Monday Evening Open Thread: Don’t Mourn, Organize!

Presumably related, from The Nation:

The gig economy has not been an enormous issue on the campaign trail, and legislators in Congress haven’t attempted to address it in any comprehensive way. But Thursday in Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren waded into the debate with a lengthy policy speech at the annual New America conference in which she said it’s time to “rethink the basic bargain for workers who produce much of the value in this economy.”

Warren’s essential point is that for all the talk about Uber, ride-sharing apps and their brethren are only part of a larger, destructive trend toward classifying workers as part-time. “Long before anyone ever wrote an article about the ‘gig economy,’ corporations had discovered the higher profits they could wring out of an on-demand workforce made up of independent contractors,” Warren said. Indeed, 53 million Americans—one in three workers—is a freelancer

Warren sees the gig economy as more of a symptom than a cause. “The gig economy has become a stopgap for some workers who can’t make ends meet in a weak labor market,” she said. “For many, the gig economy is simply the next step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10 percent.” …

Her proposals: Improve the safety net (expanded Social Security, a new system of catastrophic insurance coverage), make employee benefits portable, and increase regulation & clarify laws around part-time work. As described at the link, all of these proposals are nicely calculated to make Kochsuckers and other Republicans fall down in foaming fits. Which is a good short-term goal on its own, but they’re also important steps towards stopping the relentless erosion of the middle class for the benefit of the Zero-Point-One Percent.

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Apart from agitating, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Open Thread: She’s Ours, You Can’t Have Her

Paul Waldman, in the Washington Post, spells out the key reason “Why Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Going to Be Hillary’s Running Mate“:

[R]ight now the governor of Massachusetts is a Republican, Charlie Baker. That means that if Warren stepped down to become vice president, Baker would appoint a temporary successor for her Senate seat. In other years this might have been a relatively minor consideration, but in 2016 it’s absolutely central to the fate of Clinton’s presidency.

Right now Republicans have a 54-46 advantage in the Senate, but they’re defending many more seats up for reelection. Seats in Democratic-leaning states like Illinois, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire may well turn to the Democrats, but it’s likely to be very close. It’s entirely possible that we could have a Senate that’s 51-49 for the Democrats, or even 50-50. One vote could make the difference between Clinton getting her nominees confirmed and having some chance at legislation passing (depending on what happens with the filibuster and the House), or finding herself utterly paralyzed by Congress. Giving up a seat for the sake of a compelling running mate is an enormous risk, one Clinton would be foolish to take. Which, by the way, also rules out a number of other potential vice presidential candidates, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey…

Senator Warren would indeed be an excellent replacement for Joe Biden, but she’s doing great work in her current job — and a HRClinton presidency can only increase her clout. And she obviously loves what she’s doing, so there’s that as well.



Excellent Read: “Did Donald Trump Just Hand the Senate to Elizabeth Warren?”

Yes, I am still a fangrrl for my senior Senator — and I’m not alone. From Politico, David S. Bernstein reports:

Between Warren’s powerful fundraising chops and the potential for a Donald Trump candidacy to push Senate seats into Democratic hands, the next Senate could see a whole new power bloc with Warren at the head.

Warren’s influence is twofold. First and foremost, she’s the undisputed queen of the party’s message: Warren-esque liberalism has become the de facto tongue for most of the party’s Senate candidates, regardless of gender—just as her brand of economic populism has dominated the Democratic presidential primaries. Warren’s passions— decreasing college debt, investing in research and regulating financial institutions—have become the party’s passions.

And since winning election to the Senate in 2012, Warren has emerged as her party’s most potent ally at the operational level. She’s described by veteran Democrats as a “rock star” fundraiser—filling the boot for individual candidates as well as for the powerful Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Earlier this year, Warren sent her top staffer, Mindy Myers, to run the DSCC’s independent expenditure arm—where the big bucks flow. And now she’s gearing up for an exceptionally busy 2016 that will kick into high gear during the summer Senate recess and last well into the fall.

In a normal year, the Senate would be likely to stay in Republican hands. But now that Trump has secured the nomination, the prospect of a powerful anti-Trump turnout puts as many as a dozen Republican-held seats in play—with the possibility of electing as many as eight new female senators to join the 12 Democratic women who will return in 2017. That would give us a new Senate with a Democratic majority, a historically large bloc of women—as many as 20 on the Democratic side—and one person ready to lead them. In short, Trump could end up making Warren one of the most powerful people in the Capitol…

Already in the 2016 election cycle, Warren has sent fundraising emails on behalf of 10 candidates, including seven who are challenging Republican incumbents or running for open seats. They are Russ Feingold, who is looking to return to the Senate in Wisconsin; Kamala Harris, the favorite for an open California seat; Tammy Duckworth, challenging Mark Kirk in Illinois; Maggie Hassan, the New Hampshire governor locked in a blockbuster clash with budding Republican superstar Kelly Ayotte; Jason Kander, whose bid against Roy Blunt in Missouri now seems far less quixotic; Catherine Cortez Masto, Harry Reid’s chosen successor in Nevada; and former Governor Ted Strickland, who is fighting a nail-biter with Ohio incumbent Rob Portman…

Flipping a Senate majority, from its current 46-54 deficit, has been considered a crapshoot. But a Trump nomination could slide a whole host of contests into Democratic hands. As the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia depicted last month, a “Trumpmare” scenario would push Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania Senate races from “Tossup” or “Lean Republican” to “Lean Democrat.” It’s easy to see why: Recent polls show Clinton beating Trump by 15 points in Pennsylvania and 19 points in New Hampshire. It’s hard to imagine that kind of lopsided drubbing wouldn’t affect the Senate races there….

Part of Warren’s success at thumping Scott (Weak!) Brown was that Sen. Himbo and his Masshole supporters could not resist going after her with the dumbest, most obnoxious attacks — hooting & tomahawk chops — stuff that repelled even Brown-sympathetic voters. Trump is Scotty ‘Cosmo Boy’ Brown, only with more money and even lower standards. Warren’s given every Democrat a template for prodding Deadbeat Don into shooting his own campaign in the foot, repeatedly.



Thursday Morning Open Thread: I Approve This Message


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Also, I still {heart} my senior Senator…


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Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Soooper Tuesday Morning Open Thread

texas babes super tuesday danziger

(Jeff Danziger’s website)

Per the NYTimes, “Donald Trump Finds Ally in Delegate Selection System, Much to G.O.P.’s Chagrin”:

… Hoping to avoid a repeat of the messy fight for the Republican nomination in 2012, the party drew up a calendar and delegate-selection rules intended to allow a front-runner to wrap things up quickly.

Now, with Republicans voting in 11 states on Tuesday, the worst fears of the party’s establishment are coming true: Donald J. Trump could all but seal his path to the nomination in a case of unintended consequences for the party leadership, which vehemently opposes him.

“Trump has significant advantages, and that’s the way the system is designed,” said Joshua T. Putnam, a political science lecturer at the University of Georgia with an expertise in delegate selection. “It’s right in line with what the folks designing these rules wanted. It’s just not the candidate they preferred.”

As the calendar flips, March brings a whirlwind of states voting on the same days and in quick succession. By the middle of the month, 58 percent of the total delegates will have been awarded, and Mr. Trump could be unstoppable in getting the 1,237 needed to clinch the nomination.

With the exception of Texas, the home state of Senator Ted Cruz, recent polls show Mr. Trump leading in the so-called Super Tuesday states that vote this week, including Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts and Virginia. Though Texas has the most delegates of states voting on Tuesday, 155, they all award delegates proportionally, so that Mr. Cruz will most likely have to share the haul…

Meanwhile, on our “mostly harmless sane” side of the aisle, the people at the top have stayed about as civil as politics ever gets. Despite a fake NYTimes article “widely circulated on social media”, that includes my own senior senator, as reported in Politico:

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling it out in Massachusetts ahead of the March 1 primary here — and the state’s most important endorsement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is still sitting on the sidelines of the debate, watching and waiting for her moment of maximum leverage.

Even as Clinton turns Massachusetts — a predominantly white, progressive New England state that should be tailor-made for Sanders — into a battleground Super Tuesday state, the campaign has been quietly respectful of Warren’s desire to remain neutral.

In part, that’s because the progressive standard-bearer — and the only member of the state’s congressional delegation who has not endorsed Clinton — is expected to play the role of peacemaker in the Democratic Party at some point in the months leading up to the convention, sources familiar with Warren’s thinking said.

If Clinton wins enough delegates by the end of March to become the presumptive Democratic nominee, Warren is expected to negotiate hard before giving her support to Clinton. In doing so, she could play a critical role helping to bring young, enthusiastic Sanders supporters into her fold…

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Apart for stocking up on popcorn, and Pepto-Bismol, for this evening’s results-watching, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Open Thread: I {Heart} My Senior Senator

… and I hope she’s in the Senate, speaking the deeply partisan, rudely divisive TRUTH, for a great many years to come!



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Leftovers

gop leftovers sheneman

(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)

Because sometimes all you can do is cope. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Got a nice Thanksgiving message (okay, a block email) from my senior Senator Elizabeth Warren…

I buy all sorts of things for Thanksgiving that no one in the family eats much during the rest of the year. Jell-O for Aunt Bee’s special dish (she’s gone, but the green Jell-O salad lives on). Canned onion rings. Marshmallows.

I’d stopped doing the sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows on top, only to get protests from the family. I said I wasn’t going to keep making it. “You don’t eat more than a few nibbles, and I end up throwing most of it out.”

My daughter Amelia and son Alex dissolved into gales of laughter. “No, no, you’ve got to keep making it.” Even Bruce was in on the joke.

Finally they confessed why they looked forward to the dish. The last thing I do, once all the dishes are laid out and the turkey is on the table, is put the sweet potato casserole topped with carefully arranged marshmallows under the broiler, while everyone heads to the table.

And about half the time, I get distracted and remember the sweet potatoes only after the marshmallows have caught fire.

Amelia and Alex claim that, while they were growing up, that was the highlight of Thanksgiving: Would mom set the marshmallows on fire again this year? And, if I did start a fire, how exciting would it be? Would I scream? Would I set the kitchen towels on fire again? Would I carry the flaming dish to the sink while everyone rushed into the kitchen and yelled advice? …

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful. As I look around this morning at my own kids and grandkids, making new traditions and hopefully not setting the house on fire, I’m deeply thankful to have the opportunity to fight for families in Massachusetts and all across the country – and I’m thankful to have you with me for those fights.

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Best of luck to all the people traveling after the holiday (or wishing they were). What else is on the agenda for the day?