2020 Campaign
January 13, 2020

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't near the top of the leader board yet, but some folks think he may have a legitimate shot at the Democratic presidential nomination when all is said and done. Their reasoning? His ability to spend.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, John Ellis, a former political columnist for The Boston Globe and the editor of the News Items daily online newsletter, wrote that while Bloomberg might not be the ideal candidate for Democrats on paper, he'll "look like Brad Pitt" come Super Tuesday. Ellis thinks the party will ultimately be too fearful of losing to President Trump to risk pushing someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or former Vice President Joe Biden to the nomination, but Bloomberg's cash might convince them he's the right man for the job. "What people don't seem to have grasped is this: Bloomberg is going to spend an astronomical amount of money on this race," he wrote. "Probably at least $1 billion. Possibly even more."

That, Ellis says, would "upend every model of every presidential race in history." If any other candidate gets the nod, Ellis argues President Trump would outspend them two to one, or even three to one, but Bloomberg would likely flip the table and outspend Trump five to one. Along those same lines, New York's Jonathan Chait makes the case that Bloomberg — who's worth $56 billion — could even outspend the entire Republican Party five to one if he wants to.

Of course, such an argument isn't likely to convince everyone. In fact, it could scare a few people away. Read more at The Washington Post and New York. Tim O'Donnell

January 13, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told The New York Times editorial board in an interview that he recognizes the importance of communicating to millions of people via social media. He said he takes it "very seriously" and "every now and then" even goes so far as to send out a tweet he wrote himself. But he apparently doesn't do that from his phone.

When asked if he had any apps on his phone that might surprise people, Sanders responded "nothing" before claiming he doesn't have any apps on his phone, period.

It's worth noting, however, that unless the senator only carries around a flip phone, he likely has at least a few pre-installed apps on his device. But the point stands.

One thing he definitely doesn't have, though? An Amazon Prime account. Sanders appears to be quite alright waiting three to five business days for his deliveries, thank you very much. Read the rest of Sanders' interview at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

January 13, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn't know who he'd pick to be his running mate if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination, but he definitely knows who it won't be.

In an interview with The New York Times editorial board published Monday, Sanders was reluctant to declare who he'd pick as vice president. Considering, the Iowa caucus hasn't even happened yet, Sanders called choosing someone to round out his hypothetical ticket "a little bit premature," but he did say the person "will not be an old white guy."

The 78-year-old Sanders said he believes in diversity and promised his cabinet "will look like what America looks like," adding that "the country is long overdue for the kind of diversity that we're going to bring to the White House."

That's all he was willing to reveal for now, acknowledging his campaign hasn't considered any specific names at this point.

He did rule out one person though — former Vice President Joe Biden. The senator said Biden's eight years as President Obama's right-hand man was "probably enough." Read the full interview at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

January 12, 2020

The campaign team for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is ramping up its criticism of the candidate's fellow Democratic presidential contenders, Politico reports.

Politico obtained scripts of talking points the campaign is using to persuade voters who are currently backing other candidates. Notably, the script goes after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a longtime personal friend of Sanders and his closest ideological ally in the race. The two have refrained from criticizing one another throughout the race so far (although there's been a couple of small battles between the campaigns), so the script comes across as a bit of a surprise. Per Politico, the talking points paint Warren as a candidate who appeals to "highly-educated, more affluent people," but is unable to bring new bases to the Democratic Party. In other words, Sanders' campaign is arguing Warren won't be able to sway any voters who support President Trump like Sanders would.

It certainly reads more critically than anything Sanders has directed at Warren in the past, though staffers are also given the option of opening their discussion by acknowledging they like Warren and consider her their second choice, so not everyone thinks the tactic is worth getting too shocked over.

The Sanders campaign is reportedly going after former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, too. Their scripts reportedly make the case that Trump would "clobber" Biden on his support for the Iraq War and free trade agreements, while pointing out that Buttigieg lacks support from young and black voters. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

December 30, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a suggestion for the Democratic National Committee.

There's been a lot of wariness as the field whittles down about the lack of diversity among the party's top presidential candidates. So far, the five candidates to have qualified for January's debate in Iowa — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former Vice President Joe Biden, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — are all white. And Yang, who has yet to qualify for the January event, was the only minority candidate at the last debate in December.

In a letter sent to DNC Chair Tom Perez obtained by The Daily Beast, Yang provided a pretty simple idea for how to increase diversity at the January debate. He just thinks the DNC should commission more qualifying polls.

Of course, that would go a long way toward helping Yang, who has met the individual donor requirement, but is three qualifying polls short of reaching the threshold. Still, in the letter he tried to appeal to the party at large, saying that the an all-white debate stage was a "troubling prospect" for the DNC, and could even lead to "unfounded claims of bias and prejudice." More polls, he told Perez, "would provide an accurate snapshot of the current state of the race and where voters' hearts and minds are." Read more at The Daily Beast. Tim O'Donnell

December 28, 2019

The Democratic Party looks like it might get a boost from voters who disapprove of President Trump, even if they don't love the eventual Democratic nominee either, The Economist's G. Elliot Morris writes.

Morris notes that one of the dominant narratives in 2016 was that the election was swung by voters who disliked both Trump and his competitor Hillary Clinton but who wound up begrudgingly siding with Trump when all was said and done. Now, though, it looks like the reverse might happen, regardless of who gets the nod to challenge Trump.

For example, Economist/YouGov polls over the last month have shown that candidates who don't approve of Trump or Democratic frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden would vote for Biden by a 60-point margin, while the numbers for other top contenders like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are similar.

For voters who seem to think the 2020 election is shaping up to be a "lesser of two evils" showdown, it looks like — as of right now, at least — they'd prefer a new face in the White House. Tim O'Donnell

December 23, 2019

The Trump re-election campaign isn't pleased with everyone who says they're trying to help the president secure a second term in the Oval Office.

Several unaffiliated pro-Trump PACs, dark money groups, and off-brand Facebook advertisers that haven't received Trump's stamp of approval have pulled in a combined $46 million from donors so far through a variety of means including selling Trump merchandise, Politico reports. And the actual campaign — which winds up competing with the groups for cash — wants it to stop, especially since most of those "pirate" groups are reportedly spending little money to help Trump's re-election and appear to be targeting grassroots donors.

"It's taking advantage of people who want to give [money], and a vast majority of this money doesn't go to the campaigns," said GOP operative Matt Gorman. "It doesn't go to the cause."

The Trump campaign condemned any organization "that deceptively uses the president's name, likeness, trademarks, or branding and confuses voters" and encouraged authorities to investigate "all alleged scams for potential illegal activities." But, so far, it doesn't look like there's any end in sight. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

December 23, 2019

One of the attendees at South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's now-infamous "wine cave" fundraiser in Napa Valley, California, wants Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to know what really went down.

Bill Wehrle, a vice president of a health-care company in San Francisco, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post about how the event was not full of billionaires drinking $900 dollars bottles of wine like in the image conjured up by Warren during last week's Democratic presidential debate.

Wehrle, who says he is neither a billionaire nor a millionaire, attended with his partner, a professor at a community college. Also in attendance, Wehrle said, were a dean from another local community college, a flight attendant, a local city councilwoman, and a college student. People asked Buttigieg questions about primary care for the uninsured, getting out of Afghanistan, and how he plans on combating hate speech. As for the wine? Wehrle said he looked up the price online — it wasn't paltry at $185 a bottle, but nothing close to the Warren-estimated $900 — and, from what he could see, the mayor didn't have a drop.

Wehrle did concede there were certainly wealthy people at the event, but he dismissed the idea that the evening was an attempt by billionaires to join together to pick the next president. Read the full op-ed at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

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