Saturday, February 2, 2019

Last Call For You Wrecked It, Ralph, Con't

Apparently not content with just being a racist asshole, Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam held a truly bizarre press conference on Saturday to remind everybody that there are plenty of Democrats who still have a dismally poor grasp of what racism actually entails.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) faced the national uproar over a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook on Saturday and refused to resign, defying nearly the entire Democratic establishment and insisting that it was not his picture.

“I am not the person in that photo that caused this stir,” Northam told media packed into the Executive Mansion, referring to the image of a person dressed in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe on his yearbook page.

“Last night I finally had a chance to sit down and look at the photo in detail,”said Northam, adding that he does not own the yearbook and that it was the first time he had ever seen the photo. “It is not me.”

It was a complete and puzzling turnaround from the day before, when Northam apologized for appearing in a “clearly racist” photo in the yearbook. But even as he denied being in the photo, he acknowledged he once applied black shoe polish to his face to appear as Michael Jackson in a dance competition.

To reiterate, we went from "Yes, this was me, I am sorry for something I did 35 years ago" to "It's not me, I'm not resigning, and I really was in blackface back then, just not in this particular instance!" as if somehow this improved Northam's position.

Needless to say, everyone is calling on him to resign at this point, Virginia Democrats, House Democrats, Senate Democrats, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, DNC Chairman Tom Perez, basically all of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls and more.

The one person who is wisely staying silent is Virginia's black Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax.  There's nothing that he can say at this point that won't be viewed as Fairfax either cynically absolving Northam or cynically measuring the drapes for the Governor's mansion, so he's wisely staying out of it.

The right figures Northam has singlehandedly won 2020 for Trump, because of course Republican voters believe that white voters will see what's happening to Northam and that they will continue to desert Democrats, because nothing is worse than being called a racist.

Something tells me though that "Governor Justin Fairfax" is going to be a lot worse for the GOP in the long run.

Another Hat Lands In The Ring, Con't

Both former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and NJ Sen. Cory Booker have now entered the 2020 race.  Booker is fighting his own soft on Wall Street record, something that may prove fatal to his hopes, but Schultz's independent bid died within days, as America isn't about to hand the country over to a billionaire jackass who got rich selling $6 coffees.

Change Research conducted a poll from January 31-February 1 of 1,338 likely 2020 general election voters to assess former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s potential independent candidacy for President in 2020. 
Schultz is less known to the electorate than other declared and potential presidential candidates (56% have never heard of him or don’t have an opinion). 
Among those who have an opinion, just 4% view him favorably compared to 40% unfavorably — a 10:1 unfavorable to favorable ratio, far higher than any other candidate tested (for comparison, 52% of respondents rate President Trump unfavorably vs. 42% favorably)
Schultz is viewed unfavorably by Democrats (50% unfavorable — 4% favorable), Republicans (43% unfavorable — 4% favorable), and Independents (31% unfavorable — 4% favorable).

Change Research tested hypothetical matchups with and without Schultz of Trump running against different Democrats: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Bernie Sanders, with the order shown randomized. 
Schultz takes an average of four points away from what the Democratic candidate receives in a two-way race, while taking just 1% away from Donald Trump. That means Schultz’s presence in the race makes Trump’s margins between 2 and 4 points better than they would be without him in the race.

So no, at this point all Schultz would do is hurt the Democratic candidate and everyone knows it.  He's looking for the exit, and a lot of centrists are suddenly feeling rather scared.

The rising Democratic enthusiasm for big government liberalism is forcing a trio of leading 2020 contenders to rethink jumping in, several sources tell Axios.

What's happening: Michael Bloomberg and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, each of whom were virtual locks to run, are having serious second thoughts after watching Democrats embrace "Medicare for All," big tax increases and the Green New Deal. Joe Biden, who still wants to run, is being advised to delay any plans to see how this lurch to the left plays out. If Biden runs, look for Bloomberg and McAuliffe to bow out, the sources tell us.

That would leave Biden as the only real Obama-era centrist in the race unless Hillary decides to come back, and somehow, I don't think either one is going to be a primary favorite come this time next year.

Cory Booker on the other hand has more of a chance, but he has a lot of Senate baggage to overcome, especially on Wall Street.

Mr. Booker announced his candidacy on the first day of Black History Month to the sound of snare drums and with a clarion call for unity. In an email to supporters, he drew on the spirit of the civil rights movement as he laid out his vision for a country that will “channel our common pain back into our common purpose.”

“The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Mr. Booker said in an accompanying video.

The Democratic field now features two black contenders — Mr. Booker and Senator Kamala Harris of California — and four women: Ms. Harris, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard. There is also a Hispanic candidate, Juli├ín Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, and a gay candidate, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.

The field reflects a party in which women and candidates of color have injected a surge of new energy, and given urgency to the Democrats’ imperative of ousting President Trump. And it follows midterm elections in which women and minority candidates for Congress won in record numbers and have assumed some key positions in party ranks.

“It shows the growth of the country and that many of us who have struggled for civil and human rights feel that we are in a new moment that we wanted,’’ the Rev. Al Sharpton said in an interview. He added: “It’s like the new America against the old America and a lot of Americans who are older and younger want to make sure they participate in the new America.”

We'll see.  At this point, I'm ignoring all the polls until 2020 rolls around, because frankly at this stage they don't matter (unless you're Howard Schultz and polling at a 4% favorability number.)

No News Is Good News

Expect a lot more examples of situations like this in 2019 as right-wing partisan "news" sites drop the pretense of journalism completely and gear up for the defense of Trump in the age of Nancy Pelosi and Robert Mueller.

The Washington Examiner fired at least two reporters on Friday, signaling a growing rightward shift at the conservative website and its companion magazine. 
According to multiple current and former employees who spoke with INSIDER on the condition of anonymity, the Examiner parted ways with two of its non-partisan straight-news reporters, while keeping their commentary staff and announcing new hires in other roles.

The Examiner's firings, which came in the same two-week span as rounds of layoffs hammered the media industry, were "in no way" due to financial strain, according to one former employee. They were meant to take the website in a more conservative and Trump-friendly direction, according to sources. 
A current staffer lamented to INSIDER that the publication is unrecognizable from what it used to be, noting a more right-leaning tone. 
In an email to staff Thursday evening, less than 24 hours before reporters were let go, Examiner Editorial Director Hugo Gordon wrote to announce several hires and pledged more in the future. 
"Having an extra editor will mean more attention can be given to commissioning and to copy, and it may mean some reporters will be supervised by a different editor than now," Gordon wrote. "These details will be worked out in coming weeks." 
"I will have more hires to announce shortly, as the Washington Examiner consolidates its position as the country's biggest and most influential conservative news organization dedicated to federal politics," Gordon concluded.

A spokesman for the Examiner told INSIDER in an email the departures "weren't layoffs." 
"Layoffs are staff reductions. We're increasing our staff," the spokesperson said. "They were let go for other reasons and we don't discuss individual personnel decisions." 
The firings come after an exodus of editorial employees from the Examiner. Several reporters have also departed in recent weeks.

Plenty of websites are laying off reporters in 2019, BuzzFeed, Vice, HuffPost, McClatchy and Gannett all laid off multiple positions, over 2,100 total in fact, it's a bloodbath.  But none of those sites are firing journalists and then hiring more opinion writers.

It's an ugly time to be in the reporting business, and there's really nobody to blame but the reporting business.
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