12 votes

This Week in Election Night, 2020 (Week 14)

good morning, tildes--this is not a test. we are 496 days and dropping away from possibly the biggest election day in recent american history. we have one opinion piece this week and a number of [LONGFORM] pieces this week. our polling section continues this week as well.

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.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10Week 11Week 12Week 13



  • From Emerson (B+ on 538); margin of error +/- 4.5: National poll

Joe Biden continues to hold his announcement bounce, and has gained a point since May – now holding 34% of the vote, followed by Senator Bernie Sanders who moved up 2 points to 27%. Senator Elizabeth Warren has broken away from the rest of those running, into 3rd place – improving from 10% of the vote up to 14%. Senator Kamala Harris comes in fourth with 7%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fifth with 6%, and Senator Cory Booker follows in sixth with 3% of the vote. All other candidates poll at 1%.

Biden 26%
Warren 14%
Sanders 13%
Buttigieg 9%
Harris 7%
O'Rourke 4%
Booker 2%
All others 1% or less

General Stuff

  • from Vox: 2020 Democrats share plans to fight poverty at presidential forum. this week has been rich with townhalls and events, one of the first of which was the Poor People's Campaign forum, specifically dedicating itself to the issues of low-income Americans and poverty. a number of the perennial one-percenters showed up, as did frontrunners biden, sanders, warren, and harris; in general, the frontrunners took the opportunity to show off their plans where they had them for low-income america, and the one-percenters tried to make a case to voters.
  • from FiveThirtyEight: Democratic Candidates Answer Yes-Or-No Questions About Criminal Justice Policy. FiveThirtyEight decided to ask some criminal justice questions of the candidates running, and the results are interesting. the chart summarizing responses to the questions is here. literally the only thing all the candidates who answered agree upon unconditionally is pell grants for prisoners, but everybody basically agrees upon death penalty abolition (ryan, the sole dissenter, wants an exception for terrorists but otherwise does not support it), abolishing cash bail (inslee is the one exception), and marijuana legalization (delaney and klobuchar are the exceptions). inversely, only sanders and gravel support granting prisoners the right to vote; gravel is also the only person who answered in the affirmative to all six questions.
  • from NPR: 2020 Democrats Offer Up Affordable Housing Plans Amid Surging Prices. increasing concern with housing prices is driving democratic candidates to seek to tap into a voting base which spans a large part of the electorate. if it seems like not a coincidence that housing is playing a much larger role in this primary than it ever did in 2016, tha's because it is and it's being driven by voter sentiments. "When [Democratic pollster Geoff Garin] asked voters in 2016 if they thought housing affordability was a problem where they lived, 39% said it was a fairly serious or very serious problem. This year, that number is 60%."
  • from Vox: [LONGFORM] We asked all the 2020 Democrats how they’d fix child care. Here’s what they said. Vox's second entry in this section sees them asking around about child care policy, which is something that a number of candidates have taken up this year in their campaign planks. their findings are:

universal childcare supporters: warren, sanders, harris, o'rourke, swalwell, klobuchar
tax credit supporters: gillibrand, buttigieg, bennet, moulton, williamson
universal preschool supporters: castro, yang, booker, ryan
other: biden (no stated policy); de blasio (NYC-type program?); hickenlooper ("subsidies on a sliding scale"); bullock ("universal access to voluntary, early childhood education")
did not respond: inslee, gabbard, delaney, messiam

  • from POLITICO: The gloves come off in the Democratic primary. the previously amicable primary got mildly spicy this week because of a number of plotlines. last week we of course began the "biden sorta kinda praising segregationists" plotline, for which he drew significant criticism but doubled down inexplicably; earlier in the week we also had the "sanders criticizes warren as corporatist" plotline, which sanders later said was actually directed at a moderate thinktank called third way. now that the veneer of not criticizing other candidates has been worn off, we're probably bound to see some other beefs flair up as the primary goes on.
  • from NPR: 8 Political Questions Ahead Of The 1st Democratic Debates. NPR offers up 8 questions for consideration given that tomorrow is the first debate of this long, grueling cycle:
  1. Will Biden stand up to the scrutiny?
  2. Is the debate an opportunity or danger zone for Bernie Sanders?
  3. Does Warren make the most of commanding the stage?
  4. Can Harris and Buttigieg stand out?
  5. Do the pragmatists or progressives win out?
  6. How much of a focus is Trump?
  7. How will foreign policy factor in?
  8. Who will stick in voters' minds?

Elizabeth Warren

  • from POLITICO: Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee. warren has been the biggest beneficiary of the moderate/centrist wing of the democratic party realizing that its influence over the party is waning and that the increasing normal is going to be candidates in the vein of warren and sanders. warren is most likely getting the benefit here for obvious reasons: she self identifies as a capitalist, and sanders for the most part does not. of course, if you actually compare notes on their policies, they're mostly the same, so... not sure this gambit is going to work out?
  • from POLITICO: How Sen. Elizabeth Warren would try to ban private prisons. policy wise, warren unveiled a plan this week to ban private prisons. this is pretty straightforward:

Warren would end federal contracts with the Bureau of Prisons and Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for detention facilities and private prisons. Warren would try to extend this ban to states and localities as well. In addition, the plan calls for prohibiting contractors from collecting service fees for "essential services" such as phone calls, health care, and bank transfers."

“This is a democracy. In a democracy, the laws should reflect the values of the people. So I say it is time to go on offense with Roe v Wade. It’s not enough to say we’re going to rely on the courts. We need to pass a federal law to make Roe v Wade the rule of the land.”

Bernie Sanders

  • from CNN: Elizabeth Warren's rise opens a new chapter in the progressive primary. although titled for warren, this piece is actually about bernie sanders and how warren's rise in the polls threatens to balkanize the progressive vote between the two of them. it als goes into some details about the controversy over the sanders tweet that was apparently aimed at warren but which sanders said was actually directed toward third way.
  • from Vice: Bernie Sanders Wants to Wipe Out All Student Loan Debt. sanders's big coup this week was a plan to eliminate all student loan debt. Vice explains that: "Under the Sanders plan, there would be no eligibility standards — it would cancel 1.6 trillion in undergraduate and graduate debt for all 45 million people who hold it. Sanders would also make public universities, community colleges, and trade schools free." and as for how you pay for it, "Sanders intends to pay for the plan with taxes on Wall Street, namely a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions and a 0.1 percent tax on bonds. The plan is projected to cost $2.2 trillion over 10 years."

Pete Buttigieg

  • from CBS News: Officer-involved shooting remains Pete Buttigieg's biggest 2020 challenge yet. buttigieg has had a rough week dealing with what can really only be described as a complete clusterfuck of a situation. the set-up: "Prosecutors say the officer who killed Logan, Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, was responding to a report of a person breaking into cars when he encountered Logan in an apartment building parking lot. O'Neill told authorities that Logan had a knife, and when he refused the officer's orders to drop it, O'Neill opened fire, shooting Logan in the stomach. Another officer took Logan in a squad car to the hospital, where he later died." no body camera was activated.
  • from CBS News: Pete Buttigieg faces South Bend protesters: "You want black people to vote for you — that's not going to happen". unsurprisingly this has not gone over well with some segments of the black community, for which this is a regular occurrence. buttigieg was first confronted with protests prior to the town hall this week which were somewhat tense because of his seeming failure to address the problems in south bend's police department.
  • from the LA Times: Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg. this tension continued into the town hall, where buttigieg was at times roundly criticized by some members of the black population in a town hall that was kind of a train wreck. the town hall was a proxy for some of the broader gripes that members of south bend's black community but also for some of the problems various community members have with each other, and just in general things went badly. buttgieg for the most part was fine, but obviously shaken both in the town hall itself and afterwards when interviewed by CNN.
  • from NBC News: Buttigieg learns the hazards of campaigning for president as a mayor. this all has of course gotten buttigieg off message at possibly the worst (or best, depending on how you see it) time on an issue that has not been especially good for him and could potentially jeopardize what little black support he does have.
  • miscellany: south bend has basically had everything possible go wrong with it in the past week and change. there was the police shooting which has caused much controversy; there was also a mass shooting which killed one a few days later; most recently, there was also an EF2 tornado which impacted part of the city.

Cory Booker

  • from TIME: [LONGFORM] Cory Booker's Moment is Yet to Come. this longform profile of cory booker by TIME goes into the significant efforts of the booker campaign so far to make a splash, and how despite those efforts and a fairly flawless campaign so far, booker has yet to see particularly good poll numbers, even in iowa where he has invested extensively.
  • from Vox: Cory Booker has a plan to reform the criminal justice system — without Congress. booker also has some policy on establishing a clemency system unilaterally. "Booker’s plan calls for granting an early release to as many as 17,000 to 20,000 people in federal prison for drug offenses, and establishing a panel within the White House that would make recommendations for more clemency applications in the longer term."

Beto O'Rourke

  • from Buzzfeed News: These Donors Helped Give Beto O'Rourke A Historic Start. They're Disappointed With What Happened Next. beto's slip in the polls has not exactly inspired his voterbase. he's not dropping support like flies here as the article makes clear, but at least a vocal portion of his donor base is less than impressed and some of them are seeking to go elsewhere with their money, which is generally not good, especially given that beto is actually polling better than most candidates in the race currently even with his rather bad numbers. it's possible that if this continues, he'll end up in a feedback loop which drags down his candidacy. we'll have to see.
  • from USA Today: Beto O’Rourke: From Juneteenth to today, Americans are still on the march for justice. nonetheless, beto is still on the beat, and this week he had an op-ed in USA Today promoting his new voting rights act, which would "crack down on draconian voter ID laws; prevent politically motivated state officials from purging the voter roles to game the system; expand vote-by-mail and early voting; and declare the first Tuesday of every November a national holiday, so no one has to choose between going to work and participating in their democracy."

Andrew Yang

  • from NBC News: Some Asian Americans are excited about Andrew Yang. Others? Not so much. andrew yang is an interestingly polarizing character in the asian-american community. while he is getting some of his best funding from them, he also is struggling with winning over many asian americans, which makes his path quite difficult since he doesn't really poll well with any other groups to make up for that.
  • from The Baffler: Andrew Yang’s War on Normal People. this article from The Baffler runs through the fairly comprehensive list of criticisms against yang, and especially his proposal for UBI. namely it argues that yang is taking a silicon valley approach to a problem that is decidedly not a silicon valley solvable problem. it also argues that yang, while he has the right rhetoric on paper, his execution both historically and currently falls well flat.

Everyone Else

  • from NBC News: Biden doubles down on segregationist comments, says critics like Cory Booker 'should apologize' to him . as mentioned in the last thread, biden's big controversy this week was touting his ability to be bipartisan with segregationists, then doubling down on it and insisting that cory booker apologize for raking him over it. this has gone unresolved as far as i know; booker and biden talked about it at some point during the week but i'm not sure that they actually made up over it. booker refused to apologize to biden in the immediate aftermath of the remark here and really does not have a reason to apologize in the first place.
  • from CBS News: Kamala Harris: Concerns about my prosecutorial record are "overblown". kamala harris is finally getting enough heat for her prosecutorial career that she's decided to address it, apparently. harris has previously received large amounts of criticism from the progressive wing of the democratic party but especially leftists for some of her decisions as a prosecutor. harris has expressed regret for some of the policies that she helped enact and uphold, but in general she is fairly unrepentant about her record, as seen here.
  • from NBC News: Julián Castro wants to transform housing assistance for poor, give renters tax credits. julian castro has some housing policy: "[Castro] wants to transform the housing assistance program, known as Section 8, into a fully funded entitlement program — a reference to federal safety net programs such as Social Security. In addition, Castro called for a refundable tax credit for low- and middle-income renters if their rent exceeds 30 percent of their income."
  • from POLITICO: Michael Bennet pushes sweeping plan to remake political system. michael bennet has some political reforms he'd like to pass, which include "a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists, a prohibition on political gerrymandering and a push for ranked choice voting. Bennet is also supporting a laundry list of long-desired Democratic reforms, including automatic voter registration, D.C. statehood and greater transparency around super PAC fundraising and spending." most of this is fairly stock for democrats, but some of it is not.
  • from CBS News: Joe Sestak, former congressman and 3-star admiral, joins 2020 presidential race. another rando, joe sestak, decided to cast his lot in. sestak was a representative of pennsylvania's house delegation for a number of years before trying and failing to run for senate twice. he is democrat number 25 to enter the race.


  • from the Guardian: The secret to Elizabeth Warren's surge? Ideas. our sole opinion piece this week comes from the Guardian, and argues that the rise of elizabeth warren in the polls is driven by her unrelenting torrent of policies and willingness to treat voters as if they can understand that policy instead of watering it down.

anyways, feel free to as always contribute other interesting articles you stumble across, or comment on some of the ones up there.


  1. Silbern
    Hey man, I don't have anything to contribute or offer here, but I wanted to express my appreciation that you put these threads together. I don't have as much time as I used to to keep up with...

    Hey man, I don't have anything to contribute or offer here, but I wanted to express my appreciation that you put these threads together. I don't have as much time as I used to to keep up with everything going on, and these are a wonderful way to get a quick summary of what's been happening. They're very helpful! :)

    8 votes
  2. alyaza
    (edited )
    late story because i'm just back to my computer: pressure on the DNC to hold a climate change specific debate is continuing. as the Guardian reports here: "Young protesters at DNC headquarters...

    late story because i'm just back to my computer: pressure on the DNC to hold a climate change specific debate is continuing. as the Guardian reports here: "Young protesters at DNC headquarters demand debate on climate crisis". most of this pressure is being driven by recently-started activist groups like the sunrise movement, which have had a meteoric rise in influence in the democratic party's politics just in the past few months; nonetheless, i'm skeptical that the DNC is going to move on this issue given that they haven't yet, because the DNC has a tendency to be incredibly stubborn about things for not-especially-good reasons even when a significant majority of people want them to do things,

    also on a meta note: the debate threads tomorrow and thursday will likely go up around 5PM MST (7PM EST; 12PM BST; 1 AM CEST; 9AM AEST) since that's when MSNBC begins their pre-show on both nights. the debates themselves don't begin until two hours after that point, though, so bear that in mind.

    3 votes
  3. alyaza
    AP has a story on kamala harris that she'd probably prefer to not have drop today, right before the debates (she goes on thursday): "Victims question Kamala Harris’ record on clergy abuse" this...

    AP has a story on kamala harris that she'd probably prefer to not have drop today, right before the debates (she goes on thursday): "Victims question Kamala Harris’ record on clergy abuse"

    Joey Piscitelli was angry when Kamala Harris emerged as a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. It brought back the frustration he felt in the 2000s, when he was a newly minted spokesman for clergy sex abuse victims and Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney.
    Piscitelli says Harris never responded to him when he wrote to tell her that a priest who had molested him was still in ministry at a local Catholic cathedral. And, he says, she didn’t reply five years later when he wrote again, urging her to release records on accused clergy to help other alleged victims who were filing lawsuits.
    “She did nothing,” said Piscitelli, today the Northern California spokesman for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

    this doesn't seem like a story that would derail her campaign much, but it's definitely a thorn going into the debate days, especially given the constant questions about her prosecutorial career and her recent addressing of those questions by saying they were overblown.

    2 votes