2020 Democrats


Rising Star
Super Moderator
4 Democrats on the verge of announcing a 2020 presidential bid
January 11, 2019

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

With Democrats teasing possible 2020 presidential bids left and right, it's hard to tell who's next in line to officially announce.

One likely candidate whose announcement could come very soon is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who The New York Times reports has just hired a communications director for a possible 2020 run, in addition to some other important hires reported by Politico. Considering, as the Times points out, she has 15 days to file with the Federal Election Commission once she has spent $5,000 or more on campaign expenses, her announcement could come during that window — not to mention the fact that Politico reportsshe's planning a trip to Iowa.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)'s announcement also appears to be around the corner. KCBS reports that Harris has decided to run and that she'll declare her candidacy sometime around Martin Luther King Day. This latter aspect of the report is in dispute, but sources that spoke with the Times and Politico didn't exactly deny that she's running, just saying that the timing of any announcement hasn't yet been decided.

We also might soon hear from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who CNN says has been looking for a campaign manager and has "narrowed" his search, also "zeroing in on senior staff" in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Finally, while he has already signaled a likely 2020 run with an exploratory committee, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro has said he will announce his final decision on Jan. 12.

But what about some of the other frontrunners, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden? Axios reports that both seem likely hold off on their announcements a bit longer, though Biden has privately said he will make his decision this month, the Times reports. With as many as 30 people potentially running on the Democratic side this cycle, enjoy the slim lineup while it lasts. Brendan Morrow




Rising Star
Super Moderator
Democrat Julian Castro expected to announce 2020 presidential run

10:12 a.m.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is expectedto announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nod in his hometown San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

Castro would be the only Latino candidate and, at 44, among the youngest of anticipated contenders. In addition to his time in the Obama administration, he previously served as mayor and city council member in San Antonio. He announced his formation of an exploratory committee last month and has already visited the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) also announced her candidacy Friday. "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," Gabbard said. "There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," she continued, listing "the issue of war and peace" as "central to the rest." Bonnie Kristian




Horace C. Jones II
BGOL Investor
You better believe they will have some clown ass coons on here ready to bash Kamala Harris even with that piece of shit in the White House fucking up the country beyond repair.


Rising Star
Super Moderator
Biden reportedly told friends he wants to run in 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden has told friends he would like to run for president in 2020, Axiosreported Saturday, joking, "If I'm walking, I'm running." Biden's younger brother also said last week he expects the campaign will happen.

However, a formal decision is yet to be made, Axios' sources say, and an announcement is not yet scheduled. President Trump reacted to Biden's possible candidacy in an interview late Saturday, calling him "weak" and a "one-percenter" because Biden "ran two or three times, [but] he never got above 1 percent [of the vote]."

Source: Axios, CNN



International Member
Is that the same Kamala Harris who refused to induct Steve Mnuchin, and somehow received a campaign donation from him????


Rising Star
Super Moderator
The first 2020 Democrat has already dropped out

January 25, 2019

John Sommers II/Getty Images

Richard Ojeda rebounded after losing his 2018 House bid with another longshot hope — the presidency. Now, he's abandoning that race too.

Ojeda, an Army veteran who's been described as "JFK with tattoos," became the first Democrat to announce a 2020 run just days after the midterms ended in November. But he rescinded that bid on Friday, saying he didn't want to "accept money from people who are struggling for a campaign that does not have the ability to compete" in a statement.

In 2016, President Trump won West Virginia's 3rd District by 49.3 points. Ojeda's Democratic run in the district seemed impossible, but he actually spent some time leading in the pollsbefore going on to lose the race by 13 points. He admitted he'd voted for Trump during the run-up to the race, but later rescinded that support over Trump's zero tolerance policy that separated migrant families.

Ojeda pledged a populist approach in his presidential bid, saying the Democratic Party "is supposed to be the party that fights for the working class." He reiterated that mission even in his Friday statement, saying he would "continue raising my voice and highlighting the issues the working class, the sick, and the elderly face in this nation." Ojeda also thanked his "thousands of volunteers" for their support since November, and said he'd "have an announcement very soon about what my next steps will be." Read Ojeda's full statement here. Kathryn Krawczyk


Rising Star
Super Moderator
Cory Booker announces 2020 presidential campaign

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) officially announced Friday he is running for president in 2020. In a video posted to a newly-launched campaign website, Booker said, "I believe we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind," also saying that "we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose."

Booker is the latest Democrat to jump into the 2020 race alongside Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and others. Following his announcement, he has several radio interviews lined up and is expected to appear Friday on The View. He will subsequently head to Iowa and South Carolina for events next week.

Source: Cory Booker, The New York Times


Rising Star
Super Moderator
2020 Democratic holdouts wait for Harris, Warren to trip

Several potential candidates are adopting a "white knight" strategy, betting that the lost time doesn't matter as much in this political environment.

Beto O'Rourke is one of the prospective 2020 contenders sizing up the emerging Democratic field — and hoping for one or more of the early front-runners to stumble. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


Beto O’Rourke has no timetable for deciding if he’ll run for president. Terry McAuliffe could stay on the sidelines until March, and Steve Bullock just opened a Montana legislative session that will likely push back any announcement as far as April or May.

Amid a series of high-profile campaign announcements in January — and with Cory Booker’s entry Friday continuing the push this month — another class of Democrats is lying in wait. They say they just haven't decided. But they're also sizing up the emerging field — and hoping for one or more of the early front-runners to stumble.

“I think what you’re seeing right now, if you look at the field, people are taking a minute to see how it’s shaping up and what lanes there are, so that when they enter, there’s a clear argument to be made about what’s missing,” said an adviser to one Democratic contender who is waiting to make an announcement. “The people who are getting in early have the advantage of sucking up some press oxygen. But that also comes with six months of consecutively being hit … It’s hard to keep that momentum going for 13 months.”

A strategist with ties to another Democrat who is expected to run said that contender is making a similar calculation. They figure voters will be more receptive to newcomers by early summer, after copious media coverage of top-tier candidates such as Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Who May Be Out There:

Touching off a tour of early nominating states this week,

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), told reporters he will make his decision about running in March, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.​
Other later decisions could come from,

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.),
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and
Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chief executive and self-described lifelong Democrat who is now mulling a run as an independent.
O’Rourke, who told POLITICO recently that his decision could “potentially” take months, said, “There are people who are smarter on this stuff and study this stuff and are following this and say you’ve got to do it this way or get in by this point or get in in this way if you were to get in.”
However, he said, “I think the truth is that nobody knows right now the rules on any of this stuff. I think the rules are being written in the moment.”
In recent decades, late entrants into presidential primaries have fared relatively poorly, with less time to court media attention and donors, hire staff and organize in early primary states. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who entered the 2004 primary campaign months after his competitors, in September 2003, enjoyed a bounce in public opinion polls before faltering in the early nominating states.

Four years later, Republican Fred Thompson entered his party’s primary in the fall of 2007, but quickly faded.

Schooling her rivals in the benefit of a well-orchestrated, early campaign launch, Kamala Harris in late January vaulted ahead of every Democrat -- other than former -- Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

But with no obvious front-runner in 2020 — and with the rise of small-dollar fundraising limiting the influence of major Democratic donors – the opportunity for a relatively late entrant to upend the race is gaining stock in some Democratic circles.

“I don’t think it matters as much as it used to, to get out early, to announce early,” said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who ran for president in 2008. “In the past, you wanted to announce early to get the major party donors and to get the workers … But now things have changed dramatically. Online fundraising has replaced the big megadonors, and there are so many millennials and young people wanting to work that you can afford to wait and still get good workers.”

MORE: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/03/democratic-presidential-candidates-2020-1142895



Super Moderator
I really wish he hadn’t decided to run. He will split Democrats and re-elect TrUmp.



Super Moderator
I really wish he hadn’t decided to run. He will split Democrats and re-elect TrUmp.



Rising Star
Super Moderator
Early Leaders For Black Vote ? ? ?

Bernie Sanders Is Beating Kamala Harris 2-1 Among Black Democratic Primary Voters, New Poll Finds

The Intercept
Ryan Grim
March 6 2019, 11:18 a.m.

Three weeks after launching his presidential campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading all other announced candidates in support from black voters, a new poll finds. The only potential candidate who polled better with African-Americans than Sanders, according to the poll by Morning Consult, is former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced a campaign.

Despite a persistent notion that his supporters are disproportionately white male “bros,” the new survey suggests that Sanders is actually slightly more popular among black Democratic voters than white ones, indicating that the narrative that developed during the 2016 campaign may no longer hold, if it ever did.

Sanders’s support among black voters, at 28 percent, puts him in second place among that demographic, behind Biden, at 32 percent. He trailed Biden 31-25 among whites.

There appears to be a strong class element at play in the finding. The same poll found that the demographics Sanders is least popular with — at 19 and 17 percent, respectively — are Democrats who make more than $100,000 per year and Democrats who have post-graduate degrees (two qualities that typically, if not always, overlap). Because of structural wealth and income gaps, that population is heavily white.

Sanders, meanwhile, receives his strongest support from those making less than $50,000 — a group that is, for the same reasons, much more diverse. The poll found that 30 percent of those with the lowest incomes backed Sanders.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., meanwhile, has half as much support, at 14 percent, among black voters as Sanders, according to supplementary polling data provided to The Intercept by Morning Consult. The findings are drawn from a sample of 2,587 black, likely Democratic primary voters.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker comes in fourth at 6 percent among black voters.

Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke both registered 4 percent,

while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, and others all clocked in at 1 percent.
(Holder and Bloomberg have said they’re not running.)

Of course, Harris’s comparatively low poll numbers might be less reflective of her appeal than the fact that she has lower name recognition than Sanders. But name recognition is the same argument Sanders supporters used to explain his inability to win over black voters in 2015 and 2016 — something he’s making a concerted effort to fix this time around.

Compared to Sanders in 2015, Harris is already fairly well-known among the Democratic primary electorate, with 79 percent having heard of her. (52 percent view her favorably, to just 11 percent unfavorably.) It remains to be seen whether an argument that was casually dismissed when made by Sanders supporters will now be exploited by supporters of Harris.

The preference for Sanders among black voters might be better explained by ideology than identity. February’s Harvard-Harris poll found that 56 percent of black voters preferred a “mostly socialist” economic system, against 44 percent who want a “mostly capitalist” one.

The findings pose both challenges and opportunities for Sanders. Wealthy and middle-class Democrats tend to be more likely to vote than the working class and poor, but Sanders is running a 50-state field and digital program that aims to unleash over a million Sanders volunteers to register and turn out voters who have stayed home in the past. That work could then pay dividends in the general election, which was decided in three states by just tens of thousands of votes in 2016.

Registering and turning out new voters has long been the vision of progressive campaigns. But because it’s extraordinarily difficult, most campaigns stick to the traditional approach of raising big money to pay for television ads that persuade undecided but dependable voters. The upside of the Sanders strategy is that it could reshape the political electorate, creating new possibilities for his agenda in Washington.

The Morning Consult poll found Harris and Warren trailing Biden and Sanders. Among all Democratic primary voters, Biden, Sanders, Harris, and Warren clocked in at 31, 27, 11, and 7 percent, respectively. Morning Consult also divided their sample into early primary states and found the ranking didn’t change, though the numbers shifted slightly, to 34, 29, 8 and 6 percent.

It’s difficult to discern an ideological pattern here. The second choice of a plurality of Sanders voters was Biden, while the same was true in reverse, even though the two politicians have radically different politics. The leading second pick among Warren voters was Sanders.

All the typical caveats apply: This is just one survey; the first votes won’t be cast for nearly a year; much could still change; and on, and on. But the findings map with other similar polls and suggest that anybody watching the presidential campaign solely through the lens of Twitter may be in for a shock when the votes begin to be counted — whether they’re armed with a stopwatch or not.

Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement. Sign up here to get an email when it is released.




Rising Star
Super Moderator

Andrew Yang is the most radical 2020 candidate

Illustrated | Irina Karpinchik/iStock, Martin Holverda/iStock, REUTERS/Scott Morgan, vectorplusb/iStock
April 10, 2019

Has the Democratic Party really gone off the radical deep end?

It sometimes sounds like it from their fiery rhetoric, and the broad embrace of expansive visions like the Green New Deal. But in fact, the overwhelming majority of the serious candidates — Joe Biden and Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Corey Booker — are traditional progressive reformers who would fall well within the recent Democratic mainstream. They have a variety of plans and proposals to solve America's problems, but none have leveled a deep and fundamental critique of the way American society is organized.

A truly radical critique has really been articulated only by three major candidates. Two are well-known: Senators Sanders and Warren. These New England senators see America's political economy as fundamentally corrupted by powerful corporate interests that have eaten away at the commonwealth. Fixing America's problems, therefore, requires a fundamental rethinking of how that political economy works.

Sanders, the self-professed democratic socialist, sees the key solution as the expansion of the state. His trademark proposals — Medicare-for-all, free college, a federal jobs guarantee — all involve the government providing services directly to the citizenry. Warren, the self-professed progressive populist, sees the key solution as the use of the state to diffuse concentrated economic power. Her trademark proposals — a greatly invigorated anti-trust regime, replacing shareholder capitalism with a system of co-determination, and a progressive wealth tax — all involve using the government to cut private interests down to size and make them more responsive to stakeholders in the society at large.​

Their disagreement shouldn't be overstated: both signaled support for the Green New Deal; both favor breaking up the largest banks. But they also agree that what is wrong with America can be fixed by looking back at what worked in America's past. They harken back to the Roosevelt administration (in Warren's case, both Roosevelts), and to an America where the economy gave a fair deal to workers, farmers, and small businesspeople.​

But there's a third candidate who has articulated an even more radical critique of America's political economy, one so radical you might almost miss it because of his calm demeanor, establishment credentials, and the relative moderation of his proposed solutions. Indeed, his critique is so radical that it's not clear even he has grasped the true extent of its implications.

That candidate is Andrew Yang. He has laid out a distinctive case that American society is in the process of self-destruction in his book, The War on Normal People. What makes his critique distinctive is that he sees that the transformation of our society has not just been a matter of plutocratic corruption, but is driven by forces that society not only cannot resist, but shouldn't want to resist, and that therefore will require truly radical change to adapt to. Ironically, the candidate with the greatest affinity for Karl Marx is the founder of Venture for America.​

The key forces Yang identifies as transforming America — and the worldare automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Automation has already cost America far more manufacturing jobs than globalization did.

Advances in artificial intelligence raise the prospect of further massive job losses, in transportation (as self-driving trucks replace long-haul trucking), retail (as on-line shopping wipes out brick-and-mortar stores and robots replace warehouse workers), customer-service, even white-collar jobs like accounting. The number of jobs that could be lost in a very short time runs quickly into the millions. Moreover, the losses will mostly hit during a recession, when businesses are more inclined to focus on how to cut costs than how to grow revenues, exacerbating their social impact.​

If Yang were a luddite, he would call for strict limits on the application of A.I. But Yang understands that the reasons to adopt these technologies will inevitably overwhelm the reasons not to. The accelerating pace of advances, combined with the very obvious advantages to the enterprises in question and the economy as a whole, will propel adoption of these innovations regardless of the social consequences. And the kinds of tasks that A.I. is best-suited to take on are the most routine, boring, and hazardous ones — precisely the jobs that people are least happy doing and that cause them the greatest physical and mental harm.​

What will those workers do instead? It's not clear that there are any realistic employment options for a laid-off 45-year-old truck driver — but that's the least of it. If Yang were predicting a brutal transition period, a whole generation of workers set to be laid off and too old to be retrained, that would be hard enough for society to handle. But he's predicting something more dire still: the obsolescence of "work" as we understand it for a wide swathe of humanity.​

Yang foresees that artificially intelligent software and robots will soon be better at a great many jobs that humans have traditionally done. The jobs that remain will either be beyond the cognitive capacity of most human beings or will be exceptionally non-remunerative. The economy, in the process of becoming more efficient at serving human desires, will drive an increasing proportion of humanity permanently off the road not merely to prosperity but even to subsistence. When he has finished laying out his case, Yang admits that a friend told him he should retitle his book, "We're F---ed."

And yet, surprisingly, Yang is relatively upbeat about our society's ability to respond to the challenge — if we act quickly. The last third of the book focuses on solutions, the most important of which is a guaranteed Universal Basic Income. Paying everyone a minimal level of sustenance would prevent large numbers of people from falling into absolute penury, and facilitate their continued employment in jobs that would otherwise be insufficiently remunerative. He goes on to propose a host of further transformations to health care, education, and other sectors of society, all under the rubric of building "human capitalism."

But there's a disconnect between that term and the system Yang actually describes. If we are really on the verge of an era where machines will be able to replace a large proportion of humanity in any remunerative activity, then economics as we traditionally understand it will no longer be useful for modeling much of society. Yang recognizes this to a degree, inasmuch as he talks about the importance of social credits and time banks and other new means of exchange other than money to facilitate human interaction and cooperative activity in the new era. But these would exist alongside a market-driven process for deploying capital in ever more efficient ways. We won't quite be in a Star Trek post-scarcity world. But we will be in a position where a large — and growing — segment of the citizenry will at best be consumers without ever being producers in an economic sense. And their ability to continue to be consumers will depend on the good will and sense of solidarity manifested by those who continue to produce.

What kind of politics would such a world engender? It's not likely to be a democratic one — and between the lines of Yang's book he seems to recognize that fact. Yang's solutions involve a substantial restructuring of the American economy without massive central planning. But someone will need to construct and maintain the networks through which the citizenry interacts. Someone will need to decide how much of a universal income is optimal, and from what perspective optimality is calculated. Implicitly, the vision is of a world where enormous power rests in the hands of the kinds of people who run firms like Google, and a lot of faith required that those people won't be evil.

A functional and stable politics depends on a balance of mutual interdependency. Going all the way back to the Roman republic, the owners of wealth have repeatedly sought to maximize their share of the common weal at the expense of those who work for them, leading to periodic crises as the plebes rise up and demand a fairer share. We may be in another such moment. Sanders's theory of political change revolves around a political revolution — a citizenry mobilized by a champion of conviction who wins a sweeping majority to enact his transformative agenda. Warren's theory of political change is less clearly articulated, but her solutions aim to build lasting support by giving a vast array of workers and small businesspeople a stake in a more competitive and less oligopolistic economy. But both imagine a world still anchored by work, and getting workers a fair share.


Rembrandt Brown

BGOL Investor
Is true unity among Democrats possible? No. But collaboration is.
by NATHAN J. ROBINSON, Current Affairs
JUNE 07, 2017

It is reasonable to wonder whether the divide between liberalism and leftism actually matters very much. Why does there actually need to be so much animosity between the Clinton and Sanders factions of the Democratic Party? (Or the Blair and Corbyn factions in the UK’s Labour Party.) Why on earth did the race for DNC chair between Keith Ellison and Tom Perez grow so vicious, given their substantially similar progressive credentials? With Donald Trump poised to ravage the planet, either through boiling it slowly over time or blowing it up instantaneously with his vast nuclear arsenal, it would seem time for liberals and leftists to emphasize their similarities rather than their differences. Squabbling over minutiae is a fine way to ensure political irrelevance, and if everyone agrees that right-wing policies are poisonous and immoral, then surely the differences among progressive and leftish people can be worked out later.

It’s also true that, according to one view, the differences between liberals and leftists are not even differences of substance, but differences of political strategy. The claim of people like Clinton and Blair is that, while they share the core progressive principles of compassion and equality, they are simply more hard-nosed and pragmatic. They are more cynical about the limits of political possibility, and believe that change happens slowly. From this perspective, the core difference between Clinton and Sanders is not their ultimate end goals (they both want a world of progressive values), but how to get there.

If that’s the case, and the core of the divide is over “compromise” versus “purity,” or “a view that major progress happens slowly” versus “a demand that it happens immediately,” then the disagreements here should be friendly ones. Unity should be pretty easy, because we’re literally trying to help one another pursue the same objective. I want the same things you do, but I simply think that I have a more effective way of getting them.

But while this is often the kind of language with which moderate liberals distinguish themselves from more “radical” progressive factions, I don’t actually think it does accurately describe the nature of the liberal/left divide. And while conservatives would lump all these varying political tendencies together as a generic political tendency called “the left,” there are some internal conflicts that are both fundamental and irresolvable. It is not simply a disagreement over tactics among people who share ideals. The two sets of ideals are different, and come from two entirely different worldviews.

The core divergence in these worldviews is in their beliefs about the nature of contemporary political and economic institutions. The difference here is not “how quickly these institutions should change,” but whether changes to them should be fundamental structural changes or not.
The leftist sees capitalism as a horror, and believes that so long as money and profit rule the earth, human beings will be made miserable and will destroy themselves. The liberal does not actually believe this. Rather, the liberal believes that while there are problems with capitalism, it can be salvaged if given a few tweaks here and there. As Nancy Pelosi said of the present Democratic party: “We’re capitalist.” When Bernie Sanders is asked if he is a capitalist, he answers flatly: “No.” Sanders is a socialist, and socialism is not capitalism, and there is no possibility of healing the ideological rift between the two. Liberals believe that the economic and political system is a machine that has broken down and needs fixing. Leftists believe that the machine is not “broken.” Rather, it is working perfectly well; the problem is that it is a death machine designed to chew up human lives. You don’t fix the death machine, you smash it to bits.

I was recently reminded of the nature of the difference while glancing through Timothy Snyder’s (very) short book On Tyranny. Snyder is a historian of fascism, who believes that the rise of Donald Trump has parallels with 20th century authoritarian movements, and he offers twenty “lessons” for how ordinary people should act under tyrannical regimes. (Trump actually goes undiscussed in the book, but it is quite clear throughout what Snyder is referring to when he talks about contemporary tyranny.) Some of Snyder’s lessons reminded me strongly of why, despite our mutual antipathy for Trump, there is such a serious contrast between his beliefs (as a liberal) and my own (as a leftist).

One Snyder lesson was particularly striking: Number 19—Be a Patriot. Snyder’s exhortation to patriotism runs as follows:

What is patriotism? Let us begin with what patriotism is not. It is not patriotic to dodge the draft and to mock war heroes and their families… It is not patriotic to compare one’s search for sexual partners in New York with the military service in Vietnam that one has dodged. [Snyder’s use of this oddly specific act is a good representation of just how clear it is that the book is about Trump despite treating the president as a Voldemort-esque unmentionable.] It is not patriotic to avoid paying taxes…. It is not patriotic to admire foreign dictators… It is not patriotic to cite Russian propaganda at rallies. It is not patriotic to share an adviser with Russian oligarchs. It is not patriotic to solicit foreign policy advice from someone who owns shares in a Russian energy company… [Snyder’s list of things that are not patriotic goes on further.] [P]atriotism involves serving your own country. [A patriot] wants the nation to live up to its ideals…A patriot has universal values.

Snyder’s patriotism passage stuck out to me, because I realized I totally rejected a core part of his message: the idea that “patriotism” is a good thing to begin with. Patriotism has always seemed to me to be a profoundly irrational notion; I believe one should love and serve humanity, not one’s particular arbitrary geopolitical segment of humanity. Snyder’s problem with Trump is that Trump is not enough of a patriot. But I see all rhetoric of patriotism as profoundly conservative and antithetical to everything I believe. In fact, I find Snyder’s whole case to be based on deeply conservative principles. Rhetoric against “draft dodgers”? The idea that one shouldn’t listen to the advice of someone with shares in a foreign company? What the hell kind of liberalism is this?

But that’s why I say the divide has something to do with one’s view of political and economic institutions as either fundamentally good or not. The liberal sees the conservative patriot wearing a flag pin and says: “A flag pin isn’t what makes you a patriot.” The leftist says: “Patriotism is an incoherent and chauvinistic notion.” The liberal says, “We’re the real ones who love America,” while the leftist says, “What is America?” or “I don’t see what it would mean to love or hate a meaningless conceptual entity.” The liberal says, “I’m standing up for what the Founding Fathers actually believed” while the leftist says, “The Founding Fathers endorsed the ownership of human beings. Some owned human beings themselves, and beat or raped these human beings. I will not measure the worth of something by what the Founding Fathers thought about it.” Certainly, the word “liberal” is an unfortunately overbroad and imprecise term, but it’s fair to say that some strains of liberalism actually have more values in common with conservatism than with leftism, in that they affirm key conservative premises that leftists abhor. (e.g. all that “America is the greatest country in the history of the world” poppycock.)

I don’t think this difference is merely rhetorical. Sometimes it is; the ACLU often sees as politically and legally advantageous to frame everything it does as a defense of the great and noble values embedded in the Constitution, instead of pointing out that many of the Constitution’s values are not particularly great or noble. But there is also a strong sense in which the liberal affirms the nation’s core ideological underpinnings, while the leftist rejects them. (Some other divides: the liberal view of the Vietnam War is that it was well-intentioned but doomed and badly handled. The leftist view is that it was evil in both intention and execution. Likewise with Iraq: was George W. Bush a well-meaning bungler or a predatory war criminal?)

Snyder’s suggestions for resisting tyranny are in conflict with leftism in other ways. Most of them are individualistic: they focus on people as isolated units. Thus they include:

  • Believe in truth.
  • Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  • Contribute to good causes.
  • Listen for dangerous words.
  • Practice “corporeal” politics. [Sarcastic quotation marks my own.]
  • Make eye contact and small talk.
  • Establish a private life.
Amusingly, most of these seem like woefully ineffective weapons against fascism. At best they are useless (“Make small talk”??). At worst, like prescriptions for “revolutionary self care” (e.g. learning to play an instrument as revolutionary act), they provide convenient rationalizations for people’s inaction, allowing them to feel as if they are being politically active by doing the same thing they were probably going to do anyway. Read the news! Hug your friends! The idea that these things constitute meaningful resistance to Trump could be held only by somebody who wasn’t actually thinking about what serious political change looks like.

Leftists, on the other hand, are constantly talking about “building a mass movement” and “taking power.” They don’t just want to change our lifestyles, or get people to donate a bit more here and there to a good cause. The leftist believes in upending everything, which “corporeal” politics very much do not. (“Put your body in unfamiliar places,” Snyder says. One can only contemplate what the reaction would have been if Snyder had handed copies of his “lessons for resisting tyranny” to the residents of Warsaw in 1943.)

That could be classified as simply another tactical difference: the leftist tells Snyder that his plans won’t work, but we do all want the same things. But I think it goes somewhat beyond that. I hate the word “neoliberalism” and have mostly banned it from this magazine (to the extent that it’s even meaningful, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, “it’s not new and it’s not liberal”), but I do think something has happened over the past few decades where moderate members of traditionally left parties have become incredibly reluctant to challenge the status quo in any serious way. As Luke Savage has written about the “West Wing view” of politics, today’s Democratic Party is dominated by political aspirations that mostly consist of having good character rather than effecting serious structural change. As Snyder’s book shows, this ideology doesn’t really espouse a clear set of political ends, and is focused intensely on individual action rather than collective action. Snyder, for example, does not discuss the need to build an effective labor movement, which is a core part of any serious attempt to regain progressive political power, and a necessity if the Trumps of the world are to be stopped. But he does believe we should make eye contact and read The New York Times more.

So I don’t think it’s the case that liberalism is just a slower-moving form of leftism. There are real ideological differences.
Barack Obama wished to pretend that underneath it all, Americans really just believed the same things. But they don’t. And the only way you can make it so that they do is to sap progressivism of any and all elements that seriously challenge the status quo. If you make it so that the difference between a Trump economic policy and a Clinton economic policy is the difference between trying to appoint the CEO of Carls Jr. as Labor Secretary and trying to appoint the CEO of Starbucks as Labor Secretary, then yes, there won’t be much of a serious ideological divide among American political elites. But people on the left can never sign on to such an approach, because it ditches their core commitment to restructuring the economy from the ground up.

Does this mean that anti-Trump forces are doomed to political infighting on everything? No, I don’t think so. Because even if you ultimately cannot reconcile your values with someone else’s, you can still forge temporary alliances for the purposes of achieving common political goals. Pelosi and Sanders share the goal of ridding the world of Trump, and it is possible to collaborate based on what we do have in common. That’s why Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton and told his followers to vote for her. The fact that, at the end of the day, the liberal/left conflict is real and intractable does not preclude a liberal/left coalition in undermining the Trump agenda. It just means that this coalition is ultimately destined to be temporary.

None of what I have said will be news to leftists, most of whom know full well that their disagreements with Democrats go well beyond the merely tactical. But I think it’s worth spelling out clearly, because it’s reasonable to wonder just how deep the division really goes, versus how much of it is unnecessary warring over issues of strategy. And while I am a firm believer that the enemy of my enemy is my temporarily politically useful coalition partner, the answer is that the divide goes very deep indeed.

Main board thread: The Difference Between Liberalism and Leftism


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'Worst Mayor In History Of NYC': Donald Trump Spends Executive Time Trolling Bill De Blasio

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his presidential campaign


President Donald Trump on May 16, 2019 (Shutterstock)

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his presidential campaign, promising to take on President Donald Trump head on. He called him a bully and also coined a nickname for him—"Con Don."

Predictably, Trump responded. First he tweeted in the morning, right after de Blasio's kickoff, "The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group. Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!"

Trump later filmed a video (while flying from Washington D.C. to New York City for a fundraiser) and went full WWE:

Donald J. Trump


.@BilldeBlasio is the worst Mayor in the history of New York City - he won’t last long!


6:11 PM - May 16, 2019

41.9K people are talking about this

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Trump said, "It'll never happen," referring to a de Blasio presidency. "I'm pretty good at predicting things."

"If you like high taxes, and if you like crime, you can vote for him. But most people aren’t into that," Trump said. (Overall crime has been dropping under de Blasio's term.) "So I wish him luck. But really it’d be better off if you got back to New York City and did your job for the little time that you have left. Good luck. Do well.”

Then de Blasio released a Twitter video response, again addressing the president as "Con Don" and remarking upon his "low energy."

"You were getting your facts wrong because crime has gone down in New York City five years in a row. And our economy is booming," de Blasio said, citing record number of jobs in the city. (For more on the mayor's record, please read "America's Guide To Bill de Blasio, NYC Mayor And Possible Presidential Candidate.")

Bill de Blasio


We're coming for you, #ConDon


7:53 PM - May 16, 2019

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De Blasio appears to be enjoying even the negative reaction to his campaign. Speaking from Iowa on Friday's Morning Joe, the mayor pointed out, "When you look at who mocks, when you look at who attacks, it tells you so much.... Rupert Murdoch's NY Post has been attacking me,and Con Don himself, Donald Trump, not only Tweeted at me, he created his own video!"

"There is nothing about Donald Trump that surprises me there's nothing about him that intimidates me," de Blasio added. "I look forward to fighting him head on and you saw on that video I'm already under his skin."

Joe Scarborough also professed himself a fan of the nickname "Con Don."

De Blasio will be on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC at 10:25 a.m. on Friday. Anyway, Trump is probably enjoying the attention on de Blasio, especially after the Fox News poll that shows Joe Biden beating Trump by 11 points.


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Inside Obama's internal debate over who to endorse in 2020

Former President Barack Obama has the endorsement every 2020 Democrat wants.

Unfortunately for them, Obama isn't handing out any hints about who he'll give it to — or if he'll even endorse a primary candidate at all. Instead, "Obama and his aides have carefully guarded when and how to deploy him," and are even prepared for him to step in and use his endorsement if there's a chance of a contested convention, The Atlantic reports.

The most obvious 2020 endorsement for Obama would be his former Vice President Joe Biden. And judging by the nostalgia-heavy campaign Biden is running, one would think he's already earned it. But no, Biden has claimed he asked Obama not to endorse him so early in the race — "despite firm statements from Obama's orbit making it clear that he'd decided himself not to endorse," The Atlantic writes.

That leaves the option of Obama endorsing someone else — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), for one, made it clear to The Atlantic that she campaigned for Obama in 2007 when Biden was still running against him. But Obama is apparently more concerned with finishing his book, which was supposed to be released this year but is reportedly taking longer than the former president expected. But given the usual pre-holiday release of blockbuster books like Michelle Obama's Becoming, dropping it next year just after Election Day could make Obama "the voice of a party in despair after another defeat, or poised to grab the spotlight from a freshly elected Democratic president," The Atlantic writes.

Obama's spokesperson summed up this political distance in a cautious statement, saying "big, bold ideas are a sign of the Democratic Party's strength, and President Obama urges everyone running to be transparent with voters about how these ideas will work."

Read more at The Atlantic. Kathryn Krawczyk


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Biden Misses the Bus,
Booker Starts to Cuss, and Harris Adjusts:

The Root’s 2020 Presidential Black Power Rankings, Week 2

Jason Johnson

Yesterday 1:30pm

Illustration: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images)
Welcome back to The Root’s 2020 Presidential Black Power Rankings, where our select committee of activists, consultants, politicians, and analysts decide where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to black people.

This week’s rankings are curated by Dr. Jason Johnson, Politics Editor of The Root (yours truly) and our returning judge Marcus Ferrell, former Black Outreach Director for Bernie Sanders in 2016. When we launched the Black Power Rankings, we expected some volatility from time to time because presidential campaigns are long and have a lot of twists and turns. Footage of a candidate caught laughing at a racist joke on a hot mic at some fundraiser in 1997 gets released, they drop five spots, or they release a highly detailed plan for tackling the racial wealth gap between black and white Americans and move up the list. In other words, normal things.

However, last week’s first Democratic debates for the 2020 election and the fallout over the weekend, the new poll numbers and the new fundraising numbers on Monday turned our Power Rankings into the presidential version of Chutes and Ladders. Some candidates jumped up like they had the holy ghost in them and some slid so far down they fell out of the top 10. In case you missed last week’s Power Rankings here is a breakdown of our methodology each week.

How do you rank a campaign’s Black Power? Well, we have our “FLEX” rating, aka:

  • Finances: Are you paying black staff, advertisers, consultants?
  • Legislation: What legislation are you pushing or have passed for black people?
  • External Polling: No matter how good you are for black people, if your poll numbers are terrible we can’t rank you that high!
  • X-Factor: What’s your rhetoric like? How do you handle a crisis or the kinds of events and scandals that directly impact black lives?

This week’s biggest loser?
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who dropped four spots and would’ve done worse but fortunately for him, debate hosts and talking heads Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd called for time.

This week’s biggest riser?
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under forever President Barack Obama, Julian Castro, who wins the award for most revolutionary reason to speak fluent Spanish in a debate.

Lastly, we bid Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) aloha (You know aloha means goodbye too, right?) as she’s dropped out of the top 10 after just one shining week.


#1: Sen. Kamala Harris
Even our most skeptical insiders were almost unanimous that Sen. Kamala Harris is on top of the Black Power Rankings. In the debates, Harris switched from Sen. Harris to prosecutor Harris and grilled Biden like he was Attorney General William Barr with an iPhone full of Russian emails. Prosecutor Harris should’ve put herself in handcuffs for elder abuse for the way she schooled the former vice president on busing, history and “civility” for two hours in front of 15 million viewers.

The best part of Harris’ week? Having that same white man that she took down and literally every other Democratic candidate having to turn around and defend her 24 hours later when her blackness was attacked by Donald Trump Jr. and racist trolls online. Harris’ gambit paid off both ways: In the first post-debate poll Biden dropped 10 points and Harris jumped 9 points. (Biden, 32 percent to 22 percent, Harris, 8 percent to 17 percent). Subsequent polls show Harris virtually tied with Biden in Iowa and gaining on him with black voters.

While some online still opine that Kamala is a cop, right now she’s running these campaign streets like it’s Training Day and nobody has been willing to come for the queen.

#2: Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Warren didn’t set the world on fire during the undercard Democratic debates, but she stayed on brand and didn’t make mistakes. Moreover, she apparently had some excellent off-the-record meetings with activists in the Chicago area over the weekend and had some solid targeted policies that would help African Americans. Missed her speech to Rainbow PUSH in Chicago? She’s got a C-SPAN for that. You know your campaign is winning when you gain ground on Joe Biden and push Bernie Sanders to fourth place without having to debate either one of them. She’s also jumped up to a respectable 12 percent among black voters in the first post-debate poll.

#3:Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
Castro’s performance got rave reviews from our judges and he put himself into the conversation as a real candidate and not just campaign fodder. He is the only candidate to get on a national stage and rattle off the names of unarmed black men and women killed by police. Now we’ll see if he can keep up this pace.

#4: Sen. Cory Booker
Don’t take Cory Booker’s drop as any failing on his part; it’s more indicative of just how good a week Castro and Warren had with black folks. Booker had a fantastic debate performance and followed it up with continued criticism of Biden’s fumbles on race. He even let a little bit of Newark slip out in his defense of Kamala Harris’ blackness. Even though I bet he cusses like Carlton Banks.


#5: Sen. Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is lucky to maintain his position in fifth place on our Black Power Rankings. He didn’t do anything particularly impressive in the debates. He raised a ton of cash in the second quarter from a lot of young people. In other words, Bernie gonna Bernie. But he’s losing ground to Harris and Warren in the polls.

#6: Mayor Pete Buttigieg
How did Mayor Pete manage to jump up two spots in our poll? He did something that Biden and many a white public official have failed to do when facing a crisis about police violence against unarmed black citizens: He said he was sorry. He took a small hit in the debates but left relatively unscathed. He rolled out his Douglass Plan of targeted black policies at Rainbow PUSH and he raised over $24 million in the second quarter. Not bad for a small town mayor. He’s still polling at zero percent with black voters though.

#8: “Spiritual Guru” Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson got a boost this week for calling for reparations during a nationally televised debate, referring to the prime minister of New Zealand as “girlfriend” and channeling every white hipster African-American studies professor you ever had whose office smelled like hemp and patchouli. This may be the only debate Williamson may qualify for but she was the most Googled candidate after the second debate and that counts for something.

#9: Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
O’Rourke didn’t do much in the debates except be a launching pad for Castro’s campaign. His Spanish made most audiences cringe and he looked utterly confused on some of the more nuanced discussions of immigration. Maybe he really wasn’t born for this...


#10: Mayor Bill de Blasio
Did you know he has a black son? If not, he’ll make sure to remind you.





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2020 Democratic Candidates Join Calls for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to Step Down
Anna Kaplan


Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates joined calls for Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló to step down on Saturday as protesters continued to take to the streets to demand his resignation. Thousands have expressed outrage over leaked homophobic and sexist chat messages that appeared to show Rosselló making light of Hurricane Maria victims and insulting journalists. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) joined the protests in the capital of San Juan on Friday, and many other candidates followed suit Saturday and expressed support for protesters. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) expressed solidarity with the protesters, saying “they’re right to demand the new leadership they deserve.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who’s mother is from Puerto Rico, deployed the #RickyRenuncia (Ricky, resign!) hashtag and commended the creativity and resilience of the protesters, saying that “it’s about the people discovering the power they’ve always had.”

Former vice president Joe Biden said Roselló’s comments were shameful, and that “the people of Puerto Rico will be heard, and they will decide who leads their government.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said “Puerto Ricans have the right to democracy and all federal support to get out of the crisis.” Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kamala D. Harris also tweeted support for the protesters on Saturday, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke.



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2020 Democratic Candidates Join Calls for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to Step Down
Anna Kaplan
Updated 07.20.19 6:45PM ET Published 07.20.19 6:32PM ET

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates joined calls for Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló to step down on Saturday as protesters continued to take to the streets to demand his resignation. Thousands have expressed outrage over leaked homophobic and sexist chat messages that appeared to show Rosselló making light of Hurricane Maria victims and insulting journalists. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) joined the protests in the capital of San Juan on Friday, and many other candidates followed suit Saturday and expressed support for protesters. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) expressed solidarity with the protesters, saying “they’re right to demand the new leadership they deserve.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who’s mother is from Puerto Rico, deployed the #RickyRenuncia (Ricky, resign!) hashtag and commended the creativity and resilience of the protesters, saying that “it’s about the people discovering the power they’ve always had.”

Former vice president Joe Biden said Roselló’s comments were shameful, and that “the people of Puerto Rico will be heard, and they will decide who leads their government.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said “Puerto Ricans have the right to democracy and all federal support to get out of the crisis.” Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kamala D. Harris also tweeted support for the protesters on Saturday, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke.


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Hickenlooper quits Democratic presidential race

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Thursday officially ended his campaign for president. "In almost every regard, this journey has been more exciting and more rewarding than I ever imagined, although of course I did imagine a very different conclusion," Hickenlooper said in a video announcement.

The former governor had struggled in the polls, sometimes showing zero percent support, and had been on his second campaign team leading up to the third Democratic presidential debate that he was unlikely to qualify for. Hickenlooper on Thursday also said that "so many" people have urged him to run for Senate against Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and that he will give this "some serious thought."

Source: John Hickenlooper, The Associated Press



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Joseph Kennedy is reportedly contemplating challenging Ed Markey
August 17, 2019

The Kennedy political dynasty could return to the Senate, The New York Times reports.

An anonymous senior Democratic official told the Times that Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.), the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is contemplating launching a primary challenge against Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) next year. The official said the congressman would make a decision in the coming weeks, although Politico reports that Kennedy's House re-election campaign maintains that he's staying in that chamber of Congress.

But the 38-year-old Kennedy has garnered enthusiasm from would-be supporters and his aides did not deny that they commissioned testing his prospects against Markey, which the Times reports even Markey's advisers acknowledged would likely show Kennedy leading.

The possibility of a high-profile primary face-off between Markey and Kennedy would be another example of the youth movement within the Democratic Party challenging the "old guard." Markey is 73, but he is also a "committed" progressive in the same mold as Kennedy. Their divide, then, would be more along generational lines than ideology.

Kennedy is popular, but even if he does decide to run for Senate, his last name isn't likely to scare off Markey. "Ed is not going anywhere," Paul Tencher, a senior adviser to Markey's campaign, told the Times. "He's going to run, and he's going to run no matter who is in this race." Markey has already secured the support of his colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren's seat, of course, could be another opportunity for Kennedy — and others — to seek election to the Senate if she wins the presidency in 2020.

Read more at The New York Times and Politico. Tim O'Donnell



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10 Candidates. 1 Critical Night. WATCH The ABC Democratic Debate – Tomorrow night at 8e|7c|5p on ABC



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Warren passes Biden for lead in new Iowa poll

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) passed former Vice President Joe Biden for the lead in the Democratic presidential primaries in a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers, which was released Saturday.

Warren picked up 22 percent in the poll, which gives her a two-point edge over Biden. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trailed Warren and Biden with 11 percent, and no other candidate reached double digits, though South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was close at nine percent. "This is the first major shakeup," said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. "It's the first time we've had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board." Only one in five likely caucusgoers said their minds were made up, however.

Source: The Des Moines Register, CNN



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526 Americans gathered for a social experiment to discuss the 2020 elections and issues that deeply divide the country. "They left that room as friends despite being on the opposite ends of the political spectrum," reports CNN's Kyung Lah. https://cnn.it/2kSBd5F