Biden, Barack, Books, and Barbecue

Alliteration makes you 38% more likely to open this email.

Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee. Bernie Sanders endorsed him last week, and today, Barack Obama endorsed him. Here’s the Obama video endorsement.

Now, here’s the deal: Obama was never going to endorse while anyone else, especially Sanders, was still in the race. The fact is that Obama is like so many other presidents - vain and obsessed with how his presidency is viewed in hindsight. There have been quite a few stories where Obama admin officials were touting how “scandal-free” his terms were. Everything he did was about him, the historical nature of his election and his time in office.

He is obsessed with how things will reflect on him. That’s why he couldn’t risk alienating certain demographics by endorsing Biden before Sanders had gotten out.

While the primary was still going, I had actually said this is how it would turn out and here’s why.

Sanders is the biggest threat to that legacy. His entire campaign is built on the idea that Obama simply wasn’t good enough and we need to blow it all up and start over. Biden’s campaign began to touch on this with a great ad in South Carolina reminding black voters that Sanders wanted to primary Obama after his first term. Sanders has no regard for his party’s history, and will do everything he can to build his own utopia free of the restricting hand of party precedent.

However, Obama can’t just come out and say it, because Sanders is proving to be the guy who comes closest to rebuilding the coalition of voters that Obama built in his first run, and Obama remains popular among those crowds. Sanders has incredible support among young voters, Hispanic voters, LGBT voters, and urban white voters (particularly men). The only demographic he is really missing is black voters, but they are aligned with the Obama legacy. Sanders can’t unite the Obama coalition under him so long as Biden is in the race, and Biden simply won’t be able to do it because most Sanders voters are loyal to him and him alone.

Biden didn’t really need Obama’s endorsement. Given what we’ve seen in terms of support and coalescing around the former Vice President, it appears that this was pretty much baked into everyone’s calculations already.

However, Sanders desperately needed that endorsement. The one key Democratic group that he needed in order have a shot at the nomination was black voters. That’s why he couldn’t attack Biden more than he already had - an attack on Biden was perceived as an attack on the legacy of the first black president. Sanders’ attacks aimed at Biden’s time as a Senator, rarely touching on 2008-2016. It still didn’t work, as Sanders never really got a whole lot of support among blacks.

Obama, however, couldn’t endorse too early or he’d risk alienating those key demographic groups I mentioned in the quoted text. They form such an important crux of the Democratic voting bloc that you can’t risk running them off and finding someone else. So, Obama had to let this one play out. Sanders simply could not build a strong enough coalition on his own, and his campaign folded.

The Sanders Endorsement Is Controversial, Though

The Sanders movement is not happy about the endorsement, however, and that’s as much of a problem for Biden as not getting the endorsement at all. If Sanders’ coalition doesn’t buy-in, then he’ll lag in several states he needs in order to beat Donald Trump in November.

Sanders has to be more convincing and get his voters on board, though the damage may already be done. Is supporting the “centrist” Joe Biden good enough for a movement that sees centrism as the reason they keep losing elections? Anecdotally, I have several pro-Sanders friends who are on the verge of sitting out because they are so mad at the way things turned out. It’s not data, but it is a point I’m willing to consider as see if there is more evidence.

Then again, a lot of these people are also Extremely Online people, and those who focus more on social media than the real world tend to be way more extreme in their actions than the millions of people who aren’t Extremely Online and don’t care what a bunch of political obsessives are tweeting at any given moment.

Homestyle Podcast: What Are You Reading Right Now?

On this week’s episode of Homestyle, Leigh Guidry and I talk about how much time we have to read now. I’ve been reading mostly a cookbook I love, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and she’s finishing the Lorien Legacies fantasy series. We also talk about books that are great re-reads (if you have never read To Serve Them All My Days, you really should). Plus, we talk about getting the kids to buy into reading time, and some activities you can do to help them solidify their understanding of what they’ve read. It’s an important skill for developing children and they’ll need it their whole lives.

Recipe Of The Week: Carrot Souffle

This is one of my favorite side dishes, and it’s good any day of the year. By sprinkling just a bit of powdered sugar over the casserole after it’s cooled down, you at another layer of sweetness to this great dish.

  • 16 ounces carrots (canned or freshly peeled)

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. butter (melted)

  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Using food processor, blend carrots and 1/2 cup butter together.

  3. Then combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla.

  4. Add that mixture to the carrots and mix it all together well.

  5. Use the extra butter to grease your baking dish, then spread the carrot mixture into the dish.

  6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

  7. After letting it cool, sift a little powdered sugar over the top of the souffle, then serve.

The Final Word

Chris Cuomo, a liberal anchor at CNN, apparently had some sort of existential crisis this week, questioning the value of his job at CNN. While I could be snarky and say I, too, question his value, the fact of the matter is that working in high-stress jobs (like having a nationally-known cable news show) can wear on you. Cuomo was also diagnosed with COVID-19 and his reports of what he’s suffered through are scary.

As much as I disagree with Cuomo, I don’t envy being him. He takes a lot of trash from people with a lot bigger followings than me, and he has to face people every day while having his face on national television. If he is feeling the burnout that I know so many in media are feeling right now, that I am feeling even without having that big a platform, then I can do nothing except pray for him and hope he finds peace with whatever choice he makes.

I’m as guilty of it as anyone, but we really need to be taking a step back a lot more often and reflecting on the fact that so many people out there are hurting - physically, economically, mentally, emotionally, etc. - and we need to show each other more love.