week seven comes a bit early this week again because this week offers up what might be the most articles that i've covered in one of these so far. no [LONGFORM] articles this week, but we do have a lot of policy stuff, mostly from the secondary and lesser candidates!
the usual note: common sense should be able to generally dictate what does and does not get posted in this thread. if it's big news or feels like big news, probably make it its own post instead of lobbing it in here. like the other weekly threads, this one is going to try to focus on things that are still discussion worthy, but wouldn't necessarily make good/unique/non-repetitive discussion starters as their own posts.
from NBC News: Democrats face defining 2020 question: Does defeating Trump outweigh all else?. this is possibly the biggest question democrats have to answer this election cycle, and it's not a question that is readily or easily answered since a lot of it ties into other problems like representation and electability. expect this to continue to be a major theme since it's already been one from the beginning.
from Pacific Standard: The 2020 Democratic Candidates Are Split on Letting Incarcerated People Vote. one low-key issue that seems to be becoming a defining issue is the matter of incarcerated people voting. i imagine this is an issue that is not going to receive much coverage, nor be center fold in most candidate's platforms, but nonetheless, some people have already taken stances on it (sanders is a yes, buttigieg is a no).
from Vox: Women of color want 2020 Democrats to work for their vote. this was also a point of note last week in the Guardian (see Black female voters to Democrats: 'You won't win the White House without us' with the 'She the People' forum, and i anticipate this is not an issue that's going to go away.
- from NBC News: Biden is the Democratic front-runner, but a vulnerable one. we begin with NBC News and their big takeaway from biden's entry to the democratic primary:
Bottom line: 96 hours in, Biden looks more like John Kerry of 2004 (the slight front-runner in a volatile Democratic field) than Al Gore of 2000 or Hillary Clinton of 2016.
from Jacobin: Joe Biden Is Not a Blue-Collar Candidate. jacobin offers up this take, arguing that biden is not a blue-collar candidate because his voting record suggests he sells out the working class often, and while he is generally acceptable at representing the white working class, he fails to really represent minority working class voters and therefore cannot be a properly blue-collar candidate.
from the Atlantic: Biden Is Betting on Unions. They Might Bet on Someone Else. biden is of course angling for the union vote and union endorsements, which he's already winning to some extent with an endorsement from the (admittedly in the biden tank) International Association of Fire Fighters (membership: 300,000). he's going to have a hard time garnering labor endorsements, though, because he is far from the only candidate with union ties. as the article notes, among the other candidates vying for the backing of the unions are sanders, warren and harris, and each of them have arguably just as much claim to the working-class as biden does (see also last week's Democratic presidential candidates seek union support at workers' forum).
from CBS News: Bernie and Biden: Fighting for Trump voters. one of the side effects of how this primary is being waged is that obama-trump voters are being targeted significantly by just about everybody involved. this targeting by the two ends of the primary (and the related issues involved with that) is the subject of this article by CBS News.
from Reuters: Bernie Sanders promises help for family farms, rural residents on trip to Iowa. policy-wise, sanders has focused on rural communities in recent weeks, promising among other things to "strengthen anti-trust laws to block new corporate agriculture mergers and break up existing monopolies" and "changes to farm subsidy programs to shift the benefits away from bigger farms to smaller and mid-sized operations".
from Buzzfeed News: Almost Two Months In, Beto 2020 Is Still In Flux. Staffers Know They’re Behind. despite looking like a relatively early frontrunner in the race, beto has been worse-than-stagnant in the past few weeks, dropping back behind warren, harris, and buttigieg. things aren't looking up either: as the article notes, the campaign is still in the process of trying to fill positions and not lose people (see also, week 5's somewhat related A Top Adviser To Beto O’Rourke Has Left His Presidential Campaign).
from CBS News: Elizabeth Warren bets big on policy to break through crowded Democratic field. warren's focus on policy so far has been well documented, and this CBS news article mostly focuses on that in comparison to other candidates, who barely have sketches. it also tackles the electability issue, though, which it notes could be a problem that weighs down warren's prospects (cf. last week's Can a woman beat Trump? Some Democrats wonder if it's worth the risk):
New Hampshire is a state where Massachusetts candidates like Warren typically do quite well, but a Suffolk University survey of Granite State Democrats released earlier this week had her in fourth place behind Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg. When asked why, nearly 1-in-5 non-Warren voters said the main reason they don't support her is because they doubt she can beat Mr. Trump.
from the Atlantic: Mayor Buttigieg Is Working Remotely Today. this article mostly focuses on the interesting issue buttigieg has--which is, of course, that he is still the mayor of south bend while he's out campaigning. since buttigieg has state he has no intentions of stepping down from the mayoral position he holds (and his term expires in november), this is probably going to be an interested background note of his campaign for the next little while.
from POLITICO: Gillibrand proposes public campaign financing plan. kirsten gillibrand has policy too, folks! admittedly, i have no idea why her policy takes this form, but she nonetheless proposes that:
...eligible voters could opt into her “Democracy Dollars” program and register for vouchers, provided by the Federal Elections Commission, to donate up to $100 in a primary election and $100 in a general election each cycle. Each participant would get $200 for each type of federal contest: House, Senate and presidential elections.
But there would be limits on both donors and candidates in order to use the public voucher program. Voters could contribute only to candidates in their state — including House candidates outside their district but within their state. In order to accept the public money, candidates would have to restrict themselves to accepting only donations of $200 or less.
- from Roll Call: Klobuchar plan to combat addiction draws on experience with her dad. klobuchar also has policy! this mostly focuses on addiction and mental health, and a summary was helpfully provided by a press release i don't have on hand:
“Amy will support incentives for state governments to enact ignition interlock laws for those convicted of drunk driving to help reduce repeat offenders. Since problems with alcoholism often start early, Amy will support educational initiatives that focus on the risks of alcohol as well as early identification and treatment of alcoholism,” a summary said.
supplemental reporting by CBS News also notes the following: "The Minnesota Democrat wants to pay for treatment for those addicted to opioids by charging a two-cents-per-milligram fee to companies that make the drug."
- from Vox: Cory Booker now has the most ambitious gun control proposal of any 2020 candidate. cory booker meanwhile is focusing on gun policy. as vox writes:
His plan includes the typical Democratic proposals: universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, better enforcement of existing gun laws, and more funding for gun violence research. But Booker’s plan goes further by requiring that gun owners not just pass a background check but obtain a license to be able to purchase and own a firearm. It’s a far more robust gun control proposal than any other presidential candidate has proposed.
in many respects this is similar (but more comprehensive in some respects and les comprehensive in others) to the current gun policy of massachusetts. booker's plan also includes a national database for tracking firearms, and also limits on purchases to prevent things like resale. vox's part of the writing here also has info on the underlying research and statistics with respect to whether or not these policies work (for the most part, they seem to).
from CBS News: Jay Inslee unveils plan for 100 percent clean energy by 2030. jay inslee is a lower-rung candidate, but that hasn't stopped him from pushing the limits on climate policy. among other things, his ideas include: "100 percent clean energy, mak[ing] all new vehicles zero-emission, and [eliminating] the carbon footprint for all new buildings." you can find his policy specifically here.
from Grist: A tale of two Washingtons: How Jay Inslee aims to take his climate plan nationwide. Grist goes into more detail on inslee's policy, mostly focusing on how they're being implemented in washington, inslee's home state, and how they compare to the other climate policies in the race already like beto's.
from CBS News: 2020 hopeful John Hickenlooper unveils plan to "re-energize trade with the world". john hickenlooper has hitched his wagon to trade, of all things. the main planks of his policy on fair trade, which is possibly one of the least energizing seminal issues a campaign can run on, are:
- Ensure trading partners adopt and enforce fair labor and safety standards
- Ensure the protection of IP rights of American companies
- Require trading partners to enforce environmental and climate standards
- Ensure U.S. firms enjoy equitable and comparable investment rights abroad
- Ensure U.S. workers have assistance to adjust to job displacement from trade
if you're interested in that sort of thing, CBS also helpfully embedded the five-page outline going into more detail on those planks in the article.
- from Pacific Standard: There's No Good Way to Determine Electability Other Than Holding Elections. this is an interesting piece which is hard to summarize, but probably the best summary of it is what it concludes on the matter of electability:
...the discussion around the topic is fraught, particularly for the Democratic Party, which has defined itself in recent decades as the party that embraces and seeks inclusion and diversity. If you're going to assert that a white man is better qualified for a job (the party's nominee) by virtue of being a white man, you really need to be sure on your facts. And the facts just aren't there.
from Jacobin: Stick With Bernie. this jacobin piece argues that progressive/leftist types need to rally behind bernie given biden's strength, or else they risk a biden v trump general election which would likely (in their view) go the same way as clinton v trump did in 2016. it's pretty much impossible to tell this far out, but honestly, it's pretty easy to see their point here given biden's circumstances.
from Truthout: The Era of “Centrist” Establishment Democrats Is Over. this op-ed from Truthout strongly rebukes the "centrist" tendency of the democratic party, arguing that there is basically no place for that tendency anymore and that it simply does not and cannot produce a winning coalition at this point. bold and new ideas which buck the traditional orthodoxy in this view are the only way to mobilize and produce a winning coalition, because otherwise either too many people stay home, or not enough people vote democratic.
from the Guardian: Bernie Sanders needs black women's support. So what's his plan to win us over?. bernie's biggest failing so far between his two presidential runs has almost certainly been his failure to appeal to minority voters, particularly black women. this is of course an issue because he likely needs black women to win the primary and the general. as allison writes here: "Black voters and women of color do not want another president who does not see or value us. Sanders needs to let us know that he understands deeply how frightening, difficult and dangerous this political moment is for us, and for the entire country."
from the Guardian: Joe Biden wants us to forget his past. We won't. perhaps the biggest failing of biden on the other hand is his absolutely god awful track record, for which he is raked here and will likely continue to be raked. the main crux of the op-ed:
As times have changed, Biden has expressed retrospective misgivings about some of those earlier actions and stances. For example, he very recently attempted to offer an apology of sorts, more like an unpology, to Anita Hill, which she quite understandably rejected. And he remains a pure, dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal, as much as ever a tool of Wall Street and corporations. We deserve better than a candidate who wants us to look past his record and focus only on the image he wants to project and, when that tack fails, can offer progressives only a “my bad”.
from the Guardian: We can't save the planet with half measures. We need to go all the way. this is one part an op-ed written about climate change, one part an op-ed responding to beto o'rourke's climate plan. on one hand, it does note that o'rourke's plan is good--but it also notes that "good" is not nearly enough to avert the problem, and it's also a downgrade from what o'rourke originally endorsed, which was net-zero emissions by 2030.
from the Guardian: Is Elizabeth Warren's college plan really progressive? Yes. this op-ed is pretty straightforward and argues against the somewhat-weird position that warren's college plan isn't progressive because it also helps middle-and-upper-class people that's been advanced by a few people.
anyways, feel free to as always contribute other interesting articles you stumble across, or comment on some of the ones up there.