good morning, tildes--this is not a test. we are 468 days and dropping away from possibly the biggest election day in recent american history. the coverage is more spread out this week, with candidates that normally don't catch the media's attention getting some; there are, alas, no opinion pieces this week. we do have a very important poll, however, which i elaborate on in detail.
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 CBS News: Early contests by the numbers: Democratic delegate race tightens — CBS News Battleground Tracker. CBS News is out with an update to its important poll that is based on delegate allocation rather than voter preferences. as some of you may or may not know, primary contests are not purely FPTP affairs when it comes to delegate allocation, but instead based on rules of proportional allocation at district and statewide levels. complicating matters, the DNC has a rule which states a candidate must win 15% or more of the vote in a state to be eligible for any delegates. this means that national/state polling does not inherently jive with the projected results of the primaries, and this poll actually is an example of that:
the order is Biden (581 delegates of 1494 possible in the 18 "early contests"), Warren (430 of 1494), Sanders (249 of 1494), Harris (173 of 1494), O'Rourke (48 of 1494), and Klobuchar (13 of 1494). no other candidates would currently receive delegates. obviously, this does not jive with the polling completely: biden, warren, and sanders all punch above their polling; harris, buttigieg, o'rourke, and klobuchar do not. buttigieg, who generally polls better than klobuchar and o'rourke by a mile, also doesn't benefit from his homestate and doesn't appeal enough elsewhere to win delegates with his polling. harris, meanwhile, is really only tethered by california in her delegate count despite polling similarly to sanders. basically, it's a bit of a shitshow.
as far as shifts: biden has eaten a loss of 150 delegates since june; warren is up 75; sanders is down 68; harris is up 97; o'rourke is down 25; klobuchar is down 8; buttigieg is down 2.
- from Pacific Standard: There Are Many Democratic Candidates. Party Insiders View a Bunch as the Same.. among the more interesting trends that exist within the democratic primary so far is the fact that the activist base of the democratic party and the broader public are somewhat at odds with each other currently. while biden, warren, sanders, harris, and buttigieg round out the five major candidates with more than token public support, party insiders back a much broader set of candidates which expands to booker, klobuchar, castro, and gillibrand. sanders, naturally, is mostly absent from insider support--this is partly because most insiders don't support him to begin with, but also because the ones that do are generally not considering other candidates.
- from NBC News: Democrats duel over health care in new campaign dust-up. healthcare is shaping up to be a big part of the democratic stategy to win back the white house, and naturally that's the first big faultline in the primary since it's one of the things which most divides candidates into ideological quadrants. biden, who is mostly pushing for improved obamacare, disputes the idea of medicare for all as too expensive and "starting over", which sanders has of course derided as misinformation and basically jacking conservative talking points. while they won't be sharing the debate stage in july, don't be surprised to see similar issues litigated by more moderate candidates against sanders and warren, and don't be surprised if biden has similar disputes with his more progressive leaning debate stage.
- from Buzfeed: The Best Day Of Joe Biden's Presidential Campaign Was The First One (and other things you can learn from new data on how many donors contributed to Democratic presidential campaigns each day this year). with fundraising now in, analysis of that fundraising begins, and to say the least it looks pretty bad for most candidates outside of the front six or so as far as keeping donors interested. most candidates barely register donors above the $200 threshold set here by Buzzfeed, even as they raise what might be respectable amounts of money; meanwhile, even frontrunning candidates are having difficulties creating an upward trajectory in their donor bases.
- from NPR: Why Progressives Think Joe Biden Is Not 'Electable'. the progressive argument against joe biden is relatively straightforward: he has a bad track record and is effectively on the right-wing of the party right now in a time where voters seem to be clamoring for some answer to the increasingly radical rhetoric of the republican party. in a time where change seems to be necessary or we're fucked, biden wants to keep the status quo almost exactly as it is, but "better" in some unknown sense. more moderate elements of the party argue that this approach is necessary to win the house, senate, and presidency, but for somewhat obvious reasons progressives don't buy that argument very much either.
- from Jacobin: Bidencare Is a Scam. biden's healthcare plan, by extension, isn't particularly fondly regarded either by people left-of-center. billed mostly as an extension of obamacare, jacobin notes that biden's plan doesn't do a whole lot to address places where obamacare has been unhelpful or to fix things which obamacare hasn't addressed. it more or less has the same failings as obamacare, just for less people--while also most likely setting back the fight for equitable healthcare.
- from CBS News: Kamala Harris introduces plan to lower prescription drug prices. kamala harris has some policy out this week which seeks to regulate how the government would handle drug prices. per CBS here, "The senator's plan would task the Department of Health and Human Services with setting "fair" prescription drug prices ... determined in part by looking at the prices for the drug in other industrialized countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada." should companies try to sell higher than that price set by HHS, "the government [would] tax their profits from the drug at 100%, with the money reallocated to consumers in the form of rebates." in the event congress doesn't advance this within the first 100 days of her presidency, she would use executive orders to investigate price gouging (along with the attorney general) and HHS would, after a 30-day warning period, be allowed to import drugs from countries where they are cheaper. further failure to comply with reducing drug prices would also lead harris to award patents for drugs produced in part with federal funding to companies which produce the drug cheaper.
- from CBS News: Kamala Harris to propose decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. harris is also looking to legalize marijuana, and in doing so not just promote minority business but expunge the records of people convicted on marijuana charges. her plan would also make it illegal to deny federal benefits on the basis of marijuana possession or use, and prevent immigrants from being deported or denied citizenship purely because of marijuana infractions.
- from Texas Monthly: Should Beto O’Rourke Drop Out?. the question posed most to the beto campaign is this. o'rourke severely undershot his fundraising in Q2 and has been consistently dropping in the polls basically since he entered the race because what worked for him in texas is not what works nationally. but at the same time, there's a question of where he has to go if he drops out: the senate seat cornyn currently occupies is already subject to a pretty big primary on the democratic side, and o'rourke might be spoiled goods if he becomes a presidential failson. it's a fun dynamic, one which will probably ruin him and send him packing back down to a more reasonable role in the future, provided it doesn't kill his political aspirations completely.
- from NBC News: O'Rourke's campaign is cratering. But he's got a plan to bring back 'Betomania.' nonetheless, the beto campaign remains optimistic. o'rourke after all was a dark horse candidate for the majority of his senate race and certainly not a stranger to adversity. o'rourke also has the benefit of it still being like, 7 months before any votes are cast at all, which is plenty of time to turn things around. still, not the best situation to be in.
- from CBS News: Despite a tumble in polls and fundraising O'Rourke campaign betting it all on Beto. the campaign, in the mean time, is also setting up new infrastructure with what it has, having continued its shift from a person-first strategy to one which involves much more media limelight. (i also assume they're getting better debate prep.)
- from CBS News: On the road with Cory Booker in New Hampshire. this is a small profile of cory booker that CBS did a few days ago. booker, who has struggled to get out of the logjam of lower candidates now that buttigieg has risen, has yet to have a true breakout moment in his campaign. additionally, although he has constituencies he appeals to, many of those constituencies are also occupied by one or more candidates currently doing better than he is. nonetheless, booker has an extensive ground game in new hampshire and a pretty experienced campaign team coordinating his movements on the campaign trail. if he fails in his endeavors, it certainly won't be for lack of a network or experienced advisers.
- from the Atlantic: Elizabeth Warren Has Momentum. Can She Build a Movement?. one of the more underrated aspects of the rise of warren's campaign is that, in many ways, it mirrors the coalition that bernie sanders built in 2016 and has serious potential to turn into a political movement of its own--although probably at the expense of the political machinery which has enabled sanders to be a frontrunner. warren's campaign is also noteworthy in that it's managed this feat so far without any particularly splash-worthy moments. warren hasn't especially dominated the soundbyte market, nor is she the frontrunner most media scrambles to cover; yet, she is polling just behind biden, just ahead of sanders and harris, and seems only capable of climbing further from there. there's still time for some gaffe to derail her or for her rise to be blunted, but at least in the present, it seems pretty likely that her campaign is on track to be the next popular political movement.
- from CBS News: Buttigieg says white Americans "can't be defensive" when talking about race. pete buttigieg meanwhile continues to navigate the question of race, something that could be a great boon to his campaign if he is able to effectively harness it--but which currently is burdening him pretty badly both politically and polling-wise. of note in buttigieg's remarks:
"When somebody is saying that we are benefitting from living in a system that creates privileges associated with systemic racism, we can't kind of retreat into this idea that, 'We're being personally attacked, so we're not going to want to talk about that.' Or that, 'Hey these were distant historic problems, we can't be held accountable for dealing with that,'" he said. "No."
"I am worried that in different ways we may not be able to imagine, in the 21st century, if these inequalities keep getting worse, then that could once again threaten to unravel the American project."
- from New Hampshire Public Radio: Klobuchar in N.H.: To Beat Trump, Dems Need Positive Message and Some Humor. amy klobuchar, who hasn't made much news recently, continues to pitch herself as a moderate who can win in red, rural america and takes the line of thinking that any democratic candidate wanting to unseat trump will have to come at it from a message of positivity--and probably also have some wit. in her words: "I think sort of making fun of [Donald Trump], the absurdity of him. And I know that every day we think to ourselves this isn’t a laughing matter. We know that right? But you also know one of the cardinal rules of politics is you take your work seriously but you can’t always take yourself seriously."
- from Colorado Public Radio: After Crickets Following The First Debate, Hickenlooper Campaign Goes All In On Iowa. despite some frankly awful fundraising and being nowhere near the frontrunners, the john hickenlooper campaign is pushing the pedal to the floor and investing heavily in iowa. hickenlooper intends to spend much more time in the state than he has previously--he had previously been darting across the country--with the hopes of garnering some sort of traction. however, it's going to be quite an uphill climb for him, given that he polls worse than 1%, and it seems reasonable to assume that if he fails to gain traction in the next few months he'll cut his losses early (perhaps in favor of the colorado senate race? who knows).
- from CBS News: Delaney disputes reports he's dropping out of 2020 presidential race. y'all remember john delaney? he still exists, and he's fighting rumors he's dropping out, which is always a sign of a healthy campaign. delaney has mostly self funded and is the longest candidate in the race, having announced all the way back in 2017, but has pretty much entirely failed to take off with the electorate. he does not show signs of taking off, either.
anyways, feel free to as always contribute other interesting articles you stumble across, or comment on some of the ones up there.