Categories
politics

Joe Biden and Super Tuesday

The Wild, Wild West

First, I am disappointed that more Americans don’t consider Elizabeth Warren as the best choice for president. She seems to me the most likely to get a progressive agenda through Congress.

Second, I worry that Joe Biden, the Democratic establishment’s favorite, also known as Credit Card Joe, will not beat Donald Trump. Biden reminds me of Al Gore, of John Kerry, of Michael Dukakis, even of Walter Mondale. And of course, Hillary Clinton. All centrist, corporate friendly Democrats, supported by the Democratic establishment, who won the Democratic Party’s nomination, but then lost because of these same reasons. Maybe I’m wrong: I don’t know how Biden would actually perform when going up against the Trump/GOP Wurlitzer. Biden does have a tendency to misspeak, make gaffes, but then there is Trump who lies nearly every sentence he utters.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Third, if Biden does pull out the nomination, of course I’ll vote for him in the general election, just as I did for all those mentioned above1 but not enthusiastically. Donald Trump is a threat to our entire planet, and a threat to the continuation of America as a nation of democratic ideals; other than marching in the street, voting against Trump is our only recourse to removing him.

Financial Entanglements 

The Guardian U.K.:

The former vice-president Joe Biden surged to Super Tuesday victories in nine states, sweeping the south and taking the key state of Texas in a remarkable comeback on the most pivotal night of the Democratic presidential primary race.

His rival, Bernie Sanders, won the crucial state of California, according to the Associated Press, where 415 delegates – more than any other state in the Democratic primary – were up for grabs. Exit polls indicated that the Vermont senator had an approximate 15-point lead, though final results may not be confirmed for days.

The win gave Sanders a much-needed boost after a rejuvenated Biden swept the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, propelled by black voters, and scored surprise wins in Massachusetts and Minnesota, before topping the winning streak with the delegate-rich state of Texas.

(click here to continue reading Super Tuesday: Biden sweeps southern states as Sanders wins California | US news | The Guardian.)

Chase Rainbow

Vox:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the first Democratic 2020 hopeful to take a direct swing at former Vice President Joe Biden since he got into the race, accusing him of being “on the side of the credit companies” in a fight that launched her political career a decade ago.

Warren’s quarrel with Biden isn’t personal. It’s about a 2005 bankruptcy bill he supported as a senator. Warren opposed the bill so vehemently that its passage inspired her transition from a Harvard bankruptcy law professor, who studied middle-class economics, to a senator and now a presidential hopeful.

“I got in that fight because [families] just didn’t have anyone and Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies,” Warren said after an April rally in Iowa. “It’s all a matter of public record.”

The bill made it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy and get out of debt, a legal change that credit card companies and many major retailers had championed for years. The bill passed Congress with large majorities, but most Democratic senators, including Barack Obama, voted no. Biden voted yes and was widely seen at the time as one of the bill’s major Democratic champions.

To Warren, bankruptcy is fundamentally about bad luck rather than irresponsible behavior. The changes were mostly unnecessary additional burdens for struggling families that would enrich powerful special interests. Supporters of the changes, like Biden, believed that too many people were filing for bankruptcy — often people with more ability to repay their debts — a problem that was costly not just to creditors but to ordinary nonbankrupt consumers.

 

(click here to continue reading Bankruptcy law: Joe Biden vs. Elizabeth Warren – Vox.)

Footnotes:
  1. except Walter Mondale, I was too young []
Categories
politics

Michael Bloomberg Is Not A Democrat

I couldn’t stomach watching much of the debate last night, happily, from what I saw, the loser was Michael Bloomberg. He was only in the debate because he is a billionaire, which is such a strange decision by the DNC. What is the depth of support for an oligarch among the Democratic Party’s base? Not much.

That said, I hope Bloomberg is a man of his word who spends freely up and down the ticket to unseat the Republicans, including in the Senate. We’ll see.

Categories
politics

New Hampshire 2020 Primary

Retreat Was Out Of Hope

Briefly, I’ve never understood the reasoning behind dropping out after not coming in first or second in New Hampshire and/or Iowa. Why not wait a few more weeks and see what happens in the next round of primary states, especially the Super Tuesday round?

I’ve never been on a campaign, so maybe this is naive, but dropping out before any meaningful votes vast seems dumb. Your team and you have spent gazillions of hours so far, why not see what chance you have nationally before quitting?

I assume part of this is fundraising drying up, but in the 21st C.E. system, that shouldn’t be such a big deal.

And I’m not talking about peripheral candidates who never got any traction, for whatever reason, candidates like Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, and that tier. No I’m talking about Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and maybe even Julián Castro. Why drop out before March 3?

Alabama primary
American Samoa caucuses
Arkansas primary
California primary
Colorado primary
Maine primary
Massachusetts primary
Minnesota primary
North Carolina primary
Oklahoma primary
Tennessee primary
Texas primary
Utah primary
Vermont primary
Virginia primary

Yet another reason that Iowa and New Hampshire should not automatically first, as we discussed recently

Categories
politics

Democratic Debate in New Hampshire

Well, I watched as much of the debate last night as my liver could tolerate. No candidate changed my mind, I have the same rough ranking of all the Democrats on the stage, if my state’s primary were tomorrow, I know who I’d chose. If my preferred candidate is not still in the race by the time that happens, I have backups.

Any of them are better than The Dotard.

Categories
politics

Iowa Should No Longer Be First, Nor Should the Caucus System Exist

Gather Ye Popcorn While Ye May

The Washington Post reports on the debacle of the 2020 Iowa Caucus:

But whatever the culture that exists in evaluating candidates, Iowa has also come under strong and recurring criticism for exercising outsize influence on the nominating process. This predominantly white state, where agriculture is a dominant industry, is far from representative of the nation. The absence of a larger minority population, especially for a Democratic Party that has become increasingly diverse in its makeup, rubs raw many non-Iowa Democrats.

Beyond that, the caucus system itself is a target of criticism. Unlike primary elections, in which voters can cast their ballots in secret at any time of the day when the polls are open, the caucus process is far more demanding. Participants must arrive by a fixed time in the evening and be prepared to stay for several hours as the process of alignment and realignment plays out.

The caucuses disenfranchise some voters who, because of working hours or other issues, are not able to be at their precinct sites at the appointed hour. This year, special provisions were made to make it possible for those people to attend satellite caucuses at different hours. Still, the caucuses are cumbersome and to critics unfair as a result.
  

(click here to continue reading An epic breakdown in Iowa casts a spotlight on the caucus system – The Washington Post.)

Iowa is the first primary because…why exactly? Just because in 1972 they decided to be the first? Iowa may or may not be a great state1 but nobody can argue that it is first because it is a diverse, pluralistic state.

Caucuses seem like a modernized version of the proverbial smoke filled room which used to be how presidential candidates were often selected. Why not just have a primary? Everyone votes, in secret, and go from there? Why make the process so cumbersome?

Why does Iowa have an out-sized role in selecting presidential candidates, especially Democratic Party candidates? Trump stomped Hillary Clinton in 2016 in Iowa by nearly 10 percentage points, and there are only 6 electoral college votes in play. Why not spend time in a state who has enough electoral college votes to make a difference in the end? 

I say rotate the early voting states, maybe the first 5 are selected randomly via a televised lottery? Why not go to other parts of the country to test a candidates skills at fundraising and organization? Why not Hawaii? Alaska? Michigan? Or California, Texas and Florida? 

Non-GMO Sweet Corn

FiveThirtyEight suggested Illinois should be first, based on how the state’s population matches the Democratic Party base:

To sort states by how much they resemble the larger party, I looked at the race, ethnicity and education levels of Democratic voters in each state using the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a survey of more than 50,000 people conducted by YouGov in conjunction with Harvard University.2 The CCES asks respondents who they voted for in the general election, so to estimate a state’s potential Democratic electorate, I included anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, plus anyone else who identified as a Democrat. From there, I broke the Democratic electorate into five groups: white voters with no college degree, white voters with a college degree, African-American voters, Hispanic voters, and “everyone else.”3 (I broke white voters into two groups because education is a particularly meaningful distinction among white Democrats — and white voters overall.) I then looked at how different each state’s demographic makeup was from that of the national Democratic Party electorate. This allowed me to sort states by which ones best reflected the party.4

And as you can see in the table below, Illinois is the state whose population comes closest to being a cross section of Democratic voters. So under this hypothetical where Democrats prioritize states that best reflect their party, Illinois would go first in the nominating process, and Iowa and New Hampshire would move toward the back of the line. Now, if this calendar followed the current setup where four “carve-out” states vote by themselves at the start of the primary process, the three states after Illinois would be New Jersey, New York and Florida. Just after the first four would be Nevada, which currently goes third, reflecting the fact that there has been some effort to increase diversity at the start of the real presidential primary calendar.

(click here to continue reading We Re-Ordered The Entire Democratic Primary Calendar To Better Represent The Party’s Voters | FiveThirtyEight.)

Dance of the Devil Corn

Sounds good to me. No matter what, Iowa shouldn’t be first anymore. 

And if that changes, maybe ethanol won’t be subsidized so heavily…

Footnotes:

  1. I have little interest in visiting, but maybe one day []
Categories
politics

Andrew Yang Wants To Shake Up the Supreme Court

Doorknob Optional

The New York Times editorial board sat down with Presidential candidate1 Andrew Yang. 

He makes an interesting point about the Supreme Court, I agree with the premise, why not have more Justices?

A lot of the legislative actions, you need a bit more time and a bit more buy-in from Congress, but at the Supreme Court level, I would consider appointing more justices if it was necessary to safeguard women’s reproductive rights.

Kathleen Kingsbury: You mean, you would in addition to the nine that we already have?

In addition to the nine we already have. I believe that — so if you look at the Constitution, there is nothing there that stipulates the number of Supreme Court justices. We’ve had fewer than nine, we’ve had more than nine. I think that appointing new justices would be helpful on several levels. It would help depoliticize the process, at least marginally, because if you have 17 justices and one steps down, then it’s not as much of an earthquake. Well, right now we we’re hinging our laws on the health of an octogenarian.

It would literally be rational for us to all just to follow Ruth Bader Ginsburg around and just scrub any door knob she touches. 

You know what I mean?

Jesse Wegman: You remember what happened the last time a president tried to do this, right?

Yeah. And I think in some ways, there’s some positive lessons to be drawn from that time, because there were some significant accomplishments during that era. 

We need to modernize the court. Lifetime appointments might have made sense at one point a long time ago, but when the Constitution was drafted, people did not live as long. And also, people stepped down from the Supreme Court for any of a range of reasons. They did not wait until they were at death’s door. This is not a way to run a 21st-century society.

We should have 18-year term limits, increase the number of justices, make it so it’s predictable that you lose an election, the other party might get one or two justices, and then we don’t need to literally be monitoring the health of our justices. Or, the most ridiculous thing is you’re literally looking at the age of the person you’re appointing being, “Ooh, this person will be there for 30, 40 years.” What kind of system do you want where you’re having a society decide 30 years ago what women’s rights are today? Doesn’t make any sense.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Andrew Yang Is Listening – The New York Times.)

Nice Knocker

Term limits for all federal court judges, including the Supreme Court, and maybe doubling the amount of justices too. I’m for it.

Footnotes:

  1. and on my list of ranked candidates, not top of my list, but still on my list []
Categories
health politics

Medicare For All Pets

Pip Hanging Out By My Mac

Having had the pleasure to spend much of Friday at the vet, and enjoy many visits recently, I would sincerely like for one of the Democratic Presidential candidates to add Medicare For All Pets as a possibility. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, doesn’t matter, the proposal would get a lot of votes because pets are part of the family, and they need healthcare too. Insulin, for instance, is expensive, and it shouldn’t be. 

Needle Park