Obamaworld Hates Bernie—and Has No Idea How to Stop Him
Former President Barack Obama’s top lieutenants are eager to poke every conceivable hole in Bernie Sanders’ resurgent bid for the Democratic nomination. But ask about a coordinated effort to stop his ascending campaign and you’ll get crickets.
Less than a month before voting begins, Obama has declined to offer a preferred pick to take on President Trump in 2020, only occasionally waxing philosophical about the perils of moving too far left and reminding voters to be “rooted in reality” when exploring nominee options. But as Sanders gained new flashes of traction in recent weeks, the former president’s lack of official guidance to halt his momentum, and the scattering of his inner circle to rival campaigns, have hampered any meaningful NeverBernie movement.
Indeed, the most striking aspect of Obamaworld’s response to Sanders on the rise—flush with cash, an uptick in the polls, and unusually frequent hat tips about the merits of his character from his rivals—is the lack of a cohesive one.
Seasoned Obama operatives who spoke to The Daily Beast concede that Sanders is likely to be a major player through the end of the primary, with several agreeing there’s little to no consolidation around one anointed candidate to blunt his momentum. In fact, while pointing to his massive cash hauls and loyal base of supporters, the thinking among Democrats close to the former president is that they are hoping the Vermont Independent flames out on his own. ...
“He’s never going to run out of money,” one former top Obama adviser acknowledged when asked by The Daily Beast about the chances Sanders could secure the nomination. But it’s not enough of a concern to plan a big strategy around, the source said. “He’s going to be a zombie candidate. You can go anywhere and still be dead.”
Daily Beast - (paywall)
I would personally vote for Sanders, but I do not see this country electing someone who unabashedly calls himself a Democratic Socialist. Baby steps. Republicans will be shouting Socialist at the top of their lungs and this guy will not be able to deny it. You can talk until you are blue in the face that a Democratic Socialist is not the same as a Socialist. It will go in one ear and out the other. There is no way Sanders will win against any Republican. Not during most of our lifetimes and certainly not in his.
"I know that human being and fish can coexist peacefully"
--- George W Bush
--- George W Bush
Adding:The left launches pre-Iowa assault on Biden
The progressive movement is kicking off 2020 with a full-scale, whack-a-Joe mobilization against the former vice president, marked by intensified attacks and protests designed to bloody Biden in advance of the Iowa caucuses.
The grassroots assault hit from a variety of angles, starting Monday when the Progressive Change Campaign Committee demanded Biden retract statements about sexism in politics. Hours later, the group Indivisible criticized him over his immigration plan. Then, activists aligned with the Sunrise Movement recently picketed him at a New York City fundraiser hosted by a billionaire.
While Biden has taken flak from the Democratic Party’s left flank for the past year, the effort marks the first time he’s been the subject of a sustained barrage from the left, amplifying recent back-to-back broadsides from two of Biden’s top opponents, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, over Social Security and bankruptcy legislation.
The shared offensive comes on the heels of Biden’s best fundraising quarter — he pulled in nearly $23 million — since entering the presidential race in April. And it follows recent polling that shows he remains the frontrunner in national primary polls and a top-tier contender in first-in-the-nation Iowa, which holds its caucus Feb. 3.
Newsweek: Joe Biden Faces Criticism for Saying Undocumented Immigrants Should Have to 'Learn to Speak English' in Order to Gain Citizenship
I totally agree. And his fan base are millennials who will put bumperstickers on everything, who will donate money, who will show at events, but just won't vote in great enough proportions.RVInit wrote: ↑Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:02 pmI would personally vote for Sanders, but I do not see this country electing someone who unabashedly calls himself a Democratic Socialist. Baby steps. Republicans will be shouting Socialist at the top of their lungs and this guy will not be able to deny it. You can talk until you are blue in the face that a Democratic Socialist is not the same as a Socialist. It will go in one ear and out the other. There is no way Sanders will win against any Republican. Not during most of our lifetimes and certainly not in his.
New York Times - Astead W. Herndon
How Elizabeth Warren Is Being Squeezed by 2 Democratic Factions
Ms. Warren is figuring out what candidates like Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have already learned: It’s hard to appeal to both the center and the left of the Democratic Party. ...
The response, given at a rally in Davenport on Sunday, was a rare foray into horse-race politics from a candidate who has dismissed the importance of polls, rarely reads news coverage about herself and detests Beltway punditry. But it was part of a quiet recognition among her advisers and surrogates that, less than one month before the Iowa caucuses, Ms. Warren is being damaged by criticism and pressure from both moderates and liberals within the Democratic Party, whose doubts about her have fueled concerns about her ability to win.
These worries have also filtered down to voters, who, in more than two dozen interviews during Ms. Warren’s two most recent trips to Iowa, have expressed a growing fear that her candidacy is neither satisfying nor uniting the political factions in the party.
“It’s been a problem,” said Peter Leo, the chairman of Iowa’s Carroll County Democrats, who has endorsed Ms. Warren. “She’s getting hit from the left and the right.”
Ms. Warren’s conundrum is tied to the all-important notion of “electability,” the vague and sometimes discriminatory concept that has become paramount to Democratic voters who are motivated by defeating Mr. Trump.
When Ms. Warren’s campaign was riding high in the summer and early fall, the energy around her ideas was an implicit message to both liberals and moderates: She was the one who could win. But after a series of attacks, beginning on health care policy, she has lost ground as some voters have retreated to their ideological corners: the left-wing base that has rallied around Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and the moderate group of Democrats who have largely backed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.
Endangered Democrats sound the alarm on Bernie and Warren
Vulnerable House members are rallying behind Joe Biden, looking to head off a liberal nominee they fear would cost them reelection, sources told POLITICO.
A slate of endangered House Democrats is coalescing behind Joe Biden for president as the Iowa caucuses approach — a surge of support triggered by fears that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren at the top of the ticket would cost them their seats.
More than a dozen swing-seat freshmen have taken part in at least one private call session with Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg in recent weeks. A handful have already gravitated toward the former vice president, and more are expected to follow before Democrats start voting on Feb. 3, according to interviews with 15 lawmakers, aides and campaign strategists.
Others are still hearing out Klobuchar — who held her own call with a dozen members on Monday night — and Buttigieg. Both candidates are pitching themselves as middle-of-the-road Democrats who can stem the leftward surge of the party.
“I’m looking at all the moderates in the race,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who holds a GOP-leaning district in upstate New York. “If we’re going to campaign on issues like Medicare for All and free college for everybody, we’re not going to have a winning message in 2020.”
House Democrats in battleground districts are anxious for a moderate to lead the ballot in 2020, warning that a self-described socialist like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or liberal icon like Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could hurt their own chances in the fall — and help reelect President Donald Trump. Most won over independents and moderate Republicans to flip long-held GOP districts in 2018.
Press Herald - Greg Kesich
The View From Here: A moderate case for Bernie Sanders
The Vermont left-winger might be best positioned to deliver the policies that moderates say they prefer.
Let’s say that you’re a moderate Democrat trying to decide who to vote for in the 2020 presidential primary.
Your top concern is picking a candidate who can beat Donald Trump in November. You also want a humane immigration policy, health care that’s affordable to everyone and action on climate change.
It’s not asking a lot, but you’re a moderate and have moderate dreams.
Your candidate should be Sen. Bernie Sanders.
I know. He’s the most radical member of the 12-candidate field. But you may have to learn to love a 77-year-old, Sandinista-supporting, democratic socialist from the electorally irrelevant state of Vermont.
That’s because Joe Biden, the logical safe choice for risk-averse voters, is not seeming like a very safe bet right now.
Change that can win? Democrats grapple with core question ...
Biden, campaigning in Nevada, dispatched another popular moderate to New Hampshire to remind primary voters that the path to the White House runs through Midwestern states where many worry his party is veering too far left.
Rep. Conor Lamb, whose 2017 special-election victory in a deep-red western Pennsylvania district was the first sign of a post-Trump blue wave, told 30 or so voters in a local activist’s living room that Biden represents the most important kind of change in Washington: “He’s putting his chips on things that can actually get done.”
In an interview, Lamb raised doubts about whether swing voters in his district would embrace the kind of change that Warren and Sanders are fighting for.
“It’s hard to say” whether Warren or Sanders could beat Trump in a general election, he said. “I can just say they’re going to have a lot of hills to climb in western Pennsylvania.”
Aware of the criticism from the party’s left wing that Biden’s approach is too cautious, his campaign notes that his policy agenda is more ambitious in some cases than that of Hillary Clinton in 2016. And Biden’s support for a government-backed “public option” in health care, while more modest than Sanders’ preferred “Medicare for All,” would arguably represent the most dramatic legislative achievement since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. ...
Buttigieg has cast himself as a different kind of change agent. ...
He typically mentions his age and sexuality only indirectly in a core message more broadly focused on the urgency a young outsider brings to the nation’s most pressing policy problems. He regularly asks his audiences, “Are you ready to change the channel?” — a question that might be aimed at Trump, but could be just as easily referring to Biden, Warren or Sanders.
Trump Privately Obsessed With Bernie Sanders’ Popularity and Socialism’s Appeal
Despite projecting confidence at the prospect of facing the senator, the president has asked multiple advisers how Sanders would perform in battleground states like Pennsylvania.
In public, President Donald Trump has fixated on mocking Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as “crazy” and has focused on assuring supporters of how badly he’d crush the left-wing senator in a general election and protect them from Sanders’ creeping socialism.
In private, Trump has often expressed different worries about the 2020 candidate.
In the past two months, the president has repeatedly asked advisers, in and out of the White House, about how Sanders polls, or would likely perform, in critical battleground states, specifically Pennsylvania, according to two people who’ve independently heard him ask about it. At times, Trump has asked about Sanders’ prospects even in the absence of a current public or internal poll on the matter.
It’s hardly the first time Trump has talked to his friends and top lieutenants about Sanders’ potential formidability heading into an election year. As The Daily Beast reported last year, Trump had on multiple occasions told longtime associates and Republican donors that running against “socialism” in 2020 may not be “so easy” due to its populist appeal. At a private event with donors late last year, the president said, according to a source in the room, that “you can have someone who loves Trump, but many people love free stuff, too,” adding that if Sanders or other “socialist” candidates promise U.S. voters—particularly young voters—that they will cancel their debt, “that’s a tough one [to run against].”
Foreign Policy - Henry Farrell
Socialists Will Never Understand Elizabeth Warren
The Democratic candidate is part of a long intellectual tradition that’s gone forgotten in the West: pro-market leftism.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s politics seem like a tangle of contradictions. She wants free markets, but also wants to tax billionaires’ capital. Her enemies on the right claim that she is a socialist, but Warren describes herself as “capitalist to my bones.”
Warren’s politics are so confusing because we have forgotten that a pro-capitalist left is even possible. For a long time, political debate in the United States has been a fight between conservatives and libertarians on the right, who favored the market, and socialists and liberals on the left, who favored the government.
It has been clear since 2016 that the traditional coalition of the right was breaking up. Conservatives such as U.S. President Donald Trump are no fans of open trade and free markets, and even favor social protections so long as they benefit their white supporters. Now, the left is changing too.
Warren is reviving a pro-market left that has been neglected for decades, by drawing on a surprising resource: public choice economics. This economic theory is reviled by many on the left, who have claimed that it is a Koch-funded intellectual conspiracy designed to destroy democracy. Yet there is a left version of public choice economics too, associated with thinkers such as the late Mancur Olson. Like Olson, Warren is not a socialist but a left-wing capitalist, who wants to use public choice ideas to cleanse both markets and the state of their corruption.
Foreign Policy - Sheri Berman
Can Social Democrats Save the World (Again)?
Communism and democratic socialism won’t heal today’s political divisions. But social democracy—which helped ward off extremism following World War II—could.
Socialism is experiencing a resurgence. Polls reveal its growing popularity in the United States, particularly among young people. Popular politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proudly refer to themselves as socialists. And the press and public intellectuals can’t seem to stop talking about it.
The main reason for socialism’s resurgence is capitalism—or rather, its negative consequences. Economic growth has slowed over the past decades, and its gains have become more unevenly distributed: Income inequality in the United States today is at its highest point since the Census Bureau began tracking it, and the top 1 percent of Americans control almost as much of the nation’s wealth as the entire middle class, according to the Federal Reserve. Rising inequality has been accompanied by rising insecurity.
As the Yale University professor Jacob Hacker has argued, income volatility has increased, as has the “distance that people slip down the ladder when they lose their financial footing.” Globalization and technological change, meanwhile, have made citizens across the West more uncertain about their and their children’s futures. Social mobility has also declined, particularly in the United States, threatening to turn “have” and “have-not” into hereditary categories. Today’s have-nots, moreover, are not only more economically distant from the haves and more likely to stay that way than in the past, but they are also more likely to lead shorter lives, have physical and mental health problems, fall prey to alcoholism and addiction, and live in broken communities. These developments have created deep divisions and growing frustration in Western societies and provided fertile ground for nativism, polarization, and populism.
Contemporary capitalism’s negative consequences are extensive and disturbing. They are not, however, new. It is only because of the relative prosperity and democratic stability of the decades after World War II that Americans and Europeans have forgotten how disruptive capitalism can be.
More voters than ever oppose capitalism. That fact has profound implications for the 2020 presidential election, but also for the future of the entire U.S. and global economy.
By the numbers: A Harris poll for "Axios on HBO" finds that socialism is gaining popularity: Four in 10 Americans — and 55% of women between 18 and 54 — say they would prefer to live in a socialist country over a capitalist one.
Why it matters: When it comes to economic policy, both Republicans and Democrats have moved to the left. Just four years ago, Barack Obama was president and a neoliberal consensus prevailed that was terrified of the economic implications of a Trump victory.
What they mean: When Americans say they want to live in a socialist country, they don't mean they want to live in a Marxist command economy. Rather, they mean that they want universal health care, tuition-free education, and a decent day's wage for a decent day's work.Trump's win didn't cause the expected stock-market crash, but it did usher in an era of trade wars and declining global growth.
Trump rejects the core economic concept of comparative advantage, which says more trade causes broad welfare gains, even for countries that run trade deficits.
With the possible exception of Mike Bloomberg, none of the leading Democratic candidates — not even Joe Biden — would embrace the trade deals Obama was keen to adopt.
It’s not that all 2020 Democrats are calling for socialism. Indeed, several shun that label. But they’re presenting differing views on a progressive iteration of democratic capitalism.
Talk of a Green New Deal reflects Democrats' combined concerns about income disparity and the environment.
Beyond ideology: The voters torn between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden
DES MOINES —
The day after Joe Biden announced he would not run for president in 2016, some supporters in Iowa did a surprising thing: They volunteered for their second-choice candidate — Bernie Sanders.
It was an early indication of a counterintuitive dynamic at work four years later, now that the two men are running against each other. They are locked in an ideological struggle for Democrats’ 2020 nomination that pits the politically moderate Biden, a classic party insider, against the liberal Sanders, a blow-up-the-system outsider. And yet they appeal to some of the same voters.
Both campaigns believe there is a swath of voters — mostly white, working-class voters, including those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 after backing Barack Obama twice — who are torn between Biden and Sanders, the race’s old-timers. Both men’s campaigns are fishing in that electoral pond as each candidate looks to expand his base in a tight contest.
“There are a lot of working-class voters who are up for grabs, and it is increasingly Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who they are deciding between,” said Ro Khanna, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign. “The more working class, the better Bernie does. And that is where we run into contention with Biden.”
For all the punditry about candidates competing to dominate in ideological lanes — and the recent attention on the personal feud between the left’s marquee candidates, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — the competition between Sanders and Biden reflects how voters’ decision-making is often far more nuanced, and divorced from standard political labels.
Politico: Trumpworld torn over running against Bernie
Some advisers are salivating over running against a socialist. Others say they need to be careful what they wish for.
President Donald Trump and his top political advisers were huddling in the Oval Office earlier this month discussing the state of the Democratic primary when they arrived at an increasingly pressing topic: What to do about Bernie Sanders?
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama
No, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are not ‘centrists’
IT HAS become an unchecked assumption about the Democratic presidential race: The candidates are fighting an ideological war between “left” and “center.” This narrative is false, and it is hardly benign. It minimizes the bold policy ambitions of those in the mislabeled “centrist” lane and falsely characterizes those on the left flank as braver or more committed to reform.
Yes, some candidates in the race are to the left of others. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) not only want to make sure that all Americans have access to health care, as do all the Democrats, but they want maximum government control in achieving that goal. Their proposals would cost more and would require more regulation than other candidates’ plans. Mr. Sanders’s program, which includes the Medicare-for-all plan that Ms. Warren has endorsed, would cost some $60 trillion to $90 trillion over 10 years, an astonishing number that would imply doubling the size of the federal government.
Mr. Sanders acknowledges that his ambitions are unlikely to be achieved without a “political revolution,” which is fanciful even if it were desirable. His competitors think more realistically about how change is accomplished in a diverse democracy.
But the fact that Mr. Sanders’s and Ms. Warren’s positioning puts them decidedly to the left of others in the race does not make their competitors “centrist.” All, in fact, have put forward ambitious, progressive platforms for reducing inequality and promoting access to health and education.
Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg wants to make college free for pretty much everyone — just not for the wealthiest families. He does not favor Medicare-for-all — but he does propose a generous public health-care option that, he predicts, would eventually drive private insurance companies out of business. He just would not force people to move off private plans, as Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren would.
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama
WaPo - David Ignatius
We’re witnessing the reemergence of the moderate Democrat
For all the thunder on the Bernie Sanders left, the most interesting trend in the Democratic campaign this year may be the reemergence of the moderate wing of the party, led by charismatic new voices: former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
In our barbell view of politics, where all the weight seems to be at the two ends, this reality may be obscured: Far more Americans (42 percent) described themselves as independents than as Democrats (27 percent) or Republicans (30 percent) in the most recent Gallup survey of party affiliation. The percentage of people who see themselves in this broad middle has rarely been higher.
The Iowa caucuses fiasco robbed Buttigieg of the impact of his victory there. But it was a startling performance by a young, relatively inexperienced candidate whose strongest message has been the impracticality of social programs proposed by Sanders and other progressives.
While Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, posted a win Tuesday in New Hampshire, the bigger stories there, arguably, were Buttigieg’s strong second-place showing and Klobuchar’s breakout performance in finishing third. The two moderates together carried 44.2 percent of the vote, compared with Sanders’s 25.8 percent. Even if you add Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 9.2 percent to Sanders’s total, the balance is toward the center, not the left.
What’s the 2020 story line so far? Here’s a suggestion: The more voters have looked at progressives’ expensive programs, the warier they have become. Warren never recovered from her embrace of compulsory Medicare. Voters see former vice president Joe Biden as a spent force, but they still want a pragmatic candidate who can beat President Trump. That yearning for a strong moderate helped Buttigieg and Klobuchar, but the next beneficiary could be former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries.
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama
USA TODAY/Ipsos poll: For voters, Bernie Sanders outranks other Democrats – and Trump – on values, empathy
WASHINGTON – Is Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders likable enough to win the White House? A new USA TODAY/Ipsos poll released Friday suggests a lot of voters think so.
Asked for their views on the personal characteristics of several Democratic presidential contenders and of President Donald Trump, those polled consistently gave Sanders the highest marks for his values and empathy.
Trump and his allies have long said they believe the president could easily defeat Sanders if he faces off against the Vermont senator in November. Some of Sanders’ Democratic rivals have suggested a more centrist candidate might have a better chance at taking on Trump.
But if character is on the ballot in November, the USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, conducted Wednesday through Thursday, shows Sanders has a clear advantage over the incumbent president. In the survey, 40% said they admired Sanders’ character, well above the 26% who said they admired Trump.
Thirty-one percent said they admired former Vice President Joe Biden, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg each got 30%. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was not far behind with 29% who said they admired him.
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama
Majority in new poll says they would not vote for socialist: Gallup
A majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll said they would not vote for a socialist candidate for president, with the most opposition coming from Republican voters.
Asked whether they would vote for their party nominee who was a “generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be socialist,” just 45 percent said yes and 53 percent said no, according to the Gallup poll released Tuesday.
The acceptance for a socialist nominee is 2 percentage points lower in the recent poll than when Gallup asked the same question in June 2015.
Democrats are much more likely to say they would vote for a socialist, based on the new poll. Gallup found that 76 percent of Democrats said they would vote for a socialist, whereas just 17 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents said the same.
The situation could play out in the November elections, with President Trump and his allies already slamming the Democrats as socialists. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading candidate in the race, has also openly described himself as a democratic socialist.
The term "democratic socialist" does not appear to have been polled by Gallup in its survey.
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama
America's ideological balance continues to lean center-right
Despite 47% of Americans identifying with the Democratic Party in 2019, the ideological balance of U.S. voters remains center-right, according to a survey of 29,000 U.S. adults released by Gallup Thursday.
Why it matters: Ideology and party identification both play a role in election variability, Gallup points out. Without ideology, the prevalence of voters identifying as Democrats would likely lead to electoral dominance. Without partisanship, a center-right candidate would consistently prevail.
By the numbers: 37% of Americans identified as conservative, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal.
Republicans that identified as conservative maintained the same 73% peak that Gallup recorded in 2018 and 2012.
Democrats who identified as liberal has leveled off at 49%, after hitting a peak of 51% last year.
45% of independents identified as politically moderate, while 30% called themselves conservative and 21% liberal.
Don't do stupid shit. -Barack Obama