Sunday, April 12, 2020


Weekend Roundup

I have little to add to the comments below, and frankly am exhausted and want to put this week behind me. Seems like I could have found more on Bernie Sanders, the end of his campaign, and the consolidation behind Joe Biden. Still seems premature for that, not least as Biden continues to be such an underwhelming front-runner. I watched only a few minutes of Steven Colbert's interview with the Pod Saves America crew last week. They're usually sharp guys, but their "ecstasy" over Biden's win seemed awfully rehearsed and forced. They all previously worked in the Obama White House, and one couldn't help but think they're lining up for new jobs under Biden.

Looks like Joe Biden won the Alaska Democratic primary, 55.31% to 44.69% for Bernie Sanders. The primary was conducted by mail. No results yet in last week's messy Wisconsin primary. Biden was averaging about 53% in polls there. We've voted by mail in Kansas, where the primary is run by the party, not by the state. Ballots here are due May 4. We voted for Sanders. Ranked choice was an option here, but in a two-person race, I didn't see any point in offering a second choice (which could only have been Elizabeth Warren; with five names on the ballot, had I ranked them all Biden would have come in fifth).

I've seen some tweets touting Warren as a VP choice, and I wouldn't object. Indeed, I think she would be very effective in the role. I'm reminded of a business maxim I associate with David Ogilvy, who passed it on to his middle management: if we always hire people greater than ourselves, we will become a company of giants; if we hire people lesser than ourselves, we will be a company of midgets. Biden would probably prefer a safe, mediocre pick like Tim Kaine (or Joe Biden), but this is one chance to rewrite his story (assuming his handlers let him).


Some scattered links this week:


PS: Right after I posted Weekend Roundup, I noticed a pretty inflammatory tweets

Reza Aslan @rezaaslan: Breaking news: @DemSocialists endorses Trump for President.

DSA @DemSocialists: We are not endorsing @JoeBiden.

I'm not a member of or in any way involved with DSA, but I don't see any problem with them, as an organization, not endorsing Biden, especially at this time. (Had I been involved, I would have advised them keeping the door open by adding "at this time.") Assuming Biden is the Democratic Party nominee against Trump, I wouldn't be surprised if they endorse Biden as the November election approaches. That would be consistent with what I assume is their raison d'être, which is to advance socialism within the Democratic Party and to support the Democratic Party in general elections.

However, non-endorsement now (4-5 months before the convention) doesn't even remotely imply a preference, let alone an endorsement, for Trump, so Aslan is just being deliberately, provocatively stupid. Sadly, he's not alone in this regard, as I've run into a constant stream of presumed Democrats who are so hepped up on attacking what Howard Dean memorably called "the democratic wing of the Democratic Party" -- an obsession that actually does little more than further discredit "centrism" in the eyes of those who actually care about progressive reforms for real and pressing problems. It's especially hard to credit that people engaging in this kind of innuendo or slander think they're actually helping Biden (or helping defeat Trump -- by the way, I'm not doubting their sincere loathing of Trump, although they do like to doubt others, as Aslan does above).

Relevant to but not directly à propos of this, I noticed this tweet (and later a follow up):

'Weird Alex' Pareene @pareene: I truly thought the fact that no one really feels personally invested in a Biden presidency would make the timeline a bit less wild this time but it's actually somehow worse because they're already preemptively blaming you for him losing

'Weird Alex' Pareene @pareene: (To be clear I do not believe it's a fait accompli he will lose which makes it even weirder that we're already on the recriminations stage.)

By the way, good chance I will eventually write an endorsement for Biden before November's election, much like the one I wrote for Kerry in 2004. But not until he is definitively the nominee, and not until it's reasonably close to the election time. And sure, it's going to focus more on how bad Trump is than on how good Biden will be, because the former is proven, while the latter is at best hypothetical, and not strongly grounded in the track records of Biden and whoever is likely to be involved in his administration.