Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me grinning and pointing at myself with my thumbs while holding a sign reading, 'Who's got two thumbs and a permanent tension headache?', 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!

Welp, today is the big day — the first night of the first Democratic debate! Are you so excited?! If you're not excited yet, maybe Senator Cory Booker can help get you excited with a little help from his friends!

[If you can't view the video, it shows Booker dancing down a hallway with some of his Black female supporters, clad in CORY 2020 t-shirts, and it is very adorable and fun!]

You know who else is excited? Donald Trump! Because it gives him an opportunity to be a giant bully, which is one of his favorite things ever! "As Democrats spar on the debate stage this week, the president's campaign will be unleashing dozens of Donald Trump backers on the airwaves in 2020 swing states, blasting out any embarrassing moments on social media, and dispatching talking points to ensure everyone stays on message." And no doubt Trump will be joining in the fun!

I know it's positively quaint to make this observation at this point, but that is so aggressively unpresidential.

Anyway! There will be a dedicated debate thread later today, so I'll just leave it there for now.

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[Content Note: Nativism. Covers entire section.]

A number of the candidates are thinking and talking about Trump's deadly immigration policies and the people affected by them, and I am really glad that it's on their minds.

Booker tweets: "There's nothing criminal about seeking a better life for your family. I've said it before, and I'll say it again now — we have to do the right thing and decriminalize border crossing."

It's important to note what a major influence Julián Castro has had on moving this particular needle:

Senator Elizabeth Warren tweets: "I agree with @JulianCastro: We shouldn't criminalize families trying to build a better future. We need comprehensive immigration reform that's in line with our values and creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including our DREAMers."

And Castro tweets: "Thank you, @ewarren, for joining me on this issue. We shouldn't criminalize desperation — it's time to repeal this terrible law."

Warren is also fixing to visit the Homestead detention facility: "Yesterday at my town hall in Miami, I got asked an important question: Would I go to the Homestead detention center to shine a light on what's happening? The answer is yes. I'll be there today and I hope you'll join me."

Rep. Eric Swalwell visited Homestead a few days ago: "Today I visited the #Homestead Detention Facility. These children need homes, NOT a privatized prison."

[CN: Images of death at link] Beto O'Rourke is bluntly laying the blame for migrant deaths precisely where it belongs: "Trump is responsible for these deaths." Fucking right he is, and I am so grateful to O'Rourke for saying it plainly.

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is marking the four-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage:

Senator Kamala Harris is marking the six-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act: "Six years ago today, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act with its decision in #ShelbyvHolder. Now it's up to Congress to restore the #VRA and ensure equal access to the ballot box. We have legislation in Congress to do this — we must pass voting reforms immediately."

She's also tweeting about her plan for banking oversight: "One of the lessons from the Great Recession is that banks who operate as bad actors must be held accountable — and that means giving state attorneys general the tools to properly go after them too. I just introduced a bill to increase accountability and oversight of national banks."

Governor Jay Inslee is calling for an end to the filibuster: "The filibuster has allowed Mitch McConnell to hold this country hostage for far too long. We must put an end to the filibuster." Always love a good McConnell shit-talking.

Joe Biden refuses to say if he backs the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he helped sell as vice-president: "On the eve of the first presidential-primary debates, however, Biden's 2020 campaign wouldn't say whether he still supported the deal. ...Even as Biden is running explicitly as a restoration of the Obama presidency, his campaign press secretary declined to comment on what his position is." LOL okay.

And my friend Leah McElrath is quoted by Eugene Scott at the WaPo on Biden's record with reproductive rights: "Joe Biden has been visible in national politics for my entire adult life, and he has never been a strong advocate on behalf of women's bodily autonomy. I find it hard to trust when it's time to compromise — and that time always comes in politics — that the rights of my daughter and all other women and girls in this country will be something he sees as a nonnegotiable issue and will champion on our behalf." That about sums it up!

This is the most I have ever liked Senator Bernie Sanders, lol:

Face the Nation's Margaret Brennan: Was [Donald] Trump's decision this week to call off that strike the right one?

Sanders: [laughs derisively] See, it's like somebody setting a fire to a basket full of paper and then putting it out. He helped create the crisis, and then he stopped the attacks. The idea that we're looking at a President of the United States who, number one, thinks that a war with Iran is something that might be good for this country—

Brennan: He was just doing a limited strike.

Sanders: [rolling his eyes and waving his hands around sardonically] Oh, just a limited strike! Oh, well, I'm sor-RY! I just didn't know that it's okay to simply attack another country with arms— [air quotes] "Just a limited strike." That's an act of warfare!
And then I read this terrific thread about Sanders' "evolving position on gun rights" — including how "the NRA's involvement...was 'the predominant reason' Bernie Sanders was elected to Congress" — and I'm right back to disliking him as much as ever! Equilibrium has been restored.

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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