#2020Vision: Bernie Sanders counter-programs Trump's road trip; Booker takes on Confederate statues

US Capitol home to several Confederate statues
US Capitol home to several Confederate statues

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Story highlights

  • Democrats in Congress have different reactions to Trump's Charlottesville remarks
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is going to New Hampshire

Washington (CNN)Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to hit the road on a three-city Midwestern tour designed to show that his progressive policies have universal appeal.
Sanders will be in Indianapolis on Monday for an event with union leader (and Trump Twitter target) Chuck Jones. Then he'll head to Portsmouth, Ohio — in a county Trump won by 37 points and which has been ravaged by the opioid crisis — and then Detroit, for an event with Rep. John Conyers.
    What do Sanders and Conyers have in common? Single-payer "Medicare for all" health care, of course. Conyers sponsored the major House Democratic proposal. Sanders is soon expected to introduce his own version in the Senate.
    If all goes according to plan, the trip could help Sanders show that "Medicare for all" sells in the Rust Belt — and it could also be a flattering contrast, one populist against another, as President Donald Trump heads West.
    An additional Bernie-world note: Some of Sanders' most vocal allies had tweaked a Democratic rising star, California Sen. Kamala Harris, on policy recently. That agitated some within the party. But McClatchy's Alex Roarty included an important quote in a story this week, in which Sanders' inner circle distanced the Vermont independent senator from those allies' criticisms of Harris.
    "Nobody part of Bernie's inner circle had anything to do with that, or would have any part of the criticism of Sen. Harris," said Mark Longabaugh, a senior aide to Sanders' presidential campaign.

    News and notes:

    BOOKER'S CONFEDERATE BILL: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is introducing legislation to remove statues from the Capitol that honor Confederate soldiers in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence and Trump placing a share of blame on anti-racism counter-protesters, as well as the white supremacists, KKK members and neo-Nazis who rallied there. "The Capitol is a place for all Americans to come and feel welcomed, encouraged and inspired," he said. "Confederate statues do the opposite."
    Where's Democratic leadership? Booker has the support of House Democratic leaders, including Nancy Pelosi. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to gently nudge Democrats toward the clearer political win — fighting the President over his response to white supremacists, rather than over statues. "President Trump and Steve Bannon are trying to divert attention away from the President's refusal to unequivocally and full-throatedly denounce white supremacy, neo-Nazism, and other forms of bigotry," Schumer said in a statement. "While it is critical that we work towards the goal of Senator Cory Booker's legislation, we must continue to denounce and resist President Trump for his reprehensible actions."
    Another Charlottesville reaction of note comes from California Sen. Kamala Harris, who wrote on Facebook: "'Many sides' is what kept children in this country at separate schools and adults at separate lunch counters for decades. 'Many sides' is what turned a blind eye when Emmett Till was lynched and stood silent when marchers were beat in Selma for 'disturbing the peace.' ... It's not hard to spot the wrong side here. They're the ones with the torches and the swastikas."
    GARCETTI GOES TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is headed to the Granite State for an August 28 fundraiser for Manchester mayoral hopeful Joyce Craig, per WMUR's John DiStaso. Garcetti has increased his travel outside California lately — visiting Wisconsin in June and speaking at a Center for American Progress event in Washington.
    Why is Garcetti interesting? 1) He is Latino and Jewish — or "just your average Mexican-American, Jewish-Italian," as he said at 2016's Democratic convention. 2) He was the first mayor in a major city to sign a $15 minimum wage. And 3) With Democrats' state-level power diminished, cities are proving to be a key source of anti-Trump resistance.
    MURPHY'S LONG WALK: Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy just completed a 105-mile walk across his state — a five-day trek that included four town halls and lots of Snapchat and Twitter updates, plus daily, photo-heavy Medium posts. (It's worth keeping in mind that Murphy, though in a safe state, is up for re-election in 2018 — so this is all about his home state, not 2020.)
    There are great Murphy scenes and quotes across Connecticut media. One that caught our eye: "I have only had one guy give me the bird," Murphy said. "I stopped and talked to a couple of guys in Southbury with Rush Limbaugh playing on the radio. I'm pretty sure they're not fans of mine."
    STEYER'S HEART IN THE NATIONAL FIGHT: Liberal mega-donor Tom Steyer, whose NextGen America group is a huge grassroots organizing force on the left, has long been seen as a potential candidate for California governor in 2018 or, in what would be a longer shot, the White House in 2020. At Netroots Nation in Atlanta, he sounded like his head and heart are in national issues right now. "I would say it is hard for me not to think about that fight" against Trump, Steyer said. He called Trump's presidency a "historic moment," said America's political divide "is not shrinking, it's growing," and called the nation in "complete crisis, honestly."
    WARREN'S CULTURE FOCUS: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a new, stump-sounding speech at Netroots Nation, declaring the Democratic Party's gates successfully crashed and the ascendant progressive wing in full control. But what raised our eyebrows was how Warren weaved a cultural focus into her usual economic populism. At one point, Warren said Democrats are not "going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill."
    Another prime example of Warren melding an economic and cultural message: "I say we can care about a dad who's worried that his kid will have to move away from their factory town to find good work -- and we can care about a mom who's worried that her kid will get shot during a traffic stop. The way I see it, those two parents have something deep down in common -- the system is rigged against both of them -- and against their kids."
    PREPARING FOR PENCE: The Democratic opposition research super PAC American Bridge 21st Century is preparing for Vice President Mike Pence — not Trump — to lead the Republican ballot in 2020. The group is particularly focused on Pence's ties to the Russia probe and to his handling of hate groups as Indiana governor, reports BuzzFeed's Tarini Parti.

    The week ahead:

    Monday, August 21 — Bernie Sanders kicks off his Midwest tour with a 4 p.m. ET rally with union leader Chuck Jones in Indianapolis.
    Tuesday, August 22 — Sanders is in Portsmouth, Ohio, for a 10:30 a.m. ET event focused on jobs, health care and the economy. Then, he'll be with Rep. John Conyers in Detroit for a 7 p.m. ET town hall where the two are likely to talk about single-payer "Medicare for all" health coverage.
    Tuesday, August 22 — Kamala Harris speaks at the 10 a.m. PT Lake Tahoe Summit, which is hosted by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and will be attended by a bipartisan Nevada and California contingency, including Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval. One key focus will be combating climate change in the Lake Tahoe basin.
    Tuesday, August 22 — President Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail with a 7 p.m. MT mega-rally in Phoenix.
    Wednesday, August 23 — Elizabeth Warren holds a 6:30 p.m. ET town hall in North Dartmouth. It's her first of three: Warren has a town hall Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET in Marshfield and one at the same time Friday in Concord.

    Before you go:

    Minnesota Sen. Al Franken canceled on Bill Maher after the HBO host used the N-word on-air weeks ago. But Franken will appear this Friday on Maher's show, which airs at 10 p.m. ET. ... Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg donated nearly $100 million in Facebook stock to a fund she uses for charitable contributions. ... Gun advocates are criticizing Kamala Harris for calling for an assault weapons ban. Politically, this is what Harris might call a good problem.