Fox News contributor Donna Brazile got mad at RNC chairperson Ronna McDaniel for claiming the Democrats might be trying to sabotage a Bernie Sanders candidacy.
“It does depend on how big a lead that Sanders takes out of California is,” the GOP chair said. “If he picks up a huge proportion of delegates. I don’t see anybody getting out soon. It is leading towards a brokered convention, which will be rigged against Bernie if those superdelegates have their way on that second vote.”
Former DNC chair Donna Brazile tells @GOPChairwoman to “Go to hell.” pic.twitter.com/S2SZh2Y5QE
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 3, 2020
Donna Brazile then pitched a hissy fit.
“First of all, they don’t have a process,” Donna Brazile said. “They are canceling primaries. They have winner-take-all. They don’t have the kind of democracy that we see on the Democratic side.”
“For people to use Russian talking points to sow division among Americans is stupid,” she continued. “So Ronna, go to hell! This is not about — go to Hell! I’m tired of it.”
Dem party is stealing the nomination from @BernieSanders & @donnabrazile knows it. @amyklobuchar & @PeteButtigieg didn’t drop out hours b4 Super Tue & betray their supporters w/o a big payoff. Dems are cheating Bernie to favor a guy w progressive Alzheimer’s disease. Corrupt!
— Val Wayne (@valwayne) March 3, 2020
FIRE Donna she doesn’t deserve to be SPEWING HER FILTH ON TV! PERIOD! Ed and Sandra DONT put her back on your show again. I will not watch you 2 again if you don’t start straightening out your guests! Key word “guest”. Donna & U 2 should conduct yourselves better! Shameful act!
— Jerry Prince (@jdp021189) March 3, 2020
Get her off. Can’t believe they hired that cheater anyway. She’s the epitome of the corruption in the DNC. What was Fox News thinking? Glad I switched to @OANN
— Margaret 🇺🇸🇬🇷 (@Margare14571757) March 3, 2020
The problem isn’t republicans getting “into” the democrat nominating process….
The problem is DEMOCRATS like Brazile screwing Democrat voters (contributors and volunteers, too) with DISHONEST tricks like feeding certain candidates debate questions in advance.
— Conservative in Marin (@JNOV57) March 3, 2020
‼️ For @donnabrazile to tell anyone how to behave during an election is hypocrisy of the highest order. She may be a nice person but how she still gets to work after what she did in the last elections seems ludicrous. AND she just showed who she really is with that outburst‼️
— KBR (@KBR_USA) March 3, 2020
Cross-posted with BB4SP
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(CNN)With only120daysuntil the Iowa caucuses, the 2020 election will be here before you know it.Every Sunday, I round up the5BIG storylines you need to know to understand the upcoming week on the campaign trail. And they’re ranked — so the No. 1 story is the most important of the coming week.
5. Trump, unleashed: Donald Trump has spent the last week talking and tweeting almost nonstop as he tries to fight his way out of mounting allegations over his pressure campaign to get the Ukrainians to look into debunked allegations of wrongdoing against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
And the rhetoric from Trump has gone to previously unseen heights — even for Trump. He’s accused Rep. Adam Schiff (California) of treason, he’s attacked Mitt Romney in deeply personal terms — more on that directly below — and he’s repeating, repeating, repeating long disproven lies.
All of which means that when Trump travels to Minneapolis on Thursday for a “Keep America Great” rally, well, look out. Trump is always at his most, well, Trump-y at these campaign rallies — and, given the walls closing in on him in Washington, he could well use the Minnesota rally as a venting session the likes of which even longtime Trump observers rarely see.
Stay tuned. It’s going to be a doozy.
4. Any other Mitt Romneys out there?: Republicans have, almost uniformly, closed ranks around Trump even as a second whistleblower has emerged regarding the President allegedly using the power of his office for political gain during interactions over the summer with Ukraine.
Only Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) has publicly criticized Trump in any way, calling the President’s urgings of China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens “wrong” and “appalling.” Trump immediately struck back, referring to Romney as a “pompous ‘ass'” (I have no idea why he put “ass” in quotes) and suggesting that the 2012 Republican nominee was “begging” to be his secretary of state.
Any Republican who was weighing speaking out about Trump’s behavior with Ukraine (and his plea for China to investigate his main rival for the 2020 nomination) now can have no illusions about what such criticism will be met with: Pure, unadulterated anger from Trump — and likely vilification from the President’s base.
Is any prominent Republican other than Romney willing to risk speaking out when that reaction is assured? Principle vs. politics, anyone?
* Joe Biden: When you are a former vice president and the race’s frontrunner, you need to be at or very close to the top of the money chase. Biden’s $15 million raised in the third quarter is well off the pace and a significant drop-off from when Biden raised $21.5 million from April 1 to June 30 — his first three months of active fundraising. His numbers will re-ignite the debate over whether he has real grassroots energy behind his establishment candidacy. Think about this: The mayor of South Bend, Indiana — Pete Buttigieg — raised $4 million more than Biden in the third quarter and has now out-raised the former vice president for six months straight.
* Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator’s plea for $1.7 million in the final days of the quarter — in order, he said, for him to remain in the race — drew a ton of publicity. Even though Booker met his goal, he still only brought in $6 million for the entire three-month period. That likely means he will be facing another dire financial deadline in the not-too-distant future.
2. … and fundraising winners:
* Bernie Sanders: Even as his poll numbers have stagnated somewhat, the Vermont senator’s small-dollar, online fundraising network continues to deliver. Sanders topped the field in the third quarter with more than $25 million raised and has now raised more than $71 million this year. That ensures he will not only have real organizations in all of the early states but will also be able to continue fighting for the nomination for months.
* Elizabeth Warren: While Sanders edged out Warren for the top spot by about $500,000, Warren’s third quarter fundraising is yet another data point proving how much momentum she has built behind her candidacy. Warren already has the best organization in Iowa, and fundraising like she put on the board over the last three months ensures her campaign will be able to fund a (TV) air assault as well.
* Andrew Yang: The tech entrepreneur raised $10 million in the third quarter, which, at least to me was the single most surprising result of the fundraising race. Yang’s total put him well above what Booker, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet (Colorado) and Gov. Steve Bullock (Montana) raised, and within shouting distance of Sen. Kamala Harris (California). That’s a stunner, and shows how far he’s come since the year started and almost no one knew who he was.
1. The age/health debate is here: It was probably inevitable, given that the four most likely candidates to be president in 2021 are 70+ years old, but Bernie Sanders’ recent heart attack has officially injected the issue of age and health into the 2020 campaign.
After several days of uncertainty, Sanders’ campaign confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack on the campaign trail and, following his release from the hospital late last week, he has returned to Vermont. His campaign has canceled its events until further notice but has said Sanders will be at the next debate — set for October 15 in Ohio.
While the relatively advanced ages of Sanders (78), Joe Biden (76) and Elizabeth Warren (70) has been a sort of low buzz in the background of the Democratic race so far, those days are now over. All three candidates had previously pledged to release their medical records before the Iowa caucuses on February 3, 2020, but the urgency of those releases is significantly higher now than it was even a week ago.
(Remember that Donald Trump was the oldest person ever elected to a first term when he won the presidency in 2016 at age 70. During the campaign, his personal physician released a letter proclaiming that Trump “would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Trump is now 73. In January of this year, he underwent a physical which found him in “very good health overall.”)
In a May Pew Research Center poll, just 3% of Democrats said their ideal candidate would be in their 70s. A near- majority — 47% — said a candidate in their 50s would be best. On the other hand, more than 6 in 10 people told Gallup in May they would vote for a presidential candidate over 70 years old.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaign announced on Tuesday that it had raised $25.3 million in the third quarter of 2019 with an average donation of $18.07.
The massive haul beats out his prior fundraising totals during his second bid for the presidency in which he brought in around $18 million and is, at the moment, the largest single quarter reported of any 2020 candidates throughout the year. Sanders is the first among his rivals to reveal his numbers for this quarter.
That total, from 1.4 million donations, was fueled in part by a record-setting month for the campaign in September and arrived at a moment when the Vermont senator had appeared to be stagnating in some polls.
Bernie is proud to be the only candidate running to defeat Donald Trump who is 100 percent funded by grassroots donationsboth in the primary and in the general, Sanders campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said. Media elites and professional pundits have tried repeatedly to dismiss this campaign, and yet working-class Americans keep saying loudly and clearly that they want a political revolution.
In the second fundraising quarter, both former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg outpaced Sanders in fundraising with $21.5 million and $24.8 million, respectively, though unlike Sanders they relied on high-dollar fundraisers to help fuel the totals.
The Sanders campaign also said the final day of the third quarter was the second biggest fundraising day of the campaign and that teacher was the most common occupation of his donors, with the most common employers being Starbucks, Amazon, and Walmart. Since launching in February, they have raised $61.5 million from 3.3 million individual donations, with more than 99.9 percent not maxed out and still able to continue giving money to the campaign.
And they're immediately putting that money to use in the first caucus state.
On Tuesday afternoon the Sanders campaign announced that they had purchased a $1.3-million ad buy in Iowa and released their first paid TV ad of the cycle thus far.
There will be both 30-second and 60-second versions of the ad that will begin running on Thursday morning and continue, in this initial buy, for two weeks.
The news comes as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who led a recent Iowa poll, announced a $10-million-plus buy in the early voting states. Some $4.7 million of that is devoted to television ad buys in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina during the first two months of next year. Warren's campaign has yet to reveal her third quarter fundraising total.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaign announced Wednesday that the presidential candidate had two stents inserted after the discovery of a blocked artery and that he will cancel his upcoming events for now.
During a campaign event yesterday evening, Sen. Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted, Senior Advisor Jeff Weaver said in a statement.
Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates, he continued.
Sanders, 78, has maintained an extraordinarily busy schedule for years, tracing from his first presidential run to the midterms and now his second bid for the presidency.
The senator was among the ten presidential candidates set to appear Wednesday in Las Vegas for an MSNBC-hosted gun-control forum, and had events scheduled in California in the days after.
After announcing a massive fundraising haul of $25.3 million on Tuesday, the Sanders campaign had also purchased its first television ad buy in Iowa, a key early primary-voting state.
Those ads began to get canceled on Wednesday, though an aide to Sanders said that it was simply a postponement.
A heart stent is a non-surgical procedure that places a metal device into the arteries, propping them open to increase blood flow to the heart. The routine procedure is often carried out as a preemptive measure when a patient experiences chest pain and there is a potential risk for heart attack, Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist and health care researcher at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, told The Daily Beast.
The timing of Sanders chest pain is key, according to Krumholz. If the pain occurred while at rest, it is likely something known as unstable angina, which is often caused by a reduced blood flow to the heart. Basically, there wasn't enough blood flow to the heart, so something that is potentially very dangerous has now been managed, Krumholz said of the stent.
According to Krumholz, the procedure can be outpatient, but doctors typically observe a patient for 24 hours in case of complications. Most people have a rapid recovery and can resume their activities shortly, he said.
After the news broke, Sanders 2020 Democratic competitors issued statements hoping for his well being.
Among them, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted, Bruce, Team Warren, and I are sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery to @BernieSanders. I hope to see my friend back on the campaign trail very soon.
And former Vice President Joe Biden wrote: @DrBiden and I are sending our best wishes to @BernieSanders, Jane, and the whole Sanders family. Anyone who knows Bernie understands what a force he is. We are confident that he will have a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him on the trail soon.
Sanders later tweeted that he was feeling good and used the moment to advocate for Medicare for All.
“President Trump has built a juggernaut of a campaign, raising record amounts of money at a record pace,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
Ronna McDaniel, the RNC’s chairwoman, said attacks from Democrats have spurred the President’s supporters to open their wallets.
“We are investing millions on the airwaves and on the ground to hold House Democrats accountable, highlight their obstruction, and take back the House and reelect President Trump in 2020,” she said.
The haul by Team Trump exceeds the $105 million that Trump and the national party raised through their joint efforts during the second quarter of the year. Trump’s campaign has already announced plans to deploy big sums to mount a defense of the President, running Facebook and television ads that focus on impeachment.
Some of the Democrats hoping to challenge Trump next year are raising substantial sums, too.
On Tuesday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reported collecting $25.3 million during the third quarter — the largest three-month haul posted so far by any of the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and a sign of Sanders’ enduring strength with small-dollar contributors.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took the lead in a new Des Moines Register Iowa poll on Saturday night, marking the first time the Massachusetts senator led both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the first caucus state in the poll.
According to the new survey, Warren leads at 22 percent, with Biden following at 20 and Sanders at 11 percent. No other candidate reached double digits but South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg followed at 9 percent, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 6 percent to round out the top five. Additionally, the poll found that Warren was drawing the support of 32 percent of those who say that they caucused for Sanders in 2016 and that she narrowly led him among voters under age 35.
Its the first time weve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board, J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co. which conducted the poll, said.
The poll comes as Sanders campaign has shaken up its staff in two early voting states.
The Independent from Vermont remains at or near the top of most primary polls and no other candidate has matched his fundraising and grassroots organization capacity. But even with his staying power, he has been increasingly eclipsed in the eyes of opponents by Warren as the main progressive force in the race.
Stuck in this position, Sanders campaign has shuffled staff in two early crucial primary states, where his operation replaced their New Hampshire state director and Iowa political director and a deputy Iowa field director. Some sympathetic to Sanders have noted that changing around staff at this juncture obviously demonstrates a sign of dissatisfaction with the senators status in the race. He continues to build and demonstrate a massive legion of support, hitting one million donors this weeka milestone no other candidate has reached yet.
That explains why now, internally, the only message that Sanders team would convey is confidence, with one surrogate noting that the Vermont senators resources are so vast that his campaign will kick into an even higher gear with an anticipated television ad buy in the early states.
There are two advantages that Senator Sanders has, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a campaign co-chair, told The Daily Beast. Hes got the largest grassroots fundraising base. He hasnt yet gone on television in the early states. Hes going to go on television in the early states. Some of the other candidates have already been on television. Once he goes on television, hes going to be able to sustain it and have more resources to do that not just in the early states but in places like California.
Despite Khannas claim about the senators plans, a spokesperson for the campaign later quickly denied that there would be an ad buy soon.
Whether or not there will be, Sanders campaign for now is chalking up the staffing changes to isolated incidents and natural growing pains through the course of a campaign.
Pundits in the Beltway might not believe it, but Bernie Sanders campaign in Iowa is out-organizing the entire field, and this is all powered by the most grassroots volunteers and donors of any campaign in the country.
Iowa State Director Misty Rebik
For instance, there had been some annoyance with how Joe Caiazzo had been running the New Hampshire operation. That was made clear by reported cheering last weekend when members of the state steering committee heard that he had been reassigned to Massachusetts.
Sanders dominated in his neighboring state in the 2016 primary, which helped propel his campaign to become a major threat against Hillary Clinton. Now, he is locked in a tight contest with Biden and Warren, according to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls.
In Iowa, the campaign parted ways with political director Jess Mazour, though in that case there was far less apparent open negativity about the way in which she was running things.
Well continue to make moves that we feel best position this campaign to win, campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement to The Washington Post about the move. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
Sanders famously fought Clinton to a near-draw in the Hawkeye State in 2016, portending the strength of his campaign to come. Though famously difficult to poll, he is now basically deadlocked in second place with Warren behind Biden. Yet his campaign announced on Friday that they had surpassed one million voter contacts in the state, another sign of the strength of their ground operation that they hope pays off next year.
Pundits in the Beltway might not believe it, but Bernie Sanders campaign in Iowa is out-organizing the entire field, and this is all powered by the most grassroots volunteers and donors of any campaign in the country, Iowa State Director Misty Rebik said in a statement.
The purgatory status for Sanders campaign was demonstrated by an Iowa poll on Saturday night that showed him slipping. But theres no doubt that he remains among one of the top contenders for the nomination, with other campaigns even saying as much. In a memo on Saturday, Sen. Cory Bookers (D-NJ) campaign manager issued an urgent plea for fundraising in the next 10 days to effectively keep him in the race. Within it, he noted that Biden, Sanders, Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the four campaigns with enough resources to compete for the long haul currently.
Warren has completely out campaigned him. I scratch my head and go how is Bernie going to get around her?
Unaffiliated Democratic consultant
While he still is among the top tier of candidates in the crowded field, there is some evidence to suggest that Sanders opponents are more interested in training their fire on Warren for now. On Thursday, a number of the other presidential contenders leveled various criticisms at the Massachusetts Democrat, with Buttigieg explicitly invoking her by name to say that she was extremely evasive in answers about Medicare for All, the primary policy plank that has animated Sanders political vision for years.
Warren also won the support this week of the Working Families Party, a left-wing political outfit that supported Sanders in the last primary. The voting process, and the lack of a revealed tally, has led to some acrimony from Sanders supporters who have leveled charges that the leadership of WFP essentially commandeered the process to back Warren.
Maurice Mitchell, WFPs national director and Nelini Stamp, national organizing director at WFP, wrote about the selection process in response to criticism that they had heard. In turn, they also urged that supporters remain positive about both candidates.
Both Warren and Sanders are fighting for the world we want to see, and both have brought new and vital ideas into the political debate, they wrote. Our endorsement of Senator Warren does not diminish our respect for Senator Sanders, and to be clear, were going to be relentlessly positive about both of them in the months ahead.
Sanders and Warren appear poised to remain relentlessly positive about each other as wellas neither side has demonstrated a willingness or desire to go negative. In fact, Khanna defended both of them against Buttigiegs attack line in a tweet on Friday.
But underscoring some of the recent moves by the campaign appears to be a notion from some that Warren is outflanking Sanders for now. And it remains to be seen whether she is having an ephemeral moment or steadily climbing her way to the nomination.
Warren has completely out campaigned him, an unaffiliated Democratic consultant familiar with the campaign told The Daily Beast. I scratch my head and go how is Bernie going to get around her?
This Labor Day weekend, the largest gathering of Muslim Americans in the country will take place in Houston, Texas, at the annual Islamic Center of North America (ISNA) convention. Past conventions have attracted several thousand to north of 10,000 attendees. But this years may be the biggest turnout yetwith well-known special guests like Daily Show host Trevor Noah (no, he isnt Muslimat least not yet!).
Theres even a Trump administration official scheduled to appear on a panel celebrating interfaith initiativesSam Brownback, the former GOP governor of Kansas who now serves as the U.S ambassador for international religious freedom. But frustratingly missing will be all but two of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Now this is the first time ISNA, which is not partisan, ever tried to organize a presidential forum. And it did so with the help of a well-connected activist, Wael Alzayat, a former Obama State Department official who is CEO of Emgage, an organization that seeks to increase Muslim American activism in U.S. politics.
Volunteers for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have organized and hosted over 11,000 events, including more than 2,000 in California, the campaign announced Tuesday evening.
The achievement, which top Sanders campaign organizers revealed in a conference call with over 7,000 supporters, reflects what the Sanders campaign sees as a secret weapon as it seeks to stand out in a crowded field of candidates: a “distributed” ― or volunteer-run ― organizing system that it innovated in the 2016 race and has fine-tuned.
Joining the call with volunteers after several of his advisers spoke, Sanders affirmed that, although the campaign would engage in conventional tactics like television and radio advertisements, its strength was the devotion of its supporters, many of whom have become volunteers.
“We are going to win this campaign because we … are going to have the strongest grassroots movement of any campaign,” he said. “That is how we win this thing. We win this going to our base, our strength of support.”
The conceit of distributed organizing, which has its fair share of skeptics, is that campaigns can amplify by orders of magnitude the effect of the staff they employ directly by empowering exceptionally motivated volunteers to run their own house parties, lead their own canvasses and develop, and monitor their own voter contacts by phone and text message. It differs from traditional campaign volunteering in terms of the resources and technology the Sanders campaign, and others inspired by it, have expended on creating an infrastructure to facilitate the work of its most dedicated supporters.
It will be difficult to fully measure the organizing technique’s effectiveness prior to Feb. 3, when Sanders competes in Iowa’s Democratic caucus.
On Tuesday evening’s call, the campaign said its volunteers had made 2 million calls and sent 30 million text messages to voters in early states. It also recently concluded a two-week campus organizing boot camp, or “summer school,” that it says graduated more than 1,500 college and graduate school students who plan to serve as campaign ambassadors and organizers at their universities.
A viral initiative earlier this month asking Sanders supporters to share on social media the life experience that brought them to the campaign ― dubbed “#MyBernieStory” ― doubled as a volunteer recruitment technique. The campaign directed Sanders supporters who used the campaign’s organizing app, Bern, to post “#MyBernieStory” on Twitter or Facebook to use a digital tool to contact several other voters by text message and encourage them to get involved in the campaign. The campaign estimates that it reached the equivalent number of voters through those digitally facilitated connections as it would normally reach from knocking on 63,000 doors.
Critics of distributed organizing argue that it is no substitute for the professionally run field organizing teams that have powered successful presidential campaigns. And on that front, Sanders got a later start than some of his rivals, beginning hiring field organizers in the early states only in May. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, by contrast, already had 50 staff members in Iowa by that time.
The Sanders campaign insists, though, that distributed organizing aims not to supplant traditional field organizing but to magnify its impact. It now has dozens of paid, full-time field organizers in each of the four early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as well as in California, a Super Tuesday state with a primary open to all registered voters.
The conference call noted the campaign’s distributed organizing strategy has gone from identifying and recruiting volunteers to now putting that volunteer army to work more aggressively. Campaign organizing leaders invited call participants to volunteer in real time to host a “Plan to Win” house party in September, where volunteers will bond with their peers and receive marching orders for the next phase of the campaign. The campaign said it received 1,700 commitments from volunteers on the call to host such house parties.
The Sanders campaign, which has tangled bitterly with media outlets and pollsters for what it believes is bias against the Vermont senator, touted a national poll released Monday that showed Sanders in a statistical three-way tie for first place with Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.
But Sanders still trails Biden in the averages of polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, states that are essential to his success.
His campaign has argued that polls, which generally survey a universe of likely voters, do not account for the ways in which his campaign is seeking to turn out infrequent and new voters often left out of polling. At least one leading pollster has disputed the Sanders campaign’s analysis of the polls’ shortcomings.
Still, the Sanders campaign believes its success hinges on reaching those non-traditional voters ― and sees distributed organizing as a key tool to do it.
“We will win this election ― we will win the Democratic nomination, we will defeat Trump ― because we are going to bring out people who, in many cases, have not participated in politics before,” Sanders said Tuesday evening. “And I’m talking about a generation of young people who in my view are the most progressive generation in the history of our country ― anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobia, anti-religious bigotry.”
The civil rights activist, who recently found himself at the sharp end of the presidents tweets, discusses his history with Trump and the recent mass gun violence
Among the many framed mementoes that clutter the white vinyl walls of the Rev Al Sharptons midtown Manhattan office, there is one he treasures just a little more than the others. Its an official program for the state memorial service held for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg back in 2013.
Sharpton, the American civil rights stalwart, had been unable to travel to the event in person, and received a copy in the mail signed by a close friend. Across the programs gold lettering, a short message is scrawled in thin black marker: To Rev Sharpton A fellow warrior for justice! The signature is Barack Obamas, who back on that wet December day gave a speech in honor of Mandela that framed his legacy and post-apartheid reconciliation as a clarion call for global justice and peace.
Theres a degree of beleaguered nostalgia as Sharpton looks at the frame, now a relic not just of a previous presidency but a different era of politics, defined by optimism, ideas and nuance.
The Obama years thrust Sharpton, often a divisive and radical figure in American politics, further into the mainstream. It was during this time that the Baptist minister, once a direct action campaigner at the heart of some of New York Citys most torrid racial disputes, was given a primetime show on the cable news channel MSNBC and described as the White Houses informal adviser on race.
I dont care if Donald Trump does 20 tweets on me. Nothing will ever mean more to me than the first black president calling me a warrior for justice on the program of Nelson Mandela, in his own penmanship, he says, pointing to the signature.
(CNN)The mass shootings in Texas and Ohio have turned the 2020 presidential campaign into an increasingly visceral referendum on the nature of Donald Trump’s presidency and the message that delivered him to the White House.
The strategies and tactics adopted by the candidates have provided new insight and clues into how they would govern if elected, and the ways — over the coming months — they will seek to defeat not only Trump, but the principles underlying Trumpism. Their reactions have also signaled an a new willingness to draw a straight line between the President’s words and racist violence.
Biden and Booker lash Trump in speeches
Former Vice President Joe Biden and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker laced their calls for unity on Wednesday with lacerating attacks on Trump in specially scheduled speeches, Biden’s in Iowa and Booker from the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where nine black parishioners were killed by a white supremacist gunman in 2015.
From the beginning of his campaign, Biden has cast the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of this nation.” But in the video announcing his candidacy, and in subsequent talks, he also suggested that Americans might look back at a one-term Trump presidency as “an aberrant moment in time.”
Biden’s words on Wednesday in Iowa suggested he is moving toward a more historically complete message — reminiscent of the view that has been advocated most often by more progressive candidates, like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“I wish I could say that this all began with Donald Trump and will end with him. But it didn’t — and I won’t,” Biden said. “American history is not a fairytale. The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push-and-pull for 243 years between the American ideal, that says we’re all created equal, and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.”
The former vice president also offered a taunting dismissal of Trump’s recent, scripted remarks condemning the violence in Texas and Ohio.
“In both clear language and in code, this President has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation,” Biden said, before baiting Trump — successfully — by describing the comments as a “low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him.”
Trump, who was traveling between stops in the Ohio and Texas during Biden’s speech, obviously caught wind of Biden’s remarks and responded on Twitter.
“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring!,” he wrote, before suggesting a Biden presidency would please the Chinese government. Before setting out on his trip, Trump outside the White House drew an equivalence between white supremacist and antifascist groups.
“I have concerns about the rise of any group of hate,” Trump said. “Whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s Antifa, whether it’s any group of hate I’m very concerned about it and I’ll do something about it.”
Hours before Biden’s speech and almost a thousand miles away, Booker in South Carolina also cast the violence of the past days in a more sweeping context. Like Biden would, the New Jersey senator referenced the similarities between the language used by Trump to describe immigration and immigrants and the words found in the manifesto of the alleged Texas killer.
“The act of anti-Latino, anti-immigrant hatred we witnessed this past weekend did not start with the hand that pulled the trigger,” Booker said. “It did not begin when a single white supremacist got into his car to travel 10 hours to kill as many human beings as he could.”
Though he did not address Trump by name, Booker accused the President and his allies of emboldening racists and inciting the El Paso attack.
The alleged killer’s dark fervor, he said, had been “planted in fertile soil, because the contradictions that have shadowed this country since its founding remain a part of our body politic. It was sowed by those who spoke the same words the El Paso murderer did: warning of an ‘invasion.’ It was sowed by those who spoke of an ‘infestation,’ and ‘disgusting cities,’ ‘rats and rodents,’ talking about majority-minority communities.”
O’Rourke stays at home to fight
While Booker and Biden purposed their remarks to specifically address the recent violence, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native whose life and campaign is still based in the city, has clung tight to his frightened community, effectively leaving the stump to lead the way back home.
O’Rourke, whose 2018 Senate campaign became a national cause for Democrats following his viral defense of activist professional athletes, has spoken over the past few days with a moral vigor and clarity that seemed to have eluded him during a stagnant to-date presidential bid.
Asked by a reporter after a Sunday in El Paso if there was anything Trump could do “to make this any better,” O’Rourke — emotional after a vigil for the victims and their families — shot back in frustration.
“What do you think? You know the s–t he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f–k?,” he said. “You know, I — it’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”
O’Rourke’s profanity might have drawn the initial attention, but his message to the public echoed the indignation of voters who argue that the time for speculating over or trying to predict Trump’s behavior — when it has become so plain to see — should be over.
The Texan will not go to Iowa this weekend, as previously planned, and has not yet decided when he will return to the campaign trail. But like the other candidates, he has been firm in connecting the President’s words to the bloody attack launched against his city.
“(Trump) is trying to intimidate this community, to make us afraid of the border, of immigrants,” O’Rourke told reporters in El Paso on Wednesday morning.
Like Biden, O’Rourke during a morning memorial at El Dorado High School, looked back to the founding of the country — pointing to its aspirations and how, despite great strides, “we have never fully lived up to that promise” — before turning to a defense of El Paso and similar places.
“We are one of the safest cities, if not the safest, cities in the United States of America,” O’Rourke said. “We must remind ourselves and tell the rest of the country that we are safe not despite the fact that we are city of immigrants and asylum-seekers and refugees, people who came from the planet over to find a home here in El Paso, Texas, but that very fact is what makes us strong and successful and safe and secure in the first place.”
Later on, as Trump made his way from Dayton, Ohio, where he visited shooting victims in the hospital, to El Paso, O’Rourke joined protests against the presidential visit, which local leaders like Rep. Veronica Escobar had advised against. In Trump’s last appearance in the city, for a political rally, a supporter attacked a BBC reporter and the President spread misleading claims about the city’s safety.
After speaking at a demonstration, O’Rourke told CNN he planned to attend victims’ funerals and make a trip to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where seven of the 22 victims lived, before continuing on with his national campaign. Later on, he gave a young, tearful man who said he was at the Walmart during the shooting his personal phone number, and a promise to help him in any way he could.
A week after fierce debates, Dems unite
Only a couple weeks ago, Booker and Biden were engaged in a heated debate over the former vice president’s record on race. And during the debates last week in Detroit, Democrats were at one another’s throats, sometimes warning the country that their rivals were unelectable, while sparring over health care, foreign policy and, in the case of immigration, former President Barack Obama’s record.
But those arguments have largely evaporated from sight since the Saturday shooting in El Paso. Trump, who has mostly stuck to his inflammatory rhetoric on Twitter, did for the Democrats what he could not for the country: inspired solidarity.
Candidates other than Biden, Booker and O’Rourke have mostly kept to their previous commitments, while flooding television and social media with increasingly pointed denunciations of Trump and notes of solidarity with the victims — and one another. California Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign bought lunch for the O’Rourke staff in El Paso and Harris spokesman Ian Sams told CNN the campaign has raised nearly $100,000 for gun violence prevention organizations since the shootings.
They also roundly condemned the White House over a CNN report, published Wednesday afternoon, that the White House had rebuffed a push by the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize domestic terror threats, like those posed by white supremacists.
“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” one senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on.”
Harris linked to the story on Twitter and said, “People are getting killed, and this President is turning a blind eye to America’s national security threats.”
The former prosecutor has, in the aftermath of the shootings, repeated her promise to use the power of the presidency to implement strict new gun control measures within the first few months of her term.
“Whether at a festival, place of worship, school, movie theater, or Walmart, you should always be able to feel safe,” Harris tweeted. “As president, I’ll give Congress 100 days to send gun safety legislation to my desk. If they refuse to act, I’ll take executive action to protect our communities.”
The killings in El Paso have also brought added attention to former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro, the only Latino in the primary.
Speaking to NBC, Castro underscored the heightened intensity of the campaign and painted a stark image of Trump’s political maneuvering.
“For a President now to base his entire political strategy on turning the Latino community, and especially recent immigrants, into ‘the other,’ into the danger toward America — it doesn’t belong in this country, he doesn’t belong as President,” Castro said. “And that’s one of the reasons I know that I’m running to replace him and I bet that a lot of other people who are in this race feel the same way.”
Outside of Texas, the gravity of the El Paso killings has emboldened Democrats to be more direct, and in the case of Sanders, more personal in how they describe their reasons for running.
Sanders, who has repeatedly denounced Trump as a “racist” and “xenophobe” on the campaign trail this year, also kept to his planned campaign stops — though he, like others, will now attend a forum on gun control in Iowa this weekend. But in a Medium post on Sunday, he took the unusual step of tying the current situation to his own, painful family history.
“I am personally all too familiar with the barbarity that comes from hateful ideology,” Sanders wrote. “Most of my own father’s family was brutally murdered at the hands of Hitler’s white supremacist regime. That regime came to power on a wave of violence and hatred against racial and religious minorities. We cannot allow that cancer to grow here.”
His fellow progressive, Warren, issued a similar warning against what the campaigns have almost uniformly described now as a wave of hate drawing strength underfoot from the White House.
“White supremacy is a domestic terrorism threat in the same way that foreign terrorism threatens our people. And it is the responsibility of the President of the United States to help fight back against that,” Warren told CNN. “Not to wink and nod and smile at it and let it get stronger in this country.”