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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
    2. week eight graces us with a particularly large edition of This Week in Election Night, 2020. a lot of candidates have been in the news, for good reasons and bad, and there's a bunch of stuff to go...

      week eight graces us with a particularly large edition of This Week in Election Night, 2020. a lot of candidates have been in the news, for good reasons and bad, and there's a bunch of stuff to go through. no opinion pieces this week, since i didn't end up compiling any particularly good ones and this is going to be pretty long already.

      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 1 threadWeek 2 threadWeek 3 threadWeek 4 threadWeek 5 threadWeek 6 threadWeek 7 thread


      General Stuff

      Joe Biden

      • from Reuters: Exclusive: Presidential hopeful Biden looking for ‘middle ground’ climate policy. we begin on a high note, with joe biden deciding... well... this: "Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is crafting a climate change policy he hopes will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters who elected Donald Trump, according to two sources, carving out a middle ground approach that will likely face heavy resistance from green activists." as far as details, this appears to be the most we have so far:

      The backbone of the policy will likely include the United States re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving U.S. regulations on emissions and vehicle fuel efficiency that Trump has sought to undo...
      The second source, a former energy department official advising Biden’s campaign who asked not to be named, said the policy could also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology, which limit emissions from coal plants and other industrial facilities.

      • from VICE: A Biden Presidency Would Be a 'Death Sentence,' Climate Activists Warn. to put it lightly, biden's plan is getting fucking obliterated by climate activists. activists are unsurprisingly worried that biden, by trying to seek a middle ground, is basically just going to bring us into hellworld--a likely prospect, honestly, just going off what we have. VICE also expounds on just how unhelpful and non-specific biden's climate policy is so far with this detail:

      Biden’s campaign website contains only three sentences about the greatest crisis ever to face humankind, and these are located midway down a secondary page. “We must turbocharge our efforts to address climate change and ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, clean air, and an environment free from pollutants,” the site reads.

      • from Mother Jones: The Planet Is Heading to Catastrophe and Joe Biden Apparently Wants to Take the “Middle Ground”. Mother Jones also has some other reporting which expounds on the amazing fact that biden somehow was the first person to really introduce climate change into the political arena, and yet his policy on it is borderline regressive nowadays. not the best look, although i doubt it'll change votes

      • from POLITICO: Bernie Sanders: Biden’s reported climate plan ‘will doom future generations’. if you thought this criticism stopped at voters though, you'd be wrong, because sanders is just as unimpressed with this plan, and i'd imagine he is not the only candidate like this. this is probably about as strong of a rebuke as you'll ever see this early on: “There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy,” Sanders tweeted Friday. “If we don't commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations.”

      • from POLITICO: Florida takes shape as Joe Biden’s firewall. on a lighter note for biden, he is--for now anyways--the solid frontrunning candidate. florida in particular looks like a key state for him to win, which would be good news for him since it'll give him an advantage in the later half of the primaries (it will, in 2020, be one of the last large states to vote on account of not being a super tuesday state). given its demography, if he's on track to lose in this state, don't count on him realistically winning the primary.

      Bernie Sanders

      Elizabeth Warren

      • [LONGFORM] from TIME: 'I Have a Plan for That.' Elizabeth Warren Is Betting That Americans Are Ready for Her Big Ideas. i don't have a whole lot to say here. we have a tildes discussion on this piece, as it was posted earlier this week, so i would encourage you to post there if you have thoughts on this one like i did.

      • from POLITICO: Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country. warren's been hustling around a bit in the past week and change, even stopping over in rural west virginia on friday to talk about the opioid crisis and other socioeconomic factors which have been massively fucking over the region. pitstops like these presumably aren't going to be swinging things blue in west virginia again anytime soon, but as the article notes: "...Warren was here to try to send a message that she’s serious about tackling the problems of remote communities like this one." also, in case you're curious, you can find her policy on the opioid crisis here.

      • from Reuters: Democrat Warren confronts 2020 electability question head-on in Ohio. she was also over in ohio this weekend, where she barnstormed on similar issues of tackling income inequality and the likes of that.

      • from Slate: Warren Has Earned Her Wonk Reputation. this article from Slate is mostly an overview of the many, many policies that elizabeth warren has proposed just over the course of the campaign so far. it's a lot! the article does note that currently she seems to lack detailed policies on many of the big issues prioritized by democratic voters, but we're still pretty early in the campaign so i assume she'll roll those out in the future.

      Kamala Harris

      Harris pulled in at least $1 million from ZIP codes where most residents are not white, about two-and-a-half times the total of former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who was second to Harris, raising more than $408,000 from the same set of neighborhoods, the analysis showed. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was third, about $1,400 behind O'Rourke, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., was fourth, with at least $391,000.

      • from CNN: Kamala Harris eyes black voters, women in campaign tour to win over Midwest. aside from fundraising, harris spend most of last week swinging through the midwest barnstorming in minority communities; her current angle seems to mostly run through women and minorities, and while she's doing relatively poorly in polling, people do seem to have interest in her campaign. CNN's most recent polling found "...Harris at 5% but leading the field at 23% among those polled when asked which candidate they'd most like to hear more about."

      • from Reuters: Kamala Harris stood up to big banks, with mixed results for consumers in crisis. one of harris's signature points on which she's been campaigning is, in Reuters's words, "the $20 billion relief settlement she secured as California attorney general for homeowners hit hard by the foreclosure crisis"; this article proceeds to pour a bit of cold water on how this played out in practice, though, as harris's actions didn't prevent significant damage to many people's livelihoods.

      Amy Klobuchar

      • from The Guardian: 'Iowa slingshot': Amy Klobuchar plots midwest route to victory in 2020. klobuchar has also been pretty quiet (and been polling quite badly), but she's also gotten some attention this week. as this article talks about, her path to the presidency has always been basically the same: win over midwestern voters which democrats have been collapsing with since obama cleaned house in 2008. she has the electoral history to back this up: despite relatively close races up-ballot being pretty regular in minnesota since 2000, klobuchar has regularly destroyed her republican opponents statewide and won otherwise-republican-voting white people.

      • from Politico: Klobuchar says she isn't worried that older white men are leading the 2020 race. she's also pretty optimistic about her chances. she notes that her campaign is still in the early stages and that despite the dominance of white men, there's still harris and warren in the top-eight, which suggests that she too could have capital as her campaign continues.

      • from the Huffington Post: Amy Klobuchar On Female Presidential Candidates: ‘Discount Them At Your Own Peril’. and of course, she notes that discounting female candidates is something to be done at your own peril--female candidates have been particularly successful in recent electoral cycles.

      • from Reuters: Klobuchar pitches pragmatism as she seeks to carve identity in Democratic presidential field. klobuchar's main ideological approach so far has been to be the "pragmatic" female candidate, advocating for a more incremental tackling of the issues instead of sweeping progressivism as advocated by people like warren. no signs of this changing, although she does openly consider herself to be a progressive in the same vein as people like warren and sanders.

      Pete Buttigieg

      • from POLITICO: Mayor Pete blindsides Kamala Harris in California. california has been a state targeted by just about every candidate so far, but the one with probably the biggest impact relative to how they poll has been buttigieg, who is putting a lot of people who might otherwise be donating to or endorsing harris in an interesting position with where they're going to place their support. LA mayor eric garcetti, who appeared at an event with buttigieg on thursday, might summarize this best:

      “We have a lot of people who are very candidate curious,” Garcetti notes. “Kamala has a ton of love up and down the state, but people might say, ‘That doesn’t mean I’m not going to shop around … Maybe I’ll keep her as my senator and go with somebody else as president.’”

      • from CBS News: Could Pete Buttigieg make history in LGBTQ-friendly Nevada?. buttigieg is also, obviously, hoping to make history with his candidacy, and he's been making overtures toward LGBT organizations accordingly. on saturday he was a headliner at the human rights campaign gala in nevada--nevada it should also be noted has a pretty large LGBT population, which is likely to help him significantly in the state.

      • from NBC News: Buttigieg is the only top 2020 candidate not offering staffers health care yet. however, buttigieg hasn't had all good headlines this week. NBC news highlighted his campaign's failure to offer healthcare to staffers, an ignominious feat for him and something which stands in contrast to the rhetoric he's espoused on the campaign trail so far. NBC reports:

      Buttigieg’s campaign currently has 49 workers, but has been staffing up rapidly, and plans to hit the 50 mark imminently.
      “Crossing this threshold will put us in a position to get a good multi-state group plan, which we are currently negotiating,” said Buttigieg press secretary Chris Meagher.
      In the meantime, the campaign is giving salaried staffers a $400 monthly stipend to buy health care themselves. That’s just enough for a single adult with no children to cover a “silver plan” through the Obamacare exchanges, according to national cost data analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      Everybody Else

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

      11 votes
    3. 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...

      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.

      Week 1 threadWeek 2 threadWeek 3 threadWeek 4 threadWeek 5 threadWeek 6 thread


      General Stuff

      Joe Biden

      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).

      Bernie Sanders

      • 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".

      Everybody Else

      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.

      “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."

      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).

      • 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.


      ...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.

      18 votes
    4. week six comes slightly early, because i have way too many links and i actually started writing this yesterday because it's just over a page and fuck writing all this in one day, lol. the...

      week six comes slightly early, because i have way too many links and i actually started writing this yesterday because it's just over a page and fuck writing all this in one day, lol. the [LONGFORM] tag continues and finally returns, offering up two pieces to us today.

      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 1 threadWeek 2 threadWeek 3 threadWeek 4 threadWeek 5 thread


      General Stuff

      • from FiveThirtyEight: What The Potential 2020 Candidates Are Doing And Saying, Vol. 16. a pretty quiet week for most of the candidates. most of the highlights came after the end-date for this volume and will be reflected in next week's.

      • from NBC News: Can a woman beat Trump? Some Democrats wonder if it's worth the risk. even though it's pretty inane, this topic is probably going to be a recurring theme, because voter preferences are some of the absolute weirdest, most unfathomably illogical shit possible. electability is a large part of why this is probably going to be a theme: clinton might have poisoned the well for all of this year's "first" candidates by fucking up in 2016, and that might make voters hesitant to pull the lever for another one. but again, who the fuck knows. voter preferences have an uncanny tendency to make zero sense.

      • from the Guardian: Black female voters to Democrats: 'You won't win the White House without us'. another recurring topic is going to be the black female vote, which is consistently the most democratic bloc possible. in really any place where there's a significant minority vote, democrats have to turn these voters out significantly, and obviously presidential primaries and elections aren't exceptions to that rule. most of the candidates don't seem to be doing the best job of winning them over yet.

      • from Reuters: Democratic presidential candidates seek union support at workers' forum. union voters could be significant in the democratic path to the presidency, and so you're seeing a lot of democrats try and angle themselves as union candidates also. which one will win out here? i have no fucking clue.

      • from NPR: The Democratic Field Is Set: 8 Questions About What Comes Next. NPR offers up a series of questions about the trajectory of the primary, which will probably aid us in the coming months:

      1. How far does name identification go?
      2. It's there for Biden now, but can he prove himself?
      3. Can Bernie Sanders expand beyond his loyal base?
      4. Does Pete Buttigieg continue his momentum?
      5. Does Elizabeth Warren find her lane?
      6. Does Beto O'Rourke get edged out or does he find his way in?
      7. Can Kamala Harris supercharge her candidacy – and fend off Biden in South Carolina?
      8. Can others have a breakout moment?

      Joe Biden

      • from the Atlantic: Unlike His Rivals, Biden Sees Trump as an Aberration. we begin this week with how biden is framing his candidacy. one of the cruxes of biden's campaign is that trump doesn't reflect a change of values in the american public or even in the republican party, necessarily. in his view, the status quo hasn't really changed, and if we return to electing people like biden then trumpism will effectively cease. whether you buy that, i leave up to you.

      • from Vox: The health care industry is betting on Joe Biden in its war against Medicare-for-all. another thing about biden is that he has very decisively positioned himself against medicare-for-all, which mostly reflects his status as an establishment candidate. this, as it happens, is super great if you're a lobbyist for the healthcare industry, which is unsurprisingly and firmly in biden's camp in this election.

      • from Buzzfeed News: Joe Biden Backs A Public Option — Not Medicare For All — As He Argues For Electability. as far as biden is concerned though, this is mostly a matter of electability. among his other points of policy: "[a] on noncompete clauses ... a $15 minimum wage and ... a more simplified process for issuing professional licenses."

      • from the Guardian: 'Battle for America's soul': Biden comes out swinging at first 2020 event. beyond that, biden also has this for policy: "reversing Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations" and "enacting the so-called “Buffett Rule” – which would apply a minimum tax rate of 30% on individuals making more than $1m". he's supposed to unveil more of this in the near future.

      • from Slate: 10 Questions Joe Biden Needs to Answer About His Views on Race. Slate offers up 10 questions that they feel joe biden is obligated to give us better answers on, thanks in no small part to his incredibly long history of being a dumb politician who might now be on the wrong side of the political traintracks.

      Bernie Sanders

      • from Buzzfeed News: Bernie Sanders Is Getting A Shadow Organizing Campaign In The Midwest. bernie sanders has had a quiet week in the media, relatively speaking. one of the only notes from this week about him came in the form of people realizing that yes, our revolution does actually exist and yes, it does actually do things. the sanders campaign is probably going to need things like this to win this year.

      Beto O'Rourke

      The plan begins with proposed executive actions, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement on day one of an O’Rourke administration and moving quickly to raise efficiency standards for buildings, cars and appliances. Longer term executive actions include setting a net-zero emissions carbon budget for federal lands by 2030 and adding more national parks and monuments to protect land and seascapes.
      The meat of the O’Rourke plan is a promise to send Congress, as his first piece of legislation, a bill that would mobilize $5 trillion over the next 10 years to upgrade infrastructure and spur innovation — including more than a trillion dollars in tax incentives to reduce emissions, and $250 billion dedicated directly to research and development.

      His plan, starting day one in the White House, would include spending a record $5 trillion on climate action over ten years and mandating the US reduce its emissions to net zero by 2050. (This means the nation, by midcentury, would no longer be emitting more climate pollution into the atmosphere than it was pulling out of it through trees and other ways.)

      Elizabeth Warren

      Pete Buttigieg

      • from the Atlantic: Authenticity Just Means Faking It Well. this article is more about authenticity than it is about buttigieg, but its catalyst is buttigieg so i'm placing it in this section. what constitutes "authenticity"? who the fuck knows, honestly, but buttigieg is apparently it in a way that resonates with voters.


      • from Truthout: [LONGFORM] None of the 2020 Frontrunners Go Far Enough on Climate. Truthout opines that realistically, absolutely none of the current frontrunner candidates have a compelling platform on climate change that will work. this might change now that o'rourke has actually unveiled a comprehensive plan, but in general outside of inslee (who is running as The Climate Change Candidate), so far climate change hasn't really played much of a role in the primary.

      • from the Guardian: Joe Biden is the Hillary Clinton of 2020 – and it won't end well this time either. this take opines that biden is basically this cycle's hillary clinton and that biden basically does not get it. perhaps the best distilling of this argument is in this paragraph:

      Biden’s answer to Trump isn’t systemic change that will make America a more equitable place. He’s not offering progressive policies like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. His is the vaguest and most centrist of battle cries: let’s go back to, you know, “all those good things”. Let’s go back to a time where racism was a little more polite and white people could pretend America was a post-racial society. Let’s fight for the soul of America by pretending that Trump is the problem, not just a symptom of the problem. Let’s pretend that Charlottesville was a direct result of Trump – an aberration – and not a product of a racism that has always existed in America. Let’s rewind the clock a few years to when everything was just fine and dandy.

      The Shakir-Tanden debate about money in politics at Cap is also the larger debate Sanders is sparking in the Democratic party. Joe Biden opened his presidential bid by allowing a Comcast executive to host a fundraiser for him at his home in Pennsylvania. Sanders, on the other hand, has written off such fundraisers and is insisting on relying on small donor funders, not corporate executives or lobbyists.

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

      EDIT: minor grammatical stuff

      8 votes
    5. week five begins with another page worth of links, a big presidential announcement, and the long creep of this cycle that will make us all go fucking crazy by the end of it. the [LONGFORM] tag...

      week five begins with another page worth of links, a big presidential announcement, and the long creep of this cycle that will make us all go fucking crazy by the end of it. the [LONGFORM] tag continues, but i don't think there's any longform this week either, so c'est la vie.

      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 1 threadWeek 2 threadWeek 3 threadWeek 4 thread


      General Stuff

      • from FiveThirtyEight: What The Potential 2020 Candidates Are Doing And Saying, Vol. 15. if you're curious what candidates have been up to, FiveThirtyEight has you covered with this week's roundup.

      • from FiveThirtyEight: Who Might Make The Democratic Debate Stage?. this is probably the most important question now that the field is basically set: how many people will qualify for the debate stage? the DNC has said the cap is 20 candidates, and we have at least 21 running with potentially more on the way. a lot of them meet at least one criterion for being included. the DNC seems to have prepared extensively for that possibility, so it's not like they're on the backfoot here, but i suspect the politicking surrounding this for some of the smaller candidates is going to be pretty wacky.

      • from The Atlantic: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet, like CBS News's roundup, this extensive piece covers every candidate currently declared, why they're running, and what they're running on. pretty good resource for those of you needing to cite something.

      • from The Atlantic: The Strategic Move That Gave Bernie Sanders a Fundraising Edge. despite its title, this article mostly focuses on fundraising and how it's been either lackluster for democrats or not been, depending on who you ask and under what criteria, and whether or not that even matters in the grand scheme of things. it's an interesting discussion.

      Joe Biden

      we begin with two words: HE'S RUNNING. The Atlantic first reported this in a piece on the 19th called Joe Biden Is Running for President, and he was expected to announce yesterday but curiously, something (Biden's team was warned about announcing 2020 bid on same day as forum focused on women of color) seems to have interfered with that master plan that joe biden should have known about, so he announced this morning instead.

      here is his announcement video:

      The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy...everything that has made America -- America --is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.

      and nobody was really surprised. anyways, onto articles covering his announcement. take your pick of source:

      moving on to analysis:

      Bernie Sanders

      • from Buzzfeed News: Bernie Sanders Isn’t Fighting The Wars Of 2016, His Campaign Says — The Democratic Establishment Is. in case you haven't noticed, we're still religitating the bullshit that characterized the 2016 primary because nobody can drop it. nowhere is this more clear than with the sanders campaign, who feel like they're still having to defend themselves from the same lines of attack they did back then. whether or not this is accurate is probably debatable, but it's pretty obvious that this isn't going to just go away, so expect it to continue to be a fracture point this year.

      • from The Guardian: Sanders dares Democrats to stop him – but is he the man to beat Trump?. in a similar vein, the sanders campaign seems to be contending with the prospect of the democratic party trying to meddle in the primary and anoit a non-sanders winner, as they were accused of doing in 2016. this is going to also likely remain a fracture point, because the democratic party no doubt feels it has reasons to step in here--but also, it would absolutely be inviting trouble if sanders is the leading candidate when everything is said and done at the convention and they step in, given 2016.

      • from Vox: Republican strategist Karl Rove says Bernie Sanders could beat Donald Trump in 2020. whether realpolitik or genuine concern (and in contrast to rick wilson in the above piece), karl rove seems to think that sanders is the exact sort of candidate who would beat donald in 2020.

      Beto O'Rourke

      In a statement about her and Malitz’s departure to BuzzFeed News, Bond said it was “time for us to move on to other challenges.”
      “Launching a presidential campaign without a big staff or even a campaign manager was no easy feat and it took everyone pitching in,” she said. “We’re proud to have been part of the team of deeply dedicated staff and volunteers who nearly pulled off a historic upset in the 2018 Texas Senate race and broke records launching Beto’s campaign for the presidency.”

      • from the Huffington Post: Beto O’Rourke’s Non-Media Strategy. on a more strategy-driven note for beto, his campaign has interestingly been one of the only thus far to not have a nationally televised town hall. this seems to be intentional. as the article notes:

      O’Rourke ... sa[id] he preferred interacting with voters “eyeball to eyeball” rather than by doing TV, as evidenced by his dozens of events where he regularly takes questions from the audience and reporters alike. But he acknowledged “at some point, I may have to give in” to doing cable television.

      it's a bold strategy for certain, but i do suspect that he's going to have to at some point get his voice out nationally. he's been slightly slipping in recent polls, mostly to candidates like buttigieg, and it suggests that he's lost a bit of his lustre with democratic voters.

      Elizabeth Warren

      Pete Buttigieg

      • from Buzzfeed News: Pete Buttigieg’s Presidential Run Has Many LGBT Democrats Eager For Their Obama Moment. buzzfeed has a piece on the significance of pete buttigieg to LGBT americans and how he's been able to leverage that to tap into a donor network that's usually pretty splintered. it's unclear to me that he's going to be able to parlay that untapped base into success, though, and more recent polling seems to have buttigieg sorta stalling out around 10% with the logjam of other sorta-kinda-frontrunner candidates.

      • from CBS News: Pete Buttigieg on the presidency as a "moral office". this is mostly a personality piece on buttigieg and both his history in afghanistan and his electoral history, and how that has influenced his current candidacy and what he views as priorities. it's kinda straightforward and the title sorta speaks for itself, so there's not actually that much to be said for it.

      Kamala Harris

      Harris said she would mandate universal background checks on anyone selling more than five guns a year, ending a loophole that allows private gun sellers to bypass background checks on 1 in 5 gun sales nationwide, bar people classified as fugitives from buying guns. She would also, her campaign said, close a loophole in federal law that allows perpetrators of domestic violence to keep their guns if they are not married to their partner.

      • from POLITICO: Kamala Harris says she supports adding third gender option to federal IDs. she also supports the fairly small idea of adding a third gender option to federal IDs. i guess you gotta have some tiny policies in there too with the big ones for maximum efficiency. it is possible this raises questions about her history of LGBT policy, though, which is probably not something that she wants to litigate because it's not the best.

      Everybody else


      For voters, Booker's Wall Street ties and his T-Bone stories are part of the same problem: Authenticity. Can you be a liberal Democratic willing to take on billionaires, entrenched corporations and the deregulation unleashed by the Trump Administration after years of cozying up to Wall Street and pharmaceutical donors? Can you address the racial divides in America — not just what's in people's hearts, but the problems of differential education, mass incarceration and inequality of opportunity — if you can't bring yourself to call Trump a racist? And can you be trusted to tell the truth of why you've arrived at your liberal politics if you made up a T-Bone to explain to white people a cartoon version of black intergenerational trauma?

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

      11 votes