“An 80-year-old white guy is not leading any sort of political revolution. And why is it that this 80-year-old white guy who is supposed to be leading the REVOLOOSHUN took a three-year break from the revolution to write a couple of books? Weirdest revolution ever.” –Imani Gandi
I haven’t been shy about who will get my vote in the Democratic presidential primaries, so I guess it’s time to be not-shy about who won’t get my primary vote. I’ve already given Joe Biden a good bashing, so you know what that means: Bernie Sanders, it’s your turn!
Senator Sanders is not remotely compelling to me as a voter and a citizen. I see him as just another politician. He only has allure if you buy his political revolution talk as real, and I don’t. Bernie may talk like a radical, but he acts like a Washington insider. I am not swayed by his cult of personality, so I evaluate him objectively on the merits. And when I do that, I’m not impressed. His flaws just keep adding up. There’s his vote against the Magnitsky Act, which NO ONE talks about (WHY??). He allowed a gender pay gap and it sounds like some pretty serious sexual harassment on his 2016 primary campaign. Then there was the public derision of Black Lives Matter, let’s not even get started on his flimsy history on gun control, and he does nothing about the abhorrent and often misogynist behavior of his male Twitter stans. As if the cake needed icing, he lied about having a heart attack earlier this month. I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with all that.
A further complaint about Sanders, and where Warren stands in stark contrast: no one can answer the simple question of HOW he plans to accomplish this so-called political revolution and establishment upheaval. The press never scrutinizes how he plans to pay for any of his big ideas, but it’s more than that: the particulars of the mechanics are just nonexistent. Like, how in fresh hell is he going to get Medicare For All past Congress? As it stands now, there is no way it’s even passing the House. You’d have to primary a good fifty corporate Democrat incumbents just to get House approval, and I say we’re lucky if we see five primary upsets in 2020. Never mind the Senate. Even if Democrats take the upper chamber in ‘20, Sanders opposes eliminating the filibuster, and no one seems to know where he’ll get those sixty needed votes. Warren understands machinery and obstacles like this. She has contingencies built in, and she understands coalition building. Bernie and his supporters just blather about some detail-empty revolution and think that’ll solve the issue of health care from here on out.
And speaking of Bernie’s revolution, where the hell has it been since 2016? His stans talk of sit-ins on the state capitol steps of uncooperative members of Congress and mass protests and shit. Well, maybe you haven’t noticed that America is burning to hell in a handbasket now? What are you waiting for? Does #NotMeUs only work if your dude is sitting in the White House? That’s some bullshit. The whole thing is just not convincing if you look past the rally language.
Sanders’ behavior around current House primaries are a primary (ha! See what I did there?) reason I think his political revolution is all hot air. He drones on and on about upending the Democratic establishment, and okay, fine, they do leave a bit to be desired. But here’s my question, which his supporters can’t seem to answer: why hasn’t Bernie endorsed Shahid Buttar’s and McKayla Wilkes’ congressional campaigns? If you didn’t know, they are mounting primary challenges to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer respectively. Pelosi and Hoyer are of course the numbers one and two Democrats in the House, currently. Establishment Democrats. Old dinosaurs standing in the way of desperately needed progress on climate change, health care, shutting down the neverending wars, etc. Both legislators are truly awful, they stand for everything Bernie claims is killing us, yet he… won’t endorse their challengers. Well, maybe you’re thinking their challengers suck, and that’s why. It’s true that every cycle, some jokey gasbag in desperate need of a hobby mounts a loudmouth primary challenge; you can’t take them all seriously. But that is not the case with Buttar and Wilkes. I’ve been following both campaigns pretty closely, and these two candidates are damn impressive. They really have their shit together. (UPDATE: as more information emerged over time about Buttar, I must retract my statement about him. Wilkes still seems like a good egg though.) Furthermore, they are progressives, and have both endorsed Sanders for president. We’d all be lucky to have them (UPDATE: just Wilkes) shaking up Congress. A Sanders endorsement would be huge for them, and would go miles in upending the establishment. Yet he’s spoken not a word about either of them. Why? Well, maybe Sanders just doesn’t endorse primary challengers, as a rule. Nope. He has endorsed Marie Newman, who is challenging incumbent Dan Lipinski, a worthless rank-and-file DINO. So it would seem Senator Sanders is perfectly willing to upset a foot soldier, but is afraid of taking on establishment Democratic leadership. And I must ask, if he is afraid of speaking out against Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, the very symbols of that Democratic establishment Bernie supposedly loathes so, how in the blue fuck is he going to revolutionize the place as president? Wouldn’t his presidency be easier without Pelosi and Hoyer there to throw up obstacles to his agenda? Unless of course his agenda is all rally talk…
If Sanders is the nominee, I’ll hold my nose and vote for him. But if that happens, it will be with a measure of fear and dread because I have no idea what the end game looks like. And to be frank, I’m not even convinced he’d beat Trump anyway. Is Bernie prepared for the HAMMERING his age, health, and Senate record will take from the mainstream press and the GOP during a general election? He’s like every other old white male politician: coddled. So, probably not. Has anyone considered the possibility that a bunch of self-identified “moderate” Democratic and Independent voters will just leave the presidency blank because they don’t want to “vote for a socialist”? Does Bernie know what he’ll do if he wins and Trump refuses to leave office? Beyond that, thanks to his thundering vagueness, I can’t even picture a Sanders administration. Who is his veep pick? His Cabinet? Bernie seems to have no real skills at coalition-building or wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, never mind tolerating the boring minutia of running a large government, so I have no idea what to expect. It seems like he only knows how to be an underdog, so I imagine him winning the presidency will be like a dog actually catching the car. And that turns me off. With Biden, I know what to expect (basically, the end of American democracy). With Warren, I have a good picture of how she’ll govern. I like her toughness, her anger, her discipline, and her pragmatism. With Bernie, who the hell even knows. And that doesn’t inspire any confidence from me.
Amaretto-Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Toast Croutons
- 1 cup whole wheat or multigrain bread cubes
- 3 tbs olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbs amaretto, or another brand of almond liqueur
- 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 tbs chopped toasted pecans
- Preheat your oven to 400℉. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss them with 1 tbs olive oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Bake the cubes until golden and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the croutons cool on the baking sheet. Try not to eat too many as you make the soup.
- Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tbs olive oil and butter. Add the onions along with a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, stirring often, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 more seconds. Pour in the amaretto and cook about 5 minutes, stirring and deglazing.
- Add the squash and stock. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is soft. This will take roughly 20 minutes, but possibly faster. Once the squash is soft, remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until very smooth. Put the pot back over low heat and stir in the cream. Add more salt to taste, plus black pepper.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with plenty of croutons, scallions, and chopped pecans.