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The Bernie Bro Question, Part 1:
Exit Stage Left

2,809 words

Bernie Sanders has, at last, put his supporters out of their misery by dropping out of the 2020 Democratic primaries. He will not be the president. He will not be the nominee. There will be no Christmas miracle at the convention. It’s Trump vs Biden in November. I’m pretty sure that was clear to all but the most delusionally optimistic Sanders supporters long before Bernie finally stuck the knife in. I was seeing a lot less “Here’s how Bernie Can Still Win” this time around. Even if Joe Biden dropped dead tomorrow, no one believes that the DNC would give the nomination to Bernie. New York governor Andrew Cuomo is being heavily promoted as Biden’s understudy should that happen, and there’s a non-zero chance it might even end up being Hillary. And VP? Forget it. Everyone knows that VP is gonna be an affirmative action hire.

Still, there was still some hope that Sanders might have stayed in the race anyway out of some kind of principle. If for no other reason, just to get the ideas out (a la Ron Paul) or to give people the option of a principled protest vote (a la Pat Buchanan). Nope. He’s not even gonna give you that. There’s gonna be no “going down swinging.” No heroic last stand. No final charge of the light brigade into the mouth of Hell. Joe Biden is your nominee. Game Over. Thanks for playing.

Bernie’s defeat is both hilarious for us and blackpilling for them for a couple of reasons.

First of all, he lost to Joe freakin’ Biden. Losing to a cunning criminal mastermind and formidable political power broker like Hillary Clinton is one thing. But Joe Biden? I’m thinking that there was a sizable and diehard “anyone but Sanders” contingent to the Democratic voter that didn’t reveal itself until the field narrowed, and Sanders probably would have also lost to Mickey Mouse with D next to his name if it came down to just the two of them.

Parallels can be drawn to the 1996 GOP primaries when the Republican voters rallied around the establishment heir-apparent Bole Dole in order to stop the populist firebrand Pat Buchanan. Almost immediately after securing victory for Dole, the Republican Party experienced a collective “Dear God, what have we done?” moment when it dawned on them that they had just nominated a 73-year-old fuddy-duddy to take on the charismatic wizardry of Bill Clinton. I’m not saying that Buchanan would have done any better. He probably would have done far worse, but it was like: Bob Dole? Really? Was Bob Dole really the best the GOP had? Really?

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Likewise, Democrats are having a similar moment of clarity that to stop Sanders, they have nominated a 77-year-old man who is almost certainly going senile. A common cope you hear among Bernie Bros is that Biden supporters are “low-information voters.” Well, as the general election heats up and the round-the-clock news coverage kicks in, information on Biden’s mental state is going to become ubiquitous.

And then there are the blacks.

Of course, I predicted that Bernie would lose last August in my earth-shattering anti-Dirtbag Left polemic “Chapo Trap House is Too White Even for Me (And I’m a White Supremacist).” Not only did Sanders lose, but he lost for the exact reason that I said he would lose: lack of support among blacks, especially in the Deep South.

Everyone was like “You’re wrong. Trav. It’s different this time, Trav. This isn’t 2016. Bernie has black support now. Haven’t you read the polls?” and I was like “Yeah, yeah, yeah. . .” Then Bernie got thoroughly BLACKED on Super Tuesday! In Mississippi, where blacks make up 64% of Democratic primary voters, Biden scored an astonishing 84% of the black vote to Sanders’ 13%. And I would be willing to bet that half of that 13% thought they were voting for Biden but voted for Sanders by mistake because they are illiterate.

Bernie won two of the first three primary contests and virtually tied for first in the third. Alas, Bernie flattered to deceive. Once the primaries moved to the heavily black Southern states, Biden’s command of the black vote crushed all competitors.

This is particularly funny because socialist Bernie Bros really can’t explain Bernie’s lack of support among blacks from a class reductionist perspective. Materialists love to tell you that all working-class people, regardless of race, have the same basic needs. They love to tell us that identity politics is a tool of the capitalists used to divide the working class, and so politicians should adopt class-based rhetoric. But if all that were true, then Bernie’s socialist ideas should be equally popular among all races, and it’s clearly not. Why would the poorest and most downtrodden group vote for a neoliberal puppet of the oligarchs? You can’t explain the black vote from a class reductionist perspective because blacks voted for Biden for identitarian reasons, and any identitarian could have told you that. But because class reductionists refuse to consider or take seriously matters of identity (because that’s a social construct derp, derp), class reductionism is incapable of explaining its own failure. You cannot explain Bernie’s failure without considering matters of race and identity. Well, at least not honestly.

There were a few Bernie Bros willing to, ahem, “call a spade a spade.”

But those people were few and far between. I personally find it amusing to watch Bernie Bros try to explain Bernie’s defeat without mentioning race. It’s the DNC’s fault, it’s the media’s fault, it’s Elizabeth Warren’s fault, Bernie was too woke, Bernie wasn’t woke enough, Bernie was too nice, Bernie’s supporters were too mean, etc., etc., etc. All that is good and well, but it overlooks the elephant in the room: you can’t win the Democratic nomination without blacks liking you, and blacks don’t like Bernie.

Whatever value class politics has as political theory, it simply doesn’t work as political strategy. Maybe it does in other countries, but not in multicultural America.

What Bernie Bros can’t seem to get through their heads is that blacks don’t just dislike Bernie. They don’t like Bernie because white people DO like him. He’s “a white thing.” To blacks, Bernie Sanders is so white that he might as well be a Republican. Literally. I repeat, he got 13% of the black vote in Mississippi. Those are Republican numbers.

Black people see the world through a racial lens in a way that most white people are conditioned not to. Because of this, white liberals and Leftists can never truly understand blacks because they are incapable of seeing the world the way black people see it. They just try to imagine themselves dumber, poorer, less educated, and with different color skin, but otherwise with all the basic assumptions about the world, and imagine that’s what being black is.

White people have a tendency to see themselves as a sort of finished product and all other races as works in progress. The only reason everyone isn’t like white people is because whites are just ahead of the curve. They’ve had all these philosophical and scientific revolutions and have had more time to build their educational foundations and whatnot. Whiteness is a destination arrived at, and all other races are still making their journey. They are waiting for other races to “catch up to them.” But when they do, when the other races have reached their final destination, you’ll have all these blacks, Muslims, and Hispanics listening to indie music, eating brunch, and watching Doctor Who.

When white liberals imagine America’s multicultural future, they imagine the multiculturalism that they see on TV: a world where all people of all races talk and act like middle-class suburbanites except with maybe a dash of unthreatening ethnic sass sprinkled here and there (nothing spicier than Fresh Prince-era Will Smith). Indeed, all science fiction set in the future presents race as a non-issue. Everyone gets along with each other and no one has historical grudges against each other. Race is shown as something humanity learned to get past. How they managed this is never explained. We’re led to assume that the problem somehow fixed itself.

A common refrain I hear from people who find out I’m a White Nationalist is “Well, maybe if you met more minorities you think differently.” It’s sort of their way of saying “You are basing your opinion of an entire group of people on a handful of negative examples, so you should find a handful of positive examples and base your opinion on that entire group of people on them,” as if that is any more rational. But the point here is that a lot of people believe that the only reason anyone is racist is that they haven’t had enough exposure to minorities.

But this is absurd. If a white person has had negligible exposure to minorities, what actually happens is that they defer to pop culture, which portrays minorities as angelic. If all you knew about blacks were what you learned about them from movies and television shows made in the last 30 years, you would think that blacks NEVER commit crimes, yet were constantly being falsely accused of crimes for no apparent reason. [1] The obvious exception here would be media content made FOR blacks (rap music, Tyler Perry), which tends to portray blacks much closer to the traditional “racist” stereotype: loud, overly emotional, quick to anger, etc.
OK, I’ve gone off on a tangent here, so let me bring it back to the topic at hand.

The point here is that non-white identitarianism is incomprehensible to white liberals and Leftists. This is especially true of your class reductionist DSA types who are invariably whiter than a Vampire Weekend B-side.

You would think that because POC are allegedly oppressed for their identity that they would have the most to gain from a post-identity society based on class politics. And yet, POC remain stubbornly resistant to the class reductionist ideas. It’s almost exclusively whites, the people whose identities supposedly give them all this privilege, ease, and comfort, the ones you would most expect to revel in their Top Dog status, it is they who are keen to surrender their ethnic identity and replace it with “class consciousness.” Well, ol’ Trav’s gonna explain to you why that is.

White people get into class politics because they are not allowed to have an ethnic identity and are not allowed to self-advocate. So as a workaround, they adopt “working-class” as a quasi-identity which allows them self-advocacy, albeit in a very roundabout sort of way. POC, on the other hand, already have identities and are already allowed to self-advocate, so class reductionism has no appeal to them. And that is why being a Democratic Socialist is, and always will be, a very white thing. Nick Fuentes probably has more POC fans than Chapo Trap House.

Democratic Socialism is truly the White Nationalism of fools.

Bernie Bro blackpills were coming in hot and heavy on Super Tuesday.

So now that Bernie is soon to become a political non-entity, we have to ask what will happen to his movement. Where will become of the Bernie Bros? Where will they go? Sometimes it can be hard to tell how much of a politician’s popularity is down to someone’s ideas, and how much is down to the personal qualities of the politician himself. How much is the salesman and how much is what he is selling?

I remember when people used to describe Ron Paul’s fandom as a cult of personality. I was like “Nah, man. It’s the power of his ideas. It’s not about him personally. His ideas are totally zeitgeist and resonating with the masses.” It certainly looked that way at the time. Ron Paul’s tenure in the national spotlight coincided with the largest revival of libertarianism in decades. Ayn Rand’s books started selling in numbers not seen in ages. Libertarianism is what all the cool kids were into.

But when Ron Paul left the national spotlight, libertarianism began fading back into the dark almost immediately. Ron Paul’s son Rand believed most of the things his dad believed, but he couldn’t sell them like his dad could. And it makes you wonder in hindsight: “Hm. Maybe Ron Paul was a cult of personality after all.”

Ron Paul had something the French call je ne sais quoi. In showbiz, it’s called having “It.” “It” is the intangible and unquantifiable x-factor that separates mere actors from stars. A kind of lightning in a bottle. You can’t describe “It” but you know “It” when you see “It.”

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Someone might have all the qualities of a star (looks, talent, sex appeal) but still not have “It.” Someone may have none of those yet have “It.” Humphrey Bogart was short, not conventionally handsome, and had a goofy way of talking, and yet Bogart had IT. Now, the thing about “It” is that you either have “It” or you don’t. You can’t fake “It,” and you can’t manufacture “It” either. You can’t just pull another Humphrey Bogart out of a bag. If you want to know the definition of “It,” it’s basically the difference between Ron Paul and Rand Paul.

Can Democratic Socialism survive the end of Bernie’s national ambitions? Or will it fade away like Libertarianism post-Ron Paul? Just as you can’t just pull another Humphrey Bogart out of a bag, dynamic and exciting insurgent outsiders like Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders who inspire and capture the public imagination don’t exactly grow on trees either. They only come around a handful of times per generation. Ron Paul at least had a clear successor in his son Rand, but Bernie has no obvious heir. A couple of years ago, one might have said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was Bernie’s successor, but she is slowly descending into establishment wokeness and distancing herself from the class politics of Democratic Socialism. She endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, but her relationship with the Sanders campaign became increasingly strained. She was known to go off-script. At one Sanders rally, she gave a 45-minute rant about Abolishing ICE that never mentioned Sanders’ name a single time.

If I were a betting man, I would put money on Democratic Socialism going into a swift decline. Only saints and masochists are willing to devote themselves to something that they believe to be a lost cause, and without Bernie, it’s hard to see a path forward.

So what’s to become of them?

No doubt, most will team up with liberals and “vote blue no matter who.” A small percentage will vote Trump and a great many will stay home or vote Third Party.

Beyond that, many in the Dissident Right have been hoping for and predicting a “Bernie Bro-to-Dissident Right” pipeline, or an even more fanciful “red-brown alliance.” At the same time, there are others predicting the opposite: a Dissident Right-to-Bernie Bro pipeline. With the rising popularity of Third Positionist ideas in our circles, many have started to believe that they have more in common with the materialist Left than they do with the GOP or even the American Nationalist faction of the Dissident Right.

For clarification, when people in the Dissident Right talk about “winning over the Bernie Bros,” they are usually talking about the “extremely online” anti-liberal anti-establishment portion of Bernie’s base: the Chapo Trap House audience, the Dirtbag Left, the “Unwoke Left,” class-first DSA types. [2] The Dissident Right is a collection of extremely online political people, so naturally, our most desired recruits are other extremely online political people.

In the next two installments of this series, I will be covering the prospects of both theoretical pipelines: Bernie Bro-to-Dissident Right and Dissident Right-to-Bernie Bro. So make sure to come back here tomorrow. Same Trav time, Same Trav channel.

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Notes

[1] In before The Wire. Yes, even The Wire, a show entirely about black criminality hailed for its “brutal realism,” presents many of the drug dealers and gang bangers as having hearts of gold, ironclad codes of honor, or deceptively complex natures hidden just beneath the surface. So even on the rare occasions when pop culture shows black criminality, they have to throw in some tropes about the proverbial “good kid caught up in a bad crowd.”

[2]  I will be conflating all these terms quite recklessly; partly out of convenience for me as a writer, and for you as a reader, and partly because I just can’t be bothered to find where all the precise dividing lines are.

22 Comments

  1. Jud Jackson
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Great article. Incredibly insightful. And a whole lot of fun to read.

  2. John Wilkinson
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    “But when they do, when the other races have reached their final destination, you’ll have all these blacks, Muslims, and Hispanics listening to indie music, eating brunch, and watching Doctor Who.”

    Yeah I’m holding my breath for the day that blacks trade their Hennessy for a late morning mimosa and quiche

  3. Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The fact is that Bernie didn’t have a chance. The email leaks from last time around, when he was running against Cupcake in the primary, showed that the party bosses were working against him. The reason why isn’t hard to understand; the globalists don’t like him. He’s mainly an economic leftist, and pretty sincere about it. Therefore, the money men are going to do everything they can to block someone who wants to raise their taxes and take away their tax loopholes.

  4. John Wilkinson
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    To comment on your final thoughts about libertarianism/Ron Paul and the Bernie Bro movement fading away….

    My fear is that nationalism is not immune from this cult-of-personality phenomenon either, and that Trumpism emboldened a revival of nationalism…but as Trump continues to drift back toward liberal conservatism, and ultimately once he leaves office, there may not be enough energy left, or any viable up-and-coming nationalists to take hold of the movement and re-energize it.

    Certainly nationalism is in a better position than Bernie Bros. At least in the short term. But in the long term, I wonder if the millennial generation isn’t overall more inclined to embrace class based socialist forms of populism over ethnocentric or jingoistic nationalism. look at what happened to Heimbach, for instance. I see a lot of prominent people in our circles who have started shifting their content toward economic grievances with less emphasis on identitarianism. Only time will tell I suppose.

  5. Nikandros
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Hispanics supported Bernie. I was almost expecting the Nazbol wing of our movement to start saying that open borders with Latin America is a good thing.

  6. Survival Loki
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    “ Well, maybe if you met more minorities you think differently.”

    Uh huh, let me drop you off in the middle of south Jackson, and if you make it back to me alive, your opinions will be a whole lot closer to mine than when we parted!

  7. Archie Bunker
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The Cult of Personality has always existed in all political movements – it’s just a case of how much it outweighs the ideas of those movements. Most people are naturally attracted to people, not abstract ideas. When a person is the embodiment of your particular belief system,it’s easier to attach yourself to that person as an avatar of those ideas rather than the ideas themselves. Once the avatar fails or loses credibility in your eyes, the ideas do too.

  8. Survival Loki
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I think the nomination of ridiculously old, proto Alzheimer’s patients by the parties is a tactic of the controlled opposition. When the oligarchs want a particular candidate to win, they nominate someone like McCain, Dole, or Biden to run against them. It’s both a way of bilateral control and a means of settling intraparty debts. I think the real brains understand how these candidates will look and that they can’t win. When they really need somebody to upseat an incumbent, they’ll magically concoct a new Kennedy out of somewheres.

    Also, Ron was a lot different from Rand in that he was much more outspoken on several key topics. Rand is more generic republican. It’s like the difference between countercurrents and Breitbart. Also, those issues had much more relevance in the 2000-2010 era. Iraq and stuff.

    • Bernie
      Posted April 22, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I get where you are coming from but it seems Biden is comfortably ahead in all the polls. More so than Clinton at this point in 2016 and in all the swing states. Also, Trump seems to get mileage out of his rallies by reaching blue collar whites directly. He may not be able to do these rallies with COVID-19.

      I see a way for Trump to win in November, but it is uphill.

      • HamburgerToday
        Posted April 22, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        The purpose of most polling is to create the illusion of inevitability for some particular candidate. More importantly, the raw numbers themselves are only of secondary importance in US electoral politics. Because of the Electoral College, what matters even more is where those numbers are located. No one in the GOP cares if there’s a massive turnout in New York for whomever the Democratic Party Presidential candidate is. They never had a chance there in the first place. If 100% of eligible voters voted Democrat in 2020, it wouldn’t change the electoral map one bit from 2016. On the other hand, a massive Democratic Party turnout in Ohio would make a difference. This is what happened to the Democratic Party in 2016 and they’re still salty about it. The most important thing about the numbers is not the numbers, but where the numbers are.

      • Survival Loki
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

        Ah, comments are back to normal I see! I’m not saying it will always be successful. It’s a real fight once they get in the ring, but it’s just a way of swaying things.

  9. Posted April 22, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Guys in our sphere have embraced third positionism and others are just using it as rhetorical cover to advance outright “second position” socialism.

  10. Bernie
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Coming from an outsider’s perspective (and one who really doesnt care what type of leftism we will be ruled by) it seems Bernie Bros are the future. I believe Asians and Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for him over Biden. Both are growing constituencies. Jews seem perfectly fine with Bernie-type leftism as long as it doesnt threaten Israel.

    So blacks dont like Bernie? They are a bit more socially conservative on gays, religion and the like? So what? They are not going over to the GOP and are not growing as fast as Asians and Hispanics in any event. Plus, they can easily be bought off through giving “walking around money” to black preachers, rappers and celebrities.

    For a while anyway, there will be enough whites to pay for gibs to all groups in the leftist coalition. They can also cement the coalition by scaring them about how awful whitey is.

    Will it end? Yes, in 40-50 years there will not be enough whites to scapegoat or pay for everything. It is a coalition of people who hate each other and are looking for gibs. They will turn on each other over race and identity. But it wont do us much good.

  11. Trevor
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Good article, but Trav almost seems to imply that Buchanan would have been an even weaker debater against Clinton. I suppose all Trav meant was that an independent candidate, bereft of the Democratic party support, would have been hopeless. But I don’t quite get the emphasis Trav puts on Buchanan being far worse. He would have kicked the living hell out of Slick in one-on-one debates. I can’t remember the history of it. I could be forgetting some particulars of 1996.

  12. Matt Jackson
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I hope you’re right–about everything. But I just don’t believe libs are as stupid as we think they are. Yes, their ideas are retarded. But when it comes to taking power, they’re clever and unashamed. It’s true that Biden’s the only guy they’ve got. But they’ll make the best of it. The affirmative action vice president, for example, would have a good shot at becoming president, if Biden loses his mind halfway through his term. They could have anything up their sleeves, and we should respect their cunning. It’s either that, or our country is being destroyed by the most organized group of retards the world has ever known. But if that’s so, then what does that say about us?

  13. HamburgerToday
    Posted April 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Great essay. Funny. Smart. On-target.

  14. Vauquelin
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Ron Paul managed to change the GOP to the point where most if not all of the Republicans have washed their hands of the Iraq war that they unleashed. I wonder what sort of radical lasting effects Bernie is going to have on the Democrats, what ideas he will leave behind once he’s gone that the party didn’t already have.
    For the moment I can’t think of any.

  15. John Wilkinson
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Note:

    Ronald Reagan was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s by the time he ran for his second term. (Arguably he was showing signs even as early as 1980 when he took office).

    It was a meme through his entire presidency that you didn’t want him to have access to the (nuclear switch) because he might mistake it for a door buzzer or something. (See Genesis, “Land of Confusion” music video for satire on that running joke).

    Yet, he was re-elected by a landslide. Mainly because he was likable, and because the neo-conservatives were at the peak of their power and had a (relatively) less biased media apparatus working against them, if not sometimes working *for* them. They also weren’t as outwardly cucked and did a better job of selling libertarianism to the masses. Anyway, Ronald Reagan was not a liability because of his senility. In fact, it probably made him more endearing and seem more “grandfatherly“, which in the 1980s, was still a positive thing because there was less intergenerational animosity.

    Still, one could argue that global politics were far more strained during the Cold War era than even today, with Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko being less progressive Soviet era counterparts than Gorbachev, who took over in 1985. People were just as concerned about having a steady-minded President then as we are today. But today is much more clown-wordish, and polarized,….so to get to my point…I don’t think that Joe Biden’s evident senility is nearly the liability that we might like to think it is.

    At this point, it a tough call. Trump definitely has a loyal base. As loyal, if not more loyal, than any Reaganite ever thought about being. But Joe Biden isn’t nearly as caustic as Hillary Clinton was. He’s way more likable. At least with older voters. And the Boomers aren’t dead yet.

    It’s going to be an interesting election, even if a little more boring than the last one.

  16. Alexandra O.
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I think the simple explanation as to why Bernie lost is that probably some Black people felt the obligation to educate themselves as to what this Socialism stuff he was always talking about actually was. Then, they picked up a copy of “The Communist Manifesto”, and probably — just like me with two college degrees — could not make heads or tails of what Marx what going on about. Seriously, it is incomprehensible. I think I struggled through 10 or 12 pages before I gave it up. I did, however, clearly understand the “10 Planks” of Communism. Certainly, I understood the first — ‘No private ownership of property’ — which to most Americans, including Blacks and all minorities, means ‘no private ownership of MY HOME’. I don’t doubt anyone missed or misunderstood the intent of that! I humbly submit that was a major stumbling block — he and his followers NEVER mentioned anything about that one — private property. Well, keep it up, you little rat democrats, and I will meanwhile keep accumulating property — i.e., Capital. See you in four more years.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but I’m sceptical. It was a pure interracial power play and display. See that black supremacist tweeter that Travis pasted. Bernie thought he could win it with Hispanics, Asiatics, and brainwashed white losers. He knew that blacks are very slow to change their minds or their loyalties, and that they would stick with Biden, insofar as he was Brother Barack’s “wingman”. The blacks saw that their intraparty dominance was being threatened by this Jewish/leftist-white/new immigrant coalition, and they collectively said, “HELL NO!”. “This be BLACK FOLK HOUSE”, etc (see above).

      In terms of policy, blacks are every bit as leftist as Mexicans and Orientals. Usually more so.

    • Travis LeBlanc
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      You lost me at “Black people felt the obligation to educate themselves”. What is this science fiction you are writing?

      “Then, they picked up a copy of ‘The Communist Manifesto'”
      Please. I’m pretty sure that if a black person ever touched a book (any book) that they would immediately burst into flames. Whenever I walk through a black neighborhood late at night, I make sure to wear a book around my neck to ward off would-be muggers. I see them approach with ill-intent but then they see the book around my neck, hide their eyes, and then run away.

  17. R.ang
    Posted April 29, 2020 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    Everything else aside, there’s just no way a brittle old man like that could be president.

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