Tag Archives: 2020 Election

Joe Walsh Says He Has ‘Lost’ His Radio Show

Appearing Monday on CNN’s AC360, former congressman Joe Walsh said he has lost his radio program since launching a longshot Republican presidential primary challenge to President Donald Trump.

JOHN BERMAN: What’s the impact — and I’ve been curious about this because you’re a conservative radio talk show host and I have a hard time believing that your audience will like the idea that you’re running against the president — so what has the impact been on your radio show?

JOE WALSH: Eighty to 90 percent of my audience supports the president. I just found out I lost my national radio show. So, that’s gone. I figured that might happen, John.

BERMAN: You lost it why?

WALSH: I don’t know why. I just got a notice before I came to the studio. I’m running for president, I oppose this president, most of my listeners support the president. It’s not an easy thing to do to be in conservative talk radio and oppose this president. I knew that when I made the announcement yesterday, that it could be in jeopardy.

BERMAN: So no more radio show at all for you?

WALSH: No more radio show, but that’s okay, I’m going to campaign full-time. This was a difficult thing to do, but I believe it’s urgent because this president is a danger. We cannot let him get elected for another four years.


Trump fears presidential election

Trump threatens to raise tariffs on Chinese goods to 30% amid escalating trade war

As CNN reported, President Donald Trump on Friday counterpunched against retaliatory tariffs announced by Beijing earlier in the day, pledging to hike the rates importers must pay on Chinese-made goods even higher.Trump said the US will raise tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion in goods that are already being taxed starting October 1.

He also threatened to ratchet up promised tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 15%. Those tariffs, which would hit mostly consumer items, are set to begin taking effect September 1, though most goods will be duty-free until December 15 — a move Trump made to avoid putting a damper on holiday retail sales. The President’s announcement came after Beijing unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods. China will place additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1, according to a statement posted by China’s Finance Ministry.”We’re having a little spat with China and we’ll win it,” Trump told reporters Friday night before departing for the annual G7 summit in Biarritz, France. “We put a lot of tariffs on China today, as you know. They put some on us, we put a lot of them.”

“We’re up to about $550 billion — they’ve been hitting us for many, many years for over $500 billion a year, taking out of our country much more than 500 billion a year,” he added. “So we want that stopped.”

It was the latest escalation in an ongoing trade war that has triggered a worldwide economic slowdown and which, for the moment, shows no sign of quick resolution.”China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!),” Trump said on Twitter. The intensifying fights unnerved investors, sending the Dow dropping more than 700 points at its worst, closing down 2.4%, or 623 points. The US Trade Representative Office, which acts as the country’s top trade negotiator, said it would “begin the process of increasing the tariff rate to 30% effective October 1 following a notice and comment period.”

Earlier Friday, Trump ordered US companies doing business in China to find an “alternative” and had promised to deliver further action after he met with his economic team at the White House.”We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them,” Trump tweeted. “Our great companies are ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME.”

China trade experts said the moves will only deepen the impasse between Washington and Beijing.”Everyone knew this was coming,” said Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council. “There was no doubt this was coming. The response to it is surprising and disappointing. “

Stocks finished a volatile trading day sharply in the red Friday, after a selloff driven by the new retaliatory tariffs from China and the President’s criticism of Federal Reserve policy. Trump again attacked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell over interest rates, which Trump insists are too high even after a rate cut last month.

“My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” the president tweeted referring to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Late Friday night, Trump told reporters he wouldn’t stop Powell if the chairman wanted to resign.

Trump’s China trade war spirals as 2020 looms

The dangerous new twist in the tariff war between the United States and China will heap ominous pressure on the global economy at a moment when it is already struggling in the undertow of their trade superpower showdown. China’s announcement of new tariffs on $75 billion in US goods and an incandescent reaction from President Donald Trump and his swift increase in existing tariffs on Chinese products underscored that the dispute is escalating with no obvious way to calm hostilities. A long disagreement over China’s trade and economic practices has now also become a personal duel and a matter of face between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping — and a perilous pivot point for a volatile world order that is being reshaped by China’s rise.

A day of trade war Friday dramatically increased the political stakes of the confrontation for Trump — at the same time the new tariffs threaten to further damage the US economy. “This has become a process without a clear objective and without a clear strategy and without a clear endpoint,” said Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council. “And it’s being played out in many worsening global economic circumstances. It is more uncertainty heaped upon already existing uncertainty.”

The President’s remark that trade wars are “good and easy to win” in 2018 is now looking even more ill-advised and leaves Trump looking as though he engineered a showdown with a rising economic superpower in which it will be difficult for him to prevail. If China’s retaliation on Friday was calculated to further panic Trump about the state of the US economy — amid growing fears of a slowdown that would complicate his reelection hopes next year — it has already succeeded.

The new tariffs came at the end of the week when the White House’s messaging on the economy has been incoherent. Assurances by the President’s top advisers that growth is robust and there is no concern about the economy have been undermined by Trump’s contradictory statements — at various times he has said he’s thinking about tax cuts to stimulate growth and then insisted he is not because there is no need for them.

The confusion has multiplied concerns that Trump’s administration is ill prepared to mitigate a recession if one does come and lacks the stability and calmness needed to tackle any financial crisis.

Trump’s increasingly furious attacks on Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell amount to some of the most incendiary rhetoric by a President about the economy and the US central bank’s policy-making in living memory. His insistence on an interest rate cut of 100 basis points would mean the Fed adopting policies that are usually put into practice only during a serious economic downturn. It also raises questions about Trump’s understanding of the infrastructure of the US economy and the independence of the central bank, which is supposed to shield it from interference by presidents worried about their political prospects.

The latest tariff tit-for-tat also seems to trap Trump into an escalation with China that it will be difficult to control. If he goes ahead and responds with more tariffs, the President risks further rattling investors and damaging US consumers. He has already delayed a set of new tariffs worth $160 billion on Chinese imports until December to avoid harming the holiday shopping season. That decision was seen by many as an admission by Trump that Americans are hurt by paying higher prices for Chinese products despite his frequent and misleading assurances that only China was being harmed by the tariffs.”The bottom is collapsing and this relationship is getting worse and worse,” said Allen.

Since last year before Trump and Xi met over a steak dinner in Buenos Aires, experts have worried about the possibility of a new cold war between the world’s two largest economies if they are unable to resolve their differences. The risk of so-called “decoupling” is likely to be more disruptive than the President’s “America First” agenda, according to policy analysts who have carefully watched the on-again, off-again trade war that began last summer with the first tranche of tariffs. Hawks within the administration — like Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro — have strongly argued that a parting of ways with China is necessary to secure US dominance, while others in the wing have expressed concerns about China’s military power or tensions with North Korea.

“I think really American-China policy is only unified with a single person in the White House,” said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank. “It’s unpredictable. It can flip-flop. I don’t think American policy has finally settled in one place where we have decided to treat China as an enemy across the board.”

Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned of the risks of the world’s two largest economies divorcing in a speech in Singapore last November.”I fear that big parts of the global economy will ultimately be closed off to the free flow of investment and trade. And that is why I now see the prospect of an economic iron curtain — one that throws up new walls on each side and unmakes the global economy, as we have known it,” said Paulson, who served under President George W. Bush.

Trump has questioned why he must attend G7

China’s recent action was unlikely to improve Trump’s mood as he flew to France on Friday night for the G7 summit. He’s been complaining about European trade policy as well and has a record of breaking china at international summits — including last year’s G7 in Canada, which saw him leave early. The next time Xi and Trump would be expected to meet would be at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in November. But with the trade war still worsening, hopes for a resolution then look farfetched. While Xi is often portrayed as a strongman authoritarian and China’s most dominant leader for the last 30 years, he is not immune to domestic political pressures.

The wave of protests in Hong Kong is putting him under even greater scrutiny months before celebrations marking 70 years of Communist China — a fact that gives Xi even less room for political maneuver. Two years after being hailed as a historic figure and removing term limits in a move that was seen as potentially letting him rule for life, Xi is enduring the worst year of his presidency so far. But the longer the trade war goes on, the more politically dicey it also gets for Trump — a factor that might be helping to shape Chinese thinking. The showdown becomes a question of which side can endure the most pain. Trump has confidently predicted that Xi will have to give in because China won’t be able to take the damage to its economy. It is true that the tariff war is having an effect — it has helped push Chinese industrial output growth to its lowest rate in 17 years. But Xi is sitting atop an authoritarian system that can muzzle the public and mitigate the political damage of a trade war. He has no need to worry about reelection in 2020. Trump, by contrast, has been fuming at the media in recent days, accusing it of alarming consumers about the state of the economy and taking it into a recession. Beijing may be calculating that Trump will not be able to stand the political heat of the trade war as his reelection race ratchets up — a position his increasingly angry outbursts tend to support — and might be interested in stepping back from the brink. In a sign of political sophistication, Beijing has deliberately targeted farming — an industry that is endemic to the Midwestern swing states that Trump needs to win reelection.

So the President faces a dilemma. Does he cool the rhetoric and seek a deal with Beijing — and thereby turn his back on one of the central pillars of his entire political project? Or does he carry on the fight — even if it has a serious impact on the US and world economy and creates a political backlash that could put his hopes of a second term in doubt?

Trump Asserts He Can Force US Companies to Leave China

As New York Times reported, President Trump asserted on Saturday that he has the authority to make good on his threat to force all American businesses to leave China, citing a national security law that has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria and North Korea. As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, a law originally meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes not sever economic ties with a major trading partner over a tariff dispute.

“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Case closed!”

The president’s threat to all but cut off one of America’s most important trading relationships could disrupt a global economy already on the edge of recession amid his trade war while further unsettling giant companies in the United States that rely on China in their production and sale of everything from clothing to smart telephones.Mr. Trump has often made drastic threats as a negotiating ploy to force a partner to offer concessions, as when he vowed to close the border with Mexico or impose tariffs on its goods to force action to halt illegal immigration. But if he were to follow through, it would be the most significant break with China since President Richard M. Nixon’s diplomatic opening to Beijing in the early 1970s.

Mr. Trump’s claim that he has the power to order American companies to pull out of China also represents the latest assertion of authority by a president who has repeatedly crossed lines that his predecessors have not. While he came to office criticizing President Barack Obama for exceeding the power of his office, Mr. Trump has gone even further in creative ways to take action on his priorities.“Any invocation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in these circumstances and for these purposes would be an abuse,” said Daniel M. Price, a former international economic adviser to President George W. Bush. “The act is intended to address extraordinary national security threats and true national emergencies not fits of presidential pique.”

Under the weight of Mr. Trump’s tariff war, China has already fallen from America’s largest trading partner last year to the third largest this year. The United States remains China’s largest trading partner. China said Friday that it would raise tariffs on American goods in retaliation for Mr. Trump’s latest levies and the president vowed hours later to increase tariffs even further.

China’s commerce ministry issued a strongly worded statement on Saturday warning the United States to turn back from ever-escalating confrontation, but it did not threaten any new trade measures.“This unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and extreme pressure violate the consensus of the heads of state of China and the United States, violate the principle of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit, seriously undermine the multilateral trading system and the normal international trade order,” the Chinese statement said.


U.S. Republican Joe Walsh announces primary challenge against Trump

Former Republican House representative Joe Walsh on Sunday said he will challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

“Friends, I’m in. We can’t take four more years of Donald Trump. And that’s why I’m running for President,” Walsh tweeted.

“It won’t be easy, but bravery is never easy. But together, we can do it. Join me… join us,” he said.

The conservative radio host also unveiled his campaign on ABC’s “This Week.”

Walsh was elected to the House in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave but lost reelection in 2012 and has since hosted a radio talk show.

The Republican voted for Trump in 2016 but over the past year has emerged as a fierce critic of the president, local media reported.

It would be a tough fight for other Republican contenders to run against Trump, as a January Gallup poll showed that 88 percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing.


The Democrats’ war in New Hampshire

New Hampshire voters are torn between Sanders and Warren

The Vox reported that New Hampshire is a rare state where Joe Biden doesn’t hold a commanding lead over the Democratic presidential field, creating an opportunity for Northeasterners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to not only take the state with the first-in-the-nation primary but potentially emerge as the field’s progressive favorite. It’s a bona fide race already. Sanders carried the state by a wide margin in 2016, but voters aren’t so sure they’ll support him again in 2020 with Warren on the ballot.Voter Mallory Langkau of Groveton, New Hampshire, is torn between the two. Langkau voted for Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and was leaning toward him again in 2020. But after she watched both Sanders and Warren speak back to back during their recent swings through the state, her decision became more difficult.

“I’m more confused,” she told me. “As a voter, I’m really stuck. In a perfect world, they’d be running mates.”

Recent New Hampshire polls show Sanders slightly ahead of Warren; an August Suffolk University poll of 500 likely primary voters showed Biden at 21 percent, Sanders around 17 percent, and Warren around 14 percent. A July CNN/UNH Survey Center poll had Sanders and Warren each tied at 19 percent, with Biden leading at 24 percent. Some earlier polls even had the Vermont senator ahead of Biden, but he and Warren have settled into a close competition for second place.

National polls have shown Biden is typically the second-choice candidate for Sanders supporters and vice versa. But in New Hampshire, 34 percent of Sanders voters said Warren was their second choice, compared to 18 percent who selected Biden, per the July CNN/UNH poll. Sanders was the second choice for nearly 40 percent of Warren voters, and the poll showed Warren and Sanders competing for second among Biden voters.

I interviewed more than 35 voters at Sanders’s and Warren’s most recent New Hampshire campaign events and found many people trying to make up their minds between the two. Some undecided voters were attending back-to-back Warren and Sanders campaign events to suss out the differences between the candidates.

A few fervent Sanders supporters told me that Warren’s dogged stance on anti-corruption and corporate responsibility made her the only other candidate they’d even consider.And few of these progressive voters said they were considering Biden, even with his lead in state and national polls. Many said he was a last resort; they’d vote for him if he was the Democratic nominee, but they wanted to support a candidate they genuinely believed in during the primary. Others said Biden was a nonstarter.

“Biden is Hillary Clinton dressed up in a man’s suit,” 80-year-old Sanders supporter Fletcher Manley told me outside a campaign event in Berlin, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and second major presidential contest is a crucial contest for Warren and Sanders. For one thing, the two candidates are from neighboring states (Sanders from Vermont and Warren from Massachusetts). It’s also high-stakes for Sanders because he won the New Hampshire primary by a historic 152,000 votes in 2016 when he faced off against Clinton. The question is how many of his 2016 supporters he can hang on to, and how many Warren can scoop up.

At one stop in North Conway, a voter asked Sanders point-blank why they should support him over Warren.

“Elizabeth is a friend of mine, and you will make that decision yourself,” Sanders replied.

New Hampshire voters still have six months to do so. But many of them know all too well: In order for Sanders and Warren’s progressive ideas to win, one of the candidates will eventually have to lose.

A close competition between Sanders and Warren in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the competition among these two progressives is fierce — if still largely for second place. Sanders has typically polled a few points ahead of Warren in New Hampshire, and at times has even polled ahead of Biden. But national pollsters have noted a problematic trend for Sanders: He seems to have more of a ceiling on his base, causing some doubts he can expand beyond his fervent core supporters. Warren is still third in most New Hampshire polls but has shown herself more able to grow — nationally, and here in the Granite State too.

“In terms of trajectory, it’s all in Warren’s favor,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University’s Polling Institute. “I think you see it on the ground, Sanders still has his core support, which is huge support, but you don’t see him expanding on that. Warren … you see her drawing out new people at each event.”

Because Sanders and Warren’s policy positions are so similar, New Hampshire voters are considering a number of other factors not so easily quantifiable when deciding whom to vote for. Bernie supporters talk about their love for the Vermont senator’s passion and longtime advocacy of progressive issues. Warren supporters say they are drawn to her intelligence, relate to her personal story, and appreciate her clear, detailed plans.

“They love Bernie’s message, but they can individualize with Elizabeth,” said Arnie Arnesen, a progressive radio host and longtime political figure in New Hampshire (Arnesen hasn’t endorsed either candidate). “People walk out of a room with Elizabeth and realize she has a plan for me. Not for the generic worker, not for America, for me.”

Langkau, the Groveton voter who’d attended both candidates’ events, would be personally affected by their proposed policies. A third-year school teacher, she makes $37,000 per year and is bogged down by $80,000 in student debt. She likes Sanders’s proposal to raise teachers’ starting salaries to $60,000 but also appreciates Warren’s background as a public teacher and her plan to erase student debt for most Americans.

“I want to see what makes them different,” Langkau told me. “They’ve linked themselves together. If they had to separate themselves, how would they do so?”

How New Hampshire voters are choosing between Sanders and Warren

New Hampshire voters gave Bernie Sanders his first big win during his scrappy 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. Sanders’s decisive primary victory shocked the political establishment and helped drive lasting momentum for his “political revolution.”

The 2020 primary is a far cry from the binary choice between the establishment-backed Clinton and the anti-establishment Sanders. With more than 20 Democrats still running, voters are overwhelmed with choices. But a few hardcore Sanders supporters told me the only other candidate they’d consider taking a look at is Elizabeth Warren. “I’m looking at Bernie … he surprised me, he’s on top of his game,” said voter Mike Lydon of Lancaster, who voted for Sanders in 2016. Lydon had hopped between a Sanders ice cream social and an outdoor Warren town hall against a picturesque backdrop of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

“I think Elizabeth and Bernie have very similar ideals. She’s a dynamic candidate; she’s taken on corporate elites,” Lydon said.

A Sanders supporter from the senator’s home state of Vermont, Richard Balzano, said he thinks Bernie is the only candidate “not held down by corporate responsibility.” Balzano even floated the idea of Sanders running as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. But he also said he’d be open to Warren, even with his lingering frustration that she endorsed Clinton in the 2016 general election (Warren stayed neutral during the primary).

“I would consider Elizabeth Warren if he didn’t get the nod,” Balzano said.

Bernie supporters like Lydon and Balzano still see Sanders as the truest representative of progressive ideas and the more electable candidate against President Donald Trump. Sanders himself is fond of mentioning head-to-head matchup polls that show him beating Trump in a general election. But importantly, the animosity many Sanders supporters harbored towards Clinton in 2016 just isn’t there with Warren, which could give the Massachusetts senator an opening with his base. Progressive voters in New Hampshire are parsing the two candidates’ personal narratives, and whom they connect with more. “I’m kind of interested in Elizabeth Warren, but Bernie’s forever like this — no wavering,” said Sanders supporter Kacey Marsh of Whitefield, New Hampshire. “He cares about the people; he’s not corporate. We don’t deserve him.”

And with a Democratic electorate obsessed with beating Trump, it’s worth noting the gendered “electability” concerns dominating 2020 cut both ways. Just as many voters told me they’re concerned about Sanders’s age (he’s 77, compared to Warren’s 70) and want to see a woman take on Trump.

“I think he’s too old,” said Warren supporter Lizzy Berube of Campton, New Hampshire, who added she thinks the same of the 76-year-old Joe Biden. “I think it’s time for a woman. Picture Elizabeth Warren on a debate stage with Donald Trump. She will eat him alive.”
Other voters said they see Warren’s personal story as more relatable. “There’s something about Bernie I’m not excited about,” said Nashua resident Rory O’Neil. “Warren has that track record. Her personality feels more genuine to me.”

One thing’s for sure: Sanders and Warren supporters alike told me they’re excited by two candidates railing against corporations and corruption, who are not taking PAC money or holding high-dollar fundraisers. The fact there is so much overlap in New Hampshire voters considering both Sanders and Warren speaks to something else: Both campaigns are trying to build a larger progressive movement.

“What they’re doing by tag-teaming, they’re enhancing their position, solidifying their solutions, and attracting more people to their base,” Arnesen told me. “That’s the goal.”

For the progressive ideology to win, either Sanders or Warren will eventually have to lose

Though the competition between Sanders and Warren is still friendly, the fact remains that they have many of the same policy ideas and are competing for the same voters. Eventually, those voters will have to make a choice; in order for this progressive agenda to win, one candidate will eventually have to make way for the other.

As the current Democratic frontrunner, Biden is holding on to his lead primarily with an argument about electability: that he is the best candidate to take on Trump and return the country to pre-Trump “normalcy.” Sanders and Warren, competing for second place, have a vision for a future that goes beyond that. Both of them have far wider-ranging progressive plans to shape the future of the United States. But with a general election with Trump looming in everyone’s minds, is there room for two progressives in this lane?

“They’re both very progressive, [but] the only issue that matters to everyone is electability,” said voter Nancy Hirschberg of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Biden’s electability message is resonating in New Hampshire, too, but not overwhelmingly — according to RealClearPolitics, he averaged a 1.7 percent lead over Sanders from July to early August. Some New Hampshire progressives think Warren and Sanders can focus on building a movement bigger than either of their respective campaigns.

“I think they can certainly work together, whether intentionally or by virtue of their positioning, to advance a progressive agenda,” said New Hampshire immigration attorney Ron Abramson, a Sanders delegate in 2016 who is now supporting Warren. “I don’t view them as much as competitive [rather than] collaborative or complementary.”

But voters will also eventually have to make a decision, and the race is on. Warren’s and Sanders’s campaigns are both hard at work in New Hampshire. Warren has established a formidable ground game in the state, texting, calling, and emailing voters after they show up to an event to connect them with organizers. Sanders’s state team has mounted a widespread door-knocking campaign to get face time with thousands of New Hampshire voters well before the primary. Voters are taking notice; nearly 35 percent of 500 likely New Hampshire voters polled by Suffolk University said they’d gotten outreach from the Sanders campaign, while nearly 32 said they’d been contacted by Warren’s campaign.

As Warren has become known for making herself accessible to voters at events, Sanders has noticeably changed his campaign strategy from the huge rallies of 2016 to small, intimate events where he has a long dialogue with voters. Contrary to recent reports that Sanders is still grumpy and inaccessible, the Vermont senator is clearly trying to shed that image as he mounts his second presidential campaign. Sanders often reminds voters that the very ideas driving the policy debates in 2020 — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college — were his ideas in 2016, and they were considered “radical.” During one of Sanders’s campaign stops, a voter asked the senator why he wasn’t “calling out” his Democratic opponents for “taking all your ideas.”


Climate Change Champion Inslee Drops Out Of 2020 Race

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is giving up on his 2020 presidential ambitions and will seek a third term as governor instead.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday evening, Inslee said it’s “clear” he’s “not going to be president” and announced his decision to withdrawal. Inslee’s entire platform was centered on combatting climate change and he released a series of policies that linked the issue to things like foreign policy and labor laws. He had just released a plan that focused heavily on regulating the agricultural industry on Wednesday before dropping out.

“It’s become clear I’m not going to be carrying the ball — I’m not going to be president, so I’m withdrawing tonight from the race,” Inslee told Maddow Wednesday. “But I have to tell you, look, I’ve been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I’ve never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball.”

According to CNN, Inslee intends to run for a third term as governor of Washington and is set to announce his reelection campaign on Thursday.


Sanders to Displace Homeless in Sacramento for Campaign Event

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) upcoming campaign event in Sacramento, California, is expected to displace some of the homeless population in the area.

Sanders is slated to hold a campaign event in Sacramento on Thursday in the Cesar Chavez Plaza, an area where the magnitude of the homelessness crisis in the city – and state– is visibly apparent. An op-ed published in the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday notes the effect Sanders’ stop will have on the homeless population in the area and suggests that it makes for a less-than-ideal situation from an optics standpoint.

The author, Marcos Bretón, details the dire situation in the plaza, which serves as a focal point to the greater homelessness crisis festering in the state, saying:

Directly across from City Hall, Chavez Plaza is the home office of homelessness in the urban core of the capital of California. It’s where California prosperity and desperation meet in the shadow of a civic government unable to address this civic contradiction.

Chavez Plaza is where you see the futility of our city’s efforts to get people off of our streets. It’s where you see what happens when residents object to homeless shelters in their neighborhoods.

Chavez Plaza is the price we pay for NIMBYism – people sleeping and panhandling in parks named after civil rights legends.

Chavez Plaza is where you see desperate people trying to stay cool in the summer or dry in the winter. It’s where you see people in emotional and psychological distress and, yes, where you see them use public spaces as toilets.

Chavez Plaza needs more than another politician espousing empty promises, Bretón argues, adding that Sanders’ politically grandiose speeches are not enough.

“It’s ironic that Sanders is speaking there on Thursday. Who is Bernie Sanders but a politician full of platitudes and slogans, with a scant legislative record for all this years in Congress?” he asks. “His heart seems in the right place. But what has he done besides give speeches?”

While he acknowledged that Sanders supported the National Housing Trust Fund, he argues that there are other steps that need to take place, as the homeless individuals in the plaza “need a ton of help before” reaching the point of securing a home.

Still, the Sanders campaign is expected to hold the event Thursday and will, evidently, displace some of the homeless individuals in the area. According to the report:

Sanders got a permit for a capacity of 4,000 people. They will fence off part of the park and clear the people nearest the fence. But part of the park won’t be fenced and that area will be for overflow.

That fence will go up the park on Thursday and city park rangers will clear the area. It will be interesting to see if any homeless people will be around once Sanders takes the stage Thursday.

It remains to be seen if Sanders will address the growing homelessness crisis in the state during his stump speech in Chavez Plaza on Thursday.


CNN Poll: Kamala Harris Drops 12 Percent After Second Debates

CNN released a poll on Tuesday that shows support for Democrat presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has dropped 12 points. In June Harris had 17 percent support but the poll reveals a steep decline among supporters after the second debate to just 5 percent.
“That’s similar to the level of support she had in the spring before a surge following her initial debate performance,” CNN reported on its poll. “The June CNN poll was conducted in the days immediately following the first round of Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debates among the presidential candidates.”

A graph included in the CNN report on its poll, conducted August 15 through 18 among a “random national sample” of 1,001 adults by phone, shows most leading candidates maintaining or increasing support but Harris’ support in falling dramatically.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for example, had 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively, in June and came in at the same percentage of support in this poll.

The poll also shows South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with the largest single-digit percentage at 5 percent — up for 4 percent in June.

Despite ongoing gaffes and revelations about his health, former vice president Joe Biden regained a large lead in the CNN poll coming in at 29 percent support, almost double that of second-place Sanders at 15 percent.

Biden had 22 percent support in CNN’s June poll.

But Biden’s support isn’t across the board, according to CNN:

Biden’s advantage in the poll is boosted by stronger support from self-identified Democrats (31%) than from independents (23%), older voters (34% among those age 45 and older) than younger ones (23% among those under age 45) and from moderate and conservative voters (34%) than liberals (22%).

Among liberals, in fact, the race is a near three-way tie: 23% choose Warren and 22% each back Biden and Sanders. No other candidate even hits 5% among this group.

The poll, which is one that the DNC deemed qualifying for its rule of 2 percent poll support in four polls, also puts Julian Castro on the third debate stage in Houston in September. 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who took on Harris in the second debates, now has two qualifying polls including the CNN poll but she needs two more to make it to the debate stage.

The full sample poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points and the subsample of 402 Democrats and Democrat-leaning, registered Independents is plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.


Democrats Count on Re-Energizing Youth Vote for 2020 Elections

The election prospects for Democrats in 2020 will turn on whether the party can keep fanning the fires that drove young voters to the ballot box last year.

A record jump in the turnout rate for young voters — those ages 18 to 29 — helped Democrats retake control of the House in the midterm elections. Several signs point to that voting trend continuing in 2020 with President Donald Trump on the ballot and the increasingly bitter political atmosphere driving up interest in the election among all voters.

“It is not crazy to think that youth turnout will be above 50% among people under 30 in 2020,” David Nickerson, a political science professor at Temple University. “If that ends up being right, then the Democrats are likely to gain a few votes.”

Although young voters typically cast ballots at rates well behind their elders, any increase could make a significant difference. And it’s not just the turnout — it’s where those voters turn out. In five states, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the winning margin in the 2016 presidential election was 1.5 percentage points or less.

“If youth turnout jumps most in safely red states (e.g., Alabama) and blue states (e.g., California), then it won’t affect the outcome of the election,” Nickerson said in an email. “But if young people in swing states are sufficiently excited and inspired to vote in higher numbers, then they could play a pivotal role in the outcome.”

The advantage of a bigger youth vote likely would accrue to Democrats. Polls show young voters are increasingly aligned with the party on issues they regard as important. A Harvard Institute of Politics Public Opinion poll of young Americans in April found that 48% of young adults believe the nation is on the wrong track and 68% disapprove of Trump. A majority in the poll voted Democratic in the 2016 election and ranked among their top concerns promoting human rights, curbing gun violence and fighting climate change.

Democratic Coalition

“On issue after issue — from climate change to gun violence — Trump’s agenda is repulsive to younger voters and motivating them to hold him accountable. Democrats know younger voters will be a critical part of the coalition that helps us win,” said Maddie McComb, the Democratic National Committee’s spokeswoman.

The DNC has launched the the multi-million dollar Organizing Corps 2020, a program to recruit young people to work with them during the 2020 campaign cycle. Students in the program will be trained and sent into swing states in an effort to expand the youth electorate.

The Republican National Committee has launched a similar program, the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative, designed to train activists to go out and register young voters and organize their communities.

The liberal bent of young voters also is seen in the Democratic nomination race. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who’ve framed their campaigns by progressive stands, each drew support from a quarter of Democratic voters 18-34, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month. By comparison, front-runner Joe Biden has support from 15% of Democrats in that age group.

Issue Alignment

Sanders supports the Green New Deal, which sets an ambitious target of shifting the nation by 2030 to 100% “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” — a high bar, given that fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas and coal) accounted for 80% of U.S. energy consumption in 2018. Warren also backs the Green New Deal and released five policy proposals on climate change that emphasize the economic aspects of moving away from fossil fuels.

Warren has signed on as a co-sponsor of Sanders’ Medicare for All plan to replace private insurance with a government-run, single-payer system. Like most of the rest of the Democratic candidates, both support universal background checks for firearms purchases and re-instituting the ban on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Still, getting young voters to the polls remains a challenge for any candidate. In the last presidential election, voters 18-29 were the only age group to increase turnout compared with 2012. But less than half of young voters cast ballots — 46% — compared with more than two-thirds of those over age 45, according to U.S. Census figures.

Beyond party efforts, outside groups are stepping in with their own campaigns to motivate young voters. Many are centered on single issues, such as gun control and climate change.

Independent Groups

One of the oldest of such independent groups, Rock the Vote, says it has registered 61,841 people to vote this year, a 60% increase from this time during the last presidential election. Although the organization doesn’t advocate for a specific cause, it has seen a bump in registrations from young people as a result of building their campaigns around single issues.

“At moments of crisis, we often see young people reacting to tragedy with action, such as organizing and registering their peers to vote. It demonstrates young people’s committed being the change they seek and not waiting for older Americans to lead,” said Jen Tolentino, the group’s vice president of innovation and impact.

Researchers agree mobilization and participation from the youngest cohort in 2020 is crucial for Democrats, but many doubt single issue campaigns alone will turn the tide for youth voters.

Donald Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University, said driving voters to the polls is more dependent on emphasizing the importance of voting and the election as a whole.

“It is true that one thing that does follow from these incidents is a surge in interest in organizations or attending rallies,” Green said. “But young people are more likely to vote if they feel the election is important.”


Trump 2020 can’t afford a recession

President Donald Trump’s main hope for reelection has been the economy. As I noted earlier this week, Trump’s approval on the economy has averaged 53% over CNN’s last three polls. His overall job approval rating in those same polls among voters has been just 44%.

But what happens if the economy loses some steam? Some indicators, such as the yield curve, suggest this could occur.

Trump’s already shaky reelection chances would likely drop significantly.

Right now, the main reason voters approve of Trump’s job performance is the economy. A CNN poll from late May found that 26% of those who approve of Trump’s job performance said it was mainly because of the economy. That was more than double the next most commonly given answer. Additionally, 8% said jobs/unemployment was the main reason for why they approved of Trump. Among those who disapproved, few said anything related to the economy was the main reason why they disapproved of Trump. For example, only 1% said the Trump tax cuts.

Now, many of those who approve of Trump currently would approve of him regardless of what he did. Still, he’d probably lose some of those who approve if the economy went south. He cannot afford for that to happen. At just 44% approval overall, Trump needs a few lucky breaks even if the economy stays steady. Further, a dip in the economy would probably lose Trump any shot he had at winning over that 9% of voters who approve of him on the economy but not overall.

Remember that when there were signs of an economic slowdown during the government shutdown earlier this year, Trump’s approval rating dropped to about 40% with all voters.

Trump’s reelection chances could hinge on the state of the economy. Take, for example, job growth.

Job growth is a simple measure and fairly predictive of an incumbent’s reelection hopes. I took a weighted yearly average (i.e. from October to October) for each of the final two years before the election and compared this measure to the president’s reelection margin in presidential elections dating back to the end of World War II. I say weighted because the growth the year before the election is weighted more heavily.

Applying this to Trump, we find that the average weighted yearly job growth over the last two years has been about 1.5%. This is the type of growth that is consistent with a close reelection margin. Two incumbents with similar job growth over their final two years (George W. Bush in 2004 at 1.1% and Barack Obama in 2012 at 1.6%) won by less than 4 points.

Of course, Trump’s current level of job growth is far from a guarantee of winning reelection. Gerald Ford had a nearby 1.9% yearly weighted average growth over his final two years, and he lost by 2 points. It makes sense that job growth isn’t a perfect predictor of reelection fortune. Beyond the basic fact that there are plenty of ways to measure the economy, there are issues voters consider besides the economy. For Ford, it was Watergate. For Trump, our May poll suggests it’s likely the issues surrounding his character. The state of the economy suggests a range of possible outcomes from moderate sized loss to moderate sized win.That range of possibilities for Trump becomes a lot more dire if the economy takes a turn for the south. Let’s say yearly job growth gets cut in half.

That would mean a weighted yearly job growth of less than 1.0%. The only two incumbents running for reelection to face that type of economy since the end of World War II were Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992. Both lost by more than 5 points.

In other words, even if voters dismissed concerns about his character, Trump would be an underdog if the economy slides.
For character concerns not to cause Trump trouble, he would probably need yearly job growth to double. That would lift Trump’s economy to fit the average of presidents who won reelection by 15 points or more (Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984).
Right now, however, Trump would probably be happy if the economy just stayed the course.


Beto O’Rourke Readies ‘Major Address to the Nation’ Amid Pressure to Drop Out

Floundering presidential candidate and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) will return to the campaign trail Thursday with a “major address to the nation” in El, Paso, Texas, his campaign announced.