Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me wearing two giant foam fingers bearing the letters F and U, 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!

Fresh off praising former Vice President Dick Cheney as "a decent man," Joe Biden said that the Trump administration isn't representative of Republicans, but is an "aberration."
As Joseph R. Biden Jr. made his way across Iowa on his first trip as a 2020 presidential candidate, the former vice president repeatedly returned to one term — aberration — when he referred to the Trump presidency.

"Limit it to four years," Mr. Biden pleaded with a ballroom crowd of 600 in the eastern Iowa city of Dubuque. "History will treat this administration's time as an aberration."

"This is not the Republican Party," he added, citing his relationships with "my Republican friends in the House and Senate."
If Trump's presidency "is not the Republican Party," then why is the Republican Party working so hard to shield Trump from any consequences of his extremism?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question, because anyone with any sense knows damn well that the Trump presidency is entirely the Republican Party.

As I have noted time and again, Trump is not an anomaly of Republican politics, but the inevitable endgame. He channeled and amplified the bigoted, fear-drenched rage that the Republican Party had carefully cultivated among their base for decades in order to assume power, and now counts on the party leadership's commitment to consolidating their control of government in order to keep power.

Trump is not a betrayer of Republican values, but their most shameless promoter.

Either Biden knows this (as well he should), and is lying about it to voters in order to appeal to Republicans, or he doesn't know this, and is even stupider than I imagined. He's disqualifying himself with dishonesty or ignorance. At this point, it doesn't matter which. Anyone who would peddle this horseshit is doing the opposite of earning progressives' votes.

* * *

Senator Bernie Sanders was on ABC's This Week and had some interesting (cough) things to say about his potential running mate, should he get Democratic nomination:
JONATHAN KARL: Cory Booker says he will name a woman as his running mate. Will you make the same pledge?

BERNIE SANDERS: I would give very serious consideration to that.

KARL: Person of color?

SANDERS: I think it's premature. It would be silly to make that statement right now.

KARL: You can't give us your shortlist right now?

That's the official transcript, including the laughter. You can see video of the exchange starting at the 20-minute mark in this video, which autoplays at the link.

I mean, all he had to do was say, "I will choose the best running mate to complement me, and I will not rule anyone out on the basis of being a woman and/or a person of color." It's pretty easy. That he couldn't and didn't do that is really something.

* * *

Meanwhile, here is Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about how strong her opponent Julián Castro's policy ideas on immigration are:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Senator Warren, before you go, let me just squeeze in the question I've asked every presidential candidate who's been here: What is the best policy idea that you have heard from one of your competitors in this campaign?

ELIZABETH WARREN: Ohhh! I think Julián Castro — ah, his idea around immigration, and about changing how we treat people who come here and who are not documented. I think he's got some really good ideas around this. I — I'm very interested in his work; I admire him.

O'DONNELL: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you very much for joining us and for staying a little bit extra with us; we appreciate it.

WARREN: You bet!
This is what I want to see in this campaign. I want to see Democratic candidates amplifying each other's good ideas and engaging in good faith debates around the differences in the details of their respective policies. I don't want to hear them talking about awesome Republicans are, for chrissakes.

Anyway. Warren was referring to Castro's "Putting People First" immigration policy, about which I wrote last month: "It is such a stark juxtaposition to the vile nativist agenda of Donald Trump which I document in profound grief every day that I burst into tears reading something that centers abundant compassion instead of abject cruelty."

That is to say, Warren is right to be interested in Castro's immigration plan, and right to admire him for it.

We could do a lot worse than a Warren-Castro ticket, friends.

* * *

Senator Cory Booker just rolled out an ambitious plan to end gun violence.

You can read the entire plan at Medium: "Cory's Plan to End the Gun Violence Epidemic." And I highly recommend that you do!

* * *

Senator Kamala Harris is reupping her plan to give teachers a raise:

She also gave a speech at #NAACPDetroit (you can see more of her speech at that hashtag on Twitter), during which she was unyielding in defining domestic terrorism, what she would do to stop it if elected president, and how this president is failing us:

That's a good line.

She also highlighted the issue of voter suppression in a very pointed and powerful way:


Also highlighting election integrity is Senator Amy Klobuchar, who after discussing the gravity of election interference with Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union — "[Russia] didn't use a tank, they didn't use a missile, but they used a computer, and they invaded our democracy all the same." — noted on Twitter: "Bottom line: We need legislation like my Secure Elections Act."

Any candidate who isn't talking about election integrity, and actively supporting efforts to address it, at this point in the campaign is making a huge mistake.

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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