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    1. week nine is here, and while we don't have a lot of candidates this time, we still have a bunch of stuff to go through. the opinion section is back this week, since there were a few pieces of the...

      week nine is here, and while we don't have a lot of candidates this time, we still have a bunch of stuff to go through. the opinion section is back this week, since there were a few pieces of the sort, but it's pretty short this week. we actually have more [LONGFORM] tagged pieces this week than op-eds, so that's always interesting. anyways.

      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 8


      General Stuff

      • from Buzzfeed News: [LONGFORM] “Abolish ICE” Was The Call Of Last Summer. 2020 Democrats Have Moved On.. despite the big hooplah surrounding this last year, it's been surprisingly quiet on the abolish ICE front since then, to the chagrin of many immigration activists. given the fact that it's fairly radical (despite ICE only being an agency since 2002), don't expect a lot of movement here; many of the democrats running who adopted the drumbeat last year have almost totally dropped it and show no signs of really picking it back up.

      • from The Atlantic: [LONGFORM] The 2020 Presidential Candidates’ Families Look Like Americans’. this is an interesting piece which analyzes how even the "nuclear" family which we're all so used to has essentially ceased to exist on the campaign trail, on both sides of the aisle, and become more reflective of what you'd expect of such a large and diverse country:

      Of the 24 candidates, eight have blended families: Donald Trump has children with multiple partners; the candidates Elizabeth Warren, John Hickenlooper, Bill Weld, and Joe Biden are married and have children from previous marriages, while Bernie Sanders is married and has a son from a previous relationship; Sanders, Tim Ryan, and Kamala Harris all have stepchildren. Seven are remarried divorcés or divorcées (Trump, Warren, Hickenlooper, Weld, Sanders, Eric Swalwell, and Tulsi Gabbard), and four have no children of their own (Harris, Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg, and Cory Booker). One has a spouse of the same sex (Buttigieg), one is a remarried widower (Biden), and two are unmarried (Booker and the self-help and spirituality author Marianne Williamson). Two candidates have at some point lived as single mothers (Warren and Williamson).

      • from Pacific Standard: What Role Will Religion Play for Democratic Presidential Candidates in 2020?. religion has been largely absent from the democratic side of presidential elections for awhile, but interestingly even as organized religion starts to decay in america, this year you're seeing a few democrats pick up the banner of religion in their campaigning. this might be because WASP-types tend to vote heavily republican and even scalping a few of them or making them more hesitant to pull the lever for republicans could render a republican unable to win nationwide except in particularly unique circumstances--but it could also just be that there are a lot of candidates this year, and some of them just happen to be openly religious and democratic. either way, it's too early to really say how this will shake out in future elections, but keep an eye on it.

      • from FiveThirtyEight: [LONGFORM] How Will Democrats’ Move Away From Caucuses Affect The 2020 Race?. a lot of states which used caucuses in 2016 are not going to be doing so again in 2020; in fact, the caucus system is basically dead at this point in the democratic party. besides turnout, though, it's unclear how this will actually affect the 2020 race. maybe the biggest subplot of this will be the party-run primaries some states will be having (which differ significantly from government-run primaries: "While state governments might open hundreds or thousands of polling places statewide for 12 hours or more, party-run votes might provide less than one voting location per county or keep the polls open for just four hours on primary day. These party-run affairs will likely offer forms of early and absentee voting in 2020, but seeing as they won’t be able to rely on the state-run systems that normally handle these kinds of election administration, it’s unclear how effective the parties will be at managing this on their own.") beyond that? shruggie.

      Joe Biden

      • from POLITICO: ‘Slow and steady’ strategy pays off for Biden. biden's early game so far has been pretty laid back compared to just about everybody else. this is very much intentional--biden has several reasons to not want to attempt the wild pace of everybody else, namely that he's old and gaffe prone--and so far, seems to be working. biden's lead has been retained thus far in the primary and doesn't seem to be really abetting yet.

      • from The Atlantic: Joe Biden’s Bet That 2016 Didn’t Change Everything. this piece by The Atlantic goes into a bit of detail about the big bet of the biden campaign: "that in the four years since Trump launched his campaign, the country hasn’t changed, the Democratic Party hasn’t changed, and politics hasn’t changed." it's an interesting bet, one which i'm not sure is exactly correct. also, this feels like possibly the most accurate summary of biden's case for the presidency thus far:

      [...]It’s early days yet in the Democratic primary, but Biden’s campaign is discussed in some circles as a self-fulfilling prophecy: that he will win the Democratic nomination simply because he appears the likeliest to win the nomination, that he will beat Trump simply because everyone is talking about how electable he is—not because voters are actually excited about him or the specifics of what he’s running on.

      "I know some of the really smart folks said that Democrats do not want to hear about unity. The Democrats are so angry, the angrier that candidate could be the better chance to win the nomination. I do not believe it," Biden said. "I believe Democrats want to unify this nation."
      "I am running to offer our country — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — a different path, not back to a past that never was but to a future that fulfills our true potential,” he said.

      Elizabeth Warren

      Warren would call on Congress to pass laws enshrining the right to an abortion that would preempt any state attempt to ban the procedure or impose onerous regulations on abortion providers. She would also push for the repeal of the Hyde amendment, a long-time prohibition on federal funding for abortion and sign executive orders rolling back recent Trump administration moves aimed at cutting Planned Parenthood out of the Title X family planning program.

      a lot of this is contingent on congress, you might note, and this is one of the big weaknesses of her plan here. democratic control of the senate in either 2020 or 2022 is far from a given, meaning that in the event they fail to take control of the senate this plan basically cannot go through since it'd fail on a party-line vote. (she might be banking on the democrats splitting the chamber 50-50 since it is unlikely they'd--in 2020 anyways--outright win the senate.)

      • from CBS News: Elizabeth Warren introduces bill to curb defense lobbying. warren's also introduced a bill in congress which, among other things, seeks to "ban defense contractors from hiring senior officials directly from the Defense Department and extend to four years the ban on former generals lobbying the Pentagon", "[disqualify former contractors who join the government] from working on any issue that could help or hurt their former employer for four years", and "limit foreign governments' hirings of U.S. national security officials."

      • from CBS News: Elizabeth Warren introduces plan to reduce military's carbon footprint. aside from abortion and lobbying, warren's also been busy with climate policy. specifically she's pushing for "the military to reach zero carbon emissions for all non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030." this is a surprisingly ambitious goal, because the military's carbon emissions have been increasing recently.

      • from Jacobin: How Warren’s Climate Defense Bill Undermines Itself. of course, warren's bill isn't without some controversy. jacobin argues that some of the provisions of the bill essentially undermine it completely, specifically the "market waiver" and the "war waiver":

      WAIVER: the Secretary of Defense may waive the requirements of this section . . . [if] he determines that market conditions for a product or service make it difficult for the Department to acquire that product or service and the waiver will accelerate the Department’s acquisition of the product or service.
      WAIVER: the Secretary of Defense may waive the requirements of this section . . . [if] he determines that meeting these requirements would adversely affect the national security interests of the United States . . .

      in their view these waivers are likely to be exploited to such an extent by the government that they essentially offset any benefits the bill could have and render it incapable of addressing climate change in the way climate change needs to be addressed in the time we have.

      • from In These Times: [LONGFORM] When It Comes to U.S. Militarism, Elizabeth Warren Is No Progressive. more broadly, In These Times makes an argument for warren being basically joined at the hip with military interests, even as she tries to address some of the biggest problems with it. specifically they note that her voting record outside of yemen on military issues is not the best, and they often stand in contrast to some of the policies and rhetoric she espouses on the issue.

      • from Vanity Fair: Can MAGA Country Learn to Love Elizabeth Warren?. vanity fair notes meanwhile that warren seems to be gaining some traction with trump voters, at least on policy issues:

      [...]In a recent focus group observed by Axios in Sioux City, Iowa, voters who flipped from Obama to Trump “strongly supported” Warren’s plan to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt for voters whose families made less than $100,000 a year. They echoed her message that many Americans are not reaping the benefits of a booming economy, pointing to stagnant wages and a declining quality of life. And there was a strong consensus that big financial institutions should be taxed to pay for infrastructure.
      The only catch? The focus group wasn’t told that the student debt plan was Warren’s. All but 1 of the 11 Obama-Trump swing voters in the group said they would re-elect Trump if he were running against Clinton.

      Kamala Harris

      Harris wants to ban AR-15-style assault weapon imports and suspend all other assault weapon imports until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can analyze whether they should be permanently banned under U.S. law. Her campaign argues the weapons could be banned because they aren't "suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." This includes all 44 AR-type models listed in the latest assault weapons ban that was introduced in Congress.

      • from POLITICO: Kamala Harris: Biden would make ‘great’ running mate. one of the weirder subplots of the week is the row that's been stirred up by a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus suggesting harris would make a good running mate for joe biden. harris herself mostly dismissed this with the humorous jab in the title here, but...

      • from POLITICO: 'It's infuriating': Kamala Harris team galled by Biden veep talk. ...her campaign was less than enthralled with this, to say the least. making it doubly awkward, harris is--as a significant black democrat--a pretty visible member of the CBC, so they had to figure out how to address this without egging this on further. this ultimately seems to have been where harris's jab came from:

      Anticipating questions from news media on Wednesday, Harris and her advisers settled on the humorous one-liner, according to an aide.

      harris remains committed to running for president, obviously.

      Cory Booker

      • from Mother Jones: Can Cory Booker Really Turn His Back on Silicon Valley?. a significant booker sticking point so far (although it's gone mostly unreported) is his desire to step in on silicon valley and social media; he's been angling himself in this way for the past few years. the problem with this, of course, is that booker has a long history with silicon valley himself. for the most part, he hasn't really been punished for this by the voters, it seems (not that there are many to punish him in the first place of course--he's sitting on like, 4% in the polls now), but it is a legitimate question whether or not his barnstorming on this issue can necessarily be backed up.

      • from Buzzfeed News: Cory Booker Vows To Make Roe V. Wade The Law Of The Land As President. on another note, he is one of several candidates who have pledged to do this. not surprising, and i'd be shocked if anybody besides maybe biden eschewed eventually stumping on this, but it's interesting to see how openly people are running on this.

      • from POLITICO: Booker campaign official urges donations for Gillibrand to ensure debate spot. also, perhaps demonstrating the extent to which democrats are trying to avoid conflict, booker's campaign is encouraging people to donate to the perennial disappointment of a campaign that gillibrand has been running so she doesn't miss out on a debate spot. kinda wild!

      Everybody Else

      Sanders’ plan would ban for-profit charter schools, which make up a small slice of charters nationwide, and put strict limits on nonprofit charter schools, temporarily banning federal funding for new charters. Charter schools tend to be more segregated than public schools — the NAACP has called to ban them outright — though they are also popular among black voters.
      One significant roadblock for Sanders’ sweeping plan: the reality that the federal government plays a relatively small role in K-12 education. The vast majority of money for education comes from states, which set their own policies; some states ban for-profit charters, and others allow them to proliferate.

      Other notable components of Inslee’s new 38-page policy proposal includes investing $35 billion in clean energy and climate solutions research, a big increase over current levels; creating a $90 billion "Green Bank" at the federal level to help finance clean energy development; phasing out potent greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, in line with global agreements; proposing federal agencies get all of their domestic energy production from clean energy sources and purchase only zero-emission vehicles by 2024.
      To pay for it all, Inslee proposes a federal investment of about $300 billion a year, which his campaign anticipates will generate an additional $600 billion a year in outside funding. This adds up to $9 trillion in total investment over a decade.

      • from POLITICO: ‘He’s white, male and gay’: Buttigieg hits obstacles with black voters. buttigieg is one of the few democrats who might have genuine problems appealing to black voters, most of which is outlined in this POLITICO piece. in a field this large with multiple minority candidates, he's going to have a hard time (and already is having a hard time, honestly) establishing himself as a candidate minorities should go for. for the most part, i think that his status as white is going to be the bigger barrier than him being gay (at least with the majority of black voters--the article notes the big generational disparity on that: "In 2017, 69 percent of African Americans aged 18 to 29 backed same-sex marriage, but just 40 percent of African Americans aged 65 and older did, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll."), but we'll see.

      • from The Atlantic: [LONGFORM] Democrat Steve Bullock Won a Red State in 2016. Can He Beat Trump in 2020?. steve bullock is one of the latest candidates to throw himself into the woodchipper. hailing from the nominally red state of montana, though, he probably has a better case for the presidency than most of the perennial 1% polling crowd. this article mostly outlines who he is, what he wants, and what he's shooting for, because honestly unless you're a politico, you probably have no clue who he is or what he stands for (he's the governor of montana, for the record).

      Opinions & Other

      • from GQ: Elizabeth Warren Deserves Your Undivided Attention. this piece by drew magary is basically an op-ed, even though it's not labeled such by GQ. anyways, magary basically lays out all of the places where warren's policies would be good, and why in his view they'd be good. it's not that special nor is it the most elegant basically-an-oped ever written, but GQ doesn't exactly run a lot of pieces like this so i figured i shouldn't pass it over.

      • from The Guardian: Joe Biden would be a disaster for climate change. this was a theme with last week's post where people raked biden for his awful climate change policy. maybe the biggest takeaway from this op-ed, though, is this line: "As atmosphere scientists Andrew Dessler told HuffPost’s Alexander Kaufman, Biden’s plans would “be more in line with stabilizing at 3-4C of warming, rather than staying below 2C”." this is... not optimal! it's actually barely an improvement over donald's policy, which is in line with 4C+ warming.

      • from The Guardian: If New Yorkers won't back Bill de Blasio, nobody else will. oh, by the way, bill de blasio is running for president. nobody cares about him, though, and he's a perennial 1% candidate. super funny how badly he polls, though:

      In a Quinnipiac poll last month, 76% of New Yorkers agreed that their mayor should not run for president. This included 70% of black voters, who usually make up De Blasio’s strongest base of support. As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, De Blasio was a standout in another poll, this time of national Democratic primary voters, for being the candidate with the highest unfavorability ratings. He was also the only candidate with net unfavorability, with more respondents having an unfavorable than favorable view of him. The Quinnipiac poll even showed that one-third of Democrats in De Blasio’s home city – what ought to be his main bulwark of support – disapprove of his job performance.

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

      EDIT: minor spelling stuff

      12 votes