Mar 31, 2017

Joe Biden is Being a Misogynistic Dick

This morning, I woke up to this quote from Joe Biden:
"What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for -- and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," Biden said during an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. "You didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 bucks a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in restaurant."

He added: "And they are making $90,000 and they have two kids and they can't make it and they are scared, they are frightened." (CNN, Joe Biden indirectly knocks Clinton's failed campaign)
I sighed. Joe Biden, like nearly every other Democratic male, had is perpetuating this myth that she lost the working class because she didn't talk about the economy. And then I rolled my eyes, because he's just the latest person to jump on the Hillary-sucks-but-I-woulda-won train.

Disclaimer: No, I don't think Hillary Clinton ran a perfect campaign. 

I'm tired of prefacing everything I say with this, but I have to. If I don't, it's inevitable that someone will hop into the comments section and claim that I'm excusing Hillary Clinton and her team from mistakes she made during the campaign.

I am not. And because you still don't believe me, I'm going to create a list of obvious campaign mistakes. 
  • The campaign was so data-driven that it sometimes forgot that it needed a human touch. No one left leaflets in my neighborhood. No one knocked on my door. I can only assume that they didn't feel it necessary to spend the money because my neighbors and I all fit into textbook Democratic demographics.

    But many of my neighbors forgot to vote or didn't feel their vote was needed. Some contact may have helped that. 
  • They mostly ignored my hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. As a result, the solidly blue area went red for the first time in decades. I'll never understand why they focused more on Luzerne County than on Erie, where the Clintons were beloved (and mostly because they always took time to come to Erie). 
  • They did run too many anti-Trump ads. 
  • They did a great job registering voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, but they didn't make sure the folks they registered had valid photo IDs.

    This is a "hindsight is 20/20 issue." We need to remember this for next time. 
  • They spent money in states they shouldn't have, such as Texas and Arizona, because they wanted a historic win and a mandate. I criticized this when they did it. 

Hillary didn't lose because she didn't talk about the economy. 

Hillary Clinton talked more about the jobs than anything else on the campaign trail. Coming in at a close second was the economy, with mentions of workers and college education not far behind. I was in the overflow* (take that, people who said there was no enthusiasm!) for two of Hillary Clinton's rallies in Pittsburgh, and I can attest to the fact that she spent most of her time in front of the speaker talking about jobs and the economy. She laid out specific policies, and once even mentioned an idea she had of assigning Bill head up a task force dedicated to creating jobs in the Rust Belt/Appalachia. 

Despite the all-too-common rewrite of history, her focus on jobs did reach voters. In fact, Clinton won voters in nearly every state, including the Rust Belt swing states, who cited the economy as their primary issue. She was also considered to be the person most likely to create U.S. jobs.

(She also topped the list of people who claimed foreign policy as their top priority. I'm throwing that in there even though most Americans could give a toss about it.)

Repeat after me: Hillary Clinton did not lose because she had no economic message.

Trump won racists. 

Whereas Hillary Clinton won voters who were most concerned about the economy or foreign policy, Trump won voters were more concerned about immigration and terrorism

No one took exit polls that asked explicit questions about racism. But given the reaction to his rallies, his endorsements by prominent white supremacists, and the uptick of hate crimes following his election, I think we can safely surmise that concerns about "immigration" and "terrorism" translate into a general fear of brown people taking the white man's shit away. I would prefer to have solid data here in order to prove my point, but (1) no one's bothered to collect the data, and (2) most people would just lie if they were asked.

Trump won misogynists, too. (And most misogynists are white.)

Everyone seems intent on ignoring this, but the 2016 race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump resulted in a large gender gap -- the largest since the advent of exit polling. This was mostly white men, of course, although there was a  7-point dip for black males who voted for Hillary versus Obama in '12. (Black women, on the other hand, voted 94% for Hillary versus 96% for Obama in '12 -- well within the margin of error.)

But let's not pretend misogyny is reserved for men. White women voted 53% for Trump versus 43% for Clinton. And that's also the biggest gap between people who voted for one of the main candidates versus people who voted for another. What does that tell me? Well, I can't say for certain, but it indicates that a lot of white women couldn't bring themselves to vote for Trump, but they also couldn't bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

I have no concrete explanations for why white women voted the way they did. I only have a hypothesis, which I constructed from my own experience as a white woman who grew up in the Rust Belt. My hypothesis is that many white women were not raised to recognize their own value -- that many were raised to see themselves as inherently inferior to men.

Black women don't have the inferiority problem that white women have; black women are far more likely to aspire to powerful positions than white women. I haven't studied the underlying reasons for that, but it's certainly a trend. And it's a trend that makes black women the most educated group in the United States of America. It's also a trend that allows 94% of black women to apologetically vote for a female candidate while only 43% of white women can bring themselves to do so.

But more white men voted for Obama than Hillary! 

Yeah, because Obama still had a dick. You don't get a Get Out of Misogyny Free card because you voted for a black man. All that means to me is that there was a small percentage of white dudes who weren't racists but are misogynists.

Racism and misogyny are very closely related, but they're not the same thing. You can think women are equal to you and still be a racist. You can think races are equal and still think that women of any race are lesser than you are.

Yes, I'm sure that if you were asked to fill out a survey, you'd totally say that you'd vote for a woman. That's a lot easier in theory than it is in practice. I'm sure you honestly think that you'd vote for Tulsi Gabbard or Elizabeth Warren if they ran -- and I'm sure a couple of you would -- but for most of you, they are girlfriends in Canada. Take not of this: Elizabeth Warren is now free to run for POTUS, but I haven't heard any neckbeards lift her up as their next leader.

Back to Joe Biden: He's being really unfair to Hillary. 

During the primaries, in the first months of 2016, Joe Biden criticized both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for being "too negative" about our current situation. (I don't have a link right now, but I will find it.)

I imagine that what Joe Biden meant by this was that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders weren't giving Barack Obama and Joe Biden enough credit for what they had accomplished over the past 7 years. I'd argue that, in Hillary's case, he was wrong; she rode very close to Obama's record and simply improving upon it. Bernie...well, Bernie did run against what Obama and Biden had accomplished.

But let's forget Bernie in this. He's not relevant to the current discussion. The important thing is that, back in early 2016, Biden didn't want to hear any criticism of the Obama administration. He wanted to hear that all was well and great, and that the person who won would just carry on the torch.

I'd argue that Hillary Clinton did just that. She took great care not to disparage the Obama/Biden team on anything, even in places where she should have (such as foreign policy). She ran on continuing Obama's (and by extension Biden's) legacy.

There were flaws in that legacy.

No one wants to hear it -- everyone wants to pretend that Obama and Biden were absolute perfection -- but they weren't. No one is.

Obama and Biden didn't sell their accomplishments. And that's on them. 

Hillary Clinton ran on the idea that she'd be Obama's third term, at least on the domestic front (which is what Americans care about). She would continue his legacy. She's continue his path on the economy. And she'd save Obamacare.

But it turns out no one knew what the fuck Obamacare was. The white working class in the Rust Belt only became concerned about it within the last couple of months, because this was the first time they realized they were the recipients of Obamacare. Thanks to an extended propaganda campaign set forth by Fox News and other right-wing outlets, they thought that the Affordable Care Act was some existing thing that aided them while Obamacare was something that just insured black people with their tax dollars.

My own mother -- a staunch Democrat with three jobs who lives very, very slightly over that fine line between poverty and the working poor -- thought that she'd have to pay $600 in penalties this year because she couldn't afford anything in the insurance exchange but made just a few hundred dollars too much to qualify for Medicaid (next year, she will be eligible for Medicare). She didn't realize she was exempt and had no idea where she'd get the money to pay the penalty. I had to explain it to her, as someone who works in insurance, and she still didn't believe me until she did her taxes.

My mother also had no idea how to sign up for the ACA. She's 64 and technology averse. If my siblings hadn't lived close to her, she'd have never visited the site to even know she couldn't afford anything in the exchange. She had no idea where to go to sign up. She had no one to talk to about her fears of having to pay the penalty.

Obamacare -- the Affordable Care Act, because those are synonymous -- is a great accomplishment. But it needs to be improved upon. And it was a massive failure on the part of the Obama administration that Fox was allowed to get away with propaganda that split the Affordable Care Act from Obamacare. And it was a massive failure on the part of the Obama administration that they didn't inform people like my mother that (1) there were places they could go to help them navigate the insurance exchange and that (2) they wouldn't be penalized if they couldn't afford it.

Hillary campaigned on saving Obamacare/ACA. But it's not her fault that people didn't know what that was. The Obama administration had seven years to inform people, to sell it, whereas she had just a few months. 

That's a fuck up that Biden needs to own, because it was a factor in this election.

But Biden/Bernie would've won!

Possibly. But if they had, it would've been because they have dicks.

Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton, voted for the Iraq war. But unlike Hillary Clinton, he didn't cast his vote with a strong speech about his reservations, hoping that it was just a strong-arm tactic to get Iraq to acquiesce to UN inspectors. And Bernie Sanders has had no issue supporting funding for wars, and Bernie's willing to fund an expensive (and fiscally fruitless) plan for a new airplane as long as it's built in Vermont.

Joe Biden wrote the infamous '94 crime bill that Bill Clinton signed, Bernie Sanders voted for, and Hillary Clinton gave a speech for. Joe Biden was also instrumental in the disparity between crack and powder cocaine

Bernie Sanders? Well, Bernie wanted to end the disparity between crack and powder cocaine, but by raising the offense of powder cocaine to meet the penalty for crack cocaine.

I don't think Clinton (Bill or Hill), Biden, or Sanders deserve blame for the '94 crime bill. If you had been alive and socially conscious at that time (which I was, even at the tender age of 13), you'd know that this was something that was demanded by the people. And it was supported by blacks -- and the majority of the CBC -- as their communities were the ones being targeted at this time. No one on the left meant to do harm with that bill; it wasn't some grand conspiracy to imprison black men (Why would Democrats write a bill that kept an important part of their base from voting? That would be fucking moronic.). It just...happened.

(I recommend David Simon's "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"and David Simon's "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood" for more insight into what created the crime bill and then what became its disastrous results.)

Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders have all committed similar "crimes". The things I'm told that made Hillary un-electable are present in both of the men who'd have supposedly won.

Men never, ever fucking listen to us. 

I've blathered on and on, but I think I've made my point here: Everyone has been willing to forgive Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden things that they would not forgive Hillary Clinton for.

And so it comes down to likability. Bernie was more lovable, you say. Bernie was passionate; Hillary was screechy. Biden says what he means; Hillary was always scripted. But Hillary made stupid gaffes, like saying that many of Trump's voters should be sent into a basket of deplorables. Bernie and Joe, of course, may have thought such things, but they'd never have been stupid enough to say them.

Fuck, why can't Hillary just say what she means unless saying what she means isn't what we on the far-left and what Republicans want to listen to? Like, why does this chick keep saying things we don't want to hear (such as "health care is hard") instead of things we want to hear (such as "we can totally make single-payer happen in 2 years), and then going off and telling the other side things they don't want to hear (such as a lot of them are responding to racism)?

Note: She was saying what she meant and giving you a realistic view of what she thought she might accomplish, and you just didn't want to hear it.

So it goes....

This is what it is to be a woman, whether men want to believe it or not. I've come to accept that, which is really fucking sad.

Men rarely listen to what we actually have to say. While we're talking, they're sitting on the sidelines thinking about what they'll chime in with after we're done talking -- if they even bother to wait that long.

If they'd paid any attention at all, Hillary Clinton talked about the economy, about workers, and about the middle class constantly. Constantly. The data proves that she did. But men didn't want to hear that. They were sitting back, waiting for their chance to speak, and they occasionally just caught on to things they didn't want to hear, such as "equality", "white privilege", and "equality for women is the unfinished business of the 21st Century."

Fuck you, I've decided not to accept that anymore. 

In spite of what I said in the last section, I do not accept your misogynistic bullshit. I recognize it. I've acknowledged it as a fundamental part of the 2016 election. But I do NOT accept it.

Fuck that.

Fuck you.

Expect me. Expect us. 

Mar 2, 2017

To All the Little Girls

"And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams." ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton, 11/09/2016

I have two nieces, one nearly three and the other nearly nine months, and every day I'm grateful that they're too young to be conscious of the world as it is today. Someday, I'll talk to them about the 2016 election. But by then those will just be some stories relayed to them by their eccentric auntie who just doesn't get what the world is like in 2030, with its second female president -- who is, by the way, the third black president -- and its easy access to birth control and work opportunities for young women.

That's my hope, anyway. It's my wish that by the time my nieces are old enough to roll their eyes at my stories that there will be a reason for it other than teenage angst.

But wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up first. (That's a bit of wisdom from the girls' grandpa that I'll be sure to relay to them.)

The truth is that the future doesn't look so good now for women. The truth is that the present turned out to be less hospitable to women than we assumed it was. The truth is that, in the United States in the year 2016, we thought we could elect a female president when we couldn't. The truth is that we underestimated the deep-seated misogyny that existed in our culture. The truth is that we did that after underestimating the deep-seated racism that existed in our culture. The truth is that the combination of misogyny and racism led to a President Donald Trump.

And the truth is that too many of us were lulled into a false sense of complacency on both fronts that allowed too many of us to ignore what was coming.

This specific post, however, is for women -- and to all the little girls of this moment in time who will someday become women.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't forget that you have not, throughout history, been considered equal.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't let anyone tell you that you are equal until you see evidence of your equality.

To all the little girls who will someday become women, don't forget about the other people who have not been considered equal.

And to all the little girls who will someday become women, fight to make this a better United States of America than the one we left for you.

Mar 1, 2017

Pardon My Mess

I had this template sitting here from long, long ago -- in the before time -- so I'm just using it. I will change it in the future.

Or maybe I won't. At the rate we're going, we may not even have a future.

So, yeah, just read the words and ignore the design. My apologies to the alien visitors who find a way to read this thousands of years from now.