The 2020 field is beginning to take shape, as more and more candidates decide not to run and polling begins to show who’s ahead, who’s behind, and who needs a miracle. For the first time, Joe Biden appears to have a timetable for announcing his intentions. And it’s become more clear than ever that it’s a two-man race between the former vice president and candidate who started a revolution in 2016, Bernie Sanders.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Julian Castro are all debating the merits of reparations for black Americans impacted by slavery, leading to a potential rift within the party.
For those stories and much more, see below for AR Intel’s 2020 Democrats’ breakdown:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden
The New York Times reported that Biden is “95 percent committed to running” for president and that we can expect an early-April announcement. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, is “enthusiastically” supportive of the idea, and it’s now just a matter of getting the former veep to 100 percent.
Perhaps the clearest sign that Biden is ready to run is his hiring of Cristobal Alex, the head of the Latino Victory Fund and a former Hillary Clinton staffer in 2016. It’s not yet clear what role Alex will play for Biden.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders trailed Biden in the latest Iowa Poll, released Saturday, but only by two percentage points. The clear headline from the poll was that it’s a two-man race in Iowa currently. While Biden leads Sanders, 27-25, the next best finisher, Elizabeth Warren, was in a distant third at 9 percent, followed by Kamala Harris at 7 percent. Both Biden and Sanders are similarly neck-and-neck in New Hampshire polling, as well.
Sanders’ campaign also announced they would essentially have two headquarters offices, one in Vermont and one in Washington, D.C. The move “allows us to attract the most talented staff and maximize travel efficiency,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager.
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren took aim at Amazon, Google, and Facebook in a Medium post published on Friday. The shot at Silicon Valley comes just as the tech-heavy South by Southwest conference is underway in Austin, Texas. Warren’s main thesis is:
Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.
But, according to Axios, the tech firms are not all that concerned. “Silicon Valley, so far, is largely rolling its eyes,” Axios’ Dan Primack wrote. “I spoke to several tech deal-makers over the weekend, and none of them said that Warren’s plan is causing even a tentative hiccup in their active pipeline.”
Warren also backtracked on her support for reparations, telling CNN’s MJ Lee that it’s time for “a conversation” about the topic but stopping short of saying the government should give money to those affected by slavery.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Booker is adding to his campaign team, adding top staffers from EMILY’s List and the Democratic National Committee, according to CNN. Booker hired Julie McClain Downey to serve as his national director of state communications. The campaign also hired Chris Moyer to serve as its New Hampshire communications director and Sabrina Singh as national press secretary. The campaign also hired Vanessa Valdivia to serve as its Nevada communications director.
Booker also scored an endorsement in the South Carolina primary from the chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party, Brady Quirk-Garvan. He will step down from his party position to serve as a surrogate for the Booker campaign in the Palmetto State.
On the policy front, Booker quietly came out in support of keeping the filibuster, a somewhat controversial opinion within the Democratic Party today. “We need to understand that there’s good reason to have a Senate where we are forced to find pragmatic bipartisan solutions,” he said.
Fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
CNN reported Monday that O’Rourke is heading to Iowa as early as this weekend. Ostensibly, O’Rourke is heading to the Hawkeye State to support a Democrat running in a special election there, but of course it also is the perfect opportunity for the former congressman to get in front of Iowa voters ahead of an official announcement.
And speaking of announcements, Democrats are still waiting on O’Rourke to publicly make a decision about running for president. But his political organization’s behavior certainly appears to be one that is heading toward a run. Be the “first to hear Beto’s big announcement,” an email to supporters read last week.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris’s support for reparations and subsequent clarification is landing her in hot water among some liberal activists. After initially saying she supported the policy in the New York Times, Harris made it “clear she didn’t actually support race-specific polices that would compensate African-Americans for slavery’s legacy.” The move led reparations activist Jesse Jackson to attack Harris in the media.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gillibrand’s presidential campaign is essentially on life-support. After Politico pointed out that she has not yet been able to get a single member of the New York congressional delegation to publicly back her campaign, the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll showed that not a single would-be caucusgoer said they supporter Gillibrand’s candidacy. She tied Rep. Eric Swalwell with 0 percent support.
Worse still, Politico reported Monday that a former Gillibrand staffer quit after she reported a senior colleague for sexual harassment and the colleague was not reprimanded. In fact, he retaliated against her. Gillibrand’s office only fired the staffer once Politico raised the issue with the senator’s office.
Bits & Pieces
Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he would not run for president but focus his massive wealth on clean energy solutions.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro threw a jab at Sanders for being willing to “write a check” for his policy proposals like Medicare for All and free tuition, but not for slavery reparations.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) repeatedly struggled during an MSNBC interview to answer whether he considers himself a capitalist.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced he will not be seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, ending months of speculation.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) said, “You cannot be serious about dealing with climate change in the next admin unless you’re willing to be against the filibuster.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) discussed climate change during a campaign stop in Tampa and addressed her salad-comb controversy at South by Southwest: “The comb story was me sort of doing a mom thing,” she said. “I didn’t have a fork. I used a comb to eat a salad very briefly on a plane in a ‘MacGyver’ move.”