How Democratic presidential politics on guns has shifted

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— Don’t expect to hear much debate about guns in the 2020 Democratic primary. Just about everyone is lined up on the gun control side of an issue that used to split the party and prompt top candidates to tread lightly.

— President Donald Trump and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke headlined rallies across the street from each other in El Paso, Texas, that told two very different stories about America.

— The Iowa Democratic Party is proposing allowing absentee voting in the 2020 Democratic caucuses.

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Days until the 2019 election: 266

Days until the 2020 election: 630

TO THE LEFT — Gun control is a good indicator of the Democratic Party’s leftward drift in recent years, and a leading advocacy group expects all the 2020 candidates to be on the same page.

In 2007 and 2008, then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama largely avoided talking about guns on the campaign trail, and they proceeded carefully when they did (in an April 2008 debate, ABC News’ Charlie Gibson pushed the candidates on why they didn’t emphasize their beliefs on gun control).

Obama stumbled over the issue several times in 2008: One incident arose from a 1996 questionnaire in which Obama wrote he would support state legislation to ban handguns, and the second when he said at a fundraiser that rural voters “cling to guns or religion.” In both cases, Clinton criticized Obama, sending out a mailer asking “Where does Barack Obama really stand on guns?” and calling him an “elitist” while emphasizing her own early, fond memories of hunting.

Clinton, then, epitomized the party shift when she pushed gun control in the 2016 election. In 2020, no one will talk about guns the way Clinton did in 2008. “Certainly any Democratic candidate who goes into early primary delegate-rich states like Nevada, California and Virginia, they will be talking about gun safety,” Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt told POLITICO. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who is a founder and major funder of the group, is considering a run himself.

“I absolutely think it will be a priority part of the candidates’ platforms,” Shannon Watts, a founder of Everytown subsidiary Moms Demand Action, said. Watts said the group will “probably not” endorse in the Democratic primary, and Feinblatt said it is just too soon to know (he wouldn’t say if Bloomberg or his team asked for his support). Both said to expect another scorecard for “gun sense” candidates.

PRESIDENTIAL BIG BOARD — The president and a potential 2020 Democratic hopeful shadowboxed with each other at dueling rallies Monday night. “Trump kicked off his speech by mocking O’Rourke without uttering his name,” POLITICO’s David Siders and Anita Kumar reported from El Paso. “O’Rourke spoke at a rally that looked like a parallel universe. A mariachi band played beforehand, then O’Rourke, speaking in Spanish at times, took the stage for a lengthy takedown of the president’s proposed wall.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, appearing…

Dispute dashes hopes on deal to avert shutdown

Clock ticking on compromise to prevent another shutdown

(CNN)America could be sliding toward a new government shutdown and President Donald Trump may face a fateful choice over his border wall as another knife-edge week opens in Washington.

Democratic and Republican negotiators last week seemed to be on course for a deal to fund the government and boost border security short of paying for a wall, and it seemed possible that Trump might grudgingly sign on.

But the talks ground to a halt over the weekend in a dispute over limits demanded by Democrats on the number of places available in detention centers used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations away from border areas.

The disagreement appeared to dash hopes that a deal could be reached by Monday to allow each chamber of Congress plenty of time to pass legislation well before a Friday deadline.

“I think the talks are stalled right now,” said Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the 17-member conference committee on “Fox News Sunday.”

If no deal is reached and no stop-gap spending measure emerges, a new government shutdown could be triggered, again subjecting 800,000 federal workers who could be furloughed or asked to work without pay.

The most recent shutdown, which was the longest in history, ended last month in victory for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who refused to fund the wall — and with a damaging political defeat for the President in their first significant clash since the midterm elections.

The unpredictable Trump could rattle the effort to avoid a second shutdown when he heads to El Paso, Texas, on Monday for his first political rally of the year — a context which seems unlikely to see him offer flexibility on the notion of building a wall.

Sudden pessimism over the conference talks between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate reflected the uncertainty and raw political nerves on Capitol Hill at the dawn of a new era of divided government.

It also reflected the excruciatingly tough task of seeking compromise on immigration policy, an issue with visceral power for both parties and which is almost an existential issue for the presidency of Trump.

Even if it turns out that the weekend’s hiccup is just a typical Capitol Hill delay en route to a deal, it could precipitate even more uncertainty, since the compromise is certain to fall short of $5.7 billion in money Trump has demanded for his wall.

In that scenario, Trump would again face a choice between climbing down on the central issue of his 2016 campaign and alienating grassroots supporters and conservative pundits or refusing to sign a bill passed by Congress.

If he digs in, the President could spark a new partial shutdown for which he would again risk being blamed.

Last week, Shelby had fueled optimism for an agreement after visiting Trump to update him on the process.

But on Sunday, he was more downbeat when asked if hopes of an agreement on Monday were realistic.

Two senior Republican aides told CNN that the cap demanded by Democrats on internal enforcement beds would force ICE officials to make impossible decisions about which immigrants…

Jake Tapper: Donald Trump is lying to you to get his border wall

Jake Tapper: Donald Trump is lying to you to get his border wall

CNN’s Jake Tapper debunks President Donald Trump’s claims about violent crime and the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, as Trump heads to the city for his first 2020 campaign rally of the year.
Trump made the claim last week in his State of the Union Address when he said El Paso “used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.”
“Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities,” Trump said.
CNN noted at the time that the connection was inaccurate, and Margo, a Republican, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom” Monday that the drop in crime came prior to the barrier construction, and that Trump was “wrong” when he claimed otherwise.
El Paso is a Texas border city adjacent to Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. Margo said while Trump was right to call El Paso safe, he was wrong to attribute its drop in crime to the construction of a barrier along the border — a remark he said Trump had echoed from Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“If people had contacted me about our attorney general’s remarks, I would have corrected it at that time,” Margo said.
Margo said El Paso was safe “going back to 2005,” before the construction of border fencing.

#CNN #Tapper #ElPaso

What happens to the money political candidates raise?

El Paso, Texas —

A KFOX14 viewer named Perla sent me this question: “What happens to all the money that candidates raise during political campaigns?”

The Federal Election Commission, which regulates political contributions, makes one thing very clear: Candidates cannot use the political contributions they raise for personal use.

But the candidates can use the money in a variety of other ways, whether they win or lose.

For example, they could donate the cash to other candidates, charities or political parties.

A campaign committee can donate…

Beto O’Rourke mocked after offering few answers in wide-ranging policy interview

Beto O'Rourke plans solo road trip, sparking new 2020 speculation
Beto O’Rourke plans solo road trip, sparking new 2020 speculation

Former Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke faced across-the-board criticism on Tuesday after an unflattering interview in The Washington Post portrayed him as equivocal and unsure on a variety of substantive policy issues.

O’Rourke, 46, is widely considered a possible 2020 presidential contender, after falling only a few percentage points shy of dethroning incumbent Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections. But his relative lack of experience and expertise has emerged as a central objection to his prospective candidacy.

Speaking to Johnson in El Paso, Texas, O’Rourke added fuel to those concerns by repeatedly demurring when asked for a direct answer on his positions on everything from visa overstays to whether President Trump should withdraw military forces from Syria.

At one point in the two-hour chat with The Post’s Jenna Johnson, O’Rourke openly wondered whether the U.S. can “still be managed by the same principles that were set down 230-plus years ago” in the Constitution.

The article even included an apparent shot by at O’Rourke from former Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who told The Post he was “very pleasantly surprised” that O’Rourke — who represented a mostly Hispanic district during his three terms in the House of Representatives — was “suddenly interested” in immigration reform efforts last year.

Beto O'Rourke tops 2020 straw poll
Beto O’Rourke tops 2020 straw poll Can the former Texas Senate candidate’s popularity translate into a successful presidential campaign?

Asked what could be done about illegal immigrants who overstayed their visas, O’Rourke told Johnson simply, “I don’t know.”

Asked about the planned Syria pullout, he responded that there should be “a debate, a discussion, a national conversation about why we’re there, why we fight, why we sacrifice the lives of American service members, why we’re willing to take the lives of others. … There may be a very good reason to do it. I don’t necessarily understand — and I’ve been a member of Congress for six years. … We haven’t had a meaningful discussion about these wars since 2003.”

Asked whether the U.S. is capable of change, O’Rourke was again equivocal: “I’m hesitant to answer it,” he said, “because I really feel like it deserves its due, and I don’t want to give you a — actually, just selfishly, I don’t want a sound bite of it reported, but, yeah, I think that’s the question of the moment: Does this still work? Can an empire like ours with military presence in over 170 countries around the globe, with trading relationships . . . and security agreements in every continent, can it still be managed by the same principles…

Not Politics as Usual

t’s extreme retail politics. The district known as Texas 23, represented by Republican Will Hurd, stretches from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso, and encompasses 800 miles of the border with Mexico. In a midterm election year that looks more progressive by the minute, Gina Ortiz Jones (CAS’03, GRS’03) believes there’s a good chance for a candidate like herself—a gay Hispanic woman—who might not have had a shot a few years ago. “Every vote counts,” she says. “We’re showing…