Category Archives: 2016 Election

Open Primaries Suck, V. Eleventybilion

No wonder the BernieBrats want open primaries everywhere:

A third of those who voted in West Virginia’s Democratic primary say they plan to back Trump in November, according to NBC News exit polls. Sanders won those voters by a wide margin.

In fact, 39 percent of Sanders voters said they would vote for Trump over Sanders in the fall. For Clinton, nine percent of her voters say they plan to come out for Trump in the general election.

West Virginia has an open primary, meaning independents can vote in the Democratic contest. With the GOP nomination wrapped up, it’s possible mischievous Trump supporters sought to damage Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, by voting for Sanders.

Gee, ya think? It’s not like that doesn’t happen in open primary states all the damn time. Not to mention all the other reasons why open primaries suck.

The BernieBrats are saying that exit polls aren’t based on anything so shut up, and they’re oppressed, etc. They sound an awful lot like those whining right-wing conservatives we were just talking about, don’t they?

There is no path to the Democratic Party nomination for Bernie and his continued insistence otherwise is just making his whole campaign look like one giant grift.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election

I Don’t Always Fail, But When I Do….

…. I do so spectacularly.

I’m on record about a dozen times saying Donald Trump would never, ever win the Republican Party’s presidential primary. I just had more faith in Republican voters than that.

Looks like I misjudged how crazy Republicans truly are.

Sorry, folks.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Republican Party, Republicans

New Yorkers On The Presidential Election

I’m traveling again, obviously. One of my favorite shops asked people to post a note about who they plan to vote for. The answers were … interesting. Wish I’d taken more pictures:

Vote1

AND:

vote2

Yeah, I like the John Lennon suggestion, too. Too bad he’s dead. There were a couple hundred slips of paper on this bulletin board and a huge number of them were anti-Trump. Which is funny, since Trump is a New Yorker. Remember how everyone laughed when Al Gore lost his home state? Trump didn’t lose him home state in the primary, at least during the Republican primary, but he certainly doesn’t garner much respect among New Yorkers.

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Filed under 2008 presidential election, 2016 Election, Donald Trump, travel

Poor People Don’t Vote

Bernie is right, actually. Poor people don’t vote.

This is what makes me nuts about the whole “people voting against their economic interests” meme. Actually, no. As the New York Times explained last November in “Who Turned My Blue State Red?”, those people are not voting at all:

In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

Early in the campaign, Bernie Sanders talked about how he was all about bringing these “disillusioned and disengaged” voters back into the process. This was part of his “revolution” spiel. And then he did absolutely nothing to make that happen. Zero. Nada. He gave speeches about it but did nothing to make his vision happen. There was no organizing, there was no field game, there was nothing.

This simply reinforces my disparaging view of Bernie Sanders. It’s incredibly frustrating to see someone who clearly recognizes the problems but doesn’t seem interested in solving them. Complaining is not a solution.

His career has been one endless kvetch. He didn’t even think to tell his supporters to register to vote as Democrats in closed primary states? How lame is that?! Part of this may be due to the fact that he never thought he’d get this far, so back in the fall when those deadlines were looming he wasn’t focused on the actual mechanics of winning. But if you’re running for president, you’re running to win, or else you’re a fraud. If the only reason he was running in the first place was to have a bigger megaphone, then he just wasted everyone’s time. If all you want to do is kvetch louder and longer without following up with any tangible action then I have no use for you. All those thousands of eager kids at your rallies, did you have any organization to harness that energy? Get people registered to vote? Do some outreach to the disillusioned and disenfranchised? No. Bernie is supposed to be a man of the people, but it seems like his campaign has been all about the man, less about the people.

It is also far too simplistic to write off the country’s growing divide into merely Wall Street vs Main Street. As the New York Times piece illustrates, it’s more like Main Street vs trailer park or Main Street vs Skid Row. Any populist campaign that fails to speak to this issue is one focused too much on two-dimensional bogeymen, not reality.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, poverty

Open Primaries STILL Suck

I’ve already explained why I think open primaries like the ones we have in Tennessee are stupid and suck. But a whole bunch of Bernie people are complaining that they were disenfranchised by New York’s closed primary this week, and they are saying all primaries should be open, which I think is idiotic. So it seems I need to do some more explaining for the newbies.

1- First of all, primaries are to elect a party’s candidates. If you are too independent to join a party, then stop whining about not being able to pick the candidates of the party you refuse to join. It’s like insisting on choosing the main dish of a dinner you refuse to attend.

Nobody has to vote in a primary. You’re not disenfranchised if you can’t. The primary is not the election. You independent thinkers get to vote in the general election and when you do, you will get to pick from about a dozen or more candidates. Not just the top Democrat and Republican.

It really is incomprehensible to me that people are complaining about this. And yes, it’s the Bernie people. You wanted to vote for Bernie in the primary? Then guess what: Your beef is with Bernie. He’s the one who chose to run for president as a Democrat, when he’s been an Independent for his entire political career. If he hadn’t made that decision, then you’d get to vote for Bernie in November … and you’d get to vote for him against Hillary, Jill Stein, the Republican nominee (Trump or Cruz or whomever), etc.

2- And speaking of Jill Stein, how come all of this complaining is just focused on the Democratic primary? I don’t hear people saying they want to pick the Republican nominee, too. Or the Green Party nominee. Or the Libertarian nominee. Hey, here’s a news flash: they have Green Party primaries, too! Guess what, you weren’t invited. Whaah! Disenfranchised all over again!

Again, all these folks really are complaining about is that they couldn’t vote for Bernie, and that onus is on the candidate, not the process.

2- Election day problems in New York have nothing to do with whether the primary is open or closed. Showing up to vote in the primary and finding your registration was mysteriously changed or disappeared happens all the damn time and it has nothing to do with the primary being opened or closed. Have we all forgotten that time former Congressman Lincoln Davis showed up to vote in Tennessee’s open primary and found he’d been purged from the voter rolls? Have we forgotten the 2012 Tennessee primary when Democrats were given Republican ballots, even though — and I repeat myself — we have an open primary? Hell, I remember working the 2006 general election and voters telling me they were asked a party preference … for the general! That’s a huge no-no.

So yes, stuff gets fucked up, and that’s wrong, and it needs to be fixed, but it isn’t like open primaries and generals don’t also get fucked up.

3- How hilarious is it that the candidate who claimed from day one that he’s running “to bring new people into the process” and “bring back those who have given up on the process” actually forgot to tell his voters about the fucking process? I’m just laughing my ass off on this one. What a major fail this represents for his campaign. Nobody in his campaign thought his voters might need to be told how to register? When to register? All of those rallies he held with thousands of people attending, were there no voter registration tables set up? Was it all just for the cameras and the soundbites? Guess so. Seriously, nothing screams “not ready for prime time” like overlooking basic GOTV stuff in your campaign that’s supposedly targeting newbies.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election

Taxes & Presidential Candidates

It’s that time of year again when we all must render unto Caesar, so this seems like a good time to compare the candidates’ tax plans.

Not too long ago Vox and the Tax Policy Center teamed up to provide this handy tool where you can calculate how much tax you’d pay under each candidate’s plan.

Keeping in mind that these are estimates, I used the calculator and found that the Beale household would pay $270 more a year under a President Hillary Clinton and … wait for it … a whopping $16,000 a year more under a President Bernie Sanders.

(In the interest of fairness, let me point out that we’d evidently pay $14,340 less under a President Cruz, but in no way would I ever vote for Ted Cruz. The entire nation would pay in so many other ways, for a generation or more. It hardly seems worth it to give up the Supreme Court for that.)

The upshot is, we simply could not afford Bernie Sanders’ tax plan. When I mentioned this a while back, a Bernie supporter told me that we’d actually come out even or maybe even a little ahead because universal healthcare would magically happen somehow, and we’d save money in the long run because we wouldn’t have to pay monthly health insurance premiums.

Ignoring all of the very real questions about how universal healthcare could happen with a gerrymandered Republican House and recalcitrant Republicans in the Senate, I have another question nobody has asked. Let’s pretend for a second that Bernie gets his “revolution” and universal healthcare happens. Could someone explain to me how people such as myself realize this insurance premium savings in the real world? Our family, like most American households, gets its health insurance through an employer. We don’t pay out of pocket for it: it’s an earned benefit.

So for people like us, who represent more than half of insured Americans, how do we realize this supposed health insurance premium savings? Is the Sanders camp assuming that employers will just raise everyone’s salaries, dollar-for-dollar, the same amount they’re paying on employee healthcare? Does anyone seriously think this would happen? Are they expecting this to happen voluntarily, or is there some legislative hammer they would enforce implement, forcing private employers to pay their employees the cash amount of this earned benefit? And does anyone think this would pass a Supreme Court challenge?

It just seems to me that the more you unpack Bernie’s pretty little packages, the more you find they’re filled with sawdust.

I don’t mind paying $270 more a year in tax so that low-income families have Head Start classes and all the rest. But paying $16,000 a year on some unrealistic promise of universal healthcare which doesn’t seem possible, let alone reasonable, strikes me as a stretch.

What am I missing here?

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, healthcare, taxes

You Don’t Know Nothin’ ‘Bout No Revolution

This week the internet lost its shit when Bernie Sanders supporter/surrogate Susan Sarandon indicated she might vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (or perhaps not vote at all, or perhaps do a write-in) because a Trump presidency might bring about a much-needed revolution. Or as Raw Story summarized:

Asked about her own vote, Sarandon replied, “I don’t know, I’m going to see what happens,” before she added with a smile, “You know, some people think Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately. If he gets in then things will really, you know, explode.”

Given an opportunity to concede that a Trump presidency might be “dangerous,” Sarandon instead ticked off a litany of America’s ills saying it was more dangerous for the country to continue on the way it is going — but without noting that things would be far worse in Trump America.

These days I find it’s always best to go back to the original source material, as some media outlets have a tendency to spin these quotes to stoke maximum partisan outrage. You can hear what Sarandon actually said here. Having heard the whole interview, however, I do feel that Raw Story’s take was accurate.

Sarandon has naturally, and rightfully, been getting quite a lot of blowback for her comments. Let me also add here that Susan Sarandon is not just another Hollywood liberal. She’s been an activist on a number of issues for decades. She’s a person who gets her hands dirty, talks to people, and goes out and gets things done. She’s out in the field. She doesn’t just write a check and show up for the benefit concert. So her opinion, much as I disagree with it, is one informed by her experiences out in the real world.

Susan Sarandon has a right to her opinion and she has a right to her principled vote. But I also have a right to point out how wrong that is. Not just because I’m supporting Hillary Clinton, but because I, too, talk to people and have experiences in the real world. I, too, have been out in the field. And from my experiences with a diverse group of people in flyover states like Tennessee and Kentucky, I can assure you that people yearning for “revolution” have no fucking clue what they’re talking about.

She talks about farmers upset about Monsanto and fracking and whatnot. I have family members who are farmers. Most of them are Republican, and I can assure you, they will not join a revolution over fracking and Monsanto.

You also have to be living in some alternate universe if you think anyone in middle America is going to storm the Bastille over a $15/hour living wage. Yes, there are desperate people in this country, and a big chunk of them live in rural Red States. But those people aren’t joining any revolution. Nor are they “voting against their own interests.” Most of them don’t even vote.

America will not do a storm-the-Bastille style “revolution.” Ever. Much as the far right and far left may yearn for it, we won’t, because we don’t need to. Let me take this opportunity to channel my 7th grade social studies teacher and remind everyone that Americans are given an opportunity for “revolution” every two years when we hold our national elections. Imperfect though they may be, warts and all, voter suppression and two-party system be damned, the truth of the matter is, our democracy allows for a substantial — and peaceful — turnover in power, if the people demand it. That is our system. That is the system of most stable Western democracies. That is why we don’t have bloody, disruptive, revolutions in the UK and Canada and France and Germany and the like.

If Trump gets elected he will still have Congress to deal with. And if he tried to ignore Congress he would be impeached and removed from office. We’ve done it before, we can do it again. People will not take up arms and storm the White House. We’ll wait until we can vote the fucker out of office.

There will be no revolution, televised or otherwise.

I’d say people like Susan Sarandon who crave revolution need to stop looking for a silver lining if the worst President in American history took office and start thinking about how they can achieve their wish list of progressive ideas. Doing it within our existing system takes time and work, but that’s how shit gets done. Not by burning down the house and rebuilding from the ground up. Certainly the Tea Party did that, by taking over the Republican Party and then stomping it under their tricorn hats. If you really want the things you say you want then get busy and start working to elect like-minded people to Congress and state legislatures. Take over the Democratic Party, if you think you can. If that sounds too boring and establishment for you, well, sorry. That’s how change happens. Not by hoping things get so bad for so many that they finally “wake up.”

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election

I’m Not Your Smile Monkey

We’ve all been there, amiright right ladies? You’re walking down the street, or in a grocery store, or at the post office, or any old place, really; you’re going about your day (and maybe it was a shitty day, maybe it wasn’t), and you’re thinking whatever you’re thinking, wrapped up in your own business, because the one thing you are not worried about in that moment is what some asshole loser guy thinks about you. And right then the asshole loser guy comes up to you and says, “Smile!”

How much do you want to pop that guy in the nose in that moment? And how much self-restraint does it take to not go full-shrill and tell him to mind his own fucking business and if he doesn’t like your sourpuss face, look at someone else?

This happened to me a lot when I was younger and hotter. Fellas, let me tell you now: if this is your pick-up line, you are Doing. It. Wrong.

“Smile!” is right up there with, “When’s the baby due?” when you’re not pregnant. If I want to smile I’ll fucking smile, okay? And if I don’t, I won’t, and it’s none of your goddamn business how, or why, or when. I’m not here to be your scenery.

I think I speak for all women when I say, Fuck you, asshole. I’m not your smile monkey. Go get some goddamn manners.

So yes, the backlash against Joe Scarborough for Tweeting at Hillary Clinton to “smile” last night is very richly deserved. He actually had the temerity to monitor her facial expressions? We weren’t put on earth to be your set decoration, guys. Ditto the other right-wing assholes who didn’t like the sound of Hillary’s voice. News flash: we don’t give a fuck what you think of our facial expressions, the volume of our voice, or any other aspect of our physical selves. Now go into the kitchen and make me a goddamn sandwich.

The #SmileForJoe hashtag on Twitter is just the kind of smackdown these pompous douche canoes deserve. There’s some brilliant stuff over there. Check it out.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, feminism, Hillary Clinton, media

Don’t Shush Me, Bro

It seems the only thing of importance that happened at last night’s Democratic debate is that Hillary Clinton interrupted Bernie Sanders and he shushed her. This has erupted into a big debate on the Twitters and Facespace thing, but I actually think it’s an important topic we need to discuss.

The rules of communication are different for women and men.

Here’s the deal, guys: women don’t like to be shushed. At all. If my husband ever tells me to be quiet or shush — yes, it’s happened — it elicits an intense, visceral, negative response. It makes me furious. And when it happens in a professional setting? It pushes every feminist button I own.

Why? Because you’re telling me I’m not important. You’re discounting me. You’re saying my ideas don’t matter, and that I don’t have the right to express them.

Men interrupt each other all the time and I daresay they don’t have that same response. It’s just how they communicate. But men and women come at communication from very different places.

The way we communicate is one of the many subtle ways women are expected to take a subservient role in society. I know it looks like we’ve come a long way, baby — hey we can vote and wear pants, huzzah — but when you look at basic social interactions, we’re constantly sent the contradictory message that we are second place. We get talked over, our ideas don’t matter, our issues aren’t important to the country at large they’re “women’s issues,” so who really gives a shit. Our work is worth less. Our effort is less valuable. This is the world from a professional woman’s point of view.

“But Beale,” you say, “Hillary interrupted him.” Yes, she did. Of course she did. And this is another thing about the difference between male and female communication: professional women always have to assert themselves to express their opinion. Because women are talked over all the damn time, it’s something we’ve lived with for generations, and many of us have learned how to interrupt if we want to say something.

I’ve become a really brazen interrupter, I am the first to admit it. Because if I don’t, I don’t get to speak!

Men interrupt each other all the time. And they are okay with each other doing it. It’s how they talk. When women assert their right to express themselves, we’re shushed. I’m pretty sure you guys don’t even realize you’re doing it, but we notice it, and we don’t like it. Because again, you’re telling us we don’t matter and our opinions aren’t important. You’re not recognizing our right to express them. I know it’s subtle — subconscious even — but it’s there.

This morning I was asked, “Well, what would you have done if you were speaking and a man interrupted you?” I’d have let him, of course. That’s what we women always do when we’re interrupted, most of the time. It’s how we’re socialized to behave. If we don’t we’re rude, bossy, brassy, bitchy, too aggressive. That’s the world, people.

As a professional woman I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings where I’ve had to assert my right to express my opinion. And that means interrupting. I’ve become a master interrupter, and it’s not a pretty habit, but if I want to speak, that’s how it happens. Too often, it’s different when a woman does it than when a man does it. That is my experience.

I’m sure this sounds really unfair to a lot of men out there. Women should be allowed to interrupt but they shouldn’t be called on it? What was Bernie supposed to do?

Well, life isn’t fair, guys. Bernie could have raised his hand, or that infamous waggling finger of his, as a sort of “placeholder” social cue. I’ve seen men do that, and it’s not a shush, it’s a “I want to respond to that.”

One thing I’ve noticed Republican woman do — Liz Cheney is really expert at this — is that they just talk without pausing. Liz Cheney literally never comes up for air once she gets going. I’m sure these women have received media training for this, and I’m sure this is a big reason why they basically recite talking points. It’s really hard to speak without pausing and also do so extemporaneously (see Palin, Sarah — someone else who speaks without pausing but she ends up coming off like a ditz.)

This is a real thing, people. If you ever watch Bill Maher’s show, you will see it in action. There’s always one woman on the panel and she never gets to speak unless she interrupts. The men interrupt each other all the time but when women do it, it’s rude, so many women are reluctant to assert that right. And once we do get going you’d better not pause for air or else you’ll get interrupted in turn, which isn’t rude when it happens to you, only when you do it.

Something to think about. Have at it.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, feminisim, Hillary Clinton, Women, women's rights

This Campaign Has Already Gone On Too Long

I don’t know what’s worse: that this is an actual thing that a presidential candidate said, or that The Hill is covering it like he actually meant it:

DuckDynasty

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Filed under 2016 Election, media, Social Media