Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Debate debacle and White House update*

(Ed. note: *Update below.  I'm refocusing what has been titled "Election 2020 Update" weekly posts to the presidential race, and using that header for downballot races going forward.)

It's impossible to overstate how awful last night was.  For Democratic candidates not named Bernie Sanders (see what I did there?), for the supporters, for the DNC, for CBS and moderators Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell, and notably for the establishment patrons who paid $1700-$3200 for a seat in the auditorium and then cheered and booed like drunks at a football game.  There is no better reason to turn these fora back over to the League of Women Voters than what was demonstrated last evening.  I threw in the towel before the first commercial break, so hats off to those of you who endured any more of the shitshow than that.

Dylan Matthews, German Lopez, and Jen Kirby at Vox, who declared Bernie, Trump, marijuana legalization, and the city of New York winners.

(T)o win on Tuesday night, Sanders just needed to hold his own. And he did. Despite candidates lobbing both familiar (abolishing private insurance, past anti-gun-control votes) and new (praising left-leaning dictators’ social programs) attacks on him, Sanders didn’t lose his cool, and his opponents were never able to really dig into him.

More winning-by-not-losing from Joan Greve at The Guardian and CNN's Chris Cillizza.  But the editor at-large of the "The Most Trusted Name in News" also thought BootEdgeEdge and Biden and Klobuchar won, and literally nobody else thinks that.

Mayo Pete did get high scores for jackassery, however.

If you'd like to read a summary of the Plutocracy Follies, see #WineCaveDebate.

Warren got middling reviews, which was not what she needed.

(F)or someone who doesn’t support the use of filibuster, Elizabeth Warren sure did dominate the microphone on Tuesday night. [...] Warren quickly found herself on the receiving end of an angry crowd as she excoriated Bloomberg for his and his company’s past that is littered with sexual harassment accusations. It’s extraordinary that Warren’s attempt to champion the women who have been silenced by his non-disclosure agreements was met with furious booing. [...] (she) would have ground Michael Bloomberg into dust over sexism (and failure to release his tax returns) if the moderators had allowed her.

It's old Uncle Joe who needs a win in the Palmettos next week worse than anyone.

Meh. We'll see.  If he noses Bernie out in SC and then in Texas, he'll still have some life.

Klobmentum should be out this time next week.  Steyer might get a small boost on Tuesday, enough for him to keep spending.  Shitty Pete and Bloomer are going all the way to Milwaukee no matter what.  So what does Liz do with a string of thirds and fourths a week from now?

It's a toss-up for me whether she stays in or drops out, and likewise whether she endorses Bernie or not if she exits.  She'll watch the returns next Tuesday night, like us, and decide.

CNN has more town halls tonight with Bloomberg, Biden, Klobuchar, and Warren.

(Update, Weds. 2/26 p.m.): From Warren's town hall.

So the trending Twitter hashtags went from #SandersWarren2020 and #WarrenforVP to #PrimaryWarren and #NeverWarren in about 24 hours.  Thus is the fickle nature of politics on social media.  Nevertheless, I see dimming job prospects for Liz in a Sanders administration.  That is, if she's being truthful here.  Why would she lie, after all.  (Sidebar: Chris Matthews really needs to be 'retired' by MSDNC.  Like yesterday.)

I promised more #BernieinTexas but I'm forgoing that for non-biased journalistic standards.  Here's a few links I've been holding that are relevant.

-- The DNC may have paved the way for Julian Assange's acquittal

-- Sanders' support in Texas grows, but voters are split on Medicare for All, specifically ditching private insurance (note: I would not describe 20% as a "split".  YMMV)

-- Two Democrats filed a lawsuit in Florida to block Bernie Sanders from appearing on the ballot in that state as a Democrat.

The Florida Democratic Party labeled the complaint “ridiculous,” and the Sanders campaign called it “spurious.”

The complaint also seeks to prevent state election officials from counting any votes Sanders has already received. More than 244,000 Democrats have already voted by mail in Florida.

And there will be another presidential debate the day after Super Tuesday.

CHICAGO, IL — 21 presidential candidates will take part in a unique cross-partisan debate March 4 in Chicago, organized by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation.

Spanning both major parties and most national minor parties, these 21 candidates will demonstrate that Americans across the political spectrum can come together for vigorous yet respectful debate that can change the tenor of the nation’s disastrous political discourse.

At a time when a staggering two out of three Americans think we need to make it easier for third-party and independent candidates to run for office, this Open Presidential Debate will help voters and would-be voters learn about more of their options during this pivotal election. At the same time, 9 in 10 voters think it’s important that the candidate they vote for this year will actively work toward unifying the country and making it less divisive.

The confirmed candidates include:

Robert Ardini, Republican Party
Ken Armstrong, Libertarian Party
Don Blankenship, Constitution Party
Mosie Boyd, Democratic Party
Brian Carroll, American Solidarity Party
Mark Charles, Independent
Souraya Faas, Libertarian Party
Erik Gerhardt, Libertarian Party
Howie Hawkins, Green Party
Zoltan Istvan, Republican Party
Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian Party
Adam Kokesh, Libertarian Party
Charles Kraut, Constitution Party
Gloria La Riva, Party for Socialism & Liberation
Sedinam Moyowasifza-Curry, Green Party
J.R. Myers, Life and Liberty Party
Sam Robb, Libertarian Party
Mark Stewart, Democratic Party
Vermin Supreme, Libertarian Party
Arvin Vohra, Libertarian Party
Ben Zion, Transhumanist Party

“When record numbers of Americans support opening up the US political system to more voices and choices, it’s disappointing that the Republican and Democratic Parties work so hard to shut them out. We feel the time is right to create an inspiring cross-partisan dialogue that can address the important issues facing US voters,” said Free & Equal founder Christina Tobin.

Co-hosted by Open the Debates, the debate is aiming to shift the political conversation toward constructive, respectful, and solution-oriented debate. The cumulative debate format will provide a balanced and informative dialogue among the candidates.

“We’re building this event as a prototype for the kind of meaningful discourse and debate people are thirsting for, as well as a platform for the growing political reform movement and all U.S. citizens to weigh in at the presidential level. Instead of begging for better rules, better formats, and better topics, we’re creating the alternative to make the Commission on Presidential Debates and media gatekeeper debates obsolete,” said Open the Debates founder Eli Beckerman.

In addition to the March 4 debate, Free & Equal will release a Blockchain Election Assistant App this year to promote transparency and empower voters with information about all their ballot choices. Powered by Nexus, the app will provide access to very detailed candidate information, as well as educational videos and debate archives. Free & Equal and Open the Debates are also co-hosting an Open Presidential Debate during the general election.

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