The Democrats/progressives 2019 II

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The Democrats/progressives 2018
The Democrats/progressives 2019 I
Check out the Democratic field with our candidate tracker.
Introducing the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking.

Tom Toles/The Washington Post

The Issues
The most comprehensive guide anywhere to the issues shaping the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Search by candidate, issue or category.
POLITICO’s “2020: The Issues”  …  tracks 55 – and counting – policy issues that are already animating primary voters. You’ll find quick descriptions to get you up to speed, an overview of policy proposals and links to recent coverage so you can learn more from our earlier reporting.
Sort by the 25 candidates – which POLITICO is defining as those who are raising money and actively campaigning in early states – to see where they agree or differ. Bookmark individual issues or candidate pages and check back for updates throughout the primary contest. Take a deep dive into individual candidates’ proposals, which are making this primary election cycle a major forum for new policy ideas.

23 December
Tulsi Gabbard and the Return of the Anti-Anti-Trump Left
By Jonathan Chait
… Gabbard’s emergence is another indication that the disaffection that drove [the 2016 election]events has not disappeared. Anti-anti-Trumpism has maintained a small but durable intellectual infrastructure. The sentiments that first registered as dissent from the Russia investigation transferred to impeachment, and a chorus of left-wing voices is attacking the effort to remove Trump from office as at best a misguided diversion and at worst a deep-state coup. … What they share, in addition to enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, is a deep skepticism of the Democratic Party’s mobilization against the president. The left’s struggle against the center-left is the axis around which their politics revolves. From that perspective, the Russia scandal and impeachment are unnecessary and even reactionary.
Tulsi Gabbard Had a Very Strange Childhood Which may help explain why she’s out of place in today’s Democratic Party. And her long-shot 2020 candidacy. (21 June)

19 December
An excellent summary of the major points and positions
Democratic debate highlights: Candidates discuss money in politics, foreign wars, health care
Seven candidates were on stage for the sixth Democratic debate: former vice president Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); investor Tom Steyer; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Winners and losers from the December Democratic debate
(WaPo)The early debates were focused on Medicare-for-all, free college and other issues on which the party has moved to the left. But increasingly as the field has shrunk — and Medicare-for-all has fallen out of favor rather quickly with, even Democratic voters — there is more of an emphasis on realism. That’s been Buttigieg’s angle for a long time, and that was certainly the case again Thursday night. (“We’ve got to break out of the Washington mind-set that measures the business of an idea by how many trillions of dollars it adds to the budget or the boldness of an idea by how many fellow Americans it can antagonize,” was his big line.)
But the rest of the field was there too. Candidates admitted that people might have to be moved from places that are hit by climate change. There was less promising of huge things. Warren didn’t play up Medicare-for-all, as she had previously. Bernie Sanders brought it up, and Biden made an impassioned case against its steep costs. Biden also seemed to temper his claim that, if he became president, Republicans would suddenly start working with Democrats. “I didn’t say returned to normal,” Biden said. “Normal is not enough. In fact, we’ve had to move beyond normal.”
Business Insider has a slightly different view: Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar won Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate

17 December
A moderate Democrat sold his soul to save his hide. He got what he deserved.
(WaPo) After the freshman Democratic lawmaker — who clearly feared a backlash by Trump voters in his Trump-friendly district — voted against the resolution formalizing an impeachment probe, his Democratic support collapsed. When Van Drew let it be known this weekend that he would become a Republican, Democrats leaked his polling showing why: Only 28 percent of Democrats in his district supported his re-nomination, while 58 percent opposed it. He faced near-certain defeat in a Democratic primary.

7 December
Frank Bruni: Democrats’ Baffling 2020 Mess
Four white front-runners, three of them 70 or older. What is this primary telling us?
There’s a lot to this primary that’s more complicated than meets the eye, a lot that explodes assumptions. According to the polling so far, voters aren’t drawn to candidates whose demographic profiles overlap with theirs. Biden’s support from black Democrats in a national Quinnipiac poll late last month was more than eight times what Harris’s or Booker’s was. He and Sanders do exponentially better among Latinos than Julián Castro does. Sanders, not Buttigieg, has the advantage among Democrats under the age of 35. And many gay Democrats have rejected Buttigieg as inadequately progressive and even insufficiently gay.

3 December
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris ends 2020 presidential bid
(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris ended her 2020 presidential bid on Tuesday, abandoning a campaign that began with promise for a rising Democratic Party star but faltered as she struggled to raise money and make a compelling case for her candidacy.
[Joel Payne, an African-American strategist] said Harris exited the race at the right time before potentially embarrassing losses, which will help her preserve her political future. He could envision several remaining candidates, including Warren; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; or even Biden choosing her as their vice presidential nominee.

27 November
For Bloom the polls toll
Michael Bloomberg’s unlikely presidential candidacy
The former mayor of New York is less popular than Donald Trump
(The Economist) winning a general election against Mr Trump looks relatively straightforward compared with the challenge of getting through a Democratic primary. According to The Economist’s analysis of data from YouGov, which does our polling, he is the second-most-unpopular candidate for president (only Marianne Williamson, a spiritual guru moonlighting as a Democratic candidate, polls worse). Over the past two months, 47% of registered voters told YouGov they had a “very” or “somewhat” unfavourable view of the mayor, compared with 25% who rated him positively. The gap of 22 percentage points represents the largest deficit of any Democratic candidate.

24 November
Michael Bloomberg is the latest 2020 Democratic hopeful
(CNN) Michael Bloomberg officially announced his late-entry Democratic presidential bid on Sunday, unveiling a campaign that the former New York mayor said will be squarely aimed at defeating President Donald Trump.
Bloomberg, in a letter explaining his candidacy on his campaign website, lays out a more moderate vision for the country and casts himself as “a doer and a problem solver — not a talker.”
“I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions,” Bloomberg wrote.
Bloomberg’s late 2020 bid — along with the money the billionaire can spend to fund his campaign — injects a new level of uncertainty into the race less than three months before the first voting in the race begins. … [his] candidacy could face several challenges, including countering the narrative that progressive candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have already set: that billionaires shouldn’t be able to “buy elections.” It may also be difficult for Bloomberg to meet the polling and donor thresholds to make it onto debate stages.

18 November
How Moderates Are Seizing the Moment in the Democratic Primary
New entrants into the race. A nod from Barack Obama. Centrist victories in governor’s contests. Moderates sense a favorable shift.
(NYT) …moderate Democrats appear suddenly determined to fight for control of their party in the 2020 elections.
The shift in attitude has come in fits and starts over the last few weeks, seemingly more as an organic turn in the political season than as a product of coordinated action by party leaders. But each assertive act has seemed to build on the one before, starting with a debate-stage clash last month over “Medicare for all” and culminating in recent days with the entry of two new moderate candidates into the primary, Michael R. Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, and a gentle warning from former President Barack Obama that Democrats should not overestimate voters’ appetite for drastic change.

15 November
Obama Says Average American Doesn’t Want to ‘Tear Down System’
Former President Barack Obama, in an address to liberal donors, warned candidates not to go too far left and sought to calm those who were concerned about the state of the Democratic primary. … he also raised concerns about some of the liberal ideas being promoted by some candidates, citing health care and immigration as issues where the proposals may have gone further than public opinion.

11 – 12 November
Obama Buddy Deval Patrick Latest to Mull Late Presidential Bid
Unless they have reason to know it’s not actually happening, the report that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is considering a late entry into the presidential race has to cause some jitters in the far-flung precincts of Team Biden. But what makes the report more credible, according to the New York Times, is that Deval called up Biden himself and told him about it.
Michael Bloomberg is running for president in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.
Business Insider gives a good rundown of his major policy positions.
Paul Krugman:Bursting the Billionaire Bubble versus Thomas Friedman‘s support of Bloomberg’s candidacy.

7 November
Next Debate May Be Do-or-Die for Four Candidates
(New York) At this point, ten candidates have qualified for the November 20 Democratic debate in Atlanta; qualifying ends on November 13, and it’s not looking good for those who haven’t met the donor and polling thresholds. Only six (Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren) have qualified for the December 19 gabfest in Los Angeles. …  According to FiveThirtyEight’s accounting, the four candidates who will debate this month but haven’t made the cut for December are Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, and Cory Booker.

5 November
How Kamala Harris Went From ‘Female Obama’ to Fifth Place
She entered the 2020 presidential race with promise and charisma, but is now sliding perilously close to irrelevance. What went wrong? And is it too late for her to reverse course?
By Christopher Cadelago
(Politico) Her bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination, which began with so much promise, has been marked by a long and painful pattern of self-inflicted lapses and growing disorder among her inexperienced staff. In recent weeks, her plunge in the polls has metastasized into a fall flatline in the low single digits.

1 November
Elizabeth Warren Proposes $20.5 Trillion Health Care Plan
Ms. Warren would impose huge tax increases on businesses and billionaires to pay for “Medicare for all,” but she said she would not raise taxes on the middle class.
Paul Krugman: Did Warren Pass the Medicare Test? I Think So
Her plan is serious, even if it probably won’t happen.
She brought in real experts like Donald Berwick, who ran Medicare during the Obama years, and Betsey Stevenson, former chief economist at the Labor Department. And they have produced a serious plan. As I said, experts will argue with the numbers, but this is the real thing — not some left-leaning version of voodoo economics.
How does the Warren plan expand Medicare to cover everyone without raising taxes on the middle class? There are four main components.
Beto O’Rourke drops out of 2020 presidential race
The articulate former Texas congressman is throwing in the towel, admitting his campaign never fully caught on
(Salon) “We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020,” he continued. “I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is.”

22 October
The Urgency of the 2020 Senate Race
By Amy Davidson Sorkin
Even if Trump loses, the Democrats will need to take the Senate in order to turn their ambitious plans into legislative reality. If he wins, control of that chamber will be crucial.
(The New Yorker) There are many fronts on which the battle against Trumpism can be fought. More broadly, too much is lost if legislative politics, as practiced in Washington, is simply scorned. The Senate can be a safety net for our democracy, and, at the moment, it needs saving. Someone has to do it(1 September 2019)

How Centrist Democrats Botched the 2020 Primary
Centrist Democrats entered this cycle with a fairly strong hand. Polls consistently found a majority of Democratic voters saying they preferred a maximally electable nominee over an ideologically ideal one. What’s more, in some surveys, a plurality of the primary electorate evinced a preference for a return to Obamaism over big structural change. To be sure, if progressives consolidated their votes behind a single standard-bearer — one with at least a modicum of appeal to African-Americans in the South — they could still pose a real threat. But the looming left-on-left battle between two light-skinned New Englanders seemed to nullify that risk. Everything was coming up incrementalism.
So, how did center-left Democrats end up in a position so desperate, the concept of “John Kerry 2020” strikes them as cause for consideration instead of laughter?
Bloomberg is reportedly mulling a run, but could never win. Michelle Obama could win, but would never run. Hillary Clinton is almost certainly not delusional enough to throw her hat in the ring. And none of the other names floated by the Whitby diners — Deval Patrick, Eric Holder, John Kerry, and Sherrod Brown — have any obvious advantage over the standard-issue Dems already in the race. If Kamala Harris and Cory Booker aren’t connecting, why would a slapdash Patrick or Holder campaign hit the mark? And what does Brown offer that Klobuchar doesn’t (beyond the opportunity to squander a precious Senate vote)?

19 October
As Trump reels, Democrats wonder which of their candidates can beat him
By Dan Balz 
almost everything about the week was grounds for optimism for Democrats — except for one event, which was the fourth Democratic debate, held in Westerville, Ohio. That debate quickly faded from view, swept aside by the tidal forces of a president on the defensive. For some Democrats, the three-hour session simply added to questions about the party’s fitness to win a general election.
(WaPo) On paper, the field of candidates running for the Democratic nomination is everything the party’s rank and file might hope for. It is big, offering more choices than ever. It is experienced, with candidates from every level of government and beyond. It includes more women and minorities than ever at a time when their voices are redefining the party. It is generationally and geographically diverse.
Yet, to date, there’s been little that has given Democrats the confidence that their nomination process will produce a challenger strong enough, appealing enough and politically skilled enough to withstand what will be a brutal general election against a weakened and vulnerable president. Trump’s campaign is already running a general election loaded with cash and with months of time to try to shape voters’ perceptions of Democrats negatively before their nominee is even selected.

15 – 16 October
Democratic debate winners: voters, campaigns, and democracy
“A robust debate doesn’t tear down candidates; it vets them and their ideas in a way that can build them up to take on a president.” John Hudak reacts to last night’s Democratic debate and explains why criticism is essential to strengthening the policies of the candidates.
(Brookings) … while the Democratic debates have been imperfect, for sure, their absence would be devastating for the Democratic Party.
That’s because criticism of ideas is essential to strengthening the policies of the candidates. Pushing candidates—of either party and for any office—to think about their proposals in terms of actual effect, viability, and detail is critical to improving American public policy. At the heart of many of the punches landed among the candidates was a genuine critique of ideas. Andrew Yang’s plan for monthly stipends to Americans was criticized for not providing job skills or the dignity of work. Bernie Sanders’s job guarantee plan was criticized as unnecessarily swelling the size of government. Elizabeth Warren’s support for Medicare-For-All was attacked for being vague on ideas and big on promises. Amy Klobuchar’s tax plan was dinged for not getting to the root of where wealthy people make money. Tulsi Gabbard’s position on exiting from Syria was broadly panned for being short-sighted and leading to the slaughter of Kurds.
Frank Rich: There Are Only 5 Candidates Still Standing After the Latest Democratic Debate
the shape of the Democratic field now seems crystal clear. Tuesday night seemed like a death knell for seven of the dozen candidacies on stage, including Joe Biden’s. It’s time for the actual contenders to go at it on a less cluttered field.
Among the seven also-rans, the low-hanging losers are Beto O’Rourke, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tom Steyer (we hardly knew ye), the billionaire vanity candidate whose main attribute is that at least he is not Howard Schultz. Their time to gain traction in this cycle has come and gone. Obviously O’Rourke and Castro are future prospects, though it may take a while for some Democrats to forgive O’Rourke for his vainglorious decision to run for president rather than to challenge the incumbent John Cornyn in next year’s Texas Senate race.
… As of now, Warren remains the best candidate the Democrats have, but she hasn’t closed the deal, and there are plausible alternatives. Talking heads at CNN and elsewhere relentlessly promoted last night’s debate as historic because it was the most presidential candidates ever on a debate stage. But only after a ruthless culling will the campaign finally begin in earnest and real history be made.
But what about Michael Bloomberg? He has begun to float the idea of entering the Democratic primary as a centrist option if Biden falters. Would he be a contender?

Is This Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic Party?
Elizabeth Warren aims to hitch the Democrats to an agenda of sweeping economic transformation. Tuesday’s primary debate suggested that the Party has not yet fully embraced that path.
(The New Yorker) Before Tuesday night’s debate, the defining characteristic of the Democratic Presidential-primary race was Elizabeth Warren’s relentlessness. Warren’s campaign has covered, as she pointed out onstage, a hundred and forty town halls, twenty-seven states, and seventy thousand selfies. She has been the only candidate to dramatically change her prospects in the race, rising over the past year until she was leading in the betting markets, roughly even with the former Vice-President Joe Biden in the national polls, and edging ahead of him in Iowa and New Hampshire. Most significantly, Warren established the basic ethos of the Democratic primary: that it would be not only for the displacement of President Trump but also—in her awkward, effective phrase—“big, structural change.” (If that sounded both grand and a little hazy, so has the Democratic primary.) The tactical question going into Tuesday night was who might try to attack Warren, and how effective they might be. The deeper matter was to what extent the Democratic Party has remade itself in her image.
… Buttigieg ended the night in an interesting position. … Perhaps there is an opening for him, as the candidate of the preëxisting Democratic Party rather than of those who would transform it. There is an opening for someone there, at least. Warren is the strongest candidate in the field. She also aims to hitch the Democrats to an agenda of sweeping economic transformation that the Party has not yet fully debated. Perhaps that began on Tuesday night. By the end, it didn’t seem like Warren’s party—not just yet.
Winners and losers from the October Democratic debate

29 September
David M. Shribman: Bernie Sanders’ biggest problem is Elizabeth Warren
The Massachusetts senator is thriving with her fresh spin on Bernie’s message
Ms. Warren is fresh, Mr. Sanders is stale. Ms. Warren engages a crowd, Mr. Sanders lectures it. Ms. Warren’s story is one of prevailing against adversity, Mr. Sanders’ story is one of being an adversary of virtually everyone he has ever met. One more: Ms. Warren emits a sense of fun, Mr. Sanders emits a sense of weary travail.
Polls show tight race between Biden, Warren and Sanders
CNN’s John King presents the latest polling data showing a tight race between former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire.
21 September
The Most Important Story of the Week: Elizabeth Warren “is well on her way to convincing liberals that she’s the Goldilocks candidate”: neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders, but something in between, Sarah Jones writes in “Elizabeth Warren Makes Her Bid for History.” But can that difficult balancing act lead her to the party’s nomination? At the moment, it seems almost likely. She’s well-liked by supporters of other candidates, giving her room to grow, and in good position to perform well in the nation’s first two primaries. But her ability to capture the nomination may hinge on one factor: Can she beat Trump? In “How Electable Is Elizabeth Warren, Anyway?Jonathan Chait tries to answer the most pressing question about the candidate on a “trajectory to win the Democratic presidential nomination.”

16 September
Age Isn’t Hurting 2020 Democratic Leaders, to Rivals’ Chagrin
(NYT) Younger candidates are running as agents of generational change, but it is three septuagenarians who have emerged as the front-runners. And age-related attacks have not worked.
Jennifer Rubin: If Biden can’t go the distance, here’s another center-left alternative
(WaPo) … part of the decision-making process for Democrats hinges on: Who, if Biden falters, would fill the role of a center-left candidate who wouldn’t scare off independents and disillusioned Republicans? The better those alternatives are, the more likely voters will think about jumping from the once-thought-most-electable Biden to a really-more-electable choice.
…It’s not surprising that Pete Buttigieg, a Midwest mayor in a red state, would understand how to persuade Democrats and the majority in his state who voted for Trump.

13 September
Ed Kilgore: The Big Three Are Still Dominant in the Democratic Race After the Third Debate
(New York) … since Kamala Harris’s fade began before (and definitely after) the July debates, no other candidate has really laid a glove on them. They more or less cover the ideological spectrum of the party, and while they have each sometimes won supporters at the others’ expense, you could see them heading into the voting stage of the contest early next year continuing to keep their lower-polling rivals at bay.
In the single September debate in Houston, nothing happened to change the overall complexion of the race, or the hegemony of the Big Three. … quite a few candidates had good moments. Pete Buttigieg was his usual fluid and articulate self, and Cory Booker was once again passionate and empathetic. Amy Klobuchar got much more time to speak, and was more energetic than before. Andrew Yang got to spring his “democracy dollars” pitch for letting everyone contribute to political campaigns, and perhaps more importantly, he had the chance to address a broader range of issues than usual. Beto O’Rourke debuted his new reborn persona as a candidate radicalized by gun violence in his hometown, with some success. The whole field came across (until the late stages of the debate when candidates, moderators, and viewers alike were clearly tiring) as sharper, wittier, and more responsive than in the earlier debates.
… Strategically, going into this debate, Harris posed the closest thing to a real threat to the Big Three; if she overperforms in Iowa (where she’s been making a major push), she has the potential to replicate Barack Obama’s 2008 strategy by catching fire with African-American voters and seriously threatening Biden in the South. That long-shot breakthrough now seems less likely. With the possible exception of Buttigieg, none of the other candidates outside the Big Three is even close to having a plausible path to the nomination.

12 September
Third Democratic debate: Biden-Warren and what else to watch
(WaPo) The issues:
Since the last debate, the country has seen multiple mass shootings, elevating the debate over gun control. New Census results showing a drop in the number of Americans with health insurance are bound to reinvigorate an already lively intraparty fight over health care.
A hurricane that took aim at the East Coast (but did not make it to Alabama) has kept alive the debate among Democrats over climate change. And even though the faceoff Thursday night comes after a seven-hour climate-focused town hall on CNN last week, the candidates probably have more to say.
Third Democratic Debate: The Top 10 on One Stage
(NYT) The top 10 Democrats will be on a single stage for the first time. That means a matchup months in the making — between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — will come to fruition. Here are the key dynamics to watch for. …
The New Candidates at the Wings
Not so long ago, in late June, Mr. O’Rourke and Mr. Booker flanked Ms. Warren at center stage. There were 20 candidates in the debates then; with 10 now, they are closer to the periphery. At the outer-most edges of the stage will be Mr. Castro and Ms. Klobuchar, a reminder of their precarious position, especially as the D.N.C. prepares to unveil November’s debate criteria. For now, all four of these candidates’ combined polling strength would still be good for only fourth place.

5 September
The Growing Impatience for Action at CNN’s Climate-Change Town Halls
(The New Yorker) …on Wednesday, as the Amazon continued to burn and Hurricane Dorian hovered over the southeastern coast of the United States, CNN convened the ten leading candidates for a succession of town halls on climate change, allowing each of them forty minutes to field questions from audience members and the network’s top anchors. The event lasted seven hours.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whose environmental plans tend to earn the highest marks among climate activists, seemed especially confident in their commitment to the issue.
Between the candidates’ appearances, CNN wedged live-news updates that reminded viewers of topical emergencies. A live stream from California showed plumes of smoke rising from a wildfire. On a meteorological map, the crimson knot of Hurricane Dorian swirled over South Carolina. … By the end of the night, the debate had revealed a consensus among Democrats that climate change was less a “geopolitical threat” than an existential one; that the country had to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, at the latest; and that some sort of price should be placed on carbon emissions. The first priority, many agreed, was for the United States to rejoin the Paris climate accord.
On Climate, Sanders and Warren Must Go Nuclear
The left should stop worrying and learn to love existing nuclear power plants.
(New York) To honor its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the U.S. will need to slash its carbon emissions by at least 2.6 percent a year, every year, between now and 2025. Our nation has never come close to decarbonizing at that rapid of a pace. What’s more, to keep our promise — without making life worse for ordinary Americans — we will need to achieve such unprecedented emission cuts while sustaining economic growth and political stability. Of the United Nations’ 193 member states, 192 have never pulled off anything like that.
But France has. In fact, it pulled off something better: Between 1979 and 1988, the French cut their carbon emissions by an average annual rate of 2.9 percent. Over that same period, France reduced the carbon intensity of its energy system by 4.5 percent, by far the largest decline any country has achieved in a single decade. And it did all this without abandoning economic growth, or having to found a sixth republic, or even seeing its streets vandalized by anarcho-populists in yellow jackets.

4 September
Kamala Harris, other 2020 candidates offer climate change plans before CNN event
(WaPo)  The U.S. senator from California placed her marker where she often does — between more moderate proposals, such as former vice president Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate blueprint, and more expansive ones, such as Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s plan costing $16 trillion.
The rise and rise of Elizabeth Warren
(The Week) Warren is running second behind Joe Biden in virtually every poll of the 2020 race — an exception is this one from Monmouth, in which she and Bernie are tied for first. She is a formidable organizer. She draws huge crowds.
Her 20 or so percent in the polls is largely coming from people who were firmly behind Hillary Clinton in 2016. She has managed to convince moderate Democrats to support a platform that is, if anything, even more radical than the one proposed by Sanders: banning the world’s largest corporations from operating and using their online platforms, slashing apart monopolies, a much higher top tax rate and a much lower threshold for the estate tax, a 2 percent tax on assets above $50 million which increases to 3 percent at $1 billion, $500 billion for new housing, and, of course, single-payer health care.
How has she managed to sell mainstream liberals on all this? By being a team player. Instead of criticizing her party’s establishment and attacking other candidates, she emphasizes unity and the importance of winning back Democratic control of the Senate.

30 August
Dana Milbank: This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for American democracy
Stacey Abrams, Steve Bullock and Beto O’Rourke, drop your vanity projects and run for Senate
It’s easy to see why they’d prefer not to run for Senate. The Senate has become a toxic workplace, and service there unrewarding. That’s thanks in large part to the amorality of Sen. Mitch McConnell. The majority leader and his caucus could have stood up to Trump’s indecency. Instead, he, and it, pursued power with no principles: breaking Senate rules, allowing Russia’s ongoing interference in U.S. elections, refusing to even consider legislation that could stop the mass shootings that are terrorizing America’s children. They have shown that they are too cowardly and too self-interested to be a check on Trump’s abuses.
But that’s all the more reason to run. If Trump somehow prevails next year, it’s crucial he not have a McConnell-led Senate to ratify his ruinous ways.

29 August
Why Gillibrand crashed and burned
(Politico) “Gillibrand was drowned out by the top tier, in the same way the rest of the candidates who are still in it and aren’t in those top five are being drowned out,” said Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic strategist who managed Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run. “It’s a sign for all of them that they’re probably not going to break out, either.”
In recent weeks, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California have dropped out.

26 August
As Trump policies deepen farmers’ pain, Democrats see an opening in rural America
(Reuters) – Seizing on mounting Farm Belt frustration with President Donald Trump’s economic agenda, Democratic rivals are stepping up their push to take back part of rural America, whose overwhelming support for Trump helped propel his upset 2016 election victory. From front-runner Joe Biden to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, many of the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates have highlighted the economic damage caused by Trump’s trade war and biofuel waivers as the central plank of their pitches to rural America.
…rural voters … supported Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by more than 30 percentage points. Officials worry the party’s increasingly liberal direction on immigration and other Trump-driven hot-button issues is socially and culturally at odds with rural voters.
According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this month, five in 10 U.S. adults in rural areas approved of Trump’s performance in office, higher than his 41% approval nationwide.

13 August
Democratic 2020 Field May Be Sliced in Half by Debate Cut
Now it’s pretty clear that none of the bottom-feeding candidates are taking off like a rocket. So most likely no more than a dozen — and perhaps just 11 — of the 23 Democrats running for president (24 if you count Wayne Messam as a serious candidate) are going to make the stage in Houston.
Nine candidates (Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang) have already made the cut by meeting the thresholds for both grassroots fundraising (130,000 donors with at least 400 in 20 states) and polling (four approved national or early-state polls showing at least 2 percent of the vote). A tenth, Julián Castro, is very close; he has met the donor threshold and needs just one more qualifying poll before the August 28 deadline. An 11th, Tom Steyer, is probably going to make it too: He has three qualifying polls and is spending like the proverbial drunken sailor to get one more and to meet the donor threshold despite his very late start (it doesn’t hurt that he started a couple of national political groups whose mailing lists he can tap).

6 August
The Left Needs a Language Potent Enough to Counter Trump
The president’s rhetoric is dangerously populist in nature, and the left doesn’t know how to fight it.
By George Packer
(The Atlantic) The crudeness of Trump’s rhetoric makes it both dangerous and politically potent. By contrast, the language of the contemporary left is anti-populist. Its vocabulary, much of it taken from academia, is the opposite of accessible—it has to be decoded and learned. Terms such as centered, marginalized, intersectional, non-binary, and Eurocentric gender discipline separate outsiders from insiders—that’s part of their intent, as is the insistence on declaring one’s personal pronouns and showing an ability to use them accordingly. Even common words like ally and privilege acquire a resonance that takes them out of the realm of ordinary usage, because the point of this discourse is to create a sense of special virtue. The language of the left also demands continuous refreshing and can change literally overnight: A writer is told that the phrase born male is no longer okay to use and has to be replaced with assigned male at birth. Many of these changes happen by ambush—suddenly and irrevocably, with no visible trail of discussion and decision, and with quick condemnation of holdouts—which gives them a powerful mystique. … The abandonment of language that brings people in rather than shutting them out is one of the left’s many structural disadvantages in American politics today.

2 August
Shields and Brooks on Trump and race, Democrats’ 2020 values
David Brooks: My main takeaway was that Democrats don’t understand what this election is about. We just spent a few minutes talking about Donald Trump and racism. That’s what this election is about. This election is about Donald Trump and what kind of country we’re going to be, what the values of our country are going to be, what the atmosphere is in which we’re going to raise our kids.
And Trump is a culture revolutionary. He’s not a policy revolutionary. And he will make this election about him every day and day with his tweets and whatever.
And he has a values campaign. And he says he wants a certain sort of masculinity, a certain sort of country. And, to me, it’s up to — you can’t beat a values revolution with a policy proposal.

31 July
Warren and Delaney had a good night. CNN had a terrible one.
(WaPo) …several lesser-known candidates with little chance to win any delegates in 2020 — Marianne Williamson, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and former representative John Delaney (D-Md.) — went into the night needing to break out in a big way. Of those, Delaney clearly had the best moments of the campaign by going toe-to-toe with advocates of Medicare-for-all. With an assist from several other contenders, he made a compelling case that you can have universal coverage and preserve choice for Americans. He added that “we don’t have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.” He also had a strong moment defending President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership and skewering Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) just-released trade plan. … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former congressman Beto O’Rourke, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock had one last chance to make a big enough splash to bolster their chances to make the September debate. O’Rourke seems to recede with every outing, and one wonders how long he’ll remain in the race. Klobuchar and Hickenlooper had good outings as the voices of moderation but lacked memorable, breakout moments. Bullock took on “wishlist economics” and argued Americans “can’t wait for a revolution.” On immigration he effectively rebutted the idea of decriminalizing illegal border crossings. “Donald Trump … [is] using immigration to not only rip apart families but to rip apart this country.” Later in the debate, he used an NRA question to pivot to a pet topic, special interest money. He also boasted that Montana was able with Citizens United in effect to require disclosure of campaign donations. He faltered badly late in the debate with a weak argument for a first-strike nuclear policy.
…Among the remaining three top tier contenders — South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Warren — only Warren entered the night with momentum. Nothing occurred to slow her down. Buttigieg smartly stepped away from the idea of removing sanctions for illegal border crossing. His cool and thoughtful demeanor was a welcome contrast to Sanders’s yelling. He also had a solid moment late in the evening, attacking Republicans for enabling Trump.
As for Warren and Sanders, the difference between the two is one of temperament. Sanders shouts, attacks the moderators and eschews personal stories. Warren’s ability to seize big moments and also weave in her personal story sets her apart from the crowd. Warren is feisty but cheery. “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said in response to Delaney’s plea for ideas that can work. She’s essentially won the lane for “progressives with big ideas they will fight for.”
Reuters: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders offered an unabashed defense of their progressive policies during a Democratic presidential debate, as their more moderate rivals criticized their proposals as unrealistic and politically untenable. The debate frequently pitted the Democratic Party’s two leading progressives against the other eight candidates on stage. They came under fire from a debate stage stuffed with moderates who said their “impossible” proposals and “wish-list economics” risked keeping Republican President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years.

30 July
Democrats Can Win by Running Against Trump’s Racism
It’s the right thing to do — both morally and electorally.
(NYT) President Trump’s tweet attacks on members of Congress of color, from “the squad” to Representative Elijah Cummings, have made it clear that fanning the flames of white racial resentment is central to his politics and re-election strategy.
For decades, some left-leaning strategists stifled their candidates’ response to dog whistles for fear of alienating whites who they thought might otherwise support Democrats. Today, there is still great ambivalence about making the fight against racism a defining issue in the 2020 election.
But the cold hard truth is that our elections are already racialized — and have been ever since Congress codified the concept of racial equality in the 1960s by passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

23 July
Democratic Progressives and Centrists Are Both Committing Strategic Suicide
By Jonathan Chait
From the standpoint of its activist base, the Democratic Party is a hidebound claque of traditionalists who are consistently outmaneuvered by a more disciplined and ruthless opposition. From the standpoint of its elected officials, their party is being hijacked by ideological fanatics sent on a political suicide mission.
Recent events suggest the depressing conclusion that both indictments are essentially true.

22 July
 House Democrats outpace GOP in fundraising by nearly $20 million,” by Mike DeBonis and Anu Narayanswamy: “Key House campaigns reported massive fundraising hauls for this early stage of the campaign cycle, according to federal disclosures filed this past week by congressional campaigns, with all Democratic freshmen but one outraising their declared Republican challengers and several GOP incumbents lapped by Democratic opponents. “All told, Democratic House candidates raised $17.6 million more than Republicans between April and June, according to a Washington Post analysis of quarterly fundraising reports. That gap could close as more GOP challengers announce their campaigns, but it represents a significant head start for Democrats.” WaPo

18 July
Here Are the Lineups for the Second Democratic Debates
Tuesday Will Be White Night
Surely an unintended consequence of the randomized drawings, the first night will feature ten white candidates, while all five candidates of color will be featured on night two. Thus, Wednesday may be the more salient evening for discussions of Trump’s racist comments, or a possible continuation of the critiques on Biden’s political record. (Though it’s a long-shot possibility that Marianne Williamson, the field’s most vocal proponent of reparations, could skew this prediction.)
All Those Moderates on Tuesday, All Those Progressives on Wednesday!
Night one also includes the bulk of the crowd of generic male candidates in both name recognition and policy, while night two features most of the left-leaning candidates in the debate — except for the top of Tuesday’s bill. It could make for a more interesting policy chat on Wednesday, considering that much of the successful rhetoric in the primary thus far has been a race to the left.

16 July
Thomas L. Friedman: ‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’
Voters have reason to worry.
I wasn’t surprised to hear so many people expressing fear that the racist, divisive, climate-change-denying, woman-abusing jerk who is our president was going to get re-elected, and was even seeing his poll numbers rise.
Dear Democrats: This is not complicated! Just nominate a decent, sane person, one committed to reunifying the country and creating more good jobs, a person who can gain the support of the independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women who abandoned Donald Trump in the midterms and thus swung the House of Representatives to the Democrats and could do the same for the presidency. And that candidate can win!
But please, spare me the revolution! It can wait. Win the presidency, hold the House and narrow the spread in the Senate, and a lot of good things still can be accomplished.
Aaron Blake: Which 2020 Democrats are on the endangered list?
(WaPo) Candidates generally drop out of a race for two main reasons: A lack of traction and a lack of funds to press on. Well, we’ve seen plenty of polls, and now we know where they stand financially, too. Second-quarter fundraising reports were due by midnight, and The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy recap the key numbers here.
[Who’s winning the 2020 money race?]
Possible drop-outs: Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper, Seth Moulton, John Delaney.

15 July
David Frum: Trump Is Baiting Democrats
The president is trying to divide the House caucus and force it to fight the election on his terms. So far, it’s working
Don’t impeach Donald Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached that decision early, and she reached it firmly.
The Senate will not remove him, so the impeachment drive will end in failure. In the aftermath of a failed impeachment, holding President Trump to account will become even more difficult than it is now. He’ll think, Why comply with subpoenas? What will they do—impeach me? They already dropped the atom bomb and it went fzzzzt. They’re not going to do it again!
Pelosi wants to set the board to run on two themes: (1) Trump will take away your health insurance, and (2) Trump wants to deport your husband or wife or nephew or neighbor.
That’s the message, she seems to feel, that can beat Trump in a year when 56 percent of Americans rate their personal finances as “good” or “excellent,” and 57 percent expect even more improvement for themselves and their family in the months ahead.
Trump hit the Democratic Party at its point of vulnerability. He is driving it toward ever more radical outcomes: against the enforcement of immigration laws and for the acceptance of virtually all border crossers; against the bread-and-butter issues that will mobilize the voters the Democrats need and for the symbolic actions that will gratify the educated urban progressives who live in the safest Democratic districts in the country.

14 July
Trump Tells Freshman Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to the Countries They Came From
(NYT) President Trump said on Sunday that a group of four minority congresswomen feuding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go back” to the countries they came from rather than “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to run the government.
Mr. Trump’s comments signaled a new low in how far he will go to affect public discourse surrounding the issue. And if his string of tweets was meant to further widen Democratic divisions in an intraparty fight, the strategy appeared quickly to backfire: House Democrats, including Ms. Pelosi, rallied around the women, declaring in blunt terms that Mr. Trump’s words echoed other xenophobic comments he has made about nonwhite immigrants.

13 July
Maureen Dowd: Scaling Wokeback Mountain
(NYT) the 79-year-old Speaker and the 29-year-old freshman are trapped in a generational and ideological tangle that poses a real threat to the Democrats’ ability to beat Donald Trump next year.
Congress is not a place where you achieve radical progress — certainly not in divided government. It’s a place where you work at it and work at it and don’t get everything you want. The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.

10 July
AOC Is Making Monetary Policy Cool (and Political) Again
AOC’s cogent questioning was well-received by economists on both sides of the aisle.
(New York) Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez did not “politicize” the Fed in a partisan sense: AOC was effectively pressuring Powell to pursue an accommodative monetary policy that would improve Donald Trump’s chances of reelection (or so, Trump himself seems to think). But they did call attention to the fact that the Fed’s decisions are inescapably political, especially in the context of recessions. Among other things, the central bank has the power to prioritize the interests of creditors and corporations — or those of workers and city governments. And if elected officials who are accountable to the latter constituencies never apply political pressure on their behalf, experience suggests that the Fed may give the former’s interests undue precedence.

5 July
Who’s in and who’s out of the next Dem debates?
A tight race is on for the 20th and final July debate slot, while a more exclusive group of Democrats is closing in on September’s debate.
… former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has been polling near the back of the primary pack, but his splash in last week’s debate has gone a long way toward ensuring he can make the September debate, when the qualification thresholds rise significantly, posing an existential threat to many campaigns. Castro told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that he raised $1 million in the days following the debate, and that his campaign had around 116,000 donors — just shy of September’s 130,000-donor threshold with months still to go.
Currently, 21 candidates have passed a modest qualification threshold for the July debates, either hitting 1 percent in three qualifying polls or getting 65,000 donors. That’s one more candidate than the Democratic National Committee has said it will allow on stage across the two nights, meaning someone has to get cut.
The DNC’s tiebreakers prioritize candidates who hit both the polling and financial thresholds, followed by candidates who only have the polling benchmark, sorted by poll average, and then candidates who have hit only the donor mark

28 June
Live Polling of the Debates: Good News for Harris, Warren, Biden, and Substance
Every candidate saw a bump in his or her favorability rating among the focus group — as high as a 20-point-plus rise for Booker, Klobuchar, Castro, Bill de Blasio, and Tulsi Gabbard — though the rise was negligible for Yang and Michael Bennet. In general, candidates debating on the second night saw smaller improvements than those who debated on the first night. After the first night, Warren and Booker ended with the highest approval ratings; after the second, Biden and Harris led.
Here’s Who Won (and Lost) the Second Democratic Primary Debate
(New York) Kamala Harris: Early in Thursday’s debate, Harris broke through a shouting match between her rivals to say, “America does not want to witness a food fight…. “they want to know how we are going to put food on their table”
The senator’s performance over the debate’s first 60 minutes was enough to clarify why, not too long ago, conventional wisdom held that this would be her race to lose. Harris started 2019 with an enviable donor network, a flood of high-profile endorsements, strong opening fundraising numbers, and a post-launch polling surge. But in the ensuing months, her campaign sank back to Earth and stayed there. Then Joe Biden got a hammer grip on the former, and Mayor Pete, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders collectively commandeered the latter. Going into Miami, national polls showed Harris boasting a measly seven-percent support. She will almost certainly leave Florida with more. Kamala Harris Just Jumped Into the Top Tier There is a catch to her success, possibly an important one. Harris tied herself to two unpopular positions.
Winners and losers from the Democratic presidential debate’s first night
(WaPo) WinnersElizabeth Warren: Other candidates didn’t seem to have the appetite to put her on the spot. … Warren got a pass. And she used her platform to do what she has done to great effect on the campaign trail: talk about her bold, liberal policy ideas. Julián Castro after a joust with O’Rourke on immigration, other candidates emphasized their agreement with Castro. It’s a great sign when other candidates are straining to show they agree with you.
Losers: O’Rourke He righted the ship somewhat when talking about gun control later in the debate, but the whole thing reinforced the narrative that [he] is somewhat out of his depth on policy.
Tulsi Gabbard:  was lost for much of the debate. That may not have been her fault — she wasn’t asked many questions — but fellow cellar-dwellers Delaney and de Blasio were able to work their way in by piggybacking on others’ answers.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 26 and 27 June: Biden, Sanders to share debate stage after a lopsided drawing divides presidential candidates for two events this month
Some Democrats want a climate-change debate. The Democratic National Committee says nah.
Jay Inslee, the Washington governor whose 2020 run is singularly focused on climate change, ignited the fight when he demanded that Democrats devote one of the dozen primary debates to the issue, but the DNC won’t budge—even as 14 of his fellow candidates have gotten on board. Now the DNC is contending with damage control, saying that a climate debate would be against its rules, and that capitulating to the demands of one candidate sets a bad precedent. But polls suggest that climate change is a top-tier issue for the party’s voters—and while climate policy can turn into think-tank wonkery that makes voters’ eyes glaze over, there are still a slew of key questions that a potential moderator should ask.
26 June
What to watch for in the first Democratic debates
(Brookings) …there are numerous issues on which Democratic presidential candidates disagree—in some cases vigorously so. Voters need to understand where candidates stand on given issues and how one candidate’s worldview differs from others.  Most voters don’t simply want a candidate to take the stage and attack the president (even though surely President Trump and his policies will be attacked robustly). In a period in which there is unrest in numerous areas of the world, trade wars are hurting farmers and manufacturers, there is some evidence of softening in the economy, the rate of uninsured Americans is increasing for the first time since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, and issues like gun violence and race relations sit high among Democratic voters’ concerns, America is looking for candidates who stand for more than simple opposition to the sitting president.

14 June
Braininess Is Now the Brand
For a party dependent on highly educated voters, Buttigieg’s rise and Warren’s resurgence foretell the future.
(The Atlantic) Among the biggest surprises of the Democratic presidential campaign so far are the rise of Pete Buttigieg and the resurgence of Elizabeth Warren, both of whom, according to a new Des Moines Register poll, have moved into a virtual tie for second place in Iowa with Bernie Sanders.  … What unites them, and separates them from Sanders and Joe Biden, is their unabashed intellectualism. Both have made braininess central to their political brand. And it’s working—a fact that offers a window into the changing culture of the Democratic Party.
Warren and Buttigieg don’t showcase their smarts in exactly the same way. Warren does it with deep dives into policy: proposal after detailed proposal on subjects such as housing, climate change, child care, college tuition, and antitrust.  If Warren plays the brilliant professor, Buttigieg plays the brilliant student.

12 June
Jimmy Carter Is Emerging As an Unexpected Role Model in the 2020 Primaries
(New York) Carter is enjoying an unexpected moment in Democrats’ 2020 primary, as a source of advice to some candidates, but mostly as a political inspiration to a field full of historically conscious long shots eager to find a path from relative obscurity to national success with a scandal-weary electorate.
23 Democrats Are Running for President. Do Any of Them Know What They’re Doing?
By Mark Leibovich
How do you unite a fractious base and defeat President Trump? No one seems to know, but that isn’t stopping them from giving it a try.
(NYT Magazine) Up close, the early race for the Democratic nomination can resemble a mass reconnaissance process, with the candidates as advance troops scouting an electorate that their party so badly misunderstood the last time around. How exactly do you run for president in 2019? What are the rules, and what should you say and who is even listening? At their unruly best, campaigns can be sprawling idea labs. You can learn a lot when no one knows anything.

11 June
Top Dems Lead Trump In Head-To-Head Matchups,
Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Democratic Primary Race Narrows As Biden Goes Flat
In a first look at head-to-head 2020 presidential matchups nationwide, several Democratic challengers lead President Donald Trump, with former Vice President Joseph Biden ahead 53 – 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today.
In other matchups, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University National Poll finds:

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over President Trump 51 – 42 percent;
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris ahead of Trump 49 – 41 percent;
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tops Trump 49 – 42 percent;
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg edges Trump 47 – 42 percent;
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker by a nose over Trump 47 – 42 percent.

10 June
Eugene Robinson: We don’t need 23 presidential candidates. There’s another important role to fill.
Dear Democratic presidential candidates: I know all 23 of you want to run against President Trump, but only one will get that opportunity. If you truly believe your own righteous rhetoric, some of you ought to be spending your time and energy in another vital pursuit — winning control of the Senate.

Trump’s latest rage-threat gives Democrats a big opening. One just took it.
(WaPo) President Trump has spent the last half day frantically retweeting his propagandists, who are pushing the absurd deception that Trump’s new deal with Mexico is a massive and historic victory. In reality, the agreement — which averts Trump’s threatened tariffs — consisted mostly of things Mexico already agreed to months ago.
Trump is in a rage over this — he repeatedly fumed at the New York Times for reporting it — and now he’s amplifying the notion that he won enormous concessions from Mexico by claiming that Mexico has secretly agreed to another major provision that will be revealed at some unspecified future time.
This has come packaged with a threat: Trump just tweeted that if Mexico does not soon take formal steps to ratify that secret provision, “Tariffs will be reinstated!”
But this threat gives Democrats a big opening to grab control of this debate — both on the immigration and trade fronts, because this story intertwines the two, and more broadly to better engage with the colossal failures of Trump’s nationalism.
… former Texas congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke made the case that precisely the opposite approach — strengthened, reality-based international integration — is the answer both on trade and on immigration. O’Rourke called for trade arrangements in farmers’ and workers’ interests and for increased investments in Central America “to ensure that no family has to make that 2,000-mile journey.”

9 June
Warren’s nonstop ideas reshape the Democratic presidential race — and give her new momentum
(WaPo) … energized crowds have been flocking to her events in early-voting states. Her nonstop stream of policy positions, which add up to what would be a restructuring of American capitalism, has helped shape the broader debate. … Warren has captured the attention of many voters on the ground, both with her policy proposals and her willingness to make unequivocal statements that often seem to rise above the din of the campaign.

7 June
Here’s who has the best chance of becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee
(Business Insider) Compared to the last version of our ranking published on May 31, we’ve upgraded Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sen. Michael Bennet and downgraded Gov. Steve Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton, and Julian Castro.
What Is the Hyde Amendment? A Look at Its Impact as Biden Reverses His Stance
By Maggie Astor
(NYT) As a wave of highly restrictive state laws have made abortion a key issue in the 2020 campaign, the Hyde Amendment has drawn new scrutiny.
Numerous presidential candidates had already come out against the provision before Wednesday, when former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. became the only one to say he supported it, prompting intense criticism. By Thursday, almost all of the other 22 candidates in the Democratic race were on the record calling for its repeal. Less than 48 hours after his initial statement, Mr. Biden changed his mind.

4 June
Poor Chuck Schumer—his best candidates want to be president, not senator
There are many problems with such a crowded Democratic race for the presidency but the biggest one could turn out to be in the Senate.
(Brookings) Of the 34 Senate seats up, 22 are held by Republicans. To take control of the Senate, Democrats have to pick up 4 of those 22 seats and hold the seats they already have….three of the strongest Senate candidates, people who could get the Democrats three-quarters of the way to a majority, are making what looks like futile races for the Democratic nomination. There is, however, a silver lining. The Democratic race will get much clearer after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. History tells us that if a candidate doesn’t manage to win, place or show in these contests they are probably consigned to oblivion.
Of course, getting out of the presidential race after a humiliating loss may not be the best strategy for winning a primary back home. And late entrants, no matter how well known, will face the wrath of candidates who have been working hard while the better-known candidates pursue voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Climate Change Takes Center Stage as Biden and Warren Release Plans
(NYT) … as Mr. Biden runs for president, he has laid out an ambitious climate plan of his own that goes well beyond what Mr. Obama achieved, proposing $1.7 trillion in spending and a tax or fee on planet-warming pollution with the aim of eliminating the nation’s net carbon emissions by 2050.
The sweeping proposal from the typically moderate Mr. Biden demonstrates just how far the Democratic field has moved on climate change. His environmental targets are similar to the goals of the Green New Deal put forward by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, which even the House Democratic speaker has been unwilling to embrace.
… rival candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, released her own climate proposal as part of a $2 trillion green manufacturing plan. Her plan would create a National Institutes of Clean Energy and push federal spending toward American-made renewable energy technology.

1 June
Democrats, in California, confront deep divisions over how to handle increasing calls for President Trump’s impeachment
(WaPo) The party’s deep divisions, refreshed when last week’s remarks by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III raised new questions about whether Trump had committed impeachable violations, played out time and again during the first full day of the weekend convention as they have across the nation.
Democrats’ dueling messages highlighted the dilemma confronting the party’s congressional leaders and presidential hopefuls: how to balance the demands of a fervently anti-Trump activist base without alienating the more moderate voters who helped hand them the House in 2018 and could deliver the presidency in 2020.
It has also opened a fissure between Democratic congressional leadership and the party’s White House hopefuls, who were once largely united in opposition to impeachment. After Mueller’s comments, the list of presidential candidates calling for impeachment grew, even as House Democratic leaders stood firm.

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