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Super (Disappointing) Tuesday and the Politics of Mediocrity

On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss Joe Biden’s sudden surge and its implications for the Democratic field. 

  • An endorsement from the “godfather of South Carolina politics,” Jim Clyburn, propels Biden to victory in the first southern primary.

  • Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer exit, clearing the way for moderate voters to coalesce behind Biden throughout the Super Tuesday states. What does it mean for Sanders?

  • Bloomberg steps aside, endorses Biden ... and, shortly after this episode drops, Warren does the same with her campaign. Is sexism to blame? 

  • If Biden does win, will a strategic VP pick soften the blow?


What a difference a week makes. 


Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic primary set off a chain reaction that radically reshaped the race. In the first southern state –– and the most diverse ––  to weigh in so far, more than 48 percent of voters chose Joe Biden. 


“I am so disappointed in the Democratic party right now,” Touré says. “It’s coalescing around someone who they do not love, out of pragmatism. And didn't we do that before?”


“We do it all the time,” says Danielle.


His campaign had been declared all but dead after poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Uncle Joe’s bid to unseat Trump came roaring back to life in South Carolina, thanks to high voter turnout and overwhelming support from Black voters. 


While Bernie Sanders finished second, no other candidates made a strong enough showing to win delegates. (Mike Bloomberg, strategically absent from the ballot, threw more millions on the ad-buy bonfire in hopes of a Super Tuesday sweep.)


By Sunday evening, Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race. Amy Klobuchar followed suit and both endorsed Biden. And when Super Tuesday arrived, moderate Democrats coalesced around the former vice president. 


Biden dominated among late deciders in all those races, Touré notes. With a narrower field and a starker choice, the cracks in Sanders’ nascent coalition became clear.


“The core of the Democratic party is Black people … but Bernie has not been able to grow his support among black people from 2016 to 2020,” he says.


That’s because he hasn’t fused his economic principles with a robust understanding of racial and ethnic inequality, Danielle notes.  


“You can't talk about the poor and not talk about ... how systems have been created to stop black people from being able to build any type of wealth. You can't all lives matter this shit.” 


It seems Super Tuesday wasn’t so super. It was pretty mediocre, actually. What now? Touré and Danielle assess the narrowed field.

Episode Highlights —

Make America Mediocre Again

Bloomberg’s victory … in the Pacific

The best news that emerged this week? Bloomberg’s exit.


In his bid for the nomination, he sidestepped field organizing, baby-kissing and pressing flesh at small-town diners in favor of blanketing key media markets with anti-Trump ads. Turns out Bloomberg spent $550 million to win the race in … American Samoa


“He could have bought American Samoa,” says Touré.


“I guess Bloomberg and his team thought that an avatar could in fact win an election,” Danielle adds. 


But Biden managed to win big despite his absence from retail politics in the Super Tuesday states. He didn’t buy ads in, or even host rallies, in many of the places he won. 


“He's got the name recognition,” says Touré. “He's a known quantity.”


Danielle thinks that Biden is something else entirely: “He’s a security blanket,” she says.


“I have never been less excited, inspired or interested in a Democratic nominee than Joe Biden,” Touré counters. “He has no personal history, talent or pet policy concern that I give a fuck about.”

But he's not what appeals to voters, says Danielle.

“People are riddled with anxiety … things are already shaken up enough with Donald Trump. They want somebody to return us to some sense of normalcy.”

Jim as Joe’s booster


Biden’s crucial South Carolina victory was undoubtedly fueled by Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who endorsed Biden in an impassioned speech days prior to the polls.


“The man is a priest and a surgeon,” Danielle says of Clyburn. “He triggered the domino effect of Super Tuesday.”


“He’s the hero of the Biden campaign … especially for older Black voters,” Touré adds. “Jim said to go in all in for him. And I assume they will show up huge for Biden in November … when Black Democratic voters coalesce around a candidate, they vote in a block.”


“I just hope that there is enough self-awareness in the Biden campaign that they reward black voters with the number two spot.”

Touré doesn’t think the veep pick matters, while Danielle disagrees. But both say that if Biden clinches the nomination, choosing Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams as his running mate would send a clear message to Black voters. 

Even if it doesn’t affect the numbers, it would say “thank you,” Touré says.

For Danielle, tapping Kamala would “put him over the top.”

Moderate candidates make way for Safe Joe

Last week, Touré didn't think that the remaining candidates –– specifically Buttigieg and Klobuchar ––  would be selfless enough to step aside. 


“I thought the moderate lane was so clogged that Joe would have a hard time pushing ahead of Bernie,” he says. “That was wrong. Clearly the Democratic establishment has said, we have to get serious about stopping Bernie Sanders. They see Bernie as an existential threat, and perhaps a literal threat, to their own jobs.”

Danielle initially thought Bernie would “run the table,” and that Democratic voters are ready for a revolution. But they’re not, she says. They want to feel safe. 

“For them, Joe Biden represents that. It’s what he was running on: you know me, I'm safe.”

However, she admits that Bernie Sanders won’t go quietly if Biden maintains his slim edge.

“He is a major problem. He’ll be a thorn in the side of this party all the way to convention.”



Warren gets the race issue, but it’s not enough in this race


“I'm curious how much longer Elizabeth Warren stays in,” says Touré.


“I think that by the time that this airs, she will be out,” Danielle laments. “There's no path.”

[Editor’s note: Ms. Moodie-Mills was exactly right.] 

That was excruciatingly clear when Warren finished third in her home state of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday.

“Everybody knows I love Elizabeth Warren,” she adds. “Her framework is always infused with race. She understands how all of these systems were built to work against people of color.

“But America hates women and she's not going to be president,” Danielle says.

Touré isn’t certain that sexism is the only force at play. She might have waited too long to show the fighting spirit that kicked off Bloomberg’s demise.

“I thought that she was the perfect blend of progressive and palatable,” he says. “Bernie haters don't like his personality … he seems very get off my lawn. They see him as a political Larry David.”

“That’s the best description of Bernie Sanders,” Danielle says. “He is loud. He is obnoxious. But he’s not as funny.”

Passing on Bernie for the ‘milquetoast moderate’


Warren’s absence presents a few questions for Touré.


“Can Bernie propel himself without Warren in the conversation? Because he's the number two choice for most of her supporters. Or do we continue to have a party that rejects substantive, valuable change in politics in favor of a milquetoast moderate?”


Touré’s conclusion: “We’re choosing the nominee who is most palatable to the fringe Republican.”


For those who feel blindsided by Biden’s sudden surge, he says that the Democratic establishment must reach out to progressives. 


“I need somebody to reach out, because I feel hurt … the Democratic party has left me and moved centerward. What is my place here?”


But Touré is tired of hearing that Bernie’s policies won’t pass Mitch McConnell’s senate. 


“Do we ask that about Biden's ideas? Mitch won't go for any of them either,” he says.


“Biden doesn't have any ideas,” Danielle replies. But even so, she thinks Biden will continue to amass delegates –– and that Sanders can't blame his recent setbacks on the Democratic establishment or a “rigged system.” 


“The people voted en masse, and they don't fucking want you.”

Empty suit or reliable soup?


There’s a formula to Joe Biden's campaign, says Touré: Not Bernie. Not Trump. Stood with Obama.

“Somewhere in there, I'd like to see who you are,” he says. “I know what he is not, but I don't know what he is. I find him vacuous … an empty suit ... a classic perma-smile, tanned, slicked-back, white male politician.”


Paradoxically, that’s part of his appeal. In the Trump era, voters are craving classic, bland comfort food.


“Does anybody love chicken noodle soup? When lobster bisque is on the menu, is that what you're ordering? No. But when you want to feel good, you order chicken soup. It's not the fanciest thing, but it's reliable.”


Touré understands the analogy. “Mommy made it when you were sick,” he says.


“Exactly –– and the country is fucking sick,” says Danielle.


Pray about it.


Friday Extra: Interview with America’s youngest Black mayor

His brief tenure as mayor was a rollercoaster of big wins and head-spinning challenges from his opponents. And though he’s homeless right now, he’s gearing up to run again: this time, challenging Pat Toomey for his Pennsylvania senate seat. 


“He is a really smart political operative, political animal,” says Touré, who met Brandaun on Twitter. “I’m very impressed by him.”


With a platform that emphasizes solving America’s growing homeless problem –– as well as reparations for the descendants of slaves –– Brandaun is a politician to watch.


A few highlights from the interview:


On reparation as a main campaign issue: “My living protest of saying I should be in the United States Senate … that is my form of reparation. That is for me personally, but also for all those people who will be moved to believe that the Senate matters –– that the highest and most deliberative body has a context in [our] modern time.”


On being homeless while running for office: “I'm living in the experience and have real proximity to the experience of people — in this country — who feel that something has got to give right now, and they ain't all Black. They just happen to have proximity to Blackness.”

On the cost of holding onto integrity in politics: “I was the youngest black mayor in the country. Of course, people call me and say: well, you know, we want to help you but we need this. And what this was wasn’t always aligned with the best interest of my people, and therefore I'm not a millionaire.”

Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!


Bernie Rises, Bloomberg Falls. We’re All Exhausted AF

This week on democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss the circular firing squad that is the 2020 Democratic primary.

  • Right-wingers have been smearing liberals as commies for years. Why are some Dems running red-scared?

  • Will the eventual Dem candidate’s veep have bleep-all to do with anything?

  • Why is the Democratic party compelled to show their math, when Republicans don’t seem to care who pays for an ineffective wall or a new branch of the military?


Another week, another Democratic debate.


“It was a total shit show,” says Touré of Tuesday night’s standoff in South Carolina. It was the candidates’ last chance to make their case to voters before that state’s primary on Saturday (and all-important Super Tuesday just 48 hours later). 


“It was probably the worst debate of them all. It's hard when people talk over each other to understand what they want to say,” he adds.


Danielle thinks it’s equally difficult when the moderators “clearly took Xanax beforehand.”


Speaking of being sedated: there seemed to be a consensus that everyone on the debate stage wants to legalize –– or at least decriminalize –– marijuana. 


“That was the only highlight –– everyone is getting joints,” says Danielle.


Because the Trump era seems to bend time even when we’re sober, Touré says that it feels like a year ago when he was waking up at night in cold sweats, terrified that Michael Bloomberg will buy the 2020 election. But in reality, it’s been just over a week.


Based on Bloomie’s dismal performance in the last two debates, Touré is no longer afraid that the former mayor of New York will ride his billions all the way to Milwaukee.


Danielle doesn’t think he can win with ideas or policies, but she does believe that his boundless money is still a threat. If Bernie doesn’t win a clear majority of delegates, what happens? 


“The superdelegates will come down from the mount and decide this thing for us,” says Touré. 


But what if Bloomberg buys them off? It seems like a conspiracy theory –– and yet ...


“We need to think that everything is a possibility at this point,” Danielle says. 


Read on for our hosts’ takes on just a few possibilities –– the good, the bad and everything in between.

Episode Highlights — Bernie and the S-Word

A ‘red’ herring

Since our president is such a fan of Roy Cohn and ‘50s nostalgia, it was only a matter of time before Trump revived the “red scare.” 


This week, a video surfaced of Bernie in the ‘80s discussing the upsides of Castro’s regime in Cuba: universal healthcare and decent public education. 


“These are actually good things. If they can do it on this tiny island, we can do it in America. That's not radical,” Touré says.


But right-wing reactionaries seized on the opportunity to paint him as a communist sympathizer.


Despite the fact that Bernie’s brand of Democratic socialism is worlds away from Castro’s dictatorship, our collective lack of civics literacy makes it easy to raise the specter of McCarthyism “and scare the shit out of people,” Danielle says. 


“Donald Trump plays to our ignorance.”


Even moderate Democrats find it irresistible. They differentiate themselves from Bernie as being definitely not socialist, she adds. 


“They're just throwing words around that they know terrify the American people without actually explaining anything.”

Touré agrees, pointing to the many quite socialist aspects of our economy: a limited choice of utility companies, for example. In certain sectors, government regulation is necessary –– and that makes sense to most voters.

“But when Bernie talks about making college free and healthcare available to everybody, people freak out,” Touré says.

The cold war vs. the kids


Touré is disappointed to see the freakout flag flying high at MSNBC, of all places.

Though he’s since apologized for his comments, Chris Matthews compared Bernie’s win in Nevada to the fall of France to the Nazis

“These discussions are from a bygone era,” says Danielle. 

For those who remember the Cold War, it affects your ideology and your worldview, Touré says. “Bernie seems frightening because socialism equals communism ... That's part of why Bernie has been struggling with the over-65s.”

“Younger people are like, Denmark seems to have a pretty good situation. What's the problem?”

The veepstakes are high


Danielle thinks the vice-presidential candidate will be critical in this cycle, especially if the nominee is septuagenarian Bernie Sanders. A strategic veep would also “balance out what many deem to be his radical ideology,” she says. 


Touré disagrees: “The VP pick is never a decisive factor ... People vote for the top of the ticket.”


But Obama chose Biden because he needed an older (white) statesman to “legitimize him,” Danielle notes. She thinks Sanders will need a similar kind of moderating counterweight.


She would be thrilled if he picked Warren –– or former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams.

Touré is skeptical. Even if running mates moved the needle, he can’t see the wisdom of choosing a fellow progressive. And presidential nominees never choose their direct competitors –– “that would be ahistorical,” he says.


“We are living in an ahistorical moment,” Danielle counters. “Our culture has been disrupted ever since Trump came down that escalator … In this particular moment, we could be more expansive in our thinking.”

Tactically, Touré could imagine Bernie choosing Abrams, a well-loved figure from a red state with a national profile. Or perhaps someone from a critical swing state –– like Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.


“We ain't doing two white men this time around,” Danielle replies.



The blue math


Hardly anyone questions allocating a whopping 15 percent of the federal budget for defense. But when Bernie Sanders proposes Medicare for all and free college education, it’s a different story. 


“Why doesn't he just say, Mexico's going to pay for it?” Danielle jests. “It seemed to work last time.”

Touré thinks that’s part of the problem: Republicans are ostensibly the deficit hawks, but they don’t obsess over how to build a wall or launch the damn Space Force.

“The left needs to show their work and the right does not ... We have to prove down to the penny how we're going to afford [social programs],” he says.


Danielle questions whether Democrats impose this standard on themselves. 

“Yeah, we do,” Touré responds. That’s because the Dems are a “party of intellectuals, a party that expects the government to work efficiently and effectively. So when one wants to make radical, significant change … the others ask, how would you do that?”


For Touré, the best answer is to increase taxes on the super-rich. But Buttigieg (buoyed by billionaire donors) and Bloomberg (riding on his own billions) can't make that argument. 


“Bernie is one of the candidates who can, and that’s catnip now.”

Summer games?


What bothers Touré now is that, in a seven-person field, the candidates don’t seem to be concerned with what's best for the Democratic party. 


“They're thinking about what's best for them, even if it’s setting themselves up for next time.”


Bernie is a good example of how that works. His previous candidacy enabled his current bid with advantages like “experience, name recognition and understanding how the game is played,” Touré says. “Republicans tend to do that –– number two becomes number one next time.” 


Democrats don't usually go this route, but it worked for Bernie. So his opponents might think it’s worthwhile to hang around until June to strengthen their brands. 


That’s not good for the electorate, says Danielle.


“We’re exhausted. We're battling climate change, the fucking coronavirus and Trump gaslighting the country.”


And although 2008 found Barack and Hillary fighting well into July, “we weren't facing an existential crisis then,” she adds.


Today, we’re tasked with nothing less than saving our democracy. And while Bernie is painted as a pinko, “Trump is actually bringing back the parts of communism we hate and fear,” Touré says. 


“Who’s most likely to reenact ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ with hangings in Central Park? … We have an actual fascist in the White House.”


Here comes the drop (out)


By the time democracy-ish drops next week, we should have much more clarity on the race. Voters in South Carolina and at the Super Tuesday polls will have their say. The March 3 contests alone comprise 11 states, a handful of territories and Democrats Abroad, representing 40 percent of the U.S. population. 


Those voters are especially vital for Biden and his purported “firewall” in the Palmetto State. Could a solid debate performance, coupled with a high-profile endorsement from congressman Jim Clyburn, spell a comeback for Uncle Joe?


“At this point, when he talks, I hear Charlie Brown's parents,” says Touré. “I'm just not interested. But he’s clearly woken up … and he’s fighting for his political life.”


Touré and Danielle agree that whittling down the race will improve it. Who will be the first to drop out?


“God willing, Klobuchar,” Danielle says. “Buttigieg, as well as Steyer. And Bloomberg, frankly. They all need to go. Wake up Wednesday morning, have a come-to-Jesus moment and do what's right for the party.”


Stay tuned... and pray about it.


Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

Debate (Fight) Night... Bloomberg Gets Frisked

On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss the Democratic field post-New Hampshire and what, if anything, it tells us about the race overall.

  • With Biden’s poll numbers tanking, Mike Bloomberg gathers steam. Unlike Trump, he’s an actual billionaire. But will “stop and frisk” sink his candidacy?

  • Bernie’s the front-runner despite the fear among many on the left that he’s too socialist. What does that really mean, and does it matter?


On Wednesday night in Las Vegas, everybody was kung-fu fighting. Befitting its venue, the Democratic debate was an actual brawl. 


Finally! Some real action. 


With just six candidates remaining on stage prior to the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, everyone’s gloves came off. Hardly five minutes had elapsed before Elizabeth Warren threw the first punch. She might as well have lit the $300 million-plus Bloomberg spent so far on fire and roasted him alive over the embers.


Warren warned us against the danger of a billionaire who refers to women as “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians” –– which seemed like a dig on Trump until she revealed it was a quip from Bloomberg.


“I screamed,” says Danielle. “I lost it.”


Gauntlet thrown, the rest of the candidates piled on Bloomberg –– and each other. But Warren wasn’t done with the new kid on the soapbox.


In a pointed critique of Bloomberg’s liberal use of NDAs among female employees, she put him on the spot and insisted he release them from their legal obligation to stay quiet about lord knows what. 


In the words of Sarah Silverman, who live-tweeted the event: “Holy shit this show is going to get picked up.”


Who emerged victorious? Well, if you’re a democracy-ish listener, you know that’s a matter of (strong) opinion. Danielle and Touré explain.

Episode Highlights — Say Goodbye to Our Little Friend

Why Bernie won, according to Touré

Front-runner Bernie Sanders turned in a classic, on-brand performance, dealing with two of the strikes against him head on. 


“The heart attack –– he completely normalized it. I'm totally healthy. I'm ready to do the job,” says Touré. “And when he talked about economic empowerment being for the working man and socialism being for the rich, he completely turned it into a positive for himself.”

And in the other corner: Danielle and Elizabeth Warren 


“My sleeves have been rolled up since I walked in the door,” says Danielle. “That motherfucker didn't win a thing.”


“Elizabeth Warren came out swinging. She has facts and plans and a desire to actually be president of the United States. She smacked everybody up and down the line. Why? Because none of their plans amount to a damn thing.”


Her favorite moment was when Warren called out the Midwest moderates for their inadequate healthcare plans. (Buttigieg’s was less a plan than a PowerPoint, while Klobuchar’s was “like a Post-It –– insert plan here.”)


“I said, bitch, you better run with it.” 

Warren’s war on the media blackout


Danielle sees Warren’s MO right now as a “fight for people to recognize she's still in the race.” She observes, “The media has totally blacked [Warren] out.”


And Danielle thinks that she unambiguously won the debate. 


“Why –– because she attacked everybody?” asks Touré.


Not so. Danielle points out that Warren found ways to bring people of color “thoughtfully, strategically, into every single conversation ... There isn’t another goddamn candidate who can, or would, do that.” 


Warren connected the Dems’ core points –– like climate change –– to issues like environmental justice. The other candidates would rather ignore its disproportionate impact on communities of color. She also talked about childcare, HBCUs and the racial wealth gap. 


“She’s able to put a social justice and racial framework around everything,” she says. “That is the kind of president I need. Because Black and brown people in this country are suffering.”


Danielle is over what seems to be Dems’ knee-jerk response to Trump’s narrow Rust Belt victory: an obsession with the white working class. 


“I'm tired of hearing about their goddamn struggle,” she says. “I'm tired of chasing after their votes. We should be looking toward the 100 million people who didn’t vote in the last election.”



Bloomberg’s debut: a date without destiny


When his campaign was merely a twinkle on millions of TV screens across the nation –– stuffed with anti-Trump messaging that he alone controlled — Bloomberg looked like a hot commodity.


But if Wednesday’s debate was Bloomberg's first date with America, “he ain't getting a text back,” says Danielle. 


Touré agrees. “It was such a terrible date that it's the kind where you get a friend to call 20 minutes in: I gotta go – my mom is sick. You don’t even make it through the appetizer.” 


Danielle thinks everybody had a pact to go after Bloomberg: “He doesn't have the constituency and doesn't belong there. They’ve all been in this race, laying down roots for about a year.”


The pact could work: Dems can sway voters more easily from Bloomberg than Bernie. Although he clearly has the money to influence the race, it’s unclear exactly what he’s bringing to the table.


During a large portion of the debate, Bloomberg seemed to fade away.


“I didn't know humans could disintegrate,” Danielle says.


Touré had been afraid that Bloomberg would just “buy up everybody's campaign staff and take this thing over. 


“After tonight ... I don't think that's gonna happen.”


Time marches on (toward Super Tuesday) 


Touré thinks that although Warren slayed the stage, it won’t change much for the die-hard Berners. The structure of the debate is ripe for drama but not for substance, he says. 


“She won the ‘Me Too’ moment with Mike ... She won that [other] moment with Amy. … Do you think that she gained ground on Bernie tonight? His poll numbers will not go down as a result.”


So, what’s next?


After Nevada, the pace picks up. South Carolina votes on Leap Day and Super Tuesday is just days later, on March 3. That’s the drop-dead-deadline for any Democrat who hopes to win enough delegates to clinch the nomination.


After that, the race will look very different. It’s possible that one or several candidates will drop out even sooner. 


And it’s certain that the rumble in Vegas is just a preview of what’s to come. If this is what happens when the Dems face off against each other, the general election fight against Trump is likely to resemble the Red Wedding on “Game of Thrones.”


“We are coming for you,” says Touré.


Danielle thinks it will look more like “Scarface” –– say hello to my little friend


“What if Mike Bloomberg is the ‘little friend?’” Touré asks.


“Oh shit,” Danielle replies.


Triple backflips and the shackles of patriarchy 


Danielle sees Elizabeth Warren as a candidate who understands systems of injustice beyond the economic ones. 


“It pisses me off that America is so fucking misogynistic ... the policies she’s offering for everybody make the most sense. 


“People will get behind Sanders because he is a man and he can be crazy, with his wild hair and his spitting and his yelling. But Warren had other shackles around her, the shackles of patriarchy. I find that so troublesome.”


Touré agrees. 


“I too am sad to see Warren fading,” he says. “I think she would be a great president. I think that she would beat Trump. I think that the Democratic fear of losing to him is motivating us to say we need somebody who will figuratively and perhaps literally punch him in the face. There’s a sense that Bloomberg might do that.”


The female candidates, on the other hand, have to “do triple backflips” to compete, Touré says. 


Next week, Nevada weighs in, giving us the first look at what a relatively diverse electorate might think. Meanwhile, Trump is unabashedly wiping his ass with the constitution. 


“It's getting very exciting,” says Touré. “And by exciting, I mean––”


“Terrifying,” says Danielle.


Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

Feel the Bern or Stop and Risk Bloomberg?

  • On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss the Democratic field post-New Hampshire and what, if anything, it tells us about the race overall.

  • With Biden’s poll numbers tanking, Mike Bloomberg gathers steam. Unlike Trump, he’s an actual billionaire. But will “stop and frisk” sink his candidacy?

  • Bernie’s the front-runner despite the fear among many on the left that he’s too socialist. What does that really mean, and does it matter?


It’s an old political adage: Republicans fall in line. Democrats (are supposed to) fall in love.


Touré makes a plea to Democratic voters: Give yourself a chance to fall in love, without the mind games. 

“Don't think about who Trump most or least wants to face,” says Touré. “Do you let him make other decisions in your life? Does Trump decide where you're going for lunch?”


“I don't let Donald Trump decide what I'm going to eat because I don't want cold fast food,” Danielle says.


Right now all the major Democratic candidates are beating the president in head-to-head match-up polls. If we’ve learned anything from the last year, the concept of “electability” is a farce, he says. Trump thought the most electable candidate was Biden, and look where that got him.


“You didn't even need to call Ukraine,” says Touré. “You could have kept your mouth shut and Biden still would've fallen apart.”


In the absence of conventional wisdom about electability, is the answer something as illogical as emotion?


“I want somebody who understands we are living in dangerous times,” Danielle says. “I do not want to hear any of these fucking candidates talk about working across the aisle.” 


As we watched the race unfold post-New Hampshire primary, four prosecutors in the Roger Stone case quit in protest because their boss, Trump’s Enabler –– er, Attorney General William Barr “got a wink and a nod from the president to lighten the sentence for his criminal-ass buddy,” Danielle notes.


Her takeaway from New Hampshire is that “white folks don't believe that we're in danger,” she says. “They don't understand the critical moment we’re in, which they've shown through low voter turnout.” 


Where do we go from here? As always, Touré and Danielle have more than a few feelings to share.

Episode Highlights — Do You Feel the Bern?


Midwestern values in the Northeastern primary


After New Hampshire, we’re left with one progressive against two moderate candidates. 


“That suggests to me that Bernie will be able to consolidate Elizabeth Warren's support and get a big lead,” says Touré. “He has the most passionate supporters –– and detractors –– of anyone in the race.” 


Bernie's challenge now is to convince sceptics that he can win and bring them into the fold –– enough that “he starts taking people away from Pete and Amy,” Touré adds.


“I'm just gonna let this be on the record: Amy and Buttigieg –– I can't stand the two of them,” says Danielle. “When I hear Midwestern fucking values –– as if their experience in the Midwest around all white people is somehow better or more valued than the rest of us who live on the coasts or in big cities. 


“Both of them push that privileged white bullshit to the 10th degree. And I'm over it.” 


Danielle doesn’t think we will hear from the Midwestern moderates in the next few weeks. 


“I don't see them pulling any weight in states that are actually representative of the country,” she says.

Bloomberg’s ‘stop and frisk’ — crime fighting or collective trauma?


Biden’s core argument is that he’s the pragmatic choice. But after his poor performance in the first two states, even his staunchest supporters are jumping ship –– “tons of Black people, in particular,” Touré says. 


In the states Bloomberg is blanketing with ads, he “damn near cut Biden's lead with Black voters in half,” says Danielle. “They are taking Trump head on. He is talking about the danger of the current moment that we're in.” 


And yet, even a billionaire isn’t immune to oppo research.


This week, an audio recording emerged from a 2015 speech in which Bloomberg made cavalier remarks about the infamous “stop and frisk” policy.  


Touré lived in New York during Mayor Mike’s tenure and saw its repercussions firsthand. At its apex, police were using the tactic on up to 600,000 Black and brown men in NYC every year, “criminalizing and traumatizing a whole community,” he says. 


Even as crime trended toward record lows, Bloomberg saw it as a way to ensure his repeated reelection –– because white communities felt safer, says Touré.


“This is the person you’d rather choose than someone like Bernie Sanders or even Pete? This rejection of Black and brown liberties is frightening to me.”

Dark money talks


While we’re on the topic, Bloomberg has been able to cut into Biden's lead with Black folks for the same reason he’s a threat to Bernie: cash.  


If Bernie is the eventual nominee, it’s going to take a lot of it to combat the inevitable noise from Fox News and the Rush Limbaughs of the world..


“Unfortunately this race will have a lot to do with money and messaging –– two things Democrats fucking suck at,” says Danielle.


Although the primary began with the most diverse field ever, “one by one, they were all picked off,” she adds. “What was the leading refrain? Didn't have the money.”


Danielle notes that Russia taught us how easily messaging can be manipulated. But we haven’t fully reckoned with Citizens United v. FEC –– the 2010 SCOTUS decision that cleared the way for unlimited “dark money” in elections.


While the super-rich have always shaped politics, Citizens United emboldened billionaires to run themselves. It’s quite possibly just the beginning of a trend, says Touré. 


“It doesn’t bode well for campaign finance reform. I don't think it's right that one candidate can spend $250 million propping himself up.”


“It's over $300 million,” Danielle counters. “But the Supreme Court thought it felt right.”



OK, Boomer


It’s heartening, in the era of billionaire politicos, that Bernie is “uniquely powered by small donations, which I have long felt is a huge indicator that he could win this thing,” says Touré. 


Yet so many pundits insist Bernie can't win because he's “too socialist, too irascible,” says Touré. But he doesn’t buy arguments about what Trump and company will do with Bernie’s socialism.


“Trump's going to lie about whoever is his competition,” he says. “He’ll call any of them a socialist, or whatever word he needs to use, to sow doubt. 


“Bernie can absolutely parry that ... We are close to finally nominating a progressive. And the party has resisted it on a pragmatic stance for so long.” 


Touré admits there’s a reason for that, pointing to Chris Matthews’ recent bout of Bernie-bashing. “It’s almost knee-jerk because of the word socialism,” he says. 


“If you're in Gen X, the Cold War was something you read about in textbooks but it wasn’t a visceral thing. If you're a millennial, you're like, what is the Cold War? Why was it so cold? Was that climate change? 


“But if you're a Boomer, it really matters.” 


What about the argument that super-progressive policies will never get past the Grim Reaper, a.k.a. Mitch McConnell?


“He's not going to go for anything any Democrat posits,” Touré says. “Again, you're allowing the right to make the choice for you.”

By trying to triangulate what policies Mitch and his minions will accept, “you've moved the Overton window to the right,” he adds –– which puts Dems in the unfortunate position of trying to govern from the right.


It’s not just the economy, Bernie (race is a thing, too)  


For Danielle, Bernie’s democratic socialism is just another spin on James Carville’s (and recently, Tom Steyer’s) argument: it’s the economy, stupid


“It's not just the fucking economy,” she says.


Danielle points out that capitalism isn’t just a way to distract the poor from the excesses of the rich. It’s also a system that keeps people of color disenfranchised. She doesn’t hear Bernie address that.


“Bernie needs a racial framework,” she says. “As a Black lesbian and a child of immigrants, I'm like, what are you doing for me ... for communities that are marginalized, that live at the intersection of multiple identities?”


That being said, Danielle is open to voting for anyone who can kick Trump out of office.


“My hate for Trump is not just like, I don't like him,” she says. “I hate white supremacy. I hate white nationalism. I hate the idea that this white man is above the law. I hate the fucking cronyism. I hate the criminality of it. Everything that he represents is everything that is wrong with America.”


And yet, she adds, “Bernie has flaws that need to be addressed, because it fucking matters.”


Triple backflips and the shackles of patriarchy 


Danielle sees Elizabeth Warren as a candidate who understands systems of injustice beyond the economic ones. 


“It pisses me off that America is so fucking misogynistic ... the policies she’s offering for everybody make the most sense. 


“People will get behind Sanders because he is a man and he can be crazy, with his wild hair and his spitting and his yelling. But Warren had other shackles around her, the shackles of patriarchy. I find that so troublesome.”


Touré agrees. 


“I too am sad to see Warren fading,” he says. “I think she would be a great president. I think that she would beat Trump. I think that the Democratic fear of losing to him is motivating us to say we need somebody who will figuratively and perhaps literally punch him in the face. There’s a sense that Bloomberg might do that.”


The female candidates, on the other hand, have to “do triple backflips” to compete, Touré says. 


Next week, Nevada weighs in, giving us the first look at what a relatively diverse electorate might think. Meanwhile, Trump is unabashedly wiping his ass with the constitution. 


“It's getting very exciting,” says Touré. “And by exciting, I mean––”


“Terrifying,” says Danielle.


Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

Iowa’s Epic Fail and

Our State of Dis-Union

  • On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss the chaos in Iowa, why the hell Democrats start there and what a more inclusive primary might look like.

  • In a State of the Union address chock full of viral moments, Nancy Pelosi out-memes them all. 

  • Noted racist Rush Limbaugh joins Mother Teresa, Stephen Hawking, Mr. Rogers and Edward R. Murrow as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

  • Elizabeth Warren took a DNA test. Turns out she’s only a fraction of a percent Cherokee. Though she’s walked back her claims of Native American heritage, she keeps embellishing her bio. What gives?


Iowa, you had one job. 

“The entire country, the entire world's eyes were on Iowa,” says Danielle. “This was their big moment, their pageant. Everybody's been courting them. They got dressed up. They were ready for their closeup –– and they fucked it up.”

A glitchy app, poor planning, jammed phone lines and a fuck-ton of conspiracy theories later, the results of the 2020 Iowa caucuses are too close to call. What is clear is that, despite the Democrats’ extended courtship with Iowans, voter turnout was low.

“What's the problem, people? Are you not scared?” Touré asks.


“They don't have to be,” Danielle says. “What the fuck are they afraid of? Their lives in middle America will be the same … Nothing is going to affect them because their whiteness is their currency. That's the fucking problem.”


This week, there are so many things to be mad about. Read on for just a few.

Episode Highlights

— Fuck Iowa


Iowa shits the bed


There’s an app for everything –– except when it’s buggy, untested and deployed to the smartphones of hundreds of volunteers. 


“Technology doesn't make everything fucking better,” says Danielle.


Touré has a bigger problem with Iowa being first. “Maybe it works for the Republican party. But it doesn't make any sense for the Democrats to start their primary season in rural, red, ultra-white Iowa.”


Danielle adds: “91 percent white. It's not even reflective of the white population nationally ... Iowa is 30 percent more white than America as a whole.”


Iowa is emblematic of inherent flaws with the primary process itself. 


“There's a problem with starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, with the way we do debates. There are so many problems with the superdelegate system,” Touré says. 


“Let’s redesign the system so we get a better candidate who is ready for the general and for the presidency.”


He thinks the Dems should kick off in a true swing state, like Pennsylvania, Michigan or Ohio. 


“It always comes down to Ohio. There's red and blue, urban and rural. It's a little Southern. It's definitely Midwestern … We know Ohio is a bellwether state. Why wouldn’t you target that?”


Danielle concurs: “Also, there are black people there.”

The race in Iowa and…race


As of Friday, the winner in Iowa is uncertain even as Buttigieg and Sanders both declare victory. 


“Buttigieg is the old person's vision of the perfect young person,” says Touré. “And Bernie’s the young person's vision of the perfect old person.”


For Danielle, the ongoing showdown is virtually meaningless. Buttigieg likely won’t make headway anywhere besides “whitey-white land,” she says. “That's it for him. Iowa and New Hampshire are your saving fucking grace. Outside of that, you're not getting any traction.”


But there is one way Iowa matters: Biden’s poor showing has exposed his weakness as a candidate. 


“With name recognition like his, to come in fourth is devastating,” says Danielle.


Looking forward, she’s increasingly worried about the elephant that’s omnipresent but never in the (debate) room: Mike Bloomberg. 


“I think Iowa gave Bloomberg the alley-oop he needed,” says Danielle. “Essentially, he is not paying attention to the first four states, because as a numbers guy, he decided they don't really matter in the grand scheme of things.” 


Instead, Bloomberg is focusing on Super Tuesday, doubling down on multimillion-dollar ad buys in the 14 states (including, notably, California) that will vote on March 3. 

“He's making himself a factor,” Danielle says.

State of dis-union


Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, “the non-billionaire was on stage flapping his gums,” says Touré.


“I always wondered what a Klan rally would look like,” Danielle quips. “Yeah, I said it.”


On the eve of his acquittal in the Senate, Trump entered the chamber to Republican chants of “four more years” (impartial jurors, all) and delivered a State of the Union address riddled with inaccuracies, punctuated by a number of made-for-TV moments. These included a military homecoming and an appeal for school choice via a scholarship for a Philadelphia fourth-grader.


“It was like a Republican campaign rally in an incredibly inappropriate way,” Touré says. “And I love to see a soldier come home, reunite with his family. But is that what we should be doing in the middle of the State of the Union? And do you think it's appropriate as a black person ... to show up with your daughter and be front and center supporting this man?”


But the true viral moment of the night belonged to the Speaker of the House, who pointedly tore up a copy of Trump’s speech as he basked in applause. 


“Pelosi is my spirit animal,” says Touré. 



Press fight club


True to his “the press is the enemy of the people” mindset, Trump excluded CNN from the traditional pre-SOTU media luncheon. While it’s hardly the worst way our president has attacked the media, Touré thinks members of the press should do more to support each other. 


“Today it's CNN. Tomorrow it could be you,” he says. “They should work together and say these exclusions are not acceptable ... Let him have another conversation alone with Fox.”


The media doesn’t recognize its own power, says Danielle. “If you come for one of us, you come for all of us,” she says. “When they're in press conferences watching Trump attack black female reporters or throwing guys out for asking follow-up questions, those questions should be asked again by everybody else –– until they’re answered.”


Medal of Freedom as reality-TV prop 


“My god. We gave a medal of fucking freedom to Rush fucking Limbaugh,” says Touré. “It's not supposed to be a State of the Union prop.”


That’s right. Rush Limbaugh –– the birther conspiracist who referred to Michelle Obama as a “primate in heels” –– received the nation’s highest civilian honor in the midst of the president’s address.


“He’s racist, sexist, homophobic, on and on,” says Touré. “But not merely in his private life ... The boisterous, dishonest, loud, aggressive, personally attacking racist style that has become part and parcel of the modern Republican party – Limbaugh is one of the key architects of that.”


Danielle sees it as just another example of Trump’s relentless destruction of norms. “If your entire presidency is a reality TV show, everyone is a prop.” 


And as he captured the imagination of would-be millionaires everywhere on “The Apprentice,” Trump has mastered the theatrics of the presidency. 


“Everything is meant to either distract or entertain,” says Danielle. “Because America is so fucking dumbed down. Our brains are cotton candy. We're Netflixing and chilling ourselves to death. He knows we don't have any attention span, that everything is about entertainment. And that's what he gives us.”


Warren’s ‘truth-ish’ ways 


While we may never know who won Iowa (assuming it matters at all), it’s clear that Elizabeth Warren finished with the bronze and could still clinch the nomination.


“I would be thrilled to vote for Elizabeth Warren,” says Touré. “But she keeps doing this thing that bothers the fuck out of me.” 

That thing is what he calls “truth-ish:” She calls herself the “daughter of a janitor” (he was a salesman who later worked as a maintenance man), made a controversial claim about being forced out of her job for being pregnant, fibbed about sending her kids to public school and … well, the Native American thing.

Some of these claims are meant to make her seem “a little more salt of the earth,” but she doesn’t need to try so hard, says Touré. “Saying these things just distracts us from the important and valuable work she’s done, the ideas and plans she has.”

Danielle’s not so sure it does, pointing to Trump’s prodigious lying habit. “Politics, at its heart, is about fucking lying and convincing people that you’re just like them. When you're not. You're ‘better.’

“I don't really give a fuck. Elizabeth Warren has policies for days.”

Touré disagrees: “The fact that Trump lies is not a reason for us to lie. We should be better.”


New year, new reality 


Danielle and Touré agree that the Dems’ post-SOTU rebuttal (delivered by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer) was disappointing. Actually, “bullshit” was Danielle’s characterization of it.  


“Do something different,” Touré says. 


“I saw this argument on Twitter, and I agree: The house managers should have done the rebuttal,” Danielle says. “It would have been their opportunity –– because Moscow Midnight Mitch didn't allow [the Senate vote] in prime time –– to restate the case and the arguments against Donald Trump.”


“Stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Folks, it's a new day. It's a new world. It's a new political reality and everybody needs to get woke to that fucking shit.”



Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

“It has been a profoundly sad week,” says Touré, who admits that even as a lifelong Celtics fan, he can’t deny that Kobe was a rare and indelible talent.


“He clearly had a different mindset toward the game and toward hard work than everybody else. And I have great respect for the person he was becoming in retirement.”


Danielle was touched by the collective mourning. “To see that the whole entire world essentially stopped a couple of days ago is to recognize the impact that one person's life can have on so many different people.”

Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

Can You Feel the Bern, but Not the Bernie Bros?

  • On this episode of democracy-ish, Touré and Danielle discuss Kobe Bryant’s legacy and how the media capitalizes on tragedy.

  • With Bernie Sanders leading polls in Iowa, the primary preseason is nearly over and the big game is about to kick off. Touré and Danielle have all the feels on Bernie as the possible candidate. 

  • Cro-magnon podcaster Joe Rogan endorses Bernie. Can his support help topple Trump, or should progressives cancel him for toxic masculinity?

With the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses just days away and Impeachapalooza speeding toward a likely Senate acquittal, the news cycle was briefly interrupted by the heartbreaking reports that Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. 


This week, our hosts are sad as they are outraged.


“I can't stop thinking about his wife, Vanessa –– the loss of her baby and the loss of the love of her life,” says Danielle. “But the fucking media failed. Reputable outlets, trashy ones –– they all f*cking failed by taking part in the chase to be first. They didn’t give a shit about getting it right.”


If you weren’t glued to TV or Twitter last Sunday, TMZ broke the story before the LA County Sheriff’s department could notify the victims’ families. Then an ABC broadcaster falsely reported that all the Bryant children were aboard the fatal flight. 


“False information spreads like a virus,” Danielle adds. “We really need to pull ourselves back from the edge.”

Speaking of fake news and how to fix it, let’s turn our attention to the Democratic primary.

With Bernie topping RealClearPolitics’ average of polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and California, shit’s about to get real.


“The preseason is almost over,” says Touré. 


What does Bernie’s lead mean for the Democrats’ bid to oust Trump? Are Bernie bros sooo 2016? Can Bernie go mano a mano with Senate Majority Leader Grim Reaper Moscow Midnight Chicken Kiev Mitch McConnell? 


Plus, Danielle has a brilliant strategy for the Sanders campaign: show us your cabinet. 


Go forth and clarify. You’re welcome.

Episode Highlights — What If Bernie Wins?




A legend in a league of his own


“It has been a profoundly sad week,” says Touré, who admits that even as a lifelong Celtics fan, he can’t deny that Kobe was a rare and indelible talent.


“He clearly had a different mindset toward the game and toward hard work than everybody else. And I have great respect for the person he was becoming in retirement.”


Danielle was touched by the collective mourning. “To see that the whole entire world essentially stopped a couple of days ago is to recognize the impact that one person's life can have on so many different people.”

As Iowa goes, so goes the nation (maybe) 


Meanwhile, in the heartland, the beat goes on. Monday night, Iowans will huddle in school gyms, VFW halls and libraries across the state to lobby their neighbors to vote for their favorite 2020 pick.


“Kobe would say that we can’t think about the end of the game when we have an early lead,” says Touré. “However, the potential for Bernie to win seems more possible than it did six months ago.” 


As Touré sees it, Elizabeth Warren is Bern’s compatriot in the progressive lane. So her relative drop in the polls suggests that her supporters are defecting to Camp Sanders. Meanwhile, supporters of second-tier candidates who have dropped out, or are fading out, might be rallying around Bernie now, too.


Polling suggests that Bernie could win a head-to-head matchup with Trump. Those statistics are stronger than a comparative Biden v. Trump ticket. It busts “the ridiculous electability myth that Biden and his supporters are selling,” says Touré. 


Even though Bernie isn’t leading nationally, he’s demonstrating that he can give Uncle Joe a run for his money, he adds. “In the Democratic primary, it is rare for the January polling leader to end up winning.” 


Feeling the Bern in 2020


Touré is confident Bernie can beat Trump in the general election. 


“And I'd be much happier voting for him than pulling a lever for Biden, Butiggeg or Bloomberg. Or anybody else, except for Elizabeth Warren.”


A Team Liz surge would be great, says Touré. “But that opportunity right now seems to be slipping away.”


Which begs the question, what if Bernie wins? 


America wins too, says Touré. He is “extraordinarily intelligent, authentic and clearly knows Washington, unlike the current occupant.”


Touré sees Bernie as a candidate with long-term vision for generations to come: structural change around income inequality, climate, healthcare, student debt, minimum wage and immigration.


Bernie would “set the conversation at an extremely progressive place, whereas we have none of that now,” he adds. “You might say that none of it will get past Mitch McConnell. That McConnell sets the conversation. And I reject that. We, the voters who will be in the majority, set the conversation.”


Touré fully expects that McConnell will activate “super obstructionist mode” as he did during much of the Obama administration. Bernie will find ways around it when he can, but his major legislative efforts could definitely be stymied just as Obama’s were.


“McConnell is more stubborn than we are,” says Touré. 

Can Bernie really fix America’s death spiral? 


“It's no secret how I feel about Bernie Sanders,” Danielle says. “Am I surprised about the polling right now? Kind of.”


That’s because she thinks Bernie doesn’t totally get the race thing — at least not on the level that he understands systematic economic injustice.


In the sixth primary debate, when PBS journalist Yamice Alcindor asked the candidates how they would address the alarming rate of homicide against transgender women of color, Bernie pivoted by talking about access to healthcare. 


“This is the man that told us Hillary Clinton lost because of identity politics,” Danielle says. 


When Elizabeth Warren was asked the same question, she tackled identity politics head on. “She said that transgender people, especially trans women of color, are under attack, and that she’ll read their names in the Rose Garden every day until we do something about it,” says Danielle. “There was no pivot. She deep-dived in.”


Because he so often pivots toward his comfort zone –– democratic socialism as a counter to rampant capitalism –– Danielle isn’t feeling the Bern.


“America's in the midst of a death spiral. Am I going to sit on the sidelines, not do whatever I can to slow the spiral? To keep us from going splat? No.


“Would I be excited to pull the lever for him? Fuck no. But would I? Yes, of course.”



Bernie bros meet MAGA-bots (with a nod from Joe Rogan)


Considerably more enthusiastic about Bernie is everyone’s favorite pugilistic pothead podcaster —  Joe Rogan — who endorsed him this week.


Touré’s a listener but not exactly a fan.


“I like the guests and what they say, but I find Rogan to be very dumb. He quite often says racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic things.” 


But if a “cro-magnon dude” like Rogan supports Bernie Sanders, it suggests that “there is more than a sliver of those who like Trump, or are Trump adjacent” who might join the Bernie camp, Touré says. 


There’s a technical term for how Danielle feels about Rogan’s Bernie fanboy nod. 


“It skeeves me the fuck out,” she says. “Because I am starting to find very little daylight between the Bernie bros and the MAGA-bots.”


Touré retorts: “We're not electing the Bernie bros. We're electing Bernie.”


While that’s fortunately true, Danielle finds it difficult to separate the stans from their man. 


Because the Bernie-bro brigade can skew toward racism, misogyny and hostility, she’s afraid that any escalation of rhetoric could result in violence. And she’s disappointed by the campaign’s “dismissive” response.


She’d like to see Bernie counter the bullying bros with a zero-tolerance policy: “You cannot wear my hat or my t-shirts or behave in this manner.”


Bernie without the bros


Toure is on the same page about hardcore Bernie fans.


“In 2016 I was repelled away from the Bernie movement because of Bernie bros. I had culturally encountered them before I dug into his message and I was already down with Hillary. I saw them and said, I don't want to be at a party with them. So clearly this is not the party for me.”


But when Ta-Nehisi Coates and others came out in support of Bernie, Touré realized: “He believes everything he's saying. … He will say things that may hurt him. He doesn’t care.” 


Touré says that “in this cycle, I'm not allowing my disdain for Bernie bros to keep me from supporting a candidate who seems really smart, to have a good heart, to have a mindset that income inequality is one of the core problems facing this country.”


Bernie wants to attack those problems in the “right way,” he adds. “Not with some upside down vision of it, but understanding that the working class is getting screwed by the upper class … Yeah, Elizabeth Warren is telling the same story, but her support is falling away and his is not. And that excites me far more than what Biden and Buttigieg and Bloomberg are offering.”



Bringing a ‘real progressive’ home to meet the parents


If Bernie secures the nomination, Danielle has a compelling proposal for the general election: announce your planned cabinet. 


“I just want to know who you're deploying to fix our relations with Iran and put Putin in his place … I personally need to know that you’re deploying, like, the Voltron of politics.”


Danielle doesn’t care about “bullshit rhetoric anymore,” she says. “The Bernie bros can get their rock star. Just give me the rest of the fucking team.”


Touré would just be happy to see Biden defeated. “So often the Democratic party flirts with a progressive and goes home with a nice moderate. Sometimes we win and usually we get trounced. And for once, we'd marry a real progressive.”


Touré says that Democrats should insist on a candidate who lights up the left wing by focusing on climate, income inequality and other progressive issues. Ideally, the nomination should go to the person who inspires the base not only to vote, but do so enthusiastically. 


“I mean, like 50 percent of voters aren’t going to vote at all,” he says. “Despite all that Trump has done, about half of the country is going to go, eh.”


Danielle replies:  “Half the country is just going to Kanye.”



Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie-Mills and Touré as your tour guides, flight attendants and or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle—together!

From Paralympics To Podcasting: Lacey Henderson Finds Her People


By Martin Kessler

Digital Trends


November 01, 2019


Back in June, U.S. Paralympian Lacey Henderson launched a new podcast and video series called "Picked Last In Gym Class."


The show features conversations between Lacey and a range of guests — from athletes, to comedians, to entrepreneurs. Many of the guests also have disabilities.


"Because, you know, I'm trying to bring the people up, trying to bring my people up," she says.


But Lacey Henderson didn't always see people with disabilities as “her people.”

In fact, for a large portion of her life, she didn’t consider herself disabled.

Things Didn't Make Sense'

Lacey Henderson was always an active kid, so when she told her parents about a pain in her right leg, they weren’t too concerned.


"They were like, 'Listen, it’s probably nothing. You’re probably sore from soccer. It’s probably growing pains,' " Lacey recalls.


Lacey was 9 years old. She had just started at a new school.


"So I was the only new kid. Brutal," Lacey says. "And now I was this new kid with this weird limp. And I'm like, 'No worries. It's just growing pains, guys.' ”


But the pain got worse — bad enough that Lacey, always one of the top athletes her age, started sitting out gym class.


"I couldn't straighten out my knee after awhile," she says. "So I was just walking on my toes. And it got to a point where my school's calling my parents, and they’re like, 'What is wrong with Lacey's leg? Like, what is actually going on?' ”

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 3.09.40 PM.png

Best new podcasts for the week of September 21, 2019: The Happiness Lab and more


Jenny McGrath

Digital Trends


September 30, 2019

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.

Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about cats, chats, Veronica Mars, and happiness.

Picked Last In Gym Class

We’ll probably never know how many kids were inspired to take up cheerleading as a result of Bring It On, but Lacey Henderson was among them. Her skills earned her a spot on the Denver University team, where she then started competing in track and field in 2012.

Just four years later, Henderson made the U.S. Paralympic Team and went to Rio de Janeiro to compete in the long jump. On her new podcast, Henderson talks with musicians, athletes, photographers, and more about how they’ve dealt with life’s unexpected struggles. In one episode, she and Andrew McMahon (whose bands include Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin) compare “cancer stories,” and Henderson shares a truly heart-melting moment that occurred when she was nine years old when her older brother found out she would have to have her leg amputated.

LACEY Alumna Article.png

With Podcast, Paralympian

Alumna Pursues New Track and Field

DU graduate Lacey Henderson uses her past and her platform to normalize disability


September 23, 2019


Feature Profile

AlumniIn the World

Finally, Lacey Henderson gets to ask the questions. Lord knows she’s used to answering them.

“What happened to you?”

“How did you lose your leg?”

“Isn’t it amazing how far technology has come? It’s like you’re not even disabled!”


As an amputee, a Paralympian and an advocate for people with disabilities, Henderson (BA ’11) has done her share of the talking. The University of Denver alumna has delivered TED Talks and made public appearances and answered the questions of countless gawkers.


But now, as host of “Picked Last in Gym Class,” a new podcast focused on humanity and humor, Henderson is ready to start listening.


“It’s very refreshing [to be on the other end],” she says. “I don’t mind speaking and telling my story, but I know how it ends.”

For those who haven’t heard, here’s a quick refresher: In 1999, doctors found a lightbulb-sized tumor behind her right kneecap, the product of a rare, deadly soft-tissue cancer called synovial sarcoma. When she was just 9 years old, surgeons amputated her leg 6 inches above the knee.

Media Production Company CEO Chris Colbert on Finding His Vision

Aug 11, 2019

(Photo by Ray Singh) When you discover your calling, how do you honor it? Take the advice of Chris Colbert (pronounced KOAL-bert), CEO of DCP Entertainment, who not only found his vision – but founded it, too.

The NYC-based media production company, DCP Entertainment, features carefully curated and produced podcasts and videos of diverse hosts – ranging from Touré to Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen to Lacey J. Henderson.

The goal? To foster dialogue in need of discussion, like reducing the stigma of suicide and increasing awareness surrounding mental health. DCP Entertainment tells stories through real-life, raw perspectives, like that of Talinda Bennington, wife of the late Chester Bennington, who was known by millions as the former lead front man of Linkin Park.

Colbert found his calling more than a decade ago as an intern with Sirius Satellite Radio (now SiriusXM Radio). At just 21 years old, and while earning his degree from Seton Hall University, Colbert helped to create Oscar and Grammy award winner Jamie Foxx’s comedy and music channel, “The Foxxhole.”

Colbert then joined SiriusXM full time and helped create “Carlin’s Corner,” a 24/7 George Carlin comedy channel, as well as “Que Funny,” the only bilingual Latino comedy channel on SiriusXM at the time. He served as Director of Urban Talk and Comedy, and oversaw programming and operations for permanent and pop-up stations and channels, including for “Urban View” and “Blue Collar Radio,” now “Jeff & Larry’s Comedy Roundup.”

Touré, Danielle Moodie Mills to Offer Fresh, Unapologetically Black and Aggressively Progressive in New Podcast

Jul. 29, 2019 / PRZen / NEW YORK -- Touré, TV host, podcaster, and author, and Danielle Moodie-Mills, a political columnist at Zora Magazine at Medium and the host of #WokeAF Sundays on SiriusXM, are launching their new podcast, "democracyish", with a two-part, unbridled dismantling analysis of the Democratic debate.

Toure and Moodie-Mills will record two shows immediately following the second series debates taking place in Detroit at the Fox Theatre Tuesday (July 30) and Wednesday, (July 31) nights. The shows will be available Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Democracyish focuses on the 2020 election, offering insights from an unapologetically progressive viewpoint.


"We're going to talk about these debates in a way that most of the networks and cable shows won't," Touré said. "Who's next in line to come for Joe Biden's neck? Who will promise to punch Trump the hardest, figuratively-speaking, of course? Will Marianne Williamson sage the stage? And will anyone promise to serve the needs of the Black voters who are the base of the party?"

Read more:


Online Release


VA and White House launch Veteran suicide-prevention task force

June 17, 2019, 03:1400 PM

WASHINGTON — As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and White House initiative to curb Veteran suicide, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Joe Grogan will launch a cabinet-level task force June 17 to develop a national roadmap. 

The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) task force will include a community integration and collaboration proposal, a national research strategy and an implementation strategy. 

Efforts supporting the development of the roadmap are already well under way and are on target for the March 2020 delivery to the White House. 

“This is a call to action,” Wilkie said. “In order to decrease the rate of Veteran suicide, we need to engage our local and community partners in addition to leveraging the resources of the departments. We need an all-hands on-deck approach to preserve the lives of our Veterans who have served our country. As such, I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, the founder and president of Give an Hour, has agreed to serve as executive director of the critical PREVENTS work. Dr. Van Dahlen is widely recognized for changing the culture surrounding mental health and suicide and is an expert and thought leader in large-system change. We are proud to have her leading this effort.” 

DCP Entertainment Launches Picked Last In Gym Class Video & Podcast Series

Hosted by Paralympian Lacey Henderson, New Show to Address Self Confidence



DCP Entertainment 

Jun 12, 2019, 08:36 ET


NEW YORK, June 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- DCP Entertainment, a media production and distribution company, today announced the launch of Picked Last in Gym Class with host Lacey Henderson. Henderson, a Paralympic athlete who competed in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Track & Field, is fueled by the relationships and connections she's made with others on her life's journey. Through conversations with these influencers, entrepreneurs, athletes, activists, and creatives, Henderson finds the things we all can relate to, like how we handle the obstacles life throws in our way, and finding humor throughout it all.

Picked Last in Gym Class Interview with Joel Strong Picked Last in Gym Class

DCP Entertainment Launches Video Series to Accompany Inner Space With Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen


PR Newswire June 10, 2019


In Conjunction with A Week to Change Direction, Weekly Series to Air on YouTube

NEW YORK, June 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --

WHAT: DCP Entertainment today announced the release of Inner Space with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen video series. Hosted by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., the Founder and President of Give an Hour who was named in 2012 to TIME Magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, the show discusses mental health, emotional well-being and finding our healthy "inner space." Inner Space launched as a successful podcast earlier this year, and will now release the podcast's most poignant interviews as standalone video episodes.

POLITICO Playbook PM: What House Dem leadership said about impeachment today

NEW … INCHING CLOSER? … REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-N.Y.), the No. 4 House Democrat, spoke to TOURÉ for his podcast about impeachment. The podcast will drop Wednesday. TOURÉ: “Should Trump be impeached?”


JEFFRIES: “The Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, should have hearings on three things: obstruction of justice, abuse of power and the culture of corruption that appears to exist at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I’m of the view that those hearings should commence immediately. And we need to present the information to the American people. What you call those hearings -- that is a decision that will ultimately be made by Chairman Nadler and Speaker Pelosi.”


TOURÉ: “Is the decision to not impeach based on politics and the 2020 election and how it would reflect on Dems?” JEFFRIES: “It would be dangerous for us to make a decision about impeachment anchored in politics either way. To either decide that we’re not going to impeach because it would be bad politically or that we’ll dive into impeachment because it’ll help politically.

Sean Brosnan opens up about his battle with drugs


Debbie McGoldrick


May 03, 2019

Actor Pierce Brosnan's sons Dylan, Sean, and Paris at the premiere of No Escape in LA, in August 2015.

Pierce Brosnan’s son Sean, who his late wife Cassandra gave birth to in 1983, eight years before her death from ovarian cancer, recently opened up about his life as a reformed drug addict.  

Pierce Brosnan's Son Sean Recalls His Harrowing Struggle with Addiction and His Path to Sobriety

On the Inner Space with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen podcast, Sean Brosnan discussed how his grief led to addiction with drugs and alcohol

By Eric Todisco 

April 04, 2019 05:54 PM

DCP Press release.png

DCP Entertainment Launches Inner Space With Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen Podcast

New show aims to expand our understanding of emotional well-being 


DCP Entertainment 

Mar 04, 2019, 08:45 ET


NEW YORK, March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- DCP Entertainment, a media production and distribution company, today announced the launch of Inner Space with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a new podcast focused on emotional health and well-being.