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The Democrats/progressives 2019 Chapter I
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // May 30, 2019 // Politics, U.S. // Comments Off on The Democrats/progressives 2019 Chapter I
The Democrats/progressives 2018
Check out the Democratic field with our candidate tracker.
Introducing the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking.
Where is the center of gravity in the Democratic Party?
(WaPost) The opening weeks of the Democrats’ 2020 nomination campaign reflect the party’s continuing leftward movement. Presidential candidates have sketched out an agenda of big social welfare ambitions and a bigger federal government. What the party needs is a rigorous debate about those programs and the details behind them.
The planks of a progressive platform roll off the lips of the presidential candidates to enthusiastic applause from party activists, who are turning out in big numbers to get a look at the field. Many of the planks were promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in his 2016 campaign. He lost the battle against Hillary Clinton but succeeded in making his ideas mainstream in the party. Other proposals the candidates have adopted reflect the priorities of some newly elected progressive members of the House, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
The package includes Medicare-for-all, tuition-free or debt-free college, higher taxes on the wealthy, and a Green New Deal. In their most expansive form, these proposals would cost trillions of dollars in government spending or require potentially wrenching economic changes, all in pursuit of affordable, universal health care, more equality of opportunity for higher education, a lessening of the income and wealth gap, and a decidedly more aggressive effort to combat climate change. (2 February)
Why Millennials’ Political Awakening Could Bury Trump in 2020
(New York) The bulk of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 saw Bill Clinton preside over an age of (relative) peace and prosperity — and then George W. Bush steer their nation into failed wars and economic collapse. Political science research suggests that a voter’s partisan preferences tend to be deeply informed by their evaluations of presidential performance in adolescence and early adulthood. Americans who came of age during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon presidencies leaned Democratic for years after. Those who attained a sense of self amid Jimmy Carter’s losing battle against stagflation — and/or Ronald Reagan’s boom times — remained disproportionately Republican as they aged.
Collectively, in 2018, millennial, Gen-Z, and Gen-X voters cast more ballots than boomers or “silent types” for the first time ever in a midterm election. Exit polls suggest that Democratic candidates won 58 percent of voters between 30 and 44 last year, and 67 percent of voters under 30, even as they essentially tied Republicans among voters 45 and up. Which suggests that an ostensibly Trump-inspired acceleration in the political maturation of millennials and Gen-Zers played a major role in painting the House map blue last year.
All this bodes well for Democrats in 2020. … millions more Gen-Zers will become eligible to vote. And the older millennials get, the more likely to vote they become, irrespective of external political conditions. Meanwhile, there were 8.8 million fewer members of the boomer and silent generations eligible to vote in 2018 than there were in 2014, largely due to mortality. Which is to say: Trump eked out an Electoral College majority in 2016 on the strength of overwhelming support among demographics that will be considerably smaller in 2020.
Turnout among younger voters did spike last year — but turnout among older ones did, too. Remarkably, even though there were nearly 9 million fewer boomers and silent voters walking the earth in 2018 than in 2014, these generations nevertheless cast 3.6 million more ballots in the latter year, as they turned out at a record 64 percent rate.
This enthusiasm among older voters — combined with their steady rightward trend in recent years — could sustain Trump’s Electoral College majority in 2020. And if the oldest Gen-Xers follow the boomers’ example, and shift right as they enter their golden years, then the GOP may not confront a major demographic crisis for a long time if ever. The critical question is whether each generation’s current political views will prove durable, or whether all will grow more conservative with age. If the former is true, the GOP is in deep trouble. If the latter is, then demographic trends could actually benefit the Republican Party: Boomers will be a declining share of the electorate in the years to come, but senior citizens will be a growing one. Barring massive changes in immigration policy, America is going to become an ever-older country in the decades ahead.
Moderate Democrats’ Delusions of ‘Prudence’ Will Kill Us All
(New York) The threat that the GOP could soon entrench the rule of a reactionary, predominantly white minority isn’t an idle one. Thanks to Senate malapportionment, the decline of ticket-splitting in an era when all politics is national, and the political polarization of urban and rural areas (a nearly ubiquitous phenomenon across Western democracies that shows few signs of abating any time soon), Republicans currently enjoy a historically large structural advantage in the upper chamber, one that is poised to grow even more formidable in the years to come. By 2040, half the U.S. population is expected to reside in eight diverse, largely urban states, while another 20 percent of the populace will be concentrated in the next eight most populous states. This will leave the remaining, overwhelming white, and nonurban 30 percent of the American population with 68 votes in the U.S. Senate. In a political culture where Democratic presidents are no longer allowed to appoint Supreme Court justices unless their party also controls the upper chamber, GOP domination of the Senate will translate into GOP domination of the judiciary, even if the conservative movement boasts an ever-smaller fraction of public support (as research on the political views of millennials and Gen-Zers suggests that it will).
All of which is to say: There’s a reasonable argument that America’s capacity to address the existential threat posed by climate change — and arrest its descent into plutocracy — depends on the Democratic Party regaining full control of the federal government, and promptly enacting a series of (small-d) democratic reforms such as federal voting-rights protections and statehood for overwhelming nonwhite territories like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C., before secular trends allow a reactionary minority to lock up the Senate and judiciary for a generation.
Democrats were said to be furious and hungry for change. Then Biden jumped in.
(WaPo) In his opening weeks as a presidential candidate, Biden has rejected much of the conventional wisdom that drove the first stretch of the Democratic nomination fight, refusing to play to the party’s liberal wing, focus on the wrongs of the past or call for revolutionary transformation.
To the surprise of many, he has been rewarded with a lead in the polls that, so far at least, has proven durable and steady. As a result, his candidacy is challenging assumptions about what Democratic voters want in the era of President Trump.
Why polls haven’t scared off 2020 Democratic hopefuls
After a three-week launch that drew mostly positive coverage and large (if not overwhelming) crowds, Biden has moved to the top of polls nationally and in early-voting states. That, combined with the entry of Bullock and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio into the race, marked the end of the announcement stage of the primary. Barring a surprise, no more candidates are expected to enter; even if someone did, they wouldn’t enjoy the name recognition or support of Biden. … The Democratic pileup, and Iowans’ friendly interest in so many candidates, was a reflection of how many voters still wanted an alternative to Biden. But an unsettled field would help him. Iowa’s caucus rules, which function as a sort of instant-runoff system, require candidates to meet 15 percent support in each caucus to get delegates.
How many are we up to now?
Montana Gov. Bullock joins 2020 Democratic presidential race
(AP) He pitches himself as the rare Democrat who can win over rural and small-town voters — a constituency that helped Trump flip key battleground states in 2016. Bullock has done it three times in Montana, whose largest city boasts a population of 110,000 and where Democrat Hillary Clinton got just 36 percent of the vote against Trump.
What Joe Biden Is Teaching Democrats About Democrats
By Jonathan Chait
(New York) The prevailing mood toward a Biden candidacy has been a combination of anger that he has the temerity to lead a party that has left him behind and sympathy that he’s too addled to grasp his predicament. A genre of op-ed has developed out of liberals pleading with Biden. … The poor guy has disregarded all the advice and decided to run anyway. And initial polling has revealed that a large number of Democrats have not left Biden behind at all. He begins the race leading his closest competitors, including early front-runner Bernie Sanders, by as much as 30 points.
They worked for Obama. They’re not supporting Biden — yet.
The former aides split broadly into three groups. Only eight had committed or were leaning toward Biden. A second group of 11 have committed to other candidates. A group of 34 say they are still waiting to decide.
Among those who had not yet picked a favorite, there was remarkable unanimity of preferences: Almost all said they had limited their consideration to five candidates now in the sprawling field: Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas.
That list notably excluded the several governors and senators who are likely to appear on the first Democratic debate stage in June, not to mention the runner-up in the 2016 primary battle, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Views of Sanders, who has polled in second place nationally in early surveys, ranged from open hostility to praise for his contribution to the policy debate in the party, and a willingness to help him beat Trump should he secure the nomination.
Gail Collins & Bret Stephens : Is This the Audition for ‘Game of Thrones’?
Bret: … the main thing congressional Democrats should be doing is talking up an agenda for governance, not reminding Americans for the zillionth time that the president is a very bad hombre. And that’s barely happening, because outrage over this or that transgression by Barr or tweet by Trump dominates the news cycle and is the only thing that left-wing Twitter can talk about. Which is why, for now, my money is on Trump being re-elected.
Gail: These days a party’s voice comes from its president or presidential candidate. We’re not going to get that one message from the Democrats for a while yet — you may have noticed there’s more than one person running for the nomination.
Bret: Democrats will win if they can find a candidate who will appeal to the center and is willing sometimes to push back against the progressive fringe; who won’t talk down to Trump voters; who believes capitalism should be improved, not replaced; who can give Americans a reason to feel proud of their president rather than embarrassed by him.
Make America Proud Again? There could be worse slogans.
Why Joe Biden Might Be the Best Bet to Beat Trump
By Andrew Sullivan
(New York) Biden has had an extremely good start to his third campaign for president. His announcement video was aimed at those on the left who see Trump as the tip of the spear of white nationalism, and to those swingier voters who simply want to return to normalcy, constitutional order, and, well, decency. That’s a message that rallies the base but also appeals to those who may be exhausted by the trauma of Trump. As an opener, perfect. Even, at times, moving.
… his strength is drawn from two contrasting bases: older, moderate whites, and African-Americans. Although his share is in the 30s overall, he has a whopping 50 percent share among nonwhite Democrats, according to the latest CNN poll. A Morning Consult poll found him with 43 percent of the black vote, including 47 percent support among African-American women. Biden’s deep association with Obama gives him a lift in the black vote no other white candidate can achieve. And so it turns out that the base of the Democrats has not been swept into the identity cult of the elite, wealthy, white left. As a brand-new CBS poll finds, Democrats may prefer a hypothetical female nominee over a male (59–41 percent), a black nominee over a white one (60–40 percent), and someone in their 40s to someone in their 70s. But that’s in the abstract. In reality, Biden seems to scramble these preferences.
… There is also, dare I say it, a deeper contrast between the two men. One is decent, kind, generous, funny. The other is indecent, cruel, miserly, and has the callous humor of a bully. There would be a moral gulf between any current Democrat and Trump, of course. But with Biden, we’re reminded of the America we thought we knew. Yes, this is partly nostalgia, but no one should underestimate nostalgia in a country as turbulent, afraid, and resentful as America right now. Biden’s moment, in my mind, was 2016, but he was prevented from competing by Clinton and Obama. But history takes strange turns. This already feels to me like a two-man race. That may change. It’s extremely early, but the odds are with Biden. And the tailwinds behind him are intense.
Beto O’Rourke switches his style and tone as the spotlight dims
(WaPo) In the six weeks since O’Rourke got in it, the former congressman has gone from the buzzy celebrity candidate… to just another Democrat in a crowded field, struggling to stand out as he adjusts his message of unity to the Democratic electorate’s anger and demands for specifics.
Frank Rich: The Biggest Threat to Biden’s Candidacy Isn’t the Left, It’s Biden Himself
(New York) For all the chatter about whether AOC Democrats in the party’s base will accept a centrist like Biden, the real threat to Biden’s viability is Biden himself. Not just his checkered past record, but his ability to adapt to present circumstances and react to them in real time. Given that he was far from fluent in the vice-presidential debate pitting him against Sarah Palin in 2008, it’s hard to imagine him besting Democratic debate opponents like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg. The issue is not necessarily whether his views are progressive enough but whether he is culturally limber enough in a fast-moving new order. (This may also be a growing challenge for the didactic Sanders, Biden’s current runner-up in polling.) In the end, the only real premise of Biden’s candidacy, besides its comforting old-shoe avuncularity, is as narrow as he says it is: He is determined to bring down Trump. But so are his 19 primary opponents and the entire Democratic electorate.
All the Democrats Who Are — and Aren’t — Running in 2020
(New York) For months, conventional wisdom has held that the Democratic primary would be overflowing with candidates. Not only would the debates, much like those the Republicans held in 2016, require both an adult and kids’ table, but a few unfortunate nobodies might end up sitting on the floor.
As the first debates approach in June, it’s beginning to look as if the predictions of a primary with 30 or even 40 Democrats won’t come true. But 20 is still within reach. With ten months until the first primary in Iowa, here’s who’s in and who’s out, in alphabetical order.
Joe Biden Is Running for President
The former vice president has finally decided he’s in, and he’s announcing in less than a week. Now he just has to finish putting a campaign together.
(The Atlantic) It’s taken two years of back-and-forth, it’ll be his third (or, depending on how you count, seventh) try for the White House, and many people thought he wouldn’t do it, but the biggest factor reshaping the 2020 Democratic-primary field is locking into place.
Bret Stephens: Ilhan Omar, Harbinger of Democratic Decline?
With political power comes rhetorical responsibility.
(NYT) Just as Trump has repeatedly made his ethnic prejudices plain, so has Omar. She has demonized Israel, and American supporters of Israel, in terms that are unmistakably anti-Semitic. She has been reproached by fellow Democrats, claimed ignorance by way of apology, and then slurred Jews again — without apology. And despite claiming to be a champion of human rights, she has been oddly selective about the human-rights issues that elicit her outrage. …
What is significant is that Omar’s defenders don’t consider her prejudices about Jews as particularly disqualifying, morally or politically, at least not when weighed against the things they like about her (and hate about her enemies). As for her views about Israel, she’s practically mainstream for her segment of the Democratic Party — a harbinger of what’s to come as the old guard of pro-Israel liberals like Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gives way to the anti-Israel wokesters typified by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
What is all this reminiscent of?
Oh, right: the early days of Trump, when millions of Republican primary voters heard the candidate denounce Mexicans as drug dealers, criminals and rapists, and said to themselves, “We like that.”
The central lesson of the moral collapse that followed for the G.O.P. isn’t that conservatives are a uniquely perfidious bunch. It’s that partisans of any stripe are always susceptible to demagoguery, particularly when the demagogue refuses to back down in the face of outrage. Shamelessness has a way of inspiring a following, and Omar is in the process of cornering the market on the left.
… Toward the end of her speech, she said it was vital “to make sure that we are not only holding people that we don’t like accountable: We must also hold those that we love, have shared values with, accountable.”
Those words, at least, are wise. The best thing Democrats could do now is apply them to Omar herself.
Liberals’ frustration with Pelosi rises over her response to Omar dispute
(WaPo) The far left’s frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the rise, as liberal advocates and lawmakers fume that she hasn’t done enough to defend freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar from attacks by President Trump and other Republicans and has undermined their policies and leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Pelosi, eager to protect her newfound majority and looking ahead to the 2020 elections, has made it a point to put distance between her party and the policies espoused by some of her new, liberal members, including both women. Republicans have tried to use the liberal policy initiatives against all Democrats. Pelosi purposely has cast the proposals as aspirational, telling The Washington Post she was “agnostic” about Medicare-for-all compared with the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and calling Ocasio-Cortez’s environmental Green New Deal “the green dream.”
Pete Buttigieg Announces Official Start to 2020 Campaign
(NYT) He said he was motivated to run despite his youth because of an urgency to correct the course of the Trump administration on climate change, health care and immigration. “This is one of those rare moments between whole eras in the life of our nation,” Mr. Buttigieg said, adding, “The moment we live in compels us to act.’’
Wonder Boy Pete Buttigieg is a gay Harvard alum, fluent in Gramsci, Joyce, and Norwegian. And he’s the Democrats’ folksiest heartland hope. Really!
(New York Magazine) Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay. Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of “democratic capitalism” has to be a whole lot more “democratic.” If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian, Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano. He’s actually terrifying. What mother wouldn’t love this guy?
Barack Obama warns progressives to avoid ‘circular firing squad’
Remarks come as Democrats battle for 2020 nomination
(The Guardian) “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States,” he said, “maybe it’s true here as well, is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad’, where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.
“And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”
Championed by progressive luminaries including the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, policy ideas such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal have achieved rising prominence.
On either side of the aisle, party primaries are traditionally brutal affairs in which candidates are tested against rivals from other wings or factions. The first debates of the 2020 Democratic contest are months away but fierce fire is already being directed towards some more centrist candidates.
Obama says he worries about ‘rigidity’ among liberal Democrats
(WaPo) He lamented that Democrats sometimes create “what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues.”
“When that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens. . . . You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything. But you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything; everything’s up for grabs. That requires a certain amount of internal reflection and deliberations,” he said.
Pelosi outlines a path to victory for House Democrats in 2020 — and guarantees it
(WaPo) It’s a remarkably bold guarantee for Pelosi, who will celebrate this new majority’s 100-day mark at a Democratic retreat next week outside Leesburg. Her caucus has had its share of growing pains in the first quarter of the year, with younger, more-liberal Democrats trying to push Pelosi’s leadership team as far to the left as possible.
A small but vocal faction of newcomers sparked a bitter debate over the party’s long-standing support of Israel. And a growing Democratic presidential primary field is advancing policies that are out of step with a couple dozen freshman Democrats who won swing seats in districts that favored President Trump in the 2016 election.
Pelosi dismissed the far left’s Medicare-for-all as a still emerging proposal that might provide worse health care than the landmark 2010 law she muscled through Congress. She backed up the decision of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to “black list” any consulting firm that works for candidates mounting primary challenges to incumbents, a move that has drawn calls from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who rose to fame defeating a 20-year Democrat, to boycott donating to the DCCC.
And Pelosi rejected the idea that today’s Democrats are further to the left than a decade ago, suggesting that it was “just a few people” with high profiles and some of the “presidentials.”
Instead, she has charted a course of again appealing to moderate suburbanites and some rural voters frustrated by Trump’s reality-TV-style presidency. She doesn’t want to focus on impeaching Trump or on far-fetched legislation that has no hope of passing in divided government. She promises not to repeat the mistakes leading up to 2010
See: Nancy Pelosi on Impeaching Trump: ‘He’s Just Not Worth It’
In a wide-ranging interview, the country’s most powerful Democrat says Trump is unfit to be president — “ethically,” “intellectually” and “curiosity-wise” — but impeachment would be too divisive.
Pete Buttigieg on How He Plans to Win the Democratic Nomination and Defeat Trump
The surging Presidential hopeful explains a career that has included Navy service, two terms as a small-city mayor, and coming out as gay.
(The New Yorker) During an exit interview in November, 2016, just weeks after the election, David Remnick asked President Obama who the future leaders of the Democratic Party might be, and who could realistically challenge Trump in 2020. A surprising figure Obama named was Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who, at the time, was only thirty-four. In recent weeks, Buttigieg’s profile has risen dramatically, and he has collected campaign donations at a surprising clip, considering that he lacks the national profile of a senator or governor.
Our First ‘First Gentleman’ Could Be Pete Buttigieg’s Husband
The laid-back charm of Chasten Buttigieg has probably made it easier for Mayor Pete to present himself as a thoughtful policy wonk without being suspected of taking himself too seriously. And it has attracted a whole different type and volume of media attention to a very long-shot candidacy. (See also: A Long Talk With Pete Buttigieg)
Should Democrats Worry About Political Experience in 2020?
By Ed Kilgore
(New York) In assessing the very large Democratic field assembling to challenge Trump in 2020, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot of politicians with résumés that would not normally bespeak presidential timber have taken a look at the 45th president’s rise to the White House and concluded there are no longer any minimum requirements. Yes, there have been presidents with no prior experience in elected office, but before Trump they were all war heroes (Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower) or Cabinet members (Taft and Hoover). A few major-party nominees were closer to Trump in the empty résumé department (notably 1904 Democratic nominee Alton Parker, a state judge, and 1940 Republican nominee Wendell Willkie, a utility executive), but for the most part, especially in more recent times, the major parties have nominated former or current senators and governors.
A recent Morning Consult poll suggests that rank-and-file Democratic voters still value that kind of high-level experience, with 66 percent saying that “decades of political experience” was “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in choosing a 2020 nominee. That could help explain why two candidates (one potential and one actual) who together have 81 years of experience in elected office, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, top every poll. And there’s more where that came from: An astonishing seven former or current U.S. senators are in the race.
Mueller Just Gave Democrats a Gift. Will They Take It?
Scandal and impeachment were always political losers. Now the 2020 election can be about which party will improve the lives of more Americans.
By Bill Scher
(Politico) A good economy is often all an incumbent president needs for re-election. However, Trump isn’t your typical incumbent. He wasn’t able to reap the benefits of economic growth in 2018, because Democrats successfully zeroed in on Trump policies, especially on taxes and health care, that ran counter to the desires of most working families.
Today, Trump barely has a legislative agenda. In turn, Democrats have the opportunity to further the narrative that Trump is a threat to sustainable economic growth, middle-class prosperity and global stability. It won’t matter if Mueller had evidence of obstruction of justice. … Many voters won’t care that Trump is a grifter if they believe Trump has made their own lives better. The Democratic challenge is to show that he hasn’t. Thanks to Mueller, Democrats are a better position to do just that. Time to let it go.
Kamala Harris makes a point in Houston: It’s not just O’Rourke and Sanders who can draw crowds
Harris didn’t reveal details of the plan, which her campaign says will come within days. But the crowd of 2,400 that gathered at the historically black school showed her ability to attract a diverse gathering, including older white voters from the Houston area, Latino students who drove from the University of Texas at Austin and a large contingent of African American voters.
In targeting teachers, Harris became the first candidate to reach out to the largely female group of politically active professionals with a policy proposal directly addressing their concerns
The Atlantic: The number of 2020 presidential hopefuls grows and grows. Joe Biden, the former vice president, looks to be careening toward a presidential run—as does Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, a moderate with business experience who is branding himself as a someone who knows how to work with Republicans. With still nearly a year before the first votes are cast, political commentators are hyper-focused on one dynamic in particular: electability. But Peter Beinart argues that all this chatter about whether a certain candidate is electable is based on dubious assumptions and polls that are too early to matter. A better strategy would focus on what candidates would do if they won.
‘Change Is Closer Than We Think.’ Inside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Unlikely Rise
By Charlotte Alter
(TIME) Wonder Woman of the left, Wicked Witch of the right, Ocasio-Cortez has become the second most talked-about politician in America, after the President of the United States. Since beating 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary to represent New York’s 14th District last June, the 29-year-old former bartender has pressured 2020 presidential candidates into supporting her Green New Deal, made campaign-finance reform go viral and helped activists banish Amazon from Queens with a couple of tweets. No lawmaker in recent memory has translated so few votes into so much political and social capital so quickly.
Bannon says an O’Rourke-Harris ticket poses the greatest threat to Trump in 2020
The meeting was supposed to ease tensions between Muslim and Jewish Democrats. It ended with tears.
The push to bring lawmakers from different backgrounds together began earlier this year, spearheaded by Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.) — an ex-professor and veteran in activist circles who organized a makeshift gathering over Chinese food.
[Rep. Jahana Hayes (Conn.)], however said, the meeting — which delved into the history of anti-Semitism and charged language — was helpful for people who don’t know the meaning of certain words: “I’m looking to try to understand everybody’s perspective,” she said. “This isn’t my community.”
The conversation took a different turn as some non-Jewish members in the room admitted they didn’t know what anti-Semitism looks like. The Jews present appreciated the candor and sought to share stories illuminating why certain words had negative meaning.
Although the exercise has been uncomfortable at times, many think it was worthwhile and are planning to do it again, perhaps focusing on anti-Muslim bigotry and racism.
“This wasn’t a one-time thing,” [Rep. Andy Levin (Mich.)] said in an interview in which he spoke generally about the meeting but declined to comment on specific events. “We are committed to building authentic relationships of mutual understanding and solidarity to tackle all forms of discrimination and oppression. The only way to do that is by having private dialogues where folks can speak freely so we can really learn from and about each other.”
Democrat Beto O’Rourke announces he is running for president
(PBS) Until he challenged Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last year, O’Rourke was little known outside his hometown of El Paso. But the Spanish-speaking 46-year-old former punk rocker became a sensation during a campaign that used grassroots organizing and social media savvy to mobilize young voters and minorities. He got within 3 percentage points of upsetting Cruz in the nation’s largest red state — and shattered national fundraising records in the process — immediately fueling chatter that he could have higher ambitions.
Now O’Rourke must prove whether the energy he brought to the Texas campaign will resonate on a much larger stage. For all the buzz associated with his candidacy, the former three-term congressman hasn’t demonstrated much skill in domestic or foreign policy. And, as a white man, he’s entering a field that has been celebrated for its diverse roster of women and people and color.
Democrats turn to blue-collar Milwaukee for 2020 convention
It will be the first time in more than a century that Democrats gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate.
Dave Leonhardt (NYT): Sherrod Brown yesterday joined the list of Democrats who are a) well positioned to appeal to swing voters and b) not running for president in 2020. Others on that list include Deval Patrick, Mitch Landrieu and Michael Bloomberg.
I’m not shocked by Brown’s decision. He isn’t very well-known nationally, despite his impressive record of winning elections in Ohio. And if he had run, he would have had to contend with discussion of his ugly 1986 divorce, during which his ex-wife accused him of mistreatment (although she now supports him).
Brown’s demurral adds to the importance of the decisions facing Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke. They remain the last high-profile candidates who are likely to build a presidential campaign at least in part around appealing to swing voters — as well as the roughly half of Democratic voters who identify as moderate or conservative.
Biden and O’Rourke both appear likely to run. Both also have their flaws. Biden has not been a strong or disciplined candidate during his two previous presidential campaigns, in 1988 and 2008. He also has a long, complicated record in public life. The Washington Post reported yesterday on comments that he made in 1975 expressing skepticism over desegregation and affirmative action. Those positions won’t help him in the 2020 primary.
As for O’Rourke, it’s still not clear how good of (sic) a candidate he will be when subjected to the intense scrutiny of a presidential race. He has run only one high-profile campaign so far, his 2018 Senate campaign against Ted Cruz. He did impressively well for a Democrat in Texas, but he didn’t win.
There are other candidates and potential candidates who could build a campaign around electability and appeals to swing voters. But if none of them catches fire — candidates like Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Pete Buttigieg and John Delaney — and if both Biden and O’Rourke struggle, the Democratic campaign could have a fascinating dynamic.
The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backlash begins
The Point: This ideological fight within the Democratic Party reflects the broader debate about what a post-Obama Democrat could and should look like. Is it Ocasio-Cortez? Is it Joe Biden? Is it somewhere in between?
(CNN Politics) The real question then is not which part of the party is on the rise — it’s the AOC/Bernie Sanders wing for sure — but rather how those moderates and conservatives are treated by the liberals in the party. Will they be driven out as insufficiently loyal to the cause — as tea party (and Trump) Republicans have done to their own centrist wing over the last decade? Or will liberals find a way to incorporate the views of their more moderate party members as they try to find a candidate who can oust President Donald Trump in 2020?
(The Atlantic) What’s the Democratic Party’s best path forward to try to unseat Trump in 2020? The party is already grappling with a crowded 2020 field, and to cobble together the necessary electoral votes, it has its eyes set on two key regions: the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt. But candidates who excel in one region could lag in the other, and both paths look to be littered with traps and pitfalls. To recapture lost ground with white voters in midwestern states that flipped for Trump in 2016, established politicians such as Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar could have the strongest case. But capturing the red-trending-purple states such as Arizona and Texas could hinge on another breed of politician—younger figures like Julián Castro or Beto O’Rourke with a track record of galvanizing nonwhite voters.
Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other?
By Ed Kilgore
(New York) We’re now well under a year away from the Iowa caucuses, and an unusually — perhaps uniquely — large Democratic field is forming to compete for the opportunity to face Donald J. Trump in 2020. It is highly appropriate that before the festivities intensify, multiple voice are being raised to remember the wolf at the door before engaging in any intramural fisticuffs. At the American Prospect, veteran labor political operative Steve Rosenthal offers four “rules” for 2020 Democrats in order to avoid a “circular firing squad” that helps Trump win the general election.
… progressive economist Jared Bernstein in a Washington Post op-ed
“A debate about ideas is healthy, a debate about motives is not. The Democrats should hash out their differences in 2020 without slashing up one another — not casting aspirations on each other’s integrity, motivation or intentions. It is that latter path that creates an opening for Trump’s reelection in 2020.”
How Amy Klobuchar Treats Her Staff
(NYT) Questions about Ms. Klobuchar’s actions toward subordinates have shadowed the early days of her 2020 presidential campaign, with articles in HuffPost and BuzzFeed News by turns fueling the hard-driving reputation that has followed her for years in Washington and angering supporters who see sexism in the criticism.
How race and education are shaping ideology in the Democratic Party
White Democrats are much more likely to identify as liberal than African-Americans and Hispanics in the party. William Galston examines how these demographic factors will play out in the 2020 primaries, especially after the recent entry of Bernie Sanders into the race.
(Brookings) Over the past two decades, a party with a plurality of self-identified moderates at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term is now dominated by liberals, and this shift makes a substantial difference. Democrats of all ideological stripes now agree on guns, global warming, the role of unions, and the need to increase corporate taxes. This doesn’t mean unity on all issues: liberal Democrats are far more likely than other Democrats to favor legalizing marijuana, ending the death penalty, and—significantly—a government takeover of our healthcare system. The early skirmishing over Bernie Sanders-style “Medicare for All” may develop into a major fault-line as the intra-party debate intensifies.
Race and education shape Democrats’ ideological self-identification, often in unexpected ways. For example, whites are far more likely to call themselves liberal than are African-Americans, with Hispanics in-between.
Obama Quietly Gives Advice to 2020 Democrats, but No Endorsement
(NYT/Politico) David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s former chief strategist, told [a group of Obama donors] they should expect no [endorsement]. Mr. Axelrod confirmed in an interview that he briefed the gathering, recalling: ‘They asked me about Obama endorsing. I said, ‘I don’t imagine he will.’
Mr. Axelrod said he had been sharing his own perspective, not speaking as an official Obama emissary. But his forecast matches what Mr. Obama has told friends and likely presidential candidates in private: that he does not see it as his role to settle the 2020 nomination, and prefers to let the primary unfold as a contest of ideas. Michelle Obama, the former first lady, also has no plans to endorse a candidate, a person familiar with her thinking said. …
“He has counseled more than a dozen declared or likely candidates on what he believes it will take to beat President Trump, holding private talks with leading contenders like Ms. Harris, Mr. Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren; underdogs like Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and prominent figures who remain undecided on the race, like Eric H. Holder, his former attorney general, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.”
The three 2020 Democrats Trump’s campaign is watching most closely
The president’s campaign is collecting opposition research on Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. Trump himself has his eye on Joe Biden.
(Politico) Trump’s advisers are certain the list of announced Democratic candidates will grow exponentially before the first primary debate in June, and that their targets are certain to fluctuate over time. Yet the early assessment provides a window into how Trump world views the emerging Democratic field — a sprawling, largely undefined group that lacks a clear front-runner.
Interviews with more than two dozen of the president’s closest advisers reveal that the Trump operation is watching the opening days of the Democratic primary with a mix of relief over the field’s sprint to the left, surprise over Harris’ impressive launch, and trepidation over the prospect of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown threatening Trump’s Midwest stranglehold.
Republicans are trolling the Green New Deal. Here’s how Democrats will troll them back.
(WaPost) Republicans are gleeful about the Green New Deal, which they see as a major political liability for Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning a vote on the GND on the theory that any Senate Democrat — a field that includes several 2020 presidential hopefuls — who votes for it will self-immolate on the spot.
On Thursday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will deliver a speech on the GND on the Senate floor, in which the minority leader will call on Republicans to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat and is largely human-created, and to pledge that Congress will act to address it, according to a source familiar with his plan.
“We’re supposed to conduct the business of the nation,” Schumer will continue. “We’re supposed to tackle our country’s greatest challenges. Climate change is probably the number one threat to the planet. And yet not a single Republican bill that addresses climate change in a meaningful way. Not one.”
Joe Scarborough: Michael Bennet could be the answer to the question every Democrat is asking
(WaPost) it is quite possible, when all is said and done, that the party of Barack Obama, universal health care, the Green New Deal, the resistance and identity politics will turn to a soft-spoken, white son of the establishment to beat back Trumpism.
Michael F. Bennet is a 54-year-old senator from Colorado who has represented that purple state for 10 years. On paper, Bennet’s biography is far too conventional for today’s left-leaning Democratic Party. He’s a graduate of Washington, D.C.’s tony symbol of prep school education (St. Albans), as well as of Wesleyan University and Yale Law School.
…the jobs Bennet has held: top aide to the governor of Ohio; federal appeals court law clerk; a stint in Bill Clinton’s Justice Department; assistant to the U.S. attorney in Connecticut; chief of staff to the Denver mayor; and crusading superintendent of the Denver school system. He has worked on issues as diverse as oil production and the movie theater business and has substantial private-sector experience, too, with the Anschutz Investment Co. … In Congress, Bennet has been a quiet leader on many of the issues that are central to the aspirations of the next generations of Americans: gun safety, immigration, LGTBQ rights, energy and the environment. He has simultaneously worked with members of both parties grappling with more traditional challenges, such as health-care spending and deficit reduction.
David Leonhardt: Trump’s Nightmare Opponents
Amy Klobuchar, Sherrod Brown and how to be a middle-class fighter.
(NYT) In a recent poll of Democrats across the country about 56% preferred the more electable candidate, compared with 33 percent who picked the more ideologically in-sync candidate. The gap was even larger among women and liberal Democrats. Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth poll, points out that this pattern isn’t normal. In previous campaigns, voters cared more about ideology than electability. The ideal candidate would be good at persuading Americans that he or she was on their side — on their side against the forces causing the stagnation of American living standards. More specifically, this candidate would be someone who could persuade swing voters of this allegiance.
Republicans gush over Klobuchar
(Politico) GOP senators praised the Minnesota Democrat for her deal-cutting ways — even as they worried it could doom her presidential bid.
Klobuchar reliably votes with her party when it comes to big issues like abortion and immigration. She’s embraced progressives’ ambitious “Green New Deal” and is rarely a headache for Democratic leadership. But she’s also established herself as someone who can cut deals with Republicans and occasionally tacks to the center. It’s a combination that that could give her a boost among primary voters seeking a candidate with bipartisan bona fides if it doesn’t doom her with a party moving quickly to the left.
For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold’
(NYT) The only thing more startling than the flurry of tax proposals Democrats have unveiled in recent weeks is the full-throttle response they’ve gotten from the public.
The soak-the-rich plans — ones that were only recently considered ridiculously far-fetched or political poison — have received serious and sober treatment, even by critics, and remarkably broad encouragement from the electorate. … As the middle class continues to thin out and wealth concentrates among a tiny sliver of Americans, the party’s powerhouses are questioning economic verities that have stood for decades.
Elizabeth Renzetti: It’s coming from inside the House: The scary power of Nancy Pelosi
(Globe & Mail) “They come after me because I’m effective,” she told Rolling Stone magazine. And she has been, whether it was wrestling the votes to secure the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or facing down Donald Trump during the government shutdown crisis, when he was looking for US$5-billion to build a wall against phantom marauders. But that effectiveness doesn’t necessarily translate to public popularity… Progressive members of her own party think she’s part of the old guard, a tactician rather than a visionary, yet they fall into line when she demands it. Everyone wants to march behind a general who makes the opposing army quail.
And what a fresh and inspiring army of resistance it is. The women of the Democratic Party are striking fear into the hearts of their political opponents, and it’s wonderful to see. They’re women of colour who have been elected to Congress for the first time. They’re grandmothers and army veterans and community activists, and they’re refusing to be silenced. They know that their country wants to hear new thinking on tax rates and immigration and reproductive choice. They know they’ve got boldness on their side.
AOC’s Green New Deal Resolution Is Utopian — and Pragmatic
(New York Magazine) On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed that her Green New Deal does, in fact, entail nothing less than social democracy with green characteristics. In a nonbinding resolution co-authored by Massachusetts senator Ed Markey — and co-sponsored by 60 Democrats in the House and nine in the Senate — Ocasio-Cortez establishes her climate policy’s official rationale, five of its defining goals, 12 specific projects, and 15 additional requirements for any piece of legislation that wishes to call itself a Green New Deal.
Among those minimum requirements: Any GND bill must provide “all members of society with high-quality health care, affordable, safe and adequate housing, economic security, and access to clean water, air, healthy and affordable food, and nature”; recognize “the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment”; ensure “a commercial environment where every business person, large and small, is free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies domestically or internationally.”
Jonathan Chait is not enthused: Democrats Need an Ambitious Climate Plan. The Green New Deal Isn’t It.
The Green New Deal Is a Radical Proposition for Fighting Climate Change
By Osita Nwanevu
(The New Yorker) The popularity of the proposal is a sign that the era of Clintonian triangulation is over—that the question leading Democrats are asking is not whether the Party should move left but how far left it should go.
Abrams offers progressive counterpoint to Trump in Dem response
(The Hill) Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) on Tuesday offered a sharply progressive counterpoint to President Trump’s State of the Union address, excoriating him for leading a country that she characterized as undergoing “a time of division and crisis.”
Speaking in front of a hometown audience in Atlanta, Abrams castigated the 2017 GOP tax law, the administration’s immigration policies, and efforts to suppress the vote and toss out ballots cast legally.
“Families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it,” Abrams said. “Under the current administration, far too many Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck.”
“The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people,” she added.
In a stark departure from precedent, Abrams, who is African American, said the country needed to hold accountable those who harbor racist sentiments, whether those sentiments come from “the very highest offices [or] our own families.”
Democratic 2020 candidates are already discussing how to make a more progressive tax code. What’s the best way?
With the 2020 primary already under way and the House back in Democratic hands, the left has proposed a number of spending programs aimed at ending poverty and boosting the middle class: a jobs guarantee, a Green New Deal, a massive expansion of the earned-income tax credit, Medicare for All, a universal child allowance, and on and on. Democrats do not want to talk about how to pay for each and every penny of such proposals. But it is clear they intend to raise more money from the rich, and are now pushing policies that would do just that.
(The Atlantic) Democrats are getting excited about a topic that makes many snooze: taxes. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren have both put out gargantuan plans to lessen income inequality by massively raising taxes on the über-rich: The former’s plan would hike marginal tax rates to nearly double what they are now, while the latter would target wealth such as property, assets, and even art. Both plans could be stymied by the same problem: an ineffectual IRS. For decades, the tax-collecting agency has been hamstrung by a lack of resources that the wealthy exploit to their benefit, leading to $18 billion in lost government revenue each year.
Cory Booker Announces 2020 Presidential Bid
(NYT) Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark who has projected an upbeat political presence at a deeply polarized time, entered the Democratic 2020 race for president on Friday, embarking on a campaign to become the second black president in American history. He announced his candidacy on the first day of Black History Month and planned to spend the morning offering his first three media interviews to national radio shows anchored by black and Latino hosts.
Mr. Booker, 49, enters the most diverse presidential primary field in history. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Tulsi Gabbard have officially announced their candidacies. Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., have also announced bids.
George Will: Amy Klobuchar may be best equipped to send the president packing
Klobuchar, who will be 59 in May, is the daughter of a newspaper columnist. Surmounting this handicap, she went to Yale, then to the University of Chicago Law School, then to a law firm. Then to a maternity ward, where she was provoked: Her infant daughter had a serious problem, but the rule at the time was that new mothers should be out of the hospital in 24 hours, which kindled her interest in public policy. After a stint as the elected prosecuting attorney of Hennepin County (Minneapolis), she won an open Senate seat in 2006. Last year, she won a third term by a 24-point margin.
Her state has a significant farming population and agribusiness (e.g., Cargill, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Hormel), so she has had practice speaking to populations and interests that Democrats need, and speaking against trade wars in which farmers quickly become collateral damage. She has become informed about what could be one of the most salient issues in 2020: the high costs of prescription drugs. In the Almanac of American Politics’ most recent (2015) vote rankings, she was the 27th-most-liberal senator, liberal enough to soothe other liberals without annoying everyone else.
The Economist conjectures: When President Donald Trump shut down America’s federal government before Christmas, few expected the impasse to last so long. But Mr Trump has suffered less damage than his opponents think. The president reckons that his shutdown will push the Democrats towards the hard left—and thus rally moderate conservatives behind him. The early, leftish list of Democrats vying for the presidency in 2020 bolsters this calculation
Ex-Montrealer Kamala Harris jumps into 2020 presidential race
The first-term senator and former California attorney general, who attended Westmount High School, is known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees
Kamala Harris to run for president in 2020
“Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren’t just words. They’re the values we as Americans cherish. And they’re all on the line now,” Harris said in the video, teasing her official kickoff in her birthplace of Oakland next Sunday. Harris is the first African-American woman to announce a run for the White House in 2020, and the third woman in the field. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have both announced exploratory committees, a step that Harris is skipping.
Julián Castro, Former Housing Secretary, Announces 2020 Presidential Run
Julián Castro, the former housing secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, announced on Saturday that he would run for president, one of the most high-profile Latino Democrats ever to seek the party’s nomination. Mr. Castro’s announcement had been expected for several weeks. He established an exploratory committee in December, two months after publishing a memoir, “An Unlikely Journey” — a familiar path for presidential candidates who want to play up their life stories and qualifications and, perhaps, get ahead of their biggest vulnerabilities. This month he also visited two of the early caucus and primary states, Iowa and Nevada.
1 – 3 January
Nancy Pelosi Elected Speaker as Democrats Take Control of House
Ebullient Democrats assumed control of the House on Thursday and elected Representative Nancy Pelosi of California speaker, returning her to a historic distinction as the first woman to hold the post.
Nancy Pelosi, Icon of Female Power, [Reclaims] Role as Speaker and Seal[s] a Place in History – the first lawmaker in more than half a century to hold the office twice. With the gavel in hand, she will cement her status as the highest-ranking and most powerful elected woman in American political history
Trump’s reign of corruption will now face real opposition. Here are three things to watch.
By Greg Sargent
We talk a lot about President Trump’s corruption these days, but with Democrats set to take over the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon, it’s worth breaking up that corruption into several of its component parts.
There’s Trump’s corruption of our institutions, which includes efforts to diminish public faith in our democracy and authoritarian attacks on the rule of law to skirt accountability. There’s Trump’s personal corruption and self-dealing, and his co-opting of GOP members of Congress as shields against oversight and accountability. There’s Trump’s corruption of our discourse with nonstop disinformation, which includes his daily, routinized lying but also the basing of consequential policy decisions on phony rationales saturated in bottomless dishonesty and bad faith.
When Nancy Pelosi takes over the gavel as speaker this afternoon, she will deliver a speech that telegraphs how Democrats intend to respond to all of these things.
Republicans should be alarmed by this sign of intelligent life in the Democratic Party
By George F. Will
If Republicans have a lick of sense, they are alarmed by a recent sign of intelligent life in the other party. The sign is the election by Democrats in the House of Representatives of Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Democrats have noticed that Bustos prospers in a mostly rural district that extends along the Mississippi from the Wisconsin border to a portion of Peoria. Sixty percent of the district’s residents live in towns with populations of 1,000 or fewer; 85 percent are in towns of 5,000 or fewer. In November, she won all of her district’s 14 counties, 11 of which are entirely rural.
Favorable trends might tempt Democrats to think that they can thrive without the voters Bustos reaches. The Economist, noting that Trump’s approval rating is “stratified by age,” reports that baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — who have been the United States’ largest age cohort for more than five decades will, in 2019, be outnumbered by millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996. Boomers are — were; they are shuffling off the stage — almost 75 percent white; millennials are 56 percent white. In November’s midterm elections, Democrats won two-thirds of voters ages 18 to 29, and 71 percent of millennial women.
Furthermore, the GOP, which thinks of itself as the redoubt of the devout, is competing in an increasingly secular country. The Economist says that “Nones” — people with no religion — “already outnumber Catholics and mainline Protestants,” and in 2019 might outnumber evangelicals. “There will soon be more Nones than any single group of Christians.” Ex-Catholics are 13 percent of the American population.
Can a Democrat Win the Presidency on Climate Change?
Washington Governor Jay Inslee believes his focus on the environment will resonate with voters, but few have heard of him.
(The Atlantic) If there is a new Democratic president come 2021, he or she will get pulled in all sorts of policy directions. Inslee says he has one priority: global warming. It’s not theoretical, or a cause just for tree huggers anymore. Putting off dealing with it for a year or two or kicking it to some new bipartisan commission won’t work, he says. He plans to focus on the threat that climate change poses to the environment and national security—the mega-storms and fires causing millions in damages, the weather changes that will cause mass migrations, the droughts that will devastate farmers in America and around the world.
In Newly Divided Government, Who Will Control the Political Agenda?
(NYT) America will get its first taste of divided government under President Trump this week when a Democratic House tries to wrest control of the political agenda from Mr. Trump, who appears determined to keep the focus on border security, immigration and his “big, beautiful” wall.
After the midterm elections ushered in the most diverse freshman class in history, House Democrats intend to put a spotlight on the issues that worked well for them during the campaign: diminishing the influence of the wealthy and connected, expanding voting rights, lowering prescription drug costs and passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
How Biden Has Paved the Way for a Possible Presidential Run
A series of careful financial decisions, and the creation of nonprofits and academic centers staffed by close advisers, would help a campaign-in-waiting.
… the complicated balance Mr. Biden has attempted since leaving the vice presidency two years ago: between earning substantial wealth for the first time and maintaining viability as a potential 2020 presidential contender. He has done so while building a network of nonprofits and academic centers that are staffed by his closest strategists and advisers, many making six figures while working on the issues most closely identified with him. It has effectively become a campaign-in-waiting, poised to metamorphose if the 76-year-old Mr. Biden announces his third bid for the presidency.