March 16, 2020

Is Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) ready to join the Yang Gang?

Romney is out with a proposal that should make entrepreneur and former 2020 Democratic candidate Andrew Yang proud, on Monday saying every American adult should receive a check for $1,000 amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

This step, Romney said, will "help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy." Romney added that "expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits" are also "crucial," but the $1,000 check "will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options."

The Utah senator offered numerous other proposals for responding to the coronavirus crisis, including providing grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic and deferring student loan payments "for a period of time to ease the burden for those who are just graduating now, in an economy suffering because of the COVID-19 outbreak."

Yang's central proposal during his 2020 campaign was to provide Americans with a universal basic income of $1,000 a month, an idea that some Democrats have been re-upping in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Like Romney, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is also backing the $1,000 payment idea, saying a check in that amount should go to all middle class and low-income adults because "we can't leave the hardest-hit Americans behind."

Romney's proposal is for a one-time check and not a monthly payment as Democrats like Yang have called for. But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted Monday, "GOP & Democrats are both coming to the same conclusion: Universal Basic Income is going to have to play a role in helping Americans weather this crisis."

Meanwhile, Yang himself on Monday retweeted Romney's proposal after writing earlier in the day, "What exactly is the political downside of putting money into people’s hands? Get your sh-t together Congress and do the right thing." Brendan Morrow

February 27, 2020

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be looking for a bump from the Yang Gang.

The Bloomberg campaign has been seeking an endorsement from entrepreneur and former 2020 candidate Andrew Yang and even floated him as a potential running made, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Aides to the former New York City mayor reached out to discuss ways the two entrepreneurs-turned-politicians could work together as Mr. Bloomberg seeks the Democratic nomination," the Journal writes, although Yang reportedly "didn't commit to join forces."

The Bloomberg campaign told the Journal that Yang isn't being seriously considered to be his running mate, and a senior Bloomberg aide denied to NBC's Josh Lederman that he never was.

Since dropping out of the race, Yang has been a contributor for CNN. He recently took part in a CNN discussion about Bloomberg's debate debut, during which he said the former mayor came across as "lethargic and uninterested" and was not "properly prepared." Yang also theorized Bloomberg has no one on his team "who could be like, 'That was terrible. This is going to potentially damage your campaign to a very, very high degree.'"

Meanwhile, Bloomberg in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday said he'd "consider everybody" to be his running mate should he win the Democratic nomination, but when asked who he's talked to, he shot back, "Why would I tell you?" Brendan Morrow

February 27, 2017

President Trump on Monday told health care executives that "I haven't called Russia in 10 years," despite the fact that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone just 30 days ago. Trump visited Moscow as recently as 2013.

Trump's comment came in response to questions shouted to him by the press about whether there should be a special prosecutor to investigate the influence of Russia on the 2016 presidential election. The pool report claims that Trump "did not respond to the question immediately, but as the pool was mostly out, he mouthed the word 'no' to those at the table." Jeva Lange

April 12, 2016

In party nominating contests, the only metric that really counts is delegates, and that has always been true — you get the most delegates, you win. These contests, run by political parties, have become more democratic over time, but "the nomination process exists as a sort of demi-democratic process in which elections were retrofit to work with the internal decision-making processes of each party," says Philip Bump at The Washington Post. "So there are still vestiges of weirdness: caucuses, unpledged delegates and superdelegates, and the conventions themselves."

This weirdness has led to Donald Trump saying "the system is rigged, it's crooked," on Fox News on Monday, after rival Ted Cruz took all 34 of Colorado's Republican delegates in party conventions last week. "There was no voting.... it's a crooked deal," Trump griped. And it has led to Bernie Sanders supporters aggressively going after Democratic superdelegates to switch their support from Hillary Clinton to Sanders, because Sanders has won eight of the last nine contests but gained no ground. The Sanders campaign is even suggesting the Democrats will have an open convention, because superdelegates don't count or might dump Clinton to match the will of the voters.

But Clinton has a wide lead over Sanders among pledged delegates, not just superdelegates, Bump noted. He elaborated:

In fact, by every possible democratic measure, Clinton is winning. She's winning in states (and territories) won, which isn't a meaningful margin of victory anyway. She's winning in the popular vote by 2.4 million votes — more than a third more than Sanders has in total. In part that's because Sanders is winning lower-turnout caucuses, but it's mostly because he's winning smaller states. And she's winning with both types of delegates. So why is this bewildering? Because it seems like Sanders should be gaining big ground against Clinton — and so "superdelegates" get blamed. [The Washington Post]

Bump adds that every campaign needs to project momentum and keep open a path to victory. But "the question that's worth asking is why supporters of trailing candidates think that democracy is being subverted and who benefits from their thinking that," he said. "We'll leave that to you to assess." He reports, you decide. Peter Weber

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