Friday, April 19, 2019

The Weekly Twenty Twenty Update

Repeated from last Friday's update: your teevee viewing for this Monday night.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren will participate in this live, internationally telecast 2020 event from New Hampshire on April 22.

The CNN town halls are co-hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. The presidential hopefuls will field questions directly from students and young New Hampshire Democrats, said a CNN spokeswoman, who added the audience will be drawn from the two schools and a pool of young Democrats living in the state.

... Chris Cuomo will moderate the Klobuchar (6 p.m. CT) and Sanders (8 p.m. CT) town halls, Anderson Cooper will moderate the Warren (7 p.m. CT) and Buttigieg (10 p.m. CT) town halls, and Don Lemon will moderate the Harris (9 p.m. CT) town hall.

The CNN town halls will take place on the campus of Saint Anselm College, and coincide with the release of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School's new national poll of young voters.

The latest Harvard Poll shows that Sanders has a commanding lead among 18-29 year olds over his political rivals: 31% back Sanders, while former Vice President Joe Biden places second with 20% support. At this point during the 2016 campaign, Sanders was polling at only 2% with the same age group in the Harvard poll.

The focus shifts to Houston on Wednesday ... which happens to be the same day Biden is rumored to make his long-awaited entry.

I'm guessing if Biden tries to bigfoot anybody it will be Bernie, who rallies after the forum.

Let's check in on the rest of the field.

Stacey Abrams

The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate said she would make a decision on a potential 2020 Senate run in the next few weeks, but that a decision on a presidential campaign could take longer.
“I do not believe that there is the type of urgency that some seem to believe there is,” Abrams said in an interview with The Root.

Abrams garnered 4% in a recent poll, tied with Cory Booker and ahead of Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and Tulsi Gabbard.  My humble O is that she really shouldn't be included in presidential polling until she declares.

Cory Booker

An analysis by the Associated Press found that Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris have each missed the most Senate votes this year among their colleagues running for president. The pair has missed 16 of the chamber’s 77 votes this session.

The New Jersey senator announced a plan to expand the earned income tax credit during an event in Iowa on Monday, saying that it would boost the economy and benefit more than 150 million people. Booker’s plan pays for the credit by increasing taxes on capital gains.

Booker additionally called for voting rights reforms during a visit to Georgia on Wednesday, including automatic voter registration, making Election Day a national holiday and restoring the Voting Rights Act protections that were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg officially launched his presidential campaign last weekend with a rally in his native South Bend, Indiana, where he acknowledged -- even as his popularity grows -- “the audacity of (running for president) as a Midwestern millennial mayor.”

It is “more than a little bold, at age 37, to seek the highest office in the land,” he said.

The South Bend mayor also encountered some of his campaign’s first hecklers this week, as he was confronted in Iowa by anti-gay protesters, and announced that he and his husband are interested in having a child at some point in the near future.

Bootyjudge is taking the Obama route by way of his fundraising as well.

(Buttigieg) will attend a fundraiser for his 2020 White House campaign next month hosted by several high-dollar Democratic bundlers who have in the past supported former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their own presidential bids.

NBC News reported Thursday that Buttigieg will attend a May 21 event hosted by Steve Elmendorf and Barry Karas, two longtime Democratic donors who organized hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Elmendorf previously announced his support for Buttigieg's presidential campaign, which officially kicked off earlier this month, and donated a small amount -- $250 -- to the mayor's presidential campaign last financial quarter. He previously bundled more than $100,000 for Clinton's unsuccessful 2016 White House bid and worked on former Secretary of State John Kerry's 2004 bid against President George W. Bush.

Karas, along with Beverly Hills lawyer Dana Perlman, supported Obama's successful campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and organized at least $500,000 in donations to the Obama campaign in 2012, according to Forbes.


Invitations to next month's fundraiser in Washington for Buttigieg range from $250 to $5,600 per person, according to NBC, and the event is billed as the mayor's first visit to D.C. since launching his presidential bid.

More on the Obama-as-model angle from Vox.

Julian Castro 

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary raised a relatively meager $1.1 million during the year’s first quarter, placing him behind nearly every major candidate in the Democratic field.

The New York Times reported on Castro’s struggle to catch on with voters at this point in the campaign, noting that the candidate himself doesn’t seem bothered by his position in the field.

“People are going to have their moments,” he said. “I would rather have my moment closer to the actual election than right now.”

While 538 is already wondering if he can rally, my suggestion is: don't count Castro out yet.  If he makes it to Super Duper Tuesday and the Texas primary, he should defeat Beto O'Rourke, and that would be kind of a big deal.

(Castro's) ideal scenario is that he is a viable candidate when the primaries start in February, so he can galvanize Latinos behind him in three key states in particular: California, Nevada and Texas. Nevada (where about 20 percent of Democratic primary voters are likely to be Latino) is currently scheduled to be the third state to vote. California and Texas, the two states with the largest Latino populations, hold their primaries along with several other states on Super Tuesday, on March 3, but both states allow early voting, so lots of voters in both states will cast ballots in February.

John Delaney

Delaney and Booker’s campaign were involved in a minor dust-up after a Booker fundraising email earlier this week made reference to “one of the other Democrats in this race… giv[ing] over $11 million of his own money to his campaign,” a fact that can only be attributed to Delaney.

A spokesperson for the former Maryland congressman jabbed back, saying, “If I had Booker’s numbers, I’d go negative too.”

On Tuesday, Delaney announced a plan to create a cabinet level Department of Cybersecurity, noting in a press release, “Currently our cybersecurity efforts are spread across multiple agencies, but by creating a new department we can centralize our mission, focus our goals and efforts, and create accountability.”

There's no discernible reason why Delaney is in the race for the White House other than vanity and favorite-son delegates at the Milwaukee convention.

Tulsi Gabbard 

In visit to Iowa this week, Gabbard touted her experience in the National Guard and said she was disappointed in Trump’s decision to veto a bipartisan congressional resolution calling for an end to U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

The Hawaii congresswoman also criticized Trump in a Fox News appearance, saying that his administration’s efforts to force “regime change” in Venezuela were “directly undermining” its effort to denuclearize North Korea. In the same interview, Gabbard said that it is “impossible for Kim Jong Un to believe (the Trump administration) when they tell him, ‘Don’t worry. Get rid of your nuclear weapons. We’re not going to come after you.'”

She also reminded us that she called Trump "Saudi Arabia's bitch" back in November.  The more I hear from her, the more I like her.  There ought to be a place for her somewhere -- Defense Secretary? -- in a Bernie Sanders administration.

Kirsten Gillibrand 

Gillibrand’s $3 million raised from donors for 2020 during the year’s first quarter placed her last among the group of six U.S. senators running for the presidential nomination; but she also transferred nearly $10 million from her 2018 Senate committee into her 2020 campaign, placing her among the top tier of candidates in cash-on-hand entering the second quarter.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday that the New York senator is endorsing proposals included in a new report that analyzes the racial wealth divide. The proposals include postal banking, government run trust accounts and the formation of a commission to study slavery reparations.

I've said previously that Gillibrand would be one of the first -- if not the first -- out of the race, but with this much bank, it seems she can keep it going all the way into next year, low poll numbers notwithstanding.  Like Buttiguy, she'll be tapping the big money people.

Kamala Harris 

Harris admitted that she regrets the support she lent an anti-truancy law while serving as California’s attorney general, specifically the law’s threat to prosecute parents for their children’s absences. The senator noted, however, that her office never jailed a parent for a violation of the law.

This finally addresses one of Kamala's weakest links: her shitty record as a prosecutor.  Whether she can put the issue behind her still remains to be seen.

Jay Inslee 
In a New York Magazine interview, the Washington governor, who is running a campaign prioritizing climate change, said that any attempt by Trump to run on his environmental record “would not be successful.”

Inslee was also critical of one of his constituents, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering an independent presidential run. Inslee pointed to Schultz’s scant voting history.

“The son of a gun doesn’t even vote,” Inslee said. “You want to be president and you don’t even vote? You know, that’s just for the little people. In Howard’s life, voting is just for the little people. I don’t think his candidacy is going to soar.”

While I would have preferred Inslee using Tulsi's (or Trump's) language, it's well past time for Democrats to start calling out Mr. Coffee.

Like Liz Warren, I'm disappointed Inslee isn't getting more traction in this early sledding.

Amy Klobuchar 

The Minnesota senator made her second trip to Florida as a presidential candidate this week, speaking about health care in Miami and meeting with Democratic leaders from the state House in Tallahassee.

Fox News also announced that Klobuchar will appear on the network for a forum on May 8. The Klobuchar appearance follows a Sanders town hall on Fox News last Monday.

I'm not reading any widespread condemnation of Amy's decision to go on Fox, as I did of Bernie.  Wonder why that is.

Terry McAuliffe 

McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia, announced on Wednesday evening that he would not run for president, choosing instead to assist Democrats in his home state trying to win back the state’s legislative chambers.

Despite his decision, McAuliffe said he feels he would have been able to beat Trump “like a rented mule,” but that he was concerned about the problems he sees plaguing Virginia, an apparent reference to the blackface scandal and sexual harassment allegation that rocked Democratic leadership earlier this year.

McAuliffe will eventually do what he did for the Clintons; bundle big bucks for the centrist, establishment option to Bernie Sanders, be it Biden or be it Buttigeig.

Seth Moulton 

Moulton, who was spotted in his Massachusetts hometown this week filming a presidential announcement video, is hiring staff for a potential campaign, Politico reported; he is expected to make a public announcement next week.

I honestly have no idea who this person is or why he is running for president.

Beto O’Rourke 

The former congressman continued his breakneck-paced campaign this week, making stops in South Carolina and the Super Tuesday battleground of Virginia.

Like other 2020 Democrats, O’Rourke spent most of the week defending the contents of years of tax returns. One headline emerging from the 10 years of filings that O’Rourke dropped on Monday: He appears to have given the smallest percentage of his family’s income to charity out of the 2020 field (0.3 percent in 2017), according to ABC News.

A voter confronted O’Rourke about his stingy charitable donations on the trail Wednesday, and the 2020 hopeful responded by saying:

“I’ve served in public office since 2005. I do my best to contribute to the success of my community, of my state, and now, of my country. There are ways that I do this that are measurable and there are ways that I do this that are immeasurable. There are charities that we donate to that we’ve recorded and itemized, others that we have donated to that we have not.”

Beto strings together two lousy weeks in a row.  Bootyjudge has sailed past him, probably for good.  I would think O'Rourke has to be considering the Senate race to some degree now.  If he were to jump into that before either Joaquin Castro or MJ Hegar do, it would certainly spoil a lot of plans.

Tim Ryan 

Ryan took a page out of Elizabeth Warren’s book this week and introduced legislation which would require the Justice Department to create training in a variety of areas for law enforcement officers.
He also took a veiled shot at some of the more progressive Democrats in the 2020 field, telling CNN that he’s “concerned” about a growing socialist wing of the party.

“I’m concerned about it. Because if we are going to de-carbonize the American economy, it’s not going to be some centralized bureaucracy in Washington, DC, that’s going to make it happen,” Ryan said. “It’s going to be part targeted government investments that do need to be robust. But it’s going to be the free market that’s going -- at the end of the day -- is going to make that happen.”

Once again, Ryan -- like John Hickenlooper and this next guy -- have only one purpose for a 2020 campaign: stop Bernie.

Eric Swalwell

Rep. Swalwell held another kick-off rally in his hometown of Dublin, California, on Sunday, days after he officially kicked off his campaign a few miles away from last year’s school shooting in Parkland.

Bernie Sanders 

Sanders had a big week. Not only did he release ten years of tax returns, but he also seems to have kick-started another Democratic trend: appearing on Fox News.

According to tax filings released by the campaign, Sanders, who has made a career out of railing against the ultra wealthy, is officially now a millionaire himself.

The runner up for the 2016 Democratic nomination reported an adjusted gross income of nearly $561,293 in 2018, and paid $145,840 in taxes for a 26 percent effective tax rate. And in 2016 and 2017, Sanders reported raking in $1.06 million and $1.13 million in adjusted gross income, respectively, paying a 35 percent and 30 percent effective rate, according to ABC News.

Tax filings aside, Sanders’ Fox News town hall on Monday broke ratings records for the 2020 cycle so far. And it looks like more Democrats are set to follow his lead, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar quickly announcing her own Fox town hall.

Finally the acknowledged front-runner, Bernie has raised the most money -- all from small donors; has over a million volunteers; is quite obviously on a hard and fast roll.  It's no wonder Biden and the others seem desperate to slow him.

Sanders also castigated the Center for American Progress and its chief, Neera Tanden, and editorials posted at its loosely-affiliated blog, Think Progress (it's been linked forever in the right-hand column) for its ongoing war with actual progressive Democrats.  TP does write some good things, particularly on climate, but as you can see, cannot Resist drinking the Russian Kool-Aid.

And for the fourth time in a row over the last eight weeks, Sandernistas kicked kos in the balls.

Elizabeth Warren 

Warren continued her string of major policy proposal announcements, which have defined her campaign and aspects of the entire 2020 Democratic race as of late. She introduced the “Accountable Capitalism Act” this week, a bill that “aims to reverse the harmful trends over the last 30 years,” according to the senator’s website.

TPM's Josh Marshall has some thoughts about Buttigieg's rise and Warren's non-.

Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang

Both had successful townhalls on CNN last weekend.  Both appeal to specific segments of progressive Democrats (though Yang is considered closer to the Libertarian side and Williamson more Green).  Both have yet to find much in the way of polling appeal.

Democratic presidential hopeful and spiritual book author Marianne Williamson participated in her first CNN town hall last Sunday.

On health care, Williamson said that her approach as president would be broader than just Medicare for All, according to CNN.

“That will save a lot of money. There’s so much about our diet, our lifestyle and so much about the economic stress that actually causes the very conditions that produce illness. That’s why if we’re going to talk about health in America, we have to talk about the foods, toxins. We have to talk about our environmental policies. We need to go a lot deeper.”

Andrew Yang held a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Monday, drawing a “large and diverse crowd,” according to Business Insider.

“The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math,” Yang told the raucous crowd.
The D.C. rally came on the heels of perhaps Yang’s biggest media appearance yet with his CNN town hall on Sunday.

On combating the opioid epidemic, Yang said he supports decriminalizing heroin and other opiates. “We need to decriminalize opiates for personal use,” Yang said. “I’m also for the legalization of cannabis,” he said during Sunday’s town hall.

 Down With Tyranny: The Candidate Rachel Maddow Hasn't Heard Of

Insider: Yang is using an online meme army to raise millions

Since you've read this far, go on over and check up on William Weld, the Libertarian turned-back-to Republican who declared against Trump last week.

"There are 20 primaries where independents can vote in the Republican primaries, 20 states, and I'll be focusing on them," Weld said. "It's not just New Hampshire. I'll probably be making swings through California, Oregon, Washington … I'll be active in the Mid-Atlantic states, particularly New York, also Pennsylvania and Delaware and Maryland and a bunch of other states out West." 

The truth is that he needs to pull an upset in the Granite State in order to make anything happen.

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