Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Passover Primary

Greetings all!

I just returned from the Schraub family Passover in Florida. This is an annual gathering of my dad's side of the family, but one that I've missed for the past few years because getting to Florida from California is a bear of a trip. This year, it entailed a red eye flight Thursday night (which landed at noon Friday), a lot of random napping, and then a more reasonable flight back this morning. I can't even fathom what my body thinks its sleep schedule is right now.

While I would hate to make Passover political, politics did come up (as it is wont to do in 2019 when the holiday is centered primarily around the command "not to oppress the stranger, for you were a stranger in the land of Egypt"). The extended Schraub family is pretty much all Democrats (with one #NeverTrump Republican thrown in for spice), ranging from "lifelong Democrat who became radicalized after Trump's election" (my mom) to "I have no philosophical objection to the GOP; it's genuinely unfortunate that the party is currently entirely controlled by lunatics" (my brother). Jill and I probably sit towards the leftward edge of the family.

I do not claim they are representative of Democrats or even Jews more broadly, but I thought their patterns might be of interest, since there was actually a fair amount of consistency in their likes and dislikes regarding the Democratic primary candidates. I'm also excluding myself and Jill from the pack.

Tier 1 (universal praise): Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg. Man, my family is pro-Joe. My dad was even one of the apparently 33 people who voted for him in '88. But it's not just generational: he was my younger brother's favorite as well. They weren't bothered by the handsiness for the most part -- viewing him as "of a time". In terms of the present time, people really had come away impressed by Buttigieg -- viewing him as a uniquely unifying figure. I was surprised how many people weren't worried about him being too green.

Tier 1.5: Kamala Harris. Also universally well-liked; the only difference between her and the tip-top set was that her name was less likely to come up unprompted. That is, the answer to the question "who do you like best" was usually "Biden or Buttigieg", it took asking "what do you think about Harris" to yield "oh, I like her too." Stacey Abrams also would fall into this category if she were running -- the one concern on her is that it was seen as dangerous to nominate anyone who lost their last election (even if it was in a red state).

Tier 2 (mixed-to-positive): Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar. Booker was mostly liked, though clearly being a bit overlooked. The "baby bond" idea got a split reception between those who thought it was a creative way to address inequality and those who thought handing 18 year olds a check for $50,000 on their birthday was a recipe for disaster. Klobuchar was also viewed generally positively -- the "monster boss" thing didn't seem to be a problem -- but didn't generate much enthusiasm.

Tier 3 (mixed-to-negative): Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren. Some thought Gillibrand was  phony, others were against her for her supposed role taking out Al Franken. Warren was generally viewed as Sanders-esque, and that apparently was not to her credit (see below).

Tier 4 (negative): Beto O'Rourke. They just think he's weird.

Tier 5 (loathed): Bernie Sanders. I was a bit surprised at just how intensely he was disliked across the board. I'm "fine" with Sanders, and that made me by far his biggest fan around the table. Most of the rest of the family viewed him as basically akin to pond scum.

Oh, and if Bibi Netanyahu was an American politician, he'd be down here too (obviously, Donald Trump is in whatever hell lies beneath this cellar).

Overall, it's pretty clear my family is pretty classic "establishment" Democrats. But even though they were broadly at least "okay" with the great majority of candidates, they were also convinced that the Democratic primary would be a bloodbath and that we were going to rip ourselves apart and blow our shot at 2020. It wasn't the most optimistic group.

So that's one holiday snapshot. What does it mean? Almost certainly nothing!

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