In which this isn’t fair

It is an unbelievably perfect demonstration of how fucking perverse all of existence is right now that, literally less than ten minutes after telling my wife that I was getting (hah!) stir-crazy and wanted to go out and impulse-buy something, I went outside and checked the mail and found a brand-new Goddamned Best Buy card waiting for me. The card currently carries no balance at all; I typically use it only for large purchases (really, the only reason I ever enter a Best Buy nowadays) and the last thing I bought was my desktop, which is a 2017 model. I could use a new laptop, as the battery on the old one is starting to go, or I could make the smarter choice and just replace the damn battery. Similarly, for the first time since my initial upgrade I’ve cast an eye at the new Apple Watch, but there’s just no good reason to do that either. In either case it would be spending money just to spend money, and I’m trying to be smarter about that crap nowadays.

(I do expect to have to shell out the money for the laptop battery pretty soon, which will be a couple hundred bucks. But the thing is … six? seven? years old and there’s no speed issues at all, and if I bought a new one it would be north of two grand. The only problem is the battery, and since I don’t go anywhere I can keep it plugged in most of the time. I even still have my work laptop at home in case of emergencies.)

(Checks to see if BB has PS5s available)

(They do not)

In general, the election has failed to improve my mood. Other than the presidency, which is all over but the shouting at this point, I went from “it looks like I’ve lost every other race I care about” the other day to “I have lost every other race I care about” today. The School Board race was especially heinous; not only did the plagiarizer not lose her seat to the crank, but the other district seat up for reelection, another person who voted to return, also won, and the teachers lost their best advocate on the Board in favor of an imperious ass who I am not at all looking forward to having to deal with, ever. My personal interactions with her when she was with the district were never good, plenty of people have much worse stories than I do, and her husband was fired for incompetence.

And yet, because this is South Bend and we hate education here, she actually got the most votes of any of the At-Large candidates. So. Dandy.

But yeah: I’ve been waiting for that moment when it feels like the weight falls off my shoulders, and apparently Biden at least theoretically clinching the Presidency hasn’t done it yet. In theory the rest of the networks (particularly the AP) getting the fuck in line and making the call might help, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to relax until the fucker is hauled out of the White House by his hairpiece, preferably to be tossed directly into jail to die alone in a deep pit. Apparently the AP is waiting for Biden’s margin to exceed half a point before they call Pennsylvania; I’m not sure what the holdup is otherwise. Either way, I thought I was going to feel better about all this by now.

I can haz next Wednesday?

wegotthisHad a weird conversation with a co-worker today who was planning on staying up punishingly late tonight to watch Game 7 of the World Series, yet could not understand why I was not expecting to get any sleep next Tuesday night due to staying up late watching election returns, liveblogging, and generally making an ass of myself on Twitter. To my mind, they are basically the same activity, only mine involves literally defeating the forces of evil.

Do not panic, by the way, if you are a Democrat and prone to such things.  I have been saying this for months: Hillary is going to win, and she’s going to win big.  I don’t care what Nate Silver says, I didn’t care what Nate Silver said a month ago, and I’m not going to care what he says in five or six days.  Clinton is going to win.  Trump never had a chance.  I am more mellow about this election than any in my lifetime, and my memory probably encompasses an extra election or two beyond what you might expect from a 40-year-old, because I have a lifelong habit of paying attention.

I am right about this.

Trust me.

Do not panic.

Meanwhile, speaking of not panicking, the Cubs just went up 5-1.  I will probably watch another twenty minutes of baseball and then consign the rest to history and go to bed; I am working my way through a thousand-page Ken Liu novel and kinda want to prioritize that over grown men swinging sticks.

Goal for the next two days: no naps.  Likelihood of achieving goal: minimal.

A quick history lesson for Bernie Sanders supporters

bernie_2.jpgOnce upon a time, there was a guy named Barack Obama.  You may have heard of him.  No one outside the great state of Illinois had any idea who Barack Obama was until 2004, when he delivered the (brilliant) keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.  I lived in his district in Illinois at the time, and I spent a couple of hours on the phone after that speech telling everyone I knew that Obama would be the first black President so that I would get credit.

“You wait,” I said.  “2012 or 2016.  He’ll be President.”

You may see my mistake already.  In 2007, when Obama first declared that he was running for President, I was, with no trace of hyperbole, one of his biggest fans.  How do I know?  Because, again, virtually no one outside of Illinois knew who he was, and as someone in his district as a state Senator and Illinois Senator, someone who knew where his house was, I’d been following his career for a while.

And I wasn’t sure he was ready to be President.  Somebody else was running.  You may also be familiar with her: her name was Hillary Clinton, and her nomination was widely believed to be unstoppable.  (There was also John Edwards, but for the purposes of this conversation he’s irrelevant.)

I started off as a Clinton supporter, who felt that Obama would be a good President, would certainly grow into the job, but didn’t think he was ready.  It was the campaigns that convinced me otherwise.  Clinton displayed a startling talent to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and Obama’s team out-hustled and out-thought hers at every available opportunity.  Obama won Iowa, and got crushed in New Hampshire.  For the most part, especially early on, most of his victories were at caucuses.  Why was he winning the caucuses?  Because he out-organized Clinton, and eventually he was winning enough that that inevitability argument got punctured, and it was only a matter of time after that.

You may have heard something about superdelegates, and you may think it’s unfair that Secretary Clinton is so far ahead in delegates right now.  You may have even used the word “corrupt” to describe the system.

How many superdelegates do you think Barack Obama started off with?

How many do you think he had by the end of the primaries?

You are aware that these people are able to change their minds, right?  From what I’m hearing, Bernie Sanders supporters tend to be young people, a phrase I can no longer apply to myself.  It is possible you are not aware of these things.  Superdelegates have been a part of the process for a long time, and convincing them to vote for you is part of running for the Democratic nomination.  If Bernie Sanders was not aware of them already, and if he does not have a plan to (eventually) win their support, he is doing this wrong.   It is not as if these rules were decided behind his back, or were hidden from him somehow.  And, again, if he wins contests, they’ll come around.

“But the people are behind us!” you say.  Well, some of them.  Some of the white ones, anyway.  The rest of us haven’t had a chance to vote yet.

Speaking of voters of color.

You may be under the impression that Barack Obama was able to coast to these victories mostly on the strength of the black vote.  You may not be aware that the initial knock against Obama was that he was not black enough to court black support.

Go read that article.

I’ll wait.

Not only was Obama mixed, not only was he young, not only was he relatively unknown, not only was his middle name Hussein when we’d been fighting against Iraq for most of the previous administration, but he was running against Hillary Clinton, the wife of a man who was declared by no less a black luminary than Toni Morrison herself to be the first black President.  There is a good argument to be made that the Clintons do not deserve that support, but the fact is especially in 2007-08 black voters loved Bill Clinton and Hillary was widely believed to have inherited that support.  Obama was not supposed to be the candidate of black voters.  Clinton was.

Your candidate, Bernie supporters, is also perceived as having a problem with minority voters.  I’m using the word “perceived” intentionally, because insofar as the problem is real, it’s fixable.  But he’s going to have to acknowledge it, and he’s going to have to do it now.  Black voters– and Latino voters and Muslim voters and Asian voters and and and and and– are not monolithic and they’re not dumb.  They’re not going to vote for Hillary Clinton because they liked Bill.  Obama proved that.  Sanders can too, but he’s going to have to try.

Whining about a corrupt system and superdelegates is not going to get your man the nomination.  Whining about women voters going to Hillary is not going to get your man the nomination.

Whining, in general, is not going to get Bernie Sanders nominated for President.

Hillary Clinton is a lot of things.  Unfortunately for her, one of her previously displayed qualities is the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  She is not inevitable.  She is beatable.  But the Sanders people are going to have to put in the work, and they’re going to have to engage with voters of color and with women voters in a serious way, and they’re going to have to convince the superdelegates– who are, in case you don’t know, mostly Democratic elected officials— that he’s the right man for the job.  Convincing the superdelegates might be difficult, seeing as how Sanders has only been a Democrat for, what, a year or two?  One of Clinton’s strengths is that she’s perceived as much more able to have coattails– to bring in other Democratic elected officials behind her, to alter the balance of power in the House and the Senate so that some of these nice things both candidates want to do become possible.

Is Bernie going to be able to do that?  Is he trying?

He probably ought to start.

See y’all in South Carolina.

Eric the half a blog

It is amazing to me that fully eight years after the end of the Bush administration I still can’t blog properly about politics without getting a headache.  Every post I have in mind right now touches on the presidential race in some way, and I don’t want to write any of them because Christ am I tired of talking about politics, despite the fact that outside of education policy (and there’s been precious little of that lately) I almost never talk about politics around here.(*)

Some of you know this; there was a Previous Blog; back when Xanga was a thing (google it) and that blog was basically politics 24/7.  I burned out.  I can’t do it anymore.  Which is why, for example, Jeb Bush can shoot a “Heckuva job, Brownie” over at Governor Rick “Why the fuck am I not in jail yet” Snyder over the way he poisoned thousands of children and then gave a nice speech about it and the only mention it gets around here is this sentence.  I can’t make myself write the post.  It’s too hurty.  I don’t have the energy for it.

Or, for example, and this is a real thing, how I just don’t have the energy to argue with people who think referring to Hillary Clinton as “Hillary” is hugely sexist when this is Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo:


The “H” stands for “Calling me Hillary is sexist,” obviously.

(And, for that matter, while Carly Fiorina is more likely to use her full name than just “Carly,” I can find a fair amount of campaign material that just calls her “Carly” and nothing that just says “Fiorina.”)

And there is still ten fucking months until the election.

Sooner or later either the dam is going to burst, and the torrent of bile that will be unleashed around here will drive away each and every one of my previous readers, because I love you fuckers but you have no idea what I’m actually like once I get going on this shit, or my head’s just going to explode, which is probably the best solution for everyone outside of maybe my immediate family.  My son will miss me; my wife and other adult family members will probably just be glad they don’t have to put up with my shit any more.


(*) I got curious and checked my categories; I have sixty-some-odd posts categorized as “politics,” but virtually none of them are Washington/election politics, which is specifically what I’m referring to here.  Frankly, most of them are about feminism, which may perhaps deserve its own category by now.