Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me desperately drinking from a giant cup of coffee, 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!

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] And then there were 21: Rep. Seth Moulton, last seen voting against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, has announced that he, too, is running for president, and his brand is apparently Patriotic White Guy: "Well, first of all I'm going to talk about patriotism, about security, about service, these are issues that for too long Democrats have ceded to Republicans and we've got to stop that, because this is actually where Donald Trump is weakest, we've got to take them on on these issues, on these core values that make us strong, and that's what I'm going to do in this campaign. This is going to be a campaign anchored in service, in security, and in patriotism."

Moulton is 40 years old. That is 4 years younger than I am and old enough to know that his own party has not "ceded to Republicans" the issues of patriotism and security and service, but that the Republican Party has claimed to own these issues by defining them in narrow terms that othered liberals — and that the political press has promulgated that garbage narrative, because warmongers with their sloganeering sell more papers than diplomats with their measured nuance.

I have zero interest in candidates who want to try to out-Republican Republicans at their own game using their terms. And I have zero interest in candidates who ignorantly or cynically buy into mendacious framing about their own party, because it's easier to knock down a strawman than it is to penetrate propaganda as thick as shit with truths that lots of voters don't even want to hear.

Hard pass. Thank u, next.

* * *

Let us all take a moment to appreciate the way that Senator Cory Booker can talk to people who live in rural areas about feeling neglected while not talking about them like they're the only people who matter:
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker became the first Democrat running for president in 2020 to campaign in rural Nevada on Friday, saying rural communities have a lot in common with inner-city dwellers who are often "talked down to" and "left behind."

..."I'm not just a big city mayor," he told reporters during another stop at the Washoe County Democratic headquarters in Reno later Friday afternoon. "I ran New Jersey's largest city through an economic crisis. It was a city that was always underestimated, a city that was talked down to, a city that was often left behind."

"That is something I think a lot of rural communities feel a kinship with, have that same chip on the shoulders that we have — that defiant sense of purpose. That our communities matter, too. That our communities should be paid attention to also. Our communities have incredible potential as well," Booker said.

"I've been really affirming that connection that exists between Americans where we have a lot of common pain and we need to get back to a sense of common purpose. I'm going to be the guy that is president of the United States who has already shown what I can do in communities that are overlooked, left aside, and often left behind," he said.
Booker talks about unity in a way that encourages empathy with people in disparate communities, rather than pitting them against one another as though it's a zero-sum game.

This is quite an extraordinary approach. And yet Booker is overlooked for white male candidates who use dogwhistled white male supremacy in place of an authentic path to national unity.

Gee I wonder why that is. (I do not wonder. I seethe.)

* * *

I am not sure what Senator Elizabeth Warren is trying to accomplish with this piece at The Cut: "The World Needs Fewer Cersei Lannisters." It would be one thing if she just wrote about the Danys of the world vs. the Cerseis of the world, but she starts out saying that Game of Thrones is all about the women for her, before she goes on to draw a distinction between Dany and Cersei, which suggests that she is dividing women in politics into those two categories. So, who's the Cersei in her metaphor?

This is a pretty good example of what underwrites my hesitations about Warren. Like I've said before, my impression of her is that she's good at government and bad at politics. And this mess sure doesn't disabuse me of that assessment.

However, I am very glad that she is good at government, because she is not just a presidential candidate but is a sitting senator and an extremely good one. Case in point: Her Twitter thread about the Mueller report.
The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.

Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: "Congress has authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice." The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.

To ignore a President's repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.

The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.
Right fucking on!

CNN's MJ Lee reported: "Am told that Warren, who was flying back to Boston from Salt Lake City yesterday, began reading the redacted Mueller report on the plane. She continued reading into the night after getting home, and when she was finished, felt it was her 'duty' publicly say what she just tweeted." Thank you, Senator.

* * *

Senator Bernie Sanders, taking a page out of right-wing think [sic] tanks' playbook, "spent $444k of campaign dollars on his own books in 2015."

That is some grifting bullshit. It isn't clear to me whether he pocketed any profits from those sales, but, even if he didn't, $444,000 buys a lot of books, which artificially inflates sales numbers, which in turn casts in quite a different light his repeated comments about how he became a millionare writing a best-selling book.

It also recalls Sanders' unethical fundraising during that period. Would so many people, especially those who could ill afford it, have contributed to his campaign if they knew their money was being used to buy his own books?

* * *

Senator Kamala Harris is thinking ahead and thinking smart, tweeting: "We must embrace paper ballots and upgrades to our election infrastructure in 2020. Russia and other foreign adversaries cannot hack a piece of paper like they can a computer. Every voter deserves to have their vote counted. It's imperative we work now to protect our elections." Correct!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Mayor Pete Buttigieg can't stop talking about religion: "Dickerson asked Buttigieg if he has a particular favorite passage of scripture: 'If there's one that I always try to think about when I'm deciding what to do, it's the Beatitudes,' he said. 'I also think about the scripture that says that when you pray, 'Be not like the hypocrites who love standing in the synagogues, in the corners of the streets, that they'll be seen by others and praised for it.' So, you know, there's a lot to turn to and a lot to check yourself in scripture.'" Without a trace of irony, friends.

Joe Biden will reportedly announce this week that he's running for president. Okay. I can't wait to report on the metric fuckton of oppo research that will be immediately disgorged into the press the moment he announces. POUR ME ANOTHER COFFEE.

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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