2020 Political Post–Dem Primary Turnout Numbers

So tomorrow is the next set of primaries after this year’s Super Tuesday, where Biden came storming back to take a small lead in delegates after being seen by many as already toast.

biden sanders3-9-2020 dem primary map

For me, as always, there are the numbers to analyze.  And so I have. Important points to note:

  1. If we look at the 13 states that have voted so far that have had primaries (not caucuses) since 2008, we see that Bernie has won 4 and Biden has won 9 (Minn and CO had caucuses before, but primaries this year.  Nevada and
  2. Compared to 2016, 11 of these states have had increased turnout, with only Oklahoma and California having a decline in turnout in the Dem. primaries.
  3. Compared to 2008–which set turnout records in Dem. primaries, 6 of the states have increased turnout.
  4. 2016 turnout was actually poor compared to 2008, with 12 states having lower turnout than 2008.  Thus, 2020 turnout is much closer to record 2008 levels than to the low 2016 levels.
  5. Absolute turnout numbers in 2020 were significantly higher in many states, with the one HUGE exception being California–where they were lower by nearly 20%–or a million votes.  This likely doesn’t make a difference for California in the general, because it’s so blue.
  6. Many have argued that Sanders is crucial for getting increased turnout, but the numbers don’t clearly argue for this.  Altogether, in the 5 states that Bernie won primaries in, total turnout is down by ~764,000 votes, with the big drag being California’s missing 900,000 voters .  In contrast, voter turnout in states that Biden won is up by ~1,844,000 votes–with increases in Texas 640k and in VA by 540k.   Now it could be that Sanders has also gotten more young people (18-29) to vote than last time–but they still only made up 12.5% of the primary voters so far, even though they make up 25% of the voting age population–so it’s not a major factor yet..  In comparison, people over age 65 are 20% of the voting age population, and they have made up 30% of primary voters.   Retired folks are just kicking the youngins’ asses in terms of actually voting.  Bernie CANNOT WIN unless young people vote at least their proportion of the population.
  7. Of the new people voting–Biden appears (in a model here ) to be attracting 60% of the people who didn’t vote in 2016, but are voting now–and these people appear to be older, suburban voters and African Americans–i.e. the people who showed up in 2018 to give the Dems the house.

Overall inferences from these numbers are the following:
a) Turnout is up–this is good for Dems–as it is the single biggest factor that determines whether Dems win or lose.
b) Biden is doing well because people want Trump out and the people coming out to vote in the primaries think Biden can do it best.  Opinions about whether they’re correct mean less than the actual votes being cast–and Biden is doing great with the actual voters who vote.
c) Sanders is going to need to something big tomorrow–like winning Michigan–if he is going to stay around much longer, much less to regain the momentum.

He’s not out yet–but he really needs to bring it NOW.

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A moment.

Be good.
Be kind.
Be smart.
Be patient.


Nuture your love.
Learn from your mistakes.


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Liking your life and Other Happy Mindfuckery

(link to above cartoon here: https://www.facebook.com/AwkwardYeti/photos/a.511666138909066/2681852195223772/?type=3&theater )
I love this cartoon.

I have managed to train my mind to appreciate the things while I have them. I picked this skill up back in college from a friend who said–after I asked him how he was doing–something along the lines of, “I’m fucking awesome.” and so I asked him what he was doing, and he said.. “I’m doing some obnoxious coding..” and so I then followed up with, “but doesn’t that suck?” and he replied, “No. I decided that when I’m going to do something, that because I’ve decided to do it, that it’s the thing I want to do.. and that makes it great.. and I do this with everything..”

He applied this to doing dishes, to laundry, to whatever..

And that seemed really weird to my 19 year old brain.. but I thought it was also pretty cool.. so I learned to adopt it.. and it’s a kind of philosophy that I’ve recognized as being a kind of progressive/western Zen way of life. Like the things you are doing.. whatever they are.. and it makes doing the things so much better. Changing a diaper–like it. Sitting still for 5 minute on the bus–like it.

Maybe it seems like you’re lying to yourself–but I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that this isn’t actually different than what we do to ourselves normally anyway–it’s just that we pretend that we’re not doing it.  (Remember, in reality, all of our “perceived life/memories/perceptions” are actually just 3lbs of soggy bacon hallucinating a video game that it plays in an incredibly stressful/unpredictable world for 16 hours a day–until it takes a break for 7-8 hours and maybe watches, perhaps, even more fucked up movies..)

Anyway. I don’t necessarily assume everyone can do this–so I’m not trying to be prescriptive–but am merely describing how I do life.  I’m an amazingly privileged cis-het over-educated middle-class white dude born in the richest and most powerful country on earth… so your mileage may vary..

After enlightenment comes the laundry. Like doing the fucking laundry.

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Language relations

I like languages.  I didn’t always.

Language itself is not something that my brain took to originally.  As a kid, mom said that I didn’t have a first word.. it was more like a first sentence–and it was later than expected.

Instead, my brain took to math, numbers, shapes a lot more readily…  I loved maps as a kid and I learned how to do math early and then was always ahead in math..

It wasn’t until high school and then later when I began to see that languages were just systems–arbitrary, weird, sometimes irrational systems–but still systems that served various purposes.

When I discovered the existence of Indo-European Languages as a “thing”–I got WAY MORE INTERESTED.  Seeing that languages evolved out of previous versions of speaking and split off from each other–that gave me an path into understanding languages that I’ve been following ever since.

When I learned German–or more specifically–once I was in Germany and learning to speak and write German more fluently, it was really helpful to me to understand how German and English were related–and how various words had common ancestors–even if they then went in different directions.   The Duden Herkunfswoerterbuch was especially a favorite of mine.  I would read through it for hours, actually–seeing how German words changed over time and to what English words they were related… (I didn’t actually know the English word “Etymology” until after this period–I had to get a translation of “Herkunftswoerterbuch” (here-coming-word-book) into English to learn the word..).

Fun examples that blew my mind at the time
Zaun–German for fence–is a cognate of English “Town”–a walled inhabitation
werfen=to throw in German–is a cognate of English “to warp”–and comes from the idea of bending/moving in a curve.
wuergen=to choke/strangle in German–is a cognate of English “to worry”–which is when you get choked up about something.

In any case, this all came back to me recently as I’ve been learning Dutch on duolingo.com.  For me–someone who’s fluent in English and German–Dutch is pretty easy ( it’s like English and German had a baby (although obviously it’s a separate language that isn’t a child of either… ) Dutch is clearly related to both languages (they’re all closely related as Western Germanic languages) and they all had a lot of interaction over the past 1000 years.  You can see this in the sentences I’m having to translate.
German: Ich gebe ihm einen Apfel.
Dutch: Ik geef een appel aan hem.
English: I give an apple to him./I give him an apple.

German: Die Spinne wohnt in einem Schuh
Dutch: De spin woont in een schoen.
English: The spider lives in a shoe.

German: Orange is das neue Schwarz
Dutch: Oranje is het nieuwe Zwart
English: Orange is the new black.

German: Die Katze schlaeft zwischen zwei Hunden.
Dutch: De kat slaapt tussen twee honden.
English: The cat sleeps between two dogs (hounds).

As one can see from these comparisons, there is a great similarity between the languages–but also slight differences.  Sometimes words differ.. for example, wohnen/wonen in German/Dutch means “to dwell” –but it came from a root word meaning “to love/to wish” –which is semantically still found in the german word “gewohnt”–meaning “to be accustomed to/familiar with.”  Old and Middle English had this verb also, but it died out–and so we use “live” now instead.

In any case–I’m just continuously struck at how these three languages appear and are structured just like how actual biological cousins might be.  They are often roughly similar in many foundational things–but then can be radically different in others.

And now–back to duo lingo to earn more points.

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Conceptual hindrances to understanding “Toxic Masculinity”


As someone who is thoroughly opposed to the components of Toxic Masculinity, I wanted to take a moment to address conversations around it that I think might be less productive than they could be.

At root, I’m seeing a number of memes come up that are making analogies to Toxic Masculinity–say like the “Cheese Burger” meme I just saw on FB–that attempt to make the point that saying “Toxic Masculinity” does not mean that all masculinity is toxic–but rather that toxic masculinity is A KIND of masculinity that isn’t healthy.

The point that I would make here is not that I disagree with the conclusion–I totally believe that there are versions of masculinity that are super unhealthy–not only for everyone else–but also for the men who embrace them–but rather that the analogies being used here might be pretty easily discarded by some folks because the concept of masculinity is not necessarily the same KIND of concept as a hamburger–and thus the analogy is likely to be easily discarded by those who aren’t already convinced.

Just as health insurance and broccoli–while both nouns–are qualitatively different–masculinity as a concept is not the same as many other normal “things”–in that it isn’t just an object that can be further described by various adjectives in a straight-forward fashion–but rather it is–according to Wikipedia– ” a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with boys and men.” 

Being a set of things–but also a set of things that is grammatically structured as a singular noun–there are important differences here that may hinder easy adoption of the idea of Toxic Masculinity.  In particular–the notion of “masculinities” i.e. that there are many different kinds of masculinity didn’t really appear in public discourse until about 1990 . Additionally–its usage is still dwarfed by the singular “masculinity” by a factor of around 12-15x.

Thus–we have a situation where a pretty important concept is likely to be conceived of as singular–due to usage being primarily singular in nature as well as not having a plural until 30 years ago–but which is being employed to convey a really important point that requires a plural understanding of the word.

That is a hindrance.

It’s not a hindrance that cannot be overcome.

Fuck that.  It’s just a word.

But it seems likely to me to be a kind of conceptual stumbling block–especially for older or less academically inclined folk–that could easily be bolstering resistance to understanding–and that’s something we should at least consider and think about.

To use one concrete example–when you see someone start talking about “toxic homosexuality“–and then read what they say–it comes across pretty quickly that they seem to hate all gays–even when they make disclaimers.

Part of this–esp. in this example–is probably because they’re just assholes–but I do think the fact that homosexuality “is ‘an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions’ to people of the same sex. It ‘also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.’ “ which makes it–as a concept–structurally more similar to a “set of attributes, behaviors, roles…” than it does to a hamburger.

In the end–I want people to understand the problem with toxic masculinity.  It’s  A TRULY FUCKING SHITTY set of behaviors that has been damaging people for thousands and thousands of years.  We need to end this set of behaviors and replace it with better masculinities–say, for example, like those in the recent Gillette ad— but we should be aware of conceptual diversity in the minds of our audiences and be ready to ferret out where roadblocks are occurring so we can accomplish our bigger goals more effectively and efficiently. 

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#Medusatoo –The Patriarchy is fucking old.

The Patriarchy is old. If you go look at the story behind this great image below (that is going around in memes..)–it’s the story of Medusa–but re-imagined with her cutting off Perseus’s head.
(Statue by Luciano Garbarti–his website is here: http://lucianogarbati.com/ )

Why do that? Well–in the original myth recounted by the famous Roman Poet Ovid, Medusa is punished by Athena for the crime of being beautiful and having been raped by Poseidon in Athena’s Temple.

Athena–apparently offended that this beautiful woman dared to be raped by Athena’s uncle in HER temple–strips away Medusa’s beauty–turning her hair into snakes and making her so terrible to look upon that people are turned to stone. She is then exiled by Athena.
Later–again with the help of Athena–a man is sent to kill her—the “Hero” Perseus–who decapitates her and then uses her head as a weapon.
Think about that for a second. Think of the entire story–how we are fed the notions about evil women, about how beauty=good, ugliness=evil, and that jealousy and violence against women in all ways is done by males (and some females who enable them), but who we should look up to and celebrate as powerful.
The Patriarchy is old. Let’s topple that fucker already.
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Relationship trees

An old high school acquaintance just posted something that she had heard from a friend–namely that “grief accumulates”–and that made me respond with the following:

“For a long time now, I’ve thought about relationships between two people as being like a tree growing between them–and when things go well–the tree grows fruits, etc… There are storms (fights) that can damage the tree–and small spats are like losing small sticks or leaves–but something important is that the growth or decay of the tree is cumulative… it has a history.. Too many fights–too many limbs lost–and the tree dies–or worse–is unhealthy and decaying for decades.

I think you could apply the same metaphor more broadly though–and think of all of your relationships together as being like a tree–and when one is lost–it’s like losing a branch…

Too many limbs lost all at once is painful and damaging.. there is an absence there —the social canopy is rent open–and then only time can try to fill up…

But even if it does fill the space–it will never be as it was before–because the scars of lost limbs will still be there..”


In this current moment, we are always going to exist as a summation of things that have happened to us and that we have made happen.  This is our continually changing and growing origin story.

It helps to define us–but never totally defines us–because we still have options for the stories we are still going to write.

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