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Hundreds of Obama Admin Alumni Spurn Biden, Endorse Warren for President

News

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has gained an edge over her rivals in seeking to present herself as the rightful heir of the Obama administration.

More than 200 members of former President Barack Obama’s past campaigns and his administration have signed on to Warren’s campaign, according to CNN.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who served under Obama, often touts his connection to Obama and Obama’s policies in his campaign. Biden is currently leading the race, with 27.8 percent support according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Warren is in third, behind Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Warren is at 15.2 percent support while Sanders is at 19.3 percent.

The effort to put Obama loyalists behind Warren is led by former Obama aides Sara El-Amine and Jon Carson. Both filled key roles in Obama’s campaigns and as past executive directors of Organizing for America, an Obama network of organizers.

TRENDING: Michelle Obama Wants To ‘Remind White Folks’ That ‘You’re Still Running’ from Blacks and Immigrants

“We are a group that really uniquely knows that electability is self-determining and that oftentimes it’s the people with the boldest vision and the most unlikely candidacies early on who can really shift the field,” El-Amine said. “Sen. Warren really has the zest and the grit and the gumption and the audacity that we loved that President Obama really embodied.”

Carson shunned talking about Biden, preferring instead to focus on Warren.

“We all got to know each other working on a campaign, but we’re doing different things now and I think we all really believe in the need for big structural change that she is promising,” Carson said. “I think that’s why we’re with Sen. Warren.”

The list of Obama-ites supporting Warren includes Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria, and Sean Carroll, a former top official at USAID.

The name of Edward Buck was on the list of endorsers until Warren’s staff realized that Buck, a former Democratic donor, had been indicted in relation to the deaths of men who overdosed at his home.

“This was a mistake considering Ed Buck was not staff or an alum. This was put together via Google doc by some Obama alums and they caught some non-staff that populated the list but obviously they missed one. They are removing it,” Warren campaign spokesman Chris Hayden told Fox News.

Max Berger, another Warren aide, tweeted that someone had also tried to add fake names to the list.

RELATED: Warren Promises To Annually Read Aloud Names of ‘Transgender Women’ of Color Who Have Been Killed

Obama has publicly avoided any comment supporting one candidate over the other, though comments he made last month were interpreted as aimed at Warren and Sanders, according to Fox News. Obama said at the time that some Democrats were not in tune with voters on issues such as immigration and health care.

Will a connection to Obama decide the 2020 Democratic primary?

“The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that,” Obama said.

“There are a lot of persuadable voters and there are a lot of Democrats out there who just want to see things make sense. They just don’t want to see crazy stuff,” he said. “They want to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.”

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Steyer: Trump ‘Against Immigration by Non-White People’

(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer said Thursday that President Donald Trump is not against immigration. “He’s against immigration by non-white people.”

During the PBS NewsHour POLITICO Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, Calif., Steyer accused Trump of trying to divide the American people on the issue of race by “vilifying non-white people.”

“Listen, I think it’s important to note that this president is not against immigration. He’s against immigration by nonwhite people. This is his attempt to divide us on race. That’s what he’s been since the very first day he started running for president. He’s been vilifying non-white people,” the candidate said.

“He’s been trying to inflame his base and scare them that if, in fact, white people lose control of this country that they’re going to lose control of their lives,” Steyer said. 

“And as somebody who lives in a majority/minority state, which is California, what he’s doing is so wrong on so many different levels. I agree with senator Sanders. We have to reframe this argument completely. We have to go back to the idea that every American is worth being a full human being on every right,” he said.

“This is a racial argument by a racist president who is trying to divide us and who’s vilifying people. It is absolutely wrong, and it’s led him to break the laws of humanity in our name,” Steyer added.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that immigrants are being “scapegoated for issues they have nothing to do with.”

During the debate, Yang was asked, “You pledged to move on a permanent legislative fix in your first 100 days. Dreamers say that they are frustrated by Democrats’ failure to prioritize their status in deal after deal. So why should Dreamers trust Democrats now?”

“I believe everyone on this stage would do the right thing by Dreamers in the first 100 days. I would make it a top priority. I’m the son of immigrants myself. The fact is almost half of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or children of immigrants. Immigrants make our country stronger and more dynamic, and immigrants are being scapegoated for issues they have absolutely nothing to do with,” Yang said.

“If you go to the factory in Michigan, it’s not wall to wall immigrants. It’s wall to wall robot arms and machines. We have to send the opposite message of this administration. And as your president, I think I could send a very clear message where if you are considering immigrating to this country, and I am the president, you would realize my son or daughter could become president of the United States. That’s the opposite of the current administration, and that’s the message I would love to send to the world,” Yang said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he would issue an executive order on day to restore the legal status of more than a million illegal immigrants in the DACA program. He said he would also on day one change the border policy so that babies would not be snatched from the arms of their mothers, and he would introduce comprehensive bipartisan legislation that would lead to a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

Sanders was asked: “There are estimated to be as many as 12 million undocumented in the U.S., more than 2 million right here in California. If you have a chance to forge a bipartisan immigration reform plan, would you insist on a path to citizenship for all 12 million or just a segment of that population?” 

“This is what I would do. Day one, executive order, restore the legal status of 1.8 million young people in the DACA program.  Day one we change border policy so that federal agents will never snatch babies from the arms of their mothers,” Sanders said.

“Day one, we introduce bipartisan legislation, which will, in fact, be comprehensive, which will result in a path toward citizenship for all of the 11 million who are undocumented. That is what the people of our country want. Trump thinks mistakenly that he is going to win re-election by dividing us up. We are going to win this election by bringing our people together, black and white and Latino, native American, Asian. That’s what this campaign is about. That’s what America must be about,” he added.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) accused Trump of using immigrants “as political pawns.”

“I started my day-to-day with a group of immigrants who were there talking to me about housing, and I thought about this president and what he’s done. He has used our immigrants as political pawns. Every single day he tries to draw a wedge. I will be a different president. My view on this comes from experience,” she said.

“When I got to the Senate, Senator Kennedy asked me to be one of the two new senators that was in the group to work on the immigration reform package. We got so close to passing that. I voted for it. Not everyone did, but most of the Democrats did. Then I was on the Judiciary Committee when President Obama was president, and we worked very hard on that immigration reform,” Klobuchar said.

“We actually passed that with Republican votes. Then I was in the small group that worked on the compromise on the Dreamers that would have solved that problem. We didn’t get that done because this president gut punched us,” she said. “I will take my views. I will take this experience. I will get this done because immigrants don’t diminish America. They are America.”

 

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Latest Democrat Debate Draws Smallest Audience So Far

RATINGS COLLAPSE: Latest Democrat Debate Draws Smallest Audience So Far

People are getting tired of hearing the 2020 Democrats talk.

The ratings for their latest debate last week show it. Of all the Dem debates so far, this one had the smallest audience.

Variety reports:

 

Sixth Democratic Debate Draws 6 Million Viewers, Lowest Figure in Current Cycle

Last night’s Democratic debate, which inevitably dealt with the recent impeachment of President Donald Trump, drew just over 6 million total viewers for PBS and Politico, according to Nielsen figures.

Topics such as the economy, climate change, racism, Afghanistan, and taxing the wealthy were also on the agenda.

That total, which counts the PBS broadcast and the simulcast on CNN and CNN en Español, makes it the least watched debate so far in the current cycle, only just behind the previous MSNBC debate which drew 6.5 million.

Last night’s squaring off reached more than 2 million viewers across PBS stations nationwide, and was seen on CNN by just over 4 million people.

Per PBS, the debate live streams across PBS NewsHour’s, Politico’s, PBS’s, and CNN’s digital and social platforms totaled more than 8.4 million viewers.

None of the Democratic debates thus far in this cycle have come near to the 24 million viewership figure posted by Donald Trump’s first debate on Fox News in August of 2015.

Part of the problem is that the Democrats have nothing new to offer. How many times can you sit and listen to Bernie Sanders railing about millionaires and billionaires?

Hot Air offers a few other possible explanations:

The only possible positive explanation is that voters have already made their voting choices for the primaries. That doesn’t make too much sense, given the volatility in polling for Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Bernie Sanders over the last couple of months.

It’s tough to aggregate polling on “not sure” as RCP doesn’t track that response, but the NBC/WSJ poll this week showed 5% unsure, only down slightly from 8% in July when millions more tuned in to see a debate.

Similarly, the CNN poll series shows 5% unsure at the moment, but only 9% unsure in June. And the latest Quinnipiac survey shows 11% of Democratic voters are still unsure, the highest level since September. In this poll, 61% of those who do support a particular candidate say they still could change their mind, too.

No matter the reason, Democrats should be very concerned about the lack of enthusiasm.

It’s an indicator of what’s going to happen next fall.

Cross posted from American Lookout.

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A Senator Who Will Be Sorely Missed at Trump’s Impeachment Trial

As the nation contemplates the first impeachment trial of a President in a generation, my own thoughts turn to covering the last one, in 1999, and to someone whom I trailed during those tumultuous days: Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York. Under the peculiar rules that govern such trials, the senators are required to sit silently at their desks during the daily sessions. This is a kind of torture for the members, whose presence on the Senate floor generally consists of schmoozing and talking. No one hated the process more than Moynihan. The senator was, above all, a public-policy intellectual, someone who had devoted his life to the study and implementation of government action to improve the life of its citizens. The tawdry evidence at the trial—about President Clinton’s liaisons with Monica Lewinsky and his subsequent lies about it—interested Moynihan not at all.

So it was a relief for the senator to retreat to his Capitol hideaway office after each day’s session, and I was often fortunate enough to join him there. Seated beneath a portrait of one of his heroes—Lorenzo Da Ponte, who wrote librettos for Mozart’s operas and then moved to, of all places, New York City—Moynihan would ritually inquire whether I thought it was an appropriate time for sherry. I would dutifully agree that it was, and he would break the seal on a fresh bottle of Tio Pepe. As its contents dwindled, he talked about his astonishingly wide interests. Government secrecy. The fate of teaching hospitals. Urban planning, especially rail travel and his dream of converting the magnificent General Post Office on Thirty-third Street into a new Pennsylvania Station. (Moynihan Train Hall, as it is to be called, seems finally to be happening.)

Moynihan led an epic twentieth-century life. Raised in poverty in East Harlem after his father abandoned the family. Second World War Navy vet. Tufts Ph.D. L.B.J. adviser who wrote a controversial report about African-American families. Nixon adviser and voice of progressive change within that Administration. Gerald Ford’s Ambassador to the United Nations, where he famously defended Israel against charges of racism. Elected to the Senate, following a fierce battle with Representative Bella Abzug in the Democratic primary, in 1976. In his early days in public life, especially in the Senate, Moynihan was regarded as a neoconservative, but he evolved into a more conventional liberal in later years. In reviewing a book of Moynihan’s letters, Hendrik Hertzberg untangled the competing strands of his ideology.

In our days together, Moynihan, who was then completing his fourth and final term, said that he had never much cared for Clinton. He told me that George H. W. Bush was his favorite of the Presidents whose tenure coincided with his own. Still, by that point, Moynihan’s voting record was pretty much that of a progressive Democrat, and he did vote to acquit Clinton of the charges against him. But, in the current polarized moment, Moynihan’s curious political trajectory looks even more anomalous than it did then. A full exploration of Moynihan’s mind and record awaits the full biography he deserves, but what occurs to me now is how his addiction to complexity seems so out of place, and sorely missed, in the politics of today.

The press gallery in the Senate is in a kind of bleachers above the floor. Each senator was given a set of documents about the Clinton case, and I recall Moynihan pushing them around his desk like pieces of aging fish. He never wanted to hear personal details about his friends or his foes, but instead wanted to engage them in the world of ideas. There’s no point in idealizing the Senate of the late nineteen-nineties; it was a polarizing and petty place. But today’s Senate, run by Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the Republican Majority Leader, is far worse. Ideas—big ideas—mattered to Moynihan; personalities didn’t. It galled him that his longtime New York colleague, Al D’Amato, was known as Senator Pothole, as if he were the only member of the delegation who cared about the real-world problems of their constituents. In fact, while D’Amato obtained penny-ante federal contracts for roads and bridges, it was Moynihan who obtained the billions to save the New York subway system from disaster at the turn of the century. (The subways could now use billions more.)

I wrote a short piece about Moynihan during the impeachment, but I didn’t pursue him further after he left the Senate, in 2001, when he was replaced by Hillary Clinton. That is something I now regret; he would have been an ideal person to hear reflect on the future of New York after 9/11. Moynihan died in 2003, at the age of seventy-six. When I covered the trial, I remember thinking that the Senate could never function with a hundred like him—cerebral, distracted, unpredictable—but I’ve often thought since how poor the Senate, and our country, is without one of him.

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Why Symone Sanders Went From Bernie to Biden

“My politics are not tied to Bernie Sanders and they are not tied to Joe Biden,” Sanders told me when I asked her about this seeming contradiction. “I have great respect for Senator Sanders and I have great respect and admiration for Vice President Biden. If I didn’t, I would not be working for him right now. But he does not define me.”

This is a striking statement from a young staffer in a town where status is generally determined by how important your boss is—and your standing with your boss depends on how unquestioned your loyalty is.

It points to Sanders’ unusual status in Washington. It’s common for Democrats to build a career as a political operative and then transition to a role as a political commentator—perhaps while maintaining their work in politics. It’s much rarer to see someone rise through both spheres concurrently.

That might explain why Sanders seeks to separate her politics from her own candidate. “I’ve never agreed 100 percent with anybody I’ve gone to work for,” Sanders said. “Obviously I disagree with Vice President Biden.”

There’s also the possibility that this is a kind of loyalty: She’s sending a pro-Biden message to her fellow skeptical progressives, reminding them that ideological purity may, in this case, be less important than waging the most competitive challenge to Trump. Sanders, like the rest of the Biden campaign, is insistent that her candidate is the best one, not because of any single policy issue or a vision of America, but because of Biden’s ability to appeal to two constituencies that the next Democratic nominee is going to need: black voters, and the Rust Belt workers who went for Trump in 2016.

After the Bernie Sanders campaign, Symone Sanders carved out a job as a CNN analyst and political commentator. She still appears on TV occasionally, but now the chyron no longer reads political analyst.

“When my niece and nephew ask me what I was doing to get Trump out of office I’m not going to say I was sitting in a fucking studio pontificating about what people are doing on the campaign trail,” she said. “I’m going to say I was actively out there working.”

Sanders’ job, in part, is to weave her boss’s decades of shifting political positions and comments into something that feels coherent, and palatable, to Democratic primary voters in the America of 2020. This is not always easy. Before a rally in Philadelphia around the start of Biden’s presidential campaign, Sanders was pressed by CNN’s Victor Blackwell over Biden’s defense of the 1994 crime bill, legislation that progressives say contributed to mass incarceration. Sanders couldn’t directly answer whether Biden now believed the bill contributed to mass incarceration or not. It was an uncomfortable position for someone who, before serving as Bernie Sanders’ campaign press secretary, was a volunteer for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, a criminal-justice reform organization in Washington.

“I am not going to sit here and tell you the crime bill was perfect,” Sanders said, clearly taken aback. “At the end of the day no one is suggesting what has ravaged communities over the last 20 years does not need to be fixed.”


In backing Biden, Sanders hopes to woo her old ideological confederates—but she has alienated them, too.

For the grassroots Bernie supporters she was aligned with in 2016, Sanders is a textbook example of a political operative who started out in a party’s activist wing only to move away from those roots through advancement. Usually, the enmity is relatively minor.

In the case of Sanders vs. Sanders—Symone and the disciples of Bernie—it’s more extreme. “Bernie acolytes”—as distinguished from what she called mere “Bernie supporters”—have “a particular vitriol” when someone leaves the flock, the Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen told me.

During the 2016 campaign, Symone was regarded by some Bernie Sanders staffers as more of a hired gun than a true believer. That’s been on public display this cycle. After the second Democratic presidential debate, the one where Kamala Harris body-slammed Biden over his past opposition to using busing for school desegregation, the Justice Democrats, a group born out of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, spliced together a clip of Symone Sanders tying herself into knots trying to explain Biden’s position with one of Jesse Jackson criticizing Biden for being on the “wrong” side of history.

Coworkers friendly with her on the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign say she was pushed out, and was a specific target of communication director Michael Briggs’ wrath. Briggs declined to talk about Sanders on the record. A top adviser on the 2016 campaign said Symone was essentially “sidelined” by some other operatives on the campaign. But some Sanders campaign operatives speak highly of Symone, and she regards the Vermont senator positively now, even as he competes with Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I think Sen. Sanders [and I] had a rapport but we didn’t have a relationship. But perhaps my time wouldn’t have been so tough the last go around if in addition to having a relation to [campaign manager] Jeff Weaver I had an actual relationship to Sen. Sanders,” she said. “I’ve built a real relationship with Vice President Biden, and I feel as though if anything were to happen he would have my back.”

After 2016, Sanders moved over to a number of more establishment roles within the Democratic Party, including working for Priorities USA, the party’s flagship super PAC, an unheard of move for a true Bernie Sanders apostle. It was the equivalent of being born Amish and opting to leave the faith to help run Microsoft.

Still, Symone acknowledges the allure of the Vermont senator and his policies.

“Why did I go to work for Sen. Sanders? Because I liked what he was talking about,” Symone Sanders says.

That’s a notable contrast to her explanation of how she decided to work for Biden—that he seemed like the best candidate to beat Trump.

Even so, it was clear to Guy Cecil, the president of Priorities USA who hired her to work there, that Symone never quite fit into the Bernie campaign. “She was too Bernie for the Hillary people; she was too Hillary for the Bernie people,” Cecil said. “Frankly, I think one of the biggest mistakes Clinton campaign did was not bringing Symone on. I think she could have been helpful to them in a lot of ways.”

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Jillian Michaels & Obesity — Kat Timpf Fitness Guru Doesn’t Deserve Backlash after Criticizing ‘Glamorized’ Obesity

The new normal is to worry about impeachment becoming the “new normal.”

On Wednesday, during the interminable “debate” on articles of impeachment, one Republican House member after another warned, threatened, lamented, or just plain promised that the Democrats’ decision to impeach President Trump …
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Getting impeachment wrong

I’m a big fan of Yuval Levin, but I disagree with some of what writes in this post on “the Senate’s burden” regarding impeachment. Yuval quotes with approval this passage from Greg Weiner:

Impeachment is a matter of prudence whose frame of reference should be civic health, not merely presidential conduct… It is not merely whether Trump is guilty but also whether the nation will be better off—now and in the future—if he is put on trial and removed.

I think almost every word of this is wrong. Elections are a matter of prudence whose reference should include civic health and whether the nation will be better off now and in the future if an incumbent is “removed.”

Impeachment is a quasi-judicial process in which, under the Constitution, the question is whether the president committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Arguably, the effect of a president’s misconduct on civic health can be one factor in determining whether the misconduct alleged rises to the level of a high crime/misdemeanor.

However, it’s easy to imagine all sorts of misconduct that hurts civic health but that, under no stretch of the imagination, is a high crime/misdemeanor. The remedy for such conduct is the next election, not impeachment and removal.

Yuval contends that “the judgment confronting senators” in the impeachment proceeding “is ultimately a political judgment, in the highest sense.” In my view, it is a political judgment only the lowest sense. Politics plainly are in play. Otherwise, members of the two parties would not have voted with near unanimity — one for impeachment, one against — in the last two impeachments.

But the judgment is not political in the sense that Weiner seems to mean, or shouldn’t be. Impeachment is not how we purge the political system of unhealthy tendencies.

Yuval quotes from Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 65:

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.

This, though, is only one Framer’s view of impeachment. It doesn’t override the language in the Constitution, or the fact that the Framers rejected language that would have called for impeachment in cases of “corruption” or “maladministration.”

As I said, “the injuries done. . .to the society itself” can be a factor in determining whether the president’s misconduct satisfies what the Constitution expressly states is the standard for impeachment. However, it can’t itself become the standard for impeachment.

I agree with Yuval that President Trump “leaves no room for Republicans to say what. . .seems on net to be the case: that what happened was seriously improper but given all the relevant circumstances and implications it doesn’t rise to the level of removing a president.” But how does one get to the conclusion that what happened doesn’t rise to the level of removing a president?

If the test is “civic health” or whether the nation would be “better off” without Trump in the Oval Office, one can, in good faith, reach whichever conclusion one’s partisanship demands. If the test is the Constitutional language, a good faith inquiry is more constrained.

Yuval is correct that Republicans can’t seem to say that what Trump did was seriously improper, or even improper at all. However, they should be able to say, lawyer like, that even assuming just for the sake of argument, that he did what the Democrats claim he did, it wouldn’t be grounds for removal. Saying so, Senate Republicans could try to end the trial on a motion, after opening arguments and some debate.

That’s the outcome I’d like to see. I think it’s also Mitch McConnell’s preferred outcome. However, the president seems to want a trial.

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Elizabeth Warren gave top donors souvenir wine bottles in 2018

One of the big moments of this week’s democratic debate was when multi-millionaire Elizebeth Warren uncorked an attack line aimed at Pete Buttigieg and his wealthy donors. “The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine,” Warren said. She added, “We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.” Bernie Sanders and others got in on the “wine cave” attack as well and the hashtag #winecave started trending on Twitter.

Warren said the decision to not allow this to happen was made years ago, but a little over one year ago Warren held her own swanky fundraiser at a winery in Boston featuring a grammy-award winning singer and special perks for maxed out donors:

On a Saturday evening in June 2018, with temperatures in the 70s and the Red Sox playing at Fenway Park, supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren gathered at the City Winery Boston for a fundraiser.

They were treated to songs by the Grammy-winning artist Melissa Etheridge and heard remarks from Warren, who was months away from announcing her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. For the top donors, those who could contribute or raise $5,400 per couple or $2,700 a person, there was a VIP photo reception and premium seating.

For them and others who gave at least $1,000, there was also a gift: a souvenir wine bottle.

Warren’s campaign has already responded to the AP story, saying that City Winery is a public venue and that tickets for the event started at $100:

City Winery in Boston is a public venue but it can also be rented out for private events. I would have guessed Warren’s event was private but she seems to be suggesting that’s not the case in this statement. Also, according to a post on a grassroots activism website, the minimum ticket price for the event was $250. Here’s the page in case this disappears:

The page also included a link to an ActBlue page hosted by Wellesley Dems, but the page has been removed. The City Winery venue has several different rooms that are available for events but given that Melissa Ethridge was performing, it’s a good bet they held this in the main venue which can hold just over 200 people when seated. The photos above comes from the winery’s website and show the main venue.

This fundraiser was not a one-off. In fact, Warren has a long history of big-money fundraisers which she has conveniently forgotten about:

Past Warren donors say she was an engaging presence at those events, asking questions of her wealthy patrons and listening intently to what they had to say.

She also made it personal. She bestowed awards on those who were successful at tapping their personal networks to raise money for her. Those who bundled large amounts under $50,000 for her Senate campaign earned a silver pin, while those who brought in more were awarded a gold one engraved with her signature. Her campaign says it’s a practice she discontinued in 2012…

Alix Ritchie, who has donated more than $20,000 to Warren, said she had co-hosted events and attended others. “Many of the events for her that I went to were on the Cape in the summer,” said Ritchie, formerly the publisher of the Provincetown Banner newspaper. “They would have wine and some kind of finger food. It’s pretty standard. It wasn’t any different from what other people do. She raised money the way every candidate raises money.”

Warren has held plenty of wine fundraisers for the wealthy who could max out their donations and even bundle money from their wealthy friends. There are at least a few people with a gold pin with her signature on it showing they raised more than $50,000 for her campaign. Of course she’s free to make the case that this sort of big money fundraising is wrong, but she shouldn’t act as if she’s never done it herself.

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Joe Biden Will Lose a General Election to Donald Trump

I am obviously a partisan for Sanders, but six months ago if you asked me who could beat Trump I would give you two names: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Everyone else has extremely shaky numbers against Trump, and some candidates in particular (Warren and Buttigieg) seem personally ill-matched for his combative reactionary populism. Biden, meanwhile, has polled well against Trump, which is why my argument against him was entirely political: I saw no reason to expect him to lose.

So when I say that I’ve changed my mind, please for the love of god do not read this as a cynical argument for Sanders. I was not saying this six months ago. Even now I don’t have to say it for Sanders, because he doesn’t need it. The case for Sanders is still that he is the best candidate who can beat Trump, and this is true even if worse candidates (like Biden) can also beat Trump.

But I don’t think Biden can. Not anymore.

Biden’s behavior in this primary has been erratic and bizarre. This is not just the goofy, gaffe-prone Biden we remember from the years before his retirement — that Biden was undisciplined, but he was diplomatic and sharp. This Biden is unpredictable, often confused, and occasionally flat-out disturbing. When he speaks he spins his wheels, meanders onto bizarre tangents, and stumbles over simple points of fact. When he interacts with people, he veers from uncomfortably familiar to wildly aggressive.

Just look at this video. Joe Biden:

  • Calls a voter a liar
  • Flirts with calling him fat
  • Challenges him to feats of strength
  • Challenges him to an IQ test
  • And makes fun of his age

This is completely unhinged. More importantly, this will not win votes. People will suspect that Biden is ridiculous, or cruel, or creepy, or dim-witted, or unwell, or simply a bad politician — and some, inevitably, will decide that they just can’t vote for him.

Biden’s behavior is especially damaging in a race against Trump for two reasons:

  1. Biden is going to run as a return to normalcy and respectability from the embarrassing aberration of Trump. Most other candidates (including Clinton, by the way) could pull this off. The Biden we remember from a decade ago could pull this off. But the Biden we are seeing today is going to leave voters wondering if they are just trading one embarrassing weirdo for another.
  2. Trump is going to say that Biden is senile and unfit for office. He is not going to just imply it or let attack dogs say it like other Republicans might — he is going to say this explicitly and repeatedly and make it a major part of his campaign. He is not going to care that one might say this about him because he has the shamelessness and audacity of a sociopath. He is going to be cruel and bullying about it, and he will have the benefit of low expectations because no one expects anything else from him. This will be especially brutal in debates, because for all of his faults, Trump is still very quick on his feet verbally, and is very conscious of this advantage.

For the first several months of his campaign, Joe Biden did what all front-runners do: he attempted to stay above the fray of the primaries, limiting his public appearances and coasting on his reputation. It is only in recent months, first in debates and then during his forays into early-state retail politics, that he gained significant public scrutiny. That’s why it has been extremely easy to miss the change: we began the year with memories of the old Joe Biden, and have only seen the new one emerge quite gradually.

But I am telling you now, this is not a Joe Biden who can beat Donald Trump. The Democratic establishment sees this, which is why they’ve hedged their bets on so many other candidates. The public sees this, which is why Biden has struggled with donations. And I promise you that the media sees it too, even though they are not saying it out loud. If you want to beat Donald Trump, there is one safe bet — one candidate that we need to rally behind yesterday. And it’s not Joe Biden.