Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The case for Bernie Sanders

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

Let’s put angst aside for a day, and look at the case for Bernie Sanders. [This isn’t to tell you who to vote for, it’s for perspective. Bernie has not won the nomination yet, vote your choice.] It starts with Bernie getting the most votes. It also includes how often the pundits are wrong, and it goes from there. It will be twitter heavy, because written pundits aren’t doing enough of it. Let’s have at it, starting with a conservative: 

During the 2016 election campaign, when Dems prayed for Trump to win the nom, @EsotericCD said something to the effect of: ANY major party nominee is one unpredictable event away from being president. Do not tempt fate. I see too many conservatives doing the same with Bernie.

— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 23, 2020

There are the polls, which say we are winning:

the same new UW/YouGov WI poll has very close Nov match-ups, with Trump trailing slightly vs Dems. Very diff from Quinn. poll. (UW sample in WI was +5 Dem, Q sample was +6 Rep).

— Craig Gilbert (@WisVoter) February 23, 2020

for those writing off the Dems, not so fast

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) February 23, 2020

Those are MSN polls here and here

Here’s why the pundits are so often wrong:

and we try to make logical arguments and cogent analysis to an utterly irrational electorate. ...

— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) February 23, 2020

🧐🤔. If that’s not humbling to a prognosticator, l I don’t know what is. Or, if not humbling enough, you could look at your own record (I figured Clinton to win a close race and was right about the popular vote but didn’t figure on Jim — to hell with you forever, bub — Comey.)

@dandrezner @morningmoneyben I have a pretty strong view that Sanders won�t win. It�s true I had a strong view that Trump wouldn�t win. It�s foolish to think that because an upset happened in 2016 all future contests will be won by the underdog.

— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) February 23, 2020

However, I hope it illustrates that you should be *highly* skeptical of people in the media making blanket statements about Sanders' electability, based on "who they know." E.G., "my friends all say X" or whatever (2/n)

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) February 23, 2020

My motto for this election is nobody knows nothing™.

Making the S.C. primary�s results a big test of how powerful the Clyburn machine currently is.

— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) February 23, 2020

Kristina Karisch/ Washington Monthly:

Could Overseas Voters Be the Democrats’ Secret Weapon in 2020?

In a close election, they can tip the scales in swing states.

Democrats Abroad is the party’s official arm abroad. Every four years, it holds a “global primary” and sends delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Significantly, the group is virtually the only voter turnout drive focused on targeting liberal Americans living outside the United States. Its goal in 2020: to get a million overseas voters to cast a ballot.

That’s not an idea that comes from nowhere. Overseas voters have helped decide an election before. In 2000, both George W. Bush’s and Al Gore’s campaigns hinged their victories on a small number of absentee ballots in Florida that were mailed from outside the U.S.

As the New York Times reported in 2001, when Bush’s unofficial lead was around 300 votes at the start of the 18-day recount, the two camps relied heavily on overseas absentee ballots. Bush’s campaign tried to validate the highest number of ballots possible in counties he had already won while seeking to disqualify overseas ballots in counties Gore was leading in.

It seems to have worked. The Times found that when faced with intense pressure from the GOP, Florida officials “accepted hundreds of overseas absentee ballots that failed to comply with state laws.” The analysis of 2,490 votes found that Florida accepted 680 questionable votes—either from ballots without postmarks or postmarked after Election Day; ballots mailed from U.S. cities and states; or even ballots from voters who voted twice. Bush ultimately won the Florida contest by 537 votes.

By “most votes,” I mean we now have Nevada to include, and it expands the data:

Hispanic voters under 45 years old in Nevada caucuses: Sanders 69% (?!) Biden 8% Buttigieg 7% Warren 7% Steyer 5% Gabbard 1% Klobuchar 1%

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 23, 2020

ABC News:

With help from Latino voters, Bernie Sanders hits the Nevada jackpot

Sanders also ran competitively in the state among unaccustomed support groups.

Latinos joined the Sanders brigade in Nevada, the most diverse state to participate so far, giving him 51% of their votes, a vast tally in a seven-candidate race. Sanders fell off sharply among blacks, to 27% -- yet that was good enough for second place to former Vice President Joe Biden’s 39% among blacks, Biden’s single best group. The Vermont senator won 29% of whites, easily first in this group. 

Sanders won half of independent caucusgoers in the Silver State on Saturday, a core support group in his 2016 race against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Yet he won Nevada Democrats as well, with 31% support. While seven in 10 mainline Democrats voted for someone else, no other individual candidate won more than 20% of their votes, well under Sanders’ tally among party regulars.

NEW: Bernie Sanders win Nevada should reshape the narrative about his supporters, and is a wake up call to rivals who have ignored warning signs If the Bernie Bros are real, so are the working class Latino moms who put him over the top W/ @jennymedina

— SteadmanâÂ�¢ (@AsteadWesley) February 23, 2020

NY Times:

How Bernie Sanders Dominated in Nevada

A multiracial coalition brought the senator’s long-promised political revolution to vivid life, for perhaps the first time in the 2020 race.

They showed up to Desert Pines High School in Tío Bernie T-shirts to caucus on Saturday morning, motivated by the idea of free college tuition, “Medicare for all” and the man making those promises: a 78-year-old white senator from Vermont. To dozens of mostly working-class Latinos, Bernie Sanders seemed like one of their own, a child of immigrants who understands what it means to be seen as a perpetual outsider.

For at least one day, in one state, the long-promised political revolution of Mr. Sanders came to vivid life, a multiracial coalition of immigrants, college students, Latina mothers, younger black voters, white liberals and even some moderates who embraced his idea of radical change and lifted him to victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

By harnessing such a broad cross-section of voters, Mr. Sanders offered a preview of the path that he hopes to take to the Democratic presidential nomination: uniting an array of voting blocs in racially diverse states in the West and the South and in economically strapped parts of the Midwest and the Southwest, all behind the message of social and economic justice that he has preached for years.

The center-left establishment will come on board:

Republicans have all kinds of incredibly unpopular positions - tax cuts for the rich, cutting off insurance - but they all agree that conservatism is awesome and everyone should embrace it. Imagine if Democrats acted the same way about liberalism. /2

— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) February 24, 2020

To be honest, a Sanders administration would probably leave center-left policy wonks like me out in the cold, at least initially. But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line 5/

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) February 23, 2020

But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line.  Good one. If you are considering Mike Bloomberg at all, how could you in the end not vote for Bernie in the general? Unity is a two way street, and the moderates are there for the asking:

Assuming he pulls it off, I have only one ask of Bernie supporters: I know you'll show up to vote for HIM. All I ask is that you ALSO show up and vote for EVERY OTHER DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE UP & DOWN THE TICKET whether you consider them to be "progressive enough" or not.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) February 23, 2020

Remember who we are running against:

Philip Rucker/WaPo:

‘Something has to be done’: Trump’s quest to rewrite history of the Russia probe

Seven months after Mueller’s marathon testimony brought finality to the Russia investigation, Trump is actively seeking to rewrite the narrative that had been meticulously documented by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, both for immediate political gain and for history.

Turbocharged by his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial and confident that he has acquired the fealty of nearly every Republican in Congress, Trump is claiming vindication and exoneration not only over his conduct with Ukraine — for which the House voted to impeach him — but also from the other investigations that have dogged his presidency.

There are people who don’t care. Don’t be that person:

Guys, I�m just going to say this now. 1) I am not representative of many voters but 2) if it�s a Trump v Bernie contest and CT is within 5 points (unlikely but whatever) I will vote for Trump. They�re both awful. They both love the British NHS which is automatically disqualifying

— Liz Mair (@LizMair) February 23, 2020

Stupid. Seriously.

— John Weaver (@jwgop) February 23, 2020

(Liz is a Republican political consultant and counts as a pundit. Some of these folks are more Rexits than Never Trumpers.)

And one word of caution from Liz:

Not being a consultant for any Dem campaigns, I can�t say definitively. But some thoughts: 1) Trump clearly prefers to run against him or Warren. Note that there has been VERY LITTLE oppo dumping on Warren. What little of it there has been has come from, ahem, other places...

— Liz Mair (@LizMair) February 23, 2020

See whole thread so you can prepare for the inevitable.

When I feel myself getting my back up about voting for one candidate or another, I remember the kids at the border. I owe it to them to vote for whoever will free them, and not withhold my vote to spite some twitter a-hole.

— Aurora Erratic ðÂ�Â�Â�âÂ�Â�ï¸Â� (@Potterchik) February 23, 2020

New CBS/YouGov poll in South Carolina just out: Biden 28% Sanders 23% Steyer 18% Warren 12% Buttigieg 10% Klobuchar 4% Gabbard 1%

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 23, 2020

Like no one is sitting here quaking in fear that M4A will pass or that people will get free college. Some might not think those proposals are reasonable, but it's not like typical liberal Dems fear them. We just don't want to lose and we want to do as much good as we can.

— Mangy Jay (@magi_jay) February 23, 2020

That is all.


These are 3 important data points in the Nevada Caucasus that show voters were energized: - turnout was nearly 16,000 higher than in 2016 - 35% of Nevadans who caucused were non-white according to entrance polls - A majority of Nevadans were 1st time caucus-goers Per @nvdems

— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) February 24, 2020

And in non-Bernie news:

Houston Chronicle:

Is the vaccine to thwart the new coronavirus stored in a Houston freezer?

The vaccine, developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers, effectively protected mice against SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, the virus from the same family that spread in the early 2000s. The vaccine never progressed to human testing because manufacturing of it wasn’t completed until 2016, long after SARS had burned out.

“It generated zero interest from pharmaceutical companies,” said Peter Hotez, a Baylor vaccine researcher and infectious disease specialist. “Because the virus was no longer circulating, their response was essentially, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ ”

Japan has 146 confirmed cases, 7 listed as serious. They�ve only tested around 1,500 people.

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) February 24, 2020

Korean stock are getting slammed this Monday. Worse thing is volumes are extremely heavy. Volumes on the Kospi index are extrapolated to top 1 billion shares by the close for only the sixth time in the last 17 years

— David Ingles (@DavidInglesTV) February 24, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Post-debate reflection in a post-truth world

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

So this was a debate for the books. 

Nats-Astros World Series Game 7: 23 million viewers Last night's Dem debate: 19.7 million viewers

— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) February 20, 2020

And what did we learn? Maybe that debates, entertaining as they may be, matter less than we would like to believe.


Monster ratings for Las Vegas debate break record for Democratic Party

Nearly 20 million viewers tuned into Wednesday night's Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC in Las Vegas, making it the most-watched Democratic primary debate of all time, according to preliminary numbers.

The early figures from Nielsen Media Research, a firm that measures the size of television audiences, indicated that approximately 19.7 million people watched the debate on NBC and MSNBC combined. Until Wednesday night, the most-watched Democratic primary debate ever had been one that occurred in June 2019, when approximately 18.1 million combined viewers watched the second night of a two-part debate series on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.

Everyone � especially Bernie Sanders � owes Elizabeth Warren for her Bloomberg TKO |

— Timothy McBride (@mcbridetd) February 20, 2020

Sure, Mike Bloomberg got clobbered. But he’s a got a ton of money to spend, enough to alter the debate results with selectively edited commercials making him look better. That’s what  money can buy.

The @nypost & @NYDailyNews covers for today. Focusing on the absolute evisceration of Bloomberg by our next President, Elizabeth Warren. #WinWithWarren #PresidentWarren

— Eliza Orlins (@elizaorlins) February 20, 2020

Hey, want to make sense of the current Democratic primary mess? Seth Masket has you in mind, in a brilliant analysis:

Fine, Dems are in Disarray. Here's Why.

But why? What makes this cycle so unusual? This is a lot of what my book is about, so I wanted to explain this a bit here. I claim that the processes for deciding the two things a party needs to figure out before making a nomination -- what it wants and who is most likely to get it for them -- have been messed up. The culprit is negative partisanship generally, and Donald Trump more specifically. Allow me to explain.

As laid out in the "Theory of Parties" article a few years ago, the ideal party nominee is a combination of two main factors. First, that person should be broadly acceptable to major factions in the party and able to deliver on things that people in the party care about. Second, that person should be electable. A party doesn't want to nominate just anyone who can win an election, because they actually want some things out of that person when they're in office. But they don't want to ignore electability completely, since there's no point in picking a person who's good on the issues but can't win.

So we get that the “broadly acceptable” part is important. But if you have a factional candidate that says “my person or never this other” (and not just Bernie people, Biden people) you got a problem. But the elephant in the room compounding that problem is 2016. If you can’t agree on why Hillary lost, you’ll never agree on the solution to correct the problem. And we don’t agree on that. And here we are.

A bit of conventional wisdom:

Important to note: With Bernie, you probably can also write off Pennsylvania because of fracking and Florida because of Castro fanboy-ing. The electoral math just doesn't work once you start writing off most of the battleground states.

— BETO WOULD HAVE WON ðÂ�Â�¶ (@Alex__Katz) February 20, 2020

But that CW might be wrong. Kirsten Powers/USA Today:

Face facts, Bernie Sanders is electable

It’s well past time to bury the 'Bernie is unelectable' trope. He has a better shot than moderate Bloomberg.

It’s true that at one point calling yourself a “Democratic socialist” would be a bridge too far for many voters, including Democrats. But that was before people began to realize how unmoored the American capitalist system is from any sense of ethics or morality. The level of economic inequality and suffering from lack of affordable health care, crushing debt, and a discriminatory and racist for-profit incarceration system in one of the world’s wealthiest countries is astonishing. People are exhausted from working non-stop trying to just survive financially in a system that dangles the carrot of financial stability or wealth always slightly out of reach except for a favored few. Nothing about this is normal and that is fundamentally Bernie Sanders’ so-called “radical” argument.

Realism is jarring but yesterday’s polls (see Kornacki tweet, above) were pretty bad for Democrats. And yet, they too, may not mean what they seem. 

That’s because the phone polls and the online panel polls are diverging. The online polls like Ipsos (43) , Morning Consult( 42), Civiqs (43) SUSA (44) and MSN ( 41) don’t show the bump Trump is getting in Gallup (49), ABC/WaPo (46) and NBC/WSJ (47). And job approval ≠ vote for. This is all stuff to continue to monitor for trends but I continue to see November as competitive and winnable.

MSN tracking poll, no Trump bump here.

2020 as referendum, not choice? NBC:

Large majority of nonvoters plan to cast ballots in November, new report finds

Both pro- and anti-Trump attitudes were motivating factors to vote in 2020, with 19 percent supporting the president and 22 percent against. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they weren't registered to vote because of a basic lack of interest in politics, and 13 percent said they felt their votes didn't matter. Even so, 71 percent of habitual nonvoters plan to cast ballots in November, according to the study. Both pro- and anti-Trump attitudes were motivating factors to vote, with 19 percent supporting the president and 22 percent against. Thirty-one percent said civic responsibility was a factor for voting this year. These nonvoters also tend not to participate in the political process because they are less likely to actively seek out news and don't feel they have enough information about candidates and issues to make a decision on Election Day, the study found. Survey respondents also cited feeling "depressed, discouraged or distracted" when consuming news and "intentionally" avoiding the news.

So the sequence here appears to be. 1. DNI gets intel that Russia is interfering again in the election 2. Acting DNI briefs lawmakers about the threat. 3. Trump finds out 4. Trump berates acting DNI 5. Trump replaces acting DNI with political stooge/ally

— Sam Stein (@samstein) February 20, 2020

I’m sure Susan Collins is troubled.

Paul Waldman/WaPo:

Why Trump is letting a corrupt Democrat out of prison

But there’s a strategy at work too, one that relates directly to this fall’s election.

Given everything we’ve seen from the president, it’s almost certain that Trump sincerely believed Blagojevich’s sentence was unfair. So he tried to shake down a children’s hospital, using state funding as a way to extort campaign contributions. What’s the big deal? That’s just shrewd deal-making. Would we really want to live in a world where public officials can’t wet their beaks?

But more than that, what Trump is really after is the normalization of corruption. The fact that Blagojevich was a Democrat makes it all the better. Trump would never argue that Republicans are clean and Democrats are dirty; he wants to convince you that everyone is dirty. In fact, it’s a key part of his reelection strategy.

they�re smart. the price doubtless went up after last night

— Christopher Hooks (@cd_hooks) February 20, 2020

Dave A Hopkins/Honest Graph:

Democratic Debate Review: A Telling Final Question

In fact, the final question of the night revealed the strength of Sanders's position: he was the only candidate to agree that if no single candidate wins a majority of pledged delegates, the candidate with the most delegates should receive the nomination. This is, of course, partially the Sanders campaign's recognition that he is unlikely to be a compromise choice or the preferred nominee of Democratic superdelegates in the event of a contested convention. But it's also a signal to the party made from a position of strength. The Sanders camp is betting that there's a good chance that they will have at least a delegate plurality, and they want to warn Democratic leaders at this early stage that they will denounce any attempt to deny him the nomination under such circumstances as an illegitimate usurpation of the process. The fact that the rest of the Democratic field responded to the question by defending the right of the party to select a different nominee reflects the extent to which contestation rather than an outright delegate majority is, in their minds, a live possibility even with 48 states and 7 territories still to vote in this race. Of course, we can expect any of them to make the same argument that Sanders is currently making if they wind up with a delegate plurality instead. But more than a third of the total national delegate count will be selected within the next two weeks, and it's quite possible that we're not very far away from a situation where a contested convention is the only numerically plausible alternative to a first-ballot Sanders nomination. With such a front-loaded nomination calendar, it gets late early out there.

Our data uncover that Sanders's recent gains have come mainly from consolidating support from white voters, while Biden's collapse is sourced primarily to Bloomberg's increasing fortunes among African Americans and Latinos.

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) February 19, 2020

Michael A Cohen/Boston Globe:

A republic — if you can keep it

There is nothing that can stop Trump’s assault on democracy.

This is what makes Trump’s post-impeachment, anti-democratic rampages so particularly terrifying —the only constraints on his actions are the long-standing political norms that he neither understands nor appreciates. This means Trump can engage in all sorts of authoritarian behavior while technically operating within the law.

Before this poll, our averages had SC at Biden 24.5, Sanders 20.5, Steyer 15.7, others single digits, so this is right in line with expectations.

— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 20, 2020


— Jonathan Robinson ðÂ�¤Â� (@jon_m_rob) February 19, 2020

And don’t miss:

NY Times:

U.S. Watchdog to Investigate Trump’s Farm Bailout Program

The Government Accountability Office will review how the $28 billion farm bailout aimed at cushioning trade-related losses was spent.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, joined with Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, in asking Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, to investigate JBS, a Brazilian-owned meat-processing company that received $67 million in bailout funds. Lawmakers raised concerns about the payments given the company’s past legal problems: In 2017, two of JBS’s former top executives, brothers Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista, pleaded guilty to corruption charges in Brazil. The brothers remain majority shareholders with control over the company.

Mr. Rubio and Mr. Menendez also asked the Treasury Department to investigate possible ties that JBS has with the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, whom the United States does not recognize as the legitimate president.

Abbreviated pundit round-up: Warren stops and frisks Bloomberg on his record and he doesn’t like it

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

Twenty Questions: Here’s a quiz asking how much you agree on certain issues with each of the Democratic presidential candidates.

Pema Levy at Mother Jones writes—Warren Landed the Night’s Biggest Blow on Bloomberg:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) landed what may prove to be the toughest blow against Michael Bloomberg in the Nevada Democratic debate Wednesday night when she pressed him to release female employees who had accused him of harassment and discrimination from non-disclosure agreements. Bloomberg refused.

“Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those non-disclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?” she asked, standing beside him on stage.

Bloomberg began to respond, saying, “we have a very few nondisclosure agreements” when Warren cut in. “How many is that?” she said.

Allegations that he made sexist remarks and created a hostile work environment have dogged Bloomberg’s campaign. But Bloomberg, who has chalked up his past behavior to “bawdy humor,” has been unwavering in refusing to release multiple women from the confidentiality agreements they signed when settling legal actions against his company.

Warren dug the knife in on the debate stage when she argued that the behavior wasn’t just problematic but that it also undercut Bloomberg’s electability—the ability to defeat President Donald Trump that Democratic voters are searching for in their nominee.

Nathan Robinson at The Guardian writes—Michael Bloomberg was mercilessly attacked in his first debate – and he flopped

Before Wednesday night’s debate, Michael Bloomberg’s critics had been furious with the Democratic National Committee for changing its rules to allow Bloomberg on the debate stage. But it turned out the critics should have been thanking the DNC. Bloomberg was absolutely terrible. His campaign may not literally have ended on the debate stage, but it’s hard to see how any viewer could come away believing his pitch that he is “the best candidate to take on Trump.”

Bloomberg was ill-prepared, uncharismatic, and unlikable. The other candidates ran rings around him. Elizabeth Warren sank her teeth in early, interrupting Bloomberg’s opening statement to point out how his long history of sexist comments about women made him a lot like Donald Trump. Warren landed even more brutal blows later in the debate, when she challenged Bloomberg to release women from the non-disclosure agreements his company had forced them to sign in sexual harassment lawsuits. Bloomberg mumbled some lame excuse about how the agreements were consensual, but was clearly caught off-guard, and Warren wouldn’t let the issue go.

Bloomberg looked feeble, and after the debate some Democratic bigwigs were already reportedly concluding that “Bloomberg isn’t the answer.”

Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post writes—Bloomberg’s best debate moment came five minutes before it started. Then things went downhill:

Mike Bloomberg’s best moment Wednesday night came about five minutes before the Democratic presidential debate started. It was when one of his ubiquitous television ads ran on MSNBC.

From there, things went pretty much downhill for him.

The former New York mayor who appeared onstage in Las Vegas with five other contenders for the Democratic nomination was not the confident and commanding figure that we are constantly seeing and hearing in the $409 million worth of television, radio and online advertising his campaign has produced.

Bloomberg seemed to disappear for much of the debate. When the camera caught him on a split screen as someone else was talking, he looked annoyed and, occasionally, lost.

Elizabeth Warren's greatest trait is her ability to think big and small at the same time she has breathtakingly inspiration, transformative visions for what this country could be come AND granular wonky detailed schematics on how to execute them step by step

� Claire Willett (@clairewillett) February 20, 2020

Alex Shepherd at The New Republic writes—How Michael Bloomberg Owned New York Media. The billionaire is skyrocketing in the presidential polls—thanks to tricks he learned as mayor:

Bloomberg was first elected without much media scrutiny at all. When stories initially emerged about his long history of misogynistic comments and the climate of sexual harassment at his company Bloomberg LP, they did not get much traction. In the summer of 2001, Democrat Mark Green was the clear front-runner, and Bloomberg was considered something of an afterthought. “Every sign,” The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert wrote just before Election Day, “points to his being a Pantalone-like figure who is parted from a great deal of money and humiliated in the bargain.” But by the late fall, Bloomberg was narrowly leading in the polls—and the media was understandably focused on the September 11 attacks, not on the mogul who would be mayor.

Bloomberg deployed the same formula in his three mayoral campaigns that he is relying on now as he seeks the Democratic nomination: Spend so much money on advertising that it overwhelms any negative reporting. The amount of money he was tossing at the election was unprecedented, but the media largely ignored it. Voters’ opinions were shaped by a relentless ad campaign rather than stories about Bloomberg.

“The free media missed the story, and missed challenging the story being propounded in paid-for media partly because it found it awkward to talk about the overriding issue of the paid-for-media story, which was money,” Michael Wolff noted two weeks after Bloomberg won his first election. “The commercials, or his ability to afford them, was, in some sense, the Bloomberg platform. They were his credentials. Precisely because he could buy this time, he was taken seriously. The Times didn’t scrutinize him because they would have had to scrutinize what, to their minds, legitimized him. Money was the record he was running on.”

Jumaane Williams at USAToday writes—Michael Bloomberg is not the candidate who can beat Donald Trump:

Wherever you’re reading this, there’s probably a Bloomberg ad running alongside it.

These ads have amplified, across the country, a Bloomberg who was an ally of teachers and education equity, was dedicated to expanding affordable housing, was a champion of the working class and will build on those successes to “rebuild America.”

Bloomberg, the Great and Powerful.

Take it from someone who lived under Bloomberg, who served with him, who fought against him — if you look behind the curtain, as I hope millions will in tonight's debate, that image begins to melt away.

His advertisements hide his failures on housing — the termination of Section 8, the capitulation to a real estate industry that led to rents rising and neighborhoods falling, the drastic increase in homelessness that was met with an oblivious response. Mayor Bloomberg’s policies created an affordable housing and homelessness crisis in New York City that has extended and exacerbated far beyond his tenure, creating a city that is the most expensive it has ever been.

If, even now, this insane idea of putting Ric Grennell in charge of the American intelligence community doesn't convince Democrats to get serious about this election, then we're truly fucked.

— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 19, 2020

Becky Z. Dernbach at Mother Jones writes—No, Amy Klobuchar Is Not Responsible for Minnesota’s High Voter Turnout:

In her opening shot at Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) claimed credit for Minnesota’s high voter turnout, citing it as evidence of her ability to beat Donald Trump. “I am the one on this stage that had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country when I led the ticket,” she said.

It’s true that Minnesota topped the list for voter turnout nationally in 2018 when Klobuchar ran for re-election. But Minnesota voters also led the country in voter turnout in 2016, when Klobuchar wasn’t on the ticket. (That year, Minnesota regained its regular position on top of the chart from a blip in 2014, when it fell to sixth.)

“For nine election cycles in a row, Minnesota voters turned out to the polls more than any other state in the nation,” MinnPost reported in 2016. “In fact, the state actually holds the all-time record for turnout, when 78 percent of registered voters showed up to cast a ballot in the 2004 election.” Minnesota has led the nation in voter turnout since 1980, according to MinnPost. Klobuchar wasn’t elected to statewide office until 2006.

Covering Climate Now writes—Making the 2020 elections a climate-emergency story:

Four years ago, ahead of the 2016 elections, there was climate silence. Only one of the hundreds of questions journalists asked during Democratic and Republican presidential debates addressed climate change—and that was one more than in 2012, 2008, or any of the preceding presidential elections—even as scientists, activists, and governments around the world implored Washington to help contain the gathering crisis. The nation’s major news organizations treated climate change as a virtual non-issue, and voters acted accordingly, electing an unabashed climate denier who as president has seemingly delighted in boosting fossil fuels and trashing environmental protections, including the Paris Agreement signed by virtually all of the world’s governments, which pledged to “significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” America’s journalists must do much better in 2020. There are promising signs so far. Network television—which continues to attract the largest audiences in media, in an era with no shortage of options—is showing new interest in the climate story. The press as a whole seems increasingly aware of climate change and its dangers, even if most outlets still refrain from echoing the thousands of scientists who now call it an “emergency.” Opinion-leading outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and National Public Radio, continue to improve their coverage, while outlets that emphasize climate coverage as part of their brand, such as The Guardian, PBS NewsHour, and Bloomberg, which recently launched Bloomberg Green, continue to light a path for the media writ large. Overall, however, the climate story remains marginal on the American news agenda.

Apparently, Barack Obama didnâÂ�Â�t do shit when IâÂ�Â�m he was in  office. Accoding to Biden, he was the one passing Obamacare, negotiating with China, stopping police brutality in NY, babysitting Sasha & Malia...   Next debate, weâÂ�Â�ll find out he killed Bin Laden with his bare hands.

� michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) February 20, 2020

Cindy Polo in the Miami Herald writes—Florida wants tougher abortion laws, but do victims of rape, incest, trafficking even matter?

In the United States, we have seen state legislatures across the country put forth a wave of anti-abortion bills frighteningly similar to the law in El Salvador. Although just days ago we commemorated the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it is clear now more than ever that Republican-led state legislatures are trying to strip away a person’s right to make their own reproductive health choices. Florida is one of those states.

A few days into the 2020 legislative session, several bills were filed that would take away reproductive healthcare for millions of people. HB 271 would make it a third-degree felony for anyone who “knowingly or purposefully performs or induces an abortion” if a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. In other words, anyone who has a miscarriage can be imprisoned for up to five years if the state persuades a jury that the miscarriage was caused by a deliberate act.

If enacted, HB 271 could criminalize people in Florida, just like in El Salvador. They would be stripped of any right to terminate a pregnancy if they were raped (including if the rape victim is a teenager or child), or even if their own life were endangered. In addition, anyone who suffers a miscarriage could be charged with a crime.

Will Bunch at The Philadelphia Inquirer writes—House Dems can’t just ignore Trump, Barr crimes. Here’s 3 ways to keep fighting back

America is a hot mess right now. Rather than feeling humbled as only the third impeached president in U.S. history, President Trump — with the democracy-dies-in-broad-daylight help of his Roy Cohn-flavored attorney general, William Barr — has been emboldened to not just flout the established rule of law, and 233 years of constitutional norms, but to boast about his various high crimes and misdemeanors on Twitter. [...]

But House Democrats — the one branch of American government not either all or partially under the thumb of Trump — seem to be on the Manfred-Collins futility track of resigned compliance, after impeaching the president yet winning over just one lone Republican vote. The New York Times reported this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats have agreed that the strategy between now and the November election will be to push an agenda around health care and jobs — and forget all that impeachment stuff.

“Health care, health care, health care,” Pelosi reportedly told a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, saying that the party’s strategy would be laser-focused in winning in the fall and keeping its current majority on the House side of the Capitol. Democratic strategists believe, after all, that largely ignoring Trump’s abuses of power and focusing on health care is how the party gained 40 seats and re-took the House in 2018.

This notion seems wrong on several levels.

How is this headline anything but: "Elizabeth Warren clearly won the #DemDebate"? How is @ewarren not even mentioned when she just dominated on substance and style? NYT WTF. #WarrenMediaBlackout #TeamWarren

— Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (@ayanaeliza) February 20, 2020

Martin Longman at The Washington Monthly writes—Bernie Sanders and the Non-Voter Revolution:

A new study of non-voters by the Knight Foundation confirms everything I thought I knew about the prospects for winning a presidential election through heightened voter mobilization. Whatever the intrinsic merits of increased civic participation as an electoral strategy for the Democrats against Donald Trump, it is highly dubious.

The report examined 12,000 “chronic non-voters in America, across the country and in key battleground states.” Their bottom line finding is that if all these people went to the polls, the Democrats would increase their popular vote margin and lose the Electoral College even more decisively than in 2016.

Of all the battleground states, my home base of Pennsylvania had the worst numbers. Trump leads here with non-voters by a 36 percent to 28 percent margin. This is consistent with my impression that most of the untapped vote in the Keystone State is composed of white voters who have little to no higher education. A similar situation holds for Virginia, Florida, and Arizona. Of the nine battleground states where the study questioned non-voters, only Georgia showed an advantage for a generic Democrat over Trump that is outside of the survey’s margin of error.

Another suspicion of mine was confirmed too; Bernie Sanders would fare best among this group largely because he’s not perceived as a typical Democrat and his calls for systemic change match the sentiments of non-voters. It’s this sentiment that explains why Trump does so well with this group and it’s also why more conventional politicians, like Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney, have little appeal to them.

E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes—Will Trump scare some sense into the Democrats?

While the Democratic presidential candidates tear each other to pieces, President Trump is sending a message to the country: The rule of law means nothing to him. He will weaponize the federal government to his own political purposes, and things will only get worse if he’s reelected.

Trump has said many awful things, but here are his most chilling words yet: “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country.”

Trump as “the chief law enforcement officer” is akin to putting the Houston Astros in charge of policing cheating in Major League Baseball.

It should worry Democrats that as the dangers posed by four more years of Trump (and two more years of a supine GOP Senate) become clearer, their presidential race may be coming down to a choice between a billionaire and a democratic socialist. “ ’Tis the final conflict,” as “The Internationale,” the old anthem of the left, put it. It’s hard to imagine a confrontation more likely to shatter the party.

About 70-90% of all existing coral reefs are expected to disappear in the next 20 years due to warming oceans, acidic water and pollution, scientists say.

— CNN (@CNN) February 20, 2020

The New York Times Editorial Board inquires—When Donald Trump Is the Law, Guess who benefits?

“I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” President Trump said on Tuesday.

The alarming thing is that he’s right. The nation’s founders put the president in charge of the executive branch, which is tasked with enforcing the law. That is a remarkably broad power, and it can be easily abused. So it’s worth asking: What does Donald Trump understand the law to be?

Well before the events of the past week, Mr. Trump supplied a pretty good idea: The law is something that applies to his adversaries, not to himself or his friends. He regularly turned to the courts to harass and intimidate employees, critics and contractors. But when it has come to his own perceived advantage — whether he was violating federal fair-housing laws to keep black renters out of his apartment buildings, playing shady games with his tax returns, sexually assaulting women, defrauding students of his “university,” raiding his own charitybuying the silence of alleged mistresses on the eve of an election, running his global business empire out of the White House, or thwarting the will of Congress by using foreign aid to advance his re-election — Mr. Trump has always seen the law as just another set of rules to be bent, if not broken.

Americans, meet your chief law enforcement officer.

Victoria Pfau at the Los Angeles Times writes—Sacramento’s army of interns deserves to be paid:

There are interns in almost every office at the Capitol in Sacramento, and very few of them are paid. They answer phones, write press releases, research legislation and track constituent requests. The privilege of gaining experience — and an advantage in their later job hunt — will cost most of them hundreds, even thousands of dollars in living expenses and lost wages from the paying jobs they forgo. Work experience when you’re starting out is theoretically more valuable than a paycheck, but that doesn’t make it any easier to pay rent, student fees or your lunch tab.

In 2019, California passed landmark legislation protecting workers’ rights by expanding collective bargaining and addressing worker misclassification and workplace harassment. Yet the unpaid interns that keep Sacramento lawmakers’ offices running are proof that state government’s commitment to labor rights comes up short inside its very own walls.

No state agency tracks internships, paid or unpaid. Some universities and nonprofits sponsor paid public-service internships; assembly members and senators may, on their own, pay interns as well. But most of this work, especially at the district office level, is unpaid; some internships don’t even include academic credit. [...]

In 2018, the advocacy group Pay Our Interns convinced Congress to pass legislation that created a fund to pay House and Senate interns. Until then, in Washington, as in Sacramento, paid internships were rare, a constant casualty of budget cuts.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Bernie and Bloomberg and Biden (And Liz and Amy and Pete), oh my!

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

That ABC poll can be found here. With the new NPR/PBS Marist poll, Mike Bloomberg makes the debate and gets a chance to see how he takes a punch. That should help Bernie and hurt Bloomberg, but nobody knows nothing™ this primary season, so  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Also, VA polling from Monmouth (March 3, Super Tuesday in two weeks) shows Bernie and Bloomberg as the frontrunners tied at 22%, and gives you an idea of what Super Tuesday is starting to feel like.

Pro tip: California is voting already, 600K ballots already cast. That’s more than IA and NH combined.

This is one of the most brilliant analogies for the 2020 DEM Primary I've seen. Yeah, a raft COULD offer more than survival, but let's argue about it AFTER we avoid drowning. ANY BLUE RAFT WILL DO.

— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 18, 2020


How Bloomberg the candidate impacts Bloomberg the publication

Farther down the page — MUCH farther down the page — there was a story about Mike Bloomberg. He’s running for president, too. He also happens to own Bloomberg News. The headline: “Bloomberg Faces Attacks from Democrats as He Rises in the Polls.”

This remains a sticky situation. How do you cover someone running for president when that someone is your boss? And how do you cover him if he doesn’t want you to?

Since Bloomberg entered the race in November, there has been controversy over how his media outlet will cover him. Specifically, Bloomberg News announced that it would not do any investigative pieces on Bloomberg. And, out of fairness, that courtesy would be extended to the other Democratic presidential hopefuls. However, President Donald Trump remains fair game for Bloomberg News.

This edict put Bloomberg reporters in a tough spot. How can you be considered a reputable news outlet if there are certain stories you aren’t allowed to pursue?

Not that the big boss has any sympathy. Back when he announced his candidacy, Bloomberg told “CBS This Morning”’s Gayle King that “you just have to learn to live with some things. They get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.”

The whole thing simmered down, mostly because we didn’t know just how seriously to take Bloomberg as a candidate.

That was two months ago.

Media coverage this week:

MSNBC Poll Finds Support For Bernie Sanders Has Plummeted 2 Points Up

— The Onion (@TheOnion) February 18, 2020

And more media coverage:

New: I talked to the pollster behind the poll that left Elizabeth Warren out of a key question, angering her supporters. He said they were only able to poll 5 candidates, and the fifth spot went to Klobuchar.

— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) February 19, 2020

Bernie is doing very well in the new NBC/WSJ poll as well, with a double digit lead. 

Hypothetical matchups for just the states of AZ, CO, FL, ME, MI, MN, NV, NH, NC, PA, WI (combined): Biden 52%, Trump 44% Sanders 49%, Trump 48% Bloomberg 48%, Trump 46% Klob 48%, Trump 47% Buttigieg 47%, Trump, 47%

— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 18, 2020

Biden’s general election numbers hold up. Doesn’t mean Biden can get there.

You can count me as firmly in the camp that thinks all this talk about Trump's approval rating hitting record highs and his chance of re-election soaring recently is pretty much just BS

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) February 18, 2020

There are differences between panel polls (no change) and telephone polls (small trump rise); the panel polls were very accurate so sar in primary season. Seems like it depends how you recruit the panels, though. 

What Pew also shows is that environmental issues will play a big part in this election:

As Economic Concerns Recede, Environmental Protection Rises on the Public’s Policy Agenda

Partisan gap on dealing with climate change gets even wider

And finally, socialism has a big ballot problem this fall. NPR:

Sanders Rises, But Socialism Isn't Popular With Most Americans

If socialism is so unpopular with Americans, how can Sanders be on the rise in the Democratic primary? Because Democrats and, more specifically, progressives view socialism favorably. Half of Democrats said so, while more than two-thirds of progressives did.

Just 23% of independents, though, and 7% of Republicans viewed socialism favorably….

Views of socialism grow more unfavorably the older the generation, but even 50% of Gen Z and Millennials had an unfavorable view of it, as opposed to just 38%, who had a favorable one.

Suburban voters, who have been trending with Democrats since Trump's election, are overwhelmingly against it by a 27%-to-61% margin.

Capitalism, on the other hand, was viewed overwhelmingly favorably by a 57%-to-29% margin. But a majority of progressives (52%) had an unfavorable view of capitalism, as did a 45%-to-37% plurality of African Americans...

The views of capitalism versus socialism is one reason why Republicans prefer to face Sanders in the general election. They and veteran Democrats point out that Sanders hasn't yet faced the likely barrage of attacks around his economic belief system — Democratic socialism.

But Sanders, in this poll and others, does beat President Trump in a head-to-head match up, 48% to 45%. That's something his campaign and surrogates are eager to point out

We are the majority in this country when it comes to Trump and the environment. Socialism? No. Progressivism? No, alas.

We can win in November, but our job just got harder.


Mike Bloomberg and his billions are what Democrats need to beat Trump

The fifth in a Vox series making the best case for each of the top Democratic contenders.

The case for Bloomberg goes beyond his mayoral record. He has poured millions of dollars into fighting climate change and illegal guns, and has injected funds into federal and state elections that have made a difference — in 2018, 21 of the 24 Democratic congressional candidates Bloomberg gave money to won. That’s quite a winning streak and shows he knows how to put money in the right places. A similar strategy and spending push could be critically important in 2020 when Democrats try to hold the House and take back the Senate. In December, Bloomberg gave $10 million to House Democrats being attacked by Republicans over impeachment and $5 million to Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight effort to protect voting rights, demonstrating his commitment to boosting the party.

Bloomberg is worth more than $50 billion, and he’s not interested in anyone else’s money, committing to self-funding his campaign. Bloomberg has all the resources he needs to combat the Trump machine, and he doesn’t have to spend time and energy courting donors and then returning favors to them if and when he’s in the White House.

[NB This article is the fifth in the series. Our case for Bernie Sanders is here; our case for Elizabeth Warren is here; our case for Joe Biden is here; our case for Pete Buttigieg is here. Vox does not endorse individual candidates.]

Posting the above  and the below as a reminder that what we find distasteful about Bloomberg (and Trump) is not necessarily shared by the voting public writ large.

Among gun rights folks, Bloomberg generates a level of vitriol usually only reserved for George Soros among conservatives.

— Anthony Zurcher (@awzurcher) February 18, 2020

Jamelle Bouie/NY Times:

The Trumpian Liberalism of Michael Bloomberg

He may be running as the anti-Trump, but when it comes to the politics of racial control, there is a resemblance.

Donald Trump is who he is as a politician because of his unapologetically racial vision of the American nation. Trump’s America is white, and he sees his job as protecting that whiteness from black and brown people who might come to the country or claim greater status within it. That’s what it meant to “make America great again.” And he’s delivered, using the power of the office and the force of the state to attack and stigmatize black and brown people, from outspoken celebrities to ordinary immigrants.

If that’s our lens for understanding Trump — if the heart of his movement and ideology is racial control — then it appears we finally have a Democratic equivalent, a figure who works on the same signal albeit at a different frequency. It’s Michael Bloomberg, the other New York billionaire in American politics, who is currently campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There are clear objections to thinking of Bloomberg this way. He may have been a Republican, but he’s also a liberal. He has given hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal causes and Democratic politicians. He spent more than $100 million helping Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in 2018. He’s also given tens of millions of dollars to environmental groups and spent millions more lobbying for new gun control laws. He’s given to Democratic super PACs and voting rights groups, individual politicians and the Democratic National Committee itself. And while he is an imperious personality with a disdain for limits — he got the rules changed so he could serve a third term as mayor of New York — he also doesn’t share the president’s criminality, corruption and complete contempt for constitutional government.

But he does share one important quality.

Although he never articulated it in these terms, Bloomberg’s actions as mayor reveal that he was someone who also saw black and brown people as threats to the security and prosperity of his territory, New York. And under his administration, the city became a quasi-authoritarian state for many of its black, brown and Muslim residents.

I understand frustrations of those who prefer candidates with little chance of winning (I do too) I also understand & share the annoyance at IA & NH roles But historically, it is not early but very late in the process. Few (or maybe only 1) have a precedented path to a majority

— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) February 18, 2020

Jason Sattler/USA Today:

Stop Bloomberg. He's showing billionaires how to buy the presidency and it's dangerous.

While Trump used his star power and shamelessness to execute a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, Bloomberg is purchasing Democrats' affection.

Forbes now estimates that Bloomberg is worth $64 billion, which means his wealth is likely growing faster than he can spend it. And his campaign is spending it at a record pace, with $1 million a day going to Facebook ads alone, campaign rallies catered with food and wine, and generous salaries flooding out to staffers all over the country.

And it’s working.

He’s rising in the polls and leading in the latest poll in Florida, the state with the fourth most delegates to hand out for the Democratic convention. He will even be onstage for the Democratic debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, thanks to rule changes that seemed designed to allow him to qualify.

The popular consensus is that you could not possibly be competitive for the nomination if you skipped the first four primary contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — that are meant to cull the pack of candidates. That consensus is being crushed under the weight of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why are "billionaires" the right direction?

— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) February 18, 2020

Congrats to the Iowa Dems for goofing up the night of the caucuses, releasing misleading preliminary data 24 hours later, only slowly updating those numbers for a more accurate picture, publishing obviously wrong final numbers and two weeks later publishing real, different ones.

— Philip Bump (@pbump) February 19, 2020

In non-primary news:


Economists warn coronavirus risk far worse than realized

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases has already far outpaced expectations and even those reports are being viewed through a lens of suspicion that the Chinese government is underreporting the figures.

Yet, U.S. stock indexes have continued to hit all-time highs, bond spreads remain compressed, and even some Asian bourses have recouped losses that followed the initial coronavirus headlines.

Driving the news: Of the 364 companies that have held Q4 earnings calls, 138 cited the term “coronavirus” during the call, and about 25% of those included some impact from the coronavirus or modified guidance due to the virus, according to FactSet.

You can count me as firmly in the camp that thinks all this talk about Trump's approval rating hitting record highs and his chance of re-election soaring recently is pretty much just BS

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) February 18, 2020

Bloomberg Businessweek:

The Lasting Toll of a Deadly Virus

Hyundai, Levi Strauss, and Apple are already feeling the impact of the coronavirus.

There are a lot of ways things could sour. The virus might spread more than expected, flaring up in countries that are less capable or less willing than China to impose a stringent cordon sanitaire. Businesses built to survive brief disruptions will go bankrupt if the epidemic drags on. And in the long run, even after this epidemic ends, it could leave scars, particularly in China itself. Corporate executives will be less keen to do business with the world’s workshop if it’s also perceived as the world’s incubator of deadly viruses.

Right now no one can be sure which way the story will go, as forecasters are the first to admit. “Rapid containment and escalating contagion are both possibilities, and would result in widely different growth forecasts,” the Bloomberg Economics forecasters, Chang Shu, Jamie Rush, and Tom Orlik, wrote in their Jan. 31 report.

What’s clear is that the viral epidemic is already hurting business. 

Sara Gideon 43% Susan Collins 42%

— Bill Scher (@billscher) February 18, 2020

Rebecca Traister/New York:

The Immoderate Susan Collins

After a long career voting across the aisle, why did the Maine senator gamble her legacy on Trump?

In short, Collins has gone from pleasing an unusually high number of people, at least some of the time, to pleasing vanishingly few people almost never…

Despite all this, Collins might well win in 2020. Sure, the money is pouring in for Gideon, and at least in southern Maine, home to liberal and left voters, bumpers are affixed with BYE-BYE, SUSAN stickers. Every time she makes a statement, the internet is awash with people posting donations to Gideon (or one of her Democratic rivals). Google analytics show that impeachment season had a huge spike in searches for “Collins’s opponent.” Control of the Senate rests on a couple of seats viewed as potentially flippable; it is possible that she will be running in the wake of a Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v. Gee that will result in the closing of vast numbers of abortion clinics, with all eyes on the senators who installed Kavanaugh.

But it’s hard to beat incumbents. “Pundits always want to predict that Maine is much more competitive than it is,” said Gilman.

Toby McGrath said, “This is probably the most difficult race that she’s ever had. But one of the difficulties for Democrats is that there’s going to be the highest turnout we’ve ever had in Maine. With the presidential election, I think we could be at 75 or 80 percent, with a lot of low-information voters showing up to the polls. They’ve known Susan Collins’s name for five elections.”…

Choosing between a party that now demands total fealty and a constituency she’s promised independence, Collins — a woman who has built her image around being a careful, thoughtful decision-maker — appears to have made no decision at all about the best way to keep her power. Instead, she is hoping that she can pretend to do both without anyone noticing.

It might work. But if I were her, I’d be deeply concerned.

This will be today:

Group of federal judges calls emergency meeting over concerns about DOJ's intervention in politically sensitive cases - CNNPolitics

— gdthomas (@gdthomas) February 18, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Nevada and South Carolina await

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

With New Hampshire and Iowa in the rear view mirror, next up is Nevada, Feb 22 and South Carolina, February 29. 

Watch for the “national polls mean nothing” folks to suddenly discover national polls 🤔. But perhaps more interesting in the new Morning Consult poll — all interviews post-NH — is support by race. Bernie is doing great there, 30 (Black) and 48 (Hispanic), but the numbers that also jump out are Pete’s 4 and 8 and Amy’s 1 and 3. They aren’t encouraging if you want to be the nominee of the Democratic party. Mike Bloomberg, by way of contrast, is 19/17, Biden 34/13.

Why all of a sudden the chatter about Bloomberg? My guess is there are lots of folks unsettled and downright unhappy about the remaining choices (including Bloomberg). I think it’s going to be one of those elections, with tough choices to make. Buckle up, we have work to do.

Follow us below the fold for more.

We are just two election nights into this whole Dem nomination, but the once crazy idea of a Bernie vs. Bloomberg matchup looking more real by the day.

— amy walter (@amyewalter) February 14, 2020

Why have I been throwing Bloomberg’s name around? This is why:

When they (whomever they may be) finally engage with him in the run up to Super Tuesday, it'll be too late for things to really sink in; 2/3 of the delegates are going to be awarded in March.

— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) February 14, 2020

Is it working? Well… look.

New national poll of the Democratic primary from @MorningConsult, fielded entirely after New Hampshire. Support + change vs pre-NH Sanders: 29% (+4) Biden: 19 (-3) Bloomberg: 18 (+1) Buttigieg: 11 Warren: 10 (-1) Klobuchar: 5 (+2)

— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) February 13, 2020

Sanders' numbers call to mind the "rainbow coalition" Jesse Jackson tried to assemble in the '80s, built around leftist/working class politics. But while he got ~95% of the black vote, Jackson's ceiling with whites was around 10% with many more refusing to even consider him.

— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) February 13, 2020

Norm Ornstein/Daily News:

Learn to get comfortable, voters: Weaning ourselves off instant gratification on election night

The New Hampshire primary played out the way journalists and pundits love: as a close contest with excitement, and a declared winner before the night was out. Contrast that with Iowa. The night of the Iowa Caucuses saw television anchors, reporters and analysts openly angry in a way we rarely see them. The anger was in part at the Iowa Democratic Party’s comedy of errors, a Gang that Can’t Shoot Straight creating havoc and uncertainty that still reverberates. But a good share of that anger was from the frustration that their coverage had no conclusion, no opportunity to declare winners that night and then do their panel evaluations of what it all means. They wanted results and wanted them now.

I will give no aid and comfort to Iowa’s Democratic Party. But the fact is that with a complicated process, including the party’s commitment to report every column of results in the caucus version of rank-choice voting, where initial supporters of one candidate would move to their second choices if their first did not cross a threshold of 15% support, it could well have taken a day or more to sort out winners and losers, even without an app disaster and backup-phone-line gridlock

In the “most important news” category, unhappiness with Bill Barr at DOJ bubbled over and forced a farce:

"The most important role of the attorney general is to protect Department of Justice from improper political influence, including from the president...

— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) February 13, 2020

And here is an instructive tweet with a lot of truth:

I am one of those people who: -thinks the health care debate is the most instructive difference between Dem presidential candidates -doesn�t think there�d be much governing difference between them on health care because Congress Embrace the paradox.

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) February 13, 2020

On coronavirus:

LA Times:

How deadly is the new coronavirus? Scientists race to find the answer

Of all the questions scientists hope to answer about the new coronavirus sweeping across the globe, the most pressing is this: How deadly is it?

The only way to know is to figure out how many people have been infected — and that’s the real challenge.

More than 60,000 infections have been confirmed, but experts are certain there are at least tens of thousands more. Some cases haven’t been counted because patients didn’t have biological samples sent to a lab. Some never saw a doctor, and others had such mild symptoms that they didn’t even know they were sick.

Without a true picture of the total number of cases, it’s impossible to calculate a fatality rate. That’s why scores of epidemiologists and mathematicians are working to solve one of the most complex modeling problems of their time.

About six weeks ago, China was reporting on the first 41 cases of confirmed #coronavirus in that country. Singapore and Hong Kong have now each hit 50 cases. Modeling suggests that the time from first introduction to epidemic spread is about 10 weeks.

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) February 12, 2020

Nate Cohn/NY Times:

The Math That Could Add Up to a Sanders Nomination

Why 15 percent is so important to him, and how Bloomberg could scramble those calculations.

It had been thought that Mr. Biden could perform well in more diverse states like Nevada and South Carolina to consolidate the moderate wing heading into Super Tuesday. But it is not at all clear whether he is strong enough to take advantage of more friendly terrain, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016. His standing in post-Iowa national polls has taken a far greater hit than Mrs. Clinton’s four years ago, and his standing could drop further after New Hampshire.

His collapse in New Hampshire and Iowa certainly offers additional reason to think he could fade down the stretch, whether it’s because he has been outspent on advertising, because some of his rivals have gained as they have become better known, or because his performances on the debate stage and stump have raised doubts among his supporters.

Even if one of the three moderate candidates emerges as plainly the strongest of the bunch, it remains unclear whether any has the resources or broad appeal necessary to reunite the disparate elements of the typical establishment-friendly coalition.

Striking chart in this @foxjust Bloomberg piece on Trump's steel tariffs. There are less people employed in the steel/primary metals industry than there were before the tariffs were announced in March 2018...

— Shawn Donnan (@sdonnan) February 13, 2020

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Time for Democrats to get much tougher with William Barr

This leaves Democrats no choice but to escalate their oversight of Barr in any way they can. Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, who has been prodding them on this, suggested to me that a handful of leading Democrats should devote themselves to going on the airwaves and “hounding Barr from office.”

This is so utterly weak. You don�t get to work closely with Trump in implementing some of his most indefendible policies, stay silent for a year after leaving, wait until AFTER the president has been acquitted, and then expect applause when you speak up

— Quinta "Pro Quo" Jurecic (@qjurecic) February 13, 2020

There is this odd phenomena among those who work for Trump and later try to spin what they did. It�s as if they think integrity and decency are items that can be sold to a pawn shop and reclaimed at a later date unharmed and no one will notice.

— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) February 13, 2020

WaPo Editorial:

The degradation of William Barr’s Justice Department is nearly complete

The most important role of the attorney general is to protect the department from improper political influence, including from the president. Mr. Barr should have ensured that Mr. Stone’s case was handled with strict professionalism, as the career prosecutors sought to do, and shielded them from White House pressure, direct or indirect. To all appearances, he did the opposite. Mr. Trump evidently thinks so: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” he tweeted.

White House officials say since President Trump's acquittal on impeachment charges, he is determined to assert an iron grip on government, pushing his Justice Department to ease up on friends while exacting payback on real and perceived foes.

— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 13, 2020

Nieman Lab:

McClatchy files for bankruptcy, likely ending 163 years of family control and setting up more consolidation in local news

The hedge fund that will likely soon control America’s second-largest newspaper chain, Chatham Asset Management, is also majority owner of the National Enquirer and Canada’s largest newspaper chain. It is advancing its “fundamental thesis on late-stage media consolidation in North America.”

And McClatchy’s own Sacramento Bee, the newspaper that started the chain in 1857:

The Chapter 11 filing will allow McClatchy to restructure its debts and, it hopes, shed much of its pension obligations. Under a plan outlined in its filing to a federal bankruptcy court, about 60 percent of its debt would be eliminated as the news organization tries to reposition for a digital future.

The likely new owners, if the court accepts the plan, would be led by hedge fund Chatham Asset Management LLC. They would operate McClatchy as a privately held company. More than 7 million shares of both publicly available and protected family-owned stock would be canceled.

“While this is obviously a sad milestone after 163 years of family control, McClatchy remains a strong operating company and committed to essential local news and information,” said Kevin McClatchy, chairman of the company that has carried his family name since the days of the California Gold Rush. “While we tried hard to avoid this step, there’s no question that the scale of our 75-year-old pension plan — with 10 pensioners for every single active employee — is a reflection of another economic era.”

(It’s oddly comforting that the McClatchy story is by far the best and most detailed of the bunch.)

Jim Jordan's name comes up during Statehouse testimony on an OSU abuse victims bill. "Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling� begging me to go against my brother�That's the kind of cover-up that�s going on there."

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 13, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Picking up the pieces after New Hampshire

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

More on New Hampshire in subsequent days (it all happened last night!) Story of the night: Bernie won but didn’t run away with it. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg are non Bernie placeholders and fought it out for second (and a late surge for Amy may have prevented a Pete win and vice versa). All three have a claim on winning something, and/but they still has to prove they can win elsewhere. Everyone else just flat out lost (Andrew Yang suspended his campaign last night). Now on to more diverse Nevada, Feb 22 and South Carolina, February 29. And Mike Bloomberg is circling out there.

 Meanwhile, the DOJ political intervention in the Roger Stone case is also an important evolving story. So big, in fact, that it cut into NH coverage on cable last night and shared the top story slot.

Not just me looking at NH this way:

Because he won with over 60% in a landslide in 2016. And he had over 150k votes. It�s a win, but also means he nearly lost half his voters or more to other candidates- notably two left-center candidates, Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

— Joel Benenson (@benensonj) February 12, 2020

My take has been that if Sanders changes the electorate, he�ll be a force moderates can�t stop. Based on IA and NH he is not changing the electorate. But we�ve got 48 states left.

— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 12, 2020

But big picture:

The part of the electorate that has expanded isn�t the young Bernie coalition, but the educated suburbs. Question is if anyone can consolidate it.

— Conor Sen (@conorsen) February 12, 2020

NH Primary: Democrats hope this is the start of a political exorcism of President Trump, as their frustration has been very evident. "Job one is defeating Donald Trump," a man told Joe Biden in Hudson on Sunday. "I hate the man. I hate him."

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) February 11, 2020

44% of folks who took part in the Dem primary said they were registered undeclared/Independent voters. Among them: Sanders: 25% Klobuchar: 24% Buttigieg: 21% Biden: 8% Warren: 7%

— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) February 12, 2020

Keep in mind Bernie and Pete are more organized than Amy and have more staff. And while I love Elizabeth Warren, it was a very bad night for her (and bad for Joe Biden, who has no money and organization).

This is everything:

More than 8 in 10 NH Dem primary voters say they will support the nominee no matter who it is.

— CBS News Poll (@CBSNewsPoll) February 12, 2020

So, Bernie has to grow and the non Bernie vote being carved up helps him.  And Mike Bloomberg remains the wild card.

Meanwhile, the other story:

BREAKING: Now, all four federal prosecutors on the Stone case have asked the judge to withdraw from the case. Michael Marando joins the rest of his team including Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, and Adam Jed.

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 11, 2020

Asked about Roger Stone, Trump says he has an �absolute right� to tell the Justice Department what to do

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 11, 2020

This will be known in the history books as the "OMFG It's Only Tuesday Afternoon Massacre"

— Michael Roston (@michaelroston) February 11, 2020

What if this one time, instead of "raising questions," it's providing answers?

— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 11, 2020

In other news...

Ron Brownstein/CNN:

Today may mark the end of the Iowa-New Hampshire monopoly

In this year's presidential campaign, the distorting effects of providing such power to two virtually all-white states in an increasingly diversifying party have grown impossible to ignore. The vote-counting meltdown in Iowa's antiquated and haphazard caucus system -- a process used partly to circumvent New Hampshire's law requiring it to hold the nation's first primary -- has further underlined the flaws in the existing order.

Just so you know, if Biden implodes as now looks very possible, it will take about 12 seconds for the Senate and Trump admin investigations of Hunter Biden to be dropped so they can focus their strong commitment to fighting corruption on Jane Sanders.

— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) February 10, 2020

Doesn’t matter that it’s bogus. Just understand what’s coming. Trump is already starting on Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's favorable rating among black voters in NYS (where they know him best): 61%. That's actually better than his favorable rating among all Dems in NYS.

— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) February 11, 2020

Nathan Gonzales/Roll Call:

RIP, election night

Vote-by-mail and close races could delay when the real story of 2020 is known

It’s time to retire the term “election night.”

The semiannual national tradition of staying up a few hours past bedtime to know who will control our government is over. From close races to “vote by mail” to human error, it’s becoming clear that counting votes no longer fits neatly into prime-time television windows. Reporters and politicos should prepare to practice patience when handling and digesting the results.

The recent chaos surrounding the Iowa caucuses was just a taste of what’s to come. Due to the lack of results, there was no clear winner, which created confusion rather than clarity in the search for a narrative on election night. But while the Iowa crisis might have been avoided with a working app, the 2020 elections won’t be as easy to uncomplicate.

Looking beyond the 2000 presidential election (which wasn’t decided until more than a month after Election Day), the 2018 midterm elections were a prime example of how the narrative of a cycle can evolve beyond election night.

Quinnipiac - 2020 head to head matchups vs Trump: Bloomberg 51-42 Sanders 51-43 Biden 50-43 Klobuchar 49-43 Warren 48-44 Buttigieg 47-43 If these are Trump's numbers after his "best week ever," he's going to have a really bad time in November. Absolutely brutal poll for Trump.

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 10, 2020

Gabriel Leung/NY Times with an excellent piece:

The Urgent Questions Scientists Are Asking About Coronavirus

Let’s start with what we don’t know.

What do we most need to know next? For epidemiologists who track infectious diseases, the most pressing concerns are how to estimate the lethality of the disease and who is susceptible; getting detailed information on how it spreads; and evaluating the success of control measures so far.

No. 1 is the “clinical iceberg” question: How much of it is hidden below the surface? Because the outbreak is still evolving, we can’t yet see the totality of those infected. Out of view is some proportion of mildly infected people, with minor symptoms or no symptoms, who no one knows are infected.

A fleet of invisible carriers sounds ominous; but in fact, an enormous hidden figure would mean many fewer of the infected are dying. Usually, simple math would determine this “case fatality” ratio: divide the total number of deaths by the total number of people infected. In an emerging epidemic, however, both numbers keep changing, and sometimes at different speeds. This makes simple division impossible; you will invariably get it wrong.

The State Department triggers authorized departure for non-emergency U.S. personnel in Hong Kong

— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) February 11, 2020

Another excellent piece from NY Times:

Inundated With Flu Patients, U.S. Hospitals Brace for Coronavirus

Resources are already stretched during flu season. With so much medical equipment and drugs made in China, public health experts are anxiously watching the global supply chain.

The mask shortage highlights just how dependent the United States health care system is on goods from China. Premier was told last week that a Taiwanese factory it had a contract with was halting shipments to the United States. In addition, Chaun Powell, the group vice president of strategic supplier engagement for Premier, said masks that are made in China are being diverted for use there. As a result, “there’s not as much supply to ship,” he said.

However you assess Trump�s re-election odds, the overall political dynamics of his presidency have been extremely stable. I think it�s still hard for people to process the idea that big events don�t necessarily change presidential politics very much these days.

— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) February 10, 2020

Policy Tensor:


So, who should we bet on to oust Trump? If the pattern evident in Iowa holds, Biden and Sanders may both be viable against Trump. Biden is viable because he is working class and working class folk can tell that he is one of their own just by the way he talks — recall that class is passed on at your parents dinner table. As I suspected, the Biden tendency is the shadow of the class war on the Democratic primary. Sanders is viable because he does well in communities that are struggling. If you think that Trump is in the White House because large parts of the country are in trouble, and he has done little to help them, Sanders is your man. If you think that only a man who can out-blue collar Trump can oust Trump, Biden’s your guy. If progressives want Sanders instead of Biden because the former can be expected to demolish the neoliberal political economy, they must begin by losing the Boasian scold.

Ultimately, the governing question is whether culture or economics is more important to the meaning-making of the working class. For at issue in what Lind calls the New Class War, is not just the vertical and spatial polarization of value-added, income and wealth, but the concentration of symbolic production and the cultural desertification of vast swaths of America. Intellectuals have for too long paid attention to the former at the cost of the latter. It is time to pay attention to the historical sociology of the white working class — the dominant strata of American society. And to bring geography back to the center of political analysis, where it belongs.

Next time someone says �I don�t think Trump is racist� - show them ��. You can�t pick your family but you can pick who you hire. Show me the people you hire and you are showing me you.

— Jeff Kemp (@jkempcpa) February 11, 2020

Dana Milbank/WaPo:

Trump’s budget reveals a tremendous fraud

Trump promised to balance the budget, retire the debt, protect and enhance entitlements, and grow the economy at a rate far beyond anything we’ve seen. But he did none of that, and now he asks: “Who the hell cares about the budget?”

The fraud is in the open.

How to win elections

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) February 11, 2020

The Senate impeachment trial was conducted *unfairly,* voters say by a 24-point margin. (59% to 35%) New Quinnipiac Poll:

� Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) February 10, 2020

And more on our corruption story (not the DOJ):

NEW: Trump's AG secretary has quietly confirmed he won�t order an internal investigation into why a corruption-riddled Brazilian meatpacker got millions in farm bailouts. His reason: The company is already under several other investigations so why bother.

— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) February 12, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The day of the purge

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

We all know what was coming. Even Susan Collins knew. Well, maybe she knew. I mean, she can’t be that dumb, right? so she must have been lying.

Yovanovitch forced into retirement. Taylor forced back into retirement. Vindman expelled from the NSC. Sondland fired. Sounds like a purge to me.

— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 7, 2020

In any case, she owns this.

We�ve reached the nadir where even Gordon Sondland is more of a patriot than @SenatorCollins

— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) February 8, 2020

Frederick E Hoxie/USA today:

Trump impeachment acquittal is bad news for democracy, but history shows us how to cope

We have been here before. Our predecessors dug in and took it one topic, one government failure and one election at a time. We should, too.

Changes came but not quickly  

The pictures were gripping, but politicians in 1890 were more concerned with the operation of their political machines and winning partisan battles over tariffs and the gold standard. Sweatshops continued to proliferate, while children, sharecroppers and industrial workers labored on in obscurity. The rich enjoyed their privileged lives, protected by the absence of wage and labor laws, public health standards, environmental controls and a federal income tax.

Words that @SenatorCollins will eat from now to election day: �I believe the president has learned from this case...The president has been impeached, that�s a pretty big lesson,� �...I believe he will be much more cautious in the future."

— Jackie Calmes (@jackiekcalmes) February 8, 2020

Joe Walsh/WaPo:

Challenging Trump for the GOP nomination taught me my party is a cult

Real conservatives think for themselves. Trump Republicans have been brainwashed.

My chances are slim — don’t worry, I know.

It’s been made even tougher by the party canceling primaries to shield the president from being challenged. And by Fox News, and the rest of Trump’s lapdog conservative media, denying me airtime. But I’ve been on TV, I’ve served in Congress and I hosted my own talk-radio show. I don’t need the airtime. More than anything else, what’s made this challenge nearly impossible — to a degree that I didn’t fully realize when I first hit the trail — is how brainwashed so many of my fellow Republicans seem to have become. I hate to say it, but the GOP now resembles a cult.

I was already sensing this, but I was slapped hard in the face this past week at the Iowa caucuses: Last Thursday, the president came to Des Moines for one of his narcissistic rallies. I was in Des Moines, too, so I tried to talk to some folks outside the event before they went in — makes sense, right? Here’s a captive audience of Republican voters. But it turned out to be one of the most frustrating (and frankly, sad) experiences I can recall. I asked dozens of people a very simple, straightforward question: “Has President Trump ever told a lie to the American people?” And every single person said, “No.” Never mind that thousands of his misstatements have been meticulously documented. No, they said, he’s never lied.

Doubly a good idea.

— Robert Schlesinger (@rschles) February 7, 2020

Steve Koczela/WBUR:

The Outcomes, Not The Vote Count Meltdown, Show Why Iowa Can’t Go First Anymore

The outcomes are more than just who got how many votes (however that’s counted) or who ends up with more state delegate equivalents (whatever those are). They also include perceived momentum and viability, positive media coverage, fundraising, and the benefits that come with each. On that score, this primary cycle offers a very clear illustration that it’s the candidates who appeal to white voters who benefit at the expense of everyone else.

Joe Biden has led in most national polls for months, and his support among black voters has far outpaced his rivals. A Pew survey in the lead up to Iowa found Biden with 36% of the black vote nationally, over 20 points more than any other candidate, echoing many other surveys. Of course there is no national primary, but these figures provide a pretty good indication of how different the process — and resulting media narrative — would be if white voters didn’t get a head start.

2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus attendance vs. 2016... Five most college-educated counties: Dallas (Des Moines burbs): +38% Johnson (Iowa City): +9% Polk (Des Moines): +7% Story (Ames): +1% Linn (Cedar Rapids): +1% Everywhere else: -6%

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) February 7, 2020

Dallas was a Pete win.

From NY Times

LA Times:

How Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders split Iowa voters

A closer look at the results shows that different areas and demographic groups pushed the two candidates ahead of the pack. Here's how it played out.

Sanders in the cities, Buttigieg in the burbs

Buttigieg did well across the state, winning the Des Moines suburbs, a crucial battleground, and many smaller towns. Sanders’ victories were concentrated in more densely populated cities, like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.


Election Update: Buttigieg Is Rising In New Hampshire

Today’s piece of good news for the Buttigieg campaign was an NBC News/Marist poll of New Hampshire, conducted Tuesday through Thursday, that showed Sanders at 25 percent and Buttigieg at 21 percent. (They were followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden at 13 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 8 percent. However, New Hampshire is probably just a two-person race — our model thinks there is only a 7 percent chance that someone other than Sanders or Buttigieg wins.) In Marist’s last New Hampshire poll, conducted Jan. 20-23, Sanders had 22 percent and Buttigieg had 17 percent, so they both did a bit better in the latest poll — although the differences were within the margin of error. Still, no other candidate experienced a boost of more than 1 percentage point.

And given the evidence from other polls, it seems safe to say that Buttigieg, at least, is on the upswing in New Hampshire. Both Suffolk University/Boston Globe/WBZ-TV and 7 News/Emerson College have been conducting tracking polls of the Granite State, and the latest installment of each was released late last night. And the trend is clear:

Bernie is flat, and Pete is rising. But NH voters make up their mind late and we had a debate last night so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The media continues to treat climate change like it�s a third tier, minor issue � at best. But on the ground in New Hampshire, I�m finding voters take it very seriously.

— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) February 8, 2020

Click the link for the updated coronavirus dashboard from Johns Hopkins.

It�s likely that as more data accrues, the percent of mild and moderate disease will increase as proportion of total burden. But even if this data from WHO is still underestimating mild cases because we�re not diagnosing them, we�re confronting a very serious potential threat.

— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) February 7, 2020

Key words are potential and serious.

Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

The media stumbles in covering Trump

President Trump engaged in a post-impeachment trial event — a rant really — at the White House. He appeared unhinged, angry and resentful in what was billed as a speech but amounted to a disjointed stream of consciousness. The diatribe lasted more than an hour in the East Room of the White House, not normally the setting for a political harangue. To the consternation, I am sure, of Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who expressed the belief that Trump had learned his lesson (she later said it was “aspirational”), he was not contrite. More important, he was not composed nor in control of himself.

He struck out at Democrats as “evil,” “vicious” and “corrupt” people; expressed anger that “nothing happens” to Hillary Clinton (the Justice Department found no grounds for anything); called the FBI “scum" and “dirty cops”; weirdly recounted in gruesome terms the shooting of Republican House whip Steve Scalise (R-La.); and took a veiled swipe at Hunter Biden. (With not a shred of self-awareness, he declared, “They think that’s okay, because if it is — is Ivanka in the audience? Is Ivanka here? — boy, my kids could make a fortune. They could make a fortune. It’s corrupt.” They have, and it is.)

This might be the worst physician advocacy position I have ever seen. Because health care is now "more affordable," people are "disincentivized" from being healthy. By her (absent) logic, if we made health care cost $1 zillion dollars, everyone would be much healthier.

— Tyler Black, MD (@tylerblack32) February 8, 2020

Danielle Carr/The Nation:

Why Doctors Are Fighting Their Professional Organization Over Medicare for All

Calls for single-payer are coming from outside the American Medical Association—and show that doctors are not a single class of workers with a unified political view.

Even in the AMA, change is in the air. In June 2019, the medical students’ chapter introduced a proposal to strike down the AMA’s unconditional opposition to single-payer. The students were narrowly defeated, 53 to 47 percent, in the organization’s policy-​setting House of Delegates. Pressure from within has forced the AMA to withdraw from the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an industry coalition of insurance and hospital lobbies opposed to single-payer. As public support for Medicare for All continues to enjoy widespread support, the AMA’s inflexibility increasingly looks as if it could disqualify the group from a seat at the policy-making table in the future.

this is a good argument with trump it doesn't even trickle down

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) February 7, 2020

Here are two separate but related concepts from outside our bubble: Trump re-election and M4A not happening.  I think the first is 50-50 and not a lock. Wall Street political forecasts aren’t any better than anyone else’s — see 2008 —  and they like to gamble, but the second… may be close to correct.

Hard to overstate how overwhelming the feeling is on Wall Streer that Trump is a near lock for re-election.

— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 7, 2020

NY Times on an ongoing farm and corruption issue we’re following that highlights ways to talk to those non college areas:

Farm Bailout Paid to Brazilian Meat Processor Angers Lawmakers

Lawmakers want to know why a Brazilian-owned company got payments from a program aimed to help American farmers weather President Trump’s trade war.

About $67 million in bailout funds have gone to JBS USA, the subsidiary of JBS S.A., a Brazilian company that is the world’s biggest meat-processing firm.

Lawmakers have argued that a company with foreign-held ownership should be getting more scrutiny, particularly one that encountered legal troubles three years ago. In 2017, two of JBS S.A.’s former top executives, brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista, pleaded guilty to corruption charges in Brazil.

The Batista family, through a holding company, remains the largest shareholder of JBS S.A.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump’s pity party doesn’t obscure his guilt

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

So yesterday we got to hear Donald Trump whine, gloat and introduce some of his sycophants to the general public (Mike Braun, Josh Hawley, among others). He would have had it a day sooner, but Mitt Romney’s vote against him would not permit the equilibrium to do so. 

"had I not fired James Comey, it's possible I wouldn't even be standing here right now" �� Trump, admitting his crimes

— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) February 6, 2020

Still, like OJ, the public knows he’s guilty and nothing he says will change that. So what else are the pundits saying?

This Trump speech would make sense if he was delivering it to his therapist, and the transitions were just the therapist prompting, "and how does that make you feel?"

— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) February 6, 2020

In Iowa (remember Iowa?), Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttegieg are virtually tied (at least within the Margin of Incompetence), and now it’s on to New Hampshire. But get rid of these caucuses. The people whom participated are wonderful. The systems issues, however, do not do them justice.

This system dates to the 19th century. It wasn't designed for this level of turnout or scrutiny. We're trying to make it like a primary, while preserving the caucus form, just so Iowa can vote before New Hampshire, which insists on holding the first primary. Time for a rethink.

— David Karol (@DKarol) February 6, 2020

I have an unpopular idea about the 2020 primary, moving forward. Why don’t we just let the voters choose, instead of telling us what we should do or what will happen?

Exclusive: In leaked documents, Fox News� in-house research team warns colleagues of �disinformation� from several Fox News regulars like Giuliani and John Solomon.

— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) February 6, 2020

Nate Cohn/NY Times:

Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies

The mistakes do not appear intentional, but they raise questions about whether there will ever be a completely precise accounting.

Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.

But not all of the errors are minor, and they raise questions about whether the public will ever get a completely precise account of the Iowa results. With Mr. Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points with 97 percent of 1,765 precincts reporting, the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner.

WASHINGTON (AP) � The Associated Press is unable to declare a winner in Iowa�s 2020 Democratic caucuses.

— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) February 6, 2020

New Morning Consult polling on who people think won the Iowa caucus, unsurprisingly, finds we're mostly all confused: Don't know/no opinion: 57% Buttigieg: 17% Sanders: 14% Biden: 4% Warren: 2% Bloomberg: 2% Klobuchar: 1%

— Brandon (@Brand_Allen) February 6, 2020

And because I can't let this go, reupping these numbers in a different way: The eventual WINNER of the Iowa caucuses will get about 11 national delegates or 0.3% of all pledged DNC delegates. ZERO POINT THREE PERCENT! So forgive me for not caring that AP cannot call a "winner".

— Patrick Murray (@PollsterPatrick) February 6, 2020


DNC Offers Startup $500 Million To Develop Pencil That Can Accurately Record Election Results

Hoping the yellow, graphite-based writing instrument would allay voter doubts following the chaos of the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic National Committee reportedly offered a technology startup $500 million Tuesday to develop a pencil that can accurately record election results. “As of this morning, we have commissioned the design and manufacture of a cutting-edge tabulation device that will be able to legibly report vote totals on a sheet of paper 99% of the time,” said DNC chair Tom Perez, holding up a rough prototype of the 7.5-inch hexagonal marking implement, which will be built and rigorously stress-tested by a new Silicon Valley business venture known as Sharpen. “It may not be easy to encase a cylinder of graphite with wood or put a slick coat of glossy paint on its outside. But with this new partnership, we believe we will soon have at our disposal a pencil that is both reliable and totally resistant to any attack by foreign powers. Also, because it can be sharpened, this new delegate-reporting tool can be used repeatedly, lasting us through New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and perhaps even Super Tuesday.” At press time, sources confirmed plans for the pencil had been scrapped after election security experts warned the rubber eraser on its tip would quickly erode public trust in the product.

Great job, Iowa.

NEW @MonmouthPoll New Hampshire poll: - Sanders 24% - Buttigieg 20% - Biden 17% - Warren 13% - Klobuchar 9% - Gabbard 4% - Yang 4% - Steyer 3% BUT only 49% are firmly set.

— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) February 6, 2020

Stuart Rothenberg/Roll Call:

After Iowa, a boost for Buttigieg and concerns for Biden and Warren

Partial results put the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor in enviable position

Veteran pollster Gary Langer described Buttigieg’s performance in the Iowa caucuses entrance poll as showing a “broad-based appeal,” while candidates like Sanders and Biden demonstrated much more narrow appeal.

Sanders did extremely well among young voters, but poorly among seniors.

Biden was strong with seniors but weak among younger voters.

Sanders did well among the most liberal voters, while Biden was strong among so-called moderates.

Iowa was not kind to Biden. His fourth-place showing was unimpressive, and while it is fair to note that the state is not necessarily ideal for him, his weak showing doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence in his ability to win the nomination.

Both of these columns from local and national press make the same argument against @SenatorCollins reasoning for her vote on impeachment. How will it play out in the election? #mepolitics From @BillNemitz From @RuthMarcus

— Larry Gilbert Jr (@LarryGilbertSJ) February 5, 2020

The nominee will have to battle the Republicans. And to be clear, Republicans are using more than pencils:

McKay Coppins/Atlantic:

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election

The story that unfurled in my [test] Facebook feed over the next several weeks was, at times, disorienting. There were days when I would watch, live on TV, an impeachment hearing filled with damning testimony about the president’s conduct, only to look at my phone later and find a slickly edited video—served up by the Trump campaign—that used out-of-context clips to recast the same testimony as an exoneration. Wait, I caught myself wondering more than once, is that what happened today?

As I swiped at my phone, a stream of pro-Trump propaganda filled the screen: “That’s right, the whistleblower’s own lawyer said, ‘The coup has started …’ ” Swipe. “Democrats are doing Putin’s bidding …” Swipe. “The only message these radical socialists and extremists will understand is a crushing …” Swipe. “Only one man can stop this chaos …” Swipe, swipe, swipe.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.

What I was seeing was a strategy that has been deployed by illiberal political leaders around the world. Rather than shutting down dissenting voices, these leaders have learned to harness the democratizing power of social media for their own purposes—jamming the signals, sowing confusion. They no longer need to silence the dissident shouting in the streets; they can use a megaphone to drown him out. Scholars have a name for this: censorship through noise.

At the end of the day, the U.S. Senate didn't need to censure President Trump over the Ukraine scandal -- because Mitt Romney did it for the chamber on Wednesday

— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 6, 2020


An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter

Rachel Bitecofer’s radical new theory predicted the midterms spot-on. So who’s going to win 2020?

Bitecofer, a 42-year-old professor at Christopher Newport University in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, was little known in the extremely online, extremely male-dominated world of political forecasting until November 2018. That’s when she nailed almost to the number the nature and size of the Democrats’ win in the House, even as other forecasters went wobbly in the race’s final days. Not only that, but she put out her forecast back in July, and then stuck by it while polling shifted throughout the summer and fall.

And today her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate. If she’s right, we are now in a post-economy, post-incumbency, post record-while-in-office era of politics. Her analysis, as Bitecofer puts it with characteristic immodesty, amounts to nothing less than “flipping giant paradigms of electoral theory upside down.”

The model, of course, assumes no cheating.

Pelosi: "I tore up a manifesto of mistruths � It was necessary to get the attention of the American people, to say this is not true and this is how it affects you. And I don't need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity."

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 6, 2020

Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

What’s next after a sham impeachment trial?

The first step toward national sanity and constitutional recovery after impeachment, therefore, is to acknowledge what happened: Senate Republicans cowardly submitted to their gang leader and concocted retroactive excuses for their lack of principle.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) acknowledges as much in a bracing op-ed in the New York Times. “So watching the mental contortions they perform to justify their votes is painful to behold: They claim that calling witnesses would have meant a never-ending trial. They tell us they’ve made up their minds, so why would we need new evidence? They say to convict this president now would lead to the impeachment of every future president — as if every president will try to sell our national security to the highest bidder,” he writes. He says this crowd "cannot fathom a fate worse than losing an upcoming election.” In short, Republicans are putting themselves above country because they are afraid Trump will chase them out of office otherwise.

That leads to the second step: To smash that defend-your-seat-at-all-costs mentality, the senators who capitulated to Trump must be voted out. The lesson learned must be that, if you want a career in politics, you need to do the right thing, especially when the stakes are so high.

The emergence of three distinct anti-left candidates -- each with one unique strength that will make it hard for the other two to knock them out -- suggests that someone up there likes Bernie Sanders.

— Eric Levitz (@EricLevitz) February 6, 2020

And just so you know:

It�s highly likely that #2019nCov will be a #pandemic, spreading beyond #China. We don�t know yet whether the pandemic will be mild, moderate or severe. Key is to find and implement the best ways to protect people.

— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) February 6, 2020

Pandemic designation refers to geographic spread of a new disease, not severity. No reason to panic (and news coverage isn’t panic in any case.) But follow the news.

Abbreviated pundit round-up: Fearful GOP acquits; torn-up lies; youthful canvass training in NH

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature of Daily Kos.

Michael Harriot at The Root writes—To Trayvon, on Your 25th Birthday:

A 25th birthday might not be as significant a milestone as one’s 18th or 21st. Sadly, for your mother, Sybrina Fulton, for you and for all of us, you only had the opportunity to celebrate 17 birthdays. The rest were stolen from you. From Sybrina. From us.

I’ve always wondered why we don’t celebrate birthdays by giving presents to the mother. Isn’t a birthday actually an anniversary for something she did? After all, she is the one who actually gifted the world with a life. All the birthday celebrant did is live. Why are they celebrated?

Now I know why.

Because, for a black boy in America, living is an accomplishment. Our simple existence is a reason to celebrate. It would be easy to remember you as a martyr and make a ghost out of your memory. Instead, today we celebrate your accomplishments. We honor the fact that you achieved 17 years of existence. That your purloined life continues to have meaning. You are not simply a symbol of the scourge of police brutality—you were alive. You are.

There is a phenomenon that most black boys and girls spend their lives trying to avoid. I call it “involuntary suicide”—the act of unintentionally and unwillingly giving one’s life. It happened when Philando Castile reached for his firearm license; when Sandra Bland decided to smoke a cigarette; when Botham Jean sat watching TV in his own living room; when Atatiana Jefferson peered out of her window; when Eric Garner breathed. It hovers over all of us, waiting in the shadows.

Sherrod Brown at The New York Times writes—In Private, Republicans Admit They Acquitted Trump Out of Fear:

Of course, the Republican senators who have covered for Mr. Trump love what he delivers for them. But Vice President Mike Pence would give them the same judges, the same tax cuts, the same attacks on workers’ rights and the environment. So that’s not really the reason for their united chorus of “not guilty.”

For the stay-in-office-at-all-cost representatives and senators, fear is the motivator. They are afraid that Mr. Trump might give them a nickname like “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted,” or that he might tweet about their disloyalty. Or — worst of all — that he might come to their state to campaign against them in the Republican primary. They worry:

“Will the hosts on Fox attack me?”

“Will the mouthpieces on talk radio go after me?”

“Will the Twitter trolls turn their followers against me?”

My colleagues know they all just might.

Will Bunch at The Philadelphia Inquirer writes—Kill the Iowa Caucus and start fixing American democracy from the ground up:

This wasn’t just a glitch, a temporary speed bump in America’s freeway of exceptionalism. No, the Iowa disaster was a dramatic example of our democratic decline. It was also a stark reminder that our rush to bring 21st century technology to voting — usually to politically wired bidders — has been an abject failure, prone to both the mundane reality of breakdowns and the very real fear of hacking by bad actors. [...]

This was supposed to be a morning for talking about the winners and losers. While there are arguably some early political takeaways to be had, including the unstoppable downward spiral of Joe Biden, it would be dishonest to name anyone else as the winner of the Democrats’ Iowa caucus but one Donald John Trump. For the next nine months, the GOP president will ask voters again and again, why they would trust the Democratic Party to run America when it can’t even run a one-night event in a small state?

And Trump’s attack line will work because — like all of his attack lines — it feeds on Americans’ basest fears and distrusts, that America’s cosmopolitan elites with their overpriced Ivy League degrees are both ethically corrupt and not as smart as they think.

I wager it’s no fun to look into the tweeted proof that sleeping would have been a better way to have spent those wee-hour efforts rather than trying to penetrate that thick David Brooks skull—MB.

Dana Milbank at The Washington Post writes—Mitt Romney’s act of bravery changed nothing and changed everything:

Romney’s act of bravery — and perhaps political suicide — changed nothing and it changed everything. Trump stood no chance of being removed either way. But here was the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee, rebuking his craven colleagues who saw Trump’s guilt but wouldn’t risk their careers. Romney made the vote to remove Trump bipartisan (no Democrats sided with Trump), and in the process made himself a pariah in his party.

But for Romney there was something higher than partisan tribalism.

Romney said he received pressure to “stand with the team.” He said he would “hear abuse from the president.” But, he said, “were I to ignore the evidence … for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) dabbed his eyes with a tissue. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the lone Republican on the floor, walked out of the chamber. […]

Romney read his 10-minute statement carefully, his calm voice incongruous with the words. “Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,” he said.

Charles M. Blow at The New York Times writes—They Acquitted Trump. Make Them Pay!

What we have watched in Washington from Republicans during this impeachment is nothing short of a travesty. Most people fully expected the Republicans in the Senate to do exactly what they did. However, it is still a strike against the country and the Constitution.

Where are we? What’s next?

I, for one, am happy that the Democrats in Congress did what they did. Indeed, they had no choice. A line had to be drawn and defended. If in fact no one in this country is supposed to be above the law, that case had to be made by someone. If the sanctity of our elections is supposed to be inviolable, that principle had to be defended.

Now that Republicans have refused to do their duty out of extreme tribalism and devotion to Trump, Democrats need to make lists and take names. There is no time for crestfallen recriminations. [...]

Anything that can be done to oust these Republican senators must be done. These races are just as important as the presidential race.

Elie Mystal at The Nation writes—Republican Senators Just Sold Out Democracy. By acquitting Trump, Republicans handed the president nearly unlimited power—and revealed the extent of their venality:

We should not be shocked that they’ve done this. Republicans feel empowered to free the president from all constraints because they never intend to be subjected to a Democratic president armed with these new powers. Republicans think they’re on the cusp of locking in one-party control of the government. Their solution to the demographic changes that will soon see us become a majority-minority country is to forge a new theory of government, in which minority white rule can withstand the popular will.

All of the Republican strategies work to accomplish this. They suppress nonwhite voters and gerrymander districts. They protect and defend an Electoral College that functions to elevate the voting power of whites in low-population states over the will of popular majorities. And they have now explicitly authorized the president to use foreign influence to corrupt and steal elections, on the theory that the reelection of that president, by definition, is in the best interests of the nation. These are not the actions of a party trying to win political power; they’re the actions of a party trying to exclude anybody else from having it.

Brittany Gibson at The American Prospect writes—Trump’s Pitch to Black VotersNot to vote for him, but to keep them from voting at all:

The Trump team must know they’ll never win the support of African American voters. Eight in ten black Americans said Trump is racist, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos Poll from January of this year. But an economic argument may be Trump’s greatest strength in his re-election campaign. Following Steve Bannon’s 2016 recipe for populist economic rhetoric and demonizing foreigners, Trump doesn’t have to convince black voters to turn out for him, but instead try to convince them they can afford to stay home because things are OK.

Most minorities in the United States vote for Democrats, but since Obama’s 2008 campaign engaged minority voters, and black voters in particular, to turn out in record numbers, those numbers have slacked off. Such a lack of enthusiasm works to Trump’s benefit and, of course, is augmented by the Republicans’ systematic implementation of obstacles to voting in black communities: enacting voter suppression laws, purging people from voter rolls, closing down voting sites, and making it harder to restore voting rights for the formerly incarcerated.

By focusing broadly on low unemployment rates, particularly if the Democrats select a nominee who doesn’t engage minority communities, Trump could convince some people to stay away from the polls and avoid the hoops that many black and brown people in this country have to jump through to vote. Nor does it bode well for Democrats that the Iowa debacle confirmed skeptics (not just minorities) in their doubts about the value of voting.

The Miami Herald Editorial Board writes—Parkland dad Fred Guttenberg had a right to shout during Trump’s State of the Union speech:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s act of rebellion during President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night came from her sense of political savvy. Fred Guttenberg‘s act of rebellion came from the heart, a heart in pain, a heart irrevocably broken.

So it seemed particularly heartless for him to be removed from the balcony gallery by security after he shouted out in the name of his slain daughter when Trump failed to address any attempt on his part to confront gun violence in America.

Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland. Pelosi had invited him to attend the State of Union speech. [...]

Tuesday, as Trump finished saying, “So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Republicans began to cheer. Guttenberg, sitting with the South Florida delegation, likely fumed at the president’s total dismissal of America’s gun-violence problem.

As the cheers quieted, Guttenberg could be briefly heard in the chamber saying: “victims of gun violence like my daughter . . .”

Security came and took Guttenberg away as the shocked members of the delegation sitting around him watched.

Heather Digby Parton at Salon writes—Trump Turned the SOTU Into MAGA Reality TV, With Limbaugh as a Guest Star

But the real gift to the MAGA base was a brilliant reality-TV moment, one designed to fill their hearts with joy and make every liberal in America's head explode. There is no one Trump could have brought into the Capitol who could possibly have been more offensive to Democrats everywhere than Rush Limbaugh. He is among the top five people in the country responsible for the utter degradation of American politics over the past 30 years. Trump would not be president were it not for the odious path Limbaugh laid out. So naturally, when he found out that Limbaugh had been diagnosed with cancer, he invited him to a joint session of Congress as his special guest.

Trump extolled Limbaugh's virtues as Republicans ecstatically cheered, then announced that he was presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and instructed First Lady Melania to put it around his neck right then and there. The moment was oddly redolent of Trump's old beauty-pageant days with Limbaugh playing the role of the surprised winner:

He wasn't actually surprised. It had been announced earlier. But that's reality TV for you.

It appears that Nancy Pelosi knows how to do reality show politics as well.

She was asked on her way out why she did it and she replied, "Because it was a manifesto of mistruths."

Trump must be steaming. She stole the show.

Henry A. Giroux at TruthOut writes—Trump’s SOTU Speech Bristled With Fascist Politics

Authoritarian societies protect the powerful — not the poor or vulnerable — and Trump made that clear in boasting about tax policies that largely benefit the ultra-rich and major corporations. He lied about supporting workers’ rights and “restoring manufacturing rights” even as he continues to implement regulatory roll-backs that endanger both the environment and the health of workers and many other people in the U.S. His claim that he has launched the great American comeback is laced with death-dealing policies that range from criminalizing social problems, demonizing and punishing undocumented immigrants and their children, and laying claim to ultra-nationalist and white supremacist rhetoric that echoes the social and racial cleansing policies of earlier fascist societies. When Trump says in his speech “our families are flourishing,” he leaves out the misery and suffering he has inflicted on the many people who don’t fit into his white Christian notion of the public sphere, as well as on the immigrants and other people of color whom he has deemed disposable. [...]

Trump unapologetically aligned himself with the war-mongering militaristic policies that one expects in fascist societies. His most fascistic statements centered around celebrating Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, conflating undocumented immigrants with “criminals,” and describing sanctuary cities as a threat to American security and safety. Meanwhile he bragged about stacking the federal courts with right-wing judges and expressed admiration for the two right-wing Supreme Court justices he has appointed, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump’s State of the Union reeked with the mobilizing passions of fascism, including invocations of extreme nationalism and calls for the expansion of military power, as well as outright racism, lawlessness, contempt for dissent and anti-immigrant bigotry.

Kate Aronoff at The New Republic writes—If Bloomberg Really Cared About Climate Change, He Wouldn’t Be RunningBoth Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer could be spending their prodigious wealth in much more effective ways. Instead, they're funding vanity campaigns:

Climate-friendly billionaires are a bit of a paradox. Their multihome, private-jet lifestyles spew prodigious amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Even those who donate massively to environmental causes tend to be doing more to warm the earth than your average meat-eating car-driver subsisting below the poverty line.

There are two such paradoxical beings in the 2020 Democratic primary. Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg—each claiming to be champions of the planet—are running for president. If either of them really cared about the planet, there’s a better way to show that: by spending the money they’re currently blowing on their presidential campaigns on supporting Democrats in just about any other race, in the hopes of making climate change–fighting legislation a reality in 2021.

You’d be forgiven for reading these long-shot campaigns as a shopping spree. As reporter Alex Kotch pointed out, Bloomberg gave $320,000 to the Democratic National Committee in November for the first time since 1998. Last week, the DNC announced it would drop the individual donor threshold that kept him off the debate stage, breaking rules the body swore were sacred when it refused to modify its plans in order to hold a climate debate this summer. Tom Steyer bought his entry the honest way, with millions of dollars’ worth of advertising.

Lexi McMenamin at The New Republic writes—The Youth Climate Movement Comes to New Hampshire:

New Hampshire is known for its early primary election but is often on the political periphery the rest of the time. During this long presidential primary season, some, including candidate Julián Castro (who has since dropped out), called for deprioritizing the New Hampshire primary because the state doesn’t represent the demographics of the country at large. According to the last census, it’s one of the whitest states in the country, and its total population is about the same as that of Memphis, Tennessee, or Richmond, Virginia. But for 2020, some young people in the state, driven by climate anxiety and the recent rise of youth activism, are fighting to make the state’s progressive political spaces more representative and inclusive, while bringing some of the issues youth voters care about to the fore.

The New Hampshire Youth Movement has run a program this past month called Party at the Primary, inviting youth organizers from all over the country to come visit New Hampshire, swelling the ranks of volunteers in exchange for the opportunity to build canvassing skills and get direct access to the campaigning candidates. The program is funded in large part by the Sunrise Movement, the youth climate organizing group that is pushing the Green New Deal.

“The idea for this program came from sharing the privilege of our first-in-the-nation primary with people from other states, bringing people from all across the country, especially swing states and other important primaries, and getting them up here,” said Quincy. “Obviously to help us out by knocking doors, making calls, talking to candidates, but also to help them out to give them the skills to run ‘get out the vote’ programs in their home state, and to get some of that energy and electricity that comes from being in New Hampshire within a month of the primary.” Josie Pinto, a regional organizer for NHYM, added that the program helps New Hampshire “be a leader in uplifting more diverse voices, even if they don’t come from our organization.”

Bill McKibben at The Guardian writes— When it comes to climate hypocrisy, Canada's leaders have reached a new low:

Americans elected Donald Trump, who insisted climate change was a hoax – so it’s no surprise that since taking office he’s been all-in for the fossil fuel industry. There’s no sense despairing; the energy is better spent fighting to remove him from office.

Canada, on the other hand, elected a government that believes the climate crisis is real and dangerous – and with good reason, since the nation’s Arctic territories give it a front-row seat to the fastest warming on Earth. Yet the country’s leaders seem likely in the next few weeks to approve a vast new tar sands mine which will pour carbon into the atmosphere through the 2060s. They know – yet they can’t bring themselves to act on the knowledge. Now that is cause for despair.

The Teck mine would be the biggest tar sands mine yet: 113 square miles of petroleum mining, located just 16 miles from the border of Wood Buffalo national park. A federal panel approved the mine despite conceding that it would likely be harmful to the environment and to the land culture of Indigenous people. These giant tar sands mines (easily visible on Google Earth) are already among the biggest scars humans have ever carved on the planet’s surface. But Canadian authorities ruled that the mine was nonetheless in the “public interest”.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The Iowa caucus screw-up has the pundits besides themselves

The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a daily feature at Daily Kos.

This is really a bad sitch. Bernie probably won the most votes. Pete probably did very well in the delegate count, but can’t prove it yet. Elizabeth probably did ok, but that’s not clear. Joe did badly, and/but we don’t know how badly. So, on balance, this hurts all of us. No conspiracy about that.

You know who got hurt the most? The people working their butts off for a year in a state where retail politics matters. Their moment got stepped on. Oh, also the Iowa caucuses, which really suck and should be done away with.  In any case, I expect there will be a lot of unhappy activists. But by Friday (my next APR day), we should know who won, whatever that means by then! (I hope.) 

A lot happened, so come with us after the fold. 

As of 6 pm, Tuesday, and I am leaving it here so folks can see how this rolled out (the latest update as of now is up to 71% and positions remain Bernie with the voters and Pete with the delegate equivalents):

Sanders leads by 1,190 votes in the first alignment vote

— David Beard ðÂ�Â�³ï¸Â�âÂ�Â�ðÂ�Â�Â� (@dwbeard) February 4, 2020

SDEs are state delegate equivalents, the official winning number. They translate to actual delegates — 41 total delegates for the state. 1% of the convention total.

And @MSNBC finally fixed its data error about how many precincts actually reported so far. Still too early to call. 62% of precincts reported. #IowaCaucuses

— Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) February 4, 2020

And the rest of the state? What if it’s different?

These tweets are so futile lmao

— Addisu Demissie (@ASDem) February 4, 2020

With this releasing of partial information, the Iowa Democratic Party is making yet another strong argument against ever having the Iowa caucus go first again. This is an incredibly irresponsible thing that the party's about to do.

— David Darmofal (@david_darmofal) February 4, 2020

Philip Bump/WaPo:

Iowa Democrats are poised to do the one thing that could make the caucus debacle worse

Releasing partial results tanks one of the few positive aspects from Monday’s contest

“The IDP does not declare a winner,” the state party’s “Press 101″ Web page reads, “the party’s role is to present results.” Fair enough.

Then, in the face of withering criticism, the party announced that it would do the one thing that could possibly make the fallout of the caucuses worse: It would release partial results. …

Jeremy Bird, who ran Barack Obama’s field program, criticized the Iowa party for its deployment of a tool intended to make counting the results of the caucuses easier. But he did offer one compliment to how the party was managing the disaster.

The Iowa Democratic Party “smartly did not release inaccurate or partial data,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are going to get accurate results. Patience is a virtue we can cultivate here.”

So much for that.

Another thing – watch how they handle the uncertainty. Bernie Sanders and (even more so) Elizabeth Warren were “wait and see”:

How has Joe Biden's campaign reacted to the Iowa caucuses results released so far? @edokeefe: "We have not heard much from them tonight so far... which is a sign that they know that this data is quite troubling for them."

— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 5, 2020

The more aggressive moves: Joe questioning the process is an awful look. And Pete declaring victory before the count was/is in is either smart campaigning or opportunism depending on where you sit. But so far, looks like the count/narrative winners/losers were Pete and Bernie (losers because the hard fought win got smushed by the chaos). Arguably, worse sitch for Pete, because he has the current delegate lead (which is what matters) and could have used the positive buzz while Bernie has what should be a strong NH coming up to take the sting off how IA wound up (including a disappointing turnout overall compared to expectations).

As it is, things didn’t go as well as expected for Bernie:

New: Bernie Sanders� camp envisioned him potentially giving a primetime victory speech in Iowa, raising millions from small-dollar donors, and savoring proving so many elites wrong. Instead, they reassured demoralized aides and volunteers Tuesday.

— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) February 5, 2020

But the mood was tense and anticlimactic. What could have been an historic night for Sanders and his movement was not � at least, not in the way they had hoped. His campaign manager later told aides in a call to appreciate what had happened. Despite bad press, Sanders was ahead.

— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) February 5, 2020

NH is next, Bernie has a solid lead, and we could all use a break from SOTU and impeachment votes…. and it’s not a caucus!

Still, biggest loser of all has to be Biden, whose campaign might be over and done if NH is another weak showing (traditionally there are “only 3 tickets out of IA”). As it is, Joe is out of excuses and money.

And biggest winner of all could be Mike Bloomberg, who is playing a different game altogether. 

What happens next? Do both Biden and Warren fade in NH after disappointing IA showings, making it Bernie vs Pete? Or is one of them the comeback kid? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Alexandra Petri/WaPo:

So I was at a caucus where they had some problems

I went to the Iowa caucuses because I love democracy — well, I’m a fan of its earlier work — and I was excited to see it in action. What I saw instead was people fighting a valiant fight against voter preference cards, and the clock, and losing.

There is no more powerful force than someone with a bright idea for a new way things should go who does not have to live with the consequences. Someone in an office somewhere devises a form or an app, and then on the ground people struggle and strain over a confusingly worded directive, and it makes the difference between receiving a benefit or not, or having your voice heard or not, or being the room where the future of America gets decided.

“There’s certainly room for debate as to whether this is the best way to go forward,” Michael admitted to Ames Precinct 3-1/11. And then he sent the votes off.

By the way, check out this thread for how it worked, from a twitter friend:

So... I was at the call center for Warren, which means we received the called-in results from precincts as they rolled in. I�m not going to go into any specifics, as it is not my place, but a few clarifying observations. #IACaucus

� Esther Choo (@choo_ek) February 4, 2020

We are applying our 21st c expectations to a very 20th c - in some cases 18th c - processes. I mean, at the time that I left for the night, sites were still doing coin tosses or drawing names out of a hat or debating other tie breaking issues and rounding rules.

� Esther Choo (@choo_ek) February 4, 2020

We are an impatient lot, but we weren’t the ones that promised results in an hour. Or the ones, like CNN, that hyped the CNN/DMR/Selzer poll that got pulled (we covered that Monday).

Coin tosses? Yep. A few of them.

Dylan Scott/Vox:

Why some of the Iowa caucuses are being decided by coin toss

Some Iowa delegates were decided by coin toss. That means it’s close.

It came down to a coin toss at the precinct at Hills Elementary in rural Johnson County. With only one delegate they needed 50% to win. Warren carried the day. #IACaucus

� Charity Nebbe (@CharityNebbe) February 4, 2020

A few times on Monday night, at some of the Iowa caucuses, candidates ended up with the same number of votes. There was a tie when it came time to hand out delegates.

So the Iowa voters resolved it with a time-honored election tradition: the coin toss.

FYI 3 way tie at the end btwn Biden, Bernie and Warren. Picked a name out of a hat. Biden won.

� Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) February 4, 2020

Coin tosses and problematic apps. What a country.

The spiked Ann Selzer poll: Sanders 22% Warren 18% Buttigieg 16% Biden 13% Actual first alignment results (62% reporting): Sanders 24% Buttigieg 21% Warren 19% Biden 15% A little low on Buttigieg but for a caucus poll, that's *really* good.

— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 4, 2020

What Iowans are saying:

Sorry I was right. RIP caucuses. And after the GOP fiasco of 2012, Iowa probably shouldn�t even try. #iacaucus

— David Yepsen (@DavidYepsen) February 4, 2020

�This fiasco means the end of the caucuses as a significant American political event. The rest of the country was already losing patience with Iowa anyway and this cooks Iowa's goose. Frankly, it should,� Iowa journalism legend David Yepsen tells Politico

— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) February 4, 2020

The first question at the Iowa Democratic Party press conference moments ago: �How can anyone trust you now?�

— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) February 4, 2020

Making the news cycle about the latest dangerous, irresponsible statement Trump makes was very 2016. It�s time for political media to show it learned something and wrangle back control of the news cycle. This isn�t a great start.

— Jeremy Littau (@JeremyLittau) February 4, 2020

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Iowa Might Have Botched One Caucus Too Many

The state’s first-in-the-nation primary status has been under fire for years. It’s very possible that this will be the end of it.  

Well, that was ugly. As I write, there are basically no results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses, hours after everyone went home. Some campaigns are beginning to release their internal numbers, but it would be wise to wait for the official results. The results are intact, according to officials, but the app that was supposed to deliver them from the precincts to the state party didn’t work.


Caucuses are run by the political parties, not the government. State and local officials are in charge, with volunteers mostly handling work at the precinct level. There are paid staff at the state level, but they aren’t necessarily experts in elections technology. This isn’t exactly a huge surprise.

I get plenty of stuff wrong. But I don’t know that I’ve ever been as correct as this one, from four years ago:

A lot of people are calling for Iowa to switch to a primary after the slow reporting of Democratic results this year and the botched counting of the Republican votes in 2012. Better idea: Keep the caucuses, but have the state, rather than the parties, run them with properly trained poll workers. Surely officials can pay for this by diverting a small percentage of revenue they raise in sales taxes from the business generated by campaigns and the visiting press corps. Yes, the delays and glitches are an annoyance mostly for the press and impatient campaigns, not voters. And the contests where these problems occurred were in races where there were virtual ties, so delays can be explained. Still: Get it right, Iowa.

congratulations, Iowa. You played yourself.

— Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) February 4, 2020

Dave A. Hopkins/Honest Graft:

It's Time to De-Hype the Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa Democratic Party certainly deserves plenty of blame for the disastrous problems with the delayed tabulation of the results from Monday night's caucus. The all-too-predictable failure of a new, untested reporting app was compounded by the state party's idiosyncratic devotion to a uniquely complex two-stage public preference declaration process that required the chairs of 1,700 precincts statewide to all simultaneously report three sets of distinct but necessarily compatible numbers to state party headquarters. This new mandate for numerical transparency came at the behest of the Democratic National Committee, which responded to widespread suspicions that Bernie Sanders actually received more popular support than Hillary Clinton in the 2016 caucus by requiring Iowa to release raw vote totals for the first time as well as the traditional delegate counts.

Still, there was something a bit unseemly about major media figures taking to cable news and social media to blast the state party for failing to satisfy their curiosity about the outcome on a more personally convenient schedule. For it was the media that turned the Iowa caucuses into a decisive event in presidential politics beginning in 1972, when journalists interpreted George McGovern's third-place finish in a sparsely-attended vote (behind Ed Muskie and "uncommitted") as a game-changing moral victory, and it's heavy media coverage every four years that gives what might otherwise be an obscure and unimportant event its outsized influence on the behavior of voters in subsequent contests, setting some candidates on a path to the White House and driving others out of the race entirely with 99 percent of the national delegates still unselected.

Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight:

Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process

Despite its demographic non-representativeness, and the quirks of the caucuses process, the amount of media coverage the state gets makes it far more valuable a prize than you’d assume from the fact that it only accounts for 41 of the Democrats’ 3,979 pledged delegates.

More specifically, we estimate — based on testing how much the results in various states have historically changed the candidates’ position in national polls — that Iowa was the second most-important date on the calendar this year, trailing only Super Tuesday. It was worth the equivalent of almost 800 delegates, about 20 times its actual number.

Well, it screwed up his model, anyway.

Jeff Greenfield/Politico:

Blame Iowa? Nope, the Democrats Did This to Themselves

The signals were there. The party had a chance to avoid this mess 12 years ago. Here’s why they failed.

As much as this was Iowa’s local failure, it also marked a massive failure of courage on the part of the Democratic Party. Twelve years ago, when Florida began demanding a bigger role for states that better represented the American electorate, the national party pushed back hard, and the candidates—fearful of alienating voters in Iowa and New Hampshire come the fall election—agreed to boycott that state’s primary. (Footnote: had Florida not tried to “jump the line” that year by moving its primary up, Hillary Clinton would have won a landslide victory in the campaign and might well have emerged as the 2008 nominee.) The party did move the dates of Nevada and South Carolina to put more diverse states in play earlier in the calendar, but the fundamental flaw—the enormous attention paid to a state that employs an anti-democratic, unwieldy, poorly attended process—has remained.

As the co-founder 30 years ago (with Joe Klein) of the Committee to Start the Process in Hawaii—a movement intended to blend civic good with personal comfort—I confess to a heart overflowing with schadenfreude at what happened Monday night. Longtime critics of Iowa now feel like Jor-el, Superman’s father, whose warnings to the elders of Krypton about the planet’s instability went ignored.

But there’s a broader issue here. Democrats have, since January 20, 2017, argued that preventing a second term for Donald Trump was a matter of protecting the American system from the most unfit occupier of the Oval Office ever. While it may not prove to be decisive, the party’s refusal to end a deeply flawed process to begin the selection for Trump’s opponent has made it harder for them to achieve that goal.

Or, as Buddha might have put it: Karma is a bitch.


And then there is Pelosi�s response when asked why she tore up Trump�s speech �it was a courteous thing to do considering the alternative.� #ouch

— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) February 5, 2020

Oh, yeah, and impeachment.

If he learned any lesson it was the opposite of this.

— Seth Masket (@smotus) February 4, 2020

Jill D Lawrence/USA Today:

I used to cover Republicans who are cowering to Trump. I don't recognize them now.

Until Trump, I found something to like or respect about most politicians I encountered, even those I strongly disagreed with. That's no longer true.

For the 40 years I have written about politics, there has been something to like or respect about nearly every politician I've encountered. Even when I passionately disagreed with someone on tax or gun or war policy, there was always at least one thing: They welcomed immigrants, wanted to save the planet or were willing to defy elements of their own party to seek a "grand bargain" on taxes and spending. Maybe they were dishonest and had to resign in disgrace, but not before creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Lately, the Founders have also been top of mind. Many of the most prominent owned slaves, and it's hard to get past that, even considering their times. But they also laid what they hoped was a permanent foundation for an aspirational nation striving toward its ideals. They clearly anticipated and feared someone like Trump, and tried to give us the remedies and protections we'd need.

Those safeguards have failed. Let's hope the union the framers envisioned doesn't fail, as well.

Thank you, Susan Collins. You�ve done more to show Maine voters what you really are than I ever could.

— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 4, 2020

Tom Krattenmaker/USA Today:

Democrats shouldn't be chumps. That's why this liberal is giving up on compromise for now.

The time for give and take has passed

Those days are gone. Our current political impasse runs so deep, and one would-be compromise partner is so recalcitrant, that I've given up hope for the near term that the Democrats and Republicans can work together on the country’s urgent challenges. With the fate of our democracy and planet at stake — sorry, that's not hyperbole — would-be conciliators can't afford to continue extending olive branches only to have them shoved back in our faces.

#2019nCoV: Latest numbers out from China. Total cases 24, 324, up nearly 3900 from yesterday. Deaths now 490, up another 65. Globally there are another ... 150? 200? cases in about 2 dozen countries. 2 deaths outside of mainland China.

— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) February 5, 2020