Jim Clyburn and Tim Kane Endorsements Are Wind in Joe Biden’s Sails Before South Carolina

If it’s true that a person can be known by the friends he keeps, voters will be impressed by the endorsements of Joe Biden’s friends this week.

Jim_Clyburn_official_portrait_116th_Congress

REP. JIM CLYBURN OF SOUTH CAROLINA, official congressional portrait

Rep. Jim Clyburn is revered by South Carolina’s African-American electorate, and his timely endorsement of Joe Biden would seem to ensure a Biden victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary Saturday.

Now comes Virginia Sen. Tim Kane’s endorsement on the eve of the primary, providing an additional gust of wind for Biden as he sails into Saturday’s election.

The possibility of Bernie Sanders continuing his winning streak in South Carolina now seems remote. I venture to say it has evaporated.

What if Bernie runs far behind Joe, or if Bernie falls to third place behind Tom Steyer, who has poured part of his fortune into South Carolina advertising? Stop me from speculating further. What seems clear is that no one can predict what will happen a few days from now, when 14 states vote on Super Tuesday.

Cable news pundits have been ranting and fuming for a week, made crazy by the assumption that Bernie Sanders was about to run up an insurmountable lead in Democratic delegates. (MSNBC seems to have given up all pretense of impartiality. Their hair is on fire.)

Sanders still might impress on Super Tuesday. Or Joe Biden might rise again, or Elizabeth Warren. Or even, heaven help us, that billionaire, Mike Bloomberg. (I can’t claim impartiality, by the way. The thought of Bloomberg buying the White House sets my hair on fire.) It bears repeating, no one can predict beyond South Carolina. Let’s wait for the voters, even in South Carolina. Please pass the fire extinguisher.

Some endorsements really do make a difference

Jim Clyburn and Tim Kane are household names in their own states. Clyburn, a civil rights-era icon, is also well-known to African-Americans throughout America. He is the third-ranking leader in the House of Representatives. His endorsement of Joe Biden as a friend — a man he knows and trusts — was moving, to say the least. Clyburn’s heartfelt endorsement will not go unnoticed in South Carolina on Saturday.

Tim_Kaine_by_Gage_Skidmore

SEN. TIM KANE OF VIRGINIA, George Skidmore photo

Tim Kane is a U.S. senator from Virginia, and before that, Virginia’s governor. It’s because of leaders like Kane that Virginia has changed from a red state, to purple, and now to at least light blue. Tim Kane was Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate in 2016. He’s a politician of national stature, even though not well-known nationally.

I doubt that Kane’s endorsement of Joe Biden will have as strong an impact as Clyburn’s. Nonetheless, Virginia and North Carolina are two of the states that vote on Super Tuesday. (Four days from today.) Kane is well-acquainted with the three U.S. senators still in the presidential chase, as well as with Biden. So I have to respect his opinion as based on knowledge.

Tim Kane’s support for Biden will influence at least a few voters in Virginia, where Biden needs all the help he can get to overcome the advertising bought by Mike Bloomberg’s money. Billionaire Bloomberg thinks he can buy anything, including Congress and the Presidency. Kane’s support will also be noticed in neighboring North Carolina.

Jim Clyburn’s support for Biden might also cross the South Carolina state line, and influence voters in North Carolina on Super Tuesday, and in Georgia, which votes March 24.

California and Texas both have enormous troves of delegates in the Super Tuesday sweepstakes. Sanders has been working hard and spending money in both those states. And Bloomberg is heavily invested. Maybe by late Tuesday night we will begin to know who has the most friends among the vast rank and file of voters.

But even California and Texas together will not be decisive.

— John Hayden

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump

 

Joe_Biden_kickoff_rally_May_2019

JOE BIDEN, Creative Commons

Who is electable?

That’s the question of the year for Democrats in 2020.

For insight on electability, the 2016 experience is instructive. Donald Trump appealed to a minority coalition of mostly white voters — voters seething with resentment because they felt disrespected and ignored by a prosperous, elitist urban America on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Donald Trump’s coalition was, and is, somewhat short of a majority. The resentment coalition included:

  • Southern whites
  • Residents of “flyover country”
  • Evangelical Christians

Those three groups do not constitute a majority.

Trump added to his coalition a necessary margin of voters in the upper Midwest. Not quite enough to make a true majority. But Trump’s Midwestern voters were strategically located to swing the Electoral College. That made Trump president in 2016. Can he do it again, or will one of the Democrats be more electable?

Bernie Sanders is gathering a coalition of the oppressed and left-out. That includes:

  • Voters of any age who feel mercilessly exploited by winner-take-all capitalism — the underemployed, underinsured, and over-indebted. Importantly, many younger Americans feel trapped at the bottom. They find hope in Bernie Sanders.
  • African-Americans who have always been — and remain — oppressed and exploited in America.
  • Latinos who feel downright unwelcome in Trump’s America.
  • Liberal white Democrats are supportive of the oppressed coalition.

Voila! It looks like a plausible Bernie Sanders majority.

Joe Biden can hold together the African-American and Latino parts of the oppressed coalition, and probably do even better with liberal white Democrats. But no one believes he can energize the younger generations the way Bernie can.

Elizabeth Warren could arguably hold together that same coalition of the oppressed, minorities, and liberal Democrats. Plus, she might increase participation of oppressed women. But her support among minorities and the young is unproven.

Young voters could destroy the Democratic Party in 2020 if they believe the nomination has been stolen from Bernie.

Unanswered questions

It is reasonable to question the electability of all three — Sanders, Warren and Biden — for different reasons.

Can Sanders or Warren energize and turn out African-Americans and Latinos in sufficient numbers to win?

Can Biden or Warren turn out the younger voters who are fervently committed to Bernie?

But wait. Any of the presidential hopefuls might enhance their electability with the right vice presidential candidate. It’s easy to guess that a popular African-American on the ticket could make all the difference. Cory Booker? Maybe a Latino running mate would have the same effect. Julian Castro? And if the nominee is Bernie or Joe, a woman running mate might change the dynamic.

Et cetera

Amy Klobuchar is the candidate with je ne sais quoi.  Klobuchar is the surprise waiting to happen. I like her because she could win Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Those states made all the difference in 2016. And don’t  forget that Klobuchar is potentially the first woman president. With the right running mate, a Klobuchar ticket could motivate minority voters. Alas, Klobuchar doesn’t have the numbers and she’s fading from the picture for 2020.

And former Mayor Pete? Wall Street Pete? Electability calls for experience, and Pete doesn’t have it. His support is limited and it’s difficult to imagine him putting together the necessary coalition.

Finally, Mike Bloomberg. Former Republican mayor of New York. He’s wealthier than Donald Trump. And perhaps more arrogant. Is any part of the Democratic coalition really waiting for another wealthy, arrogant New Yorker?

Conclusion

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren. All plausible. In the end, it’s up to Democratic primary voters to decide..

— John Hayden

Democratic Debate Audience Packed With The Rich

Bernie_Sanders

The audience repeatedly booed Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist, and applauded Michael Bloomberg, the Billionaire, during Tuesday night’s debate in South Carolina.

This was an audience of Democrats? The party of the working people of America? Or is it the party of the billionaires of America?

Here’s my guess: There aren’t enough billionaires to BE a political party. But it doesn’t take very many billionaires to BUY a political party.

New York Times headline and subhead:

With Tickets $1,750, Debate Audiences Are Elite of the Elite. But That’s Not New. 

Getting into one of the Democratic debates is like getting a ticket to the Super Bowl or the World Series.

We learned something Tuesday night that we should have known all along. The wealthy elite can pack the auditorium.

Here’s what’s new: Suddenly, the privileged are scared to death that Bernie Sanders might become the Democratic presidential nominee and the Democratic president. I wonder why the privileged are frightened?

Bernie Sanders has promised, time after time, that he will take on the health insurance industry, Wall Street, the big banks, the petroleum-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, the National Rifle Association.

And Bernie Sanders has vowed to tax the rich.

So upon reflection, it’s no surprise that the wealthy elite is scared to death of Bernie Sanders. They’re scared enough to loudly boo Bernie and clap for one of their own, Bloomberg.

Bernie has warned repeatedly that America’s wealthy elite, the leaders of Wall Street, banking, health insurance, the pharmaceutical industry, the petroleum and prison and gun industries, all will fight him tooth and nail.

Now the booing has started. What else will the privileged class — be they Democrats or Republicans — do to stop Bernie Sanders?

Maybe the stakes are higher than we thought. Where will it all end?

— John Hayden

 

Growing Older Is Better Than You Think

I recommend the following article to everyone:

“Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think,” by Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, June 19, 2019.

https://link.medium.com/Vd3BjZHhzY

Nothing I can say at this moment would do it justice. Please go and read it.

— John

Dangerous Heatwave Alert

Dangerous HEAT — like over 100° and then some — is expected this weekend throughout much of the United States, especially the East Coast, Andrew Freedman reports in The Washington Post. It will be an extended heatwave, possibly of historic magnitude, that’s my interpretation. Google the Capital Weather Gang. Turn on your TV. Bring in the pets.

The heat will be made worse by very high humidity left over from the hurricane that moved north from the Gulf of Mexico a few days ago.

Extremely high heat is a most dangerous weather condition, according to Freedman.

Everyone should make sure their air-conditioning is working, and that includes New England. Have extra water. That’s according to me.

ELDERLY PEOPLE who do not have air conditioning should make plans to shelter in a safe, air-conditioned place for the weekend, or longer. Pack your bag and go to a relative’s or a friend’s house. Don’t wait. Do it sooner rather than later. Today or Thursday would be a good time to go. Don’t forget your toothbrush and your prescriptions. I’m not an expert, and I don’t want to be alarmist, that’s simply my opinion.

I imagine that every big city will open heat shelters, but I don’t know if they will act quickly enough or have adequate space for everyone.

My personal suggestion for dogs and cats: It would be nice if you can take them with you, but it’s probably not critical. I think they will survive OK. Just leave them several large bowls of water and let them go down in the basement, if you can. They can go hungry for a while, but they need water.

Pray that the power companies are prepared, and the electric grid is secure. Demand overload and power failure could easily turn into emergency. Widespread and extended power outages could become disasters.

This is not science fiction, or apocalyptic fiction, or any kind of fiction. It’s news. It’s what we can expect in the future. The future begins this weekend.

— John

Bernie Sanders Proposes a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights

Note: In an effort to help the voting public understand the positions of Bernie Sanders on the issues, and why he calls himself a Democratic Socialist, I’m reprinting below the text of an email I received from him this week: It is all a direct quote from the candidate. — John

“While the Bill of Rights protects us from the tyranny of an oppressive government, many in the establishment would like the American people to submit to the tyranny of oligarchs, multinational corporations, Wall Street banks, and billionaires.

In 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed an economic bill of rights, because he knew that there cannot be true freedom without economic security. He was not able to enact it before his death. Seventy-five years later, that job falls to us.

That is why I am proposing we complete the unfinished work of FDR and the Democratic Party by putting forth a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights. These rights include:

  • Quality health care
  • A complete education
  • A good job that pays a living wage
  • Affordable housing
  • A secure retirement
  • A clean environment

I am asking for your support for this 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights. Will you add your name to say you endorse these rights?

Please add your name to support our 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights to guarantee a living wage, quality health care, a complete education, affordable housing, a secure retirement, and a clean environment for every person in our country.

ADD YOUR NAME

These are my values, and that is why I call myself a democratic socialist.

What I believe is that the American people deserve freedom – true freedom. Freedom is an often-used word, but it’s time we took a hard look at what that word actually means.

Ask yourself: what does it actually mean to be free?

Are you truly free if you are unable to go to a doctor when you are sick, or face financial bankruptcy when you leave the hospital?

Are you truly free if you cannot afford the prescription drug you need to stay alive?

Are you truly free when you spend half of your limited income on housing, and are forced to borrow money from a payday lender at 200% interest rates?

Are you truly free if you are 70 years old and forced to work because you lack a pension or enough money to retire?

Are you truly free if you are unable to attend college or a trade school because your family lacks the income?

Are you truly free if you are forced to work 60 or 80 hours a week because you can’t find a job that pays a living wage?

Are you truly free if you are a mother or father with a newborn baby but you are forced to go back to work immediately after the birth because you lack paid family leave?

Are you truly free if you are a small business owner or family farmer who is driven out by the monopolistic practices of big business?

Are you truly free if you are a veteran, who put your life on the line to defend this country, and now sleep out on the streets?

To me, the answer to those questions, in the wealthiest nation on earth, is no, you are not free.

It is time for the American people to stand up and fight for their rights to freedom, human dignity, and security.

Please add your name to endorse our 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights.

Thank you for being a part of our movement.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders”

 

America Has Some Of The Best Immigrants In The World, By Peggy Noonan

“However the illegal immigration crisis is resolved, or not, there are tens of millions already here. Who helps make them Americans? . . .

“They need instruction on the meaning and history of America. Here it should be noted that we have some of the best immigrants in the world, who work hard and have no hostility to American religious culture. In fact, they’re part of that culture. Help Americanize them in other ways.”

— PEGGY NOONAN, speechwriter and special advisor to President Ronald Reagan

WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 4-5, 2019, p. A13

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s a lot to unpack in the above brief quote. Upon first reading, the thought that came to my mind was: Well, this is NOT President Donald Trump’s view of immigration. No it isn’t, but look further.

Ms. Noonan was careful about what she said, and what she did not say. Let me suggest that you may need to read between the lines a little in order to discern the subtle observations she is making about immigration in present-day America.

Here’s a hint. Obviously, the subject is “immigration.” However, the key words may be “religion” and “culture.”

If you comment below, please try to be as circumspect as Ms. Noonan was. Any disrespectful or inflammatory comments will be deleted at the discretion of the blogger-in-chief.

— John Hayden

Turtles In Florida

Turtle

I understand that May is the month when giant sea turtles crawl up on the beaches in Florida, on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, to lay their eggs.

This is NOT one of the giant sea turtles. She’s several miles inland from the Gulf, and lives in fresh water, not salt. But she’s the largest turtle I’ve ever seen. I’d guess the shell is about a foot long from front to back, and adding the head would make it perhaps 14 inches in length. Just guessing. She probably qualifies as a North American terrapin. They live in fresh or brackish water.

She crawled from the swamp behind my apartment during the first week in May and climbed to the top of the steep hill to lay her eggs under the big tree just beyond my patio fence. She was digging a hole with her hind legs as I watched. Of course, I was careful not to approach or frighten her, but she seemed to take no notice of me.

I’m thinking this is one very old terrapin, perhaps ancient. She looks old, anyway. Her shell seems to be covered with who knows what, perhaps collected over a period of years. And something green is growing on the front edge of the shell and on top of her head. The green stuff appears to be right over where her eye would be, perhaps blocking her sight.

Life goes on.

I’ve spotted several similar turtles of various sizes sunning on a log in the water at the bottom of the hill this spring. But the turtles on the log startle at my slightest movement or sound from way up the hill, and slip quickly into the safety of the water. This one seemed intent only on digging a hole for her eggs, and not inclined to be aware or afraid of anything.

I wonder why she selected this spot? Is it possible she was born at this very place, many years ago?

The turtle was gone when I returned about an hour later. I hope her eggs are safely buried. In due time, if all goes according to plan, a bunch of little turtles will hatch and scurry down the hill to the relative safety of the swamp. I know they will be easy prey for the many ducks and other waterfowl in the neighborhood. I hope at least a few survive.

The largest turtle I ever saw in Maryland was perhaps half this size. Except for the terrapin statue in front of the library at the University of Maryland, where the athletic teams are nicknamed the Terps. I suspect there may be large terrapins I’ve never seen living in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

And that is everything I know about turtles. Everything.

— John

Turtle2

America It Will Be Bad, By Peggy Noonan

Quote

“You can’t see all the world’s weapons and all its madness and not know that eventually we will face a terrible day or days when everything will depend on our ability to hold together and hold on. Maybe it will involve nuclear weapons, maybe an extended, rolling attack on the grid, maybe bioterrorism. But it will be bad; there will be deep stress and violence. The great question in those days, under that acute pressure, will be:   Will we hold together? Will we suffer through and emerge, together, on the other side? Which is another way of saying:   Will we continue as a nation, a people?

“My belief is that whatever helps us hold together now, whatever brings us together and binds us close, is good, and must be encouraged with whatever it takes.

“If these are your predicates — America in cultural catastrophe, and hard history ahead — you spend your energies on a battle not to make government significantly smaller, but to make it significantly more helpful.”

— PEGGY NOONAN, speechwriter and special advisor to President Ronald Reagan

WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 4-5, 2019, p. A13

Signs Of Alligators In Florida

Gator

In Florida, you might see a sign mentioning alligators in the neighborhood. Believe it. Any neighborhood with a pond or a swamp. In Florida, you’re usually within walking distance of a pond or swamp. Walking distance, even if you have short, stumpy legs like an alligator. I hear they can run fast, but I’ve never seen it. They usually don’t stroll too far from water’s edge. And the few I’ve seen appear quite timid and ready to slither back into the slime from which they came.

Good iPhone photo of the sign, not so good of the alligator, who I believe is a juvenile. Not very big. He/she/it lives in the swamp about 25 yards down the hill behind my apartment. A stout little wood fence separates my patio from the hill. Now why would anyone want to block that lovely view with a three-foot fence? Or a sign?

Gator2

iPhone photo quality does not improve when you zoom in. But with alligators, zooming is better than trying a closeup, IMO. I’ve got to get my real camera working. He/she/it seems to live in mouth-wide-open mode. For what it’s worth.

— John