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What Will The Democratic Primaries Produce?

Westlake Legal Group democrat-debate1-620x317 What Will The Democratic Primaries Produce? Trump primary President Front Page Stories Featured Story Election Dems democrats democratic Allow Media Exception 2020

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)

A two-dozen participant primary is probably not what the Democratic Party actually wanted, but it’s what they got.

An intra-party fight ahead of a big election is probably not what most people would consider “ideal” if the goal is to go into an election with a united front against whatever the incumbent party has ready for you. Many people would see it as merely a means of dividing your party at a pivotal moment, however, I would tend to disagree with that assumption in most cases.

For example, I think the intense primary of 2016 was hugely beneficial to the Republican Party (which may surprise many of you). It was vital to see where the Republican Party was, and a smarter party would have learned the lessons of the election cycle (one of those lessons would be “listen to your base” but, alas, I don’t think most Republicans in power learned that lesson at all and would rather choose to just wait out Trump). It also had the nice little bonus effect of rooting out the not-so-Republican Republicans, who now openly espouse liberal beliefs and lament what happened to their “party.”

The primary process is a good one. It forces candidates to fine-tune the messaging. It makes them work to get supporters they might other not reach, all in an effort to beat the other guys. By the end of the process, they have a working, proven platform and a coalition to ride into the general election.

A smarter Democratic Party should be aware of this, and should be openly embracing letting the bloodshed continue. But the DNC’s debate rules have been restrictive thus far, and have forced candidates off the stage. It was one of my complaints during 2016’s “kid’s table” debates, as there were plenty of Republicans who had the ideas necessary to shape policy coming into the general election, but they never had the chance.

Objectively speaking, with as many voices having access to the voters as the Democratic candidates have had, should make 2016 a tough year for Trump’s re-election. Assuming recession fears can hold off and not become realized for another 15 months (I suspect they will, but the tariffs remain a big part of that equation), then Trump could ride the success of his economy back into the White House in 2020. However, if he stubbornly hold on to the tariff policy and actually continues implementing war, the highs the economy has been riding will disappear and we will probably see the beginnings of a recession – a situation the Democrats could easily take advantage of.

That would assume, of course, that the primary process has allowed a single Democrat to build a large coalition between the fringe and the moderate Democrats alike and there is a unified plan to push the country back toward the middle with promise of erasing the tariffs, normalizing the American economy, and focusing on bringing civility and equality back to the American political process.

All of that is certainly possible, should Joe Biden remain THE guy the Democratic voters go with, and provided Biden can stop himself from making gaffes that cause his own aides to shudder with regret. However, Elizabeth Warren is on the rise, Bernie Sanders remains at the top, and the loudest voices are trying to out-progressive each other.

The end result is that the candidates will continue pushing each other further and further to the left – Obama will be lamented as not tough enough in his policies, and the candidate and their team will focus on pushing the country back to the left, not the middle.

That scenario, the one that seems most likely to play out, will actually make it easier on Trump, no matter the tariff/economic situation in America. Trump won in 2016 on the strength of the “I’m Not Hillary Clinton” trait he happens to have. Likewise, his “I’m Not Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders” trait will keep him afloat against one of those two superprogressives. A race against Joe Biden will be tougher, but if Biden is pushed too far left, he’ll fall victim to the same fate.

Objectively, the Democrats are falling victim to themselves. Data does suggest Trump has weaknesses, and the Democrats can exploit those weaknesses if they attack from the moderate angle (as well as the civil/respectable angle). But, they seem more likely to take the “We have to be a Socialist Trump” route and will try to ride a manufactured populism into the general election and be crushed because of it.

The primary process should make them recognize the need for a coalition across the board. However, they’ll just see the moderate voters as those who need to be converted or run off – and it’s the latter scenario that will hand them a loss next November.

The post What Will The Democratic Primaries Produce? appeared first on RedState.

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Yikes: New poll puts Harris at 5%, at risk of being passed by Tulsi Gabbard

Westlake Legal Group kh Yikes: New poll puts Harris at 5%, at risk of being passed by Tulsi Gabbard YouGov yang tulsi gabbard The Blog survey poll kamala harris economist democratic 2020

Via the Free Beacon, a post with a headline like this one requires us to relive this golden moment of hubris following the second debate, after Gabbard had just roasted Harris onstage for her record as California AG.

Why would a top-tier candidate like Kamala Harris care what a pipsqueak like Tulsi Gabbard thinks?

A month later, here we are:

Granted, granted, that’s a bad poll for Harris and a good one for Gabbard. The latter is averaging 1.6 percent at RCP and seldom edges north of two percent. Harris, meanwhile, touched 10 percent as recently as last week in a poll from Emerson. But don’t let that result blind you to just how far she’s fallen. She’s now averaging a mere 6.6 percent in all polling and has sunk to five percent (or worse!) multiple times in the past month before today. She’s easily the biggest disappointment in the Democratic race to date.

And while it’s unlikely Gabbard will pass her soon given that Harris made the cut for the next debate and Gabbard didn’t, it seems possible that Andrew Yang will. He’ll be onstage with Harris at the debate; he’s polled at three percent repeatedly over the past month, on par with Cory Booker; and his Big Idea, universal basic income, has attracted grassroots interest. He’ll stand out more at the debate this time too because the number of people onstage will be smaller and will consist mostly of serious candidates. If he has a good night, what reason is there to think he won’t bounce out to six percent or so, past Harris?

And so the mystery of her dismal performance deepens. She’s young, smart, a woman, a minority, enjoys the prestige of a Senate seat and can claim to represent America’s most populous state. She should be appealing to Democratic voters. Why isn’t she? A consensus is forming among the commentariat that she’s a bit too slippery on policy to capture anyone’s imagination, which I think is basically right.

“Too flippy-floppy. I just don’t like her,” said Debby Fisher of Richmond, California — near Harris’s hometown of Oakland — who plans to support Sanders.

Suzanne Cowan of San Francisco said she soured on Harris after her change on health care.

“That’s not my kind of candidate. Either you know what issues you support and you have the courage to stand up for them or you don’t,” she said. “For me she’s ‘I’ll be in favor of whatever is trending’ — and that doesn’t cut it.”
‘Her Brilliance, Her Passion’

Patrick Kollar of Roy, Washington, who recently attended a Warren rally in Seattle, said he’s unsure how to define Harris ideologically.

“That’s a problem,” he said. “I follow politics pretty closely and I don’t know what she’s about.”

There are two models (and potentially a third) for a Democratic nominee in 2020. One is the Vision candidate, the person who recognizes that America needs major changes in all sorts of ways and is intent on delivering it. That’s Bernie and Warren. The other is the Electable candidate, the person who can achieve job one as far as most Democratic voters are concerned, which is ousting Trump. That’s Biden, of course. The third potential model is the Charisma candidate, the person who gets everyone irrationally excited because they’re just *that* good on the stump. Obama 2008 is the classic example; a surprise entry by Oprah into the race would also fill the niche. No one’s really filling it now — the closest thing is Warren, who’s drawing enthusiastic crowds, but even she’s not at the level of hype that Betomania! achieved in Texas last year before O’Rourke took his show on the road.

Harris’s problem is that she doesn’t fit any of the three models. Lord knows she’s not a Vision candidate. To the contrary, her approach to health care seems driven by how best to triangulate between the left and the center to maximize vote totals. She’s not a Charisma candidate either. She’s polished and effective in making her points, as Biden found out at the first debate, but there’ll be no messianic Harris buzz like there was for Obama and Trump. That leaves the Electability model, and she does have some potential there — as a black woman she’s a logical possibility to reassemble the Obama coalition from 2008 and sweep to victory. But Democrats have been haunted for months by the suspicion that only an older white guy can blunt Trump’s edge with the white working class and pull enough Rust Belt votes away from him to win. There’s a case to be made that, however unfair the reasons, Harris might be less electable than Bernie or Warren, say. As Dem voters mull all of that, go figure that they might gravitate to alternatives.

The post Yikes: New poll puts Harris at 5%, at risk of being passed by Tulsi Gabbard appeared first on Hot Air.

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Hoo boy: We don’t necessarily need to win Iowa, says Team Biden

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This is the sort of thing candidates normally say when it’s two weeks before the caucuses and they’re down 10 points in the polls. Doom is impending, so you shift to damage-control mode in hopes that the media won’t write your political obituary before New Hampshire gives you a shot at redemption.

What are we to make of a “soft” frontrunner who’s flirting with that sort of damage control five months before Iowa votes?

Also: What if he’s right? What if Iowa doesn’t much matter?

“Do I think we have to win Iowa? No,” a senior adviser told campaign reporters Tuesday in a background briefing. The adviser said Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest in the nation, will be “critical.”…

“We feel we are going to be in a very dominant spot,” after the first four early states, another adviser said.

Still, the campaign downplayed expectations in first-in-the-nation Iowa as well as in the first primary state, New Hampshire, which borders the home states of Warren and Sanders.

“As you all know, historically, there’s an incredible home field advantage for a Massachusetts candidate or a New Englander,” an adviser said.

Early damage control for losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, eh? Team Joe is preparing for the worst — understandably, as his polling in each of those states is worse than it is nationally. In national polls he’s averaging 30.4 percent, good for a 13.5-point lead over Elizabeth Warren. In Iowa that lead shrinks to eight point over Warren, with Biden at 26 percent. In New Hampshire it shrinks further to just 1.7 points with Grandpa Joe pulling a mere 21 percent. (Note, though: There are far fewer state polls of IA and NH at this stage than there are national polls so the state averages may not be as reliable.)

Bearing in mind that nearly the entire case for Biden is his perceived “electability,” what’ll be left of those perceptions if he ends up losing both early states? What’ll be left of them if he doesn’t just lose but ends up clobbered?

This is the second time in just a few days that someone in the campaign has undermined its own electability argument. The other was Biden himself telling WaPo that “almost anybody” in the field can beat Trump, a point he made because (in context) he was reluctant to endorse the interviewer’s suggestion that only an old white guy can beat another old white guy. Even so, that’s strange messaging. The Iowa comment is more revealing than Biden’s offhand remark, though, since it may signal that Team Joe thinks they’re headed for a long, contentious primary fight, not a quick blitz in the early states that ends with Biden running away with the nomination by Super Tuesday.

“We expect this to go one for a while,” the adviser added.

During Biden’s previous two presidential campaigns, Iowa was a thorn. In his first race, it was the scene of him plagiarizing words from a British politician, which led him to drop out of the race in 1987, well before the next year’s caucuses. During the 2008 campaign, he received less than 1 percent of the vote and soon dropped out.

The state does not line up with Biden’s perceived demographic strengths, lacking a substantial population of black voters, who have provided a strong base of his support nationally and in other early-voting states such as South Carolina.

A caucus state like Iowa rewards candidates with good organization and passionate fan bases, people who’ll tolerate a night out in the cold of Iowa in February to represent their guy/gal. That is … not the Biden fan base. It’s the Sanders/Warren fan base. Berniebros turned out in Iowa and put him on the map nationally three years ago by coming within a whisker of upsetting Hillary there. They’ll be tough to beat there, as will Warren’s fans. New Hampshire is in Warren’s and Sanders’s backyards, meanwhile, and Bernie crushed Clinton there in 2016 so beating them will be a tall order there as well. South Carolina is Biden’s potential “firewall,” the state with a huge black majority in the Democratic primary; because of Biden’s popularity with black voters his lead in South Carolina polling is actually bigger than it is nationally. South Carolina saved Hillary against Sanders too, giving her a landslide win that put her back on track for the nomination. But “Hillary vs. Bernie” was a binary choice. This year’s field isn’t.

How resilient will Biden’s lead be if he flames out in Iowa and New Hampshire, especially if he performs dismally? Will black voters give up on him and take sides in the Sanders/Warren fight? Will they take a hard look at Kamala Harris or Cory Booker instead? It’s easy to see how the entire house of cards collapses for Grandpa Joe if he does badly in the first two elections. Even if it doesn’t, emerging from the early states with only one win in his pocket will badly damage his electability pitch in the many remaining primaries to come. Imagine Warren winning Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada (where she reportedly has a stellar organization), earning a huge bounce in the polls and a raft of new donations, while Biden comes away with just a win in South Carolina. Who would you bet on to take the nomination at that point?

In lieu of an exit question, some trivia for you from Steve Kornacki: The last Democrat to lose Iowa *and* New Hampshire and go on to win the nomination was Bill Clinton back in 1992, and that carries an asterisk because it was Iowa native son Tom Harkin who won the caucuses that year. Iowa was basically uncontested because of his home-field advantage. To find a Democrat before that who won neither Iowa nor New Hampshire but won the nomination, you need to go back to George McGovern nearly 50 years ago, at the dawn of the modern primary system. Biden would need to make history to become the nominee if he gets shut out in the first two states.

The post Hoo boy: We don’t necessarily need to win Iowa, says Team Biden appeared first on Hot Air.

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And then there were 10: Democratic field cut in half for third debate

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No Marianne Williamson? No reason to watch, then.

To qualify for this one a candidate needed to poll two percent or better in four national or early-state polls plus receive donations from at least 130,000 different people, including 400 each from 20 different states. If more than 10 candidates cleared that bar, ABC was planning to split the debate again into two nights. Which, under the circumstances, might have been a good thing: As tired as everyone is of multi-night debates, there’s a difference between two groups of 10 that are larded up with clown candidates like Bill de Blasio and two groups of five or six stocked with people who have a more realistic chance at the nomination. Imagine a group of five that included both Biden and Warren, giving them an extended opportunity to go at each other with little interruption.

But no, only 10 made it. There was one minor surprise among those who did and two minor surprises among those who didn’t. The de facto finalists for the nomination:

Joe Biden
Elizabeth Warren
Bernie Sanders
Kamala Harris
Pete Buttigieg
Beto O’Rourke
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Yang

The minor surprise is Yang, whose passionate online following pushed him past officeholders like Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Tulsi Gabbard, and de Blasio. At 2.5 percent, he’s actually sixth among all Dems in RCP’s poll of polls right now, slightly ahead of O’Rourke, Booker, Castro, and Klobuchar. It’s hard to imagine him having a “breakout moment” in an exchange with some other candidate, but maybe he doesn’t need one. Just the fact that he’ll have more time to speak on a less crowded stage might help him build on his polling.

The two surprise misses are Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer, each of whom cleared the bar on donations and had multiple polls of two percent or better — but not quite four of them. (Gabbard had two, Steyer three.) Gabbard must feel cheated since she’s actually outpolling some of the candidates who qualified for the debate in the RCP average: She’s at 1.4 percent, slightly ahead of Castro and Klobuchar, although it’s only one pollster, YouGov, that consistently has her at two percent or better. Steyer, meanwhile, has been pouring money into early states in order to raise his profile there. He’s already touched three percent in Iowa and four percent in New Hampshire. Which means we’re likely to see him at the fourth debate in October: For whatever weird reason, the DNC made the requirements for that one the same as for this one. So if Steyer can get one more poll at two percent or better in the next few weeks, he’s in that debate. And of course, so is everyone who already managed to qualify for the third debate.

“But AP,” you say, “why the hell would Democrats want the debate field to *expand* after raising the bar for qualifying for later debates? The whole point here is to narrow the field, right?” Uh, right. I don’t know why they didn’t require better polling and more donations for the fourth debate. Presumably they wanted to give late entrants a chance to make a splash and land a spot onstage. Imagine how excited Nancy Pelosi must be to see Steyer, one of the loudest impeachment advocates in the country, on the cusp of buying his way onto the stage next month and turning up the pressure on House Dems.

That also explains why some of the no-shotters might not quit the race immediately after failing to qualify for debate three. Gabbard certainly won’t; she has a chance of qualifying for the fourth with two more hopeful polls this month. Williamson, who had one poll of two percent or better, may hang around too because why not? As for Bennet, Bullock, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, and (grumble) de Blasio, they might as well bail out now. With no platform at the third debate, what’s their springboard to a polling surge?

Anyway, congrats to Kamala Harris on not having to face Gabbard a second time. I’m not sure her campaign could have survived it. As for Gabbard possibly running as a far-left independent and sabotaging the Democratic nominee if she flames out of the primary — a scenario some lefties, suspicious of her right-wing fan base, have pondered — she told CNN this morning there’s no way. But then, she *would* say that when she’s still trying to earn Democratic votes, wouldn’t she? Exit question: It’s the fourth debate, not the third one, that’s shaping up to be lively, right? That’s the one where all the longshots like Beto, Booker, Castro, and Klobuchar will have to do something dramatic in hopes of building enough support in polls to qualify for debate five.

The post And then there were 10: Democratic field cut in half for third debate appeared first on Hot Air.

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El Paso’s Democratic rep: Trump isn’t welcome here

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Via RCP. First of all, the president of the United States should be welcome anywhere in the United States.

Except Baltimore, maybe. You can understand why they wouldn’t want to have him around at this point.

Second, lefties and assorted other anti-Trumpers need to make up their minds about what they want from him here. Some were howling yesterday that he needed to denounce white nationalism immediately and sincerely. Others wanted a show of real grief and a promise to tone down his own rhetoric going forward. Others still were rolling their eyes and urging him to play golf and stay away from microphones, as he’s incapable of making a bad situation better. This morning at the White House he did condemn white supremacy (although he’s done that before). If the goal is to get him to feel the country’s pain and be more aggressive in policing alt-right terrorists, why the hell would you tell him, “Stay out of El Paso”? The message should be, “Come, and unite with us.”

Of course, that assumes that he really is willing and able to lead a national effort to neutralize white-nationalist jihadis. Today’s speech was a solid, if perfunctory, first step but George “Mr. Kellyanne” Conway is right that it’s easy to imagine Trump veering off-script from here.

We saw that movie after Charlottesville. Odds are high that, as criticism of him this week mounts, he’ll get frustrated and start tweeting about why, say, the media isn’t making more of a fuss about the Dayton shooter’s hard-leftism. In fact, he already started shifting blame from the El Paso shooter to more familiar enemies this morning before his speech:

It may be true, as doves often claim, that the U.S. would be a less frequent target of jihadi terror if it were involved in fewer wars in the Middle East. But if a bomb went off somewhere in America and a Muslim leader rushed out to a microphone banc afterwards to say “Change your foreign policy or there’ll be more terror!”, Americans wouldn’t greet that statement as a thoughtful, germane statement of cause and effect in the moment. They’d treat it as a justification, if not a threat. “Change your behavior or else.” The standards are different for the president.

Dan Drezner tried to hash out in a column today why Trump is a bad fit for moments like this. It’s not just that alt-righters are a cheering section for him, it’s that he doesn’t really do the ceremonial “head of state” part of the job. (He does do the “head of government” part.) He’s a nationalist; nationalism is about advancing your tribe’s interests, not feeling the pain of the “national family” or whatever. (What “national family”?) That was the ideological backdrop of his Baltimore tweets too: Crime in Baltimore isn’t his problem, it’s the other tribe’s problem. Let Elijah Cummings figure it out. I think the most fundamental difficulty in getting him to lead a sustained effort against white nationalists, though, is that they treat him as a hero and he knows it and it’s next to impossible to convince a narcissist that people who idolize him are truly bad people whose influence must be reduced. They like him; how bad could they really be?

Hopefully I’m wrong and Conway’s wrong. We’ll see in a few days. In the meantime, if he wants to go to El Paso, officials there should encourage him. That’s the only way to incentivize a transactional politician — reward him with praise and credit when he does good, punish him when he does bad.

The post El Paso’s Democratic rep: Trump isn’t welcome here appeared first on Hot Air.

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Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon

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Last night’s round one of the debate was hard to predict. Would the natural rivals, Bernie and Warren on the one hand and Buttigieg and Beto on the other, go toe-to-toe? (Nope.) Would the moderates, like John Delaney and Tim Ryan, pile on the progressives? (Yep.) Would Marianne Williamson cast a spell stealing the souls of everyone watching and encasing them in a magic crystal, to be freed only after America has safely elected her president? (Yes indeed.)

Tonight’s round two, at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, is more straightforward. The plan for nearly everyone onstage: Get Biden. Hit him high, hit him low, but hit him hard.

The line-up:

Joe Biden
Kamala Harris
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Kirsten Gillibrand
Tulsi Gabbard
Bill de Blasio
Andew Yang
Jay Inslee
Michael Bennet

Harris is going to take her best shot at Biden, knowing that expectations are high after her breakout performance in the first debate. She pulled some black voters away from Grandpa Joe — temporarily — with the exchange about busing last month. She’s coming after him again, this time probably for his criminal justice bill, to try to further persuade those voters that he’s no friend to black Americans.

Cory Booker’s coming for him too. Spartacus is a desperate man, a marginal candidate to date who somehow needs to elbow past Biden *and* Harris to get black voters’ attention. He’s going to come at Biden for his record on race even more insistently tonight than she will in hopes of finally making his mark. Odds are good, in fact, that the main takeaway from viewers four hours from now will be annoyance that Booker kept interrupting in order to muscle in on the big Biden/Harris rematch.

Gillibrand? Yep, attacking Biden is probably also her best bet. She’s at risk of not qualifying for the third debate; if she doesn’t do something to jumpstart her campaign tonight, she might not have another chance. Landing a roundhouse to the despised centrist Biden’s chin is likely the easiest way to ingratiate herself to progressives.

How about Julian Castro? He had a strong debate last month, winning an exchange on immigration with Beto O’Rourke, but got nothing from it in the polls. He’s in Gillibrand’s boat, needing some immediate buzz. Nothing would do that as efficiently as proving that he’s a more effective left-wing attack dog against Biden than the more celebrated Harris or Booker are.

As for Grandpa Joe himself, he knows it’s coming. He and his campaign have spent the past two weeks all but daring Booker and Harris to come at him. He’s hit Booker hard for the Newark PD’s poor civil-rights record and scoffed at Harris’s fantasyland proposals for how to pay for Medicare for All. Harris got away unscathed in the first debate; he needs to make sure that doesn’t happen tonight. And he needs to look and sound nimble in sparring: A recurring criticism of his stumbling defense from Harris’s busing attack in the first debate was that he looked his age, seemingly caught off-guard. There’ll be no whiny excuses tonight if he stumbles again that Harris desecrated his son’s memory by criticizing him or whatever. Biden needs to prove he’s up to the task. If not, Trump might be taunting him as “low energy” before the debate’s even over.

The dark horse in tonight’s line-up, by the way, is Tulsi Gabbard, whom regular readers know has been landing hard jabs at Kamala Harris. You might think Harris and Gabbard would be more likely to be allies against Biden than Biden and Gabbard would be likely to be allies against Harris. Harris and Gabbard are each a bit further left than Joe, each women of color, each much younger than the former VP, each relatively new to Congress. But for whatever reason, Gabbard has singled her out, including and especially for the bad faith she showed in questioning Biden’s racial bona fides in the first debate. Gabbard might be an attack dog for Biden onstage tonight. And if she is, the theories of why she’s allied herself with him will be flying tomorrow.

CNN is livestreaming the debate on its website (no cable login required) in case you’re away from a television set. The commentariat is preparing for another lackluster Biden performancer, which would throw some new uncertainty into the race tomorrow, but … what if he has a great debate? He’s already back up to a big lead in polling. He could put a chokehold on the race tonight if he embarrasses Harris and Booker. In lieu of an exit question, read this column by Steve Chapman challenging the hypocritical wokeness being applied retroactively to Biden’s support for the Clinton-era crime bill. If crime were as bad now as it was then, argues Chapman, Harris and Booker both would have supported the legislation — especially Harris, a former AG.

The post Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon appeared first on Hot Air.

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Second Democratic debate live thread: Two socialists enter, one socialist leaves

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Am I not allowed to call Elizabeth Warren a socialist because she claims she’s a capitalist, even though her policy plans are indistinguishable from Bernie’s?

C’mon. By that logic, we’d have to call her a Native American.

8 p.m. ET on CNN, the first group of 10 for the second Democratic debate converges for a three-hour descent into madness. And this group happens to have more in common than just the fact that they all want to give free health care to illegals on your dime. Democratic diversity will … not be on display tonight:

I think Beto counts as 1/1,024th Latino. In case you can’t identify everyone there by sight, it’s:

Bernie Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Pete Buttigieg
Beto O’Rourke
Amy Klobuchar
John Hickenlooper
John Delaney
Steve Bullock
Tim Ryan
America’s sweetheart, Marianne Williamson, who is certainly not a “wacky new-age nutcase”

Five of those candidates are no-shots and two, Klobuchar and O’Rourke, are once potentially serious contenders who are on the cusp of no-shot status. It may be early but the stakes tonight are high, notes Byron York:

To make it onstage [for the third debate in September], candidates will have to “receive two percent or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada),” according to the DNC. The committee went on to list several specifications for the polls themselves to make sure the candidates can cite support in legitimate surveys.

Beyond that, the DNC says, candidates must show they have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors, plus at least 400 unique donors in at least 20 states. Together, those rules will eliminate a lot of current Democratic candidates.

Right now in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, just seven candidates are polling at 2% or higher: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Beto O’Rourke. If they stay that way, they will be in the September debate.

Another way of putting that is that fully seven of the 10 candidates onstage are likely fighting for their campaign’s lives, trying to make enough of an impression to clear the bar for an invitation to debate three. That means they’re all incentivized to let it rip — including Beto, whose hold on two percent is no longer steady and who’s surely hoping to claw back some of the “fresh-faced white guy” bloc that migrated from him to Buttigieg some months ago. We’re past the introductory phase of the campaign. Tonight’s the night to show Democratic voters what you’ve got. It’s basically the left-wing version of “America’s Got Talent,” befitting the fact that we elected a game-show host president last time. CNN’s treating it like a game show too:

The Beto/Buttigieg showdown is one plot line, obviously. The other, even more obviously, is Sanders and Warren sharing the stage for the first time and competing for progressives. Will they attack each other or play nice and let the chips fall where they may among lefty viewers? Warren must be tempted to needle Bernie over his labor troubles lately. And Bernie may have no choice but to come after Warren to reverse the trajectory of the race, which has seen her slowly but steadily gobbling up his support. He’s still second to Biden in the RCP poll of polls but she’s right behind him.

Another question: How much of the debate will be defined by theatrical condemnations of Trump?

[A]fter Trump’s comments about multiple lawmakers of color in the past two weeks, including telling minority congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from which they came, there’s a higher chance that the candidates feel more urgency to contrast themselves with the president, if only in terms of their character.

“It’s in the moderators’ interest to put everyone on the record about that, whether it’s about Ilhan Omar or Cummings,” one senior Democratic campaign official, who like others in this story spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid, told me. “I think campaigns are preparing to respond to those because you want to show that you have the cleanest rebuke of his comments of everyone. It’s really a matter of showing you can hold your own and aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with Trump.”

Because Democrats kept their focus on Trump to a minimum the last time around, the president hardly engaged in real time, with “BORING!” being among his few tweets over the course of the two-night debate. But should moderators bring any of Trump’s recent attacks to the forefront, he is likely to punch back from afar.

Attacking Trump may be Beto’s core strategy. His guests at the debate are several black high-school football players from Texas who kneeled for the anthem last season in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Beto’s single most “viral” moment from the Senate campaign against Cruz was a defense of the right to kneel during the anthem. His plan may be to avoid squabbling with Buttigieg and the others and try to out-woke them instead, elevating himself by picking a fight with Trump. Probably won’t work but he’s running out of ways to distinguish himself.

Comments are open below. If you’re in need of a rooting interest, root for a breakout performance by Williamson, as her all-you-need-is-love shtick is the only thing that could liven up this exceedingly dreary primary. By the way, the rules tonight call for candidates not to interrupt each other; if they do they’ll be penalized by having their speaking time reduced, although whether Jake Tapper and the other moderators really intend to enforce that rule is anyone’s guess. Why would CNN want to *discourage* angry interruptions at a big game-show spectacle?

The post Second Democratic debate live thread: Two socialists enter, one socialist leaves appeared first on Hot Air.

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This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs

Another week, new polling.  In previous weeks, we’ve looked at polling in Taylor Swift lyrics, Archer GIFs, and Arrested Development. This week, Quinnipiac polling and Parks & Rec GIFs.

Let’s see how the democrats are doing.

The Overall Democratic Field

They’re a very cool grip that’s killing it with the young people.

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

First Place- Joe Biden (34%)

Once again, Uncle Joe comes out on top. The voters seem to like him as much as Leslie Knope does.

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

Second Place- Elizabeth Warren (15%)

Well, that’s a huge gap between first and second place. Maybe it’s because she basically painted the murals in Pawnee City Hall. If she doesn’t get a White House, gig, though, I know somebody else who might be hiring.

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

Third Place- Kamala Harris (12%)

Just a bit behind Warren, we’ve got Kamala Harris. Half of the people she’s put in jail are like:

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

Fourth Place- Bernie Sanders (11%)

Just one point behind Harris, we have the man who doesn’t understand math. May I suggest a new campaign slogan?

Westlake Legal Group giphy This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs taylor swift Polling poll Parks and Recreation parks and rec kamala harris Joe Biden Front Page Stories Elizabeth Warren democrats democratic democrat Bernie Sanders Arrested Development archer Allow Media Exception 2020

BUT WAIT!

“Don’t know” came in at 12%, showing us just how passionate people are about their choices.

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The post This Week’s Democrat Polling in ‘Parks & Rec’ GIFs appeared first on RedState.

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Rashida Tlaib to CBS: Why won’t Pelosi reach out and talk to us?

Westlake Legal Group rt Rashida Tlaib to CBS: Why won’t Pelosi reach out and talk to us? tweets Trump tlaib The Blog pressley pelosi omar ocasio-cortez democratic AOC

She’s easily my favorite member of the Squad. The other three have the basic sense not to pick at the scab of last week’s unpleasantness with Pelosi at a moment when the whole caucus is suddenly behind them in a fight against Trump, but not Tlaib. AOC even went so far in this interview as to whitewash her own insinuations that Pelosi was singling out her, Omar, Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley for racial reasons:

KING: You know, when you say things like, the Speaker of the House is being disrespectful to women of color. Is she, according to you, being disrespectful to women of color because of your color or because she doesn’t like your policies or the tactics that you all are taking. To make your point.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Right, and I’ll clarify. I did not say that she was disrespectful of women of color. I found some of the comments disrespectful and that was my personal opinion.

KING: Okay.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I did feel that singling out on the basis of one vote was creating an opening. But that doesn’t mean that we, that we fundamentally disagree or fundamentally disrespect each other’s position and power and ability to be here. And that’s what makes us united as a caucus.

Last week Ocasio-Cortez said to WaPo, “When these comments [by Pelosi] first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.” The whole point there was that it was race, not ideology, which AOC had come to believe was the source of special animus from the Speaker towards the Squad. Now, after a week-long sh*tstorm, she’s back to claiming that she didn’t mean Pelosi was disrespectful women of color. Whatever. It’s a transparent lie.

But it’s a smart lie at least, aimed at smoothing over the differences within the caucus to keep everyone focused on Trump.

Then it was Tlaib’s turn to speak:

The money line there is “Acknowledge the fact that we are women of color, so when you do single us out, be aware of that and what you’re doing, especially because some of us are getting death threats, because some of us are being singled out in many ways because of our backgrounds, because of our experiences and so forth.” Tlaib’s suggesting that minority members of Congress should have special immunity from criticism, even from their own leadership, because some are getting death threats, as if Nancy Pelosi — and Trump, of course — don’t get threats routinely. What must be especially galling for Pelosi and her staff is that they’ve taken the threats made against the Squad seriously. Pelosi called for extra security for Ilhan Omar several months ago and Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, sent a letter to Capitol Police a few days ago requesting a meeting to “analyze the current threat environment and set thresholds for enhanced safety of Members” after Trump’s tweets. This is the thanks Pelosi gets — Tlaib demagoging her as racially insensitive because she’s dared to suggest that the prog bombthrowers in the freshman class don’t have as much support nationally as they think.

I think Tlaib’s the Ringo of these fab four. Someone in my Twitter timeline yesterday claimed that Ayanna Pressley is the Ringo, but eh, not really. Pressley’s the George of the group: In the background, lower-key than the others, but just maybe with as much raw “talent” as the two frontmen in what they do. Tlaib is Ringo. She’s a clown. Her endless repetitive droning about racism is essentially percussive.

Via the Free Beacon, here’s one of the frontmen of the group chipping in with her own contribution this morning, insisting that of course she didn’t mean her previous comments about AIPAC and supporters of Israel to be anti-semitic — while emphasizing that no, she doesn’t regret them. That’s predictable. The common thread in populism in both parties is defiance in all things. Never, ever apologize. Even when you’re clearly wrong and people have been hurt by it.

The post Rashida Tlaib to CBS: Why won’t Pelosi reach out and talk to us? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Dems set to flush millions down the can in futile bid to beat McConnell next year in Kentucky

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If the name “Amy McGrath” doesn’t ring a bell it’s because she was one of the few Dems running last fall who *lost* a toss-up House race against her Republican opponent. She fell a few points short against Rep. Andy Barr in KY-6 despite her credentials as the first woman to fly in combat for the Marines and a viral campaign ad that made her a figure of national interest to Democrats. She raised big big big money as a result, making her a serious threat to knock off Barr in a rematch if the political climate is trending blue next fall.

Instead she’s going to challenge the most influential man in the Senate, who has the number of every major Republican donor in the country in his phone’s contacts and has had only one close-ish race in the last 25 years. That came in the Democratic Hopenchange wave of 2008; even with Obama fever at its peak, Dems couldn’t knock off Cocaine Mitch in Kentucky. Now here’s McGrath ready to challenge him in a presidential election year, with Trump at the top of the ballot in a state he won by just a hair under 30 points.

Why would she tackle McConnell instead of Barr, knowing that losing a second closely watched race will brand her as a loser who should step aside and let other ambitious young Dems in Kentucky take a shot? I’m baffled.

Team Mitch was prepared for her announcement and has already unspooled this lowlight reel for Kentucky’s conservative voters?

I understand why Dems want McGrath to run. Between her fundraising ability and her credentials as a vet, she stands more of a chance of winning some swing voters than, say, Ashley Judd does. She might be their strongest hand notwithstanding last year’s loss to Barr. And realistically, they have to give ousting McConnell the ol’ college try because the lefty base views him as a villain almost on par with Trump. (McGrath’s ad reflects that too, which helps explain why it’s already piled up a million views today.) Conceding another six-year term to him via a token opponent after the Merrick Garland blockade and the nuking of the filibuster to confirm Gorsuch would be unimaginable to progressives.

Critics are carping this morning that McGrath’s fundraising prowess will actually hurt Dems nationally by vacuuming up dollars that might have gone to more winnable races, but Chuck Schumer might see that differently. How many dollars wouldn’t be donated at all if the party surrendered to McConnell in his race without a shot being fired? McGrath’s campaign is a morale-booster for the left ahead of Armageddon with Trump, even though she’s destined to lose.

What does McGrath out of this, though? I’m open to the argument that she’s following the Beto O’Rourke/Stacey Abrams path of building her national profile by losing a tight race in a red state. Drew McCoy’s right that narrow defeat against a conservative who was heavily favored to win is something that Dems seem eager to reward these days. But (a) the Beto path isn’t looking so hot right now for Beto himself per the recent Democratic primary polling and (b) there’s no reason to believe McGrath’s race against McConnell will be particularly close. O’Rourke and Abrams each had the wind at their back in running during a midterm, in a Democratic wave environment. McGrath is sailing into strong winds with Trump at the top of the ballot, and she’s facing an incumbent with unusual power and long experience. Is the Beto/Abrams path really there for her if she loses by 10 points?

Even if she surprises by losing narrowly, it’s not as if she can quickly parlay the excitement of a near-miss into an instant presidential run a la O’Rourke and (maybe) Abrams. She’ll have to wait four years to capitalize. Four years ago today, Donald Trump had only recently declared his presidential candidacy. Four years is a lifetime politically, never more so than in this era.

Maybe McGrath figures that losing to McConnell is actually less risky than running — and losing — again against Barr. It’s one thing to be a two-time loser when one of those losses was to the Senate majority leader. It’s another to be a two-time loser when both were at the hands of an obscure congressman. McGrath might be able to put a loss to McConnell behind her and try for governor eventually, hoping that the political climate is more hospitable to Democrats when she does. Or she could cross her fingers and hope that Trump and/or the economy somehow implodes between now and November 2020, which would put every Republican incumbent in the country in some jeopardy. If nothing else, taking one for the team by serving as sacrificial lamb to McConnell will earn her some goodwill from her party. If they beat Trump next year, she might end up with a defense appointment as thanks. Secretary of the Navy, maybe?

Here’s McGrath trying to make the case to Kentucky voters that she’s the Trumpier choice in the race since McConnell is, after all, “The Swamp.” It’s amusing that she thinks populism, rather than hyperpartisanship, is the key to Trump’s appeal, but I guess she needs some sort of pitch to swing voters.

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