Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me exasperatedly leaning my face against my raised forearm, 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!

Let's start with something cute, because there ain't a lot of cute in politics these days, and I will take all the cute I can get.

That baby is definitely gonna endorse Governor Jay Inslee!

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Senator Kamala Harris has launched a national organizing program: "The California Democrat has taken a more methodical approach than some rivals in amassing ground troops. On Tuesday, Harris' team will take another step, launching a national training program designed to harness volunteer energy on the ground that it could later tap into... Harris, who piloted her online program in Iowa under the banner of 'Camp Kamala,' will put volunteers through one or two sessions a week as part of its national effort to train future precinct captains and volunteer leaders." Good stuff.

I am loving all the bluntness from the women along the campaign trail this time around: "Senator Kamala Harris said she'd seek to repeal all of [Donald] Trump's 2017 tax overhaul, including its breaks for wealthy earners, corporations, and the middle class. 'Get rid of the whole thing.'" LOL yes!

And more good stuff from Harris, on the subject of electability:
The California senator and 2020 Democratic hopeful believes the media narrative taking shape in the presidential race over who is best positioned to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats — essentially that only certain voters will back certain candidates, regardless of where they stand on issues — ignores big swathes of the electorate that she can excite, namely African Americans and women.

..."There has been a lot of conversation by pundits about 'electability' and 'who can speak to the Midwest?' But when they say that, they usually put the Midwest in a simplistic box and a narrow narrative, and too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out," Harris said in an opening salvo during the trip. "It leaves out people in this room who helped build cities like Detroit. It leaves out working women who are on their feet all day — many of them working without equal pay."
Right on.

In a broader article about electability at the WaPo, Harris' words are categorized as "trying to redefine 'electability' for her own purposes." LOL I GUESS! But also for literally the purposes of everyone else who isn't a white man. We've had exactly one president who wasn't a white man, so maybe we can all COOL IT with the overt or implicit criticisms of people who aren't white men trying to expand people's notions of what "electability" looks like, especially since it seems to have fallen down the memory hole that everyone who asserted that a Black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama could never get elected in America was utterly wrong.

Speaking of white men who like the idea that only white men are electable, Joe Biden got a bump in the latest Morning Consult poll: "Four in 10 likely Democratic primary voters ranked Biden as their first choice in the primary, up from 36 percent in the prior week, cementing his early status as the front-runner amid attacks on his progressive bona fides from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)."

As I've said before, that's 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. I suppose that depends on whether Biden can manage to keep a lid on, ah, everything about himself during the campaign.

[Content Note: Gun violence] Yesterday, Senator Cory Booker unveiled his ambitious plan to end gun violence, and during an interview in his neighborhood with CNN's Jake Tapper about his proposal, Booker notes: "As we were filming in my neighborhood, three men were injured in a shooting a block away. When I say my fight to end gun violence is personal, this is why."

[CN: Gun violence; video may autoplay at link] And during an appearance at a middle school in Iowa, Beto O'Rourke was asked by a tearful student, who referenced multiple school shootings: "I'm afraid that one day I'll go to school and I'll never come out. What actions will you take to protect people like me and my classmates from this happening?" Sob.

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[CN: Christian Supremacy] Mayor Pete Buttigieg sat down for a Today show interview, where Craig Melvin asked him yet again about how he talks a lot about his religion:

[transcript starts at 3:12]

MELVIN: (in voiceover) The devout Episcopalian often talks about his faith on the campaign trail, despite criticism. (standing with Buttigieg) You also spend a fair amount of time talking about your faith.



BUTTIGIEG: It's important to me. And I think it's also important that we stop seeing religion used as a kind of cudgel, as if — as if god belonged to a political party. And if he did, I can't imagine it would be the one that sent the current president into the White House.
So: Religion doesn't belong to only one party, but, if it did, it would be mine! Honestly, as an atheist, this is the sort of religious rhetoric I absolutely loathe hearing from politicians.

Later in the interview (starting at 3:56), Buttigieg says something I like: "There's going to be a temptation to kind of play [Trump's] game. If you're playing his game, you're losing. Nobody's going to play his game better than he does. And so we've got to do something completely different."

I agree! And have said that same thing many times myself, including just last Thursday!

Which is why I find it so annoying that Buttigieg either doesn't realize he's playing Trump's game, or is pretending that he isn't, when he does this "my god is bigger than your god" stuff. Trump has the immoral market cornered; doing "something completely different" from Trump's game isn't to try to corner the market on moral — it's to set subjective arguments about morality aside altogether and talk instead about justice.

And while religion may be a personal motivating factor in one's ideas about justice, it doesn't have any place in public conversations about it.

I can't stress this enough to Buttigieg: Religion is a losing game for progressives.

Like I've said before: Hillary Clinton was probably the most authentic devout Christian to run for president as a Democrat in my lifetime, and they decided she ran a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza shop that doesn't have a basement.

Stop trying to win an unwinnable game, Mayor Pete. It's actively unhelpful. I beg you to stop.

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I really don't understand the energy of Andrew Yang's campaign: At a campaign rally in Seattle, Yang promised "to become the first president to use PowerPoint in the State of the Union address" and the crowd started chanting "PowerPoint! PowerPoint! PowerPoint!" and then Yang exclaimed, "Yes, this is the nerdiest presidential campaign in history!" Uh, excuse me, but I think Al Gore would have something to say about that, sir! GOOD DAY.

Rep. Eric Swalwell is running a true garbage campaign, if the best argument for impeachment he's got is to compare Trump to a child who needs a toy taken away. YIKES, man.

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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