The Campaign Report – 9/14/19

Julián Castro told CNN that his criticism of Joe Biden and his health care policy during Thursday’s Democratic debate was not personal and denied that he was attacking the former vice president’s memory.

Said Castro: “I wouldn’t do it differently. That was not a personal attack. This was about a disagreement over what the vice president said regarding health care policy.”

James Hohmann: “Castro follows in the footsteps of Eric Swalwell, who ripped into Biden and told him to ‘pass the torch’ during the first debate only to get nowhere. The California congressman dropped out days later. Castro certainly won’t. This isn’t fatal. But the exchange illustrated Biden’s underappreciated strengths. While he’s widely perceived as having a tenuous lead in the early polls, Biden’s support has thus far proven remarkably durable. At the same time, however, Castro broached an issue that is of genuine concern among many Democratic leaders and may have foreshadowed what’s to come as the field winnows and lower-performing candidates become desperate to break through.”

Greg Sargent: “Joe Biden’s Democratic rivals have now begun to raise questions about his age and mental competence. But they are doing so ever so gingerly, and even apologetically.”

“President Trump is not being nearly as cautious or circumspect.”

“In that contrast resides something that deserves more attention about the Biden age issue. The question isn’t merely whether Biden has the stamina for a grueling campaign, or whether Biden will be able to handle debates with Trump.”

“It’s also whether Biden or indeed other Democrats are prepared for the massive onslaught of absolutely brutal and distortive attacks that Trump and his propaganda apparatus will wage on this particular front — attacks that you can be certain will include all sorts of shamelessly propagandistic media manipulation and outright disinformation tactics.”

A new FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll interviewed the same group of voters twice to capture both the “before” and “after” picture of the debate.

“Warren was one of the better-liked candidates going into the debate, but her performance was still rated higher than we’d expect based on her favorability alone. The same was true of Booker, Buttigieg and (especially) O’Rourke.”

“Interestingly, Klobuchar didn’t get a great debate rating, but it’s not bad considering her pre-debate favorability, which was pretty neutral. Biden (who’s very popular among Democrats) and Castro stand out for performing worse than expected given their pre-debate favorability.”

“House Republicans plan to run on tried-and-true issues in 2020: repealing Obamacare and reducing the national debt, even though the GOP fell short of both goals the last time the party had full control of Washington,” Bloomberg reports. Said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “The first thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of.”

Yeah, they ran on that before, got elected, and failed to repeal Obamacare and then they exploded the debt with their corporate tax cut. In 2018, they decided for reasons passing understanding to run on that again, but this time add in stoking fears about caravans of deadly asylum seekers. They lost. So please proceed, Governor.

A new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that a strong majority of Americans — about 8 in 10 — say that human activity is fueling climate change, and roughly half believe action is urgently needed within the next decade if humanity is to avert its worst effects. Nearly 4 in 10 now say climate change is a “crisis,” up from less than a quarter five years ago.

However, two-thirds say President Trump is doing too little to tackle the problem.

CNN: “Thursday night’s debate featuring ten presidential candidates brought a big audience to ABC. The network’s ratings were head and shoulders above everything else on TV Thursday night.”

“Total viewership numbers will be released on Friday afternoon. But very preliminary numbers, known as the ‘overnights,’ show that the debate well exceeded 10 million viewers.”

Reid Wilson: “Warren was one of four candidates who did not attack one of her onstage rivals. And, reflecting a frustration among some other Democratic campaigns who have failed either to match Warren’s steady rise or to land a jab on her, she was one of the few who was not attacked herself, with the lone exception of Biden’s gentle poke.”

“Through three rounds of debates, where others have found momentary success in lobbing broadsides at their rivals on stage, Warren has not. She has emerged as the most confident in her own agenda, and the most capable of setting the agenda to which the rest of the field responds.”

“Warren still trails Biden in most state and national polls, though many of those surveys show Biden’s advantage narrowing. Where Biden played defense, the other candidates seemed unable or unwilling to take on Warren directly.”

John Cassidy: “Biden certainly wasn’t great. But his candidacy is posited on the theory that he doesn’t have to be a great debater. At this stage, his advisers know that they are unlikely to win over many progressive activists or dominate the highly educated demographic that has gravitated to Warren. Their strategy is to shore up Biden’s support among the rest of the Democratic alliance, including moderates, minorities, and whites who didn’t complete college. To this end, they are relying on his reputation as a centrist, his ties to Obama, and the good will he has built up over the years. Despite an uneven performance on Thursday night, Biden didn’t upend this strategy.”

“Arguably, his best moment came near the end, when all the candidates were asked about the most significant professional setbacks they had faced. Biden talked movingly about overcoming the death of his first wife and daughter in a car accident, and, more recently, of losing his eldest son, Beau, to cancer, by ‘finding purpose’ and staying engaged in public life. If he had left it there, it would have been a perfectly good response. But he went on to shift the discussion beyond himself. ‘There’s a lot of people been through a lot worse than I have, who get up every single morning, put their feet one foot in front of another, without the help I had,’ he said. ‘There are real heroes out there. Some real heroes.’ Earlier this week, my colleague Benjamin Wallace-Wells asked if Biden could remind Democrats what they liked about him. At least in this moment, he did.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the young liberal icon from New York, has endorsed Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) reelection bid next year, as Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) considers challenging Markey for what promises to be the nation’s most competitive congressional primary, the Boston Globe reports.

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey have worked together as the primary sponsors of the Green New Deal, the signature legislative issue for both lawmakers.

The New York Times and CNN will co-host the next Democratic debate near Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 15, with the possibility of a second round one night later depending on how many candidates meet the qualifying criteria, the New York Times reports.

“More than two years into Mr. Trump’s presidency, employment growth and other measures of economic robustness in these politically important counties have lagged behind the national trend,” a Wall Street Journalanalysis shows.

“And yet, Mr. Trump’s job-approval rating in the blue-collar counties has risen since he took office, polling shows. Together, the data suggest that even growth below the national rate could be enough to satisfy many voters that Mr. Trump has fulfilled his promises.”

“House Republicans sparred behind closed doors with Trump-aligned political operatives at a GOP retreat over the new online fundraising platform backed by party leaders and the White House,” Politico reports.

“The creation of WinRed was a top priority for the GOP that has been plagued with implementation problems over the last year. If the initiative isn’t a success, Republicans fear their chances of taking back the House and holding on to the White House in 2020 will be imperiled.”

“Since launching, WinRed has come under fire from critics who have questioned who stands to profit from the donations it gathers.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

13 comments on “The Campaign Report – 9/14/19

  1. Center left think tanks says “Pundits May Be Getting Electability All Wrong” then concludes that Biden is the best candidate. My head hurts.

    • Delaware Dem

      LOL. It’s the Third Way even, which I have problems with it being described as center left. More like center right. But the article was by Ronald Brownstein, a columnist whom I like, so I included it.

    • These responses, in some ways, can seem like Democratic voters are projecting their own views on the electorate’s: They basically responded that the qualities that would make a candidate most electable are the same ones they would like to see in a president.

      This is not far from my own theory of what electability is — which is how you answer the question of Who will everyone else vote for?

      Democratic candidates are never especially sure winners and Dems never coalesce with the same confidence (even if unearned) as Rs do.

      This article also reinforces how I see the motivations for Dems sorting themselves out — are we playing to win? Or playing not to lose? You can view the “activist” vs “moderate” as which strategy is more important to you? And then you can decide who has the best pathway to a win. And right now, I see “playing not to lose” as a giant risk factor for losing.

  2. Stan Merriman

    This week’s debaters were all overall impressive. However, I am concerned about sorting out all the confusion from differing incomplete presentations on policies dealing with climate (minimally addressed this week), healthcare, immigration and gun safety. I agree totally with Beto on guns, for example but his imprecise rhetoric scares the hell out of even open minded listeners. We, the party and its contestants need to clarify soon and quickly that we do not mean to rip your healthcare away from you for an unknown alternative, turn us all into soy milk drinking vegans eating by candlelight, advocates of open borders (which I actually am) and confiscate your guns. Note, the media is already stupidly using the term confiscate. This scares the hell out of Americans. People in this chaotic, fascist environment need clarity and stability, not confusion. Messaging really is important and once again, Democrats are not getting that. Words really matter and really move minds and hearts.

  3. Stan Merriman

    The Breakfast Club mentioned here is the Iconic restaurant making fried chicken and waffles infamous, Black owned and frequented by Democrats of all ethnic stripes. It is the political restaurant in which to be seen in Houston. But more important, its owners are activists and put out one helluva meal. I so miss it, though Wilmington’s Libby’s is pretty amazing too.

    • Libby’s is probably my favorite breakfast place. But the Breakfast Club mentioned in the Root article I linked to is a radio program on NY Power 105. You can hear their programs on the web too.

  4. Trump is going to win because there are a host of people who identify with him (“a very stable genius”). Criticisms of Trump has become personal to them because he is them. He will also win, because the Democrats are tainted by calls to take their guns, by plans to raise their taxes, and by plans to eliminate their health care. The details matter not. The general public has never been influenced by details, or by forward thinking, or the long term. All they know is the here and now. In the winter it gets cold, they have their guns and their health insurance now, they have jobs now, the economy is chugging along now. Eventually disillusion will set in, but not before the election.

    I don’t know what a winning platform and message would be for the Democrats, but I can know they don’t have it and the GOP has manage to instill fear in the populace. And fearful people do not readily accept change. What they do is circle the wagons, hunker down, and maintain status quo. Most people do not like revolution, which is chaotic at best. That’s why those responsible for managing change employ evolution as their primary tool.

    I’m resigned to a second Trump term. I hope the nation can survive it. I hope we can at least take Congress as the only remaining bulwark against that which may destroy the nation.

    • Enjoy your resignation. And STFU from here on out about the people who are trying to get rid of this fool.

      • I don’t enjoy my resignation, but I am a realist. And sure, as you requested, I will no longer offer my opinions.

        • such a martyr. I really wish the pro-trump idiots would stop pretending they dont love every second of this.
          Funny how you’ve forgotten the Dem’s win in the mid terms… or multiple wins in special elections.
          As for ‘people dont like revolutions..” bullshit. trump was a revolution. Sure, a revolution of racism and desire to see everything crumble, but a VAST departure from the status quo.

          The dems also ran a candidate who ran a bad campaign… but in all of that, also clearly forgotten by you, he won on a technicality. the majority of Americans THEN AND NOW didnt want him.

          The economy is only doing well for people with money and people within 5 years of retirement. all the rest of us see the looming recession, see our stagnate wages, and see an ENTIRE government unwilling to do anything about it. I”ll tell ya this, if trump cheats his way to a second term there WILL be a revolution.

        • I think you should look past your own demographics. You’re living down state and are retired. My mother lives down there and if I was surrounded by that community I’d probably feel the same way you do.

          Dems are still united. What we aren’t doing is jumping on the first candidate that does well in the polls. The number of Ds waiting and seeing is pretty substantial. Right now, the Joe Scarboroughs of the world are pushing Biden hard – presenting him as “safe” as well as a way to win back Trump voters. That’s a sucker’s bet.

          Here’s the way I see it. People who voted for Trump in 2016 and then went “Oh, sh*t” won’t be there for him this time (see 2018). They may not vote for the D, but they won’t vote for him. The ones still supporting him, or pretend to be on the fence will vote for him. Fence sitters don’t exist. Anyone who needs to be “convinced” to vote D will vote R. They do this every time. Write them off.

          Right now, across the country, people are registering Ds to vote, expanding our minority base. That’s how we win.

          All that said, if the GOP cheats again (voter suppression, closing polling locations) then he wins – no matter who votes for us.

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