Primarily Speaking

screenshot of John Hickenlooper, a thin white older man, appearing on Good Morning America

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is the latest Democrat to announce that he's running for president. During an appearance on Good Morning America this morning, he said he's running because "I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done."

I mean, "I can unite the Democrats with Nazis" is definitely a platform, I guess!

Of course that isn't what he meant, but has he noticed what's going on with "the other side" these days? Positioning yourself as someone who can appeal to Donald Trump's base is honestly a pretty curious position, when we all know what it would take to do that.

Also: "I am the person that can...actually get stuff done." Woo.

White men are really doing the most to dismiss the biggest field of women candidates ever.

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You know how I keep saying that instead of joining an already crowded field of talented candidates, other Democrats who want to do something big in 2020 should instead work their asses off to protect our democracy? That is precisely what Eric Holder said in announcing that he isn't running for president: "Though I will not run for president in 2020, I will continue to fight for the future of our country through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates. ...I will do everything I can to ensure that the next Democratic president is not hobbled by a House of Representatives pulled to the extremes by members from gerrymandered districts. Who should that Democratic president be? With the depth and diversity of the current field of candidates (and those who may still join), we will have a host of good options." Yes!

Campaigning in Iowa, Senator Elizabeth Warren was blunt in her assessment of Mike Pence — and in her assessment of Joe Biden's assessment of Mike Pence: "Following a campaign event at Waterloo's Central Middle School, a reporter asked Warren if she agreed with former Vice President Joe Biden's recent defense of a 'decent guy.' 'I'm sorry, I followed Pence's history on LBGTQ Americans and I don't think that is a decent position,' Warren said. 'You don't think the vice president is a decent man?' the reporter pressed. 'No,' Warren said." Right on.

Senator Cory Booker appeared at a service commemorating the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma, Alabama, where he gave a stirring address that did not pull any punches: "We live in a nation that is failing its moral obligations to its children, to its people... I worry now that we are at a point in our country where we see a moral vandalism that is attacking our ideals and beliefs and eroding the dream of our nation." He went on: "People want to make it just about the people in the highest offices of the land. People who traffic in hatred, people in office that defend Nazis or white supremacists, people that point fingers and forget the lessons of King. What we must repent for are not just the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of good people." 🔥

Senator Bernie Sanders was also in Selma.

Senator Kamala Harris has become "the first mainstream U.S. presidential candidate to publicly state she supports the decriminalization of sex work," which is quite significant. It's also left sex workers dubious, because of her previous record. But we want progressive candidates to progress, so, if this is indeed a meaningful evolution, Melissa Gira Grant outlines at the Washington Post where Harris needs to go next, in order to be fully supportive of sex workers: "It would be genuinely important if Harris was definitively throwing her support behind the full decriminalization of sex work. That means removing criminal penalties against people engaged in trading sex and their customers."

Senator Amy Klobuchar has twice addressed allegations of being an abusive boss in the past few days. In a statement to the Star Tribune, she said: "I'm incredibly proud of the work our staff has done and I would not be here without amazing staff. I know I can be tough, I know I can push people too hard, and I also know I can do better — and I will." And joking at the Gridiron dinner (where self-deprecating jokes are expected), she said: "So when Jerry [Seib, Gridiron President] called me about tonight, he asked, 'Do you need a microphone, or do you just prefer to yell at everyone?'"

Unfortunately, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is making her case using the same sort of "unity" language as Hickenlooper: "So the truth is, I am the best candidate to run against [Donald] Trump because I can bring this country back together. I can not only inspire the base on progressive issues that I'm running on like actually passing a Green New Deal, Medicare for all — healthcare is a right, not a privilege — but also being able to reach out to those red and purple voters to be heard and to have them come to the table and be represented."

Listen, Democratic candidates need to understand that this language isn't going to fly with lots of marginalized voters, who have zero interest in reaching out to people who hate us and want us dead. We're in a new era in this country and it demands new language. The new rhetoric must be about being able to change people's minds, because we don't want to sit at a table with Nazis.

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

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