Democrats running for their party’s nomination in 2020 had an eventful week reacting to the release of the full, redacted Mueller report. And while the field prepares for Joe Biden’s entrance into the fray this week, Warren is rolling out a new policy proposal to eliminate student debt, and Mayor Pete is drawing the ire of Bernie Sanders’ supporters for saying they’re similar to Trump’s.
For these stories and much more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 Movers & Shakers below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden
After months of speculation, Biden was expected to officially enter the race on Wednesday. By Tuesday morning, it appeared that has been pushed at least one day to Thursday, potentially. His entrance, in one sense, will upend the race in a way no one else could. But in another sense, he’s been in the race all along. His campaign’s plan is to underscore the fact that, as he sees it, Democrats’ response to Donald Trump should be “an experienced, calm hand to help America take a deep breath and figure out a way to get back on track.”
But will he be able to navigate the primary in a Democratic Party that has lurched further and further to the left since his entrance on the national scene in the 1970s. According to sources, Biden “sees a clear path down the middle of the party, especially with Bernie Sanders occupying a solid 20 percent of the progressive base, and most of the other candidates fighting for the rest.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders received a vote of confidence from a surprising source over the weekend when Republican strategist and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove said on Fox News that the Vermont senator could beat Donald Trump in 2020. Rove praised Sanders’ decision to appear on Fox News for a town hall event and argued he held his own on topics such as his tax returns, Medicare for All, and electability.
One poll that some were surprised to see Sanders not leading was one that polled only college students. While Sanders’ 15.1 percent was good enough to earn him second place, Joe Biden topped the field as college student’s first choice. Biden earned 18.9 percent support.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
The Associated Press reported that Harris is relying on her experience as an attendee of an historically black college (HBCU) to help her connect with voters as she runs for president. Harris “has visited more historically black colleges than any candidate, and she is burnishing her personal ties to this community,” per the AP.
That approach is causing problems for the other major African-American candidate in the race, Cory Booker. The Hill noted on Sunday that Harris’s campaign got off to a better start than Bookers’, and that her gender is likely helping her among the many black women voters that make up the Democratic Party’s base.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren is eager to be the candidate best known for the big ideas she’s bringing to the table. To that end, she issued another policy proposal on Monday, this one focused on eliminating student loan debt. The plan eliminates $50,000 in loan debt for every person earning less than $100,000. She also wants to eliminate tuition for all public two- and four-year colleges, and dedicate $50 billion to HBCUs. Like many of Warren’s other policies, this proposal comes with an astronomical price tag: $1.25 trillion over 10 years. She claims that it would be paid for by a new tax on multimillionaires, but she has already said that that tax would pay for some of her other policy proposals.
Warren also made news on Friday by calling on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. She’s the only major candidate to do so thus far.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
While at least seven sitting lawmakers who are running for president have shunned donations from registered lobbyists, Buttigieg appears to be embracing their support. He “takes a tamer tone when it comes to anti-lobbyist rhetoric and allows donations from registered lobbyists,” according to Roll Call. As a result, K Street bundlers are working hard behind the scenes on his behalf.
Buttigieg is also drawing the ire of the Bernie Bros after he told a New Hampshire audience that he sees similarities in Trump’s and Sanders’ supporters. “I think the sense of anger and disaffection that comes from seeing that the numbers are fine, like unemployment’s low, like all that, like you said GDP is growing and yet a lot of neighborhoods and families are living like this recovery never even happened,” Buttigieg said. “It just kind of turns you against the system in general and then you’re more likely to want to vote to blow up the system, which could lead you to somebody like Bernie and it could lead you to somebody like Trump. I think that’s how we got where we are.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
From the start, Booker’s campaign message has been one focused on “love” rather than anger. What he’s beginning to realize, however, is that the Democratic electorate is angry, and “so far love just isn’t enough,” according to Politico. Mired in the single-digits in polling and middle-of-the-road fundraising, Booker launched a two-week revamp focused on social justice issues:
In Iowa, he rolled out an expansive proposal for a new income tax credit and talked about the need for rural infrastructure investment. In Georgia, he unveiled a voting rights plan, vowing to make Election Day a national holiday and talked about restoring voting rights to ex-felons.
It’s not yet clear if the shift in messaging will pay off, but he’s hoping the topics will resonate better than his love message from earlier this year.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
And while Booker is focused on love, Klobuchar’s message is practicality. While Democrats’ passions are high right now thanks to Trump, Klobuchar’s message seeks to remind voters that the job of president is one focused on “actually getting things done.” She’s betting that after primary voters give the flashier candidates a spin, they’ll “settle down with a steady Midwestern senator in 2020.” The problem with that plan is that Democrats typically vote with their heart rather than their heads. Plus, if Democrats do want to settle down with a Midwesterner, they also have Buttigieg to choose from.
Bits & Pieces
New York Magazine wrote that former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX) could be “2020’s dark horse candidate”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) entered the presidential race on Monday. The 40-year-old Marine said he will focus on national security.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called for Attorney General William Barr to resign and argued that there was “certainly” evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper talked to the Denver Post about Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) took his climate change message to flooded Iowa, but found “as much opposition as support.”
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who entered the 2020 fray last week, said he does not support some House Democrats’ effort to impeach Trump.