Friday, January 03, 2020

The 2020 Update: Wag the Dog

The United States is now at war with Iran.

This is the inescapable result of President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Forces, arguably the most powerful military leader in the Middle East and the most important person in Iran, except for the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

You don’t deliberately kill someone like Soleimani unless you’re at war with his country; and even then, you want to think long and hard before you do, given the near-certainty of blowback. The blowback may soon be coming. Friday morning, Khamenei called for three days of national mourning and a “forceful revenge.

That's going to ruin a lot of people's Monday morning.

There's plenty of opinion and analysis to go around; the AP has the most sober.

You can expect Mitch McConnell to say something akin to "We can't impeach the president in the middle of a war" very soon, which should come as a great relief to just about everybody involved in that charade.

So to say that what happens from here -- everything from a fusillade of nuclear-tipped Iranian missiles fired at Mar-a-Lago, or the White House, or the Pentagon, all the way down to cyber- and terrorist attacks on American military installations in the Mid-East -- shakes up the Democratic race a little bit ... is the understatement of the new decade.  To this point.

It almost makes irrelevant all of the fundraising spin that would have ordinarily dominated this week's Update.  The news is still the news, though, even if it has to move off the front page.

Oh, but we should mention the dropouts first.

Castro deserved a better fate, and perhaps he will still earn a consolation prize in the forthcoming Sanders administration.

Marianne has always been a pleasant person; a little flaky, too much so for many, particularly on her recent rebranding as a "safe-vaxxer".  She's not leaving the race yet according to her, but when she does, I feel certain she will suddenly shimmer and disappear, her robes falling to the ground, like Luke Skywalker's in 'The Last Jedi'.

Funds raised for Q4, 2019.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Friday that she raised $21.2 million from October through December, with more than $1.5 million coming on the last day of the year. The Massachusetts senator trailed three other rivals in fundraising and fell short of her total from the three previous months.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also said she took in $11.4 million for her White House bid to close out the year. It was the best fundraising quarter of her campaign.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the strongest progressive voice along with Warren, said he raised more than $34.5 million in the same quarter, proving that his heart attack in October hasn’t slowed his fundraising prowess. Sanders and Warren both rely heavily on small donations from donors that primarily come online.

Former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded from a summer slump to take in $22.7 million, his best quarterly haul as a presidential candidate, while Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised $24.7 million. Both typically use more traditional fundraising methods, including frequent gatherings with big donors that Warren and Sanders have shunned.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has not met the polling requirement to qualify for an upcoming Democratic presidential debate scheduled for Jan. 14, announced receiving $16.5 million.

In the third quarter last year, Warren raised $24.6 million as months of strong, summer polling lifted her to front runner status along with Biden and Sanders. But lately, Warren’s support has plateaued as Buttigieg has vaulted among the front runners. Warren and Buttigieg have feuded for weeks about fundraising tactics, but Warren’s latest donations total further suggests her overall momentum is slowing.

It could have been worse. In an email to supporters last week, Warren’s campaign said it had raised only about $17 million with just a few days to go in the quarter.

Your long read for the weekend, from Ryan Grim of The Intercept: "Can Bernie Sanders alter the course of the Democratic Party?"  One more thing about the money.

Sanders’ campaign has seen a torrent of fundraising dollars from an army of individual donors. Earlier, it said it had received contributions from 5 million people during the election cycle.

Polling, and a few more numbers.

So why is Goofy Old Joe still considered the front-runner?  Mostly because of the establishment's bias toward national polling and against Bernie generally.  And the Iron Law of Oligarchy.  If you're having trouble with this, then explain why Liz Warren's support is leaking to Biden.

War with Iran, the planet on fire, a generation lost to depressed wages, lack of affordable healthcare, and crushing student debt and all of the rest of Republican and neoliberal plutocratic ills notwithstanding, the Sanders campaign represents the last hope, the very last chance, for many to turn things around.  Despair is not an option.

Still ... they persist.

"Michael Bloomberg revs up Texas campaign with big plans":

In an announcement first shared with The Texas Tribune, his campaign said it will open a Texas headquarters in Houston and 16 field offices throughout the rest of the state between now and the March 3 primary. The offices will be spread across the Houston area, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin, East Texas, the San Antonio area, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen and the Killeen area.

The campaign also named its first Texas hires:

  • Carla Brailey, vice chair of the Texas Democratic Party, will serve as Bloomberg’s senior advisor.
  • Ashlea Turner, a government relations consultant who worked on Bill White’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, will serve as Bloomberg’s state director.
  • Kevin Lo, who worked on presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ Iowa campaign before she ended her campaign earlier this month, will serve as Bloomberg’s organizing director.
  • Lizzie Lewis, communications director for 2018 gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez, will be Bloomberg’s press secretary.

Bloomberg headed to Texas last Sunday for his second trip to the state since launching his campaign in late November. He visited increasingly competitive Fort Bend County to meet with community leaders and elected officials and attend a block walk for state House candidate Eliz Markowitz. She is in a Jan. 28 special election runoff for a seat that Democrats are aiming to flip as they enter 2020 with hopes of capturing the lower-chamber majority.

Bloomer is skipping Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, aiming to strike it big in Texas and California and the rest on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, after more candidates have fallen by the wayside.  His strategy is to present himself as the only establishment option to Bernie, as Old Uncle Joe and the rest will be wheezing by then.

Let's mention those stragglers just for kicks.

Bill Maher's favorite progressive, Klobuchar, is chasing Iowa Trump votersTulsi Gabbard is doing the same in New Hampshire.  Yang is a con man.

Gonna wrap it here with a message from indy candidate Mark Charles.

No comments: