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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.

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