Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
California’s Sen. Kamala Harris called an immigration detention facility in Otay Mesa, near San Diego, “a prison” after touring it Friday and meeting migrant women who had been separated from their children.
“I am a career prosecutor. I’ve visited many prisons and jails,” the former California attorney general said. “That is a prison.”
“You walk through the hall and the doors clang shut and there are bars on the windows. They get time to have recreation for a certain number of hours a day in a 500-square-foot cell,” she said. “This is contrary to the principles we hold dear.”
Harris told reporters the mothers she met are from Honduras and El Salvador, many of whom she said think they are alone.
“All suffered sex abuse and domestic violence, and fled for the safety of their children,” she said. “My heart is broken. … Let’s keep being their voice.”
Harris also traveled to Missouri on Thursday for a St. Louis County NAACP dinner, where she praised Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is locked in a competitive re-election race, and criticized President Donald Trump. She characterized the political moment as an “inflection point” that will be examined by future generations.
“Our answer is not going to simply be how we felt, but what we did,” Harris said. “Did we sign people up to vote? Did we fight against voter suppression? Did we knock on doors? Did we pay attention to who’s elected? … Did we stand up for justice? Did we fight for folks and for equality, and not tire?”
Coming up on the Sunday shows:
— Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders will be on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He’s the only 2020 prospect booked so far this weekend.
The week ahead:
— Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren is keynoting the Nevada Democratic Party’s convention in Reno on Saturday – her first visit to an early-voting state since President Donald Trump took office. (Trump, meanwhile, will spend Saturday at the Nevada GOP’s convention and a fundraiser in Las Vegas.) Later in the day, she’ll hold an event with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto at Lovelady Brewing Co. in Henderson. From there, Warren heads to McAllen, Texas, for a border visit.
— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and a 2020 prospect, is in Iowa this weekend. His main event is Saturday night’s keynote of the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame event in Altoona. He also scheduled events in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and 11 other mayors, as well as corporate and union leaders, will be in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday for an event focused on city initiatives that can be replicated. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters International Training Center is hosting the event.
— The Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary is Tuesday. Candidate Ben Jealous, the former NAACP head and a Bernie Sanders backer in 2016, has attracted support from a host of 2020 prospects – including Sanders and Kamala Harris, both of whom held events with him in the days before the election.
— Former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Ohio next Friday. He’ll headline fundraisers for Sen. Sherrod Brown and gubernatorial hopeful Richard Cordray, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
News and notes:
MERKLEY ‘EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY’ OF 2020: Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, fresh off a standout moment at the border, told The New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg he is “exploring the possibility” of a 2020 run. The more interesting revelation: Asked if he’d stay out if similarly progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren ran, Merkley said: “Not necessarily.”
KANDER’S CHOICE: PRESIDENT OR … MAYOR? Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is among the most sought-after speakers on the Democratic circuit – and he hasn’t been shy about visiting early-voting states, with 16 Iowa trips and 12 New Hampshire visits. But he also is eyeing another option: Kansas City mayor. Several mayors (Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti, New Orleans’ Mitch Landrieu, South Bend, Indiana’s Pete Buttigieg) are part of the 2020 conversation – reflecting a Democratic Party searching far and wide for new leadership.
AKON 2020? Celebrities keep talking about running for president. First Kanye West and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, then Oprah Winfrey, and now singer and music producer Akon says he’s “seriously thinking” about running against “the bully” – President Donald Trump – in 2020. He says he is “now starting to realize that the only way to make change is to be in it.”