Friday, April 26, 2019

The Weekly Twenty Twenty Update

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential announcement wasn’t the only big 2020 news this week: According to our research, 16 Democratic candidates have now qualified for the first two primary debates this summer, counting Biden, who only needed to enter the race to qualify, and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who was put over the top by a new survey from Reuters/Ipsos.


With the first two debates capped at 20 slots each, the stage is quickly filling up. The DNC plans to split up each debate over two consecutive nights to accommodate up to 10 candidates per night; if more than 20 candidates qualify, it will choose qualifiers based on a ranking system that incorporates both thresholds.

Second, because Ryan qualified for the debate stage (he was already a major candidate under FiveThirtyEight’s guidelines), one more person has now entered the ranks of our “major” candidates: Marianne Williamson, an author and spiritual adviser who launched her bid back in January.


Even though she’s major to us, Williamson does not seem to have qualified for the debate stage yet, as far as we can tell. She hasn’t hit 1 percent in any qualifying polls so far, but she still might be able to reach the donor threshold -- as of Thursday afternoon, her campaign website claimed she was about 9,000 donors shy of 65,000. Williamson raised a little over $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, but the Federal Election Commission data can’t tell us how many individual donors that money came from. We’ll just have to see where things stand in June.

There was a lot more going on this past week, particularly in Texas.  But since I crib from Adam Kelsey and Elizabeth Thomas, let's go in alphabetical order like they do.

Michael Bennet 

The Colorado senator tweeted last Friday that he “underwent a successful surgery” to treat his prostate cancer and “requires no further treatment.” Bennet previously said that he had been ready to announce a presidential run until he received the cancer diagnosis, but would still enter the race if he was ultimately declared cancer free.

There's just no point in you jumping in, Senator.  Unless you want to try to spoil the first ballot at the Milwaukee convention, like a lot of these others.

Joe Biden 

The former vice president announced the launch of his presidential campaign Thursday after months of build up, releasing a video in which he said that “everything that makes America, America, is at stake” in the upcoming presidential election.

Too much pimping by supporters and snark by non- to mention.  Okay, one mention.

Biden’s first television interview will take place on ABC’s “The View” on Friday and then he will hit the road, making trips to Pittsburgh Monday, Iowa and South Carolina later next week, then Nevada, California and New Hampshire before mid-March.

He and his wife Dr. Jill Biden will also sit down with Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” ahead of his Pittsburgh event. The interview will air on GMA Tuesday.

Biden’s campaign was immediately endorsed by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and all three members of his home state of Delaware’s congressional delegation, Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Something else:

While many of Biden’s fellow Democrats openly welcomed him to the race, behind the scenes several -- including Sen. Cory Booker, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke -- began to fundraise off of the news, showcasing an awareness that (their) path to the nomination just became all the more difficult.

Cory Booker 

Booker became the latest Democratic presidential candidate to release his tax returns Wednesday evening, posting 10 years’ worth to his campaign website.

Though the New Jersey senator made only $152,715 in 2018 -- on which he paid $29,446 in taxes and donated $24,000 to charity -- he revealed himself to be relatively wealthy from years of accumulated speaking fees and royalties nearing $3 million total. The returns also showed fairly substantial charitable giving, with over $20,000 in contributions every year since 2012, including two years that topped $82,000 and $240,000, respectively.

At Wednesday’s #SheThePeople forum in Texas, Booker again pledged to select a female running mate should he be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg earned his first endorsement from a member of Congress this week, with Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia releasing a statement saying that he was backing the South Bend, Indiana mayor and comparing him to former President Barack Obama.

“I endorsed Barack Obama early, having been moved by both his intelligence and his political capability. I am similarly inspired by Mayor Pete,” Beyer said. “With him, I feel the promise of a new generation, and I see a way out of the darkness.”

I owe a post dedicated to Buddyguy next week, seeing as how he's about to be exposed as a flash in the pan because of his lack of appeal to African American women voters.

Julián Castro

In an interview with The New Yorker, Castro outlined his position on immigration, which has been the centerpiece of his campaign, explaining that he doesn’t believe those attempting to cross the southern border “are a national security threat” and that he found it “beautiful” “that people still see this country as a place of opportunity and safety.”

Speaking with BuzzFeed News Tuesday, Castro pushed back against the idea that Congressional impeachment proceedings would backfire on Democrats, saying that it was possible for the party to “walk and chew gum at the same time” -- holding Trump accountable while pitching their strengths ahead of the 2020 election.

Castro was the center of a humorous moment at Wednesday’s 'She the People' forum, when he revealed that the event’s program featured a photo of his twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro and joked that his brother “would say that’s a good thing because he’s better looking than I am.”

Julián is continuing to make lemonade out of lemons, and good on him.  I think he'll be a sturdy candidate for Texas governor in 2022.

Tulsi Gabbard

The Hawaii congresswoman shared her belief that “it’s time for the country to focus on the issues that matter most to Americans” in lieu of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia after the Mueller report revealed “no collusion.”

“The conclusion that came from that Mueller report was that no collusion took place,” Gabbard said on Fox News Sunday. “Now is the time for us to come together as a country to put the issues and the interests and the concerns that the American people have at the forefront, to take action to bring about real solutions for them.”

Gabbard was heckled rudely at SheThePeople.

Kirsten Gillibrand

In an appearance on 'The View' Wednesday, Gillibrand was supportive of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats’ efforts to subpoena key figures named in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, despite Trump’s insistence that they should not have to testify before Congress.

“The Mueller report was very damning,” Gillibrand said, adding, “If President Trump takes on Nancy Pelosi over whether he’s going to respond to her subpoenas, I will put my money on Nancy Pelosi every time.”

(Gillibrand also) said (Biden is) “going to have to directly answer to voters” on allegations of inappropriate touching.

Kamala Harris

Harris received some criticism that she was too cautious during a CNN town hall on Monday, during which she repeatedly called for “conversations” and “debate” about a number of issues, including felon voting rights, the voting age, slavery reparations and student debt forgiveness.

The California senator did signal her support for impeachment during the event, arguing that the Mueller report presented evidence that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, but said she was a “realist” about the whether the efforts would ultimately be successful, given Senate Republicans’ support for the president.

Harris is already being talked up by Biden supporters as his running mate.

Jay Inslee
The Washington governor penned an open letter on Earth Day to his fellow 2020 candidates urging them to support his proposal for the Democratic National Committee to dedicate one out of 12 planned primary debates to solely focus on climate change.

Amy Klobuchar

In the CNN town hall hosted earlier this week, the Minnesota senator said that Trump should be held accountable following the Mueller report, but she stopped short of calling for impeachment.

Klobuchar also hosted a meet-and-greet event in Lexington, South Carolina to talk with local residents about her positive economic agenda to move the country forward.

Klobuchar had a handful of odd moments during her town hall.

Wayne Messam

Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam’s presidential campaign was undergoing allegations that his campaign staff isn’t getting paid.

According to a report published by the Miami New Times, an anonymous former campaign staffer said that a campaign team member sent an email to staff with the subject line “Notification of hold on paychecks,” which blamed the failure to disburse checks on Messam’s wife, Angela.

Messam, whose lawyers are reviewing the allegations, told ABC News that “an unnamed staffer making a claim like that can’t be validated.”

Perhaps not quite ready for prime time.

Beto O’Rourke

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, while speaking to the press at the “She the People” forum in Texas, joined some of his fellow 2020 presidential candidates by stating that he is willing to “rethink” the voting rights of non-violent prisoners.

O’Rourke will also be returning to Nevada for his second trip since announcing his candidacy for president to participate in various grassroots events across the state.

With mixed reviews at SheThePeople, Beto's week got saved with a piece of good news yesterday, as a Change Research poll reveals he has a nice (yes, early) lead at home.

Tim Ryan

Ryan, who as a sitting member of the House would be in a position to vote on impeachment, said this week that he doesn’t believe his chamber should begin proceedings against Trump, telling CNN that the House Judiciary Committee should continue to investigate.
“Let the Judiciary Committee look at this. There’s a process in place here. I trust (committee chair Rep.)Jerry Nadler, he’s one of the smartest guys in the United States Congress, I think that’s the natural next step and let’s see where that leads,” Ryan said.

Bernie Sanders

During a CNN town hall Monday, Sanders shared his opinion that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote, a stance that was met with immediate backlash from Republican Party officials.

“I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy -- yes, even for terrible people -- because once you start chipping away … you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said. “I do believe that even if they are in jail paying their price to society, that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.”

Bernie obviously had a busier -- and better -- week than this sample indicates.

Nina couldn't let the rudeness at SheThePeople go by ...

It's accurate to say he should have answered the question -- you know the one -- better than he did, considering he was seventh to speak.

Elizabeth Warren

Warren was among the first presidential candidates to call for proceedings last Friday in the aftermath of the Mueller report’s release, tweeting that “to ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.”

The Massachusetts senator released a proposal this week to wipe out student loan debt for millions of people and make public colleges free. Warren said that the plan would cost the federal government $640 billion, but be paid for by a tax increase on families with $50 million or more of wealth.

Warren drew the most raves at SheThe People, as well as for these stands listed.  As good a week as Bernie had, Warren might have had a better one.

There's more candidate news that I left out here, polling news at the bottom here and an aggregate of state polls here.

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