Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me crying dramatically next to a giant crying emoji, 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!

The DNC has launched a campaign to remind everyone of all the promises that Donald Trump has broken, leading up to the 2020 election, and they've started with a video about his broken promises on jobs. This is a great campaign for this point in the election, because it stands to benefit whomever becomes the eventual nominee.

Monmouth University has some polling data for you, if you're into that sort of thing. A couple of things I found interesting: 1. "Beating Trump" is one of the issues that is among the most important to Democratic voters. So, yes, Democrats need to define who they are to voters, but also just communicating that defeating Trump is an urgent objective is still a good idea. 2. The candidate with the lowest unfavorables is Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Congratulations, Jay Inslee! Not many people in Iowa know who you are, but those that do mostly don't hate you!

Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to be blunt and unyielding, and I like it:

Senator Amy Klobuchar is highly saucy at Trump about not releasing his tax returns, and I like that, too:

Se we found out that [Donald] Trump is coming to my home state, the state of Minnesota, on April 15th. That would be Tax Day. I figure he must be coming to release his taxes! I released 12 years of taxes, and I'm looking forward to seeing his.
I love her over-pronunciation of the P at the end of "Trump." There's something delightfully condescending about it!

And Senator Kamala Harris really did this LOL:

Paw-licy advisors! Hahahaha!

* * *

Last night was Julián Castro's turn for the CNN town hall treatment, and I continue to despair how little coverage the political press is giving him, because he is so good. This clip really moved me:

Female Audience Member: Thank you. As the only Latino presidential candidate, how are you using your voice and your ties to mobilize the Latino community to vote?

Castro: Thanks a lot for the question. You know, I'm very proud of my background, and I think voters are going to make the decision on a lot of things, right? Your experience, your message, how everybody gets out there and delivers their vision for the future of their country, your track record. But, to me, it is meaningful to be able to run right now when the Latino community feels like this president has put a target on their back. And my hope is that not only am I going to be offering a different vision for the future of this country, one that is inclusive, one that is based in integrity, one that is set in the future about what we can become as a country and not stuck in the past, but also that there might be some little Latino boys or girls that say, "Hey, if he's doing that, I can do that, too." I hope that that happens.

[audience applause]

Don Lemon: I want to step in here, because you mentioned your grandmother. And I know that this is something that's very important to you and your brother. Your grandmother came here — you shared this story before. Your grandmother came here when she was 7 years old. And you talk about you and your brother sharing a bedroom with her. You said it was as cramped as a car trunk.

Castro: It was, yeah, it was.

Lemon: So what do you think it would mean to her to see her grandson running for President of the United States?

Castro: I can imagine the tears in her eyes, you know, because she literally would scrub floors and make food and babysit for people. And for her to believe — for her to see one of her grandsons become the president, she couldn't even imagine it. But that's also the beauty of our country. I think that it would affirm the love that she had for this country that had taken her in. And it would say to her, you know, it's true — that anything is possible in America. And we need to get back to an America where everything is possible for everybody.

[audience applause]
"It is meaningful to be able to run right now when the Latino community feels like this president has put a target on their back." This is so important. This clip should be everywhere.

* * *

Oh boy, there's a big piece in the Washington Post today about how Senator Bernie Sanders got a big assist from the Russians in 2016. "During the primaries, Sanders gave at least three interviews to a Russia-controlled television network, RT, in which his [opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal] was highlighted. ...Around the same time that Sanders was featured on RT, Russian employees at the Internet Research Agency were given a document explaining how to influence the U.S. election. The workers were told to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),' according to Mueller's indictment of the Russians."

This is, of course, not news.

Two years ago, I wrote about former NSA director Retired Gen. Keith Alexander testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Sanders supporters were "unwitting" agents of the Russians — and, at that time, I noted once again that Sanders' chief strategist Tad Devine worked in collaboration with Trump's campaign chair Paul Manafort for pro-Putin former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Then, one year ago, I wrote about Sanders dodging questions about Russia assisting his 2016 campaign — and, at that time, I noted once again that Sanders' campaign, like every other campaign of Hillary Clinton's chief rivals, advocated a policy of working with Russia in Syria that did not make sense then and does not make sense still.

Sanders still has some explaining to do about the assist his campaign got from Russia in 2016 and how Russian policy objectives somehow made it into his foreign policy platform.

These questions need to be asked, and I sure hope some tenacious reporter has the will and opportunity to ask them.

* * *

This is so odd. Obviously, none of the Democratic candidates have run as the presidential nominee, as there isn't a former nominee in the mix this time around. And obviously any Democratic candidate is going to lose support among Democratic groups if shitty info comes out about them. What's the point?

It's a very weird hit on Joe Biden, seemingly just to telegraph that he's got unsavory stuff in his record. Which he totally does.

Interesting that this CNN piece about Biden's gross history of fighting against busing to desegregate schools resurfaced at the same time.

Not that the Bernie Sanders candidates who are deploying oppo research on Biden really need to waste their energy on his old bullshit, because he continues to provide plenty of new fodder on the not-campaign trail every day:

[CN: Homophobia; Christian Supremacy] And finally, I continue to loathe the debate (such as it is) that Mayor Pete Buttigeig is having with authoritarian pigshit and sitting vice-president Mike Pence — which is, naturally, going precisely as I predicted it would.
When Bash asked Pence whether he agreed with Buttigieg's assertion that God made him gay, Pence replied, "all of us have our own religious convictions. Pete has his convictions, I have mine."

"I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the President as he seeks the highest office in the land," Pence said, later adding, "he'd do well to reflect on the importance of respecting the freedom of religion of every American."

...When pressed on his stance on Buttigieg's comments, Pence said, "I think Pete's quarrel is with the First Amendment. All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs. I'm a Bible-believing Christian."

Asked whether that includes the belief that being gay is a sin, Pence repeated, "I'm a Bible-believing Christian. I draw my truth from God's word."

..."I'm not critical of his faith; I'm critical of bad policies," Buttigieg told television host Ellen DeGeneres. "I don't have a problem with religion -- I'm religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community."
It's not that Buttigieg is wrong; he isn't. But this is moving us backward, not forward. It's the exact same debate with the exact same tone we were having a decade ago, and we lost every time until we abandoned this tactic. Buttigieg is regurgitating decades-old arguments that locate the debate squarely on conservatives' playing field.

Did Buttigieg learn nothing from Obama's presidency? He could never be Jesusy enough to convince conservatives he wasn't a Muslim devil, and Buttigieg will never be Jesusy enough to convince conservatives he isn't a gay devil, and why the fuckity fuck does anyone still think trying to convince conservatives of anything is a worthwhile expenditure of energy?!

Hillary Clinton was probably the most authentic devout Christian to run for president as a Democrat in my lifetime, and they decided she ran a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza shop that doesn't have a basement.

This is a losing battle. And even engaging it empowers Pence by giving him room to play victim to the Scolding Homosexual Who Doesn't Even Believe in the First Amendment.

Pence is a disgusting specimen, and no Democrat should ever, ever, stoop to his level to play on his turf.

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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