“The leading liberal candidates — including Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — used their speeches in San Francisco to take digs at Joe Biden, who continues to lead in early national polls and skipped the convention to campaign in Ohio,” the Washington Post reports.
“Leftist candidates and activists have concluded they can no longer wait for Biden to fade on his own, as some once hoped.”
“Nor can they count on Democratic congressional leaders to fight Trump with all the tools at their disposal, without some prodding… But the power of their newly emboldened movement remains unclear. Even here in deep blue California, it faces hurdles. Late Saturday, the state party overwhelmingly elected a labor leader from the mainstream ranks of the party as its new chairman. He defeated a liberal activist backed by many Sanders supporters.”
Dave Weigel: “Bernie’s clout in the party might be overrated.”
David Byler: “When Joe Biden first entered the presidential race, he was supposed to be a Jeb Bush redux — a relic of a bygone era who would quickly be swept away by candidates who appealed to the party’s insurgent wing. But so far that hasn’t happened — instead Biden enjoyed a solid post-announcement bounce in the polls and now leads his closest competitor, Bernie Sanders, by double digits. That prompted some to make the opposite case, and Biden became Hillary Clinton — an establishment-backed, well-resourced, Barack Obama-affiliated, lifetime Democrat fighting against the progressives.”
“But Biden isn’t either of these politicians. He’s not nearly as dominant as Clinton, who scared off almost all of her competitors in 2016. So far, Biden’s candidacy has failed to intimidate even Eric Swalwell. Unlike Bush, Biden is arguably more in step with contemporary Democrats, both on substance and style, than Bush was. Instead, Biden is more like Mitt Romney: a poll leader and plausible nominee who seems acceptable to the party establishment but faces some big obstacles in his quest for the nomination.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) “spoke on the phone with Hillary Clinton” last week, the Daily Beast reports. “It was the first time the two had spoken about the 2020 campaign.”
Los Angeles Times: “There is a prevalent sense that for all her seeming potential, California’s charismatic U.S. senator has fallen short of expectation. The disappointment, observers say, stems in part from Harris’ failure to present a compelling case for her candidacy beyond her background as a prosecutor, her buoyant personality and a deep contempt — shared by others in the contest — for Trump.”
“Backers say Harris’ slow-and-steady approach is the right one for this early stage of the campaign, arguing that consistency on the trail and fundraising matter more than catchy sound bites or viral moments.”
Washington Post: “On her way to capturing the Republican nomination in 2014, now-Sen. Joni Ernst released one of the most memorable ads of the cycle. In it, she bragged about having castrated hogs while growing up on an Iowa farm and pledged to use those pork-cutting skills to ‘make ’em squeal’ in Washington.”
“On Monday, a new Democratic challenger to Ernst sought to turn her words against her.”
Proclaims Theresa Greenfield (D) in a video announcing her 2020 Senate bid: “Listen folks, she didn’t castrate anyone. She cast a vote to let the corporate lobbyists keep feasting like hogs at the trough.
“As Democrats agonize over a spate of state laws restricting abortion rights and even a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade, one 2020 presidential candidate is putting an ambitious, long-shot plan to reform the Supreme Court front-and-center of his campaign,” NBC News reports.
“Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has talked about his plan to overhaul the high court since his first days as a candidate. In short, it calls for expanding the number of justices from nine to 15, with five affiliated with Democrats, five affiliated with Republicans, and five apolitical justices chosen by the first 10.”
“Supreme Court experts, though, have raised concerns about whether the proposal is constitutional, as well as whether it could backfire by reinforcing the perception that there are Republican and Democratic justices.
“Members of the crowd at the California Democratic Convention booed presidential hopeful John Delaney on Sunday when the former Maryland congressman criticized Medicare for All, CNN reports. Said Delaney: “Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics.”
“In an hour-long town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, she parried questions on President Trump’s border wall, her conservative House record and the trade war with China. She even attacked the network itself for what Gillibrand called its spreading of a ‘false narrative’ on abortion rights,” Politico reports.
“But Gillibrand’s biggest moment — and a potential viral clip — came during an exchange with Fox News’ host Chris Wallace, who asked Gillibrand to explain her tweet from December 2018, when she said the future was ‘female’ and ‘intersectional.’ ‘We want women to have a seat at the table,’ Gillibrand said. At that, Wallace jumped in and asked: ‘What about men?’”
“‘They’re already there — do you not know?’ Gillibrand said, greeted by one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. ‘It’s not meant to be exclusionary, it’s meant to be inclusionary,’ she said. ‘All right, we’re not threatened,’ Wallace responded.”
“Under normal circumstances, the Kentucky governor’s race would be all but over except for the concession phone call. The incumbent running for re-election this year is a conservative Republican in a state that has recently become as red as hot coal, where unemployment is as low as it has been in nearly two decades and most of the voters are still crazy about the governor’s ally, President Trump,” the New York Times reports.
But, said former Gov. Paul Patton (D): “This is not a normal governor’s race. We’ve got an abnormal governor.”
Politico: ““With the introductory stage of the Democratic presidential primary now over, the lines of engagement are beginning to take shape. And what is emerging is a primary that is no longer one nominating contest, but two. The first, occurring wherever Joe Biden materializes, is the front-runner’s campaign against himself — his history of failed presidential elections, his propensity for gaffes, his need to adhere to new ‘boundaries of protecting personal space.’
“The other includes everyone else. Nowhere were the two tracks of the primary more stark than over the weekend, when Biden positioned himself in Ohio, far from the horde of other Democratic contenders. While more than half the field jostled at the Californian Democratic Party convention here — the largest single state party gathering in the nation — the former vice president had the lectern to himself at a Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday, contrasting his candidacy not with any Democrat, but with the Republican president.”