Election 2020 Open Thread: ‘The Cheesecake Factory Candidate’

Someone in the replies to this tweet came up with the ‘Cheesecake Factory Primary (candidate).’ This is… not a bad analogy, IMO. And not to defend the usual objects of Village Idiot coddling, but there’s a lot of people think of the Cheesecake Factory as a nice restaurant, when they need one. White tablecloths, a fat menu with fru-fru drinks, no salad bar. You can schedule an office party or bridal shower there without worrying that your guests will be either appalled or intimidated.

Thing is, I don’t think this is an ordinary, low-stakes, Cheesecake Factory election. But we have (Murphy the Trickster God willing) a good few months yet during which the other candidates can show off their talents, so here’s to a good clean competition…


38 replies
  1. 1
    Aleta says:


    We attended immigration court in El Paso today.

    16 immigrants attended the hearing (one 8 yr old).
    15 didn’t have a lawyer.
    4 are separated from family members, they were separated by our government.

    (crucial because Trump wants you think they no longer separate families).


    This is a long thread but please read.
    As we digest the news of the sixth dead child in CBP custody today, what we witnessed in El Paso offers a glimpse into how our immigration system is working for the most vulnerable people.
    The system is working as designed.

    There is no right to court appointed counsel in the U.S. for migrants seeking asylum so to fill in the gap, groups like ours represent for free. We provide representation in 10 cities throughout Texas but don’t currently have lawyers in El Paso (we need to change that).

    The immigrants appeared before the court under the Remain in Mexico policy.
    Trump introduced this policy.

    For people who are seeking asylum, they must, as the policy states, wait in Mexico until their claim is processed.

A father asked the Judge to help him reunite with his wife & their two-year-old daughter. He hasn’t spoken w/them since the our gov separated them.
    A young man asked the Judge about his 14 yr old bro. They had been separated & he thinks his bro might be in a shelter in Virginia.

    Another father, from Honduras, while experiencing a hacking cough, asked the Judge about his fiance and their child. He told us he was detained for 45 days. He said he was scared to go back to the shelter in Juarez as it’s too dangerous.

    The Judge told each person there was nothing he could do: “The decision to separate you from your family was not mine to make”.

    (The banality of evil in action).
    The Judge said if was up to DHS to decide whether they would stay in Juarez or reunite them with their families.

    Every migrant told the Judge:
    “I am scared to return to Mexico”.
    One father told us he was sleeping on the streets.
    One young woman told us she’d been abused in Juarez.

    The Judge told them: ‘That’s not my decision’, he explained it was up to DHS to interview them.
    The were all driven back across the border after the hearing.

    After the hearing they each were granted a meeting with an asylum officer from DHS to determine whether they would go back to Juarez. Under Remain in Mexico, DHS has only allowed 6 people to return out of the hundreds of people caught under this policy in El Paso.

    This is our justice system farming out responsibility too DHS.

    How can there be accountability behind closed doors? What criteria is DHS using to decide who gets sent back to Mexico? (We heard people from Honduras & Guatemala impacted, but people from Brazil & Cuba are not).

    So far 6,748 people have been sent back to Mexico.
    That’s 6,748 lives we’re putting at risk.
    We can’t hold our government accountable for what happens to people we send back to Mexico.


Outrage isn’t enough. We need to send a v clear message to CBP, ICE, Stephen Miller and Donald Trump that there will be no peace, until we balance the scales of justice.
    And this can only happen if YOU do something.
    Organize a protest outside the CBP or ICE office in your town.

    Today we witnessed an administrative sham where migrants have effectively no chance of achieving asylum in the U.S. (asylum denial rate in El Paso is 98%).
    Now because of Remain in Mexico they are back in Juarez where they are unwelcome and in real danger.

    The 16 migrants requested more time to find legal representation. They are due back in court on July 18.
    The Judge provided immigrants with a list of attorneys to call but we heard those calls don’t get picked up.

    Last week we heard one woman told the court she’d been kidnapped while waiting in Juarez.
    Will she and the migrants who appeared in court today be alive and safe on July 18? Will they have legal representation?

    The hearing was adjourned.
    The scales of justice are balanced in favor of a xenophobic and inhumane immigration policy.

  2. 2
    Raoul says:

    Joe seems more like Applebees. Ubiquitous. Boring. Mystifying in how widespread it is.

  3. 3
    Splitting Image says:

    The biggest problem with Biden winning the nomination isn’t that Biden would be the candidate in the general, it’s that if he wins, it means that none of the other candidates in the primary were able to step up and take it.

    This is also true of Bernie Sanders, except that him winning would mean that none of the other candidates were able to step up and win it, including Biden.

    If I were to put money on Biden still being in the lead after Iowa, I would also put money on him losing to whoever the non-Biden vote coalesces around when the field thins out.

  4. 4
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Leave it to the Village to talk about restaurants.

    Uncle Joe is more like a John Hughes movie. He’s not “Sixteen Candles” or “The Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – he’s “Uncle Buck”.

    You’re channel surfing and there is nothing on and you come across “Uncle Buck” and you stop and say to yourself, “what the hell, I like the goof ball”.

  5. 5
    Aleta says:

    That’s good, the quote from Dave Weigel.
    But why didn’t they “appreciate” that
    “Most people are too busy for constant political action. Constant struggle doesn’t turn them into revolutionaries; they just want some rest.”
    The ones saying that could rely on support from their families or on accumulated wealth? So they could overlook the exhaustion of an unpleasant stressful job that doesn’t allow ‘personal days’ ?

    I remember in 2016 Sanders was asked how he would accomplish his proposals, and he said (extreme paraphrase): You, the people, will do it. The people will come out and demand it.

    The people who don’t have a job, but have $ to come to gatherings and no one at home needing care + people with very flexible jobs and no one at home needing care + students willing to miss lots of classes and had no jobs and no family? It’s not the 60s and 70s anymore.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    @Raoul: So…we should get the salad bar then?

    Every time I have heard Uncle Joe speak, he sounds tired and haggard. I have no idea how he will be able to finish this campaign much less survive the problem. Maybe it’s just me, but he sounds…tired.

  7. 7
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Dana Houle has said many times the two worst pundits are Josh Kraushaar and Amy Walter.

    I bring this up because even Wilmer supporters admitted Biden had a very good rally in Philly.

  8. 8
    BlueDWarrior says:

    I think comparing Joe to a tv show or a band that is a consistently high draw over many years but doesn’t excite the ‘artisinal’ types.

    So yeah comparing him to “Big Bang Theory” or Nickelback works at a spiritual level. And it also holds that a lot of people at some point and time liked both things actively.

    People really like Joe Biden, and Bernie (or whomever else) is not going to beat him until they start converting Joe voters into thiers.

    We got 7 months or so, better get to cracking.

  9. 9
    Cacti says:

    @Splitting Image:

    I would say, OTOH, that if Biden did hold on to win, it would be because too many people stayed in too long, splitting the not-Biden vote among themselves, a la Trump and the GOP in 2016.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BlueDWarrior: Not Nickelback, Bon Jovi.

  11. 11
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’ll cede the point…

  12. 12
    Doug R says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yup Beto is Nickelback.

  13. 13
    Aleta says:

    Dawn Landes, “Won’t Back Down” and “I’m In Love With The Night”

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    I wandered over to the FEC website to see how much money the 2020 Democratic candidates had on-hand as of 3/31.

    Why is John Delaney #3 (after Warren), and more importantly, why has he taken out ~ $16.3M in loans for his campaign?!? Is he insane??

    Mayor Pete is a miser.

    It would be nice to think that Donnie’s nearly $65M spent so far was legitimate, but…. :-/

    Of course, Biden isn’t there yet since he got in the race “late”.


    Firehouse Strategies, a Republican consulting firm, has joined with Optimus, a data-analytics company, to poll the three key early Democratic-primary states. The surveys they released in early May showed a stark age divide. In Iowa, they found that among Democrats ages 18 to 35, Biden drew just 17 percent, placing third behind Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. But Biden opened a narrow lead over Sanders with voters ages 35 to 55, and then spiked to 41 percent among those 55 and older, four times the support of his nearest rival, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

    Similarly, in New Hampshire, the surveys found Biden drawing just 22 percent among those ages 18 to 35 and trailing Sanders. But Biden again pulled narrowly ahead among middle-aged voters and soared to 39 percent among those older than 55, once more about four times the support of his closest rival, Sanders.

    South Carolina, which has a large African American population, was Biden’s best state in the early polling: He led among all three age groups. But even there, Biden’s support grew from 34 percent among voters under 35 to 46 percent among those ages 35 to 55 to 52 percent among the oldest generation.

    I think it will be interesting to see what Biden’s “media strategy” is going to be. I don’t imagine him doing an AMA on Reddit, but is he going to understand the benefits of Obama’s strategy there? Or will he spend his time and money flying around doing meet-and-greets at state party dinners and Old Country Buffets? :-/

    I’m far too much of a “lookist”, but Biden looked really, really old in his speech in Delaware. He needs to show some signs of vitality on the campaign trail. Maybe not wind-surfing off Martha’s Vineyard, but something…

    We’ll see – it’s still very early.


  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Doug R: Delete your account.

  16. 16
    Montanareddog says:

    What kind of restaurant is Trump?

    The Death Valley Red Lobster after the freezer broke down.

  17. 17
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Another Scott: mid life crisis.

    He’s worth $100 million and at this rate he’s on track to spend 30% of his net worth for a few thousand votes in IA and NH.

    His wife and kids must be thrilled 🤣

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:


  19. 19
    NotMax says:

    fru-fru drinks


    /le pédant ‎insomniaque

    @Another Scott

    Y’know, no Dem, whomever it may be, is going to walk away with South Carolina’s electoral votes in November ’20, so I tend to glance at any polling from there with a jaundiced eye. With the reshuffling of the primary calendar for 2020, SC is more of an artifact than the wobbly stepping stone it once sometimes was portrayed as being.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    I don’t prefer Biden, but it’s a point in his favor that all the cool kids that hated Hillary really don’t like him.

  21. 21
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Baud: That would be for a reason. Many reasons, in fact. These reasons are not at all in his favor.

    Hell, at this point Hillary’s Russia hawkishness looks damn appropriate in retrospect. Are we going to think Biden’s campaigning for Republicans is good in retrospect?

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Chris Johnson:

    Not arguing. Like I said, I don’t prefer him. If he had run in 2016, I still would have preferred Hillary. I’m just saying that some of the types of people who don’t want him deserve to have him.

  23. 23

    @NotMax: South Carolina is the only state among the early 4 that has majority Black voter base. They’re a pretty important portion of the Democratic Party that needs to be represented early in the process.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    This time around, South Carolina is almost superfluous.

    SC primary on Saturday, February 29. Look at what happens three days later, on March 3:

    Alabama primary
    Arkansas primary
    California primary
    Colorado primary
    Georgia primary
    Massachusetts primary
    Minnesota primary
    North Carolina primary
    Oklahoma primary
    Tennessee primary
    Texas primary
    Utah primary
    Vermont primary
    Virginia primary
    Democrats Abroad balloting

  26. 26
    daveNYC says:

    @Splitting Image:

    If I were to put money on Biden still being in the lead after Iowa, I would also put money on him losing to whoever the non-Biden vote coalesces around when the field thins out.

    That’s making the assumption that there will be a big pool of people who definitely will not want to vote for Biden (anyone but Biden types), and that enough candidates drop out (likely after Super Tuesday) that they can pledge whatever support they have to a single non-Biden candidate. If Biden is doing well, it’s just as likely that one of the other candidates might throw their support to him.

  27. 27
    JR says:

    And like the Cheesecake factory, you’d kill for that level of food/representation at a highway stop in the middle of nowhere.

  28. 28
    Facebones says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: I think that’s why the Big Bang Theory analogy works. It’s by no means my favorite show, but it’s pleasant enough to kill 30 minutes with when channel surfing.

    The people who sneer and say no one THEY know watches it’s not really popular are in a self selecting bubble. Maybe just admit that a lot of people really like Big Bang Biden?

  29. 29
    VOR says:

    @Cacti: One problem with the Trump-2016 analogy is that the GOP candidates were afraid to really go after Trump. Heck, the Steele dossier originated as GOP opposition research and nobody used it. The rest of the GOP candidates recognized Trump appealed to the worst xenophobic, misogynist, and racist elements of the overall GOP base. But none of them wanted to offend those reliable Republican votes. I don’t see Biden bringing out the worst in people or other candidates worried they will lose reliable Democratic votes by attacking Uncle Joe.

  30. 30
    kindness says:

    Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire matter. They are tiny monoclonal states. Super Tuesday is where the rubber hits the road. I don’t see Bidden or Bernie doing all that well Super Tuesday. The media will spin it in what ever way gets them the clicks. That is our sad reality.

  31. 31
    RA says:

    The people who love Biden are the people who would absolutely vote for a woman, just not that woman. They also think that a black woman is exactly what we need, but it is still too soon.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:


    Iowa + New Hampshire will winnow around the edges. Super Tuesday will run a thresher through the field.

  33. 33
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I agree with Wiegel that “heighten the contradictions” isn’t the way to play.

    Still, I think of where we’d be if Hillary had won.

    1) She’d have been unable to pass jack shit through Congress.
    2) The investigations of her would only have ramped up.
    3) Mitch would have blocked every last judicial appointment of hers.
    4) And probably most of her Cabinet and sub-Cabinet appointments too
    5) The GOP would have picked up 5-6 Senate seats in 2018, for a 57-43 or 58-42 majority
    (probably wouldn’t have picked up many House seats, but then they already had 240 seats)
    6) The media would have been playing up every pseudo-scandal the GOP came up with like it was another Whitewater, Benghazi, or Butter Emails.
    7) A Republican would win the Presidency either in 2020 or 2024, and win re-election
    8) The window to address global warming before it’s too late would close w/o Dems ever in a position to do anything about it

    I’m not terribly optimistic about where we are now, but we’ve at least got a fighting chance.

  34. 34
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    I am thinking the Trunp-Biden mud fight is going to make the actual Democratic nominee look pristine.

  35. 35
    low-tech cyclist says:


    Iowa + New Hampshire will winnow around the edges. Super Tuesday will run a thresher through the field.

    From 1976 to the present, in both parties, Iowa and NH have narrowed the field down to 2 candidates – and down to just one, if one candidate won both Iowa and NH.

    This year could always be different. Patterns always break down eventually. Let’s just say I think it’s premature to expect that this will be the year.

  36. 36
    Ksmiami says:

    just my $.02 – as much as I love Harris and Warren I think a lot of people just want a reset to normal and while Cheesecake Factory Joe isnit the most exciting candidate, we are exhausteed snd waving a white flag. After Joe let’s bribg up more younger talent

  37. 37
    Matt says:

    Biden’s the Big Bang Theory of politics.

    Both are happily gobbled up by millions of clueless suburban breeders while actually containing nasty bias towards marginalized groups.

    Yeah, the analogy’s pretty good.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:


    … while Cheesecake Factory Joe isnit the most exciting candidate, we are exhausteed snd waving a white flag. After Joe let’s bribg up more younger talent.

    After Joe, we’ll get another Republican president. White-flag waving leaders don’t inspire people to vote for their party again. Popular, transformative, presidents are the ones who get their successors elected, like Roosevelt -> Taft, Roosevelt -> Truman, and, god help us, Reagan -> Bush 1.

    If we want more than four-eight years with a Democratic president, then we need someone who is either more inspiring or more change-effective – and preferably both – than a white flag.

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