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Are Never Trumpers ready for President Biden?

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Speaking personally, no. Nothing’s getting my big fat RINO ass off my big fat RINO couch next Election Day, even if Democrats nominate the most centrist candidate in the crop.

Old Man Biden may be a moderate relative to the competition but he’s still plenty left-wing on abortion, spending, amnesty, and so on. Even his “moderate” health-care proposal, adding a public option to ObamaCare, would deliver a total government takeover of health care sooner rather than later.

But I don’t speak for all Never Trumpers. And it stands to reason that some anti-Trump righties are more willing to pull the lever for a genial center-left known quantity like Biden than they are a would-be revolutionary like Elizabeth Warren. So, sure, it can safely be said, I think, that Biden will do better among Never Trumpers than any other Democratic candidate. How much better is debatable, but the difference could be meaningful in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.

Some Republican operatives active in Never Trump circles are discussing the timing and what form support for Biden might take. Groups such as Stand Up Republic, co-founded by prominent Never Trump Republicans Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, could target disaffected GOP voters in key micro-battlegrounds with finely tailored advertising in a bid to boost Biden in the Democratic primary…

“If it’s Elizabeth Warren, that presents a real problem because she may have a lot of plans, but most of them are terrible,” said Sarah Longwell, a veteran GOP operative and outspoken anti-Trump Republican. “Being Never Trump doesn’t mean abandoning conservative sensibilities,” she said.

“Never Trump means what it says: Never Trump. Under no circumstances can you embrace that man coming back to the White House,” countered Jerry Taylor, who runs the Niskanen Center, a centrist Washington think tank that has become a gathering spot for anti-Trump Republicans. “Most Never Trump Republicans that I traffic with are of the mind that any electoral outcome that doesn’t return Donald Trump to the White House is a good outcome, save for the wild card of Bernie Sanders.”…

What interests Republican operatives opposed to Trump, in addition to Biden’s relative moderation, is the former vice president’s strength against Trump in key 2020 battlegrounds. In hypothetical match-ups in heartland states such as Michigan and emerging swing states such as Arizona, Biden has led Trump and tends to outperform Warren and Sanders.

To people like Longwell and Taylor, I’d imagine that Biden’s age is actually a virtue. The goal, after all, is to rid the country of Trump and the party of Trumpism, not to institute a two-term Democratic stranglehold on the White House. An elderly Dem who’s unlikely to make any sudden moves in office and then retire after a single term, clearing the way for a Republican renaissance in 2024, would be just what the doctor ordered.

As for Grandpa Joe’s supposed greater electability relative to the competition, yeah. Look no further than yesterday’s Fox News poll for the latest evidence:

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A ceiling of 40 percent for Trump against the entire Democratic top tier ain’t great. We remain 14 months away from Election Day, of course, and will live a thousand political lifetimes between now and then but Dem pollster Will Jordan caught my attention last night when he posted a bit of bizarre, fluky historical data. It turns out that in each of the last three elections, the polling on hypothetical popular-vote match-ups between the two eventual nominees 14 months out from the election turned out to be shockingly accurate. In 2008 it had Obama beating McCain by seven points and in 2016 it had Hillary beating Trump by three. 2012 wasn’t quite as accurate, but it still had Obama defeating Romney (by one point). I can guarantee that Trump won’t lose to Biden by anything like 14 points, but an incumbent doesn’t want to be staring at numbers like this even with the vote still more than a year away.

That’s not the only bad news in the poll, either: “In counties where the 2016 vote was close (Hillary Clinton and Trump within 10 points), Biden is ahead by 21 points.” Twenty-one points. And this is a Fox News poll! If stuff like this is still coming out in January showing Biden decimating Trump in swing districts, I think even many Warren fans will make a break for him. As lackluster as he is, Democrats aren’t going to pass on what appears to be a sure thing.

And needless to say, if he’s polling anywhere near those levels next year, he won’t need Never Trumpers.

For sheer bananas “how crazy will this election be?” results, though, nothing tops this:

Fifty-nine percent of voters are extremely interested in the 2020 presidential election. That’s a number typically only seen right before an election.

It’s 27 points higher than around this same time in the last presidential cycle — and only one point off the record 60 percent extremely interested the week before Election Day in 2008.

In addition, more Democrats (65 percent) than Republicans (60 percent) are extremely interested in the election and more Democrats (69 percent) than Republicans (63 percent) are extremely motivated about voting in 2020. That helps Democratic candidates top President Donald Trump in potential head-to-head matchups.

We’re 14 months out from the vote … and already one point away from matching the election-eve enthusiasm of the race that sent the first black president to the White House after the exhaustion of the Bush years. People are going to be brawling in the streets by next summer.

The post Are Never Trumpers ready for President Biden? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Kamala Is All-In On Iowa, Why Won’t She Talk About A Key Issue For Their Voters?

With current polls putting her at around five percent, Kamala Harris is pinning all of her hopes on Iowa.

Politico reports that Harris “is planning to make weekly visits to the state and nearly double the size of her 65-person ground operation” after being absent from the state since her 17-stop bus tour in August.

Then there are completely candid moments  like that that she definitely didn’t expect the press to report on, while being completely aware that their job is to follow her around and report on what she says.

Amazing that the press just happened to catch that, isn’t it? What luck!

If Iowa is her last hope, there’s one big thing missing from her messaging- corn. Iowa is the largest producer of corn in the United States year after year (and the United States is the largest producer of corn in the world). So, why isn’t she talking about ethanol?

She’s in a tough spot.

Ethanol isn’t environmentally friendly and, as such, is very anti-Green New Deal, who was an original co-sponsor of the Sen. Markey’s original legislation. We know that the environment is a huge issue for Democrat party voters- CNN even held a 7-hour townhall on that alone, something they haven’t done for any other single issue.

Harris could court those voters by talking about wind, for example. It’s now more cost-effective than many fossil fuels, and it even matters to Iowa. As one of the largest wind-producing states in America, it is fueling their new tech industry. She’s not talking about that either, though, just going after fossil fuels.

Still, Iowa is farm country, and they rely on corn. She could still win Iowa if she took on a stance that supported free trade, since other countries like Brazil are happy to buy our ethanol. Ted Cruz won Iowa while running against Renewable Fuel Standards (the EPA’s requirement that fuel contain renewable fuels like ethanol) so it’s possible, but you have to stand for something.

Kamala won’t commit to anything, and that’s the real problem here.

The post Kamala Is All-In On Iowa, Why Won’t She Talk About A Key Issue For Their Voters? appeared first on RedState.

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Kamala Is All-In On Iowa, Why Won’t She Talk About A Key Issue For Their Voters?

With current polls putting her at around five percent, Kamala Harris is pinning all of her hopes on Iowa.

Politico reports that Harris “is planning to make weekly visits to the state and nearly double the size of her 65-person ground operation” after being absent from the state since her 17-stop bus tour in August.

Then there are completely candid moments  like that that she definitely didn’t expect the press to report on, while being completely aware that their job is to follow her around and report on what she says.

Amazing that the press just happened to catch that, isn’t it? What luck!

If Iowa is her last hope, there’s one big thing missing from her messaging- corn. Iowa is the largest producer of corn in the United States year after year (and the United States is the largest producer of corn in the world). So, why isn’t she talking about ethanol?

She’s in a tough spot.

Ethanol isn’t environmentally friendly and, as such, is very anti-Green New Deal, who was an original co-sponsor of the Sen. Markey’s original legislation. We know that the environment is a huge issue for Democrat party voters- CNN even held a 7-hour townhall on that alone, something they haven’t done for any other single issue.

Harris could court those voters by talking about wind, for example. It’s now more cost-effective than many fossil fuels, and it even matters to Iowa. As one of the largest wind-producing states in America, it is fueling their new tech industry. She’s not talking about that either, though, just going after fossil fuels.

Still, Iowa is farm country, and they rely on corn. She could still win Iowa if she took on a stance that supported free trade, since other countries like Brazil are happy to buy our ethanol. Ted Cruz won Iowa while running against Renewable Fuel Standards (the EPA’s requirement that fuel contain renewable fuels like ethanol) so it’s possible, but you have to stand for something.

Kamala won’t commit to anything, and that’s the real problem here.

The post Kamala Is All-In On Iowa, Why Won’t She Talk About A Key Issue For Their Voters? appeared first on RedState.

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LISTEN: The Democratic Primary, The Race To Keep A Democratic Governor In A Republican State, And More

 

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From left, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are introduced before the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Listen in live at 8:10 this morning as I join KPEL 96.5 in Lafayette, Louisiana, to discuss the Democratic primary, Louisiana’s gubernatorial race (featuring an at-risk Democratic Governor), and much more in the realm of politics.

 

 

Fair warning: There’s also a chance we’ll talk football (alas, poor Saints) and whatever else we can think of.

Consider this an open thread.

 

The post LISTEN: The Democratic Primary, The Race To Keep A Democratic Governor In A Republican State, And More appeared first on RedState.

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O’Rourke: I think Americans would voluntarily comply with a mandatory assault weapons buyback program

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Via the Examiner, he’s part of a trend: Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have also endorsed this draconian idea, which has zero chance of passing the Senate unless and until Democrats (1) win a majority, (2) eliminate the filibuster, and (3) decide that all of the members of their caucus from red states, like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are expendable (or that their votes aren’t needed for passage).

It’s great low-calorie virtue-signaling material for struggling Democratic candidates, though. “My wimpy rivals only want to ban assault-weapons sales. A true anti-gun crusade starts a la Australia and New Zealand, by taking weapons that are already in circulation off the streets.”

I’d be keen to see a test vote on mandatory buybacks in the House, in fact, as I’m not sure Dems could pass a bill like that there even with their current majority. The freshmen who ousted Republicans in purple districts last fall would panic, caught in a vise between progressives who want aggressive action and Republican voters who are suspicious of their “moderate” credentials. For just that reason, I assume there’s nothing that could convince Pelosi to put such a bill on the floor, no matter how good it might make lefties feel to get everyone on record.

If you believe WaPo’s latest polling, a majority of the country now supports a buyback program, i.e. confiscation, of assault weapons:

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Supposedly 31 percent of Republicans are on board with a buyback. But note: When Quinnipiac recently polled the idea, it found a mere 18 percent of Republicans in favor and the public split 46/49 against it overall. A new poll from Monmouth out within the last hour finds support for buybacks at just 43/53 nationally and 22/74 among Republicans.

We could sit here and speculate about why, analyzing the partisan samples in each polls or the wording of the question, but it’s not worth the bother. A buyback isn’t happening anytime soon; beyond its cheap stump-speech value to 2020 Dem hopefuls, it’s useful to gun-grabbers chiefly as a way to try to condition the public to accept less aggressive gun-control measures as “compromise” ideas. Right now, according to WaPo, 56 percent of Americans support an assault-weapons ban, including 33 percent of Republicans. (Quinnipiac actually had GOP support at 37 percent.) If Democrats start negotiations in 2021 with a big “ask” — mandatory buyback! — it’ll seem less unreasonable to some righties when they “retreat” and offer a ban on future assault-weapons sales instead.

It may play out the same way on health care, with the next Democratic administration “settling” for adding a public option to ObamaCare after preparing the political battlespace with years of chatter about Medicare for All.

As for Beto’s point here that police wouldn’t go door to door to enforce his buyback program, doubtless that’s true. Cops don’t have the resources to conduct house to house searches of literally everyone, never mind the danger they’d face when they inevitably encountered people who adamantly refuse to turn over their weapons. The way this would be enforced, I assume, is the way drug-possession laws are enforced: The cops aren’t going to knock on the door randomly and ask to look around to see if you have drugs, but if they’re searching your property for some other reason and discover drugs, you’re in trouble. Same with assault weapons. President Beto could offer people a certain amount of compensation if they want to hand in their weapons voluntarily and, if they don’t, threaten them with a 10-year prison sentence should those weapons be found in the course of other police business. Most guns would remain in circulation (just like in New Zealand!) but they couldn’t be brought to ranges or gun shows anymore without fear of arrest. They’d be contraband.

The post O’Rourke: I think Americans would voluntarily comply with a mandatory assault weapons buyback program appeared first on Hot Air.

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Finally: Bad candidate ends bad campaign

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As much as I dislike her, and I dislike her strongly as a careerist phony even by Washington standards, I don’t know that it’s fair to call her a bad candidate. She’s not bad on paper. Young, smart (fluent in Mandarin!), twice-elected from a populous blue state, seemingly progressive enough on policy for the Democratic Party in 2019 apart from her problematic coziness with Wall Street. She stood out among the field for her outspoken feminism, a potentially shrewd brand in a party that draws the support of most of America’s women. In theory she could have been top tier.

But in practice? Man, was she dreary. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more pointless campaign run by a major politician. In an all-male field, her focus on #MeToo and family issues might have distinguished her. But there’ll never again be an all-male Democratic field; she was just background noise to Warren and Harris. In the end I suspect the depth of her “performative and obnoxious” opportunism shone through: Gillibrand always seems to be trying too hard to please whatever constituency she’s pandering to at a given moment. She’s fine as a reliable Democratic vote in the Senate but no lefty with an ounce of sense is gambling on a pol as calculating and self-interested as her to be an ideological stalwart as president. If she was willing to knife conservatives to gain higher office in New York, she’d be willing to knife progressives to gain and retain the highest office of all.

Now she’s free to embrace her destiny of being successfully primaried by AOC in 2024.

Trump bid her adieu as only he can:

It’s not a total loss. She’s only 52. She can build on the national exposure she got with this campaign to run more formidably in 2024.

No, wait, what am I saying? She didn’t get any meaningful national exposure this year. She made two debates and was a non-entity in both, with her most memorable moment coming when Joe “What Day Is It?” Biden owned her for being so opportunistic in criticizing him on women’s issues. The only two Gillibrand storylines for months have been (1) boy, her polling really sucks, and (2) Democrats are holding this Al Franken thing against her, huh?

And as for 2024, what would have to happen between now and then to make this radicalizing party turn to a cynic like Gillibrand as its nominee? If she’s the answer, what’s the question?

It was her failure to make the third debate that led her to throw in the towel:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who presented herself in the presidential race as a champion of women and families, said Wednesday that she was withdrawing from the Democratic primary after failing to qualify for a third debate next month — a development she described as fatal to her candidacy.

Ms. Gillibrand said in an interview that she would endorse another candidate in the primary but had not yet picked a favorite. Though she stopped short of saying she would endorse a woman, Ms. Gillibrand, who has made electing women to Congress a personal cause, said the next president had to be capable of uniting the country and suggested that a woman might be best suited for the job.

“I think that women have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country,” Ms. Gillibrand said, adding, “I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting.”

I’m morbidly curious to see who she endorses, precisely because she’s so calculating. Gillibrand’s first, second, and third tasks politically at all times are to advance Kirsten Gillibrand’s career. That logic argues for ultimately endorsing Biden, the likeliest nominee, if the race narrows to a “Biden vs. Warren” fight. But choosing a man — an old, white man, no less — over the would-be first woman president would be extremely off-brand, and would do her no favors with the progressive crowd that’s rightly suspicious of her loyalty to the cause. Endorsing Warren might do more for her career long-term.

Either way, Gillibrand will hold out on endorsing for as long as she can to make sure the ass she ends up kissing is likely to win.

Let’s remember her this way, getting embarrassed by Biden on national television.

The post Finally: Bad candidate ends bad campaign appeared first on Hot Air.

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Shock poll: Biden tumbles 13 points, now in third place behind Warren and Sanders

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I spotted this headline this morning and thought, “No way does he end up as the nominee.”

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And now, thanks to Monmouth, we have confirmation.

Alternate headline: “CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER, MASS HYSTERIA.”

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If you believe this data, Grandpa Joe has suffered a partial collapse over the last two months — even though there’s no obvious reason why. There’s been no scandal or catastrophic debate performance. What might have caused this?

Has the gaffe-o-rama caught up to him, with Dem primary voters wondering if he’s “lost a step,” to borrow a favorite euphemism? Or is this a simple matter of Dem voters paying closer attention to the race as it wears on and finding more to like in Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders? It seems like there’s more to his slide here than voters just “going shopping” among candidates: Biden’s net favorable rating has tumbled 16 points since June, leaving him now less popular than Warren.

Another interesting theory floating around is that the more beatable Trump looks, the less compelling the “electability” case for Biden becomes. If Democrats start to believe that the economy is headed for a slide due to Trump’s trade war, they should be more willing to roll the dice on a candidate like Warren who excites them instead of on a blandly appealing mediocrity like Joe.

But there’s a third theory for the Monmouth results. What if … this poll is hot garbage?

Normally a reputable pollster will insist on no less than 400 respondents for a poll. Monmouth pushed this one out having sampled fewer than 300. The huge margin of error means that Biden could conceivably be polling in reality at around 25 percent, which would be lower than his polling average of 28-29 percent of late but not wildly lower. In all likelihood we just have a bum poll.

although I can’t help noticing that the most recent national poll taken before this one found numbers similar to Monmouth’s. Last week YouGov had the race Biden 22, Sanders 19, Warren 17, another spread suggesting a de facto three-way tie at the top. Nate Silver claims that YouGov’s numbers have consistently been a bit worse for Biden than other pollsters so perhaps that’s another fluky result, but a third poll showing Grandpa falling back towards the pack would be hard to dismiss as fluky. Stay tuned.

One more data point from Monmouth, for what it’s worth. It remains an open question whether Democrats who claim to support for Medicare for All have any idea what they’re talking about. When asked if it’s “very important” to nominate someone who supports MFA, a whopping 58 percent of Dems said yes. However, when asked what sort of health-care reform they’d like to see in 2021, their answer was different:

Westlake Legal Group 2-1 Shock poll: Biden tumbles 13 points, now in third place behind Warren and Sanders The Blog monmouth Joe Biden enthusiasm Elizabeth Warren electable democrat Bernie Sanders

What they’re really endorsing is a public option, not Medicare for All. In fact, even when Monmouth asked fans of the public option whether they thought the system should transform into mandatory single-payer for all *eventually*, only 18 percent said yes. A majority of Democrats overall oppose having the federal government monopolize the health insurance industry.

Here’s grampy assuring fans he’s not “going nuts.”

The post Shock poll: Biden tumbles 13 points, now in third place behind Warren and Sanders appeared first on Hot Air.

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“This is essentially a three-way race”: Seth Moulton drops out of Democratic primary

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If you’re thinking “I didn’t know he was running,” that’s understandable. Moulton never managed to qualify for the first two debates even though the DNC broke them into two-night events to accommodate as many candidates as possible.

I mean, Eric Swalwell managed to make the first debate. Imagine waking up in the morning to the reality that you’ve performed worse than Eric Swalwell.

I have no idea why Moulton was running for president this year he did have the distinction of owning one of the most impressive resumes of any candidate. He’s a Marine who did four tours in Iraq and received the Bronze Star, ultimately working as a special liaison to Iraqi tribal leaders for David Petraeus. He joined the Corps fresh off graduation from Harvard; when he left with the rank of captain, he went back to Harvard and got two postgrad degrees. He got elected to Congress a few years later and showed some stones in trying to organize an insurrection against Pelosi as Democratic leader, insisting that younger leadership was needed.

Still: Couldn’t manage to beat out Swalwell, or Tim Ryan Steve Bullock Michael Bennet John Hickenlooper (I have trouble keeping them straight), for a debate slot.

Two interesting details about his departure. One: He thinks if he’d gotten in just a bit sooner he might have made the first debate after all. That may be true, in which case why’d he wait? Presumably the whole point of him running this year was to try to raise his name recognition among Democratic voters, especially back home in Massachusetts. He’s only 40; he’s sure to run for a Senate seat or for governor eventually once a spot opens up. But by missing the debates he defeated the purpose of his candidacy.

In an interview this week, Moulton said that “getting in late to the race was a handicap, much worse than expected. If I had gotten in even just a few weeks earlier, I probably would have made the first debate.”

But by waiting until April 22, Moulton joined a field that already had 18 candidates and was the most crowded primary in the party’s modern history. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, in particular, was surging at the time, and his presence made it harder for Moulton since they both were running on themes related to generational change and military experience.

Did he decide to run on a lark, at the last minute? In a field that already had 18 candidates, when the entire point was to try to use the spotlight of a presidential run to raise his public profile?

Doesn’t seem very well thought out.

The other interesting detail: Sounds like he’s all-in on Grandpa Joe.

“I do think that Trump is going to be hard to beat,” Moulton said. “I think Vice President Biden would make a fantastic president. He’s a mentor and a friend, and I’ve been impressed by the campaign he has run so far.”

Moulton added, “It’s evident now that this is essentially a three-way race” among Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Moulton said he worries that “veering too far left could lose us this election” and warned his party against embracing Medicare-for-all proposals on health care.

That’s an interesting salvage plan for his candidacy. Moulton doubtless made some enemies in the Democratic establishment when he tried to depose Pelosi. Going to bat for Biden and for center-leftism more generally at a moment when the leadership’s worried about the challenge from progressives (“I think we should strengthen Obamacare and have a robust public option that can compete against private plans,” he told WaPo) might heal that rift, which will be good for his prospects statewide in Massachusetts in the future. Maybe he’ll even end up on the trail for Biden. Moulton is among the youngest candidates running this year, a quality that Team Joe would doubtless value in a surrogate amid worries about Biden’s age. Moulton’s stellar military credentials are an added bonus. Presumably he’ll be in line for some sort of administration appointment if he hops aboard the Biden Bus now and Joe wins.

Here’s his favorite candidate yesterday on the trail, sounding sharp as ever.

The post “This is essentially a three-way race”: Seth Moulton drops out of Democratic primary appeared first on Hot Air.

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Beto O’Rourke to deliver “major address to the nation” resetting campaign as a fight against Trump, guns, white supremacy, you name it

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It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at a guy polling at one percent presuming to deliver a “major address to the nation.” Try a major address to your living room first, buddy, see how it plays. Work your way up to high-school auditoriums.

This will be his third (re)launch since he entered the race less than six months ago, notes David Rutz. There was the initial announcement with the splashy “Vanity Fair” cover this past spring. There was the humbled reset in May, when he started doing more TV after his man-of-the-people townhall tour in middle America didn’t catch fire. Now there’s Beto 3.0, the moral crusader, aflame with righteous outrage after the El Paso massacre. This (re)launch at least features something that the previous two lacked — a purpose for his otherwise aimless campaign.

O’Rourke will recommit to holding President Trump accountable for the state of the country — and focus on the stakes of removing a president from office whom he has explicitly linked to the deaths of fellow El Pasoans, according to a senior campaign official.

He’ll focus heavily on three key issues: racism, white supremacy and guns — and plans to propose what the campaign calls “new, bold solutions.”…

Back in El Paso since last Saturday’s shooting, the speech will mark O’Rourke’s return to the presidential campaign trail — but don’t expect him to race immediately back to early states, the campaign official said. O’Rourke will lay out a plan to take him to more places typically written off by presidential candidates, and less to “traditional” events — “reflecting the gravity of the situation we’re in, even if that means doing things differently,” the official said.

Not sure what that means but I wonder if he’s planning to campaign at the sites of recent mass shootings — not just El Paso and Dayton but Vegas, Pittsburgh, and so on. That’d be a clever gimmick inasmuch as the media and Democratic voters believe this is their moment to finally push across some new gun control regulations in Congress. They’ll be inclined to trumpet O’Rourke’s events if only to highlight the underlying cause, and of course Beto will be credited for his “selfless” approach and seriousness of purpose in focusing on a moral cause instead of gladhanding Iowans while eating corn dogs at the state fair or whatever. It’s not a bad idea for a longshot candidate. He’s going to get lost in the crowd of Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Harris if he hunkers down in the early states. He might as well go do his own thing and hope the media falls in love with him again, this time as the “conscience of his party.” The fight against the forces of darkness can only be won by [checks notes] nominating Beto O’Rourke for president.

I’m guessing his speech will sound a lot like this op-ed he published yesterday on CNN’s website. Title: “It’s America’s moment of truth.”

When President Donald Trump describes Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “bringing crime,” or refers to undocumented immigrants as individuals who “infest our country” — he speaks not as America’s President but as an emissary of hate. And his vilification and fear-mongering connect with those who are open to receiving it.

The seeds of terror we saw that August day are transmitted day and night on Fox News, the most watched cable news channel in the country. They are amplified by right-wing websites like Breitbart, and in messages forced onto local news broadcasts by Sinclair Media…

Every media outlet that covers Trump’s rallies uncritically is serving dangerous ends. This language of fear and intimidation is not, as some would have it, simply political theater; it actually changes our behavior. Counties that hosted a Trump rally in 2016 saw a 226% increase in hate crimes, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. And we’ve seen a rise in these kinds of crimes since Trump’s been a candidate and in office.

I keep thinking that this is all building to Beto using the shooting as a pretext to bail out of the presidential race and run for Senate in Texas instead, as the entire party wants him to do (“El Paso needs me!”), but no, not so says Politico. “The El Paso massacre only redoubled his resolve to campaign against Trump, according to sources close to his campaign,” they claim, noting that Beto has already qualified for the September debate whereas various other no-hopers have not. It’ll be a smaller stage and so he has a better chance of standing out. His plan between now and then, it appears, is to try to build as much buzz as he can as a Man On A Mission on the trail and then convert that into some impassioned moment at the debates that vaults him into the top tier, or at least past Buttigieg. That’s one thing O’Rourke has that Mayor Pete doesn’t, actually — passion. Buttigieg is almost preternaturally calm and methodical, which isn’t an asset for a pol when his base’s blood is up about something. O’Rourke can feed that better than he can. He already has over the past few weeks, in fact.

And if it doesn’t work out for him, hey. He’s 46. Here was my theory on Beto’s strategy from this past weekend, when he went on CNN and all but accused Trump supporters of being racist:

Maybe he’s playing a long game. He knows he won’t be the nominee and he also knows he’s unlikely to win a Senate race against John Cornyn (and that his political career would likely be over after two consecutive Senate losses). So he’s going to use his platform this year to be the “right side of history” voice in the field who savages Trump and Trump’s fans on moral grounds, hoping to make an impression in lefty minds about his moral clarity. Then, five or 10 years from now, when the demographics are more favorable to him in Texas and nationally, he’ll run again. Remember when I was the conscience of our party in speaking out against Trump? he’ll say to Democrats. They’ll remember.

Has the Beto 2024 campaign already begun? If so, what’s he going to do with himself between now and then?

The post Beto O’Rourke to deliver “major address to the nation” resetting campaign as a fight against Trump, guns, white supremacy, you name it appeared first on Hot Air.

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Stacey Abrams’s big 2020 announcement: I’m here to let you know that I’m … not running for president

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Every time I start to laugh at the idea of a candidate who’s never held statewide or federal office running for president, I remember who we elected in 2016. And then I remember that Boot Edge Edge is not only still (sort of) in contention for the Democratic nod this year, he was the single biggest fundraiser in the field in the second quarter.

Americans reeeeeally like the idea of fresh faces in politics nowadays. Abrams’s lack of congressional or executive experience might have been something of a virtue if she had jumped in.

Emphasis on “might have.” Before we go all-in on the “voters want outsiders” theory, let’s remember that the guy leading the field — and leading Trump in head-to-head polling — has been in Washington since the dawn of time.

Anyway, Abrams has finally said no to 2020:

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia politician who captured national attention during her unsuccessful run for governor in 2018, has decided not to run for president after publicly contemplating a bid for months, according to people familiar with her thinking…

Ms. Abrams made her decision in recent days, aides said, as she determined she was comfortable with current crop of Democratic candidates.

The decision by Ms. Abrams, a former Democratic leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, ends months of speculation, some of which was fueled by Ms. Abrams herself. Repeatedly, she has said she believes she is qualified to be in the presidential field, and she has held several private sit-down meetings with other candidates, encouraging them to focus on voter suppression and fair elections as they crisscross the country for votes.

She’ll spend her time instead fighting voter suppression efforts. Oh, and advancing her crankish theory that she’s the true winner of last year’s Georgia gubernatorial race, a theory which racial politics requires the entirety of the Democratic political class to accept uncritically. And which will obviously be used as “tu quoque” Exhibit A in 2020 if Trump loses the election and begins complaining that it was stolen from him.

As for the timing, I assume she had a reached a point where she couldn’t wait any longer to declare. The bar for qualifying for the debates by polling at a certain level and attracting a certain number of donors is inching higher as the weeks roll on. If she waited until September to jump in, she might have missed that month’s debate and then been at risk of being overlooked as an option by Democratic voters generally. The moment seemed opportune for her to get in, though, given how neither Kamala Harris nor Cory Booker did any damage to Biden at the second debate. Those three candidates are competing for black voters; Harris looked like she was making inroads with Biden’s black support after the first debate but then she fell back after the second, leaving Grandpa Joe to reconsolidate that support. If Harris had continued to climb, Abrams might have reasoned that black Democrats were already shifting towards a “fresh face” candidate, making it that much harder for her to grab their attention and force another shift after she got in. As it is, the competition to see who can lure black Obama supporters away from Biden remains wide open, with Harris and Booker momentarily looking like pretenders. Abrams decided to pass on the race anyway instead of taking a shot. Huh.

Chuck Schumer tried to get her to challenge David Perdue for Senate in Georgia next year but it sounds from the story quoted above like she won’t stand for any office. That’s a tough break for Dems, as Abrams would have been something of a cause celebre for Georgia Dems and might have been able to deliver enough black Democrats to the polls to make Trump sweat the state in his own contest. He won it by only five points in 2016, remember; between the suburbs there trending blue and Abrams turning out younger and black voters, maybe Georgia would have been a toss-up. Abrams probably concluded, though, that it was too heavy a lift with too much on the line for her own career. Perdue’s job approval in Georgia in the last quarter was a healthy 48/26, and unlike her opponent in the governor’s race, he’s an incumbent. Georgia is still a red-leaning state so Trump’s presence at the top of the ballot is likely to boost Republican turnout from last year, when she lost the gubernatorial race narrowly. If she ran and lost to Perdue, she’d be a two-time loser and her political star would begin to dim. Too risky.

She’s better off hanging around as a potential VP pick (although I think she’s too inexperienced for that) or hoping for a Trump victory, which would set her up well for 2022. She’d have her pick of races that year: She could run for Johnny Isakson’s Senate seat or challenge Brian Kemp again for governor. Isakson will be 77 and may be disinclined to run again if the state is trending purple. Either way, with Trump two years into his second term, Democrats would be primed for another backlash-fueled wave election in the midterms, which might be enough to lift Abrams to victory. She’s young enough that she doesn’t need to run this year. Better to pick her spots and wait for a more winnable election.

The post Stacey Abrams’s big 2020 announcement: I’m here to let you know that I’m … not running for president appeared first on Hot Air.

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