In which I endorse, 2020 edition

Early voting begins in Indiana tomorrow. I will very likely vote this week, although I don’t think it’s super likely that I will do it tomorrow, as I figure that there are more likely to be lines tomorrow than there will be on, say, Wednesday or Thursday. Lines are To Be Avoided.

Therefore, my 2020 endorsements:

Some of these are obvious! You shall vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice-President, respectively, and you shall enjoy doing so quite thoroughly. In general, you should probably just cast a straight Democratic ticket, but I want to write this post anyway so I’m gonna do it.

Indiana has a Governor’s race, but no Senate races this year. I will be voting for Woody Myers and Linda Lawson for governor. Probably. I may actually leave this one blank, and I’m deliberately not using the word “endorse” here, because Myers’ campaign has been utterly invisible, and honestly I have no particular reason to be annoyed with Holcomb beyond several things that are generic to Republicans and not specific to him. He will crush Myers. It’s going to be embarrassing. I have trouble voting for someone who did such a poor job of campaigning that I had to look up his name in October.

I enthusiastically endorse Pat Hackett for Congress from IN-02. My current Congresscritter is loathsome; I actually wrote Pat’s name in in 2018 because another Republican somehow stole the Democratic nomination and proved to be so noxious that I refused to vote for him. She demolished him; turns out that people who want to vote for Republicans are more likely to vote for Republicans than they are for Republicans who are pretending to be Democrats. I haven’t seen any useful polling and don’t have any idea how much of a chance Pat actually has but I would be deliriously happy to have her in Congress. I’ve been making weekly donations to her campaign for months. I’m really crossing my fingers for this one.

I will vote for the Democrats for any state legislative seats that are available and I won’t bother finding out their names beforehand.

In terms of more local offices, in the St. Joseph County Commissioner’s race for my district I endorse Oliver Davis, who I know personally and like quite a bit, over Derek Dieter, who I do not know and also think is a sexist asshole. The last time I mentioned him on this site his campaign manager tried to start shit with me on Facebook; I’m almost hoping they try it again.

I may be forced to break not one but two of my rules for the coroner’s race. First, I don’t vote for Republicans, and second, I don’t vote for coroner. I’ve typically skipped this race because I have no idea why the hell the coroner’s race would be an elective office. However! Patricia Jordan used to be my actual doctor, and I was quite fond of her. Insofar as I don’t see why this is an elected office, I’m even less clear on why it might be a partisan office, and as such I’ll probably end up voting for Dr. Jordan.

Finally, the School Board At-Large race: I endorse John Anella and Rudy Monterrosa, both current members of the Board, and of the two I endorse Monterrosa quite a bit more strongly than Anella. That said, you choose two candidates from a field of six, so that’s who I’m voting for. I know Jeannette McCullough and actively do not want her on the Board, and I know nothing of the other three, so this is a pretty easy choice.

Also, I don’t get a say in this because I’m not in the district, but I endorse Leslie Wesley for the District 3 School Board seat. I am not a huge fan of Ms. Wesley, particularly as she’s not been voting correctly regarding our recent school closing and reopening decisions, but Bill Sniadecki, who she ran against and defeated four years ago, is trying to slither back onto the Board again and he needs to be prevented from doing so.

(The previous paragraph is rescinded. See here for details.)

(Oh, and I almost forgot: there are six or so retention votes for judges on the ballot. I am not going to pretend that I did exhaustive research here, but I looked briefly into all six of them and no obvious red flags presented themselves. I typically do not vote one way or another on judges unless I’m given a reason to have a strong opinion, and unless someone shows me something I missed, right now I do not.)

KAMALA!!!!!!!!

Best piece of news I’ve had in a while?

Hell yes.

Now announce that Obama is going to be the first pick for SCOTUS.

In which I make an unexpected recommendation

I think I need y’all to take a little bit of time and go listen to Joe Biden’s podcast.

Yeah, I know. I’m surprised too. But I just took an hour while my wife and son watched a movie to sit and listen to podcasts. I don’t drive anywhere any longer, because quarantine, so I’m way behind on everything, and I had added Biden’s podcast to my list several weeks ago and more or less forgotten it existed. Now, I only listened to the most recent episode, where he’s talking with historian Jon Meacham, and … well, I’m not gonna pretend it was the best forty minute interview I’ve ever heard before– Biden’s not a professional interviewer, and I think the podcast at least comes off as more of an unplanned conversation than something heavily prewritten– but it was damned interesting, honestly, and reminded me of a time when we had a president who could string two goddamn sentences together and express a thought in words of more than two syllables. In particular, I think those of you concerned about Biden’s so-called cognitive decline should give this a listen. Yes, I know, editing, but it would be literally impossible to stitch together a podcast like this from anything the shitgibbon’s ever said.

Previous guests include Rev. William Barber– Biden actually mentions an interest in systematic theology in the episode I listened to, which, what?— and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. I’m definitely going to give the Barber episode a listen, as I find him fascinating on his own, and I’ll probably try to blow through the three I haven’t listened to this weekend if I can carve out the time. There are two shorter episodes at about 20 minutes, and the two recent ones are 40, so they’re not hugely lengthy episodes.

I’m not going to claim that these are going to change your mind on the guy’s positions– I’m not necessarily more excited about voting for him than I was an hour ago, but I’m … calmer about it, if that makes any sense? Anyway, pick a podcasting app and give an episode a listen.

(Oh, and one interesting thing? Virtually no mention of his campaign other than acknowledging that the podcast itself is an attempt to replace some of the traditional campaign events that we can’t do right now. If anything, it’s a missed opportunity– he doesn’t mention donations or anything and doesn’t even refer you to his website. Really surprising.)


7:41 PM, Friday April 17, not yet six hours past the last time I posted: 699,105 confirmed infections and 36,727 American deaths. That is a terrifying increase for six fucking hours.

Ain’t it the truth

Sat down at the computer 20 minutes or so ago all like OKAY WORDZ TIEM MOTHERFUCKERS and … yeah, apparently that’s at least slightly easier said than done? I dunno, maybe the seventeen hundred words I gave y’all on Nioh 2 yesterday was all I have in me at the moment.

So, politics, I guess.

I am having an interesting reaction to the news about the primary ending. I was not actually expecting rage to be among the emotions I felt once that happened, but as it turns out that one’s kind of leading the pack; it pisses me the hell off that we are two months away from anyone in Indiana getting to cast a ballot in a primary that started off with half a dozen candidates I’d have been perfectly happy to vote for and two I’d have been deliriously happy to get, and we’ve somehow ended with an eight thousand year old white man who I used to refer to as “the Senator from MBNA” winning the nomination before Indiana even got to vote. And I’m not happy about it. This motherfucker has been close to the bottom of my choices for the entire Goddamned primary, and while the math has been clear for quite a damn while that my choices are not everyone else’s choices– none of my candidates managed to get anywhere with black voters, which is critical to winning the Democratic nomination– the fact that I literally didn’t get to cast a ballot before the choice was made pisses me off anyway. I’d have been fine with voting for someone who lost. I’ve done that a whole bunch of times. I’m not fine with this.

The Democratic party’s primary structure is fucked, the way we choose presidential candidates is fucked, and I want this shit fixed. Now, God damn it.

(There is– and I will make this point more than once more before November– absolutely nothing short of the election being cancelled or my own death that will prevent me from voting for Biden this fall. Nothing.(*) But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it, and right now I choose not to be. A good VP choice would go a long ways toward restoring some enthusiasm, but I don’t need to be enthusiastic to vote. I’m grown. I’m gonna fucking vote like it’s my job, because it is.)

(*) Well, okay, Biden’s death would probably also cause me to not vote for him, but this election’s already going to be fucked up enough and I don’t want to even think about what the shit would occur if that happened.

(**) Since I actually know, image credit: @adequateashell


8:03 PM, Wednesday April 8th: 429,052 confirmed cases and 14,695 Americans dead.

In which I STILL don’t know anything

I got asked in comments earlier if I thought Bernie Sanders should drop out yet. The interesting thing is I was already thinking about writing this post when the question came through, and as I’ve thought about it a bit more I’ve decided that the answer is that I think Bernie should drop out, but there is an as-yet somewhat reasonable case to be made that Bernie should not yet decide that he should drop out.

Allow me to explain.

Biden is ahead in the delegate count by 154 delegates, with another 94 pledged to candidates who have endorsed him. Democratic rules mandating proportional allocation of delegates make coming from behind more difficult than it is in the Republican primary, because you can eke out close wins in three states and then have those gains wiped out by losing badly in another state. You might remember a lot of talk about Bernie’s surprise win in Michigan in 2016, which was interesting in a “here is how polls can be wrong sometimes” sort of way but ultimately irrelevant because Hillary blew Bernie out of the water in Mississippi on the same day and her gains from Mississippi were a lot bigger than his in Michigan. He ended the day farther behind than he had when he started.

I’m not going to crunch numbers right now on what states are left and what might go for Bernie and what might go for Biden, except to note that the polls for this Tuesday’s contests look very, very bad:

What I have crunched the numbers on– I did it just now, as a matter of fact, because I was curious and I am exactly that kind of nerd– is that Bernie has gotten a lower percentage of the vote in literally every single contest than he did in 2016. Every single one. The average drop is just a hair over nineteen points, with a median just over 16, and there are five states where his vote total was less than half of what he got in 2016:

This is the clearest evidence that we’re going to get, I think: Sanders’ support has cratered since 2016, and there is no evidence at all that this will get any better. None. And he lost badly in 2016 once all the shouting was over. This will be worse. Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Time to quit. He has literally persuaded no one who he didn’t already have to come over to his campaign.

But.

You may have heard of this Rona shit we got going around, I dunno. They’re starting to talk about it on the news a lot.

Who are Biden’s people, broadly speaking? Voters of color and older voters. Who are Bernie’s people, again broadly speaking? White folk, especially younger ones.

One group is more likely to have fewer polling places, meaning longer lines and longer waits (how long did that one dude in Texas wait on Super Tuesday? Seven hours?) and one group is also a lot more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, meaning that they really ought to be spending as little time in possible doing things like waiting for hours in lines around shittons of other people.

One group is more likely to consider themselves basically invincible and not be as concerned about waiting in those same long lines, and that group is also (again, broadly speaking; college students have been screwed in this respect in some places) going to have easier access to a quick ballot casting than the other.

It is, in other words, entirely possible that the coronavirus is going to work out in Bernie’s favor. Will it be enough to make a difference, given the fairly large margins currently showing in the polling? I have not the slightest idea. Especially since, again, he needs blowouts right now, and shaving a 44-point ass-beating in Florida down to 20 or even a narrow victory is not really going to do him a whole lot of good. But it might provide a slim thread of hope to hang onto, and a reason to stay in the election.

Do I want him to do that? No; in fact, I think the more responsible thing to do would be to drop out precisely to drive down the number of people who want to go out and vote, because I don’t think he can win at this point. Which seems odd to say, but it’s true. And I should make something clear: I’m not mad at Bernie about this, and I don’t think he’s off in Vermont cackling and gleefully rubbing his hands together at the idea that Biden’s supporters might be proportionally less likely to vote because of a global pandemic than his are or anything like that. But I think it’s a real difference between the two populations.

Again: do I think it’ll make a difference?

No fucking idea. Like I said, I don’t know anything about politics.