Pete Buttigieg Announces Official Start to 2020 Campaign

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Pete Buttigieg, the young Midwestern mayor whose presidential bid has been an unlikely early focus of attention from Democratic voters and donors, kicked off his campaign on Sunday and proclaimed his hometown’s revival was the answer to skeptics who ask how he has the “audacity” to see himself in the White House.

At a rally inside a partly rebuilt factory, once owned by the automaker Studebaker and now being turned into glass-sheathed offices for tech and other businesses, Mr. Buttigieg said, “I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing nothing like Studebaker would ever come back, but that we would, our city would, if we had the courage to reimagine our future.”

If elected, Mr. Buttigieg, a 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, would represent a series of historic firsts: the youngest president ever and the first who is openly gay.

He said he was motivated to run despite his youth because of an urgency to correct the course of the Trump administration on climate change, health care and immigration. “This is one of those rare moments between whole eras in the life of our nation,” Mr. Buttigieg said, adding, “The moment we live in compels us to act.’’

[Pete Buttigieg’s college writings reveal the roots of his 2020 campaign.]

He painted a picture of a hopeful future rooted in Midwestern values, contrasting his focus on a better life in 2030, 2040 and 2054 — the year he would be the same age as President Trump is today — with what he called Mr. Trump’s appeal to “resentment and nostalgia.”

And he invoked his marriage to his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, as one of the blessings of American freedom, but one that feels fragile in the current climate.

“Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court,’’ Mr. Buttigieg told a crowd of several thousand people. “Nine men and women sat down in a room and took a vote, and they brought me the most important freedom in my life.”

Though Mr. Buttigieg is a political progressive, his main message is the claim…

Pete Buttigieg Stuns Campaign Crowd By Speaking To Manufacturing Robots In Fluent Binary

DES MOINES, IA—Revealing that he taught himself the language after developing an interest in computer science and artificial intelligence, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg stunned a campaign crowd Wednesday by speaking to manufacturing robots in fluent binary. “01001001 00100111 01101101 00100000 01101000 01101111 01101110 01101111 01110010 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101101 01100101 01100101 01110100 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01110011 01110101 01100011 01101000 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110010 01100100 00101101 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00101100 00100000 01110100 01110010 01110101 01100101 00100000 01000001 01101101 01100101 01110010 01101001 01100011 01100001 01101110 01110011 00101110 00100000,” said the 37-year-old South Bend, IN mayor to the awe-struck machines, delivering the message by emitting…

Editorial: Politics on public’s dime

  • This photo shows an exterior view of the New York state Capitol Monday, April 1, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink) Photo: Hans Pennink / Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

THE ISSUE:

State lawmakers resist a proposal to end their use of staffers on political campaigns.

THE STAKES:

Why should taxpayers foot the bill for this cozy, questionable practice?

State legislators have argued for years about public financing of campaigns, but actually, taxpayers were paying for a small army of political operatives all along. They just didn’t know it.

Oh, and we still are, because those same legislators blocked a plan to end the practice.

The game works like this: Employees of elected officials — such as state legislators — supposedly rack up bunches of compensatory time during the legislative session. Some — no one has quantified how many — then take that time off in the election season to work on campaigns of their bosses or of their bosses’ political pals. In off years, when legislators aren’t running, these workers are available to help out local candidates.

It’s a sweet arrangement: The “volunteers” keep drawing a state paycheck and don’t have to use vacation time. Politicians get free and often seasoned campaign staff.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed to end this wink-and-a-nod…

Biden to campaign as extension of Obama’s political movement

1of2FILE – In this April 5, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers construction and maintenance conference in Washington.Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Joe Biden is finalizing the framework for a White House campaign that would cast him as an extension of Barack Obama’s presidency and political movement. He’s betting that the majority of Democratic voters are eager to return to the style and substance of that era — and that they’ll view him as the best option to lead the way back.

The former vice president has begun testing the approach as he nears an expected campaign launch later this month. After remarks at a recent labor union event, Biden said he was proud to be an “Obama-Biden Democrat,” coining a term that his advisers define as pragmatic and progressive, and a bridge between the working-class white voters who have long had an affinity for Biden and the younger, more diverse voters who backed Obama in historic numbers.

Biden’s strategy will test whether anyone other than Obama can recreate the coalition that delivered him to the White House twice, but was something Hillary Clinton was unable to do in 2016. And it will thrust the 44th president’s legacy into the center of the 2020 campaign.

Though Obama remains overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, an undercurrent of the party’s primary contest is the push from some liberal Democrats to go far further than his administration in upending the federal health care system or addressing income inequality. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have led the charge, calling for more sweeping, systemic change, though neither has explicitly criticized Obama by name.

“The party has changed somewhat,” said Paul Harstad, a longtime Obama pollster. “I think the party is looking for someone more aggressive than Obama in tactics and approach.”

In some ways, Biden’s embrace of Obama’s legacy is to be expected. He spent eight years as Obama’s No. 2, serving as a key congressional liaison and foreign policy adviser, and the two men remain personally close.

Yet Biden, a 76-year-old white man with more than four decades of political experience, is an atypical heir to Obama’s legacy, particularly in a Democratic field with a historic number of minority candidates, as well as contenders who represent the kind of generational change Obama ushered in more than a decade ago.

That puts both Obama and many of his longtime advisers in an awkward spot.

Several months ago, Obama and Biden agreed that it would be best if…

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

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., talks to the crowd during a hometown kickoff for his national presidential campaign tour at Military Park in downtown Newark on Saturday. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., talks to the crowd during a hometown kickoff for his national presidential campaign tour at Military Park in downtown Newark on Saturday. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Democratic presidential contender Cory Booker promised on Saturday to “bring a fight” to the National Rifle Association (NRA), calling for a range of gun control reforms as part of a hometown launch for a national campaign tour.

“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.”

CORY BOOKER’S NOT SURGING IN THE 2020 RACE — AND HIS CAMPAIGN SAYS THAT’S JUST FINE

“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…

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…

NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes, campaign donor indicted on corruption and bribery charges

A federal grand jury has indicted Hayes on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance commissioner Mike Causey. By

A federal grand jury has indicted North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes and a major GOP campaign donor on conspiracy and bribery charges for their attempts to influence N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

The indictment accuses Hayes, a former congressman, of trying to funnel bribe money to Causey’s re-election campaign. Hayes is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI. Hayes had announced Monday that he wouldn’t seek another term as NC GOP chairman, a decision he attributed to health concerns.

The indictment comes amid an investigation into the political donor, Greg Lindberg, by U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. Lindberg has given millions of dollars to Republican groups in recent years, McClatchy newspapers have reported. He has also given money to Democrats.

Four people — Hayes, Lindberg, John D. Gray and John V. Palermo — were charged in the case, and all four made their first appearances in court Tuesday, the same day the indictment was unsealed. The four are accused of trying to bribe Causey with $2 million in campaign contributions to get him to take actions favorable to one of Lindberg’s companies — including the removal of an insurance department employee responsible for regulating that firm.

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They’re charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud (a charge generally associated with the behavior of public officials) as well as bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and aiding and abetting.

Each of the four pleaded not guilty.

The indictment says Causey contacted federal law enforcement officials with concerns about political contributions in January 2018 and has cooperated with the ongoing FBI investigation since then.

The indictment mentions another person in contact with Lindberg and Causey — “Public Official A” — but doesn’t name them or mention charges. Politico reported Tuesday afternoon that the official is Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. Politico identified Walker using the indictment and records from the Federal Election Commission, the outlet reported.

Walker’s press secretary, Jack Minor, said Tuesday that the congressman “is not and never has been a target of this investigation, and has committed no wrongdoing. He has assisted the DOJ.”

Each of the four people charged was released on $100,000 bond, on the condition that they turn in their passports and report any travel to federal probation officials.

Hayes, 73, represented North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District from 1999 to 2009. He appeared in federal court Tuesday using a walker. His lawyers told federal magistrate David Kessler that he had surgery in February and that his mobility is limited.

HayesIndictment.png
Screen grab of page 18 of the indictment unsealed May 19, 2019. U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray’s office has been investigating Greg Lindberg, John Gray, John Palermo and NC GOP chairman Robin Hayes.

The NC GOP has been cooperating with the federal investigation for months but didn’t learn about the indictments until early Tuesday, party legal counsel Josh Howard said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

”Early this morning, the North Carolina Republican Party was made aware of several indictments surrounding the conduct of a major donor to both major political parties and two of his associates,” Howard…

Trump’s 2020 Campaign: A Traditional Operation With a Wild-Card Candidate

Jason Andrew for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — On a former trading floor in an office tower in Rosslyn, Va., with sweeping views of the Potomac River, the Trump 2020 campaign is settling in. It has about 40 staff members and counting, reported $19.2 million in cash on hand in its last report and has spent $4.5 million on online ads since December.

It is a long way from Mr. Trump’s first presidential race, which came together in the summer of 2015 and was run as a taped-together operation, with a few desks strewn across an unfinished floor of Trump Tower.

But one thing is missing from the high-powered but traditional campaign operation underway in Rosslyn: a candidate who abides by tradition.

In a speech to a conservative group this month, as Mr. Trump described what he had in mind, he made a point of recounting “how I got elected, by being off script,” adding, “If we don’t go off script, our country is in big trouble, folks.” And at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Thursday, Mr. Trump illustrated what he meant, delivering an 80-minute stemwinder in which he lashed out at familiar targets who fostered “the collusion delusion” and offered the in-depth rehash of his 2016 victory that is a staple of his rally speeches.

“We won a lot,” he said, after explaining where “Crooked” Hillary Clinton went wrong. “We won 306 to 223.” (Mrs. Clinton’s total was actually 232.)

Mr. Trump has made it clear that he wants to run on the same anti-immigration, anti-Islam, fear-mongering tropes that lifted him to victory in 2016, denouncing old enemies like Mrs. Clinton and adding new ones, even as his aides try to emphasize his accomplishments in office like the economy and the rout of the Islamic State. Advisers say privately that he has been distracted by the Mueller report, which he regards as a clear political victory, and has not focused on message for the coming months.

As the campaign tries to build a traditional re-election operation, which officials often compare to President George W. Bush’s 2004 race, the tension may build between campaign officials and Mr. Trump, who trusts his gut above all else.

“President Trump has always had his finger on the pulse of the nation and he understands what it is that the American people want, and that is why he won in 2016 and that has not changed,” said David Bossie, a former campaign adviser who, alongside the former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, attended the rally with Mr. Trump on Thursday night. “He is his best political barometer.”

Incumbent presidents running for re-election always come with built-in advantages: money, time, the stature of the office and the opportunity to define the terms of the race, while an inchoate field of opponents fight among one another.

The Trump campaign is building an organization aimed at capitalizing on all of those advantages, crafting a conventional structure around a candidate whose nature is to buck against it. “There are lots of differences between being part of a bruising primary versus being the incumbent,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign communications director. “One of the differences is time. We have a big advantage on the Democrat field in that, and we intend to use it.”

But the wild card is Mr. Trump himself.

“It’s easy to build a beautiful operation,” said Robby…

John McDonnell backs Momentum on Barclays protest

John McDonnell

John McDonnell has called on Labour members to join Momentum on its first direct action campaign, as a senior organiser for the group called it a move from party politics to movement politics.

Forty local Momentum groups across England and Wales, from Exeter to Redcar, will take action outside branches of Barclays on Saturday to raise awareness of the bank’s financing of fossil fuel companies.

Last week, a report by BankTrack revealed that Barclays provides more funding for fossil fuel projects than any other bank in Europe, lending $85bn to companies involved in fossil fuels between 2016 and 2018.

“This campaign is a vital, urgent initiative and I encourage all Labour members to join Momentum and take action on Saturday,” the shadow chancellor said. “Climate breakdown isn’t caused by ordinary people. It’s the fault of bankers who plough billions of dollars into the fossil fuel companies.

“Governments cannot stand by while the finance sector profits from destroying the planet while we’re left with environmental catastrophe and extortionate energy bills.”

It is the first direct action campaign organised by Momentum, which was established in 2015 to…

Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a ghost town for political ads in India so far

Nothing to ad.

India’s politicians and political parties don’t seem to be buying ads on Twitter just yet, even as parties are pumping money into Facebook advertising.

As of yesterday (March 11), Indian content is now visible on Twitter’s Ad Transparency Centre: an archive that displays promoted tweets that have been run over the past week. Quartz searched the archive’s records to see if it showed any ads being run by major politicians and political parties, and could not find a single one. (The archive only permits you to search accounts individually—not to click to see all campaign ads at once. Quartz’s manual searches of dozens of politicians and political accounts did not yield any results, however.)

The only accounts seen to have run ads related to politics were media organisations, like television channel Times Now and news aggregation startup Dailyhunt.

Twitter has rolled out the initiative as part of its attempts to boost transparency ahead of India’s upcoming general election. Political campaign ads in the archive, Twitter says, will be accompanied by details about the demographics of audiences they are targeting. And if any promoted tweet is found to have violated Twitter’s rules, the transparency centre will list that it was suspended, and why.

Two days ago, the chief commissioner of the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that Twitter, along with Google, Facebook, and Youtube, has promised to ensure that all political ads on its platform will need to be pre-approved by the poll body’s media certification and monitoring panel.

In order to run political campaign ads, Twitter’s political content policy requires organisations to submit certain identification documents.

“The Transparency Ad Centre along with the Political Content Policy is a welcome step to bringing…