Tag Archives: progressivism

Will Bernie break our hearts?

Image result for Bernie leaves hospital

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

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

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

Will this sink Bernie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Good luck, Liz (you’ll need it)

Updated below (on Wednesday, January 2, 2019)

Boston Globe photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts celebrates her election to a second Senate term in Boston in November (above), and yesterday she declared her intention to run for the White House. She’d make a good president, but match-up polling has her barely beating “President” Pussygrabber in November 2020, while both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the clear front-runners for the Democratic nomination, both beat Pussygrabber in the match-up polling by double digits. 

I guess that maybe Elizabeth Warren deserves a political Brownie point or two for having gone first this time around, that is, for being the first upper-tier Democratic Party presidential candidate to have formed an exploratory committee for 2020.

But I just can’t forget that in 2016 we pretty much heard crickets from her, and she isn’t polling well right now; she has yet to hit double digits in any nationwide poll of Democratic presidential preference taken over the past three months.

By comparison, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have hit double digits in all of those polls.

Bright and shiny new object (to lift from Claire McCaskill) Beto O’Rourke only sometimes hits double digits in those polls, as does Billary Clinton when she stupidly is included in them. (I put the chances of Billary running yet once again at maybe 1 percent or 2 percent. Oh, I’m sure that she’d still very much like to be president, but even she probably doesn’t want the embarrassment of running again and failing spectacularly again.)

According to the nationwide polling, right now it’s really down to Biden and Bernie, but I’m not one to say, anti-democratically, that someone shouldn’t run, even if he or she doesn’t have much of a chance, as is the case with Warren. If you qualify to run for president and wish to run for president, knock yourself out; the voters will sort you out.*

As I’ve noted, Warren as of late unfairly has been attacked, and it’s been rather sad to watch her implode instead of explode, perhaps especially over her Native American DNA campaign.

I don’t think that she did anything wrong by pushing back against “President” Pussygrabber’s perpetually calling her “Pocahontas,” but apparently the whole episode backfired on her in the court of public opinion.

I think that Warren would make a good president, but I also think that as a presidential candidate she’d be smeared as just another Massachusetts egghead, a la Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. It’s not fair, but all is fair in love and war and politics.

Also unfair is the fact that while I always thought that Billary Clinton’s and the Billarybots’ claim that Billary faced sexism/misogyny always was bullshit — voters haven’t liked Billary primarily because she is unlikable and untrustworthy and reeks of corruption, not because she is a woman — I think that as a presidential candidate, Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny.

That’s not her fault, and you easily could argue that she shouldn’t be punished for it, but the larger issue is whether or not she can beat Pussygrabber in November 2020.

A Morning Consult poll taken in August showed Warren beating Pussygrabber in a hypothetical match-up, but by only 4 percentage points, while that same poll showed that both Bernie and Biden beat Pussygrabber by 12 percentage points each.

Recall that months before the November 2016 election, Billary Clinton led Pussygrabber by only single digits in most polls. By the time Election Day arrived, she was ahead of Pussygrabber by only a few percentage points. We all know how that ended up.

Unless the match-up polling changes, it would be too risky to make Warren the 2020 Dem nominee, especially when both Bernie and Biden do much better in the match-up polling against Pussygrabber.

(In that August Morning Consult poll, by the way, both Cory Booker and Kamala Harris lost to Pussygrabber, by 2 points and 3 points, respectively. They are non-starters, in my book. I mean, sure, go all-out for craven identity politics, but then also ensure that Pussygrabber gets a second term! Woo hoo! Smart!)

I’m OK with Warren being the 2020 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, but with both Bernie and Biden also being from the Northeast, should one of them snag the presidential nomination, as I expect to be the case, I don’t know that either of them would pick another Northeasterner as his running mate.

In the end, Elizabeth Warren might remain in the U.S. Senate for the remainder of her political career, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for the people of the nation. The Senate has few progressive fighters like she.

In the meantime, I’m focused on the Democrats nominating the most progressive candidate possible who also has a very good chance of beating “President” Pussygrabber (polling against “Pussygrabber” by at least double digits is where my own comfort zone is).

That candidate right now is Bernie Sanders. He fulfills both requirements, while no one else does. Everyone else is either not progressive (enough) or probably can’t beat Pussygrabber, or both.

Update (Wednesday, January 2, 2019): Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has written another thoughtful-as-usual piece on the unfair treatment of Elizabeth Warren by the corporately owned and controlled media.

I agree with most of what Taibbi has to say, and I too am concerned that the corporate media aren’t reporting the news so much as they are trying to influence the outcome of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary contest. (As I’ve noted, it would be no shock that the corporate media bash a candidate who promises to rein in corporations!)

That said, when I get behind a presidential candidate, over time I give him (or her) a lot of money (in proportion to my income, anyway), my time and energy (OK, mostly that’s blogging, but still…) and my emotional investment. Therefore, the candidate’s viability, as best as it can be discerned, matters to me.

Fact is, Warren isn’t looking great right now. (Yes, that might change, but right now… [I make no predictions as to who the eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be, but I can and I do look at and report what the current polling indicates.]) Even among those of her own party, Warren can’t get double digits in the nationwide polls. If she doesn’t excite her own party, how can she excite the national electorate?

That aside, Bernie Sanders (who gets double digits in the nationwide polls) generates more enthusiasm within me personally, perhaps because he remains necessarily critical of the Democratic Party where appropriate and when necessary, and also because yes, I do at least somewhat believe that it’s his turn.

He did a great job in 2016, given what he was up against, winning 22 states and garnering 46 percent of the democratically earned delegates to Queen Billary’s 54 percent. Had the Billarybots within the DNC and elsewhere within the establishmentarian party machine not rigged the process, who can say that Bernie wouldn’t have won the nomination?

Any other candidate who had done as well against party juggernaut Billary as Bernie did would be the heir apparent right now, but because he’s a democratic socialist instead of a Democratic Party hack, Bernie’s accomplishments in 2016 (and before and afterward) largely are ignored.

That’s some fucking bullshit, and I think it’s (past) time that we reward him by making him the presidential nominee this time.

Taibbi writes about “electability,” and yes, ideally that should be for the voters, not the corporate media, to decide. Yet there is a synergy between the voters and the media; both influence each other, for good and for ill, and there probably is no way around that.

Team Warren, in an e-mail it sent to Warren’s supporters today (I’m on her e-mail list), spoke about “commentators [who] spend more time covering Elizabeth or any woman’s ‘likability’ than her plans for huge, systemic change to make this country work for all of us.” (The e-mail makes it pretty clear that Team Warren views claims that Warren isn’t likable to be rooted in sexism.)

I never have seen Warren as anything other than likable (I gave her another donation today), but electability is, it seems to me, a valid concern, as long as it isn’t rooted in something like personal sexism, racism, homophobia or xenophobia, but is rooted in political dynamics, such as recorded in reputable polls.

Taibbi, quoting another writer, suggests that “Democratic voters should ignore such punditry, and simply vote for whichever candidate they would most like to be president.”

Well, I would most like Bernie Sanders to be president, and I am supporting him again for 2020, but, truth be told, I also want “President” Pussygrabber out of office as soon as possible — yes, I also want to win — and, as I already noted here, with Bernie, I believe, we get that two-fer.

Elizabeth Warren remains my second choice, and if she grows in popularity within the Democratic Party to the extent that she poses the largest clear and present danger to Pussygrabber’s “re”-election, then she might even steal me from Team Bernie.

*Well, a corrupt Democratic National Committee aside, that is. The corrupt DNC most definitely tipped the scales for Billary in 2016, but some reforms have taken place since then, so we’ll see how 2020 goes.

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Beto O’Verrated

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 what the fuck, if anything, he stands for. Reports Politico:

Asked if he is a progressive Democrat, O’Rourke told reporters, “I don’t know. I’m just, as you may have seen and heard over the course of the campaign, I’m not big on labels. I don’t get all fired up about party or classifying or defining people based on a label or a group. I’m for everyone.”

If you’re for everyone and everything, then you are for no one and you stand for nothing.

I get it: O’Rourke campaigned in Texas, where if you’re one millimeter left of center you must deny it at all costs, claiming against credibility that you’re entirely non-ideological.

So O’Rourke is a left-leaning coward in a red state or he truly has no moral compass other than saying whatever he thinks he should say to win your vote — even if that means that, as he has done so far, he really says nothing at all.

We’ve been here, done this, with Barack Obama. (The New York Times reports, unsurprisingly, that “veterans of former President Barack Obama’s political operation (and Mr. Obama himself) [are offering] their counsel [to O’Rourke] and hampering would-be rivals who are scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future campaign staff.”)

I, for one, won’t be punk’d again. (I voted for empty suit Obama in 2008, but not in 2012, after he turned out to be, at best, a centrist caretaker, not a bold and progressive leader.)

O’Rourke has pulled only single digits in the nationwide polls of Democratic Party presidential preference taken over the past two months, with the exception of one poll, which put him at 15 percent, but in all of these polls he has come behind Bernie Sanders, who in all of these polls has come behind Joe Biden.

It’s safe to say that for right now, anyway, according to the reputable nationwide polls, it’s Biden at No. 1, Bernie at No. 2 and O’Rourke depressingly at No. 3, with everyone else in single digits.

(The MoveOn poll referenced in the editorial cartoon above that recently put O’Rourke at No. 1 was, to my knowledge, an entirely unscientific online poll that easily could have been rigged by the Betomaniacs, but even the MoveOn poll has Biden, Bernie and O’Rourke all in the top three.)

Worse, reportedly there is chatter within Team Biden about a desperate, twice-run-and-twice-lost Joe Biden making O’Rourke his running mate, as though one unappealing candidate plus one unappealing candidate somehow equals two appealing candidates.

Also, of course, even though I’ve railed against identity politics many times, I think that it would be a big mistake for the Democratic Party to run two white guys on its 2020 presidential ticket. (Only about one in three Americans is a white male.)

I’m for Bernie Sanders, who, ironically, is an actual Democrat, plus a non-white-guy vice-presidential candidate, perhaps Elizabeth Warren or even perhaps Kamala Harris, who, although she’s an empty slate much like O’Rourke is, at least won her election to the U.S. Senate.

As Matt Taibbi recently correctly pointed out, the corporate media hacks are busy trying to destroy Elizabeth Warren, trying to orchestrate her demise and then pretend that it was a naturally occurring event and not an event that they actively caused (perhaps probably to protect the corporations from which they draw their paychecks).

That said, Bernie would benefit should Warren not run or drop out (as he would, I’m sure, inherit most of her supporters), and it always has bothered me that while Bernie had the balls to run against Queen Billary in 2016, Warren sat it out — hardly courageous of her.

While the corporate media are unfairly savaging Warren, in the end it might mean a President Sanders — a wholly unintended consequence, I’m sure.

In the meantime, again, I very much hope that the ill-conceived love affair with Beto O’Rourke flames out as quickly as it flamed up.

P.S. I saw this on CNN, after I posted the above:

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the pole position in the first CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll among likely 2020 Democratic [Iowa] caucus-goers, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke joining him as the only possible candidates in the field with double-digit support.

The new Iowa Poll finds 32 percent of likely caucus-goers saying they back Biden as their first choice, 19 percent Sanders, 11 percent O’Rourke, 8 percent Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 5 percent California Sen. Kamala Harris, [and] the rest of the 20-person field testing below 5 percent support.

The top three candidates in Iowa, including O’Rourke’s third-place ranking, match the top three in a national CNN poll released Friday. Early results nationally are often driven by name recognition, but in Iowa, the campaign is already underway, with several of the tested candidates having made multiple visits to the state, and at least one having already visited all 99 of the state’s counties.

The field will, I believe, shrink soon enough, as the second- and third-tier candidates realize that they can’t possibly compete with the top-tier candidates.

There will, methinks, be jockeying for the veep slot, though, mostly among the second-tier candidates, including Harris, Cory Booker and maybe Warren.

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For Dems 2020 probably will be 2016 redux (and 2nd chance to get it right)

Image result for bernie biden

Associated Press news photo

No, that’s not Bernie Sanders about to bitch slap Joe Biden, although I hope that happens in 2020 if both of them run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination… (Above is Sen. Sanders being sworn in by then-veep Biden in January 2013 in a re-enactment.)

Salon.com’s Andrew O’Hehir laments that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders thus far are the top two front-runners for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.*

O’Hehir proclaims that

A Sanders-Biden throwdown would rip the scabs off old wounds, inflame entrenched divisions and cast the party in the worst possible light, making clear on a bunch of levels that it doesn’t know who it represents or what principles it stands for. At a moment when Democrats finally seem to be moving toward the future, this would make them appear stuck in the past.

At least O’Hehir correctly identifies the top two front-runners.

Nationwide polls of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters taken over the past month indeed all show Bernie and Biden as the top two front-runners, both of them in the double digits, while some pundits (most of them identity politicians) actually claim that their favored candidates, who can’t even break into the double digits in the nationwide polls (such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and even Beto O’Rourke), actually are in the top tier. (Again, that’s not reporting the facts; that’s trying to get your own candidate into the top tier by lying about the facts.)

That said, I think that O’Hehir unfairly lumps Biden and Bernie together. While Biden doesn’t have much (if anything) more than “Vote for me — I was associated with the last popular Democratic president, Barack Obama,” Bernie has written books about who he represents and what principles he stands for. (Granted, books by most presidential politicians are pretty boring, but you cannot factually claim that Bernie hasn’t put his beliefs, values and ideas out there. He has. Repeatedly.)

Even after O’Hehir proclaims that Bernie being in the race would “[make] clear on a bunch of levels that [the Democratic Party] doesn’t know who it represents or what principles it stands for,” he acknowledges that 

[Bernie] is the standard-bearer for the resurgent progressive movement, who galvanized a rising generation and almost single-handedly pushed Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, free college and other issues of economic justice to the forefront of the party’s agenda after 30 years of managerial neoliberalism. 

So Bernie is an actual Democrat.** Horrors!

A Bernie-Biden match-up would, however, I agree, very potentially “rip the scabs off old wounds” and “inflame entrenched divisions.” (As far as “[casting] the party in the worst possible light” is concerned, does O’Hehir actually worry about what the Repugnicans think about the Democratic Party? I sure the fuck don’t. Nor do I much care about what the low-information “swing” voters think, even if we need their votes, truth be told.)

A Bernie-Biden match-up would be, to a large degree, a Round Two of the Bernie-Billary match-up: the progressive (the actual Democrat) against the sellout establishmentarian “Democrat,” the one who, when he or she must, can pay lip service to some progressive ideas but who, once in office, does little to nothing (just like Obama did and just as Billary would have had she won the presidential election).

If the conflict between the progressives and the Democrats in name only persists (and it does) it’s because it’s yet to be settled. Things move slooowly in politics. We Berners are dead-set on taking over the Democratic Party, frankly. We began the work no later than with Howard Dean’s candidacy in the 2004 cycle.***

We’re in it to win and we’re in it for the long run.

O’Hehir and others may lament all they want that Bernie and Biden are the front-runners, but thus far (according to the nationwide polls) they are the people’s choice, and in a democracy, that’s all that matters.

It will be the primary elections and the caucuses that choose the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee, not any pundit or blogger.

O’Hehir and his ilk apparently believe that what excites them personally — making a relatively nationally unknown but (at least relatively) young, non-white and, preferably, female candidate the presidential nominee — will win the 2020 presidential election.

I disagree.

All American voters, not just the identity politicians who align themselves with the Democratic Party, will vote for president in November 2020.

And given the demographics of all American voters — American voters (i.e., those who actually vote) remain older and predominantly white — it’s probably actually the most strategic to run Bernie or even Biden against “President” Pussygrabber.

The percentage of voters who are white is dropping and the percentage of non-white voters is growing over time, and as today’s youth become tomorrow’s older voters, the nation will, I believe, become more and more Democratic (and, hopefully, more and more progressive) over time. (Indeed, the Repugnicans wouldn’t need to cheat blatantly if they were in a strong position.)

But we’re not there yet.

We’ll get there if we work with what we actually have in the national electorate, not with what we wish we already had.

As president Bernie Sanders can and would, I believe, set us in the right direction toward getting to that promised land.

*Salon.com has gone way, way downhill over the years — I now prefer Slate.com — but I still will read O’Hehir, whose writing is decent enough even when I disagree with him. (He used to write film reviews but then moved into writing about politics.)

**Even though he casually lumps Bernie and Biden together, O’Hehir acknowledges:

It might sound ludicrous to say that Joe Biden is a male cognate to Hillary Clinton with fewer (or at least different) electoral negatives, but that’s approximately true. In fact, whatever populist, mid-Atlantic street cred he may possess, Biden is almost certainly less progressive than Clinton on core economic issues, and not much different in terms of hawkish foreign policy.

Biden is the only prominent figure in the prospective 2020 field to flat-out oppose Medicare for All, a.k.a. single-payer health insurance. He is lukewarm at best on other structural and economic reforms favored by progressives, and has long been a supporter of Clintonite 1990s-style financial deregulation and free-trade policies. (He’s from Delaware, a state whose economy is largely driven by quasi-predatory lenders perched in sinister office parks.)

As a matter of dogma and doctrine he is certain to stake out a range of non-confrontational, “moderate” positions aimed at luring in repentant conservatives and not alienating the donor class. I mean, that worked out great for Hillary, so why not?

***Full disclosure: I didn’t support Howard Dean in 2004, but supported John Kerry, because I saw Kerry as the best candidate to take on George W. Bush and because Dean’s record and personality suggested to me that he’s a fraud, and his subsequent actions and words over the years have proved me right; for years now he has toed the establishmentarian, not the progressive, line.

He slavishly supported Billary, for instance, and still does.

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Pelosi probably should go. She won’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But she won’t. 

Because she’s Nancy Pelosi.

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

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