Senator Harris has a big Debate Moment

Kamala Harris: 'Voters Are Able To Distinguish Who Can Best Do The Job' | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

The Story:

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the campaign to determine who the Democratic Party shall nominate to be the next President of the United States kicked into a higher gear with a two-part debate in Miami, Florida, broadcast on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.

Important Takeaways:

Early in the first round of the debate, moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke whether he would support a reform of the personal income tax that would put the highest marginal tax rate at 70%, a change favored by some of the other candidates. This was a “yes/no” question and O’Rourke drew unfavorable attention by repeatedly refusing to give it a yes or no.

O’Rourke switched back and forth between English and Spanish at this time, but he wasn’t giving Guthrie’s question a straight answer in either language.

Early in the second night’s proceedings, Marianne Williamson, best known as an author and lecturer on spirituality and love, made a forceful case that the United States does not have a “health care system” at all: that what we have is a “sickness care system” merely designed to maintain ill people in their illnesses.

Both of those are moments worth remembering. But neither is the one moment that stands out.

The Thing to Know:

The one moment that does stand out from the two proceedings comes from later on in the second night, when Senator Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Biden about his record in the US Senate in the 1970s.

“Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America?” she asked, referring to the use of school busing to desegregate educational patterns.

Biden replied that he had not opposed busing, only “busing ordered by the Department of Education.” The echo of those old 1970s controversies in 2019 was striking, and may have been a breakthrough moment for Senator Harris.

‘A Terrible Number’: President Donald Trump Faces Wide Gender Gap In Poll | Morning Joe | MSNBC

'A Terrible Number': President Donald Trump Faces Wide Gender Gap In Poll | Morning Joe | MSNBC

The president is trailing nearly all of the top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in a new CNN/SSRS poll. Also, 62 percent of female voters oppose Trump, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. The panel discusses.
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‘A Terrible Number’: President Donald Trump Faces Wide Gender Gap In Poll | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Who’s the Jeb of the 2020 Race?

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Matt Flegenheimer, your temporary host. Lisa Lerer is on vacation, beach-reading Mueller report footnotes.

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On paper, I’d hit the candidate jackpot.

It was 2015 — many months before President Trump had won a single vote — and my campaign assignment couldn’t be beat: I would be covering the front-runner. The juggernaut. The one whose name they’d chant at the convention hall.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 45th president of the United States …

So, plans change. But a funny thing has been happening lately in conversations with people close to the 2020 race: Jeb Bush is on the brain again.

Not because he’s running, a prospect with the approximate likelihood of a third term for Grover Cleveland.

But because those who are running may have more in common with Mr. Bush than they’d care to admit.

Across the Democratic primary field, candidates hoping to avoid his fate — high hopes, “low energy,” hard fall — are finding themselves in familiar political minefields, even if they’d rarely agree with Mr. Bush on policy.

The most conspicuous parallel is Joe Biden, who is expected to enter the race this week as a Jeb-style early favorite, carrying high name identification, uncertain base-voter enthusiasm and heaps of baggage into a political moment that may have passed him by.

But there are also less intuitive comparisons.

Like Mr. Bush in his race, Elizabeth Warren is the clear leader on policy in her primary, churning out proposals but struggling to gain traction in early polls. She is also spending heavily on staff, as Mr. Bush did, outpacing any other campaign despite her middling fund-raising numbers. (Mr. Bush ultimately needed to slash salaries and headquarters staff.)

When I noticed a T-shirt available on her website recently — “Warren Has a Plan For That,” it reads — I flashed immediately to one of Mr. Bush’s particularly ill-fated slogans: “Jeb Can Fix It.”

Then again, maybe Beto O’Rourke is the cleaner analogy — another son of a politician who has faced skepticism for his privileged rise and was coaxed into the presidential contest not by any signature ideological cause but because, in Mr. O’Rourke’s words, he was “born to be in it.” (Of course, the silver spoon critique applies more credibly to Mr. Bush, who shares a surname with two presidents, than to the child of a former El Paso County commissioner.)

For more moderate figures in the Democratic field, like John Hickenlooper or Amy Klobuchar, Mr. Bush’s inadvertently prescient warning about the political perils of centrism could also prove relevant. Before entering the 2016 race, Mr. Bush suggested that the eventual Republican nominee would need to avoid being pulled to the partisan extreme to remain palatable…

Workers’ rights are a 2020 campaign focus this weekend

Workers' rights are a 2020 campaign focus this weekend
Booker seeks campaign momentum, readies for national swing

DENMARK, S.C. (AP) — The issue of workers’ rights is a focus this weekend for some of the Democrats running for president.

Bernie Sanders has campaign stops in the Midwest, including a community meeting in Indiana and an event with members of a plumbers and pipefitters’ union in Michigan. A rally by the Vermont senator is planned for Warren, Michigan, where General Motors is closing a plant.

Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, emphasized workers’ rights and civil rights when he visited the Medical University of South Carolina for the 50th anniversary of a strike led by black workers protesting poor treatment.

Other highlights from the campaigns:

BETO O’ROURKE

Beto O’Rourke is campaigning in rural South Carolina, saying he wants to show up for communities that are often overlooked by politicians or “left for last.”

O’Rourke spoke to about 50 people at Voorhees College, a historically black college in Denmark, a city of 3,000 people. Addressing the infrastructure needs of rural areas, he said politicians need to demonstrate that every community, no matter how big or small, “is worthy of investment.”

O’Rourke spoke specifically about using federal infrastructure spending to address issues like the water crisis in Denmark, where residents have been dealing with brown-tinted drinking water that smells foul and is filled with sediment. The city for years used a pool disinfectant not approved by the EPA in a drinking water well, which was taken offline last summer.

———

ELIZABETH WARREN

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the United States is a world leader on the climate issue. It’s just that the nation is leading in the wrong…

Live: 2020 Dems participate in We The People Membership Summit

Live: 2020 Dems participate in We The People Membership Summit

Expected live at 12 p.m. ET: 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and Kirsten Gillibrand participate in “We the People Membership Summit”, co-hosted by Popular Democracy Action, Communications Workers of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Service Employees International Union, 32BJ SEIU, and the Sierra Club.

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Trump slams 2020 Democrats during Michigan rally

Trump slams 2020 Democrats during Michigan rally

The president challenges 2020 Democrats on their climate change warnings and the Green New Deal while addressing supporters in Grand Rapids; Peter Doocy reports.

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Beto O’Rourke: just how green is the Texas Democrat?

Beto O’Rourke, who received $476,000 from oil and gas sources in 2017-18, comes from a state that leads the country in both global warming pollution and renewable energy.

It was not hard for Beto O’Rourke to seem like a champion of green issues during his eye-catching Senate campaign in America’s 2018 midterm elections – after all, he was up against Ted Cruz, a climate change denier.

Now, as the former US congressman vies to be the Democratic candidate to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 race for the White House, he faces much closer scrutiny on the subject.

Environmental advocates and experts wait to see if – as O’Rourke pivots from an election in a conservative-led oil state to a national primary race heavily influenced by left-leaning Democratic candidates – he will have more latitude and desire to put progressive green policies at the heart of his strategy.

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“He didn’t really emphasise climate change and global warming very much when he was running against Ted Cruz, but he’s got a field that is absolutely filled with people who are making it a campaign item for voters to consider, and I think he’s going to have to adjust his narrative when he’s out on the trail,” said Robert Forbis, an assistant professor of political science at Texas Tech University. “He’s going to have to take a pretty strong stand.”

The seeds of a decisive and urgent approach were visible in his first campaign visits to Iowa in March, when O’Rourke praised the radical climate change-led proposals in the Green New Deal, citing his home state’s struggles with extreme weather such as droughts and hurricanes.

“Storms like Harvey are only going to become more frequent and more severe and more devastating and ultimately they’ll compromise the ability to live in a city like Houston, Texas,” he told the audience. O’Rourke signalled support for reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and investing in green technology to reach net zero emissions.

“Some will criticise the Green New Deal for being too bold or being unmanageable. I’ll tell you what: I haven’t seen anything better that addresses the singular crisis we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction,” he said. “Literally the future of the world depends on us.”

Cruz held his Senate seat with a narrow win over O’Rourke last November. The Republican has dismissed climate change as a “pseudoscientific theory” and wrote an opinion article in 2017 urging Trump to rip up the landmark Paris climate agreement.

O’Rourke, meanwhile,…

At Democratic Campaign Events, Mueller Report Is Barely Mentioned

Sarah Rice for The New York Times

RYE, N.H. — For Democratic presidential candidates on Saturday, it wasn’t quite campaigning as usual after the delivery of a long-awaited report from the special counsel roiled Washington over the weekend. But it was pretty close.

At events across early primary states, voters asked about health care and school shootings and immigration. Questioners were far less likely to address the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which was delivered to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday.

Democratic voters said they cared deeply about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election but weren’t quite sure what to make of the latest twist, exactly.

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“We don’t know what’s in it,” said Alane Sullivan, 63, a retired businesswoman, after attending a town hall meeting with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota in Rye, N.H. “One thing about people in New Hampshire: They are looking for answers, and they knew she wouldn’t know yet.”

The lack of questions at campaign events about the report surprised some of the candidates, who had come prepared with lines about the latest development in the nearly two-year investigation.

“I tried to kind of delicately bring it up because I think it is the major issue,” Ms. Klobuchar told reporters after her event.

Ms. Klobuchar used a question about the separation of powers to mention her desire that the findings be made public — but that was the beginning and the end of public conversation about the topic.

In South Carolina, the one question Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, fielded about the Mueller report came from State Senator Marlon Kimpson, a local Democrat and a host of a town hall with Mr. O’Rourke in Charleston. He asked whether Congress should consider impeaching the president “assuming there’s facts and evidence” that President Trump knew about collusion or coordination with Russians who meddled in the 2016 election.

But others in attendance figured the answers would come later.

“I don’t think you can really process anything right now, because we don’t know what’s in it,” said Amy Drennan, 42, who works for a magazine publisher.

Mr. O’Rourke said that the nation should “employ this mechanism of impeachment as an absolute last resort. Ultimately, that will be a decision for our representatives in Congress to make.” But he also said that the matter would “ultimately” be decided “at the ballot box in 2020.”

The response received warm rounds of applause.

With no detailed information available, Democrats have focused their attention on pressuring Mr. Barr to release the full report quickly. In…

A changing Texas means shifting political priorities for all [Opinion]

The Texas flag waves downtown Tuesday Sept. 18, 2018 in Houston.

The 2020 presidential election will tell us much about the future political direction of Texas. The nation’s political future runs through our state and the other booming southwestern states that are changing just as speedily.

But ours is a newly softened political battleground, and candidates of all stripes are trying to make uncommon impacts as soon as they can. Last month, President Donald Trump visited El Paso to build support for the proposed border wall in an effort to shore up his support among the more conservative voters of our state. News networks broadcast Trump’s speech on a split screen with former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, who objected vociferously to the president’s plans at a rally across town, all while teasing a presidential run. Since then, he has jumped into the 2020 presidential race. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro announced his candidacy for president at his home in San Antonio. Howard Schultz, Starbucks founder and a prospective independent candidate for president, spent the whole week in Texas just a few weeks after he participated in a CNN town hall meeting in Houston. Other 2020 presidential candidates such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican, were in Austin to speak at South by Southwest.

Though Texas has given its Electoral College votes to the Republican candidates in every election the past four decades, the convergence of candidates here may not be as surprising as some might think.

The Lone Star State is changing rapidly, and with it, its politics. Our population has surpassed 28 million people — 3 million more than a decade ago — and the Office of the State Demographer predicts the number of Texans will almost double over the next 30 years. These changes highlight our state’s explosive growth in diversity as people from all over the country migrate here. These rapid changes also portend serious challenges that need to be met with consensus leadership. Texas is a place where common-sense politics can prevail. Building…