Tag Archives: Politics

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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Why the United States should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela

Two peas in a pod, really. Both have disturbing autocratic tendencies, including their mistreatment of the press, and if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wasn’t duly elected, U.S. “President” Pussygrabber certainly wasn’t, either; he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

I like and I respect Mexican-American telejournalist Jorge Ramos of Univision. A passionate advocate for Latin Americans seeking a better life, he has reported on their plight and has written several books about it as well.

I believe Ramos’ report of what happened to him and his crew when he recently tried to report on Venezuela. Ramos wrote for The New York Times:

I was expelled from Venezuela on Tuesday [yesterday] after a contentious interview with Nicolás Maduro, the country’s strongman. He stood up in the middle of our conversation and his security agents confiscated our television cameras, the memory cards and our cellphones. Yes, Mr. Maduro stole the interview so nobody could watch it.

We got the interview the old fashioned way: by making a phone call and requesting it. A producer from Univision — the television network where I’ve worked since 1984 — contacted the government’s communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, and asked if Mr. Maduro wanted to do the interview. The leader said: “Come to Caracas.” And so we did, with official entry papers in hand.

The interview started on Monday evening, three hours late, at the Miraflores Palace. Mr. Maduro had spoken a few minutes before with Tom Llamas of ABC News, and he seemed to be in a good mood. The humanitarian aid that the political opposition — with the help of an international coalition — had tried to get into the country over the Colombian and Brazilian borders had been largely stopped, and Mr. Maduro felt emboldened. This was supposed to be a good day.

But it wasn’t. The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him “Presidente” or “Dictador,” as many Venezuelans do. I confronted him about human rights violations and cases of torture that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, and with the existence of political prisoners. I questioned his claim that he had won the 2013 and the 2018 presidential elections without fraud and, most important, his assurances that Venezuela was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis. That’s when I opened up my iPad.

The day before I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution. That’s when he broke.

About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over. “That’s what dictators do,” I told him. …

I also heard Ramos give this account on NPR. Again, I believe Ramos; he is credible.

I don’t dispute such assertions as that Maduro is an authoritarian (if not technically a dictator, since there was at least the semblance of some election that at least initially put Maduro in power) or that many Venezuelans are so desperate that they’re combing through garbage for sustenance.

These reports are so widespread that I little doubt their veracity, although I’m always leery of the right wing shamelessly lying and exaggerating for political gain.

The problem, though, is how to solve the problems that plague Venezuela and who should solve them.

It should not be the psychopathic, fascist likes of “President” Pussygrabber or “Vice President” Mike Pence — who didn’t win their own fucking election, for fuck’s sake (Billary Clinton won by about 3 more million votes) — to deal with Maduro. (It’s always stupid white men, too; John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton — an abject wingnut who of course is “President” Pussygrabber’s “national security adviser” — also is a Venezuela hawk, of course.)

The people of the sovereign nation of Venezuela should deal with Maduro.

The claims of the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime and its jackbooted supporters that they care so much about Venezuela’s humanitarian problems are beyond laughable.

The Pussygrabber regime and its aiders and abettors don’t give a flying fuck about the American citizens in the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, for fuck’s sake, so for them to claim to care so much about the plight of the Venezuelans is incredibly incredible.

No, the right-wing, unelected Pussygrabber regime and its supporters want two things from Venezuela, not necessarily in this order: (1) its vast oil wealth (like Iraq’s, which was the No. 1 reason for the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) and (2) to install a right-wing government in Venezuela that will do corporate America’s bidding, especially in terms of just handing over the nation’s natural resources like a good Latin American nation should.

Did I mention Venezuela’s vast oil wealth? It has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Venezuela is not a democratic socialist nation. Its current government started off with socialist aspirations, but now it has an autocrat, not a democratic socialist, at the helm. (To be fair, this autocracy began under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but further to be fair, the Venezuelan right wing, with the full support of the unelected, illegitimate, right-wing second Bush regime, did try to overthrow Chavez after his democratic election — spectacularly unsuccessfully — in April 2002, which probably accounts for Chavez’s turn toward autocracy; I mean, you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you!)

It’s easy to criticize the Venezuelan government (the real one, not the fake one that the wingnuts so badly wish to install, as they tried to do in April 2002 [they tried to impose a right-wing oil magnate on the people of Venezuela as their new, wholly unelected “president”]), but look at the United States of America: The only reason that “President” Pussygrabber isn’t acting just like Maduro right now, perhaps especially in regards to the treatment of the press, is that the American system (thus far, anyway) has reined the “president” in.

Jorge Ramos again is a great example. Then-“presidential” candidate Pussygrabber infamously kicked Ramos out of a news conference in August 2015, telling him to “Go back to Univision” and motioning to one of his thugs to eject Ramos from the room. One of Pussygrabber’s jackbooted thugs (yet another stupid white man, of course) in the hallway to which Ramos had been ejected was more direct; he told Ramos, who is an American citizen, for fuck’s sake, “Get out of my country!”

Americans who act like Pussygrabber — who as I type this sentence is palling around with North Korean dictator (yup, wholly unelected and dynastic) Kim Jong Un, who treats his people far worse than Maduro treats his, replete with gulags — is better at heart than is Maduro are deluded or liars or deluded liars, and they’re huge fucking hypocrites.

Again, Maduro is simply doing what Pussygrabber would do if Pussygrabber could. (Totally unrestrained, my bet is that Pussygrabber would do far worse than anything that Maduro has done thus far.)

Therefore, the United States of America, as long as it remains occupied by the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime, should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela.

The United States of America right now could only make things in Venezuela worse, not better. The “aid” that the wingnuts wish to bring to the people of Venezuela is just a Trojan horse, because the wingnuts’ ultimate aim is the subjugation of Venezuela — not its betterment.

This is obvious to anyone who is honest, sane and who has been paying attention to the ugly history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

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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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Should Liz Warren drop out? (Probably)

When I recently saw this news image on The Washington Post’s website, my heart sank:

The Post reports that it’s Elizabeth Warren’s registration card for the Texas state bar. “Warren filled out the card by hand in neat blue ink and signed it,” the Post reports, adding, “Dated April 1986, it is the first document to surface showing Warren making the claim in her own handwriting. Her office didn’t dispute its authenticity.”

Past reportage that I have seen has indicated that Warren once had ticked off a box indicating that she is of Native American heritage, but if that indeed is her own handwriting above, um, yeah…

The accompanying Post news story to the news photo above begins, “Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday that she was sorry that she identified herself as a Native American for almost two decades, reflecting her ongoing struggle to quiet a controversy that continues to haunt her as she prepares to formally announce a presidential bid.”

As scandals go, it could be a lot worse. It’s not a photo or photos of Warren in blackface, for fuck’s sake. And she wasn’t recorded bragging about having force-kissed anyone and having grabbed anyone’s genitals.

But for Democrats, especially intelligent ones (hi, Al Franken!), there usually is much less forgiveness and much more punishment than there is for Repugnicans.

I just don’t see Warren getting past this “Pocahontas” bullshit. It is, methinks, going to stick. Forever. At least if she’s running for president.

Not long after I thought that it’s probably all over for Warren, Sacramento Bee opinion editor Gil Duran posted an editorial titled “Elizabeth Warren Is Smarter Than Anyone Running for President. She Should End Her Campaign.” He writes:

Elizabeth Warren would make a great president. She’s smarter than anyone else in the race. She advances bold and unapologetically progressive ideas. She’s a truly fearless and earnest leader, not a cautious and mealy-mouthed politician.

But her candidacy would be a disservice to her ideas. The Washington Post’s cringe-worthy revelation that she claimed American Indian as her racial identity on official documents — despite denying she’d ever done so — should end her White House quest.

Days before her planned announcement, Warren’s once again apologizing for fudging her racial identity. It’s a devastating scandal for a campaign, with questions of character wrapped in explosive racial issues. It’s painful to watch.

I believe Warren when she says she grew up with stories about her family’s native roots. Many of us grew up with similar tales. …

He concludes:

… The vast inequalities American Indians face today are a festering wound of injustice in need of moral and economic redress. To fix such injustices, we need leaders like Warren who aren’t afraid to take on powerful forces, tackle inequality and reject the dismal status quo.

But presidential politics is a ruthless blood sport, and I doubt she can overcome this scandal. Her actions raise serious questions about her character and alienate people of color. She took Trump’s DNA bet and lost. If she runs for president, we’ll hear her apologies more than her ideas. How many more damning documents exist?

I believe Warren has an important role to play in American history. Maybe it’s not the one she really wants, but it’s the one we need. She should spare us this humiliating spectacle and continue to lead from the Senate.

For the very most part, I agree. That Warren very apparently affirmatively wrote that she’s “American Indian” on an official document does indeed raise valid questions about her character. Whether she ever actually gained anything by having claimed Native American heritage is irrelevant; she wants to be president, so this is a fair question of her honesty and character.

(Yes, indeed, “President” Pussygrabber is a thousand times worse than Warren ever could be — there is no comparison — but do we on the left really want to lower the bar to Pussygrabber’s level?)

Even if the whole “Pocahontas” fracas had never existed at all, Elizabeth Warren very most likely would have been torpedoed because she’s intelligent. (I don’t know that I agree with Gil Duran’s assertion that she’s “smarter than anyone else in the race,” but she’s definitely in the top tier where brains are concerned.)

History has demonstrated amply that American voters, many if not most of them not being all that bright themselves, usually don’t want egghead presidents — at least not presidents who act like eggheads.

It isn’t fair, and anti-intellectualism — a pillar of fascism — so often is dangerous, but it is what it is.

Warren has yet to hit double digits in any fairly recent nationwide poll of Democratic Party presidential preference that I have seen, so I’m not sure if she has a real idea of what she appears to be up against. I don’t believe in giving up, but when the fight is futile…

Warren is to make a big announcement on Saturday, presumably her official presidential announcement (on the very last day of last year, she announced the formation of her exploratory committee).

Her announcement on Saturday probably should be that she has decided not to run after all, but the Boston Herald reports that she plans to travel to several early-voting states after Saturday, indicating that she plans to stick it out, at least in the short-term future.

I still like and respect Elizabeth Warren — her having claimed some Native American heritage, in my book, is a bit weird* but not unforgivable — but I agree with Gil Duran: This is painful to watch.

*I don’t know. Being white is kind of boring, and maybe she wanted to try to spice things up a bit. I just don’t know. But Elizabeth Warren is no Rachel Dolezal

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Will Booker and Harris split the black vote and do voters want an Obama 2.0?

Are Cory Booker and Kamala Harris the best Democrats have for 2020?
Getty Images news photo

Not only will official presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker split the black vote, but are 2020 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters really eager to be punk’d again by a Barack Obama 2.0 promising — but not delivering — “hope” and “change”? (Booker and Harris are shown above during the September 2018 Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, which they used to showboat their presidential aspirations.)

As much as Kamala Harris incorrectly has been painted as a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination over the past several months — it has been the wishful thinking of the identity politicians — the first time that she reached double digits in a nationwide poll of preference of Dem presidential candidate was quite recently: a Morning Consult poll taken January 25 through January 27 put her at a whopping 10 percent.

But that 10 percent came right after she’d announced her candidacy on January 15 (Martin Luther King Day) and had basked in the ensuing media attention. Once her 15 minutes are up, will she sustain double digits, even low double digits?

I doubt it, especially now that Cory Booker officially has jumped into the race. (I’ve already written what I think of Cory Booker [two words: corporate whore], so I won’t regurgitate all of that here.)

Not that Booker is doing great in the polls. In the nationwide polls of Dem presidential preference taken in January*, he averaged only 2.6 percent. (Harris averaged only 6.25 percent in those polls.) But once you’re officially in the race, your poll numbers tend to go up if you’re anything like a viable candidate at all, since voters would rather support an actual candidate over a hypothetical one.

And until today, Harris was the only black candidate in it officially. We’ll see now how much black support Booker does or does not siphon away from her.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders remain the top two front-runners, averaging 27 percent and 15.75 percent in the January polls, respectively.

Right now it’s probably safe to say that Harris is at No. 3 behind Biden and Bernie, but will she keep that place now that Booker has made it official? And right now it’s probably also safe to say that just behind Harris are Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke.

I still don’t expect O’Rourke to gain traction. He apparently thinks that he can jump in the presidential race whenever he wants to and reportedly stopped fund-raising months ago.

For someone who lost his last election, I don’t think that O’Rourke can afford to act like this, and my guess is that he knows that having lost his last election, he can’t win the Dem presidential nomination on the strength of only having been an unremarkable member of the U.S. House of Representatives with a squishy, centrist political philosophy, if you can even say that (much like Cory Booker) he has a political philosophy other than trying to be all things to all people, which means that he probably actually stands for nothing at all.

Warren seems to be in it to win, seems to be taking the long view, and with O’Rourke most likely flaming out and with Harris and Booker probably splitting the black vote, my guess is that Liz will find herself at the No. 3 spot sooner rather than later.

And Joe Biden. Joe. Biden. He’s so uninspiring, such a centrist sellout, with his last act being his sarcastic defense of his love for Repugnicans. This is not at fucking all where the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are at today, Old Joe, but please, please, please keep up your stale act.

Biden is the pick of those who haven’t paid much, if any, attention, to the primary race that’s already under way, and they knee-jerkedly pick the candidate they think most likely can win. He was Barack Obama’s veep, so he’s a shoo-in, right?

If Biden runs, it will turn out like his first two runs for president (in 1988 and in 2008): Once they hear him speak, the voters will be turned off and they’ll reject him.

Biden can’t win on the strength of having early support only from low-information voters, and he won’t generate the enthusiasm that several of the other contenders (you know, those who don’t love Repugnicans) can.

As far as the other candidates and potential candidates go, it’s much easier to say that you’re going to run for president, to tease a presidential run (and to even officially start one), than to actually run for president over the long haul.

Yes, for a long time now we’ve looked at a crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, but once reality hits, I think that we’ll see candidates and potential candidates drop like flies — that is, those who were talked about running will announce that they won’t run after all (like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California billionaire Tom Steyer), and those who prematurely got into the race, like Richard Ojeda, will drop out sooner rather than later, Martin O’Malley-style.

My prediction: Your being a billionaire won’t help you in this election cycle, in which income inequality is taking the spotlight, but will hurt you. Look at the vitriol that Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz quite deservedly has received for talking about being an independent presidential candidate.

Also: If the highest level that you achieved was the U.S. House of Representatives or the mayor of a city or an Obama cabinet member, you are toast. You better have had been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state. You very likely won’t replicate “President” Pussygrabber’s feat of having ascended to the Oval Office without first having been at least a U.S. senator or a governor.

And: If you haven’t been a consistent champion of the working class, but have been only a feel-good-platitude-spewing corporate whore, God save you.

On these notes, finally, I’ll go out on a limb and prognosticate that in the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, identity politics probably won’t be the problem that I’ve long thought that it would be. (The fact that Biden and Bernie have been at No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls for a long time now alone indicates this.)

Not only will Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably split the black vote, but thus far neither Harris nor Booker (especially Booker) has offered anything other than generic, feel-good platitudes, refusing to take any courageous, controversial stances (that is, to lead).

Obama really ran with his platitudes of “hope” and “change” and “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States,” but that political pablum won’t fly this time. Obama, an uber-opportunist, took advantage of a political window that was open only around the time he decided to run for president.

And, because Obama didn’t deliver on his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” but was a caretaker president at best, I don’t think that the voters have the appetite to be punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Harris or Booker. I sure the fuck don’t.**

I wasn’t going to talk him up in this piece (honestly), but when you dissect the current political dynamics, as I have done above, it seems to me that the one candidate who benefits the most from those dynamics is Bernie Sanders.

It is, methinks, his time.

P.S. This is a recent quote from Cory Booker, per Politico. The occasion was Martin Luther King Day, but still; this is what I mean when I say “political pablum”:

“King said we can never let someone pull us so low as to hate them. We need each other in this nation. We need people that are gonna put the indivisible back into this one nation under God. We need folks that are gonna mend up wounds and bind us back together.

“We’re not going to be measured by how much we hate someone just because they vote differently than us or think differently than us. No, we will be measured by our defiant love and our ability to pull people together and help them to recognize that the lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us.”

This is rehashed Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, more the latter than the former, and this “Kumbaya” bullshit didn’t work for Obama. How would Obama knock-off Booker have any more success than Obama didn’t?

Repugnicans don’t respond to unity talk; they just ram their right-wing agenda through while clueless, centrist Democrats talk about love and unity and kittens and butterflies and fluffy bunnies as a distraction to try to mask the ugly fact that they are corporate whores. Jesus fucking Christ.

*My methodology: I’m looking at only the January 2019 nationwide polls of 2020 Democratic presidential preference that are reported here on Wikipedia. And of these polls, as I have noted before, I reject and exclude the Emerson College poll taken on January 20 and January 21 because its results differ so wildly from all of the other polls’.

**I voted for Obama in 2008, thinking that he might actually deliver on his promises, but then when it became clear that he was only about style, about being a very presidential president, and not about substance — or, at least, certainly not trying to push through a boldly progressive agenda — I could not vote for him again in 2012.

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