Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me yelling through a bullhorn, 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!

This article in the New York Times is so fucking ridiculous I'm not even going to link to it, but here is the lede: "Some people whisper it, some apologize for it, and some are very careful to mention their neighbors — their neighbors would be the ones to ask. 'Do you really think a woman could be elected president?'"

For fuck's sake, a woman was elected president in the last election, and if the racist antiquity known as the Electoral College hadn't rendered moot her 3 million additional votes and the current occupant of the White House hadn't colluded with a foreign adversary to steal the election from her, she'd be sitting in the Oval Office right now and no one would be asking that goddamn infuriating question anymore, and the editors of any publication that continues to ask it without making the points I just made about Hillary Clinton's stolen victory can go eat shit.

In polling news, the new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Joe Biden still leads the pack, although the new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that Black voters' support for Biden has been cut in half.

Good job, Senator Kamala Harris! In other Harris news, she's reminding everyone that, just because Pride month is over, it "doesn't mean we stop speaking out about the abuses being committed against the LGBTQ+ community by this Administration." Indeed!

Beto O'Rourke is marking the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act: "55 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act, we're reminded that it's never enlightened members of Congress who've secured change and progress. It's the people who've applied the pressure that has forced them to get it done. In Iowa, we committed to keeping that pressure on." That's...a weird message for someone who is running to be head of government. (Not the acknowledging activists part, but the trashing Congress part. "Never"? Okayyyyy.)

Bernie Sanders is also marking the anniversary: "Today marks 55 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed. This is a moment for us to remember that the struggle for civil rights and human dignity is a struggle not of a single year or decade, but of a lifetime, which must be fought by every generation." And that's a weird message for someone who doesn't believe in "identity politics." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In other Sanders news, CNN's Harry Enten says: "You in danger, girl." (I'm paraphrasing.) (Barely.)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has introduced a national service plan, which he hopes will unify the country: "National service can help us to form connections between very different kinds of Americans, as was my experience in the military. I served alongside and trusted my life to people who held totally different political views. You shouldn't have to go to war in order to have that kind of experience, which is why I am proposing a plan to create more opportunities for national service." All righty!

At Bloomberg: Senator Elizabeth Warren "Starts Winning Begrudging Respect on Wall Street." As well she should. Nevertheless, countdown to the dirtbag left using this news as PROOF!!!1! that Warren is a neoliberal capitalist establishment monster in 3...2...

Warren also continues to call attention to the crisis at the southern border, referring to the images from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General's report: "Sickening. Human beings are being herded like animals right now in our country. This goes against our American values. It's cruel and it must end — now."

I mean, it goes against what our American values ought to be, and what we often claim they are, but I wish that she would be more careful in her language with stuff like this. We don't want to concede that Trump's values are the entire nation's values, but we also can't pretend that there isn't a huge portion of the population for whom sadism toward people in need and/or oppressed people is essentially their primary animating value. Pretending they don't exist is part of what got us to this point, so I want more sophisticated rhetoric from Warren (and all the candidates) on that subject.

Senator Cory Booker, for instance, says "our values," rather than "American values," and it's a subtle but meaningful difference. This whole clip is very good:

My immigration policies will reflect our values, that, when people come here escaping terror, and they come to our border, they don't find more terror; that we have the facilities, the resources, to honor their human dignity and evaluate their asylum claims.

Number two is: Family separations are not just going on at the border; they're going on all over the United States [audience murmurs in agreement; a woman says, "That's right."] where you see people afraid now to go to school to drop their kids off, afraid to go to businesses, afraid even to report crimes.

They could be victims — survivors of sexual abuse, or being victimized by their spouse, and they're afraid to go forward for help, or to report about other crimes.

My police department in Newark was complaining to me about a climate, a fear, that's coming over, that is separating — remember, separation is bad — separating immigrant communities from the resources that they could use that would actually help for the safety of everybody.

If I am President of the United States, we're going to stop the practices that we're seeing now, [someone in the audience says, "When you're president!"] where people are being — I should thank you, when, I appreciate that! — where we see people being, families being separated, where a grandfather is being deported when his children are American citizens. We're going to see an end to children who know no other country — the Dreamers — but this one, don't live in fear and anxiety.

We need to have an immigration system that reflects our values and our economic well-being, because immigrants are a positive economic force in our country. [cheers and applause]
And, of course, Julián Castro continues to be a leader on this issue. He is doing the rounds on the various news shows, laying out his vision for this country and levying his beautifully unyielding criticism of this administration.

We already contribute some aid [to Central American countries] now, but this president has said that he's gonna revoke that aid. The thing is, there's a reason that these folks are coming — a hundred and forty-four thousand last month — because they can't find safety and opportunity in their home country. We need to partner with those countries so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of having to come to this country.
Note how Castro expertly makes the point that people should have the chance to be safe and thrive in their home countries without, even a little bit, sounding like he doesn't also welcome immigrants who want to come here.

Male anchor asks: You're in favor of decriminalizing border crossings. If you do that, how do you still have a secure border?

Castro: Well, two things: Number one, decriminalizing but there's still part of a court process; it's just a civil process. That's the way that we used to do it, from the late 1920s until about 2004. So this is not something radical; this is the way that we used to handle it.

Secondly, we have six hundred and fifty-four miles of fencing; we have thousands of border personnel; we have planes; we have helicopters; we have guns; we have security cameras; we have boats — we have a border that is being secured and we can maintain security.

But, what we oughta do is use compassion and common sense, and not cruelty. And what you see there, those images that you see, that's not who we should be. That is evidence of a dark heart of cruelty of this administration that I think is unbecoming of this country.
That is not who we should be.

Rachel Maddow: How much do you worry about playing on [Trump's] turf and playing to an image that he likes for his base?

Castro: Number one, I don't think we have any choice. He has a huge bullhorn, and so he's gonna make this an issue, so I believe that we have to offer a compelling, strong alternative. Now, I've said that we can maintain border security, but, what I'm betting, is that there are enough people out there that know that we can do this a better way — and, if he's gonna proceed with a dark heart of cruelty, then I wanna proceed with a heart of compassion and common sense.

And, I'll tell you, about a year ago, I was at the Ursula Processing Center down in McAllen, Texas, on the border. I was there to join activists that were protesting the family separation policy. And, as sad as the situation was, with the little children that were inside that facility, what gave me hope was that the activists that were there, they were white, they were Black, they were Asian-American, they were Latino.

In other words, it was people of all different backgrounds, from throughout the country, who were united with their compassion and their values, their belief in humanity and a common respect for these human beings, no matter the color of their skin or the fact that they're not American.

I'm betting on that, even as he bets on cruelty.
I'm betting on that, too. Sob.

Anyone who still says Castro isn't ready to be president either isn't paying attention to Castro, or isn't paying attention to the crisis at the southern border, or both.

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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