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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 83)

Dan Coats to Step Down as Intelligence Chief After Strife With Trump

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-coats-PROMO-facebookJumbo Dan Coats to Step Down as Intelligence Chief After Strife With Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Ratcliffe, John Espionage and Intelligence Services Coats, Dan Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Sunday that Dan Coats will step down as director of national intelligence after a tenure in which the two were often at odds over Russia, North Korea and the president’s own attacks on the intelligence community.

“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves. Dan Coats, the current Director, will be leaving office on August 15th. I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly.”

Mr. Ratcliffe has been a staunch defender of Mr. Trump. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he sharply questioned Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, at last week’s hearing.

Mr. Coats had long been expected to depart of his own accord, an administration official said, but he ended up staying on longer so it would not seem as if he was forced out during a time of conflict with Mr. Trump. In a meeting last week, Mr. Coats told Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that he was ready to move on.

Mr. Coats, who helped devise President George W. Bush’s compassionate conservative agenda, had been an important link between the Trump administration and the Republican establishment. With Mr. Coats gone, those ties, at least on national security matters, are likely to weaken.

But Mr. Trump’s grip on the Republican Party has only strengthened, and he has long since demonstrated that members of the party’s establishment need his support far more than he needs theirs.

Mr. Trump’s frustration with Mr. Coats was reignited in recent months, during spring weekends spent at his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., according to people who spoke with him at the time.

Mr. Trump had weighed firing Mr. Coats since he took issue with the president’s assertions, after a 2018 meeting in Finland with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, challenging the intelligence community’s conclusions that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential race. Mr. Coats also questioned the wisdom of a potential White House meeting between the two leaders.

Some of the president’s political advisers had encouraged him to oust Mr. Coats, but he had been shielded by Mr. Pence, a longtime protégé. Mr. Coats served as a senator from Indiana, and Mr. Pence was the state’s governor.

His pending departure has been whispered about in Washington for weeks, and Axios first reported on Sunday that Mr. Ratcliffe was the favorite to replace him. The New York Times then reported that Mr. Coats’s resignation was imminent.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, favored Mr. Ratcliffe as a replacement for Mr. Coats, as did several of Mr. Trump’s more conservative allies, according to administration officials. However, others in Mr. Trump’s group of advisers were skeptical that Mr. Ratcliffe was the right choice. Mr. Ratcliffe’s name has periodically been floated for attorney general, a job he is said to prefer over the intelligence director post, but one unlikely to be available anytime soon.

In picking Mr. Ratcliffe, the president tapped a lawmaker who, unlike Mr. Coats, has come to his defense against the investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Mr. Ratcliffe met privately with Mr. Trump at the White House on July 19, according to administration officials, for a meeting about whether he would take the job. Less than a week later, Mr. Ratcliffe accused Mr. Mueller of not following Justice Department guidelines when the special counsel said he could not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice. If a special counsel cannot bring charges, he should not presume to say a target was not cleared, Mr. Ratcliffe said.

“So Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report that Volume II of this report was not authorized under the law to be written,” Mr. Ratcliffe said of the portion of Mr. Mueller’s report that described how the president sought to impede the investigation.

“It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department, and it was written in violation of every D.O.J. principle about extra prosecutorial commentary,” Mr. Ratcliffe added. “I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where Volume II of this report puts him.”

Critics disagreed with Mr. Ratcliffe’s conclusion, noting that department guidelines call for a special counsel to provide a report “explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” at the end of an investigation.

Before the Finland meeting, Mr. Coats had become increasingly vocal in defending the intelligence agencies and their assessment that the Kremlin has been pursuing a campaign of cyberattacks aimed at undermining American democracy. Though Mr. Coats has long held those views, he made a deliberate decision to emphasize the intelligence agencies’ findings before the summit, in what some saw as a challenge to the White House.

At a security conference in Aspen, Colo., soon after, Mr. Coats expressed surprise about reports that Mr. Trump could invite Mr. Putin to the White House. “That is going to be special,” he said in a notably unguarded moment.

Political aides to Mr. Trump seized upon the performance to suggest in private discussions that the intelligence chief was disloyal.

After the Aspen appearance, Mr. Coats adopted a lower profile, avoiding any comments that contradicted the president. But Mr. Coats has also tried to protect national security officers from Mr. Trump’s criticism.

Mr. Coats took the lead in a Jan. 29 presentation of global threats that was at odds with Mr. Trump’s views. The president the next day called his intelligence chiefs “passive and naïve.”

In an indignant Twitter post, Mr. Trump wrote: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”

The report, and Mr. Coats’s testimony before the Senate, said North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear stockpile, Iran was not immediately taking steps to build a nuclear weapon and the Islamic State was still capable of stoking violence in Syria — all facts at odds with Mr. Trump’s worldview.

In a speech to intelligence officers in January, Mr. Coats said it was their duty to seek the truth about the world. “And when we find that truth, to speak the truth,” he added.

With the departures from the administration at the end of 2018 of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Coats was one of the last establishment senior national security figures in the Trump administration.

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Trump ‘Richly Deserves’ Impeachment, Chairman of House Judiciary Panel Says

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-nadler-facebookJumbo Trump ‘Richly Deserves’ Impeachment, Chairman of House Judiciary Panel Says United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, said on Sunday that he believed President Trump “richly deserves” to be impeached, the most forceful public comments yet from the leader of the panel that would open the proceedings to remove the president from office.

“He has done many impeachable offenses,” Mr. Nadler, Democrat of New York, said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He’s violated the law six ways from Sunday.”

But deflecting from his opinion, Mr. Nadler continued: “That’s not the question. The question is, can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people? We have broken the logjam. The president and the attorney general were lying to the American people consistently, saying that the Mueller report found no obstruction, no collusion and exonerated the president.”

Privately, Mr. Nadler had signaled to lawmakers and aides that he had gradually become convinced that his panel should proceed with impeachment hearings as expeditiously as possible. But he had not said so publicly, and his comments on Sunday, after the congressional testimony last week of the former special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, only sharpened the divide among senior lawmakers over whether House Democrats should proceed with impeachment.

More than half a dozen lawmakers came out for beginning impeachment proceedings after Mr. Mueller’s testimony, including Representative Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, pushing the total number of lawmakers in favor of doing so to 100. But a majority of the caucus has remained skeptical of the political implications of such a move that would doubtless end with an acquittal in the Senate, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged caution. “We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed,” she told reporters on Friday. “Not one day sooner.”

The Judiciary Committee has toyed with the idea of impeachment for months, holding hearings and subpoenaing witnesses. In an escalation carrying perhaps the most overt political implications yet, on Friday the panel asked a federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, using the court filing to declare that lawmakers had already in effect begun an impeachment investigation of Mr. Trump.

“Too much has been made of the phrase ‘an impeachment inquiry,’” Mr. Nadler said at a news conference on Friday. “We are doing what our court filing says we are doing, what I said we are doing, and that is to say we are using our full Article I powers to investigate the conduct of the president and to consider what remedies there are. Among other things we will consider, obviously, are whether to recommend articles of impeachment.”

Mr. Trump took aim at Mr. Nadler on Saturday night, fuming on Twitter that “we gave Nadler and his Trump hating Dems the complete Mueller Report (we didn’t have to), and even Mueller himself, but now that both were a total BUST, they say it wasn’t good enough.”

“Nothing will ever be good enough for them,” he continued. “Witch Hunt!”

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After Inflammatory Attack, Trump Accuses Democrats of Playing ‘the Race Card’

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-trump2-facebookJumbo After Inflammatory Attack, Trump Accuses Democrats of Playing ‘the Race Card’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Pelosi, Nancy Cummings, Elijah E Blacks Baltimore (Md)

WASHINGTON — President Trump denied on Sunday that his attacks on an African-American congressman and his “disgusting, rat and rodent infested” district were racist even as he fired back at Speaker Nancy Pelosi by targeting her district as well.

As he has done repeatedly when challenged for inflaming racial tensions, Mr. Trump sought to turn the accusation around by alleging that Democrats were playing “the Race Card,” as he put it on Twitter. His top aide went on television to say the president was being “hyperbolic,” not racist.

“‘Elijah Cummings has had his chance to address it (crime & conditions in Baltimore) for decades, and he hasn’t gotten it done,’” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, citing comments by Pete Hegseth, a host on “Fox & Friends,” the show that triggered his initial outburst on Saturday with a segment assailing the African-American congressman, Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland. “How can he get it done when he just wants to use his Oversight Committee to hurt innocent people and divide our Country!”

Mr. Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has sharply criticized Mr. Trump for his handling of the border, particularly for the conditions in which migrants are being held. In recent days, he was also authorized to subpoena work-related emails and text messages on personal devices from Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other White House officials.

Mr. Trump’s assault on Mr. Cummings escalated the racial debate after his previous attacks on four first-term Democratic congresswomen of color, whom he told to “go back” to their home countries even though three of them were born in the United States and the other is a naturalized American citizen.

In his Twitter burst on Saturday, the president said Mr. Cummings had failed his Baltimore-based district, which he described as a “very dangerous & filthy place” where “no human being would want to live.”

Mr. Cummings, Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats fired back, as did The Baltimore Sun, which published a blistering editorial defending its hometown.

“We would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are ‘good people’ among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post,” the editorial said. “Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.”

Democrats appearing on the Sunday talk shows came to Mr. Cummings’s defense and assailed Mr. Trump for playing racial games. Appearing on “This Week” on ABC, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said the president was “disgusting and racist,” while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, noted that Mr. Trump does not attack impoverished rural white districts.

“Our job is to bring people together to improve life for all people,” Mr. Sanders, who himself lamented conditions in West Baltimore in 2015 as resembling “a Third World country,” said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “Not to have a racist president who attacks people because they are African-American. That is a disgrace. And that’s why we’re going to defeat this president.”

Mr. Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, defended the president on the Sunday shows and insisted that there was nothing racist about his attack on Mr. Cummings’s district.

“Does the president speak hyperbolically? Absolutely,” he said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “Have we seen this type of reaction for him before? Yes, and you will again because he pushes back. He fights back when he feels like he’s attacked, and what Mr. Cummings said this week was wrong.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” he said Mr. Trump made a fair point about the state of affairs in Mr. Cummings’s district. “It has absolutely zero to do with race,” he said, adding: “Have you seen some of the pictures on the internet? Just this morning from the conditions in Baltimore, Md. Have you seen them?”

Although Baltimore has struggled with crime in recent years, Mr. Cummings’s district, which is 53 percent African-American, also includes vast suburban stretches and has a median household income in the top half of congressional districts.

Other Republicans were left in the uncomfortable position of once again being asked to answer for the president. “Look, I didn’t do the tweets,” Senator Rick Scott of Florida said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “I can’t talk about why he did what he did. But I’m very disappointed in the people, like Congressman Cummings, who is attacking Border Patrol agents that are trying to do their job.”

At a recent hearing, Mr. Cummings confronted Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, about conditions for detained migrants, sharply criticizing the secretary’s contention that his department was doing its “level best” to manage the situation.

“What does that mean?” Mr. Cummings demanded. “What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower? Come on, man. What is that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.”

During his campaign and at points during his presidency, Mr. Trump has insisted that “we’re fixing the inner cities,” but made no effort in his weekend tweets to explain what if anything he is doing to fix Baltimore. Instead, he went after Ms. Pelosi, herself a native of Baltimore and the daughter and brother of former mayors who chastised him for his original tweets, saying that her San Francisco district was “not even recognizeable lately.”

“Someone please explain to Nancy Pelosi, who was recently called racist by those in her own party, that there is nothing wrong with bringing out the very obvious fact that Congressman Elijah Cummings has done a very poor job for his district and the City of Baltimore,” the president wrote.

“Just take a look, the facts speak far louder than words!” he continued. “The Democrats always play the Race Card, when in fact they have done so little for our Nation’s great African American people. Now, lowest unemployment in U.S. history, and only getting better. Elijah Cummings has failed badly!”

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Dan Coats Expected to Step Down as Intelligence Chief

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-coats-facebookJumbo Dan Coats Expected to Step Down as Intelligence Chief United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Ratcliffe, John Espionage and Intelligence Services Coats, Dan Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, is expected to step down in the coming days after spending his tenure at odds with President Trump over issues including Russia and Mr. Trump’s own attacks on the intelligence community, people familiar with the decision said on Sunday.

To replace him, the people said, the president was likely to tap Representative John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican and staunch defender of Mr. Trump. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he sharply questioned Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, at last week’s hearing.

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Heading Into Long Recess, House Democrats Take Home a Mixed Record

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-cong-facebookJumbo Heading Into Long Recess, House Democrats Take Home a Mixed Record Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — On their 100th day in power, they squabbled about spending as President Trump assailed one of the first Muslims in Congress with a video of the Sept. 11 attacks.

On the 200th day, they fought privately over impeachment as they completed a landmark budget deal that added hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending.

Seven months into their majority, one whose brash, young and diverse membership promised big change, House Democrats left Washington for the summer with a long list of symbolic victories — but an even longer one of unfulfilled goals.

With their legislative agenda on track but stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate and internal divisions complicating their efforts to oust Mr. Trump, the new class returns home with a decidedly mixed record.

Under the relentlessly disciplined tutelage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats have shown remarkable unity on votes, passing legislation on gun control, immigration, health care, election security, the federal minimum wage and the budget package with minimal evidence of the rifts just beneath the surface.

But virtually all of their legislation has hit a blockade set up by Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and the few bills that have reached Mr. Trump’s desk have been vetoed.

“While a lot of work may have been done in the House, very little of it has become law,” said Representative Jeff Van Drew, a first-term Democrat from New Jersey who won a Republican-leaning district that supported Mr. Trump. “Nice bills that don’t become law become nothing.”

At critical moments, disconnects between liberals and moderates on both policy and style have exploded into public view, and Mr. Trump has diverted attention from key Democratic victories at almost every turn. A vote on a meticulously negotiated agreement among Democrats on legislation to raise the minimum wage was overshadowed this month after Mr. Trump made an incendiary attack on four freshman congresswomen of color; House Democrats spent the first half of their week debating and passing a resolution to condemn his comments as racist.

“He knows exactly how to distract us, and we take the bait — we take the bait every time,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, another first-term lawmaker from a Trump district. “And then I go home and people say, ‘How come your party isn’t helping me with the cost of inhalers or EpiPens, or health care in general?’ And we do care about those things; it’s just not what makes sexy headlines.”

Meanwhile, impatience is growing among the party’s liberal wing to move forward on impeaching Mr. Trump, as activists vent their frustration about a House Democratic majority they charge is too timid to effectively challenge the president.

Leaders have privately counseled Democratic lawmakers to use their August break to play up their policy agenda, holding events that highlight their accomplishments in the first 200 days. Those include a bid to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and measures to protect health care access. In a news conference on Thursday on the steps of the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would “own August” and ratchet up pressure on Mr. McConnell to take up legislation that the House has passed. The word “impeachment” was not uttered.

But progressive groups intend to amplify their pro-impeachment message and to intensify pressure on Democrats to fall in line. The liberal organizing group Stand Up America is planning a major mobilization next month to put Democrats on the spot on the subject, encouraging voters across the country to demand that their lawmakers support opening an inquiry.

Activists are particularly focused on the 30 or so progressive lawmakers who have not yet come out in favor of impeachment, as well as holdouts on the House Judiciary Committee, more than half of whom already back the move.

“During the August recess, we will ensure that every member of Congress hears from their constituents on why it’s the only path forward,” said the group’s president and founder, Sean Eldridge. “Right now, Congress is the only institution that can hold Trump accountable for his crimes — and it’s time for Speaker Pelosi to do the right thing by starting an impeachment inquiry.”

The satirical website The Onion on Thursday reflected the degree of liberal outrage at the speaker’s approach, blaring the headline, “Pelosi Concerned Outspoken Progressive Flank of Party Could Harm Democrats’ Reputation as Ineffectual Cowards.” It appeared just hours before Ms. Pelosi scored a major coup, winning passage of the breakthrough two-year budget agreement to raise the statutory limit on national debt and increase spending limits, with minimal defections by progressive Democrats.

The spoof pointed to very real frustration among activists, who argue that despite Democrats’ best efforts to brand themselves as pragmatic and in touch with kitchen-table concerns, they instead come across as feckless and ineffective by failing to establish a clear position on how to take on Mr. Trump.

“There is a lot of frustration on impeachment, because basically, Trump and the Republicans have a very clear message, which is, ‘Full exoneration, no collusion, no obstruction, witch hunt,’ and the Democratic response is, ‘Well, we’re looking into it; we need more evidence; we’ll see,’” said Ezra Levin, a co-founder of Indivisible, a grass-roots network of progressive activists. “It looks weak, because it is weak.”

Indivisible activists will also be attending town hall-style meetings and other events in August to urge Democrats to support impeachment, he said. “They’re going to hear that this is the issue of the day, and we expect you to take a stand.”

Despite the outside pressure and bickering inside her ranks, Ms. Pelosi has kept Democrats together on critical issues and maintained an impressive productivity, churning out bill after marquee bill that Democrats can point to in their quest to offer a different approach from Republicans.

“Will voters at the end of the day, in 18 months, give them credit for trying to do a lot of stuff that the Senate’s stopped? The jury’s out — we’ll see,” said Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist who is a former top House Democratic leadership aide. “But the good thing for the freshmen and the people in Trump districts is they have something to say, they have a message, they have things they are trying to do.”

“She, every week, puts up 218 votes on a lot of things, and that’s what matters,” Mr. Elmendorf said of the speaker.

Ms. Pelosi and Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths in recent weeks to defuse conflicts in their ranks and present a united front. Mr. Trump himself helped facilitate that after he denounced Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, and three other lawmakers of color, prompting the vote on the racism resolution.

On Thursday, House leaders abruptly canceled action on a measure to toughen oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than risk a potentially divisive vote before their recess, which might distract from the striking unity of recent successes. On Friday morning, Ms. Pelosi made a public show of locking arms with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, with whom she has clashed this month, after a one-on-one meeting called to calm the tensions.

And the move on Friday by the Judiciary Committee to sue for the release of grand jury material from the special counsel’s investigation as a part of a broader consideration of impeachment helped quell, at least briefly, the consternation of lawmakers over whether the House has acted aggressively enough against Mr. Trump.

“We’re the most unified we’ve been in seven months,” said Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California. “Three weeks ago, there were significant divisions and concerns, but now we have a clear path forward on holding the president accountable, and we are doing as much as we can with a progressive agenda, given that we have Mitch McConnell as the leader of the Senate and Donald Trump in the White House.”

But Mr. Trump continues to dominate the conversation. He set the tone for lawmakers’ first weekend home with constituents on Saturday when he attacked Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, insulting his majority-black district in Baltimore as a blighted mess.

“We all reject racist attacks against him,” Ms. Pelosi tweeted of Mr. Cummings in response.

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Why Democrats Are So Far From Consensus on 2020

WAUKEE, Iowa — Bernie Sanders preaches “political revolution” to the crowds at his campaign rallies. Elizabeth Warren promises “big, systemic change” as she rolls out major policy proposals. And Pete Buttigieg warns his packed town hall audiences that the “riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”

But speaking to a khaki-clad crowd in the wooded front yard of Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered a very different message: “I am absolutely convinced that there are still things people are prepared to cooperate on.”

In the days before the candidates will gather in Detroit for their second round of presidential debates, Democrats find themselves grappling with a central question: Is beating President Trump enough? Or should Democrats, much like the man they hope to defeat, shake the political system like a snow globe and worry later about how things settle?

[Follow our coverage of the next Democratic primary debates.]

Mr. Trump’s victory has prompted a wave of anxiety among risk-averse Democratic primary voters who fear the shock of waking up — once again — to find their antagonist-in-chief elected to the White House. At the same time, the president’s polarizing politics have energized the party’s progressive wing, prompting many of the candidates to embrace a series of proposals that some Democrats worry are out of step with the beliefs of a majority of voters.

It is a critical question of identity for a party that has been trying to bridge an ideological schism ever since the midterms ushered in an ascendant group of lawmakers eager to challenge the establishment. It also comes as Congressional Democrats have squabbled within their own caucus over issues like whether to impeach the president or whether they should compromise on border control.

Interviews with more than four dozen Democratic officials, activists and voters across Iowa found a party divided between those who felt that ousting the president and returning to a pre-Trump ethos in Washington was sufficient — and not worth the risk of seeking bigger change — and those who wanted to use the current political moment to fight for a fundamental reshaping of the nation’s economic, political and health care systems.

“We’d love to be thinking about creating change and progress, but honestly, right now we all just want this beloved republic to survive Trump,” said Marjie Foster, the Democratic chairwoman in Decatur County, an area south of Des Moines on the Missouri border.

Others say Democrats are also culpable for building a political system dependent on big-money interests — and now must tear it down.

“It’s foolish to pretend that the problems in this country are the result of one aberrant presidency,” said Zach Simonson, the Democratic chairman in Wapello County in southeast Iowa. “Trump was the inevitable result of an economic system where both parties put the needs of wealthy donors ahead of working people. ”

Image<img alt="Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 600w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw” itemprop=”url” itemid=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale”>

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.
CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

[It was a busy week in the 2020 race. Catch up on what you missed.]

The push and pull over which path to pursue is playing out in tangible ways. In Iowa, interest groups are trying to push the Democratic candidates to the left. Greenpeace, for instance, stationed a field organizer in Des Moines who totes a hand-operated scoreboard to political events displaying the grades the group has awarded each of the 2020 candidates for their stances on the environment. In New Hampshire, volunteers with the American Civil Liberties Union appear at town hall events to press candidates to end the cash bail system and cut incarceration rates in half.

There are no organizations rallying early-state voters and candidates to the political middle.

The debate over what kind of candidate to run against Mr. Trump is a Rorschach test for how Democratic candidates, activists and voters see the future — and the past.

The party’s center-left candidates argue that Mr. Trump is a historical comma, a four- or eight-year break from the country’s political baseline. They promise a return to a bygone political era of bipartisan cooperation and respectful political debate, with far less polarization.

“Trump is very much a symptom of our problems, not the cause,” Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado said in an interview earlier this month. “People thought, ‘We couldn’t do any worse, we might as well blow the place up.’ We need a better standard than that.”

Others, including Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, view the president as the period at the end of an era in American political life.

“The Reagan era has basically defined my entire life span, and it’s finally ending,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We’re just in a different place than the kind of ’90s formula where you could assume that part of how you appeal to independent voters was to pursue ideological centrism.”

Most voters interviewed in Iowa in recent months said their attraction to candidates was based more on who could win than political kinship.

Kathy Varney, an editor for the defense contractor Collins Aerospace, wore an “Impeach Trump” shirt to a recent candidate gathering in Cedar Rapids, where she lives. Ms. Varney, 61, said she is considering Ms. Warren, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, candidates who represent three disparate points on the party’s ideological spectrum.

“I just want to get everything upright again,” she said. “The number one thing is just beat Trump, just get him out of there.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren has based her campaign on the idea of “big systemic change” to the government. CreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York Times

The crowded presidential campaign has scrambled longstanding alliances as some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers now find themselves allied with Mr. Biden because they see him as the safest vessel to victory. Other members of the party establishment are looking to fresher faces to build a new political coalition to win back the White House.

“Progressives I’ve talked to have shown a surprisingly pragmatic approach to 2020,” said Bill Press, the former California Democratic Party chairman in whose Washington townhouse Mr. Sanders first brainstormed about his 2016 campaign. “They are willing to bend, be flexible, hold their nose and support somebody that normally they might not give the time of day to if they feel he or she is the strongest candidate.”

[Here’s the latest polling and analysis of the Democratic primary race.]

At Mr. Biden’s event last week in Waukee, the Democratic establishment of Iowa quietly mingled with the former vice president and Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary under President Obama. Few were demanding fundamental change to the political system.

“I want a good middle ground,” said Heather Matson, a freshman state representative from Ankeny who ousted a five-term incumbent Republican last year. “I’m not a call-for-a-big-disruption type of person, but what I want is someone who can inspire us and bring us together.”

The quiet tension between restoration and revolution is likely to come into clearer view when the candidates gather in Detroit for the second set of debates.

On Tuesday night, Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg will stand between rival Democrats who have framed their campaigns as a return to pre-Trump normalcy. Wednesday’s face-off will place Mr. Biden between Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, the race’s two African-American candidates who have both sparred with the former vice president over his record on race-related issues.

Those matchups foreshadow how the primary contest is likely to develop into this fall and winter, some Democratic officials say.

Christine Pelosi, a Democratic National Committee member from San Francisco whose mother is the House speaker, predicts that as the field narrows, the race will come down to a battle between a get-along candidate and a blow-it-up rival.

“I think we end up with one person from each philosophy,” she said. “You have to talk about both, but when you talk about big, bold structural change, that is very scary for people.”

Some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers see Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, as the safest path to victory in 2020.CreditKathryn Gamble for The New York Times

Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa argued that the desire to defeat Mr. Trump will override any differences of position.

“Splits are happening more and more right now among the candidates,” Mr. Loebsack said recently, as a parade of five presidential candidates spoke at an Iowa City fund-raiser for an Iowa state senator. “But I still think the bottom line is that people desperately want to get rid of Donald Trump.”

Not everyone agrees: Some argue that just focusing on Mr. Trump will not be enough to mobilize an increasingly diverse and liberal party.

To win, they argue, Democrats must energize the minority and young voters who have moved to the left on social and economic issues. Those voters, they say, want to hear more than simply a critique of a president they already believe is unfit for the White House.

“That is not the sole message and it cannot be because there are real challenges in the country that predate Trump,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, an organization that works closely with African-American voters.

Hoping to inspire primary voters, many of the leading candidates have embraced proposals that were once constrained to the fringes of the party. They have pitched eliminating most of the private health insurance industry, expanding the size of the Supreme Court, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and embracing reparations for slavery to some black Americans.

Their campaigns point to polls showing that majorities of Americans agree. A New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll found that two-thirds of Americans and 81 percent of Democrats back a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth of more than $50 million, as Ms. Warren proposed. The same survey found that 59 percent of Americans support free tuition at public colleges, and 58 percent support Medicare for All — both of which have long been staple policies for Mr. Sanders.

But when asked about the specifics of those plans — like eliminating private health insurance — those numbers often drop.

Moderates worry that images from the primary debates, like the photos from the June debate that show 10 Democratic candidates raising their hands in support of free health care for undocumented immigrants, will come back to haunt the candidates in the general election.

“There are some things that some of these candidates want that are not achievable and will probably cost Democrats the election,” said Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the state’s largest employee union. “Let’s not go so far left that normal, average, everyday citizens say, ‘That’s not for me.’”

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

For 2020 Democrats, Beating Trump Is Step One. What’s Step Two?

WAUKEE, Iowa — Bernie Sanders preaches “political revolution” to the crowds at his campaign rallies. Elizabeth Warren promises “big, systemic change” as she rolls out major policy proposals. And Pete Buttigieg warns his packed town hall audiences that the “riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”

But speaking to a khaki-clad crowd in the wooded front yard of Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered a very different message: “I am absolutely convinced that there are still things people are prepared to cooperate on.”

In the days before the candidates will gather in Detroit for their second round of presidential debates, Democrats find themselves grappling with a central question: Is beating President Trump enough? Or should Democrats, much like the man they hope to defeat, shake the political system like a snow globe and worry later about how things settle?

[Follow our coverage of the next Democratic primary debates.]

Mr. Trump’s victory has prompted a wave of anxiety among risk-averse Democratic primary voters who fear the shock of waking up — once again — to find their antagonist-in-chief elected to the White House. At the same time, the president’s polarizing politics have energized the party’s progressive wing, prompting many of the candidates to embrace a series of proposals that some Democrats worry are out of step with the beliefs of a majority of voters.

It is a critical question of identity for a party that has been trying to bridge an ideological schism ever since the midterms ushered in an ascendant group of lawmakers eager to challenge the establishment. It also comes as Congressional Democrats have squabbled within their own caucus over issues like whether to impeach the president or whether they should compromise on border control.

Interviews with more than four dozen Democratic officials, activists and voters across Iowa found a party divided between those who felt that ousting the president and returning to a pre-Trump ethos in Washington was sufficient — and not worth the risk of seeking bigger change — and those who wanted to use the current political moment to fight for a fundamental reshaping of the nation’s economic, political and health care systems.

“We’d love to be thinking about creating change and progress, but honestly, right now we all just want this beloved republic to survive Trump,” said Marjie Foster, the Democratic chairwoman in Decatur County, an area south of Des Moines on the Missouri border.

Others say Democrats are also culpable for building a political system dependent on big-money interests — and now must tear it down.

“It’s foolish to pretend that the problems in this country are the result of one aberrant presidency,” said Zach Simonson, the Democratic chairman in Wapello County in southeast Iowa. “Trump was the inevitable result of an economic system where both parties put the needs of wealthy donors ahead of working people. ”

Image<img alt="Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 600w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw” itemprop=”url” itemid=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale”>

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.
CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

[It was a busy week in the 2020 race. Catch up on what you missed.]

The push and pull over which path to pursue is playing out in tangible ways. In Iowa, interest groups are trying to push the Democratic candidates to the left. Greenpeace, for instance, stationed a field organizer in Des Moines who totes a hand-operated scoreboard to political events displaying the grades the group has awarded each of the 2020 candidates for their stances on the environment. In New Hampshire, volunteers with the American Civil Liberties Union appear at town hall events to press candidates to end the cash bail system and cut incarceration rates in half.

There are no organizations rallying early-state voters and candidates to the political middle.

The debate over what kind of candidate to run against Mr. Trump is a Rorschach test for how Democratic candidates, activists and voters see the future — and the past.

The party’s center-left candidates argue that Mr. Trump is a historical comma, a four- or eight-year break from the country’s political baseline. They promise a return to a bygone political era of bipartisan cooperation and respectful political debate, with far less polarization.

“Trump is very much a symptom of our problems, not the cause,” Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado said in an interview earlier this month. “People thought, ‘We couldn’t do any worse, we might as well blow the place up.’ We need a better standard than that.”

Others, including Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, view the president as the period at the end of an era in American political life.

“The Reagan era has basically defined my entire life span, and it’s finally ending,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We’re just in a different place than the kind of ’90s formula where you could assume that part of how you appeal to independent voters was to pursue ideological centrism.”

Most voters interviewed in Iowa in recent months said their attraction to candidates was based more on who could win than political kinship.

Kathy Varney, an editor for the defense contractor Collins Aerospace, wore an “Impeach Trump” shirt to a recent candidate gathering in Cedar Rapids, where she lives. Ms. Varney, 61, said she is considering Ms. Warren, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, candidates who represent three disparate points on the party’s ideological spectrum.

“I just want to get everything upright again,” she said. “The number one thing is just beat Trump, just get him out of there.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren has based her campaign on the idea of “big systemic change” to the government. CreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York Times

The crowded presidential campaign has scrambled longstanding alliances as some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers now find themselves allied with Mr. Biden because they see him as the safest vessel to victory. Other members of the party establishment are looking to fresher faces to build a new political coalition to win back the White House.

“Progressives I’ve talked to have shown a surprisingly pragmatic approach to 2020,” said Bill Press, the former California Democratic Party chairman in whose Washington townhouse Mr. Sanders first brainstormed about his 2016 campaign. “They are willing to bend, be flexible, hold their nose and support somebody that normally they might not give the time of day to if they feel he or she is the strongest candidate.”

[Here’s the latest polling and analysis of the Democratic primary race.]

At Mr. Biden’s event last week in Waukee, the Democratic establishment of Iowa quietly mingled with the former vice president and Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary under President Obama. Few were demanding fundamental change to the political system.

“I want a good middle ground,” said Heather Matson, a freshman state representative from Ankeny who ousted a five-term incumbent Republican last year. “I’m not a call-for-a-big-disruption type of person, but what I want is someone who can inspire us and bring us together.”

The quiet tension between restoration and revolution is likely to come into clearer view when the candidates gather in Detroit for the second set of debates.

On Tuesday night, Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg will stand between rival Democrats who have framed their campaigns as a return to pre-Trump normalcy. Wednesday’s face-off will place Mr. Biden between Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, the race’s two African-American candidates who have both sparred with the former vice president over his record on race-related issues.

Those matchups foreshadow how the primary contest is likely to develop into this fall and winter, some Democratic officials say.

Christine Pelosi, a Democratic National Committee member from San Francisco whose mother is the House speaker, predicts that as the field narrows, the race will come down to a battle between a get-along candidate and a blow-it-up rival.

“I think we end up with one person from each philosophy,” she said. “You have to talk about both, but when you talk about big, bold structural change, that is very scary for people.”

Some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers see Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, as the safest path to victory in 2020.CreditKathryn Gamble for The New York Times

Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa argued that the desire to defeat Mr. Trump will override any differences of position.

“Splits are happening more and more right now among the candidates,” Mr. Loebsack said recently, as a parade of five presidential candidates spoke at an Iowa City fund-raiser for an Iowa state senator. “But I still think the bottom line is that people desperately want to get rid of Donald Trump.”

Not everyone agrees: Some argue that just focusing on Mr. Trump will not be enough to mobilize an increasingly diverse and liberal party.

To win, they argue, Democrats must energize the minority and young voters who have moved to the left on social and economic issues. Those voters, they say, want to hear more than simply a critique of a president they already believe is unfit for the White House.

“That is not the sole message and it cannot be because there are real challenges in the country that predate Trump,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, an organization that works closely with African-American voters.

Hoping to inspire primary voters, many of the leading candidates have embraced proposals that were once constrained to the fringes of the party. They have pitched eliminating most of the private health insurance industry, expanding the size of the Supreme Court, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and embracing reparations for slavery to some black Americans.

Their campaigns point to polls showing that majorities of Americans agree. A New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll found that two-thirds of Americans and 81 percent of Democrats back a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth of more than $50 million, as Ms. Warren proposed. The same survey found that 59 percent of Americans support free tuition at public colleges, and 58 percent support Medicare for All — both of which have long been staple policies for Mr. Sanders.

But when asked about the specifics of those plans — like eliminating private health insurance — those numbers often drop.

Moderates worry that images from the primary debates, like the photos from the June debate that show 10 Democratic candidates raising their hands in support of free health care for undocumented immigrants, will come back to haunt the candidates in the general election.

“There are some things that some of these candidates want that are not achievable and will probably cost Democrats the election,” said Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the state’s largest employee union. “Let’s not go so far left that normal, average, everyday citizens say, ‘That’s not for me.’”

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

Is Just Ousting Trump a Sufficient Goal? Democrats Are Divided Over the Answer.

WAUKEE, Iowa — Bernie Sanders preaches “political revolution” to the crowds at his campaign rallies. When not posing for thousands of selfies, Elizabeth Warren promises “big, systemic change.” And Pete Buttigieg warns his packed town hall audiences that the “riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”

But speaking to a khaki-clad crowd in the wooded front yard of Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered a very different message: “I am absolutely convinced that there are still things people are prepared to cooperate on.”

In the days before the candidates will gather in Detroit for their second round of presidential debates, Democrats find themselves grappling with a central question: Is beating President Trump enough? Or should Democrats, much like the man they hope to defeat, shake the political system like a snow globe and worry later about how things settle?

[Follow our coverage of the next Democratic primary debates.]

Mr. Trump’s victory has prompted a wave of anxiety among risk-averse Democratic primary voters who fear the shock of waking up — once again — to find their antagonist-in-chief elected to the White House. At the same time, the president’s polarizing politics have energized the party’s progressive wing, prompting many of the candidates to embrace a series of proposals that some Democrats worry are out of step with the beliefs of a majority of voters.

It is a critical question of identity for a party that has been trying to bridge an ideological schism ever since the midterms ushered in an ascendant group of lawmakers eager to challenge the establishment. It also comes as Congressional Democrats have squabbled within their own caucus over issues like whether to impeach the president or whether they should compromise on border control.

Interviews with more than four dozen Democratic officials, activists and voters across Iowa found a party divided between those who felt that ousting the president and returning to a pre-Trump ethos in Washington was sufficient — and not worth the risk of seeking bigger change — and those who wanted to use the current political moment to fight for a fundamental reshaping of the nation’s economic, political and health care systems.

“We’d love to be thinking about creating change and progress, but honestly, right now we all just want this beloved republic to survive Trump,” said Marjie Foster, the Democratic chairwoman in Decatur County, an area south of Des Moines on the Missouri border.

Others say Democrats are also culpable for building a political system dependent on big-money interests — and now must tear it down.

“It’s foolish to pretend that the problems in this country are the result of one aberrant presidency,” said Zach Simonson, the Democratic chairman in Wapello County in southeast Iowa. “Trump was the inevitable result of an economic system where both parties put the needs of wealthy donors ahead of working people. ”

Image<img alt="Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 600w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw” itemprop=”url” itemid=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale”>

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.
CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

[It was a busy week in the 2020 race. Catch up on what you missed.]

The push and pull over which path to pursue is playing out in tangible ways. In Iowa, interest groups are trying to push the Democratic candidates to the left. Greenpeace, for instance, stationed a field organizer in Des Moines who totes a hand-operated scoreboard to political events displaying the grades the group has awarded each of the 2020 candidates for their stances on the environment. In New Hampshire, volunteers with the American Civil Liberties Union appear at town hall events to press candidates to end the cash bail system and cut incarceration rates in half.

There are no organizations rallying early-state voters and candidates to the political middle.

The debate over what kind of candidate to run against Mr. Trump is a Rorschach test for how Democratic candidates, activists and voters see the future — and the past.

The party’s center-left candidates argue that Mr. Trump is a historical comma, a four- or eight-year break from the country’s political baseline. They promise a return to a bygone political era of bipartisan cooperation and respectful political debate, with far less polarization.

“Trump is very much a symptom of our problems, not the cause,” Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado said in an interview earlier this month. “People thought, ‘We couldn’t do any worse, we might as well blow the place up.’ We need a better standard than that.”

Others, including Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, view the president as the period at the end of an era in American political life.

“The Reagan era has basically defined my entire life span, and it’s finally ending,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We’re just in a different place than the kind of ’90s formula where you could assume that part of how you appeal to independent voters was to pursue ideological centrism.”

Most voters interviewed in Iowa in recent months said their attraction to candidates was based more on who could win than political kinship.

Kathy Varney, an editor for the defense contractor Collins Aerospace, wore an “Impeach Trump” shirt to a recent candidate gathering in Cedar Rapids, where she lives. Ms. Varney, 61, said she is considering Ms. Warren, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, candidates who represent three disparate points on the party’s ideological spectrum.

“I just want to get everything upright again,” she said. “The number one thing is just beat Trump, just get him out of there.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren has based her campaign on the idea of “big systemic change” to the government. CreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York Times

The crowded presidential campaign has scrambled longstanding alliances as some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers now find themselves allied with Mr. Biden because they see him as the safest vessel to victory. Other members of the party establishment are looking to fresher faces to build a new political coalition to win back the White House.

“Progressives I’ve talked to have shown a surprisingly pragmatic approach to 2020,” said Bill Press, the former California Democratic Party chairman in whose Washington townhouse Mr. Sanders first brainstormed about his 2016 campaign. “They are willing to bend, be flexible, hold their nose and support somebody that normally they might not give the time of day to if they feel he or she is the strongest candidate.”

[Here’s the latest polling and analysis of the Democratic primary race.]

At Mr. Biden’s event last week in Waukee, the Democratic establishment of Iowa quietly mingled with the former vice president and Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary under President Obama. Few were demanding fundamental change to the political system.

“I want a good middle ground,” said Heather Matson, a freshman state representative from Ankeny who ousted a five-term incumbent Republican last year. “I’m not a call-for-a-big-disruption type of person, but what I want is someone who can inspire us and bring us together.”

The quiet tension between restoration and revolution is likely to come into clearer view when the candidates gather in Detroit for the second set of debates.

On Tuesday night, Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg will stand between rival Democrats who have framed their campaigns as a return to pre-Trump normalcy. Wednesday’s face-off will place Mr. Biden between Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, the race’s two African-American candidates who have both sparred with the former vice president over his record on race-related issues.

Those matchups foreshadow how the primary contest is likely to develop into this fall and winter, some Democratic officials say.

Christine Pelosi, a Democratic National Committee member from San Francisco whose mother is the House speaker, predicts that as the field narrows, the race will come down to a battle between a get-along candidate and a blow-it-up rival.

“I think we end up with one person from each philosophy,” she said. “You have to talk about both, but when you talk about big, bold structural change, that is very scary for people.”

Some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers see Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, as the safest path to victory in 2020.CreditKathryn Gamble for The New York Times

Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa argued that the desire to defeat Mr. Trump will override any differences of position.

“Splits are happening more and more right now among the candidates,” Mr. Loebsack said recently, as a parade of five presidential candidates spoke at an Iowa City fund-raiser for an Iowa state senator. “But I still think the bottom line is that people desperately want to get rid of Donald Trump.”

Not everyone agrees: Some argue that just focusing on Mr. Trump will not be enough to mobilize an increasingly diverse and liberal party.

To win, they argue, Democrats must energize the minority and young voters who have moved to the left on social and economic issues. Those voters, they say, want to hear more than simply a critique of a president they already believe is unfit for the White House.

“That is not the sole message and it cannot be because there are real challenges in the country that predate Trump,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, an organization that works closely with African-American voters.

Hoping to inspire primary voters, many of the leading candidates have embraced proposals that were once constrained to the fringes of the party. They have pitched eliminating most of the private health insurance industry, expanding the size of the Supreme Court, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and embracing reparations for slavery to some black Americans.

Their campaigns point to polls showing that majorities of Americans agree. A New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll found that two-thirds of Americans and 81 percent of Democrats back a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth of more than $50 million, as Ms. Warren proposed. The same survey found that 59 percent of Americans support free tuition at public colleges, and 58 percent support Medicare for All — both of which have long been staple policies for Mr. Sanders.

But when asked about the specifics of those plans — like eliminating private health insurance — those numbers often drop.

Moderates worry that images from the primary debates, like the photos from the June debate that show 10 Democratic candidates raising their hands in support of free health care for undocumented immigrants, will come back to haunt the candidates in the general election.

“There are some things that some of these candidates want that are not achievable and will probably cost Democrats the election,” said Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the state’s largest employee union. “Let’s not go so far left that normal, average, everyday citizens say, ‘That’s not for me.’”

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

For Democrats, Beating Trump Is Step One. What’s Step Two?

WAUKEE, Iowa — Bernie Sanders preaches “political revolution” to the crowds at his campaign rallies. When not posing for thousands of selfies, Elizabeth Warren promises “big, systemic change.” And Pete Buttigieg warns his packed town hall audiences that the “riskiest thing we could do is try too hard to play it safe.”

But speaking to a khaki-clad crowd in the wooded front yard of Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered a very different message: “I am absolutely convinced that there are still things people are prepared to cooperate on.”

In the days before the candidates will gather in Detroit for their second round of presidential debates, Democrats find themselves grappling with a central question: Is beating President Trump enough? Or should Democrats, much like the man they hope to defeat, shake the political system like a snow globe and worry later about how things settle?

[Follow our coverage of the next Democratic primary debates.]

Mr. Trump’s victory has prompted a wave of anxiety among risk-averse Democratic primary voters who fear the shock of waking up — once again — to find their antagonist-in-chief elected to the White House. At the same time, the president’s polarizing politics have energized the party’s progressive wing, prompting many of the candidates to embrace a series of proposals that some Democrats worry are out of step with the beliefs of a majority of voters.

It is a critical question of identity for a party that has been trying to bridge an ideological schism ever since the midterms ushered in an ascendant group of lawmakers eager to challenge the establishment. It also comes as Congressional Democrats have squabbled within their own caucus over issues like whether to impeach the president or whether they should compromise on border control.

Interviews with more than four dozen Democratic officials, activists and voters across Iowa found a party divided between those who felt that ousting the president and returning to a pre-Trump ethos in Washington was sufficient — and not worth the risk of seeking bigger change — and those who wanted to use the current political moment to fight for a fundamental reshaping of the nation’s economic, political and health care systems.

“We’d love to be thinking about creating change and progress, but honestly, right now we all just want this beloved republic to survive Trump,” said Marjie Foster, the Democratic chairwoman in Decatur County, an area south of Des Moines on the Missouri border.

Others say Democrats are also culpable for building a political system dependent on big-money interests — and now must tear it down.

“It’s foolish to pretend that the problems in this country are the result of one aberrant presidency,” said Zach Simonson, the Democratic chairman in Wapello County in southeast Iowa. “Trump was the inevitable result of an economic system where both parties put the needs of wealthy donors ahead of working people. ”

Image<img alt="Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.” class=”css-1m50asq” src=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale” srcset=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 600w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 1024w,https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp 2048w” sizes=”((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 60vw, 100vw” itemprop=”url” itemid=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/28/us/politics/28demsplit2/merlin_158002554_7d871318-f8cb-457d-bd84-3b87126d4c82-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale”>

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., views the president’s tenure as the period
at the end of an era in American political life.
CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

[It was a busy week in the 2020 race. Catch up on what you missed.]

The push and pull over which path to pursue is playing out in tangible ways. In Iowa, interest groups are trying to push the Democratic candidates to the left. Greenpeace, for instance, stationed a field organizer in Des Moines who totes a hand-operated scoreboard to political events displaying the grades the group has awarded each of the 2020 candidates for their stances on the environment. In New Hampshire, volunteers with the American Civil Liberties Union appear at town hall events to press candidates to end the cash bail system and cut incarceration rates in half.

There are no organizations rallying early-state voters and candidates to the political middle.

The debate over what kind of candidate to run against Mr. Trump is a Rorschach test for how Democratic candidates, activists and voters see the future — and the past.

The party’s center-left candidates argue that Mr. Trump is a historical comma, a four- or eight-year break from the country’s political baseline. They promise a return to a bygone political era of bipartisan cooperation and respectful political debate, with far less polarization.

“Trump is very much a symptom of our problems, not the cause,” Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado said in an interview earlier this month. “People thought, ‘We couldn’t do any worse, we might as well blow the place up.’ We need a better standard than that.”

Others, including Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, view the president as the period at the end of an era in American political life.

“The Reagan era has basically defined my entire life span, and it’s finally ending,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We’re just in a different place than the kind of ’90s formula where you could assume that part of how you appeal to independent voters was to pursue ideological centrism.”

Most voters interviewed in Iowa in recent months said their attraction to candidates was based more on who could win than political kinship.

Kathy Varney, an editor for the defense contractor Collins Aerospace, wore an “Impeach Trump” shirt to a recent candidate gathering in Cedar Rapids, where she lives. Ms. Varney, 61, said she is considering Ms. Warren, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, candidates who represent three disparate points on the party’s ideological spectrum.

“I just want to get everything upright again,” she said. “The number one thing is just beat Trump, just get him out of there.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren has based her campaign on the idea of “big systemic change” to the government. CreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York Times

The crowded presidential campaign has scrambled longstanding alliances as some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers now find themselves allied with Mr. Biden because they see him as the safest vessel to victory. Other members of the party establishment are looking to fresher faces to build a new political coalition to win back the White House.

“Progressives I’ve talked to have shown a surprisingly pragmatic approach to 2020,” said Bill Press, the former California Democratic Party chairman in whose Washington townhouse Mr. Sanders first brainstormed about his 2016 campaign. “They are willing to bend, be flexible, hold their nose and support somebody that normally they might not give the time of day to if they feel he or she is the strongest candidate.”

[Here’s the latest polling and analysis of the Democratic primary race.]

At Mr. Biden’s event last week in Waukee, the Democratic establishment of Iowa quietly mingled with the former vice president and Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary under President Obama. Few were demanding fundamental change to the political system.

“I want a good middle ground,” said Heather Matson, a freshman state representative from Ankeny who ousted a five-term incumbent Republican last year. “I’m not a call-for-a-big-disruption type of person, but what I want is someone who can inspire us and bring us together.”

The quiet tension between restoration and revolution is likely to come into clearer view when the candidates gather in Detroit for the second set of debates.

On Tuesday night, Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg will stand between rival Democrats who have framed their campaigns as a return to pre-Trump normalcy. Wednesday’s face-off will place Mr. Biden between Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, the race’s two African-American candidates who have both sparred with the former vice president over his record on race-related issues.

Those matchups foreshadow how the primary contest is likely to develop into this fall and winter, some Democratic officials say.

Christine Pelosi, a Democratic National Committee member from San Francisco whose mother is the House speaker, predicts that as the field narrows, the race will come down to a battle between a get-along candidate and a blow-it-up rival.

“I think we end up with one person from each philosophy,” she said. “You have to talk about both, but when you talk about big, bold structural change, that is very scary for people.”

Some Democrats who spent years as rabble rousers see Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, as the safest path to victory in 2020.CreditKathryn Gamble for The New York Times

Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa argued that the desire to defeat Mr. Trump will override any differences of position.

“Splits are happening more and more right now among the candidates,” Mr. Loebsack said recently, as a parade of five presidential candidates spoke at an Iowa City fund-raiser for an Iowa state senator. “But I still think the bottom line is that people desperately want to get rid of Donald Trump.”

Not everyone agrees: Some argue that just focusing on Mr. Trump will not be enough to mobilize an increasingly diverse and liberal party.

To win, they argue, Democrats must energize the minority and young voters who have moved to the left on social and economic issues. Those voters, they say, want to hear more than simply a critique of a president they already believe is unfit for the White House.

“That is not the sole message and it cannot be because there are real challenges in the country that predate Trump,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, an organization that works closely with African-American voters.

Hoping to inspire primary voters, many of the leading candidates have embraced proposals that were once constrained to the fringes of the party. They have pitched eliminating most of the private health insurance industry, expanding the size of the Supreme Court, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and embracing reparations for slavery to some black Americans.

Their campaigns point to polls showing that majorities of Americans agree. A New York Times/SurveyMonkey poll found that two-thirds of Americans and 81 percent of Democrats back a 2 percent tax on households with a net worth of more than $50 million, as Ms. Warren proposed. The same survey found that 59 percent of Americans support free tuition at public colleges, and 58 percent support Medicare for All — both of which have long been staple policies for Mr. Sanders.

But when asked about the specifics of those plans — like eliminating private health insurance — those numbers often drop.

Moderates worry that images from the primary debates, like the photos from the June debate that show 10 Democratic candidates raising their hands in support of free health care for undocumented immigrants, will come back to haunt the candidates in the general election.

“There are some things that some of these candidates want that are not achievable and will probably cost Democrats the election,” said Danny Homan, the president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, the state’s largest employee union. “Let’s not go so far left that normal, average, everyday citizens say, ‘That’s not for me.’”

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Trump Assails Elijah Cummings, Calling His Congressional District a Rat-Infested ‘Mess’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158116650_620eb039-755f-44d5-9944-ddd40dc51409-facebookJumbo Trump Assails Elijah Cummings, Calling His Congressional District a Rat-Infested ‘Mess’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democratic Party Cummings, Elijah E Border Patrol (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out at a leading African-American congressman on Saturday, calling him “a brutal bully” who represents a Baltimore-based district that has become a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Mr. Trump’s attack on Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and leading critic of the president, parroted a segment that aired earlier in the morning on “Fox & Friends.” The president suggested that the congressman was a hypocrite for criticizing conditions in migrant detention centers at the southwestern border when his own district is blighted. Mr. Trump also made a vague and unsubstantiated insinuation of corruption.

“Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Mr. Trump wrote. “His district is considered the Worst in the USA.” He went on: “Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

Mr. Cummings responded on Twitter shortly afterward, saying that he was a vigorous advocate for his district. “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” he wrote. “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

The congressman pointed to a hearing that he held on Friday on his effort to legislate lower drug prices, which would help his Baltimore constituents. “You told me then that you supported the legislation and that you would work with me to make it happen,” Mr. Cummings said, still addressing the president. “I took you at your word.”

On Saturday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded on Twitter to the president’s criticism of Mr. Cummings, calling the congressman a patriot and writing that he is a “champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague.”

She added, “We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.”

Mr. Trump’s Twitter assault came shortly after “Fox & Friends” aired a segment Saturday morning assailing Mr. Cummings for focusing on migrants more than his own urban constituents. As video footage showed boarded-up houses and trash-strewn areas of Baltimore, the Fox television host said that “living conditions at the border are better than most areas in his district.”

Mr. Cummings’s district is 53 percent African-American, according to the census, and includes much of Baltimore as well as vast suburban stretches. Baltimore has struggled with crime in recent years, recording more murders in 2017 than any other city of at least 500,000 residents — and more even than New York, a vastly larger city.

Mr. Trump has a history of characterizing predominantly black areas or African nations in terms like “filthy.” During his 2016 campaign, he portrayed black communities as unremittingly grim. “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs,” he said at one rally, arguing that African-Americans should give him a chance. “What the hell do you have to lose?”

When Representative John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia considered a hero of the civil rights era, said he would not attend Mr. Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the incoming president said that the congressman “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart.” Mr. Trump disparaged Haiti and African nations last year using vulgar language, asking why the United States should want immigrants from them.

Mr. Trump has denied charges that he is racist, citing in his defense the low unemployment rates for Hispanics and African-Americans on his watch, among other things. In recent days, he has also made a point of pressuring Sweden to release the rapper ASAP Rocky, who was charged with assault there, saying, “Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States.”

Mr. Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has been one of the president’s most persistent critics in Congress. Only two days ago, he was authorized by his committee to subpoena work-related text and emails sent on personal accounts by White House officials, including Mr. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law.

The Maryland congressman has also assailed the administration’s handling of the border. At a recent hearing, Mr. Cummings confronted Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, about conditions for detained migrants, sharply criticizing the secretary’s contention that his department was doing its “level best” to manage the situation.

“What does that mean?” Mr. Cummings demanded. “What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower? Come on, man. What is that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.”

In his Twitter storm on Saturday, the president said Mr. Cummings was distorting the reality, saying, “the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded.”

Mr. Trump did not explain one of his most explosive charges, that federal taxpayer money was somehow being stolen, nor did he detail what involvement he was suggesting on Mr. Cummings’s part.

“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States,” the president wrote. “No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for clarification. A spokesman for Mr. Cummings had no comment and referred to the congressman’s Twitter posts.

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