VIDEO LOSS

a kaleidoscope notebook about politics, the media, and culture
by tom bunting, a Real Journalist

Politics

Pelosi’s relief bill angers the left and right

The $3 trillion HEROES Act is staggeringly large and littered with holes

Pelosi’s relief bill angers the left and right

Pelosi’s relief bill angers the left and right
Pelosi’s relief bill angers the left and right

Under siege, Joe Biden seeks comfortable ground to discuss sexual assault allegations

Under siege, Joe Biden seeks comfortable ground to discuss sexual assault allegations

Under siege, Joe Biden seeks comfortable ground to discuss sexual assault allegations

Joe Biden has gotten this far by surviving. He ran an uninspired, dreary campaign, yet his longstanding connections to the Democratic mainstream and African-American voters ultimately propelled him to victory. Now, facing an allegation of sexual misconduct, Biden is weathering a new kind of crisis: one that requires a bold, concrete response. Tara Reade’s allegation—that Biden sexually assaulted her in the capital in the mid 1990s—isn’t going away; if anything, the story is only getting more and more concrete. Can he somehow quell skittish Democrats and incensed activists? And if he can’t, what does a path forward even look like?

We will begin to see the Biden campaign’s answer to these questions tomorrow morning, when Biden makes an appearance on MSNBC’s early-hours gabfest, Morning Joe. MSNBC PR is hyping the interview as Biden’s chance to “respond for the first time to the recent allegation of sexual assault.”

Expect some softballs. Morning Joe’s hosts, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, are documented uncomfortable bedfellows to the MeToo movement. From attempting to professionally rehabilitate their friend Mark Halperin, to excusing Tom Brokaw’s accused misconduct, to gesturing incoherently at a “better way” to atonement for men accused of sexual misbehavior, the two have made their priorities known. It’s probably the coziest place for Biden to address this controversy.

But will it be enough? It’s impossible to say, but Biden’s professional future (to say nothing of his legacy) depends on his ability to address these allegations and somehow exonerate himself. His campaign’s current strategy—ignore and lie—has proven inadequate. We’ll see if the man himself can do any better.

Under siege, Joe Biden seeks comfortable ground to discuss sexual assault allegations

Joe Biden has gotten this far by surviving. He ran an uninspired, dreary campaign, yet his longstanding connections to the Democratic mainstream and African-American voters ultimately propelled him to victory. Now, facing an allegation of sexual misconduct, Biden is weathering a new kind of crisis: one that requires a bold, concrete response. Tara Reade’s allegation—that Biden sexually assaulted her in the capital in the mid 1990s—isn’t going away; if anything, the story is only getting more and more concrete. Can he somehow quell skittish Democrats and incensed activists? And if he can’t, what does a path forward even look like?

We will begin to see the Biden campaign’s answer to these questions tomorrow morning, when Biden makes an appearance on MSNBC’s early-hours gabfest, Morning Joe. MSNBC PR is hyping the interview as Biden’s chance to “respond for the first time to the recent allegation of sexual assault.”

Expect some softballs. Morning Joe’s hosts, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, are documented uncomfortable bedfellows to the MeToo movement. From attempting to professionally rehabilitate their friend Mark Halperin, to excusing Tom Brokaw’s accused misconduct, to gesturing incoherently at a “better way” to atonement for men accused of sexual misbehavior, the two have made their priorities known. It’s probably the coziest place for Biden to address this controversy.

But will it be enough? It’s impossible to say, but Biden’s professional future (to say nothing of his legacy) depends on his ability to address these allegations and somehow exonerate himself. His campaign’s current strategy—ignore and lie—has proven inadequate. We’ll see if the man himself can do any better.

Why is the Bernie Sanders campaign still raising money?

Why is the Bernie Sanders campaign still raising money?

Why is the Bernie Sanders campaign still raising money?

Yesterday, the Bernie Sanders campaign sent an email out to their supporters asking them to split a donation between Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilahn Omar, Rashida Talib, and...Bernie Sanders. Per the email:

Split a $5 contribution between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and our campaign today. We must elect a Congress that stands with working people, not the corporate elite.

A text with similar language was sent to supporters this morning:

Bernie 2020: Your $5 contribution split between AOC, Ilhan, Rasihda and Bernie will help elect a Congress that stands with working people, not the corporate elite.

Hm?

You may remember that Bernie Sanders is no longer running for President. He is not up for reelection in the Senate until 2024, a date where many aides suspect he’ll be retiring. The campaign ended March with around $14 million on hand per FCC filings, so this probably isn’t a debt thing either. Even weirder, the campaign spent much of March and April actively not soliciting donations, instead using his email list to direct supporters to Coronavirus-related charities.

This is probably obvious, but suspended campaigns generally don’t raise new money.

Now that Sanders has officially suspended his campaign, it’s unclear where this money will be going. Is this some weird mistake? Funds for some kind of ongoing political advocacy group? A barebones GOTV staff for upcoming primaries? A shadow campaign ready to rise up if Biden’s sexual misconduct allegations get too unbearable?

Who knows. But it’s probably not the last one. I’ve put in requests for clarification to various Sanders operations, and will update this post if I hear back.

Why is the Bernie Sanders campaign still raising money?

Yesterday, the Bernie Sanders campaign sent an email out to their supporters asking them to split a donation between Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilahn Omar, Rashida Talib, and...Bernie Sanders. Per the email:

Split a $5 contribution between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and our campaign today. We must elect a Congress that stands with working people, not the corporate elite.

A text with similar language was sent to supporters this morning:

Bernie 2020: Your $5 contribution split between AOC, Ilhan, Rasihda and Bernie will help elect a Congress that stands with working people, not the corporate elite.

Hm?

You may remember that Bernie Sanders is no longer running for President. He is not up for reelection in the Senate until 2024, a date where many aides suspect he’ll be retiring. The campaign ended March with around $14 million on hand per FCC filings, so this probably isn’t a debt thing either. Even weirder, the campaign spent much of March and April actively not soliciting donations, instead using his email list to direct supporters to Coronavirus-related charities.

This is probably obvious, but suspended campaigns generally don’t raise new money.

Now that Sanders has officially suspended his campaign, it’s unclear where this money will be going. Is this some weird mistake? Funds for some kind of ongoing political advocacy group? A barebones GOTV staff for upcoming primaries? A shadow campaign ready to rise up if Biden’s sexual misconduct allegations get too unbearable?

Who knows. But it’s probably not the last one. I’ve put in requests for clarification to various Sanders operations, and will update this post if I hear back.

Your coronavirus check is coming. Your bank can grab it.

Your coronavirus check is coming. Your bank can grab it.

Your coronavirus check is coming. Your bank can grab it.
Your coronavirus check is coming. Your bank can grab it.

Ah, welp, here’s Obama endorsing Biden too

Ah, welp, here’s Obama endorsing Biden too

Ah, welp, here’s Obama endorsing Biden too

To the surprise of no one, Barack Obama officially endorsed Joe Biden for President today. “Joe has the character and experience to lead us through one of our darker times and heal us through a long recovery,” he said in a video statement posted on his Twitter account, which already has over half a million views twenty minutes after being posted.

Obama spent the primary neutral, at least publicly. Team Trump has attempted to spin this as a lack of faith in his former Vice President. Today’s strong endorsement will likely put to rest any theories in that direction; if anything, I suspect reporting will bare out in the next few weeks that Obama had a more active role in the primary behind-the-scenes than people expected.

For Biden, Obama’s endorsement offers a chance to bring excitement and enthusiasm for a campaign that has long lacked either. The endorsement video is already performing better than just about any other video posted by Team Biden, and I’m quite curious to see if there’s a spike in their donations today. It’s a big deal.

“I’ll see you on the campaign trail as soon as I can,” Obama said at the end of the endorsement. Wonder when that’ll be!

Ah, welp, here’s Obama endorsing Biden too

To the surprise of no one, Barack Obama officially endorsed Joe Biden for President today. “Joe has the character and experience to lead us through one of our darker times and heal us through a long recovery,” he said in a video statement posted on his Twitter account, which already has over half a million views twenty minutes after being posted.

Obama spent the primary neutral, at least publicly. Team Trump has attempted to spin this as a lack of faith in his former Vice President. Today’s strong endorsement will likely put to rest any theories in that direction; if anything, I suspect reporting will bare out in the next few weeks that Obama had a more active role in the primary behind-the-scenes than people expected.

For Biden, Obama’s endorsement offers a chance to bring excitement and enthusiasm for a campaign that has long lacked either. The endorsement video is already performing better than just about any other video posted by Team Biden, and I’m quite curious to see if there’s a spike in their donations today. It’s a big deal.

“I’ll see you on the campaign trail as soon as I can,” Obama said at the end of the endorsement. Wonder when that’ll be!

In an essential test, Joe Biden is failing

Voters and poll workers may die today. Joe Biden seems to be okay with that.

In an essential test, Joe Biden is failing

In an essential test, Joe Biden is failing
In an essential test, Joe Biden is failing

Sanders calls for delay in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary

Sanders calls for delay in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary

Sanders calls for delay in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary

Bernie Sanders is calling for a delay on Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, the only primary that is currently scheduled to take place in unaltered form in the next month as the nation weathers an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. “People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote,” his campaign said in a statement.

Wisconsin residents are currently following the same shelter-in-place ordinance that many other states are experiencing. The state’s governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has also banned all public and private gatherings. Federal guidelines recommend social distancing and limited interaction as well. Despite that, the state is still barreling ahead with a primary scheduled for April 7th. The timing has led to a shortage of poll workers and overwhelming requests for mail-in ballots.

The state’s decision to continue with Tuesday’s election stands in contrast with every other state that was scheduled to vote this month. 15 other states scheduled to vote in March and April, including New York and Ohio, have pushed back their primaries and dramatically expanded mail-in voting options. Activists in Wisconsin are currently suing the state to force a delay.

Cynics may point out that Sanders has ample reason to hope for this; he currently trails Biden in delegate numbers and is considered an underdog in Wisconsin. Yet Sanders has demonstrated a consistent stance on delaying votes to prioritize voter safety. His campaign suspended GOTV efforts in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, which voted on March 17th and expressed dismay about the states’ decision to proceed with their primaries. Biden aides accused the campaign of attempting to suppress votes and encouraged voters to go out to the polls “if they feel healthy.” At least three poll officials in Florida have since tested positive for coronavirus. Biden has yet to comment on next Tuesday’s election.

Sanders calls for delay in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary

Bernie Sanders is calling for a delay on Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, the only primary that is currently scheduled to take place in unaltered form in the next month as the nation weathers an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. “People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote,” his campaign said in a statement.

Wisconsin residents are currently following the same shelter-in-place ordinance that many other states are experiencing. The state’s governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has also banned all public and private gatherings. Federal guidelines recommend social distancing and limited interaction as well. Despite that, the state is still barreling ahead with a primary scheduled for April 7th. The timing has led to a shortage of poll workers and overwhelming requests for mail-in ballots.

The state’s decision to continue with Tuesday’s election stands in contrast with every other state that was scheduled to vote this month. 15 other states scheduled to vote in March and April, including New York and Ohio, have pushed back their primaries and dramatically expanded mail-in voting options. Activists in Wisconsin are currently suing the state to force a delay.

Cynics may point out that Sanders has ample reason to hope for this; he currently trails Biden in delegate numbers and is considered an underdog in Wisconsin. Yet Sanders has demonstrated a consistent stance on delaying votes to prioritize voter safety. His campaign suspended GOTV efforts in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, which voted on March 17th and expressed dismay about the states’ decision to proceed with their primaries. Biden aides accused the campaign of attempting to suppress votes and encouraged voters to go out to the polls “if they feel healthy.” At least three poll officials in Florida have since tested positive for coronavirus. Biden has yet to comment on next Tuesday’s election.

Biden wins really big

Biden wins really big

Biden wins really big

Welp, folks, with 100% of the vote in, Joe Biden has decisively won the South Carolina primary. He beat Bernie Sanders by a large margin: 48.4% to 19.9%. He carried every single county. A truly remarkable win for a former frontrunner who desperately, desperately needed it.

Where do things go from here? I’m not entirely sure. Earlier in the day, before the polls closed, Biden told press that “the bigger the win, the bigger the bump” he expects to see in Super Tuesday states. This is clearly a large win, yet a lot of Super Tuesday states have been doing early voting for days or weeks by now; it’s going to be hard for much of a shift in big states like California and Texas to materialize. There’s also the question of the health of Biden’s campaign: press reports have casted doubts on the Biden infrastructure in upcoming states, and it’s widely believed in South Carolina political circles that Biden’s win is credited more to Representative Clyburn’s late endorsement than any messaging or organizing brilliance. (Clyburn, for his part, bluntly told CNN today that Biden’s campaign was “mishandled” and needed retooling.)

So Super Tuesday is likely still going to be a grind for Biden. The lasting impact of tonight will likely be consolidation of moderate support around Biden. The other moderate candidates—namely Buttigieg and Klobuchar—were all destroyed by Biden and will leave the state with few if any delegates. You can’t build a coalition without black support; Sanders also performed badly tonight, but he at least can point to strong support among black voters nationally. I’m not sure if we will see any high-profile dropouts before Super Tuesday, but unless something significantly changes between then and now, I don’t think the other moderates will stick around for much longer. And that’s what I’d be really worried about if I was in Camp Sanders: he’s strongly benefited from a divided moderate field, and there are a number of upcoming states that would be more difficult to win if it was just between him and Biden.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that tonight set the stage for a protracted Sanders-Biden fight, a bitter ideological struggle that may well drag on until the convention in the Summer. There are two wildcards here: Warren and Bloomberg. Bloomberg, coming off two disastrous debate performances and weeks of bad press, looks much less invincible than he did last month. By Tuesday night, we should have some idea of how viable Bloomberg’s bizzare run actually is.

Warren, for reasons that completely elude me, seems content driving a scorched earth path straight to the convention. In her speech tonight, she attacked Sanders—her closest ideological peer—as a political figure that “consistently calls for things he fails to get done, and consistently opposes things he nevertheless fails to stop.” As for future contests, she said “Super Tuesday is three days away and we’re looking forward to gaining as many delegates to the convention as we can,” again openly gesturing to the idea of getting the nomination at a brokered convention, even without winning a single state. It’s an ugly, bizarre twist in her campaign, and it remains to be seen whether this is the last gasps of a failed candidacy or a campaign that’s about to go full Jonestown.

A year ago, before Bloomberg and before four high-profile Senators flamed out and before coronavirus, national polls showed a tight race between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Billions of dollars later, we may be returning to that early dynamic.

Biden wins really big

Welp, folks, with 100% of the vote in, Joe Biden has decisively won the South Carolina primary. He beat Bernie Sanders by a large margin: 48.4% to 19.9%. He carried every single county. A truly remarkable win for a former frontrunner who desperately, desperately needed it.

Where do things go from here? I’m not entirely sure. Earlier in the day, before the polls closed, Biden told press that “the bigger the win, the bigger the bump” he expects to see in Super Tuesday states. This is clearly a large win, yet a lot of Super Tuesday states have been doing early voting for days or weeks by now; it’s going to be hard for much of a shift in big states like California and Texas to materialize. There’s also the question of the health of Biden’s campaign: press reports have casted doubts on the Biden infrastructure in upcoming states, and it’s widely believed in South Carolina political circles that Biden’s win is credited more to Representative Clyburn’s late endorsement than any messaging or organizing brilliance. (Clyburn, for his part, bluntly told CNN today that Biden’s campaign was “mishandled” and needed retooling.)

So Super Tuesday is likely still going to be a grind for Biden. The lasting impact of tonight will likely be consolidation of moderate support around Biden. The other moderate candidates—namely Buttigieg and Klobuchar—were all destroyed by Biden and will leave the state with few if any delegates. You can’t build a coalition without black support; Sanders also performed badly tonight, but he at least can point to strong support among black voters nationally. I’m not sure if we will see any high-profile dropouts before Super Tuesday, but unless something significantly changes between then and now, I don’t think the other moderates will stick around for much longer. And that’s what I’d be really worried about if I was in Camp Sanders: he’s strongly benefited from a divided moderate field, and there are a number of upcoming states that would be more difficult to win if it was just between him and Biden.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that tonight set the stage for a protracted Sanders-Biden fight, a bitter ideological struggle that may well drag on until the convention in the Summer. There are two wildcards here: Warren and Bloomberg. Bloomberg, coming off two disastrous debate performances and weeks of bad press, looks much less invincible than he did last month. By Tuesday night, we should have some idea of how viable Bloomberg’s bizzare run actually is.

Warren, for reasons that completely elude me, seems content driving a scorched earth path straight to the convention. In her speech tonight, she attacked Sanders—her closest ideological peer—as a political figure that “consistently calls for things he fails to get done, and consistently opposes things he nevertheless fails to stop.” As for future contests, she said “Super Tuesday is three days away and we’re looking forward to gaining as many delegates to the convention as we can,” again openly gesturing to the idea of getting the nomination at a brokered convention, even without winning a single state. It’s an ugly, bizarre twist in her campaign, and it remains to be seen whether this is the last gasps of a failed candidacy or a campaign that’s about to go full Jonestown.

A year ago, before Bloomberg and before four high-profile Senators flamed out and before coronavirus, national polls showed a tight race between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Billions of dollars later, we may be returning to that early dynamic.

Bloomberg buys three minutes of Sunday night broadcast airtime for “Leadership In Crisis” address

Bloomberg buys three minutes of Sunday night broadcast airtime for “Leadership In Crisis” address

Bloomberg buys three minutes of Sunday night broadcast airtime for “Leadership In Crisis” address

In a move unprecedented in the last two decades of political campaigning, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is buying three minutes of broadcast television commercial airtime for a speech, his campaign just announced. The pretaped address will focus on the coronavirus, the effect the outbreak is having on the global economy, and the need for “a leader with experience to handle the crisis.”

The speech will air around 8:30pm tomorrow on NBC and CBS simultaneously. That’s a day after South Carolina primary, where moderate rival Joe Biden is expected to dominate, and two days before Super Tuesday, the first real electoral contest for the massive Bloomberg campaign operation.

While Nixon was one of the first candidates to buy airtime for promotional programming all the way back in 1968, Ross Perot pioneered the modern genre of the political informercial during his unsuccessful third-party run in 1992. The fellow billionaire bought 30 minute chunks of prime time airtime to give policy speeches. His rival, Bill Clinton, also bought chunks of local airtime during the primaries to air tightly controlled town halls.

While all modern presidential campaigns reserve small chunks of airtime for 30-60 second ads, it’s unusual to book so much time, especially to address a major domestic crisis.

Bloomberg buys three minutes of Sunday night broadcast airtime for “Leadership In Crisis” address

In a move unprecedented in the last two decades of political campaigning, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is buying three minutes of broadcast television commercial airtime for a speech, his campaign just announced. The pretaped address will focus on the coronavirus, the effect the outbreak is having on the global economy, and the need for “a leader with experience to handle the crisis.”

The speech will air around 8:30pm tomorrow on NBC and CBS simultaneously. That’s a day after South Carolina primary, where moderate rival Joe Biden is expected to dominate, and two days before Super Tuesday, the first real electoral contest for the massive Bloomberg campaign operation.

While Nixon was one of the first candidates to buy airtime for promotional programming all the way back in 1968, Ross Perot pioneered the modern genre of the political informercial during his unsuccessful third-party run in 1992. The fellow billionaire bought 30 minute chunks of prime time airtime to give policy speeches. His rival, Bill Clinton, also bought chunks of local airtime during the primaries to air tightly controlled town halls.

While all modern presidential campaigns reserve small chunks of airtime for 30-60 second ads, it’s unusual to book so much time, especially to address a major domestic crisis.

South Carolina is all about the margins

South Carolina is all about the margins

South Carolina is all about the margins

Barring some kind of stunner, Joe Biden is going to win today’s South Carolina primary. Bernie Sanders will likely come in second.

This is expected. What is still unknown, and what will likely define the next 72 hours leading into Super Tuesday, is the margin between first and second. Biden, like Clinton in 2016, has staked South Carolina as a firewall state, hoping his connections with the African American community will propel him to victory and demonstrate the diversity of his coalition.

Biden is undeniably in the lead among Black voters. However, unlike Clinton in 2016 and Obama in 2008, he is not running away with this block of voters, and there’s ample evidence that Sanders is gaining steadily on him. The biggest story out of South Carolina, then, is how much Biden wins by; the health of his coalition leading into the diverse Super Tuesday contests.

For some context, here’s how Obama and Clinton did in South Carolina in 2008 and 2016:

2008

  1. Obama (55.4%)
  2. Clinton (26.5%)
  3. Edwards (17.6%)

2016

  1. Clinton (73.44%)
  2. Sanders (26.06%)

Obama and Clinton both decisively won South Carolina, with massive margins over their opponents. With how large the field of candidates still is in 2020, there was never any chance Biden was going to perform as well. But: after three bruising loses in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, there is a lot of pressure on Biden to perform well here. Donors, endorsers, and the Democratic establishment are all watching this race closely to see how well he does, and the media narrative in the days leading up to Super Tuesday will be shaped by the strength of his victory.

Three possibilities to watch for:

  1. A strong Biden margin (>15 points over Sanders). This would likely lead to a large infusion of donor cash before Super Tuesday, and likely consolidate support around Biden as the viable Sanders alternative.
  2. A narrow victory for Biden (<15 points over Sanders). Good but not spectacular. Somewhat of a reset on the “Sanders domination” narrative, and heightened pressure on Biden to perform well in southern Super Tuesday states. (Where he currently holds narrow leads in most polls and forecasts.)
  3. A surprise Sanders win. Highly unlikely, but it’s almost unimaginable to me that Biden would stay in the race if he lost tonight.

Today is a tone-setter for the next month of the primary: whether this race will become a coronation for Sanders, a drag-out fight between Biden and Sanders, or something in between.

South Carolina is all about the margins

Barring some kind of stunner, Joe Biden is going to win today’s South Carolina primary. Bernie Sanders will likely come in second.

This is expected. What is still unknown, and what will likely define the next 72 hours leading into Super Tuesday, is the margin between first and second. Biden, like Clinton in 2016, has staked South Carolina as a firewall state, hoping his connections with the African American community will propel him to victory and demonstrate the diversity of his coalition.

Biden is undeniably in the lead among Black voters. However, unlike Clinton in 2016 and Obama in 2008, he is not running away with this block of voters, and there’s ample evidence that Sanders is gaining steadily on him. The biggest story out of South Carolina, then, is how much Biden wins by; the health of his coalition leading into the diverse Super Tuesday contests.

For some context, here’s how Obama and Clinton did in South Carolina in 2008 and 2016:

2008

  1. Obama (55.4%)
  2. Clinton (26.5%)
  3. Edwards (17.6%)

2016

  1. Clinton (73.44%)
  2. Sanders (26.06%)

Obama and Clinton both decisively won South Carolina, with massive margins over their opponents. With how large the field of candidates still is in 2020, there was never any chance Biden was going to perform as well. But: after three bruising loses in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, there is a lot of pressure on Biden to perform well here. Donors, endorsers, and the Democratic establishment are all watching this race closely to see how well he does, and the media narrative in the days leading up to Super Tuesday will be shaped by the strength of his victory.

Three possibilities to watch for:

  1. A strong Biden margin (>15 points over Sanders). This would likely lead to a large infusion of donor cash before Super Tuesday, and likely consolidate support around Biden as the viable Sanders alternative.
  2. A narrow victory for Biden (<15 points over Sanders). Good but not spectacular. Somewhat of a reset on the “Sanders domination” narrative, and heightened pressure on Biden to perform well in southern Super Tuesday states. (Where he currently holds narrow leads in most polls and forecasts.)
  3. A surprise Sanders win. Highly unlikely, but it’s almost unimaginable to me that Biden would stay in the race if he lost tonight.

Today is a tone-setter for the next month of the primary: whether this race will become a coronation for Sanders, a drag-out fight between Biden and Sanders, or something in between.

Warren’s path to victory would doom the Democratic Party

No one wins in a contested convention

Warren’s path to victory would doom the Democratic Party

Warren’s path to victory would doom the Democratic Party
Warren’s path to victory would doom the Democratic Party

Warren at risk of losing her home state

Warren at risk of losing her home state

Warren at risk of losing her home state
Warren at risk of losing her home state

Donald Trump, Bernie Bro

Donald Trump, Bernie Bro

Donald Trump, Bernie Bro
Donald Trump, Bernie Bro

Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

Joe Biden's campaign isn't dead yet

Joe Biden's campaign isn't dead yet

Joe Biden's campaign isn't dead yet
Joe Biden's campaign isn't dead yet

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Today, the Donald Trump Presidential campaign filed a suit against The New York Times, claiming that the newspaper knowingly published false information about the President.

The lawsuit hinges on an opinion article written by Max Frankel, which stated that Putin “had an overarching deal” with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Trump’s team claims this was an intentional effort by the Times to misinform their readers to get Trump out of office, which....seems like a reach.

Of course, whether or not this is a winnable case isn’t the point: the Trump campaign is trying to draw blood from the Times to demonstrate strength leading into the 2020 election. And the man leading that charge is none other than Charles Harder, the authoritarian lawyer responsible for the infamous lawsuit that brought down Gawker four years ago.

After the victorious lawsuit against Gawker—which was secretly funded by a billionaire with the explicit goal of destroying the media organization—Harder has taken his brand of press censoring litigation to the President. This marks the latest escalation in Trump and Harder’s war against the press.

Keep this information in mind when you see the mainstream response to this news. There will inevitably be many Reasonable People yelling about this fragrant attack on the free press. Many of them cheered on the demise of Gawker; or at least attempted to minimize its impact.

Their lack of foresight helped normalize Harder, and led us to this point.

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Gawker’s murderer is now suing the New York Times for the President

Today, the Donald Trump Presidential campaign filed a suit against The New York Times, claiming that the newspaper knowingly published false information about the President.

The lawsuit hinges on an opinion article written by Max Frankel, which stated that Putin “had an overarching deal” with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Trump’s team claims this was an intentional effort by the Times to misinform their readers to get Trump out of office, which....seems like a reach.

Of course, whether or not this is a winnable case isn’t the point: the Trump campaign is trying to draw blood from the Times to demonstrate strength leading into the 2020 election. And the man leading that charge is none other than Charles Harder, the authoritarian lawyer responsible for the infamous lawsuit that brought down Gawker four years ago.

After the victorious lawsuit against Gawker—which was secretly funded by a billionaire with the explicit goal of destroying the media organization—Harder has taken his brand of press censoring litigation to the President. This marks the latest escalation in Trump and Harder’s war against the press.

Keep this information in mind when you see the mainstream response to this news. There will inevitably be many Reasonable People yelling about this fragrant attack on the free press. Many of them cheered on the demise of Gawker; or at least attempted to minimize its impact.

Their lack of foresight helped normalize Harder, and led us to this point.

Barring any surprises, Joe Biden will win Saturday’s primary in South Carolina

Barring any surprises, Joe Biden will win Saturday’s primary in South Carolina

Barring any surprises, Joe Biden will win Saturday’s primary in South Carolina

Today’s endorsement of Joe Biden by South Carolina “kingmaker” James Clyburn reinstates the obvious: Biden will likely win the South Carolina primary.

Biden leads in most polls, even in polling done after Sander’s overwhelming win in Nevada last week. His campaign has spent months building an operation in the state. The majority black voting demographics work out favorably for Biden, who traditionally leads with Black Americans. Biden put in a a strong debate performance last night; his primary rival for the moderate lane in the state, billionaire Tom Steyer, did not.

There are two likely scenarios for Saturday: a strong Biden win and a weak Biden win. A strong, decisive victory over Bernie Sanders would likely propel Biden into Super Tuesday with a momentum narrative, which could boost his performance in the southern states where he needs to win to limit Sander’s delegate lead. A weak win may stifle that energy a bit, but would certainly not be as disastrous as a close loss to Sanders.

Whether a win on Saturday will be enough to halt Sanders remains to be seen; the delegate math, press narrative, and polling trends remain strongly in the Vermont Senator’s favor. Yet a Biden win in South Carolina will keep this a competitive race, one that will likely drag on for weeks still.

Barring any surprises, Joe Biden will win Saturday’s primary in South Carolina

Today’s endorsement of Joe Biden by South Carolina “kingmaker” James Clyburn reinstates the obvious: Biden will likely win the South Carolina primary.

Biden leads in most polls, even in polling done after Sander’s overwhelming win in Nevada last week. His campaign has spent months building an operation in the state. The majority black voting demographics work out favorably for Biden, who traditionally leads with Black Americans. Biden put in a a strong debate performance last night; his primary rival for the moderate lane in the state, billionaire Tom Steyer, did not.

There are two likely scenarios for Saturday: a strong Biden win and a weak Biden win. A strong, decisive victory over Bernie Sanders would likely propel Biden into Super Tuesday with a momentum narrative, which could boost his performance in the southern states where he needs to win to limit Sander’s delegate lead. A weak win may stifle that energy a bit, but would certainly not be as disastrous as a close loss to Sanders.

Whether a win on Saturday will be enough to halt Sanders remains to be seen; the delegate math, press narrative, and polling trends remain strongly in the Vermont Senator’s favor. Yet a Biden win in South Carolina will keep this a competitive race, one that will likely drag on for weeks still.

On the debate stage, the implosion of Mike 2020 and another setback for Never Sanders democrats

At the angriest debate yet, Mike Bloomberg gets owned, Elizabeth Warren sets the stage on fire, and Bernie Sanders soldiers on

On the debate stage, the implosion of Mike 2020 and another setback for Never Sanders democrats

The fire rises

This week’s State of the Race: a grim contest between Sanders and Bloomberg

The fire rises

The fire rises
The fire rises

Joe Biden’s invincibility myth is shattered

Biden’s defeat in Iowa was years in the making

Joe Biden’s invincibility myth is shattered

Joe Biden’s invincibility myth is shattered
Joe Biden’s invincibility myth is shattered

Iowa will never end

Iowa will never end

Iowa will never end

Image

This is the water.

And this is the well.

Drink full and descend.

The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.

This is the water.

And this is the well.

Drink full and descend.

The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.

This is the water.

And this is the well.

Iowa will never end

Image

This is the water.

And this is the well.

Drink full and descend.

The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.

This is the water.

And this is the well.

Drink full and descend.

The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.

This is the water.

And this is the well.

So what the fuck happened?

Thoughts on the non-result in Iowa

So what the fuck happened?

So what the fuck happened?
So what the fuck happened?

Statement from Iowa Democrats

Statement from Iowa Democrats

Statement from Iowa Democrats

Just breaking:

“The integrity of the results is paramount. We have experienced a delay due to quality checks and the fact that the IDP is reporting out three data sets for the first time. What we know right now around 25% of the precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016.”

No ETA on results. Surprising to see turnout is on pace with 2016, since many were expecting higher. Low turnout likely hurts Sanders. Maybe helps moderate candidates.

Surprisingly, the statement makes no mention of the reported issues around the app being used to log caucus results. Ruby Cramer at Buzzfeed says that campaigns are currently being briefed by state party representatives on a “technical issue” delaying results.

David Plouffe just said on MSNBC that “we may be seeing the last Iowa Caucuses” that are first on the primary calendar. This is not a good look for the state party.

Statement from Iowa Democrats

Just breaking:

“The integrity of the results is paramount. We have experienced a delay due to quality checks and the fact that the IDP is reporting out three data sets for the first time. What we know right now around 25% of the precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016.”

No ETA on results. Surprising to see turnout is on pace with 2016, since many were expecting higher. Low turnout likely hurts Sanders. Maybe helps moderate candidates.

Surprisingly, the statement makes no mention of the reported issues around the app being used to log caucus results. Ruby Cramer at Buzzfeed says that campaigns are currently being briefed by state party representatives on a “technical issue” delaying results.

David Plouffe just said on MSNBC that “we may be seeing the last Iowa Caucuses” that are first on the primary calendar. This is not a good look for the state party.

A CONSPIRACY? (Probably not.)

A CONSPIRACY? (Probably not.)

A CONSPIRACY? (Probably not.)

In the absence of any real data, we are seeing folks on the left and from Trump’s campaign insinuate that something fishy is going on. You may remember that there was widespread criticism around how the state party counted the results in the 2016 primary.

Until we know what’s going on, I think this is premature, although I understand why those on the left would be suspicious of anything being done by state parties. The Trump people, of course, are just trying to provoke Democrats into a civil war. It’s cheap.

On the cable news front, Wolf Blitzer is officially bored and angry. “Something must be going on,” he said as CNN came out of a break.

Four years ago, we had 90% of results in. Obama began his victory speech around 11pm eight years ago, or under an hour from now. We’ve still got nothing.

A CONSPIRACY? (Probably not.)

In the absence of any real data, we are seeing folks on the left and from Trump’s campaign insinuate that something fishy is going on. You may remember that there was widespread criticism around how the state party counted the results in the 2016 primary.

Until we know what’s going on, I think this is premature, although I understand why those on the left would be suspicious of anything being done by state parties. The Trump people, of course, are just trying to provoke Democrats into a civil war. It’s cheap.

On the cable news front, Wolf Blitzer is officially bored and angry. “Something must be going on,” he said as CNN came out of a break.

Four years ago, we had 90% of results in. Obama began his victory speech around 11pm eight years ago, or under an hour from now. We’ve still got nothing.

A holding pattern...

A holding pattern...

A holding pattern...

We’re well over two hours into the Iowa caucuses and have not received any official results from the state party. For comparison sakes, in 2016 we had the majority of results in by now. In 2008, the highest turnout in history, the press was just about to declare Obama the winner at this point.

It’s weird. The state party is saying that they are taking the extra time to do “quality control” on the results, which makes sense considering the barely healed wounds over the way the party counted votes in the Hillary-Sanders caucus four years ago. But...they haven’t been transparent about what measures they are taking. CNN is now asking if something is wrong, a sentiment I’ve also seen expressed on Twitter.

Until I get some real data, all I know is the scattered results I’ve been seeing from people on the ground at individual caucus sites. From what I’ve gathered: Sanders and Buttigeg (especially) are performing quite well, and Biden is not. Again, though, there are over 1600 caucus sites in Iowa, and scattered results handwritten on pieces of paper don’t say much.

Results should come in any minute now, or things are going to get seriously weird. Until then, I’ll be watching cable news hosts attempt to fill time, a truly horrible experience for all involved. Stay tuned.

A holding pattern...

We’re well over two hours into the Iowa caucuses and have not received any official results from the state party. For comparison sakes, in 2016 we had the majority of results in by now. In 2008, the highest turnout in history, the press was just about to declare Obama the winner at this point.

It’s weird. The state party is saying that they are taking the extra time to do “quality control” on the results, which makes sense considering the barely healed wounds over the way the party counted votes in the Hillary-Sanders caucus four years ago. But...they haven’t been transparent about what measures they are taking. CNN is now asking if something is wrong, a sentiment I’ve also seen expressed on Twitter.

Until I get some real data, all I know is the scattered results I’ve been seeing from people on the ground at individual caucus sites. From what I’ve gathered: Sanders and Buttigeg (especially) are performing quite well, and Biden is not. Again, though, there are over 1600 caucus sites in Iowa, and scattered results handwritten on pieces of paper don’t say much.

Results should come in any minute now, or things are going to get seriously weird. Until then, I’ll be watching cable news hosts attempt to fill time, a truly horrible experience for all involved. Stay tuned.

CNN’s Early Caucus Leaders

CNN’s Early Caucus Leaders

CNN’s Early Caucus Leaders

CNN is reporting that the early leaders according to their Entrance Poll are Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren.

Now, you may say “duh”. But this result is an early indication that there will be no dark horse surge for Klobuchar or Yang. Excepted, yes, but it is good to know with some amount of certainty.

CNN’s Early Caucus Leaders

CNN is reporting that the early leaders according to their Entrance Poll are Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren.

Now, you may say “duh”. But this result is an early indication that there will be no dark horse surge for Klobuchar or Yang. Excepted, yes, but it is good to know with some amount of certainty.

IOWA DIARY: The worst case scenario for Biden

IOWA DIARY: The worst case scenario for Biden

IOWA DIARY: The worst case scenario for Biden

The worst case scenario for Joe Biden tonight is a fourth place finish. Biden’s allies will attempt to spin it as unreflective of his actual abilities, but it will severely diminish his electability appeal, which is basically his main selling point to voters.

And every bit of hesitation among voters chips away at his fire-wall in the South, which is significantly weaker than Clinton’s in 2016 and more akin to Clinton’s in 2008, which (partially) fell to Obama after his win in Iowa.

IOWA DIARY: The worst case scenario for Biden

The worst case scenario for Joe Biden tonight is a fourth place finish. Biden’s allies will attempt to spin it as unreflective of his actual abilities, but it will severely diminish his electability appeal, which is basically his main selling point to voters.

And every bit of hesitation among voters chips away at his fire-wall in the South, which is significantly weaker than Clinton’s in 2016 and more akin to Clinton’s in 2008, which (partially) fell to Obama after his win in Iowa.

Welp, they tried!

Institutions cannot save Democrats.

Welp, they tried!

Welp, they tried!
Welp, they tried!