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This past weekend a poll of Iowa voters came out and showed that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was leading the pack in Iowa, having jumped ahead of front runner Joe Biden. The poll has Warren at 22%, Biden at 20% and Bernie Sanders at 11%.
Warren has been climbing in nationwide polls as well and is currently perceived as having a great deal of momentum while Biden seems to be floundering and Bernie seems to be dropping.
I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought that Biden looked painfully doddering and dead eyed, and it seems that sentiment, while vociferously pilloried by the media, is gaining traction with some Democratic voters. In the last Democratic debate, Julian Castro got into a heated exchange with Biden and accused the former Vice President of not remembering what he had said just moments ago. In response, the media went apoplectic on Castro, calling the remark a cheap shot and ageist while they circled the establishment wagons around poor hapless Uncle Joe.
I did not watch the debate but saw the exchange later and I noticed something that I think other “regular” people saw that is at odds with the media reaction. What I saw is that Castro challenged Biden’s mental capacity, no doubt due to age, and then a dead-eyed Biden proved Castro’s point for him by turning to Bernie Sanders, who is actually two years older than the decrepit Biden, and asking “what did he say?” Biden looked like Grandpa Simpson in his underwear looking for his false teeth, which made Castro’s attack all the more effective, at least in wounding Biden. For this reason and others, Biden’s drop in the polls is no surprise.
As for Warren’s jump in the polls, I have no insightful explanation except to say that while she too is no spring chicken, she certainly has considerably more vim and vigor than “Retirement Home” Joe....or is it “Funeral Parlor” Joe?
The only insights I have regarding Elizabeth Warren are entirely anecdotal, and should be taken with the grain of salt that type of information deserves. Here they are…
While the last Democratic presidential debate raged, my 4 year old son and I entertained ourselves by watching Be Be Bears, a Russian produced cartoon about the misadventures of two bears, Bjorn and Bucky, on Netflix. Bjorn is a polar bear who has left his frozen home in the Arctic to venture a bit further south where he has befriended Bucky, a brown bear who is extremely confident in all things, most notably his inventing ability.
In the episode we watched, Bucky had invented a bunch of robots to clean his house, but the robots, like all robots, turned on him and imprisoned Bjorn and Bucky. Bjorn and Bucky’s female friend, Little Fox, came to their rescue and distracted the robots and assisted Bucky in unplugging them. It was a quality episode of Russian bear wholesomeness.
When Be Be Bears ended I turned off Netflix as it was bed time for my little bear. When Netflix went off, the regular tv came on and just so happened to be on the channel showing the debate, which at that moment featured Elizabeth Warren giving an impassioned speech about…something. My son never watches regular tv, and when I watch regular tv around him, it is always just some ballgame…so his seeing a political debate was a bit shocking to him. As I searched for the remote to turn off the tv, my son got up, walked over to the tv and pointed right at Elizabeth Warren and proclaimed, “I DON’T LIKE THAT LADY!” My wife and I looked at each other puzzled. He then said, “she looks like Granmo.” (Granmo is what he calls his grandmother).
This seemed contradictory as my son loves his Grandmother so I asked him, “Do you not like Granmo?”
He replied, “I love Granmo…but I don’t like that lady”, pointing at Elizabeth Warren’s enlarged face on the television screen.
I asked him why he didn’t like her and he said, “I just don’t like her at all”.
After my son went to bed I started thinking about this incident and wondering why my son had such a visceral negative reaction to Elizabeth Warren. I wondered, had the notoriously nefarious Russians been up to no good? Had they hacked my son using subliminal messages in their supposedly family friendly show about a white bear and brown bear living in harmony with each other and the environment in order to turn him against Senator Warren? I didn’t know the answer…but I was intrigued.
After mulling this over for a few days I decided to call a bunch of my friends and family to get their thoughts and feelings on Senator Warren. I narrowed my calls to my plethora of family and friends who either reside in Massachusetts or at one time resided in Massachusetts and still have deep roots there. These people, the majority of which are women, are across the political spectrum, with a few arch-conservatives, a few strident leftists, and a large number of middle of the road independents. Of all of these people in allegedly liberal Massachusetts, which number into the multiple dozens…not a single one told me they like their senator, Elizabeth Warren.
Anecdotal observations are not very noteworthy, as you can find anecdotes to support whatever thesis you so desire, but the reason I am sharing this anecdotal information is that it is striking due to the anti-Warren sentiment being completely unanimous across the political spectrum. Every single person I spoke with felt negatively about Senator Warren, with some of them vociferously despising her while the rest of them unabashedly disliking her.
The women I spoke with range in age from middle-age up to retirement age, are mostly highly educated, single and successful in their careers. The men I spoke with are middle-aged to retirement age, college educated and mostly married.
Much to my shock, to a person, the female loathing of Warren had little or nothing to do with her policies and everything to do with her personality and presentation. The words I kept hearing, over and over again from women about Warren was that she was “annoying” and “unlikable”, with many of the respondents openly saying they “knew they weren’t supposed to say” that she was “unlikable”, but that was how they felt anyway. A few of the women even went so far as to say that they “hated” Warren, and these women are not raging Republicans either.
Among the men, all of them disliked Warren’s presentation and personality as well, but with the men their dislike of her was also heavily laced with misgivings about her policies. The word I also heard most often from men in describing Warren was “annoying”.
I recently saw some talking head on the television pontificating that Warren will be a shoe-in in the New Hampshire primary, which comes right on the heels of the Iowa caucus, because New Hampshire is neighbors with Massachusetts. Well…what I gleaned in my conversations with Massachusetts people is that in regards to Elizabeth Warren, familiarity breeds contempt, and so NH might not be the slam dunk some think it will be.
If Warren loses NH, it may come as a shock to the media and thus alter the narrative of her inevitability, which will no doubt be climaxing post her presumed Iowa win and heading into an expected coronation on her supposed home turf of NH. If the apple cart of this media narrative gets overturned then lots of interesting things could happen in the Democratic nominating process…from a resurrection of the not-so-good-ship Biden, to Bernie seeing a surge and scaring the shit out of the political and media establishment, to another lower tier candidate gaining some unexpected momentum which could catapult them to the nomination.
With all of that said, it is also worth noting that just because the Massachusetts people I spoke with did not like Warren, that didn’t mean they liked Trump. Across the board people disliked Trump, although a few people, very few, did support him and his policies, with one man saying he likes Trump because he “gets things done”.
It is also worth noting that the same people I spoke with in regards to Warren this year, also felt similarly about Hillary in 2016.
So this means that if 2020 is Trump v Warren, it will be a pseudo-retread of 2016 in that it will be a showdown between two candidates that people find unlikable…and we know how that ends. Although in Warren’s favor, she is less of a known commodity/liability than Hillary, who had built up 30 years of animus by the time she was the Democratic nominee for president, and thus may not be quite as hamstrung by negative sentiment by the time election day rolls around as Hillary certainly was in 2016…but that is no guarantee.
If Warren gets the nomination Americans will have spent a full year inundated by her presence. Voters may have the same immediate visceral, negative gut reaction to Warren that my son had when first exposed to Warren, or those that don’t immediately feel that way may grow to dislike her more and more the more they see of her, as with the Massachusetts people with which I spoke.
The bottom line is this, the 2020 election looks to be another year long shit show. The kabuki theatre of American democracy in 2020 will once again feature a dog and pony show starring a dog we hate and pony we loathe…with the end result being, no matter who wins, the status quo remains unchanged and awful, or gets even worse than it is now.
In conclusion, after careful thought and consideration, I have finally chosen who I will be supporting in the next election. They are kind, loyal and resilient. Yes, they are Russian, but that is a fact I am willing to overlook due to their inherent decency and unwavering thoughtfulness. It is for these reasons and more that I am proud to announce that I fully endorse…BJORN AND BUCKY IN 2020!!