The Democrats vying for the White House continue to find new ways to go after one another. This week, Biden introduced his own proposal for how to deal with the challenges posed by our health care system. Quick to point out Biden is not backing Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders criticized Biden for siding with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren found herself on defense as she’s forced to explain her work defending major corporations caught in bankruptcy cases.
For those stories and much more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 Dems break down below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
While nearly every Democrat running for president is lurching leftward and attempting to appeal to party’s extreme wing, Biden is hoping that defending President Obama’s legacy will be enough. Biden is of course proposing some policies that advance Obama-era initiatives – he’s for granting health care to undocumented immigrants, for example – but the bulk of his pitch is incremental advancement rather than the systemic change being pushed by Warren and Sanders. His health care proposal, introduced Monday, is no exception. Instead of backing Medicare for All, the far-left’s health care policy of choice in 2019, Biden is proposing a continuation of Obamacare with an added “public option” to expand coverage for those who can’t afford it. His plan indicates he’ll pay for it by taxing the wealthy.
Meanwhile, the Biden Cancer Initiative ceased all activities this week after a brief trial period in which the organization ran without Biden, his wife, or his team. The nonprofit partnered with “60 different drug companies, health care firms, charities and other organizations that pledged than $400 million to improve cancer treatment,” per the Associated Press. Perhaps wary to not create the kind of speculation prompted by The Clinton Foundation for the 2016 Democratic nominee, the Biden organization said that given its “unique circumstances,” it’s suspending activities going forward.
And Biden continues to lead the field. In a series of one-on-one match-ups with President Trump, Biden fares the best of any Democratic candidate. Per the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, Biden leads Trump 51-42. Sanders fared next best at 50-43, and Warren did third best at 48-43.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders’ curmudgeonly style is apparently seeping into his campaign’s mentality as well, according to a new Politico report. Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, ripped into the press for not taking Sanders seriously. “This isn’t intended to be a sweeping generalization of all journalists,” Shazir told Politico, “but there are a healthy number who just find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness, and wish his supporters and movement would just go away.”
And speaking of health care plans, Sanders criticized Biden for, as Sanders described it, aligning himself with “the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries” and “Republicans” by “ignoring the fact that people will save money on their healthcare because they will no longer have to pay premiums or out-of-pocket expenses.” This came after Biden criticized Sanders’ “Medicare for All” as too costly to implement. Defending his record, Sanders tweeted that he helped pass and improve Obamacare but that it’s time for a new health care system.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
A new Washington Post exposé published Monday appears to call into question Warren’s carefully crafted public image as a defender of “the little guy.” The story details Warren’s work as a legal professional helping major corporations navigate bankruptcy trials. When she worked for Dow Chemical, Warren was brought in to help the company maneuver a series of lawsuits resulting from women getting sick from silicone gel breast implants made by subsidiary Dow Corning. “She was on the wrong side of the table,” one woman who helped those impacted said. She added that Warren “used every trick in the book” to limit the payouts to women affected.
And BuzzFeed reported that Warren appears to have broken a campaign pledge by relying on “a multimillion-dollar Democratic donor to cover the cost of an expensive voter database.” Warren promised that she would not host or attend high-end fundraisers in exchange for access. But she’s bending the rules a bit to allow a donor, Silicon Valley physician Karla Jurvetson, “to help pay for access to a crucial voter database.” Jurvetson also covered the cost for access to the same voter file for Kamala Harris’s campaign.
Warren was the only major 2020 Democrat to appear at Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of some of the most liberal members of the activist left. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “With her slam-dunk performance Saturday, Elizabeth Warren became president … of the American progressive movement, anyway.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris railed against former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta before he officially resigned his post last week. She also called on top Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from any matters related to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein because she says work done by their former firm, which represented Epstein, “calls into question the integrity of our legal system.” But as the AP notes, that same day, Harris’s husband “headlined a Chicago fundraiser for her presidential campaign that was hosted by six partners of that firm — Kirkland and Ellis…”
Meanwhile, The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill writes that Harris is beginning to surge among an important demographic in the Democratic Party: African-American women. Whether that take is the result of hard data or just perception following Harris’s much publicized toe-to-toe with Biden last month in Miami is not explained. But it’s clear Harris’s strategy in the near-term has paid off. Harris leads Sanders in a recent Economist/YouGov poll for ownership of a third-place spot behind Biden and Warren. And she’s tied with Sanders for third in another NBC News/WSJ poll. Her trajectory is heading in the right direction, but whether she’s able to harness that into results is an open question. Among the top 5 candidates in the Democratic primary, Harris had by far the worst Q2 fundraising total.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
While 10 candidates appeared at the Progressive Iowa Corn Feed festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, only Buttigieg received a standing ovation from the crowd of about 1,100, per the Des Moines Register. “If we embrace a left-wing agenda, the president’s going to say we’re socialists and we’re for open borders. If we adopt a conservative agenda, the president’s going to say we’re socialists and we’re for open borders. So we might as well stand up for what we believe in and take it from there,” Buttigieg said to receive his standing ovation.
CNN reported Sunday that Buttigieg’s once-small campaign now has more than 250 people on staff, thanks in large part to his massive fundraising haul in the second quarter of the year. Buttigieg raised more than any candidate in the Dem field, nearly $25 million, and he’s not putting that money to use. Currently, Buttigieg has “57 people in Iowa, 39 people in New Hampshire, 13 people in Nevada and 26 people in South Carolina.” By the end of Q3, they expect those numbers to rise to 90 in Iowa, 60 in New Hampshire, 30 in Nevada, and 20 in California.