Warren to go on attack for Clinton

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is relishing her role as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective attack dogs against Donald Trump.

Warren’s criticism of Trump in tweets and speeches has gotten under the Republican presidential nominee’s skin, provoking angry outbursts from the billionaire businessman.

She’s has shown a talent for irking Trump — mainly on Twitter — and moving him off message, which is something Trump’s GOP primary foes struggled to do.

Scott Ferson, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who voted for Clinton in the primary, said Warren’s attacks were effective because she knows where to aim and has the credibility to back it up.

“She knows how to hit Trump where he lives,” said Ferson. “I would have hated to be Elizabeth Warren’s younger brother.”

The liberal stalwart homed in on Trump’s business background and derogatory comments about women, labeling him a con artist who’s bilked his way into striking distance of the White House.

Soon after Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Warren tweeted that the duo was a perfect match: “Two small, insecure, weak men who use hate & fear to divide our country & our people.”

Trump changed the subject and countered that Warren was a “fraud” who lied about having Native American ancestry. Warren shot back with comments about the lawsuits he faces over Trump University while defending her own credentials.

“It might blow your mind that a woman worked hard & earned a good job on her own,” she tweeted, “but it’s not the 1800s. It happens.”

Warren also joined a chorus of Democrats calling for Trump to publicly release his tax returns, implying that the real estate mogul is hiding a bombshell.

“Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out he’s worth a whole lot less than he claims. We really can’t know for sure,” Warren said in a video for progressive nonprofit MoveOn.org.

And when Warren campaigned with Clinton for the first time, on June 27, she used the stage to knock Trump’s ethics.

“What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of a man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one other than himself,” she said. “What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become president of the United States.”

Democratic strategist Craig Varoga said Warren “expresses well thought-out plans in pithy sound bites.”

Trump has trouble with people attacking him, “especially a well-educated, forceful woman,” Varoga added.

Warren, a former law professor, has spent her career advocating for and proposing economic policies aimed at reining in Wall Street and big corporations and helping the middle class and the poor.

Her authenticity and credibility on economic issues could help energize people who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic primary and persuade undecided voters to vote for Clinton.

“She’s uniquely suited to talk about economic solutions to the problems that both Trump and Sanders have identified and talked about so far,” such as bad trade deals and the struggles of the middle class, Varoga said.

Warren targeted Trump even before endorsing Clinton, and she continued as the presumptive nominee deliberated about choosing a running mate.

But Warren is unlikely to stop attacking Trump and pushing her economic message just because she won’t be the vice presidential nominee, say allies on the left.

“She’s motivated by a policy agenda she believes in,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “She’s not motivated by a desire to audition for a title.”

Ferson agreed, noting Warren’s past tension with Clinton gives her no reason to stick her neck out.

“She is really, really afraid of what Donald Trump will do if he becomes president,” said Ferson. “Elizabeth Warren has no reason from a personal standpoint to help Hillary Clinton.”

Warren energizes progressives and Democrats as a whole because “she is fearlessly willing to speak truth to power,” said Neil Sroka, communications director at Democracy for America. His group and MoveOn had partnered on the “Run Warren Run” campaign from December 2014 to June 2015 to encourage the senator to run for president.

Warren’s comments resonate with progressives and people across the political spectrum because she has a plain, easy-to-understand way of speaking and “her integrity is self-evident,” said MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning.

She can also appeal to undecided voters who may be attracted to Trump’s economic message because she provides more substance, experts said.

Warren’s progressive credentials give Clinton a much-needed bridge to the left wing of her party.

Though Warren criticized Clinton’s economic stances long before she joined the Senate in 2013 and held out on an endorsement in 2016 until the former first lady had clinched the nomination, she’s insisted Clinton is the best person to fight for middle- and working-class families.

“For 25 years … the right wing has been throwing everything they possibly can at her. What she’s done is she gets back up, and she gets back in the fight,” Warren told MSNBC upon endorsing Clinton on June 9.

“You also have to be willing to throw a punch, and there are a lot of things people say about Hillary Clinton, but nobody says she doesn’t know how to throw a punch,” she said.

Warren is the “best person to raise money, excite the base and maximize turnout for the base,” said Ferson. “There’s no one who provides that excitement in the way that Elizabeth Warren does.”

By Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane

Sanders: ‘We Have Got To Do Everything We Can’ To Elect Clinton


(AP Photo / Bill Clark)


“We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,”Sanders said Thursday to a Bloomberg reporter for a PBS program. “I don’t honestly know how we would survive four years of a Donald Trump [presidency].”

Sanders has before said he would fight for the nomination up to the Democratic National Convention later this month. But when asked Wednesday night on MSNBC if he was “not denying” the report that there were talks of a potential endorsement, Sanders replied, “that’s correct.”

Clinton was declared the party’s presumptive nominee at the beginning of June.

Political scientist: Bernie isn’t the future of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama is.


Bernie Sanders may have lost the current battle for the Democratic nomination. But he’s winning the war for the party’s future.

That, at least, is the conventional wisdom about Sanders’s campaign — that while the Vermont senator may go down to defeat in this presidential cycle, his young supporters can expect sweeping victory within a generation or two.

“Whatever Sanders’s fate as a presidential candidate … his campaign is the harbinger of a deep change in the Democratic Party,” wrote the New Republic’s Jeet Heer after Sanders won New Hampshire. “In coming years, Democratic politicians will have to echo Sanders’s slashing critique of Wall Street and his call for a far more robust welfare state if they want to hold on to the rising generation in their party.”

But Dave Hopkins, a political scientist at Boston College, thinks these kinds of interpretations may be overstating the long-term significance of Sanders’s insurgency.

“There’s a temptation to assume that everything new in politics is a harbinger of the future. But lots of things are dead ends: They rise, and they go away,” Hopkins says. “There’s no reason to believe just definitionally that Sanders represents the future of the Democratic Party more than anybody else.”

For one, Hopkins sees little reason to believe that the young voters who have overwhelmingly backed Sanders will remain wedded to his political vision. And the title of most popular Democrat still belongs to the man in the White House: Barack Obama continues to command massive popularity among the Democratic rank and file — about 80 percent of Democrats approve of his job performance.

“It seems like [Obama] will go down in history as the key figure in current Democratic Party politics — he showed how the party’s new demographic coalition could come together. If you want to talk about the future of the Democratic Party, that’s where it is,” Hopkins said.

In a phone call earlier this week, Hopkins told me why he thinks Sanders has failed to transform the Democratic Party this time around, and why — media speculation aside — he probably doesn’t represent its future either.

A transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows below.

Has Bernie Sanders pulled the party to the left?

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (Getty)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Getty)

Jeff Stein: I want to get a sense of the extent to which you think Sanders has pulled the Democratic primary to the left. On some of these issues — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, wealth inequality, the minimum wage — hasn’t his message changed Clinton’s?

Dave Hopkins: I think Sanders has had a visible effect on the rhetoric of the Clinton campaign, where they clearly took seriously the critique that she was not really liberal enough and responded to Sanders’s presence in the race.


TPP is the one example where there may have actually been a substantive position change in response to him. The rest haven’t been substantive position changes but rhetorical and message differences — and, maybe, emphasizing Wall Street regulation, the public option on health care, and more debt free college.

But she didn’t adopt all of his positions, or even many of them. At most, she may have “me, too’d” some issues more than she would have otherwise.

JS: Okay, maybe Sanders didn’t force many substantive concessions. But didn’t he at least move the party to talk more about inequality? Clearly the primary at least showed future Democratic politicians the potency of his attacks on the 1 percent and the “millionaires and billionaires,” right?

DH: I think it was already there to a large extent. It’s an issue that Democrats more generally have come to talk about over the last few years even before Sanders started running. I think she was going to need to talk about it either way.

But in other ways she made other distinctions with him — at times trying to suggest he was too focused on just inequality and Wall Street and not on the other issues important to Democrats, like racial discrimination and gun control. Some of it was adapting to his candidacy by echoing him, and some of it was pushing back against him.

I’m just not sure Sanders really forced her to make any concessions that she wouldn’t have made otherwise. He never was quite enough of a threat to her actual nomination to really require her to change course in a fundamental way in this campaign. And I think a lot of where you see his influence is on the edges — in the rhetoric and the approach in the primary. And I’m not sure whether we’ll see a substantive lasting effect of the Sanders campaign.

It may be that after the conventions, the Clinton people feel they have a big problem appealing to Sanders voters and have to revisit his issues. But absent that, it’s not clear to me that there’s been a large-scale effect on the party in general.

JS: What if we look at something like campaign finance? Sanders was able to raise enough from his small-donor army to not suffer financially against Clinton and do so in a way that also redounded to his political benefit. Could there be a lasting lesson there?

DH: I think there’s probably something to that. He showed that you can raise a lot of money from small individual donations without making nice with business interests within the party, and the Clinton fundraising strategy going back to the ’90s was to sell themselves to wealthier interests as being somewhat business-friendly.

So Sanders does represent another path, and he was certainly much better-funded than most of his liberal insurgent predecessors. He showed that you can use the internet and publicity to raise an awful lot of money. That’s certainly one place where future presidential candidates could change.

Why Hopkins thinks Sanders is nowhere near remaking the party in his image


(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)


Trump shifts his tone, promises to make party proud

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Donald Trump sought to reshape his candidacy on Tuesday night, using a teleprompter to deliver a carefully prepared address that cast the presumptive presidential nominee as a champion for ordinary Americans.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

Trump passed on hot-button issues like his pledge to build a wall along the Southern border, his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, his criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and declined even to use his preferred nickname for Hillary Clinton – “Crooked Hillary.”

Instead, Trump vowed to work to earn the support of all those who cast ballots for other candidates over the course of the primary.

“To those who voted for someone else in either party, I’ll work hard to earn your support,” Trump said. “I will work very hard to earn that support. To all of those Bernie Sanders supporters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.”

The remarks come as Trump tries to move past one of the most explosive controversies of a presidential campaign in which he has repeatedly pushed the envelope, particularly on matters related to race and ethnicity.

Trump should have been enjoying a victory lap on the last night of GOP primaries after steamrolling a deep field of Republican contenders and clinching the nomination a full month before Hillary Clinton was able to wrap up the Democratic nomination.

Instead, Trump found found himself under siege from Republicans and Democrats alike for comments he made about an Indiana-born federal judge being biased against him because he’s of Mexican descent.

Top Republican leaders from House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on down have rebuked Trump.

Ryan said that Trump’s remarks are the “textbook definition” of racism, while McConnell demanded the likely GOP standard bearer “get on message.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a fierce Trump critic and former presidential candidate, is urging Republicans who have endorsed Trump to retract their support.

Republicans are also upset that Trump is missing opportunities to go after Democrats for a weak economic recovery and Clinton over an inspector general report that called into question her use of a private email account and server.

Trump tried to get back on message on Tuesday night, saying that he expects build a substantial lead over Clinton in the polls in the coming weeks as he takes aim at the likely Democratic nominee.

“America is getting taken apart piece by piece and auctioned off to the highest bidder,” Trump said. “We’re broke. We owe 19 trillion going quickly to 21 trillion. Our infrastructure is a disaster. Our schools are failing. Crime is rising. People are scared .The last thing we need is Hillary Clinton in the White House or the extension of the Obama disaster.”

Trump said he would give a major speech next week detailing why he believes Clinton is unfit for office.

“The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves,” Trump said. “They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts…secretary Clinton even did all of the work on a totally illegal private server…and the corrupt system is totally protecting her.”

Trump’s speech concluded just moments before Clinton was scheduled to speak at a rally in Brooklyn, where she’s expected to claim victory in the Democratic presidential primary.

As eager as Trump was to go after Clinton, Democrats are equally as eager to have their shot at Trump.

Since Trump’s controversy with the federal judge, many Democrats have branded the likely GOP nominee a racist and a bigot and sought to tie him to down-ballot Republican running for reelection, particularly in the Senate, where the GOP is playing defense as it seeks to protect a fragile majority.

By Jonathan Easley

Reminder: The Right-Wing Owes Us 25 Billion Dollars

Mark Wilson via Getty Images


Rest assured, Bobby Jindal (R-LA). Republicans are not the stupid party. They are the evil party.

Democrats are the stupid party. With the havoc that could be wreaked by the Zika virus, the right-wing feel they must “find” money in the budget to offset the research and development necessary to be ready for it.

But, $25 billion to shut down the government? Not a problem.

The Democrats are genetically incapable of calling them on it. A statement here or there, and that is it. Or, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) once told me about another subject, “didn’t you see my press release?”

Like Katrina and 9/11, we know it is coming. And yet, like Katrina and 9/11, Republicans sit on their hands.

After all, how much more fun to blame Obama for Zika, as Donald Trump will certainly do. And, while they are at it, they will make it more and more difficult for mothers who are carrying the microcephalic babies to have abortions.

This, Secretary Clinton/Senator Sanders/Senator Reid/Congresswoman Pelosi, could not be an easier case to make to shape public sentiment.

Republicans owe the country $25 billion from a shutdown so absurd that their own Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) lashed out at it, and the architects said they they knew in advance it would fail.

$25 billion.

U.S. taxpayers will, thank you very much, take the first $1.9 billion of that back to protect unborn children and mothers from the Zika virus. (Unborn children? Who, pray tell, pontificates their love for them?)

A little clue on how to make this happen. Speak about it from all quarters. Have Hillary and Bernie call into morning news programs, just like Trump does, to talk about it. Repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat. Keep making the distinction. Demand the first “credit” from the $25B the right-wing owes the country is protection against the Zika virus.

Every time you are on a Sunday morning yapping show, talk about it. Bring every question back to Zika, right-wing obstruction, hypocrisy over protecting the unborn, $25 billion they blew on the government shutdown.

Of course, the above scenario will never happen. After all, the Dems are indeed the stupid party.

Paul Abrams

Tensions explode in Dem primary

Greg Nash


Bernie Sanders is standing by his supporters in the face of mounting criticism from Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, over the increasingly nasty tone of the Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders on Tuesday issued a statement rejecting claims by Hillary Clinton’s allies that his campaign has shown a penchant for violence as “nonsense.”

It was released just minutes after Reid went before cameras in the Senate to call on Sanders to do “the right thing” and hold his supporters accountable for the chaotic scene that took place Saturday at Nevada’s state convention.

The starkly different messages showed off a Democratic split that is getting worse than the fight within the GOP over presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Reid said he had spoken to Sanders for 10 minutes on Tuesday but in an interview with CNN called the release from the Sanders campaign a “silly statement” that “someone else prepared for him.”

“Bernie should say something — not have some silly statement,” Reid said. “Bernie is better than that. … I’m surprised by his statement. I thought he was going to do something different.”

While Republicans are now rallying around Trump, a Democratic rift between party officials overwhelmingly loyal to Clinton and liberal activists and younger voters drawn to Sanders is growing wider and more contentious.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday said things have gotten out of hand and made clear they see Sanders as primarily responsible.

“When it breaks down to shouting matches, demonstrations and violence, it’s unacceptable,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.). “Shouting down speakers and throwing chairs in hotel gatherings — those things aren’t consistent with reasonable discourse.”

Tensions spiraled out of control at the Nevada Democratic convention over the weekend when frustrations among Sanders’s supporters erupted into shouting, angry demonstrations and thrown chairs.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was booed off the stage in Las Vegas when she appealed for Sanders backers calm down. She said she feared for her safety.

Death threats and vulgar messages were left with Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange — and then were posted online by Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.

“I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung [sic] in a public execution to show this world that we won’t stand for this sort of corruption,” says the caller on one voicemail, who left his phone number.

Lange told CNN on Tuesday that Sanders has done nothing to apologize or crack down on the behavior.

“They have high-level campaign people that were trying to incite their people going into the convention,” she said. “I have not received an apology. I have not received anything from the Sanders campaign.

“It’s going to continue unless, you know, people are made to feel this isn’t OK,” she said. “Some of the text messages and emails I’ve received have told me that it’s going to go into Philadelphia.”

In his statement, Sanders, an independent senator, accused his newly adopted party of not treating his campaign fairly and favoring Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

He argued that the Democratic Party needs to change its ways, distance itself from “big-money” donors and “open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change.”

While Sanders’s statement included the disclaimer that “it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals,” it was more of a call for the party establishment to change itself.

The statement came on the day of primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, two states where Sanders was seeking to drive his supporters to the polls.

“If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned,” said Sanders, who has long caucused with Democrats in the Senate but only registered with the party last year to run for president.

The statement also accused party officials at the Nevada convention of failing to take a head-count vote on the convention’s rules and of refusing to accept motions from the floor or petitions to amend the convention rules.

The defiant tone of the release was clearly not what Reid, who backs Clinton for president and is widely believed to have helped her campaign in the state, had expected.

“He and I had a very long conversation,” Reid told reporters Tuesday just minutes before the Sanders campaign statement was released. “I laid out to him what happened in Las Vegas. I wanted to make sure he understands and he’s heard what went on there, the violence and all the other bad things that have happened there.”

Reid said that how Sanders would respond to the violent outbursts over the weekend would be a “test of leadership.”

“I’m hopeful and very confident that Sen. Sanders will do the right thing,” he said.

But things didn’t quite play to that script.

The back-and-forth provided little reassurance to Democratic lawmakers who want the growing animosity between the two camps to stop, and there’s growing alarm that it could hurt the party’s chances of keeping the White House and winning back the Senate.

“We’ve got to cut that out. We’ve got to very soon get them on the same page. We’ve got to get them working toward a peaceful resolution,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who has endorsed Clinton.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), another Clinton backer, warned that the intraparty strife could hurt Senate Democratic candidates.

“I just think for us to have chaos and security guards at our state conventions is not a positive thing for candidates that are appearing on the Democratic ballot,” she said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sanders should drop out of the race if he doesn’t have enough delegates to win the nomination after the last primary in June. Sanders has vowed to keep his bid going all the way until the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July.

“Although the numbers are very positive for Sen. Clinton, I think the fact that Bernie Sanders doesn’t recognize this is really a difficulty because it precipitates a lot of this confrontation. It’s not helpful,” said Feinstein.

Senate Democrats worry the anger could spread like a wildfire if it isn’t soon contained.

“It sets off an alarm bell that a small percentage of the delegates could disrupt the convention in a way where we can’t really think about why this election is important,” Boxer told The Washington Post Tuesday.

“If all we’re addressing is how to keep a convention peaceful because a small minority of people are disrupting it, it’s very difficult, and it doesn’t bode well for the election,” she said.

By Alexander Bolton

Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in Miami

Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in MiamiImage Credit: AP


One night after Bernie Sanders pulled off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary, the Democratic presidential candidates tussled in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday for their eighth debate of the cycle.

Hosted by CNN and Univision, the debate spotlighted a wide range of policy issues, including immigration reform, college debt and climate change. With Sanders looking to parlay his shock victory on Tuesday into support in later contests, the forum provided him an opportunity to appeal to the diverse constituency that’s helped Clinton build a healthy lead in the delegate count.

We kept track of the most noteworthy moments below.

1. Sanders said he would win over Democratic superdelegates.

When Sanders talked about his optimism about nominating contests going forward, he made what may have been his first mention of the role of superdelegates in determining the Democratic nominee.


Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in Miami

Source: Wilfredo Lee/AP

“We are going to continue to do extremely well, win a number of these primaries and convince superdelegates that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump,” he said.

Currently Clinton holds a massive lead among superdelegates, who are party officials, elected members of the Democratic party like members of Congress, and other insiders who are free to line up behind whichever candidate they prefer. Typically they coalesce behind the candidate most closely linked with the party establishment, but in the case that an outsider prevails overwhelmingly, they will traditionally respect popular will (as was the case with Obama in 2008). Sanders needs to get a lot more votes before he can convince them to back him.  —Zeeshan Aleem

2. Jorge Ramos to Clinton: “Will you drop out if you get indicted?”

Pressing Clinton on the federal investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state, co-moderator Ramos asked whether she’d quit the race if leveled with Justice Department charges for mishandling classified information.

Clinton initially sidestepped the question.

“I”m going to give the same answer I’ve been giving for many months. It wasn’t the best choice, she said. “I made a mistake. I was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed. And as I have said and has now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing. And many other people in the government,” she continued, referring to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Unsatisfied, Ramos asked Clinton again whether she’d drop out if indicted.

“Oh, for goodness’—that’s not going to happen,” she said. “I’m not even answering that question.”


While few expect the Obama administration’s Justice Department to hit Clinton with criminal charges, it’s hardly the line of questioning a presidential candidate wants to be facing. — Luke Brinker

3. Clinton on whether Trump is racist: “You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that has made America great.”

Asked by co-moderator Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post whether she considered Republican frontrunner Donald Trump a racist, Clinton avoided a direct answer. But in a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, Clinton condemned Trump’s rhetoric as contrary to what has “made America great.”

“I called him out when he was calling Mexicans rapists, when he was engaging in rhetoric that I found deeply offensive. I said basta, and I am pleased that others are also joining in making clear that his rhetoric, his demagoguery, his trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system,” Clinton said. “Especially from somebody running for president who couldn’t decide whether or not to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.”

“But I will just end by saying this. You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great,” Clinton continued.

Pressed on what she made of Trump’s “character,” Clinton stuck to her script, calling Trump’s platform “un-American.”

“I think what he has promoted is not at all in keeping with American values, Karen. And I am going to take every opportunity to criticize him, to raise those issues. I’m not going to engage in the kind of language that he uses,” she said.

Given the opportunity to weigh in on the question, Sanders blasted Trump as someone “who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African-Americans,” and referred to his promotion of the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

“Nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate,” Sanders said, noting that like Obama, he is the son of an immigrant. “Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin.” — Luke Brinker






Clinton, Sanders Barnstorm Nevada For High-Stakes Caucuses… Proving Ground… The Voters That Hold The Cards… Dem Feud Gets Ugly… Sanders Jabs HRC Over Wall Street Speeches… Bernie Closes The Gap… Clinton Losing Her Firewall?… POLLS: Neck-And-Neck…

Ted Cruz Welcomes Endorsement Of Pastor Who Believes Oprah Is Antichrist Forerunner



Americans, angry at the inability of politicians and political institutions to address their concerns, seem in search of a savior. They yearn for someone to take charge. On the right, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are leading the anti-establishment crusade. On the left, Bernie Sanders has taken up the torch. Their message is one of strength, power and the promise to shake up the system. Yet this poses two problems — or should — for frustrated voters.

First, since the left harbors frightful memories of the excesses of the George W. Bush presidency and the right rails at the usurpation of power by Barack Obama, why do voters think the solution is a powerful president? Admittedly, voters may like power in the presidency when the incumbent is of their own party, but that means the half of America that voted for someone else does not. It’s also worth noting that the “imperial presidency” has not actually been welcome when it has shown itself, even among members of the president’s own party. Lyndon Johnson, who tried to rule from the oval office like he did in the Senate, decided against trying for a second term because his use of power in Vietnam failed so miserably and alienated even his democratic base. Richard Nixon found himself isolated on the road to impeachment, including by his own party, after deciding that power gave him the right to act illegally.

Second, the demand for a powerful leader raises unreasonably high expectations. Whoever becomes president will not be able, in our current political climate, to deliver on most of the boldest promises made as a candidate. This inability is also, of course, built into our constitutional system. The Framers were afraid of executive authority and expected Congress to be the dominant branch. To ensure they could limit presidential over-reach, they built in multiple ways to frustrate presidents, especially strong ones. While Congress seems to lack the power or ability to produce positive change, it does not lack the power to stop change. The result, especially when Congress is polarized and paralyzed, is almost certain to be a “failed presidency” in the minds of voters, sparking the next round of cynicism about government and, predictably, the next round of calls for power in the presidency.

If voters want a reformation of government, they must look for more fundamental change than electing a “strong” leader. Power navigates to the presidency when the legislative branch is too divided or too weak to get things done. If we can’t fix Congress, we’ll continue the conditions that lead presidents to strike out on their own, only to be reined in by Congress, which if it can agree on nothing else will at least protect its Constitutional prerogatives.

Surprisingly absent from current candidate debates are questions and conversation about what it will take to make Congress more effective. Presidential candidates show little understanding about why recent Congresses have proved ineffective and the changes in everything from redistricting, campaign finance, cross-party relationships and Congressional operations needed to turn the legislative body into a better functioning part of the governmental system — one that can balance and lessen the need for a too-powerful president.

Also missing is discussion about what behavior a president will need to demonstrate to decrease the animus that has characterized presidential-congressional relationships for so long. Pabulum about “reaching across the aisle” is devoid of specifics and almost laughable given the way candidates criticize the very body that they will depend on once elected. Indeed, when disdain for the political establishment is part of the sales pitch to angry voters, it creates for the president-elect the expectation that reaching out to Congress is tantamount to weakness.

Presidential contenders act as if the force of their will is enough to get America back on the “right track.” Absent a more sophisticated understanding and a more robust approach to the problems of national governance, the next president is consigned to disappoint us again.

Terry Newell

Sanders and Clinton Neck-and-Neck in Iowa and New Hampshire

(Photo: Charlie Leight, Getty Images)


New poll finds Sanders more electable in both states when matched against Trump, Cruz, or Rubio

Just weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are neck-and-neck, polls released Sunday reveal.

In New Hampshire, Sanders is backed by 50 percent—a four point lead over Clinton, who has 46 percent, according to surveys from NBC/The Wall Street Journal/Marist.

In Iowa, Clinton has 48 percent, compared to 45 percent for Sanders.

In both states, the gap between Sanders and Clinton fell within the poll’s margin of error. Conducted between January 2 and 7 among 422 likely Democratic caucus-goers, the Iowa survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent. The New Hampshire survey of 425 probable Democratic primary voters had the same margin of error.

“Turning to the general election,” the poll summary notes, “when Clinton and Sanders are each matched against, Trump, Cruz, or Rubio, Sanders does better than Clinton among registered voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Sanders leads in electability by a wide margin: an average of 6 points in Iowa and 21 in New Hampshire.

Sanders’ lead is, in part, due to the democratic socialist’s strong performance among independent voters.

The latest numbers were broadly interpreted as a good sign for the senator from Vermont, with The New York Times running the headline on Sunday: “Bernie Sanders Makes Strong Showing in New Polls.”

The findings come amid growing momentum, including recent reporting from Politico that, in the Nevada caucuses slated for February 20, the state is “suddenly looking like it’s in play” for Sanders, “opening another unexpected early state front.”

What’s more, Sunday’s poll findings follow earlier surveys which showed that, when matched against GOP front-runners, Sanders is more electable than Clinton.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that aired Sunday, Sanders said: “Any objective look at our campaigns would suggest we have the energy, we can drive a large voter turnout.”

Sarah Lazare