The Democrats/progressives 2020 Part II

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The Democrats/progressives 2020 Part I

Thomas Friedman: This Should Be Biden’s Bumper Sticker
“Respect science, respect nature, respect each other.” It’s the only way to make America great again.
It summarizes so simply the most important values Americans feel that we’ve lost in recent years and hope to regain from a post-Trump presidency.
Biden should highlight his commitment to all three values in every speech and interview he gives. They draw such a clear, simple and easy to remember contrast with Trump.

Greg Sargent: Joe Biden flips the script on Trump
Joe Biden is set to introduce a new economic plan on Thursday that may end up flipping this script entirely.
The new plan draws a stark contrast with Trump on two fronts — his failure to mobilize a robust federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, and his full-on embrace of GOP plutocracy, which sold out the Bannon promise.
The core of the Biden plan is a pledge to “use the full power of the federal government” to “rebuild U.S. domestic manufacturing capacity” and fortify “supply chains” to ensure availability of “critical supplies” in “future crises.”
It envisions $700 billion in new spending to stimulate demand for U.S.-manufactured products and on research into clean energy and digital technologies.
The Biden Plan to Rebuild U.S. Supply Chains and Ensure the U.S. Does Not Face Future Shortages of Critical Equipment

What Would a Democratic ‘Tsunami’ in November Look Like?
By Ed Kilgore
This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave.
Coming from veteran observer Amy Walters of the ultra-cautious Cook Political Report, this was an unusually bold assertion, buttressed, it appears, by her belief that “the president is not interested in changing his approach or focus” despite countless indicators that he needs to in order to survive. She even discounts the possibility that Trump’s dismal performance will create a “checks and balances” undertow benefiting down-ballot Republicans among voters worrying about too much Democratic power… A Biden tsunami is definitely the best, and possibly the only, way to avoid disinformation about the results in a year when a slow count is going to definitely occur. …
Using Cook’s very change-averse ratings, of 11 competitive Senate races, nine are for seats currently controlled by the GOP, with Biden leading in the polls in five of the states with those vulnerable GOP seats. Given the recent trend toward straight-ticket voting — in 2016, every single Senate race was won by the party that carried the state in the presidential election — it’s extremely likely Democrats would win the Senate if they and Biden are performing as they are currently. That’s crucial, for the most obvious reason that a Senate majority would ease confirmation of Biden’s executive and judicial branch appointees.

5 July
Susan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race
(The Hill) Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are getting most of the buzz, but former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is also been getting a lot of attention in Joe Biden’s campaign as he considers who to pick as his running mate, sources say.
“I have never worked with anyone who is more skilled at rallying all parts of government into action and bringing people with diverse views together to tackle thorny problems,” Ambassador Brooke Anderson, who served as Rice’s chief of staff at the United Nations, said in an interview.
“She’s incredibly smart and strategic,” Anderson continued. “It’s not enough to have good ideas. You also need to have an understanding about how you get things done. She combines both and has deep experience in both.”

2 July
Why Joe Biden’s instinctive caution makes real change possible
The virus has demonstrated something definitively to a large number of persuadable voters: that Mr Trump is just not that good at being a president.
(The Economist) The dominant theory, on the right and the left, is that change in America is made by the extremes. On the right that has meant Goldwater-ism, the Tea Party and Mr Trump. On the left it has meant the anti-Vietnam movement, social-justice campaigns and Bernie Sanders. There is something to this idea: without these forces dragging him, Mr Biden might not have moved.
But to make lasting change through the federal government you need to win the Senate. And that cannot be done with a candidate at the top of the ticket who frightens the voters. That is the paradox of Mr Biden’s candidacy. Because he has flip-flopped on abortion rights and school desegregation by busing, because he comes across as the grandfather he is, he is viewed with suspicion on the left. Yet that is precisely what makes him reassuring, or at least unfrightening, to voters in states like Montana and Georgia where Democrats must win to gain a majority in the Senate. It is Mr Biden’s caution that opens up the possibility of more change than a real radical would.
… Though Mr Trump’s victory in 2016 was presented, not least by him, as the triumph of the enraged and downtrodden against a broken system, it came after 20 consecutive quarters of falling unemployment, when there were few threats from terrorism at home. This time is different. With 128,000 Americans dead from covid-19 and with unemployment rife, the centrist virtues of decency, experience and a willingness to act on advice from competent people could well seem more alluring.
… [Biden’s] campaign website is a smorgasbord of policy plans, most of which would never happen even if he were to win. But two of them conceivably could.
The first is a public option in health care, allowing Americans to buy health insurance from the government. America has been inching its way towards universal health care, a move that Mr Trump has been unable to reverse. Under a Biden presidency it could come within touching distance. The second policy is a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. Mr Biden wants to pass legislation to bind America to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Add to this Mr Biden’s return to multilateral engagement in foreign policy—which America’s allies would wholeheartedly endorse, and which could begin to steady a chaotic world. Even if Mr Biden accomplished only part of this agenda, the criticisms from the Democratic left would seem churlish.

30 June
Amy McGrath Wins Kentucky Democratic Senate Primary, Will Face McConnell
A week after Election Day, the results of Kentucky’s Democratic primary are in, and Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot who has raised more than $40 million, has won.
Results for the race took seven days to come in thanks to expanded absentee voting. Mail-in ballots accounted for roughly three quarters of the more than 1 million votes cast in the primary. While state representative Charles Booker held a slight lead among in-person voters, McGrath made up ground when all the mail-in votes were counted. But her lead was still narrow. When the AP called the race, 89 percent of the vote was in and McGrath had a nearly 9,500-vote lead..

28 June
The woman Biden isn’t considering for vice president, but should
James Downie, Digital opinions editor
(WaPo) In her biography alone, Lee brings to the table both an inspirational personal story and years of experience. After suffering a miscarriage at just 16, Lee by age 20 was a single mother to two young boys and living on welfare. Still, she obtained both undergraduate and master’s degrees, at times taking her children to class with her because she could not afford child care. Starting as an intern in the office of former congressman and progressive icon Ron Dellums, Lee worked her way up to become his chief of staff, served eight years in the California state legislature, and in 1998 won a special election to fill the retiring Dellums’s seat. She’s been in the House ever since, including stints chairing the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus.
Adding Lee to the vice-presidential shortlist would signal that Biden is committed to breaking out of wrongheaded policy consensuses. It could fire up progressive voters who have been lukewarm about the former vice president, and whose turnout will be crucial in the fall. And it would show that he is willing to admit to and learn from past mistakes — a trait as deeply lacking in our leaders as it is sorely needed.
Frank Bruni: Biden’s Best Veep Pick Is Obvious
She, more than anyone, can get under Trump’s skin.
[Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is] a paragon of the values that Donald Trump, for all his practice as a performer, can’t even pantomime. She’s best described by words that are musty relics in his venal and vainglorious circle: “sacrifice,” “honor,” “humility.” More than any of the many extraordinary women on Biden’s list of potential vice-presidential nominees, she’s the anti-Trump, the antidote to the ugliness he revels in and the cynicism he stokes.
Duckworth, a former Army lieutenant colonel who lost both of her legs during combat duty in Iraq, is a choice that makes exquisite emotional and moral sense. Largely, but not entirely, because of that, she makes strategic sense, too.
For the uninitiated: Duckworth, 52, is in the fourth year of her first term in the Senate, before which she served two terms in the House. As my colleague Jennifer Steinhauer explained in a recent profile of Duckworth in The Times, she didn’t just serve in the Army: She became a helicopter pilot, which isn’t a job brimming with women. … Duckworth is neither progressive idol nor progressive enemy. That partly reflects a low policy profile that’s among her flaws as a running mate but could actually work to her advantage, making her difficult to pigeonhole and open to interpretation. Trump-weary voters can read into her what they want. And in recent congressional elections, Democrats have had success among swing voters with candidates who are veterans. Duckworth certainly can’t be dismissed as the same old same old. Her vice-presidential candidacy would be a trailblazing one, emblematic of a more diverse and inclusive America. Born in Bangkok to an American father and a Thai mother, she’d be the first Asian-American and the first woman of color on the presidential ticket of one of our two major parties. She was the first United States senator to give birth while in office and the first to bring her baby onto the Senate floor. You want relatable? Duckworth has two children under the age of 6. She’s a working mom.

26 June
Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Affordable Care Act
If successful, the move would permanently end the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.
Democrats, who view health care a winning issue and who reclaimed the House majority in 2018 on their promise to expand access and bring down costs, are trying to use the Supreme Court case to press their advantage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote for Monday on a measure to expand the health care law, in an effort to draw a sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

24 June
Democrats urge delegates to stay away from convention
The change of plans comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats announced on Wednesday that the convention would move from the expansive Fiserv Forum — a state-of-the-art arena where the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team plays — to the much smaller Wisconsin Center, the city’s convention center. Attendees will be capped at 1,000 people, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.
The convention is scheduled to run for four days. Party officials said standing committee meetings would be held virtually, and organizers said parties for media and volunteers would not take place in Milwaukee.
The programming will feature “both live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country,” Democrats said in a news release.
They also announced that they would consult epidemiologists Ian Lipkin and Larry Brilliant on the convention planning.

16 June
Things Are Not Going Well for Amy McGrath
By Sarah Jones
(New York) McGrath faces a robust challenge from Charles Booker, the youngest Black legislator in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Booker has run to her left, and while McGrath holds a major fundraising advantage, Booker is gaining significant momentum ahead of the primary on June 23. Two of the state’s largest newspapers have endorsed him, and on Tuesday, Booker earned another major supporter. Alison Lundergan Grimes, who challenged McConnell in 2014, endorsed him over McGrath.
Enthusiasm might not be enough to propel Booker to victory over McGrath, but it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. National Democrats think they know what Kentucky wants, but Kentucky may disagree. A theory that recommends McGrath over Booker is one worth reconsideration, and not only because Booker marshals local support that McGrath lacks.

5 June
Aaron Blake:  The 11 most logical picks for Joe Biden’s vice president, ranked
Below is my latest ranking of the 11 candidates who make the most sense for the ticket at this moment. (Here’s my last list.) All 11 are women, in keeping with Biden’s pledge to pick a female running mate.

2 June
Joe Biden Laces Into Trump for Fanning ‘Flames of Hate’
In a speech in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden assailed the president’s handling of the protests over police brutality and racial justice, declaring that he had “turned this country into a battlefield.”
(NYT) In his first formal speech out in public since the coronavirus shuttered the campaign trail in mid-March, Mr. Biden delivered perhaps his closest approximation yet of a presidential address to the nation. He emphasized themes of empathy and unity to draw a clear contrast with Mr. Trump, who has threatened to deploy the military nationwide to dominate protesters and has portrayed those demonstrating as “thugs.”
With Mr. Trump determined to cast himself as a self-described “law and order” president, Mr. Biden aimed to appeal to a broader range of the electorate’s concerns, pledging to address economic inequality and racial injustice but also urging the nation to come together at a moment of deep civil unrest.
Transcript of the speech

29 May
The VP Choice Everyone Is Missing
Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice has a powerful backer and an array of experiences that complement Biden’s.
(The Atlantic) Joe Biden’s concern about the national-security impact of the coronavirus has led him to weigh picking the Obama-administration national security adviser Susan Rice as his running mate, according to several people who’ve spoken privately with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in recent weeks.
Rice is well known in Washington, but has a much lower national profile than most of the other women being considered, and comes with few conventional political upsides. She isn’t particularly likely to be selected, people inside the campaign say (some who have spoken about her with Biden see her as a more likely pick for secretary of defense or secretary of state), and Rice has told confidants that she knows that.
Biden has a variety of personal and professional connections to some of the other women his campaign is looking at …. But Rice is the only one of these possibilities whom he’s worked with every day, during the eight years they both spent in the Obama administration, and none of the others has Rice’s level of experience in the executive branch, or in crisis management..
Biden’s Vice-President Shortlist Is Shrinking Before Our Eyes
By Ed Kilgore
One prominent prospect, Nevada senator Catherine Cortez Masto, has taken herself out of the running. Another, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, may have damaged her suitability significantly by a jewelry purchase that arguably violated her own stay-at-home order.
Now the sudden upsurge of protests over police killings, sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, is threatening to knock Amy Klobuchar out of contention, as the New York Times reports.
… two of the most prominent African-American names in the hopper, Kamala Harris and Val Demings (who penned an op-ed condemning the police misconduct in Minneapolis), both have law enforcement backgrounds. Harris’s shaky record on criminal-justice issues as a prosecutor and attorney general in California became an area of scrutiny during her presidential campaign, and such concerns won’t go away in the current climate.

21 May
Joe Biden’s VP Search Is Turning Into an Open Audition
By Gabriel Debenedetti
(New York) Formally, the committee members — former senator and lobbyist Chris Dodd, Delaware congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, and former Biden aide and Apple government affairs head Cynthia Hogan — have quietly been seeking the counsel of high-ranking elected officials, labor leaders, and people close to Barack Obama, who has spoken with Biden himself extensively about the process. They’re looking for the pros and cons of the individual contenders, people familiar with the conversations tell New York, but also for information about what various party constituencies are interested in and concerned about. … many people close to Biden are convinced he will ultimately choose among Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar — and many game their chances in roughly that order, though the ranking has shifted a few times in recent weeks, in their view, and likely will again.
… The omnipresent devastation of the pandemic has helped clarify the choice among at least some of the people around Biden. For one, multiple informal advisers cast doubt on the idea that he could choose a governor, since it’s unclear if she would have time to devote herself to campaigning amid the outbreak. “If you listen to Fauci, this is spiking in the fall, and if it spikes badly, Whitmer can’t be on the campaign trail,” warned Ed Rendell, a Biden friend and a former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chairman.
The imperative of finding someone who can seamlessly step into an executive disaster-management role in January has also dimmed the prospects of potential contenders who haven’t yet been elected to statewide office — like Abrams and Demings — in the eyes of some Biden whisperers. It’s increasingly likely, they say, that the tradition-bound Biden will keep a trend going: The party’s last six vice-presidential nominees — and 14 of its last 16 — were senators.
… But the close-readers’ consensus is that the nearest Biden’s gotten to tipping his hand may have been on a video call with supporters one Wednesday afternoon in early April. Roughly 50 high-powered backers …looked on as Biden thanked Harris for her support.

15 May
We have had suspicions about the Tara Reade story since it first surfaced
New Reporting Increases Doubts on Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden
By Jonathan Chait
(New York) …three detailed reports — by Vox’s Laura McGann, PBS NewsHour, and Politico’s Natasha Korecki — have delved into Reade’s allegations. Neither reaches a definitive conclusion. But all of them on balance add a lot of grounds for skepticism. At this point, Reade’s allegation seems to me to be more likely to be false than true.

11 May
Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee by campaigning as a throwback — a comfortable, moderate Obama–era restorationist, making no special promises on the stump. That wasn’t just a strategy based on Democratic voters’ focus on electability, it was also a character trait. The former vice-president is an intuitive centrist who likes to be a dealmaker and doesn’t like being out ahead of things. But sometimes crises make strange personalities into world-historical figures, and inside the Biden campaign the presidency now looks very different than it did back in the primary: The candidate believes the country will be profoundly broken in January 2021, much worse than it was in 2009, and his job will be much bigger than Obama’s was then, indeed than any president’s has been since FDR. Or perhaps ever. Gabriel Debenedetti reports on how Biden is planning this imperial administration now from his Wilmington, Delaware, bunker — and trying to answer to a credible accusation of sexual assault, as well. — David Wallace-Wells, deputy editor, New York
Biden Is Planning an FDR-Size Presidency

3 May
Unexpected outcome in Wisconsin: Tens of thousands of ballots that arrived after Election Day were counted, thanks to court decisions
(WaPo) …tens of thousands of mail ballots that arrived after the April 7 presidential primaries and spring elections were counted by local officials — the unexpected result of last-minute intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court …  [and] a largely unexamined aspect of the court’s decision that temporarily changed which ballots were counted. Because of the order, election officials for the first time tallied absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day, rather than just those received by then — underscoring the power of narrow court decisions to significantly shape which votes are counted. Democrats think they have secured a game-changing precedent from the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 order. In the past week alone, lawsuits bankrolled by Democratic committees have been filed in four states seeking similar postmark rules and citing the Wisconsin opinion to bolster their argument. More cases are expected in the coming week.

29 April
Trump to begin preparing for transition in case he loses in November
(PBS Newshour) … Biden has been discussing transition plans with former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman, a longtime top aide who was appointed to fill Biden’s Senate seat when he became vice president. Biden assured donors that he’s proceeding regardless of how Trump handles the matter.
The former vice president said he’s already considering his Cabinet secretaries and “sub-Cabinet” political appointees. Biden added that he has contemplated the unusual step of identifying some top Cabinet picks “even before we are able to win” so that voters will “have a better idea of what my administration will look like.”
The law requires presidential candidates and the General Services Administration to reach a memorandum of understanding that governs everything from the provision of federal office space to access to sensitive documents by Sept. 1, though generally it is reached sooner.
Transition teams begin vetting candidates for jobs in a future administration, including beginning the time-consuming security clearance process for likely appointees who need to be ready to take their posts on Inauguration Day.

13 April
If Biden Wins, He’ll Have to Put the World Back Together
His post-pandemic agenda will have to be a master class in redesign.
Thomas Wright, Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and
Kurt M. Campbell, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific
(The Atlantic) If Joe Biden wins the election in November, he will likely be sworn in —perhaps virtually— under the most challenging circumstances since Harry Truman became president in 1945. The country will probably be in the end stages of a brutal pandemic and faced with the worst economy since the Great Depression. The Treasury will be significantly depleted. Millions of people will have lost loved ones, their jobs, much of their net worth. Hopefully a vaccine or an effective treatment will be closer to reality, and our national attention can shift to what comes next.
We judge our great presidents by how they managed harrowing trials and wars …. But many of the bigger and less historically rewarding challenges are what come immediately after —how to rebuild and remake the country and engage in the wider world. Think about Ulysses S. Grant and Reconstruction, Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations, Truman and the architecture to wage the Cold War, George H. W. Bush and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some failed; others succeeded. All faced enormous obstacles explaining what just happened, what had changed, and how we must adapt. This is the category of presidency that Biden, or Donald Trump if he is reelected, will find himself in.

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