US Presidential Elections 2020 - News & Updates

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US Presidential Elections 2020 - News & Updates

US Presidential candidates

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US election 2020: Joe Biden launches presidential bid
  • 22 minutes ago
  • 25-04-2019

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden has declared a presidential bid, putting an end to months of speculation.

In a video announcement, Mr Biden warned that the "core values of the nation... our very democracy, everything that has made America America, is at stake".

The 76-year-old enters a crowded race for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

He is up against 19 other hopefuls, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders.

In his announcement, Mr Biden recalled President Donald Trump's much-criticised response to the deadly Charlottesville white nationalist riots of
2017, saying the US was in a "battle for the soul of this nation".

"I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time," he said. "But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and
watch that happen."

Mr Biden is the most experienced of the many Democratic candidates. A six-term senator, he served as President Barack Obama's deputy for two terms and ran twice unsuccessfully for president - in 1988 and 2008.

He was tipped to run again in 2016, but ruled himself out after the death of his 46-year-old son Beau Biden from a brain tumour.

Since his stint as vice-president, Mr Biden has enjoyed relative popularity among Democrats. On some progressive issues, such as same-sex marriage, he was ahead of Mr Obama.

His popularity is reflected in opinion polls - he has consistently led every national poll of the Democratic primary tracked by the website RealClearPolitics. The sheer weight of his experience sets him apart from many of the younger 2020 Democratic hopefuls, and widespread national popularity and name recognition make him an immediate front-runner.

But Mr Biden also carries political baggage that the liberal wing of his party sees as problematic - including support for the Iraq war, opposition to efforts to improve racial integration, and controversy over his 1991 handling of sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee
Clarence Thomas.

There is also the question of Mr Biden's age. On inauguration day he would be 78, making him the oldest sitting president in history, at a time when many Democratic voters are looking to a younger generation to galvanise the party.
Joe Biden enters the Democratic presidential contest as a front-runner, if not the front-runner. He has near universal name recognition, high approval ratings within the party and among political independents, a close connection to the halcyon days (at least, for Democrats) of the Obama presidency, and the potential to raise vast amounts of campaign money through traditional Democratic donor networks.

Of course, so did Hillary Clinton in 2015 - and we all know how that turned out.

Mrs Clinton's key weakness in that presidential race was her lengthy time in the public eye, leaving a long record for her opponents to pick apart, and binding her to a status quo establishment many Americans had come to distrust.

Mr Biden shares those challenges in spades, and he faces a much more diverse and talented primary field than Mrs Clinton did.

His position against school bussing to end segregation in the 1970s, his chairmanship of the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991, and his support for the 2003 Iraq War and stringent anti-crime and bankruptcy bills put him out of step with today's Democratic Party.

Then there's his advanced age, propensity for verbal stumbles, allegations of inappropriate physical contact and status as a two-time loser in past White House bids.

The former president has a lot going for him. He also has a lot going against him. The durability of his campaign is one of the big questions hovering over the early days of the 2020 Democratic race. Those questions will soon be answered.

Who is Joe Biden?
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was born on 20 November 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, one of four children in an Irish-Catholic family.
In 1972, Mr Biden was elected to the US Senate at the age of 29, and took office a few weeks later when he turned 30 - the minimum age to enter the Senate.

Just before he took office, he was devastated by tragedy: his wife Neilia and infant daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash.

Mr Biden first ran for the presidency in the 1988 election, but withdrew after admitting that he had plagiarised a speech by Neil Kinnock, the leader of the Labour Party in the UK at the time.

After that bid he spent time rising through the Senate ranks, eventually becoming chairman of the judiciary and foreign relations committees.
In 2008 he ran for president again, but failed to gain the political traction he needed and dropped out again. Instead, he joined the Obama ticket as candidate for vice-president.

 

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Democratic 2020 candidate Moulton says Sanders, Warren too liberal to beat Trump

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DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE SETH MOULTON SAYING:

"I don't think that we counter that extremism, the Trump extremism, with, you know, fire on our own side. We can't go too far left or we'll lose middle America, we'll lose the independent voters that were critical to winning back the House in 2018."

"Bernie wants to change us into a socialist country and we're not a socialist country. That's not what America is all about. And I don't think that a socialist nominee is going to win the presidency. I'm a Democrat. I'm not a socialist. Bernie is an example of someone who's interjected some great ideas into the debate, but we're not a socialist country and he's a socialist not a Democrat.


Reporter asks: Would you put Elizabeth Warren in the same bracket? Well, I don't know that Elizabeth Warren considers herself a socialist. But I do think that some of her ideas go too far. And I do think that some of her ideas don't strike to the heart of what makes America so strong. More to the point, though, I think that the problem with some of the candidates in our party is that they're divisive in the same ways that Trump has been so divisive. They're pitting different parts of America against each other. You know, I don't think that rich people are necessarily evil. I think they should pay their fair share. I think that everybody in America should have equal opportunity. But I don't think that we should punish the rich. And yet that seems to be the message that's coming out of some of our candidates. And ultimately, I think most Americans aspire to be rich themselves. That's the spirit of America. That's the American dream."

"We've never had a more corrupt administration in American history. We've gone through cabinet secretaries, you know, like wildfire. I mean, we don't even have a sitting secretary of defense and we haven't for months. So his actual record in Washington is poor. But he's run successfully on this idea that he's willing to shake up the Washington establishment. And no matter where I go in this country, I haven't found a single voter -- Democrat, Republican, Independent -- who said, you know what, we need more of the Washington establishment, we need more people who fall in line with the establishment versus people who are willing to take it on. And that's part of the reason why I believe I would make a strong nominee to take on Donald Trump. Because I'm willing to confront him on the issues where he's weakest and I'm willing to be a change agent even within my own party."

U.S. congressman Seth Moulton, one of 20 Democrats running for president, criticized rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on Friday (April 26), saying they were so liberal they risked handing President Donald Trump a second White House term.
Moulton is a long-shot candidate at this stage. But his comments reflect a growing conflict between the Democratic Party's moderate and progressive wings that will likely be laid bare during the battle to decide who will take on Republican Trump in next year's presidential election.
A representative from Massachusetts and Iraq war veteran, Moulton said Trump is a much more difficult candidate to defeat in 2020 than many Democrats realize because of his appeal to voters in the heartland who are frustrated with Washington.
"We can't go too far left or we will lose middle America," Moulton said in an interview in Los Angeles, part of a tour to California and other early voting states since he announced his candidacy on Monday.

He said the message of candidates such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was going to make it difficult to win Congress and "take back the White House."
While he agreed the wealthy ought to pay their share of taxes, Sanders and Warren wanted to "punish the rich," Moulton said, which he called un-American.

Moulton, 40, built his political career on challenging the Democratic Party establishment, entering Congress in 2015 after winning a primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.
After Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi's bid to become Speaker for a second time.

In Friday's interview, Moulton sounded particular alarm over Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist" elected to the Senate as an independent. Sanders has emerged as an early Democratic front-runner along with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the 2020 field on Thursday.

In some of the harshest words yet uttered by a Democratic presidential candidate against a rival, he said: "Bernie wants to change us into a socialist country, and we're not a socialist country."
He added: "That's not what America is all about. I don't think that a socialist nominee is going to win the presidency. I'm a Democrat, I'm not a socialist … He's a socialist, not a Democrat."

Sanders spokeswoman Sarah Ford responded to the charge by saying the candidate was doing well in the polls because he is a "champion for working people."
"Senator Sanders has a long and well-known record leading the effort to create a government that works for all Americans," she told Reuters in an email.

Warren proposes raising taxes on America's 75,000 richest families to pay for programs such as universal childcare and universal free public college.
"The problem with some of the candidates in our party is that they're divisive in the same way that Trump has been so divisive," Moulton said. "They are pitting different parts of America against each other."

He said most Americans aspire to be rich. "That's the sprit of America, that's the American dream," he said.
Warren's campaign did not respond to an email for comment.
Moulton said his candidacy would gain traction by focusing on foreign policy, a subject he said many Democratic rivals were afraid to address, and by running as a "change agent" against the old guard in Washington.
 

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Biden Surges into Lead in Democratic Primary Race
April 30, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden is enjoying a strong start to his 2020 presidential campaign.

Several new polls show him surging to a big lead in the 20-person Democratic presidential field following his official announcement via video last week.

The latest CNN poll shows Biden leading the Democratic race with 39% support, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 15%. Biden’s lead grew by 11 points since the last CNN survey in March.

In a new Quinnipiac University poll, Biden has jumped to 38%, up from 29% in March. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren places second with 12%, followed by Sanders at 11% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%.

Trailing behind in single digits in both polls were California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. The remainder of the field was largely at 2% or less.

Biden also got a bump in the latest Morning Consult poll where he now leads Sanders by a margin of 36% to 22%.

Rallying labor

On Monday, Biden held his first campaign rally in Pittsburgh and left no doubt he will target what he says is the divisive presidency of Donald Trump.

“We have to let them know who we are. We Democrats and we independents who have the same view have to choose hope over fear, unity over division, and maybe most importantly, truth over lies,” Biden told a cheering crowd of supporters and labor activists.

In his speech, Biden laid out three main reasons for his candidacy.

“The first is to restore the soul of the nation. And the second is to rebuild the backbone of this nation. And the third is to unify this nation. We always do better when we act as one America.”

Biden supporters in Pittsburgh were out early for the Monday event, including Marsha Williams.

“I think Joe Biden is the guy with experience, and I think he is a good guy with an honest heart. And that really means the most to me,” she said.

On ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday, Biden blasted Trump’s governing style and said he would “end this God-awful deliberate division” that the president has pursued to “aggrandize his own power.”

In the interview, Biden was also pressed by GMA anchor Robin Roberts about several recent allegations from women who interacted with him but who felt uncomfortable with his close, intimate style. When asked if he really understood their complaints, Biden, who was accompanied in the interview by his wife, Jill, responded, “I really do.”

Trump on the attack

Trump has also been busy on the campaign trail.

At a rally in Wisconsin on Saturday, he launched a general barrage against the Democratic Party.

“So, Democrats are now the party of high taxes, high crime, open borders, late-term abortion, hoaxes and delusions. The Republican Party is the party for all Americans. That is what it is. It really is. And common sense.”

Trump has gone after Biden on Twitter and likes to highlight Biden’s age by referring to him as “Sleepy Joe.”

“I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe. I don’t know about him. I don’t know,” Trump told reporters outside the White House last week.

Trump is 72. Biden is 76.

Election stakes

Even though Biden is now seen as the clear front-runner in the Democratic field, some Democrats argue that merely defeating Trump next year will not do much to fix what is wrong in the country.

Sanders is among those arguing that the nation needs sweeping change.

“Our job is not just to win the White House. It is to transform the economy and government of this country,” he told a rally in Texas last week.

George Washington University political expert Matt Dallek told VOA that so far, Biden’s Democratic rivals do not appear intimidated by his front-runner status.

“The field is much wider and open. And as for Biden, you know, it is just too early for the polls to really mean all that much, other than Biden has good name recognition and there is some affection for him.”

Who can beat Trump?

Democrats can pick from a rich and diverse field of candidates for 2020 that include several female contenders, as well as minorities.

But many Democrats appear most interested in one key question, according to American University analyst Bill Sweeney.

“We have the most diverse field in the history of the country, and Democratic voters have a great deal to choose from. But the other question that the Democrats are going to be looking at as candidates contest in the primaries is, 'Is this the person who can beat Donald Trump in 2020?'”

So far, Democratic voters asking that question appear to prefer Biden, and analysts say that is the key reason for his recent surge in the polls.

In the CNN poll, 46% of Democratic voters said it was “extremely important” to nominate a candidate with a good chance of beating Trump.

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 56% said Biden had the best chance to beat Trump, followed by Sanders at 12%.

In a statement accompanying the Quinnipiac poll, assistant polling director Tim Malloy said the results are “a very clear indication” that Democrats see Biden as the candidate who can “send President Trump packing 18 months from now.”

Trump’s average approval rating is about 43%, according to a sampling of recent polls.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll from mid-April found Biden leading the president in a head-to-head matchup by a margin of 42% to 34%, with 19% undecided.

 

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Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet joins 2020 presidential race
By Clyde Hughes
May 02, 2019

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet waves from his office window in Washington, D.C., during an immigration protest February 12. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) -- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on Thursday joined the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, promising to improve the middle class and fix the U.S. political system.

Some expected Bennet, the second Coloradoan to run behind former Gov. John Hickenlooper, to announce his candidacy last month, but instead revealed he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Bennet said on April 19 he's had successful cancer surgery and doesn't need any more treatment.

"We cannot be the first generation to leave less to our kids, not more," Bennet wrote in a Twitter post Thursday. "That's why I'm running for president. Let's build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government."

He also made the announcement on CBS This Morning.

"This country faces two enormous challenges, one is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government," he said.

Bennet is the latest to join a crowded Democratic field that includes former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

"I think he's a great candidate and I'd love to hear more from him. I knew [cancer] wasn't going to stop him," Helen Varner, who hosted an event for Bennet in Iowa this year, told the Denver Post.

Then-Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Bennet to a Colorado Senate seat in 2009 to replace Ken Salazar, who became interior secretary under President Barack Obama. Bennet then edged Republican Ken Buck to keep the seat the following year. He was re-elected in 2016.

Bennet said Thursday President Donald Trump in the White House has weighed on his mind.

"[I had] the feeling that we had gone in a very different direction than the one I believe we should be headed in," Bennet told KUSA-TV. "It doesn't have anything to do with Democratic or Republican, it has to do with the progress this country has made over generations to make us more free, more inclusive."

 

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Factbox: More than 20 Democrats, two Republicans vie for presidential nomination
May 14, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The largest Democratic field in the modern U.S. political era is competing for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

The diverse group of more than 20 vying to challenge President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, includes seven U.S. senators. A record six women are running, as well as black, Hispanic and openly gay candidates who would make history if one of them becomes the party’s nominee.

Some candidates are beginning to gain traction. Others are still looking for their chance to break through.

Two Republicans are also competing for their party’s nomination.

DEMOCRATIC TOP TIER
Here are the Democrats who are ranked in the top eight in the RealClearPolitics national polling average.

JOE BIDEN
The leader in polls on Democratic presidential contenders, Biden waited until late April to enter the race - launching his bid by taking a direct swipe at Trump. Biden, 76, who served eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama and 36 years in the U.S. Senate, enters in the middle of a Democratic debate over whether a liberal political newcomer or a centrist veteran is needed to win back the White House. Biden relishes his “Middle-Class Joe” nickname and touts his working-class roots.

BERNIE SANDERS
The senator from Vermont lost the Democratic nomination in 2016 to Hillary Clinton but is making a second try. In the 2020 race, Sanders, 77, will have to fight to stand out in a packed field of progressives touting issues he brought into the Democratic Party mainstream four years ago. His proposals include free tuition at public colleges, a $15 minimum wage and universal healthcare. He benefits from strong name recognition and a robust network of small-dollar donors.

ELIZABETH WARREN
The 69-year-old senator from Massachusetts is a leader of the party’s liberals and a fierce critic of Wall Street who was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has focused her presidential campaign on her populist economic message, promising to fight what she calls a rigged economic system that favors the wealthy. She also has proposed eliminating the Electoral College, breaking up tech companies, and sworn off political fundraising events to collect cash for her bid.

KAMALA HARRIS
The first-term senator from California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Harris, 54, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, announced her candidacy on the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She supports a middle-class tax credit, Medicare for All healthcare funding reform, the Green New Deal and the legalization of marijuana. Her track record as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general has drawn scrutiny in a Democratic Party that has shifted in recent years on criminal justice issues.


PETE BUTTIGIEG
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, emerged from underdog status to build momentum with young voters. A Harvard University graduate and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, he speaks seven languages and served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy Reserve. He touts himself as representing a new generation of leadership needed to combat Trump. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay presidential nominee of a major American political party.

BETO O’ROURKE
The former three-term Texas congressman jumped into the race on March 14 - and has been jumping on to store countertops ever since to deliver his optimistic message to voters in early primary states. O’Rourke, 46, gained fame last year for his record fundraising and ability to draw crowds ahead of his unexpectedly narrow loss in the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke announced a $6.1 million fundraising haul for the first 24 hours of his campaign, besting his Democratic opponents. But with progressive policies and diversity at the forefront of the party’s nominating battle, O’Rourke faces a challenge as a wealthy white man who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors.

CORY BOOKER
Booker, 50, a senator from New Jersey and former mayor of Newark, gained national prominence in the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Booker, who is black, has made U.S. race relations and racial disparities a focus of his campaign, noting the impact of discrimination on his family. He embraces progressive positions on Medicare coverage for every American, the Green New Deal and other key issues, and touts his style of positivity over attacks. Booker eats a vegan diet and recently confirmed rumors he is dating actress Rosario Dawson.

AMY KLOBUCHAR
The third-term senator from Minnesota was the first moderate in the Democratic field vying to challenge Trump. Klobuchar, 58, gained national attention in 2018 when she sparred with Brett Kavanaugh during Senate hearings for his Supreme Court nomination. On the campaign trail, the former prosecutor and corporate attorney supports an alternative to traditional Medicare healthcare funding and is taking a hard stance against rising prescription drug prices. Klobuchar’s campaign reported raising more than $1 million in its first 48 hours. Her campaign announcement came amid news reports that staff in her Senate office were asked to do menial tasks, making it difficult to hire high-level campaign strategists.

TRYING TO BREAK THROUGH
The field also includes many Democrats who are trying to find a way to break through. Some hold public office and have managed to generate an early fundraising base, while others are still trying to raise their profile.

JULIAN CASTRO
The secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama would be the first Hispanic to win a major U.S. party’s presidential nomination. Castro, 44, whose grandmother immigrated to Texas from Mexico, has used his family’s personal story to criticize Trump’s border policies. Castro advocates a universal prekindergarten program, supports Medicare for All and cites his experience to push for affordable housing. He announced his bid in his hometown of San Antonio, where he once served as mayor and a city councilman. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND
Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and supporting the Green New Deal. The senator for New York, who is 52, has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. On the campaign trail, she has made fiery denunciations of Trump. She released her tax returns for the years 2007 through 2018, offering the most comprehensive look to date at the finances of a 2020 White House candidate, and has called on her rivals to do the same.


TULSI GABBARD
The Samoan-American congresswoman from Hawaii and Iraq war veteran is the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. After working for her father’s anti-gay advocacy group and drafting relevant legislation, she was forced to apologize for her past views on same-sex marriage. Gabbard, 37, has been criticized for meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017. She slammed Trump for standing by Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She endorsed Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign.

ANDREW YANG
The entrepreneur and former tech executive is focusing his campaign on an ambitious universal income plan. Yang, 44, wants to guarantee all Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 a $1,000 check every month. The son of immigrants from Taiwan, Yang also is pushing for Medicare for All and proposing a new form of capitalism that is “human-centered.” He lives in New York.

JAY INSLEE
The Washington state governor has made fighting climate change the central issue of his campaign. As governor, Inslee, 68, has moved to put a moratorium on capital punishment and fully implement the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and accompanying expansion of Medicaid health coverage for the poor. He has not settled on a position on Medicare for All but does support the Green New Deal backed by progressives. Inslee spent 15 years in Congress before being elected governor in 2012.

TIM RYAN
The moderate nine-term congressman from a working-class district in the battleground state of Ohio has touted his appeal to the blue-collar voters who fled to Trump in 2016. Ryan, 45, pledges to create jobs in new technologies and to focus on public education and access to affordable healthcare. He first gained national attention when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader in 2016, arguing it was time for new leadership. A former college football player, he also has written books on meditation and healthy eating.

JOHN DELANEY
The former U.S. representative from Maryland became the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race, declaring his candidacy in July 2017. Delaney, 56, plans to focus on advancing only bipartisan bills during the first 100 days of his presidency if elected. He is also pushing for a universal healthcare system, raising the federal minimum wage and passing gun safety legislation.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER
The 67-year-old former Colorado governor has positioned himself as a centrist and an experienced officeholder with business experience. He is the only Democratic presidential candidate so far to oppose the Green New Deal plan to tackle climate change, saying it would give the government too much power in investment decisions. During his two terms as governor, Colorado’s economy soared and the Western state expanded healthcare, passed a gun control law and legalized marijuana. The former geologist and brew pub owner is among the many candidates who have refused to take corporate money. He previously served as mayor of Denver.

STEVE BULLOCK
The Democratic governor of Montana, re-elected in 2016 in a conservative state that Trump carried by 20 percentage points, has touted his electability and ability to work across party lines. Bullock, 53, has made campaign finance reform a cornerstone of his agenda, and emphasizes his success in forging compromises with the Republican-led state legislature on bills to expand Medicaid, increase campaign finance disclosures, bolster pay equity for women and protect public lands.


Slideshow (2 Images)
ERIC SWALWELL
The third-term congressman from a district south of San Francisco cited tackling student debt and gun violence among the reasons he jumped into the Democratic primary race. Swalwell, 38, is among the younger candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination. He served on the House Intelligence Committee and founded the Future Forum, a group of more than 25 Democratic lawmakers that visits universities and community colleges to discuss issues important to millennial voters like student loan debt and climate change.

SETH MOULTON
An Iraq War veteran and member of Congress, Moulton, 40, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. He became a vocal critic of the Iraq War, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country. He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians. Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told a Boston radio station in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college. After Democrats took control of the House in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become speaker.

MICHAEL BENNET
Bennet, 54, who is serving his second full six-year term as a senator for Colorado, has centered his political career on improving the American education system. He previously ran Denver’s public schools. Bennet is not well known nationally, but has built a network of political operatives and donors helping elect other Democrats to the Senate. During the partial U.S. government shutdown in January, he garnered national attention criticizing Republicans for stopping the flow of emergency funds to Colorado.

MIKE GRAVEL
The 89-year-old former senator made a little-known run for the Democratic nomination in 2008 and is taking another stab at the White House. One of his top issues is advocating for direct democracy, which would remove power from Congress and have voters decide policy changes. Gravel represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981. He lost re-election in the 1980 race. Since leaving the Senate, Gravel worked in real estate and finance. In 2008, after failing to gain any traction in the Democratic contest, he also made an unsuccessful bid to be the Libertarian nominee for president.

WAYNE MESSAM
Messam, 44, defeated a 16-year incumbent in 2015 to become the first black mayor of the Miami suburb of Miramar. He was re-elected in March. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he played on Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team, and then started a construction business with his wife. He has pledged to focus on reducing gun violence, mitigating climate change and reducing student loan debt and the cost of healthcare.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
The 66-year-old New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and Texas native believes her spirituality-focused campaign can heal America. A 1992 interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show propelled Williamson to make a name for herself as a “spiritual guide” for Hollywood and a self-help expert. She is calling for $100 billion in reparations for slavery over 10 years, gun control, education reform and equal rights for lesbian and gay communities. In 2014, she made an unsuccessful bid for a House seat in California as an independent.

THE REPUBLICANS
President Trump is the clear favorite to win the Republican nomination and there has been criticism among his opponents that party leadership have worked to make it impossible for a challenger. But he will still face at least one challenger.

DONALD TRUMP
Serving in his first term, the 72-year-old real estate mogul shocked the political establishment in 2016 when he successfully secured the Republican nomination and then won the White House. His raucous political rallies and prolific use of Twitter were credited with helping him secure victory. After running as an outsider, Trump is now focusing his message on the strong economy and criticism of Democrats as he vies for re-election.


BILL WELD
Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is mounting a long-shot bid to unseat Trump in the Republican primary. Weld ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 2016 as a Libertarian. He has been a persistent critic of Trump, saying when he launched his 2020 campaign that “the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering.”

(This story corrects in last paragraph that Weld ran for vice president, not president, as a Libertarian in 2016.)

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Alistair Bell and Jonathan Oatis


 

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In Pennsylvania, Trump touts 2020 chances, swipes at Biden
By DARLENE SUPERVILE
an hour ago
21 May 2019

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump voiced confidence Monday in his ability to win a repeat victory in Pennsylvania in 2020 and took a fresh swipe at one of his leading Democratic rivals, telling rallygoers that native son Joe Biden had abandoned them by representing Delaware in the Senate.

In fact, Biden moved to neighboring Delaware with his family when he was a boy, and later represented the state in the Senate for more than three decades. He maintained ties to Pennsylvania over the years.

Trump’s Pennsylvania visit, intended to boost Republican congressional candidate Fred Keller over Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a Tuesday special election for an open House seat, had as much to do with helping his own reelection prospects as it did with pushing Keller over the finish line.

“We’ve got to win tomorrow, Fred,” Trump told a cheering rally crowd at a hangar at Williamsport Regional Airport.

Trump’s visit to the key battleground state came two days after Biden held a campaign rally in Philadelphia, and the former vice president wasn’t far from Trump’s mind.

“He left you for another state, and he didn’t take care of you,” Trump said. He also referred to the former vice president by the nickname he has coined for him: “Sleepy Joe.”

“Sleepy Joe said that he’s running to, quote, ‘save the world,’” Trump said. “Well, he was. He was going to save every country but ours.”

Biden said Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, that he is running on a pledge to restore the soul of America. He has frequently talked on the campaign trail about the president’s divisive rhetoric and said another four years of Trump would “fundamentally change the character of this nation.”

Trump uses his campaign rallies to disparage various Democratic candidates for president, but he has been heavily focused on Biden, suggesting he may be worried about the possibility of facing off next year against the longtime politician.

The president, who spoke in the open air with Air Force One behind him, highlighted the economy’s performance under his leadership and suggested those numbers make him virtually unbeatable.

“Politics is a crazy world, but when you have the best employment numbers in history, when you have the best unemployment numbers in history ... I don’t know, how the hell do you lose this election, right?” Trump said. The current unemployment rate of 3.6% is actually the lowest since 1969, when it stood at 3.5%. Unemployment was even lower than that in the early 1950s, and much lower, under 2%, during three years of World War II.

Keller himself offered a rousing endorsement of Trump, saying he wants to go to Congress to be a vote for the president. Keller told Trump the people of this region of Pennsylvania “have been behind you since Day One, and, Mr. President, our support for you is as strong today as it ever was.”

“In 2016, Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top. And in 2020, we’re going to do it again,” Keller said.

Biden is making a big play for his native Pennsylvania, opening his presidential bid in Harrisburg and capping a three-week rollout with Saturday’s event in Philadelphia, the city where he also established his campaign headquarters.

In the fight to deny Trump reelection, no places will matter more than Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, three states the Republican president carried by razor-thin

 
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