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Westlake Legal Group > de Blasio, Bill

Presidential Power Must Be Curbed After Trump, 2020 Candidates Say

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidates broadly agree that President Trump has shaken the presidency loose from its constitutional limits and say that the White House needs major new legal curbs, foreshadowing a potential era of reform akin to the post-Watergate period if any of them wins next year’s election.

In responses to a New York Times survey about executive power, the Democrats — along with two Republicans mounting primary challenges to Mr. Trump — envisioned a rebuke of his term by enshrining into law previous norms of presidential self-restraint.

Many called for new laws that would require presidents to disclose their tax returns and to divest from significant assets; bar them from appointing close relatives to White House positions; and constrain their abilities to award security clearances and to fire special prosecutors investigating their administration, among other potential reforms.

The survey is the first and most detailed collection of the candidates’ views on a set of issues that they are rarely asked about, yet often prove crucial to the outcome of political fights: the scope and limits of a president’s power to act unilaterally or even in defiance of statutes.

Westlake Legal Group 00-execpower-promo-articleLarge Presidential Power Must Be Curbed After Trump, 2020 Candidates Say Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Williamson, Marianne Weld, William F Warren, Elizabeth War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Prisoners of War Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Obama, Barack O'Rourke, Beto Law and Legislation Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Democratic Party Delaney, John (1963- ) de Blasio, Bill Constitution (US) Castro, Julian Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Bullock, Steve Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Executive Power Survey

The Times sent a survey to the presidential candidates about their understanding of the scope and limits of the presidential authority they would wield if elected.

The survey — which elicited answers from 15 Democrats, including all in the top polling tier and eight of the 10 in Thursday’s debate — also focused on recurring constitutional disputes that have arisen under recent presidents of both parties on matters including secrecy and war.

“The American people should fully know how candidates will use the power of the presidency,” Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote, echoing other candidates who agreed that voters should know their views before deciding whom to entrust with the power of the White House.

Presidents have “a responsibility to make sure excess power is not used to start endless wars, attack the privacy of Americans, or undermine the democratic values of our country,” she added.

But though the candidates “seem committed to reforming the presidency,” they might have second thoughts from the vantage point of the Oval Office, said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and former senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration who reviewed their responses.

“The next Democratic president will happily accept new rules on tax releases, but will have a harder time accepting constraints on security clearances and emergency or war powers,” he said. “Institutional prerogative often defeats prior reformist pledges.”

Indeed, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed a more expansive view of presidential war powers after eight years in the Obama White House than he did in 2007 during an earlier run for president.



The 2020 candidates agreed on some issues, including that Mr. Bush was wrong to claim after the Sept. 11 attacks that he could override surveillance and anti-torture laws because he was the commander in chief.

But they diverged about others, like whether President Barack Obama’s invocation of the same power was legitimate. Mr. Obama used similar reasoning to disregard a requirement that he give Congress 30 days’ notice before transferring Guantánamo Bay detainees as part of the 2014 Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.

Senator Kamala Harris, for example, wrote that while a president can lawfully override or bypass statutes that are clearly unconstitutional, she thought the detainee transfer law — along with the surveillance and anti-torture laws — was a constitutional limit that presidents must obey.

“The executive branch is not above the law,” she wrote, adding, “As president, I would respect these laws.”

By contrast, Mr. Biden defended the decision by Mr. Obama — then his boss — to immediately carry out the exchange after the deal was struck instead of waiting 30 days. Obama administration officials argued that a delay would have endangered the captive soldier’s life.

“The transfer of detainees from Guantánamo was an exchange of prisoners in a conflict, and therefore a valid exercise of the commander-in-chief power,” Mr. Biden wrote.

He participated in an earlier iteration of the survey as a senator seeking the 2008 presidential nomination, and his new answers reflected the understanding of executive authority that he gained from watching close up as Mr. Obama wielded it.

In late 2007, for example, Mr. Biden offered a restrictive view of when presidents may unilaterally direct the military to attack other countries, writing: “The Constitution is clear: Except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force.”

But in the new survey, Mr. Biden called it “well established” that presidents may launch limited strikes “without prior congressional approval when those operations serve important U.S. interests.”

That legal rationale for ordering limited attacks without congressional approval echoed the Obama administration’s stance during the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011. But the bombing campaign violated a limit on executive war-making powers that both Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden had said they would respect in the 2007 candidate survey.

Importantly, however, Mr. Biden said both then and now that any bombing of Iranian nuclear sites — a prospect in which the scope of unilateral presidential war-making authority has repeatedly come up — would require prior authorization from Congress because it would carry too much risk of escalation into a major war.

Still, several of Mr. Biden’s rivals took a more constrained view, suggesting that a rationale of serving American “interests” is not enough to justify even limited strikes without Congress.

“In situations where the use of force is necessary, absent an imminent threat to our national security, I will take that case to Congress and the American people to seek authorization,” former Representative Beto O’Rourke wrote.

Most candidates left the door open to using presidential signing statements, when approving bills, to claim a right to bypass provisions they see as unconstitutionally infringing on executive powers. But the answers submitted by the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders — which were written in third person — pledged he would never use them.

“Signing statements circumvent the will of Congress and have no constitutional or legal legitimacy,” the response said. “As president, Bernie would not issue signing statements.”

The survey revealed broader disagreements about the wisdom of several other potential reforms raised by Mr. Trump’s record. Significant numbers of candidates stood on both sides of ideas like curtailing future presidents’ latitude to invoke emergency powers and to choose acting agency heads when temporarily filling vacancies.

But the candidates were largely united in rejecting the view of Mr. Trump’s legal team, including Attorney General William P. Barr, that obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents who abuse their official powers to interfere with investigations for corrupt reasons.

Many also expressed skepticism of the Justice Department’s view that sitting presidents are immune from indictment, which bound the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as he weighed Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation. Most said they would sign a law pausing the statute of limitations for offenses by presidents, ensuring that they can still be prosecuted after leaving office.

But they split over what else to do about it. Several said they would direct the department’s Office of Legal Counsel to rescind its opinion, while others sidestepped that question. Mayor Pete Buttigieg argued that it would interfere with Justice Department independence for a president to simply direct the office, commonly called O.L.C., to change its legal interpretation.

“Because the integrity of the Justice Department is critical to the rule of law, I do not think it would be appropriate for any president to dictate the legal conclusions that O.L.C. may issue or retract,” Mr. Buttigieg wrote.

After The Times began the survey, Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan group of former officials seeking to prevent a decline “into a more authoritarian form of government,” lobbied the candidates to participate. Justin Florence, a former Obama White House lawyer and the group’s co-founder, praised those who answered the questions.

“With democracy in retreat and autocratic politics on the rise here and around the world, this survey provides critical insights into how each candidate understands the limits on the immense powers they’re seeking,” Mr. Florence said.

Several prominent Democratic candidates have not answered the questions. They include Mayor Bill de Blasio; Julian Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary; former Representative John Delaney; and the businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang.

Opinion | Charlie Savage
Presidential Candidates, Silent on Presidential Power

Jan. 22, 2016

Westlake Legal Group 24savage-videoLarge Presidential Power Must Be Curbed After Trump, 2020 Candidates Say Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Williamson, Marianne Weld, William F Warren, Elizabeth War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Prisoners of War Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Obama, Barack O'Rourke, Beto Law and Legislation Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Democratic Party Delaney, John (1963- ) de Blasio, Bill Constitution (US) Castro, Julian Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Bullock, Steve Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand
In G.O.P. Field, Broad View of Presidential Power Prevails

Dec. 29, 2011

Westlake Legal Group executive-power-survey-2020 Presidential Power Must Be Curbed After Trump, 2020 Candidates Say Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Williamson, Marianne Weld, William F Warren, Elizabeth War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Prisoners of War Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Obama, Barack O'Rourke, Beto Law and Legislation Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Democratic Party Delaney, John (1963- ) de Blasio, Bill Constitution (US) Castro, Julian Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Bullock, Steve Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand
The Candidates on Executive Power

Dec. 29, 2011

Westlake Legal Group executive-power-survey-2020 Presidential Power Must Be Curbed After Trump, 2020 Candidates Say Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Williamson, Marianne Weld, William F Warren, Elizabeth War and Emergency Powers (US) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Prisoners of War Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Obama, Barack O'Rourke, Beto Law and Legislation Klobuchar, Amy Harris, Kamala D Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Democratic Party Delaney, John (1963- ) de Blasio, Bill Constitution (US) Castro, Julian Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Bullock, Steve Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Inslee Out. Hickenlooper Out. De Blasio? Town Hall May Be Last Gasp.

He’s entrenched toward the rear in fund-raising totals. He rejects the validity of the various polls showing him at zero percent.

And he also acknowledges that he will probably not qualify for the third Democratic presidential debate next month.

Yet Mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to “accept the premise” of questions about the wisdom of his continued candidacy, even as other candidates who shared his political standing, like Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and the former Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, dropped out of the crowded Democratic field this month.

Instead, the mayor persists in the belief that he has a story worth telling — and that his stewardship in New York City should be viewed as a way to cast light on how the nation can recover from a Trump White House.

On Sunday, Mr. de Blasio may get his last best chance to tell his story, when he appears on a one-hour town hall on CNN at 7 p.m. in New York; Ana Cabrera will serve as the moderator, and 100 likely primary voters from the region will make up the audience.

Which Democrats Are Leading the 2020 Presidential Race?

June 14, 2019

Westlake Legal Group democratic-polls-promo-1560481207024-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v6 Inslee Out. Hickenlooper Out. De Blasio? Town Hall May Be Last Gasp. Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Politics and Government New York City Democratic Party de Blasio, Bill CNN

Jim Crounse, a senior adviser to Mr. de Blasio’s campaign, called the town hall a “big opportunity” for the mayor, who has already hosted 65 town-hall style meetings during his six years as mayor of the country’s largest city.

“Unlike the debates, where quick responses were required, a town hall format will allow the mayor to tell his story, articulate his message and interact with people,” Mr. Crounse said.

But even if Democratic voters approve of Mr. de Blasio’s vision, there is evidence that they do not believe that he should be the candidate to execute it.

“Exposure is not his problem,” said Douglas Muzzio, a public affairs professor at Baruch College. “You can turn people off with exposure as well as turn them on.”

The mayor participated in the first two Democratic debates, and he has made regular appearances on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and on other nationally televised programs.

He has already tried to grab voter attention by making President Trump his foil. He recently spent 40 minutes speaking with one of the president’s strongest supporters in the media, Fox News host Sean Hannity, in a raucous televised interview.

In recent days, Mr. de Blasio has sought to capitalize on his police commissioner’s decision to fire the police officer whose chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man whose repeated “I can’t breathe” pleas helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement.

On CNN, the mayor called it a “never-again moment.” On MSNBC, he said the episode taught him that the Justice Department is not “dispensing justice anymore,” and that city police forces need to adopt de-escalation strategies. And at his news conference hours after the decision was announced, the mayor paraphrased Martin Luther King Jr., saying we should use the Garner death to try to “transform the suffering into progress.”

Still, Mr. de Blasio reported just over 6,600 donors on his last campaign finance filing and he remains at 1 percent or less in most polls, including a recent CNN poll. A poll in May from Quinnipiac University found that the mayor had the highest unfavorability rating among the Democratic candidates at 45 percent.

“I don’t know if he’s turning people off, but he’s not turning them on,” Professor Muzzio said.

And when poor weather forced the mayor to cancel a trip to a labor conference in Iowa on Wednesday, a technical glitch turned his video call into a made-for-social media moment: The pitch of his voice was altered into “Alvin and the Chipmunks” territory.

Fellow Democrats from New York say that the mayor must find some way to use the CNN town hall to give voters a reason to donate to his campaign, and boost his poll numbers ever so slightly.

“It’s going to be a test of whether or not he can say something that is so newsworthy that it can give him the same bump that a good debate would, since it doesn’t look like he’ll make the next debate stage,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a former presidential candidate and host of a show on MSNBC.

“I would never call one thing a make-or-break moment,” Mr. Sharpton added. “But I can’t see how, even after this, he has an easy path forward.”

If Mr. de Blasio was in need of a role model, he could refer to March 10, the date of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s CNN town hall. Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., was a relative unknown before his CNN appearance; afterward, he received hundreds of thousands of donors and a deluge of attention.

“It was the singular most game-changing moment on the campaign,” said Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Buttigieg campaign who formerly worked for Mr. de Blasio’s first mayoral campaign. “Overnight, it launched him from being an unknown quantity to being in the hunt with U.S. senators and a former vice president in the polls.”

Ms. Smith’s free advice: Prepare, but don’t overprepare. You don’t want too many answers that seem scripted. Be clear about what you are bringing to the table that the Democratic Party and the country need.

“The stage is yours for an hour. There are no bells and whistles, no other candidate to parry with,” Ms. Smith said. “There’s no one to hide behind.”

Even if Mr. de Blasio should falter, his candidacy may continue simply because he lacks the immediate political alternatives that some of his peers have. Mr. Hickenlooper announced that he is running for the Senate in Colorado. Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, who will appear in his own CNN town hall that will air just before Mr. de Blasio’s, is also doing poorly in the polls, and Democratic leaders have urged him to drop out and run for the Senate.

If Mr. de Blasio abandons the presidential trail, he will simply return to New York, where he will serve out the last 16 months of his mayoralty, before vacating the office because of term limits. At the moment, that prospect seems far from the mayor’s mind.

As long as he has a chance to speak with voters, “anything can happen because we are in the age of social media,” he said on Thursday, echoing comments from the previous week.

“I think things move now on social media that a day or two can make a huge amount of difference,” he said then.

“The only thing I’d say to you is,” he added, “as more candidates drop out, there’s more opportunity for everyone who remains.”

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Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired

The New York City police officer whose chokehold was partly blamed for Eric Garner’s death in police custody in 2014 was fired from the Police Department on Monday, ending a bitter, five-year legal battle that had cast a shadow over the nation’s largest police force and the city it protects.

The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, dismissed the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, just over two weeks after a police administrative judge found him guilty of violating a department ban on chokeholds.

“The unintended consequence of Mr. Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own,” Mr. O’Neill said. “Therefore I agree with the deputy commissioner of trial’s legal findings and recommendations. It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.”

The leader of the city’s largest police union immediately denounced the decision, saying Mr. O’Neill had bowed to “anti-police extremists” and that Mr. Pantaleo’s dismissal sent a message that the city did not stand behind its officers when they make arrests.

“We are urging all New York City police officers to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed ‘reckless’ just for doing their job,” the Police Benevolent Association president, Patrick J. Lynch, said in a statement. “We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety.”

Mr. Garner died on July 17, 2014, after Officer Pantaleo tackled him from behind, then, along with other officers, pressed him down on the pavement. Captured on video, the arrest and Mr. Garner’s last words — “I can’t breathe” — galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

The case had defined the Police Department’s relationship with the public under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned for office on a promise to reverse the aggressive policing of low-level crimes — known as the “broken windows” strategy — that his predecessor had championed. The mayor had come under intense criticism for not pushing to have Officer Pantaleo fired sooner.

Some elected officials and critics of the Police Department say those policies, which affected black and Latino neighborhoods disproportionately, are partly to blame for Mr. Garner’s death.

For many people across the country, Officer Pantaleo became a symbol of longstanding problems with how the police treat people, mostly black and Latino, suspected of low-level crimes. Mr. Garner died as he was being arrested on charges of selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island.

After Mr. Garner’s death, the Police Department scaled back the heavy enforcement of low-level crimes. But Officer Pantaleo’s continued employment on the police force still infuriated Mr. Garner’s family and their supporters. They lobbied for the officer to be fired and stripped of his pension, and put pressure on Mr. de Blasio to make it happen.

Under the City Charter and state law, however, the decision to fire Officer Pantaleo ultimately belonged to Commissioner O’Neill, not the mayor.

Speaking to reporters at Police Headquarters, Mr. O’Neill said he had tried to be fair and impartial and to make the decision without regard to political considerations. He noted that Mr. Pantaleo had been sent to arrest Mr. Garner as part of an effort to stop drug dealing and other crime around Tompkinsville Park on Staten Island and that Mr. Garner had resisted arrest.

Mr. O’Neill said had he been in Mr. Pantaleo’s place, he might have made the same mistakes, and that Mr. Garner set the tragedy in motion by resisting arrest. Still, the commissioner said, Mr. Pantaleo did not relax his grip on Mr. Garner’s neck after the men fell to the ground, and his recklessness triggered a fatal asthma attack.

The commissioner also acknowledged many rank-and-file officers would be angered by his decision, noting he had been a police officer for decades before becoming commissioner. “If I were still a cop, I would probably be mad at me,” he said.

Daniel Pantaleo, N.Y.P.D. Officer in Eric Garner’s Death, Should Be Fired, Judge Says

Aug 2, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_156087591_ada7ae1c-1c0a-4f3d-87f3-9e1079bbaea2-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks
Beyond the Chokehold: The Path to Eric Garner’s Death

Jun 13, 2015

Westlake Legal Group 14GARNER1web-videoLarge Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks

Besides Officer Pantaleo, Mr. Garner’s family has pointed out that there are at least 11 other officers who should be held accountable for their actions leading up to Mr. Garner’s death and the aftermath. Only one — Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, who was the first supervisor to arrive on the scene — faces discipline.

Officer Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, was expected to challenge the decision in court. Mr. London and the Police Benevolent Association have long accused Mr. de Blasio of sacrificing Officer Pantaleo to satisfy public anger that threatens the mayor’s political ambitions.

Officer Pantaleo had been suspended without pay since Aug. 2, when a department judge, Deputy Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado, found him guilty of reckless assault following an administrative trial at Police Headquarters.

Perhaps more than anything, Officer Pantaleo’s departure signaled the city’s pivot from depending on aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses to fight overall crime to relying on officers’ problem-solving skills and their ability to build mutual trust with residents.

Commissioner O’Neill designed the current crime-fighting strategy, called neighborhood policing, in his previous role as chief of department and has said he wants it to be his legacy.

In 2014, police supervisors on Staten Island targeted Mr. Garner for arrest in response to orders from headquarters to address neighborhood complaints about people illegally selling untaxed, loose cigarettes.

The directive was part of an the broken-windows policy championed by Commissioner O’Neill’s predecessor, William J. Bratton, which relied on cracking down on activities that police believed diminished the quality-of-life in order to prevent serious crime.

Judge Maldonado affirmed in her 46-page decision what many people, including federal prosecutors, believe the video plainly showed: Officer Pantaleo’s initial grip on Mr. Garner slipped as the two men grappled and became a chokehold, which the department banned two decades ago.

Judge Maldonado said in her report that the video of the July 17, 2014, encounter and an autopsy that found fresh hemorrhaging in Mr. Garner’s neck muscles provided “overwhelming” evidence that Officer Pantaleo had used a chokehold in spite of being trained not to.

Officer Pantaleo’s “use of a chokehold,” she wrote, “fell so far short of objective reasonableness that this tribunal found it to be reckless — a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer.”

The judge also found Officer Pantaleo was untruthful when he later denied to Internal Affairs investigators that he had used a chokehold, saying his explanation was “implausible and self-serving.”

Read the Judge’s Opinion

Rosemarie Maldonado, a deputy commissioner for the New York Police Department, recommended after a departmental trial that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired for the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Daniel Pantaleo, Officer Who Held Eric Garner in Chokehold, Is Fired Staten Island (NYC) Police Department (NYC) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Police Benevolent Assn Pantaleo, Daniel O'Neill, James P New York City Garner, Eric de Blasio, Bill Blacks   46 pages, 4.15 MB

But, like the local grand jury and federal prosecutors before her, she did not find evidence that the chokehold was intentional.

The city’s largest police union criticized the decision as “pure political insanity.” Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, said that if O’Neill adopted the judge’s recommendation, he “will lose his Police Department.”

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18 Candidates. 72 Hours. A Hectic Weekend at the Iowa State Fair.

Westlake Legal Group booker_fair-videoSixteenByNine1050-v2 18 Candidates. 72 Hours. A Hectic Weekend at the Iowa State Fair. Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Williamson, Marianne Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Tom State and County Fairs Sestak, Joseph Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Primaries and Caucuses Klobuchar, Amy Iowa Inslee, Jay Hickenlooper, John W Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Delaney, John R de Blasio, Bill Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A Bennet, Michael Farrand

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Democrats’ 2020 Problem: How to Be Tougher on Trade Than Trump

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s escalating economic war with China highlights a challenge for Democrats hoping to unseat him in 2020: They’ll have a hard time being tougher on trade than he is.

For years, Democrats in Congress have been warning that China is an economic aggressor bent on undermining American industry. They have denounced the North American Free Trade Agreement for outsourcing jobs and criticized China for manipulating its currency to make Chinese products cheaper. They have vowed to use federal procurement, tariffs and other tools to help American workers.

Mr. Trump has stolen that playbook and gone further. On Monday, his administration formally designated China a currency manipulator, a step some Democrats have demanded for years. Last week, the president moved forward with plans to tax nearly every toy, laptop and sneaker that China sends to the United States. Mr. Trump has also renegotiated NAFTA, imposed tariffs on foreign metals and strengthened “buy American” rules so that federal projects use more materials from the United States.

So far, many of these efforts have not produced the kind of change Mr. Trump promised. His revised NAFTA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is languishing in Congress, and his sweeping tariffs have prompted China and Europe to retaliate against American products, particularly farm goods. The president’s trade war with China has begun driving up costs for consumers and businesses.

But Mr. Trump’s trade assault has put Democrats in an awkward spot. They are trying to figure out how to differentiate themselves from Mr. Trump — without ceding their position as the party that will do the most to defend workers against the downsides of globalization.

So far, they are divided between two very different approaches. On one side are Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates who hew more closely to Mr. Trump’s isolationist approach, arguing that trade pacts have sold out workers in favor of corporations. On the other are those advocating the type of engagement undertaken by previous Democratic administrations, including those of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, to try to gain more influence over other countries through negotiation and trade.

The party is split along familiar lines, with progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont calling for a more radical transformation of trade policy, and moderates like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. espousing a more traditional approach.

That division is exposing a vulnerability for a party that has historically embraced a tougher stance on free trade than Republicans but has seen that position erode with the ascension of moderate Democrats like Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama.

Progressives who had railed against trade pacts for years felt shunted aside in the Clinton administration, as pro-trade Democrats brought China into the World Trade Organization and finished NAFTA, a trade deal begun by President George Bush. They felt similarly ignored by the Obama administration, which pushed ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multicountry trade pact, despite complaints that the deal was a boon to drug companies, would allow foreign automakers to flood the American market and overlooked labor violations in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.

Then came Mr. Trump, whose assaults on China and the North American Free Trade Agreement during the 2016 campaign mimicked what many Democrats had been saying. His promises to put “America first” won over some of the union rank and file, if not their leaders.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821320_57de6d9f-8ae5-4d28-91e2-f08f7e353acb-articleLarge Democrats’ 2020 Problem: How to Be Tougher on Trade Than Trump Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy International Trade and World Market Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) de Blasio, Bill Brown, Sherrod Biden, Joseph R Jr

The Democrats are split between more moderate voices, like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who wants to embrace free trade, and more isolationist candidates who say trade deals hurt American workers and benefit corporations.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“At one time, the Democrats were much more aggressive on trade than the Republicans,” said Daniel DiMicco, President Trump’s trade adviser during the 2016 campaign, who leads the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a trade group. “They’ve been missing for decades on this, just as many of the Republicans had.”

For now, many of the Democratic candidates are characterizing Mr. Trump’s trade policy as haphazard and inept. But some have also praised him for pursuing policies they have backed for years.

“I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China,” Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio said last month in the second Democratic debate in Detroit. “China has been abusing the economic system for a long time. They steal intellectual property. They subsidize goods coming into this country. They’ve displaced steel workers, autoworkers, across the board, eroded our manufacturing.”

“So I think we need some targeted response against China,” Mr. Ryan added. “But you know how you beat China? You outcompete them.”

Mr. Ryan and other candidates spent much of the recent debate denouncing Mr. Trump’s trade war as a conflict without winners. But they offered few concrete ideas for how to better position the United States against China’s growing economic ambitions. And while the candidates were united in saying Mr. Trump’s tariffs were not the solution, only Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii would commit to rolling them back once in office.

Instead, Democrats proposed working with allies to try to restrain China, or investing in job training programs to improve America’s competitiveness as a manufacturing base. And they clashed over whether their approach should result in more trade agreements, like Mr. Biden suggests, or fewer, like Ms. Warren.

The stakes are particularly high for Mr. Biden, who has a record of supporting free-trade deals like NAFTA, which he voted for while in Congress, and the TPP, which was ushered in while he was vice president. Although Mr. Biden portrays himself as the candidate most in touch with — and able to win — blue-collar and union workers, that electorate has become increasingly disillusioned with free trade and its ability to deliver promised gains.

Mr. Biden has called for rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was aimed, in part, at pressuring China to overhaul its economy and strengthening the United States’ ability to compete against it in Asia. That deal proved deeply unpopular as the 2016 election approached — including with the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton — and Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of it in his first week in office.

Mr. Biden tried to head off criticism in the most recent debate, saying that he “would not rejoin the TPP as it was initially put forward” but would “insist that we renegotiate.”

“Either China is going to write the rules of the road for the 21st century on trade, or we are,” Mr. Biden said. “We have to join with the 40 percent of the world that we had with us.”

Others, like Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, continue to criticize trade pacts like the TPP as drafted by and for multinational corporations.

Progressive Democratic candidates including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren argue that free trade agreements have hurt American workers. Ms. Warren wants the United States to do deals only with countries that adhere to strict environmental and labor standards.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Trade deals “have become a way for giant multinationals to change the regulatory environment so they can suck more profits out for themselves and to leave the American people behind,” Ms. Warren said in the debate.

In Ms. Warren’s view, the United States should act as an agent of global change by only entering into trade deals with countries that have strong labor, environmental and other protections.

The standards in her trade agenda, released in July, are so high that they would prohibit the United States from entering new trade agreements with countries including South Korea, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Mexico — and, currently, the United States itself.

“Unlike the insiders, I don’t think ‘free trade’ deals that benefit big multinational corporations and international capital at the expense of American workers are good simply because they open up markets,” Ms. Warren said.

Mr. Sanders’s trade proposals, though less detailed, include ending federal contracts for companies that send jobs overseas, scrapping Mr. Trump’s rewrite of NAFTA, and labeling China a currency manipulator. The plan focuses on fulfilling Mr. Trump’s promise of renegotiating existing trade deals to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, rather than writing new agreements.

Some candidates also see Mr. Trump’s rewrite of NAFTA as an opportunity to revive voter anger toward a trade deal that many within the party blame for decimating American manufacturing, particularly the auto industry.

“President Trump is trying to sell NAFTA 2.0,” Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, said in the debate as he tried to attack Mr. Biden, who voted in favor of the original deal while in Congress. “It’s just as dangerous as the old NAFTA. It’s going to take away American jobs like the old NAFTA, like it did to Michigan. And we cannot have Democrats be party to a new NAFTA.”

Mr. Trump’s renegotiated NAFTA is largely an update of the 25-year-old pact, and it adds some provisions that Democrats have long favored, like higher requirements for using American materials to make cars and the rollback of a special system of arbitration for corporations.

But Democrats say its provisions on labor rights and the environment are too weak. And they have particularly criticized a provision that would lock in intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical makers, seeing this as an issue where they can drive a wedge between the president and his populist base.

“Anyone who thinks that these trade deals are mostly about tariffs just doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Ms. Warren said in the debate. “Look at the new NAFTA 2.0. What’s the central feature? It’s to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Canadians, Americans and Mexicans more money and make more profits.”

Some Democrats argue that Mr. Trump’s trade policy will not be difficult to counter, now that the pain of the trade war is being felt.

“Because he opposed NAFTA and trade agreements like I did, I think a lot of voters found that attractive, because these trade agreements have sold out American workers,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is not running for president. “But I think people’s patience is running thin, because his trade policy has really brought us nothing except a more difficult situation for a lot of people.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough

One month after a wobbly debate performance that reinforced the perceived weaknesses of the ostensible front-runner — Is he too old? Too nostalgically moderate? Too politically brittle to defend himself when challenged? — former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. settled behind his center-stage lectern on Wednesday night and supplied some answers: He is still old. He is still nostalgic. And he is still the front-runner, until someone can prove otherwise.

Far from perfect, and rarely exactly steady, Mr. Biden nonetheless achieved at least some of the goals that seemed to elude him last time.

He had promised before the debate that this time he would not be so “polite.” About 30 minutes in, after listening to liberal rivals lash his health care vision as insufficiently ambitious and dismiss concerns about cost as a Republican talking point, Mr. Biden widened his eyes a bit. He waved a hand, slicing the air. He had just the word.

“This idea is a bunch of malarkey,” he said of the criticisms, leaning on a trademark Bidenism. He accused his peers of underselling the trillions of dollars that a “Medicare for all”-style plan might cost, turning toward two more progressive rivals — Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — to level the kind of zealous defense of center-leftism that has often escaped him in this campaign: “I don’t know what math you do in New York,” Mr. Biden said. “I don’t know what math you do in California. But I tell ya, that’s a lot of money.”

Throughout the evening, he plowed through a series of forceful defenses of his service alongside former President Barack Obama, frequently eager to wrap himself in Mr. Obama’s legacy on issues from health care to climate and never missing a chance to remind audiences of his association with sunnier Democratic times.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

Certainly, he did acknowledge some differences: He said he would renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade agreement for which he advocated as vice president.

Even while his record was under attack, Mr. Biden, 76, played the happy statesman, or tried to, occasionally slipping as he addressed far younger contenders. “Go easy on me, kid,” Mr. Biden said to Ms. Harris, a United States senator and former attorney general of California who is 54 years old, as they took the stage.

In an exchange with Julián Castro, the former federal housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, Mr. Biden referred to him as “Julián” and then thought better of it — “excuse me, the secretary.”

Discussing criminal justice reform with Senator Cory Booker, who has been sharply critical of Mr. Biden’s record on that matter, he jokingly skipped ahead, calling him the president and stopping himself as he lightheartedly grabbed Mr. Booker’s arm — “excuse me, the future president.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 31debate-moment2-articleLarge Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Presidential Election of 2020 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) Medicare Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill criminal justice Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Mr. Biden asked Senator Kamala Harris to “go easy” on him before the debate began.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

And in an opening statement that seemed to reinforce the introductory theme of his campaign — taking relentless aim at President Trump — Mr. Biden nodded to the diversity of fellow Democrats onstage, appearing sensitive to the balance of running against them as a white male septuagenarian.

“We are strong and great because of this diversity, Mr. President, not in spite of it,” he said, pushing back against Mr. Trump’s latest grievance-powered rhetoric. “So Mr. President, let’s get something straight. We love it. We are not leaving it. We are here to stay, and we’re certainly not going to leave it to you.”

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

Mr. Biden’s standing atop the field is far from assured, and some rival campaigns still consider him a paper-tiger favorite, doomed to crumble eventually under the weight of his lengthy record and indiscipline on the stump.

He has still struggled to communicate a detailed affirmative blueprint of what his presidency might look like and has yet to face Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has fashioned herself as the candidate with a policy plan for every occasion, on a debate stage.

And his first debate performance was so rocky, and so alarmed even close allies and advisers, that he did not have a high bar to clear Wednesday night.

But the forum provided a chance to articulate, at least in broad strokes, a compelling argument for the kind of deliberately paced change he is espousing, one night after Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders outlined their shared promise of far more extensive social and economic upheaval. It was also an opportunity to move beyond his disquieting showing five weeks ago, when an evening of wandering and defensive answers seemed to threaten a bedrock claim of Mr. Biden’s candidacy: that no other Democrat has the presence and moxie to stare down Mr. Trump.

That night in Miami, it was Ms. Harris who initiated the conflict, drawing on her personal experience with busing as a young black girl in California to castigate the former vice president for his warm remembrances of working with segregationist senators. Mr. Biden appeared flat-footed, defiant but sputtering, at one point stopping himself abruptly with an unfortunate phrase: “Anyway, my time is up.”

Entering Wednesday, Mr. Biden seemed determined to abandon such deference. As even admirers acknowledge that he can no longer float above the fray — with the fray savaging his long and often less-than-liberal record at every opportunity — Mr. Biden has in recent weeks demonstrated an increased willingness to engage, responding in kind to Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker, who has called Mr. Biden “an architect of mass incarceration.”

[Read our full recap of Night 2 of the Democratic debates.]

Some of Mr. Biden’s allies had described the first debate as a wake-up call for him — a reminder that, regardless of his previous relationships with these Democratic candidates, he could no longer expect the decorous treatment he enjoyed as vice president. His supporters urged him to focus on the future rather than rehashing the more controversial elements of his past.

“To the extent he spends his time getting wrapped up in relitigating statements or comments or votes from 30 or 40 years ago, I think we lose, all of us, collectively,” said Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat and close ally of Mr. Biden’s. “What is constructive is when our candidates put their best foot forward on the debate stage, and show how they would be the best answer to the question that Middle America is asking: If we give you back the keys, Democrats, where will you take us?”

Video

Westlake Legal Group 31debate-ledeall-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Presidential Election of 2020 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) Medicare Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill criminal justice Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris sparred while fending off attacks from fellow candidates on health care and criminal justice reform.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

At times on Wednesday, Mr. Biden appeared particularly keen to embrace the “middle” part. He made clear that he was familiar with his opponents’ records on sensitive matters like criminal justice and policing, issuing criticisms of those records that could have come from another candidate further to the left. But on immigration, Mr. Biden proudly adopted a more centrist mantle, at a time when many Democratic strategists fear some in the presidential field are veering too far with calls to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings. “The fact of the matter is, you should be able to, if you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s a crime.”

When pressed on the number of deportations that took place while Mr. Obama was in the White House — amid the shouts of some protesters — Mr. Biden staunchly defended the administration’s broader approach. But as Mr. de Blasio needled Mr. Biden over whether he had personally spoken up, Mr. Biden showed a flash of exasperation.

“I was vice president,” he said. “I am not the president. I keep my recommendation in private. Unlike you, I expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That is not what I do. What I do say to you is, he moved to fundamentally change the system.”

While Mr. Biden was crisper and more energetic on Wednesday than he was in the first debate, his verbal tics and signature self-interruptions were hardly eradicated. He still cut himself off, at times with a well-worn trail-off: “Anyway …”

Mr. Biden’s advisers said ahead of the debate that they anticipated that he would be the main target of the other candidates onstage, and candidates from Mr. de Blasio to Ms. Harris to Mr. Booker aimed to deliver. But throughout the debate, Ms. Harris was also the subject of repeated criticism across the stage, from Senator Michael Bennet on health care to Representative Tulsi Gabbard on criminal justice.

In one early exchange on health care, Mr. Biden signaled quickly that he would gladly join the effort. “You can’t beat President Trump with double-talk,” he said, accusing Ms. Harris of vacillating and equivocating in her health care plans. Ms. Harris landed some of her own zingers — “They’re probably confused because they’ve not read it,” she said of the Biden campaign’s critique of her proposal — but often found herself on the defensive, occasionally demoting the former vice president to “Senator Biden” as she collected herself for a response.

Ms. Harris and Mr. Booker are particularly eager to chip away at Mr. Biden’s expansive backing among black voters, who still recall him fondly from his eight years as Mr. Obama’s sidekick.

Yet one lesson of Mr. Biden’s first debate is how durable much of his support seems to be so far. While Mr. Biden initially saw his standing fall a bit in polls, with Ms. Harris especially rising, he appears to have reestablished a comfortable lead in recent surveys.

A Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday showed Mr. Biden well ahead of his competitors: He was the choice of 34 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning voters, the survey found, while Ms. Harris came in at 12 percent. Among black voters the numbers were starker: Mr. Biden had the support of 53 percent of black Democratic voters; Ms. Harris claimed only 7 percent.

Perhaps channeling some confidence from those poll numbers, Mr. Biden vigorously defended his own record throughout the debate, appearing more comfortable than he had in June.

Not every flourish worked. In his closing statement, Mr. Biden seemed to show his age a little while trying to promote a way to join his campaign. “Go to Joe 30330,” he said, apparently conflating a website with a text message destination. The result, instead, was malarkey.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough

One month after a wobbly debate performance that reinforced the perceived weaknesses of the ostensible front-runner — Is he too old? Too nostalgically moderate? Too politically brittle to defend himself when challenged? — former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. settled behind his center-stage lectern on Wednesday night and supplied some answers: He is still old. He is still nostalgic. And he is still the front-runner, until someone can prove otherwise.

Far from perfect, and rarely exactly steady, Mr. Biden nonetheless achieved at least some of the goals that seemed to elude him last time.

He had promised before the debate that this time he would not be so “polite.” About 30 minutes in, after listening to liberal rivals lash his health care vision as insufficiently ambitious and dismiss concerns about cost as a Republican talking point, Mr. Biden widened his eyes a bit. He waved a hand, slicing the air. He had just the word.

“This idea is a bunch of malarkey,” he said of the criticisms, leaning on a trademark Bidenism. He accused his peers of underselling the trillions of dollars that a “Medicare for all”-style plan might cost, turning toward two more progressive rivals — Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — to level the kind of zealous defense of center-leftism that has often escaped him in this campaign: “I don’t know what math you do in New York,” Mr. Biden said. “I don’t know what math you do in California. But I tell ya, that’s a lot of money.”

Throughout the evening, he plowed through a series of forceful defenses of his service alongside former President Barack Obama, frequently eager to wrap himself in Mr. Obama’s legacy on issues from health care to climate and never missing a chance to remind audiences of his association with sunnier Democratic times.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

Certainly, he did acknowledge some differences: He said he would renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade agreement for which he advocated as vice president.

Even while his record was under attack, Mr. Biden, 76, played the happy statesman, or tried to, occasionally slipping as he addressed far younger contenders. “Go easy on me, kid,” Mr. Biden said to Ms. Harris, a United States senator and former attorney general of California who is 54 years old, as they took the stage.

In an exchange with Julián Castro, the former federal housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, Mr. Biden referred to him as “Julián” and then thought better of it — “excuse me, the secretary.”

Discussing criminal justice reform with Senator Cory Booker, who has been sharply critical of Mr. Biden’s record on that matter, he jokingly skipped ahead, calling him the president and stopping himself as he lightheartedly grabbed Mr. Booker’s arm — “excuse me, the future president.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 31debate-moment2-articleLarge Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Presidential Election of 2020 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) Medicare Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill criminal justice Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Mr. Biden asked Senator Kamala Harris to “go easy” on him before the debate began.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

And in an opening statement that seemed to reinforce the introductory theme of his campaign — taking relentless aim at President Trump — Mr. Biden nodded to the diversity of fellow Democrats onstage, appearing sensitive to the balance of running against them as a white male septuagenarian.

“We are strong and great because of this diversity, Mr. President, not in spite of it,” he said, pushing back against Mr. Trump’s latest grievance-powered rhetoric. “So Mr. President, let’s get something straight. We love it. We are not leaving it. We are here to stay, and we’re certainly not going to leave it to you.”

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

Mr. Biden’s standing atop the field is far from assured, and some rival campaigns still consider him a paper-tiger favorite, doomed to crumble eventually under the weight of his lengthy record and indiscipline on the stump.

He has still struggled to communicate a detailed affirmative blueprint of what his presidency might look like and has yet to face Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has fashioned herself as the candidate with a policy plan for every occasion, on a debate stage.

And his first debate performance was so rocky, and so alarmed even close allies and advisers, that he did not have a high bar to clear Wednesday night.

But the forum provided a chance to articulate, at least in broad strokes, a compelling argument for the kind of deliberately paced change he is espousing, one night after Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders outlined their shared promise of far more extensive social and economic upheaval. It was also an opportunity to move beyond his disquieting showing five weeks ago, when an evening of wandering and defensive answers seemed to threaten a bedrock claim of Mr. Biden’s candidacy: that no other Democrat has the presence and moxie to stare down Mr. Trump.

That night in Miami, it was Ms. Harris who initiated the conflict, drawing on her personal experience with busing as a young black girl in California to castigate the former vice president for his warm remembrances of working with segregationist senators. Mr. Biden appeared flat-footed, defiant but sputtering, at one point stopping himself abruptly with an unfortunate phrase: “Anyway, my time is up.”

Entering Wednesday, Mr. Biden seemed determined to abandon such deference. As even admirers acknowledge that he can no longer float above the fray — with the fray savaging his long and often less-than-liberal record at every opportunity — Mr. Biden has in recent weeks demonstrated an increased willingness to engage, responding in kind to Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker, who has called Mr. Biden “an architect of mass incarceration.”

[Read our full recap of Night 2 of the Democratic debates.]

Some of Mr. Biden’s allies had described the first debate as a wake-up call for him — a reminder that, regardless of his previous relationships with these Democratic candidates, he could no longer expect the decorous treatment he enjoyed as vice president. His supporters urged him to focus on the future rather than rehashing the more controversial elements of his past.

“To the extent he spends his time getting wrapped up in relitigating statements or comments or votes from 30 or 40 years ago, I think we lose, all of us, collectively,” said Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat and close ally of Mr. Biden’s. “What is constructive is when our candidates put their best foot forward on the debate stage, and show how they would be the best answer to the question that Middle America is asking: If we give you back the keys, Democrats, where will you take us?”

Video

Westlake Legal Group 31debate-ledeall-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Joe Biden Did Fine, and That Might Have Been Enough United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Presidential Election of 2020 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) Medicare Health Insurance and Managed Care Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill criminal justice Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris sparred while fending off attacks from fellow candidates on health care and criminal justice reform.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

At times on Wednesday, Mr. Biden appeared particularly keen to embrace the “middle” part. He made clear that he was familiar with his opponents’ records on sensitive matters like criminal justice and policing, issuing criticisms of those records that could have come from another candidate further to the left. But on immigration, Mr. Biden proudly adopted a more centrist mantle, at a time when many Democratic strategists fear some in the presidential field are veering too far with calls to decriminalize unauthorized border crossings. “The fact of the matter is, you should be able to, if you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s a crime.”

When pressed on the number of deportations that took place while Mr. Obama was in the White House — amid the shouts of some protesters — Mr. Biden staunchly defended the administration’s broader approach. But as Mr. de Blasio needled Mr. Biden over whether he had personally spoken up, Mr. Biden showed a flash of exasperation.

“I was vice president,” he said. “I am not the president. I keep my recommendation in private. Unlike you, I expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That is not what I do. What I do say to you is, he moved to fundamentally change the system.”

While Mr. Biden was crisper and more energetic on Wednesday than he was in the first debate, his verbal tics and signature self-interruptions were hardly eradicated. He still cut himself off, at times with a well-worn trail-off: “Anyway …”

Mr. Biden’s advisers said ahead of the debate that they anticipated that he would be the main target of the other candidates onstage, and candidates from Mr. de Blasio to Ms. Harris to Mr. Booker aimed to deliver. But throughout the debate, Ms. Harris was also the subject of repeated criticism across the stage, from Senator Michael Bennet on health care to Representative Tulsi Gabbard on criminal justice.

In one early exchange on health care, Mr. Biden signaled quickly that he would gladly join the effort. “You can’t beat President Trump with double-talk,” he said, accusing Ms. Harris of vacillating and equivocating in her health care plans. Ms. Harris landed some of her own zingers — “They’re probably confused because they’ve not read it,” she said of the Biden campaign’s critique of her proposal — but often found herself on the defensive, occasionally demoting the former vice president to “Senator Biden” as she collected herself for a response.

Ms. Harris and Mr. Booker are particularly eager to chip away at Mr. Biden’s expansive backing among black voters, who still recall him fondly from his eight years as Mr. Obama’s sidekick.

Yet one lesson of Mr. Biden’s first debate is how durable much of his support seems to be so far. While Mr. Biden initially saw his standing fall a bit in polls, with Ms. Harris especially rising, he appears to have reestablished a comfortable lead in recent surveys.

A Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday showed Mr. Biden well ahead of his competitors: He was the choice of 34 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning voters, the survey found, while Ms. Harris came in at 12 percent. Among black voters the numbers were starker: Mr. Biden had the support of 53 percent of black Democratic voters; Ms. Harris claimed only 7 percent.

Perhaps channeling some confidence from those poll numbers, Mr. Biden vigorously defended his own record throughout the debate, appearing more comfortable than he had in June.

Not every flourish worked. In his closing statement, Mr. Biden seemed to show his age a little while trying to promote a way to join his campaign. “Go to Joe 30330,” he said, apparently conflating a website with a text message destination. The result, instead, was malarkey.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2

  • You can watch it on CNN, CNN en Español and CNN International. It will also be available on streaming services. The debate is taking place in Detroit.

  • Who won last night’s debate? Want just the highlights?

  • The 10 Democratic candidates will have 60-second opening statements followed by 60 seconds to answer questions from the CNN moderators, Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper. Each candidate will also have a 60-second closing statement.

  • The New York Times will have extensive coverage, including a live analysis throughout the debate by Maggie Haberman, Astead W. Herndon, Lisa Lerer, Sydney Ember and Reid J. Epstein.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

Night 2: July 31

Westlake Legal Group bennet What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Michael Bennet

Westlake Legal Group gillibrand What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Kirsten Gillibrand

Westlake Legal Group castro What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Julián Castro

Westlake Legal Group booker What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Cory Booker

Westlake Legal Group biden What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Westlake Legal Group harris What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Kamala Harris

Westlake Legal Group yang What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Andrew Yang

Westlake Legal Group gabbard What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Tulsi Gabbard

Westlake Legal Group inslee What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Jay Inslee

Westlake Legal Group deblasio What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Bill de Blasio

Candidates will appear in this order on the stage, from left to right.

The most dramatic moment of the first pair of presidential debates came as Senator Kamala Harris of California criticized Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s record on race and busing, leaving the former vice president and early front-runner struggling to respond forcefully.

Since then, however, Mr. Biden has been much more willing to aggressively defend his record and to draw contrasts with his opponents. He has clashed directly with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey on the issue of policing, and with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the subject of health care.

Mr. Biden supports creating a so-called public option and building on the Affordable Care Act, while Mr. Sanders and others including Ms. Harris want a more sweeping proposal that would provide Medicare for all Americans, though in a new plan unveiled this week Ms. Harris indicated that she still sees a role for private insurers, in contrast to Mr. Sanders. Mr. Biden’s campaign was quick with criticism of her plan, and the former vice president has made some oblique swipes at Ms. Harris’s health care position as well. Will he sharpen that argument?

Mr. Biden’s allies say he was personally hurt by the ferocity of Ms. Harris’s criticism in their last debate, given her relationship as California attorney general with Mr. Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, then the attorney general of Delaware. Some of his allies say privately that the moment was a wake-up call for him and expect him to be much more assertive on Wednesday.

“I’m not going to be as polite this time,” he said last week at a fund-raiser.

Their dynamic will be among the most closely-watched of the second debate.

[The candidates on Tuesday night sparred over which health care plan was best for Americans.]

The grim reality for half the contenders onstage is that this debate is less about positioning themselves for the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, and more about boosting their current standing in order to continue their campaigns at all.

Five candidates on Wednesday — Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — face the acute risk of missing the party’s polling and donor thresholds to qualify for the September debate. And falling off the debate stage is widely viewed as a potential death knell to a candidacy.

So those on the wings of the stage need to break out, and quickly. That could lead to more rhetorical combat. Mr. de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, was an aggressor with former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas in June but stepped on his own momentum by using a famous Che Guevara quote while still in South Florida. He later apologized.

Still, Mr. de Blasio showed in the last debate that he can be energetic and fluent onstage. Can he translate those skills into a moment that catapults him out of the bottom tier of candidates?

[Bernie Sanders ‘wrote the damn bill.’ Everyone else is just fighting about it.]

Mr. Booker has an extensive campaign organization in the early-voting primary states and has been a known quantity to Democratic activists for years.

But so far, he has struggled to stand out in a crowded field, and his early campaign themes of love and unity have appeared to fall flat with a Democratic base that is often outraged in the Trump era. He has hovered between 1 percent and 3 percent in recent polls.

More recently, Mr. Booker has sounded more combative notes, appearing particularly eager to draw contrasts with Mr. Biden. The two men sparred last week over the issue of criminal justice, with Mr. Booker calling Mr. Biden an “architect of mass incarceration,” and Mr. Biden ripping into the record of the Newark Police Department when Mr. Booker was mayor.

Mr. Booker has gone after Mr. Biden before, only to pull back soon after. If Mr. Booker moves to attack his rivals on Wednesday, when he will be onstage with Mr. Biden, can he follow through forcefully?

And even if he lands a blow — something Ms. Harris did successfully in the first debate, which boosted her campaign — will that be enough to meaningfully stand out?

[Read more about how Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris and Mr. Booker will try to appeal to black voters.]

Video

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1155155958-videoSixteenByNine3000 What to Watch For in Democratic Debate Night 2 Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

During his decades in public office, Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. developed a unique set of phrases, dubbed “Bidenisms” by his close observers. Here’s what to watch for in tonight’s debate.

Last week, Ms. Gillibrand said that at least one of her Democratic rivals did not support women working outside the home. It was the most aggressive rhetoric yet from a candidate who has tried to position herself as the candidate for women in 2020, after Democratic women scored some of the biggest victories of the 2018 midterms.

But though Ms. Gillibrand didn’t say who exactly she was talking about, a story published the next morning in HuffPost gave a possible hint of her intention. It outlined Mr. Biden’s 1981 opposition to expanding a child tax credit, the kind of policy position she might use to justify such a broadside. Then on Sunday, Axios reported that an online account possibly linked to Ms. Gillibrand was found to be researching related Biden articles from that period.

Ms. Gillibrand still has not said whom she was referring to in her public comments but it is reasonable to expect she’ll at least get — if not relish — the opportunity to reveal who her target was on Wednesday, even if the surprise element is gone.

More on the Democratic debate
Who Won Night 1 of the Democratic Debate? Experts Weigh In

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Moderates Faltered at Tuesday’s Debate. Will Joe Biden Do Better Tonight?

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Black Voters Will Be the Focus of Tonight’s Democratic Debate. Here’s a Primer.

Jul 31, 2019

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What to Watch For in Tonight’s Democratic Debate

  • You can watch it on CNN, CNN en Español and CNN International. It will also be available on streaming services. The debate is taking place in Detroit.

  • Who won last night’s debate? Want just the highlights?

  • The 10 Democratic candidates will have 60-second opening statements followed by 60 seconds to answer questions from the CNN moderators, Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper. Each candidate will also have a 60-second closing statement.

  • The New York Times will have extensive coverage, including a live analysis throughout the debate by Maggie Haberman, Astead W. Herndon, Lisa Lerer, Sydney Ember and Reid J. Epstein.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

Night 2: July 31

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Michael Bennet

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Kirsten Gillibrand

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Julián Castro

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Cory Booker

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Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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Kamala Harris

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Andrew Yang

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Tulsi Gabbard

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Jay Inslee

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Bill de Blasio

Candidates will appear in this order on the stage, from left to right.

The most dramatic moment of the first pair of presidential debates came as Senator Kamala Harris of California criticized Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s record on race and busing, leaving the former vice president and early front-runner struggling to respond forcefully.

Since then, however, Mr. Biden has been much more willing to aggressively defend his record and to draw contrasts with his opponents. He has clashed directly with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey on the issue of policing, and with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the subject of health care.

Mr. Biden supports creating a so-called public option and building on the Affordable Care Act, while Mr. Sanders and others including Ms. Harris want a more sweeping proposal that would provide Medicare for all Americans, though in a new plan unveiled this week Ms. Harris indicated that she still sees a role for private insurers, in contrast to Mr. Sanders. Mr. Biden’s campaign was quick with criticism of her plan, and the former vice president has made some oblique swipes at Ms. Harris’s health care position as well. Will he sharpen that argument?

Mr. Biden’s allies say he was personally hurt by the ferocity of Ms. Harris’s criticism in their last debate, given her relationship as California attorney general with Mr. Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, then the attorney general of Delaware. Some of his allies say privately that the moment was a wake-up call for him and expect him to be much more assertive on Wednesday.

“I’m not going to be as polite this time,” he said last week at a fund-raiser.

Their dynamic will be among the most closely-watched of the second debate.

[The candidates on Tuesday night sparred angrily over which health care plan was best for Americans.]

The grim reality for half the contenders onstage is that this debate is less about positioning themselves for the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, and more about boosting their current standing in order to continue their campaigns at all.

Five candidates on Wednesday — Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — face the acute risk of missing the party’s polling and donor thresholds to qualify for the September debate. And falling off the debate stage is widely viewed as a potential death knell to a candidacy.

So those on the wings of the stage need to break out, and quickly. That could lead to more rhetorical combat. Mr. de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, was an aggressor with former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas in June but stepped on his own momentum by using a famous Che Guevara quote while still in South Florida. He later apologized.

Still, Mr. de Blasio showed in the last debate that he can be energetic and fluent onstage. Can he translate those skills into a moment that catapults him out of the bottom tier of candidates?

[Bernie Sanders ‘wrote the damn bill.’ Everyone else is just fighting about it.]

Mr. Booker has an extensive campaign organization in the early-voting primary states and has been a known quantity to Democratic activists for years.

But so far, he has struggled to stand out in a crowded field, and his early campaign themes of love and unity have appeared to fall flat with a Democratic base that is often outraged in the Trump era. He has hovered between 1 percent and 3 percent in recent polls.

More recently, Mr. Booker has sounded more combative notes, appearing particularly eager to draw contrasts with Mr. Biden. The two men sparred last week over the issue of criminal justice, with Mr. Booker calling Mr. Biden an “architect of mass incarceration,” and Mr. Biden ripping into the record of the Newark Police Department when Mr. Booker was mayor.

Mr. Booker has gone after Mr. Biden before, only to pull back soon after. If Mr. Booker moves to attack his rivals on Wednesday, when he will be onstage with Mr. Biden, can he follow through forcefully?

And even if he lands a blow — something Ms. Harris did successfully in the first debate, which boosted her campaign — will that be enough to meaningfully stand out?

Video

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1155155958-videoSixteenByNine3000 What to Watch For in Tonight’s Democratic Debate Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

During his decades in public office, Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. developed a unique set of phrases, dubbed “Bidenisms” by his close observers. Here’s what to watch for in tonight’s debate.

Last week, Ms. Gillibrand said that at least one of her Democratic rivals did not support women working outside the home. It was the most aggressive rhetoric yet from a candidate who has tried to position herself as the candidate for women in 2020, after Democratic women scored some of the biggest victories of the 2018 midterms.

But though Ms. Gillibrand didn’t say who exactly she was talking about, a story published the next morning in HuffPost gave a possible hint of her intention. It outlined Mr. Biden’s 1981 opposition to expanding a child tax credit, the kind of policy position she might use to justify such a broadside. Then on Sunday, Axios reported that an online account possibly linked to Ms. Gillibrand was found to be researching related Biden articles from that period.

Ms. Gillibrand still has not said whom she was referring to in her public comments but it is reasonable to expect she’ll at least get — if not relish — the opportunity to reveal who her target was on Wednesday, even if the surprise element is gone.

More on the Democratic debate
Who Won Night 1 of the Democratic Debate? Experts Weigh In

Jul 31, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158670240_7c7d3298-9e57-4363-82f2-e72e79b574c1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X What to Watch For in Tonight’s Democratic Debate Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand
Moderates Faltered at Tuesday’s Debate. Will Joe Biden Do Better Tonight?

Jul 31, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 31debate-moderates-02-threeByTwoSmallAt2X What to Watch For in Tonight’s Democratic Debate Inslee, Jay Harris, Kamala D Gillibrand, Kirsten E Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) Detroit (Mich) Democratic Party Debates (Political) de Blasio, Bill CNN Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr Bennet, Michael Farrand

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here’s One List Where Kirsten Gillibrand Is Winning and Kamala Harris Is Tied With Marianne Williamson

Amid the relentless focus on Washington and presidential politics, a liberal political action committee has ranked the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on something much lower on the political food chain — what they are doing to help Democrats win state legislative seats.

The idea is that rebuilding the party nationally depends on the hard work of winning seats in state legislatures around the country. With that in mind, the two-year-old Future Now Fund, working with the progressive think tank Data for Progress, is trying to apply pressure to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates by ranking them in terms of who is doing the most to help Democrats win state legislative races.

A ranking released Thursday shows that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas are currently the most engaged with candidates for state office. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. are also ranked in the top 10.

Senator Kamala Harris of California is ranked in the bottom 10, according to the analysis, which has her slightly ahead of Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York and tied with the self-help author Marianne Williamson.

“State legislatures are not where the glamour is — they’re just where the power is,” said Daniel Squadron, the co-founder and executive director of Future Now Fund, a PAC focused on state legislative elections.

He cited continuing controversies over gerrymandering and abortion as examples of just how much power state legislatures have. “There’s so much focus on the presidency, as if it alone is going to fix all the country’s problems and everything that’s wrong with our politics,” he added. “We, of course, know that’s not true.”

Future Now Fund and Data for Progress ranked the 2020 Democrats using a point system that assigned different values to a range of actions taken. For instance, candidates earned one point for boosting a state legislator through social media, two points for citing a state legislator or candidate in emails to their national campaign list and three points for appearing in person with a state legislator at a public event. Those points were doubled if a 2020 Democrat showed support for a candidate or lawmaker outside the early-voting states of Iowa or New Hampshire.

The groups started tracking candidates’ activities May 1, and officials say they will release updated rankings each month until the Democrats select a nominee for president.

John Halpin, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank that was not associated with the ranking project, said he found the methodology employed by Future Now Fund reasonable and praised their work.

“With all the money and energy going in to the presidential election, the need to develop and support the Democratic bench at the state and local level too often gets ignored,” Mr. Halpin said. “This project provides voters with a good sense of who is putting in the effort to help state political voices and who is not.”

A full list of 23 candidates and their scores can be found here. We asked the groups to explain what the rankings mean. Here’s what they told us.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156599418_d96cb23a-1202-4823-a434-ff4a75d9eb09-articleLarge Here’s One List Where Kirsten Gillibrand Is Winning and Kamala Harris Is Tied With Marianne Williamson Williamson, Marianne State Legislatures Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government O'Rourke, Beto Inslee, Jay Gillibrand, Kirsten E Future Now Fund de Blasio, Bill Booker, Cory A

Senator Elizabeth Warren has frequently collaborated with state candidates on the campaign trail.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Ms. Gillibrand regularly appears with state lawmakers, which provides a strong base for her ranking, the group said. In May, Ms. Gillibrand spoke out strongly against the anti-abortion measures taking hold in various states. She also took a trip to Georgia, during which she appeared alongside several state legislators who opposed attempts to restrict abortion.

Ms. Gillibrand’s efforts to highlight the work of state lawmakers in the abortion fights — through social media, email and in person — helped push her to the top of the rankings, Future Now Fund officials said.

Ms. Warren so frequently introduces state lawmakers during campaign appearances that the habit appears baked into her routine on the trail, Future Now Fund officials said. That steady diet of collaborations with state candidates is responsible for her high score, they said.

Mr. O’Rourke is the only 2020 Democrat who has sent multiple emails about state lawmakers to his national campaign email list, officials said. He also took two state legislators — one from Texas and one from South Carolina — to the June debate.

While Ms. Gillibrand sharply criticized moves by several states to restrict abortion, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey wrote an open letter in GQ calling on men to support women’s reproductive rights. In it, he cited several state lawmakers who he said were “taking a stand on behalf of their constituents against these far-right attacks.”

That effort, along with significant time spent with state legislators in Iowa, helped his standing, analysts said.

As the governor of Washington, Mr. Inslee is a state official himself, and analysts said he had engaged several of his peers who cared deeply about climate change — the cental issue of his campaign.

But Mr. Squadron said changing politics at the top was not enough. “The power of the states is a reality that we keep being reminded of and keep forgetting again and again,” he said. He added, “We need to do a better job of changing the tide.”

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