Question (posted in another thread also):
When (not if - you know it will happen) crowds at Democratic rallies start chanting "Lock him up!", how should Democratic candidates handle it? Ignore it? Squash it and exhort them to "go high"? Chant along?
WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders met Wednesday night at her condominium in Washington to discuss their political intentions but did not reach any accord about coordinating their dueling presidential ambitions, according to two Democrats briefed on their discussion.
Only the two senators were present and they stated what has become abundantly clear: that they are both seriously considering seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020. But neither Ms. Warren nor Mr. Sanders sought support from the other or tried to dissuade the other from running, said the officials familiar with the meeting.
Ms. Warren sought the sit-down and did so as a courtesy and because they have a longstanding friendship that is rooted in candor, according to one Democrat close to the Massachusetts senator. Her office declined to comment about the meeting.
Mr. Sanders dismissed questions Thursday in the Capitol about the meeting, asking why a reporter was not asking about his successful push to have the Senate pass a symbolic resolution withdrawing United States support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen. And the Vermont senator flashed irritation when he was asked about it during an interview on MSNBC.
“I talk to Elizabeth Warren every single day,” he said, scolding the anchor, Andrea Mitchell, for inquiring about the meeting. “The fact that two senators get together to chat becomes a big deal, that’s a real problem for the media.”
But advisers to both senators made no efforts to play down the conversation, which comes as they move closer to making long-expected announcements that they plan on seeking the presidency.
Mr. Sanders has said he will “probably run” if he thinks he is the candidate with the best chance to defeat President Trump. Ms. Warren is expected to form an exploratory committee after the new year.
Both senators, though, are confronting signs that they will not enjoy an easy path to the nomination.
Ms. Warren has been sharply criticized for her decision to release a DNA test in October proving that she has Native American heritage. And Mr. Sanders’s hold on the party’s progressive base may be slipping as a new generation of Democrats like Representative Beto O’Rourke demonstrate early strength in polls and straw polls, such as the one conducted this week by the liberal group MoveOn.
The two would-be candidates have made their names as outspoken economic populists and are expected to run on similar platforms, with slight differences.
The prospect of two high-profile progressives pursuing White House runs has stirred concerns among some on the left that they could cut into each other’s support, potentially letting a less progressive candidate emerge with the nomination.
A handful of liberal lawmakers on Thursday downplayed that prospect, arguing that the center of gravity in the party had shifted inexorably left. But they acknowledged that if both senators run it could force the hand of Democrats who like each of them.
“When it comes to progressives, I think Bernie and Warren are in a different league,” said Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, noting that if each of them enter the race “I’ll have to decide.”
In 2016, many of Mr. Sanders’s backers bitterly complained about the Democratic establishment’s attempt to effectively crown Hillary Clinton as the nominee, making it difficult for Democrats to suggest that any potential candidate step aside or that there be any attempt at clearing the field.
“They both deserve to make up their own mind,’’ said Representative James McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “It would be wrong for any of us to say, ‘well you’re the better progressive.’ We can all make up our minds, that’s what primaries are for.”
Since the 2016 campaign ended, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, who have been friends since before either entered the Senate, have been running shadow campaigns that demonstrate both their similarities and their differences.
Advisers to each have gone to great lengths to downplay their nascent rivalry — highlighting Ms. Warren’s appearance on Mr. Sanders’s podcast, for example — but he was irritated by her refusal to endorse his presidential 2016 campaign and has bridled at questions about her.
Since running an unexpectedly competitive race against Mrs. Clinton, and becoming a global sensation on the political left, Mr. Sanders has exulted as the Democratic mainstream embraced central elements of his message, including his call for universal health care. But he has done little to broaden his political circle and has struggled to expand his appeal beyond his base of primarily white supporters.
Ms. Warren has, like Mr. Sanders, continued to present herself as a scourge of Wall Street greed. But she has worked aggressively to win over a wider range of supporters and has sought to draw a thinly veiled contrast between herself and her self-identified democratic socialist colleague by noting she is a proud capitalist.
She has also been aggressive in attempting to cultivate friendships in the party. Her session with Mr. Sanders was the latest, and perhaps most significant, of dozens of lunches and dinners she has had in Washington and Boston with party leaders, union officials and progressive activists in recent months.
The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday it would hold a dozen presidential primary debates during its 2020 nominating process, with the first to be held this June.
After months of consultation with Democratic stakeholders and media executives, DNC chairman Tom Perez said six debates would be held in 2019 with another six to follow in 2020, ending in April of the election year.
Anticipating a large field of candidates, the first two debates – scheduled for June and July of 2019 – would be guided by a generous qualifying criteria yet to be determined, according to Perez.
"We need more than polling to measure participation," he told reporters on a conference call. "There will be an alternative pathway to participation."
He listed the demonstration of grassroots fundraising as a potential way for low-polling candidates to make the initial stages, but stressed he was still assessing the exact metric to be used. The thresholds for the first two debates will be released in January.
Depending on the size of the Democratic field, the candidates could be split into two separate debates to be held on consecutive nights in June and July. Participating candidates would be placed on stages "by random selection," in a public drawing according to Perez, in an effort to establish fairness and parity at the outset.
While the exact dates and locations of the debates will be determined in the coming months, the six debates in 2019 will be held outside of the first four early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Those states, instead, will host debates in 2020 in the run-up to their primary elections.
Perez said the DNC would request that candidates refrain from participating in debates not sanctioned by the committee.
The early announcement of the 2020 debate guidelines is a clear demonstration that the DNC is committed to correcting the perceived errors and bias of the 2016 cycle. Last time, the DNC didn't even announce its debate schedule until August of 2015, less than six months before the first primary votes were cast. And the party only initially sanctioned six debates total, in what was widely seen as a way to accommodate the wishes of then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Perez called the 2020 plan "the most inclusive debate process in our history."
"I firmly believe that the more voters that see our candidates, the more voters that will vote Democratic," he said.
The DNC reserved the right to adjust its plan after it evaluates the number of candidates who ultimately announce.
"We expect that large field and we welcome that large field," Perez said.
WASHINGTON — Some of his top congressional supporters won’t commit to backing him if he runs for president again — and two may join the 2020 race themselves. A handful of former aides might work for other candidates. And Bernie Sanders’s initial standing in Iowa polls is well below the 49.6 percent he captured in nearly defeating Hillary Clinton there in 2016.
Mr. Sanders may have been the runner-up in the last Democratic primary, but instead of expanding his nucleus of support, in the fashion of most repeat candidates, the Vermont senator is struggling to retain even what he garnered two years ago, when he was far less of a political star than he is today.
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“It’s not a given that I’m going to support Bernie just because I did before,” said Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman who previously endorsed Mr. Sanders. “There are going to be plenty of people to look at and to listen to. I’m currently open at this point, and I think the majority of people are.”
As Mr. Sanders considers a second bid for the White House, he and his advisers are grappling with the political reality that he would face a far different electoral landscape than in 2016. Rather than being the only progressive opponent to an establishment-backed front-runner, the Vermont Independent would join what may be the most crowded, fractured and uncertain Democratic primary in the last quarter-century.
There would also be candidates who are newer to the national political scene than Mr. Sanders, offering fresh energy — something many in the party prefer — as well as those who echo his message about economic justice and the corrosive effects of money in politics.
“Ironically, Bernie’s agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party’s message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade,” said Bill Press, a progressive talk show host who was an early backer of Mr. Sanders in 2016.
Mr. Press said he thinks a candidate like Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio could carry the same populist message. “What I hear from a lot of friends is that a younger Bernie is what we need,” he said.
There is no doubt that Mr. Sanders, 77, would be one of the most formidable contenders if he does run. No other potential candidate would start with the foundation of a 50-state organization, a small-dollar fund-raising list that delivered $230 million and undying devotion from a core group of backers.
His advisers note that these advantages could prove crucial in a splintered field when only a plurality may be needed to prevail at the end of a long race.
Mark Longabaugh, one of Mr. Sanders’s top strategists, said he had no expectation of winning over the more cautious factions of the Democratic Party.
“Insurgent candidates never come back and become the establishment favorite,” said Mr. Longabaugh, noting that Gary Hart, after shocking the political world with his success in 1984, nevertheless had plenty of company when he ran again in 1988.
And some of Mr. Sanders’s most dedicated devotees are already moving to resurrect his organization.
“We have an opportunity to start organizing, and missing out on this moment is not an option,” Spencer Carnes, a leader of the volunteer “Organizing for Bernie” group, wrote in an email promoting the group’s first volunteer organizing call last week.
Melissa Byrne, who did digital and get-out-the-vote work for Mr. Sanders in 2016, said she’s eager to work for him again and noted, “We’re all more experienced and battle-tested.”
But unlike recent primaries when a second-place finisher ran again and won the nomination, such as with John McCain in 2008 or Mrs. Clinton in 2016, there has been no rush of new support to Mr. Sanders ahead of his formal announcement. Instead, the early maneuvering is striking for the large numbers of officeholders, activists and voters who want to wait to see how the Democratic race develops. And that roster of progressives includes many who backed Mr. Sanders two years ago.
“I think one has to wait and see who’s got the best chance mathematically,” said Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Mr. Sanders’s first congressional backer in 2016, because, as he put it, “the insurgency is broader.”
Mr. Grijalva was hinting at a phenomenon that many Sanders supporters have cited: He is something of a victim of his own success.
The senator’s views on issues like universal health care and his willingness to shun corporate contributions have increasingly become not only part of the Democratic mainstream but also litmus tests within the party.
Perhaps nowhere is his success more evident than in the lineup of other presidential candidates. Two other lawmakers who backed Mr. Sanders last time, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, are both moving toward long-shot, populist bids of their own.
And that is to say nothing of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who watched as Mr. Sanders occupied the progressive lane that some on the left had hoped she would fill against Mrs. Clinton in 2016; or, for that matter, Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, whose unvarnished appeals on the stump and refusal to take PAC money in his Senate campaign this year recalled Mr. Sanders’s approach.
The other potential candidates pose a more practical threat to Mr. Sanders: They may also absorb some of his former campaign aides.
While he would retain the same senior team, Mr. Sanders may suffer defections among some key staffers who worked for him in 2016.
For example, Symone Sanders, his former press secretary (who is not related to the senator), said she may work for one of Mr. Sanders’s opponents.
“There are a lot of good candidates this time,” Ms. Sanders said. “I’m going to wait and see.”
Further, the political consulting firm led by three of Mr. Sanders’s top digital aides from the last campaign — Kenneth Pennington, Hector Sigala and Elizabeth Bennett — worked for Mr. O’Rourke’s Senate bid and are hoping to work on his presidential campaign should he run, according to a Democratic strategist familiar with the firm’s thinking.
Two veterans of Mr. Sanders’s 2016 campaign, Becky Bond and Zack Malitz, were instrumental this year in helping to organize Mr. O’Rourke’s race against Senator Ted Cruz. Both said they are eager to be a part of any “Beto for President’’ effort.
“I don’t know if Beto is going to run, but if he does I’m all in,” said Ms. Bond.
Mr. Malitz added: “I want Beto to run and would want to work on that campaign.”
But it is not just lawmakers, strategists and potential staff members who are hanging back from Mr. Sanders: Some of his supporters in early nominating states are doing the same, in part because they do not want to litigate the divisive 2016 primary again.
Ron Abramson, an immigration lawyer in New Hampshire, was on Mr. Sanders’s steering committee there and hosted a 2015 house party for him before the campaign outgrew those types of small gatherings.
But Mr. Abramson — who still called himself “a huge fan of Bernie’s” — is not eager for another Sanders run. He said he was especially concerned about the senator’s age given how physically demanding the job of president seemed.
“It’s not 2016 anymore — the considerations may need to be more pragmatic than ideological,” Mr. Abramson said. He later added: “There are just too many Democrats who don’t forgive him for not being a Democrat. I don’t want to go through the same type of divisiveness again that we saw.”
Mr. Sanders does still enjoy some bedrock support in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Unlike some of his lesser-known rivals, his unwavering base of progressives will guarantee him a floor of support should he enter the race.
But the first surveys of Iowa caucusgoers indicate he has lost some of his less-ardent backers. He is polling in the teens there even though he has universal name recognition and won nearly half the state’s vote in the Democratic caucuses in 2016. And while he is in second place at the moment, he is closer to Mr. O’Rourke, who was virtually unknown outside Texas until this year, than he is to the early front-runner, former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Of course, Mr. Biden may not run, leaving even more votes up for grabs. But other likely candidates will work just as aggressively to step into that vacuum. And this surfeit of contenders may keep some institutional pillars of the left on the sidelines.
Organized labor, for example, is unlikely to rally around Mr. Sanders should another populist like Mr. Brown enter the race, according to multiple union officials.
“People are talking a lot about how it could change things for labor if Sherrod gets in,” said Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers.
The uncertainty has created some awkwardness for veteran progressives, who feel a measure of loyalty to Mr. Sanders but also recognize 2020 may prove very different than 2016.
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know,” said Joseph Cirincione, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Sanders in 2016, when asked if he’d support the senator again. “I would certainly continue to advise him. Would I support him? I think a lot of us want to see how this develops.
“I think he should do it, he’s an important voice. But does he prevail, would he be the strongest candidate? We don’t know yet.”
He won’t get my vote in the primary if he runs. Some of the other candidates appeal more to me.
He’d get my vote in November for sure though.
I just don't get the popular spin the MSM puts on the DNA controversy with Warren & 45.
So, 45 mocks her and implies she's a fake and liar for two years. Warren finds evidence that her claims to some native ancestry have some basis, and she makes it public.
The way I see it, she sure wasn't gaining any ground by silently taking the abuse. So it seems to me a reasonable response would be to prove her own claims, thereby exposing 45 as just pulling stuff out of his derrière as usual.
But the way it's spinned is that she really flubbed, and 45 scored?
I just don't get that.
To me, it was about the same thing as Obama feeling like he had to produce a birth certificate to shut agent Orange's mouth.