Latest Candidates’ Debate Turns to Antitrust Law

Andrew Yang argues why universal income isn't a 'handout'

The Story:

On Tuesday, October 15, the leading twelve candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States met on a stage in Westerville, Ohio for a fourth round of DNC sponsored debate. One unusual feature of this debate, compared to other such events in recent campaigns in the United States, was the amount of attention paid to issues of antitrust law and enforcement, arising in the context of Big Tech.

Warren v. Yang:

Elizabeth Warren, who is by many accounts the new front-runner in this political campaign, believes that antitrust laws should be used to break up the large tech companies, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

The other candidates on the stage all had, at the least, reservations about that idea. One candidate, Andrew Yang, was the founder of an academic test prep company in 2005. His company was acquired by Kaplan, one of the giants in that field, much to Yang’s enrichment, in 2009. Perhaps due to that experience, Yang does not believe business consolidation is necessarily a bad thing.

The Thing to Know:

Regarding Big Tech, Yang suggested, instead of an antitrust remedy, a new understanding of private property in information: “Our data is our property, How many of you remember getting your data checks in the mail?”

 

Antitrust and Big Tech

The Story:

The prominence of a handful of Big Tech firms — especially Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google — has become a pressing political issue. Conservative and pro-Trump Republicans believe that Big Tech is too liberal and plots against them. But it also has enemies among the progressives of the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic Party, as it represents to them the 21st century face of Capital.

Background:

As her catchphrase has it: Senator Elizabeth Warren in particular “has a plan for that.” She proposes to break up each of the four companies named above, saying that they have both stifled innovation and hurt small business. She is invoking laws and precedents from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when large business concentrations were popularly known as “trusts” and their political foes as trust busters.

The Thing to Know:

There are reasons to be skeptical that any such remedy will have the desired effects, or that it won’t have quite negative side effects. The first President Roosevelt did break up Standard Oil into parts, but over the following century the oil industry continued to be a great, even a growing, force in US politics, due to market realities that a change in organizational charts could not amend. [And most of Standard Oil eventually put itself back together under the name ExxonMobil.]

A Federal Abortion-Rights Statute

The Story:

Recent developments on the US Supreme Court and in the legislatures of several states have persuaded many observers that there is risk to the principle of constitutional (privacy right) protection for a woman’s right to choose whether or not to bring her pregnancy to term. The way various candidates react to those developments may play a large part in the Democratic Party’s primary contest for the presidential nod in 2020.

Background:

The landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion rights has stood now for 46 years: it is Roe v. Wade, a case decided by a 7 to 2 vote in January 1973. Justice Blackmun wrote the opinion for that majority.

Intriguingly, through the 1950s Harry Blackmun was the resident counsel of the Mayo Clinic, the famed academic medical center in Rochester, Minnesota. He was, then, a physician’s lawyer, and it is fitting that his 1973 opinion makes the case for leaving certain medical decisions within the privacy of the physician-patient consultation.

The Thing to Know:

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA) has said that Congress should pass a statute giving the force of federal law to the principle of privacy as it applies to abortion. That would likely preempt any contrary state laws, thus codifying Roe.

 

Senator Warren: “She’s Got a Plan for That”

The Story:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for President may be gaining some momentum. In recent days variations of her frequent use of the expression “I’ve got a plan for that” have taken hold and become a catch phrase, even an unofficial slogan, declared so not by the campaign itself but from the ground up.

Two Tweets:

On April 11, a writer on the blog Vox said, “Many profitable companies pay nothing in profitable income tax. Elizabeth Warren has a plan to stop that.”

Warren linked to the Vox article on her twitter feed and added: “You bet I do!”

An admirer of Warren’s, Keely Murphy, soon replied to that tweet: “I would certainly buy a shirt that said, ‘Elizabeth Warren: She’s Got a Plan for That.'”

As Politico puts it, that exchange made the expression “a thing.”

The Thing to Know:

All campaigns for POTUS put out thick position papers, often with numbers, charts, graphs, etc. Sometimes one gets the impression that a staffer in a back office puts these together just so that they will be available should anyone ask, but the candidate’s heart is not in it. In the case of the Warren campaign, the  candidate’s heart is very much in the wonky position-paper side of campaigning.

Elizabeth Warren: We Need To Impeach President Donald Trump Now | All In | MSNBC

Elizabeth Warren: We Need To Impeach President Donald Trump Now | All In | MSNBC

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: If any other person had done what’s in the Mueller report, they would be put in jail.
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Elizabeth Warren: We Need To Impeach President Donald Trump Now | All In | MSNBC

Watch Senator Warren Call To Impeach Trump On Senate Floor | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Watch Senator Warren Call To Impeach Trump On Senate Floor | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a blistering speech attacking Donald Trump’s war on the law and calling to begin impeachment proceedings for the first time on the Senate floor. The Washington Post’s EJ Dionne tells The Beat he believes “we’re closer to impeachment proceedings than we were even a week ago.”
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Visit msnbc.com: http://on.msnbc.com/Readmsnbc
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Watch Senator Warren Call To Impeach Trump On Senate Floor | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

A Change of Course for Pete Buttigieg

The Story:

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has returned $30,000 of donations to the lobbyists it came from as part of a change in course for his campaign.

Background:

In an email to Buttigieg supporters on April 26, the Mayor’s campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, said that if Buttigieg becomes President he “will not be influenced by special-interest money.” He said that Buttigieg is promising not to accept any further such donations from lobbyists, and that making this promise is an important part of his commitment to keep himself out of the pockets of those special interests.

Buttigieg has been polling third of late in both of the key early-voting states: Iowa and New Hampshire, behind only Vice President Biden and Senator Sanders. Buttigieg has pulled ahead of candidates who until very recently were much better known, including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D – CA).

The Thing to Know:

The question of how campaigns ought to be financed has been a hot one in US politics for a long time now: arguably since Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency. The system of laws governing the question is in flux: but the Democratic candidates in this cycle especially are illustrating their views on that subject by how they are financing their own campaigns.

Dems Consider Impeachment: US Politics in 60 Seconds

Is the impeachment of President Trump more likely following the Mueller Report?

Well, it’s slightly more likely, but still very unlikely to happen. There’s not widespread public support. It would be very dangerous for Democrats to impeach. They’d rather just keep talking about it. Hold hearings, bring Miller up to the Hill, make it an issue in 2020.

What happened to Beto-mentum?

Well, he’s been underwhelming on the stump and people are wondering where…

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.

[Get On Politics delivered to your inbox.]

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…

Is the Mueller report a roadmap for impeachment?

Is the Mueller report a roadmap for impeachment?

Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail are divided on the path forward after the Russia investigation. #AmericasNewsroom #FoxNews

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