Late Night Open Thread: Picking the GOP Nominee

Speaking of survivors from a distant past…

Instead of arena rallies, most of Weld’s weeks are filled with little-noticed trips to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, where he stops by diners and living rooms to meet with voters who might remember him from when he was a neighboring governor in the 1990s.

Other weeks are dotted with meetings and television appearances — he was on MSNBC on Sunday morning — where he has won occasional attention for his scathing criticism of Trump, but little else…

The president’s backers have ignored or mocked Weld since he announced his campaign in April, calling the Harvard lawyer — who can trace his family’s roots to the Pilgrims — “nothing more than a delusional elitist.” That view is shared in the West Wing, according to several Trump advisers, with Weld dismissed as a speck of lint on a black-tie tuxedo.

Weld is a particular type of Republican: a New England moderate who once had stable footing in the GOP but has all but disappeared in the party’s upper ranks. He is measured in temperament, advocates for strong ties with traditional U.S. allies, and is socially liberal. Weld supports abortion rights, and he was elected governor in 1990 and 1994 with the support of Republicans like President George H.W. Bush…

Despite the daunting odds and dynamics, Weld nonetheless remains cheery about his cause. At age 73 — and after a long and winding political career that has included a stint as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2016 — he is happy these days to provide like-minded Republicans with an option.

And he is hopeful that, perhaps later this year, he’ll somehow find himself in the political spotlight and be given a chance to lift his campaign’s status from quixotic to competitive, at least in New Hampshire, which has given a boost to past challengers of incumbent presidents — and has an open primary where independent voters can vote in party contests.

“When I go around New Hampshire and mention Mr. Trump’s name to people, I get frowns and thumbs down in response, these long faces,” Weld said, calling such exchanges encouraging. “But I know it’s going to be a long haul.”…








Election 2020 Open Thread: Reverend Barber’s PPC Moral Congress

Kara Vogt reports for Mother Jones; Chelsea Janes (and Dave Weigel) for the Washington Post:

The Poor People’s Campaign is a clergy-led effort to revive the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s push to focus attention and resources on poverty. At the group’s forum in Washington, about 10 of the Democratic presidential candidates showed up to make their case on fighting poverty.

The Rev. William Barber II, a founder of the campaign, asked attendees not to cheer or hiss, but rather to greet all the candidates with polite applause. Even in this subdued setting, however, the response to Biden was noticeably muted, and he left the stage to applause that was less enthusiastic than that which greeted him…

Joy-Ann Reid, an MSNBC host who moderated the session, asked Biden how he would pass his plans through a stubborn Congress — in particular, how he would work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who makes little secret of his satisfaction at blocking Democratic initiatives.

Biden bristled at the suggestion that his approach was misguided. As he wound through his response, Biden moved nearer to Reid, who was seated, and leaned over her.

“Joy-Ann, I know you’re one of the ones who thinks it’s naive to think we have to work together,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is, if we can’t get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive branch. Zero.” He added that “you can shame people into doing the right thing.”

Biden’s suggestion that he could persuade McConnell to cooperate prompted skepticism from those who have interacted with McConnell…


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Election 2020 Open Thread: “But Is the Media America Ready for A Nerd President?”

Peter Beinart’s article is not as silly as the headline makes it sound. “Braininess Is Now the Brand”:

Among the biggest surprises of the Democratic presidential campaign so far are the rise of Pete Buttigieg and the resurgence of Elizabeth Warren, both of whom, according to a new Des Moines Register poll, have moved into a virtual tie for second place in Iowa with Bernie Sanders. In many ways, the Buttigieg and Warren phenomena are distinct: Buttigieg promises generational change; Warren is almost 70. Buttigieg emphasizes his success in a conservative state; Warren stresses her willingness to challenge corporate power. Buttigieg has become a darling of the big donors whom Warren eschews.

What unites them, and separates them from Sanders and Joe Biden, is their unabashed intellectualism. Both have made braininess central to their political brand. And it’s working—a fact that offers a window into the changing culture of the Democratic Party…

It’s not unusual for Democratic presidential candidates to have impressive resumes. Bill Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar; Barack Obama was the president of the Harvard Law Review. Cory Booker and Julián Castro attended Stanford; Amy Klobuchar went to Yale. In fact, every president since Ronald Reagan has been a product of the Ivy League.

What’s new is that Warren and Buttigieg are leaning into their credentialed intellectualism rather than worrying that it will make them appear elitist….

As late as 1994, according to the Pew Research Center, voters who had graduated from college were 15 points more likely to identify as Republicans than Democrats, and voters with graduate degrees were almost evenly split between the two parties. By 2017, college graduates’ partisan leanings had flipped: They now favored Democrats by 15 points. Among Americans with graduate degrees, the shift has been even starker. The Democratic advantage, which stood at two points in 1994, had grown to 32 points by 2017.

As a result, the educational composition of the two parties has diverged. From 1997 to 2017, the share of registered Republican voters who finished college stayed the same. Among Democrats, it rose by 15 points. This shift has influenced the way the two parties see education itself. In 2010, Democrats were seven points more likely than Republicans to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on America. By 2017, they were 36 points more likely…
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Cartoon Villains

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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(Signe Wilkinson via GoComics.com)
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(Non Sequitur via GoComics.com)
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(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
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Election 2020 Open Thread: The First DNC Debate Lineups Have Been Released

Surprise! Ain’t nobody happy about the results — a phrase which may be Tom Perez’s epitaph. Per the Washington Post:

Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the two leading candidates in early Democratic presidential polling, will share the stage later this month as the party holds its first back-to-back nights of debates…

Joining Biden and Sanders on the second night will be Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson and technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The group debating on the first night will include Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), former Obama Cabinet member Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former congressman John Delaney (Md.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), former congressman Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

The DNC had sought to divide the field in such a way that one debate would not appear more important than the other. The announcement Friday drew immediate questions about whether the organization had succeeded.

Night two includes four of the five candidates who are averaging at least 7 percent support in a Washington Post average of national polls over the past month — Biden, Sanders, Harris and Buttegieg. Night one includes Warren, who stands at 12 percent in recent national polls, while all other candidates that night hold less than 5 percent support…

NBC said candidates were divided into two groups, depending on whether they were polling above or below 2 percent. Random drawing from both groups resulted in assignment to either the first or the second night, with a goal of including a mix of higher-polling candidates and lower-polling candidates both nights.

Ill-judged cutoff percentage, IMO. (Of course, were it left to me, getting onstage would’ve required polling at least 3%, so… ) Politico is very excited, of course:

By splitting the Democratic presidential field’s top-tier candidates into two groups and dividing them evenly across two stages for the year’s first primary debates, the Democratic National Committee had hoped to avoid a repeat of the Republican Party’s “kiddie table” spectacle of 2016.

It got a stacked deck, anyway…
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