Though Joe Biden is clearly the current frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, his competitors are subtly (for now) doing what they can to knock him down a peg or two. Meanwhile, attendees of the She The People conference in Houston last week raised the alarm on Bernie’s ability to connect to minorities. And Mayor Pete returned all his lobbyist donations, while Beto released a $5 trillion plan to tackle climate change.
For these stories and much more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 Democrats post below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
Joe Biden officially entered the 2020 presidential primary on Thursday and formally took his spot as frontrunner. In the first 24 hours, his campaign claims it brought in $6.3 million – more than any other candidate in the race – and he continues to lead in national and most state-specific polls. He received the endorsement of the nation’s largest firefighters’ union at a rally in Pittsburgh on Monday, and several U.S. senators and congresspersons have endorsed his campaign.
But it’s not all been smooth sailing for Biden. The New York Times last week spoke to Anita Hill, who said Biden called her but did not formally apologize. The question dragged on into Friday when Biden appeared on “The View” and again during an interview on Monday for “Good Morning America.” He also received criticism for attending a Philadelphia fundraiser at the home of a top Comcast executive. Many Democrats running for president have pledged to not accept money from corporate PACs and lobbyists, which were in abundance that night. Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren took shots at Biden’s decision, which likely helped him rake in more than any other 2020 candidate on Day 1.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders’ campaign helped organize more than 5,000 house parties across the country over the weekend to generate grassroots support for his candidacy. The campaign boasts it has over 1 million volunteers, and its low-dollar donor base helps fuel Sanders’ message. “If we’re going to defeat Donald Trump, we’re going to need a massive grassroots effort and that’s what today is about,” Sanders told the Daily Beast on Saturday.
But Sanders also stumbled last week when he spoke at the She The People conference in Houston. Moderators and many in the audience felt Sanders was not adequately addressing questions about “white supremacist violence,” instead focusing on racial, gender, and sexual discrimination. The entire episode “resurfaced doubts” about Sanders ability to connect with minority voters, a major Democratic voting bloc.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Perhaps sensing a potential liability, Buttigieg promised on Friday to return $30,250 from 39 individuals that it received from registered lobbyists. Several other candidates in the primary have pledged to reject lobbyist money, including Joe Biden, and Buttigieg was one of the somewhat rare candidates continuing to accept it. “Mayor Pete will not be influenced by special-interest money, and we understand that making this promise is an important part of that commitment,” his campaign manager said in an email.
Buttigieg received his first congressional endorsement last week when Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) threw his support behind his campaign. And met for the second time this month with Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss homophobia and his “agenda for the black community in Indiana and around the country.” In ABC News’ latest national poll, Buttigieg trailed only Biden and Sanders.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris’s campaign announced on Monday that it hired Jim Margolis to serve as media adviser. Per Politico, “Margolis is a veteran of former President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and served in a key role in Hillary Clinton’s White House bid in 2016. A partner at GMMB, the leading advertising and campaign firm, he spent years as a top adviser to Democratic senators, including former Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.”
Harris drew criticism last week when she told an Iowa audience she owns a gun “for personal safety.” To many Democrats, they view this as a “bogus argument.”
Harris also followed in Elizabeth Warren’s footsteps when she announced she supported House Democrats beginning the impeachment process, following the release of the redacted Muller report.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren has been praised effusively for her numerous policy proposals. Indeed, nearly every time she mentioned that she “had a plan” at last week’s She The People event, the audience cheered. But at least two editorial boards have ripped apart her tuition forgiveness plan. In short, Warren proposed that the government pay out $50,000 in student loan debt to those earning less than $100,000 and “partial loan forgiveness” for those earning up to $250,000 annually. Both the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune ripped the proposal’s unintended consequences and questioned why it was necessary to begin with.
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke
O’Rourke released details on a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change on Monday. Calling it the “greatest threat” our nation faces, O’Rourke promised that the U.S. would re-join the Paris Climate Accord and increase fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Longer term goals include “setting a net-zero emissions carbon budget for federal lands by 2030 and adding more national parks and monuments to protect land and seascapes.”
Is Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) support dropping? A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll put him at 1 percent, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The good news for Booker and Klobuchar? 54 percent of Democrats said they still weren’t sure who they would support.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) own governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced he’s backing Biden in 2020. “Our governor can endorse whoever he likes, but I am the best candidate to defeat President Trump, and I will.,” Gillibrand said in response.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX) toured tunnels beneath Las Vegas in an effort to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness in Nevada. He then made five campaign stops in New Hampshire on Sunday.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) released a decade’s worth of tax returns on Monday.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) said Biden should apologize for how Anita Hill was treated during the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas.
According to FEC records, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) entire presidential campaign consists of one staffer. All of her other employees, including her campaign manager, are paid as part-time consultants.
During a speech on Saturday, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) forgot what GDP stands for, calling it “gross demographic product” rather than “gross domestic product.”