Lead-up to U.S. 2016 elections – Democrats

Written by  //  July 29, 2016  //  Politics, U.S.  //  1 Comment

DNC logo2016 Democratic National Convention 25-28 July
This year’s platform process is the most representative and inclusive in history. We held a series of events across the country and thousands of people submitted video and written testimony online.
To read the 2016 Party Platform please click here.

The 10 Most Jaw-Dropping Moments of the Democratic Convention
The four-day coronation of the first woman presidential nominee got off to a rocky start before its star-studded lineup.

(Quartz) The US Democrats wrapped up their national convention. Retired general John Allen gave a bombastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. The father of a Muslim US soldier who died in action asked Donald Trump if he’d ever actually read the US constitution. And, finally, Clinton accepted the party’s nomination and warned against electing “a man you can bait with a tweet.” Read and watch Hillary Clinton’s full speech to the Democratic convention

Hillary Clinton accepts nominationConfident Clinton Taunts ‘Little’ Trump
(Daily Beast) The Democratic nominee set out to prove she is ready to for her first state of the union address while childish Trump is busy lashing out on Twitter.
Her speech was more workmanlike than inspirational, a toting up of what needs to be done, more like a president delivering a state of the union address than a politician serving up red meat for the faithful. This is who she is. Voters looking for authenticity can find it in the many battles she has fought, and in the countless people she has helped without getting or expecting publicity.
Delegates chanting U.S.A., victims of 9/11 highlighted, the families of murdered cops taking the stage, it seems like back to the future as Democrats appropriated the symbols that Republicans once owned.
How Chelsea Beat Ivanka at Being a Candidate Daughter
The comparatively less flashy, less spirited former First Kid managed to show her mom’s softer side at the DNC on Thursday.
(The Atlantic) The daughters’ disparate portraits of their parents also captured a central—perhaps the central—difference between the candidates: Ivanka’s talk of Trump was long on vague, high-flying praise of his character and greatness. Chelsea, meanwhile, nearly drowned the audience in small-bore anecdotes about cloud watching and dinner-table talk with mom. It’s the grandiose showman vs. the detail-minded wonk, as told by the two people who know them best.
Obama’s Powerful Message: Donald Trump Is Un-American

John Cassidy
(The New Yorker) It was a long speech. Perhaps a bit too long, but it enraptured the hall—disgruntled Sanders supporters, as well as loyal Clintonites. Watching the President, you got the sense he had been waiting to deliver this speech for a long time. Yes, he was carrying out a political mission, but it was also personal. Trump hasn’t just insulted Obama personally: Trump’s entire candidacy represents an affront to everything that Obama stands for and got elected on—hope, inclusiveness, reason, and faith in a democratic political system (even if that system is frustratingly deadlocked).
Bloomberg: Trump’s Campaign Is a Con
DNC 2016: Tim Kaine’s Got a Tough Job Ahead
But, overwhelmingly, the response he got was noisy, positive, and pumped. The newly minted vice presidential contender responded to the roaring applause that followed his speech by running down the stage’s steps to shake hands with the crowd—only for Secret Service agents to stop him in his tracks.
So running for veep will take a little adjusting. But this is what it’s going to look like: name-checking Barbara Bush and Bernie Sanders, referring to a mass shooting before aping an opponent’s mannerisms, and seeing just how close he can get to making everybody happy.
26 July
Class Act!!
Watch: the moment Bernie Sanders officially threw the nomination to Hillary Clinton
(Vox) Democrats went through every state in their convention’s roll call vote for the nomination on Tuesday — but Vermont went last (out of alphabetical order) so Bernie Sanders himself could throw the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
(Slate) In a symbolic and poignant move, Bernie Sanders moved to end the roll call vote and nominate Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee. The timing was clearly engineered to set up Sanders to make the gesture and allow for a gracious conclusion to what was sometimes a barbed nomination battle between the two.
Bill Clinton, ‘explainer in chief,’ set to make case for Hillary at DNC
Clinton has a unique role speaking as both a former president and as the spouse of a candidate
Bill Clinton will stand on stage tonight at the Democratic National Convention not only as a former president, but potentially as the future “first gentleman” of the United States.
25 July
(Quartz) The Democratic National Convention got off to a chaotic start. Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a rousing endorsement—but the evening’s speeches were constantly disrupted by his supporters booing all mentions of her name and chanting “Lock her up!” The rocky opening to the convention was calmed by Michelle Obama, who attacked Donald Trump and said Clinton would create a better future for America’s children.
Michelle Obama’s stirring speech brings Democratic convention to tears
(The Guardian) The first lady proved the perfect Trump antidote and drew a ‘wow’ from Bill Clinton as she declared: ‘“The story of generations of people who have felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation but who kept on striving and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters … take for granted that a woman can be president’. Michelle Obama’s full speech
DNC apologizes to Sanders; Sanders implores supporters to refrain from floor protests
(Daily Kos) On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates.
Democratic Convention: Sanders Supporters Rail Against Clinton
Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders took a hard turn against Hillary Clinton’s campaign Monday, as the Democratic National Convention kicked off in Philadelphia. Mr. Sanders was met with boos as he asked his fans to support Mrs. Clinton. And protesters borrowed the “Lock her up!” chant from last week’s Republican convention.
The fallout from the Democrats’ email leak continued, as Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced a chorus of jeers when she addressed a breakfast meeting of Florida delegates and later said she would not gavel in the convention on Monday
24 July
Just when it seemed they were doing something principled!
Wasserman Schultz to Have a New Role in Clinton Campaign
(Fortune) Hillary Clinton is thanking her “longtime friend” Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the Florida congresswoman’s decision to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Clinton says that Wasserman Schultz will serve as honorary chair of her campaign’s 50-state program to help elect Democrats around the country.
Update: The Long Fall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz
(The Atlantic, 26 July) The Democratic chairwoman had few supporters—but clung to her post for years, abetted by the indifference of the White House.
Critics charged that Wasserman Schultz treated the committee as a personal promotion vehicle, constantly seeking television appearances and even urging donors to give to her personal fundraising committee. A different former staffer went so far as to compare her personality to Donald Trump’s, describing a “narcissism” that filtered everything through her personal interests.
Todd Purdum: Why Can’t Hillary Stop Fudging the Truth?
Clinton’s resilience – her ability to slog on in the face of the worst possible reverses – is the trait that has helped her get within reach of the biggest prize of her life. The flipside is that her capacity for a level of defensiveness and denial that sometimes seems to border on magical thinking might yet keep the ultimate goal out of her grasp.
(Politico) More than anything else about Clinton – her occasional tin ear for politics, her seeming inability to connect with large crowds, her ultra-cautiousness – it is the trust issue that could yet cost her a general election she should otherwise win, given her opponent’s vulnerabilities.
Plainly put, Clinton herself has kept the issue alive over 25 years of public life, with long-winded, defensive, obfuscating answers to questions that – in politics, if not in law – cry out for a crisp yes or no reply.
23 July
Hillary Clinton Introduces Tim Kaine As ‘Everything Donald Trump And Mike Pence Are Not’
She said there’s “no doubt” the senator is qualified to be vice president
Noting that the NRA was headquartered in his state, Clinton said Kaine wouldn’t hesitate to push for gun control.
“Make no mistake, behind that smile, Tim also has a backbone of steel. Just ask the NRA,” she said. His voice rising, Kaine repeatedly said “we will not rest” until the U.S. has gun control.
Tim Kaine greets crowd in Spanish as Clinton introduces VP pick in Miami
Virginia senator welcomes ‘everyone in our country’ with bilingual address
Not long after, Kaine asked those who were naturalized US citizens to raise their hands. A sizable chunk of the audience obliged in a county that is home to a majority Hispanic population.
“Thank you for choosing us,” Kaine said, to another rousing reception.
Such moments captured dramatically a tale of two elections: Clinton and Kaine embracing the changing demographics of America, Donald Trump surging to the Republican nomination on a staunch anti-immigration platform and a pledge to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton Profile: who is Tim Kaine?
Clinton’s ‘smart political pick’ for VP a bipartisan favorite
Virginia senator takes to the campaign trail with counter argument to Trump’s hard line immigration stance and a track record steering clear of controversy
Opinion: choice shows Clinton is the grown-up in this election
The Progressive Case For Tim Kaine As VP
I can also tell you that this progressive who begged HRC not to run and drove 12 hours to be able to vote for Bernie would be delighted to see him on the Dem ticket. He won over skeptical Virginians when it was supposedly impossible. I’d love to see what he can do to help Secretary Clinton win over America.
(HuffPost 1 July) But, but, but Kaine is so boring! Surely he won’t bring the energy the ticket needs to win, right? If you think so, here’s something to consider: Tim Kaine has won every single election he’s ever run in. He’s won everything from Mayor of the majority African-American city of Richmond, to governor of a conservative Southern state. In fact, Kaine was a big part of turning Virginia into the state we see today which went twice for Obama and currently has a Democrat in every single statewide office. Bernie Sanders has himself said that we’ve got to do everything we can to defeat Donald Trump. Tim Kaine could be a real asset in that regard. Obviously, he’s from an important swing state but the way Kaine won in Virginia is important too. He precisely targeted and outperformed in the kind of suburban and exurban counties where Republican leaning voters may be feeling the most uncomfortable with the charlatan who has won the Republican presidential nomination.

Daily Kos: The most thorough, profound and moving defense of Hillary Clinton I have ever seen. (11 June 2016)
Vanity Fair: How Hillary Clinton’s Loyal Confidants Could Cost Her the Election (31 October 2015)
Is former U.S. president Bill Clinton an asset or liability to Hillary Clinton?
(Toronto Star, January 2016)
“He’s one of the most talented politicians in American history,” said Gil Troy,
the author of a book on the Clinton presidency, “but he’s also volatile like mercury.”
On The IssuesEvery political leader on every issue
FiveThirtyEight

 

11 July
The latest on the veepstakes, Sanders to endorse Clinton
Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report on PBS Newshour
“Bernie Sanders got a lot of what he was looking for. The platform includes a $15 minimum wage, for instance. Also, over the last week or so, Hillary Clinton’s made a number of policy concessions.
She’s moved closer to Bernie Sanders. She made some announcements on health care, as well as college affordability.  …this endorsement isn’t for free. Bernie Sanders has been pushing Hillary Clinton, and you can expect that to continue beyond tomorrow.”
5 July
FBI director: Hillary Clinton ‘extremely careless’ but no charges recommended
(CNN)FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of private email servers while secretary of state, removing a huge shadow hovering over her presidential campaign.
But Comey administered an extraordinary tongue-lashing to Clinton and her aides, rebuking them for being “extremely careless” in the handling of classified information and saying the presumptive Democratic nominee should have known an unclassified email system was no place to conduct sensitive government business.
(Quartz) Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of bribing the US attorney general. He suggested Clinton told Loretta Lynch that she would keep her as attorney general should she win the presidency.
1 July
Lizza-Bill-Clinton-Bad-Judgment-1200Bill Clinton’s Bad Judgment
(The New Yorker) What was turning into Hillary’s finest month was topped off by the long-awaited report by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which took more than seven hundred days and seven million dollars to reach largely the same conclusions that previous inquiries had arrived at: “no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton,” as the Times put it.
And then, on Monday, Bill Clinton wandered across the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to chat with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
After Sanders and the committee report on Benghazi, there is one remaining political cloud hanging over Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and her husband’s chat with Lynch has increased the chances that it will turn into a storm.
Lynch said this week that her thirty-minute airport meeting with Bill Clinton was strictly a social call. “He did come over and say hello, and speak to my husband and myself, and talk about his grandchildren and his travels and things like that,” she said on Wednesday.
A Democrat who was briefed on the meeting told me that it was more than a hundred degrees outside and Lynch, who was immediately uncomfortable with the visit, felt that she couldn’t shoo the sixty-nine-year-old former President, who has had heart problems in the past, back onto the tarmac.
Bill and Hill in 10 Talking Points
(Bloomberg View) Point One: Bill and Hillary Clinton are victims of a perpetual right-wing smear campaign, a highly personalized subset of a decades-long, coordinated and sleazy conservative crusade to discredit government.
Point Two: Bill and Hillary Clinton evade rules and skirt laws that others are required to follow. They seek to hide conduct that should be open to scrutiny, and intentionally evade accountability. When their improper actions are exposed, they invariably dissemble.
(PBS Newshour) Shields and Ponnuru on the new cloud over Clinton email probe and Trump’s trade strategy
Attorney general to accept FBI findings in Clinton email probe
(Reuters) The move, first reported by the New York Times, came amid an uproar over Lynch’s meeting this week with former U.S. President Bill Clinton while his wife, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House, was under federal investigation.
22 June
Hillary Clinton’s Veepstakes Comes Down to Three
The presidential hopeful’s short list is shrinking, though others are still being considered.
(Vanity Fair) Three top contenders include senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro, the Associated Press reported Monday, citing Democratic sources close to the presidential hopeful. Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey have also been suggested as potential candidates for the gig, but Clinton is reportedly apprehensive to tap senators from states with Republican governors, who would be empowered to pick their replacements should she take the White House. (Warren’s Senate seat would be filled relatively quickly by a special election.) Minority Leader Harry Reid has warned that such a pick could weaken the Democratic Party in the Senate.
… all three names address weaknesses in the Clinton campaign as she prepares to go head-to-head with Donald Trump in the general election. … Wall Street foe and outspoken liberal Warren is viewed as someone who could attract a large chunk of Sanders’s progressive supporter base to the Clinton camp. In light of Warren’s string of blistering, effective attacks on Trump, she would also double as a much-needed attack dog for the campaign. … but growing opposition to Warren from high-profile Wall Street donors could complicate their relationship.
As a more moderate politician, [Kaine] is seen as a vice-presidential contender who could appeal to independent voters and Republicans who hope to avoid four years of Trump in the White House. The main problem with Kaine … is that he’s boring.
10 June
HERE’S WHY ELIZABETH WARREN SHOULD BE HILLARY’S RUNNING MATE
By James Heffernan
(HuffPost) All along, Hillary has argued that the gap between herself and Bernie is nothing compared with the gap between both of them and the Republican party—especially as commandeered by Donald Trump. Now that Bernie has agreed to work with Hillary against Trump, the wounds of division inflicted by their primary battle are already starting to heal.
The best way for Hillary to complete the healing process is to take a giant step of her own: make Elizabeth Warren her running mate.
Sen. Warren Slams For-profit College Accreditor for ‘Appalling Record of Failure’
(Pro Publica) Warren released a detailed report today on embattled for-profit accreditor, ACICS, urging federal government to take “aggressive” action.
9 June
Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie
Instead of a reality check for the party, it’ll be smugness redouble
(RollingStone)… to read the papers in the last two days is to imagine that we didn’t just spend a year witnessing the growth of a massive grassroots movement fueled by loathing of the party establishment, with some correspondingly severe numerical contractions in the turnout department (though she won, for instance, Clinton received 30 percent fewer votes in California this year versus 2008, and 13 percent fewer in New Jersey).
The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders this year were equally a blistering referendum on Beltway politics. …
The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.
Hillary Clinton ready to serve as Democratic nominee
Bernie Sanders is campaigning to convince Democratic superdelegates to switch their votes
“Tonight’s victory is not about one person,” Clinton added. “It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”
Hillary Clinton’s Long, Grueling Quest
She may not be the orator President Obama is, or the retail politician her husband was. But Mrs. Clinton’s steely fortitude in this campaign has plainly inspired older women, black voters and many others who see in her perseverance a kind of mirror to their own struggles. And Mrs. Clinton’s very durability — her tenacity, grit and capacity for enduring and overcoming adversity — could be exactly what is required to defeat Donald J. Trump.
As a politician’s wife, first lady, senator and secretary of state — and as a two-time candidate for president — Mrs. Clinton, 68, has redefined the role of women in American politics each time she has reinvented herself. She has transfixed the nation again and again, as often in searing episodes of scandal or setback as in triumph.
31 May
Clinton Might Not Be the Nominee
A Sanders win in California would turbocharge the mounting Democratic unease about her viability. That didn’t happen
(WSJ) How could that happen, given that her nomination has been considered a sure thing by virtually everyone in the media and in the party itself? Consider the possibilities.
28 May
Hillary Clinton Struggles to Find Footing in Unusual Race
(NYT) Mrs. Clinton is pressing ahead with a conventional campaign, echoing the 2012 themes used against the Republican nominee that year, Mitt Romney. But Mr. Trump is running a jarringly different crusade: accusing her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of rape; proposing that the country conduct brutal methods of torture; and suggesting that South Korea and Japan be permitted to develop nuclear arms. Prominent Democrats say a more provocative approach is needed.
24 May
Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] has to go, now, before it’s too late: The Democratic Party can’t unite with her in office
If Hillary has any hope of beating Trump in November, the establishment must cut bait with its embattled DNC chair
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship,
( BillMoyers.com via Salon) It’s the skullduggery going on within the Democratic Party establishment that’s our current concern and as we wrote in March, Rep. Wasserman Schultz “has played games with the party’s voter database, been accused of restricting the number of Democratic candidate debates and scheduling them at odd days and times to favor Hillary Clinton, and recently told CNN’s Jake Tapper that superdelegates — strongly establishment and pro-Clinton — are necessary at the party’s convention so deserving incumbent officials and party leaders don’t have to run for delegate slots ‘against grassroots activists.’ Let that sink in, but hold your nose against the aroma of entitlement.”
Fueled By Young Voters, Asian-Americans Increasingly Identify As Democrats
(NPR) Asian-Americans overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama in 2012 — 73 percent to 26 percent — …  the partisan divides are growing and particularly obvious among young Asians, who now view the Democratic party far more favorably than the Republican party (77 percent compared to 12 percent).
This 18-34-year-old population is predominantly native-born, and research suggests early voting patterns are often a predictor of later voting behavior, so this wide disparity marks an important shift.
23 May
Conventional Wisdom: Sanders Refuses To Play Nice
(Five-thirty-eight) In a television interview, Sanders said he would support the primary challenger to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents a House district near Miami. “Clearly I favor her opponent,” Sanders said on CNN. “His views are much closer to mine.”
18 April
On Crime Bill and the Clintons, Young Blacks Clash With Parents
(NYT) Young and energized African-Americans this election cycle are aggressively challenging longstanding ideas and policies, especially those carried out during the Clinton administration in areas like crime and welfare. But the activism is also laying bare a striking generation gap between younger and older African-Americans, whose experience, views of the former president and notions of how they should push for change diverge dramatically.
2 April
How a criminal indictment could affect Hillary Clinton’s run for U.S. presidency
Even if Democratic front-runner is charged over her use of personal email server, she could still run
One thing is certain — an indictment would also hand a lot of free ammunition to whoever wins the Republican nomination.
Coming as it would from a Democratic-appointed attorney general, an indictment would also further weaken Clinton’s claim that the seriousness of the email scandal has been exaggerated by Republicans for political purposes.
If not Hillary, who?
Sanders would not necessarily step up as the nominee if Clinton withdraws from the race. If she were to drop out prior to the convention, [Robert Shapiro, who teaches political science at Columbia University in New York] says, the Democrats could alter their rules so that any delegates who had previously pledged their support for Clinton would be free to back someone else.
Names like Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former VP Al Gore are already being tossed around.
1 April
Bernie Sanders Still Has a Shot at the Democratic Nomination
[E]ven as most eyes are focused on a possible brokered convention among the Republicans, the Democrats should brace themselves for an undecided nomination contest until the very end of the primary contests, or perhaps afterward with the help of the superdelegates
(Fortune) Sanders still faces an uphill battle. Irish betting site Paddy Power is still giving Clinton 1/18 odds at capturing the nomination, while Sanders sits at 8/1. But the path to a Sanders victory does in fact exist. And recent polls have suggested that he may perform better than Clinton in general elections against both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
27 March
Long investigative piece well worth reading by all who have not followed the minutiae of the Clinton email story
How Clinton’s email scandal took root
(WaPost) Hillary Clinton’s email problems began in her first days as secretary of state. She insisted on using her personal BlackBerry for all her email communications, but she wasn’t allowed to take the device into her seventh-floor suite of offices, a secure space known as Mahogany Row.
For Clinton, this was frustrating. As a political heavyweight and chief of the nation’s diplomatic corps, she needed to manage a torrent of email to stay connected to colleagues, friends and supporters. She hated having to put her BlackBerry into a lockbox before going into her own office.
Her aides and senior officials pushed to find a way to enable her to use the device in the secure area. But their efforts unsettled the diplomatic security bureau, which was worried that foreign intelligence services could hack her BlackBerry and transform it into a listening device.
26 March
Bernie Sanders defeats Hillary Clinton in Alaska, Washington caucuses
(AP via CBC) Most of his dozen primary-season wins have been in states with largely white populations and in caucus contests, which tend to attract the most active liberal Democrats. He’s heavily favoured by younger voters, who were a key part of the coalition that boosted Obama to victory twice.
25 March
Why Young People Are Right About Hillary Clinton
Listening to the youth vote doesn’t always lead to disaster
By Matt Taibbi
(RollingStone) Young people have repudiated the campaign of Hillary Clinton in overwhelming and historic fashion, with Bernie Sanders winning under-30 voters by consistently absurd margins, as high as 80 to 85 percent in many states. He has done less well with young African-American voters, but even there he’s seen some gains as time has gone on. And the energy coming from the pre-middle-aged has little to do with an inability to appreciate political reality.
Instead, the millions of young voters that are rejecting Hillary’s campaign this year are making a carefully reasoned, even reluctant calculation about the limits of the insider politics both she and her husband have represented.
For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.
And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.
17 March
Obama Privately Tells Donors That Time Is Coming to Unite Behind Hillary Clinton
(NYT) …. while he stressed that he was not endorsing either candidate, and that both would make good presidents, Mr. Obama went on to lavish praise on Mrs. Clinton, describing her as smart, tough and experienced, and said that she would continue the work of his administration. Mr. Sanders has publicly criticized Mr. Obama on certain policies and has called for a “political revolution.”
Mr. Obama said that he understood the appeal to voters of a candidate who is authentic, the official said. But he also reminded the Texas donors in the room that Mr. Bush was considered authentic when he was running for president, suggesting that being authentic did not necessarily translate into being a good president, in his view.
8 March
Bernie Sanders Defies All Polls, Pundits and Predictions, Upsetting Hillary Clinton in Delegate-Rich Michigan
Bernie Sanders’ wins to date (9): Michigan, Maine, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado, Vermont, New Hampshire
20 February
Bernie Sanders’ Nevada Caucus Loss Won’t Matter If You Believe Nate Silver’s Huge Prediction
Hillary Clinton was named the winner of the Nevada Democratic caucuses on Saturday with more than 78 percent of precincts reporting. But her First-in-the-West win might very well be the last caucus victory her campaign will see in the States, according to Nate Silver’s respected analysis website FiveThirtyEight, which claimed it was possible Sen. Bernie Sanders could win every state caucus held after Nevada.
After Nevada, Bernie’s Path to the Nomination Emerges
Super Tuesday – March 1
A great deal of media attention is being paid to the fact that six of those states are in the South, where African Americans will likely be a significant part of the electorate. … Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado and Oklahoma are all states where Bernie is either ahead in the polling or within striking distance. By concentrating on those states, he makes sure to walk out not only with plenty of delegates, but a talking point for the media that he walked out with five out of 11 victories and effectively split Super Tuesday. Just as importantly, he will be able to raise a ton of money off the back those victories to remain competitive in states beyond. In addition, a sixth state is the most delegate rich prize on this day – Texas. Texas has as many delegates as Georgia and Virginia put together. If Bernie can remain competitive there and snag a very large portion of the delegates, maybe even tie Hillary, he will walk out of Super Tuesday with a great deal of momentum.
11 February
Here Comes Another Superdelegate Crisis
Your least favorite thing about the 2008 Democratic primary is back!
(HuffPost) Some states — like these early ones we’ve seen — apportion the delegates according to the vote. In these instances, the losers take home some consolation delegates to add to their pile. In many of the later states, however, the delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. So as the primary process proceeds, the stakes tend to accelerate.
(I’m really underplaying the complexity of the process here. If you want to get deeper into the weeds, head out to The Green Papers and start undertaking your graduate-level study of this process.)
9 February
Bernie Sanders just easily won the New Hampshire primary. It’s a remarkable achievement.
The political revolution has arrived in New Hampshire, as Bernie Sanders easily defeated Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, according to calls by multiple networks.
Sanders’s victory — which would have been all but unimaginable a year ago — is a truly remarkable achievement for a “democratic socialist” who began the campaign as a mere blip in the polls, little-known nationally and lacking any party establishment support whatsoever.
The Vermont senator’s triumph is a testament to the power of his economics-focused message, to his supporters’ enthusiasm and organization, and to his wild popularity among young voters. It’s also a stinging rejection of the Democratic establishment and Hillary Clinton by primary voters in the Granite State. And it’s a strong follow-up to Sanders’s tie with Clinton in last week’s Iowa caucuses.
8 February
I’m Not with Her: Hillary’s Media Wipeout Just Ended the Clinton Era
(Daily Kos) Hillary and her big name supporters have not only brought the campaign down to Republican strategy levels, but they’ve ruined the reputations of three heretofore well-respected liberal public figures. Yes, ruined.
Of course, Bill Clinton was just part of the chorus. Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem, of all people, made accusations of sexism and hormonal determinism against Sanders’ supporters just days earlier. Albright, Clinton’s former Secretary of State, said “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” and complained that some young women “don’t understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton.” The supposition that ONLY Hillary Clinton should be the first woman President is questionable, to say the least, but the transparent shaming intended to bully young women supporting Sanders to reconsider their choice is Megyn-Kelly-style rhetoric.
Not to be outdone, Steinem, appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher, said young women supporting Bernie Sanders are “thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie…” This is THE Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, founder of Ms. magazine, lifelong liberal activist for women’s rights and equality. The level of outrage over her comments nearly broke Twitter.
Robert Reich: A Huge Slice of the Democratic Establishment Wants to Play It Safe at a Time When Millions Are Desperate
Progressive change has never happened without bold ideas championed by bold idealists.
“We-shouldn’t-even-try” Democrats think it’s foolish to aim for fundamental change – pie-in-the-sky, impractical, silly, naïve, quixotic. Not in the cards. No way we can.
I understand their defeatism. After eight years of Republican intransigence and six years of congressional gridlock, many Democrats are desperate just to hold on to what we have.
And ever since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision opened the political floodgates to big corporations, Wall Street, and right-wing billionaires, many Democrats have concluded that bold ideas are unachievable. …
I get it, but here’s the problem. There’s no way to reform the system without rocking the boat. There’s no way to get to where America should be without aiming high.
Progressive change has never happened without bold ideas championed by bold idealists.
5 February
Shields and Brooks on Democrats’ fiery debate, Republican rivalry in N.H.
Mark Shields: Bernie is a lot of inspiration, and he’s excited. Democrats are a glandular party. They like to love to fall in love. And an awful lot of them have fallen in love with Bernie.
David Brooks: I think, rhetorically, there is a disadvantage there, that he’s got substance and she’s got a process.
Should Hillary Clinton Be Basking in Henry Kissinger’s Praise?
(New Republic) Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives found themselves in the peculiar position Thursday night of having to defend the legacy of none other than Henry Kissinger, the 92-year-old former secretary of state whose past deeds many believe amount to war crimes, but whose exercise of American statecraft has nevertheless inspired admiration among political elites for over 40 years.
2 February
Bernie Sanders Just Changed the Democratic Party
By John Cassidy
(The New Yorker) Strictly speaking, the Democratic caucus finished in a dead heat. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, with ninety-nine per cent of the precincts having reported, the delegate count was six hundred and sixty-five for Clinton and six hundred and sixty-two for Sanders. …  In terms of percentages, it was 49.8 per cent to 49.6 per cent, which rounds up to fifty-fifty. Barring something unforeseen, Iowa’s forty-four delegates to the Democratic National Convention will be equally divided.
This result doesn’t mean that Clinton won’t win the nomination. … But for Clinton to unite her party and galvanize it for what could be a tough fight in the fall, she needs to find some way to appeal to younger voters, who have fastened onto Sanders’s anti-establishment message.
1 February
Clinton, Sanders locked in tight race
(PBS) Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were locked in a tight battle in Iowa’s leadoff presidential caucuses Monday as the two rivals offered Americans a stark choice between political pragmatism and revolution.
Front-runner Clinton was determined to banish the possibility of dual losses in Iowa and in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary, where she trails the Vermont senator. Two straight defeats could set off alarms within the party and throw into question her ability to defeat a Republican.
Sanders, for his part, was hoping to replicate President Barack Obama’s pathway to the presidency by using a victory in Iowa to catapult his passion and ideals of “democratic socialism” deep into the primaries. He raised $20 million during January and hoped to turn an Iowa win into a fundraising bonanza. Worth watching and keeping, the PBS Newshour coverage, especially the segment with David Brooks and Michelle Cottle, contributing editor to The Atlantic.
30 January
NYT endorses Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination
Voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history.
Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated by a major party. She served as a senator from a major state (New York) and as secretary of state — not to mention her experience on the national stage as first lady with her brilliant and flawed husband, President Bill Clinton. The Times editorial board has endorsed her three times for federal office — twice for Senate and once in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — and is doing so again with confidence and enthusiasm.
Mrs. Clinton’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has proved to be more formidable than most people, including Mrs. Clinton, anticipated. He has brought income inequality and the lingering pain of the middle class to center stage and pushed Mrs. Clinton a bit more to the left than she might have gone on economic issues. Mr. Sanders has also surfaced important foreign policy questions, including the need for greater restraint in the use of military force.
In the end, though, Mr. Sanders does not have the breadth of experience or policy ideas that Mrs. Clinton offers.
23 January
Michael Bloomberg Mulling Run for President as Independent
A run by the former New York City mayor could upset an already volatile contest
(WSJ) Republican Party leaders argued Saturday that a Bloomberg candidacy would hurt Democrats, not the GOP.
“I think it’s the Democrats who would suffer from a Michael Bloomberg candidacy,” said Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, the sponsor of Saturday’s GOP forum in Nashua. “He’s a man who is very much aligned with the radical left values of the party of the Democratic Party today, whether it’s gun control or you are not allowed to drink a Big Gulp.”
20 January
Robert Reich: The Bernie skeptics are wrong — here are 6 reasons why
He *can* win in a national election, and he’s not too old. The former secretary of labor makes the case for Sanders
(Salon) 1. “He’d never beat Trump or Cruz in a general election.”
Wrong. According to the latest polls, Bernie is the strongest Democratic candidate in the general election, defeating both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in hypothetical matchups. (The latest Real Clear Politics averages of all polls shows Bernie beating Trump by a larger margin than Hillary beats Trump, and Bernie beating Cruz while Hillary loses to Cruz.)
17 January
Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich continues to pay big
(New York Post) Fifteen years ago this month, on Jan. 20, 2001, his last day in office, Bill Clinton issued a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich. It would become perhaps the most condemned official act of Clinton’s political career. …
Marc Rich was wanted for a list of charges going back decades. He had traded illegally with America’s enemies including Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, where he bought about $200 million worth of oil while revolutionaries allied with Khomeini held 53 American hostages in 1979.
Rich made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself. Little surprise that he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. …
But while the pardon was a political mistake, it certainly was not a financial one. In the years following the scandal, the flow of funds from those connected to Marc Rich or the pardon scandal have continued to the Clintons.
dem-2016-debate Jan 17Democratic debate: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton square off over guns, health care
Sanders released universal health-care plan hours before final Democratic presidential debate
Casting herself as a candidate who would embrace President Barack Obama’s agenda and build on it, Clinton went after Sanders not just on Wall Street and health care, but also on gun control. The debate was staged in Charleston, S.C., not far from an African-American church where nine people were shot to death last year.
Their sharpest exchange was over how to crack down on Wall Street. Clinton said Sanders, as a senator from Vermont, had voted to deregulate the financial market in 2000 in a way that led to the central causes of the financial collapse of 2008 that pitched the U.S. economy into a deep recession.
Sanders fought back, saying Clinton had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees as a former secretary of state from Wall Street backers.
Bernie Sanders makes his run at stopping the Clinton juggernaut
Clinton still the favourite, but polls show Vermont senator gaining
Recent polls show he’s competitive in Iowa, leading in New Hampshire, the next-door state to his native Vermont, and polling within single digits of Clinton nationally.
Like a certain New York real estate magnate, he has been able to tap into a part of a dissatisfied electorate, in his case attracting mostly working-class Americans who feel that the system is rigged against them.
13 January
Chelsea Clinton Said Bernie Sanders Would Take Health Care From Millions
But there are a few things she failed to mention.
(HuffPost) It’s true that, under a scheme like the one Sanders envisions, most people would lose the insurance they have today. But that’s because everybody would have the new government-provided insurance instead. And while the transition from the old system to a new one would be far more complicated than single-payer advocates like to acknowledge, the whole point of a single-payer plan is to make sure that coverage is simpler, more comprehensive and more reliable than it is today.
If anything, a single-payer plan like the one Sanders envisions would result in more coverage than current arrangements would allow. The Affordable Care Act has produced a historic reduction in the number of people without coverage, but something like 9 or 10 percent of Americans remain uninsured. One reason is that the system depends upon people signing up for insurance. The Sanders bill states quite explicitly that “every individual who is a resident of the United States is entitled” to insurance, and then requires the states to enroll people automatically.
Characteristically missing from Chelsea’s comments was any recognition of these facts — or acknowledgment that Sanders has a long record of arguing that people need more protection from medical bills, not less.

2015

18 December
Democrats Prepare for a Potential Saturday Night Fight
By MAGGIE HABERMAN
(NYT First Draft on Politics) Good Friday morning. The Republicans’ final debate of 2015 is behind them, with the fallout noted, victories proclaimed and new adversaries made. On Saturday, it is the turn of the Democrats, their last chance to score points and draw blood before the Christmas holiday.
The week before the last Democratic presidential debate of the year began with the Sanders campaign pulling a negative digital ad against Hillary Clinton after reporters caught wind of it.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who has said with pride that he doesn’t run negative ads, nonetheless had a digital spot describing Mrs. Clinton as someone backed by “big money interests.” The episode was in many ways emblematic of the quandary his campaign has faced over the past several months.
The ad was pulled after reporters began asking about it. Aides blamed the spot on a misunderstanding. But the episode raises the question of how aggressive the presidential hopeful will be with Mrs. Clinton, who is leading almost every Democratic primary poll, in Saturday night’s debate in New Hampshire.
Martin O’Malley, who has been struggling for oxygen in the race, was aggressive in the second Democratic debate in criticizing Mrs. Clinton, and has been similarly abrasive with Mr. Sanders.
But Mr. Sanders has struggled with where to draw the distinction between “contrasts” and attacks. During the debate on Saturday, which comes after the terrorist assault in San Bernardino, Calif., he has the chance to suggest that Mrs. Clinton, who has been far more hawkish, is a poor fit for the Democratic Party.
Mrs. Clinton must walk a line between supporting President Obama and laying out her case for a strong response against a new strain of terrorist threat. Mrs. Clinton gave a major speech on national security this week, giving her a foundation heading into the debate. But with a national mood that still doesn’t favor lengthy entanglements overseas, she will need to tread carefully.
3 November
How Democrats Could Win the House. Really.
Even if they lose the White House, Republicans still remain heavy favorites to hold the House next year. But a presidential candidate who alienates the middle of the country poses a threat, precisely because the middle of the country—the swingy suburbs—now represents the Democrats’ path back to the House.
(Politico) It’s true that the Democrats’ odds of flipping the 30 seats needed to win back the House of Representatives are just a couple ticks greater than zero. But the two current polling leaders for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump and Carson, happen to be the two candidates almost perfectly designed to turn off voters in the districts Democrats need to retake the House.
We know from Republican primary polling that Trump, as explained in a great analysis by National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, does far better among Republicans who do not have a college degree than among those who do. We also know, through polling and by virtue of his new lead amongst Iowa’s heavily white, conservative and evangelical Republican caucus electorate, that Carson is a candidate of the religious right.
Carson and Trump, through their lack of experience and long histories of overheated rhetoric, could easily turn off some of the voters who might have otherwise happily supported someone like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio but don’t think Carson and Trump pass the smell test as a potential president. That could lead to depressed GOP turnout in crucial swing districts, robbing some incumbents of votes, or could even prompt a wholesale rejection of the Republicans in certain districts down the ticket, effectively making 2016 a Democratic wave year
21 October
Full text: Biden’s announcement that he won’t run for president
After announcing he would not be seeking the Democratic nomination for president, Vice President Joe Biden urged reform in areas like cancer research and higher education. Here is his full speech.
A compelling photo that tells the story of the relationship between Joe Biden and Barack Obama
How do you comfort an old friend who has to let a dream drift away? You put a hand on his shoulder.President Obama and the Bidens Oct 21 2015
19 October
Democrats are in denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble.
(Vox) Yes, Barack Obama is taking a victory lap in his seventh year in office. Yes, Republicans can’t find a credible candidate to so much as run for speaker of the House. Yes, the GOP presidential field is led by a megalomaniacal reality TV star. All this is true — but rather than lay the foundation for enduring Democratic success, all it’s done is breed a wrongheaded atmosphere of complacence. …
there are also thousands of critically important offices all the way down the ballot. And the vast majority — 70 percent of state legislatures, more than 60 percent of governors, 55 percent of attorneys general and secretaries of state — are in Republicans hands. And, of course, Republicans control both chambers of Congress. Indeed, even the House infighting reflects, in some ways, the health of the GOP coalition. Republicans are confident they won’t lose power in the House and are hungry for a vigorous argument about how best to use the power they have.
16 October
Democratic candidates debate
Early days, but nice balance for the ticket
Julian Castro Backs Clinton For President, Stokes VP Talk
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro endorsed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in her presidential bid on Thursday, further feeding talk that he could eventually be on the ticket with her.  “Both he [ the former mayor of San Antonio] and his brother, the congressman, are just among the best young leaders in America, regardless of category or the fact that they come from San Antonio,” Clinton said
14 October
Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate?
What the public wants out of a candidate and what the beltway press wants appear to be two entirely different things.
(Alternet) Sanders won the CNN focus group, the Fusion focus group, and the Fox News focus group; in the latter, he even converted several Hillary supporters. He won the Slate online pollCNN/Time online poll9News ColoradoThe Street online pollFox5 poll, the conservative Drudge online poll and the liberal Daily Kos online poll. There wasn’t, to this writer’s knowledge, a poll he didn’t win by at least an 18-point margin. But you wouldn’t know this from reading the establishment press. The New York Times, the New YorkerCNNPoliticoSlateNew York Magazine, and Vox all unanimously say Hillary Clinton cleaned house. What gives?”
Yes, Bernie Sanders Defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Debate. Here’s Why
Yes, Senator Bernie Sanders clearly won the Democratic debate for a variety of reasons. Clinton was able to convey a hatred of the NRA, but forgot that guns are also used in never-ending wars and Bernie Sanders shined with his call for ending American quagmires. Chafee made a point of stating he wasn’t associated with scandals (guess who he was talking about) and while Clinton would not have been so gracious, Bernie Sanders said, “Enough of the emails!” O’Malley seemed to be a more liberal Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb performed well on foreign policy.
Overall, only one candidate conveyed a message that didn’t need to be “polished,” which apparently is the new word for certain pundits who feel Clinton won. Only one candidate set the tone for the evening. Only one candidate is the reason Hillary Clinton was overwhelmed with joy when her main rival refused to talk about the FBI, CIA, and others investigating emails.
For the record, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune also felt Bernie Sanders defeated Clinton and other challengers to win the debate.
13 October
Clinton, Sanders spar over capitalism, gun control at U.S. debate
(Reuters) The two leading candidates were joined by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and former U.S. Senator James Webb of Virginia in the first of six scheduled debates in the race to be the party’s nominee in the November 2016 presidential election.
The lesser known candidates made veiled attacks at Clinton at the top of the debate. Chafee noted he had “no scandals” during his political career; Webb said he was not co-opted by the political system.
In response to Sanders’ success, Clinton has taken stances on several key issues recently that align her with the left wing of the party.
She reversed course to announce her opposition to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that she had praised when she was secretary of state, and she rejected the Keystone XL pipeline that she had said in 2010 she was inclined to approve. Sanders is a longtime opponent of both projects.
Sanders, who has repeatedly refused to directly attack Clinton, signaled over the weekend he would make an issue in the debate of Clinton’s tardiness in embracing liberal positions on some of those topics, noting he opposed Keystone and the TPP “from day one.”
Some subtle policy differences remain between the two top Democratic contenders. Sanders has discouraged Super PACs from raising funds on his behalf, warning of the influence of corporate money. Clinton is backed by several Super PACs.
(WaPost) One the biggest cleavages in the Democratic primary contest is so arcane that Anderson Cooper felt the need to explain it to CNN’s viewers Tuesday. “Glass-Steagall” is a federal law that for decades prohibited a single company from engaging in both speculative investment banking and standard commercial lending. Its repeal in 1999, during President Bill Clinton’s administration, is widely cited as a contributing factor to the 2008 economic crisis. And Martin O’Malley was the first to mention it Tuesday. ”O’Malley and Sanders support the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall; Clinton does not. She has proposed a different set of banking reforms that would stop short of reinstituting the firewall.
7 October
Clinton opposes new Pacific trade pact in break with Obama
(Reuters) U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she does not support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), rejecting a central tenet of President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia.
Clinton, who backed the developing trade pact when she was secretary of state during Obama’s first term, said she was worried the agreement would not do enough to crack down on currency manipulation or protect consumers from excessively high drug prices.
6 October
Robert Reich: Bernie Sanders Tells the Truth
Reich surveys the Democratic candidates.
Bernie Sanders is right: We’ve got to re-establish Glass-Steagall. … after the crash of 1929, the United States set out to prevent that kind of crazy risk taking by the banking sector that led to the crash of 1929—we’re not talking about 2008, we’re talking about 1929. One thing we did was separate commercial banking from investment banking, so that people’s deposits, the ordinary savings of ordinary people, would not be used for gambling operations by the investment banks. We ought to maintain that. I mean, that’s one of the reasons that we got into trouble again.
We also need to bust up the biggest banks. Bernie Sanders actually understated the reality. I mean, the five biggest banks, they used to have 10 percent of total banking assets back in 1990, now have 44 percent of total banking assets in this country. I mean, they are far too big to fail. I mean, they are so large that they are—just because of their political clout and their scale, they are gaining more and more market share of the entire banking industry. That’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for the economy. It’s dangerous for our political culture, because those banks have a great deal of political power.
4 October
Bernie Sanders Holds Boston’s Largest Democratic Primary Rally Ever
The event made history, topping the size of Boston’s biggest Obama rally.
(Alternet) Sanders was introduced by several speakers, including both nursing students and a representative of National Nurses United, the large nursing union. Bill McKibben, one of the nation’s most prominent climate activists, took the podium before the Senator and praised his opposition to the Keystone pipeline, a project Sanders opposed first in 2011.
“We have raised substantial sums of money because 650,000 Americans made contributions averaging 30 dollars a piece,” said Sanders to a crowd of around 25,000 both inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and more watching the event on screens outside who were unable to get in.
15 September
David Brooks: The Biden Formation Story
On the Democratic side, a Biden run would be more formidable than I thought last month. You need emotion to beat emotion. With Stephen Colbert he revealed a story and suggested a campaign that is moving, compelling and in tune with the moment.
(NYT) Last month I wrote that Joe Biden should not run for president this year. The electorate is in an anti-establishment mood, and as a longtime insider, Biden, I argued, would suffer from the same disadvantages Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are now enduring, without any of their advantages. It would end badly.
But then came Biden’s moment with Stephen Colbert. His discussion of his own grief over his son Beau’s death was beautiful and genuine and revealed the golden heart that everybody knows is at the core of the man. …
With Colbert, one saw the kernel of a Biden formation story that could connect not only with Democratic voters but with other voters as well. It is a story of dual loss: his wife and daughter decades ago and his son this year. Out of that loss comes a great empathy, a connection to those who are suffering in this economy and this world. Out of that loss comes a hypercharged sense of mission. Out of that loss comes a liberation from the fear of failure that dogs most politicians, and causes them to dodge, prevaricate and spin.
People who have suffered a loss often want to connect their tragedy to some larger redemptive mission. Biden could plausibly and genuinely emerge sadder but more empathetic and more driven. That would be not only a natural reaction, but also the basis for a compelling campaign.
11 September
Joe Biden raises doubts about 2016 run in emotional talk on Stephen Colbert
Biden had previously expressed doubts about whether he and his family have the emotional energy to run. Still, his blunt description of his own emotional frailty on Thursday marked the strongest indication yet that he may be leaning against running for the Democratic nomination.
The intense interest stirred up by the prospect of Biden running has essentially frozen the Democratic primary campaign, as Hillary Clinton and the other candidates wait to see whether they’ll face another formidable contender. Recent national polls have suggested Biden could be competitive against the Republican candidates, and that he’s more popular within his own party than Clinton in key primary states.
1 September
Polling Trajectory Shows Bernie Sanders Winning the Democratic Nomination. It’s Time for America to Notice.
(HuffPost Blog) When Sarah Silverman introduced Senator Bernie Sanders to an energized crowd of 27,500 people in Los Angeles, POLITICO ran a piece that same day titled Clinton asks staff to turn over email server, thumb drive. On the day Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 4,500 supporters in Reno, Hillary Clinton answered a question with the now legendary statement, “What, like with a cloth or something?” Several days after Bernie defeated Hillary in the informal Iowa State Fair poll, The New York Times ran a headline with the words, Judge Says Hillary Clinton Didn’t Follow Government Email Policies.
There are countless other examples illustrating the different trajectories of both Democratic challengers, and nationwide polls are finally beginning to reflect this reality. Even FiveThirtyEight now says We Got Berned, and while concerns about name recognition and polling among minority voters still exist, only Bernie Sanders has a Racial Justice platform praised by Black Lives Matter, and only Vermont’s Senator has the support of Cornell West, Killer Mike, and Lil B.
30-31 August
Republicans shouldn’t be rooting for Biden
(WaPost) As we have argued, Biden’s working class background, long-standing ties to organized labor and scandal-free public service would all be pluses for him with Democrats. Unlike Clinton, Biden has been unapologetically liberal on nearly every issue, a huge plus with the left-wing base that has never really warmed to Clinton. In the Obama administration, he was the one out front on gun control, gay marriage and withdrawing from Afghanistan.
That, however, does not mean Biden would be at a disadvantage in the general election. To the contrary, [president and chief executive of American Crossroads Steven] Law says, “Biden is a much more formidable general election candidate. If this election is decided by working class voters outside Cleveland, who would actually believe she’d be the better candidate?” By contrast, if Clinton is the nominee, Republicans get to wage what Law calls a “two-front war” — one against the “third Obama term” and one based on “character flaws voters are already talking about.” …
Moreover, while Hillary Clinton has Bill — who apparently wanted to give speeches in totalitarian hell holes like North Korea and the Congo! — Biden would have at his side a tremendous asset, his wife, Jill Biden, a skilled political spouse and educator. Democrats like Hillary Clinton. Her problem is that they don’t love her.
20 August
A Crystal-Clear Explanation of Hillary’s Confusing Email Scandal
(Slate) For the four years she was secretary of state, Clinton never used an official state.gov email address. Instead, she relied exclusively on a private email account housed on her own personal server to conduct her government business. Those facts went unnoticed—or at least unaddressed—by the State Department until this past summer, when agency officials were responding to a request for documents from congressional investigators and realized they couldn’t find a single email to or from a Clinton government email address.
After a specific request from the State Department—that came nearly two years after she had left office—Clinton turned over 30,490 messages to the agency that she and her team deemed to be possibly work-related. Clinton and her staff, though, say they also destroyed 31,830 messages that they decided were personal. The private server was then subsequently wiped clean.
… Hillary and her team have offered a number of lawyerly and convoluted justifications, but her explanation ultimately boils down to what she says was a simple a matter of convenience: She didn’t want to carry two smartphones, which she says would have been necessary at the time since State Department policy didn’t allow her to have multiple email addresses on a government-issued BlackBerry. As a result, she decided to send work emails on a personal account as opposed to personal emails on a work one.
4 August
Bernie Sanders, Open Borders and a Serious Route to Global Equality
(Truthout) Regardless of which president gets elected in 2016, we are not going to see any movement towards open borders. However, there is at least one candidate who may support policies that will make it easier for people in developing countries to benefit from the knowledge the world has accumulated over many thousands of years. This can make a huge difference in their lives.
The media’s summer fling with Joe Biden
Moving personal story and a desire for a more competitive race lead to favorable coverage for the VP.
(Politico) Starved by Hillary Clinton’s rope lines and pro forma remarks — and viewing the prospect of a long and lightly contested primary — many reporters greeted the news of Biden’s possible entry Saturday, via Maureen Dowd, like manna from heaven.
“I mean, who wouldn’t root for a real race, right?” Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, wrote in an email to POLITICO. “And it’s not just a ‘reporters craving good copy’ thing, either. … [It’s] good for America!” And when the Times itself reported on Dowd’s scoop hours later, it noted that Biden’s entry “would add an unbridled, often unscripted passion for the presidency that some Democrats say the ever-cautious Mrs. Clinton sometimes lacks.” …
If Biden runs — and that remains a big “if” — there’s no guarantee that he’ll get the “gushing” coverage some might expect. But what’s clear is that he will garner the media’s attention in a way that other Democratic challengers like Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley haven’t managed to do.
29 July
There’s Something About Bernie
The Vermont senator’s revolutionary zeal has met its moment.
(The Atlantic) Now comes the ultimate test of Democratic unity: a dynastic, centrist, seemingly unstoppable frontrunner—someone who, despite decades in public life, had to convene a committee of 200 advisers to figure out where she stood on economic issues. Finally, the left has been pushed to the breaking point. It has turned, in protest, to the most un-Clinton-like candidate there is—the nutty Vermont uncle of Democratic politics. …
What does he think of Clinton’s economic policies? Sanders points to his support for breaking up the banks and reinstating the Glass-Steagall banking regulations. “I’m not sure Hillary Clinton is in that place,” he says with grim satisfaction. Another gimme: How much money has Sanders taken from Goldman Sachs? “I don’t want their money!” he says. If he’s elected, Sanders says he will not nominate any candidate to the Supreme Court who has not promised to vote to overturn 2010’s Citizens United campaign-finance decision. …“We have some very specific proposals,” he says. “We want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I believe we need a massive federal jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure—trillion-dollar legislation, over a 5-year period, which would create 13 million jobs.” Sanders points to his longtime opposition to trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is currently under consideration. His opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. His support for single-payer healthcare, tuition-free public college, and worker-owned companies.
24 July
Today in Politics: A Billionaire’s Deep Pockets Come With a Big Catch
(NYT Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist who emerged as the single biggest individual political donor in the 2014 midterm elections, is ramping up his efforts to make climate change a major issue for candidates in 2016.
On Friday, Mr. Steyer’s advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action, will announce that for a 2016 candidate to receive its financial backing, he or she must pledge to enact an energy policy that would lead to the generation of half the nation’s electricity from renewable or zero-carbon sources by 2030 – more than tripling the current use of such sources – and 100 percent from clean sources by 2050.
20 July
Bernie-mania spreads to Texas as Sanders’ speech draws crowd of 5,000
Over the weekend, the Vermont senator also attracted more than 8,000 people to a rally in Dallas and 11,000 in Phoenix, the highest turnout of his campaign
19 July
#BernieSoBlack: Why progressives are fighting about Bernie Sanders and race
(Vox) There is a legitimate disconnect between the way Sanders (and many of the economic progressives who support him) see the world, and the way many racial justice progressives see the world. To Bernie Sanders, as I’ve written, racial inequality is a symptom — but economic inequality is the disease.
26 May
O’Malley Readies His Hat Outside the Ring
(NYT First Draft) Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, has spent the last two weeks building momentum — and, presumably, a war chest — ahead of his anticipated announcement for a 2016 presidential bid. Two Republican candidates — former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York — are expected to further expand the field this week. But now, the attention will be on the Democratic side.
3 May
Biden and HillaryRun, Joe, Run: Why Democrats Need a Biden Candidacy
(The Atlantic) Forget Elizabeth Warren. What the Democratic Party, and the nation, need is a real debate between Hillary Clinton’s interventionism and the vice president’s restraint.
Among today’s Democratic foreign-policy elite, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden represent opposite poles. Hillary’s a 1990s-style hawk. Although she and Bill came of age during the movement against Vietnam, they both grew far more comfortable with American military force during his presidency. In her first memoir, Clinton describes having supported America’s interventions in both Bosnia and Kosovo. As first lady, she lobbied for Bill to appoint Balkan hawk Madeleine Albright as his second-term secretary of state. …
Although Biden, like Clinton, supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, those calamitous wars have instilled in him a new devotion to the cautious realism that men like Scowcroft and Baker exemplify. In 2009, according to Bob Woodward, the then-secretary of state argued passionately for sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, at one point pounding her fist on the table and declaring, “We must act like we’re going to win.” Biden, by contrast, didn’t think defeating the Taliban was either possible nor necessary, and argued for a narrower mission focused on al-Qaeda alone. What she feared most in Afghanistan was chaos and barbarism. What he feared most was quagmire. (Magazine of 9 May)
13 April
James Heffernan: Why Does Hillary Need $2.5 Billion for Her Campaign?
(HuffPost) …  more than ever before, the media will broadcast every word she speaks to a crowd of any kind …  So why doesn’t she do something truly dramatic for the everyday Americans who support her? Why doesn’t she declare her independence of radio and TV ads and telemarketers and of the knee-jerk compulsion to match the 2.5 billion dollars that the Republicans plan to spend in their quest for the White House? Looking at the front running Republicans — Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie — I see no one who can begin to match Hillary Clinton’s qualifications for the presidency. So why not let the elephants outspend her while she demonstrates, once again, that money alone cannot fill the gap between a weak candidate and a strong one?
12 April
To nobody’s surprise Hillary Clinton formally announces 2016 run
Her campaign makes a great effort to take the focus off her.
(Politico) Instead, the video captured messages central to her campaign by featuring regular Americans starting new phases of life: a mother going back to work after years spent raising her kids; a young woman applying for her first job after college; two Spanish-speaking brothers starting their own business together; two men getting married.
The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a presidential run that the party is deeply invested in.
1 March
Eric Braverman Tried to Change the Clinton Foundation. Then He Quit.
Inside the power struggle at Clinton, Inc.
(Politico) The previously untold saga of Braverman’s brief, and occasionally fraught tenure trying to navigate the Clintons’ insular world highlights the challenges the family has faced trying to impose rigorous oversight onto a vast global foundation that relies on some of the same loyal megadonors Hillary Clinton will need for the presidential run sources have said she is all but certain to launch later this year.
26 February
Who’s Behind the Secretive Group Bashing Elizabeth Warren’s Favorite Agency?
Anonymous donors “hired” a PR firm to launch the US Consumer Coalition, its founder admits.
(Mother Jones)  the US Consumer Coalitionwhich bills itself as a “grassroots organization” that exists to “build bridges, ensure public awareness and mobilize the powerful voices of consumers and business owners to protect our freedom of choice”—sounds like the sort of outfit you’d expect to find sticking up for the little guy. Yet last month, Brian Wise, one of the group’s founders, penned an op-ed in the Hill attacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer protection agency that came into existence in 2011 thanks to Elizabeth Warren. …  the US Consumer Coalition … is run and staffed entirely by a Virginia public relations firm stuffed with ex-GOP operatives.

2014

Hillary Clinton profile
(Forbes) She hasn’t even announced a presidential bid and already she has the Ready for Hillary super PAC (raising $1.7 million in Q1 2014 alone) and her opposition is heating up in equal measure. There is no denying that Hillary is a fierce political force to be reckoned with. And should she be the first woman president of the U.S. come 2016, it would not be her first foray into breaking barriers. She is the first and only first lady to become a U.S. Senator, not to mention presidential candidate. Her upcoming memoir, “Hard Choices,” which chronicles her time as Secretary of State, reportedly earned her a high-seven-figure advance. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 57% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Hillary — including nearly a quarter of the Republicans polled. Of the Democrats and independents polled, more than half said they would vote for her in the party’s primary elections, compared with 10% for Vice President Joe Biden.

24 January
Top Liberal Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, Begins Raising Funds For Possible Clinton Bid
(HuffPost) Priorities USA Action, the largest liberal super PAC in the country, has begun raising money to help elect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton president in 2016, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The group, which raised millions of dollars for President Barack Obama in 2012, named new directors to lead the organization: Jim Messina, who managed Obama’s reelection campaign, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (D)

One Comment on "Lead-up to U.S. 2016 elections – Democrats"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson February 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm · Reply

    An astute Canadian observer comments: 6 months ago I was making jokes about a Presidential race between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. People, especially intelligent Americans I talked to (and I use that term deliberately) gave me muted chuckles, mixed with a lot of angst.
    This morning that reality has landed with a thud.
    What we have seen in the last few days were the potential implosions of two very high profile campaigns. Chris Christie dealt Marco Rubio a potentially fatal blow on Saturday night in the debate, that will be very difficult but not impossible to recover from. Personally I don’t think he has what it takes to do it.
    On the other side, Hillary Clinton, through surrogates like Madeline Allbright and Gloria Steinem just surrendered the women’s vote, and especially the votes of young women. This was one of her core constituencies. This morning the pundits are saying she has to reinvent herself. After 25 years front and center, that will be very hard to do.
    Far more than ever before, American voters are really fed up with the current political establishments and what they represent, on both sides of the aisle. The results are there this morning and this is not over.
    American politics is being turned on its head. this is not an aberration, believe it.

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