In which I ponder

You are probably aware by now, one way or another, that my mayor is running for President. I’ve talked about it around here a bunch, I’ve donated money to his campaign a couple of times, and on my last candidate preference he was in second place. He has spent much of the time since then annoying me, but that’s another post.

Here’s the thing, though: South Bend needs a new mayor! And our mayoral elections are held the year before Presidential elections, so it’s this fall– and I believe early voting for the primary has already opened and the actual primary is May 7. There are, I think, nine Democrats running for mayor. The local Republicans have probably selected a local malcontent of one sort or another; they have not run a remotely credible candidate in something like twelve years, and that guy spent the entire election running against the city he supposedly wanted to run, and lo and behold we decided not to put him in charge of the thing he obviously hated.

(Which is another point in my long line of reasons to never vote for Republicans. Republicans believe that government is worthless and cannot do any good. Why, then, would I ever put one in charge of government? They will prove themselves right!)

Anyway, whoever wins the Democratic primary is going to be the new mayor. I don’t know who the Republican candidate is, but there’s only one and he’s gonna be some flavor of lunatic and about 20% of the population will vote for him and that’s gonna be it.

I have no idea who I’m going to vote for. Our local newspaper has been running profiles of the various candidates and is about halfway through them at the moment. I know two of the candidates personally (if you live around here, and you’ve ever seen a picture of Oliver Davis in a Santa suit, that’s my Santa suit) and have met a third a handful of times, which is really weird. Those three, plus the guy that Buttigieg has actually endorsed, are the four I’m looking at most closely right now, but I’m going to be paying attention to the Tribune profiles on the other four.

There has been no polling that I’m aware of. My gut tells me that James Mueller is probably the frontrunner just because of Buttigieg’s endorsement, but maybe not? I dunno. He sent out a pretty comprehensive mailer about his plans and ideas a week or so ago, and I liked what I saw, but I also feel like it’s time for South Bend to have a black mayor, and the other three candidates I’m looking at– Oliver Davis, Regina Williams-Preston, and Lyn Coleman– are all African-American.

So I’ve got some work to do. Road signs are starting to pop up all over town, so I need to start scouting out townhall meetings and seeing which candidates have credible websites and such. It’s a weird feeling, to really have no idea which of these four I ought to be pulling for. I mean, the presidential primaries don’t start for months and you go seven or eight candidates deep before I start getting into folks I don’t have opinions on. I need to hold the mayoral candidates to the same standard, I think.

UPDATE: I had a brief moment where I felt like maybe I was being unfair to Sean Haas, the Republican candidate. After all, when I wrote that paragraph up there I didn’t even know his name. So I looked him up, and this is literally the first thing that you see when you look at his website:

Two typos in your opening text is too many typos, and the rambling article that follows is an ungrammatical bloody mess. If you can’t find a proofreader for your website you don’t get to run my city. So. Bye, dude.

MARCH UPDATE: Democratic presidential candidates, loosely ranked

_103871624_tv048545996I’m … probably not going to actually do this every month until the election?  And, well, actually, it doesn’t even make sense to say that, because there won’t be 1000 candidates for the nomination for very long.  So this won’t be a regular feature for long enough to become annoying.  But what the hell, it’s fun and helps me organize my thinking a little bit.  So.  Again, don’t take the specific rankings all that seriously.

Also, I’m removing the two minor candidates who I went a month and didn’t hear anything from.  I’ll put them back in if they ever start making any noise.

  1. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren (TIE).  This may very well be a function of the way I consume news nowadays, but it seems like for the last few weeks every time I turn around Warren’s campaign has been announcing some bit of policy that I like, and I feel like Harris has been mostly quiet.  This is more a function of me learning more about Warren and liking everything I see than any drop in my admiration for Harris, but at this point I’d be perfectly happy with either of them.  Put a gun to my head and I still probably vote for Harris but I feel like I want to recognize how much happier I am with Warren than I was a month ago.  So: tie.
  2. Pete Buttigieg.  I know I’ve been talking about Buttigieg a lot more than any of the other candidates, but that’s because he’s still such a longshot.   He’s raised enough money from enough people to qualify for the first debates, and his townhall on CNN went phenomenally well.  Right now I still kind of hope he’s running for VP, though; I’d drag my nuts over a mile of broken glass to cast a vote for a Harris/Buttigieg or Warren/Buttigieg ticket– and in Warren’s case, this would go a long way toward calming my concerns about her age.
  3. Jay Inslee.  I’ve seen a few interviews with Gov. Inslee in the last month, and I really like what I’ve seen from him.  He’s currently at the top of the “I don’t know much, but I like you” pile.
  4. Kirsten Gillibrand.  Whose name I spelled correctly on the first try, thank you very much.
  5. Julián Castro.  Another who really hasn’t changed positions much from last month.
  6. Amy Klobuchar.
  7. Cory Booker, and at this point we’re edging into “Ehhh … I will if I have to but I’d really rather not” territory.  Most of everything I’ve seen from Booker this month has caused me to roll my eyes and/or groan, and I was already not super hot about his candidacy in the first place.
  8. (A fairly wide gap, not represented by any single candidate)
  9. Beto O’Rourke.  Beto talks a good game and can be inspiring at times, but I had a moment where I realized just how much he reminds me of John Edwards, and … no, thank you, let’s all move on.  Another friend of mine compared him to the male professor who teaches classes on feminism and is secretly sleeping with several of his students.  He’s kind of a douchebag and I don’t really know how much he believes anything that comes out of his mouth and a guy who couldn’t beat 10,000 slugs pretending to be human in a poorly-fitting suit does not get to then go “Oh, never mind, I’ll just be President instead.”  Plus I feel like he’s stealing oxygen from Buttigieg, who would be a vastly better President.
  10. John Hickenlooper.  Who I initially forgot all about, but ends up low on the list because of his dumbassed “Why aren’t we asking women candidates about white male VPs” comment.  We don’t need you, dude.
  11. Tulsi Gabbard.  Still hasn’t made enough of an impact to give me a reason to move her down, also has given me no reason to move her up.
  12. Bernie Sanders.  I’ve said my piece about him any number of times and it’s not really necessary to repeat it again.  But he’s not last anymore!  Because of …
  13. Andrew Yang.  He keeps popping up on my radar on Twitter, and every time it’s because he’s being dumb one way or another.  That said, he makes most of the second- and third-tier candidates on this list look like frontrunners in terms of his chances of being elected, so I probably don’t even really need him on the list at all.
  14. Howard Schultz.  Also probably shouldn’t be here because he’s not a Democrat in any way I’m willing to recognize– not even in the half-assed way Sanders is–  but still, fuuuuhuhuhuck this guy.

In which I fundraise: another Pete Buttigieg post

The blog is starting to slide into all-Buttigieg-all-the-time territory, and that’s not really where I want it to go, but I feel like this is important enough that I’m doing it anyway: I don’t know how many of you watched last night’s townhall on CNN, but I thought the guy hit a grand slam. Buttigieg was funny, personable, full of good ideas, and he showed the scary-smart that I always want and don’t always get from my presidential candidates. The national response appears to have been extremely positive– I mean, hell, any Democrat who watched that and didn’t come away with a much higher opinion of Buttigieg and his chances in this race either isn’t a Democrat or wasn’t actually watching. Tulsi Gabbard, who for better or worse has a substantially higher profile than Buttigieg does right now, had the hour before him. Everyone is talking about Buttigieg; I’ve seen no one talking about Gabbard.

Interestingly, it turns out the whole thing is on YouTube. I’ll embed it here; we’ll see how long it lasts. If you haven’t watched, you really should:

I skipped around a bit and it does look like the whole thing; I don’t know what the deal is with the placeholder image.

At any rate: while I’m completely sure that donations have ticked up substantially in the wake of this performance, Pete needs 65,000 individual donors at any amount in order to secure an invitation to the formal Democratic debates, and if that threshold has been reached they’ve not updated the website to tell us about it yet. I’ve donated, and I’ve had two friends who watched last night tell me they have as well. We want this guy on stage, y’all. So if you haven’t watched the townhall yet, there’s another opportunity right there, at least until CNN pulls the video, and the link to donate– again, literally any amount adds you to the total– is here. Please consider it.

Democratic presidential candidates, loosely ranked

A friend of mine did this earlier this week as a Facebook post and without any explanations; God forbid I be so succinct. Standard disclaimers; this is extremely early and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and for any reason. Furthermore, this is only for the primary; I will vote for any of these people with a song in my soul and a spring in my step against the shitgibbon in 2020.

Also, I’m only including people who have at least announced an exploratory committee.

  1. Kamala Harris. Absolutely my horse, as far as such things go, at the moment. I have some concerns about her record as Attorney General of California, as I suspect many of her fans do, but those are tempered by several notable accomplishments (“You will begin the marriages immediately.”) and a near-perfect record in the Senate thus far. In addition, she’s my favorite of the candidates as a human being. I would, to trot out a well-worn phrase, like to have … well, not a beer, as I don’t drink, but some sort of tasty beverage in her presence.
  2. Elizabeth Warren. Very close to Harris; her age and race are the main things holding her back from the top spot. Call me names if you like; my preference where I have a choice at this point is to vote for people of color, and she is going to be 70 before the election happens. I’m sorry; I want someone younger for the toughest job in the world.
  3. Pete Buttigieg. I know, I’m as surprised as you. I think this guy has the potential to be an outstanding President. I really, really don’t think it’ll happen in 2020, but I would like him in the race for a while to get him some name recognition and get his ideas out there. Seriously, y’all, go watch some interviews.
  4. Kirsten Gillibrand.  At this point we’re starting to dip into the candidates that I don’t know a lot about, honestly; she gets the edge over #5 mostly because, if I’m looking at candidates that I don’t know much about, I lean toward electing someone with Senate experience over someone with mayoral and Cabinet experience. Yes, I know Buttigieg is #3. I know a lot more about him and I ain’t gotta be perfectly consistent anyway; deal with it.
  5. Julián Castro. Kinda already discussed him with #4 up there. To be clear, we’re still in “no real reservations” territory here; I just don’t know a lot about him to push him any higher or lower.
  6. Amy Klobuchar. At this point we’re entering “minor reservations” territory. Klobuchar has the reputation of being extremely difficult to work for. I’m not sure how genuine that is, but it’s not a characteristic I really want in a President. However, she still gets the edge over …
  7. Cory Booker.  Booker is the first candidate I have genuine policy differences with, as his record on education and charter schools while mayor of Newark, New Jersey was terrible. That said, so was Obama’s. I probably will not have the opportunity to vote for someone whose positions on K-12 education I actually like, but at the moment I know I don’t like Booker’s. On everything else that I know about, we’re still good.
  8. The ones I haven’t heard of. My friend’s list includes people named Yang, Delaney and Williamson; I couldn’t even tell you their first names and I assume they are vanity candidates of one sort or another. However, as effectively anonymous, “pick them out of the phone book” ciphers, they nonetheless remain preferable to
  9. Tulsi Gabbard and
  10. Bernie Sanders. It might surprise you to see Gabbard’s name ahead of Sanders’. Most of the people I pay attention to who are following the race closely despise Gabbard, who does more or less seem to be terrible. However, I personally don’t know much about her, and my loathing for Bernie Sanders increases every time he opens his mouth. Right now, I’d vote for her over him, but hopefully I will never have to make that choice. That would probably change if I looked more deeply into her record, but as I don’t expect her candidacy to last very long I don’t plan on investing that effort. Sanders, who has no chance, is going to stay in the race acting exactly like a hypothetical Russian stooge might act at every possible opportunity until the very moment his money dries up. I am already desperately tired of him, and he’s not going to go away.

We’ll revisit in a month or two, and see if the rankings have slid around at all, and who else might have jumped in. Whee!

Sure, Why Not: A pointless and uninformed ranking of people who might possibly run for President in 2020

My wife and I called it yesterday when she changed her Twitter handle to remove a reference to Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren is, if not Officially Running for President, at least forming an exploratory committee for same, which … is pretty much the same damn thing, really. And it turns out that apparently Julián Castro has formed one too, which I didn’t know about.

Now, to be clear, I will literally vote for something scraped off my shoe if it gets the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Hell, I’ll vote for Bernie Sanders if he gets the nomination, although I might prefer the shoe-scrapings. There’s no particular reason to take this list terribly seriously, other than that I’m sitting in my office waiting for a plumber to show up on New Year’s Eve because every pipe in my Goddamned house decided to overflow at once this morning and I am the only one in the house and bored. Everyone else fled the sewage in the tub for some reason.

That said:


  • Kamala Harris
  • Cory Booker


  • Julián Castro
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Kirsten Gillibrand


  • Beto O’Rourke
  • Andrew Gillum
  • Stacey Abrams
  • Pete Buttigieg


  • Joe Biden
  • Elizabeth Warren


  • John Kerry


  • Michael Avenatti
  • Michael Bloomberg
  • Bernie Sanders


  • Nancy Pelosi