I'm 100% sure that I'm going to have to make regular posts on this subject until at least the DNC nomination in 2020. Maybe until Election Day 2020. And I'm going to hate writing it more than you're going to hate reading it.
With more and more Democrats and left-of-center (by U.S. standards) individuals announcing their campaigns for the presidency or at least looking into it, I'm seeing the beginning of a massive problem. The left is so traumatized by the 2016 election disaster that many people have become extremely hostile to criticism of any liberal/leftist/Democratic candidate. I've seen posts demanding that people already choose the most viable candidate and fall in line.
This is incredibly absurd because it's wayyyyyyy too early to gauge which of the many candidates, some of whom have not yet announced their candidacy but very likely will later, is the most viable. Also, demanding that people fall in line is the best way to ensure that they cling to their fave and refuse to give them up even when it becomes clear that they're not viable.
But most importantly, in order to have any kind of functioning democracy, we NEED to allow people to discuss, debate about, and poke at each and every candidate who emerges. We should absolutely be combing through every candidate's record and pointing out the things we disagree with. Kamala Harris, for example, is clearly a good candidate and I'm thrilled that a woman of color is in the running. However, we need to talk about whether her record means that she would promote and intensify the prison industrial complex at President. Doing so does not make anyone racist or misogynistic. Is it possible that some people might only be attacking her because they're secretly (or not-so-secretly) racist/sexist? Absolutely. And let's us white people not forget that we are all racist because we were raised as white people in a white supremacist society. Same for men in terms of gender.
But as a woman, I am not here for shutting down any male candidate just because he's a dude. I will absolutely take into consideration that a man cannot understand women's issues on the level that a woman can. But refusing to vote for any male candidate no matter what is a terrible policy when it comes to the office of President of the United States.
Let's talk about Bernie. I knew that, if he decided to run again, it would stir up some shit. I did not predict just how intense the shit would be. I haven't been paying a ton of attention to Bernie since the 2016 election. Maybe it's because I was never a so-called "Bernie bro," nor was I a Bernie hater. But apparently, while I wasn't paying attention, people became SUPER FUCKING POLARIZED on the topic of Bernie Sanders.
Many of the people I'm following on Twitter seem to be split between two camps: Hardcore Bernie supporters and people who have come to hate his guts. #NeverBernie is a thing now. That really blows my mind. Really? Never Bernie? You're kinda putting Bernie Sanders, a Jewish man, into the same camp as Donald Trump, a man who has at the very least pandered to and encouraged neo nazis.
If I'm being very generous, I guess I can acknowledge that this could simply be a response to the small "never Hillary" section of Bernie supporters who drew so much ire and a lot of blame for Trump's victory. I think a lot of people are putting the blame for Trump right at Bernie's feet, and they have therefore come to hate him just as much as they hate the Grifter-in-chief. And if you want to talk about the possibility that he is partially or even mostly to blame, we can talk about that. But what is giving me a big ol' concern right now is the level of intense polarization usually reserved for people who are already nominated for President, at least.
The things people are saying about Bernie has 100% convinced me that the Russian election meddling and general ongoing psyop campaign that I personally mostly blame for Trump's victory has been a massive, wild, runaway success. People are so scared and reactionary and angry and mistrustful that I have literally seen people say that anybody who criticizes [x] candidate or directs any criticism, any negative point, at any candidate for the Democratic nomination is a Russian agent/bot. It is utterly ridiculous.
And yet, I kind of understand. Because I ended up wondering if the people saying that kind of shit themselves were Russian agents.
We need to take a step back and breathe. All of us. We need to acknowledge, admit, and face the fact that the Russians successfully got into our heads. That's the only way we can ever get them out of there. Then probably some kind of education campaign on how to spot a social media bot/propaganda pusher would be excellent, because I don't know how to tell the difference between a bot Twitter account and your average nobody account. Having less than a thousand followers and a lack of a blue check does not mean someone is a bot. I know, because I'm not a Russian bot or even a Russian agent of some kind, though I'd be willing to bet all my money that I'll be accused of that before November 2020.
Then we need to acknowledge that the 2020 primaries are a long way away. Now is absolutely the time to scrutinize and criticize Democratic candidates. It is not the time to write any of them off automatically, with the exception of shitty billionaires trying to run as Independents, because those are the assholes who will split the liberal vote for nothing more than their own power lust. I think what I'm going to do is use this blog to research and break down the records, positions, and rhetoric of each candidate in order to figure out who to ultimately caucus for in the primaries. I don't know who this will be yet. Could be Bernie again, but maybe not.
The worst thing we can do right now is to shut down productive discussion. Once a candidate has been officially nominated, then we can fall in line behind them. But right now is the time to poke and push each and every candidate, because that is the only way we can really figure out who is the most likely to defeat Donald Trump. All of us demanding everyone line up behind 17 different candidates is not going to turn out well, is it?
Take a breath. Maybe have another cry over Trump winning the 2016 election because that kind of trauma doesn't just disappear, especially while he keeps fucking up our country. Process your emotions and try to approach this shit in a semi-reasonable manner. Otherwise I can guarantee that we're in for another 4 years of Trump if he doesn't get arrested or taken out by a Russian assassin.
It's going to be a terrible year. Let's do this.