Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me pointing to a giant UNSUBSCRIBE button, 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!

So, let's start today with some news about someone else who may yet enter this wild-ass primary, but, in a surprise twist, we'd all be happy if she did: Stacey Abrams! "Stacey Abrams said Tuesday that she won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 but left open the possibility she could launch a presidential campaign." That is a loss for Georgia — but I expect Abrams has calculated she can't win as long as long as the corrupt Brian Kemp is running the state. She may believe she has a better chance on the national stage, and/or maybe more importantly would have a bigger platform from which she could highlight voting issues.

And now to some of the 22 candidates already running...

Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled an "online organizing tool" called BERN which "allows everyday supporters to contribute to the campaign's voter database by logging names and background information of anyone from a family member to a stranger met at a bus stop. It matches each name to a voter record before noting their level of support, priority issue, and even union membership." EXCUSE ME, IT DOES WHAT?!

I was certainly not the only person to have serious issues with this consent-hostile database.

In addition to the fact that, as designed, BERN is a creepy, privacy- and safety-indifferent nightmare, a flaw (or "flaw") in the software meant that "for a couple hours today the personal voter IDs of 150m+ Americans was available freely and easily, in violation of laws in all 50 states and fed privacy statutes, and it was entirely the doing of the Sanders campaign. Think about that."

Plenty long enough for a foreign adversary who wants to meddle in our elections to access a heaping fuckload of voter data.

By way of reminder, the Sanders campaign also improperly accessed Hillary Clinton voter data in 2015.

[Content Note: Homophobia; rape culture] Yesterday, a Medium article circulated with (an obviously false) allegation of sexual assault against Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Today, a Daily Beast report reveals who was behind that despicable smear: Conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman — who were previously caught inventing sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Bob Mueller. I am angry that they tried to smear Buttigieg, relying on homophobic tropes about gay predators. I am angry that they are making a mockery of sexual assault reporting. I am angry that they are free to continually harass their ideological opponents. I am angry that the press keeps falling for it. I am angry about this on every possible level.

Polls at this point don't mean anything in terms of the eventual outcome of the primary, but Joe Biden finally announcing his candidacy "earned him an 11-point polling bounce, leaving him head and shoulders above the rest of the Democratic candidates." Which is not surprising, given the level of name recognition he enjoys as the former veep. I'm not remotely convinced that will last as voters get another look at him as a candidate. They didn't like him twice before, and I expect they won't like him a third time.

Speaking of Biden, here is a timely reminder that the issue on which Senator Elizabeth Warren changed her politics and started her career — bankruptcy — is one on which Biden was on the wrong side.
In the 1980s, she and a colleague teamed up with a sociologist to examine the realities of personal bankruptcy. "I undertook the first empirical study to show how families were cheating the system. I thought, 'I'm going to do the study and uncover abuse,'" she said. "When we got through with the study, and I got a good hard look at the actual facts of bankruptcy, my outlook was never the same. In fact, my personal life was never the same."

The line of inquiry took her to Harvard Law School, and after the financial crisis, into public service and now a presidential campaign. One turning point on that road brought her directly into conflict with a key rival for the White House, then-senator Joe Biden.

In the 1990s, the increasing number of U.S. consumer bankruptcies led to a push by the financial sector to make it harder for people to seek relief from the courts. Lenders argued that deadbeats who had been borrowing to fund lavish lifestyles would then use bankruptcies to erase their debt. It was called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).

Warren, a nationally recognized expert on the topic, used her research to argue that the real problem could be found in lax lending practices, like credit-card companies opening accounts for teenagers with no incomes, or the impact of sudden, enormous medical bills on family finance.

Nonetheless, the legislation was enacted, but president Bill Clinton refused to sign it, in part thanks to Warren's lobbying of first lady Hillary Clinton. With George W. Bush in the White House following the 2000 election, the legislation was reintroduced, and eventually became law. Its top champion among Senate Democrats was Biden of Delaware, a state called home by several major lenders whose employees contributed generously to his campaigns.
This is a very good interview with Senator Cory Booker. It's the kind of interview that make leftists hate Booker and accuse him of being a filthy centrist, but look closely at how carefully he compliments Republicans who work with him while still taking every chance he gets to say, without actually saying it, that the GOP is trash. It's actually hilarious how deft he is.

Note, for example, how his "we're all friends" rap screeches to a halt at Kushner. He won't pretend he's friends with a white supremacist, but that "friendship" was useful enough when it was expedient to appeal to Poor Jared with a Jailbird Dad long enough to pass criminal justice reform.)

People really don't understand how successfully manipulative of Republicans Booker is. For basically his whole senate career, he has flattered Republican senators by being Their Black Friend in order to get what he wants from them. And he allows himself to be the butt of the joke (and the target of lots of criticism) in order to be effective. Just like he was a "hot dog" (as he describes himself) to get shit done for Newark.

I also really appreciate the message Booker tries to get across here: People in low-income communities don't have the luxury of purity politics.

That's an argument I've made before, as you may recall.

Anyway. Agree or disagree with Booker's record, I hope people will at least take the time to understand that he's not "pandering" to Republicans. He's using them (while obfuscating that fact with flattery). And there is a meaningful difference.

* * *

Beto O'Rourke has put out an ambitious climate change plan. Climate candidate Jay Inslee presumably responded with WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?! Which prompted O'Rourke, I can only imagine, to stand on something and Nelson Muntz a "HA HA" at him.

Ooh good hire alert! Senator Kamala Harris "has hired Jim Margolis, one of the Democratic Party's most accomplished admakers, as her media adviser, two sources familiar with the move told Politico. Margolis is a veteran of former President Barack Obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and served in a key role in Hillary Clinton's White House bid in 2016. A partner at GMMB, the leading advertising and campaign firm, he spent years as a top adviser to Democratic senators, including former Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada."

Julián Castro took a tour of "the flood tunnels underneath the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, accompanied by local organizations working to end homelessness. ...'It wasn't lost on me or anyone else there that underneath hotels that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in one of the places that is known around the world as a playground for people around this country and around the world, that you have people who are living in deep poverty, sleeping not even in the street, but in a drainage tunnel,' Castro said at an event in Las Vegas the day after." He seems like a good egg, and he is definitely a good communicator of ideas.

If you give a fuck, Rep. Tim Ryan released ten years of his tax returns.

"Democratic congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), an Iraq war veteran who announced his candidacy for president early this week, wants you to know that presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who are trying to push America towards more progressive policies are bad for our country, and he's running to save us. ...Moulton then oddly compared 'some' of his fellow running mates to [Donald] Trump explaining, 'The problem with some of the candidates in our party is that they're divisive in the same way that Trump has been so divisive,' Moulton said. 'They are pitting different parts of America against each other.'" Shut the fuck up, you facile twerp.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

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

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus