Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me shrugging beneath a shrug emoji, 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!

The Washington Post editorial board warns: "The U.S. Still Hasn't Done Nearly Enough to Stop Election Interference." No shit! Except it's not "the U.S." that has failed utterly to do anything to safeguard our elections — it's the Republican Party. Which is clear from the WaPo's own piece.
The Stanford report includes 45 recommendations for protecting the U.S. democratic process. Some three years after Vladimir Putin's government planted trolls and bots on social media sites to propagandize for Donald Trump, hacked into the emails of officials on Hillary Clinton's campaign, and probed election infrastructure for vulnerabilities, the president's team has not pursued a single one of them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues to block even the consideration of stand-alone legislation that would bolster election security.
The Republican Party actively seeks foreign interference to their benefit, just like they try to undercut the integrity of our elections themselves. It would be terrific if the editors of the Washington Post would be honest and clear about that.

Senator Amy Klobuchar continues to hammer away on this issue, and I profoundly appreciate it!

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[Content Note: Homophobia; gun violence] On the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, many of the candidates are reaffirming their commitment to queer rights and/or to ending gun violence. (Below are all the statements I could find as of the time of publication.)

Beto O'Rourke released a comprehensive LGBTQ+ rights plan detailing his strategy to "Pursue Equality for LGBTQ+ People and Ensure They Can Live Openly Without Fear of Discrimination or Violence."

Senator Cory Booker tweeted: "Three years ago at #Pulse nightclub, we lost 49 lives to hate. I still hold the pain of this tragedy deep in my heart. As president, I will end the NRA's reign & pass gun safety policy to save lives. We can — and we will — build a nation based on love & respect for one another."

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro tweeted: "Three years ago, 49 lives were lost in a mass shooting targeting the Pulse nightclub — the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in history. We must act to end these tragedies, and prevent those that would harm LGBTQ individuals from obtaining firearms."

Governor Jay Inslee tweeted: "Today, the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities are in my heart. Three years after #Pulse, we remember the 49 people taken too soon and #HonorThemWithAction. Every day, but especially today, we must recommit ourselves to ending gun violence in America."

Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted: "We lost their lives at #Pulse. In Congress, @repjohnlewis led us to take a seat on the House Floor until Republicans would stand up and do what's right. They never did. We sat for over 26 hours to honor the victims of Pulse. Our work has never stopped."

Rep. Tim Ryan tweeted: "Three years ago, 49 lives were senselessly taken at #Pulse in Orlando. Today, we do more than just honor their memory. We do more than just stand with the #LGBTQ community. We recommit ourselves to ending senseless acts of gun violence with action. #EnoughIsEnough"

Senator Kamala Harris tweeted: "Today we remember the 49 lives — mostly Latinx and LGBTQ+ — cut short from hate and gun violence three years ago. In their memory, let's act to prevent the next heartbreak."

In other Harris news, she told NPR "that if she's elected president, her administration's Department of Justice would likely pursue criminal obstruction of justice charges against [her predecessor Donald] Trump. ...'There has to be accountability,' Harris added. 'I mean look, people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I'll tell you one of the reasons — I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law.'"

Harris and O'Rourke will also join Mayor Pete Buttigieg in supporting "striking fast-food workers this week as they seek to support efforts to organize labor and raise the minimum wage to $15. The three will join events organized by Fight for $15 and a Union, the group started by striking fast-food workers in 2012. Harris will join striking workers in Las Vegas, while O'Rourke and Buttigieg head to Charleston, South Carolina. Both states hold early presidential nominating contests and their campaigns were eager to note their support."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is charming in a 20 Questions segment for Now This. My favorite quote, in response to being asked what one question she thinks all candidates should be asked (at 3:47): "Do you value women? Are you going to stand up for the women of America and fight against these radical and ultra-conservative legislators and governors that are signing laws that take away women's basic reproductive rights and freedoms? Will you fight for laws that end sexual violence, whether it's in the military or college campus? Will you pass national paid leave? Will you fight for equal pay? It all goes to one question: Do you value women?"

Senator Elizabeth Warren laughed at the speech Senator Bernie Sanders is fixing to give:
Making Elizabeth Warren laugh can be tricky. Throwing her off her talking points is almost impossible. Both happened when she heard that her 2020 opponent Bernie Sanders is scheduled to deliver a "major address" today entitled, according to his campaign, "How Democratic Socialism Is the Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism."

The Massachusetts senator shook her head... "I'll have to hear the speech," she said diplomatically of her rival's coming address. But what about the argument of the title, to insist on democratic socialism? I asked. "I'll have to hear his speech," she said again.

[CN: Misogyny] Joe Biden was captured in quite a photo, shoving his pointed finger in a person's face after they asked him to protect assault survivors.

The thing that makes this even more rage-making to me is that, on the same day, he was heckled during a rally by a man who shouted "What are you going to do about killing babies?" and Biden responded by telling the man he'd speak to him after the event, and then his staff ushered the man into a private room to speak with Biden.

What a contrast. What a very telling contrast.

In other Biden news, another example of the media putting their thumbs on the scale for him...

screen cap of CNN piece by Chris Cillizza headlined 'Why Joe Biden's 2020 message is so radical'

For crying out loud.

Spoiler Alert: If Chris Cillizza thinks your message is radical, it ain't.

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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