My mother taught English in D.C. Public Schools for more than 50 years. One day, I went to her class to help her carry some boxes down to her car when I saw “Let’s get that pizza” written on the chalkboard. I laughed because my mother, who is a wizard of words and a waste of time to play Scrabble against (seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever beaten my mother) had to know that this was incorrect English. She saw that I was fixing my mouth to correct her when she notified me that it was in quotes, so she wrote it the way it was said. She explained that it was a mantra for one of her classes which had some big test coming up and she’d promised the class pizza if they did well. I asked her if she was worried about the class being bummed out if they didn’t do well enough to get pizza. She informed me that the pizza was a given no matter what. If the kids aced the test they got pizza and if they bombed they’d get pizza to cheer them up.
I thought that was some cheesy (see what I did there? Pizza...cheese..forget it) participation trophy garbage that adds to the softening of America’s children. Why should they get pizza for failing, I asked. She explained that some of her children don’t come from homes where they have enough to eat and that the pizza had nothing to do with the test, it was just a chance to feed some kids who she knew might go hungry over the weekend, which, is why she always got more pizza than she needed so some of them—the ones she knew weren’t doing well—could have slices to take home. She said that the other teachers always thought that her kids tested well because she bribed them with food. She explained that the kids testing well didn’t have anything to do with food incentives but everything to do with a trick she learned a while ago. Days before the test was to be given she’d pair the smart kids up with the ones who were struggling and have them work through a practice test. Yes, those who had the right answers got rewarded with candy, but the secret she told me is that some kids just learn better from other kids. So she’d walk around the classroom and observe the teachings of kids seeing if she could learn any tips to add to her arsenal.
“Sometimes you just have to meet people right where they are,” she told me.
So in honor of that kid and lessons that can be learned from each other, I say: “Let’s get that pizza.”
Below are five down-ballot races to watch in the upcoming election.
Maine: Sara Gideon (D) vs. Susan Collins (R)
If an empty carryout container stained with a week’s worth of old mumbo sauce was running against shaky-voiced Susan Collins I would be carrying signs urging people to “Vote Carryout Container 2020!”
Collins prides herself as being the Republican with strong words against Republicans. She’s the woman who chastises Republicans, who acts like she’s against Republicans, and in the end continues to cozy up to, kick it with, tag in her IG photos, and vote with Republicans. Never forget the mess she pulled during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing in which she acted as if she was having a conflict of conscience like she was really contemplating voting against Kavanaugh only to stand on the floor of the Senate and ramble during her 45-minute speech that ended with: “Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
I don’t know where, and I don’t know how, but it’s time for Susan Collins to go. I don’t care if she ends up on a street corner where she is paid a dollar by Trump supporters to get a video of her saying “I’m deeply concerned,” but she needs to get out of Congress, ASAPly.
The funny thing is that everyone is tired of her. She’s annoyed the right and the left, equally. So now Collins is trying to reshape herself as a political centrist, which would be great. She can use her new centrist position to end arguments in her home because she’s no longer needed in Congress.
And if anyone can do it, it’s Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives. While she’s been in local politics for a bit, she’s not as widely known as Collins. But that hasn’t stopped Gideon from outraising Collins including one three-month stint in which she raised some $39.4 million. All Gideon needs to do is hold serve. If Collins is going to be defeated it will be her own undoing and “I’m deeply concerned about that.”
South Carolina: Jaime Harrison (D) vs. Lindsey Graham (R)
President Trump’s third testicle Sen. Lindsey Graham made his bed and then he asked the president to sleep in it while he slept on the floor next to him. Graham sold his soul and possibly his Congressional seat by aligning with Trump and now the chickens are coming home to roost. And by chickens, I mean donations to Jaime Harrison, who has punishingly outraised Graham to the point that Trump’s favorite booty pimple can’t stop whining about how much money Harrison has raised.
Seriously, listen to Graham begging, with his begging ass:
Jaime Harrison has been on Lindsey’s tail from the time he announced that he was running and he hasn’t let up. He’s got Graham so shook that the current South Carolina senator (emphasis on current) has canceled two of three scheduled debates in October. The first debate was canceled because Graham refused to take a COVID-19 test. The second was recently canceled because Graham claims he’s not coming back to S.C. until Amy Coney Barrett is a confirmed Supreme Court Justice.
“The last debate was canceled because Lindsey Graham refused to take a COVID test; now he’s too busy playing political games in Washington to let the people of South Carolina hear from him,” Harrison said. “South Carolinians statewide are suffering from the ongoing pandemic, and the people of the Palmetto State deserve to hear from both candidates on the issues that matter most. I’m ready and willing to debate, while Lindsey Graham runs from the people of South Carolina.”
In the words of guys from my neighborhood: “He scared.”
Alabama: Doug Jones (D) vs. Tommy Tuberville (R)
Let me explain how the spine works: OK, I don’t know how a spine works but I know that if you screw with your spine it’s a wrap. You know who else you don’t mess with? Black women. Black women are the spine of the Democratic party and when Doug Jones was in a tough race against a pedophile (because Alabama) it was Black women who came out to save Jones.
And then once Jones got to Congress, what did he do? Nothing that I can think of. Not one thing. Well, he did sign that one piece of legislation that helped roll back many of the regulations imposed on banks and lenders.
The Root senior staff writer Michael Harriot explains it as just one way Jones screwed over Black folks.
Among other things, the legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday strips away for some banks the requirement to report the race, ethnicity and gender of their mortgage customers. Under the new proposal, only the largest banks will have to report demographic data, which means that it will be impossible to find out if the other banks discriminate. If the law passes, these banks will be able to deny black customers without fear of repercussion or lawsuits.
But Jones did say that “Black Lives Matter” so I guess there is that. But understand this: I don’t care what the polls say or where they say former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is slated, Alabama is a football state and one thing they love more than President Trump is watching their quarterback take a three-step drop and burn a cover three. Who knows what Tommy Tuberville believes but he loves Trump and he loves football and that means he’s got a chance.
Kentucky: Amy McGrath (D) vs. Mitch McConnell (R)
It’s time for Mitch McConnell’s neck balloon to inflate and carry him off into the clouds only for his neck balloon to be clipped by a buzzard that follows him to the ground to pick over his destroyed neck balloon. Seriously, it’s a tie between Lindsey Graham and McConnell between whom I hate more, and right now, McConnell is in the lead.
McConnell is a throwback to the good ole boy Strom Thurmond Congress of yesteryear. Not only does McConnell pride himself on being the person who kept then-President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, off the court, but he’s currently in the process of shoving Amy Coney Barrett down America’s throat as the election is underway. He’s also done nothing to reign in the president and he’s currently the reason that we don’t have a new stimulus bill as the Senate Majority Leader has refused to work across the aisle to keep all of America from sliding deeper into poverty. Oh, and Moscow Mitch is Russia’s little puppet because he’s doing exactly what Russia and Trump want him to do. Also, he’s got something really weird going on with his hands.
If Amy McGrath is going to beat McConnell she’s going to have to overcome a lot. First, she’s not racist and if she’s going to win in Kentucky, well, she’s going to have to work on that. Seriously, a place like Kentucky doesn’t just accidentally end up with someone like McConnell unless they are jacked up too. Currently, with a week of voting remaining, McConnell is leading McGrath by 9 points coming off arguably his worst year and McGrath is no slouch; she’s a Marine fighter pilot! McGrath has raised some $46 million (and counting) and if money was the sole factor in determining who would win the race, then McGrath would be a lock. Sadly, money ain’t votes and if I had to put my chips on a balloon-necked-man running in a fundamentally blue state where he’s won six times, sadly, I don’t think this is the year that McConnell leaves Congress.
Mississippi: Mike Espy (D) vs. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
Former President Barack Obama has endorsed Mike Espy. Current White House squatter President Trump has issued a Twitter shout-out to Cindy Hyde-Smith. I don’t know if two candidates could be more opposite. One is hoping to become the first Black person in a century to represent Mississippi and the other is Cindy Hyde-Smith. Hyde-Smith and Espy faced off in a special election to take over the last two years of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) term. Espy lost. Now the two meet again for a chance at full term and Espy’s swimming in cash. He’s raised some “$4 million in the third quarter of 2020, while Hyde-Smith raised nearly $815,000.” But who are we kidding, Mississippi is racist AF. Other states call Mississippi for tips on how they can be more racist. Doesn’t help Espy that President Trump “won by 18 percent in 2016 and is expected to handily carry again this year.”
But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. People hate Trump all across the country and that’s bringing out a record number of voters and this could help Espy. While voting for Biden, there is bound to be some down-ballot trickle-down effect and hopefully, that’s enough to push Espy to victory.
Other notable races to watch:
Michigan: Gary Peters (D) vs. John James (R)
Georgia: Jon Ossoff (D) vs. David Perdue (R) and Raphael Warnock vs. Kelly Loeffler (R)