Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me drinking a big cup of tea, 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!

With an ever-widening field of de Blasios, the Democratic National Committee has announced a higher qualifying threshold for the third presidential debate, scheduled for September, as so many candidates have met the polling and fundraising threshold for the first two debates on June 26 and 27 and July 30 and 31.
For the third debate, the DNC is essentially doubling the polling and fundraising thresholds set for the first two debates — and requiring candidates to meet both standards, instead of just one or the other.

Candidates will need to register at least 2 percent in four major polls conducted this summer and receive donations from at least 130,000 individual donors, including at least 400 in 20 states.

"Candidates who will be prepared to take on Trump in the general should already be working to build programs that can bring in 130,000 donors by the second round of debates," said Erin Hill, the executive director of ActBlue, Democrats' central clearinghouse for online donations.

There will still be a maximum of 20 spots on sage for candidates — 10 each over two nights — but some slots may go unfilled if candidates fail to meet the higher bar.
Hopefully there will be some winnowing after the first two debates, anyway, as fundraising really starts to dry up for candidates who aren't getting any traction. It would be terrific if some of the outliers who are cluttering the field would come to their senses and redirect their efforts toward, oh I dunno, election integrity in 2020. We can't all run for president, folks!

* * *

[Content Note: Nonconsensual touching] Welp, despite having promised to stop with the inappropriate touching, Joe Biden has done it again. Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted last night: "In a somewhat odd moment at tonight's AFT town hall, Biden tells a 10-year-old girl, 'I'll bet you're as bright as you are good-looking.' He takes her over to the assembled reporters, then stands behind her and puts his hands on her shoulders while he's talking. ...Here's a video of the exchange (begins around the 43:20 mark)."

The video was awful for me to watch. I have too many memories of being that little girl at a civic or church event, grinning with gritted teeth, just wanting it to be over, while some glad-handing old man stood behind me with his hands on my shoulders, inevitably talking about how cute or smart I was, or, on a disturbing number of occasions, saying I looked older than I was.

Naturally, when I tweeted about it, I immediately got the expected, tiresome pushback about it. She was smiling! It was probably the highlight of her summer! You don't know what she was thinking! I sure don't. I do know, however, that Biden didn't ask for her consent to be touched. That's wrong, regardless of how she feels about it. Every adult should be committed to teaching children that they have a right to consent to be touched.

And let us be clear: Biden didn't just put his hands on her shoulders. He steered her all around the room while holding onto her, using her as his prop.

After telling her, a 10-year-old child, that she is "good-looking."

This is unacceptable to me. I don't understand why it isn't unacceptable to Joe Biden.

In other Biden news, at a Houston fundraiser last night, he made the contention that it's not that America is divided; it's just that our politics are broken: "America's less divided today on issues than when I got to the Senate as a 29-year-old kid. Then we were divided on everything from war, to the women's movement, to civil rights, across the board. But our politics is broken."

Our politics are definitely broken, but has Biden heard that there are literal Nazi apologists in the White House who like the idea of charging women with murder for getting an abortion? I dunno, but maybe Biden isn't the right person to say whether America is more or less divided on issues of gender and race these days.

* * *

[CN: War on agency] Omgggggg I love that Senator Kamala Harris brought this up and that she refused to engage the pretense that Donald Trump didn't really mean it:

Harris: The current President of the United States ran on a campaign that said women should be punished — punished! — if they have an abortion. We have a president who—

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell: Well, he took that back just about as soon as he said it. He said that to Chris Matthews in the middle of one of these [town hall events]—

Harris: It came out of his mouth, and I think it's a reflection of his perspective.

[audience cheers and applause]
The no-bullshit look on her face! Damn, I'm so glad to have such great women running for president!

Also, for the record, it was hardly as straightforward as "Trump said that and then took it back." Days later, he was bragging about how much people loved that answer, because of course he was.

In other Harris news, yesterday she "rolled out a new proposal aimed at stopping some state laws that restrict abortion by preventing them from going into effect in the first place. Harris pledged that, if elected president, she would create a preclearance requirement for 'states and localities with a history of unconstitutionally restricting access to abortion,' according to a fact sheet released by her campaign. Her 'Reproductive Rights Act' would shift the burden away from abortion providers who have to file suit against the states to stop new laws; instead, it would require states to prove their laws are constitutional." Nice.

And the best part of this Politico piece on Harris in her quote regrettably buried in the very last paragraph: "A large part of what I do, and I try to do, is to actually see people. And that requires having some curiosity and concern about the condition of the lives of people other than one's self. And then when you ask the questions and you hear the stories, seeing what the opportunities are to actually bring solutions." Empathy and listening. Huh. What a concept.

* * *

I like this vow from Julián Castro:

And I like this mirthless snark from Governor Jay Inslee:

And I like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand straight-up calling Trump a conspiracy theorist for his stance on climate change (where is the lie?):

Beto O'Rourke has released an immigration plan that is one biebillion times more humanity-centered than the current malice masquerading as immigration policy: "On day one of his presidency, Beto will use executive authority to stop the inhumane treatment of children, reunite families that have been separated, reform our asylum system, rescind the travel bans, and remove the fear of deportation for Dreamers and beneficiaries of programs like TPS."

Rep. Seth Moulton has shared that he sought treatment for PTSD after serving in Iraq, which is very brave and something I appreciate as a person with PTSD. However, I am not keen on the details of his plan to expand mental health care for veterans, which accompanied his personal disclosure, specifically this: "Requiring annual mental health checkups and a mandatory counseling session for everyone returning from a combat deployment within two weeks of arriving home."

Make them available and provide strong incentives and direct abundant resources to reducing the stigma that deters people from seeking treatment, yes. Require mental health screenings? No. Not with preexisting conditions hanging in the balance and Republicans working to reducing funding for government-provided care, even to veterans. That could leave veterans with PTSD without care at all in their future. And if Moulton wants to make sure that doesn't happen, he should support robustly-funded universal healthcare, which he doesn't.

Senator Bernie Sanders isn't drawing the same crowds he used to: "The Vermonter hoped to reset his White House bid with a home-state Montpelier rally expected to draw up to 5,000 people Saturday — until the actual event attracted only about half that... A new Monmouth University poll finds Sanders' national numbers have fallen 5 points in the past month." Welp.

One of the best things about elections are babies and dogs! Just ask Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren!

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