Lazy Sunday LIII: Democratic Candidates, Part II

Last Sunday I began this two-part retrospective of the Democratic primaries.  The lengthy preamble to that post serves as an introduction, so read it first if you want to get caught up.

Here’s Part II:

  • New Hampshire Results & Analysis” – In this post, I looked at the results from New Hampshire.  Bernie Sanders doing pretty well at this point, even with the results of the Iowa caucuses still unclear.  At that time, I wrote that “South Carolina’s is Biden’s to lose,” and I was right (see below).  One thing that caught my eye:  Tom Steyer suspended his campaign after NH, but still took third in SC.  How much better would he have fared had he not announced the suspension and hung in there through SC?  The outcome likely wouldn’t have been too different, but imagine if Steyer had seized second instead of third?  The complexion of the last few weeks could have been quite different.
  • Nevada Feels the Bern” – The Nevada caucuses really marked Bernie’s rise to dominance, albeit short-lived.  Most of this post I spend analyzing the danger of a Sanders nomination and potential presidency.  But then….
  • Biden Blowout in South Carolina” – Biden destroyed his competition in South Carolina.  As I had predicted, black Americans were not going to vote for Buttigieg, and seemed skeptical of The Bern.  And Joe Biden is Obama’s heir-apparent, so he was bound to do well with Obama’s biggest supporters.
  • Super Tuesday Results” – If South Carolina weren’t enough, Biden decisively dominated the Super Tuesday primaries, as he did this past Tuesday.  Bernie is hanging in there, but his path to victory is narrowing.  I’m still holding out hope for a brokered convention, but just as South Carolina was “Biden’s to lose,” at this point, I think the same could be said of the Democratic nomination.

Of course, if Biden gets the nomination, we have to pull out all the stops to defeat him.  Bernie is dangerous because of his ideology.  Biden is dangerous because he’s an empty husk of a man in a rapidly deteriorating mental condition, who will do whatever his Democratic masters demand of him.  The erosion of freedoms may be more subtle under a Biden presidency, but they will be there, nonetheless.  Don’t succumb to the siren song of “moderation!”

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday LII: Democratic Candidates, Part I

The last week saw some major momentum for Joe Biden, as he smashed through big chunks of the Super Tuesday primaries.  Then his most logical competitors, one by one, dropped out, no doubt after receiving some threatening phone calls from the DNC.  That’s narrowed the field, essentially, to Biden and Bernie, with Congressbabe Tulsi Gabbard out there with some Somoan delegates and a dream of a debate appearance.

What seemed so unlikely even ten days ago—but was the conventional wisdom last summer—now seems plausible:  Biden, possibly struggling with dementia, is on track to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency.  There’s still a chance for a brokered convention, which would no-doubt devolve into chaos as angry Bernie Bros watched their doddering hero stripped of any chance at the nomination, but the safe bet at this point seems to be a narrow Biden win.

It’s a good reminder that these primaries can be incredibly unpredictable, but also that the establishment choice usually wins.  I remember the 2012 Republican primaries, in which, week after week, one of the second-tier candidates would take the lead, only to fall behind or get knocked out of the race.  Romney was the presumed front-runner, even though he was second in most of the polls, but none of the other candidates could stay out in the lead for long.  It finally came down to Rick Santorum to offer some kind of alternative to Romney, and he, too, fell.

It’s why so many of us were dismayed when the media was trumpeting JEB! Bush as the Republican front-runner in early 2015.  I was Trump-skeptical in those days (how wrong I was), but the thought of another Bush, even a capable one (JEB! was a great governor in Florida), getting the nomination was disheartening.  Fortunately, Trump upended everything like a bull in a gold-plated hotel china shop.

Trump’s nomination now seems like an historical aberration—one for which I am extremely thankful.  I’m hoping it’s the start of a new trend of populist firebrands (at least on the Republican side), but the circling of the DNC wagons around Biden suggests that the elites are still running the show, at least on that side of the political spectrum.  Republicans do seem to listen to their base a bit more—sometimes.

Regardless, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some posts regarding the Democratic primaries to see some of the figures that rose and fell during the process.  I’ll continue this review of recent history next Sunday.

  • Box Wine Aunties for Williamson” – a social media savvy, New Age-y guru, Marianne Williamson was all the talk in the early days of the Democratic debates.  That was during the point when the party, chastened by claims of a rigged primary season in 2016, was letting everyone and their brother get on television if they had enough small-ball donations.  Thus, Williamson became an Internet sensation.  In reading back through that post, my analysis relies a great deal on symbolism, which is increasingly important in an age in which memes and images convey complex meanings.  Buuuuut the moon-bat dropped out.
  • The Collapse of the Obama Coalition?” – The identity-politics-obsessed Left now bemoans the fact that the Democratic primaries are down to two old white dudes.  It turns out there are many Democrats that don’t care about identity politics, but in 2019 the candidate I most feared was Senator Kamala Harris, the concubine-turned-prosecutor-turned-pandering-politico who seemed to check off all the intersectional boxes.  She was a woman, black(ish), exotic—like Obama.  If anyone could revive the frayed Obama coalition of the “marginalized,” it would be her.  Of course, her inauthentic pandering to blacks was so transparent, they rejected her out-of-hand.  Turns out black folks don’t like a half-Jamaican prosecutor who pretends to know about African-American culture and who spent her career locking them up.
  • Iowa Caucuses: Disaster on the Prairie” – The Democrats love to sell themselves as do-gooding technocrats who “know how to get things done” (I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Warren has said that, with all the earnestness of every girl who cried over making a 98 on a quiz, constantly over the past year).  Yet they botched the much-watched Iowa caucuses in spectacular fashion, using suspect technology with close ties to some of the candidates to calculate the results.  Sometimes good old pencil and paper really are the way to go.  Of course, that muddying of the waters screwed up the momentum for both the Bernie and the Buttigieg camps, and may have had downstream effects on both campaigns.

That’s it for this (unintentionally long) Lazy Sunday.  Part II of this retrospective will be next week.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Super Tuesday Results

Whoa!  The Super Tuesday results are (mostly) in, and it looks like my prediction was right:  Biden gobbled up the South, including Virginia, while Sanders held strong on the Left Coast, including Colorado (and, most significantly, California).  Politico has a nifty rundown of the results.

Biden is being propped up by the establishment wing of the Democratic Party.  Amy “The Teacher’s Pet” Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both suspended their campaigns after Biden’s big win in South Carolina.  Based on his performance in South Carolina, I figured that black voters were behind him thanks to his role as Obama’s VP.  Sanders has struggled with black voters (who, in addition to not liking homosexuals, also don’t seem to care for elderly Jewish socialists).

Now Bloomberg has dropped out, too, and thrown his support to Biden.  I called this one right as well:  he was a red herring all along.  Elizabeth Warren, who seems to reevaluating her pledge to “take it to the convention,” effectively destroyed him in the Nevada debates.  It also puts to bed the notion that the presidency can be bought (at least at this point).  Maybe if Biden had stumbled in SC (and Bloomberg had stayed out of the Nevada debate), Bloomy could have filled the vacuum of the Democratic “center,” but I doubt it.

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Biden Blowout in South Carolina

A note to SubscribeStar subscribers:  I will post an account of my recent trip to Universal Studios tomorrow, to make up for Saturday’s missed post.  I will try to have Sunday Doodles posted for $5 subscribers later today, probably this evening.  Thank you for your patience, and your support.  —TPP

The Democratic primaries continue to get more interesting.  First, Buttigieg surprised analysts with a near-victory in Iowa (in fact, I’m still unclear who actually “won” the caucuses there).  Elizabeth Warren took down Bloomberg on the eve of the Nevada caucuses, herself going down in flames in South Carolina.

There’s an echo there of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie taking down a robotic Marco Rubio in the debate just before the 2016 New Hampshire primaries.  Christie had no chance of winning after New Hampshire, but he took Rubio down with him, exposing the would-be poster boy of the Republican Party as an overly-polished puppet.  Similarly, Warren’s aggressive attacks on Bloomberg was the screeching harpies way of clawing Bloomberg down with her.

Of course, unlike Rubio, Bloomberg has billions of dollars at his disposal, and has pledged to keep spending big.  That adds an interesting wrinkle, but I’ve held that Bloomberg is a very flashy red herring, and I’m not convinced he can buy primary victories.  Super Tuesday will tell us a great deal, but I think the only winner from Bloomberg’s campaign will be television networks and social media outlets making a bundle from ad sales.  I would love to get the commission on a Bloomberg ad buy.

Now, former Vice President Joe Biden has come back with a yuge win in South Carolina.  Like every armchair commentator with even a passing knowledge of the South and black people, I knew that Buttigieg would struggle here.  Black voters dominate the Democratic primaries in Southern States, and black people do not like gays.  But I didn’t expect that ButtiBoy would drop out after SC.

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Iowa Caucuses: Disaster on the Prairie

After some uncertainty and a great deal of speculation, the results are in:  incumbent President Donald Trump has won the Iowa Republican caucuses in a landslide victory reminiscent of a Latin American dictator, clinching 97.1% of caucus-goers’ votes.  Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed to see only clinched thirty-nine of the forty available delegates (Bill Weld managed to snag one with his impressive 1.3% vote share).

Oh, wait, you wanted the Democratic caucus results?  Geeze, well, I’m afraid I can’t be of much help.  Regular readers will note that this post is hitting very late in the day for me, and there’s a reason unrelated to Democratic incompetence (and/or the Party’s attempt to rig the caucuses against Bernie).

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Election Season 2020: Iowa Caucuses

After all the anticipation, it’s finally here—the proper beginning of the 2020 presidential election.  The Iowa caucuses kick off tonight, and there’s no telling how it’s all going to shake out (although it looks like Bernie is on track to have a good night).

The Iowa caucuses work differently than the primaries in other States.  Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day today explains the process succinctly.  Essentially, if a candidate does not receive 15% of the votes at a precinct, his or her supporters must recast their votes for one of the remaining candidates.  That means that, while a candidate always wants to be a voter’s first choice, being the second choice can still work well.  It also makes it possible to see where support will go if a candidate drops out.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Primary Season Preview

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

The presidential primaries are just a few weeks away, kicking off on February 3rd with the Iowa caucuses.  However, as Scott Rasmussen noted Thursday in his Number of the Day feature for Ballotpedia, early voting began yesterday in Minnesota, which doesn’t officially vote until Super Tuesday on March 3rd, one month into the process.  Voters in Vermont can begin voting (presumably for socialist Bernie Sanders) today.

Rasmussen poses the question:  what does all this early voting mean?  In a crowded Democratic field, where early wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina can boost or destroy a candidate’s chances, early voting could throw an interesting wrinkle into the mix.  I suspect most voters will wait, but we could have Minnesotans voting for their raging hometown sweetheart, Amy Klobuchar, only to see her withdraw after the early primaries.

Regardless, the primaries are a-comin’, so I figured it was time for a little pre-primaries preview.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

TBT: Tom Steyer’s Belt

Like many bloggers, I wrote a “2019’s Top Five Posts” feature to acknowledge the most-trafficked posts of the year.  One of the surprise sleeper hits was this post, “Tom Steyer’s Belt.”

I wrote this piece on September 30, 2019, largely as a cheeky throwaway.  It didn’t seem to get much traffic initially, but that’s true of many of my posts.

Then, probably in late November, but certainly by December, I noticed something:  it was getting a handful of clicks everyday.  It was just a few at first—maybe four or five, sometimes less—but then the views grew.

Now I’m getting dozens of views everyday from this post alone—usually more than fifty!  As the Democratic primaries approach and challengers drop out, Tom Steyer and his stupid belt continue to hang in there, running ads all over the place.

Perhaps not surprisingly, other people want to know the meaning behind the belt.  According to my WordPress analytics—limited as they are—a few of the clicks to my piece come from the search terms “why does Tom Steyer wear that stupid belt” and “Tom Steyer’s stupid belt.”  Less judgmental permutations also bring up my site.

The belt has, apparently, captured the nation’s imagination (and, presumably, Steyer’s waist):  it has its own Facebook page, where “The Belt” posts hilarious comments.

Well, at least some good will come from Steyer’s campaign—a good laugh at a clueless Leftie’s expense.

Here’s 2019’s “Tom Steyer’s Belt“—now the most popular post on The Portly Politico:

When I was in college, I formed this ridiculous pseudo-band with a suitemate of mine (who has, apparently, now gone down some dark roads) called Blasphemy’s Belt, which my bio on another band’s website refers to as an “electro-pop humor duo.”  I can’t remember how we came up with the name—our music wasn’t particularly or purposefully blasphemous (or good), and while we wore belts, they weren’t outrageous (just to keep our pants up)—but it was apparently catchy enough that people picked up on it.

The Belt never performed live, other than for an annoyed roommate, and a highly grating pop-up concert (at least, that’s what hipsters would call it nowadays) on our floor’s study room, but we generated enough buzz to get people to vote for us in a “Best of Columbia” survey in The Free Times.  We didn’t win anything, but it was an object lesson in how enough hype can make people believe you have substance when you really don’t.

That’s my self-indulgent way to introduce some literal navel-gazing—at Democratic hopeful and wealthy scold Tom Steyer‘s virtue-signallingsanctimonious belt.

Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund manager and current environmentalist nutcase who, along with half of the population of the United States, is running for the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.  Unlike Blasphemy’s Belt, nobody knows who he is; I don’t even think he qualified for the debates. Unfortunately, he’s trying to rectify that by running incessant ads on Hulu.

I’ve seen enough attack ads from Democrats to tune them out—they’re just a more overt form of the dishonesty progressives usually engage in—but Steyer’s ad brings bile to my throat.  It’s not because of his ludicrous claims (that President Trump is a “fraud and a failure”), idiotic as they are.

It’s because of his stupid belt.

Tom Steyer has no chance in the Democratic primary because a.) he’s unknown; b.) he’s an old white guy and c.) he’s not the old white guy who was President Obama’s VP.  As such, he no name recognition or intersectionality points.  He’s not even a pretend Indian like Elizabeth Warren.  He wears a blue button-up shirt with rolled-up sleeves and jeans in his commercials—the default uniform of politicians trying to appeal to the working man—and is utterly forgettable.

Except for that belt!

Here is the one picture I could find of it online, and it’s just a picture of someone’s television showing the ad (care of a Kenyan newspaper):

Steyer Belt.jpg

Here is an excerpt from the article (again, it’s from a Kenyan newspaper, so the written English is prone to syntactical errors):

The Presidential hopeful revealed while responding to a curious netizen who inquired the significance of the belt since he had worn it in one of his campaign videos.

Steyer noted that he bought the belt during his visit to Kenya.

“Thanks for noticing my favorite belt! I bought it on a trip to Kenya from female artisans,” he tweeted.

Additionally, he affirmed that the belt is a reminder that the world benefits when women are educated, as the belt was made by female artisans.

“I wear it as a reminder not to be so formal, and also as a symbol that the world is a better place when we educate women and girls,” he mentioned.

This kind of pandering makes my skin crawl.  Look, I have nothing against unusual belts.  But you look at a guy like Tom Steyer wearing this ridiculous belt in a campaign ad for president, and you know he’s trying to virtue-signal.  He said as much in the excerpt above—“I like the belt, but I also want to show how progressive I am by buying colorful belts from African women.”

His very sartorial choice is a political statement.  If you’re a punk rocker, yeah, you’re showing your disdain for order with your outrageous duds.  But you’re not likely to run for President of the United States (that would be too normie and conformist—being a part of the system, rather than trying to tear it all down).

Also, how much education does it take for a Kenyan woman to make a weird belt?  She probably learned how to do it from her mother, not from a progressive public school (there, she’d just learn to resent her skillfulness making belts as a form of patriarchal, white oppression—then no belts would get made at all).

Mostly, though, Steyer’s belt highlights his own clueless elitism.  Nobody cares about your belt you picked up at some street bazaar on a luxury safari in Kenya.

Clothes say a great deal about a man (or woman).  I feel better about myself when I’m dressed well (and it’s not 8000 degrees and 400% humidity outside).  I, too, have an unusual little ornament that I sometimes wear, that often draws attention—but it’s way more endearing than some empty gesture of my multicultural bona fides.

Years ago, I had a student who was obsessed with South Korean culture and music.  She especially loved a K-pop group called Exo—basically a Korean boy band.  Before a big concert, she asked if I’d wear an Exo tie if she bought me one; naturally, I said yes.

A couple of weeks later she came to be with a little felt bag.  She explained that Exo did not have ties, but they did have tie clips.  I pulled from the bag a little piece of silver-colored metal, with a button-sized picture of Korean teen heartthrobs.

I wear it frequently, as it’s functional (it holds my ties in place) and a conversation starter.  It’s always fun to tell, as I lead with, “Oh, it’s a Korean boy band” so I get weird stares, then I tell the story above, which is an endearing example of a close and respectful student-teacher relationship.

I’m not saying I’m immune from self-righteous outbursts, but I don’t politicize a sweet, unique gift from a student (it also doesn’t look like I’m wearing the clothing of another culture in order to make myself appear more diverse and progressive).  If I wore that tie clip in a political ad (a distinct possibility), no one would be able to tell that there are ten Korean boys on it (at least, I hope not!).  Tom Steyer knows people will see his colorful, clearly-exotic belt, and he’s banking on progressive voters saying, “Wow, this old white Wall Street hedge fund manager is really down with the struggle.”

Perhaps, like the great David Carradine, Steyer’s ham-fisted belt will be his undoing.  Then again, he was never really done up in the first place.

Dawn of a Decade

Happy New Year!  It’s 2020!  Wags will quip that “it’s not really a new decade—that doesn’t start until next year, in 2021.”  It’s a case where the wags are correct on the facts, but don’t appreciate how appealing that nice, round “0” at the end looks.  Everyone was excited for 2000 AD; 2001 was greeted with shrugs.

Regardless, it’s an exciting time to be alive, in every sense of the word “exciting.”  2020 is a presidential election year, with a contentious, cartoonish Democratic primary season to endure.  The impeachment trial is (allegedly) coming up soon, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to rummage through her purse and take them to the Senate.

America is enjoying an economic boom, with a long bull market and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.  President Trump’s administration is restoring some sense of sanity and reason to the absurdity of 21st-century governance.  He at least expects the government to work for the American people, not actively against them.

New Years’ Day is when bloggers both look back to the year recently passed, and look ahead to the coming year.  Prediction posts are popular and fun, so long as you don’t take them too seriously.

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