2019年11月15日 星期五

Looking through a telescope

maybe there's a sign of hope.
Deval Patrick campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday.Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Author Headshot

By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

This has been a big week for the Democratic presidential race, and since I didn’t write about it in my column, I thought I would write about it here.

First, Michael Bloomberg looks like he’s going to join the race. I admit, I’m not a fan. I think Bloomberg represents a corporate, paternalistic liberalism more concerned with efficiency and growth than equity and justice. But my bias aside, I’m not sure how he thrives in a Democratic primary. His core constituency — white, affluent, college-educated suburbanites who are socially liberal but not too keen on big social programs — has already lined up behind two of the top candidates in the race: Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. And he’s a long shot to break into Bernie Sanders’s support among young voters or Biden’s support among older African-Americans. He has money — $52.8 billion, to be precise — but Tom Steyer’s struggling campaign shows that deep pockets can’t make up for a lack of enthusiasm. Anything is possible, of course, but not everything is likely, and Bloomberg has a low chance for success.

Then there’s Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts. He joined the race on Thursday, in a self-described “Hail Mary” bid for the nomination. It’s also hard to see where he fits. If you want an African-American, center-left Democrat with governing experience and business ties who could appeal to black voters, then you already have two choices: Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. But Patrick isn’t just redundant; he has a potentially fatal flaw — his yearslong work with Bain Capital, the subject of President Barack Obama’s most effective attacks in his 2012 re-election race against Mitt Romney. This is a problem in the primary, where rivals can rightfully ask why voters should undermine the party’s messaging by choosing Patrick, and it is a problem in the general election, where Trump could run the anti-corporate part of his anti-Clinton playbook for a second time.

If there’s a case for Patrick, it’s that he’s a friend of the Obamas and may have their unspoken support. If so, he is uniquely poised to undermine Biden’s support among older African-American voters. But if that happens, it may not benefit him. Instead, it could open space for another candidate to claim some of Biden’s support and thus take the stage. We’ll see.


What I Wrote

I wrote about all the billionaires who are very mad at Elizabeth Warren.

There are billionaires who oppose Trump, of course. But for the most part they aren’t class traitors. They still want the government to work in their favor. They still want to keep their taxes low, just without the dysfunction — and gratuitous cruelty — of the current administration. And they want Democrats to choose a conventional nominee: a moderate standard-bearer who doesn’t want to make fundamental changes to the economy, from greatly increased taxes to greater worker control.

And I wrote about Stephen Miller, a key adviser to the president who has been marinating in white nationalist agitprop:

An analysis of more than 900 emails from Miller to editors at Breitbart News, the report shows Miller’s single-minded focus on nonwhite immigration and his immersion in an online ecosystem of virulent, unapologetic racism. The Miller of these emails isn’t just an immigration restrictionist, he’s an ideological white nationalist.

Currently Reading

David Blight on Frederick Douglass in The Atlantic.

Charles King on America’s original identity politics in Foreign Affairs.

Nicole Hemmer on conservative media in the Boston Review.

Susan Watkins on misogyny in the New Left Review.

Bridget Read on Michael Bloomberg in New York magazine.



If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to friends. They can sign up here. If you want to share your thoughts on an item in this week’s newsletter or on the newsletter in general, please email me at jamelle-newsletter@nytimes.com.

Photo of the Week

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, in Austin, Tex.Jamelle Bouie

I was in Austin recently and used the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places in the city, the Lyndon Johnson presidential library. I’m a big nerd for all things presidential, and this place is a library. I also love the building itself, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, a leading modernist architect whose career spanned the 20th century. One of his other notable buildings is the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, which is similarly stark and geometric.


I took this photo with a digital Leica range finder and a wide-angle lens. I also made some minor edits so that the color would pop.

Now Eating: Black Bean Soup

I was out of town for most of the week and so needed to make a few dinners ahead of time for my family. I had a pound of Rancho Gordo black beans in the pantry, and so black bean soup was an obvious pick. The recipe is from The Kitchn. It’s very easy! If you’re vegan or vegetarian, omit the smoked ham hock or turkey neck and add smoked paprika to taste. If you’re not, feel free to replace the water with chicken stock. This recipe calls for making the soup over the stove, but I made it in my Instant Pot, cooking on high pressure for 45 minutes and then doing 15 of natural release before releasing the rest of the pressure. I then simmered the soup for 20 minutes to reduce it a little, before adding salt.


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 smoked turkey neck or smoked ham hock
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup distilled white or apple cider vinegar
  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
  • Sour cream, chopped red bell pepper, pickled red onions, chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


The night before cooking the soup, place the beans in a colander and rinse with cold running water. Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken or shriveled. Place the beans in a large (4 quarts or larger) Dutch oven or soup pot with a lid and cover with enough cold water so that it comes to 1 inch over the top of the beans. Soak overnight.

Drain the beans, then return them to the pot. Add enough cold water so that it covers the beans by an inch. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, ham bone or hock, olive oil, salt and a generous quantity of black pepper. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any white foam, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the beans are very soft and the soup is creamy, not watery, 4 to 5 hours. Check after 2 hours. If the beans seem dry or stew-y, add another cup of water. The final consistency should be velvety and thick, and the soup should coat the back of a spoon. (The beans will soften in the first 2 hours. The goal is to continue cooking the soup until some of the beans break down and create the smooth, thick soup base.)

When the soup is nearly finished, stir in the vinegar and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes more. Pull the ham bone out of the pot — the meat that hasn’t already fallen off should be easy to pick off; coarsely chop and return the meat to the pot.

Serve over rice if desired, with garnishes.

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