I’m Buying More Popcorn Futures

Chelsea Manning has announced his (He still has a Y-chromosome; the science is settled.) candidacy for the 2018 Democrat nomination for the U.S. Senator from Maryland. This has put the Democrats in a lovely bind as Glenn Greenwald describes over at The Intercept.

Why have so many establishment Democrats so quickly decided to back a white, straight male politician steeped in privilege, while devoting themselves to opposing a candidate who would make history by becoming the first trans woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, in the process inspiring trans youth around the world and helping to erode the stigma that has made them so vulnerable to discrimination and violence?

They’ve decided to do this presumably because they find Cardin’s centrist ideology and politics more appealing than Manning’s more radical politics, and believe that this trumps what could be the historic value of Manning’s candidacy. They’ve apparently decided to prioritize their own centrist ideology over the important gender, sexual orientation and trans equality progress that Manning’s victory would ensure.

One can certainly make an argument that the license they’ve granted themselves here – to prioritize ideology and politics over identity – is a reasonable one. But one wonders whether they intend to maintain a monopoly on this license or extend it to others.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Ben Cardin, the incumbent Democrat, is often referred to as the stealth Senator because no one can tell he’s there. Certainly, he hasn’t had the impact on or connection with his constituents that Barbara Mikulski had. It’s always seemed to me that Cardin has won by default through not being a Republican in a heavily Democrat state. Manning may have picked a vulnerable incumbent.

Their Lips Were Moving, Maryland

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD.): “It means that if you like the insurance you have now, you can keep it.” (Sen. Mikulski, Press Release, 12/24/09)

Senator Ben Cardin (-MD): “For the people of Maryland, this bill will provide a rational way in which they can maintain their existing coverage…” (Sen. Cardin, Congressional Record, S.13798, 12/23/09)

Don’t worry, Senators. If you like your jobs, you can keep them. You are Democrats, and this is Maryland.