It’s still early days in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but the gloves are starting to come off. Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have shown they’re not shy about highlighting their policy differences with the field’s frontrunner, Joe Biden. Meanwhile, some Democrats are beginning to worry that Biden’s 2020 run is looking very similar to Hillary Clinton’s in 2016.
For these stories and more, including a bizarre chant celebrating Microsoft’s PowerPoint, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 Movers & Shakers post below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden
After visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and Pittsburgh, Biden’s campaign roadshow headed to South Carolina and later this week, Nevada. Along the way, Biden is notably keeping his hands to himself (after six women accused him of inappropriate touching), and he’s reminding black voters about his close relationship with former President Barack Obama – a strategy that Hillary Clinton used somewhat effectively during the 2016 primary.
But some are beginning to wonder if Biden’s 2020 campaign is a little too much like Clinton’s. “Like her, he touts his decades of government experience, intimate knowledge of world leaders and close relationship with former President Barack Obama,” The New York Times’ Lisa Lerer wrote Monday.
Meanwhile, Biden’s opening days on the campaign trail have not been gaffe-free. During an event with donors, Biden claimed that Margaret Thatcher, the former U.K. prime minister who died in 2013 and last served in 1990, was concerned about the direction of the United States under President Trump. He later corrected himself to say he was referring to current U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders, meanwhile, is also focused on Biden. In Iowa, Sanders called Biden “a friend” and added, “I like Joe.” But when asked to differentiate himself, he wasn’t shy about rattling off a series of policies on which they differ: trade agreements, Wall Street policy, the Iraq War. Sanders’ challenge will be convincing Democrat voters that he’s not only “better” on policy, but that he can also defeat Trump. “I would vote for him if I knew he could win,” one rally attendee said.
Sanders also came out in support of the House of Representatives holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to show up for a Judiciary Committee hearing last week. Barr testified before the Senate but took a pass on doing so on the House side after Democrats changed the agreed upon rules.
Sanders also hinted at a student loan debt plan his campaign is working on. Though it’s not clear when it will be released, the plan would reportedly cost $900 billion over 10 years.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Vox published an explainer on Monday laying out the 15-year-old beef between her and Biden over bankruptcy legislation. “Warren’s quarrel with Biden isn’t personal. It’s about a 2005 bankruptcy bill he supported as a senator,” Vox wrote. Warren “opposed the bill so vehemently” that its passage resulted in her switching careers and becoming a senator and now a presidential candidate.
Separately, at least three major U.S. newspaper editorial boards dedicated an editorial to vocally opposing Warren’s student loan debt forgiveness plan. The latest was USA Today, which wrote that Warren’s plan is actually “part of the problem,” not the solution. That editorial followed similar critiques from the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris took aim at one of the hottest topics in the Democratic primary today – electability – during a campaign stop in Detroit this weekend. She argued that pundits put the Midwest in an overly simplistic box. And too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out. It leaves out people in this room, who helped build cities like Detroit,” Harris told an audience at an NAACP dinner on Sunday.
And like Sanders, Harris had harsh words for AG Barr at that same NAACP dinner. “We had just recently a United States attorney general who lied to Congress and lied to you and is clearly more interested in representing the president than the American people,” she said.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Buttigieg is staffing up in Iowa as his campaign gains more momentum and, importantly, cash. The Des Moines Register reported: “Brendan McPhillips will serve as Iowa state director; Ben Halle will be Iowa communications director; Sydney Throop will serve as Iowa outreach coordinator; and Sara Goldstein will be regional organizing director.”
Bloomberg News reported Monday that Buttigieg is struggling to make inroads with black voters in the South. During a town hall event in North Charleston, the 600-person crowd “was overwhelmingly white.” Buttigieg addressed the issue with reporters after the event: “In order to win and in order to deserve to win, my campaign needs to go above and beyond when reaching out to black voters and that’s going to continue to be a priority to us.”
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Shortly after releasing his $5 trillion climate change proposal and receiving some negative feedback from it, O’Rourke signed a pledge that his campaign would reject money from oil and gas executives. He promised to return the money he’s already received from those individuals, as well.
O’Rourke has also become more outspoken in support of impeachment, bringing the issue up without prompting at a rally in Fort Worth on Friday. “There must be consequences, there must be accountability and we must get behind the House of Representatives if they pursue impeachment,” he said. “And failing that, we must make this decision in November of 2020.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a national gun registry program on Monday, sparking outcry from Second Amendment advocates.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will test the Fox News waters at a town hall event sponsored by the cable network on Wednesday night at 6:30pm ET
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was roundly mocked last week when she introduced a plan to introduce “Democracy Dollars” in an effort to inspire more Americans to become small-dollar donors to political campaigns. Fox News announced they will also host a town hall with Gillibrand. Hers will be in Iowa on June 2.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX) announced his campaign hit the 65,000-donor mark necessary to appear in DNC-sponsored events.
After flubbing a question about capitalism during his campaign rollout, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday titled, “I’m Running to Save Capitalism.”
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), who is running on an almost entirely climate-change-focused platform, said he wants all U.S. utilities operating on carbon-neutral power by 2030.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) called on AG Barr to resign during an interview with CBSN. He accused Barr of lying to Congress and argued that resigning is “the right thing to do.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) appeared on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday and called the president “a really bad kid” during an analogy about his children.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) proved he’s not afraid to “punch up” when he called Biden’s remarks that the China is “not competition” for the U.S. “stunningly out of touch.”
Little-known entrepreneur Andrew Yang promised a Seattle crowd he would use PowerPoint when delivering the State of the Union address as president. The crowd responded by chanting “PowerPoint! PowerPoint! PowerPoint!”