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To Defend Ilhan Omar, Democrats Use Identity Politics as a Shield

And once again, a low moment centered around one of the Democrats’ celebrity House freshmen, Ilhan Omar. Bernie Sanders called Trump racist: Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. Where is the regret over its rhetoric in the Kavanaugh confirmation battle? When the moment suits, then Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are the powerful voices of a new generation — in Ocasio-Cortez’s case, powerful enough to get Democratic presidential front-runners to immediately and eagerly sign on to her “Green New Deal.” Omar and her allies were powerful enough to get the Democrats to water down their condemnation of her blatant anti-Semitism. And make no mistake, their identity is part of their power. But then when the moment changes, the meaning of their identity changes. When Republicans attack, there is indignation. The powerful are attacking the powerless. They cannot work diligently to elevate Omar’s voice and then rule out of bounds attacks against the person they’ve elevated — especially when her own words are often hateful and cruel. But powerful people are responsible for their words and ideas, and when Omar goes too far, it is not racist — nor is it incitement — to call her to account.

Cory Booker promises to ‘bring a fight to the NRA’ at launch of national...

“We won’t wait for more thoughts and prayers for communities that have been shattered by gun violence from Pittsburgh to Parkland to Charleston,” he told the crowd in Newark, where he served as mayor for seven years before becoming a senator. “We will pass universal background checks, we will ban assault weapons and close loopholes that allow people who never should have a gun to get one.” “And folks, we will bring a fight to the NRA like they have never, ever seen before -- and we will win,” he said. Booker’s remarks mark the start of a two-week tour across America for the 2020 hopeful, who has at times struggled to distinguish himself from the large pack of Democrats seeking the party’s nod and has languished in single digits in polls. On Saturday, Booker led the rallying cry “We can’t wait” as he listed his policy goals, including fighting climate change, enacting comprehensive immigration reform ending “mass incarcerations” and facilitating federal legalization of marijuana. "Critics will tell us that a campaign powered by grace and love and a deep faith in each other" cannot prevail, Booker said. "But I say it's the only way we win. The president wants a race to the gutter and to fight us in the gutter. To win, we have to fight from higher ground in order to bring this country to higher ground." The campaign is directing most of its firepower to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the four states will kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar in February and can provide crucial momentum for the primaries to follow.

Workers’ rights are a 2020 campaign focus this weekend

DENMARK, S.C. (AP) — The issue of workers' rights is a focus this weekend for some of the Democrats running for president. 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 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. At a house party in New Hampshire on Saturday, the Massachusetts Democrat said the reason the country is headed in the wrong direction is because of corruption. "This is not ignorance," Warren said. The people in Washington, oh, they get it. But it's so much more than campaign contributions, she said. "The key that we've got to play into, unlock, fixing the problems we need to fix, starts with, we have got to push back on the influence of money in Washington," Warren said. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker returned his Newark home on Saturday to kick off a two-week, nationwide "Justice For All" tour that will focus on issues that include gun control and criminal justice reform. John Hickenlooper said on Saturday Democrats can't beat President Donald Trump with anger.
Can Cory Booker become the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee?

Can Cory Booker become the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee?

Democratic strategists Antjuan Seawright and Blake Rutherford weigh in on New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker’s chances on winning the 2020 presidential nomination. FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News…

‘Medicare for All’ keeps defining 2020 political landscape

Those differences have recently been overshadowed by larger fights between the two parties after the Trump administration broadened its position in a high-profile lawsuit by calling to strike down the entire 2010 law. seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% Sanders acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that the bill does not have enough support to pass even through reconciliation, a budget procedure that allows the Senate to pass legislation with 51 votes. “I can tell you that a vice president in a Bernie Sanders administration will determine that Medicare for All can pass through the Senate under reconciliation.” Want insight more often? “Democrat Senate candidates can try to hide, but we will make certain voters understand that Democrats are lining up behind abolishing private insurance, ruining Medicare, restricting medical choices, raising taxes on hardworking families, and exploding the deficit to the tune of $32 trillion,” said Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who leads one of the key outside groups supporting the GOP majority. “Anybody who says those words, ‘Medicare for All,’ who’s running for president, the next thing out of their of mouth should be talking to people about, well … if we are a split Congress, what are you going to actually do in your first year to make health care more accessible and affordable?” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who co-sponsored Sanders’ bill, said Wednesday. To Booker’s point, Democrats are clearly divided on a single-payer system such as Medicare for All, with moderates raising concerns about the cost and efficiency of such a plan. Lawmakers have offered a handful of other ways to expand Medicare or Medicaid to reach universal coverage. Even if Democrats take control of Congress in 2021, passing a single-payer health care bill would be a challenge. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a White House hopeful who has not signed on to the Sanders bill, is seeking to focus on other, less-divisive issues. The differences between the Trump administration’s health care positions and all of the Democrats seeking the nomination are much starker than the differences among the Democrats.

Here’s why Chris Evans was meeting with Ed Markey and other members of Congress...

The “Captain America” actor and Sudbury native is working with the Massachusetts senator and other members of Congress on A Starting Point, a new website that aims to “demystify politics” by directly showcasing both Democratic and Republican lawmakers succinctly giving their position on “dozens” of different political issues. “This should be just a one-stop shop for simple, digestible information from people who know best,” Evans says in a video released Saturday by Evans’ partners, media entrepreneur Joe Kiani and filmmaker Mark Kassen, through their media company Like Minded Entertainment. “Guess the cat’s outta the bag,” Evans tweeted Saturday morning, after CNN first reported on the video’s release. “We want you to put your best foot forward, so if you don’t like any of your answers, you can, you know, do ’em as many times as you want,” Evans said in the video. “Our goal is to create informed, responsible and empathetic citizens who are empowered to further their understanding in the world of politics,” Evans, Kiani, Kassen wrote in an earlier round of interview requests. Evans and Kassen met with more than a dozen senators and representatives on Capitol Hill in February, including Democratic presidential candidates New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and California Rep. Eric Swalwell. Republican participants included Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw. Markey’s office confirmed Monday that A Starting Point was the subject of the Massachusetts Democrat’s meeting in February with Evans, but declined to go into further detail. Evans himself has been outspokenly critical of Republican President Donald Trump and actively supported his uncle, former Rep. Mike Capuano, who served as the Democratic congressman for his Boston-area district for 20 years — until he was unseated by Rep. Ayanna Pressley in last year’s Democratic primary. This is a chance for you to talk about the issues that matter to you.” A launch date for the website has yet to be announced.

NJ Politics Digest: NJ Updates Bias Crime Standards

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images The number of bias incidents reported in New Jersey has been climbing in recent years, and now the state is updating its guidelines for reporting and investigating such crimes. The measures bring the guidelines more in line with state bias laws, which were updated in 2008, the report said. The new guidelines require bias incidents be reported through the State Police’s new Electronic Uniform Crime Reporting system and county prosecutors to notify the attorney general’s office when pursuing bias charges, according to the report. Quote of the Day: “Where are the advocates as members of the riding public? It’s a shame rail advocates aren’t on the list,” — Len Resto, president of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers, on Gov. Phil Murphy’s nominees to the NJ Transit Board of Directors. NJ Towns Are Increasingly Becoming ‘Rich’ or ‘Poor.’ Is the Middle Class Disappearing? A well-functioning economy needs to have a range of workers with different skill levels and different incomes. Asbury Park Press Read more Health Officials Urge More Teens to Have HPV Shots as NJ Lags Behind National Rate More than half of New Jersey’s 13- to 15-year-olds aren’t completing vaccinations for HPV, leaving them vulnerable to the very common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause cancer, according to data from state health officials. NJSpotlight Read more

Kamala Harris’ mortgage meltdown record under scrutiny as campaign heats up

No attorney general secured more for their state from Wall Street after the mortgage crisis. Attorneys in her office had singled out the bank for allegedly stacking foreclosure proceedings against homeowners, but Harris says she was hamstrung by legal rules protecting financial institutions from state legal action. Low-income housing advocate Paulina Gonzalez-Brito remains disappointed that Harris didn’t pursue a case. Still, some wonder what happened in the case of OneWest. “We didn’t have the legal ability because of the way the rules were written in favor of the banks in terms of our subpoena powers as the state attorney general,” Harris said. After she was elected to the Senate in 2016, Harris joined Warren and Democratic Sens. Her goal, she told The Chronicle, was “to give state AGs the power to go after federal banks and subpoena their officeholders and subpoena the people who are responsible.” It went nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate. Harris points to other actions she took as attorney general to help homeowners. Since the creation of the unit in 2011, Gallegos said, the state Justice Department has “prosecuted 41 mortgage fraud cases.” As a presidential candidate, Harris has proposed policies intended to close a wealth gap that progressives argue was worsened by the mortgage meltdown. Email: Twitter: @joegarofoli.

Even Liberal Democrats Can’t Quit Wealthy Donors and Their Big Checks

But the candidates don’t want to discuss any of this. “It’s more about the donor amounts than the dollar amounts.” But, Ms. Dacey added of big donors, “They still need them.” Two prominent candidates, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have disavowed the traditional money circuit entirely — a safe bet for Mr. Sanders, whose online donor network amply funded his 2016 run, but a far riskier gambit for Ms. Warren, who has a far smaller base of low-dollar contributors. He has held no fund-raisers so far and has none planned yet in the future, according to his campaign. [Keep up with the 2020 field with our candidate tracker.] “When I see a 202 number these days, I don’t usually answer it,” said Amber Mostyn, a Houston-based attorney and prominent Democratic fund-raiser, joking about the Washington area code and the number of candidates who have reached out for help. According to several donors as well as invitations obtained by The New York Times, four senators — Mr. Booker, Ms. Gillibrand, Ms. Harris and Ms. Klobuchar — have been particularly aggressive on the national donor circuit. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Gov. So while a recent trip by Ms. Harris to Texas drew headlines for her decision to rally in the home state of Mr. O’Rourke, the visit was also about raising money, with a fund-raiser at the Dallas home of Jill Louis, a partner in the law firm K&L Gates. Mitchell Berger, a longtime South Florida fund-raiser and self-described political “dinosaur,” who fondly recalls his work on behalf of a young Al Gore in 1987, rattled off the names of five candidates that had called him. In April, Steven Rattner and Blair Effron, two prominent donors in New York, are planning a dinner for unaligned donors to discuss how and when to engage in a primary contest that is more unpredictable than any in a generation.

‘Newark’s Original Sin’ and the Criminal Justice Education of Cory Booker

The episode became known as the case of the Pop Warner Three, and it was one of more than 400 misconduct allegations cited two years later when the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey asked the Justice Department to investigate the Newark police. Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker, had swept into office in 2006 pledging a safer city through zero tolerance on crime. “He wasn’t as hands-on as I would have been, if you will, with the department,” said Ronald L. Rice, a state senator and former Newark police officer who lost to Mr. Booker in the 2006 mayoral election. “I don’t know how much more hands-on you could get a mayor at that point,” he said. “Five police cars, six officers, surround my car, guns ready,” he wrote. They supported being aggressive with the guys on the corners and moving them away.” But for many people in Newark, four decades after the riots, the tactics were akin to throwing gas on a smoldering fire. “I mean, this was a very frustrating time.” “At times I felt like I was caught between trying to push really fast and having a police union that pushes back on you,” he added. The petition, Mr. Booker wrote in his book, “felt like a stab in the back.” In the interview with The Times, he said his public criticism of the A.C.L.U. was born of a frustration that the organization took its complaint to Washington, rather than working with him behind the scenes to address the problems. The reform process, it wrote, is still a work in progress: While community meetings and trainings are improving, the department’s data systems “continue to contain critical deficiencies.”