hand-picked candidates are coming up short, more of the Democrats who are winning are lining up closer to Sanders anyway. A Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care plan continues to gain support among Democratic candidates, and the $15 minimum wage Sanders made a key part of his presidential campaign has been adopted as a cause by party leaders across the country.

But given his broad success at reshaping the party, the question lingers as to why so many of the candidates bearing Sanders’ personal seal of approval are losing.

This week, another Sanders-endorsed House candidate lost a Democratic primary by a wide margin. Pete D’Alessandro ran Sanders’ Iowa campaign in 2016, which resulted in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. This year, the Vermont senator campaigned alongside him, cut a TV commercial for him and helped him raise money. But D’Alessandro finished in third.

“I could be 100 percent in terms of my endorsements,” Sanders told NPR. “All you’ve got to do is endorse establishment candidates who have a whole lot of money, who are 40 points ahead in the poll. You know what, you’ll come and say, ‘Bernie, you were 100 percent supportive of these candidates, they all won.'”

“The candidates that we support, by and large with few exceptions, are all candidates who are taking on the establishment, and are often outspent,” he added. [Emphasis mine. Indeed, supporting a candidate who clearly already is the front-runner isn’t all that hard, is it? You pick the obvious probable winner and then claim that your support was a factor in the victory. Bullshit.]

Sanders and Weaver argue that a race-by-race accounting isn’t the best way to track what the 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up is doing this year.

“The issue here is not that I think a Bernie Sanders, or frankly the endorsement of anybody else, is some magical potion to get people elected,” Sanders said. “Frankly, between you and me, I’m not sure how much endorsements – how significant they are. Sometimes they help, sometimes not much.” [Emphasis mine.]

Two of the 17 candidates Sanders has backed this year say that, in their minds, there’s no question the endorsement helped.

“It did a lot of good for our campaign,” said Greg Edwards, who ran in a crowded Pennsylvania House primary last month. “It increased my name ID, helped me get volunteers, helped with fundraising, certainly. And we got a lot of media attention out of it. I think we got four or five press hits.”

Still, Edwards also ended up third in his race.

But Edwards centered his campaign around policies many voters now associate with Sanders. “Universal health care, Medicare-for-all, around universal preschool, around debt-free college. Around increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15,” he said.

“Many of these issues were considered fringe issues, and now they are mainstream issues that we take for granted that there, of course, are legions of Democratic candidates running on those platforms,” said Jeff Weaver. “Three or four years ago you would not have seen candidates running on that platform I would have considered to be outside the mainstream.”

When Sanders introduced his latest single-payer health care bill last year, it was quickly endorsed by several of the Senate Democrats mentioned as possible 2020 presidential candidates. …

*It’s a common mistake, I think, for someone to run for a big office, such as governor or U.S. senator, instead of running for a lower office and then working his or her way up.

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