Xavier Becerra for vice president

A lot of veepstakes talk in the air. Personally, I’m hoping Hillary picks Xavier Becerra. It’s true that Liz Warren (my second choice) would help bring some of the angrier Bernie voters on board. And it’s true that Corey Booker (my other second choice) is a helluva man. No kidding. Rescued a man from a burning house, literally. Hard to top that. But both he and Warren are senators, and we need every senator we can get. And both are also future and exceptionally qualified presidential candidates, and being veep is rarely a path to the oval office without somebody getting shot first. So I’m loathe to pluck someone out of the Senate. It doesn’t help any that both Massachusetts and New Jersey have Republican governors who would not replace either with a Democrat.

Corey Booker’s base is solidly Democratic and already vote at a higher rate than anyone else in that Democratic base….including nice white middle class Democrats. (Indeed, boomer/gen-x black women have the highest rate of voting of all Americans.) And to pick Liz Warren to draw Berniecrats seems a little unseemly. Most of them are going to come over anyway, and a fifth will vote for Trump whether or not Liz Warren in on the ticket. There’s no doubt that selecting the eminently qualified Elizabeth Warren would be interpreted, unfairly and wrongly, as pleading for Bernie votes. Still, that is how many would interpret it, Hillary pleading for votes. Begging even. And a presidential candidate should never beg. Jimmy Carter begged the voters once. He never recovered.

Xavier Becerra, though, not only rewards one of the key components of Hillary’s winning coalition, but it would dramatically increase the amount of Hispanics who will vote on election day, always a weak point for the Democrats. There were already record numbers of Hispanics registering to vote in the primaries this year, such was their fear and loathing of Donald Trump. With Xavier Becerra on the ballot, the son of Mexican immigrants much like a certain Indiana judge, versus Donald Trump, who has called everyone from Mexico to potential rapists and degenerates, the number of Mexican American voter registrations will sky rocket. This would not only help the Democrats beat Trump this year, but would have profound long term implications for political power in the south west. If Hispanics began voting at the same level as whites, a lot of crazed Tea Partiers and redneck sheriffs can kiss their political asses goodbye. At last there would be a price to pay come election day for all that Republican nativist ranting.

Becerra could turn the southwest into an electoral vote nightmare for the GOP. The increase in Mexican-American voters coming out for a second generation immigrant a heartbeat away from the presidency will deliver Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico to the Democrat column, turn Arizona into a swing state and even force the Trump campaign to spend its limited resources in Texas, where the Hillary campaign will make a huge effort if only because the Republicans will have to spend so much money fighting it (Texas with its seventeen media markets is very expensive for statewide TV advertising.) Becerra on the ticket will give an increased edge in Illinois, make things that much harder for Trump in Florida, and dramatically increase fundraising in California. And above all, it puts Trump’s vicious anti-Mexican bigotry (and his prejudice in general) in the front row seat all campaign long. With Becerra on the ticket, Trump will be a racist 24/7.

And besides all that, Becerra is thoroughly qualified, smart as hell, and a nice guy. He was our congressman for years, and come to think of it, he actually knocked on our door once. As did his brother. The man walked the precincts, old school.

Yeah, Xavier Becerra for vice president

End of pitch.

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Bernie Sanders exits, stage left.

That was a helluva speech Liz Warren gave. It’s unfortunate it had to be today, though, and not tomorrow, because I would have loved to have seen Bernie Sanders’ speech at RFK stadium. He was a couple minutes into it, subdued, almost pensive, like an immense weight was upon him. Where was he going with this? How would the crowd respond? I was transfixed. Suddenly it’s a split screen, and Liz Warren came walking out onto a stage, beaming. Bernie, exhausted, was speaking but you couldn’t help but be distracted by the electricity in Elizabeth Warren’s stride. Bernie was telling the crowd that his campaign is doing something different. It is telling the truth, he says, as he has said a thousand times–when the audio switches without warning to Liz Warren and Bernie is cut off mid-sentence. We hear Liz Warren launch into one of the greatest speeches in our modern political history. It was that good. Bernie’s stump speech was forgotten. None of the talking heads even mentioned he had been speaking. They were all about Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It’s like Bernie was never even there. Bernie Sanders, the man who had upended American politics, who had dominated every Democratic conversation. Bernie Sanders, who is all anyone could talk about yesterday. Bernie Sanders, who held the fate of the nation in his hands. But through the magic of live television it seemed like Warren’s star had risen, instantly, and Bernie’s had waned, just as instantly. Was it intended that way? Who knows. But it did make for exciting television. Will it have an electrifying effect on Bernie voters? No doubt, especially the under thirty young women who had been so loyal to Bernie Sanders and not so crazy about Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren had changed the political demographics instantaneously. Liz will definitely win over the Millennial women for Hillary, a young under thirty journalist said, if not the Bernie Bros. Bernie Bros. She rolled her eyes saying it, as if ill mannered, foul mouthed Bernie Bros were suddenly a relic of an older, more primitive time. Angry young men with no respect for women in a women’s world.

But this was not the way this should be happening. I’d been waiting for hours for Bernie’s speech. It was supposed to be a major speech. All the news networks were waiting for it. It was to be broadcast in its entirety. This was to be one of the most significant speeches by the single most significant politician of 2016. “How Bernie Sanders’s day in Washington got eclipsed by Democratic unity” said the headline in the Washington Post. It had all happened so fast. If only somebody could have worked the timing out, coordinated the two events, but perhaps they just were determined to have Elizabeth Warren scorch Donald Trump before she endorsed Hillary this afternoon. And scorch him she did, beautifully, rehearsed to perfection, leaving a pile of cinders where once a big loutish billionaire had been.

There was a lot of stagecraft today, that was obvious, the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton campaign and Elizabeth Warren’s every move choreographed to perfection, without a wasted motion. Smooth and perfect. Political tai chi. Meanwhile Bernie, good honest Bernie, truthful Bernie, crusading Bernie, is left looking like William Jennings Bryan in Inherit the Wind, somehow immediately dated, a relic from an earlier time when he left crowds spellbound and chanting his name. Bernie’s speech today seemed divorced from reality, said the usually sympathetic Huffington Post, scolding him for pretending his campaign was not over. But you had to scroll way down to find that story, it was buried far beneath Elizabeth’s Warren’s enormous photo and name in huge red letters. Scroll down past Marco Rubio’s picture, and a bit further on, between an article on mosquitos and an article on a hit and run driver, was Bernie’s small picture and smaller font, an afterthought. “It would be extraordinary if the people of Washington, our nation’s capital, stood up and told the world that they are ready to lead this country into a political revolution” Bernie told the smallish crowd, just a fraction of the turnout he’d gotten in Los Angeles only days before. But Tuesday’s Washington D.C. primary, would be the last stop in the political revolution, and he will lose it like he lost the South, by a huge margin. Bernie knew that. He had told President Obama just that morning he understood the math. But he was putting on the show for the true believers spread out on the lawn before him. They cheered, they swooned, they knew the catechism by heart. Stay in the race, they chanted. Some said they’d write in Bernie Sanders on the ballot come November. He smiled wanly. It’d been scarcely forty eight hours since the California primary, but that seemed like another time.

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