Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me riding on the back of a chubby unicorn, 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!

Hey, Democratic voters, now is the time to START TUNING THE FUCK IN: "Only 22% of Democrats registered to vote say they know a lot about the candidates' positions, while 62% say they know a little. And only 35% say they're paying close attention to the campaign, with almost two-thirds saying they're paying some or no attention." It's only the future of the republic at stake. No biggie.

I hope the candidates are paying attention to this item: "American Bridge polled voters in small towns and rural areas, screening out self-identified liberal Democrats, to find out what they thought of the president. The group gave Trump a positive job approval rating overall..." But there was an opening regarding healthcare. "Just 25 percent of respondents gave Trump a positive rating for 'reducing health care costs,' compared to 67 percent who rated him negatively, while they split against Trump 39-51 on 'taking on the drug and pharmaceutical companies.'" Get him.

As I mentioned on Friday, Planned Parenthood Action Fund hosted a new and necessary reproductive rights forum in South Carolina over the weekend, which was attended by most of the candidates — who "vowed to defend abortion rights under nearly any circumstance."
"You're not going to lock women back in the kitchen. You're not going to tell us what to do," [Senator Elizabeth Warren] declared, eliciting a standing ovation from hundreds in the crowd, many sporting pink Planned Parenthood T-shirts.

..."If [Donald] Trump wants a war on America's women, it's a war he's going to have and it's a war he's going to lose," declared New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

...New York Mayor Bill de Blasio...told the crowd, "Can we just be clear that, if you're a Democrat you're against the Hyde Amendment, period?"
Once again, I'll note that I'm not only thrilled beyond description to have multiple feminist female Senators running for president at the same time, but I'm also thrilled that there are a number of male candidates who are well-versed on reproductive rights and speak about abortion without acting like it's something icky or shameful. It honestly makes me so happy I could cry. (J/K I am definitely crying about it right now.)

Another cool thing that happened at the forum: During a Q&A, a non-binary activist asked former HUD Secretary Julián Castro "how he would expand sexual and reproductive health care access for trans people," and, before giving his "detailed answer about his support for transgender inclusivity in reproductive health care and his past record of supporting trans people in their access to housing," Castro asked what pronouns the activist preferred.

Castro was also great when asked about Trump's reversal on his announced immigration purge, saying, "This is bullshit. This is bullshit politics."

Almost everyone showed some good stuff at the forum, and it's really great to see how unified such a vast field of candidates are in their support for abortion access. In photos from the event, wearing their matching t-shirts, they looked like a sports team sent to dunk on Trump until he forfeits the game.

Well, most of them did, anyway.

Senator Bernie Sanders' body language there seems to say: "Not a team player." Which checks out.

In contrast, check out this tweet summarizing the weekend's events in South Carolina published by Senator Cory Booker: "We know that the hope for our community does not lie in one individual in one office — it lies with the people, and our ability to come together, stand together, work together, and fight together. Thank you to everyone in South Carolina who joined us this weekend — together, we rise!" LOL. Also checks out.

In policy news, Sanders has proposed canceling the entirety of $1.6 trillion in U.S. student loan debt. "Sanders is proposing to pay for these plans with a tax on Wall Street his campaign says will raise more than $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts give lower revenue estimates." One of the problems I have always had with Sanders is that his claims on how he'll pay for his sweeping proposals never quite checks out.

If you're wondering why the math works better on Senator Elizabeth Warren's plans, this may be why: "The Ivory Tower Team of Wonks Behind Warren's Policy Agenda." That's an interesting piece in general, and it strikes me as one of those pieces which is like a Rorschach Test for how someone feels about a candidate. If you don't like Warren, it will be more proof of why she's unlikeable. And if you do like her, it will be one more reason why you do.

See also this piece at the Boston Globe about Warren's teenage debate team days: "Debate was a refuge for Warren, a world where she fit. She has described herself as feeling 'miserable,' plain, and out-of-place in her giant high school. ...Speech and debate, filled with ambitious and intellectual students consumed with questions that reached far beyond their horizons in Oklahoma City, gave her a niche."

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke has released a proposal outlining "how he would improve the lives of veterans if elected president." He's done a lot of work on veterans' issues, and his new plan "focuses on four areas: Ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and spending the money saved on veterans; further modernizing the VA health-care system and increasing funding for medical research; treating all veterans equally and increasing support for women and LGBT veterans; and helping veterans succeed when they leave the military."

Senator Amy Klobuchar isn't pulling any punches:

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Senator Kamala Harris has reiterated her call for impeachment, noting there is a divide in the Democratic Party over whether to impeach Trump: "This is the tension which is, do you stand to fight for these principles that were part of the — the spirit behind the design of our democracy, checks and balances, accountability? Or do you stand with strategy, which is what is the ultimate goal and if it's saying that this guy should not be in office and if this could hurt the chances of winning an election, should you hold off?" I am glad her answer to that question is IMPEACH NOW.

[CN: Sexual violence] Rep. Seth Moulton is raising awareness about the latest allegation of sexual assault against Donald Trump: "Thank you, E. Jean Carroll, for your courage in sharing your story. This is one of countless reasons we're long overdue starting impeachment proceedings. Donald Trump is not fit to be president — he never was."

[CN: Racism; police brutality] More fallout for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on his mishandling of community relations following a racialized police shooting, with protestors confronting Buttigieg, who just looked so fucking awkward as he tersely read a prepared statement.

Buttigieg: I do not have evidence that there has been discipline for racist behavior— [inaudible; crowd begins to jeer]

A female voice from the jeering crowd emerges: And you running for president? You running for president and you want Black people to vote for you? You running for president and you want Black people to vote for you? I'm telling you right now that's not gonna happen.

Buttigieg: I'm not asking for your vote.

Another woman: And you ain't gonna get it, either.

Speaking of candidates who aren't handling their shit, Joe Biden's new strategy seems to be talking to the press only to defend himself after another "gaffe," and, while normally I would advocate Biden shutting the fuck up as much as possible, I don't think only holding press conferences to demand that Black senators apologize to you or whatever is a solid plan. Cough.

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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