Bernie. Maybe.

Folks who have dealt with me in the political realm have often had to hear me tell them, point blank, that I do not like Bernie Sanders. This has not always been the case. I listened to his “Brunch with Bernie” segments weekly on The Thom Hartmann Program and generally agreed with his positions and appreciated his astonishing ability to communicate them. But then we experienced the election of 2016, when I feel like I saw what some people didn’t, that Bernie Sanders in 2016 stayed in the race and claimed a path to the nomination even when one was not mathematically possible. And while I am loathe to re-litigate 2016, let me summarize how I know this is what happened.



March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday. Hillary, 606; Bernie, 415. Clinton leads by 191 delegates. March 5, Clinton 653, Sanders 467. Clinton leads by 196 delegates. March 8, Clinton 765, Sanders 556. Clinton leads by 209 delegates. March 15, Clinton 1,166 Sanders 852. Clinton leads by 314 delegates. March 22, Clinton 1,219, Sanders 930. Clinton leads by 289 delegates. March 26, Clinton 1,257, Sanders 1,034. Clinton leads by 223 delegates. April 5, Clinton 1,295, Sanders 1,082. Clinton leads by 213 delegates.

April 19, the New York primary. Sanders takes a rare lead in delegates. Clinton 1,141, Sanders 1,197. Sanders leads by 56 delegates.

April 26, Midwest states vote. Clinton 1,667, Sanders 1,364. Clinton leads Sanders by 303 delegates. May 3, Indiana, a surprise Sanders victory. Pledged delegate TTD: Clinton 1,706, Sanders 1,408. Clinton leads Sanders by 298 delegates. June 4, Clinton 1,781, Sanders 1,492. Clinton leads Sanders by 289 delegates.


I hear arguments that Hillary Clinton unfairly pocketed the un-pledged delegates and therefore unfairly took the nomination. But if you were an un-pledged delegate, and you were looking at those pledged delegates numbers, who would you support? The people spoke. They chose their nominee. And it was Hillary, fair and square. This was clear all along and quite clear by June.

Bernie didn’t concede until July 12. Trump had been the Republicans’ presumptive nominee since May 26.

Yinz don’t see the problem?

However.

There was a debate Sunday, and I’ve been mulling over Biden’s and Sanders’ positions regarding this lovely corona virus gizmo that we’re all going to such Mad Max measures to avoid. And, essentially, if I had to sum up their positions, Sanders’ position was that our country’s pathetic failure to be prepared for this pandemic in large part is due to a greater disinterest on our country’s part in public health, that the problem is large and systemic, and that it points directly and with neon lights to a need in these Untied States for a national health care system.

Joe Biden argued that, well, nuh-uh. It’s just like an emergency, man, and the larger inequities and the systemic failures in our health care is a separate issue.

Which one of those positions do you know in your heart is right?

So while I’m still leery of Sanders’ continued insistence on bolting at windmills such as the “Democratic establishment,” I am finding myself in this age of “social distancing” to feel a bit more militant about our shitty health care system and about the broad mindset, the grist of horrible Ayn Rand novels, that makes so many things in these Untied States so wrong. I cannot hold Joe Biden’s argument in my head and entertain it as truth or inspiration. I am terrified and drenched in Purell. And I may just be feeling the Bern.

South Carolina

Vice-President Joe Biden was declared the winner in South Carolina immediately after polls closed. This is his first primary victory. Ever.

Tom Steyer dropped out. This news made me yawp at the television as if I were watching a close basketball game.

Current delegate count: Bernie Sanders, 53; Joe Biden, 41; Pete Buttigieg, 22; Elizabeth Warren, 8; Amy Klobuchar, 7.

Next: Super Tuesday. This Tuesday. Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. 1,617 delegates are up for grabs. All ya’ll go vote.

Nevada Caucus

Bernie Sanders was the clear frontrunner in the Nevada Caucus and stands currently as the frontrunner overall. Here is the delegate count to-date, according to NPR:

Bernie Sanders, 31; Pete Buttigieg, 22; Elizabeth Warren, 8; Amy Klobuchar, 7; Joe Biden, 6.

Next: Feb. 29. South Carolina

***

Just a note about why I count delegates on a total-to-date basis. I have created and continue to work on a detailed timeline for the 2016 election. I do this to be able to make certain points about that election, namely:

~ That Hillary Clinton was the consistent leader in delegates at any given time during the 2016 contest. She was, consistently, 200 to 300 delegates ahead of Sanders at nearly every snapshot you can take of that primary. Had the Democratic Convention used a plurality rather than a majority to cast its nominee, and had all the superdelegates been punched in the nuts, Hillary Clinton still would have clinched the nomination easily.
~ That, due to this, Bernie Sanders’ continued presence in the race after, say, May 2016, sapped resources from the presumed nominee; that his persistent invective regarding the process itself was harmful–in fact, in early May, Sanders called for a contested convention, at a time when he was literally 300 delegates behind.
~ That the notion that the DNC had it in for Bernie Sanders in 2016 is overblown and inaccurate. The most offensive DNC emails were from a time when Hillary Clinton should have been taking her rightful place as the presumptive nominee (the Republicans had their nominee installed by May 26; Sanders did not concede until July 6).

You might get the impression that I am not enamored with Bernie Sanders. I’m more of a Liz Warren gal myself.

However, the way I analyze it, I have what could be an effective voting position. New York votes April 26, and we award 274 pledged delegates. My pledge is that, if a ballot arrives in New York that offers a clear front-runner in delegates, I will vote for that candidate. If there’s no clear front-runner, I’ll vote my conscience.

So. I count delegates. And Sanders has a tidy lead currently.

Let’s see what happens in March.

Defending Pelosi

One thing you learn when you’re a lifelong Democrat: The phrase “gun control” can also apply to people who like to take the safety off, aim directly at their little piggies, and full-on open fire, then sit there laughing and pointing at the spurting blood.

Democrats are like that.

I have read reports today that there are as many as 18 Congress-critters who won’t vote to renew Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, 12th District, California) as Speaker. This is so woefully stupid it should be in a Star Wars prequel.

I have researched and will continue to do so, but I have yet to find one of these mouth-breathers who have offered a significant reason short of personality politics for their opposition. They do not indicate displeasure with the Speaker’s legislative record. They do not point out any particular legislative failure. There is a vague notion that “new blood” is needed, that a “new voice” should be offered the gavel.

Now. Are you ready for the stupid part?

They don’t have a candidate.

A few have talked about running for the job. None have come directly forward and said they intend to seek it. There is a letter of intent from a bunch of these idiots saying they won’t vote for her. This is supposed to “scare” Pelosi into not running.

I am not making this up.

I have a friend who said he didn’t like that Pelosi answered a question by saying that she um, wanted to work together with the preznit. Yeah, um, that’s not what the broad actually said. Ahem:

In terms of working with the President, I just would say that I worked very productively with President Bush when we had the majority and he had the presidency. We passed one of the biggest energy bills in the history of our country. We passed one of the biggest tax bills in terms of stimulus for low-income people as well as middle-income people in his presidency. And the list goes on. PEPFAR*, he wanted PEPFAR*, we won it big, and there are so many issues we worked with together with him but ultimately opposed him on the war in Iraq.

But the point is is that we worked together. The President (Trump) said we’ll wait for them to send me something. Well, we have ideas, and we can send him something, but the fact is we’d like to work together so our legislation will be bipartisan. We’re not going for the lowest common denominator, we are going for the boldest common denominator. Our position will be a consensus within our own party of what we can support while also welcoming other ideas.

*President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

This was not a capitulation to the Great Orange ID of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a challenge. And it did not address oversight; she contained her remarks to legislation. She specifically, and correctly, criticized Trump’s approach to law-making and indicated that his nonsense approach would end in the next session. This was not Kumbaya. It was Twisted Fucking Sister.

Nancy Pelosi ushered passage of the Affordable Care Act in the House, and guess what? The House version included a public option. She marshalled through the Lily Ledbetter Act, which directly addressed income inequality. Dodd-Frank. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

(Credit due: I am cribbing directly from Sarah Wood.)

I will continue with this list now that you know who I’m cheating off of:

Increased transparency required for credit card vultures. More money for Pell grants. Greater FDA authority over tobacco and food safety. The first minimum wage increase since 2009. Hate crimes, now a thing the federal government can enforce. The Office of Congressional Ethics. The DREAM Act (which floundered in the Senate). An extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Blah blah blah blah blah.

And yet, the following Congress-critters say they’re voting “no,” and, as far as I can tell, there is no more specific reason than that they don’t want Pelosi’s stink on them. Tim Ryan. Seth Moulton. Kathleen Rice. Ed Perlmutter. Kurt Schrader. Filemon Vela Jr.. Marcia Fudge. Bill Foster. Brian Higgins.

See, I don’t think my own Senator, Chuck Schumer should be re-hired as minority leader. But I can tell you why. President Obama concluded one of his greatest foreign policy triumphs (in my humble opinion), the very good Iran disarmament deal, and Schumer chose to use it as a hanky. I think this belies bad judgement, and there are a whole lot of folks I think can represent the ranking side in the Senate much better.

I am not seeing such details regarding opposition to Pelosi, who can now add to her list of accomplishments the greatest margin of win in the House since I didn’t have hairy legs. This is not the time to test a new speaker. This is the time to allow Rep. Pelosi to utilize her accumulated political capital to start setting shit right again.

And, oh, hey. Charles Pierce has a neat idea. Instead of ousting the Speaker? Replace the Whip.

Duh.

Seriously?

Let me get this straight. The Preznit of these Untied States just repeated the argument–an argument he has made previously–in public, in front of television cameras, that the Attorney General of these Untied States should have given him warning before accepting the job that he would recuse himself from matters relating to Russia; that HAD TRUMP KNOWN BEFORE that Sessions’ actions would lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor, he would not have hired him in the first place? This is his * defense * ? This is his defense * against charges that he has obstructed justice * ?

A Singular Argument Against Another Sanders Run As A Democrat

I often say that I hope the Democratic Party learned a large lesson in 2016 and won’t ever run another independent under the Democratic gonfalon. The decision to allow an independent to run as a Democrat was, in my estimation, a large factor in Trump’s win. It was disasterous. Bernie went rogue. He wouldn’t concede and spent his last months in the campaign shitting all over the Democratic Party and its presumptive nominee.

Case in point, from an in-progress timeline project of mine:

June 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton officially secures a majority of pledged delegates after winning in the California and New Jersey primaries. She wins 254 pledged delegates.

At this point, Clinton has won 2,310 delegates, 73 delegates shy of the nomination. Sanders trails her by more than 700 delegates.

Sanders marks the occasion by shitting all over the Democratic Party.

“The message to the Democratic leadership is that if the Democratic Party is to be the party of working people and young people and the middle class, they’ve got to open up the doors,” said Sanders, noting the strong support he’s received from young adults. “You are the future of this country … and the Democratic Party has got to be a party that is more than its candidates going to wealthy peoples’ homes to raise outrageous sums of money.”

*

However, I have struck upon a more crystalized argument for the Democrats to steer away from Sanders and independents in general: Sanders, and independents generally, are uniquely motivated to strong-arm state parties away from closed primaries.

As Sanders did.

Here’s what Sanders had to say about our closed primary in New York in April 2016:

“Today, three million people in the state of New York who are Independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries,” Mr. Sanders said standing alongside Mr. Cantalupo. “That’s wrong. You’re paying for this election. It’s administered by the state. You have a right to vote. That’s a very unfortunate thing which I hope will change.”

Such nonsense. Those voters didn’t lose any rights. They chose not to register with their candidate’s party in a state that regularly holds closed primaries.

Here he is in May, buoyed by an upset in Indiana (despite this win on May 3, Sanders is trailing by 300 pledged delegates, and only four more contests would include independent voters):

“More and more people are independents, and I think it makes no sense for the Democrats to say to those people, ‘You can’t help us.’ For Democrats to do well in a national election, they’re going to need a lot of independents and I would not think it’s a good idea to push those people away.”

Who is pushing any voters away? My Granny G was never a Republican, but she registered as one for years so she could vote for her local school board. If your candidate is running as a Democrat and you know your state has closed primaries, perhaps you should march over to the Board of Elections and alter your party affiliation for a while, hmmmmm?

So strongly did Sanders feel about closed primaries that he included it in the list of demands he was carting under his arm to Philadelphia. But, as this Real Clear Politics piece underscores, closed primaries were not likely Sanders’ most consequential problem.

Though he sure did squawk about it a lot.

I like closed primaries. It’s one thing I like about living in New York. I like the assurance that a bunch of Republigoats aren’t going to come in to my primary and vote in Daniel Carver to run as the nominee. So I am not fond of hearing from a national candidate for preznit that he wants to tell my state it’s wrong for how it runs its elections. But when you run an independent as a Democrat, that is inevitable.

And all that was accomplished by Sanders making that argument was to throw more shade onto the process itself–shade that, for the record, stuck around for the general and helped President Moron get elected.

Another Sanders run under the Democratic mantle? Ghey kakken offen yahm.


In Other News
“In Watergate, they said the coverup was worse than the crime. In this ONE, it feels like the coverup WON’T STOP!” (Rachel Maddow)

Election Day

Yep! It’s time to vote. Big Democratic primary here in the ROC tomorrow.

I, for one, will be voting Barnhart. [[ Update: No, you won’t. You moved to Henrietta, dummy! Only a Reform Party primary here! ]]

Rachel Barnhart. Longtime TV news reporter. As such, she has quite the truth-telling instinct. I was lukewarm on her at first; I was not mad about her performance in running for state Assembly. But then, around July, she made this point.

Was there a party at the convention center that was maybe a bit lavish and exclusive?

Barnhart since has made a rep as a tough cookie. She’s directly questioned Warren’s handling of campaign funds. She made an issue of what she saw as special interest handling when it came to courting ride-app companies like Uber (and I’m for any resistance to the shared economy).

One issue of hers I think is vital is her proposal to roundly expand child care in Rochester.

I know. Aaron. What do you give a darn about child care?

So last year I went into the closing Macy’s department store for a depressing little walk. They were selling the bare bones stuff, I mean store fixtures and rugs, basically. It was a chaotic mess. The lights were not the usual bright friendly ones you get when you walk in to such a place. There were barely any display shelves to guide foot traffic, so people sort of lunged around however they liked. There were a bunch of pieces off to the side with big sloppy “SOLD” signs on them in red sharpie. It was scary. I was scared.

And I walked by this counter, and there was a woman behind the counter, and I noticed she was shouting at a little boy who accompanied her. No, we can’t go to work, she was saying to him. I have to work. We can’t go home. What, are you crazy? I have to work.

Imagine that. You’re so in need of work hours that you’ve volunteered for the lights-out brigade, and it’s just you behind a nearly empty counter in all that cannibalistic chaos, and on top of all that, you have to mind your energetic, yet understandably bored, young son.

That is a Mom who is struggling. And if part of a local government’s basic job isn’t to try to lighten a struggling Mom’s load, then I’m Prince and the Revolution.

Yeah. It takes a friggin’ village.

Barnhart leads with this issue, not to mention the notion that access to the Internet should be a public utility rather than a monopoly. And she scowls at the notion of a Broadway-sized mess on Parcel 5 (LET’S GO SEE ‘CATS’ AGAIN, said your average downtown resident, never).

Besides. I’ve been a reporter. I know how well a reporter understands municipal governments and the sadly necessary politics. The Warren camp has taken a last-minute swipe at Barnhart’s experience. Ridiculous. She has plenty.

Polls are open noon to nine. Go vote.

So Long, Spicey!

This was the largest audience to ever witness a resignation— period — both in person and around the globe.

Now here’s something actually useful

I like a dot of Honest Amish Beard Balm for the mustache, but my chin whiskers are getting John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil. It’s not even beard oil officially but I don’t care because it smell nice and softens wonderfully.

A little dab will do ya

Jaco Pastorius