Primarily Speaking

screenshot of Julian Castro appearing on Hardball

Julián Castro appeared on Hardball, where he had a bunch of interesting stuff to say, including this about Donald Trump: "This is a president that is bound and determined to be a president for his 37% base. I'm running for president because I want to be a president for all Americans." If you want to get to know Castro a little bit better as a candidate, I recommend checking out the interview.

In other Castro news, he's making the rounds in Iowa, where he "pitched ideas including affordable healthcare and college, a $15 minimum wage, support for labor unions, addressing climate change and affordable housing, criminal justice reform, universal pre-K education, and immigration reform," and told the crowd that, if elected, "the first thing he'd do on Jan. 20, 2021, is sign an executive order re-committing the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord." Said Castro: "We need to address some of the long-term threats to this country: climate change being number one."

Senator Elizabeth Warren is really mounting a risky strategy with her restrictive fundraising decision — "No fundraisers, dinners, receptions, or phone calls with wealthy donors" — garnering blunt headlines like "Warren creates purity test unseen in modern presidential politics." She also sent out an email to supporters yesterday with the subject line "This decision will ensure I'm outraised in this race."

It's a big gamble. I'm not sure it's going to pay off. There are a lot of powerful people whose support you need to get to the Oval Office who won't be excited about Warren sending out emails broadcasting she's going to get outraised. And there are a lot of average Democratic voters who might be turned off by her messaging, even if they support her principles.

It's neither especially compelling nor repelling to me, though I suspect it would put her at a critical disadvantage in a general election against Trump, which is worrisome. Like I said, this purity angle is risky. So good luck to you, Senator Warren!

Senator Kamala Harris is banking on her strategy of locking down California with major endorsements across the state. She's already gotten the endorsement of California Governor Gavin Newsom, among others, including 20 state Senate Democrats and 4 California members of Congress. (One of whom is Rep. Ted Lieu, John Dingell's heir to political Twitter stardom.)

At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin writes that Harris has the all-important "it" factor that will help her stand out from the increasingly crowded primary field: "She doesn't get lost in airy platitudes or in the weeds of policy; she paces her appearances with some of each. She can read a room. Call it connectivity or empathy, but the best politicians have it, and those who don't cannot fake it."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is making a pretty damn good case for himself: "'I've got more years of experience in government than the president,' Buttigieg said Monday in San Francisco, before adding with a smile, 'That's a low bar.' The two-term mayor also has more years of executive experience than Vice President Mike Pence, his state's former one-term governor. And the Navy reserve officer says he has 'more military experience than anybody to walk in that office since George H.W. Bush.' ...[H]e prefers to talks about values like 'freedom' in a way that Republicans don't. 'They aren't talking about reproductive freedoms or the freedoms afforded by having universal health care,' Buttigieg said. 'Freedoms that, frankly, if the progressive side doesn't defend them, nobody will.'"

All of that is very good, but this was my favorite bit: "He bristled when asked if his measured approach would stand up in a general election campaign against Trump. 'I grew up in Indiana and I'm gay. I'm comfortable dealing with bullies,' Buttigieg said. 'I got a lot of practice dealing with rocket fire (in the military). I think I can handle being called silly names.'" Bring it on, Trump!

And finally... Senator Bernie Sanders appeared at a "town hall" with Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night, and it went pretty much exactly as you'd expect. I'll just quickly highlight two things:

1. CNN's Kyung Lah tweeted: "Bernie Sanders makes a compelling case on how Trump voters are unfairly painted as racists. What they need is decent health care, a good job, and a fair playing field. He says he can uniquely reach out to Trump country." WOW.

First of all, everyone needs decent health care, a good job, and a fair playing field, including the people of color who are routinely scapegoated by Trump's deplorable base. Not everyone who lacks these things expresses their feelings about not having them via resentful bigotry.

Secondly, Sanders continues to promulgate the sinister myth that most Trump voters are struggling white folks. That is not true. It was not true during the primary, and it was not true during the general election. This mythical narrative has been thoroughly debunked. It's wildly irresponsible for Sanders to keep relying on it. And either he doesn't know it's been debunked, which makes him scandalously uninformed about one of his central talking points, or he does know and keeps using it anyway, which makes him aggressively unethical. Appalling, either way.

Finally, this idea that aggrieved conservative white folks across the country are just latent socialists who have yet to encounter Sanders' irrefutably terrific ideas is horseshit. Like Mayor Pete, I grew up in Indiana, and I'm comfortable telling you that anyone who imagines conservatives are all just future socialists waiting to be converted by the magic of Bernie Sanders is living in a dangerous and very stupid fantasy.

2. This.

It's incredible that Sanders still doesn't have a decent response to his lack of tax disclosure. Anyway, now he's promised to release ten years of his taxes, so let's see if he keeps that promise.

Why only ten years, I wonder. Curious. At least it's something.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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