Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me angrily flipping over a desk, while standing in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

[Content Note: Sexual harassment] On Friday, Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician in Nevada, wrote a piece for The Cut in which she details having been kissed on the back of her head by Joe Biden at a political event in 2014. In addition to detailing her own experiences, she writes:
Time passed and pictures started to surface of Vice-President Biden getting uncomfortably close with women and young girls. Biden nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary's wife; Biden kissing a senator's wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women's ears; Biden snuggling female constituents. I saw obvious discomfort in the women's faces, and Biden, I'm sure, never thought twice about how it made them feel. I knew I couldn't say anything publicly about what those pictures surfaced for me; my anger and my resentment grew.

Had I never seen those pictures, I may have been able to give Biden the benefit of the doubt. Had there not been multiple articles written over the years about the exact same thing — calling his creepy behavior an "open secret" — perhaps it would feel less offensive. And yet despite the steady stream of pictures and the occasional article, Biden retained his title of America's Favorite Uncle.
Since Flores' piece was published, there have been articles written with headlines like, care of the Washington Post, "Joe Biden's affectionate, physical style with women comes under scrutiny." That is, to put it mildly, a terrible and offensive headline for its soft-pedaling of what Biden's doing. And yet, the fact that it needs the qualifier "with women," as Biden isn't nuzzling and kissing any men along the campaign trail, reveals the truth despite the attempt to minimize the behavior.

Naturally, all the usual suspects are coming to Biden's defense, like the chronically odious Mika Brzezinski, and I was getting all the usual pushback on Twitter, with the same tired arguments about how it's a "learning moment" because he didn't know what he was doing, to which I responded that it's aggressively gullible to imagine that "someone who has endlessly bragged about helping pass the Violence Against Women Act and oversaw (badly) Anita Hill's testimony doesn't already know what he's doing is wrong." The man has lived on this earth for more than 70 years. He knows what he's doing is wrong.

Some of the Democratic candidates were asked about it, and rape essayist Senator Bernie Sanders said that whether Biden's behavior was disqualifying is a decision for Biden himself to make.

Um, that is quite a punt! Especially for someone who keeps insisting they now have the best sexual harassment policies of any campaign in place. Leaving it up to men who commit sexual harassment and/or assault to decide whether that makes them unfit for office isn't the way accountability works, Bernie. YIKES.

* * *

This is a neat article about one of the constituencies supporting Senator Kamala Harris:
Lorna Owens is cajoling friends to get involved in the 2020 presidential race over coffee at her neighborhood Starbucks in Miami. In nearby Miramar, Florida, Dahlia Walker-Huntington is sending WhatsApp messages to dozens of contacts around the country. And outside Boston, Ramesh Kapur is busy organizing fundraisers in Cleveland, Chicago, and beyond.

All three are part of a small, but growing, network of political fundraisers in the Jamaican and Indian diaspora in the U.S. who have sprung into action in recent months with a single purpose: Help California Sen. Kamala Harris win the presidency.

Even in the most diverse group of presidential contenders ever fielded by Democrats, Harris stands out. If elected president, the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother would be not only the first woman, but the first Indian American, the first Asian, the first black woman, and the first person of Jamaican descent to ascend to the office.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] And this is a neat article about Harris and Senator Cory Booker appearing together at the NAACP Image Awards: "The 50th annual NAACP Image Awards served up several moving moments, and one of our favorites happened when Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker stood shoulder to shoulder on the stage. The two presidential hopefuls shared a warm embrace before addressing the ecstatic crowd of stars and fans."

They talked about how important the issues in which they share an interest are, and how important the election and voting are, and it was basically more of the roundtable style electioneering that the Democratic senators in the race have been doing, of which I am very much a fan!

* * *

Oh dear, Pete Buttigieg, what are you even doing?

And then there was this, in a Washington Post piece about Buttigieg's religiosity: "He thinks [Donald] Trump has found favor among many white evangelicals and white Catholics because of his opposition to abortion, he said. But Buttigieg said he believes the president is behaving 'in bad faith' and said there's no evidence that he doesn't favor abortion rights deep down."

Honestly, who the fuck even cares what Donald Trump believes "deep down," because all that matters is that he is advancing an agenda of profound and relentless malice, including an assault on abortion access.

I just don't get this guy at all.

And I realize that I am apparently an outlier, because, according to Buttigieg, he raised $7 million in the first quarter. Which also means he ain't going anywhere anytime soon.

* * *

Damn, this isn't good: "Michael Pratt, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren's finance director, is in the process of leaving Warren's presidential campaign as a result of the senator's recent decision to swear off soliciting money from wealthy donors during the primaries, according to a Warren campaign aide." I wrote when she announced her decision that it was a risky strategy, but I didn't expect she would lose her own staff over it.

One of my main concerns about Warren is that, although she is very good at government, she is very bad at politics. And it's possible to become a senator while being bad at politics, as long as you're good at government. (If you're a Republican, you can be bad at both!) But a president needs to be good at government and politics, and I'm not sure that Warren has as strong a command of the political aspects required by the presidency.

Anyway. Let's hope her fundraising strategy doesn't rob her of the time to prove me wrong.

* * *

Beto O'Rourke is still running for president and still standing on stuff!

I am not the only one who has noticed this habit!


* * *

The Guardian has a nice profile of Julián Castro, if you're looking to learn more about that guy! "People didn't know where I stood on a whole bunch of issues because when I was mayor and at HUD I wasn't asked about them. I'm going to articulate a strong vision for the country's future that people will see is genuinely what I believe, and I think it will catch on." Okay!

John Hickenlooper is still totally running for president, and, in a recent interview, he explained why he is not among the several candidates and would-be candidates (Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden) who continually criticize Hillary Clinton for her 2016 loss: "She is one of the smartest policy experts on almost anything. ...She had the FBI actually come out and make allegations ten days before the election, that turned out to be baseless. No one's ever had I'm not gonna criticize her."

And when lots of folks thanked him for saying that, he responded: "There's no need to thank me, I'm just speaking the plain and honest truth. Hillary Clinton faced historic interference and obstacles in her campaign, and still won the popular vote. She's a brilliant mind, a caring individual, and a shining example to everyone in our party."


John Delaney is still definitely running for president.

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

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