June 13, 2019: For Whom the Bellwether Tolls
BELLWETHER POLL: DEMOCRATIC IOWA CAUCUS
Iowa Democratic voters, who will get the first say in picking their party’s presidential nominee on February 3, 2020, delivered their first polling results this week. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll of 600 likely Democratic Iowa caucus participants asked, "Which one of the following Democrats would be your first choice for president?"Bernie Sanders’ stranglehold on second place is starting to slip as Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg continue to gain steam.
WARREN OVER BERNIE IN NEVADA
More bad news for Bernie; the new Monmouth University poll of likely Nevada caucus-goers asked, “if the Democratic caucuses for president were today, who would you support” shows Elizabeth Warren sliding comfortably into second place. This is the first state poll to show Sanders anywhere outside of the top two.
GET TO KNOW A CANDIDATE: MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
Marianne Williamson is a native of Houston and spent two years studying theater & philosophy at Pomona College in California. She dropped out of college to pursue a career as a cabaret singer in New York City. Williamson returned to Houston to run a metaphysical bookstore/coffeeshop, prior to moving to Los Angeles, where she began lecturing on A Course in Miracles, publishing her first book in 1992 and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks. Her book, Healing the Soul of America, established her political engagement, and landed her on a list of one of the 50 most influential baby boomers. Williamson founded Project Angel Food, which currently delivers 12,000 meals/week, free of charge. A lifelong anti-war activist, she co-founded the Peace Alliance, a nonprofit focused on increasing U.S. governmental support of peace-building approaches.. In 2014 Williamson ran as an Independent for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, finishing fourth out of 16 candidates. Williamson is a staunch supporter of women’s empowerment issues, a supporter of Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, reparations, and the Green New Deal.
2020 CANDIDATES: WEEK IN REVIEW
JOE BIDEN: Biden reversed a position he had held for nearly four decades and for the first time called for repealing the federal law that sharply restricts the use of taxpayer money for abortion. The furor over Biden’s flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment raises questions about his own performance and his own steadiness and campaign performance. Biden has been AWOL from from Iowa, and he may be taking the state for granted. Separately, Biden was roasted for posting a picture of an Obama friendship bracelet. Regardless, he still sits atop every major national poll.
BERNIE SANDERS: Some of Bernie Sanders’ most ardent supporters believe 2020 could be stolen from him by the Democratic National Committee – again. The candidate himself said he does not expect any candidate to break 50% of the vote in Iowa. He also landed on the cover of Time Magazine. Sanders has been leapfrogged by Warren in two major polls. As a result, he issued a robust defense of his core political beliefs, delivering a formal address on democratic socialism in what will amount to the most aggressive attempt yet to defuse voter concerns about his electability.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: In Des Moines, Buttigieg once again stressed that his LGBT identity must be seen as empathetic rather than divisive. He knows firsthand the burden of six-figure student loan debt - with loans totaling more than $130,000, he and his husband Chasten, are pushing the issue to the national stage. Mayor Pete is also gaining ground in Iowa, jumping from 1% to 14% in the latest poll.
ELIZABETH WARREN: Campaigning on policy doesn’t work for every Democrat - but here is why it seems to be working for her. By pushing out so many proposals so early, she is forcing her Democratic rivals to play catch-up. Warren rolled out a new plan to fight climate change and create over a million new jobs, touted as the Green Manufacturing Plan. Warren says she’s proud that her campaign workers unionized. She surpassed Sanders in two national polls.
KAMALA HARRIS: Harris says being tough on crime will help her get tough on Trump. She also has a brilliant idea on abortion - it’s called preclearance, and here’s what that is. Harris is also being forced to defend why her San Francisco DA office stopped cooperating with victims of Catholic Church abuse.
AMY KLOBUCHAR: Klobuchar is happy to be polling in the top six in Iowa. She says Trump treats farmers like poker chips in his bankrupt casinos - citing how the president forced the Mexican government to start negotiations to avoid the tariffs. She also credits the drop in abortion to Planned Parenthood.
CORY BOOKER: Booker became the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to propose penalizing cities that exacerbate the housing crisis. Under Booker’s proposal, cities that refuse to allow dense forms of housing would become ineligible for federal transportation grants. Booker is trying to show that love can win in an era of hate. Accordingly, he took to social media to help find a staffer’s lost dog.
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: Polls may say that Gillibrand has no chance, but she’s heard that before and won anyway. Continuing her rebrand, Gillibrand played bartender at an Iowa LGBT hotspot in honor of Pride Month.
ANDREW YANG: Yang showed his tech chops on Bill Maher, stating that the zeal to break up Big Tech is a 20th century solution for a 21st century problem. He continued to rip the party's focus on identity politics as a great way to lose elections. Yang’s campaign claims that his Freedom Dividend could reduce mass shootings and antisemitism.
BETO O’ROURKE: O'Rourke shrugged off early polls, which continue to show him losing ground. He was only at 2% amongst likely Iowa caucus-goers. To improve his standing with women, his campaign is turning to his wife. He is being urged by Texans to run for Senate instead, a consequential seat that could be more attainable for O’Rourke.
JULIÁN CASTRO: Castro became the first presidential candidate to visit Flint, still struggling with its water system, five years after then-Gov. Rick Snyder changed the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River in an effort to cut costs. He will feature in a live Fox Town Hall on June 13.
JAY INSLEE: Inslee thinks that the DNC rejecting climate change debate is extremely disappointing. As such, he won’t rule out participating in a primary debate on climate change, a move that could risk his being barred from participating in the formal Democratic National Committee sponsored debates. He continued his attacks on the president, calling Trump’s climate denial a moral abomination and treasonous.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: Williamson moved to Iowa this spring in the hopes of garnering some votes from her new neighbors. She told Iowans that only love will counter the fear Trump has brought to the country.
TIM RYAN: Ryan visited UCLA and shared some lessons learned from legendary coach John Wooden. He then campaigned on restoring the voice of working families at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame event.
SETH MOULTON: Moulton knows he won’t make the first Democratic presidential debate, but says the race won’t be decided by the DNC or the debates. Moulton proposed plan to restore benefits to vets discharged under don't ask, don't tell, saying that 100,000 gay service members missed out on the GI Bill after they were less-than-honorably discharged under the policy. He also compared the need to federally-fund abortions to funding US troops.
STEVE BULLOCK: Bullock, the only Dem Primary candidate to win a Trump state, sent a scathing letter to the DNC in response to the committee’s decision to change its debate qualification rules in a way that would prevent him from participating. Even though he’s at 0% in the polls, he claims that the GOP fears him.
TULSI GABBARD: Gabbard claims that hyper-partisanship is getting in the way of pathway to citizenship legislation. She won't join Seth Moulton in challenging Joe Biden over his Iraq War vote.
JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Hickenlooper unveils a sweeping plan for rural communities, including promoting small businesses, expanding access to broadband, education & health care and investing in renewable energy, while also fighting the opioid crisis. Needless to say, he says socialism is not the answer.
MICHAEL BENNET: Bennet says it’s not clear that Trump has the authority to put his tariffs in place. Nor does he think that Biden is the candidate of the future.
WAYNE MESSAM: Was one of two candidates with zero respondents in the latest Iowa poll. He has yet to qualify for the DNC debate.
2020 Candidates’ Total Digital Spend (Google, Facebook)
The Democratic Primary candidates still lag woefully behind Donald Trump on digital media spending (Google, Facebook). The top six Democratic spenders are listed below, and the combined spend is only $8 ,522,713) - or still more than $1 million less than total spend of the President. The Trump campaign believes that its online spend was key to winning the White House in 2016.
#VOTEBLUENOMATTERWHO. . .OR NOT
Interesting takeaway in the new poll from The Economist/YouGov: "Are there ANY presidential candidates that you would be DISAPPOINTED with if they become the 2020 Dem Presidential nominee?"
ONE VENTI CHOKE-A-CCINO, PLEASE
Remember Howard Schultz and his ill-fated campaign launch? Whether he was going to enter the race as a Democrat or Independent, it seemed that his campaign galvanized people in one way - against him. Four months later, with back surgery on the horizon, Schultz told campaign staff that he is making significant cuts to his team, and will suspend his political plans for the summer. However, he may not be done for good; Schultz said that if Biden does not appear to be the nominee, he would think about jumping into the presidential race after Super Tuesday.