Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me riding on the back of a chubby unicorn, 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!

Senator Cory Booker officially kicked off his presidential campaign this weekend in his hometown of Newark, giving a rousing speech during which he "combined his familiar themes of unity with specific policies to close the racial wealth gap, repair what he considers a broken criminal justice system, and set the country on a path to be a leader in climate change."

The launch date was not incidental: "In choosing to have his kickoff rally on April 13, Mr. Booker pointed to the same day in 1963, when Dr. King first woke up in a jail in Birmingham and began writing what would become Letter From a Birmingham Jail. 'Generations of Americans have shown us what was possible when they refused to wait,' Mr. Booker said. 'Now it's our turn. And we have work to do.'"

I will repeat here what I said about Booker in comments on Friday: I really like Booker's optimism. It's infectious. And it doesn't have a quality of naivete that many other optimistic political rhetoric has. Part of the reason I trust Booker's earnest optimism is the fact that I have also seen his earnest anger. He rages against what's broken, and conveys his hope that it can still be fixed.

I like that.

You'd hardly know that Booker had officially launched his campaign this weekend, however, because Mayor Pete Buttigieg also officially launched his, and he's getting all the media attention.
"My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete," Buttigieg said at a rally inside a partly rebuilt factory, formerly owned by automaker Studebaker. "I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States."

"I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing nothing like Studebaker would ever come back, but that we would, our city would, if we had the courage to reimagine our future," he told the crowd.

If elected, Buttigieg, a 37-year old Rhodes Scholar, would be the youngest president in history, and the first who is openly gay.
Just for the record: South Bend hasn't been an industrial town since WWII. Its main economic drivers are healthcare and higher education. Notre Dame is the biggest employer in South Bend by a country mile.

I grew up a half hour from South Bend, where I lived until three years ago.

Anyway. I have not been a fan of Buttigieg's campaign so far, but he still has plenty of time to win me back. I expect that's unlikely to happen, but it is not impossible!


In other LAUNCH news, Senator Elizabeth Warren launched her #WinWithWarren house parties across the country:

And, listen, I know I am fully one million years old, but I can't help it that I'm delighted by old-time politicking of piemaking for your favorite candidate meeting the modernity of social media.

Senator Kamala Harris continues to slay in South Carolina — and has picked up the coveted endorsement of former state Rep. Bakari Sellers, who "touted Harris' focus on rural communities, and her early platform centered on raising teacher pay, addressing the maternity mortality crisis, and supporting historically black colleges and universities. 'These issues hit home for me,' Sellers said, 'and Kamala has repeatedly offered clear solutions for each one, proving there is no problem or person too small to be heard.'"

Harris also released 15 years of her tax returns this weekend, which cover "every year that Harris, a former attorney general of California and district attorney of San Francisco, has served in elective office."

Harris, Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Governor Jay Inslee have all made a number of years of their tax returns public.

Beto O'Rourke had one of the best responses to Donald Trump's attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar, even if it took him two tries to get there: "This is an incitement to violence against Congresswoman Omar, against our fellow Americans who happen to be Muslim." Blunt, and thankfully so.

In less good news for O'Rourke, people are starting to notice that he's short on substance: "Kamala Harris has her $315 billion proposal to raise teacher pay. Amy Klobuchar has a seven-point infrastructure investment plan. Elizabeth Warren is swimming in white papers on subjects ranging from tech company mergers to taxes and housing. Beto O’Rourke's most distinctive policy position? To be determined. There's no signature issue yet, no single policy proposal sparking his campaign. Convening crowds — and listening to them — is the central thrust of his early presidential bid."

That's not totally fair. He also likes standing on stuff.

Senator Bernie Sanders, what the fuck are you even doing, attacking the Center for American Progress because ThinkProgress published an article you didn't like? That, of course, is a rhetorical question, because we all know damn well what Sanders is doing — being a destroyer of the Democratic Party and the liberal establishment, because he is a goddamn nightmare.

Of course the article he didn't like was quite rightly pointing out that Sanders spent all of 2016 shit-talking millionaires, but now he is one, so his tone has changed a bit. Only billionaires are the true enemy now.

And I'm not going to sugarcoat this at all: Sanders is a lousy hypocrite. And it's not because he's a millionaire — it's because he asserts that all the things he's been saying about millionaires don't apply to him, too.

And naturally, instead of straightforwardly addressing the situation, dude's got shitty jokes: "I didn't know that it was a crime to write a good book which turns out to be a bestseller." Fuck you, Bernie.

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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