2020 Elections Celebrities Pop Culture

Dear Kanye West, the US presidency does not exist to stroke your ego

My lazy night staying in, binging on both chocolate and mindless television, took a stark turn when Kanye ‘Yeezy’ West took the stage at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. He held the mic close to his mouth, almost eating it up, donned in his signature casual brown monotone outfit. I expected a similar infamous performance of, “I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” Instead, we all got something even worse. With a forced purpose in his stance, after an agonizing 11-minute speech, West announced that he “has decided to run for president in 2020.”

In my experience, no one initially took the rapper seriously. How could a celebrity with no political background possibly be voted into the highest office in the land? Surely there had to be some form of vetting process to ensure that a capable professional would run the country. And then Donald Trump became president, and the seemingly high standards of the political system as we knew it fell apart.

This trend of unqualified individuals (historically men) seeking out jobs that are above their skill set continued through West’s recent reiteration that he still intended to run for the United States presidency this year – even though he has yet to qualify to get his name printed on the ballots needed for people to vote for him.

While this may very well be a publicity stunt, West has always maintained that he is a self-proclaimed non-conformist genius, and his megalomaniac and downright conceited behavior of considering himself the ‘greatest human artist of all time’ is perfectly in keeping with his recent presidential announcement.

How could a celebrity with no political background possibly be voted into the highest office in the land?

He completely disregards the administrative processes put into place that govern these national elections. A tweet is not enough to technically enter the race. West would have to file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and qualify to have ballot access – both of which he has yet to do.

Considering that all minor parties have already chosen their presidential candidates for 2020, West may have to run as an independent. However, the deadline for an independent candidate to register to appear on the ballot come this November has already passed in Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. Together, those states represent 102 out of the 538 votes in the electoral college.

West could secure the country’s two other biggest Electoral College prizes: California and Florida. However, the process is not an easy one. In Florida, West has a deadline of July 15 to gather the signatures of 1% of all registered voters in the state to achieve ballot access. In California, his deadline is August 6.

These tasks may be difficult but not impossible. So, if West truly is the genius he claims to be, manifesting his (pseudo) ‘big dick energy’ into meeting these deadlines should be easy enough for someone with his money.

People’s lives are not an experiment you can carry out whenever you want to stroke your ego and prove your supposed greatness.

However, I think it is safe to assume that through this seemingly rushed announcement this late in the race, he is essentially making a mockery of the election process by assuming that he can throw in his name whenever the mood suits him and the system should adapt to meet his urges.

As a South African, many (including myself at times) may question my passion for this topic considering that I am not a citizen of the country West wishes to lead. However, as seen when Trump was announced as the 2016 winner, international outrage is common when historically-changing events occur in the US as the country is viewed as having a hand in the running of many others. West intending to run for office, in this same way, incites global confusion and distaste.

These far-reaching concerns are further spurred on by the fact that West is an international celebrity, establishing a household name long before this announcement or even his marriage to Kim Kardashian. This level of fame does not come without its monetary perks. West has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. His wife, Kim Kardashian West, has an estimated net worth of $900 million.

It baffles me that a couple that is notorious for flaunting their privileged lifestyles (just look at Kim’s posts of her diamond encrusted teeth grillz and $3,000 – $50,000 Friesian horses) could possibly believe that they could resonate with a middle-class public. West may have come from humble beginnings, but he has clearly been distanced from the realities of the struggling working class even going as far as celebrating his wife becoming a billionaire (a claim that has since been disputed) despite figures showing that nearly 40 million Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic. To add salt to the wound, according to latest reports the billionaire’s apparel company, Yeezy LLC, reportedly received $2-5 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, a “loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.”

West may have come from humble beginnings, but he has clearly been distanced from the realities of the struggling working class.

Regardless of whether West would make a decent president or not, many are speculating as to why he is doing this in the first place. Some argue that, as a Trump supporter, he is running to hurt Joe Biden by trying to peel away Black voters from the presumptive Democratic candidate. Others theorise that West is not really running, just promoting his new album. The least shocking suggestion, however, is that West may be doing this simply for attention, just as his buddy Trump does.

What is really concerning is that, at the end of the day, countries require thoughtful, honest and well-informed leaders. Nothing in West’s background, especially his history of impulsive behavior, suggests he is up to the challenge of being president. The oval office is not the stage at the VMA’s. People’s lives are not an experiment you can carry out whenever you want to stroke your ego and prove your supposed greatness to get a few more million Instagram followers. His running will ultimately prove to be a dangerous distraction at a time where experienced leaders must raddle together to get the public through this fatal pandemic.

I can only hope that West decides to sit this one out and channel his pathological egotist ways into a more constructive project.


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Politics The World

We fact-checked the State of the Union, and yes, it was all exaggerated

President Donald Trump made his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday, calling upon everyone to “set aside [their] differences” and “seek out common ground.”

Before we move on, let me preface this with the glorious reaction of Nancy Pelosi, which pretty much sums up how I felt during his address.
[Image Description: Nancy Pelosi’s sour reaction to President Trump’s speech at the State of the Union] Via Twitter/@goldengateblond
Just a few minutes into his speech, it was evident that Trump was going to be self-congratulatory, and of course, we should’ve all expected it. In a speech of 80 minutes, the man literally boasted about his accomplishments for about two-thirds of it. Trump is proud of everything he has done, but most of all, he claims that he has singlehandedly caused the economic growth of America.

He loves to boast about his economic accomplishments…but can he claim full credit for everything he has said that he has done?

First of all, it’s absurd to even think that a leader of a country can catapult the economy towards growth at such a rapid pace. If he has actually managed to do it in one year, it’s definitely not a sustainable growth, and one can only expect long-term problems. However, in the case of USA, the growth hasn’t just been a result of the one year of Trump’s reign.

According to Trump, both unemployment levels and African-American unemployment rates have decreased.

The latter has hit a record low amount at 6.8%. Of course, that’s true. But both these levels have been decreasing gradually for years now. There’s nothing significant about the decline in these rates, as they’re just following a pattern kicked off the by the previous government for almost 10 years now. If Trump really managed to close the unemployment gap between black people and their white counterparts, that would’ve been something to be proud of.
[Image Description: A line chart showing the decline in unemployment levels in recent years, and the gap between white and black unemployment] Via Business Insider
The president outright lied about certain facts, such as declaring that he’s implemented the biggest tax cuts and reforms.

Too bad Reagan has already beat him to the position, and several presidents in between – and proved his lack of research in some areas (does anyone remember hearing “we are now an exporter of energy to the world?”)

He also touched on his favorite concept ever – immigrants and their impact on the economy. Now according to Trump, if you erase out immigrants, USA will be safe, and the economy will flourish. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published a 2016 report that says “when measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small.” However, Trump seems to think that immigrants steal Americans’ paychecks, and therefore, limiting them would lead to a greater growth.

According to The Guardian, Trump is counting jobs since election day 2016, months before he became president. About 1.8m Americans have found jobs since Trump’s inauguration, averaging roughly the slowest rate of hiring since 2010.

Furthermore, Trump’s tax plans have always favored the wealthy, and what good is stock market success going to do for the everyday lives of the people of his country?

In the end, the US president can’t really take credit for half of the things he proudly announced for the better part of his speech.

Maybe, as Kamala Harris noted, he should’ve finished his accomplishments with a thank you for President Obama.

Politics The World

Five indispensable tools to help you join the resistance movement

In the age of Trump, more and more Americans are aware of government and we want to stay vigilant. Civic engagement is a crucial part of being a citizen, but the halls of Congress can feel far away, and legislation can be impenetrable. It’s so important to be informed, and there are a number of valuable tools that can help you do that.

1. Find your representatives with

It’s ok if you don’t know who represents you yet (especially if you’ve never voted) and you are certainly not alone.  Now is the time to change that.  Check out Enter your address and zip code and you’ll get a list of all of your elected representatives.

Get to know these people and what they stand for, if you know how much good or bad work your reps are doing in your name, it’s a lot harder to skip an election.

2. Stay up to date with political updates and breakdowns with the Resistance Manual.

The Resistance Manual is a Wikipedia-style open resource that’s constantly being updated on policy issues both nationally and locally. If you don’t know what budget reconciliation is, or want to know what is being done to fight Trump’s immigration policies, you will find it here.

Bookmark it, make it your homepage and you will always be aware of what’s happening in the resistance. There is also an extensive list of background readings, organizations, and resources for everything from protest information to self-care for activists.

An example of a Resistance Manual page detailing Federal Government actions on the Muslim / Immigration Ban

3. Follow legislation with Countable.

While the official is a useful tool, it can be clunky and hard to use. That’s where countable comes in. You sign up with your zip code and opt into notifications when your representative votes on or sponsors legislation. Countable also features information on legislation and compiles arguments for or against bills provided by journalists, legislators, activists and countable users.

4. Find a place to volunteer your time with Volunteer Match.

You may have time to volunteer, but don’t know where your help is needed in your area. Volunteer match will match you with local opportunities based on your interests and location. Service to your community is a great way to remain involved and help in a way that is edifying and helps you connect with activists face to face.

5. Fight racism and police violence with Stay Woke.

Stay Woke is a project from the Movement for Black Lives that starts with a simple survey about your interests, abilities, and ideas for organizing in support of Black Lives. It allows organizers to reach out to respondents to get involved where and when they can and serves as a means of collecting new ideas about how to reach people with their message.

Policy Inequality

Here’s what you need to know about California becoming a sanctuary state

It looks like California might just become the first sanctuary state in the United States. SB 54, which was introduced in the Senate early December 2016 , includes provisions that would aptly categorize California as such, and immigrant groups are heavily pushing for its approval.

SB 54, also known as the “California Values Act,” would “prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid ICE agents in deportation actions.” This bill comes on the heels of President Trump’s fierce crackdown on immigration in the United States. Senator Kevin De León (D.) of California was the first to introduce the bill, along with fellow California Senator Richard Pan.

So, what’s this bill  do? 

Mercury News
  • California law enforcement officials (both statewide and local) cannot carry out deportations.
  • ICE would be prohibited from entering public areas such as schools, courthouses, and hospitals, and would require California agencies to update and uphold confidentiality policies. This is an effort to encourage undocumented people to seek out public services as needed in a non-threatening environment.
  • The state would take positive measures to protect undocumented immigrants from federal reach.
  • However, ICE would be able to carry out a deportation if they obtained a judicial warrant.

What’s this whole “sanctuary state” thing about?

California could become a sanctuary state

Chad Zuber on Shutterstock

Opponents of the bill have complained that it might make California a “de facto sanctuary state”. But will it? That depends on how you define a “sanctuary”.

By the mainstream definition, the California Values Act would, in fact, make California a sanctuary.  “Sanctuary cities” define themselves as places that limit the power of ICE in their jurisdictions by not cooperating with ICE officials. IF SB 54 passed, California would fit that description perfectly.

ICE would still have all the power of the federal government to terrorize undocumented immigrants. The state of California would not be able to put a stop on deportation raids carried out with a judicial warrant. And with widespread recent ICE raids, many concentrated in California, the very possibility of deportations is frightening to many undocumented immigrants still living in the state.

Also important to note: ANY immigrant can turn away ICE for lacking a judicial warrant. ICE does not have the right to carry out a deportation without one. The “warrant requirement” is not unique to this bill at all.

Do we like this bill or not? 


In sum – yes. SB 54 doesn’t completely shield undocumented folks from ICE, as a bill like that can’t possibly exist. It would be openly defying federal law if it did. However, this bill is a huge step in protecting immigrants and de-criminalizing their existence.

If passed, the California Values Act would indeed make California a “de facto sanctuary state”, by all accepted definitions. That is an enormous symbolic step, if not also a severe hindrance for ICE in the state with the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the US.

Great, okay. How is this  bill doing now?

It’s doing well. A state senate committee approved it on February 1st.  The political climate in California is looking good overall, with California lawmakers proposing bills with a similar pro-sanctuary sentiments. Let’s bide our time, and hope this thing passes.

GIF made with GIPHY
USA World News The World

Aliens, Legos, and Milo Yiannopolous: The Week in Review

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines so you can stay on top of things.

1. There could totally be aliens in a solar system close to us

As it turns out, we might not be alone. Astronomers have found 7 Earth-sized planets in a solar system close to our own. Three of these planets are 40 million light years from earth and they are at the right distance from their parent star to potentially discover extra-terrestrial life.  The parent star, TRAPPIST-1, is a small and cool star which means the inhabitable planets are quite close to the center of the system.

Researchers hope to scan the chemical make-up of these planets so they can see if life exists there. Even if there is no life currently, scientists say there is potential for life to be created in the future.

2. Are we finally seeing Milo Yiannopoulos’ last straw?


The Reagan Battalion re-published a video of Yiannapolous defending gay relationships between young boys and older men. Yiannopolous’ appears sympathetic, justifying some of “these relationships” as completely “loving and consensual.” Public outrage ensued, garnering critisim from even some of his own previous fans.

Since then, the public finally witnessed the final straw for Milo Yiannopoulos. On Tuesday, he issued his resignation at Breitbart “effective immediately”.  A day earlier, he lost his book deal with Simon & Schuster, as well as a prominent speaking gig.

Milo has since said that he was abused as a child and does not mean all of the things he says. Why do people listen to him again?

3. A Jewish graveyard is the latest reflection of rising anti-semitic sentiment

Jewish grave site

During the weekend, a Jewish graveyard in St. Louis, MI, fell victim to an anti-semitic attack. Over 170 grave markers were toppled at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society gravesite. Several Jewish institutions all over the United States have been facing bomb threats recently since several white supremacists and right-wing groups have been coming out of the woodwork recently.

In response, activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi started a fundraiser to help aid this community and so far over 3,500 donors have contributed. The goal of $20,000 was successfully made within 3 hours; within the first 24 hours, the fundraiser had raised over $80,000.

The Chesed Shel Emeth Society has been serving the St. Louis Jewish community for more than 125 years, according to the society’s website.

4.  Trump’s press conference

GIF made using GIPHY.COM

Trump held his first solo press conference as president last Thursday. He made many unsubstantiated claims about the press, the state of the country, and his own performance as president that may foreshadow the future attitude of his administration. Despite the fact that the Obama administration left many aspects of the country in comparatively good shape, Trump claims he “inherited a mess,” and warned the public not to trust the media. On a positive note, Peter Alexander of NBC boldly called Trump out on a blatant lie surrounding his alleged “greatest electoral college victory” of all time. “Why should we trust you?” Alexander challenges.

5.  Iraq launches an offensive to regain Mosul

Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye for Getty Images via NYT

Last Sunday Iraqi forces moved to retake the western part of Mosul from ISIS. Soldiers dropped countless flyers from airplanes, urging those still in Mosul to “quit your work with ISIS”. On Thursday the Iraqi federal police led a successful offensive and seized most of Mosul’s airport.

ISIS first took Mosul in 2014, and have held it until now. Iraqi forces took 100 days to seize the eastern part of Mosul. The battle for the western half is turning out far more in Iraq’s favor.

6. Malcolm X’s assassination commemorated


Last Tuesday marked the day of Malcolm X’s assassination. Malcolm X was deeply influential as an activist and leader for black Americans in the struggle against white supremacy. As a member of the Nation of Islam, he espoused controversial black separatist views. Today, he is celebrated by many for advocating for black self-defense in an age of extreme racist violence, and for connecting the black struggle to worldwide systems of oppression.

7. Lego is named the most powerful brand of 2017

Lego imaged most powerful brand of 2017

Lego was named the most powerful brand by Brand Finance, a consulting firm that releases its top picks annually. They determine brand power by its marketing strategies, consumer interest, and profit. Lego toys are highly versatile in their appeal to both children and nostalgic adults, as well as both boys and girls.

8. The plot thickens surrounding Kim Jong-Nam’s murder

Image result for Kim Jong Nam's murder

There have been a multitude of suspicions as to who murdered, and why, Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother Kim Jong-Nam.  Here’s what we know:

Two women walked up to Kim Jong-Nam and smeared some kind of chemicals on his face, then fled the scene. Jong-Nam passed away on the way to the hospital. New details about the murder suggest that North Korea planned this murder in order to more firmly secure Kim Jong-Un’s power.  The body was then sent to North Korea, and the administration demanded the release of the two women, claiming their innocence .

There is evidence that Kim Jong-Un has tried to murder his brother before.  The details are still being investigated, although North Korea has demanded that Malaysian officials halt their investigation.

9. 75 years ago, the US committed a crime against humanity

Image result for japanese internment

On February  19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed the executive order that required the relocation of over 100,00 Japanese-Americans from the West Coast to further inland.  The order was a response to the attacks on Pearly Harbor, an attack that led the United States to join World War II. The camps remained open for a total of 4 grueling years. This “dark period” is annually commemorated by many Americans, expressing regret over the  choice made by Roosevelt and their agreement with the order.

This was 75 years ago, but this kind of systematic discrimination rings true today. Survivors from Japanese internment are disturbed by President Trump’s executive orders banning immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries: “We know what it sounds like. We know what the mood of the country can be. We know a president who is going to see people in a way that could victimize us,” a Californian survivor said.

10. Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq kills 54, injures at least 63

Image result for baghdad bombing feb 2017

On February 16, a bomb went off in Baghdad, killing 54 people and injuring 63. The car bomb was placed strategically in a Muslim Shiite neighborhood, who make up a majority of the country’s Muslim population makeup.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, notorious for their outspoken prejudice against Shiites.  This is the third bombing in Baghdad this year that ISIS is responsible for.

Until next week:

Science Now + Beyond

Republicans are getting sneakier about ignoring climate change

I’m afraid that there is no “moderate” way to be honest about climate change. The earth is really warming, and yes, humans are really the ones to blame. Any attempts to deny these two facts, however gently, or surreptitiously, are lies.

Recently, some of the most powerful government authorities, who (unfortunately) are slated to decide the future of climate policy, have taken a stealthier approach to protect the Big Oil interests they are indebted to.

Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State and former Exxon CEO, says climate change is real, but we can adapt to it.

The truth: Unless we reach zero carbon admissions, we cannot adapt without making living on this planet very uncomfortable for human beings. There is even a risk that climate change will make a vast amount of the Earth uninhabitable for large mammals (that includes us!).

Scott Pruitt, the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claims that “the human ability to measure with precision the extent of that impact is subject to continuing debate and dialogue.”

The truth: There might be debate between Pruitt and his buddies, but among actual scientists, there is an overwhelming consensus that humans cause climate change.

Trump himself says he will keep “an open mind” about whether or not climate change is real.

The truth: What is there to keep an open mind about? Even though he once claimed climate change was a Chinese hoax, it has continued to exist and has already begun to affect parts of the world anyway. I can only hope that he keeps an “open mind” about the sky being blue, or an “open mind” about how terrible he is at running the country.

The above statements are falsehoods, yet it is easy for us to read them as a shift in the right direction on the part of Republicans. After all, the GOP has been known to outright deny climate change, so these half-truths must be better, right?

The reality is, there is no reason that this slight ideological shift will lead to any meaningful policy change by Republicans in power. GOP politicians are still funded by the same Big Oil companies as always, keeping them beholden to fossil fuels, which are the cause of human-induced climate change.

Of course these politicians want to mislead the public about human involvement in climate change. It is their last ditch effort to protect fossil fuel interests, since outright climate denial draws too much ridicule to further benefit companies such as ExxonMobil or Koch Industries.

The Republican Party has a history of creating policy based on their Big Oil donations. And the current Republican administration has direct links to the fossil fuel industry. The president has owned shares of several big oil companies, including those funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rex Tillerson has headed ExxonMobil, a company infamous for funding climate denial groups and more recently has neglected to include the Paris Climate Agreement into its financial plans. Rick Perry, the new Secretary of Energy, sits on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of building DAPL.

Fossil fuel interests have found a cozy seat at the table with Trump’s presidency. Current republican flip-flopping on climate change does nothing to change that.

Statements by Trump and his cabinet, as well as any Republican who continues to avoid the truth of human-caused climate change, are falsehoods. They are nothing but a brilliant example of the government lying to the people about a proven fact. We live in a world where those appointed to protect us refuse to address an issue that could ruin our health and make huge swaths of the planet unfit to live in.

Climate change is the biggest threat that we face, with the potential to ruin the planet more than a nuclear war. Any attempt to be a “moderate” on the issue delegitimizes the government, and its purpose of protecting the people. We cannot forget this as we move forward, or be charmed by Republican half-truths.


It’s time to look policy right in the face, and The Tempest is doing exactly that

At the close of 2016, many of us looked back on the year with a mixture of incredulity and sadness. We felt the deep reverberations of a changing political global landscape, riding the shockwaves through events like Brexit, an attempted Turkish coup, and the American election campaign. For many, politics took a dark and sudden turn the night Donald Trump was elected.

Donald Trump’s rise to power and ultimate capture of the White House was jolting for many. The rhetoric he used to incite support was divisive, destructive, and crass — but the sad truth is that he was merely capitalizing on the sentiments of his support base. He’s all of our childhood bullies personified: the ones who picked on us for our names, sexualities, clothes, lunches, appearances. Our bullies tried to make us feel small, alien.

[bctt tweet=”The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the new political era.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Donald Trump’s victory is an affirmation that those bullies don’t merely exist on the playground. And as of today, he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States of America.

That’s not something we’re going to take lightly.

We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism — we’re here to assert our political presence. Which is why The Tempest is launching a new Policy vertical to kick off the dawn of a new political era.

We’re here to help people like you decipher laws and policies in ways that are easily digestible for everyone. In times like these, the most powerful thing we can do is equip ourselves with knowledge.

However, keeping up with politics requires time, energy, and (more often than not) an advanced dictionary/thesaurus. Truth is, many of us become discouraged with the seemingly daunting and clunky language of politics. Bills can be up to hundreds of pages long and full of legal jargon that’s difficult to break down. It’s all-too-easy to disengage from the endless bills that flow through the congressional labyrinth.

[bctt tweet=”We’re not here to participate in internet slacktivism .” username=”wearethetempest”]

This section is going disrupt that flow, take out the haphazard fluff and get straight to what matters. We’ll walk you through some of the hottest bills, what they aim to do, and whether or not they’ll disproportionately affect you.

Given that this is such a crucial time for politics, it’s extremely important that we understand the policies which govern us. Practicing active citizenship is the best favor we can do for ourselves, regardless of whoever’s in office.

And we’re here to shake things up.

Politics The World

I’m over Bernie Sanders and his so-called revolution

I’m over Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is the guy singing “We Shall Overcome” at campaign rallies and narrating a spoken word/folk album of the same name (I kid you not). The Sanders who thinks reparations are “divisive”, who believes social issues can be solved simply by economic means, and who required quite a bit of prodding to begin focusing on black Americans on the campaign trail. It’s a mistake to link Sanders, a white Jewish senator from Vermont, with the Civil Rights Movement. Yes, he did participate in the movement (please, tell us about it again), but Sanders using “We Shall Overcome” has little to do with the Civil Rights Movement and a lot to do with Bernie Sanders.

The Oakland rally was the moment that I decided I was over Bernie Sanders, but we’ve watched his campaign, in response to Hillary Clinton’s projected primary win, devolve into blustery complaints about the rules and regulations and the intricacies of choosing a party nominee. Some of these complaints (like the wonky system we use for selecting primary candidates) are valid, just as they’ve been whenever they get brought up, but their validity has been obscured by entitlement.

But Sanders, and the supporters who continue to turn out for him, think they’re part of something as substantial and world-changing as the Civil Rights movement. They aren’t. But they don’t blink at pretending they are before a very white crowd in the gentrifying black neighborhood of Oakland. On the plaza named officially for Frank H. Ogawa, a Japanese civil rights leader. The same plaza that is named (unofficially) for Oscar Grant, a black man shot in the back by a cop in 2009.  While Ogawa and Grant are both symbols of the oppression of communities of color, Bernie Sanders is a symbol of…Bernie Sanders. And what he’s asking us to overcome isn’t racial prejudice or police brutality but his dwindling primary campaign.

Having cast himself in the role of the political messiah sent to deliver us from the establishment, Sanders uses a Civil Rights Movement soundtrack to remind us that he’s more than just a presidential candidate. He’s our chance for progress, and to stand against him is like standing against the Civil Rights Movement, and you know what that says about you. But does Sanders know what it says about him? That his white male ego has finally expanded beyond hope of containment, that he’s now willing to do, say and imply whatever is necessary to win.

Co-opting the struggle of black Americans is only one of the tactics Sanders is willing to employ to beat Clinton. He also maintains that his lower delegate count is the result of a concerted effort to stunt progress and keep America under establishment influence rather than pro-Clinton voters turning out in greater number. Remember when Gloria Steinem said women were just backing Sanders because they wanted boyfriends? This is kind of like that. No one wins elections because they say things that appeal to people (for better or for worse) but because of hormones and/or because their votes are being manipulated. There’s that dropped lawsuit against the DNC, abandoned because someone must have realized how ridiculous it was to sue the party for holding Sanders’ campaign accountable for wrongdoing. There are demands for the removal of two pro-Clinton DNC co-chairs, an odd attack on two Democrats whose political opinions offend simply because they’re anti-Sanders.  There’s that never-gonna-happen-but-almost-did debate with Trump and Sanders’ reminder that the Democratic primary isn’t a monarchy while he simultaneously ignores Clinton’s majority of votes.

All with the goal of reassuring Sanders and his supporters that he isn’t actually losing.

Apparently this method of thinking is working too well. Sanders appears to be, if not convinced of his impending victory, at least convinced that he should be winning merely because he wants to be. One faction of Sanders’ supporters, that which has been most vocal and most unbearable, has also adopted this thinking. So when Sanders came up short in Nevada, things turned ugly as supporters became violent and later took their show on the road, doxxing the Nevada convention chairman and sending her grossly misogynistic and threatening messages. In order to be as disappointing as possible, Sanders responded that the Democratic party (and the woman on the other end of those threats) should “figure out a way to welcome people who have been energized and excited by his campaign”.

Unfortunately for Sanders, “energy” and “excitement” don’t work as synonyms for misogyny any better than Bernie Sanders works as a synonym for the Civil Rights Movement. Bernie Sanders is only synonymous with Bernie Sanders, and securing the presidency is all he cares about. Bernie Sanders is, first and foremost, a politician who wants to win. While the holds he has in the status quo may look a little different from those of Hillary Clinton or another establishment politician, they still exist.

It’s not revolutionary to avoid condemning racism and misogyny in those who support you (we’ve had this same conversation about Donald Trump many times). It’s not revolutionary to adopt the Civil Rights Movement to further your own cause or dismiss votes cast against you simply because you wish they didn’t count. These are not revolutionary. This is the status quo. If Sanders can’t shake it even in his primary campaign, I wouldn’t expect him to do so in the White House.

I don’t expect any other candidate to do it either, but Sanders is the only candidate promising revolutionary policies and a swift change in the status quo. Well not the only one. Donald Trump is doing the same, and we know what his idea of revolutionary is. I’d never suggest Sanders would sink to the depths of Trump (he’d have a looooong way to sink), but I would suggest he won’t rise to the heights he promises.

Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, I’ll vote for whichever secures the nomination (it’ll likely be Clinton), but I’ll expect no more from one than I’d get from the other.