Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me looking unenthusiastic, holding a sign that says 'YAY.' surrounded by confetti, pictured 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!

Let's start with seeing what the Senators are up to!

Senator Kamala Harris is reintroducing the Rent Relief Act, her proposal that would "establish refundable tax credits in cases when rent and utilities exceed 30 percent of a household's income. ...'Housing is a human right, and we must act now to end the affordable housing crisis and provide relief to working families who are worried about making each month's rent,' Harris said in a statement. [She] said the tax credit would ensure 'basic security and dignity that every American deserves to have in their own home.'"

Senator Cory Booker has formally introduced a slavery reparations bill, which "would form a commission to explore reparations proposals for African American descendants of slavery, according to a statement. The bill is a companion version of a House bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. The bill was first introduced in 1989 by Rep. John Conyers." Booker tweeted: "I am proud to introduce legislation that will finally address many of our country's policies — rooted in a history of slavery and white supremacy — that continue to erode Black communities, perpetuate racism and implicit bias, and widen the racial wealth gap."

From the Can't Fucking Win files: "Elizabeth Warren Had Charisma, and Then She Ran for President."
Charisma comes from the Greek word for "divine gift," and back in 2015, political commentators thought Elizabeth Warren had a lot of it. Vox called the senator from Massachusetts "a more charismatic campaigner than [Hillary] Clinton." Roll Call said Clinton couldn't "match Warren's charisma, intensity, or passion." The polling firm Rasmussen called Warren "Bernie Sanders with charisma."

That was then. Now that Warren is running for president, many journalists have decided the charisma is gone. An article last month in The Week noted that Warren "doesn't do uplift, which is what people mean when they grumble about her lack of 'charisma' and 'energy.'" In a recent story about Warren's fundraising trouble, The New York Times suggested that she was suffering because Democrats' "longstanding fascination with youthful charisma — along with its current, Trump-driven fixation on electability — can outweigh qualities like experience or policy expertise."

What happened? Warren may be a victim of what scholars of women's leadership call the "double bind": For female candidates, it's difficult to come across as competent and charismatic at the same time. To be considered charismatic, leaders must be both appealing and inspiring, both likable and visionary. Unfortunately for women who seek positions of power, they're rarely perceived as possessing these characteristics while also being deemed competent to do the job.
You might think that this is a good article, until you reach shit like this: "But in seeking to bolster their fragile reputation for competence, women can undermine their aura of charisma in two separate ways. First, they become less likable." Hahahahaha! Oh women. We are such silly dum-dums for becoming less likable when we should instead become more likable! WHAT HAVE WE BEEN THINKING?!

*that face*

This is from a few days ago, but I didn't catch it at the time: Senator Amy Klobuchar penned an op-ed on criminal justice reform for CNN, in which she wrote, "As president, I would create a clemency advisory board as well as a position in the White House — outside of the Department of Justice — that advises the president from a criminal justice reform perspective." That is a very good idea, and I hope whoever the eventual nominee is, if it isn't Klobuchar, incorporates it into their platform.

This is informative about both Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: Gillibrand "said during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night that she has gotten advice from Hillary Clinton... 'Secretary Clinton is still a role model for all of us,' Gillibrand said in response to a question about her prior comments saying President Bill Clinton should have resigned amid the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 'My view on her husband is very different,' Gillibrand continued. 'And I've said all I'm going to say about that.' Gillibrand also said that she thinks their relationship is 'strong.'" Gillibrand said her piece about Bill Clinton, despite the possible professional consequences, and Hillary Clinton still offered her advice all the same.

Senator Michael Bennet is running for president even though he has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In fact, he says, it motivated him to run, because: "It only underscores how infuriating it is that we have a guy in the White House who's made a mockery of dealing with the problems in our health-care system." That is his choice, and I support it, and I hope his treatment is successful. Also: I cannot help but remember how Hillary Clinton's health was relentlessly policed and she was shamed for fainting while campaigning with pneumonia and nobody thought she was noble for having normal human health issues.

Senator Bernie Sanders still has not released his taxes. But SOON!

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[Content Note: LGBTQ hatred] Who could have predicted that Mayor Pete Buttigieg's pandering to conservatives by admonishing us to empathize with them and urging them to tolerance with a theological debate would backfire spectacularly? Obviously they responded by shit-talking Buttigieg and questioning the legitimacy of his religion. That sort of trash is but one of many reasons why I don't have a big heartful of empathy for these malicious bozos. They're not misguided; they're mean.

Hey, would you like some largely irrelevant "fast facts" about Beto O'Rourke? Then CNN has got you covered! Here's a fast fact: CNN's fast facts about Beto don't include the fact that he likes to stand on stuff!

Rep. Tim Ryan, who definitely seems like the wooooorst, has a "long, weird history of palling around with fluoride and vaccine skeptics." Yeah, that sounds about right.

Mayor Wayne Messam says that "the government forgive [the $1.5 trillion Americans owe in student in loan debt] and pay it all off for everyone, which he thinks would work as an economic stimulant. Messam proposes doing that by repealing the Trump tax cut, which he thinks would free up $2 trillion, he said." Except...that $2 trillion is being stolen from other necessary programs which are being slashed, so the choice isn't really just a straightforward choice between Trump's tax cut or student loan debt. That's a very unserious proposal.

"Former Maryland congressman John Delaney, who was the first Democrat to enter the presidential race in July 2017, is polling at just 1 percent in the crowded 2020 field. Nonetheless, the former representative and businessman told a crowd of Penn students that he still thinks he's the right person to defeat [Donald] Trump. At a Tuesday night event hosted by Penn Democrats, Delaney billed himself as a different type of Democrat, offering a centrist vision for the nation." Oh.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

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

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