Sunday, 1 March 2020

Democratic Party is about to become the Bernie Party

If the latest polls are right, Vermont Sen. and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders will either be the Democratic presidential nominee or the person who decides the nominee.
And he’s not even a Democrat.
Not that it matters.
Under Democratic Party rules, candidates win no delegates in the primaries unless they get at least 15% of the vote statewide, or 15% of the vote in individual congressional districts. In California, the polls show Sanders is the only candidate comfortably over the 15% line. It’s quite possible that rivals such as Joe Biden will leave California, the primary season’s biggest prize, with none of the state’s 415 pledged delegates.
Basically, the Democrats have come up with rules for awarding delegates that nullify the votes of anyone backing a candidate who doesn’t hit the magic threshold.
It makes ranked-choice voting look democratic.
It’s still possible Sanders will get to the Democratic convention without the majority of delegates he needs to be nominated on the first ballot. But he may have the votes to change the rules and allow him to win with only a plurality.
And if he doesn’t, his supporters will still be in position to decide who the nominee is, or walk out and doom the party to defeat against President Trump in November.
And they will do whatever Bernie says.
So we are in trouble as a party. The same trouble the Republican Party was in before it all but dissolved under the Tea Party and Trump.
Support Chinatown: Since the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve made a point of eating one or two meals a week in Chinatown, which is hurting because of unfounded fears about catching the disease there. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bested me when she spent nearly four hours there the other day to show her support.
Just before she started her tour, Chinatown was hit by one of those famously unexplained Pacific Gas and Electric Co. outages. Somehow, as Pelosi slowly moved up the street, block by block, the lights came back on.
Have another piece: The night before her Chinatown excursion, Nancy Pelosi was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser at the Waterbar restaurant for Rep. Jim Costa, the Fresno Democrat who’s being primaried by another Democrat.
Costa is an eight-term moderate whose challenger, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, has the backing of local activists and organized labor.
The race is a classic example of the split within the party between older establishment Democrats and younger progressives.
Pelosi was asked how she manages to keep the various factions of Democrats united.
“You know, I raised five kids. And I made sure that they didn’t cut up the pie until all of the work was done to make the pie in the first place,” Pelosi said.
“So I told the caucus the same thing — stop talking about division. When you get the pie, then you can talk about equitable division.”
Wrapping it up: Black History Month had a great wrap-up at San Francisco City Hall the other day, with Mayor London Breed, state Board of Equalization Chairwoman Malia Cohen and Supervisor Shamann Walton presiding over the event.
Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Ahsha SafaĆ­ and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu were also there.
But for my money, it was the Pittsburg High School marching band and cheerleading squad that stole the show. They blew the roof off the rotunda with their music and moves.
The event was paid for by the usual corporate sponsors, including Comcast, AT&T, Google and Salesforce.
Typically, the sponsors at such events get their names on a poster onstage and maybe get a shout-out at the end.
But given the recent allegations of corruption at City Hall, someone decided it would be best to get the corporate donors more out front, for transparency’s sake.
So for the first time, they read off the names at the very start of the program.
Movie time: “Call of the Wild.” This is a darn good movie. The headliner is Harrison Ford, who is finally cast as someone his actual age. But the real star is Buck, a dog thrust into the wilds of Alaska.
If you’re interested, see it soon. I was the only person in the theater.
Don’t panic: I spent the whole week out and about and riding Muni. I can report that even with the coronavirus dominating the news, everyone appeared to be their calm, cramped and rude selves.
Let’s hope it stays that way.

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