Democratic presidential campaigns took the Memorial Day weekend to ramp up voter outreach and connect with voters in early voting states across the country. President Trump and Joe Biden engaged in a back-and-forth over the weekend, some Democrats are concerned about Bernie Sanders again serving as a spoiler candidate for Democrats, and Warren is slowly rising in the polls.
For all these updates and a whole lot more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 update below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
Biden and President Trump locked horns over the weekend when Trump said he agreed with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who called Biden a “low IQ individual,” according to Trump. The president made those remarks over the Memorial Day weekend on a trip to Japan. The Biden campaign pointed out that U.S. politics should stop at the water’s edge and called Trump’s remarks “”beneath the dignity of the office.” The feud is intensifying the Trump-Biden rivalry, which CNN notes might actually benefit both men in the near-term.
Meanwhile, Biden unveiled a new education policy on Wednesday, his first such detailed proposal of the campaign. Per Axios, who list the individual tenets of Biden’s plan here, the overall plan “aims to raise the salaries of those who teach at low-income schools by increasing funding for Title I. Biden also emphasizes ensuring every child has equal access to education regardless of their race or socio-economic status.”
The peskiest problem plaguing Biden’s campaign right now is his battle with the media. “Is the Biden Campaign Trying to Hide the Real Joe Biden?” Vanity Fair asks. “Where’s Joe? Biden’s campaign pace called into question,” read the Fox News headline. And more to the point, Politico went after Biden’s actual campaign energy: “Joe Biden is the front-runner by every measure — except big crowds.” Each of these stories are designed to question whether Biden is the best choice to represent Democrats in 2020. How effectively his campaign answers these questions will determine whether the media gives him a smooth ride to the nomination (think Barack Obama) or a bumpy one (think Hillary Clinton).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Although we’re only a few months into the 2020 campaign season, some Democrats are already beginning to vocalize their biggest fears from Sanders’ 2016 campaign: he could again play spoiler in 2020. “I think Bernie will do everything in his power to elevate himself by pushing others down,” one Democratic aide told The Hill. The thinking is that Sanders’ support tops out at around 30 percent at best, making it impossible for him to win the nomination outright, but conceivable that he could muster enough support to make it difficult for anyone else to do it, either.
But Sanders’ behavior this go-around is noticeably different in a few subtle ways. He held a closed-door meeting with elected New Hampshire Democrats on Tuesday, a marked departure from his usual large, public rallies. But he also instituted a new policy after public campaign events in the Granite State: a selfie photo line. While these two moves, acknowledging he needs establishment support and connecting with ordinary voters on a personal level, might appear unrelated, Politico argues they are necessary moves to help Sanders broaden his appeal among Democrats.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris joined Elizabeth Warren as yet another top-tier Democrat presidential candidate to call on Congress to being impeachment proceedings against President Trump following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s brief press conference on Wednesday. “What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral,” Harris tweeted. “We need to start impeachment proceedings. It’s our constitutional obligation.”
Harris also took part in a town hall that aired on MSNBC on Tuesday. The three hottest topics discussed were abortion (Harris unveiled a proposal that would stop states from preventing a woman from getting an abortion), the border crisis (she called it “a human rights abuse”), and impeachment (she said the evidence from Mueller’s report “supports the prosecution of that case”).
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Over the past couple weeks, Warren has seen a modest bump in her polling, largely from the mid-single digits to the high-single digits in several polls. She has cracked low double digits in a few polls, putting her in third place in several. The media has taken this as a sign that Warren’s campaign strategy of releasing a “plan” for many societal ills is “working.”
“Elizabeth Warren Gains Ground in 2020 Field, One Plan at a Time,” The New York Times declared Tuesday. “Is Elizabeth Warren a Serious Contender After All?” New York Magazine asked. And the most aggressive of all, “Elizabeth Warren’s Strategy Is Working,” a recent headline from The Cut read. Each of these headlines is designed to build a narrative that is based on a theory no one can prove: A+B=C. In this case, Warren’s plans are resonating with voters, and those voters are responding in the polls, driving Warren’s standing in the field.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Buttigieg is hoping to boost his quarterly campaign donations in an effort to “cement” his place among the leading contenders. The next FEC reporting period doesn’t end until June 30, but the South Bend mayor’s campaign is “encouraging moneyed supporters to juice his campaign’s fundraising with a new bundling program,” per Politico. “Members at different levels of the program pledge to raise anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000 for Buttigieg over the course of the primary campaign and receive special perks, including briefings with the candidate and senior campaign staff.”
Buttigieg also called Mueller’s press conference “as close to an impeachment referral as you could get under the circumstances.” He’s also citing his own experience in the military to criticize some of Trump’s foreign policy decisions, most recently the administration’s recent policy toward Iran.
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
HBO aired its documentary that followed O’Rourke around Texas as he unsuccessfully campaigned against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) last year. In a clip that leaked before the documentary aired, O’Rourke apologized to staff for being “a giant asshole to be around sometimes.” The Daily Beast reported that O’Rourke routinely berated his road manager for being unprepared and for timing issues. His campaign is reportedly hoping the film will renew interest in his flailing presidential campaign.
O’Rourke also unveiled the details of a new immigration policy that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. The plan also states O’Rourke would take executive action on day 1 of his presidency to lift travel bans, reinstate DACA, and halt work on the border wall.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Harris on Wednesday in calling for impeachment proceedings to begin.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) drew a rebuke from Meghan McCain when the senator told a story about McCain’s father, the late John McCain, from the day Trump was inaugurated.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) doubled down on her strategy to be the “women’s candidate” during an NPR interview in which she said if Trump wants a war with women, “he will lose.”
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) reportedly hired staff in South Carolina and is planning his first visit to the state as a presidential candidate this week.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D-WA) campaign stated that it received donations from 65,000 donors, the minimum necessary for the first presidential debate next month.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) hired 10 new staffers for his Iowa operation. The campaign noted it will turn Iowa into a “make or break” state for the Montana governor.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), who couldn’t commit to defending capitalism in his first MSNBC interview as a candidate, later doubled down on his support for the philosophy. Now he’s warning his fellow Democrats they may be veering too far left toward socialism.
During an interview with VICE News, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) described himself as just “another white guy.”
Cleveland.com reported that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has already missed 32.6 percent of his congressional votes this year while running for president.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) unveiled a new policy designed to help active-duty and military veterans get access to proper mental health screenings. Moulton said he suffered from post-traumatic stress after his four deployments with the U.S. Marines.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said Trump is “making a big mistake” by establishing a relationship with Kim Jong Un. “Every single day that goes by is a day that North Korea can continue to try to strengthen their nuclear capabilities,” Gabbard said during a Fox News interview.
A development firm that won a $12 million contract with New York City donated $25,000 to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D-NY) nonprofit, according to a new report. Some are accusing the mayor of instituting an informal pay-to-play policy.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX) spoke to the Arizona Republic for a podcast and discussed immigration, the economy, and his background.