In 2016, Bernie Sanders put forward a number of solid and thoughtful positions on many issues. It would be easy for the Sanders Cult to simply assert that these positions and policy proposals still apply, should Bern try again this cycle.
That’s not what his True Believers argue, though. Instead of making the case for Sanders, they make a case against Harris, O’Rourke, and even Warren. They lost their minds over last weekend, when the media toyed with the notion of Hillary Clinton running again.
Why not just push what works for Bern?
The biggest problem Sanders has is he’s not the default opposition to a popular front-runner. The bar is much higher this time. Multiple candidates push positions we heard from Bern in 2016. Elizabeth Warren made opposition to Wall Street a cornerstone of her kickoff. Her Iowa “retail” campaign will hit this hard. Harris and O’Rourke (assuming Beto’s in) will siphon off the student-loan constituency. Labor support will be fractured. In this environment, Bern’s just another voice.
What we’ve learned about Bern since 2016
He has a #metoo problem
He is willing to parrot Republican and Russian propaganda
He has a solid pro-Russia voting record
He’s still not a Democrat
When faced with a strong woman, it was easy for Bern surrogates to go full-misogynist. They’re trying it this year, with early attacks against Harris. They’re going to need more than that to move up past fourth or fifth in the polls, though.
“She’s a Cop” is an ill-advised attack on Harris by #nonpartisanprogressives
“She’s a Cop”
Senator Kamala Harris wants to be President of the United States. She’s going to be a formidible candidate, and that makes folks supporting lesser candidates nervous. Those folks now chant “she’s a cop” on social media, in an effort to discredit Harris. It’s a racist, misogynistic attack.
Supporters of Senator Sanders have issues with discussion and discourse. “We don’t want a coronation” was a common trope in 2015, as the Democratic candidates for President lined up. Secretary Clinton’s massive advantages in popularity and fund raising meant they had to go on the attack early.
The “we don’t want a coronation” line appealed to discussion and debate. We aren’t an organized political party, after all. We’re Democrats. We put ideas out in the street and talk them out. That was fine, but then the Sanders folks moved to brutal attacks, some of which were long-standing Republican tropes. That’s because their candidate was losing. The Clinton campaign had a better ground game, and Super Tuesday proved that.
In the 2020 cycle, there’s no coronation. A number of candidates are testing the waters. Sanders isn’t the “or” in an either-or equation. So, his disciples attack what they think is an easy target, Senator Harris.
Attorneys General aren’t cops
“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
–Introduction to the television show, “Law & Order”
Before going to DC as a Senator from California, Kamala Harris was that state’s Attorney General. Before that, she was a district attorney. She’s not a police officer, any more than the DAs on the teevee show were police officers. They were officers of the court, and part of the process, but they were separate.
Those saying “she’s a cop” know that.
The “she’s a cop” attack is a cynical tactic. Those saying it believe they can appeal to the general distrust of law enforcement in minority communities. It’s a dogwhistle. They’re saying, “forget the fact that Harris looks like you. She doesn’t represent your interests.”
Nobody says “she’s a cop” when discussing Letitia Jones, Attorney General of New York. Nobody mistakes Louisiana Attorney General (and highly-visible racist) Jeff Landry for a cop. None of the other 99 members of the United States Senate are referred to as “cops.” Lindsey Graham was a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force. Nobody says “he’s a cop.”
Sanders supporters go after the woman. They need to tear down candidates who look more like the Democratic Party than the old white guy they advocate. In Kamala Harris, they give the misogynistic tactics used against Clinton a one-two punch, adding racism to the mix.
Priyanka Aribindi’s “Crooked Conversations” interview with her boss, Tommy Vietor, was fun to listen to. The ep’s titled, “What’s it like to work on a campaign?” Ms. Aribindi does well in getting Vietor to talk about his early political career. He talks about working on campaigns going back to 2004. That’s going back to ancient times. 2004 was the year I joined DailyKos.
First, Vietor spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign in Iowa. He was part of the in-state team in 2007. The Iowa caucuses are, for better or worse, Yuge/Bigly. Losing Iowa may not do a candidate in, but winning the caucuses can really boost your campaign. Obama’s Iowa win in 2008 put him on top, going into New Hampshire. The narrative at the time was more, can Hillary catch Obama, rather than focusing on how strong a candidate she was.
Vietor’s public displays of affection for Iowa are consistent. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying these things just to be polite.
There’s a scene from The West Wing, from “In the Shadow of Two Gumnen, Part 2,” where Donna’s thinking back to the early days of the Bartlet campaign. The staff’s getting ready to leave New Hampshire (nothing to see there, Bartlet was governor and a CongressCritter from NH). As they’re packing up to go south to South Carolina, Josh tells Donna he can’t carry her in SC. She says, she’ll work as a volunteer, sleep on someone’s floor, etc. Eventually she knew he’d put her on paid staff, if the campaign continued. And so the relationship began.
Vietor’s thoughts echo what Donna did. Tommy tells listeners, get involved in a campaign for a candidate you believe in. Volunteer. Work unpaid. Work hard, be good at it. He reminds everyone that all the success stories you hear of from the Obama administration (Crooked Media, Plouffe, Axelrod, Alyssa) originated with volunteering and working for Obama’s Senate campaign.
Priyanka edits the “What a Day” newsletter for Crooked. Tommy joked that she can’t leave to work on a campaign.
It was 1976. I was a freshman at the University of New Orleans, and an Associate Member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As a group, we sat around a table in the University Center’s snack bar. Even though I was an Education major (the college was on the other side of campus), I gravitated to the UC.
One day that fall, I walked up to the UC’s main entrance around lunchtime. A crowd had gathered there. That’s when I saw my first “stomp.” Men, pledges from Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi (didn’t know they were called “Q’s” at that time) did their dance routines, which I learned were called “stomps.”
Then came the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, followed by the pledge class of the UNO chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated. That’s when I first heard the “Skee Wee.” So, when Senator Kamala Harris mentioned her sorority, AKA, at book promotion event at DC’s Politics and Prose on Wednesday, her Sorors did a “skee wee.”
It’s a Sorority thing. Honestly, it’s not even a Black thing as much as it’s a Sorority thing. What made it a black thing was a white woman. Ms. Chelsea Janes, recently assigned to political coverage after being on the Washington Nationals beat for years, covered the talk for the Washington Post.
And now she’s infamous. Ms. Janes forgot to check her privilege before entering an event with a mostly-black audience. When the Sorors of AKA did the Skee Wee, this is what she tweeted:
As I often do, I’d like to paraphrase Professor Tolkien by saying, I “cordially dislike” the term, “unpacking,” in the context of a photo, written work, etc. That said, there’s much to unpack here.
Just Fucking Racism
“Screech?” Like a sound a monkey makes? We’re off to a good start here, Chelsea.
I don’t know anything about Janes’ background (other than she’s a member of the Baseball Writers Association). I’ve heard the tone she uses from GDI (God Damn Independent) women from back in my UNO days. Sorority women? Nothing to see here, move along.
But Mz. Chelsea couldn’t help herself. As much as the screech/monkey thing sticks in my thoughts, It’s likely that remark wasn’t made to mock black women. It’s more likely she tweeted that because she just doesn’t like sorority women. Some of the cheers/calls/chants white sorority girls do are pretty screech-y as well. If you didn’t get the right recs, or if you got cut from Sorority Row at your school, this stays with you for life.
Again, I don’t know for sure, but there are many in the Sanders Cult who loathe Kamala Harris. They see her as a much greater threat to the election of their Dear Leader. Maybe Mz. Chelsea is a Berner?
A Cautionary Tale
There are two main takeaways for White People from this event:
Don’t tweet analysis and reactions from an event with a mostly-minority audience. Say where you are. Say you’re enjoying the speaker. Save everything else for when you write up the event. THINK before Tweeting.
If you forget the above, Black Twitter is going to eviscerate you. And you’ll likely deserve it.
I can’t speak personally about what it’s like to get shot. I have friends who are shooting victims. I know a few people who lost their lives in shooting incidents. I sincerely hope that me and mine avoid this experience.
One does not have to be a gunshot victim to realize it’s a horrible thing to happen. It sounds trite to say, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. While that’s the extreme side of the equation, I certainly wouldn’t wish that anyone in Metro New Orleans shot.
Congressman Steve Scalise
Steve Scalise is the Representative from Louisiana Congressional District 1. That makes him my CongressCracka. He’s an awful human being. The aura of his horrible beliefs is almost visible. I don’t know if he really is a racist, or he just plays one in politics. It doesn’t matter. He appeals and nurtures the worst in the white people of his district.
On June 14, 2017, a gunman shot four people, including #KlanSteve Scalise. While most of the news coverage focused on Scalise, it’s important to remember that he wasn’t the only victim that day. Analysis of the incident suggests that Scalise was a target of opportunity. Standing on second base on a baseball field offered the shooter a clear shot.
The shooter’s bullet found Scalise’s hip. It traveled through his body, doing extensive damage. While the shooting was not a classic “gut shot,” the shot damaged organs and bone alike.
Getting gut shot is like when an automobile gets “t-boned.” There’s that saying that a car is never the same after a collision, and one car hitting another broadside severely damages the target. Insurance companies total out t-boned cars. They’re just not worth the money to repair.
We can’t total out someone who gets gut shot. If the victim survives, we take extraordinary measures to repair their damage. (Assuming the victim is insured, but that’s a different subject.) Physical and mental rehab, post-shooting, presents major challenges for the victim.
Even Steve Scalise.
I have empathy for Steve Scalise, as well as the three others shot on 14-June-2017. As well as other gunshot victims. They don’t deserve to suffer through the recovery process. Many choose not to suffer. They take their own lives. Others are like those t-boned cars. No matter what you do in the way of repairs, they’re not the same.
Steve Scalise is an angry, bitter man. His position in the House of Representatives put him at the top. Had his party maintained control of the body, he would’ve had a legitimate claim at Speaker.
Still, I have empathy. He didn’t deserve to get shot. Putting a bullet in this man did not change the political landscape of Jefferson Parish. Had he retired, or worse, had he died from his injuries, the horrible majority of LA-01 would have replaced him with someone equally awful. The Red/Blue calculus would be unchanged.
We can do a lot of things to stand in opposition to horrible people. We don’t have to wish them the suffering of getting gut shot.
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