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🗳️ Electoral Politics Versus Democracy
« Reply #1035 on: June 08, 2019, 02:00:54 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/07/electoral-politics-versus-democracy/

June 7, 2019
Electoral Politics Versus Democracy
by Rob Urie


The 1885 inauguration of Grover Cleveland – Public Domain

Party Politics for Party People

American Party politics would be a complete farce if the consequences weren’t so grave. Were either of the dominant Parties to achieve 100% consensus on any issue, it would represent the views of about 18%* of eligible voters. And while a diversity of views would represent social vitality in a functioning democracy, in the winner-take-all American system, it represents continued rule by the oligarchs.

This matters because there is majority support, if not outright consensus, around some of the larger issues confronting the collective ‘us’ of the planet. Something akin to a Green New Deal would in theory— unadulterated and uncorrupted by those who make it necessary, 1) address climate change + mass extinction, 2) employ a lot of people in jobs that pay a living wage and 3) demonstrate that government has a role in useful social endeavors.

However, collective self-interest must first wind its way through an architecture of aggravated taking, the circumstance where some— those with the power to do so, have organized society for their own benefit. As both Marx and Gramsci put it, the existing distribution of buildings, bank accounts and baubles is the starting point for social explanations of their possession. The explanatory process is to start with who ‘owns’ what, and then work backwards.

Graph. Beginning around the time that the American war against Iraq became a certifiable catastrophe, eligible voters began fleeing the dominant political Parties to declare themselves ‘Independents.’ The dominant Parties currently have a 30% / 31% split in favor of Democrats. Successfully expanding their voter base would give either Party nominal control of the political system. But they choose instead to fight over as small number of politically retrograde bourgeois voters. Source: Gallup.

This wasn’t precisely the argument. It was over capitalist production. Ownership is an imperial claim, the imposition and arithmetic of taking from the taken from. This comes to bear politically when what is consumed is necessary to physical existence— the air, water, land and means of sustenance. For instance, here is the IPCC (UN) saying that resolving climate change is urgent. Here is the IPBES (UN) saying that resolving mass extinction is urgent.

More fundamentally, neoliberal governance exists to benefit grim oligarchs who use it to build monuments to themselves. Donald Trump is iconic in this regard, born a lord of the land into an empire of taking; a righteous braggart, thief and wastrel, elevated through circumstances not of his making to monarch and high priest of social pornography. As with co-inheritance colleague George W. Bush, stumbling upward was a birthright, never evidence of capability.

The technologies for managing the polity learned in the twentieth century— that go back millennia in one form or another: the personalization of systemic tendencies and the use of manufactured fear of an ‘external’ enemy, function through psychology and social mythology that are onerous, if not impossible, to disentangle. Gramsci grappled with how to get around the generating mechanisms of social mythology prior to the ever-presence of coercive technologies.

The political impetus, if not the idea, for a Green New Deal arose in 2018 from activists who were both 1) horrified by the personage of Donald Trump and 2) cognizant of the reactionary role of the Democratic Party establishment. Since their (minor) political victory, the political establishment has been downplaying the activist critique and watering down its policy proposals. The role of the political establishment here is to ‘manage’ activist tendencies out of existence.

The (AOC, etc.) insight that Mr. Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of current political travails is being transformed by time and retrograde political forces into a cult of personal loathing. The longer that Mr. Trump is in office, the greater becomes his role in perpetuating the neoliberal order that brought him to power. This is different from describing his policies as neoliberal— the division that has him on the outs with liberal Democrats. The realm of the American critique remains bounded by neoliberal ideology.

Why this matters is that ‘defeating Trump’ leaves the world that created him intact and largely untouched. As metaphor, the insight regarding class and the ‘right’ to abortion is an entre to the logic. Poor women have less access to legal abortion than rich women do. The ‘right,’ while necessary, isn’t enough if getting an abortion means losing a job and / or incurring expenses that the poor can’t afford. Political rights are a conceit of the bourgeois. Economic democracy (power) is needed to make them enforceable.

Breaking down political barriers by erecting economic barriers is the method of neoliberalism— people are ‘free’ to do as they wish if they can afford to. A class of people— Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney etc., was born free to do as they wish through inheritance. And another class of people, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc., was made rich through government fiat (see Dean Baker here). And yet other classes were born unfree, impoverished through their poor choice of parents and the circumstances of their birth.

‘Markets’ are a transfer mechanism; they aren’t ‘free.’ The imbalance of market power behind trade agreements is instructive. One group of capitalists owns thousands of acres of farmland and has access to the infrastructure needed to move millions of bushels of corn to Central America. Another has the land they live on and a few pesos if times are good. ‘Free’ competition between these two groups is an exercise in imperial taking by the powerful from the powerless.

The complaint / critique that Donald Trump is using government to make himself and his family rich is true. However, only through an ideological, and wholly implausible, reading of American history was it ever not true. The Marx / Lenin theory of the state explained this process accurately a century ago. Neoliberal ‘freedom’ is for the oligarchs to have their way with the rest of us. America was ‘founded’ in oligarchy.

The liberal critique of Mr. Trump’s corruption amounts to: he cut out the political middlemen through direct self-enrichment. Barack Obama’s policies boosted the fortunes of the American oligarchs— through stock prices and real estate holdings, as surely as Mr. Trump has enriched himself. This isn’t a slam against Mr. Obama, it is a recitation of history. And there were / are workable alternatives to service to oligarchs.

The overwhelming circumstance at present is that unless giant, huge, very large changes are made to Western political economy right away, both the current ‘costs,’ in terms of irreversible environmental decline, and the future costs of environmental resolution, will rise at an increasing rate. This environmental dysfunction is both fact and metaphor for the broader social ills that neoliberalism is wreaking.

The rise of the global political right is tied to the interests of capital. The American John Bolton wants to steal Venezuela’s oil just as Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil wants to bulldoze indigenous lands for industrial agriculture. The impeachment movement has it perfectly backwards. Get rid of capitalism if you want to get rid of Donald Trump. Because otherwise, there is an infinite supply of future Trumps that will support the interests of capital.

As onerous as doing so may be— particularly for the already vulnerable, there is no configuration of existing political economy that will facilitate a shift toward a livable future. Donald Trump and the Republicans will do everything they can to perpetuate the system that has made them rich and ‘successful.’ The Democrats will talk a better game, but they too worship at the altar of this same ‘success’ and answer to the oligarchs.

Expand the Electorate

Tacticians for the political establishment(s) understand that electoral politics is antithetical to democracy, which is why they use strategies of exclusion to maintain their lock on power. This unity through exclusion is what makes the pretense that they— Democrats versus Republicans, are ideological combatants so self-serving and implausible. Either Party could expand the electorate by bringing in unaffiliated and disaffected voters, and in-so-doing dominate American politics. But to do so, they would have to offer a political program that voters want.

The U.S. has a very low electoral turnout rate compared with other so-called democracies. The question then is why Democrats would focus their efforts on luring a small number of suburban Republicans to vote for Democrats rather than on the large number of eligible voters from urban, suburban and rural working class and poor neighborhoods? The answer is class. The oligarchs + the richest 9.9% won’t support policies that benefit poor and working-class voters. They might oppose racism, but not poverty.

One easy way to expand the electorate is to stop excluding it. Old news here— voter suppression is rampant in the U.S. While this is a favorite tactic of Republicans, Democrats have passed up every opportunity to 1) force Republicans to stop doing it and 2) enact universal suffrage. Here’s the rub— even if Democrats accepted 20% voter suppression as a background level, they could still craft policies that support the poor and working class and bring in tens of millions of voters by doing so. But they apparently don’t want ‘those people’ voting.

In 2018 in my poor and working class, 98% Democrat, neighborhood, the Democrats left door tags with two messages: property tax ‘relief’ that has little appeal in a 90%+ renter neighborhood and ‘stopping Trump.’ This neighborhood suffered horribly in the Bush / Obama years from the twin catastrophes of de-industrialization and financialization. De-industrialization took away the jobs and then financialization made housing unaffordable while growing a below living-wage chain-store economy that bankrupted local businesses.

When Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush based on a dubious vote count in the state in which Mr. Bush’s brother was Governor (Florida), the working premise was that once the Democrats regained the power to do so, they would put every effort into 1) shoring up the voting system to assure a fair count, 2) stopping Republicans from using dubious means to exclude voters 3) expanding the voter base by bringing in eligible voters who don’t vote.

That election was consequential. Oligarch George W. Bush launched a war that killed a million Iraqis and destabilized the wider Middle East. He did so with support from the Democratic Party establishment and a coterie of liberal hawks. From his office as Vice President, Dick Cheney actively solicited business proposals from oil and gas executives, munitions dealers and infrastructure rebuilders. That was corrupt.

Outside of a few legal challenges put forward by the Obama administration, very little effort has been put into maintaining the fiction that electoral politics have democracy as their goal. Again, were either of the dominant Parties to bring in a substantial portion of unregistered and / or unaffiliated voters, they would control American politics. But once impediments to voting were gotten out of the way, these Parties would have to put forward political programs that voters would vote for. And this is what they won’t do.

Where to Take This

The political intuition exists on the left to take the fight to the people. Bernie Sanders went on Fox News and made his case to an audience trained to hate Democrats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accepted an offer to go to West Virginia to make her political case to coal miners before the offer was withdrawn. I speak with right-wingers— about half who describe themselves as liberals, all the time and here’s the problem— they have never heard ideas from the left. Professional-class caricatures have no bearing on who these people are.

Irrespective of the political establishment’s lock on the electoral process, it is only targeting a sliver of Independents + eligible voters who don’t vote. The class relations that define American electoral politics have left a huge majority of potentially politically engaged people without a Party to represent them. The people who are represented by the Democrats + Republicans have class interests that are 1) closely aligned with one another and 2) antithetical to those of the unrepresented majority.

This is why Bernie Sanders should have 1) called the Democrats publicly on their machinations against him in 2016, 2) refused to endorse their candidate and 3) stayed in the race. It is understood that doing so would have been beyond the pale in the respectable circles the people who screwed him run in. Ralph Nader is lucky to have survived the 2000 electoral debacle. But 1) the Democrats screwed him and his supporters and 2) they went on to lose to Donald Trump.

The existing Party system exists to exclude both voters and candidates. Much has been written since 2016 about the Democrat’s ongoing efforts to prevent party-line-challenged candidates from running as Democrats. And they are preventing them from running as independents. By providing evidence of the Democrats’ bad faith, the broader system of electoral politics might have been pried open. That Mr. Sanders chose not to take this route suggests the broader limitations of electoral politics as a route to democratic participation.

That the Democrats have invested little energy in expanding the voter base is evidence of their satisfaction with representing the oligarchs + the 9.9%. This begins to explain the paradox of working-class voters ‘voting against their own economic interests’ that Thomas Frank identified in the 1990s. The premise that urban liberals— the professional class, represent the interests of anyone but themselves reframes the conundrum as a self-legitimating conceit. Phrased differently, if neither Party represents your economic interests, what is the conundrum?

Neoliberalism hasn’t benefited the politically unrepresented. This was understood by Paul Krugman and his allies in globalization early on. Their premise was that the benefits would be redistributed to compensate those whose circumstances were diminished by it. Surprise! The Donald Trumps of the world chalked up their success to their own brilliance and called it a day. The premise was never, as Democrats and the American left have more recently insisted, that large swaths of the working class wouldn’t be harmed.

An unrepresented majority exists to be brought into a left political movement. Such a movement showed signs of awakening in 2018 before being sidelined by the Democratic establishment. The urban bourgeois who brought AOC to congress are nevertheless class allies of the Democrats. Their lease buyouts and stock market gains are polluting cities around the country with real estate speculation. Resentment is building with every tick higher that stock market and house prices move.

The stakes are: organize or perish. The astro-turf and greenwashing groups, Democrats and Republicans, will absorb the organizing energy unless political clarity around competing class interests is brought to the fore.

*Ds and Rs each have 30% of registered voters. Total registered voters are 60% of eligible voters. 30% * 60% = 18% of eligible voters.
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🗳️ Uncle Joe does a U-Turn
« Reply #1036 on: June 08, 2019, 03:41:06 AM »
The rest of the crowd is going to hammer him in the 1st debate over this one.

RE

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/447504-biden-world-shell-shocked-amid-hyde-furor

Biden World shell-shocked amid Hyde furor
By Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes - 06/07/19 03:49 PM EDT


2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is trying to recover from the biggest stumble of his presidential campaign so far — a U-turn on the abortion-related Hyde Amendment.

The controversy has stunned people close to the former vice president because it took place at warp-speed.

“It all happened really fast,” one Biden ally said.

The central issue is the former vice president’s long-standing — but now abandoned — support for the amendment, which prohibits the use of federal money for abortion services.

One big effect of the Hyde Amendment is a significant limitation on abortions for Medicaid recipients.

Biden’s past position was a matter of public record, but it had not been a prominent issue in this campaign until the publication of an NBC News report early on Wednesday morning.

The report, by Heidi Przybyla, noted not only that Biden had supported Hyde in the past, but that his campaign reaffirmed that he continued to do so.

A firestorm of criticism from advocates of reproductive rights followed — along with some of the sharpest attacks on Biden so far from his Democratic rivals.

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was asked at a Wednesday evening MSNBC town hall event whether Biden was wrong, she replied firmly “yes” before going on to describe how women would be hurt by his position.

By the next day, it was clear Biden’s stance was unsustainable — and that the controversy was taking its toll on the candidate himself.

Sources close to Biden said he was out-of-sorts as he traveled around the Atlanta area on Thursday. The former vice president, normally known for his garrulousness, was disengaged from the people around him, these sources said, a pensive mood supplanting his usual ebullience.

Behind the scenes, even some of his own team grumbled that they were uncomfortable with his position. “It was a real problem," one close ally said. "I think a lot of people felt like it wasn't going well.”

By the time he was preparing his remarks for a Democratic Party fundraising event that night, even Biden realized there was no plausible way forward beside switching his previous position.

“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the care they need,” he said Thursday night. “I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”

Outside of Biden’s orbit, Democrats were left scratching their heads about what had happened — and pondering whether the former vice president had suffered any lasting political damage.

“I suspect that his campaign realized very quickly that this is an issue that is non-negotiable in a Democratic primary,” said Karen Finney, a senior advisor to 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
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Finney, who is not affiliated with any candidate in this cycle, noted that Clinton had pledged in 2016 to repeal the Hyde Amendment and that doing so had also been in the party platform that year.

The other major candidates in this year’s race are also in favor of repeal.

Referring to the Biden campaign, Finney said, “Perhaps they didn’t fully recognize the shift. This is not just in the purview of the ‘far left,’ quote-unquote, this is in the party platform.”

People close to Biden note that abortion has long been a vexing issue for him. A practicing Catholic, Biden is personally opposed to abortion. But he has emphasized that he does not believe his religious beliefs should drive legislation.

Wednesday’s NBC News report noted a recent email to supporters in which Biden said he would “refuse to impose my religious beliefs on other people,” as well as passages from his 2007 book “Promises to Keep” in which he described his views on abortion as “middle of the road” and acknowledged that he did not have “a right to impose my view on the rest of society.”

A source familiar with Biden's thinking said it was a complicated issue, inextricably intertwined with the former vice president’s Catholicism. “The Biden ethos is family and faith,” the source said. “Always has been, always will be.”

Such explanations beg the question of what justification — other than cold-eyed political calculation — could be offered for such a rapid U-turn on an issue that is fundamentally the same as it ever was.

“I think he realized very quickly that the world has changed, even since a year ago. Abortion clinics are closing, Planned Parenthood is in trouble and there aren't a lot of options for underprivileged folks. The climate has completely changed,” said another Biden ally.

The broader danger for Biden may be the way in which the change on the Hyde Amendment invites scrutiny of other parts of his past record that sit uneasily with today’s Democratic Party, where progressives are widely seen as ascendant.

Bakari Sellers, a commentator and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, who is supporting Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), described Biden’s contortions this week as a “clusterf---.”

Sellers added, “Since he has recognized that his position for 30 years has been incorrect and he is now changing that, I think it is only fair he now does that with his position on the Iraq War and his position on the ’94 crime bill — and the ’88 crime bill and the ’86 crime bill.”

Biden’s support for the Iraq War and draconian crime legislation has long been seen as a vulnerability.

Others on the left look askance at Biden’s attempted explanation for his flip-flop.

“The Hyde Amendment is a racist, classist and sexist law,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz, the founder of New Deal Strategies. “It didn’t just become terrible in 2019. It’s always been terrible.”

On the other hand, some progressives saw Biden’s shift as evidence of the left’s growing power — and therefore something to be commended, rather than met with churlishness.

Jonathan Tasini, a veteran progressive organizer and writer in New York, sought to put Biden’s shift in a much broader context. He highlighted the changes wrought, particularly by female activists, in recent years.

“If the Women’s March had not happened, if the 'Me Too' movement had not mushroomed, I’m not sure that Joe Biden would have felt the pressure to change his position,” Tasini said. “I think progressives are well-advised to not just look at this in the stark, political-horserace calculation but in terms of, we are moving the conversation.”

Beyond that, the question of potential damage to Biden’s bid for the nomination remains open.

People in his camp argue that voters will forgive the change of tack.

But others said that, at a minimum, the former vice president would need to be crystal-clear in his pro-choice positions from now on.

“He needs to find ways to demonstrate his commitment to abortion rights whenever his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment comes up. It's almost as bad to have two positions on an issue [as] it is to have one bad stance,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.
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🗳️ Biden slumps, Buttigieg soars: 6 takeaways from benchmark Iowa poll
« Reply #1037 on: June 09, 2019, 12:33:26 AM »
One more slip-up for Uncle Joe, and it will be neck & neck between him, Liz & Bernie.

I don't get the appeal of Butt-gig.  He was just a Mayor of a dipshit town.  What kind of "experience" is that to be POTUS?

RE

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/447608-biden-slumps-buttigieg-soars-6-takeaways-from-benchmark-iowa-poll
 
Biden slumps, Buttigieg soars: 6 takeaways from benchmark Iowa poll


© Getty

Just hours before presidential candidates will pitch themselves to Iowa Democratic activists in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, a new poll of likely caucus-goers is rattling the race — and hinting that a formidable front-runner is not as invincible as he might appear.

The Iowa Poll, conducted by veteran pollster Ann Selzer for the Des Moines Register and CNN, found former Vice President Joe Biden leading the Democratic field with 24 percent of the vote.

The race for second place is a statistical tie between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), at 16 percent; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), at 15 percent; and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 14 percent.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is the only other candidate who registers significant support. She clocked in at 7 percent of the vote. Six percent of voters said they were not sure who they would choose on caucus night.

Eight months before voters head to their caucus sites, though, the poll shows movement within a Democratic primary that is still wide open.

Here are six takeaways from the Iowa Poll:

Biden't support is shaky

In December, months before he even entered the race, nearly a third of Iowa voters said they backed Biden. Today, about six weeks after he announced he would run, Biden's support has fallen by a third.

Biden's declining support came even before this week's controversy over his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment, which came after Selzer began fielding her poll.

In December, 82 percent of Iowa Democratic voters said they saw Biden favorably; this month, that number is down to 72 percent of Democratic voters, a 10-point drop. His unfavorable ratings are up nine points.

And Biden's backers are less enthusiastic about their chosen candidate than supporters of other candidates. Just 29 percent of Biden's supporters say they are extremely enthusiastic about backing the former vice president. An average of 43 percent of Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg supporters say they are extremely enthusiastic about backing their chosen candidate.

Sanders has a ceiling

Three years ago, Sanders came within a handful of votes of achieving a stunning upset over front-running former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Today, almost every Iowa Democrat has an opinion of Sanders; only 5 percent of likely caucus-goers say they do not know enough about him to have formed an opinion, a lower number than everyone but Biden.

But Sanders also has one of the highest unfavorable numbers among Democratic candidates; a quarter of state Democrats say they view him negatively, about the same percentage as those who see Biden unfavorably.

The dichotomy between Sanders's high name recognition and his relatively low poll numbers suggest Sanders fans from 2016 are looking elsewhere this year — and that the 77-year old self-avowed Democratic socialist has a ceiling through which he cannot break.

As Warren, Buttigieg, Harris and the others introduce themselves to voters and earn more support, they are likely to pull from a population that backed Sanders over Clinton in 2016.

The high unfavorable ratings that Sanders and Biden suffer aren't the worst in the field. More than four in 10 Iowa Democrats see New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unfavorably.

Warren is on a growth trajectory

Selzer is considered a one of the most skilled pollsters when it comes to surveying Iowa's electorate. What makes her especially effective is that her surveys consistently illustrate who's on the move, up or down.

And, though it is eight months before the caucuses, Warren is the candidate on the move. She has a higher net-favorable rating of any candidate in the field; 71 percent see her favorably, while just 17 percent see her unfavorably. That's a better ratio than Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg.

An equal number of Democratic voters, 61 percent, say they are actively considering or backing Warren and Biden, the highest rates in the field. That's five points higher than those who say Sanders is on their ticket, and nine points higher than both Buttigieg and Harris.

Warren has been more aggressive in laying out detailed policy proposals than any other candidate. She has hired more staffers in Iowa than any other candidate, and she has spent more time in Iowa — more than two weeks — than any other front-runner.

In terms of sheer growth, no one has improved more than Buttigieg, who wasn't even included in the December survey. Buttigieg scored just 1 percent support in the March survey, fielded about a week before his first CNN town hall, where he captured the Democratic electorate's attention and vaulted from also-ran to top contender.

The Beto bust?

No one is in a deeper slump than former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas). In December, a month after O'Rourke narrowly lost a spirited challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R), 11 percent of Iowa Democrats said he was their first choice, and another 12 percent said he would be their second choice.

In this month's poll, only 2 percent of Iowa Democrats say Beto is their first choice, an 80 percent drop. Just four percent say he is their second choice.

The number of Iowa Democrats who say they view him unfavorably stands at 21 percent, almost double the number who said they saw him unfavorably back in December, while his favorable rating — 54 percent — is up only a single point. O'Rourke has held 52 events over 17 days, according to a tracker maintained by the Des Moines Register, but all that hard work isn't paying off.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) haven't gained any traction either. In Selzer's March poll, Booker and Klobuchar each claimed 3 percent of the vote; this month, Klobuchar is at 2 percent and Booker is at 1 percent, tied with the likes of former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang (D).

The best news for Booker: He's the second choice candidate for 6 percent of Iowa Democrats, a level of support that puts him in the conversation.

A tough field to poll

What's harder than keeping an Iowa voter on the phone while a pollster reads a list of all two dozen candidates running for the Democratic primary nomination? How about accounting for the two different kinds of elections Democrats will run next February?

The Iowa Democratic Party for the first time plans to hold what they are calling virtual caucuses — events in which voters who can't attend their polling places in person on February 3 can still make their preferences known.

Party rules say those who participate in virtual caucuses will be given the power to decide 10 percent of the delegates allocated during the caucuses, regardless of how many people show up in person or by phone. About 28 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said they would participate in the virtual caucus, making their votes worth about a third of those who actually show up in person.

That has forced Selzer to ask Iowa Democrats not just who they plan to support, but how they plan to participate — and to weight support accordingly.

"Those who say they are likely to choose the virtual option are younger, more moderate, and more likely to be currently registered as 'no party,' which of course they must change to participate in the Democratic Party caucuses. They are also less committed to caucusing than those who say they intend to show up on caucus night," Selzer wrote in an explanation of her methodology.

Biden's support is higher among those who plan to caucus virtually, 33 percent, than those who plan to caucus in person, 23 percent. Buttigieg and Sanders fans disproportionately plan to show up in person. Warren's supporters are about evenly split, while Harris backers are more likely to say they will caucus virtually.

The new virtual caucus, meant to allow more voters to participate in the process, is likely to expand the universe of those who get to make their voices heard — and it's also going to make the process of measuring those voters all the more difficult.

Iowa Poll has clout

The Iowa Poll will be the lead story in tomorrow's Des Moines Register. It is already playing across CNN, the poll's other top sponsor. And it comes just as Iowa Democratic activists head to Cedar Rapids for the state party's annual Hall of Fame dinner, where 19 out of 24 presidential hopefuls will speak.

Selzer's poll will be the talk of the afternoon — so many candidates are speaking that the state party will kick off the event at 2 p.m. Central time. And it won't go unnoticed among state Democrats that the front-runner Biden is the only top contender who won't show up to woo the activist class.
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🗳️ Warren, Booker stand out on chaotic Iowa stage
« Reply #1038 on: June 10, 2019, 12:33:46 AM »
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/09/warren-booker-democrats-iowa-2020-1358526

Warren, Booker stand out on chaotic Iowa stage

The sprawling Democratic field, nearly all of whom attended the Hall of Fame dinner, sought to make a splash.


Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker greets supporters before the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame event June 9, 2019, in Cedar Rapids. | Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

By NATASHA KORECKI

06/09/2019 08:45 PM EDT

Updated 06/09/2019 11:05 PM EDT


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — In the early state where field organization has traditionally mattered the most, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have quietly and patiently concentrated their resources toward building grassroots machines designed to power them on caucus night.

It showed here on Sunday as 19 Democratic presidential candidates converged for the first time in one venue to make their five-minute pitch to the party faithful. The gathering, designed to honor Iowa Democrats in a Hall of Fame dinner, offered the first glimpse of a sprawling Democratic primary field — and the organizational strength and enthusiasm each campaign could muster.

Booker and Warren weren’t the only presidential hopefuls to stand out. The senator from next door in Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar, also put on a show of force both inside and outside the Cedar Rapids Doubletree Hilton Hotel, where the dinner took place.

But Booker was among the first candidates to ramp up early in Iowa and it enabled him to flex his muscles Sunday, one day after a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom survey of likely Iowa caucusgoers placed him at just one percent in the crowded field.

When Booker took the stage before the 1,400-person crowd, dozens of supporters rose to their feet and lifted “Cory Booker 2020” signs that lit up in the dark.
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“Nobody has seen anything like this,” Booker told POLITICO afterwards, in reference to the raucous 19-candidate gathering.

The New Jersey senator was the first, drawn at random, of the candidates to speak. Each was given five minutes to boil down their stump speech and at times, in an Academy Award-like manner, candidates were cut off with music playing over their speeches.

“You just got to go up there and let people hear you and feel you,” Booker continued. “If you can accomplish that — and I heard some big responses from people who weren’t part of my team there. I just wanted to go up there and frame the election as I see it.”

The crowd reactions and engagement offered evidence of which candidates were still working on their introductions to Iowa activists and which had already established a rapport.

Warren barely got out the words: “I got a plan” before the crowd erupted. At one point they chanted “Warren!” “Warren!”
Kirsten Gillibrand at a campaign event.

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Klobuchar, who drew a healthy turnout at a mini-rally before the event, also drew cheers — and laughter — when she sold herself as the candidate who knows the heartland because she’s from the heartland.

“I can see Iowa from my porch,” she joked.

Penny Rosfjord, a former Woodbury County chair, said the day made clear which candidates were establishing traction at the grassroots level.

“I feel like the people who are doing well in Iowa — I’m not talking about polls, I’m talking to other activists — are the people who are organized on the ground in campaigns. Warren, Booker,” said Rosfjord. “[Kamala] Harris has a good campaign. She’s still fresh to getting boots on the ground. Beto [O’Rourke] is one of the good campaigns, all their staff isn’t out yet.”

Remarks from lesser known candidates and late entrants into the Democratic field — among them, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett — received more tempered responses from the audience.
Andrew Yang in Iowa

Andrew Yang makes a point during the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids. | AP Photo

But O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, closed out the speeches with loud cheers and a standing ovation. Though he set up shop in Iowa long after Warren and Booker, O’Rourke has poured resources into the state and is developing a robust ground game. This weekend, O’Rourke opened up a Cedar Rapids office in what marked his fifth trip to the state and the first one accompanied by his wife, Amy.

“We’re all in this together for the same purpose and cause, and we’re all going to do our best to distinguish ourselves,” O’Rourke said in an interview after his remarks.

O’Rourke said he focused his remarks on Sunday to stress “bold” proposals, including registering 50 million voters in automatic and same-day registration. “Not only is that a bold and necessary proposal to get this done, it’s also reflective of how I’ve lived my life, how I’ve served in Congress, how I’ve campaigned across Texas.”

Several campaign representatives said they viewed the day as the first test to demonstrate their viability and ability to turn people out to the Feb. 3 caucuses. That’s why both inside and outside the venue, a competition played out among campaigns to convince potential caucus-goers that they had captured grassroots enthusiasm.

There were flashing campaign signs, fluorescent yellow glow sticks, giant banners, chanting supporters and even bagpipes, courtesy of former Maryland Rep. John Delaney. A stream of supporters clad in yellow shirts lined the street outside the event to support Kamala Harris. Inside, they attempted a show of strength by noisily waving yellow glow sticks before Harris took the stage.
Bernie Sanders arrives in Cedar Rapids

The Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame event

By POLITICO STAFF

Front-runner Joe Biden, who led the crowded Democratic presidential field in the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll, had virtually no presence at the party event. His campaign said the former vice president missed the dinner due to his granddaughter‘s high school graduation.

For his part, Bernie Sanders took a different path than many other contenders Sunday, marching with fast-food workers through the center of town demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

“I understand there are some well-intentioned Democrats and candidates who believe the best way forward is middle-ground strategy that antagonizes no one. That stands up to nobody and that changes nothing. In my view that approach is not just bad public policy, but it is a failed political strategy that I fear could end up with the reelection of Donald Trump,” Sanders said.

“The American people want change. They want real change and we have got to provide in that change.”
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Offline RE

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Rest of the gang is going to pile on Uncle Joe at the first debate.  Who will be the lucky ones to be in the same session?

RE

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/9/joe-biden-flip-flops-shake-iowa-voters-confidence/

'Rough week': Joe Biden's stumbles and shifts shake confidence among Iowa voters

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the I Will Vote Fundraising Gala Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2019

DES MOINES — Chris Jeffrey smiled and chuckled when he was asked about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s recent stumbles in the 2020 Democratic nomination race.

“He had a rough week — a rough week,” Mr. Jeffrey said as he waited for some of the presidential contenders to speak at the Capital City Pride Festival in Iowa this weekend.

Voters have kept close tabs on Mr. Biden since he announced his presidential bid two months ago, claiming the front-runner’s spot. They also watched recently as Mr. Biden faced allegations of plagiarism and struggled to settle on a single position on a key question about taxpayer funding for abortions.

Mr. Biden for years has backed bills that forbid taxpayer-funded abortion, but he recently told an activist that it was time for a change. Last week, his campaign reversed that position, saying he didn’t support taxpayer funding — and then he reversed again, ending the week by saying Republicans have become so pro-life that he felt compelled to become more pro-choice, so he now supports taxpayer funding.

“I was shocked that he came out first, that he supported it,” said Mr. Jeffrey, 55. “As a Democratic candidate, that obviously is not the position you should have, and he quickly realized that as well too.”

Still, the way Mr. Biden, who has spent more than four decades in the public eye, struggled for footing raised doubts about his authenticity and willingness to shake up the status quo.

SEE ALSO: Sense of urgency: 2020 Democratic candidates fight for Iowa’s attention with absence of Biden

“To go from, you know, anti-abortion to abortion, that is a pretty strong flip of opinion. That is a core belief,” Mr. Jeffrey said. “I feel that you don’t just change overnight.”

It also has opened up the candidate to criticism from some of his rivals, who are reminding voters of their steadfast opposition to the Hyde Amendment, which outlaws taxpayer-funded abortions as well as other efforts to curb abortion services.

“I don’t think there is room in our party for … candidates who don’t support a woman’s full reproductive freedom,” Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York said Sunday at an Iowa Democratic Party forum.

Voters said the shift was too politically convenient for Mr. Biden but they were not surprised by it.

“For someone who has been in politics for so long, I don’t think that was a good look,” said Arlene Brant, 65. “It just kind of made me go ‘Ahhhhhhhhhh.’ It is just poor planning. It is like come on, guys, you should have had that figured out already.”

“That’s why I don’t like him,” said Jackson Linder. “He is not progressive enough for me, but at least he is moving toward the progressives.”

Mr. Linder, 26, described Mr. Biden as the “same old, same old, and like Hillary Clinton all over again.”

Since diving into the race in late April, Mr. Biden has sought to position himself as a front-runner, trying to avoid mixing it up with fellow candidates and casting himself as the inevitable nominee, setting up a two-man affair between him and President Trump.

That strategy has been bolstered by polling showing Democrats believe he is the most electable candidate in the field.

But that scenario doesn’t sit well with liberal activists, who are the most energetic part of the Democratic Party base right now and who take issue with a number of Mr. Biden’s stances over the years.

The 76-year-old has faced blowback over the role he played as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1990s, when he crafted the 1994 crime bill that activists say fueled the mass incarceration of black men. Mr. Biden’s also come under criticism for his handling of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings and Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claims against the nominee.

His votes for the Iraq War and free trade deals also are unpopular on the party’s left.

Still, Skip Moore, a former member of the Des Moines City Council, said there is a lot of goodwill for “Uncle Joe.”

He doubted that last week’s snafus would hurt Mr. Biden but acknowledged the carping.

“Democrats right now are fractured amongst all the different candidates, and if somebody’s got a favorite who is not Biden, of course, they are going to be pointing their finger at Biden,” he said.

There are, however, early signs that Mr. Biden’s armor is starting to show some chinks.

The Des Moines Register and CNN released a survey over the weekend that found an enthusiasm gap. Although Mr. Biden leads the field, his supporters are less enthusiastic about him than other candidates’ backers are about their picks.

“That, to me, is a meaningful gap,” said J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the poll. “Plus he has just got more candidates who are positioned to break through and make a strong case against him.”

The poll also showed Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg within striking distance of Mr. Biden’s lead.

Each of those three spoke Sunday at the Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids that featured 19 of the presidential candidates — but not Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden is slated to make his second visit as a candidate to Iowa this week.

“He came out of the gate as horse No. 1 — can he sustain it?” Mr. Moore, 65, said. “I don’t know. We will have to wait and see.”
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Offline edpell

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1040 on: June 10, 2019, 05:45:03 PM »
I want Hillary Clinton to be the dem candidate, it has maximum humor. 

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1041 on: June 10, 2019, 06:07:53 PM »
I want Hillary Clinton to be the dem candidate, it has maximum humor.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/wVOa3xhl0bg&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/wVOa3xhl0bg&fs=1</a>
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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🗳️ Right-Wing Media Is Preparing to Run the Clinton Playbook on Biden
« Reply #1042 on: June 11, 2019, 06:20:59 AM »
How are elections "free & fair" when the Bernays Playbook is in constant use?  ???   :icon_scratch:

RE


Right-Wing Media Is Preparing to Run the Clinton Playbook on Biden
Sean Hannity says he’s unhealthy. Sinclair says he’s corrupt. How Republicans are working to turn Joe Biden into Hillary 2.0.
by Alison Durkee

June 10, 2019 7:45 pm


Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden hold hands and raise their arms at a political rally. John Taggart/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

As former Vice President Joe Biden emerges as the Democratic primary's clear front-runner, Republicans are responding with a familiar strategy. A year and a half before the general election, conservative news outlets have already been taking a page from their Hillary Clinton playbooks, hitting back against the not-quite-presumptive Democratic nominee by making dubious claims about Biden's health and family business dealings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of those critiques are even coming from one of the Clintons' most persistent adversaries: Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative-leaning media conglomerate and the largest owner of local television stations in the country, has recently been pushing an interview with Schweizer on its news stations, in which he discusses the ongoing conspiracy theories concerning Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Following talking points that first attracted attention in the New York Times, Schweizer expresses concern over Hunter Biden's business ties in China and Ukraine and alleges that the countries' governments were attempting to influence the former vice president through his son. “Foreign governments and foreign oligarchs are looking to recruit the family members of politicians because they believe by striking commercial bargains with them—helping politician families become rich—that they're going to get favorable treatment,” Schweizer said in his Sinclair interview.
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Sinclair's interview isn't the first time the right has latched on to Hunter Biden. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has been the conspiracy theory's biggest proponent, even going so far as planning a trip to Ukraine to try to convince the government to investigate Biden's son—which was then called off when opponents pointed out the move looked like an attempt to influence the 2020 election. The right's decision to cling to the allegations of impropriety seem based more on bias than fact; even Giuliani's point man in the Ukrainian government has admitted the government “[does] not see any wrongdoing” in Hunter Biden's actions. And Schweizer isn't exactly the most reliable source. Media Matters chronicled the journalist's “long history of errors, retractions, and questionable sourcing” back in 2015, and his Clinton Cash book was criticized for errors that included making accusations without evidence and relying on a fake press release as a source. (A Biden spokesperson described the accusations against his family as “a politically motivated hit piece based on a series of demonstrable, factual errors” in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.)
Watch Now: Animal Trainer Breaks Down Dog Acting in Movies

But that isn't the only strategy the conservative media is repeating from 2016. In a callback to the days of the far-right's obsession with #HillarysHealth, Fox News commentators have started raising the idea that 76-year-old Biden's health could be in decline—while offering zero evidence. Citing a comparison Bernie Sanders made between Clinton and Biden, which referred to the lack of enthusiasm around their campaigns, Fox Business Network host Lisa Kennedy said, “The more damage that [comparison] does, you go, ‘You know we haven’t seen Joe a lot, maybe he has hidden health issues, is always wearing an overcoat.’” Trump ally Sean Hannity also alluded to Biden's health, saying on a recent episode of his program, “Joe Biden’s tired. He does not have the energy for this. He’s not up for this challenge. They’re already hiding him like they hid Hillary. They don’t want him out there.” The Biden campaign's national press secretary T.J. Ducklo said in a statement to the Daily Beast the comments “are baseless lies meant to stoke fear in their viewers.”

The GOP's decision to start trotting back out their Clinton talking points comes amid a broader party strategy to take down Biden even before he faces a direct match-up against Trump. As Washington Examiner contributor David M. Drucker reported for Vanity Fair in May, Republican operatives are currently at work on “a vast, coordinated opposition-research effort” to destroy Biden's presidential chances, which digs into a “bountiful harvest of research” from Biden's long-spanning political career. With so much information reportedly at Republicans' fingertips, the latest reveals about Biden's family business deals could just be the tip of the iceberg.

But will their strategy work? The right's pre-emptive Biden fears seem to stem from a realization that “Uncle Joe” could be a formidable challenger to Trump in a general election, and current polls see Biden besting Trump in key regions like the Rust Belt. While Republicans' efforts to start disseminating anti-Biden information has already begun, though, it seems to have had little effect on Biden's current stronghold over the Democratic field. But just as the right's anti-Clinton propaganda likely played a role in her razor-thin electoral loss, could using that playbook once again on Biden similarly tip the scales just enough to benefit another primary challenger—or Trump? That still remains to be seen. “There’s a lot of Hillary Clinton 2.0 in Joe Biden,” a senior Republican opposition-research specialist told Drucker. “I think he is one of those rare politicians where everything old can be new again.”
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1043 on: June 11, 2019, 08:29:47 AM »
To bad we don't even have one of these anymore on this side of the pond.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/TuEEYTLQzJk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/TuEEYTLQzJk</a>

Maybe K-Dog should run for the White Doghouse this time around.  Is it too late to get the word out?

At least I know the country needs fixing like this guy and 'their' answers stink.
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline RE

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Re: Election Errata
« Reply #1044 on: June 11, 2019, 08:51:17 AM »
To bad we don't even have one of these anymore on this side of the pond.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/TuEEYTLQzJk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/TuEEYTLQzJk</a>

Maybe K-Dog should run for the White Doghouse this time around.  Is it too late to get the word out?

At least I know the country needs fixing like this guy and 'their' answers stink.

JC is a really good public speaker.

Labor has a ways to go though before he has a shot at PM in Jolly Old England.

RE
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https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/11/wall-street-expects-a-trump-win-in-2020-but-a-new-poll-points-to-a-different-outcome.html

Wall Street expects a Trump win in 2020, but a new poll points to a different outcome
Published Tue, Jun 11 2019 2:16 PM EDTUpdated Tue, Jun 11 2019 4:55 PM EDT
John Harwood
@johnjharwood
   
   
   
Key Points

    The Quinnipiac Poll showed the top Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, leading Trump by a double-digit margin in a potential 2020 matchup.
    But it also found that five other Democratic contenders – every one the poll pitted against Trump – leading the president as well.
    That strong Democratic edge in potential 2020 contests came despite a slight uptick in Trump’s approval rating and continued satisfaction with the state of the economy.

GP: Joe Biden in New Hampshire 190604
Democratic candidate for President Joe Biden shakes hands as he leaves after speaking at a campaign event on June 4, 2019 in Concord, NH.
Nancy Lane | Boston Herald | MeidaNews Group | Getty Images

It may be time for Wall Street to recalibrate expectations about the 2020 election.

In a survey of institutional investors this spring, more than 70% told RBC Capital Markets they expect President Donald Trump to win a second term in 2020. But a new national poll of voters Tuesday points toward a different outcome.

The Quinnipiac University poll showed the top Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, leading Trump by a double-digit margin in a potential 2020 matchup. But it also found that five other Democratic contenders – every one the poll pitted against Trump – leading the president as well.

Biden, who plans to blast Trump in a speech Tuesday night as both politicians campaign in Iowa, held the largest lead, 53%-40%. He built it with decided advantages among women, independents, college-educated whites, nonwhites and young voters.

Yet self-described Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recorded an edge almost as large. He led Trump by 51%-42%.
VIDEO08:21
Here’s where the 2020 Democratic front-runners stand on the issues

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts led Trump by 49% to 42%. Sen. Kamala Harris of California led the incumbent by 49%-41%.

Even lesser-known Democratic candidates – South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and first-term New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker – ran ahead of the president by a margin beyond the poll’s 3.7 percentage point margin for error. Each drew 47%, to Trump’s 42%.

That strong Democratic edge in potential 2020 contests came despite a slight uptick in Trump’s approval rating and continued satisfaction with the state of the economy. Forty-two percent of Americans approve of his performance as president, up from 38% last month. Seven in 10 call the state of the economy “excellent” or “good.′

At the same time, only 4 in 10 say Trump deserves credit for the state of the economy. And after months of slowing growth and tariff turmoil that has roiled financial markets, the proportion of Americans who see the economy getting better has fallen to 39% from 45% last August.

The election remains 17 months away, leaving ample time for Trump’s political fortunes to improve. Polls throughout 2016, of course, indicated that Hillary Clinton would defeat him for the presidency then.

But Biden’s advantage flashes a particularly bright danger sign for the incumbent. Voters have grown deeply familiar with both men.

The former vice president first must survive the crowded fight for the Democratic nomination. The Quinnipiac poll showed his early bump after entering the race has faded; Biden draws 30% of the Democratic vote, down from 38% in late April, compared with 19% for Sanders, 14% for Warren, 8% for Buttigieg and 7% for Harris.

At the moment, the septuagenarians atop their parties remain focused on each other. Pre-released excepts show that Biden on Tuesday night plans to call Trump “an existential threat” to the U.S.

As he left the White House for Iowa, Trump used a simpler epithet. “Joe Biden is a dummy,” he said.
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https://www.npr.org/2019/06/11/731370440/democratic-presidential-debates-could-reignite-warren-biden-bankruptcy-fight

Democratic Presidential Debates Could Reignite Warren-Biden Bankruptcy Fight

June 11, 20195:00 AM ET
Danielle Kurtzleben - square 2015

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hbWzE4JhQJY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hbWzE4JhQJY</a>


U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren participates in a reenacted swearing-in with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol January 3, 2013.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 2005, bankruptcy was on the rise and had been for years.

Lawmakers were pondering why, exactly, that was happening — and what, if anything, they should do about it — when two future presidential rivals squared off over a bankruptcy overhaul bill that would restrict who could write off their personal debts.

In one corner, Joe Biden — one of the staunchest Democratic advocates for the bill and a senator from Delaware, home to several large credit card companies. He was also the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, which was debating the bill.

In the other corner, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor who had fought against this type of bankruptcy overhaul for years, and who was on a panel convened for a hearing over the bill.

Their conversation started off with a testy (but weedy) exchange about bankruptcy courts. And it escalated from there, with plenty of interruptions and the occasional barb — Biden at one point cast Warren's arguments as "mildly demagogic." It ended with a tense dispute over what, exactly, the dispute ought to be.

    WARREN: [Credit card companies] have squeezed enough out of these families in interest and fees and payments that never pay down principle.

    BIDEN: Maybe should talk about usury rates. That maybe, that's what we should be talking about; not bankruptcy.

    WARREN: Senator, I'll be the first. Invite me.

    BIDEN: Now, I know you will, but let's call a spade a spade. Your problem with the credit-card companies is usury rates, from your position. It's not about the bankruptcy bill.

    WARREN: But senator, if you're not going to fix that problem, you can't take away the last shred of protection for these families.

    BIDEN: OK, I get it. [pause] You're very good, professor.


It was heated debate with a polite, even charming end — complete with laughter throughout the hearing room, but the stakes are higher now, with both Warren and Biden potentially poised to share a debate stage.

And while debate over a 14-year-old bankruptcy bill might otherwise be largely forgotten by now, the 2020 presidential election has made the disagreements between Biden and Warren relevant again — and shows how their exchange over that 2005 bill show up in their current presidential campaign strategies.

With Democrats in the minority in the Senate in 2005, Biden argues he was trying to make a Republican bill better. Warren thought, even then, it was fundamentally flawed and bad for consumers.

What the bill did

A major question at the heart of the 2005 bankruptcy bill was why bankruptcies were on the rise.

One side — including Warren and many Democrats — said it was because people were financially strapped due to major obligations like medical debt, and that credit card companies were exacerbating the problem.

Others — largely Republicans, but also some Democrats, like Biden — said that it was a combination of irresponsible spending and a system that made it too easy to apply for bankruptcy, leading to abuse. That abuse, these lawmakers argued, leads to higher costs for other people seeking credit.

The 2005 bill restricted who could discharge their debts via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and also made the process more difficult. It included a means test, in the form of comparing a person's income with their state's median income. The goal, proponents argued, was to make sure that people who could still pay their debts weren't able to unfairly escape their debts, while also ensuring that people who couldn't pay were able to get relief.

The bill also said that a person had to go through credit counseling before obtaining bankruptcy.

Opponents, however, cast bankruptcy as an important financial protection that the legal system provides to people in difficult circumstances. They thought that the bill would make it unduly hard to file, enriching credit card companies in the process. And indeed, as they argued, credit card companies themselves had lobbied for it.

Warren and her fellow opponents also argued that bankruptcy was a women's issue, as single and divorced women were disproportionately represented among bankruptcy filers. Passing this type of reform would therefore disproportionately hurt women and children, they said (an argument that Warren pointedly made in a 2002 Harvard Women's Law Review essay that focuses heavily on Biden).

A long run-up

This was not new legislation. Similar bills had been proposed in Congress several times — it even reached the Oval Office in the final days of Bill Clinton's presidency, but he declined to sign it.

Biden and Warren had been on opposite sides during that period, as well — Biden voted for that 2000 bill, and Warren had counseled Hillary Clinton that it would be bad for consumers.

And that was the lay of the land when they met on Capitol Hill.

"This is one of those situations where the current story is not misleading. They were both very key players in this," said David Skeel, professor at the University of Pennsylvania law school and the author of a history of bankruptcy.

"Elizabeth Warren was the most important critic of the legislation, and she spent years fighting it. That's what really first got her into the into the public eye," he said. "And Joe Biden was critically important to passing the legislation because credit card companies are very important to Delaware. And that's where he was coming from."

In the end, the bill passed. And as for the effects, they're complicated.

One outcome: the bill included a provision that made obligations like child support and alimony a top priority for debtors to pay off — which addressed one concern of the bill's opponents.

And another, overarching result: bankruptcies fell sharply afterward. And that's linked to one other effect of the bill, according to Skeel.

"The biggest effect is that it is now more expensive to file for bankruptcy than it used to be," Skeel said, "because of the the so-called means test that was put into the 2005 amendments that requires that debtors fill out forms to determine whether they would be capable of repaying some of what they owe."

But, crucially, it's not totally clear that that shows a reduction in bankruptcy abuse, he added.

Research on the bill also doesn't hand either side a total win. On the one hand, the reform was associated with lower interest rates on credit cards, as Vox's Matthew Yglesias pointed out in an article on the Warren-Biden debate.

But, Yglesias argued, studies also suggested that the law meant less access to credit and lower credit scores for some borrowers, not to mention a potentially slower bounce back from the Great Recession.

The political fallout

Potential 2020 voters have already had a preview of Warren's attacks on Biden. In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., attacked Hillary Clinton's vote for a similar 2001 bankruptcy bill — a vote she took after Warren convinced her it was a bad bill. Sanders used Warren's criticisms as part of his attacks.

Warren talked about her disappointment in a 2004 interview with journalist Bill Moyers:

    WARREN: She voted in favor of it.

    MOYERS: Why?

    WARREN: As Sen. Clinton, the pressures are very different. It's a well-financed industry. You know, a lot of people don't realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry. It was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.

    MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.

    WARREN: She has taken money from the groups and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.

YouTube

For her part, Clinton argued that she was able to support the bill because it, at that point, included better protections for women seeking child support and alimony.

That whole dynamic surrounding the law is repeating itself in this election.

"If you talk to many independent voters, they worry that both parties are funded by the same corporate interests," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has endorsed Warren ahead of 2020. "Elizabeth Warren has been part of the solution trying to re-brand the Democratic Party as being of the people. The credit card fight was just one chapter of that ongoing struggle."

While Warren uses the fight as evidence of her willingness to fight corporations on behalf of everyday Americans, Biden and his supporters frame the bankruptcy bill as evidence of his practicality — and they also emphasize protections in the bill like those prioritizing child support.

"Sen. Biden, knowing essentially that the bill was likely to make it through a Republican-led Congress to a Republican-controlled White House, really worked hard to make sure that bill protected middle-class families," said Terrell McSweeney, who worked as a Biden staffer just after the bill's passage.

And that plays into a larger narrative from the Biden campaign.

"Folks, I'm going to say something outrageous," he has said. "I know how to make government work. Not because I've talked or tweeted about it, but because I've done it. I've worked across the aisle to reach consensus, to help make government work in the past."

Democratic voters are concerned with far different topics than the bankruptcy bill, like climate change and a health care overhaul.

But then, if both candidates remain key contenders for the nomination — and if they share a debate stage — there's a good chance the topic will come up again, as a symbol of the differences between the two candidates.

And while bankruptcy expert Skeel acknowledges that he's not a political strategist, he does have one political prediction based on the Biden-Warren bankruptcy fight.

"It strikes me that one potential implication," he said, "is it's highly unlikely you will see a Democratic ticket with both of them on it."
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🗳️ Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pass her plans
« Reply #1047 on: June 12, 2019, 08:16:21 AM »
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/12/18652215/elizabeth-warren-interview-2020-democratic-primary-policies


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 presidential hopeful, speaks during the “We The People” Summit in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2019. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pass her plans

The 2020 candidate on how she’d get rid of the filibuster, curb political corruption, and persuade Americans that government can work for them.

By Ezra Klein@ezraklein Jun 12, 2019, 8:50am EDT
Transcription by Catherine Kim


Oligarchic capitalism? Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has a plan for that. Opioid deaths? She’s got a plan for that, too. Same is true for high housing costs, offshoring, child care, breaking up big tech, curbing congressional corruption, indicting presidents, strengthening reproductive rights, forgiving student loans, providing debt relief to Puerto Rico, and fixing the love lives of some of her Twitter followers. Seriously.

But how’s Warren going to pass any of these plans? Which policy would she prioritize? What presidential powers would she leverage? What argument would she make to her fellow Senate Democrats to convince them to abolish the filibuster? What will she do if Mitch McConnell still leads the Senate? What about climate change?

I caught her on a campaign swing through California to ask about that meta-plan. The plan behind her plans. You can listen to our whole conversation by subscribing to The Ezra Klein Show wherever you get podcasts. A transcript, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.
Ezra Klein

It is Day 1 of the Elizabeth Warren administration. What comes first?
Elizabeth Warren

I’ll do the things that I can do as president on my own. So Day 1 I will sign a moratorium. No more drilling, no more mining on federal lands or national parks. No offshore drilling. A secretary of education who’s been a public school teacher, somebody who believes in public education. A head of the EPA who is not a coal lobbyist. This is how I think of this. Look at the tools in the toolbox. Right? What are all the tools? What are the ones that a president can do — I love this word — by herself? And what are the ones you got to get Congress for? And then what’s the plan to get Congress on board for that?
Sen. Warren (D-MA) visits the Big River United Energy ethanol facility during a campaign stop in in Dyersville, Iowa, on June 10, 2019.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits the Big River United Energy ethanol facility during a campaign stop in in Dyersville, Iowa, on June 10, 2019. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Ezra Klein

But you have proposed a bunch of big legislative projects. Of them, what comes first?
Elizabeth Warren

The best place to start is with the corruption package. And the reason for that is that the rich and the powerful have been calling the shots in Washington forever and ever and ever it feels like. I mean many, many decades. They’re not going to just say, “Oh, well, okay. Now you need a wealth tax. Now you want to make these other investments.”

So part of it is to disrupt the influence of money in Washington. It’s to push back against the lobbying industry. It’s to say to all those congresspeople and their chiefs of staff, “Hey, this is your job, and you’re not going to have an opportunity to lobby afterward so don’t be looking over the horizon at your next job and adjusting your behavior accordingly.”

I want everybody in the game right now for the people, not for the folks with money, not for the billionaires, not for the giant corporations, and I think going straight up the middle on the corruption plan is the first one. Knock them back, and while they’re all scrambling, then start passing the rest of it.
Ezra Klein

Do you need to start with the filibuster before you can do any of those plans?
Elizabeth Warren

That depends on whether or not we have a majority on our side in the Senate, and it depends on what Mitch McConnell does.
Ezra Klein

But you know what Mitch McConnell will do.
Elizabeth Warren

Yeah. Okay. I always want to say he is the one who will determine that. But I will say this for sure: This business that Democrats play by one set of rules and Republicans play by a different set of rules — those days are over when I’m president. We’re not doing that anymore.
Ezra Klein

What is the difference in the rules?
Elizabeth Warren

Oh, come on. I watched Mitch McConnell when the Republicans were in the minority in the Senate and President Obama was in the White House, and the Democrats obviously were in the majority in the Senate. He used every rule, every trick, every blue slip to delay, to hold back, to keep anything from passing, and Democrats largely respected that and said, “Well those are the rules.”

Then, when it flips and the Republicans are in the majority, it all starts to look different. They steal a Supreme Court seat. Now the Republicans have Donald Trump as president and they’re in the majority in the Senate, and the rules are entirely different from where they were before. Watch what’s happening not just with the Supreme Court, but with judges up and down the line. Mitch McConnell has made it clear that there is no point of principle. For him, it is all about power.
Supporters listen as Sen. Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign event in Queens, New York on March 8, 2019.
Supporters listen as Sen. Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign event in Queens, New York on March 8, 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Ezra Klein

If you are lucky enough to have a majority, it’ll be 51, 52, on the outside 53 seats in the Senate. Then you get into the filibuster. You were the first senator to call for its abolition this time. Even your Democratic colleagues are not there. What argument would you make to them to get rid of it?
Elizabeth Warren

I think this is one of the reasons to run on plans because if I get elected on those plans, it gives me the capacity to turn around and say to my colleagues, “Hey that’s what I ran on, that’s what the majority of the American people voted for, that’s what they got out and fought for. So as the Democratic Party, that’s what we got to do.”
Ezra Klein

There’s an argument that you hear a lot lately that before anything else happens, the next president needs to focus on climate change because climate change has a ticking clock attached to it. What do you think of that?
Elizabeth Warren

I think there’s a lot of truth in that. That’s why I’ve said on the first day that I am sworn in, I’ll put a moratorium in place so that there will be no new drilling, no new mining on federal lands, no offshore drilling. That’s something within the capacity of the president of the United States. It’s a difference to make from Day 1. Remember, that’s pretty significant — putting all our federal lands, it’s near a quarter of our land mass, on the side of helping the climate instead of being a source of more carbon in the air.
Ezra Klein

Tell me about your theory of how power sequences. There’s long been a view that presidents have up to 100 days. Maybe they don’t even have that anymore, but in theory, you have this 100 days. You can do a lot then. But every single day you’re there, power drains out of the office. Controversy builds. People get tired. You get nearer to the next election.

Do you have a different theory? Do you think that there’s a way to sequence your agenda such that you’re building momentum as opposed to losing it? Or do you really have to say it’s going to be these one or two or three legislative fights, and that’s all the system can handle in a big way in the first term?
Elizabeth Warren

Here’s my theory of it. It starts now. That’s what true grassroots building is about. Green New Deal. More and more people are in that fight and saying that matters to me. Medicare for all, that fight that matters to me. Student loan debt cancellation, 43 million Americans who would be affected by my proposal there. That matters to me. 12 million kids who could be affected by child care and universal pre-K for all our 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. That matters to me.

As those issues over the next year and a quarter get clearer, sharper, they’re issues worth fighting for, and issues where we truly have leadership on it, have people out there knocking doors over it. That’s where the legislative agenda starts. It starts a year and a half before the election. Then, the idea is to take that energy from the election and take it straight into Congress.

For example, I have got a plan to just attack this opioid crisis head-on. For far too long, we’ve been nibbling around the edges at it. Every year, you watch the number of opioid deaths, people who are addicted, keep going up. Every year the government spends a little more money, but the government is always behind the curve. Today in America — what is it, an estimated 193 people or so will die from an overdose?

It’s like a plane crash happening again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. And yet if a beloved friend of yours, your sister or your brother came to you and said, “Okay, I know I’ve got a problem.” They have a less than one in six chance of getting the medical treatment they need, not because we don’t know what to do but because right now it’s just not there. The facilities aren’t there. The help is not there.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds Francina Seedman-Stout, 8 months, after a teacher’s union town hall, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2019.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds Francina Seedman-Stout, 8 months, after a teachers union town hall, in Philadelphia on May 13, 2019. Mark Makela/Getty Images

So what do we do? Last year, Elijah Cummings and I with the doctors, we talked with the health care professionals, the people who are patients and patient advocacy groups, lots of different groups, and got the outlines of a bill together. We introduced that last year. It got a lot of co-sponsors. This year, we had some improvements on that bill. We got more co-sponsors, and we laid out how we would pay for it. We introduced it again.

My hope is that they’ll run it over in the House all the way through the legislative process. Hold hearings on it. Get a vote on it because look at the position that puts us in come January 2021 if we have a democratic majority in the House and the Senate and we’ve already vetted these bills, we’ve already run them through the process, we’ve already talked about them out there in public with voters. Now we’ve got a chance to start making a real difference early.

You asked me about my theory about this. This is the importance of engaging everyone. The importance not just of talking to other senators and representatives but the importance of engaging people across this country. You start to win and you can keep winning. So first thing I want to do is I want to push back. I want this anti-corruption bill. But the second thing I want is that wealth tax.

Two cents on the one-tenth of one percent, the greatest fortunes in this country, $50 million and above, and for two cents we can provide universal child care, universal pre-K, raise the wages of all our child care workers and pre-K workers, universal technical school, two-year college, four-year college, and cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who’ve got it. We cancel student loan debt for 43 million Americans across this country.

The vision of what government can do and whose side government is on changes just like that.
Ezra Klein

So now I want to then go back to the president’s toolbox. Something that is different about you than a lot of the candidates is you’ve actually set up an executive branch agency. And then, as a senator, you’ve been more focused on the regulatory process than others in the body. What powers does a president have that people don’t realize a president can use?
Elizabeth Warren

First, just start with those agencies. You know, most of those agencies were built at a time when we believed in government, and we believed that by having these specialized agencies that would help make us safer and wealthier and help promote the common good. That was true whether you were talking about the Food and Drug Administration or the Department of Commerce or the Environmental Protection Agency. Those agencies still have a huge number of tools. There is an enormous ...
Ezra Klein

Give me an example of one tool that people don’t think of.
Elizabeth Warren

Let me think. Obviously, the Environmental Protection Agency, and people think of that one a lot. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the capacity because it has the expertise. It has the long-term people are there, longer than the term of a president. They develop expertise in an area, and so long as they stay focused on the mission and have a courageous director, there’s an enormous amount that these agencies can do.

So, first job of a president is you think about the head of every one of those agencies and you look for someone who has got the vision, who understands the job of the Food and Drug Administration is to be on the side of people who are trying to get a prescription filled and to make that work better.

It’s to get that generic drug market that’s 90 percent of all the drugs in America, or at least could be, to get that market up and working, and if it’s not, to start finding alternatives. What tools have you got in the FDA’s toolbox to make this happen? Someone who’s aggressive, somebody who’s ready to get in the fight — you get the right people at the tops of those agencies; personnel is policy here. The tools are already embedded in the agencies. It’s just going to take somebody to pick them up and use them.
Ezra Klein

You’re a capitalist at a time when democratic socialists have become popular. What is the difference between you and the democratic socialists? Where do you disagree?
Senator Warren

All I can do is tell you what I believe in because I can’t tell you about anybody else.
Ezra Klein

Do you think you don’t disagree?
Elizabeth Warren

I don’t know, but let me tell you what I believe in. I believe in markets. I believe in the benefits that come from markets, that two people coming together, or two companies, or a company and a person coming together to exchange goods and services, yay! That’s how we build a lot of wealth in this country and a lot of innovation and create a lot of opportunity.

But markets without rules are theft. It’s absolutely crucial that if we’re going to have a market economy that works, that we’ve got to have a set of rules around it. Look back to the lead up to the crash in 2008. You and I have talked about this in the past. The big banks that looked around and said, “Whoa, we can make a lot of money on cheating people, tricking them on mortgages that nobody ever would understand.”

That first big round of subprime mortgages that went out, it didn’t go out to people trying to buy a home. The first years of those mortgages went to refinance people, particularly African Americans and Latinos, who had already bought homes. These were just tricking, scamming mortgages that got people to sign up for what they told were lower monthly payments or what they told was a little cash up front to repair the roof, and that two years later ended up costing them their homes.

That industry, those bankers, once they had perfected their techniques on black and brown communities, they then went all over the nation and not only nearly brought our economy to its knees but nearly crashed the worldwide economy. Now that’s a market that isn’t working. That’s a market where you need regulation, and you need regulators who enforce those regulations.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at an organizing event in Glendale, California, on February 18, 2019.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at an organizing event in Glendale, California, on February 18, 2019. Mario Tama/Getty Images
Ezra Klein

What I understand to be the difference people have here is there is a view that the market has taken over too many spheres of American life. There are things in the market — ranging from, increasingly, education to private health insurance — that should not be there. The other side of that debate is people who believe no correctly structured competition would be good. So particularly in those two areas, health care and education, should there be markets?
Elizabeth Warren

I think that markets mostly don’t work in those areas. It’s not to say there aren’t pieces that you could make work, but no. Health care is something that is a basic human right, and we fight for basic human rights. Public education is public education because it’s not market-driven. Markets don’t work well here.

There are whole areas where we can’t and shouldn’t try to use markets, but for buying and selling goods? Yeah. I think markets work if you have the right kinds of regulations in place. I think they give an opportunity for a lot of creativity and the creation of widespread wealth. When I say that, I don’t just mean for billionaires to become double, triple billionaires. If you’ve got the right set of rules in place, it means you’re creating the kind of growth that lets families, lets individuals, really build some security and some opportunity for themselves and their kids.
Ezra Klein

I get the sense that you think we’re in a period where you’ve got to save capitalism from the capitalists, that if you don’t actually have a change in overall government policy, you’re actually going to lose a generation of people from believing in the kinds of things you’re talking about. Philosophically, is that fair?
Elizabeth Warren

Well, it’s not only about believing. It’s about the reality. I just look at this now. What we’ve got in this country is not sustainable. We have an economy and a government that work better and better and better for a thinner and thinner and thinner slice at the top and worse and worse and worse for everyone else. That just can’t work forever.

Look at it this way. I was talking a minute ago about the two-cent wealth tax. My proposal is a tax on the 75,000 biggest fortunes in this country. If you’ve got more than $50 million, the 50 millionth and first dollar gets taxed at two cents. And then two cents on every dollar after that. Two cents. What could we do with two cents? Look at the opportunity it builds in childcare and early childhood education and technical school and college and freeing up people from huge debt burdens.
Sen. Warren (D-MA) addresses a rally against the Republican tax plan outside the U.S. Capitol on November 1, 2017.
Sen. Warren (D-MA) addresses a rally against the Republican tax plan outside the U.S. Capitol on November 1, 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Think of it this way. The bottom 99 percent last year paid all-in on their taxes 7.2 percent of their total wealth. Top one percent? They paid 3.2 percent of their total wealth. The big fortunes, and here I’m just doing the top one-tenth of one percent, are so big now, and they are growing on their own — this is [Thomas] Piketty and [Emmanuel] Saez and others — they are growing on their own. They are now capital. You don’t have to work if you’ve got one of those big fortunes. Those things are managed by professional managers. They keep growing on their own. They keep accumulating more wealth so that just two cents would give us enough to reinvest and help to level that playing field again.
Ezra Klein

Let me try to take what I think ends up being the other side of the argument. In terms of values, I’m with you, but what seems to happen is two-fold.

It’s not that people wouldn’t like to see those fortunes taxed. It’s that you get caught up in two things. One is, well, the government is going to waste that money. We’re here in California. High-speed rail? Not going to happen. There are people who remember healthcare.gov. There is, on the one hand, a weaponized effort to make government seem bad at doing things, but also there are times when government is bad at doing things.

But then the other, more poisonous one, is people come up, like Donald Trump, and they say it’s fine when the government does things, but the problem is it’s going to take your money and do things for people who don’t look like you. It’s all getting eaten up by immigrants. And so you end up, it seems to be, with two blockages to that kind of argument. One is people’s mistrust of the government — some of it fair, some of it not as fair — but the other is a fight over who should benefit. How do you talk to those folks?
Elizabeth Warren

I got a plan for that.
Ezra Klein

Do you?
Elizabeth Warren

I do. Listen to what I was just talking about. It’s that I pair these things together. It’s the two-cent wealth tax and student loan debt cancellation for 43 million Americans.
Ezra Klein

When you were saying this earlier, you said you would go to the wealth tax second. You’re saying here that what you want to do is use dedicated taxes. You want to put the wealth tax and the student loan stuff in the same bill.
Elizabeth Warren

And this is how you pay for it. Yeah. This is how you pay for it. You’ve got all your pay-fors together. But notice how much you get from the wealth tax. The two-cent wealth tax is enough to do all those things I talked about, plus have $100 billion to put into opioids and still have nearly half a trillion dollars left over. It’s a staggering amount of money that it produces because there is such extraordinary concentrated wealth in this country. Getting that two cents opens up real opportunity for everybody else.

Here’s the thing. I think that most Americans would like to see us invest in all of our babies. Not everybody wants to reach in their pocket and pay for it right now, but if you said, “two-cent wealth tax, it’s all of our kids who are going to be able to participate in this,” I think that matters.

All of our kids who have gotten hit with this student loan debt, who don’t yet have giant incomes, they’re going to get some of that student loan debt forgiven. I think the values are right. I think they’re then with us on making this kind of change. And then I think this becomes transformative. It becomes the tangible example of government on your side.
Sen. Warren (D-MA) during an election night rally celebrating her win in Boston on November 7, 2018.
Sen. Warren (D-MA) during an election night rally celebrating her win in Boston on November 7, 2018. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Ezra Klein

What is your narrative of why we don’t have that already? In the polling, the popularity of these ideas has been clear for a long time. Barack Obama proposed universal pre-K, and he was backing that with different kinds of taxes on the wealthy. The [Warren] Buffett tax was a very popular idea, but it didn’t pass. So what has been the blockage that you would lift?
Elizabeth Warren

Washington works for the wealthy and the well-connected.
Ezra Klein

And it’s the corruption bill that would change that?
Elizabeth Warren

It totally is corruption. The corruption bill starts to knock it back, but you’ve got to get out there and beat this drum every day. It’s going to take a lot of popular support and a lot of demand. And you’ve got to be willing to fight that fight. You can’t just sit back and say, “Well I showed you it made sense.” You really have got to be willing to wade into that fight.

But I believe this is a moment when people are ready for that. I think that there are so many people who look around and say this just isn’t working. That’s true not just for Democrats. It’s true for Republicans. That’s why the wealth tax enjoys huge popularity not just among Democrats, not just among independents, but a majority of Republicans support it.

That’s why cancelation of student loan debt — remember it’s not just Democrats who are getting crushed by that student loan debt, it’s Republicans too. It’s a reminder that government can work for all of us, that there’s not just one cookie on the table left, and if he grabs it, you don’t get it. That’s the politics of division. That’s the politics that Trump has played all along and that Republicans have played over and over and over.

But yes, this is about corruption. Look, I’ll give you the best proof point on that. How could it be that after years and years when you never could get the Buffett tax through, the Republicans could just turn around, go behind closed doors, lock the doors? The only people they let in — I always thought this was great — the House and the Senate were the Republican members, the lobbyists, and a handful of donors ...
Ezra Klein

You’re talking about the tax bill negotiation.
Elizabeth Warren

The tax bill. I’m sorry, I’m should have made that clear. They wrote a tax bill then that gave away a trillion-and-a-half dollars. They made up a bunch of things that they said this tax bill was going to do. I hope you saw the report that just came out recently from the government that said none of that stuff happened. No, it did not stimulate the economy. No, it did not stimulate more investment. No, the benefits did not trickle down.
Ezra Klein

Brought the stock buybacks up.
Elizabeth Warren

Stock buybacks went through the roof, so if you were an executive or a big shareholder, you did great with that tax giveaway. It was a tax scam. Yet, man, they just stood there and passed it. Every single Republican voted for that thing in the House and in the Senate. They just crammed the thing through. They had the energy. They did it, and they did it for whom? They were pretty open about it. They did it for their donors.
Ezra Klein

How different would it be for Democrats — or in this case for you — to run against Donald Trump in 2020 after he has passed all this agenda, the Republican agenda, versus in 2016, when he was claimed to be a populist running to reform the Republican Party. In polls, people thought Donald Trump was quite moderate in 2016. It seems running actually having a record now is going to snap what he is into place in a way that makes his reelection campaign very different.
Elizabeth Warren

He’s now got a record. Over and over, you can say he gave away a trillion and a half dollars that just all went to the rich guys. The tariffs are killing you. It’s the ability now to come back and just say here are the facts. Here’s what happens and just hold him to it.

Now I don’t want to kid myself about it. He is a master at distraction and will want to talk about something else. I think part of this will be talking about what he’s done, but I think the much more central part will be, as Democrats, are we just going to be not-Trump? In which case, we ignore the fact something was broken in this country to elect a guy like Trump. Or are we going to be the party that says we get what’s wrong, we have a plan to fix it, and we’re going to build a grassroots movement to make that happen?
Ezra Klein

We’ve only got so much time left, so I want to do a bit of a policy lightning round here. Quick policy questions, quick policy answers. You have a pretty interesting housing plan. You say that in order to come in for the grants in that plan, states and localities will have to change their land-use laws. What kind of changes are you imagining? What should be different?
Elizabeth Warren

I think this is one of those where it’s time to start looking at best practices and to put some incentive on the table. Regional planning is way, way, way overdue. Every little town that has to consider its budget right up to its border, but when you think about housing — housing now has much more in the way of regional effects. So one of the features in the plan is to say that the federal government can be a good partner. We can’t come in and tell you how it should be done. It shouldn’t be done the same way in Ames, Iowa, that it should be in Manhattan. San Francisco does not look like Jacksonville. These places are different from each other. Small towns are different from big cities.

But come up with a plan, and here’s the way to measure the plan. Does it help reduce the cost of housing going forward so that the calculation for private investment or private investment with a small supplement from the government is likely to produce more housing in this region?
Sen. Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign event in Queens, New York City, on March 8, 2019.
Sen. Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign event in Queens, New York City, on March 8, 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Ezra Klein

Ranked-choice voting.
Elizabeth Warren

You know this is one of those things I had thought, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I understand this well enough.” Yet I’ve started reading more of the data, working through more of the examples, and there’s a lot to be said for it. Engaging more people, and saying, “Okay, talk about your first choice and your second choice.” That that might help us as a country get more people both running for office and engaged in those political campaigns.

I just want to say a little piece off to the side on this. I think democracy is at risk in this country, and I think it’s—
Ezra Klein

Well, we’re not much of a democracy.
Elizabeth Warren

Well, it’s been under attack though for decades now that voting has been under attack. We now have a major political party in the United States, the Republicans, whose plan to stay in power is keep a whole bunch of American citizens from voting. I mean think about that. That’s what voter suppression is about. That’s what the gerrymandering is about. We now have the attacks on democracy, on an independent judiciary, the attacks on a free press, but the part that gives me so much hope is how much democracy itself is reinventing. People now hook up by email. They hook up by text. They come together, people who hadn’t known each other before.
Ezra Klein

To me, this is a bigger deal than people want to admit. Right now, the White House is controlled by the candidate who lost the popular vote. Democrats have won more votes in the Senate over the past three Senate cycles than the Republicans, but they’re in the minority. Democrats have the House, but because of the Senate and the White House, they have a big deficit in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court keeps making decisions that make it easier for Republicans to win more elections. We’re pretty far from a democracy. This is a thing that people do not want to admit about America, but we’re not a democratic republic. We’re not a democracy. We’re just something else.
Elizabeth Warren

And it’s all still sliding the wrong direction. The voter suppression laws keep accelerating. The efforts to gerrymander with precision keep moving stronger. Mitch McConnell announcing that having stolen a Supreme Court seat from a Democratic president — he certainly wouldn’t apply that same rule now that he’s got a Republican president. That’s why I think of what I’m doing in this election is very much about spending time at the grassroots. I don’t spend time off with billionaires and heads of corporations.
Ezra Klein

Universal basic income.
Elizabeth Warren

I think there’s so much more that we should do before we get there. There’s so much more we should do. Start with the wealth tax. Come on. Start with universal child care and education and investment in education from zero on through college. Let’s see what that starts to do. Do the student loan debt forgiveness and that’ll start to close the black and white wealth gap. Use my housing plan and attack redlining straight on. Help close the differences between the poorest in this country and the middle class. Give people more opportunities. Let’s get everybody on board and try that.
Ezra Klein

I know you’ve got to leave, but the last question we always ask is what are three books that have changed the way you think that you would recommend to the audience?
Elizabeth Warren

Oh wow. My god. Right now, it feels like The Little Engine That Could.
Ezra Klein

As a new father, not a bad recommendation.
Elizabeth Warren

That’s right. I actually thought Piketty’s book on capitalism.
Ezra Klein

Capital in the Twenty-First Century?
Elizabeth Warren

Yeah, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Ezra Klein

Some light bedtime reading.
Elizabeth Warren

It’s a terrific book in making you think about the difference between income and wealth. and how high income is one thing, but building these citadels of wealth, that’s something else. Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and [Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer’s] $2.00 a Day, reading those books about the importance of housing to economic stability in America but also what it means to live on the fringe economically — what that struggle looks like and to think about, in those circumstances, what does equality of opportunity mean? They’re powerful books.
Sen. Warren (D-MA), looks down on her event crowd before announcing her official bid for President on February 9, 2019 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Warren looks down on her event crowd before announcing her official bid for president on February 9, 2019, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Scott Eisen/Getty Images
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🗳️ California poll: Warren surges to second, Harris falls to fourth
« Reply #1048 on: June 14, 2019, 03:23:55 AM »
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https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/13/warren-california-poll-2020-election-1363619


Elizabeth Warren’s surge into a tie with Bernie Sanders in a UC Berkeley-Los Angeles Times poll aligns with other recent polls that show her cutting into Sanders’ support with liberal voters. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

2020 Elections
California poll: Warren surges to second, Harris falls to fourth

By CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO

06/13/2019 10:19 AM EDT


Elizabeth Warren is threatening Joe Biden’s front-runner standing in California, and Kamala Harris is showing signs of weakness in her delegate-rich home state, according to a new poll.

A new UC Berkeley-Los Angeles Times poll found Biden leading with 22% of likely Democratic primary voters; followed by Warren and Sanders, who are at 18% and 17%, respectively.

Harris (13%) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (10%) are the only other 2020 presidential contenders to exceed 3% in the survey, which was directed by pollster Mark DiCamillo, who for years led the venerable Field Poll.

Warren’s surge into a tie with Sanders aligns with other recent polls that show her cutting into Sanders’ support with liberal voters. But it’s particularly notable in the Super Tuesday state of California, where Sanders has set up camp since his 2016 loss to Hillary Clinton, and where his team has pointed to structural advantages that in mere months have seemed to dissipate.

An April Quinnipiac University poll of the California primary had Biden at 26% among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, followed by Sanders at 18% and Harris at 17%. Warren and Buttigieg were at 7%.
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In a show of force ahead of the state Democratic Party convention this month, Warren drew 6,500 to a Friday night speech in Oakland. Warren leads Sanders among women and older voters, the survey found, and a considerable share of her support comes from voters who self-identify as “very liberal.”

The poll serves as a blunt warning for Harris, who is banking on a surge of home-state support after a strong showing during the back half of early voting—in neighboring Nevada, and South Carolina, where African American voters form a decisive bloc. Organizationally, Harris is working to make up ground with Warren in Iowa, where the Massachusetts senator has built a formidable team. Harris is planning a hiring spree there that calls for bringing in 65 people.

In the California poll, Harris performed well across ethnic and demographic groups, and voters there consistently selected her as their second choice. But similar to her standing in the early states and nationally, she hasn’t caught fire with likely voters in the first few months of the race.
poster="http://v.politico.com/images/1155968404/201902/1628/1155968404_6001287799001_6001281415001-vs.jpg?pubId=1155968404"
2020: Women presidential candidates
true

After Harris, who is the second-place choice of 21%, Warren stands at 17%. Sanders and Biden are in a tie at 12%. In perhaps a promising sign for Harris, and Buttigieg, who are 54 and 37 respectively, more than 8 in 10 voters indicated that being older than 70 is a disadvantage—Biden and Sanders are in their late 70s, and Warren is 69, with a birthday coming this month.

Similarly, a large majority said being a woman or person of color could help a candidate.

California will award nearly 500 delegates statewide, and by congressional district. To be eligible, candidates must meet 15% thresholds, with the largest share of delegates by district going to the bluest areas of the state.
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Offline RE

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⚾ Demodope Debate Lineup: BATTER UP!
« Reply #1049 on: June 14, 2019, 11:08:56 AM »
Can't wait to see the Bernie vs. Biden Slugfest!  ;D

RE

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/nbc-announces-lineup-democrats-each-two-nights-first-2020-debate-n1017676

Democratic Debate
NBC announces lineup of Democrats for each night of first 2020 debate
To decide the matchups, candidates' names were drawn manually at NBC News' headquarters in New York.


Adrian Lam / NBC News; AP; Getty Images
June 14, 2019, 8:36 AM AKDT / Updated June 14, 2019, 9:03 AM AKDT

By Dartunorro Clark

NBC News on Friday announced the lineups of Democratic presidential candidates who are appearing on stage this month on each night of the first debate of the 2020 race.

The first group of 10 appearing on Wednesday, June 26:

    Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
    Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas
    Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
    Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
    Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
    Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

The second group of 10 appearing on Thursday, June 27:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
    Sen. Kamala Harris of California
    Former Vice President Joe Biden
    Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
    Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
    Author Marianne Williamson
    Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
    Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
    Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

Where the candidates will stand on stage each night has not yet been determined.
Lineup of Democrats for first 2020 debates announced
June 14, 201904:55

To decide the matchups, candidates' names were drawn manually at NBC News’ headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. One representative from each of the qualifying campaigns was invited to attend the draw along with officials from the Democratic National Committee. Campaign representatives saw the paper slip with their respective candidate's name on it before it was folded and placed inside the box.

A representative from NBC News Standards & Practices conducted the draw.

Candidates were divided into two groups: those who polled on average at or above 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday, June 12, and those who polled on average below 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday.

A random draw then took place, to create two separate groupings of 10.

NBC News then designated each grouping to a specific debate night.

DNC chairman Tom Perez told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson on Friday before the draw that he wanted the committee to avoid grouping lesser-known candidates together on one night and high-profile candidates on the other.

"The purpose of that is to be consistent with our principle of trying to be fair to everybody but also, it gets to the point of your question, so that we have maximum eyeballs both nights,” Perez said.

The determination of the lineups came a day after the DNC announced the 20 candidates who met the threshold to appear on stage for the two-night event. The debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, will take place on June 26 and 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.

The historically large field of candidates includes a slew of U.S. senators, a handful of mayors, a former vice president, longtime legislators and some political novices.

The DNC set two ways for candidates to qualify for the debate — fundraising and polling. To make the stage, candidates needed to have either at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.

The debate will air live across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m ET both nights. The debate will also stream online free on NBC News' digital platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo's digital platforms.

NBC News’ Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debate.


Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.
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