Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me making a grimace face in front of giant typewriter keys labeled CTRL and Z, 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!

[Content Note: Misogyny] This is so fucking infuriating and depressing: "New polling shows how much sexism is hurting the Democratic women running for president."
When we combine six hostile sexism items into a single scale, we get a picture of how sexist Democratic primary voters are compared to other Americans.

...Perhaps unsurprisingly, most Democratic primary voters score lower on hostile sexism than other Americans. But among Democratic primary voters, there's quite a wide range in sexist attitudes. In fact, more than one-fourth of Democratic primary voters score higher than the average American adult on the hostile sexism scale.
Emphasis mine. I'm sure that won't shock anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds paying attention to the misogyny I'm obliged to navigate on the regular. As Aphra_Behn noted: "It's nice to have science, I guess, but they could have just read your mentions for the last 5 years." Lolsob foreverrrrrrr.

Despite misogyny (which will definitely be the title of my memoir), the female senators running for president continue to kick ass.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, lays down some facts in response to Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's lies about his involvement in the Epstein case: "The Secretary claims he had to make the deal so the locals wouldn't mess it up. But in the words of the former Palm Beach DA, he is 'rewriting history.' News alert: The feds have a lot of power and can give really long sentences in sex trafficking cases."

Senator Kamala Harris responds to the news that, "for the first time in history, women of color lead 10 of America’s 100 largest cities": "Women and women of color deserve to have a seat at the table where decisions are made — and finally, that's a reality in major cities across our nation."

Senator Elizabeth Warren is telling her own story — "from falling in love and dropping out of college, to chasing my dream of being a public school teacher." She's definitely had an interesting path to being a presidential candidate. I imagine a lot of women can really relate to it.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand answers 20 questions at Shondaland, and gives not one but two shout-outs to whiskey (hell yeah):
What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you unwind?

I like to exercise as much as possible. Ideally, I like to join my girlfriends for an early morning pilates or yoga class, and when I'm on the road I try to start the day with a 6 a.m. spin class if we can find one, or I just go to whatever hotel gym I'm staying at to lift weights. A good whiskey at the end of the day is always a great way to unwind.

...What is your comfort food?

I stand by whiskey. But will add French fries.
Forget the candidate everyone wants to have a beer with. I want to have whiskey and french fries with Senator Gillibrand!

* * *

In other news...

Senator Cory Booker is once again talking gun violence and reiterating his call for gun licensing: "This is horrifying — and one of the many reasons why we need federal gun safety policies like comprehensive background checks and gun licensing. If you need a license to drive a car then you should need a license to own and operate a firearm."

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro is talking housing and immigration.

Joe Biden reportedly said in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers that he would "not to hold migrant children in detention centers if elected president," which is a relief, but also: "Biden did not offer any further details on what he exactly he would do with the thousands of young migrants currently housed in facilities run by the federal government and private contractors. The specific changes he would make to the current system of migrant detention also remain unclear." Oh.

Instead of spending $100 million of his personal money on a vanity presidential run, Tom Steyer could spend that money to "restore the voting rights of about 70,000 people in Florida if he wanted to." But wasting it on a bullshit candidacy in a race he'll certainly lose is definitely an option, too.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has introduced his racial justice plan, which he calls the Douglass Plan, after Frederick Douglass and in a nod to the Marshall Plan, and he is whitemansplaining it very thoroughly:
I think we'll know we're getting somewhere when this is not regarded as some specialty issue that candidates of color talk about or that we only talk about when addressing voters of color. This is a conversation that, frankly, white America needs to have too, because white America needs to face the roots of these inequities and the fact of systemic racism all around us.

I had a challenging conversation with our own police department where, when I talked about systemic racism in addressing officers, many of them felt that it was a personal attack. I need them to understand, especially white officers, the ways in which, no matter how good their intentions might be, that systemic racism is something they in particular need to be conscious of and need to understand how to be part of the solution on. So this is not something that only candidates of color should be talking about — very much to the contrary.
Oh lord. It's not that Buttigieg is necessarily wrong about a lot of stuff, so much as that he is just unprepared, especially to talk about it in sensitive ways.

(And part of it, too, is just my total exhaustion with listening to white men talking about gender and race issues, especially when there are multiple women, including women of color, and men of color running for president who can speak to these issues from a place of authority conferred by lived experience. In the same vein, I respect that Buttigieg has more expertise when speaking to the lives and needs of gay men.)

Like, this tweet in his thread introducing the Douglass Plan is just so weird to me: "If we don't tackle racial injustice in my lifetime, it will upend the American Project in my lifetime. If the Marshall Plan could rebuild Europe, I believe the Douglass Plan could renew America. Text DOUGLASS to 25859 to learn more and join our call for restorative justice." In my lifetime. Twice. What does Pete Buttigieg's lifetime have to do with racial justice? It's so bizarrely self-centered. Which is a chronic problem with his campaign messaging.

Senator Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is on a real promotional blitz, appearing on Rachel Maddow's show to give a doozy of an interview; penning quite the op-ed for the Washington Post with quite the headline ("The straightest path to racial equality is through the one percent"); and announcing his enemies I MEAN ANTI-ENDORSEMENTS list.

screenshot from Bernie Sanders' website featuring a photo of Bernie speaking outdoors with his finger pointing up in the air, accompanied by a donation button and text reading: 'Anti-Endorsements | 'I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.' – President Franklin Roosevelt'
Full Disclosure: I am not on it.

Oh, and he will also be skipping Netroots Nation, because his team thinks that Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas won't be an unbiased moderator. I don't know if you should be running for president if you can't handle questions from Markos Moulitsas, but okay.

Bill de Blasio is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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