Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris Says She is Running for President in 2020

January 21, 2019

Former prosecutor joins crowded field, seeking to become second black commander in chief

Kamala Harris

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg


WASHINGTON—Sen. Kamala Harris, (D., Calif.) said she is running for president, aiming to become the nation’s first woman to win the White House and the second black commander in chief.

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Kamala Harris


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Ms. Harris, who served as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general before being elected to the Senate in 2016, made her announcement in a Martin Luther King Day interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and in a video distributed to supporters.

“I am running for president of the Untied States and I’m very excited about it,” Ms. Harris said on “Good Morning America.” I love my country and this is a moment in time where I feel a sense of responsibility to fight for who we are.”

The 54-year-old will highlight her career as a prosecutor with the campaign slogan “For the People.” She joins a Democratic field that includes two of her Senate colleagues, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

The field could grow in the coming weeks with the potential entries of Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe Biden and others.

Harris aides said she would follow her campaign launch with a press conference Monday afternoon at Washington’s Howard University, where she received an undergraduate degree.

Ms. Harris touted her career as a prosecutor and said that as president she would aim to “keep people safe.” Yet during her announcement interview she faced questions about whether her résumé reflects a candidate more aligned with law enforcement than with minority communities.

Ms. Harris said the nation’s law-enforcement and criminal-justice systems have included “systemic racism” that she will work to change.

“It is a false choice to suggest that communities don’t want law enforcement,” she said. “Most communities do. They don’t want excessive force, they don’t want racial profiling, but nobody should.”

The Harris campaign plans to rely on her status as the potential first black woman president. African-American voters carry enormous clout in Democratic presidential primaries, having boosted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to the last two contested nominations. Her aides also see California’s moving its primary from the end of the nominating calendar to near the beginning as a boon for her candidacy.

Aides noted that her campaign’s colors—red and yellow—are borrowed from the 1972 campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to seek the presidency.

Ms. Harris’s first public event as a presidential candidate is scheduled for Friday in South Carolina, where she will address a gala held by her college sorority.

Ms. Harris’s campaign platform includes a monthly tax credit of as much as $500 for families earning less than $100,000 a year, reducing maternal mortality rates and bail overhauls to reduce the federal prison population. She has been a staunch opponent of the Trump administration’s immigration policy and was in June the first senator to call for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen after the DHS began separating migrant children from their families at the border.

Ms. Harris telegraphed her presidential ambitions as soon as she arrived in Washington. She hired top staffers from the Hillary Clinton campaign to work in her Senate office and became one of the party’s most active figures on social media.

In her two years in Washington, Ms. Harris has established a reputation within the party as a hard-nosed interrogator from her perch as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including her questioning last year of Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing to become a Supreme Court justice.

Ms. Harris recently completed an abbreviated tour for her autobiography, “The Truths We Hold.” The book includes a passage about her work as attorney general in negotiating a multibillion-dollar settlement with five major banks for their role in the foreclosure crisis after the economic downturn a decade ago.

Ms. Harris begins her presidential campaign at a financial disadvantage to Senate colleagues already in the race. Her latest campaign-finance report, which covers a period ending Sept. 30, showed her with $1.7 million in cash on hand. Ms. Gillibrand and Ms. Warren each had more than $10 million in their latest reports.

The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Ms. Harris was born in Oakland and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area but spent her teenage years in Montreal after her parents’ divorce.

She was elected San Francisco district attorney in 2003 and California attorney general in 2010 before winning her Senate race in 2016 following the retirement of former Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Write to Reid J. Epstein at and Ken Thomas at

See also: CNN

Kamala Harris to run for president in 2020


The Shutdown Shows the Weakness of the Resistance — No European-Style Yellow Vests

January 21, 2019

The grass-roots progressive activism of the past two years has been inspiring. But it’s still a shadow of what the country needs.

By  David Leonhardt
The New York Times

The grass-roots progressive movement known as the resistance has had a very good two years. It beat back attempts to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, and it helped defeat a Republican House majority that was enabling President Trump. Neither of those outcomes looked likely when he took office.

But the government shutdown has shown the limits of this new progressive movement. The resistance has had virtually no effect on the politics of the shutdown — and a stronger movement could have a big effect.

When I’ve spoken to people from other countries over the past couple of weeks, they have been shocked that Americans have not begun protesting the shutdown in large numbers. About 800,000 federal workers have now gone almost a month without getting paid. Some are struggling to pay their rent or buy medications. Some have gone to pawn shops to get cash. Major functions of government — airline security, food safety, mortgage processing, farm assistance and so on — have been impaired.

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If this were happening in Europe, as Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago told me, people would be pouring into the streets. And yet in the United States, there has been nothing but a few smallscattered rallies.

Instead of lining up to protest, hundreds of federal workers in Washington lined up last week to eat at makeshift soup kitchens. The photos of them doing so were a study in powerlessness.

It’s not hard to envision a different scenario. Trump was already an unpopular president before Fox News hosts goaded him in December into rejecting a bipartisan Senate deal to keep the government open. Polls show that most voters correctly blame him for the shutdown. Congressional Democrats are largely united. Republicans are less so, with some publicly signaling their discomfort. They and Trump are the politically vulnerable players in the shutdown.

Imagine if there were a progressive movement strong enough to pressure Trump by highlighting the damage he is doing. What could that look like? Among other things, it could look like a nationwide one-day strike by federal workers.

With even a minority of them participating, it would create huge logistical problems at airports and elsewhere. Americans who support the workers could join them on the picket lines. The day after the strike, the federal workers could return to their jobs, as a sign of their commitment. The threat of future strikes would be clear. The human effects of the shutdown would no longer be so easy for the country to ignore.

Yes, strikes by federal workers are illegal. But requiring people to work without pay may also be illegal, legal scholars have pointed out. Either way, protest movements often use illegal tactics. It’s called civil disobedience, and it can succeed when the cause is sympathetic. Federal workers forced to visit pawn shops because of a petulant, wealthy president are pretty sympathetic.

The modern labor movement was launched in part by the illegal sit-down strikes of 1936-37, when workers in Flint, Mich., and other cities occupied factories to keep them from operating. The civil-rights movement frequently used illegal tactics. Last year, teachers in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia risked breaking the law by walking off their jobs — and nonetheless won concessions. “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” wrote a certain reverend whose 90th birthday the country is celebrating on Monday. “Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

The celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. will include a lot of pap about peace and equality. But King didn’t think that peace and equality just happened. He thought people had to struggle for them. He understood that most great societal advances in America’s history — independence from Britain, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, decent pay for workers — depended on mass political movements.

The government shutdown, of course, is a minor issue compared to those to advances. But it is also a clear sign that the country lacks the sort of popular movement necessary to make progress against today’s great challenges: a fraying democracy and dysfunctional government; a stagnation of living standards for much of the population; a violently warming planet.

The Trump resistance has been the most hopeful sign of activism in decades. Thousands and thousands of people, mostly women, have been inspired to march, organize, dive into local politics and get out the vote. They have already proven that their activism can make a difference. A lot of Americans owe their health insurance today to this new movement.

But relative to the scale of the country’s problems — and the strength of past political movements — the new movement remains too small and too weak. Figuring out how to build it up is a vastly more important question for progressives than, say, figuring out who the ideal 2020 Democratic nominee will be. Get the movement right, and the politicians will follow.

In the meantime, the shutdown reaches its one-month mark by the end of Monday, the same day the country is supposed to be honoring grass-roots activism.

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David Leonhardt is a former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and was the founding editor of The Upshot and head of The 2020 Project, on the future of the Times newsroom. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, for columns on the financial crisis. @DLeonhardt  Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Where Have You Gone, Resistance?
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See also:

The Yellow Vests Are Going to Change France. We Just Don’t Know How.

A protester stands in front of riot police at the Arc de Triomphe on January 12.

A protester stands in front of riot police at the Arc de Triomphe on January 12.  LE PICTORIUM / BARCROFT IMAGES / BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY

Pelosi The Coequal — More Ego, Less Constitution

January 21, 2019

The divided government of 2019 is a mirror image of the divided government of 2011. Back then, Democrats controlled the White House and Senate, while Republicans had recently taken control of the House with a big victory in the 2010 midterm elections. Today, Republicans control the White House and Senate, while Democrats have recently taken control of the House with a big victory in the 2018 midterm elections.

It’s the same situation, essentially. But today there is a vastly different public conversation about the balance of power in government. These days, we are often reminded that Congress is a coequal branch of government, and therefore, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stands on an even level with President Trump. Back in 2011, when the two players were Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama, there wasn’t as much of that kind of talk.

A comparison, from the Nexis database of newspapers, magazines, websites, and television transcripts: From Election Day 2010 until Jan. 20, 2011, there were 18 mentions of “Boehner” and “coequal.” From Election Day 2018 until Jan. 20, 2019, there were 683 mentions of “Pelosi” and “coequal.”

By Byron York

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Democrats have been saying it every day, starting with Pelosi the morning after the election. Congress’ role is “not to be a rubberstamp, but a coequal branch,” she said, adding that she and her colleagues had a “responsibility for oversight as an independent, coequal branch.”

Pelosi said much the same many more times by Jan. 3, when she officially won the speaker’s gavel. In her first speech on the House floor, she said, “The legislative branch is Article I: the first branch of government, coequal to the president and judiciary.”

Virtually every other House Democrat said it, too. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland: “coequal branch.” Rep. Adam Schiff of California: “coequal branch.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida: “coequal branch.” Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia: “coequal branch.” Rep. Doris Matsui of California: “coequal branch.” Rep. Brian Higgins of New York: “coequal branch.” Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois: “coequal branch.” Those are just a few examples.

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Steny Hoyer

There was even commentary to the effect that Pelosi is now equal to the president.

A Jan. 17 discussion on CNN focused on the speaker’s battle with the president over the State of the Union address. Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio said of Pelosi, “She needs to come to some recognition that she’s not equal to the president of the United States.”

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Rep. Adam Schiff

Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution scholar, CNN analyst, and editor of the blog Lawfare, blanched. “Pretty wild to hear a member of Congress forcefully argue that congressional leaders are constitutionally inferior to the president,” Hennessey tweeted. “James Madison weeps.”

But the speaker of the House is not, in fact, equal to the president of the United States. Congress, not the House, is a coequal branch of government. Actually, more than equal — it is, as Pelosi noted, the first branch of government. But to exert its will, Congress must be united. To overrule the president — and of course Congress can even remove the president — Congress must be united.

Pelosi controls just half of Congress. And she only controls the House when she gets 218 members to agree with her. To overrule a presidential veto, she needs 287 members to agree with her. And then the Senate, controlled by Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has to go along.

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On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the executive branch is the only branch of government headed by a single person. That gives that one person, in this case Trump, the power of the executive branch. No single person in the other two branches has that power.

The bottom line is the House is one-half of a coequal branch of government. The speaker of the House is enormously powerful in the House. If she can persuade majorities, and sometimes supermajorities, of House members, and then majorities, and sometimes supermajorities, of the Senate to go along with her, she can block the president’s agenda and exert enormous power in the government. But by herself — not so much.

The system simply was not designed for a head-to-head equal competition: the president versus the speaker. It doesn’t work that way. It’s entirely understandable that Democrats and their allies in the press would want to see Pelosi as equal to the president. But that doesn’t make it true.

Gridlock Is the New Normal — Brext Has UK Tied Up, U.S. in Govt Shutdown, France Battles Yellow Vests

January 17, 2019

We can now stop anything we don’t want, but can’t enable anything we need.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May (picture-alliance/PA Wire/House of Commons)
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament  PHOTO: REUTERS

In the United States and the United Kingdom—two of the world’s oldest democracies—national governments are at a standstill. This, for better or worse, could be the future of politics. It will be a system in which things have to get worse before they can get . . . worse. Perpetual political gridlock. It won’t be pretty, and for many it may be painful.

Historic Defeat Sees U.K. Parliament “Take Back Control” of Brexit

Historic Defeat Sees U.K. Parliament “Take Back Control” of Brexit
U.K. lawmakers have rejected the Prime Minister’s terms for leaving the European Union. Options left include leaving the EU without a deal or a second referendum. Image: Parliament TV

Both the U.S. government’s shutdown and the U.K.’s Brexit have become problems with no exit. Every strategy offered fails for lack of legislative support or national leadership. The American and British political classes look intellectually exhausted and clueless about a path forward.

Something more substantial than routine political frustration may be happening here. Public-policy efforts, such as Brexit or revisions to the U.S. immigration and health-care systems, look like they have become too big to accomplish.

Critics of these failures conventionally say they reflect a lack of political will or courage. Still, we are left with the reality of political structures that are dead in the water. If they lack will, it may be because political willfulness has become a stronger force.

Media has proliferated, so that objectors to any policy’s details have multiple platforms they can use to block settlements. We have the political tools to stop anything we don’t want, but we can’t enable anything we need.

Prime Minister Theresa May overwhelmingly lost the vote Tuesday on her Brexit plan to separate the U.K. from the European Union. No space will be wasted here describing the morass of imagined scenarios: no-Brexit, hard Brexit or a Brexit vote redo. Attempts by journalists to compose flowcharts of all the Brexit possibilities and contingencies resemble Rube Goldberg drawings.

The most likely scenario is that the parties will stumble and grope forward, as they did with the Greek debt crisis 10 years ago. The EU is starting to look like Bluebeard’s Castle, a complex edifice of nightmares and delights from which there is no escape after entry.

The U.S. government shutdown is nominally a fight between President Trump and the Democratic Party over building a wall at the border with Mexico. But the wall, whatever its merits, is a proxy for the broader issue of immigration into the U.S.

Immigration has been an unavoidable factor in the life of the U.S. for centuries. But Congress hasn’t passed a big immigration bill in more than 30 years. All subsequent efforts have broken down because some faction has had the ability to block them. Recognizing the impossibility, Congress today has walked away from the subject.

Minimalist answers like the border wall also may represent the future—a conscious act of self-delusion that sates the emotional needs of contemporary politics but lets the realities fester.

Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic governor of Virginia and possible contender for the party’s presidential nomination, recently said, “We all support Medicare for all.” Mission accomplished, notwithstanding that Medicare for all has next to no chance of becoming a daily reality in the U.S.

Congress’s intention to take on infrastructure legislation this year likely will repeat its wheel-spinning experiences with immigration and health care to become the next case study of mega-gridlock.

Any infrastructure effort will have to pass through a tangled thicket of environmental objections, Nimby activists who oppose anything, union work rules, public-versus-private financing schemes, the needs of local political actors, the conflicted interests of cities and rural areas or the nation’s competing regional demands.

In August, the huge Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed, killing 43 people. The slow disintegration of something important, such as a bridge, may be the controlling image for aging political systems that fall down on the job. Their default will be to let responsibilities like Brexit, immigration or Nafta collapse, and then, under duress, rebuild from whatever is left.

Genoa bridge collapse: The mafia's role
The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

That won’t be pain-free. This is the Trump model on trade: Tear it down, accept the inevitable casualties, and hope for the best with whatever comes next.

It’s fashionable to deride Mr. Trump’s crude, tanklike strategy of grinding across broken glass. Look past the Trump personality, though, and you may soon see more conventional politicians, out of options, resorting to his political model.

One reason this is happening is that politicians and external factions foment dramatic projects like Brexit without possessing any idea how to execute them. They gave British voters a lot of emotion but no game plan. More than two years later, they still don’t have one.

Another reason is the rise in power of the inconsolables. Political factions are eternal. The new element is that their social-media bullhorn makes them seem larger and more intimidating than they are. Twitter really is the mouse that roars. Unable to figure it out, the politicians have turned themselves into twittering mice on the floors of Parliament and Congress. They look trapped. So do we.


Appeared in the January 17, 2019, print edition.

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Lindsey Graham asks Trump to work for deal with Democrats before declaring emergency: ‘Give it one last shot’

January 16, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told President Trump to give Democrats one more chance to strike a deal on the border wall and then declare a national emergency if unsuccessful.

“Mr. President, if Democrats come to you in the Senate and say that ‘we would like to work with you for a few weeks to see if we could solve this problem,’ give them a chance,” Graham told Fox News Tuesday night. “And if they don’t deliver, do it by yourself.”

Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity that although executive action to end the government shutdown and fund the border wall is the “last resort,” it could be necessary.

The partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, is now well into its fourth week, making this the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

“Mr. President, if you are watching this show, I think there are Democrats that would work with you, that we could get a deal within the Senate,” Graham said. “If Democrats in the Senate will work with you, give them a chance, a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t work, do it yourself. But give it one last shot.”

Trump says that he will not sign a bill to fund the federal agencies that ran out of funding Dec. 21 at midnight unless it includes money allocated for the border wall. Democrats have said they would not pass a bill that included any money for a physical barrier at the southern border.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that $1 is the most she would give for the wall.


Lindsey Graham to Trump: Reopen the government

Anti-Trump Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says launching 2020 bid

January 16, 2019

New York Senator has been a relentless critic of the president and champion of women’s issues including the #MeToo movement; ‘We have to rise up and reclaim our values’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand arrives at the Ed Sullivan Theater‎ to tape an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand arrives at the Ed Sullivan Theater‎ to tape an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an outspoken Donald Trump critic and champion of women’s issues including the #MeToo movement, announced Tuesday she was jumping into the 2020 presidential race.

Nearly 22 months before the election, the battle for the White House is already firming up, as Americans begin to assess who might be the opposition party nominee to challenge Trump.

Four Democrats — three of them women — have made clear steps towards a formal campaign in recent weeks, and many more including several of Gillibrand’s Senate colleagues, an anti-Trump billionaire businessman and former vice president Joe Biden are waiting in the wings.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States, because as a young mom I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own — which is why I believe that health care should be a right and not a privilege,” the senator told Stephen Colbert on his CBS television talk show.

Her goals will include putting gender at the fore of her campaign, combating “institutional racism,” taking on special interests and entrenched systems of power in Washington, and fighting against political “corruption and greed.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks at a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“I know that I have the compassion, the courage, and the fearless determination to get that done,” she added in the interview set to be aired in full later Tuesday.

The 52-year-old from upstate New York said she was forming an exploratory committee, a crucial legal step for a candidate to run for president, just days before she reportedly travels to the early voting state of Iowa.

Reclaim our values

She took to social media Tuesday to amplify her message.

“We have to rise up and reclaim our values,” she tweeted.

“We need to protect our basic rights and fight for better health care, education and jobs. And I believe I’m the woman for the job,” she said, adding that she is “not afraid to take on Trump.”

Kirsten Gillibrand


Tonight I announced that I’m preparing to run for president, because I believe we’re all called to make a difference. I believe in right vs. wrong – that wrong wins when we do nothing. Now is our time to raise our voices and get off the sidelines. Join me: 

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Gillibrand was easily re-elected in November to her second full term. In 2009 she was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s US Senate seat, when the latter became secretary of state.

In the years since she has abandoned several of her centrist political positions, tilting to the left to eventually become one of the more liberal senators.

The next presidential election is still more than 650 days away, but Gillibrand is entering what will be a chockablock field vying for the right to challenge Trump.

Elizabeth Warren, a fellow female US senator and frequent target of the provocative billionaire president, has also launched an exploratory committee, as has congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who served military tours in Iraq and Kuwait.

Former San Antonio mayor and Obama-era cabinet member Julian Castro and recently retired congressman John Delaney have formally launched their presidential bids.

Some politicians with stronger name recognition are expected to enter the race soon, including former Biden, ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and current senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders, who ran against Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

But Gillibrand has distinguished herself in key ways. She is one of the top Trump naysayers in the Senate, voting against the president’s nominees for major posts more than almost any other senator.

She also raised her national profile by sponsoring — and mounting a three-year campaign for — a bill that would revamp the prosecution system for military sexual assaults and remove such cases from the military chain of command.

The bill fell short in the Senate, but Gillibrand has been relentless about highlighting sexual assault in the military, on college campuses and in the workplace.

See also:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is entering the 2020 race for president


White House: Dems refused Trump offer to talk about shutdown over lunch

January 15, 2019

The White House claimed Tuesday that congressional Democrats rejected an offer from President Trump to attend lunch at the White House and continue discussions over a deal to end the partial government shutdown, which has entered its 25th day.

“Today, the president offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch at the White House. Unfortunately, no Democrats will attend,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The president looks forward to having a working lunch with House Republicans to solve the border crisis and reopen the government. It’s time for the Democrats to come to the table and make a deal.”

Nine Republican lawmakers are expected to attend the 12:30 p.m. lunch with Trump to discuss the ongoing situation at the border, which he has called a humanitarian and security crisis.

The president and Democrats have been at an impasse over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, for which Trump wants Congress to appropriate $5.7 billion. But Democrats are opposed to the president’s request and believe that further negotiations over wall funding should take place only when the government has reopened.

Sanders said Trump offered a deal that includes “additional technology at ports of entry, allows minors from Central America to seek asylum in their home country, and physical barriers between ports of entry made of steel instead of concrete.”

“As Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi refuse to negotiate, President Donald J. Trump and his team are working hard to find solutions to solve the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border and reopen the government,” she said.

Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last week for further talks on a deal to end the partial government shutdown, which is affecting roughly 800,000 federal workers.

But Trump called the meeting a “waste of time” and left the room after Democrats reiterated their opposition to funding for the wall.

New York Mayor De Blasio wants top Dems to champion his health-care plan

January 14, 2019

Mayor de Blasio, in a bid to set himself up as a national progressive leader, said he would push Democratic presidential candidates to embrace his health-care agenda to gain the support of the working class.

“We need this party to be the party of working people again,” de Blasio said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, adding that he supports guaranteeing health care for everyone.

“This is the kind of thing Democrats should stand for,” he continued. “If we say to the American people: Our job is to get you health care no matter what, no matter how much money you make, no matter what your situation is, that’s the kind of thing that actually is going to resonate with the American people because so many Americans are struggling . . . to make ends meet​. Health care is one of their biggest expenses.”

The mayor, who last week announced a $100 million plan to provide medical care to the city’s 600,000 uninsured residents, said Republican administrations from President Ronald Reagan to President Trump have been fleecing the poor to help the rich and it’s time somebody looks out for the well-being of the poor.

De Blasio wouldn’t rule out mounting his own presidential run, but said right now, he’s “focused on the job I have.”


Wall Impasse Frustrates Many Newly Elected House Democrats

January 13, 2019

While few support the border wall, some worry the tone of negotiations hasn’t conveyed their willingness to compromise on tighter border security


WASHINGTON—As the partial government shutdown stretches on, some House Democrats have grown concerned by what they see as the absence of a clear strategy from party leaders over how to end it.

Some newly elected Democrats are increasingly frustrated that they are taking complaints from angry constituents without having a mapped-out plan to end the partial shutdown—which became the longest in modern history over the weekend. Many believe they were elected to Congress to try to end its dysfunction and had hoped to be reaching a bipartisan compromise over border security to reopen the government.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) enjoys broad support among her caucus just weeks after Democrats took back control of the chamber and elected her its leader, and few dispute her opposition to building a border wall. Yet while the wall for many has become a toxic symbol of President Trump’s immigration agenda, some Democrats would rather be emphasizing an effort to reach an agreement with Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans.

“There’s a number of us on the Democratic side who are quite concerned that we’re not working on negotiated positions and taking the bull by the horns and trying to think about what it would look like,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a new Michigan lawmaker and former Central Intelligence Agency analyst.

Centrist Democrats huddled with Republicans on Thursday night to try to find a compromise to pitch to leadership. So far, none of lawmakers’ efforts to cut a deal have managed to end the impasse with the White House.

Some Democrats are concerned that giving the president any compromise could lead to more shutdowns in the future. This is already the third government shutdown of Mr. Trump’s presidency. “Next he’ll want a moat with alligators,” said Rep. Harley Rouda (D., Calif.).

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When asked about concerns within her caucus on Friday, Mrs. Pelosi said, “We’re in pretty good unity in our conference.”

She and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) have rejected Mr. Trump’s demand that lawmakers approve $5.7 billion to build the border wall as a condition of reopening the government. A meeting on Wednesday ended after Mrs. Pelosi told the president she wouldn’t support a border wall even if he opened the government for 30 days. The president abruptly left, saying “Bye-bye.”

Steny Hoyer

Plenty of Democrats support Mrs. Pelosi’s strategy, which includes passing bills that have bipartisan support in the Senate. The House first passed a package of bills that would fund most of the government through September and extend current funding for Homeland Security through Feb. 8. Later the House passed a series of individual spending bills. Some Republican senators have urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to pass the bills.

“We had a very good opening gambit,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D., N.J.).

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Mikie Sherrill

Democratic aides note that Mr. Trump is a difficult negotiating partner, frequently shifting positions and complicating the efforts of anyone trying to cut a deal with him.

Still, many new Democratic lawmakers who beat Republicans in the 2018 midterm want their leadership to be more aggressive in at least trying to strike a compromise. Many of them will be among the most vulnerable in the 2020 elections, as Republicans fight to win their majority back. Their new offices, some still crowded with boxes and not yet fully staffed, have been flooded with phone calls from angry federal employees and others affected by the shutdown, asking when it will end.

While few support the border wall, some are concerned the tone of the negotiations hasn’t conveyed their willingness to reach an agreement to tighten border security. Democratic leaders have focused on reopening the government first but have said they support more border security.

“Compromise is the best way forward, and at the end no one is going to get everything they want, but we have to realize that people’s lives are at stake and we have to get things done,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D., N.Y.).

Mrs. Pelosi has called the wall “immoral,” as well as expensive and ineffective, but some Democrats believe they should be emphasizing the fiscal argument over the moral one.

“I’m very comfortable saying no to $40, $50 billion that we don’t have, that we’d have to borrow from China, to build a wall that would be incredibly ineffective,” said Rep. Ron Kind, a centrist Democrat who represents a Wisconsin district Mr. Trump won. “We can be making that point of emphasis a little stronger,” he said. “Anytime you can get Democrats back talking about fiscal responsibility again, that’s a good place for us to be.”

Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer have been trying to provide lawmakers with resources and keep them updated on negotiations, an aide said. Her office found some lawmakers weren’t receiving notices from Democratic leaders because they didn’t have their email set up, which led to some of the confusion over strategy, her spokesman Drew Hammill said.

Mrs. Pelosi sent out new talking points on the shutdown to Democrats on Friday night.

The public has so far put more of the blame for the shutdown on Mr. Trump, taking some of the pressure off Democratic leaders. A poll released last week by Reuters/Ipsos found that 51% of adults believe the president deserves “most of the blame” for the shutdown, followed by 32% blaming Democrats and 7% blaming congressional Republicans.

And Democrats know that Mrs. Pelosi faces competing pressure from the party’s left wing, which would push back fiercely should she signal any willingness to fund the wall.

“It would come from those of us who believe we’ve already given enough wall funding away,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D., Texas). “I would go much further than that. I would tear the existing structure down.”

Write to Natalie Andrews at and Kristina Peterson at

Democrats are battling to see who is the most radically left — Class war to end capitalism — Old folks likely get pushed aside

January 13, 2019

Permanent push for more free stuff

Another week, another feverish contest among Democrats to see who can drag the party faster and farther to the left. The new year is beginning with a blistering pace, with wild and crazy ideas popping up across the country.

Start in Washington, where Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi made a lasting impression by saying no, no to President Trump’s sensible proposal for barriers and other security at the southern border. Their rejection, and implicit denial that there is even a problem, serves as an invitation to hundreds of thousands of more migrants to cross illegally. And each new wave guarantees that future Dems will be able to demand amnesty for successive generations of “Dreamers,” thus roiling America for years.

Heckuva job, Chuck and Nancy. You should start a podcast, where you each get your own podium.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, already the left’s congressional rookie of the year, added to her appeal by making a push to tax the richest Americans at 70 percent of their income. She also continues to campaign for a Green New Deal, a set of ideas so big — and vague — that a Vox writer said it aims to do nothing less than “decarbonize the economy and make it fairer and more just.”

Old folks: Nancy Pelosi speaks to members of the media following a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 9.

Wow — it’s hard to be more of a purist than that.

By Michael Goodwin

Meanwhile, new California Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled his virtue by promising his state would be a “sanctuary to all who seek it.” He also expanded free health care for illegal immigrants, apparently hoping to attract more of them. Bravo!

Image result for Gavin Newsom, photos

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

The competition, then, was stiff — until New York City Mayor de Blasio blew them all away. He wins first prize by vowing womb-to-tomb handouts and a permanent push for more free stuff.

Appearing well-rested from months of doing nothing, de Blasio lapped the competition with three days of come-and-get-it giveaways. First he vowed free health care for 600,000 New Yorkers, half of them here illegally. Next came a plan to force private employers to give nearly all workers 10 paid vacation days a year.

Then, in his State of the City speech, de Blasio secured victory by making even more promises, such as seizing private apartment buildings from bad landlords, and laying out a vision for a city that would bury capitalism.

A red-diaper baby himself, the mayor declared a total class war: “Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands.”

Heart be still!

There was also this grievance-stoking pander to the people: “You’re not living the life you ­deserve. And here is the cold, hard truth — it’s no accident. It’s an agenda. An agenda that’s dominated our politics from Reaganomics to the Trump tax giveaway to the wealthy and corporations.”

Finally, a tease about a glorious future in Havana-on-the-Hudson: “This country has spent decades taking from working people and giving to the 1 percent. This city has spent the last five years doing it the other way around. We give back to working people the prosperity they have earned. And we are just getting started.”

The only thing missing was a forced singalong to the socialist anthem, “The Internationale.”

In normal times, over-the-rainbow rhetoric could be dismissed as window dressing. But these days, Democrats, raging at Trump and emboldened by Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, are deadly serious about a hard left turn.

Even with the total collapse of Venezuela before their eyes and the undeniable horrors of life ­under communism and socialism, American leftists are no longer embarrassed to espouse ideologies that have failed miserably every place they’ve been tried.

Julian Castro announces that he's running for president at an event in San Antonio on Saturday.

Julian Castro announces that he’s running for president at an event in San Antonio on Saturday. “My first Executive Order will recommit the United States to the Paris climate accord.”

In many ways, then, de Blasio is made for the moment. He and his equally radical wife, Chirlane McCray, spent their 1994 honeymoon sneaking into Cuba, in defiance of a US travel ban. Earlier, he had supported the Sandinistas, the Nicaraguan communist group involved in a bitter civil war, with the American government on the other side.

Yet by the time he first ran for mayor in 2013, de Blasio had scrubbed all references to far-left activism from his Web site. He was just a progressive, eager to make deals with the real-estate industry, which in turn filled his slush funds with cash.

But now, as he starts Year 2 of his final term and his party resembles his past, he’s fully out of the closet. All that money “in the wrong hands” is a juicy target for an ­ambitious politician.

Unlike Schumer, Pelosi, Newsom and others who must prove their leftist street cred, de Blasio, like Ocasio-Cortez, can say “brothers and sisters” without sounding false. This is who he has always been, and now he doesn’t need to pretend he’s someone else.

To be clear, I don’t believe he has any chance of being president in 2020. He’s lazy, corrupt and incompetent, and New York is in obvious decline under his “leadership.” But that makes him all the more dangerous.

Having little power and no clear future, he has nothing to lose. He can be reckless with both his rhetoric and city finances because his main goal is influencing his national party’s tenor and direction.

And so, for one week at least, de Blasio takes the cake as the most radical Democrat in America. These days, that’s quite a feat.