Friday, May 03, 2019

The Weekly Twenty Twenty Update

Let's open the Update with some Texas events happening this weekend.  First:

Mayor Pete is also holding a Houston fundraiser Saturday night (the cheap seats are all sold).

Update: The TexTrib, via Progrexas, covered Buttigieg's address to Dallas County Democrats at their Johnson-Jordan dinner as well as Beto's Friday night rally in Cowtown.  Excerpts:

Before launching into his 2020 stump speech, O’Rourke addressed a more urgent matter: the mayoral election Saturday in Fort Worth. Deborah Peoples, the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, is challenging incumbent Betsy Price, one of the few remaining GOP big-city mayors. She is vying for an unprecedented fifth term.

Bernie Sanders has also endorsed Peoples.  And Julián Castro will appear at a GOTV rally alongside the challenger Saturday morning.

From the start of his speech, Buttigieg emphasized the need for Democrats to be able to express their values in a way that wins over Republicans. Democrats in red states have an advantage, he explained, saying they often have developed “a better vocabulary for making those values better understood and making those values understood by more people, and I believe that is especially needed in (this) moment.”


With Sen. Mike Bennet's declaration -- he is the second Coloradoan conservaDem, tailing former Gov. John Frackenlooper -- the field is up to ...

Squishy centrist/solid establishmentarian Jonathan Capehart of the WaPo polled his Twitizens and found they prefer two of the front-running women.

On we go to's wrangle, augmented by yours truly.

Stacey Abrams

Abrams announced Tuesday that she would not seek the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 2020 Senate election, prompting increased speculation that she could mount a presidential bid, particularly after she said in a radio interview that day that she “keeps giving thoughts to other opportunities.”

Abrams spoke in Houston on Friday, at a luncheon sponsored by Annie's List.

“I’m here to tell you a secret that makes Breitbart and Tucker Carlson go crazy: We won,” Abrams said to loud applause before teasing a potential second bid for governor. “I am not delusional. I know I am not the governor of Georgia -- possibly yet.”

Abrams is one of several high-profile Democrats (as we finally learned here in Deep-In-The-Hearta, Joaquin Castro is another) taking a pass on '20 US Senate bids.  This still-unfolding development bodes poorly for retaking the upper Congressional chamber next year.  By extension, items of Democratic criticality such as impeachment, blocking undesirable SCOTUS and other federal judicial appointments, honoring international treaties, and so forth would be nullified -- as they are presently -- should Democrats fail to nominate a candidate who can defeat Trump.

Joe Biden

After entering the presidential race last week, Biden appeared on ABC’s “The View,” was interviewed with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, by Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” and then held his first campaign event Monday in Pittsburgh before continuing on to Iowa for a two-day tour of the Hawkeye State.
 In Pittsburgh, Biden courted union voters and earned the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters, a decision met with derision by President Donald Trump, who launched a tweetstorm Wednesday in the wake of the announcement.

During the interview that aired on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, the Bidens addressed issues from the former vice president’s past that have drawn criticism, including the treatment of Anita Hill during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ 1991 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in which Biden said she wasn’t “treated well.”

“I apologize again because, look, here’s the deal. She just did not get treated fair across the board. The system did not work,” he added.

That's an understatement.  Biden's entry has been greeted with a host of prior questionable remarks, videotaped for posterity.  Here's one.

Anita Hill isn't accepting Joe Biden's apology

Joe Biden's promise to Make America Great Again

Biden launches bid with fundraiser filled with corporate lobbyists and GOP donors

All this doesn't seem to be affecting his popularity much in the early going.

Cory Booker

The New Jersey senator wrapped up his 'Justice for All' tour last weekend before heading back to Washington to take part in the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning of Attorney General William Barr.

During the hearing, Booker took issue with the language Barr used in his press conference the morning of the release of the Mueller report, saying his remarks were “alarming” and called “into question (his) objectivity when you look at the actual context of the report.”

He later called for Barr’s resignation, tweeting that “it’s become clear that (Barr) lied to us and mishandled the Mueller report.”

Booker's moment seemed a bit more glorious than suggested here.  Look here:

When Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., brought up how then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort shared polling data in August 2016 with his former business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik -- identified by prosecutors as having ties to Russian intelligence -- Barr struggled.

"What information was shared?" Barr asked, prompting Booker to reply, "Polling data was shared, sir. It's in the report."

"With who?" Barr followed up.

Pete Buttigieg

The South Bend, Indiana mayor and his husband Chasten are featured on the cover of Time Magazine this week, and the pair’s relationship and Buttigieg’s recent rise in the presidential field are featured in a profile.

Buttigieg calls himself a “policy guy” in the story, elaborating, “Every good policy that I’ve developed in my administration happened not because I cooked it up on the campaign, kept the promise intact and then delivered it, but because I stated a priority in one of my campaigns, ­interacted with my legislative body and my community, and developed something that really served people well.”

Chasten Buttigieg was the focus of his own Washington Post profile, in which his coming-out story, bout with homelessness and popularity on Twitter were detailed.

The corporate media is still fawning, but the bloom is coming of the rose elsewhere.

'Zero policies'?  What 'zero policies'?

Vox's guide to where 2020 Democrats stand on policy

Ted Rall: The Democratic candidates on foreign policy

Julián Castro

Castro was one of the first presidential candidates to call for Barr to resign from his position.
 In an interview with CNN, he explained that he believed Barr was “completely compromised,” having “actively tried to mislead the public and Congress.”

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary toured tunnels beneath Las Vegas last weekend that have been used by some of the city’s homeless population as shelter, described later by a spokesperson it as an “eye-opening” experience.

Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard’s focus on foreign policy continued this week, including in a Fox News interview in which she expressed concern over how the conflict in Venezuela would affect the U.S. and Russia.

“Any time we are in this situation where you have tensions being ratcheted up and this conflict being pushed closer and closer between nuclear-armed countries like the United States and countries like Russia and China, this is something that poses an existential threat to the American people,” the Hawaii congresswoman said.

Kirsten Gillibrand

The New York senator announced a 'clean elections' plan Wednesday, calling for public campaign financing to replace the “corrupting influence of big donors and special interests on politicians,” her campaign said in a press release.

The initiative would provide $200 to every adult U.S. citizen to allocate to the federal candidates of their choosing in order to fund campaigns. In order to be eligible to receive such donations, candidates would not be allowed to take contributions of over $200, according to the plan.

Kamala Harris

After Harris’ questioning of Barr during Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the California senator was singled out by Trump who said she was “probably very nasty” to the attorney general, during an interview with the Fox Business Network.

Harris joined with several other Democratic candidates in calling for Barr’s resignation, saying in an MSNBC interview that he was aware he was misleading the public and tweeting that his responses to her questions at the hearing -- including his acknowledgement that he did not review all of the special counsel’s underlying evidence prior to writing his summary of the Mueller report -- were “unacceptable.”

Seth Moulton

In an interview with Reuters, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., criticized his fellow 2020 presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for pushing America “too far left,” and for being just as “divisive” as Trump.

“The problem with some of the candidates in our party is that they’re divisive in the same way that Trump has been so divisive,” Moulton said. “They are pitting different parts of America against each other.”

I sincerely hope that the next time I include Moulton in a weekly update, it is to reference his withdrawal from the race.

What does it mean to be a 'Centrist' if you never attack Republicans over botched foreign policy?

Beto O’Rourke

O’Rourke released his first major presidential candidacy policy proposal outlining what he would do as president to combat what his campaign calls the “existential threat of climate change.”

The $5 trillion plan calls for federal investment to “transform” the nation’s infrastructure “and empower our people and communities to lead the climate fight,” according to a campaign memo released Monday.

O’Rourke also signed a “No Fossil Fuel Money pledge” to reject and return donations by oil and gas executives.

Inslee hits O'Rourke: 'He did not lead on climate change in Congress'

"Beto O'Rourke will need to answer why he did not lead on climate change in Congress and why he voted on the side of oil companies to open up offshore drilling,” the Inslee campaign wrote. “We look forward to a climate debate — where voters will have the opportunity to hear about which candidates have a strong, extensive record of fighting climate change and which candidates have a record of siding with fossil fuel companies."

I think Beto will be an afterthought by the fall, and if I'm right, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see him enter the race against John Cornyn.

Bernie Sanders

In response to Barr’s Senate testimony on the Mueller report, the Vermont senator appeared on Sirius XM radio and called his actions “outrageous,” but did not go as far to call for his resignation as some of his other 2020 presidential competitors have.

Sanders will be in Iowa this weekend and is set to deliver a major agriculture policy address in Osage.

How Bernie Sanders Missed the Mark at She The People

This is the best analysis I have read on this topic.

Eric Swalwell

The California congressman officially qualified for the Democratic presidential primary debates after polling at at least 1 percent in three polls recognized by the Democratic National Committee.

Following the deadly shooting at the Poway, California synagogue, Swalwell was the only presidential candidate to directly mention Trump, saying in a response to Trump’s tweet, “Spare us your thoughts and prayers. It’s an alibi for inaction. You told the NRA yesterday you’d keep dangerous guns in the hands of dangerous people. We will take it from here with action.”

Elizabeth Warren

A Quinnipiac University poll published this week showed the senator from Massachusetts up eight points and ranked second behind Biden.

Warren, in an Essence Magazine op-ed, rolled out her latest policy proposal announcements, on how she intends to improve the structure of the country’s health care system when it comes to the “epidemic” of maternal mortality rates of women of color.

Warren also found herself in a Twitter back-and-forth with Amazon after she described the company as a giant corporation that’s using it’s influence to stomp out the little guys, saying sellers who use their marketplace are seeing “record sales every year.”

Bill Weld (R)

The former Massachusetts governor penned an op-ed weighing in on Barr’s Senate testimony on the Mueller report.

While Weld has stopped short of calling for Barr’s resignation, he did target the attorney general in his New Hampshire Journal op-ed saying, “Barr’s own remarks make clear that his review of the Mueller Report was limited to whether to seek criminal charges against the President or members of his campaign on the issue of collusion.”

Socratic Gadfly reviewed Weld's chances.

Read about the candidates I left off here.

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