March 4th, 2020


Poem for Wednesday and Artechouse Sketches

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My Tuesday wasn't bad but I'm so drained from an evening of following Super Tuesday results and B.S. about Super Tuesday results, even though I texted very briefly with my kids, one of whom voted already because he lives in California and the other of whom votes next week, so both earlier than I do. It was a nice day here between the morning rain and evening thunderstorms, so at least I got to get out and enjoy it for a while.

We followed results online while catching up on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (yay, not as much about boys) and the full Doctor Who season finale (urgh, let's just retcon every single thing from the entire series), then Miracle Workers (short, nutty, perfect palate cleanser) before the California results started coming in. Here is one of Artechouse's interactive exhibits in which visitors could project onto screens:

2020-02-22 10.23.59
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little review

Joe Biden '20

So, now that Super Tuesday is over, and I don't have to keep my head down for fear of sparking an unnecessary fight with my friends working on the Buttigieg and Klobuchar campaigns, which I respect a lot because you've obviously done a lot of thinking about whose policies you support and how much effort you're willing to expend to support them, I will come out and say: I support Joe Biden for president. This has not been easy for me, though to be fair it wasn't easy for me to support Mike Dukakis or even, in the early days, Barack Obama, for various reasons that diminished the closer we got to election day. My parents can tell you how many arguments we've had over why I didn't think Biden should be the nominee. In fact, my top FIVE candidates were all out of the race before Super Tuesday (I posted a list last fall):

Democrats for whom I would very happily vote against Trump:
Kamala Harris
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Jay Inslee

Democrats who would not be my first choice but for whom I would still vote against Trump:
Kirsten Gillibrand
Elizabeth Warren
Joe Biden
Amy Klobuchar
Pete Buttigeig

Democrats about whom I have more serious reservations but for whom I would still vote without a second thought against Trump:
Beto O'Rourke
John Hickenlooper
Bill de Blasio
John Delaney
Eric Swalwell

Democrats I honestly couldn't pick out of a lineup but for whom I would still vote against Trump:
Steve Bullock
Seth (?) Moulton
Michael Bennet
Whatshisface Steyer

Democrats I actively distrust but for whom I would still vote against Trump:
Tim Ryan
Tulsi Gabbard
Marianne Williamson
Andrew Yang

Non-Democrats for whom I would vote if I had to against Trump:
Bernie Sanders
Larry Hogan
Michael Bloomberg
Bill Weld
Any Bush who decides to run

I have some policy complaints about Biden and more serious worries about the way he campaigns, the reasons he's been unsuccessful before when running for president, the fact that he's not great at debating and in fact I hope he'll refuse to do the media-staged TV debates because while Trump's voters largely don't care if he tells outright lies and sounds like English is his second language, Democrats have increasingly shown how readily they'll eat their own. My policy complaints about Biden are overwhelmingly on environmental and health care issues. On paper, I agree with Sanders on some of those issues more than I agree with Biden, but Sanders can't even put together a group of his fellow legislators to tackle those things, let alone a broad coalition at state and local levels as well as nationally. I also can't stand many of the people he has around him, several of whom I would expect to be in his administration. If I'm choosing between Biden and Sanders, there is absolutely no contest: I trust Biden more as an executive, I trust him more as a human being. I have greater confidence that he can beat Trump because he will bring the most Democratic voters to the polls.

It's more complicated for me when it comes to Elizabeth Warren, whom I actually really like, though I acknowledge that the places where she's most problematic involve racial inequality and it's a reflection of my privilege that I like her in spite of them. There are specific reasons that Warren was the first choice of less than 5% of black voters and why most of them trust Biden much more than Sanders. Except among voters too young to fully understand why the Cuba comments are so controversial, this is true of Latino voters as well, and black and Latino voters are now the core of the Democratic Party, not white women, who last time went for Trump in higher numbers than they went for Clinton. I have really disliked the implication that anyone choosing Biden over Warren must be doing it out of latent sexism rather than focus on specific issues, and I have really resented all the "Smart voters vote Warren!" posts of the past week, which imply that the vast majority of voters of color, who won't vote Warren, are less intelligent or less thoughtful. Black voters were Hillary Clinton's strongest supporters at the polls, so they did not reject Warren (or Klobuchar, or Harris) purely out of sexism.

Are women held to a higher standard than old white men? Certainly, but the old white men in this race have had decades to prove their bona fides -- or, in the case of Buttigieg, only a few years, which underscores the reason I think he needs more experience and more time to prove his values with direct community engagement before he'd be my choice for the top executive position in the nation. Most black voters have made clear that they trust Biden's work over the past decade more than they worry about stupid things he did in the past. The same does not appear to be true for Sanders, whose civil rights work peaked decades ago and who often sounds oblivious to issues of specific concern to black voters and women. As for Warren (and Klobuchar), they have never made civil rights issues a top priority, and the assumption that economic policy will fix racial injustice has proven time and again to be false, whether the policy is more centrist or more progressive.

As I said, the point on which I agree with Sanders most strongly is that we desperately need better environmental policy. This is why it's so important to vote for Democrats in the House and Senate and in our local elections, not just the White House. However much anyone may like Sanders' policy on paper, he will need a coalition of legislators to push it through, and I've seen no evidence when studying his long career that he's capable of or even interested in putting that together, only of getting people to heckle non-supporters. I will vote for him if I have to, if it's the only way I can stop Trump from appointing one more Supreme Court justice which will spell the end of democracy as we've known it, but let me tell you, I will be crying.