Kamala Harris, 12th woman to vie for VP

LaDonna Harris

Kamala HarrisReading the latest NatGeo, I came across a surprising title. “At least 11 women have vied for U.S. vice president. Here’s what happened to them.” Wow. And the subhead: “Kamala Harris isn’t the first Black woman to run for vice president—or the first Asian-American.” Tell us more!

Marietta Stow – National Equal Rights Party (1884)
Running with Belva Lockwood, a lawyer. “Lockwood caught Stow’s attention when she pointed out that, while women couldn’t vote, ‘there is no law against their being voted for…'” The two women campaigned seriously and, out of some 10 million votes, won almost 5,000—cast by men.”

Lena Springs – Democrat (1924)
Nominated at the convention. “Springs received several votes but the slot on the ticket went to Charles Bryan, the governor of Nebraska.”

Charlotta Bass – Progressive (1952)
The first black woman candidate was “a crusading newspaper publisher in California. She joined Vincent Hallinan as his running mate. They won 140,000 votes.”

Frances ‘Sissy’ Farenthold – Democrat (1972)
She was “a serious contender at the convention but lost the nomination to Missouri senator Thomas Eagleton.”

Toni Nathan – Libertarian (1972)
The first female vice-presidential candidate to receive an electoral vote. A “Republican elector who couldn’t stomach Spiro Agnew, Nixon’s running mate, picked Nathan instead.”

Here’s where I started

LaDonna Harris – Citizens Party (1980)
“Harris, an activist and member of the Comanche nation, became the first Native American woman vice-presidential candidate… In the 1970s, she’d been a force for indigenous affairs in Washington as the wife of Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris. She and presidential candidate Barry Commoner ran on an environmental platform and won less than one percent of the popular vote.”

A couple of observations. I voted for Fred Harris in the 1976 Democratic primary. And in 1980, I voted for Commoner and LaDonna Harris in the general election.

Angela Davis – Communist Party (1980, 1984)
“A Black activist and philosophy professor in California who’d been on the FBI’s most-wanted list… She and presidential candidate Gus Hall garnered less than one percent of the vote.”

Geraldine Ferraro – Democrat (1984)
The “first vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket when Walter Mondale named her as his running mate. The congresswoman from Queens shook up the race…” They won “only Minnesota, his home state, and the District of Columbia.” Naturally, I voted for them.

Emma Wong Mar – Peace and Freedom Party (1984)
The “daughter of Chinese immigrants, a longtime anti-war and pro-labor activist from California, became the first Asian-American woman to run for vice president when she joined Sonia Johnson on the ticket…”

Twice, even

Winona LaDuke – Green Party (1996, 2000)
An “economist and Native American activist in Minnesota, joined Ralph Nader on the ticket in 1996 and 2000.” They received 2.7 percent of the popular vote in 2000, or 2.9 million votes—the most garnered by any third-party woman candidate for vice-president to date.”

Yes, I voted for them in both years. Note that Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore, respectively, easily won New York State.

Sarah Palin – Republican (2008)
When John McCain selected her as his running mate, she, “who was in her first [and only] term as Alaska’s governor, became the second female vice-presidential candidate for a major party and the first for Republicans. McCain and Palin received nearly 60 million votes, more than any other ticket with a woman as a vice-presidential candidate.”

Which brings us to…

As my blogger buddy Chuck Miller noted when Kamala Harris was first selected by Joe Biden, And the attacks began in four… three… two…. For reasons involving someone else’s reading assignment, I have a particular disdain for the dreadful Dinesh D’Souza. His suggestion that she’s not black because there’s a prominent slaveholder in her Jamaican father’s ancestry is beyond absurd. As I’ve noted, my own fourth great-grandfather was a slaveholder.

Yup, the Same Old Pathologies in attacking Kamala’s family tree. The same birther lies from the Tweeter-in-chief, with his inplausible deniability.

And his son-in-law’s non-clarification is in the same mode. “Kushner, who is both a White House and a campaign aide…” – does that bother anyone? He “pointed out that the President said ‘he had no idea whether that’s right or wrong’ — a technique Trump often uses when he’s trying to shirk responsibility for spreading disinformation.”

In 2020

One can challenge Kamala Harris on her record. She wasn’t my pick for President. But she will get my vote for Vice-President in November! I have voted five times for a woman in that role. You know the old saying, “the fifth time’s the charm”?

Some levity. McSweeney’s: I Don’t Hate Black or Woman Candidates, but Kamala Harris is Running for Vice President and My Head Just Exploded. Borowitz: Harris tells him She Cannot Send Him Birth Certificate Without Postal Service. And, of course, Randy Rainbow.

Vote twice in June 2020: early, often

long waits at polling places are disruptive and disenfranchising

I got to vote twice in the month of June. Legally. Really! The first time was for the school budget (it passed – yay!), the school board, and the library trustees. That vote was scheduled for the middle of May but postponed because of the coronavirus.

Everyone was supposed to get a ballot by mail by the end of May. The documents were due at the local board of education office by June 9. But because some of the local districts were having trouble printing them out, the deadline was extended to June 16. And the really great thing is that there were 10,700 votes cast in Albany, thrice what the average turnout had been in the past five years.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Presidential primary in New York State was scheduled for the end of April but postponed over COVID-19. Then it was canceled because all of the candidates except Joe Biden had dropped out. However, the Presidential primary, now on June 23 – simultaneous with other ballot initiatives – “should still be held, with all qualifying candidates restored to the ballot, a federal judge ruled.”

I HATED the thought that I was going to be disenfranchised. And, not incidentally, we’ve seen a LOT of difficulties with the franchise in places such as Wisconsin and Georgia. The Brennan Center notes that “long waits at polling places are disruptive, disenfranchising, and all too common. Black and Latino voters are especially likely to endure them.”

With less than five months until Election Day, Is the U.S. ready? Kim Wehle, the author of What You Need to Know About Voting, says no. We should have more options for paper ballots. There are often fewer polling places, because of COVID-19, but also the powers that be are targeting minority communities with polling closures.

Here’s to you, EW

I HAVE to vote. People, especially black people, suffered and DIED for the opportunity to cast their ballot. I decided to vote, by mail, for Elizabeth Warren because that’s who I wanted to win. One could make the strategic case for Bernie, who I voted for four years ago.

But I had never voted for a woman for President in the primary. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm failed to get on the ballot in my Congressional district. Since then, I’ve voted for a bunch of guys who never got the nomination such as Fred Harris and Dennis Kucinich.

In the primary, I vote with my heart. In the general election, I vote with my head.

BTW, I don’t think Warren will be the Vice-Presidential nominee. She turned 71 yesterday. If she weren’t running with a guy who will be turning 78 seventeen days after the general election, I think she’d have a better chance. Also, they are both from the Northeast.

I like Stacie Abrams of Georgia. The reason she’s not currently in elected office is that the former secretary of state, Brian Kemp, now the governor, rigged the system. Someone (a black male) also made me wonder if sizism could play a role in whether to choose her.

Of the folks listed here, I’m guessing Kamala Harris or Val Demings or Tammy Duckworth or maybe Susan Rice. Meanwhile, read How To Read Polls In 2020.

ARA: The way my mind works

The hardest Presidents to remember were Taylor, Fillmore and Pierce, which sounds like a law firm

CHRIS: Ooo, what does the infinity symbol symbolize?

Gee, I thought it was a sidewards eight.

Good on you with the presidents’ thing. The three presidents in one year has happened twice and three in two years but more than one year happened once (by my count using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States), none of which I knew before the discussion came up.

Three in one year was 1841 and 1881, that’s correct. Hadn’t thought about three in two years, but that would be 1849-1850, with Polk, Taylor and Fillmore.

Which brings me to my next question: how do you learn so many random things? Did you, for example, set out to memorize all the presidents and the years? Or does your brain do that “naturally”?

After minutes of self-psychoanalysis, this is what I’ve concluded

1) As a child, I had the foolish notion that should know all the knowable things in the universe.

2) To that end, I used to read encyclopedias – the Americana as a child – dictionaries, and especially the World Almanac, which I have received for Christmas almost every year since I was nine or ten.

3) Realizing at some point that “all the knowable things in the universe” a) was impossible to know and b) was not interesting to me, I tended to concentrate on things like sports (Willie Mays hit .211 in his last season, with the New York Mets), and American history and politics.

4) My specific interest in Presidents, and the Constitution, now that I think about it, probably came from the trauma of the assassination of JFK. “Oh, no, what happens now?” Oh, they have a contingency plan for that! (I’m not sure I could have told you we HAD a Vice-President on November 21, 1963, when I was 10 and a half, let alone that Lyndon Johnson was that guy.)

5) Even more specifically, when JFK was killed, there were all these coincidences with Lincoln that showed up in the newspaper – oh, I used to read the newspaper even then:
a) Lincoln was elected in 1860, JFK in 1960
b) both had Vice-Presidents named Johnson
c) Lincoln reportedly had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy a secretary named Lincoln (I never confirmed that, BTW)

6) This got me thinking about all those previous “accidental Presidents,” starting with Tyler, then Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, and Truman. So it was a small step to get all their dates in order. The hardest ones to remember were Taylor, Fillmore and Pierce, which sounds like a law firm. My daughter tests me regularly with weird stuff like “Who’s the 27th President?” I don’t know, but I remember Cleveland was the 22nd AND the 24th, so I get to Taft soon enough.

7) It seemed a natural progression to start reading the Constitution. (Sidebar: I got to talk to another Chinese delegation at work on the 5th of July. I just happened to come across a box of booklets with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that I found while sorting things in the attic, so I gave them copies. I also gave a copy to a guy on the bus I know in the context of what the Supreme Court’s June decision on the Defense of Marriage Act did, and did not do.)

8) Of course, the interpretation of the Constitution came from the Supreme Court, and in the 1960s, the Court was dealing with a lot of significant issues involving freedom of the press, the rights of defendants in criminal trials, and civil rights. I could not have cited, e.g. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) or Gideon v. Wainwright (1962) or Loving v. Virginia (1967), but I believe I was more aware of their implication than most of my classmates at the time. (Hey, speaking of Taft, which I did a couple of paragraphs back, did you know he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Or that he’s the guy pictured?)

9) Conversely, there are plenty of things I DON’T know, starting with the makes and models of automobiles. I recognized a ’66 Ford Mustang recently, but in general, cars have two doors or four and are cars or those larger things (SUVs, minivans). All midsize silver-gray cars look the same to me.


Scott’s questions about Romney’s Veep, baseball and travel

I got to think Romney’s VP pick won’t be a white non-Hispanic guy.

Scott of the Scooter Chronicles, who is BACK blogging after an understandable hiatus – asks these questions:

1. (The Usual) Who do you think ends up in the World Series this year?

Interestingly, it feels more like parity to me this year. It’s not that ANYONE could win the Series – it won’t be the Royals or the Mets, e.g. The AL East will be very competitive unless the BoSox don’t recover from their epic collapse. Will the Rangers represent the AL for the third year in a row? Not feeling it; the Angels, with Pujols, should win the West. And the AL Central remains a mystery to me.

Washington will be better, Philadelphia will be worse. The Braves are supposed to have some great young arms, after THEIR epic collapse. The Giants will improve, iff Buster Posey’s healthy. I think Cincinnati wins the NL Central.

For no good reason, I’ll go with two Florida teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and the FloridaMiami Marlins. Unless Andy Petitte’s return to the Yankees is way more successful than I expect.

4. (May have been asked this before) If money was no object, what is your dream vacation?

Not just money, but time: I want to go to every Major League Baseball park in the same year. Fly to Seattle, take the train to the 5 California teams, then to Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, followed by the Midwest, starting with Missouri and ending, via Toronto, with Pittsburgh, then finishing with the I-95 corridor from DC to Boston.

3. Any travel plans for the warmer months?

It’s ALREADY the “warmer months”! If it’s 75 in Albany in the fourth week in March, with mosquitoes in the yard, what will July look like? That said, we’ll probably make it to Newport, RI.

5. Did you ever visit an area, not expecting much, but were surprised at what it had to offer?

Last summer, we went to this cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. Let’s say that it wasn’t my thing. But we went into town to North Creek, where I got to use the library. It had some nice restaurants, and it was quite scenic.

2. Who do you think Romney will pick as a running mate?

Let’s start with names he said he’d consider earlier this year: several governors- Chris Christie (NJ) – too much of a blowhard; Mitch Daniels (IN) – his family will veto this; Bobby Jindal (LA); Susana Martinez (NM) – pictured; Bob McDonell (VA) – fatally tainted by the ultrasound thing; Brian Sandoval (NV); Nikki Haley (SC) – having problems in her own state. Former governors Tim Pawlenty (MN) – got out of the Presidential race too early, so his fire in the belly will be questioned, plus he’s dull; Mike Huckabee (AR) – seriously?; Haley Barbour (MS) – his prisoner release just before the end of his term will not serve him well; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), a Cuban Hispanic with issues, who won’t necessarily bring the Mexican-American vote; CIA director David Petraeus – the name associated with an increasingly unpopular war. Here are some more names being bandied about.

I got to think it won’t be a white non-Hispanic guy. Rubio was my initial pick, or maybe Haley, but now I’m leaning towards Martinez, head of a swing state, or Jindal .

BTW, the reason the Etch-A-Sketch comment by a Romney associate resonated so much is that most people find him disingenuous.

V is for Vice-Presidents

What of the VPs who never became President?

The United States has had 43 men who have served as President, but 47 who have served as Vice-President.

The first two Vice-Presidents became the second (Adams) and third (Jefferson) Presidents. Those elections, in 1796, when Adams was stuck with a VP of another party, and in 1800, when Jefferson and Aaron Burr had the same number of electoral votes, led to the passage of the 12th Amendment to the Constitution (1804), after which electors voted separately for President and Vice-President, rather than casting two votes for President, superseding a portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution.

13 men who were Vice-President became President,

including four after a President was assassinated, and four after a President died of natural causes.

As a result, some Presidents had no Vice-President for all or part of their time of service. This was rectified by the passage of 25th Amendment (1967) which established a procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, among other issues. This got utilized a few times in the decade after its passage.
Richard Nixon was re-elected President in 1972. His VP, Spiro Agnew resigned over improprieties in 1973, and Congress confirmed Gerald Ford as VP. Then Ford became President in 1974 as a result of Nixon’s resignation over Watergate. Congress then confirmed Nelson Rockefeller to be Ford’s VP.

What of the VPs who never became President? The first of these, Burr, is probably best known for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. George Clinton and John C. Calhoun served under two different Presidents. Elbridge Gerry’s behavior in the state of Massachusetts helped create the word gerrymander.

But mostly Veeps are known for the disparaging things they themselves have said about their office, such as these; the John Nance Garner, usually cleaned up to use the word ‘spit’, is the most infamous. It is generally agreed, though, that the VPs in the latter part of the 20th Century and beyond have had far more responsibilities than their predecessors.

Someone came up with a BINGO game so that one could learn the Veeps. I should print this out; I must admit that some of those late 19th-century dudes escape my memory.

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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