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Biden and Sanders Lead the 2020 Field in Iowa, Poll Finds

Nati Harnik/Associated Press Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders lead a new poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers released this weekend, underscoring how the nomination process for the Democratic Party has, to this early point, been defined by the two figures with the largest national profiles. The poll, which was conducted by The Des Moines Register and CNN, had Mr. Biden as the top choice for 27 percent of respondents, leading all candidates. Though Mr. Biden’s advisers have signaled that he intends to run for president, he has yet to announce his candidacy. Mr. Sanders, who kicked off his campaign recently in New York City, was the top choice for 25 percent of those asked. Only 5 percent of likely caucusgoers now call him their first choice for president — down from 11 percent in December. [Join the conversation around the 2020 race with our politics newsletter.] It remains to be seen if that will translate to hardened support, particularly in one of the largest, most wide-open and diverse Democratic primary fields in history. The next closest figure to Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, according to the poll, was Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was among the first to announce her presidential candidacy. Ms. Warren was the top choice for 9 percent of respondents, followed by Senator Kamala Harris of California, who was favored by 7 percent of respondents and had soaring favorability ratings. Other candidates — including Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — have struggled to make an imprint, the poll found.

What Kirsten Gillibrand Is Missing: New York Endorsements for 2020

Elizabeth Frantz for The New York Times WASHINGTON — Senator Cory Booker has been endorsed for president by New Jersey’s entire 11-member Democratic congressional delegation, his state’s governor and its other senator. Senator Kamala Harris has support from three-quarters of the Democrats in the California State Senate, the governor and a handful of House members from her state. Even John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman running a long-shot bid for president, has the support of a House member from his home state. But Senator Kirsten Gillibrand? No one from New York’s 21-member congressional delegation is yet backing her bid for president. And neither is New York’s governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, or its other senator, Chuck Schumer, who as minority leader is staying neutral because numerous senators are in the race. And that’s the most honest thing I can tell you.” [Check out the Democratic field with our candidate tracker.] In interviews with two-thirds of New York’s Democratic congressional delegation, lawmakers this week offered a variety of rationales and dodges for why none of them has lined up behind their colleague. [Make sense of the people, issues and ideas shaping American politics with our newsletter.] “I haven’t made a decision about endorsements yet simply out of respect for all the other folks who have reached out to me,” said Representative Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who spent time with Ms. Gillibrand over the weekend.
Michael Bloomberg calls for end of divisiveness | CITIZEN by CNN

Mike Bloomberg Is Not Running for President

The Story: Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire who founded the giant media, software, and financial services company Bloomberg LP, announced on March 5, 2019 that he...

Gillibrand’s political star rises

David Paterson's surprise appointment of second-term U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat on Jan. 23, 2009, the New York Times helpfully phoneticized her name for its readers: "JILL-uh-brand." Political consultant Morgan Hook, who was a news producer for Albany's CBS6 at the time, recalled interviewing Gillibrand about voting with Republicans against a Democratic bill that would fund U.S. efforts in Iraq. Her advice that he use the occasion to speak out on behalf of people with disabilities, Paterson said, cemented his decision. She wrote in her 2014 autobiography that, during the interview, he told her, "You know, throughout this process, I have heard the nastiest things about you and you have reflected none of that. Previously, she had expressed support only for civil unions. Schumer, along with President Barack Obama, helped clear the Democratic field for Gillibrand's election, according to reports at the time. Tellingly, at a 2009 fundraiser, as Gillibrand thanked her supporters, she had noted that she might face a Democratic challenge the following year. Velazquez, a New York City Democrat who has not endorsed a candidate for 2020, said she found Gillibrand's evolution on the issue sincere. Gillibrand has long supported Medicare for all. Editorial boards jumped on her when she announced her exploratory committee for president three months later.

GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening Rep. Omar to a terrorist rocks W. Virginia capitol

One staff member was physically injured during the morning's confrontations, and another official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments. The display featured a picture of the World Trade Center in New York City as a fireball exploded from the one of the Twin Towers, set above a picture of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who's a Muslim. The display was set up as part of "WV GOP Day," which the party advertised on Facebook as a day when "Republicans Take the Rotunda." That doesn’t mean Christians are terrorists. "I am furious, and I don't want to see her representing the people of this great state in the House again," Angelucci said of Lieberman, who became the state's first female sergeant at arms last year. The outrage continued on the House floor, where Del. "It's ugly, it's hateful and there's absolutely no place for it in American politics," Pushkin said, according to WVNews. Not in the state that I love. Pushkin, who's Jewish, added, "I'm proud to live in a country that somebody can come into this country with absolutely nothing and wind up in the halls of Congress representing the state of Minnesota." "The West Virginia House of Delegates unequivocally rejects hate in all of its forms."

An extremist rabbi’s legacy is again haunting Israeli politics

Kahane called for Arabs to be expelled from Israel, and his Kach party had a history of harassing Israeli Arabs. Kahane served time in prison both in the United States and Israel. “This dangerous phenomenon will pass because no public figure or member of Knesset supports it,” Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once said about Kahane, according to Haaretz. But several major American Jewish groups, as well as Israeli public figures, are opposing the move as an endorsement of the extremism once rejected by previous Israeli governments. But what Prime Minister Netanyahu has done, because he’s desperate, because he’s in an increasingly tight political race, is open the door to evil.” A chorus of centrist and liberal American Jewish organizations opposed the merger this week. “This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, keen to shore up his electoral position, orchestrated the unification of the extreme right-wing party Otzma Yehudit (‘Jewish Power’) with the National Union so that it could enter the Knesset in a consolidated right-wing bloc,” read a statement by eight groups, including the New Israel Fund, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reconstructionist movement. “We are outraged that right-wing political parties and their leadership have reversed course and opened the door for Kahanists to enter into the Israeli political mainstream.” No major right-wing Jewish groups have condemned the merger. “We understand what Prime Minister Netanyahu did, and he did it to have ministers of the national religious and national union parties in his coalition.” Most American Jewish groups also opposed Kahane’s activities in the United States and Israel in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. That same year, with Kahane’s party poised to win more than 10 seats in elections, it was banned from running due to its racist platform — at the urging of Likud. Regardless, Ben-Ari will only be elected this year if his party wins enough votes to have five seats in Knesset.

AOC, Gianaris And Other NY Politicians Should Apologize To American Workers For Amazon Pullout

Criticism, from the likes of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and State Senator Michael Gianaris, has centered around the $3B in tax deferments and subsidies that Amazon would receive over a decade, dependent on the creation of thousands of new high-paying jobs in New York City. Amazon cites a 70% favorability amongst New Yorkers that want Amazon to enter the city in their statement announcing the pullout. What impact will this decision have on the workforce in NYC? The estimated taxes from the direct hires alone are well over a billion dollars, and this is before accounting for additional consumption, housing spend and local community growth from the newly created jobs. Indirect Job Creation: The impact of the immediate infusion of thousands of high-paying jobs in cities cannot be understated in how it affects local communities. Studies indicated that the indirect consequences are as high as 80,000 additional jobs that would have been created.These jobs would have boosted local consumption, increased tax coffers, and provided further employment opportunity in a historically struggling community that has seen rents decline by double digit percentages and has one of the largest housing projects with mean wages below the poverty line. Thousands of new technology-focused hires would have eventually led to hundreds of startups, creating a perpetual cycle of wealth generation and job creation and reinforcing NYC as a technology hub for the future. We made sure to stand our ground.” The article goes on to quote Democratic New York State Senator Julia Salazar in describing the pullout as a “turning point for the ability of working people in New York to organize for their interests against the billionaire class.” These quotes are telling as they paint local politicians and activists as more focused on “beating the billionaire” than serving their community. “So now what are you going to do?” The harsh reality for Mr. Robinson and other New Yorkers is that there is no back up plan. The rise of the pandering populist politicians, who seem to service a narrative more than the workforce, is a failure in governance and representative democracy.

Democrats’ coveted 2020 prize? An endorsement from Ocasio-Cortez

Welcome to the AOC primary. At 29 years old, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – already known as “AOC” for short - is too young to be eligible to run for US president. But it could also come with perils in the later presidential contest, especially for so-called “centrist” candidates hoping to draw independents and moderate Republicans away from Donald Trump. “Even if people don’t like her or her policies, they will be racing to get her endorsement because it’s a progressive check mark. Sroka noted: “Millennials are not a young age group any more. AOC is 29 and speaks to the range of millennial experiences. The vitriol she has inspired speaks to how afraid everyone is; Republicans see her as representing a country they don’t even know how to speak to Neil Sroka Other potentially valuable endorsements up for grabs include vice-president turned climate activist Al Gore, former secretary of state and Democratic nominee John Kerry, ex-president Barack Obama and TV personality Oprah Winfrey. Ocasio-Cortez was an organiser for his insurgent 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. I say, ‘Don’t ask me until the day of the New York primary’. As Ocasio-Cortez looked on smiling, Trump offered a preview in his state of the union address of how he will conjure the spectre of Venezuela-style “socialism” in the Democratic party ahead of 2020.

Bob McCarthy: Political season springs up early

Candidates are popping up everywhere, campaign strategizing is under way, and the usual low buzz of February is already loud. Something is not right – elections are November affairs and we’re just past Groundhog Day. It all stems from Albany’s new Democratic majority and the flurry of legislation streaming from the Capitol, including voting reforms that consolidate state and federal primaries in June. Instead of primary voters casting their ballots on this year’s normal date of Sept. 10, mark your political calendar for new Primary Day on June 25. It’s a crowded field for the high-profile post, but she is gaining lots of media attention and emphasizing her Bernie Sanders-like politics. It was the first time in the court’s history that an all-female panel of four justices presided over oral arguments. “It is clearly an important milestone to have a panel comprised entirely of the court’s female justices,” noted Smith, who presided over the session. “We’ll have a big table there and hope to get the lay of the land,” Zellner said. “We look forward to talking with some of the candidates.” Zellner appears to be one of those New York Democrats still hoping for Andrew Cuomo to join the crowded field, despite the governor’s insistence that he is not a candidate. He said he looks forward to working with Cuomo’s newly named state chairman – Nassau County leader Jay Jacobs.

The young politicians aiming to consign Africa’s old guard to history

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Many called Chike Ukaegbu's bluff when he announced he was running for the highest office in Nigeria at the age of 35. Politics in Nigeria was closed to younger candidates up until the Not Too Young To Run bill -- championed by a youth movement -- succeeded last year in lowering the ages for elected offices. President Muhammadu Buhari first ruled Nigeria in 1983 as a military head of state. Only candidates with deep pockets and wealth amassed from the nation's resources have emerged victorious in past elections, Raphael said, shutting out younger aspirants and newcomers without a "war chest" to finance their campaigns. Despite its young population, Africa has been under the grip of older leaders, widening the gap and disconnect between the leadership and the electorate. Cameroon's 85-year-old president Paul Biya was elected for a seventh term last October, extending his 36-year rule in the country. "By the time we get to the election... we will have many Ugandans registered as voters," Wine said. The 37-year-old says nothing will change if young people remain apathetic and abstain from the polls and politics. None of these men are by definition youthful candidates, but they are newcomers and some decades younger than the frontrunners. Now, we have old leaders ruling a digital population."