Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me looking unenthusiastic, standing next to a giant purple F, 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!

Booker, Harris, Gillibrand,
Warren, Castro, Klobuchar,
Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Mayor Buttigieg!
Inslee, Messam, Hickenlooper,
Ryan, Bennet, John Delaney,
Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and ol' Mike Gravel, too!
Beto and Marianne,
That's all 20 candidates.
Christmas tree. Here I go. I'm gonna jump right in.
We didn't start the fire!
It was always burning, since the world's been turning!

Because there just aren't enough candidates in this Democratic primary yet, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is one of the several other white dudes — see also: Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio — who are still considering throwing their hats into the three-ring circus, and he says: "Of all the candidates running, how many have actually wrestled a 280-pound, eight-foot alligator for a political contribution of $15,000. How many? I am your man, folks."

Yeah, well, I once saw a teenage orangutan win a tug-o-war against a 363-pound sumo wrestler with all the effort it takes me to scratch my nose, and she did it for free, so I guess I'm voting for her for president.

Anyway. Back in Serious Candidate Town... Senator Kamala Harris is very clearly making the case that she is not only not Donald Trump but that she is way better than he is, and I defy anyone to tell me that she's not making a compelling argument for Democrats not just against Trump:
"We are better than this," Harris said at the Iowa Memorial Union, going on to condemn what she called a fueling of white supremacy, a poor economy for workers, inaction on climate change, and a failure to address gun violence.

The California senator and former attorney general lingered on her plan to boost pay for teachers, which, in Iowa, would raise teachers' pay by $12,200 on average annually.

..."You can judge a society based on how it treats its children," Harris said. "So then we know one of the greatest expressions a society can make — it's an expression of love for its children — is to invest in their education, and by extension that means investing in our teachers."

...During the town hall, Harris slammed politicians who tout the stock market or low unemployment as a marker of a healthy economy, noting she has met many teachers in Iowa who are working two or three jobs to pay the bills.

"As far as I'm concerned, in our America, you should only have to work one job," she said.

She also told the crowd she supports the Green New Deal, a stimulus package that aims to address climate change, universal background checks for gun purchases, and Medicare for all.
In other female senators who are running and taking this whole president thing seriously news, Senator Elizabeth Warren released 11 years (one more than Senator Bernie Sanders has promised, and I'm sure that is no coincidence — SHADE QUEEN!) of her taxes and said: "I've put out eleven years of my tax returns because no one should ever have to guess who their elected officials are working for. Doing this should be law." And that is some shade for Donald Trump. BOOM. 💥

Julián Castro also continues to deliver messaging that I like very much: "Castro sought Wednesday evening to seize the spotlight that Donald Trump cast on his hometown with a fundraising visit, holding a counter-rally to denounce the president's immigration policies as an 'absolute failure for our country.' 'We're here today because we believe in people first,' Castro told a crowd of a few hundred people at a park in downtown San Antonio. 'We're here today because we choose compassion over cruelty.'" YES.

Again, I will note that Castro is frequently dismissed as having inadequate experience for a presidential run, and again I will note that Castro was a cabinet secretary during the Obama administration, in addition to having served in an executive capacity as mayor of San Antonio, a city of 1.5 million people.

And his experience shows, as I have previously noted. He's extremely polished on TV and in front of a crowd, and he can deliver pro-Democratic talking points succinctly and with authority.

Yet he is polling below both Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, each of whom have less experience than he does:

This is largely the fault of the political press, who are working overtime to turn young white men into the heroes of the Democratic primary. But, as I have observed, far too many Democratic voters are also dismissing only Castro out of hand, using metrics that should apply to O'Rourke and Buttigieg, too, if evenly applied.

Also: Senator Cory Booker polling lower than O'Rourke is fucking gross. It's hard to see that, especially combined with the double-standard with which Castro is being treated, and not see bias against the men of color in this race.

On a totally related note, this is an interesting article about how O'Rourke became a congressman significantly thanks to a Super PAC whose sole purpose was unseating incumbents (in either party), presumably to break the federal government. Which is nothing over which O'Rourke had any control, so there's no criticism of him here, nor is this intended to erase his personal charisma and ethics. But it is worth noting that the narratives about his ascendance due to unique talents, competence, and readiness are not strictly true. To the contrary, he may have won because he was green and unprepared.

That, in turn, puts this piece into a different light: "Beto O'Rourke says Iowa visits help him improve: 'From the very beginning on the 14th of March in Keokuk to today in Iowa City, I've had the chance to meet people, listen to people and introduce myself,' he said after the rally with a crowd his campaign said topped 550. 'I'm learning. I'm becoming a better candidate, I hope, and have an opportunity to better serve this country if elected president.'"

(Try to imagine how it would be received if a female candidate said she was learning how to be a better candidate on the campaign trail — which is, frankly, an admission of unpreparedness.)

And finally, staying on the subject of being ready for the big time: Nasty fucker and sitting veep Mike Pence predictably has ensnared Pete Buttigieg in the trap he laid for himself by trying to play on Pence's turf:
"He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally. And he knows better. He knows me," said Pence, who served as governor of Indiana when Buttigieg came out as gay during his reelection campaign for mayor.

...[Pence] said Wednesday that he stood by his view of marriage.

"But that doesn't mean that we're critical of anyone else who has a different point of view," he said.
Like I said: We are fighting an uphill battle against some of the most evil and most sophisticated fuckers on the planet. We can't win with someone who can't see at least as well as I can how this kind of stuff will play out.

Experience matters. But the political slogan of the left for this era is: Experienced Women Who Work Hard Aren't Inspiring. And it's going to kill us all.

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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