Election 2020 Open Thread: Pete Buttigieg Has A *Lot* of Good Proposals

Whether or not those ideas take him to the Oval Office in 2020, all indications are that Buttigieg will be a positive influence in the Democratic party, and in our national politics, for a long time to come. He’s certainly the best-placed top-tier ‘Heartland’ candidate at the moment, which — given that the front-runners are universally ‘coastal elitists’ — gives him a strong point of leverage…


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Open Thread: Some Candidates Can Walk *and* Chew Gum..

In a letter to Barrack, the lawmaker highlighted deals the financier’s Colony Capital Inc. arranged after he met with Saudi officials including Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman while serving as head of Trump’s inaugural committee and as an adviser to the presidential transition team. The transactions were the subject of a recent Bloomberg article…

Bloomberg reported on Aug. 1 that a vehicle co-managed by Colony focusing on digital infrastructure investments had received backing from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, and that Barrack’s firm was in talks regarding a media venture that would make PIF a co-investor in a Hollywood studio. Such a stake would fulfill the Saudis’ longtime goal of getting a foothold in the entertainment business…

Warren, a contender for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in next year’s election, has been pushing for legislation to enhance ethics requirements for presidential transition teams. Her letter asks Barrack to respond by Aug. 23 with a description of his Los Angeles-based firm’s involvement with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, including a timeline of their talks and information on whether administration officials were aware of them.

Among other questions, she asked Barrack:

– why he didn’t register as an agent of a foreign government;

– whether he is advising the president on policies including a potential nuclear cooperation agreement with the Saudi government;

– whether Barrack or Colony employees are in talks with the president or his administration over digital infrastructure; and

– whether Barrack has used any non-public information gleaned from administration sources for business purposes…

And yet…

Some of these Democrats prefer Mr. Biden, viewing him as an acceptable option to a cross-section of voters, but others are eager to find a middle ground between the consensus-oriented former vice president and progressive firebrands like Ms. Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“If it were completely up to me, I’d vote for her,” said Jessie Sagona, who also came to see Ms. Warren last month in New Hampshire. “But I kind of feel like, do we need somebody in the middle like Kamala or Pete,” referring to Ms. Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ms. Sagona said she had not fully made up her mind but was weighing the importance of “thinking strategically.”…

I’ve said before that I doubt Warren would consider serving with Kamala or Pete (or Cory or Beto) as the worst possible fate. And as yet, most voters aren’t really paying attention, although… Charlie Pierce, for Esquire:

She draws enormous crowds and enormous ovations from those crowds. People see her and holler, unbidden, “Big Structural Change!”—the tagline for all her now-famous syllabus of plans. They chant, “Two cents!”, the amount of each dollar over $50 million she proposes to tax to finance the implementation of those plans. (This is reminiscent of the night at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, when the crowd chanted, “Consumer Finance Protection Bureau,” at her, which was not an easy thing to chant.) And, in the polls, she can’t be said to have had a “moment” yet, but her rise has been steady, easing fears that she might be peaking too soon. She is now a solid second to Joe Biden, and it is still only August of 2019.

But the thing that’s sold Elizabeth Warren to Iowa is primarily Elizabeth Warren. None of the candidates seems to be having as much fun as she is. The endless selfies after speeches. The pinky-swears with young girls about how what girls do is run for president. Her willingness to hold town halls anywhere. That loose-limbed, almost goofy wave with which she steps onto every stage. In a gloomy political time, with a humorless sociopathic bully in the White House, and with all the worst impulses of the national Id come out to play, Senator Professor Warren is the campaign’s happy warrior, the teacher everybody hopes they get when school starts up again in the fall. People respond to the good feeling around her campaign as much as they respond to the blizzard of policy proposals that campaign has loosed upon the electorate…

And the people who come expecting a Dukakis or a Kerry come away happily surprised. And the people who come away expecting an ivory-tower Harvard lecturer leave feeling smarter, and experiencing the conquest of learning in a way they haven’t felt it since elementary school. None of this is to say what may happen when the guns really open up on her, but it is to say, for now, that Elizabeth Warren is running a campaign of hope and optimism and enthusiasm as surely as did Ronald Reagan, that ol’ Iowa radio guy, in 1980, and as surely as Barack Obama did in 2008…








Saturday Morning Open Thread


 
And now for something completely different…








Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excellent Choice, Ms. Abrams!

Per the Washington Post:

Abrams, speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Las Vegas, announced a 20-state voter protection initiative, using her experience challenging voting laws during her gubernatorial campaign last year in Georgia, which included widespread irregularities.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018,” Abrams said…

The effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi…

In past election cycles, campaigns and state parties tended to wait until the start of general election campaigning to put together voter protection programs, which were often dismantled after elections. But with ongoing efforts by Republican state lawmakers to pass more restrictive voting laws, Groh-Wargo said, it was important that Democrats start working now to be ready to help voters navigate potential hurdles. Similarly, some states, such as Michigan and Nevada, have recently passed laws to expand access to voting, and party leaders and activists in those states need to make sure voters can take advantage of the changes…

The majority of the program will be run by Fair Fight PAC. Depending on the campaign finance laws of individual states, Fair Fight will make direct cash donations or will help groups raise money to hire staff, set up voter hotlines and develop public information campaigns…

Read the whole thing — it’s really uplifting!


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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: High Summer

(Jeff Danziger via GoComics.com)
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Because a commentor asked: Any (other) Jackals attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin this weekend?

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It was in August that Richard Nixon helicoptered out of the Oval Office, one step ahead of the law…


 
And some genuinely good news…