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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2020 Dem primary calendar may boost Hispanic voter clout
By WILL WEISSERT
an hour ago
25 May 2019

Julian Castro
In this May 23, 2019, photo, Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro speaks with a supporter before rallying with McDonald's employees and other activists in Durham, N.C. Hispanics are poised to help shape the 2020 Democratic primary in unprecedented ways. They comprise almost 30% of the population in the state that votes third in presidential primaries, Nevada. And the nation’s two largest Latino states, California and Texas, are among the 14 “Super Tuesday” states voting 10 just days later. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — How to pronounce Beto O’Rourke’s first name — “Is it BET-oh or BAY-toe?” — is debated nearly everywhere the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful goes in Iowa. But Rich Salas doesn’t hesitate.

“BET-oh,” the chief diversity officer at Des Moines University says correctly while introducing O’Rourke at a recent gathering of an Asian and Latino political action committee. “What a really great name.”

Salas notes that O’Rourke “speaks really good Spanish, better than I do,” before leading chants of “Viva Beto!”

It’s a rallying cry that may not resonate in Iowa, home to the nation’s first presidential nominating contest, but could pay dividends faster than in previous years thanks to a primary calendar that will see the two states with the largest Hispanic populations go to the polls earlier than usual.

Hispanics make up just 6% of the population in Iowa, which holds caucuses Feb. 3, and barely half that percentage in New Hampshire, which goes next. But then comes Nevada, where almost 30% of people are Hispanic. And, just 10 days later this cycle, California and Texas — home to 13-plus million eligible Hispanic voters, nearly half of all such voters nationwide, according to the Pew Research Center — vote on “Super Tuesday.”

That means candidates who can win consistent Hispanic support could potentially secure a viable — if narrow — path of survival through the primary’s frantic opening weeks, as the 23-candidate field winnows. A total of 4,051 Democratic delegates are up for grabs. Nearly 500 of those will be in California and 260-plus in Texas. Both allocate delegates proportionately, though, meaning even the winners likely have to share their hauls — and potentially providing more lifelines for any candidate who can mobilize Hispanics even if they don’t finish first.

“I think it’s smart for the candidates to be thinking about how they can become a household name in the Latino community,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of the Hispanic polling firm Latino Decisions. “It will keep them alive, and it will make them a national contender, even if they don’t do well in Iowa or New Hampshire.”

It’s a risky strategy since that means betting on an electorate that’s disproportionately young and plagued by low voter turnout — and may still mostly be going to the polls late enough that campaigns working hard to woo it may not last that long. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was the lone Hispanic in the 2008 presidential race, made a strong showing in Nevada essential to his bid, only to drop out before he got there — following fourth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

U.S. Census survey data shows that general election Hispanic turnout in 2018 climbed 13-plus percentage points from the last midterms in 2014, to 40.4%, but still trailed whites, who reported voting at 55% rates, and blacks, who reported voting at 51.1%. Still, Barreto noted that the overall number of Hispanics who reported voting has risen in recent cycles and that the turnout percentage has been hurt because so many Hispanics are turning 18 and young people of all backgrounds are less likely to vote.

Hispanics, meanwhile, will outpace African Americans to become the electorate’s largest nationwide racial minority group for the first time on Election Day 2020 — accounting for more than 13% of eligible voters, according to Pew projections. Not all Hispanics are Democrats, but about two-thirds reported voting for the party during last fall’s midterms, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the 2018 national electorate.

“Over the years, there haven’t been that many Latino presidential candidates,” Julian Castro, former San Antonio mayor and Obama administration housing chief and 2020′s only Hispanic presidential candidate, said in a phone interview. “So, there’s still this sense of barriers being broken.”

Castro has been to Nevada more than any Democratic presidential rival and has announced sweeping plans on issues he says Hispanics most care about, including calls for decriminalizing crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and universal prekindergarten. O’Rourke, a former congressman, is of Irish decent but speaks fluent Spanish and hails from El Paso, Texas, where more than a quarter of the population are immigrants, most from just across the border in Mexico.

Sen. Kamala Harris has a home-state advantage in California and, during a recent town hall in neighboring Nevada, handed out headsets to attendees who wanted to listen to a Spanish translation — along with signs reading “Kamala Harris for the People” in English and Spanish. She’s also named Emmy Ruiz, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 state director in Nevada, as a senior adviser, and Julie Chávez Rodriguez, granddaughter of legendary activist Cesar Chávez, is her campaign’s co-national political director.

Cristóbal Alex, who headed the Latino Victory PAC, is an adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign points to polling showing his rising popularity with Hispanics. It’s also enlisted Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan — known for sparring verbally with President Donald Trump in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s 2017 devastation of the island. Then there’s New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who invited Yulin Cruz to Trump’s State of the Union speech.

Castro went to Puerto Rico immediately after launching his presidential campaign, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also visited, while O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, have talked about going. The island’s 64-delegate Democratic primary is March 8, the Sunday after Super Tuesday.

Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of Jolt, a Texas-based group that organizes Hispanics, said candidates won’t be able to rely solely on their backgrounds or advisers, saying “I don’t believe in honorary Latinos.”

“People want diversity,” said Tzintzún, a Sanders supporter in the 2016 Democratic primary. “What matters more is who’s offering the bold solutions.”

Castro has traveled to Nevada six times since December. He has gone to citizenship classes and attended house parties in historically Hispanic communities like east Las Vegas — including one hosted by an immigrant rights activist who is in the country illegally.

“It’s likely that my story, the way I grew up, is going to resonate a lot with a lot of Latinos,” said Castro, whose grandmother was born in Mexico and whose mother was a noted Latino rights activist. “Because they can see their own story in mine.”

O’Rourke is hopeful his background can help him with Hispanics, too.

“I’ve got to think that, the fact that I live on the U.S.-Mexico border, that a quarter of those with whom I live and represented in Congress were born in another country, that I can tell a pretty powerful, positive story,” O’Rourke told reporters after the event in Des Moines.

Of his Spanish, he added, “I’m going to try and reach people in every place and in every language that I possibly can.”

Castro speaks some Spanish while campaigning but admits he isn’t fluent — and says that’s not the key factor.

“There’s often this sense that, the only way to measure whether you’re connecting with Latinos is if you’re fluent in Spanish or not, which is just completely wrong,” he said. “It becomes very one-dimensional. And what we’ve done is we’re going after that vote in a much more holistic way.”

 

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Impeach Trump? Most 2020 Democrats tiptoe past the question
By ELANA SCHOR and JUANA SUMMERS
27 May 2019
Cory Booker
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during a house party, Friday, May 24, 2019, in Newton, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leaders in Congress have argued that impeaching President Donald Trump is a political mistake as the 2020 election nears. Most of the candidates running to succeed him seem to agree, for now.

Fewer than one-third of the 23 Democrats vying for the nomination are issuing calls to start the impeachment process, citing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report they believe shows Trump obstructed justice . Most others, including leading contenders Joe Biden and Bernie

Sanders, have found a way to hedge or search for middle ground, supporting investigations that could lead to impeachment or saying Trump’s conduct warrants impeachment but stopping short of any call for such a proceeding.

The candidates’ reluctance, even as more congressional Democrats start pushing their leaders in the direction, underscores the risky politics of investigating the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment matters deeply to the party’s base but remains unpopular with most Americans.

White House hopefuls may win praise from liberal activists by pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for an impeachment inquiry, but those who fall short of insisting are unlikely to take heat from early-state primary voters more focused on other issues.

 

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Democrats up requirements for 2nd round of primary debates
By BILL BARROW
29 May 2019

In this April 3, 2019, photo, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York. The Democratic National Committee is upping the ante for its second round of presidential primary debates, doubling the polling and grassroots fundraising requirements from its initial summer debates. The parameters, announced Wednesday, May 29, 2019, are likely to help cull a crop of nearly two dozen candidates and, in the process, intensify scrutiny on Democratic Chairman Perez and his pledge to give all candidates a chance to be heard. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Democratic National Committee is upping the ante for its second round of presidential primary debates, doubling the polling and grassroots fundraising requirements from its initial summer debates.

The parameters, announced Wednesday, are likely to help cull a crop of 24 candidates and, in the process, intensify scrutiny on Democratic Chairman Tom Perez and his pledge to give all candidates a chance to be heard .

The DNC’s outline for its September debate — the third of at least a dozen promised matchups during the 2020 nominating fight — decrees that candidates can participate only by reaching 2% in four approved polls released between June 28 and Aug. 28 while also collecting contributions from a minimum of 130,000 unique donors before Aug. 28. That donor list must include a minimum of 400 individuals in at least 20 states. The qualifications would remain the same for an October debate, though the party hasn’t set the deadline for measuring fundraising and polling.

About a half-dozen candidates have demonstrated the capacity to hit the new marks with relative ease. Several more are on the fence, and perhaps another dozen face an uphill path. Debate slots are a coveted opportunity for candidates looking to break from the pack, and not being on the stage could be the death knell for a struggling campaign.

ABC and Univision will host the Sept. 12 debate, with a second night if necessary to accommodate the qualified candidates. The September debate site hasn’t been settled. Neither the dates nor location is set for October.

The first debates are June 26-27 in Miami . The second set of debates is on July 30-31 in Detroit . Those first rounds carry a polling threshold of 1% and a fundraising mark of 65,000 donors with a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states.

Perez has yet to lock in the number of podiums for either post-Labor Day debate, but the outline hints at the possibility of significantly fewer than the June and July capacity of 20 candidates.

In its announcement, the party states that the second September night would be held only if necessary. When unveiling summer debate plans earlier this year, party officials offered a nominal hedge yet openly predicted they’d fill most if not all the 20 slots. They went so far as to explain a series of tie-breakers if more than 20 candidates qualified.

As the race stands, the top of the field likely would not be threatened by upping the threshold. That includes former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

However, the other candidates, including more senators and several governors, remain jumbled at or near the lower thresholds set for the first two debates.

Perez has from the outset of debate planning promised an open, fair process, acknowledging the criticism leveled at the DNC during the 2016 primary process, marred by allegations that then-Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other party officials favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders.

Perez has pledged to give all candidates a voice while championing the grassroots of the left that has blossomed since President Donald Trump’s election. That grassroots energy was the impetus behind the fundraising metrics, which were developed in consultation with ActBlue, the left’s online fundraising clearinghouse that is helping DNC certify candidates’ fundraising measures.

DNC officials were prepared for potential criticism, releasing a statement from ActBlue Executive Director Erin Hill ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

“Candidates who will be prepared to take on Trump in the general should already be working to build programs that can bring in 130,000 donors by the second round of debates,” Hill said.

Besides the increased thresholds, it’s significant that candidates must meet both the polling and fundraising marks in the next round. For the first two sessions, a candidate can qualify by meeting one or the other.

That’ll put pressure on candidates ranging from unconventional hopefuls like entrepreneur Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson to established politicians like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Govs. Steve Bullock of Montana and Jay Inslee of Washington.

Yang and Williamson have attracted significant small-donor fundraising but have yet to hit 2% in most polls. Gillibrand has struggled with fundraising and might have trouble clearing 2% consistently in polls. Inslee just hit the 65,000-donor mark but would have to increase his pace to reach 130,000 by the Aug. 28 deadline, and he’s also rarely checked in at higher than 1% in polls.

Bullock is a relatively late entry to the race, joining this month, meaning he’d have to pack his fundraising work into a much tighter timeframe than those candidates who launched their bids in January and February.
___

 

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2020 preview? Feud flares up between Joe Biden, Donald Trump
By STEVE PEOPLES and ZEKE MILLER
18 minutes ago
29 May 2019

FILE - In this May 18, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign rally at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia. Rising disagreement among congressional Democrats over whether to pursue impeachment of President Donald Trump has had little effect on the party’s presidential candidates, who mostly are avoiding calls to start such an inquiry. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats won’t pick their nominee for another year, but President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are acting like the 2020 presidential contest is already a two-man race.

Almost completely ignoring his 23 Democratic competitors , Biden has been laser-focused on Trump — particularly his embrace of racist rhetoric . But it has been Trump’s recent focus on Biden that has surprised both his allies and critics, who believe the Republican president may be unintentionally elevating someone whose candidacy is barely a month old.

Trump’s advisers have privately encouraged him to lay off Biden. He has done the opposite, lobbing more public insults at the former vice president than any other Democrat over the month. Trump’s latest attack was perhaps his most brazen: During a state visit to Japan on Monday, he agreed with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent description of Biden as a “low-IQ individual.”

A Biden campaign aide on Tuesday called the comments “beneath the dignity of the office.” The campaign said it waited a day to respond out of respect for Memorial Day, a holiday that honors the service of military veterans.

“To be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield.

Democrats on the ground in key primary states report that the intensifying feud has strengthened Biden’s argument that he’s best positioned to take down Trump in 2020. For many voters, nothing matters more than electability. And with Trump’s help, Biden is dominating that debate.

Regardless of the short-term political fallout, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Trump and his allies view Biden as their most formidable opponent. And the anti-Biden assault could become more organized and intense should Biden maintain his front-runner status in the coming months.

“Trump seems to be obsessed with Biden, which suggests that he’s afraid of him,” said Gary Pearce, a longtime Democratic operative based in North Carolina.

“Clearly, the reason Trump is going after Biden is because he’s perceived as the biggest threat,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart concurred. “From Biden’s standpoint, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

Trump’s attacks on Biden are not part of an organized strategy, according to three people familiar with the campaign’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. They described the situation as Trump tweeting and the campaign and the Republican National Committee working overtime to keep up — as evidenced by the delays in both entities in amplifying the president’s message. It’s consistent with Trump’s view of himself as his own political strategist, prioritizing his gut over the advice of aides.

In recent weeks, the president has attacked Biden’s intelligence, his energy level, his history of unwanted touching, his record on criminal justice reform and his dedication to Pennsylvania. Trump told Pennsylvania voters during a rally last week that Biden “deserted” them. Biden, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, left the state as a child when his parents relocated for work.

“I’ve never forgotten where I came from. My family did have to leave Pennsylvania when I was 10 — we moved to Delaware where my Dad found a job that could provide for our family,” Biden tweeted. “Trump doesn’t understand the struggles working folks go through.”

But Trump went further on Monday when he swiped at the former vice president on foreign soil, choosing Kim’s side over Biden’s when asked about the North Korean leader’s description of the Democrat’s intelligence level.

“I don’t take sides as to who I’m in favor or who I’m not,” Trump told reporters in Japan when asked whether he was favoring a violent dictator over the former vice president. “But I can tell you that Joe Biden was a disaster.”

Trump added: “Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.”

On Tuesday, Trump claimed that he “was actually sticking up” for Biden in Japan. He said that Kim had referred to Biden as a “low IQ idiot” and that he had “related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer ‘low IQ individual.’

“Who could possibly be upset with that?” the president tweeted.

Trump’s swipes against Biden have been the subject of significant internal debate in the halls of the West Wing and his reelection campaign.
Several officials, including Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have expressed reservations that the president is helping Biden, whom they view as his strongest opponent, according to the three people familiar with the campaign’s thinking. Trump may be highlighting Biden’s vulnerabilities for progressive voters, especially when it comes to his history on criminal justice issues. But in attacking the former vice president, some aides believe Trump risks turning Biden into a cause célèbre for Democratic voters who are most animated by their dislike of Trump.

That could prove especially problematic if Biden proves most resistant to the Trump campaign’s entrenched strategy to paint all of Trump’s opponents as “socialists.” Biden’s blue-collar appeal in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin poses the deepest threat to the president’s path to 270 electoral votes.

Others in Trump’s orbit are less worried and believe Biden might be the easiest to beat of the Democratic field.

“I happen to believe Biden would be the weakest of the general election candidates because he’ll be carrying 47 years of baggage and will have many of same vulnerabilities as (Hillary) Clinton,” said Trump’s 2016 senior communications adviser, Jason Miller.

Billionaire Republican donor Doug Deason, who sits on the finance committee for the most powerful pro-Trump super PAC, cheered Trump’s approach.

“Why is he going after Biden? Biden is leading in the polls. He can beat ’em up,” Deason said. “I think he’s the only real legitimate contestant in the field. And I think it would be a shame for Democrats to end their race to the left and nominate him.”

Still, few Biden supporters view the attention from the president as a bad thing.

Biden’s campaign seized on Trump’s attacks in a Tuesday fundraising email titled “Donald Trump is scared.”

“Over the last week, President Trump has repeatedly insulted Joe Biden — even going so far as to side with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Why? It’s simple: Trump’s afraid he’s going to lose,” says the fundraising appeal.

It adds: “Let’s use this opportunity to show Donald Trump he should be scared of our momentum.”
___
Miller reported from Washington.

 

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Biden unveils $5 trillion plan for climate change 'revolution'
Biden called President Donald Trump's approach to climate change "reckless," "irresponsible" and "unacceptable."
By Clyde Hughes
JUNE 4, 2019

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a kickoff campaign rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 18. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- Democratic 2020 hopeful Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled the details of his ambitious plan as president to fight climate change -- which calls for net-zero emissions, a fully clean energy economy within 30 years and investments worth trillions.

The plan, termed a "Clean energy Revolution," calls for a federal investment of $1.7 trillion for the first 10 years -- and private, state and local investments to total $5 trillion. Biden said part of the federal funds for the plan will come from repealing Republican-led tax cuts made under President Donald Trump.

Biden's plan lays out five key goals -- reaching net-zero emissions and 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050, building a "stronger, more resilient" nation, rallying the climate change fight worldwide, fight polluters who "disproportionately harm" low-income Americans and minorities and helping American workers with the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Biden said the Green New Deal, an aggressive climate change plan introduced this year by House Democrats, serves as a "crucial framework" of his plan.

"It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan -- the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected," the plan states.

Parts of Biden's plan are "smart infrastructure investments" to impact climate change and rejoining the 2015 Paris agreement, from which Trump withdrew after taking office in 2017. The former vice president also said he would not accept campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal companies or industry executives.

"Today, President Trump denies the evidence in front of his own eyes; hides climate science produced by his own administration and actively rolls back the progress we've already made," Biden said in a video posted Tuesday. "It's reckless. It's irresponsible and it is unacceptable."



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We are in a climate emergency and we must take drastic action now to address it. So today, I’m announcing my plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.http://JoeBiden.com/Climate

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Biden's plan came just days after environmental organization Greenpeace gave him a D-minus grade for his stance on climate, up to that point -- ranking him 18th of the 20 candidates the organization evaluated. It ranked Washington Gov. Jay Inslee No. 1, noting that he's building his entire campaign on climate issues. Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke announced a $5 trillion climate package in April.


 

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Under pressure, Biden drifts leftward on abortion, climate change
June 8, 2019
by James Oliphant


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Joe Biden Express to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination went a bit off track this week.
View attachment 7686

Since Biden joined the race in April, his campaign has worked to craft an aura of inevitability around the former vice president’s bid. Biden has engaged President Donald Trump more often than his Democratic rivals, while speaking in broad, thematic outlines rather pinpointing policy.

To a large extent, the strategy has succeeded. Biden enjoys a comfortable lead over his 23 competitors - drawing 31% of support from Democratic and independent voters compared to the 14% received by second-place U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the Reuters/Ipsos poll this week - and remains the favorite to battle Trump in the November 2020 election.

But as Biden increasingly has to stake out policy positions, he finds himself under fire from progressives in the party — and has shown a willingness to bow to demands that could hurt him with more moderate voters.

Facing intense criticism from liberals and abortion-rights groups, Biden on Thursday suddenly reversed himself on the Hyde Amendment, a law that prohibits federal funds for most abortions. After 40 years of supporting the measure, Biden, a Roman Catholic, announced at an event in Atlanta that he now opposed it.

Earlier this week, Biden rolled out a climate-change plan that was more ambitious and far-reaching than many expected. It came after weeks of progressives openly fretting that his plan would seek some sort of “middle ground” in an attempt to mollify labor unions and other industry groups concerned about the economic impact of a massive shift away from fossil fuels.

In both cases, Biden was not necessarily speaking to his loyal base of supporters, the largely middle-aged and middle-of-the-road voters - many of them union members - who came out to see him in New Hampshire this week.

Instead, he was courting the groups he needs to consolidate his grip on the nomination: the activists, progressives and millennials who right now have the louder voices in the party.

Biden’s chief antagonist has been Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term congresswoman from New York who is not running for president but who commands a fervent following on social media. She called out Biden on both his climate and abortion positions.

SHIFTS DRAWS SCRUTINY

Biden also is being knocked around more by his fellow Democratic candidates, who finally were given an opening to distinguish themselves from the front-runner on an issue key to the party’s base. His past support of the Hyde Amendment was blasted by Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, among others.

Biden added to the confusion about where he stands on the issue during the event in Atlanta by saying he would make “no apologies for my last position” on the amendment.

While he cited aggressive anti-abortion laws passed in states such as Georgia for his shift, his language fueled outrage among progressive women on Twitter who argued the law had prevented poor women from obtaining abortions for decades.

Campaign aides for Trump’s reelection told Reuters last month they expected Biden to be pulled leftward as the Democratic primary progressed, and they were prepared to exploit that should it occur.

On the campaign trail, Biden at times appears caught between a lifetime of centrist and often bipartisan policymaking and the pull of the progressive tide.

At an event on Tuesday in Concord, New Hampshire, he continued to defend the 1994 crime bill he helped craft as a senator that has been criticized by Harris and other candidates for resulting in the disproportionate jailing of African-Americans.

“You’ve been conditioned to say it’s a bad bill,” he told a questioner, a young woman who called herself a “civil liberties voter.”

Unlike several other Democratic candidates who have already called for the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate an impeachment inquiry against Trump, Biden has held back, saying that it should only happen if Trump continues to stonewall committee probes.

“It’s a gigantic distraction from things we should be focusing on getting done,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether Biden has suffered any damage from tacking leftward on some issues.

Some voters in New Hampshire made clear they did not want Biden to cater to the party progressives.

“I honestly think the progressives are in many ways hijacking the Democratic Party. The 60 or 70 percent of us who are in the middle get left out of the mix,” said Jeff Brown, 57, of Weare, New Hampshire. “And I think the vice president hears our voices, and I think he’s the one who is going to represent us.”

Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman

 

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Democrats to pour into Iowa for biggest event yet in 2020 White House race
by John Whitesides
07 June 2019

(Reuters) - Nineteen Democratic presidential candidates will swarm Iowa this weekend for the biggest political gathering of the 2020 election cycle so far, as the White House race picks up steam ahead of debates and a key fundraising deadline at the end of the month.

View attachment 7688
FILE PHOTO: U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks during the Story County Democrats' annual soup supper fundraiser at the Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, Iowa, U.S., February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

The state party’s Hall of Fame dinner on Sunday will give voters in Iowa, where the nominating contest kicks off in February, an early chance to compare the contenders and test the organizational power of still-forming campaign teams.

It caps a weekend that includes candidate appearances around the state and a candidate forum at a Pride festival in Des Moines on Saturday.
“This should be a good opportunity for people to not only size up the candidates in one setting but to also see how they talk about issues affecting the state of Iowa,” said Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.

The 19 candidates who attend the dinner in Cedar Rapids will each get five minutes to give a rapid-fire speech to more than 1,400 guests. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner in opinion polls, is skipping the event but will campaign in Iowa later in the week.

Tickets to the dinner were offered for purchase to each of the campaigns, meaning the most well-funded organizations will be able to show their muscle. Organizers also expect plenty of unaffiliated activists to attend to check out the contenders.

Several candidates, including Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, will hold rallies or events before the dinner. Senator Bernie Sanders will lead a march to the dinner of McDonald’s workers and other supporters of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

The event kicks off a busy June, including another cattle call for 2020 Democrats at U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn’s traditional fish fry in South Carolina, the first debates
over two nights on June 26 and 27 and the quarterly fundraising deadline at the end of the month that will disclose each campaign’s financial viability.

“June is a pivotal month,” said Matt Paul, a veteran Iowa operative and Hillary Clinton’s state director in the 2016 caucuses. “There are some political command performances this month.”

IOWA VOTERS ASSESSING FIELD
The Democrats competing to challenge Republican President Donald Trump for the White House in November 2020 have been pouring into the state since January, but this will be the first opportunity for Iowans to judge so many side by side.

County party leaders in Iowa said Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose campaign says she has more than 50 paid staffers in the state, and Booker, whose campaign has nearly 50 paid staff in Iowa, have been among the most active in setting up organizations in the state.

Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar and others are making headway on getting organizations running, while many others are just starting, they said.

Party leaders said there was still plenty of time, with many of the state’s Democratic voters waiting to see how the field of more than 20 contenders shakes out over the coming months before making a commitment. Recent election cycles have seen plenty of movement toward candidates in the autumn.

“People are still just trying to get as much information as they can. There are so many good candidates, they want to hear them all - and a lot of things can happen
between now and the caucus date in February,” said Scott Punteney, chairman of the Pottawattamie County Democrats in western Iowa.

Biden has led polls in Iowa and nationally over the second-place Sanders and other leading contenders. Several Iowa party leaders said they did not think it would hurt Biden to skip the dinner on Sunday.

“After I hear from 19 different people, I’ll probably be OK without the 20th,” said Steve Drahozal, chairman of the Dubuque County Democrats.

Biden’s campaign did not respond to a question from Reuters about why he was skipping the Iowa event. His aides told party officials in the state that he had a scheduling conflict.

Biden also did not attend last week’s California state convention that drew 14 Democratic candidates. He has focused more on a general election match-up with Trump since entering the race and will make his second campaign trip to Iowa on Tuesday, the same day Trump visits the state.

Reporting by John Whitesides in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

 

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Biden, Sanders lead field of 20 Democrats chosen for first debates
June 14, 2019
By Clyde Hughes

View attachment 8024
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden led the field of 20 candidates on the Democratic Party's final list. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- There were few, if any, surprises when the Democratic National Committee released its final list of 20 candidates who will participate in its first debates in Miami this month.

The field is led by early front-runner Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic primary runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders. The 18 others are Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Housing Secretary Julian Castro; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; California Sen. Kamala Harris; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; California Rep.Eric Swalwell; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

A drawing to determine when the candidates will debate will be held Friday.

The first Democratic debates will be held June 26 and 27 and be broadcast by NBC News and Telemundo.

The candidates qualified by meeting one of two standards -- drawing at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or raising funds from at least 65,000 unique donors in at least 20 states.

Those who did not make the field were Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel; Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton.

Bullock, who joined the field last month, said he's a strong candidate as the governor of a state President Donald Trump won handily in 2016.

"I am the only one in the field that won in a Trump state and we need to win back some of the places we've lost," he told NBC News.

 

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