Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me standing at a podium gesturing to the word 'FACTS' written in large text on a chalkboard, 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!

Following Joe Biden's shameful display yesterday, suggesting that Senator Cory Booker should apologize to him for calling out his racial insensitivity, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell asked Booker if it would be possible for him to share a ticket with Biden, and Booker's response was everything.

O'Donnell: Could you run on a ticket with Joe Biden?

Booker: I do not think there should be two men on a ticket. [stops; stares at O'Donnell, who is momentarily struck silent]

O'Donnell: [chuckling] Okay, that's— That's—

Booker: I do not think there should be two men on a ticket.

O'Donnell: Let me ask you this—

Booker: I think we— I think that, given the field we have, the extraordinary people, we should have tickets that have racial and gender diversity in them. Come on, we're— We're a party that should talk to who we are as a nation. We're a nation with extraordinary—

O'Donnell: I think you're going to get a lot of Democratic delegates who agree with you on that.
That was just a brilliant fucking response.

Can Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Julián Castro run all together as a presidential council of equals? "Donald Trump has made a gigantic fucking mess, and we're going to fix it together." TAKE MY VOTE.

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This is excellent news:
On Saturday, nearly all of the Democratic candidates will participate in a first-of-its-kind forum on women's health and reproductive rights hosted by Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Columbia, South Carolina. Organizers say the event offers the candidates an opportunity to shape the conversation around women's health and abortion in a climate that is now increasingly hostile to reproductive rights.

"This is really the moment for the candidates to make clear where they stand on the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion," said Kelley Robinson, the group's executive director. "Whoever wants to lead the United States and serve in the office of the president is going to have to be clear and accountable to voters on this issue."

...Twenty of the party's 24 contenders are expected to participate in the forum, which coincides with a busy weekend of presidential campaign events, including the state Democratic party's annual Blue Palmetto Dinner followed by congressman Jim Clyburn's World Famous Fish Fry.

Among the candidates confirmed are Joe Biden, senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former congressman Beto O'Rourke. They will each have 15 minutes to answer questions from the group's members about to explain their position — and their policy ambitions — on issues like abortion, women's health care, and contraception.

...In this climate, Robinson said rhetorical support for abortion rights is not enough. She expects the 20 candidates participating in Saturday's forum to elevate the debate around how far they are willing to go to override state abortion restrictions and preserve access if Roe is struck down.

"It's important to give candidates a chance to not only say where they stand on these issues but to say, if they were elected president, what they would affirmatively do to expand access and care," she said.

* * *

On the Twitters...

Booker is tweeting about his Restoring Justice plan to extend clemency to people serving excessive sentences: "I'll be blunt. No matter who wins, even if it isn't me, people unjustly incarcerated must be liberated—and I need everyone in this field to agree with me." Right on.

Warren is tweeting about the absolutely gobsmacking report last night that Donald Trump approved a military strike on Iran and then changed his mind: "Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis — we need to step back from the brink of war."

Castro is tweeting about the federal court ruling to allow the Trump administration's family planning rules to take effect while challenges make their way through the courts: "Title X provides reproductive counseling and care to millions of women. This decision is dangerous and part of the Trump administration's efforts to attack women's health and eliminate access to abortion. We must fight back."

Senator Kamala Harris is tweeting about that ruling, too: "Disgraceful. The Trump administration has been given the go-ahead to prohibit health care providers that participate in Title X from referring patients for abortion services. Women will suffer because the administration is playing politics with health care. I will fight this."

Beto O'Rourke is tweeting about the latest horrific report about the conditions in which migrant children are being detained at the southern border: "Children caring for toddlers in immigrant jails, inadequate food and water for hundreds of kids, and weeks without bathing or clean clothes. They will struggle with this trauma the rest of their lives. We'll have it on our conscience for the rest of ours." Sob.

In other news...

The scourge of private prisons? Warren has a plan for that! And she has a Twitter thread about her plan, too, which begins thus: "Private prison companies have spent millions to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe — with terrible consequences. Today I'm announcing my plan to end this private profiteering off of cruelty." Private profiteering off of cruelty. I am really just enormously pleased that the Democrats are finally talking about Republican policies as cruelty.

Biden continues to be a goddamn mess, and here's just a perfect headline at Politico about his shitshow of a campaign so far: "Grampa Simpson Runs for President." Here's a headline you don't want at the Washington Post: "Tensions Ripple Through Biden Campaign as His Past Working Relationship with a Segregationist Senator Comes to the Forefront." If anyone expected Biden to be more disciplined, and more decent, after being veep for 8 years, whooooooops your silly expectation.

Senator Bernie Sanders says that Warren is surging not because she's an excellent candidate who is campaigning really hard, but because she's a woman. (You know how Americans famously love electing women president.)

screenshot of CNN report featuring freeze-frame of Bernie Sanders making a grouchy face, beside text reading: 'Sanders on Warren's rise: People want a woman elected. | Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders partly attributed fellow candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's rise in the polls to the fact that some people want to see a woman elected president.'

Good freaking grief, Bernie.

Relatedly, this is one of the reasons why it's thrilling to have such a diverse field of candidates: "Companies were 79 times more likely to hire a woman and 194 times more likely to hire a person of color when the finalist pool included more than one woman or minority. This held true regardless of the number of finalists. ...[W]hen multiple diverse candidates enter the field, the status quo actually changes, and company decisions do, too. The playing field starts to level out." When you're not a token, you're more difficult to dismiss on the basis of your identity.

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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