Monday, October 14, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance could barely stay awake last night until just after midnight, then was too excited to sleep for a couple of hours.

With the Fall Classic just days away, the round-up of the best blog posts, Tweets, and lefty news from around and about our beloved Lone Star State keeps the baseball theme with Socratic Gadfly, who took note of the centennial of the Chicago Black Sox scandal and asked: did Shoeless Joe Jackson do it, along with his teammates?

(This is part 1 of a 3-part series.  Part 2 will look at whether other World Series were thrown, and Part 3 will examine the possibility of this happening today.)

The blood of Joshua Brown, the witness whose testimony helped convict Dallas police officer Amber Guyger in the murder of her neighbor, Botham Jean, was barely dry on the ground when a Fort Worth cop shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home.

What is the appropriate response to these killings at this point?

Is there even an appropriate response at this point?

What would be -- would have been -- the response if all of these violently slain, innocent people had been white and wealthy?

Criminal justice, or a lack thereof, has been on the minds of others also.

And social justice as well.

As Neil Aquino would say, "Everything is connected", and the intersection of social and climate justice was readily apparent in a couple of Houston community hearings this past week.

And in more Texas climate news, LareDOS blogged about the amicus brief the Laredo city council filed in support of the lawsuit by Earthjustice and the Rio Grande International Study Center against Trump's emergency declaration in order to facilitate construction of his border wall.  Downwinders at Risk reports that the only public hearing in the entire country on Trump's rollback of EPA guidelines on methane emissions is scheduled to be held in Dallas this Thursday.  The last day to pre-register to speak is today.  Michaela Morris at Environment Texas watched a video (warning: graphic) of a sea turtle having a straw extracted from its nose, and became a recruit in the war on single-use plastics.

And we DO have some politics news for this edition of the Wrangle.

The Texas Signal reports that Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager,  will visit San Antonio (which just happens to be his home town) tomorrow, ahead of the Dallas rally.  Texas Monthly had a profile of the Mohawked, bearded Parscale a few weeks ago that makes for an interesting read.

Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer explained the unholy trinity of Pete Sessions, Rudy Giuliani, and Ukraine.  Texas Standard took note that the Ukrainian scandal has caught two Texans, Sessions and Rick Perry, in its ever-broadeing web.  Kuff reviewed the 30-day finance reports from the two Houston-area legislative special elections.  Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast was unimpressed by Greg Abbott's tough talk about homelessness in Austin.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had his double edition of the Democratic presidential developments, with the latest on Bernie Sanders and his heart, and then the #EqualityTownHallTherese Odell at Foolish Watcher wrapped up another week of impeachment blogging.

And for some updates on Houston's local elections ...

In case you missed it:

One of the state's foremost election law and redistricting authorities, UT professor Steve Bickerstaff, passed away.

Thanks for reading this far.  I've a few light news Tweets to complete this lengthy Wrangle.

Désiré Nizigiyimana at the Rivard Report reminded that refugees from all countries are a big part of the Texas success story.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Twenty Twenty Update: #EqualityTownHall

Today is National Coming Out Day.  Yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day.  Using the terminology of the times, there's some intersectionality of the two.  Hence, why us straighties should have watched at least some of last night.

Many (straight people) might assume that the big issues for LGBTQ Americans have mostly been solved, or at the least, aren’t pressing enough to warrant a national forum. But, as the Human Rights Campaign has pointed out, there are at least 11 million LGBTQ adults in the U.S., so this debate platform could be a game-changer this election cycle. And there is actually a full slate of pressing social issues that still plague the LGBTQ community and are begging to be addressed.

Even with same-sex marriage legalized, the U.S. military allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to serve openly [as well as] growing transgender visibility, there are plenty of LGBTQ people who live without a certain level of rights and access that others take for granted. For instance, Congress has failed for more than four decades to pass any basic anti-discrimination law for LGBTQ people, leading to the Supreme Court hearing three potentially landmark queer and transgender cases about job discrimination earlier this week. Meanwhile the Trump administration and its legion of right-wing judges, lobbyists, and supporters have ignited a full-on backlash to stop LGBTQ progress, including repealing policies that were precariously established to begin with, as Congress continued to fail to act (like plans to allow doctors to discriminate against transgenders, repealing transgender service in the military, and no longer defending LGBTQ people in federal discrimination lawsuits, to name a few).

Overall, the reality for LGBTQ Americans remains bleak: Queer youth homelessness has not gone away. Forced conversion therapy has not gone away. The inadequate patchwork of laws to ensure same-sex couples and LGBTQ parents can securely raise their children without incurring legal hurdles is only becoming more precarious. HIV is still a scourge among gay and bisexual men, especially those of color.

This is all happening, though, during two significant, intertwined demographic shifts that the Human Rights Campaign -- the nation's biggest LGBTQ rights organization -- is aiming to take advantage of, with this election cycle. More Americans identify as LGBTQ now than ever in history: a small but meaningful 4.5 percent of the population, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. And all of those people coming out have had a significant political impact on the people in their lives. HRC says a significant number of Democratic voters who are not queer-identified also want to know that the candidates they support will uphold the rights of their friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members who are LGBTQ. This means that candidates wanting to signal to voters that they know how to properly go beyond platitudes could stand to make a good showing at this second candidate forum on LGBTQ issues during this election cycle (the first was a joint effort between The Advocate magazine and GLAAD in September).

Not so long ago, you might have expected a bunch of these candidates to offer nothing but vague statements about ally-ship and equality, but the footprint of the Equality Vote, as the HRC is calling this group of LGBTQ voters and others who care about their rights, belies deeper political understanding on these issues. It’ll be an opportunity for establishment candidates like Joe Biden to show that he has a grasp of the more granular LGBTQ issues beyond marriage equality, of which he became a (perhaps inadvertent) trailblazer under the Obama administration in 2012. Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro has rarely missed a chance to mention marginalized LGBTQ people, particularly trans women of color; this could be a moment for him to further express his understanding. Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay major Democratic candidate for president, stands to share both personal experiences as he did at the end of the debate in September. Both he and Elizabeth Warren will likely also further define the LGBTQ platform he released Thursday before the event.

And voters will be listening. A wave of politically active Gen Z-ers will be entering the national electorate in 2020 -- and they are the most queer-identified generation in recent history. Following them are Millennials, who also carry a significant proportion of LGBTQ people and have helped define elections since President Obama won his presidency in 2008.

Prior to the forum, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Bernie Sanders at length about his heart condition, and at the end gave him a few minutes to talk about his lifelong commitment to equal rights.

Sanders, who was speaking from Burlington, apologized again for missing Thursday night's Democratic presidential town hall on LGBTQ issues ...

Asked about the pair of pending Supreme Court decisions related to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Sanders promised, if elected, to do "everything that's humanly possible" to guarantee the protections at stake. He also argued that the "intent" of civil rights laws should be clear and include LGBTQ Americans.

"I'm very worried about the right wing in this country now using the argument of freedom of religion to force discrimination," Sanders said.

"We all believe in freedom of religion. We're all proud Americans, everybody has the right to practice their own religion. But we cannot now use the argument that it is my religious belief that, if you're gay, I will not sell you a cake," he said. "And it worries me very much that there is a strong movement trying to bring -- under the guise of freedom of religion -- racism, sexism, homophobia back into this country."

As to the forum's participants, we have winners, losers, and takeaways.

I'll let you read the details if you didn't see it, but you can probably guess that Mayor Pete and E-Liz Warren won the night, and that old Uncle Joe lost again.

Other winners included moderator Anderson Cooper and the protests of black trans women, who were respectfully heard.

Buttigieg’s town hall was interrupted early on by transgender protesters chanting, “Trans people are dying!” “Do something!” And “trans lives matter!” While some in the audience joined in on the chants, others tried to shout them down. Moderator Anderson Cooper did well to diffuse the situation.

“Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition and history in the gay and lesbian and transgender community of protest, and we applaud them for their protest,” he said. “And they’re absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media on the lives of transgender [people of color]...” His inclusive message set the tone for an evening that saw several protests and interruptions.

The murder of of black trans women in Texas is virtually an epidemic at this time.

Biden, his record of pulling Obama to the left on gay marriage notwithstanding, managed to drive himself into the rhetorical ditch again.  And again.

What does 'homophobic' mean, again?

At least his eye didn't bleed.

Two other losers were moderator Chris Cuomo and his lame pronoun joke, and basically the entire lesbian community.

Not a single question was asked about policies specifically pertaining to lesbians. Meanwhile, bisexual and non-binary people got one question each.


The town hall was historic in that it brought together candidates for a nationally televised discussion on LGBTQ rights -- and yet lesbians were completely ignored. Every single candidate got a question about HIV transmission, which disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men and trans women, but organizers couldn’t find time for a single question on lesbian issues -- like the unique combination of misogyny and homophobia that leads to male violence against lesbians, or intimate partner violence within queer women’s relationships. It was a glaring oversight and a missed opportunity.

Each letter of LGBTQ has its own unique concerns, and all have been overlooked and marginalized (to put it too kindly) in our society.  Without question, covering all the bases in this ground-breaking forum would be a difficult task.  As we are forced to say often about social progress: this was a big first step .... and there is still a long way to go.

Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke condemned conversion therapy, saying it should be illegal and describing it as torture.  Beto also declared that he would remove the tax-exempt status of churches that oppose same-sex marriage.  Cory Booker waffled on that question.  (Booker otherwise met with approval on questions like dropping the FDA ban on blood donations from gay men.)  Castro called for his successor at HUD, Ben Carson, to resign over Carson's recent "big hairy men" remarks.

In what I would characterize as a moonshot declaration, Kamala Harris said she would eradicate AIDS within a generation.  And from the WTF department, Tom Steyer seemed stunned to learn that half of all transgender youth attempt suicide.  Read more about these takeaways here.

Let's wrap this rascal of an Update with this.

This would be a stunt on Major Gabbard's part.  She would do better, quite obviously, to call out the rigging from the Ohio podium she barely earned, and perhaps -- with this cry for attention -- she has enabled a question from a debate moderator next week to do exactly that.  With twelve candidates on stage and talk time extremely short ... if she doesn't get asked about it, she'll have to break it open on somebody's head.

Hopefully Warren's.

Houston cools off but elections stay hot

Before I get to my regular Friday presidential Update, here's some recent H-Town political news that I don't have to fill next Monday's Wrangle with.

-- Not content to jack with Austin's mayor over the homeless, our legless, gutless governor also wants to bully Sylvester Turner over Harvey funding.  This is Abbott kicking -- err, piling on the HTX honcho in the election-season beatdown that Bill King and Tony Buzbee have been administering.

Abbott needs a hobby during the legislative off-season that doesn't involve shaking down the wealthiest, worst conservatives in the world for six-figure checks.  Any suggestions?

-- Debate night here in Big Greasy.

The 7 p.m. debate will take place at the Morris Cultural Arts Center at Houston Baptist University and air live on KPRC and Telemundo.

Four candidates have confirmed their attendance: Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King and Sylvester Turner.

To qualify, candidates must have exceeded $50,000 in total political contributions, as reported in official campaign finance reports filed with the city no later than Oct. 7. All candidates who met that requirement were invited to participate.

That left out Sue Lovell ... and all of the rest.  This is the John Cobarruvias method of determining candidate viability, to which I do not subscribe.

-- There was also a debate earlier this week.

-- Speaking of qualifiers, some city council candidates have issues.

You really should click over and read this if you're voting.  Those with the glaring residency fails include Michelle Bolton (District A), Jeremy Darby (D), Anthony Dolcefino (AL4), Van Huynh (F), and George Zoes (also A).  The felons on the ballot are Cynthia Bailey (D), Derrick Broze (mayor), Brad Batteau (AL5), and Ralph Garcia (also AL5).  I found Nelvin Adriatico's explanation of residency acceptable, but YMMV, as it might in each case.

-- Houston Firefighters endorsed just two incumbents, Greg Travis and Michael Kubosh, both Republicans.  In fact their list is heavily weighted with conservatives.  The union passed on giving any of the folks running in B, I, K, or AL1 a thumb's up.

The union has boots on the ground working precincts for their mayoral choice, Dwight Boykins.  And extending their squabble with Turner, 3000 of their rank and file signed a petition declaring 'no confidence' in the fire chief, Sam Peña (who reports only to the mayor).

-- The uncertainty surrounding the state's possible assumption of HISD administration is clouding the local school board races.

This November could bring four new faces to the embattled Houston school board. But candidates are finding uncertainty about the board’s future is one of their biggest challenges on the campaign trail.

Judith Cruz, who is running against board president Diana Davila in District 8, said that as she visits with voters, she’s often asked if there will even be elections because of the looming threat of a state takeover of the Houston Independent School District.

“The question keeps coming up even though I keep addressing it and I feel like others are, but there’s still so many unknowns and it just seems such weird timing to have elections if the state is going to come in,” Cruz said.

It’s widely expected that Texas’ Education Commissioner Mike Morath will replace the elected Houston school board with outside managers either because of poor academic performance at Wheatley High School, which recently received its seventh consecutive failing rating, or because of the board’s behavior and potential violations of state law and its own rules, as alleged in a preliminary state investigation.

-- Last, the conversation over METRO's $3.5 billion bond issue boils down to the usual conservative "no more debt" versus liberal "necessary improvements" back-and-forth.  (I wish good ol' Open Source Dem was around with a 'bond lawyers' take.)

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Twenty Twenty Update: Bernie dials back

"Fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed." -- Molly Ivins
(click it to big it)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a week after suffering a heart attack, said that he planned to slow down his pace on the campaign trail and acknowledged that voters would likely consider his health when deciding whether to vote for him, the New York Times reports.

Said Sanders: “We were doing, you know, in some cases five or six meetings a day, three or four rallies and town meetings and meeting with groups of people. I don’t think I’m going to do that.”

He added: “I think we’re going to change the nature of the campaign a bit. Make sure that I have the strength to do what I have to do.”

It's been a very tough week for the Sanders family (and extended family).

It appears his DIL passed on the same day he returned to his Vermont home from Las Vegas, where he was hospitalized.  She was 46 years old.

All of the other candidates wished him well, but Beto was particularly effusive.

The haters?  Not so much.

After presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders suffered a heart attack last week, he used the experience to explain why he is pushing so hard for his Medicare for All plan. Sanders’s plan would expand and improve Medicare so it covers the whole country with no fees, co-pays or deductibles.

“I am more determined than ever to fight alongside you to make health care a human right,” he said in a tweet.

Yet many critics of single-payer healthcare took a cynical approach and used Sanders’s misfortune to spread blatant lies about his health care plan. The most common smears suggested Sanders “would be dead” now if his health care proposal were law or if he lived in Canada, which offers its own Medicare for All system.

There's more there if you can stomach it.  Along these lines:

Hilarious, isn't it?

Tonight, to be clear.  Update.  One more item before we move on.

Sanders had accepted an invitation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to appear at the event, but has canceled events related to his 2020 presidential campaign last week after a heart attack in Nevada. His campaign told CNN that the senator will still participate at its primary debate on October 15 in Westerville, Ohio.

The October 10 event in Los Angeles will air from 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET and feature Democratic presidential candidates appearing back-to-back throughout the evening and taking questions from audience members and a CNN moderator.

The town hall, which HRC bills as the "Power of our Pride," will air exclusively on the CNN television and digital platforms and coincides with the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day on October 11.

(All times below are Eastern.)

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be interviewed by Dana Bash at 7:30 p.m.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by Anderson Cooper at 8 p.m.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be interviewed by Cooper at 8:30 p.m.
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by Chris Cuomo at 9 p.m.
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris will be interviewed by Cuomo at 9:30 p.m.
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke will be interviewed by Don Lemon at 10 p.m.
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will be interviewed by Lemon at 10:30 p.m.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by Nia-Malika Henderson at 11 p.m.
  • Businessman Tom Steyer will be interviewed by Henderson at 11:30 p.m.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang both declined HRCF's invitation, each citing scheduling conflicts.

To the horse race:

Warren’s new lead in national polls comes on the back of a Quinnipiac poll, released on Tuesday, which shows her leading the Democratic field: 29 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said they would vote for her if the primary were held today. Former Vice President Joe Biden, now in second place, received 26 percent of the vote in the same poll. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), typically considered the other frontrunner in the race, had 16 percent.

The poll’s questions about the Democratic primary had a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points, so Biden and Warren are in a very close race. Notably, Warren also appears to be the only candidate with a steady upward trend in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Warren still has questions to answer about her personal story.  But she's rising in the polling because she's broadenening her base, adding some of Biden's African American support and some of Bernie's working-class voters.  She's building out Texas, with a new hire and an endorsement that cuts against Nancy Pelosi.  And she's essentially the only candidate at the moment whose polls and money numbers are both moving in the right direction.

The money raised by the Democratic candidates was not completely in sync with their standings in the polls. (Biden and Warren) are the frontrunners in the polls, but their fundraising fortunes diverged sharply. Warren raised $23.9 million dollars while Biden reported only $15.1 million.

(Sanders and Buttigieg) lag in the polls but they were very successful on the fundraising front. At $25.1 million, Sanders raised more money than any of the Democrats while Buttigieg raised $19.1 million even though he doesn’t break double digits in the polls. After two straight strong fundraising quartets, Mayor Pete has the resources to raise his visibility to the level of Warren, Sanders and Biden on a national scale.

The other candidates, like Sen. Kamala Harris with $11.6 million, were behind the rest of the field in polls and in money. These candidates need money desperately to raise their name recognition in the hope that increased visibility will bring more votes.

Harris may have to bet the farm on strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire to raise more money. But Sanders, Warren, Biden and Buttigieg have the financial flexibility to spend money nationally, which is important with the deluge of states including California and Texas that have early state primaries.

Could we actually have just a four-horse race in thirty days?  (Yes, I'm counting Steyer and Delaney and Yang, the self-funders, out.  We'll have them around to kick well into next year, or until they get tired of blowing their respective wads.)  Biden's in the biggest trouble, with both his polling and his fundraising slumping.  Ross Ramsey at the TexTrib is smugly carrying a couple of #TXSen torches for Beto and Castro.

Let's conclude this midweek update with these items.

-- Maybe it's the DNC in the hottest water; they're having to beg for help now from the very people they have threatened to screw over with the debates.

In an email to donors and forwarded to CNBC, Chris Lowe, the committee’s deputy national finance chair, listed two events in New York in October that will feature Sen. Kamala Harris and former Secretary of Housing, Julian Castro. Harris’ fundraiser is dubbed the “DNC Chairman’s Dinner.”

Separately, a DNC aide sent CNBC a list of other events this month, which will include a “chairman’s dinner” in San Francisco with billionaire candidate Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren headlining the “Women Will Vote Gala.” Warren’s event will coincide with the Women’s Leadership Forum Conference in Washington. All proceeds for these fundraisers go to the DNC and the party’s infrastructure, the aide added.


The latest Federal Election Commission filings show that in August, the Republican National Committee raised just over $23 million and have $53 million on hand, while the DNC brought in $7.9 million and had $7.2 million in debt. Meanwhile, Trump and the RNC combined in the third quarter to raise over $125 million.

Bernie Sanders has a plan that would fix all of this.  I'm just sayin'.

-- A word about Trump.

Donald Trump has divided the country, communities and families like no other president in recent times. In Forest County, in the upper reaches of rural Wisconsin, he’s also torn apart the pocket-sized Republican party.

“I had a really good friend,” said Terri Burl, chair of the county GOP. “She was vice-chair of the Republican party. I’ve known her for so long. We went to the conventions together. Now she’s a Never Trumper. We don’t speak.”

The friend, Jennifer Nery, was never a Trump enthusiast but she voted for him as a loyal Republican and under pressure from a sister who was deeply hostile to Hillary Clinton. Now she regards it as a mistake and identifies with the “Never Trump” movement in active opposition to the president.

“I’ve always voted Republican. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Democrat. I will be voting Democrat in 2020,” said Nery, a semi-retired farmer who looks after rescue animals. “It’s caused internal strife with some of my family members who said: ‘Jennifer, but Hillary …’ I voted the least of two evils but now I regret every minute. If could go back in time, I would have cast it for Hillary.”

Can the Democrats screw this up a second time?  Forget I asked that.

Monday, October 07, 2019

The Weekly Wrangle

With the round-up of the best of the left of Deep-In-The-Hearta from last week, the Texas Progressive Alliance wonders how many Trump administration members can fit under a bus (it's at least three, but we forget the third one).

Opening with the new names in the race to replace Big Suck-Up John Cornyn:

And for the general election ...

Tilove at the Statesman also profiled the candidates.

The article isn't as dismissive as the headline sounds.

Lots of Texas Congressional developments last week as well.

Kuff looked at the recent PPP poll of competitive Congressional districts.  Howie Klein at Down With Tyranny wondered if the DCCC would be helping or hurting the chances of turning Texas blue next year.  And with respect to the color palette, G. Elliott Morris, writing for The Economist, describes the Lone Star State as "magenta" rather than "purple", but says it's on the way there.

In statehouse races, SocraticGadfly looked at his state rep, Drew Springer, saw that he's NEVER faced a general election and says that if Democrats are serious about turning Texas blue, they need to challenge even candidates like him.

Before the verdict in the Botham Jean murder trial came in, Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly analyzed the problem with the "castle doctrine".  And after the verdict, Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast offered his thoughts on the trial and the case as a whole.  Both pieces were written before the assassination of witness Joshua Brown.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs posted the latest on the Democrats running for the White House in three updates -- one before and two after Bernie Sanders' heart attack -- and Noah M. Horwitz endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president.  Therese Odell at Foolish Watcher went to town on Day One of Impeachment Inquiry TV.

Taylor Goldenstein at the Chron wrote about the U of H research project examining Latino Republican voters and six myths about themAlbert Morales at Latino Decisions, via Latino Rebels, points out the Texas-sized opportunities (Part 3B, with Parts 1, 2, and 3A linked there).

There were a handful of H-Town mayoral debates last week; PDiddie also blogged about the one that was televised, and there's another this Friday.

Speaking of Rick Perry ...

Christof Spieler at Trains, Buses, People ran through an autonomous vehicle thought exercise.

Friday, October 04, 2019

The (now twice a week!) Twenty Twenty Update

Excerpting Markos again because blind hog, acorn.

The Elizabeth Warren-Bernie Sanders wing of the party continues to tally a combined total in the mid-50s [in the Daily Kos bi-weekly straw poll], just as it has for months. Joe Biden seems to have gotten a slight sympathy or rally-around-the-flag bump in some outside polling, but we don’t see much of that here. Everything else is pretty much on-the-dot from last week. The only somewhat notable difference is Andrew Yang, but all that means is that his fan club is getting better at spamming this poll.

Kindly observe that when anyone besides his chosen one so much as slightly improves, their supporters are "spamming" his poll.  When his favorite wins, it's a reflection of the intelligence of the online community he has built.

While 60,277 votes is a lot, and close to our record high, the static results to suggest a pause in analyzing the presidential field as Impeachment rages. It would make sense, while all these candidates are presumably out and about and campaigning, it’s hard to care overly much about it as the news out of DC is so relentless and meaningful. We are witnessing history in real-time, and there’s plenty of primary campaign left to wage. We can take a break from that and focus on the more immediate threat.

But the question then becomes, does this set the field down in stone, benefiting Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, or is it temporary? Heck, we don’t even know for sure right now whether this is a Daily Kos-only phenomenon or one that is reflecting the outside world as well.

A glance at Real Clear Politics would answer this.

Yet, while we can’t answer all those questions just yet,

LOL.  From here I'll provide corrections in [brackets].

Yet, while we can’t answer all those questions just yet, it is clear that Warren has locked down about 2/5th of the vote on this straw poll, as she’s been at that level for two [three, actually] months now. Can something knock her down? That’s always within the realm of possibility, but she’s running a picture perfect campaign [thanks to MSNBC, CNN, and now her own Snopes]. Talking to campaigns, she has the best organization in Iowa and Nevada [debatable]. She’s got home field advantage in New Hampshire [false; essentially all three front-runners can make this claim, which is why the polling gyrates wildly]. She’s lagging in South Carolina, by quite a bit, but she has started to make inroads with the Black vote (her biggest weakness, by far) and in national polling, is approaching 20% of that vote.

Warren's been cruising.  She made a punishing crackback block on Jacob Wohl yesterday on top of what has been a very good month of September.  So where are those fundraising numbers?

Sanders’ mid-teens here is the same mid-teens he’s seeing in national polling, a sort of frustrating purgatory for him. It’s enough to keep him in third place (and even some seconds here and there), but that number reflects his hardest-core base of support. He’s shed much of the 40-45% he had last cycle (and over 60% he had on Daily Kos!), with no real idea how to grow beyond that [laughably false]. Saying “I thought of that first!” isn’t a winning strategy. Because first of all, someone thought of it before him, inevitably (liberalism has been around for a long time), and second of all, most people care about the movement, not any one individual. [Tacky and incorrect.]

If Sanders was the best messenger and vehicle to enact those policies, he’d be doing better. It’s that simple. 

Most of this graf is spite, but there is no denying that Bernie engenders a lot of animosity, so Kos' remark at the end is, unfortunately, accurate.

Meanwhile, Biden doesn’t appear to be losing much of his Black support. His resilience with that vote has proven frustrating to a lagging Kamala Harris (who is retooling her campaign, one that, uh, didn’t have senior staff meetings until last month), But no one loves him or his campaign, he doesn’t draw crowds, his advisors keep him as hidden as possible to avoid the next inevitable gaffe, and his 1980s-era campaign and message are increasingly out of sync with modern today’s zeitgeist. A strong Harris [or Cory Booker] would’ve been a better bet to knock him down, taking his base of support away. Her inability to do that has given Biden extra life.

Here are three good reasons why Biden is no longer the front-runner.  It's really no mystery why the core Democratic vote, African Americans, has stuck with him so long; they roll with the establishment, always.  I saw this personally in 2008, when black Texas Democrats in the primary continued to favor Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.  See if you think Perry Bacon at FiveThirtyEight explains it pretty well; I think he does.

Buttigieg can raise money ($19 million this last quarter), but it’s not translating to support. Not sure how it can, when he’s going around being a jackass and declaring himself the Next Joe Biden, as if that’s what anyone outside of Wall Street is clamoring for.

Boot Edge is by far the worst of the top five.  Beto has had enough of Petey's BS.

"I was really offended by those comments," O'Rourke told reporters after a gun control policy forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday. "And I think he represents a kind of politics that is focused on poll-testing and focus-group-driving and triangulating and listening to consultants, before you arrive at a position."

To this I might add: "Congressman Pot, please meet Mayor Kettle."

Let's move on to the debate next week in nine days, and the one in November.

We know already that the twelve above will appear together on one evening: Tuesday, October 15, live on CNN's various platforms.  That's too crowded.  This debate should have been split over two nights.  My feeling is that the DNC is trying to shield Biden from prolonged exposure.

(Rant: I find it ridiculous that a guy can raise $10 million fewer dollars -- using big-donor fundraisers -- than his third-place rival taking only small donations, have his eye spontaneously bleed during a debate with no one calling for him to drop out ... and still be considered the front-runner for the nomination.  "Because that's what the polls say"?  The polls that ask a few hundred people with landlines who answer their phones?  Those polls?

And this is the best way we have to survey American political opinion in 2019.  /rant)

Read ^^this Tweet thread^^ for more.

Now for some quick hits.

-- Once again, as of this morning:

-- Biden, still not getting it.

(Biden) telegraphing that he plans to attack his rivals on the debate stage for a lack of transparency into their finances. Biden is expected to go after Sen. Elizabeth Warren in particular, Bloomberg reported, for failing to disclose details of private income during the 1990s and 2000s from the types of companies that she now lambasts for “rigging the system.”

Warren, as a law professor, did consulting work for private companies that involved her bankruptcy expertise, including advising Dow Corning in 1995, involving a major settlement with women harmed by breast implants. Warren has released her tax returns dating back to 2008.

Biden may be looking to hammer her for hypocrisy, but his charge of a lack of transparency is badly undercut by his own financial opacity -- not decades ago, but in the last two years. Since leaving the White House, Biden, long proud of his wealth ranking near the bottom of the U.S. Senate, began delivering high-dollar speeches to well-heeled clients and raked in book revenue that elevated him well into the upper class. He earned some $15.6 million in the last two years alone, according to financial disclosures released by his campaign.

-- One of the worst things about a truly bad Kamala Harris campaign is that the even more awful puppeteers manipulating her strings are soon going to have to pick another shitty candidate.  My bet is on Boot Edge.

-- A Heart Bern update.

Someone had Tweeted -- and I had reTweeted -- that he had been released yesterday from the Las Vegas hospital that performed his stent procedure.  That, reported by the Fox affiliate in that city, appears to be false, given the information above.

-- The Guardian profiles Mark Charles.