HomeUncategorized5/16 News Roundup & Open Thread – Sanders Pressures Delta to End Anti-Union Campaign, Bernie/Biden Have Very Different Visions For The Future & More
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There’s already a couple of better candidates emphasizing economic inequality.


New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has jumped into the 2020 presidential race, joining at least 21 other declared Democratic candidates for the party’s nomination.

The mayor announced his run with a video released by his campaign.

“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands,” de Blasio says at the beginning of the video. He concludes: “I’m running for president because it’s time we put working people first.”

Political observers said that even if de Blasio’s candidacy doesn’t gain traction, he’ll be able to promote his policies and potentially angle for a job in a future Democratic administration. He is barred by term limits from running for mayor again.


And now de Blasio on the center left. This article provides a good explanation of why so many feel the need to run. Actually I think Gillibrand should be grouped with Harris and Booker.


Because this is the future, running for president of the United States is now a fantastic way to rake in the bucks, whether or not you’ve got that name recognition thing going for you. If you don’t, whatever, CNN and MSNBC need to fill all 24 hours with programming because Andy Warhol was right. If you hold an elected office — or have lots of money already — and declare your candidacy, fear not: Wolf Blitzer’s hair will be calling you for an interview before the echo fades.

Montana’s conservative Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock just announced his entry into the 2020 presidential race. He is the 22nd Democrat (yes, including Bernie) to do so with more than a month to go before the first debates, nine months to go before the Iowa caucus, and 77 weeks to go before the general election, which means there is plenty of time for more doomed challengers to jump in. Outside of Helena and Butte, the national reaction to Bullock’s candidacy was two words: “Who?” followed almost immediately by “Why?!”

The second question is fairly asked. If Bullock should stumble on his path to glory, the Democratic Party’s center-right contingent will still be championed by (in alphabetical order) Sen. Michael Bennet (Colorado), former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden (Delaware), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Indiana), former Rep. John Delaney (Maryland), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), former Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Rep. Seth Moulton (Massachusetts), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas), and Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio).

However, at the end of the day and with apologies to my friends, I have trouble crediting the DNC with the strategic wits to pull this off. This is the organization, remember, that could not figure out how to defeat the worst presidential candidate in the history of the known universe just two and a half years ago. How am I supposed to believe that, in such a short span of time, they have summoned the requisite candlepower needed to run a multipronged, multistate, multimillion-dollar campaign to matchstick the tires on Bernie’s campaign bus, and got a bunch of big-time ego-tripping national politicians to go along with it?

Still, when it comes to this wildly overcrowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls, I believe Occam’s Razor holds ultimate sway. If the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, we should look to the simplest and most commonplace explanation of all: Money.

Running for president has become an industry of its own, and a multibillion dollar one at that. “Across America, the business of politics now channels up to $10 billion a year,” report Dave Helling and Scott Canon for the Kansas City Star, “much of it pocketed by the pros who conduct the polls, craft the ads, buy the airtime, spin the news releases.”

The kind of bottomless spending orgy that typifies modern campaigning makes its own gravy, and is one hell of an incentive for political consultants who have the ear of high-profile politicians: Listen to me, Senator Frackeverything, I know there are 94 other candidates already running, but you can win! I just need $10 million for the ad buy to get you started. Trust me, this will be great! What big-ego politician doesn’t want to hear that? Plus, as stated, the candidates get to keep what they raise for use in future campaigns.


And just where is all that money coming from?

Grasswho? Members raised hundreds of thousands, almost none from small donors

But some Democrats and Republicans who raised more than $100,000 during the first quarter got less than $400 of it from donors giving $200 or less.

For example, just $185 of the roughly $652,000 that House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer raised for his re-election fund from January through March came from unitemized contributions.

That’s a contrast to back in 1998, when more than 20 percent of funds to Hoyer’s campaign committee came from small donations.

Trone must be expecting a big payback:

Other House members who took in some of the highest overall receipts, but received less than $400 in unitemized contributions, were Democrats Henry Cuellar of Texas and David Trone of Maryland. Republicans French Hill of Arkansas, Sam Graves of Missouri and Bob Gibbs of Ohio collected $10, $100 and $25, respectively, in unitemized contributions.

Florida GOP freshman Ross Spano collected just $1 in small donations in the first quarter of the year — the lowest for a House member.

“The $1 donation was a test to ensure our systems were working post-swearing in,” Spano spokeswoman Sandi Poreda said in an email. “Obviously, grassroots support is a critical component to a successful campaign; it was a significant factor with his first victory and we’re excited to see these efforts pick back up as we get further into the election cycle.”

Trone, also a freshman, spent $17.9 million of his own money on his 2018 race. In the first quarter of 2019, he contributed another $350,000 to his campaign, and received $75 from small donors.[emphasis added]

Good point:

It is also a possibility that candidates are still reaching out to a broad number of constituents and aren’t getting donations from them.


Video is OK. I like the theme. However…

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president
Three-quarters of New Yorkers don’t want de Blasio to run for the White House. He’s doing it anyway.

De Blasio, 58, is a complex figure in New York City politics: he has a decent progressive record, and he won reelection handily in 2017, but a lot of New Yorkers, to put it plainly, don’t like him.

His mayoral record includes universal pre-K and expanded paid sick leave. This year, he joined progressives in opposing Amazon’s drive to build a second headquarters in Long Island City. On his website, de Blasio claims to have reduced stop-and-frisk by the New York City Police Department by 93 percent and helped drive crime to record lows. He is likely to position himself as an unabashed progressive and experienced executive.

Whether that positioning will be enough to bring him to the top of a crowded field — there are now more than 20 Democrats running for the party’s 2020 nomination, and de Blasio isn’t even the first New York politician running — is not entirely clear. But he believes he’s got a shot that’s worth taking.

“My whole history has been as an insurgent and an underdog,” de Blasio said in a March interview with New York 1.

He also defended his decision to run in an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. “The poll that actually matters is the election,” he said, noting he has twice been elected mayor in New York. He took a swipe at President Donald Trump as well. “Right now, the federal government is not on the side of working people. And that’s because Donald Trump is playing a big con on America,” he said.


More from the article above:

De Blasio told Politico that he believes he embodies economic populism and that his election was “an indicator of the gathering storm that came forth nationally” for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) 2016 campaign. (Sanders, of course, will now be his opponent.) In 2014, for example, he launched an initiative to enroll 4-year-old children in universal pre-K, and the program now has about 70,000 students. He has sought to expand the program to 3-year-olds, but the initiative has faced challenges.

He also highlighted for Politico a number of his achievements as mayor that he believes make him an appealing candidate for a wider swath of voters, including high employment, increased graduation rates, and low crime. But as Politico notes, grading de Blasio’s record is complicated:

But de Blasio’s signature achievements came early in his first term, and City Hall’s activity and ambition have been lackluster in recent years. Crime was already dropping when he took office, and turning around the city’s lowest-performing schools and curbing homelessness have proven major challenges for the mayor. Six years after he campaigned on a promise of combating income inequality, public housing is falling apart blocks away from multimillion-dollar condos. Income inequality in New York City has actually increased.

De Blasio has also seen some controversy in his time as mayor — some a little trivial, some not.

The mayor insists on working out at a YMCA gym in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 11-mile trip, which he undertakes in a private car and accompanied by a police escort from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side, where he resides, has earned him scrutiny and mockery in New York. It seems like he’s trying to show he’s authentic by continuing to work out at a neighborhood gym, but ultimately the decision seems a little contrived — not to mention it’s not particularly environmentally friendly nor considerate of anyone else who might be commuting along the same paths. Despite criticism, De Blasio has kept up his routine. During a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2014, de Blasio dropped the animal. A week later, it died of internal injuries.

Less hilarious is the trail of occasionally ethically dubious choices he’s made regarding campaign finance and questionable characters he’s been tied to. A former fundraiser for de Blasio was convicted for conspiring to bribe NYPD officials. Another campaign donor pleaded guilty to trying to bribe de Blasio to get favorable lease terms for a restaurant he owned in Queens. New York City’s Department of Investigation found de Blasio violated conflict of interest rules in soliciting donations from people seeking favors, according to a recent report from the City.

In 2017, federal and state prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against de Blasio and his aides after probes into his campaign fundraising practices.

The New York Times editorial board ahead of de Blasio’s campaign launch questioned the ethics of de Blasio’s campaign fundraising tactics.


I don’t have much use for police unions but this is quite a zinger.


This actually improves my opinion of de Blasio!



The Missouri Senate voted early Thursday to ban abortions eight weeks into pregnancy, even in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking, with criminal penalties for non-complying doctors that could send them to prison for up to 15 years.

The measure, passed 24-10 by the Republican supermajority after day-and-night-long negotiations, places Missouri in the vanguard of states including Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky that have passed some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws. It also serves as another possible legal vehicle to challenge the landmark Roe v Wade case before a newly conservative Supreme Court.



In April, Indiana placed a near-total ban on the most common type of second-trimester abortion in the state.

Days later, Ohio passed a bill banning abortion in the very early weeks of pregnancy after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Now on Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a bill effectively banning the procedure altogether, and lawmakers in two more states — Louisiana and Missouri — moved ahead with bills similar to Ohio’s.

States across the country are passing some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades, deepening the growing divide between liberal and conservative states and setting up momentous court battles that could profoundly reshape abortion access in America.



So far in 2019, seven states have passed laws to limit abortion well before fetal viability, which is somewhere around 24 weeks, though all of the laws have yet to take effect or are held up by the courts. Just last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law banning abortions anytime time after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, which can be as early as six weeks and before most women know they’re pregnant. Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi also passed their own “fetal heartbeat” abortion bills, while legislators in Arkansas and Utah have agreed to ban the procedure after 18 weeks. The Missouri Senate, meanwhile, is currently debating an omnibus abortion bill that already passed the House and includes a “fetal heartbeat” ban, while Louisiana’s own six-week abortion bill is about to pass its second legislative chamber.

Mother Jones looked at the gender breakdown in these nine state legislatures and found a common thread: All have striking gender imbalances. Each legislature—with the exception of Georgia—has a lower than average percentage of women serving in its chambers. The national average is about 29 percent, but in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, women make up just 16 percent or less of the states’ legislators. Sometimes that means as few as 22 women are serving, as is the case in Alabama and Louisiana. While better, Georgia is still just a hair above the national average, with women accounting for 31 percent of the total legislators. But as one Georgia Democrat put it:


It’s the poor women who can’t afford to get to a pro-abortion state who will suffer the most. Also, natural miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion. What’s the difference? None. That fat woman in pink needs to go on a diet. Mebbe she’ll shed some of the fat clogging her brain.

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