As the weeks march along, more and more Democrats are grappling with the question: how do we stop Joe Biden? The former vice president received a hearty bump in the polls when he entered the race last month, and he’s only expanded that lead ever since.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is teaming up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Beto O’Rourke announced a campaign reset, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock officially entered the race on Tuesday.
For those stories and much more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 Movers & Shakers below:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
“It wasn’t a bounce. Biden’s support is growing.” That’s the headline from Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall on Monday, and the accompanying graphic from RealClearPolitics bears out that analysis. Since entering the Democratic presidential primary late last month, Biden’s lead continues to rise. His current polling average is 41.4 points, followed by a distant (and growing further distant) Bernie Sanders at 14.6 percent. No other candidate averages double digits.
With that as the backdrop, on Monday Biden made his first visit to New Hampshire since formally joining the primary. The visit comes after stops in key early primary states like Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada. Sanders dominated the New Hampshire primary in 2016 thanks in part to his status as a senator from a neighboring state. But a recent Monmouth University poll showed Biden leading Sanders nearly 2-to-1.
But Biden hit a bit of a rocky patch last week when his team floated a “middle ground” climate change plan that received an icy reception from environmentalists and climate activists on the left. The Sunrise Movement released a blistering three-paragraph statement on Friday that scorched Biden’s “middle ground” approach and called it a “death sentence.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald posits that Sanders and Biden actually need each other to be successful in the 2020 Democratic primary. “And for all their differences, Sanders and Biden have a mutual interest in preserving their duopoly and using each other as foils. Sanders needs an establishment antagonist, while Biden, 76, may prefer running against the 77-year-old Sanders than 20 younger options,” he wrote on Sunday.
Sanders joined forces with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday for a rally in support of the Green New Deal, a radically expensive framework of ideas designed to limit the United States’ carbon footprint. The rally at Howard University is sponsored by the very group that attacked Biden on Friday: the Sunrise Movement.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday and staked positions on a series of hot topics including Facebook, gun control, and NAFTA. On the topic of Facebook, Harris said that she believes Facebook “prioritized its growth over the best interests of its consumers.” She said that was particularly true on the topic of privacy. When host Jake Tapper asked Harris if Facebook should be broken up over anti-trust concerns, Harris replied, “Yeah, I think we have to seriously take a look at that. Yes. I mean, when you look at the issue, they’re essentially a utility. There are very people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities, or society, or in whatever their profession [is], without somehow, somewhere using Facebook. It’s very difficult for people to be engaged in any level of commerce without” Facebook.
She argued that further restrictions on gun rights have not been enacted because of obstruction in Washington, D.C., not because of the lack of smart ideas. “On this issue of the need for gun safety laws, we’re not at any loss for good ideas,” she said. “People have been having good ideas for decades on this issue. What we’re at a loss is for people in Congress to have the courage to do something.”
On NAFTA, Harris said: “I would not have voted for NAFTA, because I believe that we can do a better job to protect American workers.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren traveled to West Virginia on Friday to unveil a plan that would combat the opioid epidemic, which has hit areas like Appalachia particularly hard. The plan would cost roughly $100 billion, with $2.7 billion each year going to cities and counties hardest hit. Communities in West Virginia would receive $24.6 million in aid, according to CBS News.
In an email to supporters on Monday, Warren pledged that if she’s elected president, she would appointed a former public school teacher as secretary of education. In the email, Warren called Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, “the worst Secretary of Education we’ve seen.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Buttigieg waded into the world of identity politics this weekend with a speech to gay rights activists in Las Vegas. He argued that Trump uses “white identity politics” to rally support and sharply criticized that approach. But he also argued that Democrats use identity politics in ways that are also detrimental to society. “We’re told we need to choose between supporting an auto worker and supporting a trans women of color, without stopping to think about the fact that sometimes the auto worker is a trans woman of color and she definitely needs all the support that she can get.”
Some of this strategy could stem from the fact that Buttigieg is struggling mightily among minority voters. A new poll in South Carolina found that Buttigieg had the support of exactly zero percent of black voters in the Palmetto State, whose Democratic voting population is comprised of about 60 percent African American voters. Overall, Buttigieg finished fourth in the poll with 8 percent.
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
CNN announced on Monday that O’Rourke will get his own town hall meeting at 10pm on Tuesday, May 21. His campaign is in need of a jolt of excitement, as his place in the polls has steadily declined since entering the race. The situation is so dire that O’Rourke’s campaign is publicly branding this move as a “reintroduction” to voters. “Recognizing his star power is fading, the 46-year-old plans to relaunch his campaign to try to recapture the buzz that surrounded his early days on the campaign trail” per the Associated Press.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) officially entered the race on Tuesday. Politico’s Morning Score estimates he would be the 19th candidate to qualify for the debate stage next month, as he’s poll at or above 1% in several qualifying polls.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) made her Fox News debut as a presidential candidate last week when the cable network hosted a town hall meeting in Wisconsin. Watch the full thing here.
CNN’s Dan Merica writes: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is campaigning by living her best life. So why aren’t voters responding?
Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) supporters are outraged that Buttigieg is getting the buzz they believe Booker deserves, and they’re blaming the media.
Former HUD Secretary Juian Castro (D-TX) released a “sweeping education plan” on Monday. Read more about it here.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) sat down for an interview with Yahoo! Finance’s Rick Newman. Watch that interview here.
Vox’s Ezra Klein penned “The case for Jay Inslee,” the current governor of Washington, on Monday, calling him “only candidate treating climate change the way the science says climate change should be treated.”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) appeared on Fox News Sunday this week and alleged that Trump does not have a strategy to deal with China.
VICE News spent 48 hours with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in Iowa, his birth state and the state where he hopes to “prove he can appeal to a broad demographic, beyond the MSNBC audience.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) urged the U.S. to “continue to pursue diplomatic negotiations to ultimately denuclearize the Korean peninsula” after the rogue nation launched two short-range missiles last week.