Cosplay Socialists in Disarray! Open Thread: Tulsi Gabbard’s Staff Troubles

Because I’m an old Cynic, I’ll admit my immediate suspicion is that Gabbard tried to get ahead of her Sandernista staffers by jumping in with her Big Reveal before they could cement her into the ‘Vice President/Handmaid to St. Bernie’ role. Of course, whatever their private alignments, no professional managers are going to be pleased by impetuosity like this:

Campaign manager Rania Batrice and Gabbard’s consulting firm Revolution Messaging are set to depart after this weekend’s official kickoff in Hawaii, two sources familiar with the situation told POLITICO. Gabbard is leaning on her sister, Vrindavan, to fill the void.

Meanwhile, the congresswoman is under fire back home after picking a fight with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and a prominent Democratic state lawmaker is already challenging Gabbard in next year’s congressional primary. That means she faces the possibility of losing the presidential race and her House seat as well…

Batrice is an experienced campaign operative and served as deputy campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent 2016 bid. But Gabbard‘s tumultuous rollout over the past several weeks suggested there is a disconnect between the candidate and her team…

Three people familiar with the presidential bid over the past few months describe a candidate who managed to be both indecisive and impulsive. Just announcing her candidacy became a minisaga that exhausted and bewildered people involved.

At first, Gabbard had vendors and staffers working through Thanksgiving weekend to get ready for a campaign rollout, only to pull back. Over the next several weeks, Gabbard went up to the starting line again — signaling to her team that a green light was imminent — only to make repeated retreats.

The pattern of false starts continued through Christmas and New Year’s, frustrating people who worked through the holidays.

When Gabbard did finally announce she would make a 2020 run, her team was blindsided. “I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” she told CNN on a Friday night in a pre-taped interview for “The Van Jones Show.”

The Gabbard campaign website was not ready to go live; social media posts weren’t ready to be sent out. And Gabbard hadn’t signed off on the launch video…

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser‘s editorial board weighed in against her candidacy. And state Sen. Kai Kahele, a fellow Democrat, recently declared his candidacy for Gabbard’s congressional seat. Days after he announced, the powerhouse liberal group Daily Kos, which directed millions of dollars to Democratic candidates in 2017 and 2018, endorsed Kahele…

The conflicts have robbed Gabbard’s long-shot campaign of any early momentum. Though she was one of the few members of Congress to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, that endorsement has bought Gabbard little goodwill among Sanders supporters in Hawaii, said Tim Vandeveer, a former state party chairman who backed Sanders in 2016.

“I think that proximity doesn’t translate to support,” Vandeveer said. “I have yet to talk to a single Bernie Sanders supporter … who is supporting Tulsi over Bernie.”

Uh-huh. Color me not-shocked by that.

Late Night Clown Car Open Thread: 2020 Racetrack Edition

Meanwhile, Cosplay Socialist Michael Tracey, not content with having been backhanded by one strong woman

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: There’s A ‘Trump & His Wall’ Metaphor Here Somewhere…

And that’s only the second weirdest twitter meme of the evening.

Warning: Do not go below the fold within three hours of eating…
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Cosplay Socialists Open Thread (+Minecraft address!)

Julia Salazar is one of the latest young, Democratic Socialists of America-affiliated insurgents to defeat an establishment Democrat in a primary. She is also my potential future state senator, as that primary was in New York Senate District 18. Also too, she is a bizarre serial fabulist.

The New York Post condemned her personal story — a big part of her appeal — as “wildly exaggerated.” Salazar has said she immigrated from Colombia when she was, in fact, born in Florida; asserted a “working-class background” that her brother strongly denied, offering photos of the family’s four-bedroom riverfront house; said she went to work at 14 to “make ends meet,” which her mother contradicted; implied her mother hadn’t gone to college when her mother got a degree when Salazar was 8 years old; asserted a very confused timeline about her conversion to Judaism; and claimed Jewish ancestry nobody could verify.

Eve Fairbanks at Buzzfeed has an article up about what she sees as a generational issue: Well-Off Millennials Are All Julia Salazar. I Wish We Weren’t.

Rolling Stone seemed baffled to have to report last night that “the constituents of District 18 were apparently untroubled” by that. But I wonder if the supporters — certainly the young, mostly white, recent college graduates who flooded her victory party — didn’t recognize, at least subconsciously, that this kind of thing is just way more common than we’d like to admit.

The article limns something I’ve seen a lot of.

I’ve described my paternal grandfather as a man who “grilled armadillo roadkill” to suggest he was a Southern hick, and it’s true he liked armadillo and at least occasionally foraged killed ones — but he was also the head of the archaeology department at the University of Florida. I’ve told people my maternal grandmother is an illegal immigrant who came to America illegally, alone on a boat from Poland, like an orphan Fievel the Mouse, conjuring hardscrabble images of tenement life, not mentioning that she married into a wealthy family.

I suppose I’ve lightly participated in this myself. “Did you know my mom grew up poor on a family farm?” I sometimes say, bristling at claims that we’re anything other than very recently well-to-do. It’s not unbelievable if you meet her–she’s an often-foul-mouthed animal lover who likes to shoot guns. But just looking at her C.V., you might have a hard time seeing it, other than the decidedly non-elite education. However, I am a creature of privilege. What’s important is that I don’t cover myself with her history, or use it to claim imaginary oppression. (Lord knows I have enough actual problems anyway.)

I’ve also observed the true cliche that nobody seems to have gone to Harvard or Stanford, but rather “college in Boston/the Bay Area.”

I will say that there is significant social pressure, at least among some Millennial groups, to just shut up about fixing oppression if you’re privileged. (I encounter this mostly on social media and rarely in person, so it could be an Online Mean Girls issue.) That doesn’t excuse lying, but it may explain the prevalence of this particular lie. On the flip side, there really is a problem with the most vocal ‘socialists’/’leftists’ being the ones with the least skin in the game–I’m looking at you, Chapo Trap House. (I’m actually not, because I find looking at them unpleasant.)

Anyway, thought y’all might enjoy the (hate)-read. I will now be re-enabling my Millennials-to-Snake-People browser plugin.

Onwards to more pressing issues: The Minecraft server is up! It’s at, and if you leave your username (not email) in the comments, I can whitelist you. It’s running Spigot with a land-claims plugin on easy. This IP will eventually be DNS’d to a balloon-juice subdomain, but I’m still working out the kinks.

Non-sports open thread!

Late Night Cheap Laffs Open Thread: Glib Takes for Shallow People

Yes, it’s from Politico, but I’m liking this Bill Scher review…

Have you lived through the past three presidents and managed to still believe that Republicans and Democrats share a single corporatist overlord? Do you casually use “neoliberal” as an insult, even though nobody has spotted a neoliberal in the wild since Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign? Do you enjoy history lectures, but only when they are delivered by sarcastic, self-righteous people who conveniently omit anything that conflicts with their ideological worldview? Well then do I have the book for you!

The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts and Reason lives up to its ironic title. The freshly published polemic is co-authored by the hosts—Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, Brendan James, Will Menaker and Virgil Texas—of the socialist, satirical podcast Chapo Trap House. The podcast rakes in six figures a month from more than 20,000 Patreon subscribers. It built its following on withering takedowns of insufficiently leftist liberals who serve up “thin, flavorless gruel” in the dying news media.

The book, which aims to expand the reach of “the Chapo Way,” begins with a self-consciously over-the-top sales pitch. By imbibing the authors’ words, “you’ll become an initiate in the Chapo Mindset and take control of the neurons that govern your weak, fragile emotions.” Apparently, we should take our “Ironic Left” cult leaders seriously, but not always literally.

Yet by the end of the book, it’s hard to escape the nagging feeling that Chapo—the podcast and the book—is, at bottom, an actual, unironic infomercial scheme. They make bank by selling you a candy-coated version of socialism, one that may offend real socialists even more than liberal gruel-peddlers like myself…
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