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October 03, 2019 | The American Prospect
The DNC’s Debate Gambit Prevents Donor Accountability
Late last week, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would hold only one October debate (on the 15th, rather than the 15th and 16th), packing the 12 qualifying candidates onto a single stage. As others have highlighted, the overcrowding will likely mean even less substance and more quibbling. There is, however, another important and overlooked consequence of the DNC’s decision: The single debate will slip in hours before the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) third-quarter fundraising filing deadline, delivering an undeserved blessing to candidates who don’t wish to answer questions about their unsavory fundraising ties.
August 29, 2019 | The Daily Beast
2020 Dems Must Use Trump’s Incompetence Against Him
We tend to forget this as we watch the daily madness of the Trump presidency, but a president’s principal role is to run the executive branch. Above all, that consists of appointing personnel to thousands of roles across the administration and laying out a vision that inspires and drives that army of appointees towards common ends.
Thus, when Donald Trump assails Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (his own pick) as incompetent and/or malevolent in executing his critical role in helping manage the United States economy, he is unquestionably attacking his own judgment and fitness for office.
July 30, 2019 | BuzzFeed News
Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan Max Moran
Mayor Pete Is Silicon Valley's Hottest New Startup
You might think Big Tech is facing an existential reckoning in Washington, based on recent congressional hearings with Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google. Add in Facebook’s $5 billion Federal Trade Commission settlement and the Trump administration pursuing antitrust inquiries into Big Tech while “looking into” Peter Thiel’s accusation that Google has been treasonously collaborating with China and it begins to sound consequential.
But if you look elsewhere — to the fundraising totals released by presidential candidates this month, and perhaps even to this week’s presidential debates — you can glimpse the seeds of the industry’s political revival.
June 26, 2019
How Well Do Leading 2020 Candidates Understand the Executive Branch?
It is one of the many peculiarities of American politics that legislative laundry lists dominate presidential campaigns even though presidents have little power to get these promises enacted. That is not to say that these aspirational assertions do not matter. As a statement of values, they can mobilize support. But while legislation is subject to the considerable influence of, well, the legislature,how a candidate intends to do the job for which they are running (i.e. managing the executive branch) is something for which they can be held directly accountable. And yet candidates tend to be much less forthcoming with their vision for actually running the federal government. That silence reduces presidential accountability to the public for how they wield the powers of the executive.
June 25, 2019 | The American Prospect
Do Pete Buttigieg’s Donors Know Him Better Than We Do?
In a field of 24 candidates, Democratic presidential hopefuls must attempt to stand out from the crowd, and Pete Buttigieg is no different. He foregrounds his personal story, relative youth, and roots in the country’s geographic center to pitch voters on a generational departure. “Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours,” Buttigieg said in his announcement speech. “And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.”
April 25, 2019
Bold Calls to #taxtherich, But Not Enough Talk of Enforcement
Earlier this year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made waves when she used her appearance on 60 Minutes to call for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. The mainstream media establishment was further blown away when polls in the following days showed that this radical proposal was wildly popular. To anyone who had been paying attention, this was hardly a shocking revelation; Americans have long supported raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Nonetheless, the renewed focus on proposals to tax the rich opens the door for a long overdue conversation about biases in our tax system and how to change them.
April 04, 2019 | BuzzFeed News
Mayor Pete Understands Norwegian. Does He Understand The Presidency?
In a matter of weeks Pete Buttigieg rose from relative obscurity to national prominence. A successful CNN town hall in early March launched him into the 2020 conversation, and an impressive first quarter fundraising haul made clear he is a serious candidate. His youth, charisma, and dizzying ascent have some thinking he’s a top contender to inherit Barack Obama’s mantle.
We worry that Jimmy Carter might be the more apt comparison.
April 01, 2019 | InsideSources
Warren’s American Plan to Rein in Tech Monopolists
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s technology platform reflects a common sense populist rejoinder to the failed bipartisan antitrust consensus. If big corporations elbow the little guy, there is probably a rational reason for their corporate violence and it probably isn’t to benefit consumers or the broader economy. (Unless, of course, you like having your data stolen and traded like a commodity, believe start-ups should have no aspiration other than to be absorbed by a bigger company, or think small business is un-American and passe.)
February 26, 2019 | The American Prospect
BlackRock’s ‘Greenwashing’ Threatens to Undermine Climate Action
Fake environmentalism is an especially rampant and worrisome form of corporate propaganda—indeed, there is even a specific term for it. Scientific American defined the “essence” of “greenwashing” as efforts “falsely conveying to consumers that a given product, service, company or institution factors environmental responsibility into its offerings and/or operations.” If you want an idea of how empty these promises tend to be, consider that Donald Trump once signed a “Business Leaders” letter in The New York Times urging then-President Obama to aggressively push for climate action at the 2009 Copenhagen talks.
February 24, 2019 | Al Jazeera
Americans Should Fear Trump Apathy
Figuring out what is and is not an emergency in Donald Trump’s America is far from straightforward.
On February 15, in order to get funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States, Trump declared a “national emergency”. And he did this even though the situation at the border is in no meaningful sense getting worse, let alone deteriorating rapidly enough to constitute an “emergency”. In fact, border crossings are actually declining, and as commentators across the ideological spectrum noted, Trump’s own words make clear that there is no “national emergency.”
February 09, 2019 | The Daily Beast
‘Middle Class Joe’ Biden Courts Wall Street Oligarch, BlackRock’s Larry Fink
Ever since Donald Trump secured the presidency in 2016, there have been those who have argued that Joe Biden is the Democrats’ only chance at victory in 2020. Why? He plays well with working- and middle-class voters who might otherwise vote for Trump. While many question the merits of this assessment, it appears that at least one important figure has embraced this interpretation: “Middle Class Joe” Biden (his nickname, he assures us).
January 12, 2019 | The Huffington Post
Prosecute Donald Trump To The Full Extent Of The Law
Want Americans to feel like the country is fair? Think the rule of law is important? Prosecute powerful people when they commit crimes. Even people who worked for a president. Even a former president.
The story of 21st-century America is complex, but the narrative of powerful people behaving terribly and getting away with it is arguably the common thread.