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Cory Booker has a reasonably high chance of being the Democratic nominee in 2020. There are good reasons for this. He gave a great speech at the DNC that really rallied everyone who heard it against hate. Given the amount of hate that is coming, this is a good thing. His testifying against Jeff Sessions was excellent. He is charismatic and has a great chance of reviving the Obama coalition. That charisma and leadership potential is absolutely crucial for whoever the nominee is going to be.

At the same time, the nominee is almost certainly to be someone who can speak to some sort of economic populism. Maybe that can be Cory Booker. But he has a lot to answer for. His embrace of charter schools and the inherent anti-unionism involved in them made him a heck of a lot of enemies. So have his close ties to Wall Street. And now we have him voting against allowing the importation of prescription drugs from overseas. All of these are real problems for him and should make us ask him very hard questions. I get that he is from New Jersey. He is also basically untouchable in that state. He can defy Wall Street and the Big Pharma companies based in New Jersey to run for the presidency. He needs to if he indeed is going to do that. Unfortunately, he does not seem to understand that. And thus he is going to be rightfully criticized from the left.

Booker has mostly been a pretty good senator. Despite his past apostasy, I could potentially see supporting him in 2020 and of course certainly will if he is the nominee. He’s light years better than Andrew Cuomo or Rahm Emanuel. But he needs to be a lot smarter about his votes and a lot smarter about adopting economically progressive positions if he is going to make that run. Because someone is going to be the economically left candidate and that person is going to make a compelling case to a whole lot of voters, no matter what happens in the next 3 years before the Iowa caucus. It could be Booker. But right now, it’s not.

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  • fledermaus

    Protectionism!

    Not to mention the other 12 (12!) Dem senators voting ‘no’ are also staunch “free traters”

  • smartone
    • jeer9

      Ehh. The update seems more damage control than anything.

      In any case, the Dem electorate rarely votes for the most progressive candidate. They vote for whom they believe is most likely to win in the general. Sometimes that pragmatism works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        Yes. That is a bad answer that proves little.

        1) Most of these drugs are manufactured in the same factories as US drugs, so the complaint doesn’t hold water.

        2) Really? Canadian health regulations too weak for the United States to trust? Especially since Booker voted (not without good reasons) to weaken FDA regulations last month.

        3) The amendment would have lead to a study period to “create” a program for allowing imports. Would have been easy for Booker to push for safety standards then if he really cared.

        This is a decent take by Erik. As some of you know I’m strongly anti-Booker. But I think this is a good outline of what he needs to spend the next 4 years doing if he wants to position himself for a real run. There’s no reason he can’t remake himself if he truly wants the presidency.

        • Phil Perspective

          There’s no reason he can’t remake himself if he truly wants the presidency.

          Given that he can’t even vote the right way on a bill that had no chance of becoming law, what makes anyone think he’ll change now? Judas Peckerwood is right. Ugh!!

          • Slothrop2

            The white guy sitting next to him is slightly more authentic.

            • Jameson Quinn

              I’d campaign and vote against him in the primary, but honestly, we could do worse.

              Too bad Warren Buffet is too old.

              • efgoldman

                I’d campaign and vote against him in the primary

                For whom? Sanders isn’t running again, and as it turned out fantasy candidate Bernie was much better than actual candidate Bernie. As much as we all love Liz Warren, and she’s announced already for another term, I don’t see her as an effective national candidate.

                However, given the disaster that’s going to be the next four years, it may not matter who the Dem candidate is.

                • Jameson Quinn

                  I was speaking of the pasty white filthy rich guy.

                • wjts

                  As much as we all love Liz Warren, and she’s announced already for another term, I don’t see her as an effective national candidate.

                  I dunno. After the coming craptastrophe, I could see her appeal broadening considerably.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Is there any evidence EW wants it?

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Why wouldn’t Warren be a good national candidate? I think she knows how to talk Midwestern as well as anyone. And she seems well liked on the coasts. That just leaves the South. Which no Dem will win.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I think she knows how to talk Midwestern as well as anyone

                  Better than most, since she’s from Oklahoma.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Lol yeah I’m not sure she or any other Oklahomans would consider themselves Midwestern. I’ve been told by Oklahomans that they’re Southern. Dr. Dick should probably weigh in since I know that the boundary lines of the Midwest are highly controversial.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  That just leaves the South. Which no Dem will win.

                  Virginia’s gone Democratic 3X in a row. Florida went to Obama both times, and would’ve gone to Clinton but for the Redneck Riviera (not to mention how close it was in 2000); at any rate, it’s a solidly purple state. North Carolina may be forced into being a red state, but it isn’t hopeless. At any rate, we don’t need to win the entire South, just two out of these three states at a minimum.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Lol yeah I’m not sure she or any other Oklahomans would consider themselves Midwestern. I’ve been told by Oklahomans that they’re Southern. Dr. Dick should probably weigh in since I know that the boundary lines of the Midwest are highly controversial.

                  Oklahoma is a strange blend of the Midwest, the South, and the West. But regardless, Kansas and Missouri are certainly the Midwest, and Oklahoma borders both.

                  ETA: I don’t know Dr. Dick’s pedigree, but I lived in Oklahoma for seven years. I’m not just pulling this out of my ass.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Oh cool ok so you know Okies who think of themselves as Midwestern. Geographically it certainly seems like a Plains state.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  I always got the impression that Missouri was a mix of Arkansas and Kansas. And RationalWiki has a good rundown on Florida’s cultural mix (suffice it to say that Florida can be called a downmarket, flanderized version of California and/or New York).*

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  And RationalWiki has a good rundown on Florida’s cultural mix (suffice it to say that Florida can be called a downmarket, flanderized version of California and/or New York).*

                  Plus the Panhandle, or, as I call it, eastern Alabama.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  Indeed, motherfuck the panhandle.

                • witlesschum

                  Missouri is supposed to be a sneakily weird state culturally. Like the southern part is full old South, St.Louis is its own thing, Kansas City another. Probably some I’m forgetting.

                  I only know that when I asked for hot sauce to put on my scrambled eggs in Cape Girardeau, they looked at me like I had two heads. The culture they belong to there is wrong.

            • eh

              Frankly I’m about done with Harvard & Yale for Presidents.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                +9

              • Dudefella

                Well, the next one ought to be a nice break, then.

                • lunaticllama

                  U Penn is still a very elite school.

  • Does anyone have a link to a serious analysis of the Klobuchar-Sanders amendment? So far all of the reporting I’ve seen on this has originated with people like Lee Fang, and they just take it as given that the amendment was worth voting for. I want a convincing reason to believe that this isn’t yet another attempt to sow discord among Democrats.

    Note that, for all the other reasons stated, I do not have a particularly high opinion of Booker. But since the election I have been seeing a lot of people desperately straining at gnats in the face of being forced to swallow an orange Nazi elephant.

    • Alex.S

      1. It wouldn’t do anything. None of the amendments voted on mattered in the short-run or long-run. Also, none of them were passed. They were not attached to any form of legislation.

      2. This is all about positioning and campaign ads. As such, it’s actually a reasonably thing to hit Cory Booker on and pressure him, if that’s a goal for progressives/Democrats.

      3. Having said that, the question is if Booker’s response is reasonable. He does have an answer (he supports importation, but wants a higher standard).

      4. It does seem really strange for Booker to be singled out over this amendment. Other Democrats voted against the amendment. And there were a lot of other amendments voted on last night.

      • It does seem really strange for Booker to be singled out over this amendment. Other Democrats voted against the amendment. And there were a lot of other amendments voted on last night.

        Not strange at all. Booker is a frontrunner for the nomination and one that is problematic for a lot of people. None of the others are, or at least not close to the same extent.

        • Dilan Esper

          Yep.

          Classic example of this was the Iraq War. Plenty of Democrats voted for it. But the ones who were considering presidential runs got the most shit for it, and rightfully so.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Booker isn’t to be trusted. He’s a sell out.

          We got Deval Patrick still don’t we? Or how about someone Latino? I like Tim Kaine too.

          • Domino

            I mean, Tim Kaine took part in that whole “the can kick backs” nonsense. I don’t see much daylight between him and Booker.

      • efgoldman

        if that’s a goal for progressives/Democrats.

        As long as the ultimate goal for progressive Democrats is to elect a fucking Democrat.

  • NeonTrotsky

    Am I the only one who remembers him comparing attacking Romney over Bain capital to attacking Obama over jeremiah right?

    • Yeah, that was pretty shitty.

    • Phil Perspective

      There is also this:

      https://www.nsfwcorp.com/feature/neocon-messia-cory-booker/

      Does anyone have a problem with his friendship with Shmuley Boteach?

      • Sly

        No more than I have a problem with Biden’s friendship with seemingly every Senate Republican. Besides, Booker and Boteach had a major falling out after Booker supported the Iran Nuclear Deal and its reportedly only gotten more frosty in the ensuing months.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          I don’t feel better about Booker’s friendship if it was the other guy who ended it.

  • Warren Terra

    I generally agree with this, but I think you understate his tone-deafness on finance/corporate issues. The way he raced to every microphone and camera he could find to denounce Obama in the strongest terms for making mild criticisms of Big Finance in 2012, in the middle of a big election fight, was unseemly in a way that will not quickly be forgotten.

    • q-tip

      I certainly remember it, but I think you may be overselling it a bit, too. (IE, it was only for a couple of news cycles, as I recall.) I may be underselling it, but we should keep it in proportion WRT his career in total.

    • Crusty

      In New York and most of New Jersey, there are plenty “working class” people who work on Wall Street/in finance. That’s not to say that in New York, the working class are investment bankers, but that companies like Goldman Sachs, or Prudential (based in Corey Booker’s Newark), are the big employers of everything from bankers, to sales people, cooks, IT, graphic design, janitors, security guards, quantitative analysts, secretaries, receptionists, etc., and when people hear about layoffs on wall street, or things that might be tough on Wall Street, it makes them nervous about jobs. Now, maybe the rest of the country doesn’t care, and maybe that isn’t what Corey Booker or other NY/NJ politicians are thinking about when they pander to wall street, but its possible that it is. That could be a weakness in the rest of the country in that in “fighting for jobs” in their home states, they are fighting for wall street, but maybe they’ll be able to make the case that their fighting for wall street was the good kind, i.e., for working class jobs.

      • efgoldman

        After 9/11, most of the big brokerages/finance houses moved the greater part of their operations people (non-suit drones, if highly-paid, highly-skilled ones) from lower Manhattan to Jersey City and never moved most of them back.

        • lunaticllama

          Yup. I have a bunch of high school classmates that work traditional blue collar jobs for finance companies (i.e., HVAC technicians and other related engineering/maintenance jobs for the bank’s back-office infrastructure.) In addition to the banks and due to Hudson County’s close geographic proximity to the New York stock exchanges, a lot of high-frequency trading firms and other hedge funds have their computer infrastructure and back-offices in New Jersey as well.

    • Gizmo

      No no, no. It must not be forgotten.

      Those fuckers burned down the economy to make a quick buck, and we made them whole. Fuck that. I’m still pissed that the Obama admin sided with Americas’ bankers over its citizens. We made these grifters whole after they stole all the pensions and ripped off millions of homeowners. Fuck them all.

      The Democratic party has no future of any kind as a partner of wall street or big finance. That was the original sin of the DLC and we’re still paying for it today, electorally and in our pocketbooks. Wall street doesn’t need fealty, it needs adult supervision.

      The party has no future as long as it aligns with the interests of America’s elites over ordinary people. If you want that, there are plenty of Republicans out there eager to screw you over so your boss can get a tax cut. The voters appear to have reached the same conclusion.

      So to hell with Booker. Sucking up to wall street is not acceptable. Its bad policy and it’s bad politics. I can certainly get the whole “Lets not be too hasty, my constituents work in finance” thing, but thats not what we got. We got something way over the line for any democrat.

    • Bri2k

      It’s not just tone-deafness. He knows what side his bread is buttered on, the public be damned. The last thing we need is another Wall St. sell-out.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    If Booker is the best we can hope for in a nominee in 2020, then we’re fucked.

    • Not necessarily. He gives a hell of a speech, can raise money like nobody’s business, and has charismatic leadership. We could do much worse for a nominee. We might could do much better for a president however.

      • Phil Perspective

        He gives a hell of a speech, can raise money like nobody’s business, and has charismatic leadership.

        We should expect a lot more than that.

        • Actually that’s a hell of a lot more than most potential candidates can provide. Because without those three things, you have a loser, regardless of policy.

          • ThrottleJockey

            What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?

            Unless Booker can demonstrate that he won’t sell his soul to Wall Street then we won’t win any policy gains anyways.

            As much as I disliked Hill I think Booker is much worse. He sold out Obama for 30 shekels of silver.

            • manual

              Yeah, I agree. Hillary actually had a long history of being pretty liberal on domestic policy in ways that Booker never really has. His only instinct has been career advancement.

              • efgoldman

                His only instinct has been career advancement.

                Somebody without that kind of ambition is not going to run for president.

              • socraticsilence

                He’s a careerist but his support for Education Reform while Mayor of Newark is both objectionable and unsurprising- it doesn’t meet it supporters claims but in the mid to late 00s it was viewed as a potential answer by the CW in much the same way the infamous 1994 Crime Bill was the CW for all sides largely irrespective of race.

                • lunaticllama

                  Also, the school situation in Newark (and Paterson and Camden) is dire and has been a disaster for decades. I can understand the impulse to try something new, because basically every past effort to turn around those districts ended in failure.

                  I hate charter schools and was not pleased with Booker’s actions, but I understand wanting to see if something new might work better.

              • lunaticllama

                For what it’s worth, Booker has pretty liberal voting record in the Senate in general.

                I’ve seen him talk in person in a small crowd (~75 people) and he is a very captivating and motivating speaker.

            • efgoldman

              As much as I disliked Hill I think Booker is much worse.

              Who, then, TJ? Who is pure enough for your untainted, perfect soul, that might also win the fucking election?

              • Gizmo

                Warren.

              • ThrottleJockey

                There are good candidates out there. I like Deval Patrick, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, and Tim Kaine.

                But seriously, considering you’re more liberal than me how could you ever trust Booker?

                Forget about the fact that all politicians are a bit morally shifty, don’t you want one you can at least get a liberal policy package out of? My #1 policy issue is income inequality and I don’t know how Bain’s Defender in Chief could ever be bothered with that. I like his rescuing families from fires, and shoveling snow packed streets, and taking up the food stamp challenge but it’s all publicity stunt if he just supports Bain ilk.

                If he can sell out his party’s biggest star in a campaign year how quickly do you think he’ll sell out the likes of you and me??? Maybe Chicagoans are preternaturally distrustful but I find him less trustworthy than the average pol.

            • socraticsilence

              I have disagreements with Booker on policy, but if there’s one take away from November (other than Fuck the FBI amd the media being a joke) it’s this- all the good you’d do in office and all the expertise you might posess doesn’t mean shit if you can’t get elected.

              Charisma for Presidential prospects is like Arm Strength for QB prospects or the 40 yard dash for skill position athletes- its eaay to over inflate its importance but there remains a certain baseline requirement and if a prospect falls short of the baseline nothing else they have matters.

        • Captain Oblivious

          We should expect a lot more than that.

          Jesus Christ. The fucking purity ponies are at it already.

          These people are politicians. All politicians sell their souls to someone to raise campaign contributions. Even Saint Bernie, who lies down with New England gun manufacturers.

          You want to win in 2020 or not?

          • Jameson Quinn

            Dude. This is the correct and proper time for purity ponydom. Nobody is saying that they wouldn’t vote for Booker over Trump in a hot millisecond if it comes to that.

            • efgoldman

              Nobody is saying that they wouldn’t vote for Booker over Trump in a hot millisecond if it comes to that.

              Yeah, well none of the purity ponies said they’d vote for Vermilion Vermin over HRC, either, but…..

              • Dilan Esper

                The purity ponies aren’t hanging out here, and, in general, are not going to change no matter what LGM says about them. There is a cohort of third party voters and non-voters in this country.

                There’s already an inter-party debate about what direction the party goes in, and, yes, trying to force it to the left is a perfectly legitimate enterprise.

                And honestly I get the feeling that a lot of centrists don’t like having that argument. Centrists criticized Sanders for running, criticized him more for how he ran, and criticized him even more after he stopped running. People who act like that don’t want to have a conversation, full stop. They want the party to nominate centrists and probably take some pleasure in making the left eat shit sandwiches every four years.

                But the left has every right to try to make them eat the shit sandwich for once.

                • efgoldman

                  There’s already an inter-party debate about what direction the party goes in, and, yes, trying to force it to the left is a perfectly legitimate enterprise.

                  Considering that HRC ran on the leftmost platform since… LBJ? FDR?
                  But you and the other Hillary haters were sure she didn’t mean it.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Centrists criticized Sanders for running, criticized him more for how he ran, and criticized him even more after he stopped running.

                  I’m hardly a centrist, but this was my opinion on Sanders (dates approximate):
                  Summer-Winter 2015: Oh, cool, I always liked him. It’ll be good for Hillary to have someone pull her a bit leftwards.
                  January 2016: Wow, this is a real campaign. Yikes.
                  Late February 2016: His fucking followers are so obnoxious I hope he goes down in flames just to spite them. But he’s fine otherwise, a little shouty, but nbd.
                  Late March 2016: Dude…you’re clearly not gonna pull it off. Just go away now.
                  Early May 2016: Seriously. Stop. The GOP is consolidating and you’re still in because for reasons. And what the *fuck* with the qualified thing?!
                  Late May 2016: Are you actually attacking the DNC? You need to STFU. This is going to hurt us in the general, and also I’m tired of being called a cunt.
                  Post-DC primary to convention: What the hell. What the hell. What the hell. Drop out. Concede. Stop. Endorse her now. Are you insane. You don’t get a say in the platform, you *lost*. This is so fucking sexist.
                  Convention: Seriously? Not gonna do the acclamation thing? This is disgusting. This is sexist and disgusting.
                  Post-convention through September: DID YOU JUST SAY IT’S OKAY TO VOTE THIRD PARTY WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU. QUIT WRITING YOUR DAMN BOOK AND GET YOUR ASS OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL AND STUMP FOR HER LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.
                  September to November 8: Lol okay *now* you’re saying no third party vote? Little fuckin’ late for that, buddy. You’ve already poisoned a whole bloc of young voters.
                  Post-November 8: You’re from fucking Vermont. You should be saying we’ll obstruct the shit out of him. You should not be calling what he’s done “extraordinary” while ignoring the extraordinary thing she did. Oh and how fucking dare you say you might have won. Fuck off. Just go away.

                  That’s the same trajectory I saw from almost every HRC supporter I know. We started out having no problem with him, even liking him. And slowly but surely he turned us against him. His rhetoric. His refusal to drop out. His casting doubt on the DNC and the process itself. His demands that he get a say in the platform (and slap in Obama’s face with his appointees). His insistence that the entire roll call happen. His statement that third-party was okay.

                  I don’t know anyone who thought he was wrong to run at all. I know lots of people who were and are appalled by the way he conducted his campaign and the way he’s conducted himself since.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  None of this post-convention narrative is at all true, of course. And the idea that counting delegates, an incredibly sweet moment whereby Larry Sanders got to support his brother and Bernie got to declare HRC the nominee, poisoned the party is on the level of “Lena Dunham elected Trump” as a nonsense take.

                • Nick056

                  I’m just … speechless at the notion that Sanders was okay as long as he didn’t actually try to contest the nomination. Continue to be flabbergasted. That is the problem many people had with her candidacy and supporters — that a certain level of disagreement was fashionable and tasteful, but genuine opposition was not acceptable from any quarter; to actually want to see the nomination contested was a personal insult and a sign of immorality and chauvinism.

                  And Obama supporters absolutely were mortified by Clinton’s conduct in the end of the 2008 primary, where she sniped about her popularity with white voters in Pennsylvania, tried to get delegates and votes counted from states that had been de-certified, and said that Obama was not a Muslim “as far as she knew.” Then she did make a strong display of unity — and received the most prominent cabinet posting on offer from Obama, as a show of unity on his part. Her conduct in that primary was beneath her.

                  Clinton was robbed by Jim Comey and Trump’s treasonous collaboration with Russia. She is, in many ways, an exemplary person, a deeply studied politician, and a patriot. I also personally find her charming — not shrill.

                  But Bernie Sanders had every right to run against her with a mind to win, and his continued success among people under 30 more than justified his campaign. I cringed when he talked about whether she was qualified, and he spun out of control at the end — as did she, in 2008. But frankly it’s easy to see that she had far more to gain personally from pivoting to unity than Sanders did.

                • LeeEsq

                  And the SPD were social fascists that no respecting member of the KPD could vote for.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  None of this post-convention narrative is at all true, of course.

                  O rly

                  And the idea that counting delegates, an incredibly sweet moment whereby Larry Sanders got to support his brother and Bernie got to declare HRC the nominee, poisoned the party is on the level of “Lena Dunham elected Trump” as a nonsense take.

                  I once looked up headlines from the day after the DNC in 2008 and the day after the DNC in 2016. The former: all about the display of unity. The latter: all about the unrest of the Bernie brats.

                  I cried when his brother spoke. It was very meaningful for me as a Jew. But it was a slap in the face to her. In 2008, it was virtually tied, and she was supposed to make nice with Obama and his supporters. In 2016, she won by nearly 4 million votes, and she was supposed to make nice with Bernie and his supporters. In 2008, all the incredibly sweet moments that we would have had with the first woman to nearly get the nomination were deemed less important than a show of unity (a deeming with which I agree). In 2016, she was denied the same respect shown to Obama.

                  She kicked Sanders’s ass, and he acted like she’d just barely eked it out.

                • socraticsilence

                  That’s a retro active rewrite of the 2008 Primary- while it ended up closer the nomination was essentially Obama’s by the end of February when the most pernicious of the HRC attacks started to surface.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  My opinion of him is about the same as yours up to “Post-DC primary to convention” except I’ve been aware of him since about 2010 from his appearances with William Maher SUPERGENIUS. I didn’t catch the statement where he said “vote third party”, but I do recall him being for the most part a solid campaigner for Clinton (at least, that was the impression I got from the Florida internet campaign ads).

                  Really, for me, the end of the primary and its immediate fallout was where Sanders pissed me off the most. I still think that if Sanders’ actions during that time period did manage to appreciably depress turnout, then it’d be primarily because PURITY BOIS will never, ever, let their butthurt die (add obligatory reference to how the 2008 official campaigns were much nastier when winding down).

                  I always thought Clinton was the strongest candidate and voted for her in the primaries, for context.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  I didn’t catch the statement where he said “vote third party”

                  Because he didn’t. Abby is lying about him, just like she’s lying about the impact of his candidacy on Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I’m just … speechless at the notion that Sanders was okay as long as he didn’t actually try to contest the nomination. Continue to be flabbergasted. That is the problem many people had with her candidacy and supporters — that a certain level of disagreement was fashionable and tasteful, but genuine opposition was not acceptable from any quarter; to actually want to see the nomination contested was a personal insult and a sign of moral defect.

                  That would indeed be appalling, if anyone ever said it.

                  There’s a big difference between “he shouldn’t try to contest the nomination” and “he shouldn’t try to contest the nomination by attacking his opponent as unqualified and casting doubt on the legitimacy of the entire process, and he shouldn’t keep fighting once he’s lost.”

                  And Obama supporters absolutely were mortified by Clinton’s conduct in the end of the 2008 primary, where she sniped about her popularity with white voters in Pennsylvania, tried to get delegates and votes counted from states that had been de-certified, and said that Obama was not a Muslim “as far as she knew.” Then she did make a strong display of unity — and received the most prominent cabinet posting on offer from Obama, as a show of unity on his part. Her conduct in that primary was beneath her.

                  Many of her supporters were displeased with her conduct at that point as well. It was good that she got over it and was then behind him whole-heartedly.

                  But Bernie Sanders had every right to run against her with a mind to win, and his continued success among people under 30 more than justified his campaign.

                  If he had dropped out after New York, or after California, or, hell, after DC, and turned everyone’s attention to the general, rather than making her fight him all the way to the end and then, even after the last primary, still refusing to tell his supporters point-blank that he was not going to be the nominee, I could forgive him for his conduct toward the end of the primary. He never did. He never stopped. He never gave the speech she gave in June. He damaged her, and however popular he is among a particular (unreliable) bloc, that damage doesn’t “justify” his campaign. His campaign would be “justified” if it had ended when he lost.

                  I cringed when he talked about whether she was qualified, and he spun out of control at the end — as did she, in 2008. And frankly it’s easy to see that she had far more to gain personally from pivoting to unity than Sanders did.

                  I dunno, not having a fucking Cheeto as president seems like a pretty big gain.

                • Murc

                  I once looked up headlines from the day after the DNC in 2008 and the day after the DNC in 2016. The former: all about the display of unity. The latter: all about the unrest of the Bernie brats.

                  So Sanders controls the media and every single one of his followers now. Good to know.

                • socraticsilence

                  Well, I can think of one reason why the alt right might assume Bernie control the media.

                • Nick056

                  I could forgive him for his conduct toward the end of the primary. He never did. He never stopped. He never gave the speech she gave in June. He damaged her, and however popular he is among a particular (unreliable) bloc, that damage doesn’t “justify” his campaign.

                  I am tired of the re-writing of history. Yes, indeed, let’s go to HIllary Clinton’s conduct in June. On June 3, Ezra Klein wrote a post titled “Obama wins the nomination.” On June 4, after Clinton had obviously lost and gave a flatly ridiculous speech, he wrote a post the full text of which read: “I think Clinton may be willing to offer Obama the vice presidency.”

                  His was not the only chagrined response. Here’s what Matt Yglesias said:

                  I probably shouldn’t write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I’ve found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different. I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who’ve been enabling her behavior. I’d say something deeply unwise. Suffice to say that for quite a while now all of John McCain’s most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton’s payroll.

                  And here is Jim Fallows that same night:

                  You HAVE LOST the nomination. There are NO MORE primaries. And you’re urging your supporters to nurse their bitter feelings on your web site, and keep selling their bikes to give you money that you’ll spend on… what? The unseemliness — and, yes, destructiveness — of this is too obvious to mention, though perhaps not obvious enough to have occurred to you.

                  This is a new low.

                  Update: Having an (intended?) effect already. Maybe he’ll get going, but first 10 minutes of Obama’s speech seem oddly off-his-stride and not looking as sunnily victorious as he should at this moment. Likely hypothesis: what he just heard in Clinton’s speech.

                  And here is Rick Hertzberg, whose article I can’t quote, but who is both much more generous to Clinton than the others but who clarifies that Clinton was essentially lying about the vote totals in her speech that night.

                  So, yes. Hillary Clinton, terribly gracious, in June — after giving a speech that left most of Washington speechless and viewing her as somewhere between a huckster and a Republican operative who needed to come to her senses immediately for the good of the party and country. You’ll note that authors above are all actually people who like and admire Hillary Clinton, and that Klein and Yglesias supported her heavily this year. But for her to push for party unity, her own friends had to tell her that she was jumping off a cliff.

                • Murc

                  Many of her supporters were displeased with her conduct at that point as well. It was good that she got over it and was then behind him whole-heartedly.

                  You mean, precisely the same way that Sanders did?

                  He never gave the speech she gave in June.

                  Oh no! He gave the same speech four weeks later after using it as leverage to force platform concessions!

                  It is almost like Sanders is a politician who was using a position of strength to get political concessions!

                  He damaged her, and however popular he is among a particular (unreliable) bloc,

                  That unreliable bloc is forty percent of the fucking party, nearly all of whom voted for Clinton.

                  And the evidence that he damaged her in the general is non-existent. Bruising primary fights don’t seem to have any effect at all on general elections, as near as I can tell. The burden of proof on this is high, and no, “Trump won, didn’t he?” doesn’t fucking count.

                  that damage doesn’t “justify” his campaign. His campaign would be “justified” if it had ended when he lost.

                  Which it did.

                • jeer9

                  Maybe it’s just me, but Abbey Bartlet sounds suspiciously like aimai.

                  Not that she’d feel the need to change her pseudonym to bash Sanders.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Maybe it’s just me, but Abbey Bartlet sounds suspiciously like aimai.

                  Not that she’d feel the need to change her pseudonym to bash Sanders.

                  Uh, no, not Aimai. Also not new, and also wouldn’t feel the need to change my nym to bash Sanders. My old nym was just too unique. But I kind of thought it would be obvious, what with the “Bartlet” and all.

                  ETA: I’m flattered though.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Bartlet is that you?

                • wjts

                  But I kind of thought it would be obvious, what with the “Bartlet” and all.

                  Not terribly important, but it was not obvious to me at all.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Oops. Sorry.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Bartlet is that you?

                  Yes, Teej.

                • wjts

                  Well, I mean once you said that you were commenting under a new name (and that “Bartlet” was involved) I figured it out reasonably quickly, but I wouldn’t have thought you weren’t a new commenter until you said so.

                • jeer9

                  I apologize for the slur.

                  Your rambling untruthful rage against Sanders was anything but “too unique”.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I apologize for the slur.

                  What slur?

                • jeer9

                  Your clownish embarrassing commentary on Sanders resembles several tirades of hers which she continues to engage in over at Cole’s place.

                  Relieved that you felt flattered. Now that your identity has been established, carry on.

        • efgoldman

          We should expect a lot more than that.

          We should expect an electable candidate. But of course purity ponies like you don’t think that’s important.

          • Dilan Esper

            I agree we should expect an electable candidate.

            Where I disagree is that centrist candidates are automatically more electable than leftists. I think that’s especially questionable post-Iraq War and post-2008 financial crisis and given the rust belt’s position on free trade.

            • efgoldman

              I disagree is that centrist candidates are automatically more electable than leftists.

              Nobody has said that. But considering all the electable leftists who’ve actually won a national election….

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Where I disagree is that centrist candidates are automatically more electable than leftists.

              Perhaps if we had better leftists.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          He’ll also be a Democrat. Dayeinu!

      • RabbitIslandHermit

        Maybe I’m wrong but looking at the map I really think running a candidate so close to Wall Street is a terrible idea politically.

        • brewmn

          I also think it’s going to be a lot harder for Trump to run against Wall Street in 2020 after letting them run wild for four years.

        • ThrottleJockey

          This. Along those lines….

          Two key elements characterized the kind of domestic political economy the administration pursued: The first was the foreclosure crisis and the subsequent bank bailouts. The resulting policy framework of Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department was, in effect, a wholesale attack on the American home (the main store of middle-class wealth) in favor of concentrated financial power…

          Second, Obama’s administration let big-bank executives off the hook for their roles in the crisis. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) referred criminal cases to the Justice Department and was ignored. Whistleblowers from the government and from large banks noted a lack of appetite among prosecutors. In 2012, then-Attorney General Eric Holder ordered prosecutors not to go after mega-bank HSBC for money laundering. Using prosecutorial discretion to not take bank executives to task, while legal, was neither moral nor politically wise; in a 2013 poll, more than half of Americans still said they wanted the bankers behind the crisis punished. But the Obama administration failed to act, and this pattern seems to be continuing. No one, for instance, from Wells Fargo has been indicted for mass fraud in opening fake accounts.

          • Murc

            This is one of the two things I’m most angry at Obama about.

            I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be real angry at whoever the next Democrat elected President is as well. We seem unable to get people into that office who don’t think that there’s one law for rich people and one law for poor people. I expect Trump and his cabal to loot the country and then go unprosecuted for it for the rest of their lives.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              We seem unable to get people into that office who don’t think that there’s one law for rich people and one law for poor people.

              I look at our country and can’t come to any other conclusion than that there are effectively different laws depending upon one’s economic status. What I’d like in a President is someone who wants to change this situation.

            • Domino

              That, and as the article TJ linked, was Obama doing absolutely nothing for homeowners facing foreclosure. Have any of these long, farewell/recap interview Obama has done even mentioned the 9 million homeowners who were foreclosed on?

              It’s like they don’t exist, or that Tim Geithner prioritizing banks over homeowners wouldn’t lead to some people no longer supporting Obama. Not like Republicans would do any better – but when you experience stuff firsthand, you become angry at the people currently in charge.

          • witlesschum

            Shit, I miss Carl Levin.

    • bender

      Your comment prompted me to look up the list of Democratic state governors on Wikipedia.

      Some of them I know nothing about. Some can be eliminated off the bat. Jerry Brown already had his shot and he’s too old. Cuomo was discussed and dismissed here recently. I presume we would not want the governors of Louisiana, Rhode Island or West Virginia because of the nature of politics in their states.

      That leaves one white woman, one man of Asian ancestry and nine white guys. Colorado John Hickenlooper, Connecticut Dan Malloy, Delaware Jack Markell, Hawaii David Ige, Minnesota Mark Dayton, Montana Steve Bullock, North Carolina Roy Cooper, Oregon Kate Brown, Pennsylvania Tom Wolf, Virginia Terry McAuliffe, Washington Jay Inslee. Apologies to anyone whose name I’ve misspelt.

      Any possibles in this list?

      • I don’t think a single one of those people is a good option.

        • First Time Caller

          Here in the hopeful state of NC, Cooper’s got a ton of work to do in prep for the special election. I don’t see him as charismatic enough to run.

          What about Gillibrand? From what little I know, she seems solid and would handle Pence pretty well (I’m assuming Cheeto Benito strokes out or flees to Scotland).

          • Mellano

            Honest question, why not Cooper? At a distance, he’s always seemed to be skilled and on the side of good in AG activity that gets national attention. He was in that office for a long time IIRC. Plus he squeaked through in a dogfight of a race where Hillary lost (presumably thanks to the NCAA’ ban, but at least he knew how to use that weapon).

      • Juicy_Joel

        Chiming in to say David Ige sucks.

        • wjts

          I wouldn’t say Tom Wolf sucks, but I really don’t see him mounting a credible presidential run.

        • ans

          Well Ige did have all the Abercrombie hate working in his favor so there’s that.

          • Juicy_Joel

            If Abercrombie runs for the the presidential ticket then maybe Ige has a shot!

        • Domino

          Out of curiosity, in what way? I don’t bother to look up Hawaii politics, so I have no idea how the state operates.

      • Sly

        Dogshit probably has a better approval rating among residents of Connecticut than Malloy. Can’t speak for the rest.

        • maurinsky

          Chris Murphy would be a better CT choice.

      • sharonT

        Martin O’Malley is running again…

        • wjts

          Not totally crazy, but not, I think, terribly likely to do any better a second time around.

          • The next few years will provide a lot of opportunities for a sufficiently ambitious Democrat to make a name for themselves in the party. I wouldn’t count him out.

            • wjts

              He hasn’t held office since January, 2015 and I don’t see him commanding any national attention between now and when the Democratic primary race starts… next week? (Though being out of office didn’t stop Mitt Romney, so who knows.)

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                Two words: The Wire.

                • wjts

                  I was an early O’Malley backer before switching to Sanders, but if he wants my vote in four years he needs to start talking in Aidan Gillen’s weird The Game of the Thrones pirate accent tomorrow.

                • ΧΤΠΔ

                  Two more words: Broken windows.

              • Hillary Clinton had been out of office for quite some time too.

                • wjts

                  True, but she had a considerably higher national profile.

      • Camilla Highwater

        Mississippi John Hurt, Tennessee Ernie Ford . . .

        • ….and all them Roysters: Vermont Connecticut, Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, Oregon Minnesota, and Iowa Michigan.

      • malraux

        John Bel Edwards of Louisiana might be able to make a case for running in the primary. Able to win over conservative southerners in the wake of a disastrous republican executive rule isn’t nothing. He’s not the person I’ll vote for in the primary, but should likely be a voice.

        I also dunno about his chances of winning, but I suspect he isn’t going to be a two term louisiana governor.

        • Rusty SpikeFist

          Sorry, but please no more John Edwardses.

          I realize he’s using the “Bel” for a reason, but even so.

          The name is just a bad omen.

          • Jim in Baltimore

            I assumed he was just going for the big Babylonian vote.

      • UserGoogol

        Demographically speaking the white woman (Kate Brown) is also bisexual, which is something. Tammy Baldwin seems signicantly more progressive if you want an LGBT woman, though. (That said, my knowledge of both is very superficial, so I’m not really endorsing either of them.)

      • socraticsilence

        Hickenlooper and Bullock are both interesting options but low profile now- without going to deeply into it Hickenlooper’s a small businessman who had a pretty meteoric rise through CO politics, Bullock is popular in a Red State, won with relative ease in 2016 and walked the walk on money in politics (He spearheaded an effort to preserve MT’s century old anti-corruption legislation in the wake of Citizens United, going so far to as to personally argue the case before the USSC.

      • Rob in CT

        Certainly not Malloy. I actually think he’s been a pretty good governor*, but for one thing, his public speaking ability is poor (not sure if it has anything to do with his dyslexia). Even if there were no other negatives, that’s enough to knock him out.

        It would of course be trivially easy to paint him as a New England liberal in the general election (because he is, even if you don’t love all of his budget choices), particularly b/c of his role in pushing for tighter gun control. He’s not going to appeal to the states that fucked up in 2016. Meanwhile, in the primary, there’s plenty of ammo to use to attack him from the left.

        And of course, there’s this:

        According to a July 2016 New York Times survey, Malloy was the most unpopular Democratic governor in the country, with a 64% disapproval and 29% approval rating, and the second-most unpopular overall, after Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas.

        * for anyone who is curious (wiki):

        The first task facing Malloy upon taking office was addressing a multibillion-dollar deficit as a result of the prior state budget enacted by the Democratic super-majority-controlled legislature which Rell chose to accept without signing. Malloy adopted what he called an agenda of “shared sacrifice” which was dependent on increases in various taxes, including the income tax, the gas tax, the sales tax, and the estate tax, as well as $1 billion each year in union concessions. Malloy chose not to reduce aid to municipalities as part of his budget agenda, although such aid would have been jeopardized if labor concessions were not reached. After two months of negotiations, in May 2011, Malloy won $1.6 billion in union givebacks. The budget deal meant that, in contrast to many other states, there were no layoffs. Many of Malloy’s proposed tax increases were unpopular, despite a statewide “listening tour” to promote the budget.

        He was handed a huge mess and worked hard at cleaning it up in a balanced way. That apparently made basically everyone hate him. Also, unfortunately, budget trouble continues despite the tax increases/union givebacks/cuts.

        There’s more on his wiki page and I think it adds up to a very solid liberal record. The core probleme is that CT’s economy is stagnant and he’s been unable to change that. Republicans hate him of course and apparently about half of Dems hate him too (mostly for opposite reasons, though I’m sure the point of agreement is economic growth sucks and it’s his fault).

        • maurinsky

          CT’ economy has a massive liability, which is unfunded pensions for State Workers. Right now, .53 of every CT tax dollar goes to pay people who no longer work for the State of CT. That is a heavy stone around our collective neck.

          • Rob in CT

            Absolutely. I’m furious at the people who failed to fund the pensions properly over the years (if you won’t fund it, don’t agree to it, it’s that simple). I’m all for paying people well. But the bait ‘n switch of promising people really nice pensions but then failing to fund them properly is horrible. It sets up a time bomb and when it blows up everybody is (justifiably!) pissed off.

            I don’t think that’s our only economic problem. But it’s definitely not helping.

            • maurinsky

              Definitely not our only economic problem!

              I work for a quasi-government agency in CT and I attended a meeting yesterday that made me understand why people hate government. A representative from a state agency was asked a question and his answer was like listening to one of the bureaucrats in the movie Brazil explaining which form had to be filled out. And my experience with many state agencies is similar. I think many well intentioned statutes end up harming small businesses. It is as if the State of CT has opted to be as inefficient as it can possibly be. We could shave a lot of money off the budget if they could tighten up the ship.

              We have a small regional crisis right now which could have severe economic repercussions well beyond the region the problems are occurring in (crumbling concrete foundations).

              And there is always the weather to complain about.

              The downside of CT is that we have a lot of problems. The upside is that we have a lot of room for improvement.

              • Rob in CT

                I do think the state agency dysfunction is probably connected to 1-party rule (in the legislature. I know we’ve had plenty of GOP governors).

                The upside is that for all our problems, we’re still a rich state with good education and healthcare. But it is very frustrating that we have a situation that many other states would probably kill for and we’ve been making a hash of it. What worries me in particular is that our budget is fucked up NOW, in relatively good economic times. There will be another recession at some point and then we’re really in deep shit.

                At least we’re not Rhode Island. ;)

                • Rob in CT

                  State government saved nothing between 1939 and 1971 — and very little until the early 1980s — to cover pensions promised to state employees. Even after it began saving in earnest, it frequently contributed less than the full amount recommended between the early 1980s and 2011.

                  The cost of these past actions can be seen in the current budget and in future projections.

                  For example, 82 percent of this year’s $1.57 billion payment into the state employees’ pension fund, almost $1.3 billion, is to cover contributions or investment earnings not made or achieved in the past.

                  The funded ratio for the state employees’ pension stood at 45 percent in 1988 when the comptroller’s office began listing it in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

                  But a statistical and historical analysis of Connecticut’s pension funds prepared in 2014 by the Center for Retirement Research reported the funded ratio was below 40 percent for most of the 1980s right up until it hit the 45 percent mark in 1988.

                  http://ctmirror.org/2017/01/05/future-payment-scheme-takes-a-heavy-present-toll-on-state-pension-fund/

                  This hole took decades to dig. Fixing it will probably take about as long. Fucking hell.

    • socraticsilence

      Of all the proxies I worked with during the campaign last year Booker was the most consistently effective outside of the Obamas and Uncle Joe- from small rooms in NH to packed Union Halls in St. Louis Booker always delivered – something neither of the two people heading the ticket could say. Additionally, from what I can remember other than one thing he had remarkably easy to fulfill and unpretentious advance requirements (the one caveat is that he’s a Vegan which was hard to meet at times in small or rural areas- he got vegan Soul Food in St. Louis though so its not impossible).

      • witlesschum

        I have no idea, but I wonder if veganism would be a hard sell nationally?

  • ΧΤΠΔ

    Another voice I’d heard as being in contention for 2020 is Kamala Harris; Graham Vyse lays out concerns here. Thoughts?

    • Warren Terra

      It’s unbecoming and unfair, but after seeing how Clinton got treated I wonder if a woman from California can get a fair shake from those voters we can’t rely on.

      I’d like to see more mentions of Deval Patrick, because I’d prefer him to Booker as President and maybe even as a Candidate, but don’t think he’s got a shot either.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        I’m mixed on Harris (she seems pretty good so far and seems to be positioning herself as Warren’s protege), but I would like for a Democratic nominee to be from a state further west once in a while, so that’d be nice.

        • jeer9

          Harris’s failure to prosecute Mnuchin regarding OneWest’s fraudulent foreclosures in California despite the evidence and her subsequent inability to explain why she didn’t seems troubling.

          Not that a “looking forward, not backward” approach hasn’t worked in the past.

          • q-tip

            If Mnuchin joins Trump’s admin and Trunp goes down in flames, it could be a line of attack. It’s not as pithy as “emails,” but …

            (Also: I hesitate to bring it up, because it shouldn’t matter, but I showed some of a CA Senate candidates’ debate to classes of high school boys, and one point of general consensus was that Harris is physically attractive. Some of the less hormone-addled also noted her professional speaking style.)

            • AMK

              and one point of general consensus was that Harris is physically attractive

              God forbid! Its not like we need to get some low-info male voters to pay attention to us or anything.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        Assuming that a) swing voters and Republicans vote racist during periods of economic wellbeing, and that b) a Trump/Pence presidency will at least be measurably worse than W.’s, and factoring in c) some diminution in anti-Democratic chickenfucking as compared to Clinton, I’d say Kamala has a fair shot.

        • Jameson Quinn

          Also, if you’re going to take account of the stuff that shouldn’t matter but does, take both sides into account.

          Many people voted against Clinton because “I’m not sexist, but Hillary in particular really is just a *****.” If another woman runs, the tendency/narrative will more likely be “look, see, this one is different” more than “how shrill”. Yes, it’s another form of sexism, but one we can take advantage of.

          • djw

            If another woman runs, the tendency/narrative will more likely be “look, see, this one is different” more than “how shrill”.

            Plausible, to an extent, but optimistic. Clinton may be a bit stronger of a sexism magnet than most, but not uniquely so. If Harris (or some other woman) appears to be in a position to win the nomination, I’m sure she’ll get a few of her own “I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote for a woman, just not this one” with various sexist rationales.

            • Dilan Esper

              Jameson’s suggested pattern holds historically. Al Smith didn’t win but Kennedy did. Jesse Jackson didn’t win but Obama did.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Many people voted against Clinton because “I’m not sexist, but Hillary in particular really is just a *****.”

            And many people used that as a cover for being sexist fucks.

            • Jameson Quinn

              Yes, that was my point.

      • wjts

        I’m inclined to agree, but I’m not sure that Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick is going to be more appealing to economic populists than Wall Street-friendly Cory Booker.

        • Warren Terra

          Patrick may have made money from Bain (and Coca-Cola) but has (I think) nonetheless been less obnoxious about the sector than Booker.

        • witlesschum

          I’m inclined to agree, but I’m not sure that Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick is going to be more appealing to economic populists than Wall Street-friendly Cory Booker.

          Why are we here? Egad.

          • wjts

            Huh?

            • witlesschum

              Sorry that was opaque. The fact that we have so many Democratic political leaders who are too damn rich and too damn connected to finance hit me when reading that comment. I wish that was not so acceptable in the Democratic Party.

              • wjts

                Ah, gotcha.

      • efgoldman

        I’d like to see more mentions of Deval Patrick

        People can mention him all they want, and I’d certainly vote for him, but unless his wife has undergone a sea change, it’s unlikely at best.

      • Dilan Esper

        It’s unbecoming and unfair, but after seeing how Clinton got treated I wonder if a woman from California can get a fair shake from those voters we can’t rely on.

        My prediction is “Hillary Clinton proves the electorate is too sexist to elect a woman” is one of those claims that is not going to survive contact with reality.

        Not that there isn’t sexism out there, or even that there wasn’t sexism directed at Hillary, but the reality is the impact of sexism on the election results (i.e., the difference between Hillary’s performance and performance of generic male candidate with all the same experience and all the same scandals) was pretty minor. A female candidate almost won, and a better female candidate will win.

        • Nick056

          And she would have won in 2008, too, if she hadn’t lost to Obama in the primary. And I suppose you can say that’s sexism, too, but — really now. It was Obama.

    • The Lorax

      I think she’s been great. I’ve followed her somewhat closely here in CA. I’ve never had any WTF moments with her.

      • Philip

        On the scale of things it’s pretty minor (I’d take her over Booker in a heartbeat), but the Backdoor stuff was really frustrating.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          On the scale of things it’s pretty minor (I’d take her over Booker in a heartbeat), but the Backdoor stuff was really frustrating.

          ?

          • Philip

            Phone autocorrect fail, should say “backpage.”

            She pushed to shut down a classified ads site (and perp walked the founders on ridiculous claims they were knowingly profiting from human trafficking), in a way that definitely felt like a PR stunt. It’s actually ended up hurting a lot of sex workers who relied on the site.

            Like I said, it’s a pretty minor thing on the scale of bad shit politicians do. It’s just the only real negative that comes to mind re: Harris.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Oh, yes. Duh. I should have realized that.

    • SatanicPanic

      Kamala Harris for sure. Why should we run from a fight before it’s even started?

      Maybe not so important but her staff is really nice. The receptionist thanked me for my activism when I called today.

    • One thing I always try to remember is that a lot of people (including myself, frankly) perceived Obama as something of a cipher in 2008. He hadn’t taken any particularly controversial positions in any of his previous offices. He wasn’t associated with any major legislative accomplishment, and his pre-legislative career was respectable but not awe-inspiring. He was friendly with the technocratic center of the Democratic Party. At the time the primaries kicked off, even his supporters couldn’t really say much more about him than that he was eloquent, intelligent, ambitious, good-looking, and had opposed the Iraq war (at a time when it really didn’t matter or pose him any particular political risk).

      If you listened to people who knew him well, or read Dreams From My Father, you could get a hint of the fine character that would be the hallmark of his presidency. But, believe me: there were plenty of articles very similar to that about Obama after 2004. There was a lot of concern that he was running too early without much of a record. And McCain certainly attacked him ferociously on that account.

      So I personally am really not keen on writing off any possible candidate based on “are they presidential caliber” type analysis. The reason we have primaries is to test potential nominees under pressure. Obama proved himself in the 2008 primary and went on to prove skeptics like me wrong.

      • Murc

        One thing I always try to remember is that a lot of people (including myself, frankly) perceived Obama as something of a cipher in 2008.

        No. He was not. Obama was obviously a centrist, technocratic Democrat. It was clear as day. That’s what his record revealed about him. That’s how he voted in the Senate. That’s how he ran his campaigns. And that was, then, how he governed.

        He was no cipher.

        • witlesschum

          His biggest argument against Clinton was Iraq, where he wasn’t presenting himself as a principled opponent of war but a smarter technocrat who wouldn’t something so stupid as that.

          • Murc

            And, crucially, he wasn’t in Congress at the time the Iraq War was coming to a vote.

            (Not saying he would have voted for it. Just saying that every single Democrat who wasn’t in the position of having to vote yea or nay found it reaaaalll easy to say “of course I’d have voted nay” after the fact.)

            • witlesschum

              I don’t find it that crucial. Most Democrats in the house voted no and a large minority of Democratic senators did. Both of my senators voted no. But what Obama would have actually done was immaterial. The importance of it was that Clinton was being forced to pay a political price for warmongering, which was a hugely positive development in American politics.

              It’s unfortunately novel that an American politician lost the presidency because she chose to sign on to one of our foreign aggressions.

        • I said “perceived”. Are you seriously contesting that a lot of Obama supporters in 2008 didn’t really have a clear idea of what he stood for other than “hope and change”?

          You seem to be saying virtually the same thing I did.

          • Murc

            I said “perceived”.

            Ah, so you did. My apologies!

  • rfm

    When Booker wins the popular vote by 5 million but loses the electoral college because he lost WI and NC by less than 20 votes combined, I look forward to two years of “Zephyr would’ve won.”

    • Warren Terra

      I have a lot of respect for Teachout, but she’s 0 for 2 in elections. She risks becoming the next Darcy Burner. That sort of people will use that narrative, but not with Teachout. They’ll find someone to use, though. I thought maybe Jayapal, but she immigrated as a teenager.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        Teachout should honestly be appointed to some sort of agency position next time Dems are in power. Like Obama tried to do with Warren and the CFPB. Then if she wants, she can use that as a springboard for elected office, but I think she’d have more influence and be more effective in an executive official role. Just my thought, though of course I wish she’d won.

  • anonymous

    Booker would be a terrible choice.

    As someone with cozy ties to Wall Street, supporter of Charter Schools, etc. he is going to be unfairly labeled as too “centrist” and won’t excite the progressives.

    And as ugly as this sounds, his race and ethnicity is going to be a hindrance. Trump and the GOP have dialed up the racial polarization strategy and proved that it wins and Booker will play right into that. Even if Trump regime is a disaster, Whites will vote for Trump to vote against another Black POTUS.

    The best chance is a progressive White male.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      I think this is as wrongheaded as the opposition to Keith Ellison for DNC based on the anti-Israel smear campaign. Never back down in the face of bigotry. Obama won these voters. If we play our cards right we can do it again. I’m not saying they aren’t racist as hell, but clearly that’s not the be-all and end-all of the story.

      Deciding that Trump’s election means the country is too racist and sexist to ever run women or nonwhite candidates again is a betrayal of progressive principles every bit as much as opposing unions and defending bankers, even if your intentions are pure.

      (That said, while he’s kinda goofy and awkward, I’d happily vote for my home senator Sherrod Brown, and I think if he survives the 2018 elections he’d be a good candidate. But it’s too early for me to have a clear preference.)

      • wjts

        Agreed strongly with the first part; skeptical about Sherrod Brown (much as I like the fellow) as a presidential candidate.

      • kped

        Never back down in the face of bigotry.

        Never back down for ANYTHING. Never get in the habit of trying to elect someone the other guys will like. You’ll end up electing Joe Fucking Lieberman like that.

        Also…A black guy just won 2 elections, had a funny name. Won more total votes then the two people this year, with a smaller population. Fuck this nonsense of being afraid to nominate another POC.

        • anonymous

          Obama won because neither McCain nor Romney ran an all out racial polarization campaign to attract the racist White vote.

          Recall that in a town hall meeting, McCain even famously admonished racist Repug voters saying things like:

          “I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States”.

          Trump would NEVER do that. He would have sensed that the crowd wanted dog whistles or megaphones about how Obama was really born in Kenya, was a secret Muslim founder of ISIS, etc.

          McCain and Romney simply didn’t go there as they (falsely) believed that a racial polarization strategy would turn off “moderates” in the General Election. Trump destroyed that premise and proved that you can run a General Election campaign that is based solely on running up the score with White voters.

          If Booker is the nominee, it will make it very easy for Trump to gin up the racist White vote even if his administration is a disaster because many White people would rather keep Booker out even if it means keeping Trump in.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Obama won because neither McCain nor Romney ran an all out racial polarization campaign to attract the racist White vote.

            This.

            • socraticsilence

              Or you know he won because he was a preternaturally talented politican, flip Romeny and Trump and the winning parties likely remain the same, the only thing that changes in 2012 because of this is an even larger landslide than 2008 and if Hillary couldn’t beat Trump its uard to see her even beating Romney in the popular vote.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                if Hillary couldn’t beat Trump its uard to see her even beating Romney in the popular vote

                She did beat Romney in the popular vote.

          • Trump was running against a white woman, though! If a racist campaign works against a white woman, why wouldn’t it work against a white man? GOP voters know that the Democrat Party is the party of blacks and… black lovers.

            Also:

            Obama won because neither McCain nor Romney ran an all out racial polarization campaign to attract the racist White vote.

            If McCain had gotten Trump’s vote total, Obama still would have won.

          • Murc

            If you’re right, that just means we’re fucked, because we literally can’t do anything about this without selling our souls.

            So we have to just act like this isn’t true.

            • Tristan

              If you’re right, that just means we’re fucked, because we literally can’t do anything about this without selling our souls.

              Look, I really don’t think it can be emphasized enough that Trump winning was a black swan created by a confluence of unique and/or highly unusual circumstances. You had Comey, Clinton derangement syndrome, lousy media coverage (which was itself the intersection of multiple unlikely-to-repeat circumstances), Trump’s own awfulness lulling just about everyone into a false sense of security about the odds, Russian influence, and after all of that he still only won because of the bizarre electoral quirk of the college system. This is why he’s coming in with approval ratings, even among people who voted for him, that are not only historically low, but lower than the next lowest by nearly 30%.

              It’s very important to remind people of all of this precisely so the Democrats don’t do something dumb like position themselves as the ‘not AS racist’ party. And I suspect it’s going to be very tempting for a lot of us to endorse an ‘anything to stop the GOP this time’ mindset as we get closer to 2020. Everyone needs to remember, and remind each other, that there is no progressive ideal that needs to be rolled back from where it stood under Obama.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                Look, I really don’t think it can be emphasized enough that Trump winning was a black swan created by a confluence of unique and/or highly unusual circumstances.

                Not so unique.

                W got elected by the Supreme Court in 2000.

                W got re-elected by the press rolling over on Kerry being somehow a coward with fake medals as compared to that great warrior W who kept Texas safe from attack by North Vietnam’s air force.

                Dukakis lost because of Willie Horton and the trumped-up death penalty question.

                I could go on. I’m still waiting for that black swan to benefit a Democrat.

          • DamnYankees

            McCain and Romney simply didn’t go there as they (falsely) believed that a racial polarization strategy would turn off “moderates” in the General Election.

            I also think both those men genuinely wouldn’t think to do that as they aren’t racist assholes. They might have been willing to play to those impulses on some level, but I really don’t think the only reason they held off is because of efficacy.

          • socraticsilence

            Wait… the way you’re talking it reads like you think Trump would hge even been competitive vs. Obama as opposed to being beaten worse than McCain.

            Given their current relative approval ratings (and remember Trump’s is like a kely at or near his peak just looking at the approval rating of past Presidents) this conteractual seems speculative to say the least- after all given your narrative of racial polarization, shouldn’t Obama- the man the GOP views as God Emperor of all Black People- have taken a major hit in approval?

    • brewmn

      Seeing as how better turnout among minorities in the midwestern states Clinton was expected to win would have given her the election, I reached the exact opposite conclusion. Our best chance is a charismatic minority candidate.

      And seriously, fuck all those Stein voters anyway. When we get minority voters to the polls, at least they reliably vote for the party.

      • witlesschum

        This. Democrats need to motivate their base to win, not try to take Trump’s because that’s not happening. The idea of Obama voters switching to Trump seems to me to have been pretty overblown at leas here in Michigan. It’s more like Obama voters staying home and Trump turning out some extra people who didn’t show up for Romney. If Republicans are going to continue to run outright white nationalist campaigns, the Dems have to get the Obama coalition back out to counter the extra voters who turn out for white nationalism.

        If running a minority candidate does that better, then let’s do that. White guys can take a break from the presidency for a few decades.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          Worth remembering also that in 2000, after eight years of a Democrat, Ralph Nader got 2.8 million votes. In 2004, he didn’t even break 500,000. Imma go out on a limb here and say that the majority of the people who felt that both parties were the same this year are going to feel very differently in 2020.

          • witlesschum

            One would hope that, but voting Stein in 2016 seems several factors of disassociation from reality higher than voting for Nader in 2000 to me.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Assuming Booker does win in 2020, after 4 years of Trump and Republicans owning all 3 branches of the government the Onion can re-run it’s headline about Black Man Getting Worst Job in the U.S. He’ll get a mess far worse than what Obama had to deal with.

          And then two years later Democrats will lose the legislative elections due to a combination of being punished for having failed to fix everything in less than two years and too many Democratic voters believing that the only election that matters is the presidential one.

  • It is material that both Booker and Harris are good-looking and well below pension age. One of Clinton’s disadvantages was her granny age. It didn’t become a campaign issue because Trump is just as old. But Americans elect a god-king or god-queen not just a CEO, and she did not fit (nor did Sanders). Ageism hits women more.

    • ΧΤΠΔ

      One of Clinton’s disadvantages was her granny age

      Wasn’t JK Simmons supposed to have crucified you on the basketball court? (And I get and to a point agree with your broader point, but seriously: THE FUCK, man?

  • stonetools

    What do people think of Chris Murphy, the young Senator from Connecticut?If you think we should pander to the young white guy portion of the electorate, he checks that box.
    I think that if Booker is on the ticket, it will be as VP. The Dems aren’t going to run a non white guy at the top of the ticket in 2020. Take that to the bank.

    • kped

      Why should we “pander” to the young white guy portion? Obama’s coalition is bigger than the young white guy portion. Hillary’s was bigger. If this is the solution “run a white guy just because”, it’s stupid.

      Now, if Murphy is a good candidate on the merits, absolutely run. But “we need to go after the whites” is a shitty reason.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Why should we “pander” to the young white guy portion?

        The only vaguely acceptable reason is that they’re the ones who throw fits away their votes when they aren’t pandered to.

    • Arouet

      Worked for his campaign when he was a Congressman and I’ve followed him since. He has the right positions on almost everything and he’s a great guy to boot. That said, I imagine his demographic profile will not help him get the nod, for better or for worse.

    • Rob in CT

      I doubt Murphy is the answer. I like the guy, but…

      How does Murphy get the voters we need to show up to show up? That’s the question.

      He’s got solid positions (though again I think the gun control issue is probably a net negative) and seems like a decent guy. His commentary on campaign fund raising is particularly good.

      I actually don’t know if he’s any good at giving a rousing speech (I typically read about what politicians, as opposed to listen to them speak).

      • Bufflars

        He’s on Chris Hayes a lot, and seems like a good unscripted interviewee. Not 100% sure if that translates well to speechifying, but he always has a good command of the facts. OT but he’s very big on gun control (makes sense being from CT and I think his congressional district included Newtown?), but I feel that can be a big headwind in a national election.

        • Rob in CT

          Yes, agreed.

          I like the guy. I’m happy he’s my senator. I don’t think he’s a great Presidential candidate.

        • Arouet

          Why exactly is it that Democrats consistently forget the public largely agrees with us on reasonable gun regulations? It’s not a bad thing.

          • Bufflars

            Because both Clinton and Obama, who rarely talk about guns, were the fodder for disinformation that drove the gun nuts into a frenzy over the last several years. The chance to put another pro-lifer back on the USSC was probably a good GOTV method for the GOP, but I’d posit that the irrational fear of a liberal USSC pick meaning the “end” of the 2nd amendment was as much if not more of a driver.

            No matter how you slice it, the 80-90% of adults who favor sensible gun control do not have the political power of the 5-10% for whom gun rights are their #1 issue.

        • bender

          I differ on the “good unscripted interviewee” part. He isn’t awful; he speaks in complete sentences and comes across as well informed. He is always predictable and boring. Also bland as unsalted cream cheese. MSNBC has a set of politicians and retired politicians who are invited on to say totally predictable things in totally predictable ways at length, apparently to reassure the audience in its beliefs. Ed Rendell is another one.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    wake me up somewhere around the end of October in ’20 so I can vote for the Dem

  • Tyro

    Cory Booker is unmarried, which makes him an automatic non-starter as far as a presidential candidate goes.

    • Dilan Esper

      Worked for James Buchanan.

      Really, I HIGHLY doubt this matters. The reason we don’t have more unmarried Presidents is because we don’t have that many unmarried politicians. Now some of this is because strategists see a benefit to politicians being married, but a lot of what strategists believe is bullshit and alchemy anyway.

      But for a long time, for instance, every President served in the military. Now they don’t anymore. Society is changing.

      • Rusty SpikeFist

        Yes but when he’s caught sucking a dick in a truck stop men’s room on the NJ turnpike, it’ll be embarrassing enough to take a bit of the wind out of his candidacy.

        • Rusty SpikeFist

          .

        • wjts

          Can it, asshole.

          • Rusty SpikeFist

            what? Being gay wouldn’t be considered disqualifying for a president in the year 2020.

            But it’s better if he comes out of the closet now rather than getting caught in some humiliating down-low sex incident.

            People would even applaud him for his courage, which god knows happens to Cory Booker quite a lot for someone who never actually displays any.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Why exactly do you think a gay Democrat wouldn’t just find himself a husband? Or are you under the impression all gay men suck dick in truck stops?

              • Rusty SpikeFist

                Because contrary to his reputation, Cory Booker does not have an iota of political courage, as today’s drug reimportation vote demonstrated pretty vividly.

                He would never do anything that he would perceive as even infinitesimally reduce his chance of being elected to office.

            • wjts

              What I’m objecting to is the homophobic bullshit of, “Hurr, durr, unmarried 40-something is clearly a big old homo cruising truck stops for dick”.

              • Rusty SpikeFist

                Not making fun of him, but these rumors have been circulating for a LONG time, and not just among political enemies/rivals.

                It’s going to come into the open eventually, and, better now than later.

                I don’t favor him as the nominee, but if he’s indeed the best available, better to avoid a John Edwards-type situation in 2020.

                • socraticsilence

                  Uh, there’s also rumors he’s asexual as well as rumors that his problem is that he’s too interested in women (specifically white women- even more specifically that he may have had something going on with Ivanka Trump, who hosted Booker fundraisers in the past, and that this is what Donald was aluding to regarding Booker) and doesn’t do long term relationships.

                  Hell, if we’re going to do rumors- did you also worry Hillary would get caught in flagrante delicto with Huma Abedin?

                • Rusty SpikeFist

                  The difference is, the Hillary rumors were obvious bullshit and the Booker rumors are pretty plausible.

                • Rusty SpikeFist

                  As to the Booker/Ivanka rumor, I had *not* heard that one. Pretty funny if true, but I have to doubt it.

                  DT being who he is, can anyone really believe the prenup would have let her walk away with a dime if she’d cheated on him?

                • Rusty SpikeFist

                  Sorry, my mistake: confused Ivana and Ivanka.

                  If it’s Ivanka, it’s even funnier and I hope to god it’s true. Might even give me a reason to support him in the primary despite the Wall Street ass-kissing and drug reimportation concern-trolling.

                  Seeing the black man who fucked his daughter get the democratic nomination might literally make him die of an aneurysm even before November 2020.

          • Rusty SpikeFist

            Plus, pretty sure at least some of these incidents were staged/set up ahead of time.

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/25/cory-booker-rescues-a-freezing-dog-9-other-things-he-has-saved.html

      • rea

        Buchanan was a widow . . .

        • bender

          Unless you mean widower, that is truly big news.

    • kped

      “Trump is thrice married with 5 kids, he’s a non-starter”

      “Obama is a black man with a funny name and a Muslim father, that’s a non-starter so soon after 9/11. Also, his funny name sounds both like Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein. Non starter”

      (I can play this game for hours.)

      • Tyro

        Personally, I think Americans are really attached to their rituals: a first lady, pictures of the presidential family, etc. No one will articulate it, but they’ll just talking about something being “off” about Booker and choose the candidate who has adds walking hand-in-hand with spouse and children.

        • wjts

          On the other hand, think of the electoral benefits if he marries an attractive young woman in the next year or two.

          • N__B

            I believe Not-Jenna Bush voted for HRC.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I know several who will volunteer.

            • Warren Terra

              Nice correspondence of commenting pseudonym and comment content.

        • kped

          That applies to the last president too…i honestly think people are too narrow minded in this kind of thinking. I mean…look at who just won election????

        • Captain Oblivious

          Nobody except the religious nutters cares about other people’s marital status any more, and the nutters ain’t gonna vote big-D.

        • But Melania barely appeared on the campaign trail, especially after the convention debacle. Ivanka played more of that role on the campaign trail. I don’t see it mattering.

          • Hogan

            Ivanka is the office wife [slap] office daughter [slap] office wife [slap] office daughter [slap]

        • gmoot

          They’re going to get over the “first family” expectation pretty quickly. It’s just a matter of time before the groper-in-chief dumps any pretense that his marriage to Melania is going to last past her “sell by” date. And, Ivanka can only go so far in filling the first lady role. (Cue comments on the salacious DJT-Ivanka photos.)

        • lunaticllama

          Perhaps – but, it’s readily apparent that we will not have a typical first lady for the next 4 years.

    • Warren Terra

      Doesn’t Trump’s ridiculous family history undermine that? Or is he just not bound by any normal rules and so doesn’t count?

      Also, if Booker is as cartoonishly ambitious as some claim, he can schedule a storybook wedding to some willing woman (sincerely interested in him or not, and vice versa) and have the whole beltway swooning with Camelot references infesting every column.

      • wjts

        Internet says Emilia Clarke is single. Let’s go with that.

      • efgoldman

        Or is he just not bound by any normal rules and so doesn’t count?

        Based on the last year, apparently not.

        Also, if Booker is as cartoonishly ambitious as some claim, he can schedule a storybook wedding to some willing woman

        Maybe he and Kamala Harris.....

        • Dilan Esper

          Kamala just got married, after 25 years living the single life as an attractive Bay Area lawyer.

          • Gareth

            But Kshama Sawant is separated…

      • Hogan

        Doesn’t Trump’s ridiculous family history undermine that?

        And it didn’t do Reagan any harm.

  • kped

    While I agree with your points (although i’m more in the thinking he’ll be a good candidate camp), I don’t know that there will be a left candidate in 3 years who can beat him. This hypothetical candidate will have so many of Bernie’s handicaps, as they will be running against someone who various other parts of the base do like.

    While Booker has to appeal to the left, a left candidate must really try to appeal to the wider party as well, and I see basically no one on the left grappling with this. No real left introspection on just why Bernie lost. Too much “Durrr, DNC rigged it” instead of looking at Bernies issues with a lot of the base, and how to fix that for the next election in 4 years. Bernie won’t be the candidate, it will be someone else, but unless this person has figured out a message that can get black southerners excited as well as white college kids in the caucus states, Booker is the favorite, neoliberal sellout or not.

    • ΧΤΠΔ

      Not sure why Harris wouldn’t be such a candidate.

      • kped

        She could be, I haven’t heard many lefties talk her up, but she seems like a great candidate if she chooses to run. It doesn’t erase what I said about the lack of introspection on the part of Sanders supporters.

      • Lizzy L

        Speaking as a Californian who voted for her, I’d kind of like her to be the Senator from California for at least most of her six-year term. I recognize that that’s very selfish of me, however.

        Seriously, give her a chance to make her bones in the Senate before shoving her into a candidacy for the toughest job in the world.

        • I can imagine that would be especially appealing after having the same two senators for two long. Particularly when the other one is Feinstein.

        • I get the sentiment, but maybe it’s better for her not to have much of a record when she runs, given how Clinton’s was used against her.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      I seem to recall some very large teachers’ unions playing a significant role in backing Hillary Clinton, and they might have one or two reasons to be wary of Booker.

      I’m not saying he is permanently unacceptable, but the idea that the only people objecting to Booker are far-left Bernie backers is simply false.

      • efgoldman

        I seem to recall some very large teachers’ unions playing a significant role in backing Hillary Clinton

        Who knows. In four years there might not be any more teachers’ unions.

        • N__B

          No more teachers
          No more books
          No more civilization or non-mutated students.

        • Hercules Mulligan

          I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel better about a Democratic candidate with a history of hostility to unions, though you may very well be right.

          As N__B says, maybe we can run the first Radioactive Ash-American candidate and break that little barrier.

          • Harry Hardrada

            Nixon already ran and won twice, so that barrier’s been broken for a long time.

          • wjts

            As N__B says, maybe we can run the first Radioactive Ash-American candidate and break that little barrier.

            If he promises to build a wall and make the Eloi pay for it, I’m on board.

            • ΧΤΠΔ

              RAA 802,701: “Literally eat the rich!”

              • wjts

                I would also be prepared to vote for Magnus, Robot Fighter.

                • Domino

                  Why not go for Gunther, Robot Lord?

                • wjts

                  Because Gunther is a neoliberal sell-out who looks terrible in go-go boots and a miniskirt.

    • Warren Terra

      I don’t see why such a candidate should have Bernie’s handicaps. A lot of people invested their (truly beautiful) hopes and ideals in Bernie, but the truth is that however unexpectedly successful he was, he was and remains on paper a ludicrously flawed candidate, for reasons having nothing to do with his progressive messaging, and was treated with kid gloves so as not to offend his supporters too much.

    • efgoldman

      Too much “Durrr, DNC rigged it” instead of looking at Bernies issues with a lot of the base, and how to fix that for the next election in 4 years.

      While all of that was irritating as hell, I think he lost a lot of people with the Daily News interview.
      “Breaking up the banks is your signature issue. How are you going to do that?”
      “I don’t know.”
      Goodbye!

    • witlesschum

      Sanders’ failure to make a serious attempt to follow Obama’s playbook for defeating Clinton by figuring out how to make inroads with black Democrats is absolutely a failure of his. I’m deeply agnostic on the idea that he’d have won the general, but if it’s true he’s as responsible as anyone for this garbage pile.

      A lot of things were fucked up to get us here.

  • Lurks

    Oh puhleeze, spare me the hangwringing.

    Everyone here who voted for a candidate that:

    1) supported the War in Iraq
    2) was open to late-term abortion restrictions
    3) said nice things about gun culture
    4) made tens of millions from the banking industry
    5) supported TPP
    6) said marriage was a sacred bond between a man and a woman
    7) bragged about how whites supported them more than their opponent

    All of you people? Please raise your hand. Now slap yourself with it.

    Everyone who did not raise their hand, you’re actually allowed to kvetch about Booker’s purity. However, the people in the first group get to slap you for not voting for Hillary.

    If Booker is nominated in 2020 all his sins will be washed as clean as Clinton’s were.

    • Murc

      Because, of course, our votes in the general have any bearing on how we should or shouldn’t vote, or agitate, during the primary.

      I pulled the lever for Clinton. I do not relinquish my right to complain about Booker just because I did so, right up until he is the nominee, at which point I will pull the lever for him as well.

      • Lurks

        Skip to the last paragraph for the TL:DR types.

        This is exactly my point, thank you. If they all know that all we will do is whine, but then forgive them and unconditionally support them, where is any incentive for them to change? 2016 was all the proof anyone needed that you don’t have to be likable or even ideologically aligned with your (R) or (D), you just have to be deemed “less awful” than your opponent (clarification: “in the right states”). This was an election where a lot of people made their voting choice not for the “best candidate”, but for the “second worst candidate”.

        Take the list in my previous comment. If in November 2008 I told the masthead “After 8 years of Obama I wager you each $100 that you will not only be eager to vote for someone with the above qualities, you will criticize anyone who does not.“, would I now be richer or poorer? I think even Mr. Campos would have to reluctantly part with a Benjamin.

        The purges by Skinner over at DU are an extreme example of this, with an overtly stated post-primary policy of “criticizing the nominee is treason and will get you permanently banned”.

        I’m just a bit cynical after seeing us so desperate to win elections that we will blindly slap a (D) on anything that isn’t an (R). We will bitch and moan beforehand, but we will hold our noses and vote for someone who is liberal not in any objective sense, but only in comparison to the alternative. Overton Window politics at its finest.

        It is not a criticism or endorsement of Booker, just the realpolitik assessment that if he is the 2020 nominee, even being found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl won’t deter the party über alles types, and anything he is being criticized for in this thread will be swept away as surely as any legitimate criticisms of Clinton were. So by itself, criticizing Booker is the least useful of all possible strategies. He’s smart enough to know that all he has to do is mouth the right words during a 2019 primary season and everything said here today about him will be forgotten/forgiven.

        So, what’s our winning strategy as liberals/progressives in the long run? Because “bitch and moan but vote for whoever has the (D) after their name” doesn’t seem to either be getting us liberal candidates or electoral victories.

        • rea

          It would help if more than 10% of the country accepted your views of who counts as “liberaL/progressive”. The only time we got a candidate who appeared to be farther left then HRC–not that he was in reality–the winning Republican president had to resign for tampering with the Democratic nomination process.

        • lunaticllama

          The winning strategy for liberals/progressives in the medium-term is to elect liberal and progressive politicians in the House of Representatives and state legislatures.

          • bender

            Absolutely. And elect them to local offices too, because we need farm teams for both politicians and activists.

        • Murc

          This is exactly my point, thank you. If they all know that all we will do is whine, but then forgive them and unconditionally support them, where is any incentive for them to change?

          Primary challenges.

          You want more left-wing candidates? Good. So do I.

          Assemble an intraparty coalition big enough to win a primary. Primaries are not decided in smoke-filled rooms these days, they are massively democratic. Not as much as they could be, but very much so.

          I will not “just whine” in 2020. I will vote for the leftmost viable candidate in the primary. 2016 was all the proof anyone needed that you don’t have to be likable or even ideologically aligned with your (R) or (D),

          No. It wasn’t. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are within the ideological mainstream of their respective parties.

          If in November 2008 I told the masthead “After 8 years of Obama I wager you each $100 that you will not only be eager to vote for someone with the above qualities, you will criticize anyone who does not.“, would I now be richer or poorer?

          You would be poorer, because damn near everyone on the masthead has been saying that in a general election, you vote for and advocate for the best available candidate for as long as I’ve known them.

          and anything he is being criticized for in this thread will be swept away as surely as any legitimate criticisms of Clinton were.

          Legitimate criticisms of Clinton were not swept away. I mean… yes, by some people, and fuck those people. But those people will always exist.

          Clinton does not exist in a vacuum. She existed in contrast to the Republican nominee.

    • manual

      Dumb hot take. You vote for what you have in the general. Its reasonable for people to want there politicians to vote and support things they think are good for society. Booker is just a Senator right now. He should catch shit for this.

    • witlesschum

      Nah.

  • randy khan

    I have an open mind about Booker. And, for that matter, nearly all of the other actual potential Democratic candidates. (Don’t forget Mark Warner, BTW.) There’s a lot that’s going to happen between now and then, and I’m going to guess that all of the potential candidates will do good things and things that annoy us.

    On this vote, at least Booker was smart enough to come up with a plausible, policy-based explanation, whether we believe it or not. Personally, I’d have rather he’d have voted for the amendment, of course, but it indicates that he knows the issue matters to a lot of people.

    Oh, and I think there’s at least some reason to consider the possibility that it will be easier to elect a black candidate than a woman. I’d like to believe that isn’t true, but there’s a part of me that can’t shake the feeling that it is.

  • socialistdan

    Corey Booker? COREY BOOKER?

    Sometimes I wonder how we keep losing to the buffoons in the GOP, but Erik has a way of reminding me why.

    Geniuses, the most experienced politician of all time just lost to an orangutan who has zero political or military experience. Try thinking outside the box at least once in your life.

    Maybe we can then stop getting our asses kicked.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Who’s Corey Booker?

      • socialistdan

        You named yourself after a side character in an Aaron Sorkin tv show in the 90s.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          Well spotted.

          • DrS

            Ah. An intellectual among us.

    • Warren Terra

      Your list of outside-the box candidates we should consider might have a shot at redeeming this comment.

      • socialistdan

        LOL. I don’t need to redeem myself to a bunch of people who just got served by a cheeto bag. I was a campaign staffer for the Trudeau campaign. I actually know what winning feels like. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about it.

        Not that it matters but here are my choices that will not only destroy Trump but help welcome a new wave of Democrats winning office: Gavin Newsom, Sherrod Brown, Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hanks.

        • Warren Terra

          Well, I said a list could redeem your comment, not that it would. Let’s take a look:

          An actor who’s apparently a nice liberal, plus an actor about whose politics I don’t think anyone knows anything, but signs aren’t terribly promising, neither of whom has ever run for anything, worked in government, or gotten an advanced degree. A senator from Ohio who’s widely admired on the Left but not considered to be a great political talent. A California lieutenant governor admired for being early on gay marriage but otherwise seen as a corporate tool.

          This is your prescription? There’s no particular reason to think any of them is either more electable or more desirable in office than Booker.

          PS I like Trudeau, from what little I know of him, but it seems strangely relevant to your smug and obnoxious behavior that he’s currently getting roasted for tone-deaf cozying up to the rich and powerful.

          • Rusty SpikeFist

            Not sure how supporters of “Leave Bain Capital ALOOOOOOOOONE” YouTube sensation Cory Booker really have room to ding anybody else for “cozying up to the rich and powerful”.

            • Warren Terra

              Shouldn’t you be off elsewhere in the comments smearing people you don’t know as being crude offensive caricatures of Gay folks?

            • witlesschum

              how supporters of …. Cory Booker

              Rusty, are you actually trying to form stupid factions about the 2020 primary before the orange garbage person even takes his oath on a stack of Art of the Deals?

        • Warren Terra

          PPS your experience working for Pierre Trudeau’s son gives you the lofty perch from which to suggest we look outside the box and find an exciting new name to run? Pull the other one.

          • Taylor

            The preening self-importance, the “if only you peons knew what I know” attitude….Yeah, I believe he’s a “staffer”…..probably the guy they send out to to get the coffee…..

            If his picks reflects “staffer” thinking in DC, then we’re doomed.

          • Rob in CT

            Also:

            Sometimes I wonder how we keep losing to the buffoons in the GOP, but Erik has a way of reminding me why.

            LOL. I don’t need to redeem myself to a bunch of people who just got served by a cheeto bag. I was a campaign staffer for the Trudeau campaign.

            “We.” Uh huh.

            • davidsmcwilliams

              “Who is this ‘we’ you speak of, Kemo Sabe?”

        • Matty

          Point of order, Dwayne Johnson is a Republican, last I checked.

    • Murc

      Experience counts for jack and shit.

      History, and I don’t mean this year I mean the past six decades, has demonstrated with terrifying clarity that whenever a charismatic rock star runs against a boring nerd, the nerd gets their ass handed to them.

      This means that our first priority is charisma. Anything else is meaningless unless accompanied by that, because without that you lose unless your opponent also doesn’t have it.

      And YES, Trump and Dubya had personal charisma in spades. I found them both greasily repellent but their particular personas resonate with enormous numbers of people, albeit in different ways than Obama and Bill Clinton did.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        I fear that the charisma requirement is going to keep us from ever having a female president.

        • Murc

          I should add: some elections are nerd-on-nerd fights. In those, you don’t necessarily NEED charisma.

        • brewmn

          Beyonce’?

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            ZEB!

          • Murc

            I’d vote for Beyonce.

            • witlesschum

              After I’d voted for Pam the Funkstress in the primary, though.

              • Jordan

                Me too, but there was that unfortunate album cover for the record that was gonna come out september 2001. Probably hurt in the general.

                • witlesschum

                  I know.

                  I’m now wondering if Alex Jones has ever accused The Coup of being in on 9/11.

                • Jordan

                  Its a question of whether Alex Jones knows who The Coup is. And as far as I can tell the answer is no.

            • rea

              I’d vote for Beyonce.

              “To the left, to the left
              To the left, to the left
              To the left, to the left
              Everything you own in the box to the left”

              She’s sound on tax policy.

        • C’mon. Clinton won three million more votes than Trump. She easily could have been President, given another roll of the dice. I am confident that (a) more women will run for president, in the near future, and (b) one of those women will win, again, in the near future. No woman had ever before won the nomination of a major party. The next one that does will also win the presidency.

  • AMK

    If Joe Biden is still game in three years I’m going with him. Harris has potential and comes off as more genuine than Booker, who’s always been too central casting–he’s like a Democratic Romney.

    One thing I’ve seen bandied about is the idea that if Trump sinks low enough, he could face a primary challenger. I don’t see how this would actually work, but I also can’t imagine any other reason why Marco Rubio would go out of his way to publicly attack and humiliate a mega rich Republican oil executive on national television unless he’s trying to posture as a tough and independent alternative to the Trump trainwreck.

    • Murc

      If Joe Biden is still game in three years I’m going with him.

      Yeesh. He will be… really old. Older than Sanders is now and Sanders was really borderline for me for all my enthusiasm; I would not vote for him 2020.

      • efgoldman

        He will be… really old.

        78.
        I doubt he’d even want to by then, but 78 is too old, sorry.
        I think 70 is too old, and I’m older than that.

    • IM

      I don’t get that. Biden did run, twice. And failed twice in laughable fashion,. And wasn’t much of a left-winger in his senate years.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Supporting Senator Biden (D-MBNA) over Booker because Booker is too close to the financial industry? Seriously?

      • EliHawk

        Obviously, if he would have won in 2016, it would have been nice if Biden had run. But given he most assuredly would have lost the primary (because actual, regular, Democratic voters liked Hillary Clinton more), I’m glad he didn’t run. Because instead of going out on his political career as a beloved guy with yesterday’s ceremony, the Bernie Brigades would have slaughtered his character on exactly those grounds for the last 18 months.

  • brewmn

    I must say, spending a half hour reading why every single Democrat in a position to actually get nominated in 2020 is unacceptable does not make me hopeful that we’ve learned anything over the last sixteen years.

    • Murc

      Yeah, we should all just shut the fuck up! How dare we have opinions.

      • efgoldman

        we should all just shut the fuck up! How dare we have opinions.

        I ask again: who’s your acceptable lefty/progressive/Democrat who can actually, you know GET ELECTED.
        No parachuting in.

        • Murc

          I ask again: who’s your acceptable lefty/progressive/Democrat who can actually, you know GET ELECTED.

          Elizabeth Warren seems okay. Sherrod Brown, although that vacates an unsafe senate seat.

          No parachuting in.

          I don’t accept this as a legitimate restriction. I mean, I can’t think of anyone who isn’t currently a Democrat I’d like to see do so, but I don’t regard this as legitimate criteria. Trump parachuted into his party and he did just fine.

          • bender

            Because we have a weak bench in state governments, I’m willing to consider outsiders up to a point.

            I wouldn’t have a problem with a moderate Republican switching parties, if he or she does it in the next two years so we get to see how they behave as a Democrat. A centrist President with a centrist to liberal Supreme Court or Congress wouldn’t be awful, and would mean the next President wouldn’t inherit a rolling disaster.

            I would consider a mayor.

            I would have a concern, but not an insurmountable one, with someone who has never served in an elected office but has administrative experience and has been involved in politics or government in some capacity for a number of years. However, I will not vote for somebody whose political activism consists of being the leader of an advocacy group, like Jesse Jackson or Ralph Nader.

    • Philip

      Like 2008, when an extremely contentious primary…gave us the greatest president in 70 years?

      • efgoldman

        Like 2008, when an extremely contentious primary…gave us the greatest president in 70 years?

        Why, yes, when two (actually three) actual Democrats ran.

        • Domino

          Yeah, Bernie Sanders caucusing with the Democrats, and supporting Democratic candidates for 20 years, and campaigning endlessly for Hillary Clinton in the final weeks of the campaign clearly shows the man doesn’t care about the party.

          This is a dumb point, and has been since you’ve peddled it months ago.

      • Gizmo

        You mean the man of sterling character and soaring oratory who lead an effective government and planted the seeds of his own party’s destruction? Yeah, that guy.

        • planted the seeds of his own party’s destruction

          This is overstated. It is arguable that Obama could have done more to strengthen the Democratic Party, although I haven’t seen any concrete examples of what he could have done, nor what the tradeoffs may have been. But he didn’t actively contribute to the party’s decline except by, you know, being a black Democratic president.

          • DrS

            This is is true.

            It takes a village, and it took just enough Democrats acting like craven assholes to cough up a golden opportunity to run politics for a generation. It’s completely unfair to lay all of that at Obama’s feet, and he’s been quite clear about he need for an engaged populace.

            We can debate winning strategies, and political realities, but if the left means anything it means pushing for greater inclusion. And the greater left didnt get it done. Not downplaying what they were up against, but they didn’t get it done.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I haven’t seen any concrete examples of what he could have done

            I’d like to visit an alternate reality where Obama took meaningful action, perhaps prosecution, of the banking execs who nearly destroyed our economy. And I think this would have been really popular with “average Americans”.

            • witlesschum

              I’d like to think that, but who knows?

              His apparent decision to tacitly approve Clinton as his successor rather than either picking someone else or being studiously neutral in the pre-primary sorting out process is going to be second-guessed by historians, I expect.

              I’m not sure I think it was wrong given what he knew at the time, but it sure didn’t turn out too good. Obama’s legacy is going to be ashes.

              • lunaticllama

                I actually don’t think Obama’s legacy is going to be ashes. No matter what happens in the next 4 years, he is going to get credit for turning around the economy from the Great Recession. And that’s not nothing to sneeze at.

                • bender

                  I would add detente with Iran.

            • rea

              I’d like to visit an alternate reality where Obama took meaningful action, perhaps prosecution, of the banking execs who nearly destroyed our economy.

              “That Obama–I’ll vote for him! He prosecuted all those banking execs!

              “Too bad he didn’t convict any, because it turned out to have been all actually legal.”

              • DrS

                Bullshit that it was all legal.

                If there was no illegality, why did banks agree to pay settlements to avoid prosecution?

            • Bufflars

              I highly doubt a handful of prosecutions in 2009/2010 would have had any impact on the 2016 election. The Obama admin saved literally millions of jobs in that time frame, and Donald Fucking Trump was labeled the champion of the working class…

              The sad fact that a large chunk of the voting public has at best a passing familiarity of truth and history, there is very little a Democrat can do to actually win these people over.

  • paulgottlieb

    Better than Andrew Cuomo! That’s how bad things are. And it’s true. Booker has some good qualities as well as his obvious defects, and when he took on the Sessions nomination, I was quite proud that he was my Senator. But if we wanted a better, more caring, more progressive and smarter President, where the fuck were we in November when we could have had one?

  • Abbey Bartlet

    Your clownish embarrassing commentary on Sanders resembles several tirades of hers which she continues to engage in over at Cole’s place.

    Oh, is that where she went? I can’t keep up with BJ. Tell her to come back.

  • dbk

    Late to this thread, so nobody will see this, but it’s worth a read
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/19/schooled

    on Booker-Christie-Zuckerberg’s unholy alliance to fix the Newark School system (they got schooled, hence the title).

    That piece, which I read a couple weeks ago, put Booker on my horizon, and alas, on my black list.

    But it’s like Erik said above (aeons ago in blog comment time). I heard him testify in the Sessions hearing, and he’s a terrific speaker (lots of content, great delivery) and highly charismatic.

    So now I’m conflicted. I understand he’s from NJ, which is in some ways now a wholly-owned subsidiary of NYC, but …

  • IM

    That is all beside the point.

    There is already an optimal candidate:

    Whitehouse to the White House!

    Nobody can beat that slogan.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Chafee or GTFO.

  • sleepyirv

    There’s a great section in one of Robert Caro’s LBJ books on how John Kennedy took a firm stance supporting the St. Lawrence waterway (which Massachusetts was against) in the Senate as a way to be seen as a national politician instead of just a parochial guy protecting his state.

    The problem is only bigger for Cory Booker because his local industry is “finance” and that’s likely going to be still a big issue for Democrats in 2020. I’m guessing he’s hopes to run on Trump, but that’s not enough to get him by in a primary.

  • Steve LaBonne

    I personally want an economically left candidate. However, the hypothesis that such a candidate is what the Democrats need to win, or even what is needed to win the Democratic primary contest, is unproven, to say the least.

  • jpgray

    Holy Christ this thread. Do you people saying “eh maybe Booker” not know ANYONE who voted for Obama twice and then voted for Trump?

    To those of us who are not Pauline Kael, Booker seems like (and is) a pretty-talking focus-grouped nothing, an ideological wraith, a drinker of rotted bromides, a TED talk gawking, Wall Street loving, blue-suited finical weirdo who lacks any beliefs, personality or vision discrete from what will advance his career or darken his stoop with praise-filled profiles from Broder’s inheritors.

    WHAT about Cory Booker would have won a SINGLE vote from an Obama-Obama-Trump voter had he run in 2016? If you can’t answer that, that should trouble you, but what is just fucking crazy is that you aren’t even asking the question. Booker is the answer to who might have done well in our primary, not to who would have beaten Trump.

    In the 2016 climate, Trump would have crushed him like an old pretzel. Booker would have talked about how we need to do more for working families and how we need to listen to people’s concerns about immigration, offending no one important and thus stroking none of the nerve-abraded establishment hatred that is all around us, and he would have just lost. He would have just lost all over the place.

    Now depending on the disasters of the next four years, we probably are going to win in 2020, even with a Booker or similar presentable establishment drone. But how is CORY BOOKER the answer to the question of Donald Trump’s victory? How sheltered are some of the posters here?

    • Steve LaBonne

      If you were correct about what motivates voters, Donald Trump would not be the President-elect.

      • jpgray

        Have you talked with any Trump voters? If you think he won support by careful stroking of a fundraiser base, winning winks and blushing smiles from the Chris Cillizzas of the world, and failing at all points to talk like an actual human being with actual human thoughts in favor of JFK cadencing his way through establishment nothings, then why aren’t we inaugurating Rubio?

        • Steve LaBonne

          He won by being a nothing who didn’t need focus groups because he has a demagogue’s instinct for telling any audience what it wants to hear. We should not emulate that, but the idea that it’s a downside for a candidate to be a slick self-promoter shows a basic lack of understanding of national politics. Obama has massive substance, but he’s also nothing if not slick and came to prominence with empty bromides about bringing us all together.

          • jpgray

            We definitely should not emulate Trump.

            Slickness of a certain kind CAN be a downside, and to an increasing number of voters – look at all the plausible, slick, inoffensive darlings that lost to someone like Jeremy Corbyn. Look at the Brexit vote – the slick and the experts marshaled everything they had and lost to one incompetent, decidedly un-slick charge of the racist chimera brigade.

            2020 may be different, but there seems to be a determined refusal to come to grips with the fact that there has been an epochal shift going on in electoral politics in the western world. Talking inoffensively pretty in ways that make important people like you can be a decided negative in ways it wasn’t in the past.

            Obama united that slickness with a skill in speaking and an x factor of “there’s an actual human being under all that and I like him and like to think of him as representing me” that may not come again. In many ways, he was unique. Booker to me is more our Rubio than our next Obama.

            • rea

              You know, the UK is not the US. UK politics are rather different than ours.

              • EliHawk

                Not least of which that our nomination process comes down to actual voters, not party activists. Saying “Corbyn beat all the pretty boys, ipso facto, the US!” misses the fact that if the Labour Party leadership elections were open primaries featuring a substantial amount of 2015 Labour voters, he would have lost (and, for that matter, the other Miliband would have won in 2010), and if Democratic nomination processes were nothing but caucuses and state conventions dominated by activists, Sanders would have won.

    • witlesschum

      All the Trump voters I know would never have voted for Obama in a million years, so I can’t help you.

      Hillary Clinton almost won this election, so I don’t think it’s immediately obvious that Cory Booker (who doesn’t have Clinton’s baggage and isn’t a woman) can’t win after four years of the reality of Trump pointing out to people how stupid of an idea this was.

      Whether you’re right depends on how much anti-establishment rage is really a thing and how much it’s just the acceptable face being put on demands for white nationalism. Are there actually enough voters who’ll accept an anti-establishment message that doesn’t include racism to swing a couple states back to the Dems in 2020? I’d like you to be right because I’m a far lefty, but have my fears about that.

      • jpgray

        Iowa went for Obama twice. Clinton lost it badly. Remind me – what was the racist component in Obama’s message? It’s not like this is ancient history, yeah?

  • Gwen

    What I just posted on Facebook:

    Although I would have voted for it and think that 13 Dem senators committed an unforced political faux pas by voting against the Sanders amendment… I am not that upset about it.

    Remember the context here. It was an amendment to a budget resolution to repeal Obamacare. Even if the amendment had passed every Democrat would have voted against the main motion anyway.

    Moreover, there is no corresponding bill in the House and no indication Trump would sign such a bill.

    At best this was a trial balloon, and Booker et al had every right to vote “no” to protect some negotiating leverage for what they feel is their position (patient safety). If this were actually a real proposal, there would have been a compromise made and the bill would have passed.

    In conclusion… Yes there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. Yes, Booker et al are too influenced by lobbyists… but NO that doesn’t mean they are your enemy. The sin they committed here was one of style (failing to follow Bernie’s lead in drawing sharp contrasts with the GOP) rather than one of substance (Cory Booker is not the man holding up progress here… That would be Paul Ryan and Donald Trump).

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