AuthorTopic: Election Errata  (Read 125569 times)

Offline Surly1

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Re: 🗳️ ‘Sleepy’ or ‘Hyper’? Biden, Trump spar over age and energy
« Reply #1005 on: April 27, 2019, 05:34:56 AM »
Looks like Uncle Joe is the Desgnated Trumpovetsky Attack Dog for the Demodopes.  Which one do you think grabbed more pussies?  What's the over-under on that?  ???  :icon_scratch:

Donald Trump, an American businessman and current president of the United States, has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least 19 women since the 1980s.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump_sexual_misconduct_allegations

All the Women Who Have Spoken Out Against Joe Biden
https://www.thecut.com/2019/04/joe-biden-accuser-accusations-allegations.html

Trump in a blowout, 19 to 8. No reports to date about what sort of vegetable Biden's dick looks like.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Actually, it's the other way round.  When Sean Hannity pulls the strings, the Trumpovetsky Marionette jumps.

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Politics
April 28, 2019 / 3:24 PM / Updated 9 hours ago
Democrat O'Rourke accuses Trump White House of dictating Fox News content
Tim Reid

2 Min Read


FILE PHOTO - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 27, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke attacked the close ties between Republican President Donald Trump and Fox News on Sunday, saying the White House has “free rein, almost” over what is broadcast on the cable television network.

Democrats have long accused Fox of reporting that is biased in favor of the Republican Party and Trump. The president is an avid watcher of the network, and Sean Hannity, one of its stars, is an admirer of Trump and last year spoke at one of his rallies.

Former Fox News executive Bill Shine became a communications official in the Trump White House in 2018, resigning the position in March to be an adviser on Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.

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Speaking at a campaign event in San Francisco, former Texas congressman O’Rourke, one of 20 candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, criticized the links between the Trump White House and an influential news network.

“You have members of the organization moving into the White House, you have a White House with free rein, almost, over what is broadcast over one of the most widely watched cable networks in the country today,” O’Rourke said.

Reuters emails to the White House and Fox News were not immediately answered.

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On Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, O’Rourke said Trump invited Russia to interfere, even if Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded after a 22-month investigation that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Moscow.

“I don’t know if collusion is a term of art in the law, but he certainly invited their participation,” O’Rourke said.
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Offline RE

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🗳️ Biden, O'Rourke top 2020 Dems in Texas survey
« Reply #1007 on: April 30, 2019, 01:32:27 AM »
Doesn't look like Rubio is Beto's competition in TX, it's Uncle Joe.  Looks like a good horserace there.

RE

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign-polls/441094-biden-orourke-top-2020-dems-in-texas-survey

Biden, O'Rourke top 2020 Dems in Texas survey
By Chris Mills Rodrigo - 04/29/19 07:58 AM EDT


Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) lead the field of 2020 Democratic candidates in Texas, according to a poll released Monday.

Biden received the support of 23 percent of the likely Democratic primary voters in the Lone Star State who were polled, while O'Rourke was the favored pick for 22 percent of respondents.

“It looks like Beto O’Rourke does not have Texas locked up," Spencer Kimball, director of the Emerson Poll, said in a statement.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the only other candidate to top 10 percent in Emerson's survey, polling third at 17 percent.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg polled at 8 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had 7 percent, both ahead of the other Texas candidate in the race, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who was picked as their choice by 4 percent of respondents.

The Emerson College poll surveyed 342 likely Texas Democratic primary voters between April 25-28. The sample has a margin of error of 5.3 percentage points.

Texas's growing Democratic base is making it more likely to be a swing state in the 2020 election,  which could be significant for the party's nominee if it flips.
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Offline RE

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Only $5T?  Chump Change.

RE

Energy
Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke proposes $5 trillion plan to combat climate change
Published 6 hours ago Updated 4 hours ago
Tom DiChristopher
@tdichristopher
   
Key Points

    Beto O’Rourke releases the outline of a 10-year plan to generate $5 trillion in infrastructure, clean power and energy efficiency to combat climate change.
    The proposal seeks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and shore up communities vulnerable to the effects of global warming.
    The plan is fundamentally different from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.


Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks during a campaign stop at The Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery in Burlington, Iowa, U.S. March 14, 2019.
Daniel Acker | Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday revealed a $5 trillion plan to address climate change that would be funded largely by changes to the tax code.

The former U.S. congressman from Texas is pitching a 10-year plan that seeks to spur investment in clean technology and energy efficiency, achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and shore up communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“The greatest threat we face — which will test our country, our democracy, every single one of us — is climate change,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “We have one last chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it’s too late.”

O’Rourke is the latest Democrat to introduce an overarching framework for combating climate change. The world’s top climate scientists say the nations of the world must take “unprecedented” and immediate action to prevent catastrophic impact from global warming in the coming years.

Parts of O’Rourke’s proposal dovetail with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, but O’Rourke’s proposal is fundamentally different because it seeks to leverage an initial government investment in order to spark private spending. Under Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, the U.S. government would entirely fund a radical transformation of the nation’s energy, transportation and building sectors over the course of a decade.

O’Rourke said the first bill he would send to Congress as president would include a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure, innovation and communities. The bill would make structural changes to the tax code that “ensure corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share” and end billions of dollars in tax breaks to fossil fuel companies.

The bill would include $600 billion, split evenly between tax credits and direct investments in infrastructure. O’Rourke said that will mobilize at least $4 trillion in additional capital spending.

The campaign believes that will break down to about $1 trillion in spending to accelerate the development of new energy efficiency and alternative power technologies that slash emissions. It says another $3 trillion in spending would be underpinned by institutions like the Rural Utility Service and a new finance authority.

O’Rourke’s bill would also allocate $250 billion to encourage private investment in research and development and climate science. An additional $650 billion investment aims to spur $1.2 trillion in grants for housing, transportation, public health, job training and other benefits for Americans “on the front-lines of a changing climate and those disrupted by the forces of an economy in transition.”

The candidate also says he would sign a number of executive orders on his first day in office, including to reenter the Paris climate agreement. President Donald Trump, who questions climate science and downplays its impacts, withdrew the U.S. from the global framework for reducing emissions.

As president, O’Rourke said, he would develop a legally enforceable standard to make sure that by 2050 the U.S. achieves net zero emissions, meaning the nation offsets any greenhouse gas emissions with measures to offset an equal amount.

O’Rourke also said he would take several measures to help communities deal with and recover from fires, floods, droughts and hurricanes linked to climate change. Those include increasing spending on mitigation projects before climate disasters strike and amending the law to make sure communities hit by these weather events are built back stronger.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1009 on: April 30, 2019, 04:19:22 AM »
I predict that climate change will be the issue that swings the national idiocracy back to the Democrats. But I doubt it will get Beto elected. Still, it's a plank (a real one that matters and benefits everybody potentially) and within a few years it will get somebody elected and we will begin to make useless symbolic steps toward powering down.

Way too late.
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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1010 on: April 30, 2019, 04:29:37 AM »
I predict that climate change will be the issue that swings the national idiocracy back to the Democrats. But I doubt it will get Beto elected. Still, it's a plank (a real one that matters and benefits everybody potentially) and within a few years it will get somebody elected and we will begin to make useless symbolic steps toward powering down.

Way too late.
Beto is now past $9M in funds raised.  Long as he's got the money, he's got a chance.  I still think his best bet is to hook up with Liz Warren, whoever is polling better as POTUS, other one gets VEEP.

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🗳️ Five leading Democrats would all beat Trump in 2020, poll says
« Reply #1011 on: May 03, 2019, 05:38:08 AM »
The Joe Bageant crowd is still in Trumpovetsky's corner though.

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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-2020-polls-democrats-joe-biden-kamala-harris-buttigieg-beto-o-rourke-elizabeth-warren-a8897391.html

Five leading Democrats would all beat Trump in 2020, poll says


President still beats all of his opponents heavily among white voters without college degrees, however

    Chris Riotta
    New York @chrisriotta

There are almost too many Democrats to count in the 2020 primaries — but any of the top five leading candidates would beat Donald Trump in a general election, according to the latest polling.

Despite the majority of those surveyed saying the president is doing a good job with the nation’s economy (56 per cent), each of the five highest polling Democrats on the campaign trail beat Mr Trump in CNN’s head-to-head polling conducted by SSRS.

Beto O’Rourke bests Mr Trump by the highest margin, with 52 per cent of voters saying they would vote for him compared to 42 per cent who said they would vote for the president in a race against the Texas Democrat.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders each beat out Mr Trump as well with a six and seven per cent advantage respectively, while Kamala Harris leads the president by four per cent.

Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who has climbed in the polls in recent weeks and proved effective at national fundraising despite little name recognition — also would beat Mr Trump by three per cent, according to the poll.

Elizabeth Warren appears to be the only candidate polled in the SSRS survey who did not beat out Mr Trump, though the two politicians are effectively neck-and-neck.

While Mr Trump holds 48 per cent in a race against the liberal Massachusetts senator, Ms Warren maintains 47 per cent of support if she were to secure the Democratic nomination.
Read more

    Warren reveals plan to make birth safer for African American women

Mr Trump’s acting chief of staff suggested voters would effectively return him to the Oval Office in the 2020 elections during a talk this week in California, where he foreshadowed the economy would serve as one of the top factors in his re-election victory.

“You hate to sound like a cliché, but are you better off than you were four years ago? It's pretty simple, right? It's the economy, stupid. I think that's easy. People will vote for somebody they don't like if they think it's good for them,” Mick Mulvaney said.
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🗳️ Federal Court Throws Out Ohio's Congressional Map
« Reply #1012 on: May 04, 2019, 01:27:36 AM »
What's the over-under on the SCOTUS overturning this ruling?

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https://www.npr.org/2019/05/03/720047669/federal-court-throws-out-ohios-congressional-map


Federal Court Throws Out Ohio's Congressional Map


May 3, 20192:19 PM ET

Gabe Rosenberg
From
WOSU 89.7 NPR News


David Niven, a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati holds a map demonstrating a gerrymandered Ohio district.
John Minchillo/AP

A federal court has ruled that Ohio's congressional map is an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander" and must be redrawn by the 2020 election.

In their ruling Friday, a three-judge panel from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio argue that the map was intentionally drawn "to disadvantage Democratic voters and entrench Republican representatives in power." The court argues the map violates voters' constitutional right to choose their representatives and exceeds the state's powers under Article I of the Constitution.

"Accordingly, we declare Ohio's 2012 map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, enjoin its use in the 2020 election, and order the enactment of a constitutionally viable replacement," the judges wrote in their decision.

The decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently deliberating challenges to congressional maps from Maryland and North Carolina.

The League of Women Voters, ACLU and other voting rights groups sued Ohio last year, saying Republicans redrew the state's congressional map in 2011 with intention of maintaining their three-to-one advantage. Since the map came into effect in 2012, Ohio's congressional delegation has been locked in at 12 Republicans and four Democrats.
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The judges agree with voting rights groups in their argument that Ohio's districts were "intended to burden Plaintiffs' constitutional rights, had that effect, and the effect is not explained by other legitimate justifications."
Kavanaugh Seems Conflicted On Partisan Gerrymandering At Supreme Court Arguments
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Kavanaugh Seems Conflicted On Partisan Gerrymandering At Supreme Court Arguments

Ohio's current map was drawn in 2011 by Republican state lawmakers, with input from party consultants in a Columbus hotel room. Democrats argue they were shut out of the process completely.

"These national Republicans generated some of the key strategic ideas for the map, maximizing its likely pro-Republican performance, and had the authority to approve changes to the map before their Ohio counterparts implemented them," the judge write. "Throughout the process, the Ohio and national map drawers made decisions based on their likely partisan effects."

The judges also ruled that Ohio's map has proven to advantage Republicans in every election. The decision says experts "demonstrated that levels of voter support for Democrats can and have changed, but the map's partisan output remains stubbornly undisturbed."

A ballot issue overwhelmingly passed in May 2018 to place new requirements on Ohio's map-drawing process, but the new map wouldn't be created until after the 2020 Census. No congressional election would be affected until 2022.

Under the amendment, a congressional map that lasts 10 years must win 50 percent support from the state's minority party. If it fails to do so, the map would be drawn instead by a bipartisan commission. If that map doesn't get enough support, a 10-year map could then pass with just one-third of the minority party's support, or a four-year map could be passed without minority support but with stricter rules.

The ruling against Ohio comes just over one week after a federal court in Michigan struck down that map as unconstitutional. The judges said Republicans drew the map to unfairly disadvantage Democrats, and the state must redraw its district lines by August 1.

You can view the complete ruling below or at this link.
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🗳️ O'Rourke holds double-digit lead on Trump in head-to-head matchup
« Reply #1013 on: May 04, 2019, 02:27:46 AM »
Beto can Beat-o Trumpovetsky, but can he Beat-o Bernie & Biden? ???  :icon_scratch:

RE

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441950-orourke-holds-double-digit-lead-on-trump-in-head-to-head-matchup-cnn-poll

O'Rourke holds double-digit lead on Trump in head-to-head matchup: CNN poll
By Aris Folley - 05/03/19 09:08 AM EDT


Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) leads President Trump by 10 points in a hypothetical general election matchup, according to a new CNN–SSRS poll.

The survey released Thursday shows O’Rourke with support from 52 percent of registered voters, compared with Trump's 42 percent. Two percent of voters said they wouldn’t support either candidate, and 4 percent said they had no opinion.

O'Rourke held the widest lead over Trump among other Democratic presidential candidates who were included in the potential matchup.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden tied for second place behind O'Rourke, with each leading Trump by 6 points.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) followed with a 4-point lead over Trump, while South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) led the president by 3 points.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) came in last place in the poll, trailing Trump by 1 point.

Most surveys in recent weeks have shown Biden and Sanders taking turns leading the crowded field of 2020 contenders in hypothetical general election matchups against Trump.

The CNN–SSRS poll, which has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points, surveyed 1,007 adults nationwide by telephone from April 25 to 28. Thirty-three percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 26 percent as Republicans and 41 percent as independents or members of another party.
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🗳️ Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs
« Reply #1014 on: May 06, 2019, 12:32:09 AM »
Uncle Joe can't win with this one.  THE SJW's will be all over it, but he can't repudiate it for fear of alienating more white J6Ps who are Trumpsky voters but sitting on the edge.

RE

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/05/joe-biden-busing-problem-226791


Charles Harrity/AP Photo

Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs

And why the Democrats can’t use it against him.

By BRETT GADSDEN

May 05, 2019
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The Friday Cover
An illustration of Bernie Sanders' face.

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Brett Gadsden is a professor of history at Northwestern University and the author of Between North and South: Delaware, Desegregation, and the Myth of American Sectionalism.

In the summer of 1974, the freshman Senator Joe Biden found himself under siege from white suburbanites at a meeting just south of Wilmington, Del. The possibility that their children would be bused into “black schools" in the city and that black children would be bused to their schools had sent a wave of consternation through the white community.

Civil rights activists had recently won a lawsuit in which a federal District Court recognized that state-sponsored discriminatory education and housing policies had led to segregated metropolitan-area schools. The court was then poised to demand a two-way busing program that would transfer students between the city and suburban districts to advance racial balance.

For two hours, Biden paced the auditorium stage and absorbed the ire of the 250-member audience. Unable to offer them any assurance on the court ruling, he made a promise to oppose busing when he returned to Washington for the next legislative session. And he did: Biden spent the next four years pushing legislation to thwart the implementation of busing schemes like the one demanded by the courts in Wilmington around the country .

Now that he has declared his candidacy for president, a number of commentators have suggested his record on busing would hurt him in the Democratic primary.

But don’t count on it. School desegregation, as part of a broader suite of civil rights reforms, was once as a vital component of the Democratic Party platform. Yet since the 1970s, Democrats, in the face of concerted white backlash, have largely accommodated themselves to increasing segregation in public schools across the nation. Party leaders, even the most progressive among them, rarely propose serious solutions to this vexing problem. A sincere critique of Biden’s busing record would require a broader reckoning of the Democratic Party’s—and by extension the nation’s—abandonment of this central goal of the civil rights movement. And it’s hard to see that happening anytime soon.

***

In that meeting in the summer of 1974, Biden had begun his negotiation of a dilemma that faced many Democrats in the 1970s: How to support a central goal of the civil Rrights movement—school desegregation—and attend to a rising tide of white opposition to the remedies that promised to actually desegregate schools outside the Jim Crow South. Biden’s constituents, like those in white communities in Boston and the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C., and Detroit, claimed innocence of the charge of maintaining Jim Crow schools like white Southerners had in the preceding decades. The troubling demographics of their schools, they claimed, was a function of choice and “natural” housing patterns — or what many alleged to be de facto segregation, not discriminatory laws. They complained that court mandates demanding busing remedies interfered with their rights to manage their schools without interference from impersonal and unsympathetic courts and federal bureaucrats. The influx of educationally disadvantaged and purportedly ill-disciplined black students, busing opponents argued, promised violence, chaos and the deterioration of educational standards in their schools—and threatened to undermine the property values of cherished suburban homes.
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What Biden and many like him refused to acknowledge were the discriminatory education and housing policies that undergirded their segregated communities. In the Wilmington area in the 1970s, for example, local school boards’ optional attendance policies enabled white students to transfer from schools with rising percentages of black students. The state Legislature passed a school zoning scheme, called the Educational Advancement Act, that effectively delineated the Wilmington School District as predominately black school district. Restrictive covenants, long tolerated by lawmakers, prevented African Americans from buying and renting suburban homes. Meanwhile, the housing authority, under pressure from suburban neighborhood groups, focused construction of public housing in the city of Wilmington, in effect concentrating poor and minority families there.

Buckling to political pressure from his white constituents who wanted to keep things the way they were, Biden established himself as a leading Democratic opponent of busing in the Senate. Concluding that busing was a “bankrupt concept,” he found himself principally aligned with consummate civil rights opponent and GOP Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who was unabashed in his commitment “to put an end to the current blight on American education that is generally referred to as ‘forced bussing.’” Biden joined conservatives and increasing numbers of liberals who were determined to limit the scope of Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its prohibition on school segregation and to hamstring the federal government’s power to compel localities—under the threat of withholding federal funds—to desegregate their schools.

Biden supported a measure sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a former Klansman who had held the floor for more than 14 hours in a filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill, that prohibited the use of federal funds to transport students beyond the school closest to their homes and that passed into law in 1976. And in 1977, Biden co-sponsored a measure that further restricted the federal government from desegregating city and suburban schools with redistricting measures like school clustering and pairing. This measure won the approval of a majority of his Senate colleagues, and President Jimmy Carter later signed the provision into law, significantly narrowing legislative avenues for reform. Meanwhile, the Warren Burger-led Supreme Court, with its four recently appointed conservative members, proved less and less sympathetic to civil rights activists’ claims about constitutional violations and was unwilling to demand busing remedies.

In assessing the effect of his efforts to thwart the advance of race reforms, Biden made an astute observation about his role in cultivating a bipartisan coalition against busing: “I think what I’ve done inadvertently ... is, I’ve made it—if not respectable—I’ve made it reasonable for longstanding liberals to begin to raise the questions [about busing] I’ve been the first to raise in the liberal community here on the floor.” This from a man who subsequently supported a wide array of civil rights measures for people of color, women and the LGBTQ community; won praise from the likes of the NAACP and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and developed close working relationships with black leaders in Delaware and across the nation.

***

In the end, Biden and his fellow busing opponents failed to stymie court-ordered busing plans, which proved instrumental in sustaining school desegregation across the nation for the next two decades. The anti-busing movement was not vanquished, however. After the Supreme Court authorized school districts to dismantle their school desegregation programs in 1991, busing opponents compelled local districts, through lawsuits and political pressure, to abandon the transportation and pupil-assignment polices that had sustained certain levels of mixed classrooms. The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles has produced an extensive body of literature documenting the resegregation of African American and Latinx students across in the nation, most dramatically in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and the Bay Area, since the court’s action. According to the project, the number of intensely segregated schools—schools with 0 to 10 percent white enrollment—has more than tripled since 1991. In the South, charter schools, extolled by private foundations as the means of narrowing achievement gaps, are even more segregated than public schools. And students in these segregated schools suffer: Schools in racially concentrated nonwhite districts often receive less funding, pay their teachers less, have larger class sizes and rank lower on academic achievement than schools in whiter areas.

Meanwhile, politicians on both sides have largely stayed quiet on the issue. Republicans have long established themselves as the party determined to dismantle the legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Most recently, President Donald Trump has distinguished himself as the embodiment of white nationalism, xenophobia, racial insensitivity and historical ignorance. But it’s also true that few national Democratic leaders have sponsored concerted action or expressed concerns about our increasingly segregated schools beyond largely symbolic gestures toward Brown v. Board of Education.

And none of Biden’s chief 2020 primary rivals—from states with highly segregated school systems like California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas—lists the institutionalized isolation of students by race, income and language and its attendant inequities at the forefront of his or her agenda.
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https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/6/18518381/baccpa-bankruptcy-bill-2005-biden-warren


Photos: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images and  Spencer Platt/Getty Image. Photoillustration: Javier Zarracina/Vox

The 20-year argument between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren over bankruptcy, explained
A clash over a 2005 bankruptcy bill — and a broader contrast in worldviews.
By Matthew Yglesias@mattyglesiasmatt@vox.com May 6, 2019, 8:30am EDT
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the first Democratic 2020 hopeful to take a direct swing at former Vice President Joe Biden since he got into the race, accusing him of being “on the side of the credit companies” in a fight that launched her political career a decade ago.

Warren’s quarrel with Biden isn’t personal. It’s about a 2005 bankruptcy bill he supported as a senator. Warren opposed the bill so vehemently that its passage inspired her transition from a Harvard bankruptcy law professor, who studied middle-class economics, to a senator and now a presidential hopeful.

“I got in that fight because [families] just didn’t have anyone and Joe Biden was on the side of the credit card companies,” Warren said after an April rally in Iowa. “It’s all a matter of public record.”

The bill made it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy and get out of debt, a legal change that credit card companies and many major retailers had championed for years. The bill passed Congress with large majorities, but most Democratic senators, including Barack Obama, voted no. Biden voted yes and was widely seen at the time as one of the bill’s major Democratic champions.

To Warren, bankruptcy is fundamentally about bad luck rather than irresponsible behavior. The changes were mostly unnecessary additional burdens for struggling families that would enrich powerful special interests. Supporters of the changes, like Biden, believed that too many people were filing for bankruptcy — often people with more ability to repay their debts — a problem that was costly not just to creditors but to ordinary nonbankrupt consumers.

Warren drew two conclusions from the experience. First, she came to believe that the American economy requires a major structural overhaul to prevent the pressures that lead so many families to file for bankruptcy protection in the first place. Second, she concluded the American political system is broken, shaped too heavily by powerful business interests.

Biden, by contrast, saw the bill as an admittedly imperfect but fundamentally sound compromise that he improved by participating in crafting it. By cutting down on bankruptcies, the legislation helped not just credit card companies but also consumers who benefit from lower interest rates. The legislation contained provisions intended to protect low-income households and in part thanks to Biden’s work made some other changes that are favorable to the interests of divorced women and their children.

The Warren-Biden clash is also a window into a disagreement about the meaning of the current moment in Democratic Party politics. Warren wants to challenge a system she saw as fundamentally corrupt long before Trump arose, while Biden pitches a return to normalcy and the kind of politics in which compromise, horse trading, and home state interests are just part of the game.

Nobody’s going to cast their votes based on a 15-year-old revision to the bankruptcy code, but the argument Warren and Biden have been having over this legislation underscores the tensions driving the 2020 Democratic primary.
Personal bankruptcy, in general, explained

For much of Western history, the only way out from under crushing debt was debtor’s prison, where you’d be coerced into working off what you owed. This came to be seen as both inhumane and an ineffective way for creditors to actually recoup their money.

Under the modern system, if you’re in over your head in debt, you can file paperwork in bankruptcy court that shields you temporarily from your creditors. You end up needing to at least partially pay some of them back, but you emerge less indebted and able to move on with your life — albeit probably as someone who will have a harder time getting loans in the future.

The existence of these bankruptcy processes naturally makes lending a bit riskier than it otherwise would be. But it serves as a kind of insurance process to help deal with strokes of bad luck. It also creates incentives for consumers to borrow and lenders to lend. Consumers can seek loans whenever one would be convenient rather than merely in worst-case scenarios.

In other words, access to bankruptcy not only benefits specific debtors, it boosts the overall economy by both encouraging a robust financial system and ensuring that people who fail or experience bad luck can move on with their lives.

Bankruptcy in the United States comes in a few different forms. There are two kinds of business bankruptcy and a bankruptcy process for local government entities like towns, counties, and school districts (interestingly, there is no formal bankruptcy process for state governments). But the 2005 bankruptcy reform debate was fundamentally about personal bankruptcy, which comes in two flavors.

In a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy you may have to sell off your stuff to pay what you can to your creditors (there are various rules about what kind of stuff you do and don’t need to sell), but when it’s done, you are free and clear. A Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, by contrast, involves putting you on a payment plan in which some of your future income goes to your creditors.

In most cases, the bankrupt individual’s hard assets are worth much less than his debts, so it ends up being more favorable to file under Chapter 7. And over the course of the 1980s and 1990s, more and more people were in fact filing for bankruptcy — often under Chapter 7 — and the main thrust of reform was to try to clamp down on the steady growth of bankruptcy filings by pushing more people into Chapter 13.
What the bankruptcy bill changed

The details of the bankruptcy code are complicated, so the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) involved a long and complicated series of changes. Some of these new provisions were not especially controversial, including granting privileges to certain retirement plans and extending a process to fishers previously reserved for farmers. The bill also changed the prioritization of claims in bankruptcy, moving alimony and child support payments ahead of other creditors — a change that’s come to loom large in the political dialogue around the bill.

The main point of the legislation, however, was to address a belief by members of Congress that too many people were filing for bankruptcy and that this should be made harder to do. BAPCPA increased the amount of paperwork and fees that were required to file, while carving out an exemption for families earning less than 150 percent of the poverty line. Attorneys were made personally liable for inaccuracies in filings. Small businesses got some new compliance obligations, and a variety of changes were made to increase the amount of money that needs to be repaid under the Chapter 13 process.

At the same time, Congress moved to impose a means test on access to Chapter 7 bankruptcy — making it much harder for families with incomes over their state’s median to make a Chapter 7 filing. Simultaneously, they took the old rule that said you couldn't file for Chapter 7 if you’d done a previous Chapter 7 filing within the past six years and extended it to eight years.

They required that bankruptcy filers first undergo credit counseling and debtor education (a requirement of questionable value), made it somewhat more likely that you’d end up losing your home in bankruptcy, and curtailed the kinds of debts that can be forgiven in bankruptcy — notably making private student loans nondischargeable.

All told, the upshot of the bill was to make it significantly more difficult for individuals to walk away from debts with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

This was particularly significant for credit card companies because credit card debt is what’s known as “unsecured” debt. A home mortgage is backed by a house that the bank can foreclose on and seize. An auto loan is backed by a car. But a credit card is just a credit card. And if you use your credit card to buy food or medical procedures or other services, there’s nothing at all to sell off in a liquidation process. So credit card companies in particular wanted to cut down on Chapter 7 filings, and they got what they wanted.
The great bankruptcy debate

The fight about this became bitter both because of the depth of the disagreement and because it wound up playing out over a number of years.

Legislation aiming at the basic purpose of the bill was first introduced in 1998, passed the House in 1999, passed the Senate in slightly different form in 2000, and then a conference committee produced a compromise bill later that year. But then Bill Clinton somewhat unexpectedly vetoed the bill in December in one of his last acts in office.

Hillary Clinton claimed credit for turning the administration’s mind on this around in one of her memoirs and she discussed the issue at the time with Warren, after reading one of Warren’s op-eds opposing the legislation.

To Warren, bankruptcy filers generally aren’t trying to get out of debts racked up irresponsibly.

“Many people in bankruptcy were solid bill payers until something knocked their legs out from under them,” she told David Cay Johnston, while describing her research in 2000. “For two-thirds of these people, it was loss of a job, for 40 percent it was a serious medical problem and for 20 percent it was the economic fallout of divorce.”

Warren and her campaign team feel, fundamentally, that everything they warned about in this legislation has come to pass. She saw — and continues to see — easy access to bankruptcy as a critical de facto element of the social safety net in the United States. Absent the kind of anti-layoff regulations and universal health care that exist in Europe, the ability to discharge debts in bankruptcy was critical to middle-class families’ financial security.

The bill came back the next year with some new provisions, including the boost to divorced women’s priority in the bankruptcy line, and Hillary Clinton — now a senator — became a supporter. But the legislation got derailed by some fairly tangential controversies related to abortion.

By 2004-2005, however, the abortion issues were ironed out. Warren, still a professor rather than a politician, but an increasingly visible public critic of the proposed changes, memorably lacerated Clinton’s change of heart. She attributed the reversal entirely to Clinton’s status as a New York senator who counted Wall Street as her constituents.

The bankruptcy legislation swiftly became a synecdoche for a larger debate about the American economy. Nobody on either side could deny that the volume of bankruptcy filings had risen fairly dramatically. This, to proponents of the legislation, suggested that the process was being abused in a way that — yes — hurt credit card companies but more importantly hurt average Americans by forcing up the cost of credit.

Warren, in her book The Two-Income Trap, and on a blog called Warren Reports on the Middle Class, which she wrote with some collaborators, pushed a different view. Her argument was that structural shifts in American family and economic life had made middle-class finances more fragile, leading to a spike in bankruptcies induced by job losses or medical problems. She castigated the bill as exacerbating the middle-class squeeze and as being an example of a broken politics working for special interests rather than average Americans.

In her book, Warren singled-out Biden for criticism and slammed women’s groups like the NOW Legal Defense Fund for counting him as a key ally based on his Violence Against Women Act work.

    Women’s groups have too few dollars and too little (wo)man power to fight every injustice. But there is another lesson in the tale of the bankruptcy bill. Women’s issues are not just about childbearing or domestic violence. If it were framed properly, middle-class economic reform just might become the issue that could galvanize millions of mainstream women to join the fight for women’s issues. The numbers are certainly there. This year, more women will file bankruptcy papers than will receive college diplomas. More women with children will search for a bankruptcy lawyer than will seek subsidized day care. And in a statistic with special significance for Senator Biden, more women will be victimized by predatory lenders than will seek protection from an abusive husband or boyfriend.

    The point is not to discredit other worthy causes or to pit one disadvantaged group against another nor would we suggest that battered women deserve less help or that subsidized day care is unimportant. The point is simply that family economics should not be left to giant corporations and paid lobbyists, and senators like Joe Biden should not be allowed to sell out women in the morning and be heralded as their friend in the evening. Middle-class women need help, and right now no one is putting their economic interests first.

Biden’s camp, needless to say, has a different view — seeing the 2005 legislation as an admittedly flawed effort to tackle a real problem that was made better thanks to the participation of Biden and other Democrats.
Joe Biden’s view of the bankruptcy bill

Biden was a strong proponent of bankruptcy curbs over the years, voting in favor of several earlier iterations of the bill as well as the 2005 legislation that eventually became law. He was a significant backer of the 2000 version of the legislation that Bill Clinton vetoed, using his authority as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to insert it into a foreign relations bill. The 2001 version of the bill advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-8 vote, with Biden the only Democrat in favor.

Biden’s core argument, along with other proponents of the bill, was that overuse of bankruptcy made credit more expensive for everyone.

“Unnecessary and abusive bankruptcy hurts everyone,” Biden said in March 2001 after helping to scuttle some liberal amendments that might have derailed the bill. “This costs every single American consumer.’’

Biden’s campaign currently tempers its praise of the bill with a discussion of legislative strategy — arguing that a bankruptcy crackdown was inevitable in GOP-controlled Washington and that Biden’s work on the legislation made the bill better.

“Because it was a certainty that the Republican-controlled Congress and White House would turn the bankruptcy bill into law,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, “then-Senator Biden fought for and won important concessions for middle class families in it, including protecting access to Chapter 7 forgiveness for working people, making child support and alimony the number one priority for debt payments — in front of big banks and credit card companies — and forcing credit card companies to warn borrowers about their interest rates.”

The alimony change is also what Clinton cited as motivating her turnaround. And, indeed, the legislation attracted the strong support of the National Child Support Enforcement Association on precisely these grounds. Bumping the priority of child support and alimony payments ahead of other creditors would have been extremely difficult to achieve as a head-to-head battle of divorced moms versus bank lobbyists. But as a concession won by Democrats, it went through easily as part of a larger package.

In terms of protecting access to Chapter 7 for working people, what the bill did was exempt families with incomes below their state median from the new restrictions on the Chapter 7 process. The idea was this would protect the most vulnerable bankruptcy filers while still ensuring that higher-income families who really did have income to spare ended up repaying what they owed through a Chapter 13 process.

“The credit card and predatory lending industries were sharpening their knives and intent on making the bankruptcy reform law a windfall for themselves at the expense of working people,” Bates said in the statement. “The progressive changes that resulted from then-Senator Biden’s efforts blocked that from happening.”

Biden’s team seems to concede that one provision of the bill that was not heavily debated at the time but has become more salient since then — a rule that made private student loans (only about 10 percent of the market) nondischargeable in bankruptcy — was probably not a great idea. The campaign notes that what it refers to as the “Obama-Biden administration” formally recommended that Congress change this in 2015, that in 2016 the Department of Education took administrative action to grant student debt relief, and that earlier in their term they took a range of measures to try to help with student debt — ranging from the “gainful employment rule” to income-based repayments.

Fundamentally, however, whatever the details of legislative strategy, the point of the bill was to make it harder for people to discharge debts in bankruptcy. Biden’s view was that this was a good idea, and Warren’s was that it wasn’t.
What the bankruptcy bill did

The consumer bankruptcy rate rose from about 0.3 percent of households filing annually in the early 1980s to 1.5 percent of households doing so by the early 21st century.

BAPCPA was an effort to bring that rate down and a calculus that a lower rate of bankruptcies would offer benefits for both credit card companies and their customers. A study from Tal Gross, Raymond Kluender, Feng Liu, Matthew Notowidigdo, and Jialan Wang — economists at Boston University, MIT, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois — shows that this basically worked.

There was a huge spike in bankruptcy filings right before the bill went into effect, followed by a measurable reduction in the number of filings — whether measured in absolute terms or relative to a simulated prediction.

The legislation, as designed, also successfully shifted a higher share of bankruptcy filings out of Chapter 7 and into Chapter 13 where unsecured creditors — mostly credit card companies — could recover more of their money.

That’s what the credit card companies wanted. But, critically, the new rules weren’t just a windfall for credit card companies. Now shouldering less default risk, credit card companies competed against each other to obtain customers and began to offer more favorable interest rates. Using a rich empirical data set of credit card offers, they calculate that a 1 percentage point reduction in bankruptcy filing risk generated a fall in interest rates of somewhere between 0.43 and 1.07 percentage points — meaning typical credit card interest rates for people with fair credit might be in the mid- rather than low 20s had the reforms not been adopted.

If this reduction in interest rates came about because of a reform that genuinely succeeded in targeting affluent debtors who were abusing the process, it would look like a huge vindication of the bill’s proponents. In reality, however, as best as the study’s authors can tell, the income-targeting failed.

Without data that lets them study the individual incomes of filing households, they instead used ZIP codes as a proxy and found that on a neighborhood level there was no change in the income distribution of bankruptcy filings. This may be the reason: Although low-income households were given a safe harbor from the restrictions on access to the Chapter 7 process, the increases in filing fees and paperwork hassle fall harder on low-income households.

What did happen was a substantial decline in the number of people able to file for bankruptcy in response to a medical emergency.

In short, proponents got what they wanted in terms of easier access to credit. But opponents got what they feared in terms of a reduction of the insurance value of bankruptcy as an option for families facing difficulties.

A separate study by Stefania Albanesi and Jaromir Nosal confirms that households locked out of bankruptcy by BAPCPA faced worse medium-term financial outcomes. A study by Adrien Auclert, Will Dobbie, and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham suggests that the older, more generous access to bankruptcy might have helped the country bounce back faster from the Great Recession.

On a granular level, then, both sides of the Warren/Biden argument can claim that some of their main predictions came true, and both sides agree that the bill had at least some good provisions and some bad ones.

But the larger clash of worldviews is as vital as ever. Biden’s 2020 presidential bid explicitly front-loads Trump and his aberrant behavior, casting the former VP’s aspirations in explicitly restorationist terms — Biden will fix what Trump broke. To Warren, by contrast, the system was broken before she ever entered the Senate and the real fight is to overthrow the nexus of special interest politics that reigned in Washington back while The Apprentice was in its first season.
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🗳️ Biden takes 32-point lead over Sanders in new 2020 poll
« Reply #1016 on: May 07, 2019, 04:02:32 AM »
Now, IMHO this poll/survey is a real demonstrtion of Bernays programming and selection bias in taking a survey.  In around a week, Uncle Joe ZOOMS so far ahead of the pack it looks like there is NO CONTEST here at all.  That's just not possible because the demodope paty is so fractured right now with different factions.  So how do they get these numbers and why?

Simple.  The survey was taken for already registered Dems who likely came from a list they have to call up and ask the survey questions to.  Mostly older voters who are familiar with Uncle Joe's name.  It's not getting the new voters from the millenial crowd that they don't have phone numbers for yet.

The result makes it appear the nomination of Uncle Joe is a foregone conclusion, and this sway voters who sit on the fence and are "followers".  They want to be on the winning side.

Uncle Joe is clearly the choicce of the folks in control of the media.  They're pulling out all the stops to promote his candidacy.  He's a good toady for Big Bizness, and they'll happily take him as a replacement for Trumpovetsky, who is proving to be a complete debacle.

Will the strategy work?  Hard to say right now, a long way to go in this horse race.  I look forward to seeing the results out of the first primaries.  Not too far away either now.

RE

https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/442310-joe-biden

Biden takes 32-point lead over Sanders in new 2020 poll


5/6/2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden has a 32-point lead in the Democratic presidential race in a Hill-HarrisX poll released Monday.

Biden won 46 percent in the poll compared to 14 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who came in a distant second place.

Former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg was in third place with 8 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 7 percent.

Since he officially entered the race in April, Biden has seen an increase in public support and become the clear frontrunner in the race.

Polls taken since the former vice president's official declaration have shown him receiving support in the upper 30s to lower 40s, about twice as much as Sanders, his next closest rival.

The poll was taken Friday and Saturday among 440 registered voters who identified as Democrats or independents who leaned toward the party.

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris was fourth with 6 percent, followed by former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) with 3 percent each.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), former HUD secretary Julian Castro, former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) received between 1 and 2 percent support.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, author Marianne Williamson, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Washington), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, received between 0 and 1 percent support.

No respondents expressed support for Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska). Four percent of respondents named someone else. Respondents were not given an option to state that they were unsure or would not vote in a primary or caucus.

The vice president has strong name recognition and is likely being helped by his eight years as vice president to former President Obama, who remains popular with Democrats.

"Biden has seen a little bit of a bump from his announcement, anywhere from 12 to 15 percentage points in most polls that I've seen," Mallory Newall, the director of research at Ipsos Public Affairs, said Monday on "What America's Thinking."

"I think his standing is strong at this point but again, you have to keep in mind that he is by far the best known in the race."

Conor Maguire, a Republican strategist, suggested the race could still turn, noting that the 2016 Republican presidential primary was completely upended by the unexpected candidacy of Donald Trump.

"This is a long, long primary," he told host Jamal Simmons. "At this point, Trump hadn't even made his ride down the escalator yet, so there's going to be a lot of things that are going to change and we're going to see how they move."

Biden's numbers may also have been helped by the fact that the survey question did not give respondents an option to say they were unsure who they supported or that they did not intend to vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

The latest Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted from an online panel of 1,002 statistically representative registered voters with a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent. The Democratic preference question was asked of a 440-person subset of voters who identified as Democrats or independents who were inclined toward the party. The sampling margin of error for the subset is 4.7 percentage points.

—Matthew Sheffield
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🗳️ Beto’s Long History of Failing Upward
« Reply #1017 on: May 11, 2019, 01:06:30 AM »
I knew Beto was Ivy League, but I didn't know it was Columbia he went to!  I wonder if he lived in the Dorms or in the Rich Preppies Frat House or had his own off-campus apartment? ???  :icon_scratch:  Mybe he had one of my old dorm rooms!  lol.

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https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/10/beto-orourke-2020-president-campaign-profile-failing-up-226866

Beto’s Long History of Failing Upward


Beto’s Long History of Failing Upward

His band didn’t catch on, his alt-weekly flopped and he lost his highest-profile race. Inside the long, risk-free rise of Beto O’Rourke.

 

May 10, 2019

Continue to article content

 

The Friday Cover

An illustration of Bernie Sanders' face.
 
 

Michael Kruse is a senior staff writer for Politico.

AMES, Iowa—The presidential run of Beto O’Rourke is a profoundly personality-driven exercise, his charisma and Kennedy-esque demeanor the topic of one profile after another, so it’s surprising to listen to his speeches on the stump in which he doesn’t talk a whole lot about himself. In Iowa recently, over several days in a rainy, foggy, uncertain stretch of spring, O’Rourke delivered a series of speeches and held question-and-answer sessions in which he spoke at length about unity, civility and inclusivity, and only rarely touched on his personal story. There was one notable exception: When he did offer up bits of his biography, he leaned most heavily on his run last year against Ted Cruz for a spot in the United States Senate.

He recounted for the crowds tales of the places he went and the people he met during his barnstorming, freewheeling, attention-getting campaign, coming back to two numbers: 254, the number of counties in gargantuan Texas, all of which he visited … and the percentage-point margin by which he was defeated.

 

“We lost by 2.6 percent,” he said in a basement music venue here at Iowa State University.

“We lost that Senate race in Texas by 2.6 percent,” he said in a downtown greasy spoon in Storm Lake.

“We came within 2.6 percentage points of defeating Ted Cruz,” he said in a community college cafeteria in Fort Dodge.

“So close,” the local party leader said in introducing O’Rourke one morning at a brewpub in Carroll. “So close.”

The part of his past that he talked about the most, by far, was a race that he lost.

ADVERTISING

O’Rourke, 46, campaigns with the wanderlust of the wannabe punk rocker he once was and the vigor of the regular runner, hiker and cyclist he still is. His hair is somehow simultaneously boyish and salt-and-pepper-streaked. He drives himself around in rented Dodge minivans, dressed almost always in plain brown shoes, Banana Republic chinos and blue oxford shirts with no tie and the sleeves rolled up just so. He often dons locally appropriate dad hats, from a maroon Iowa State cap at Iowa State to an orange Clemson cap at Clemson and so on. He holds microphones with his right hand kind of like a singer, and he extends his left arm into the air kind of like a preacher, and he punctuates his points with grins that flash perfectly imperfect teeth.

After Iowa, I dropped in on O’Rourke on the trail in South Carolina and Virginia, listening to him rat-a-tat-tat through his airy, often alliterative talking points about “common cause” and “common ground” and “common good” and “conscientious capitalism” and “our aspirations” and “our ambitions” instead of the “pettiness” and the “partisanship” of politics today, along with planks of a nascent platform like a new voting rights act, citizenship for Dreamers, “world-class public education” and “guaranteed, high-quality, universal health care.” And almost always, when he did talk about himself, it would be back to the time he fell just short. “We lost by 2.6 percent,” he said to a small, low-key gathering in rural Denmark, South Carolina.

Beto O'Rourke

Rep. Beto O'Rourke gives a concession speech at his election night party in El Paso, Texas, on Nov. 6, 2018. | Eric Gay/AP

Celebrating defeat is unusual for a politician, and doing so makes O’Rourke notably different from the rest of the unwieldy field of Democrats running for president. In contrast to the 20 or so other 2020 candidates—all of them in various ways overachievers who tout the litanies of their successes—O’Rourke instead presents his loss to Cruz as a prominent selling point. More than his ownership of a small business. More than his six years on the city council in his native El Paso. More than his next six years as a back-bench House member in Congress. His near-miss against a prominent Republican in a red state was such a high-quality failure, so epically heroic, he seems to suggest, that it should be considered something of a victory. And he’s not wrong to do it. His failed Senate bid, after all, is singularly what made him famous, what got him an interview with Oprah, what put him on the cover of Vanity Fair—and what’s put him in the top handful of aspirants angling for a shot to topple President Donald Trump.

But while it might be his most spotlit miss, it’s not an aberration.

There’s a reason his biography doesn’t feature much in the campaign. For O’Rourke, the phenomenon on display in that race—failure without negative effects, and with perhaps even some kind of personal boost—is a feature of his life and career. That biography is marked as much by meandering, missteps and moments of melancholic searching as by résumé-boosting victories and honors. A graduate of an eastern prep school and an Ivy League rower and English major, the only son of a gregarious attorney and glad-handing pol and the proprietor of an upscale furniture store, the beneficiary of his family’s expansive social, business and political contacts, O’Rourke has ambled past a pair of arrests, designed websites for El Paso’s who’s who, launched short-lived publishing projects, self-term-limited his largely unremarkable tenure on Capitol Hill, shunned the advice of pollsters and consultants and penned overwrought, solipsistic Medium missives, enjoying the latitude afforded by the cushion of an upper-middle-class upbringing that is only amplified by his marriage to the daughter of one of the region’s richest men.

"You could say his greatest accomplishment was to lose. … But that wasn't his greatest accomplishment. It wasn't the loss — it's how he did it."

“With a charmed life like his, you can never really lose,” an ad commissioned by the conservative Club for Growth sneered last month. “That’s why Beto’s running for president—because he can.”

“A life of privilege,” David McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, told me.

It’s not just Republicans who think this. “He’s a rich, straight, white dude who, you know, married into what should politely be called ‘fuck you money,’” Sonia Van Meter, an Austin-based Democratic consultant and self-described “raging feminist,” told me. “His biggest success is by definition a failure,” she added. “He’s absolutely failed up.”

Even by the experience-light standards of the most recent occupants of the White House—a first-term senator followed by a real estate scion and reality TV star—the notion of O’Rourke’s uneven résumé blazing a path to the presidency is new and remarkable. For the moment, he is trailing and slipping in the polls, but it’s early, and he is still attracting besotted fans. The support O’Rourke built that even allowed this run in the first place did not depend on traditional concepts of meritocracy and diligent preparation. To look deeper into his past, to talk to his friends from his teens and his 20s, to read distant clips from money-losing media ventures, and to talk to voters, too, is to see a different kind of claim to excellence. In the end, O’Rourke’s best recommendation that he can win might be that he knows how to fail big—and then aim even higher.

An illustration meaning: "Section break."

 

Beto and college teammates rowing crew; Beto as a 20-something poses for a photo with a dog; the cover of an album for Beto's band, Foss.

Top: At Columbia University, Beto O’Rourke (at right) captained the heavyweight crew team. Bottom left: O’Rourke in the 1990s with his ex-girlfriend, Sasha Watson. Bottom right: O'Rourke (left) and his bandmates in Foss. | Erin Bertocci/Courtesy of Columbia University Archives (top); Courtesy Beto O’Rourke (bottom)

O’Rourke’s ascent in some sense started more than 20 years back. In the summer of 1998, he made the choice to quit New York. He had graduated in 1995 from Columbia University, then spent most of the next three years playing, listening to and talking about music, reading the Economist and the New Yorker, drinking Budweiser, riding in cramped subway cars. He had worked for short periods as a nanny, a copy editor, a hired-hand mover of art and antiques, and in a series of odd jobs around the city that let him split cheap rent in a sparsely furnished Brooklyn loft where he liked to jump on a rooftop trampoline. Now, though, he wanted out, and so he bought a used pickup and drove home, steering toward more open road. He was, he has said, “young” and “happy” and “carefree.”

This decision to leave New York, his longtime friend Lisa Degliantoni told me recently, was and remains O’Rourke’s biggest, most consequential accomplishment—not just a learning experience or a tail-between-his-legs withdrawal, she believes, but an accomplishment. In her mind, it unleashed O’Rourke, allowing him to be “transformational”—first for his city, then for his state, and now potentially for his country.

Trading the bright lights and the bustle for the relative ease and isolation of the desert by the Mexican border, Degliantoni said, was risky, “because as soon as you’re there, you’re off all the radars.” That risk was mitigated significantly, however, by what he was heading home to, according to interviews with nearly two dozen people who have known him or worked with O’Rourke. Riding shotgun in the cab of that pickup was Mike Stevens, another one of his best friends, and when they logged the last of those 2,200 or so miles, Stevens told me, waiting for O’Rourke in El Paso was far from certain success but also “a pretty large safety net.”

He used it. Upon his return, he worked at first in the warehouse of his mother’s store. That fall, he was arrested after driving drunk in his Volvo at 3 a.m. and sideswiping a truck at “a high rate of speed” on Interstate 10. He went to “DWI school,” finishing the next spring.

It was his second arrest. Three years before, he had been apprehended by the police at the University of Texas El Paso after tripping an alarm trying to sneak under a fence at the campus physical plant while “horsing around” with friends. Prosecutors didn’t pursue the charge. (“No consequences,” said McIntosh from the Club for Growth.)

The next year, in 1999, O’Rourke started the Stanton Street Technology Group, an offshoot of which was StantonStreet.com. The website covered the arts and food and local politics and endeavored to be “the most comprehensive, interactive, and entertaining home page in the Southwest.” In the summer of 2000, it was registering 32,000 monthly “impressions,” according to O’Rourke at the time, a figure whose impact is hard to gauge given the early era of the internet and the size of El Paso—but the site also was bleeding money, taking from the coffers of the web design business. Even so, in January 2002, he launched a weekly print version. Bob Moore, the former editor of the El Paso Times, told me he used to rib O’Rourke that one of his few advertisers was his mother—“his only advertiser,” he said, “for the longest time.” It lasted 15 issues.

A photo of Beto O'Rourke's alt-weekly, Stanton Street.

In the inaugural issue of Stanton Street, O'Rourke's short-lived publication in El Paso, he authored an editor's note saying describing his father, Pat, as “the inspiration behind this venture.” | El Paso Times

The newspaper was, said Degliantoni, who worked on it with him, O’Rourke’s “love letter to his hometown” but also “probably in hindsight not the best move.” Even O’Rourke joked about it recently in his remarks in Storm Lake. “In a brilliant stroke of genius, just as print newspapers were in decline,” he told the standing room only, shoulder to shoulder, coffee shop throng, “I started a print newspaper.”

The result? “We bankrupted the operation,” O’Rourke said to what sounded like good-natured, forgiving titters.

No matter.

He had run the website and started the paper “to be as engaged as I possibly could,” he later explained. “The logical conclusion,” he continued, “was to run for office.”

An illustration meaning: "Section break."


He ran for City Council in 2005 and won, and won again in 2007, backed by El Paso’s business elite, and then he ran for Congress in 2012, challenging in the primary Silvestre “Silver” Reyes, an eight-term incumbent who would have the endorsements of a pair of presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and never before had had even a close call in a reelection. It was, political analysts in the area agreed at the time, a bid that smacked of audacity and risk. “It’s close to impossible to get a sitting member of Congress out of office because of the privilege and power,” O’Rourke said early on in his campaign.

But O’Rourke, of course, had a share of both as well, hailing from “an old El Paso political family,” as a local columnist pointed out, calling O’Rourke “just as ‘household’ around here as the stately congressman himself.” A company owned by his father-in-law, the real estate tycoon Bill Sanders—he’s worth at least an estimated half a billion dollars—gave $18,750 to a PAC that supported O’Rourke’s campaign. Reyes threw around the words “family wealth” and charged that O’Rourke was “a show pony” and “part of the 1 percent.”

In the end, though, painting Reyes as an aging Washington insider, and employing block-by-block door knocking, O’Rourke won with 50.5 percent of the vote.

Top: O’Rourke during an El Paso city council vote. Bottom: Campaigning for Congress in 2012 along a busy El Paso street.

Top: O’Rourke during an El Paso city council vote. Bottom: Campaigning for Congress in 2012 along a busy El Paso street. | Rudy Gutierrez/El Paso Times; Mark Lambie/El Paso Times

Friends and admirers say O’Rourke is nothing if not a hard worker, wearing out shoes and racking up miles. “I think he’s the hardest-working man in U.S. politics,” said Steve Kling, a Democrat who lost last year running for the Texas state Senate. They describe him as an exceptional listener.

In his three terms in Washington, O’Rourke compiled a moderate to centrist voting record, which in this left-leaning primary could become problematic. He was known in D.C. as sufficiently affable but also something of a loner, say Capitol Hill staffers, a floating, unthreatening member who had undercut his clout by pledging to stay no more than four terms.

When he began his race against Cruz, it’s easy to forget, O’Rourke was close to unknown—even in Texas. Cruz, on the other hand, was one of the most prominent Republicans in the nation, and no Democrat had won a statewide campaign since 1994. Texas Senator and Majority Whip John Cornyn dubbed it “a suicide mission.”

But what, strategists and operatives say now, did O’Rourke really have to lose? He had engineered his own congressional exit, anyway, 2018 was shaping up to be a favorable year for Democrats, and Cruz was a legendarily unpopular foil against whom he could rally support. And the worst-case scenario? Something O’Rourke had done before. Just go home. Go back to El Paso. Failure, in fact, was an option.

“Beto,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told Texas Monthly in March 2017, “lives life with a cushy net beneath him.”

“It wasn’t that big of a risk,” Texas-based GOP strategist Brendan Steinhauser told me.

"I think Democrats want to beat Donald Trump. I think that they're smart enough to know they need somehody who can win, whatever that means," says Brendan Steinhauser, a Texas-based GOP strategist.

The biggest risk he took in the Senate bid, in the estimation of politicos in Texas and beyond, was to listen to people who lived in all 254 of the counties in Texas more than he did to people who could have armed with him with more targeted data. He tended to rely on feelings more than numbers. It was a root of his populist allure—and also perhaps the reason he didn’t win.

In his concession speech, he positioned himself at the center of a stage decked out with floodlights and speakers and drums, a scene evocative of a rock concert more than a convening of the dejected supporters of a failed candidate and campaign.

“I’m so fucking proud of you guys!” he hollered, eliciting squeals from his fans.

They chanted his name.

“Beto! Beto! Beto!”

After O’Rourke’s recent event in Sioux City, Iowa, I talked to two people who had traveled from different states to see him specifically because of that night. Because they had been inspired by how he spoke about losing. Chris Untiet, 35, had come from California. He works for Habitat for Humanity, and he told me he had watched the speech on the screen of his phone while on a trip to build houses in Vietnam. “I was really moved to tears,” he told me. The other was Claire Campbell. She’s 17. She saw the speech sitting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and will vote for the first time in next year’s presidential election. And she hopes she can pick O’Rourke. “I literally love him,” she told me. In the question-and-answer session, she raised her hand and asked him to her prom.

An illustration meaning: "Section break."

 

Beto O'Rourke campaigns with wife, Amy.

On the final day of the 2018 campaign, O'Rourke and his wife Amy (right) arrives for an El Paso campaign rally. | Eric Gay/AP

“So, he had to lose the Senate,” Kim Olson, a Democrat and staunch O’Rourke ally who last year lost her bid to be Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, was telling me as I hurtled ahead on a ribbon of road slicing through flat fields, from one Iowa campaign stop to the next. “He had to get the nationwide name recognition. He had to do the hard work. And let me tell you: It’s fricking hard work running as a statewide candidate—as it’s going to be countrywide … grind, every day, all day—and here he is, after losing in a hard-fought race, he said, ‘I’m still going to serve, I’m still going to go, and I’m going to run for president.’ So, yeah, you could say his greatest accomplishment was to lose by, you know, 300,000 votes to a guy who almost won a primary for the president. But that wasn’t his greatest accomplishment. It wasn’t the loss—it’s how he did it—that was his greatest accomplishment. It was going to everywhere, all the time, speaking to people, getting out there, not being afraid of anybody or anything and doing that hard grind that it takes. That’s why it makes him an incredible candidate for president, I think.”

Olson, affable and voluble, in essence attempted to redefine the idea of failure. O’Rourke hadn’t failed. Because he had tried and worked so hard. Because the experience had opened other doors.

At many of the dozen or so O’Rourke events I attended of late, most of the people I talked to knew not a whole lot about him—hardly anything, really, about what he had done, or not done, before the race against Cruz. Maybe they had seen what he said about the kneeling National Football League players in a clip that lit up the internet. Maybe they had seen the Oprah interview. Maybe they had seen the Annie Leibovitz shot on the cover of Vanity Fair. The conversations were a reminder that most people not in Washington or even Texas have basically just met him.

“Is he a lawyer?” 70-year-old Ruth Lux from little Lidderdale, Iowa, asked me after O’Rourke’s pit stop in nearby Carroll.

“No,” I said.

“What did he do before he got into politics?” she asked.

I provided a speedy rundown to the Cruz race.

“I think the fact that he came so close to unseating Cruz, that’s pretty important,” Lux said. “A lot of people are relating to what he’s saying, you know.”

"With a charmed life like his, you can never really lose. That's why Beto's running for president — because he can," says an anti-O'Rourke ad commissioned by the conservative Club for Growth

I asked her if she was bothered by O’Rourke’s lack of experience compared with other candidates in the Democratic field. She wasn’t. “I don’t know that Obama had much more,” she said. “Did he really have much more experience than this guy? Really probably not.”

The man who introduced O’Rourke at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge responded similarly. “I heard the same thing in 2008 when I was supporting Obama,” David Drissel, a professor of social sciences, told me. O’Rourke, he pointed out, has not only more congressional experience than Obama but “more congressional experience than the past four presidents combined.” I did the quick math. Trump. Obama. The second Bush. Clinton. True enough.

Obviously, the bar for the requisite experience for the Oval Office has been recalibrated over the past decade or more of presidential campaigns, and doesn’t necessarily run through Congress at all. But voters haven’t entirely abandoned their desire for a candidate to win—and then actually do something. For all the shrugging over his résumé, people at O’Rourke’s town halls clearly, too, were pressing for specifics. I listened to multiple people ask him explicitly to put meat on the bones of his ideas.

Their questions to him often boiled down to one word: How?

Then, when I asked them if they had heard from him what they had wanted to hear, their answers often boiled down to one word as well: No.

Jason Levick, 27, who had driven from Omaha to see O’Rourke, wanted to know how he would cut down on wealth and income inequality.

“A little bit rambling and not really to the point or concrete,” Levick told me.

Brendan Grady, 26, asked O’Rourke in Denison how he would address the “lack of social cohesion.”

“Didn’t really address it,” Grady told me.

Mike Poe, 64, asked O’Rourke in Marshalltown how he would manage to enact meaningful gun control.

“Vague,” Poe told me.

true

 

I heard the same thing in South Carolina. In Denmark, at O’Rourke’s town hall in a threadbare auditorium on the campus of tiny Voorhees College, Sailesh S. Radha from Columbia stood up and expressed his frustration that so many presidents can’t seem to make good on their promises after they get elected. How would O’Rourke, Radha wondered, turn his words into actions? Into accomplishments?

After the event, when I asked him what he thought of the answer, Radha shook his head and made a face. “I need to hear more from him,” he said.

An illustration meaning: "Section break."


And yet, and in spite of a stage of the campaign that’s started to feel more like an ebb than a flow, if I had to divide every crowd into two groups—the squinty, not-quite-satisfied versus those inspired by O’Rourke’s table-hopping battle cries and open to the viability of his candidacy—there was no shortage of dewy-eyed believers.

Many people were struck by his energy and his charisma and his gauzy optimism. They heard echoes of iconic Democrats from the past and saw, they said, a possible path forward—a potential winner—somebody who might be the one to take on Trump. “I’m thinking back to the first encounter with President Obama here at Morningside College,” retiree Mike Goodwin told me after the event in Sioux City.

Lux, meanwhile, the woman in Carroll who thought maybe O’Rourke was a lawyer, waited in line after the event and shook his hand and told Robert Francis O’Rourke he reminded her of … Robert Francis Kennedy. O’Rourke told her thank you. He told her RFK is one of his heroes.

“The charisma,” Lux said when I asked her about the comparison. “The compassion for people at the bottom. Actually, even the physical appearance—the hair, the rolled-up shirt sleeves.”

She told me she had entered 2007 enthused to vote for Hillary Clinton in the caucuses and then for president. But she ended up going for Obama.

“You know, always, it comes down to: How do you present yourself? How charismatic are you?” Lux said. And she said something I heard from many others as well. She was less interested in policy proposals than she was in the possibility of victory. Especially now. “I am more interested,” she said, “in who can unseat Trump.”

Top: O'Rourke speaks to a reporter in Iowa during a March 2019 campaign trip. Bottom left: At an Iowa coffee shop, O'Rourke stands on the countertop to speak to a crowd of voters. Bottom right: Bottom right: Claire Campbell of Sioux Falls, 17, holds up a sign asking O'Rourke to be her prom date.

Top: O'Rourke speaks to a reporter in Iowa during a March 2019 campaign trip. Bottom left: At an Iowa coffee shop, O'Rourke stands on the countertop to speak to a crowd of voters. Bottom right: Bottom right: Claire Campbell of Sioux Falls, 17, holds up a sign asking O'Rourke to be her prom date. | AP; Sioux City Journal via AP

It’s one of the few things, it seems, all Democratic voters seem to agree on. “I think that what caucus-goers are looking for is to defeat Donald Trump,” said Norm Sturzenbach, O’Rourke’s state director in Iowa. “That’s ultimately what’s driving it.”

Steinhauser, the GOP strategist from Texas, agreed. “I wouldn’t want to run a campaign against O’Rourke,” he said. He pointed to what he was able to do in … almost beating Cruz. “Look back at what just happened here. It’s pretty incredible. Who else out there on the list really excited people in that way and is the young-looking guy? He reminds a lot of people of Obama or John F. Kennedy or those kinds of candidates.”

Even with his thin résumé? His hazy policies? Steinhauser cut me off.

“Nobody cares,” he said.

“Donald Trump’s policy positions did not matter,” he added, although it should be noted that his visceral pitches in areas like immigration mattered a lot. “I think Democrats want to beat Donald Trump. I think that they’re smart enough to know they need somebody who can win, whatever that means.”

Whether the failed-upward O’Rourke can be that “somebody,” of course, very much remains to be seen. The Iowa caucuses are nearly nine months away, and there’s a long year and a half to go between now and November 2020.

But one recent morning at a seafood restaurant in Ladson, South Carolina, all the booths jammed full, people standing in the back and all the way toward the door, an O’Rourke aide handed the microphone to 69-year-old Stephen Johnson from Mount Pleasant for the last question of the event.

“Congressman O’Rourke,” Johnson said. “I really like you a lot. But there’s one thing I want to know. If you get the Democratic nomination, will you beat Trump?”

O’Rourke answered the question almost before Johnson could finish getting it out of his mouth.

“Yes,” he said.

The people roared.

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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-warren/democrat-warren-confronts-2020-electability-question-head-on-in-ohio-idUSKCN1SH0DH

May 11, 2019 / 5:48 AM / Updated 7 hours ago
Democrat Warren confronts 2020 electability question head-on in Ohio
Amanda Becker


Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a townhall event in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Maddie McGarvey

CHILLICOTHE, OHIO (Reuters) - At a veterans hall in the mostly white, working-class town of Chillicothe, Ohio, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to about 200 people on Friday about her plans to fight the opioid epidemic, Washington corruption and economic inequality.

Warren’s decision to campaign in Ohio - a state President Donald Trump won by eight percentage points in 2016 - so soon in the Democratic presidential nominating battle is telling.

Ohio does not host one of next year’s early nominating contests. Yet there is growing consensus among Democrats that a nominee’s ability to beat Trump in November 2020 is the number one priority - and Warren aims to convince voters there and elsewhere that she has broad enough appeal to do it.

“I believe that if you’re running for president of the United States you ought to be running for president of all the people and not just spend your time in a handful of so-called battleground states,” Warren told reporters at an earlier stop on Friday in Kermit, West Virginia, a solidly Republican state.

Party strategists and voters are divided over what type of candidate is best positioned to take on the president.

Some believe it is critical to have a nominee who can win back the working-class, white voters who supported Barack Obama but then handed Trump victories in formerly blue states in the Midwest like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Others say a candidate who can drive turnout by appealing to young, minority and first-time voters is the best path to the White House.

Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, thinks moderate candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden or U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar would be best at wooing back working-class voters in the non-urban areas of his state.

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Warren’s progressive policies – she backs free college tuition, a wealth tax and Medicare-for-all healthcare – make her an “easy target” for Trump to accuse her of being a socialist, Rendell said.

But he agrees with other Democrats who say where candidates stand on the issues may not be the deciding factor for voters.

“I’ve never seen voters more single-minded than on the issue of beating Donald Trump,” Rendell said, adding he would work to win Pennsylvania for whoever emerges as the nominee.
HIGH STAKES

Recent opinion surveys show electability topping issues for many Democrats.

In a Monmouth University poll of 987 likely Democratic primary voters conducted May 2-7 in New Hampshire, which hosts the second nominating contest, 68 percent said they would choose a candidate they did not agree with on most issues if the individual were a stronger candidate against Trump. Just 25 percent said they would pick the candidate they agreed with on most issues but who would have a hard time beating Trump.

Forty-nine percent of Democrats in an Ipsos online poll of 960 adults taken April 29-30 said the ability to beat Trump in the general election is the most important factor in choosing a primary candidate, ahead of policies on healthcare, jobs and the environment.

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“Democrats view this not as a regular election but as an existential election for the country. The stakes are high. Each candidate is trying to show how they will take on Trump,” said Ben LaBolt, a former spokesman for Obama’s re-election campaign.

Ideally, a candidate will emerge like Obama who can appeal to a wide swath of Democratic voters, he said.

With just 3 percent of Democrats in the Ipsos poll picking Warren as the candidate most likely to beat Trump, the Massachusetts senator has work to do. Forty-six percent chose Biden as the strongest Trump opponent, and 25 percent said they did not know who was best positioned from the field of 22 Democrats running.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper rejected the idea that only a moderate Democrat can make inroads there. As a roadmap, he pointed to Senator Sherrod Brown’s re-election in 2018, when he won by a higher margin than in 2012 when Obama was on the ballot.

Brown, like Warren, focuses on themes of income inequality and creating an economy that protects and benefits middle- and working-class households. Pepper said that economic message resonates in rural and suburban areas, even if other parts of a candidate’s platform are more liberal than voters would typically support.

“These are the places that responded to Donald Trump saying ‘let’s make America great again,’” Pepper said of Chillicothe. “A ticket that includes that kind of candidate like Sherrod Brown’s did and can hold down losses in rural parts of the state and suburbs and energize our urban core – that combination is the ticket that will win Ohio.”

In largely rural Ross County, where Warren met with voters on Friday, Trump got roughly two-thirds of the vote in 2016.

But Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney, a Democrat, said the party should not count it out.

“I told her Ross County is definitely in play in 2020 and Chillicothe is definitely in play in 2020 and the state of Ohio is a swing state in 2020, not a red state,” Feeney said as he introduced Warren at her event.

Retired teacher Kathleen Burgess, 70, was in the crowd. She said Warren’s early call to impeach Trump pleased her as a progressive voter, but she thought Warren’s economic policies also would appeal to swing voters in the state.

“By advocating for free public college and healthcare, those are kitchen table issues for working-class people,” Burgess said.

Reporting By Amanda Becker; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Steve Orlofsky
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🗳️ Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country
« Reply #1019 on: May 12, 2019, 12:45:12 AM »
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/11/warren-west-virginia-2020-1317611


2020 elections
Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country

The liberal firebrand draws nods and even a few cheers on a trip through rural West Virginia.

By ALEX THOMPSON

05/11/2019 04:46 PM EDT
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KERMIT, W. Va. — It was a startling spectacle in the heart of Trump country: At least a dozen supporters of the president — some wearing MAGA stickers — nodding their heads, at times even clapping, for liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren.

The sighting alone of a Democratic presidential candidate in this town of fewer than 400 people — in a county where more than four in five voters cast their ballot for Trump in 2016 — was unusual. Warren’s team was apprehensive about how she’d be received.

About 150 people gathered at the Kermit Fire & Rescue Headquarters Station to hear the Massachusetts senator and former Harvard professor talk about what she wants to do to fight the opioid epidemic. Trump-supporting college students in baggy t-shirts, housewives in pearls, and the fire chief dressed in uniform joined liberal retirees wearing rainbow “Persist” shirts and teachers with six-figure student loan debt.
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Kermit is one of the epicenters of the opioid addiction epidemic. The toll is visible. The community center is shuttered. Fire trucks are decades old. When Warren asked people at the beginning of the event to raise their hands if they knew somebody who’s been “caught in the grips of addiction,” most hands went up.

“That’s why I’m here today,” she said.

Warren entered the room from behind a large American flag draped in the station. Roving around a circle of people seated in fold-out chairs, she tried to strike a tone equal parts empathy and fury, while avoiding pity. She went full prarie populist, telling people their pain and suffering was caused by predatory pharmaceutical barons.

The 63-year-old fire chief, Wilburn “Tommy” Preece, warned Warren and her team beforehand that the area was “Trump country” and to not necessarily expect a friendly reception. But he also told her that the town would welcome anyone, of any party, who wanted to address the opioid crisis. Preece was the first responder to a reported overdose two years ago only to discover that the victim was his younger brother Timmy, who died.

Preece said after the event that he voted for Trump and that the president has revitalized the area economically. But he gave Warren props for showing up.

“She done good,” he said.

Others agreed.
Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at the Kermit Fire & Rescue Headquarters Station on Friday in Kermit, West Virginia. Kermit is one of the epicenters of the opioid addiction epidemic. | Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP

LeeAnn Blankenship, a 38-year-old coach and supervisor at a home visitation company who grew up in Kermit and wore a sharp pink suit, said she may now support Warren in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016.

“She’s a good ol’ country girl like anyone else,” she said of Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma. “She’s earned where she is, it wasn’t given to her. I respect that.”

But Warren didn’t come to rural West Virginia primarily in search of votes. The tiny state likely won’t decide the nomination, and is all but certain to back Trump in the general election.

Instead, Warren was here to try to send a message that she’s serious about tackling the problems of remote communities like this one.

The “opioid war” is a medical problem rather than a behavioral or law enforcement one, Warren argued. Her plan is modeled on the government’s response in 1990 to the HIV/AIDS crisis, as she explained in a Medium post earlier this week.

“But we got a second problem in this country and it’s greed,” she said. “People didn’t get addicted all on their own, they got a lot of corporate help. They got a lot of help from corporations that made big money off getting people addicted and keeping them addicted.”
Joe Biden

2020 Elections
Florida takes shape as Joe Biden’s firewall

By MARC CAPUTO

Kermit was a subject of a Pulitzer Prize winning series in 2016 that found drug wholesalers provided a single pharmacy in the 392-person town with 9 million hydrocodone pills over just two years. Warren's plan would dole out $100 billion over the next decade to states, cities, and nonprofits, with extra money going to cities and counties with the highest levels of overdoses.

“Right here in Mingo County, people are on the front lines of this opioid epidemic and this is a way to draw attention to the urgency of the moment,” she told reporters after the town hall.

Warren’s four-stop tour Friday and Saturday took her from the small towns of Kermit and Chillicothe, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio and Cincinnati. The latter's narcotics problem is so bad that the local paper assigned a reporter to the heroin beat.

Warren’s approach to the opioid crisis — which calls for treating victims and punishing perpetrators — largely mirrors her response to the financial crisis, when she called for jailing bankers and providing mass assistance for homeowners.

Her trip is the latest iteration of her campaign strategy to distinguish as the most substantive and well-prepared candidate in the sprawling Democratic field. Each time Warren rolls out a policy proposal — almost invariably with the theme of curbing corporate power and Washington corruption — her team schedules on-the-ground events to draw further attention.

When she announced her plan to break up big technology companies, Warren went to the South by Southwest tech conference and then to Long Island City, New York where Amazon had planned to build a headquarters. She whistle-stopped through Tennessee, Alabama, and the Mississippi delta after she unveiled a housing proposal aimed at closing the racial wealth gap.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to start impeachment process now

Congress
‘Case not closed, buddy’: Warren goes all in on Trump impeachment

By BURGESS EVERETT

A Republican protest — or “Trump support rally” — was organized a few hundred yards away from Warren's event in Kermit. But inside the fire station was remarkably devoid of partisanship, even if the topic was political.

Asked late Friday what stuck with her from the visit, Warren said it was the moment when she asked who had been personally affected by the opioid crisis and almost everyone’s hands went up.

“I was in the town where the pain of that decision by the government to not interfere was felt hard,” she said.

As Warren posed for selfies after the town hall, several people pressed notes into her hand that she read later in the car. "Help our town of Kermit, West Virginia any way you can to help us be able to reduce the drug abuse," read one letter.

“A lot of people told me,‘You’re in the reddest of the red here,'” Warren said. But "I like being here."
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