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2020 Democratic Contenders

Let’s pin this to the front page and keep a running list. Hit up the comments any time you come across important updates on the intentions of any of these folks:

*Legitimate Candidates*
Sen. Kamala Harris (California)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
Former VP Joe Biden

*Legitimate Longshots Worth Following*
Beto O’Rourke (Texas)
Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles) withdrew late-January 2019 but will consider VP.
Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colorado)
former Gov. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts) withdrew Dec 2018.
Sen. Corey Booker (New Jersey)
Mayor Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans)
Gov. Steve Bullock (Montana),

*Candidates Who are Running for Reasons Other Than to Win*
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont),
former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Virginia)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (New York)
Rep. Tim Murphy (OH)
Rep. John Delaney (Maryland)
former Attorney General Eric Holder
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (IN)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI)

*Irrelevant Candidates Who Will Be Ignored by Everyone But the Press*
Howard Schulz (Starbucks CEO),
Tom Steyer (billionaire), withdrew January 2019
former Mayor Michael Bloomberg (New York City),
Michael Avenatti (obnoxious lawyer) withdrew Dec 2018
Richard Ojeda (Trump supporting WV Democratic activist)

JANUARY 30 UPDATE:

I added Buttigieg and Gabbard to the list of those running for reasons other than to win, and removed the handful of people who have formally announced that they do not intend to run.

As of today, it seems to me that Biden isn’t likely to be a legitimate contender, both because I don’t think he really wants to run and because I think Kamala Harris will crush him should he choose to. She is to me the very clear front runner as of this moment, and barring some kind of screw up, she is the one most likely to win the whole thing.

Gillibrand has been surprisingly quiet since announcing, and although it is obviously still very very early, it seems to me that she’s going to have a very hard time getting traction so long as Kamala Harris maintains the perception that she’s going to be hard to beat.

Warren….is who she is? I love her as my Senator. I think she’ll be a powerful force for good in the campaign. But no way do I think she wins the nomination. I thought that before she formally announced, and I think it much much more so since.

Tulsi Gabbard unexpectedly threw her hat into the ring, which is bizarre given her truly bizarre past, and it’s all quite predictably gone sideways very quickly (see, for example: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/29/tulsi-gabbard-2020-election-1134055). Not only is she not going to win the nomination, she’s not likely to make it past the spring, and now she’s got a DailyKos-backed primary challenger to boot. Which is great, because she is truly awful

Schulz, the Starbucks dude, is out there pretending to be a disaffected Democrat preparing to run, but no way he sees this through to the end, and anyway, he’s really just a disaffected moderate Republican confused about how partisanship works in American politics. The fact that he hates what the REpublican Party has become does not even remotely mean he is a Democrat, or that he will appeal to Democrats, or that his influence will somehow help Trump get elected. That’s all very backwards.

Beto is making exactly the kinds of noises that a person who doesn’t want to run but feels sort-of-but-not-really compelled to , so while I’m making predictions, let me put myself down as him formally announcing he will NOT run sometime in late-Spring.

And hey….why not go all in. If I had to bet money today, I’d either go with Harris-O’Rourke or Harris-Hickenlooper.

This right here is what I expected from a Pelosi Speakership, and it’s why all those calls  for an alternative were always so misguided

When I wrote my last post earlier today, I honestly didn’t expect to see it happen so quickly and from the very highest level of the party. Bravo, Madam Speaker. Bravo.

“A Democrat president can declare emergencies as well,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference, as news broke that Trump would sign a bipartisan spending deal to keep the government open but also take executive action on the border.

Pelosi is playing to some Republicans’ biggest fears around executive power: that a Democratic president would push through policies on everything from health care to gun control through the White House instead of Congress, should Trump lose the presidency in 2020.

“If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency — an illusion that he wants to convey — just think what a president with a different set of values can present to the American people,” Pelosi said. “The precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”

Source: Trump’s national emergency sets a new precedent for Democrats, Pelosi says – Vox

Declaring a National Emergency

If the President actually decides to declare a national emergency in order to achieve public policy goals the Congress otherwise will not fund, then every single Democratic candidate needs to go on the record now with their plans to use the identical powers to fulfill their own policy objectives.

This is an absurd thing for Trump to do, but whining isn’t going to stop nor reverse it. Beyond fighting it in the courts, the costs to the Republican Party need to be made clear now. You support this, and we’ll use it to, among other things, regulate power plants, build wind and solar farms, and radically expand underfunded portions of the ACA. Just for starters.

Once this is done, it cannot be undone. So fine. We’ll fight it, and if we lose there, we’ll use it in a far more expansive manner than you can possibly imagine. Because there can no longer be any “these powers are for use by Republicans-only” bullshit anymore. Not if y’all insist on taking us down this path.

Run BetoRun! For Senate:

Beto O’Rourke met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) last week to discuss taking on Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in 2020, according to a Wednesday Politico report.

Cornyn is seen as vulnerable after O’Rourke’s surprisingly competitive bid against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2018. The senator has already amassed the largest war chest of any of his peers.

“We’ve gotten complacent,” Cornyn told Politico. “The tectonic plates shifted in Texas in 2018 and I think everybody realized we need to do something different and to address those concerns or else we’re in trouble.”

O’Rourke is expected to make a decision on a possible presidential bid by the end of this month.

SOURCE: talkingpointsmemo.com/news/beto-meets-with-schumer-to-talk-2020-senate

Deficits are a tool used to by Republicans to block Democratic priorities, and not a problem in and of themselves. This isn’t new

$22 trillion and rising:

The debt figure has been accelerating since the passage of Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017 and action by Congress last year to increase spending on domestic and military programs.

The national debt is the total of the annual budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects that this year’s deficit will be $897 billion — a 15.1 percent increase over last year’s imbalance of $779 billion. In the coming years, the CBO forecasts that the deficit will keep rising, top $1 trillion annually beginning in 2022 and never drop below $1 trillion through 2029

talkingpointsmemo.com/news/national-debt-tops-22-trillion

The key thing to understand here is that this isn’t a bug in Republican politics but a feature. They know that tax cuts will run up debt, no matter what their rhetoric about cuts paying for themselves might be. They know it and they embrace it, because they know that when Democrats are eventually back in power, they can use the deficits to block Democratic spending priorities. They’ve done this one-two going on forty years now, and they won’t stop until and unless they’re made to.

From their perspective, both taxes and spending are problems to be solved through cuts. That’s first principles for them. Deficits, however, are a second order problem, one that only gets attention when in service to first principles. I know this seems maddeningly inconsistent from outside that worldview, but I promise you that in the inside it really doesn’t look or feel contradictory at all.

One of the most clever bits of Reagan’s coalition building was getting the deficit hawks and defense hawks into alignment. If all spending is bad except defense spending, then you’ve really put Democrats in a box, because Democrats like defense spending too. When they’re in power, they can’t offer to increase domestic spending by cutting defense spending. They want both! Which leaves only the option of raids on taxes to pay for new spending priorities, and THAT is a much harder sell.

The retreat from “conspiracy” to “collusion” is the tell. One is a crime that we already know the campaign manager committed. The other is…who cares?

Marcy Wheeler doin the work:

He was badly underwater, and — according to his grand jury testimony, at least as described by Weissmann — he clandestinely handed off recent detailed polling data to a guy connected to the agency that was still hacking Hillary Clinton, to be shared with a bunch of oligarchs who could help him reverse his financial fortunes.

It seems there’s a conspiracy there one way another. Either Manafort effectively stole Trump’s campaign data and traded it to foreigners for monetary gain. And/or Manafort handed over that data expecting that the campaign would get a thing of value from the foreigners he was sharing it with.

Richard Burr would seem to argue that’s not “collusion” unless Trump knew about it (whether he did is one of the questions Mueller posed to Trump).

But it is a conspiracy, an agreement with Konstantin Kilimnik to commit one or more crimes, right there in the middle of the election season. Whether Mueller will charge it or do something else with it remains to be seen. But it is fairly clearly a conspiracy, down to the clandestine arrivals and departures from the dark cigar lounge.

Ultimately, Burr’s retreat to that word “collusion” is a tell. Because, given the public facts in this case, Republicans should be outraged that Trump’s campaign manager was so disloyal he shared highly sensitive data with potentially malign actors. Republicans should be outraged that Trump’s campaign manager was putting his own financial imperatives ahead of sound campaign practice.

But they’re not. For some reason, Republicans are not squawking about the explanation for this data hand-off that would suggest the campaign didn’t expect to benefit.

feedproxy.google.com/~r/emptywheel/cAUy/~3/7jEMso3fRlc/

Rev. Barber on Gov. Northam: “Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism.”

If Northam, or any politician who has worn blackface, used the n-word or voted for the agenda of white supremacy, wants to repent, the first question they must ask is “How are the people who have been harmed by my actions asking to change the policies and practices of our society?” In political life, this means committing to expand voting rights, stand with immigrant neighbors, and provide health care and living wages for all people. In Virginia, it means stopping the environmental racism of the pipeline and natural gas compressor station Dominion Energy intends to build in Union Hill, a neighborhood founded by emancipated slaves and other free African Americans.

Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism. We have to talk about policy. But we also have to talk about trust and power. If white people in political leadership are truly repentant, they will listen to black and other marginalized people in our society. They will confess that they have sinned and demonstrate their willingness to listen and learn by following and supporting the leadership of others. To confess past mistakes while continuing to insist that you are still best suited to lead because of your experience is itself a subtle form of white supremacy.

At the same time, we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy. If anyone wants to call for the governor’s resignation, they should also call for the resignation of anyone who has supported racist voter suppression or policies that have a disparate impact on communities of color.

SOURCE: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-ralph-northam-and-others-can-repent-of-americas-original-sin/2019/02/07/9aef18ec-2b0f-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html

Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy. If all this news from that state surprises you, you’ve never really thought about what that meant.

The Civil War wasn’t that long ago. In fact, it’s so recent that the daughter of a freed slave was alive to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. It only feels like ancient history because we learned as a nation to tell ourselves its ancient history. It isn’t.

And massive resistance? The whole “we would rather shut down our public school systems for years and found private segregationist academies than send our children to school with THEM” thing? That was just over half a human lifetime ago in that state.

It’s not ancient history because it’s barely even old enough to be history.