Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me with an expression of horror and accompanied by the words OH. EM. EFFING. GEE., 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 DNC has confirmed the 20 (!) candidates who will appear at the first Democratic primary debate, which will take place over two nights on June 26 and 27.

In alphabetical order, they are: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Mayor of South Bend IN Pete Buttigieg, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Kamala Harris of California, former Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, author Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

As I previously noted, the four candidates who have failed to qualify by either qualifying metric (polling and donors) are: Mayor of Miramar FL Wayne Messam, Rep. Seth Moulton, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana, and professional grump Mike Gravel.

A number of people have said that it's goofy a sitting Democratic governor didn't make the cut, but I'm honestly not all that bothered by a fairly conservative Democratic governor whose candidacy has hardly caught fire not being in the debate. My bigger problem is that people like Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang are in the debate.

The DNC should never have obliged themselves to accept any rando who runs as a Democrat and can meet their arbitrary thresholds. Especially when it's a pretend obligation. They could say, even now, that they don't want precious time taken up at a debate where every candidate will probably only have about five minutes of total talking time by unserious vanity candidates with zero political experience.

So why isn't the DNC just telling Williamson and Yang to fuck off? Oh right. Because Bernie Sanders spent the last election doing a 2-year TED talk about how to bully the DNC into giving you what you want or you'll throw the election to fascists.

In other debate news, DNC Chair Tom Perez wrote a lot of words about why they are refusing to have a dedicated climate change debate, and I don't find them convincing. Please try again. Better yet, just schedule a climate debate.

Relatedly: Sam Morris, Enjoli Liston, and Hubert Adjei-Kontoh at the Guardian helpfully put together ahead of the first debate a compendium of where the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on key issues.

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So, as I've said before, I'm not keen (to put it mildly) on Democratic candidates doing town halls (or even interviews!) on Fox News, but if they're gonna do it anyway, THIS IS WHAT YOU DO WHILE YOU ARE THERE, as demonstrated by Julián Castro:

Part One: You give an unyielding defense of reproductive rights and explain why the Hyde Amendment is trash.

Part Two: You give a succinct but righteously outraged treatise on police violence and its disproportionate effects on people of color, while naming the names of young Black and Latino men and women who have been killed.

Part Three: You read Donald Trump to filth for his sadistic nativist agenda.

Part Four: You say: "A few years from now, whether it's ten years from now, twenty years from now, we're gonna look back on this as Americans, not Republicans or Democrats, or liberals and conservatives, and say 'What in the hell was wrong with that president?'" thus subtly, expertly, with John Wickian precision, encouraging more people to start asking "What in the hell is wrong with that president?" now.

I will say once again: Julián Castro is one of the best politicians in the Democratic Party today. He is brilliant. We need his talents.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren not only has a plan for everything, but she also has a plan for how to enact those plans!

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who determinedly hammers away at the crucial issue of election integrity, talks Donald Trump's threat to subvert the integrity of the 2020 election and why it's time to impeach him.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand urgently reminds us, as the fight for justice in Flint continues, that clean water is a human right.

Senator Kamala Harris celebrates a heroic Girl Scout and I am 100% here for that!

Senator Cory Booker is ready to fight "to end the gun violence epidemic in this country."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg reiterates his call to abolish the Electoral College: "Twice in my young lifetime I've seen the American people overruled by the Electoral College. It's time for that to go because it's undemocratic." Agreed.

[Content Note: Anti-choicery; video may autoplay at link] Joe Biden said as recently as 2006: "I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it's always a tragedy." This fucking guy.

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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