Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
Members of the Senate Democratic caucus rumored to be considering 2020 runs are assembling — sometimes together, other times in what seems like an arms race — a remarkably progressive slate of policy pitches.
This past week, the focus turned to a “federal jobs guarantee.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has a bill that would launch about 15 pilot programs in select cities and regions. Among the cosponsors: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jeff Merkley and Elizabeth Warren. Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is working up his own, more comprehensive plan. All of the above have been consulting with progressive economists and policy wonks — folks who traditionally work to the left of think tanks like the Center for American Progress (which introduced its own, limited jobs guarantee program last year).
Gillibrand made more waves midweek when she unveiled the Postal Banking Act, which would have your local post office provide some banking services. This could, as Gillibrand put it in a tweet, “wipe out the predatory practices of the payday loan industry overnight by providing an accessible and low cost alternative.” As a Sanders spokesman noted on Twitter, it’s an idea the Vermont independent has discussed in the past.
What this all really means, of course, is up for debate. These bills are, as long as Republicans control the White House and Congress, effectively glorified press releases. But they tell us something about where the Democratic Party and the 2020 primary contest is headed. That is, in a word, left.
News and notes:
SANDERS, BIDEN LEAD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: The University of New Hampshire released new polling last week showing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead among Democratic primary voters in the Granite State with 28% — just ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden’s 26%. In third place was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 11%, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris at 6%, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at 5% and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III at 3%. Here are the full results.
HARRIS REJECTS CORPORATE MONEY: California Sen. Kamala Harris will join other leading Democrats in rejecting corporate PAC money, she said in an interview aired last week. It’s a reversal of her “it depends” answer at a town hall earlier this year. “We’re all supposed to have an equal vote, but money has now really tipped the balance between an individual having equal power in an election to a corporation. So I’ve actually made a decision since I had that conversation that I’m not going to accept corporate PAC checks. I just, I’m not,” Harris said.
GARCETTI PREPS FOR 2020: Don’t miss Maeve Reston’s deep look at Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his increasingly frequent travel to early voting states. Garcetti describes the neighborhood in which he grew up as “middle America in LA” — so he took Reston on a tour of his childhood haunts. Don’t miss him playing Galaga at the arcade and hitting fastballs in the batting cage in the accompanying video from Gabe Ramirez.
KANDER BACK IN THE HAWKEYE STATE: Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander delivered the keynote speech in front of hundreds at the annual Dallas County Democrats fundraiser Thursday in Adel, Iowa. Local candidates and nearly all of Iowa’s state and federal candidates were in attendance and gave speeches.
When asked by the Dallas County News about the speculation about a presidential run, Kander echoed his previous responses, saying, “It’s something that people keep asking me about, that obviously makes me think about it, but I’m really focused on continuing to do what I’m doing right now. It’s the most important thing I can be doing; fighting voter suppression across the country, fighting to make sure we take back the US House of Representatives, and then after 2018 I’ll consider my options.”
BUTTIGIEG TO KEYNOTE IN WISCONSIN: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is set to give the keynote address at the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s 2018 state convention in Oshkosh on June 1. It comes after he’s spoken at statewide Democratic events in Utah, Kansas and, over the weekend, South Dakota.
From the right:
KASICH WALKS INTO A TRUMPLAND TWEETSTORM: President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale slammed potential GOP primary challenger John Kasich in a series of tweets on Sunday morning. Parscale seemed to be reacting to the Ohio governor’s remarks to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“I didn’t leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me,” Kasich said, echoing (in reverse) Ronald Reagan’s old-line about his time as a Democrat. “I can bring that party back, that’s what I’m going to do, in one way or another.”
“Bye,” Parscale tweeted in response. “Because the days of the party being for a few at the top is over. It is now the party of every American who wants government to stay out of their way and promote a great economy and keep us safe. We don’t need handouts we need opportunity. @realDonaldTrump is doing that.”
Parscale then tweeted out a pic of Kasich with none other than Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, adding: “Is it really hard to figure out who @JohnKasich is really with? He is very chummy with @NancyPelosi. They want to control every part of your life. They want a political class that chooses the winners and losers. Our success should not come from politicians but our own effort.”
Before you go:
Former Obama 2012 director of rapid response Lis Smith has come onto New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reelection campaign as a consultant. Smith also works closely with Pete Buttigieg, another potential 2020 contestant.