The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Democrats in complete array

What a consequential 24 hours we've had.

After President Biden's historical withdrawal from the 2024 election, he endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris. So far, dozens of other elected Democrats have followed, including Illinois governor JB Pritzker just this morning.

And because the Vice President is already on the campaign, according to Federal election rules, she can use the entire $96 million campaign fund—and in fact she's already filed with the Federal Election Commission to do so.

In other words, Harris is, without question, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, which means next month's Democratic National Convention in Chicago will be the election kickoff we hoped for and not a repeat of 1968.

Some reactions from the usual suspects:

I should also add Aaron Sorkin's piece from yesterday's Times, published before President Biden's announcement: "How I would script this moment for Biden and the Democrats." But no, we aren't going to nominate Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Meanwhile, the news has put the Republican party in complete disarray as their entire election strategy just evaporated. Over the next few days we will see the convicted-felon rapist XPOTUS back in form as the racist, misogynist wanna-be thug that he is. But the best news of all from yesterday is: the chances we need to care about him for longer than 106 more days just got a lot smaller.

One or two other things happened yesterday, including the last-surviving piping plover chick on Montrose Beach getting a name. I'll have more later today.

Guys, he's not dropping out

Everyone in the world knows that President Biden had a bad night two weeks ago. Since then, we've heard a steady drumbeat of calls for him to withdraw from the race. But did anyone watch last night's press conference? Here it is; I'll wait:

The convicted-felon rapist XPOTUS could not have done that press conference, because he lacks the knowledge, the focus, the sanity, and frankly the IQ to answer questions for that long.

And still, what did most press outlets report? That he bobbled the name of the Vice President.

Meanwhile, the convicted-felon rapist XPOTUS can't find a coherent thought with two hands and a flashlight on his best days.

Yes, the President is an old man, and he could drop dead before January 2029. But as he said, "I wouldn't have picked Kamala if she weren't qualified to be President."

Until something actually changes in the race, I'm done with the "will he drop out" bullshit. He's the President, and he's crushing it.

Other things happened in the last 24 hours that were more interesting than George Clooney's whining:

Finally, if Google Maps and Waze drive you crazy, you're not alone. Julia Angwin explains why, and suggests alternatives, like Valhalla.

Nothing has really changed in the last two weeks

Josh Marshall sometimes gets excited, but he comes around eventually:

[A new poll] from ABC and the Washington Post...shows Biden and Trump tied and Harris actually up over Trump by two points. This is only one poll of course. But I don’t think it’s greatly different from other polls over the last several days. An Emerson poll, never especially favorable to Biden, shows the two tied. A Bendixen/Amandi poll shows Biden down one, Harris up one. A handful of other polls show Biden down two or three points.

I think these polls show a few things. One is that there’s a good chance that the run of bad polls last weekend was significantly impacted by response bias. (Dems too depressed and catatonic to answer pollsters and thus showing a ‘false’ or at least ephemeral shift.) The race actually remains fairly static notwithstanding the truly unprecedented events of the last two weeks. The idea that the bottom is falling out for Democrats just isn’t borne out by the polls. There’s other data I’ve seen that tends to bear that out.

Regardless, you can’t make this decision on the basis of the polls. Not for any high-toned or kumbaya reason but simply because they haven’t moved that much. If you’re looking just at the polls they tell you not very much has happened over the last two weeks. The question is whether you have a campaign and candidate focused and energetic enough to deliver in the final four months of the campaign.

The second point is what happens if Joe Biden withdraws from the race and endorses and is replaced by Kamala Harris. [A]s much as we think this is a big deal I don’t think we really realize how big a deal and how many unknowns it unleashes. Positive and negative. Even with Trump the US presidential system is highly highly structured, choreographed, bounded by all sorts of informal but highly binding rules. Something like this blows them all apart.

The President completely blew the debate. But as much as I felt awful for him, I really haven't thought it changed much. Both Biden and the convicted-felon rapist demented XPOTUS are known quantities. We can imagine another world where the Baby Boomers voluntarily get out of the way, but as a Gen-X, I have never seen that happen and I doubt I ever will. So these are the old white guys we have.

Still, regardless of what happens in the next five months, I can take some comfort in the near-inevitability that this will be the last Boomer-vs-Boomer presidential election. (I also believe we will have elections in 2026 and 2028 as usual, though if the Republican nominee wins, I think they will both be really ugly.) I also think that by 2028, we will have enough pent-up frustration with the system that we will have a real election between normal candidates.

But yeah, after this, I'm really done with the modern GOP, and I'm done with Boomer politicians.

What if it's Harris?

Since President Biden shat the bed at the debate against the demented, convicted-felon, narcissistic imbecile XPOTUS last week, the Democratic Party cognoscenti have lost their minds. Everyone who doesn't have an office in the West Wing seems to want the President to withdraw from the race, despite only 123 days left before the election.

Now, I believe firmly that a healthy party self-corrects, and if a party fails to do so for 14 years, it deserves its worst loss in history.

But the reality is, we head into the Democratic National Convention next month with almost every delegate pledged for the Biden/Harris campaign. The only alternative to President Biden right now is Vice President Harris. Any other path would grossly violate the democratic principles the Democratic Party stands for.

Not to mention, changing candidates requires the President's assent; he has to release or direct his delegates in order for anyone else to win nomination. Not to mention, if the nominated candidate were anyone other than the Vice President, the XPOTUS's team would gleefully sue the campaign on the grounds that no one else was elected.

Believe it or not, professional pessimist Josh Marshall thinks the XPOTUS's campaign have to be shitting bricks worrying about us nominating the Vice President, because the President's age has really been their only winning argument:

Trump’s campaign has spent three years thinking it was running against Joe Biden. Well – if this set of events transpires – he’s not. He’s running against someone young and vital. His entire plan of battle goes out the window. It’s hard to overestimate how important that is. But that’s not the case for Democrats. They’re still running against a deeply unpopular candidate, who outlawed Roe v Wade, who staged a coup against the state, who’s a convicted felon, who most Americans don’t want to see as President again. The whole two very old very unpopular candidate model, well, that’s out the window. Harris at the top of the ticket pushes abortion even higher into salience. Republicans will try to shift things back to questions about Joe Biden. Why this? Why that? Harris has a perfect, taunting rejoinder every time: “Focus, Donald. You’re not running against Joe Biden anymore. You’re running against me, Kamala Harris.”

I think he makes a good point. I would also say that the XPOTUS has more liabilities coming into this election than anyone in history. Not just his 34 felony convictions; not just his wildly anti-democratic rants; not just his track record with the pandemic, abortion, and the Federal courts in general. Oh, no. If you want to debate whose cognitive decline matters in this election, I'll take Sleepy Joe over the Stark Raving Loony leader of the Republican Party:

We live in interesting times.

Frazzled morning

I started my day with overlapping meetings, a visit from the housekeeping service, more meetings, a visit from an electrician, and just now discovered that a "new" bug report actually relates a bug we introduced on June 20th last year, but only now got reported. Oh, also: it's 25°C and sunny.

At least it's Friday.

And I guess I can read some of these tomorrow morning:

Finally, the Chicago White Sox set a new team record yesterday: 14 losses in a row. They play the Red Sox tonight at home; can they make it 15 straight losses?

Lovely Sunday, pretty warm Monday

The last three days—i.e., the first three days of Summer—have shown us most of the weather we can expect this season. It rained most of Saturday, yesterday we had cool, sunny, and eminently walkable weather, and today it's hot and sticky with thunderstorms on the way. At least Cassie and I got to spend most of yesterday outside.

In other news:

Finally, a really fun video from Berlin setting an old German tongue-twister to a beat has garnered more TikTok views than Beyoncé. Apparently Germans, especially those named Barbara, really love their rhubarb pies.

What a lovely day to end Spring

Despite a high, thin broken cloud layer, it's 23°C with a light breeze and comfortable humidity at Inner Drive Technology World HQ. Cassie and I had a half-hour walk at a nice pace (we covered just over 3 km), and I've just finished my turkey sandwich. And yet, there's something else that has me feeling OK, if only for a little while...

Perhaps it's this? Maybe this? How about this? Or maybe it's Alexandra Petri?

In other news:

Finally, another solar storm, another cloudy night in Chicago: the Aurora Borealis may be visible as far south as Chicago overnight, just not in Chicago. As long as I can get Cassie on her daily long walk before the rain hits...

Sadly, yes

Angry Staffer, one of the last remaining informative Twitter accounts, had this yesterday:

Sigh.

When we go high, they go low

Political writer and YouTube creator Ian Danskin put together a series of videos in the aftermath of the 2016 election to explain what we Democrats did wrong, and how we need to engage with the Alt-Right (now known as the Republican Party). The whole series is worth watching, but if you want to skip to the end, watch this one:

Some things have changed since 2017, but not as many things as one would hope. We need everyone in the Party to understand the core message of the above video: we need outcomes, not just process, if we're going to save democracy. Think of LBJ, not Walter Mondale, for f's sake.