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Primary elections today: The 5 most likely Super Tuesday scenarios

So, what’s going to happen? Good question! Below, I outline the five most likely scenarios to play out on Super Tuesday, with a special focus on California (415 delegates) and Texas (228 delegates).
In both California and Texas, which have the most delegates up for grabs and, therefore, matter most today, Warren is running a solid third behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. And, more importantly, she is above the 15% threshold to win delegates in each. If Warren can stay above that 15% number in both of those states, Tuesday will be a very good day for her campaign, no matter what else happens. (One kind-of caveat: Warren looks likely to lose her home state of Massachusetts to Sanders, which isn’t a great look.)
And if Warren does finish, say, third in the number of delegates behind Sanders and Biden after Super Tuesday, she would have very little incentive to leave the race — at least in the near term. Remember that Warren raised $29 million in February alone, more than she had raised in any three-month period prior. What that means is she will have the resources to continue forward — especially if she can get to a solid third place in the delegate hunt on Super Tuesday.

The continued presence of Warren in the race — through March and perhaps beyond — would be a bad thing for Sanders, who needs to consolidate as much liberal support behind him in as short a period of time as possible. But if Warren keeps collecting delegates and stays within shouting distance of the top two in the race for 1,991 (delegates, that is), there’s not a ton of incentive for her to bow out before the party convention this summer. Of course, that all depends on her ability to collect a significant chunk of delegates on Super Tuesday.

4. Bloomberg underperforms: The last 72 hours have been former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s worst-case scenario: Biden crushes in South Carolina’s primary and a rapid lining-up of centrist former candidates behind him occurs. The entire premise of Bloomberg’s candidacy is that Biden is too weak to win the nomination. And now, on the day Bloomberg’s campaign has focused all its efforts (and money) since he began running for president, he finds Biden with all the momentum.
Given the amount of money Bloomberg has spent on ads, staff and, well, everything else on Super Tuesday states (well more than $500 million), it has to be considered a major disappointment if he doesn’t make the 15% threshold for delegates in California and Texas. Polling in both states suggests Bloomberg is slightly below the cut-off line in each state; if he doesn’t make viability statewide in either one, it’s very, very likely that Bloomberg has a bad night — regardless of what happens elsewhere in the country.

One other area to think about: The South. Again, Bloomberg is the biggest spender — by FAR — in these southern Super Tuesday states. But if Biden’s stunningly strong performance in the black community in South Carolina is any indication, Bloomberg may struggle to get to 15% in places like Alabama and Tennessee, which would, again, spell trouble for his campaign’s future.

3. Sanders leads delegate chase and there is a muddle for 2nd place: This is the nightmare scenario for the forces hoping to unite the establishment wing of the party behind Biden.

There’s no question that Sanders will have the delegate lead come Wednesday morning — or, given how long it takes California to count votes, Wednesday night. (Scroll down for more on that.) It’s also uniquely possible that Biden, Bloomberg and Warren all get to 15% in enough states voting on Tuesday that they effectively split up the non-Bernie delegates. How? Warren’s strength in California, Biden’s presumed advantage among black voters across the southern states and Bloomberg’s $500+ million TV ad assault on every single Super Tuesday state.

What such a scenario would mean would be a total muddle. Each of that trio of candidates would likely have enough good news out of Super Tuesday — and their delegate standing — to justify staying in the race through, at least, the end of this month. And the longer it takes for the field to thin to Sanders and the Sanders alternative, the better for the Vermont senator.

2. Biden claims second in delegate chase: The real fight at the moment is not to beat Sanders in delegates collected on Super Tuesday — even the most pessimistic projections for the Vermont senator assume he wins the most — but rather to be the person who takes the second most delegates, and, by extension, can make the case as the Bernie alternative.

That fight is between Biden, Warren (due to her strength in California, largely) and Bloomberg, and the former vice president would appear to have a leg up at the moment as he comes into Tuesday with momentum from his larger-than-expected win in South Carolina over the weekend and a slew of endorsements — including from Klobuchar and Buttigieg — announced on Monday.

For Biden to slot in behind only Sanders in delegates, he need a few things to happen: a) get over 15% in California b) win or come close in Texas and c) run up the margins in southern states — Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama — where the Democratic electorate will have a major African American tilt.

1. Sanders sweeps to a significant (200+) delegate lead: Sanders should do quite well in New England (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont) as well as in Minnesota and Colorado. But it’s California where Sanders’ day will be made (or not). There’s virtually no question that Sanders will win the state but the key is whether or not Biden, Warren or Bloomberg can get to 15% or more.

If no one other than Sanders gets to 15% statewide, he will get almost 60% of all of the delegates, according to calculations made by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman. If, on the other hand, two non-Sanders candidates got 15.1% of the vote each, Sanders would win just 38% of California’s delegates. So, BIG difference.
Still, Sanders is stronger in more states than any other candidate left in the field — thanks the absolute commitment of his core supporters as well as his strengths — as Ron Brownstein notes — among non-college educated whites and Hispanic voters. He should have a good night no matter what.

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Hollywood Idiot Barbra Streisand Publishes Nonsensical Column Trashing President Trump… And It’s Just as Stupid as You’d Expect

by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hollywood idiot Barbra Streisand published a ridiculous article in Variety for Super Tuesday trashing President Trump.

The far left idiot even pushed the Russia collusion scam.
Babs is not a serious person.

Yes, Mr. Trump, let’s make America great again. But first, get one thing straight: America was great — before you were elected.

Every morning I wake up, holding my breath while I turn on my phone to see the latest news. I think to myself, “It can’t be worse than yesterday.” But when the news loads, I think, “Ohhhhh, yes, it is worse”… now he’s fired the director of national intelligence in an effort to suppress the truth about Russia interfering in our elections again. He’s purging the government of anyone with any expertise who doesn’t bow down before him.

By the way, why has Mitch McConnell blocked 10 election security bills?

No wonder doctors report that more people than ever are anxious and depressed. Since 2016, we’ve been dragged down into the mud of Trump’s swamp. He has demolished our standing in the world with his laughable boasts and breathtaking ignorance. He has put the security of this country, and our planet, in a precarious position by abandoning the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. He’s a one-man weapon of mass destruction … so reckless that he almost started a war.

Now we’re facing another kind of war, against the coronavirus. Trump got rid of our pandemic specialist two years ago and has defunded the Centers for Disease Control because he continues to ignore science.

We can’t go on like this. It’s too dangerous.

The entire column is littered with far left myths.
Barbra really should do a bit of research before she embarrasses herself next time.

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Bernie vs. Warren tensions are mounting just as moderates unite

The deepening rift among the two progressive candidates threatens to lock the Democratic Party’s left wing out of the White House. With hours to go until roughly a third of delegates are awarded, anxiety among progressive leaders is rising, and Warren, after her weak performance in the first four voting states, is under growing pressure to drop out from some Sanders supporters but notably not the Sanders campaign itself.

“If a candidate pulls ahead after [Tuesday], we need to put aside our differences and unite on behalf of economic and racial justice,” said Aimee Allison, founder of the organization She the People, of Warren and Sanders. “The country is ready for new ideas and we have two leading progressive campaigns that have so much to offer millions of Democrats. The moderates are playing to win. It’s time we rose up as a movement to play to win as well.”

But the split may be difficult to mend. Warren allies and some aides have long felt that Sanders could have done more to rein in his surrogates, staffers and supporters from attacking Warren — and they were upset when grass-roots Sanders backers hissed at the mention of her name and tweeted snake emojis at her.

Some Sanders aides and allies, meanwhile, feel as if Warren’s team is too sensitive to criticism from some campaign aides and is wrongly holding them responsible for tweets from people outside of their operation. Others also still suspect that she or people close to her planted a January CNN story about him allegedly telling her that a woman couldn’t beat President Donald Trump — as a way to kneecap him. Sanders denied ever saying that.

Alexandra Rojas, executive director of the left-wing group Justice Democrats, called on Warren to stop “attacking” Sanders and pledge to “give her delegates to him if he has more votes to ensure a progressive wins the nomination.” Justice Democrats has not endorsed in the race.

Evan Weber, national political director of the pro-Sanders Sunrise Movement, likewise said Warren and Sanders “should publicly commit to grouping their delegates together at the convention in order to ensure that a progressive can win against the establishment” if they both stay in the race after Super Tuesday.

The Warren campaign did not respond to those statements.

There was one ray of hope this week for progressives fearful of a divided front, particularly those who favor the Vermont senator: Democracy for America and The Nation both endorsed him Monday. The publication encouraged Sanders to “do more to discourage his supporters from engaging in personal attacks,” while pressing Warren to recognize that “criticism by her of Sanders or his record only benefits their common enemies.”

But some progressives remain split, even if they don’t want to further the disconnect. Though for months liberal groups and officials increasingly coalesced behind Sanders, leading figures on the left have failed to consolidate in the last few days anywhere close to the degree moderate elected officials have. Despite finishing behind Buttigieg, who suspended his campaign Sunday and then endorsed Biden, Warren has shown no signs of exiting the race. Instead, she has promised to fight all the way to the convention.

Some progressive activists are debating what to do about the predicament. One of the largest immigrants rights groups, United We Dream, issued a co-endorsement of Sanders and Warren this week.

It’s almost a mirror image of the place moderates found themselves in weeks ago, when centrist presidential candidates tore into each other in debates and attack ads while Sanders racked up victories. At the time, moderate insiders complained that they lacked a coordinated strategy to unite against Sanders and were mostly talking instead of doing.

“There’s a lot of, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on?’ networked chatter from person to person that I imagine will turn into deeper conversations over coming days,” said a person involved in efforts to unify progressives. Tuesday “could make things more clear or more confusing.”

Some of Sanders’ supporters in left-wing media have been calling on Warren to drop out for the good of the progressive cause.

And some Warren supporters argue there will be a backlash to pushing out the last viable woman in the race. “I think the media and other politicians are underestimating the unmitigated fury a lot of women — like me — will feel if Warren is forced out because of a massive pressure campaign to intimidate the millions of voters who actually prefer her,” said Liat Olenick, a public school teacher and progressive activist in Brooklyn who supports Warren. “We need women to turn out in November.”

The Working Families Party and Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which support Warren, have argued that it is beneficial for Sanders to have her in the race because she attracts voters who would switch to Biden if she dropped out, a point even some Sanders supporters concede.

Other Sanders backers believe that analysis doesn’t take into account the boost he would receive if she simultaneously left the race and endorsed Sanders. A Morning Consult national poll found that Biden’s support jumped by 10 points after Buttigieg and Klobuchar exited the race and threw their weight behind him, putting him now in the lead with 36 percent, followed by Sanders with 28 percent.

Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, said his team has made calls to progressive groups and officials in recent days in order to build support as moderates consolidate. “For anyone who’s wondering whether we are making efforts to try to expand our tent, yes, we are doing so,” he said.

The prospect of Warren, Sanders and their supporters coming together could be made more difficult by the realities of the rocky primary, however. After attempting to stick to a non-aggression pact throughout most of the campaign, the relationship between the two camps has become increasingly fraught. Some Warren surrogates and aides — long frustrated by what they considered cheap shots from Sanders’ team and supporters — are increasingly hitting back.

When Matt Bruenig, a prominent Sanders backer and founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, said that “most of [Warren’s] career was corporate bankruptcy,” longtime Warren policy aide Bharat Ramamurti snapped back: “This is an outright lie, as are many of the things you say about her and her ideas.” Ramamurti quickly deleted the tweet, but it was further evidence of frayed nerves on both sides.

Sanders aides and surrogates, too, have been aggravated by Warren’s recent attacks on Sanders as well as her campaign’s declaration that she will go all the way to the convention as her campaign predicts no candidate will have the required delegate majority.

“If your progressive candidate is running to be Joe Biden’s vice president then maybe it’s time for a rethink. Like, before Tuesday,” wrote Sanders surrogate and professor Naomi Klein on Twitter. (She later told POLITICO that “I do not tweet as a surrogate.”)

But with Biden surging, the two progressives could potentially have a common enemy to unite around. On Monday, Warren signaled that she is turning her attention to Biden, telling a crowd in Los Angeles that “no matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support [Biden], nominating their fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment … nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and our country.”

Sanders, too, declined repeatedly to take the bait this week at a press conference when asked about Warren’s role in race and whether her super PAC is funded by special interests.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, predicted a shift in strategy in upcoming days.

“The issues that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are talking about are the issues that are energizing the Democratic base,” she said, adding that after Super Tuesday, “I think that a lot of people in the progressive movement will gladly talk about how we coalesce around the issues that we care about.”

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Resurgent Biden makes Super Tuesday push to halt Sanders’ momentum

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden took his resurgent campaign to California on Tuesday in a last-minute push to blunt front-runner Bernie Sanders’ momentum as Americans voted in the largest round of state nominating contests.

California, the most populous state, is a tantalizing prize in Super Tuesday elections in 14 states that are the first national test for candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

Biden aims to muscle aside upstart Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, and consolidate support from moderates. He has been re-energized since a blowout win in South Carolina on Saturday, and polls show him gaining in some states on Sanders, a democratic socialist.

Early exit polls by Edison Research showed relatively few voters in California and second-biggest state Texas, about two in 10, made up their minds in the last few days, which could minimize Biden’s recent momentum.

(Get all the Super Tuesday action: here)

But in Virginia and Massachusetts, about half of voters decided recently while one third of voters in North Carolina decided in the last few days, the polls showed.

Voting on Tuesday was taking place against the backdrop of an escalating political and economic crisis over the global outbreak of coronavirus, which has infected some 90,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,000, mostly in China.

Super Tuesday voters named healthcare as their leading issues, and more than half support a government-run single-payer system, Sanders’ signature proposal, the exit polling showed.

While campaigning in a diner in Oakland, Calif., Biden told a voter that “hopes are high” that he would meet the 15% threshold needed to collect delegates in liberal California. Failure to do so could cement Sanders’ lead in the race.

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont who has vowed to make the wealthy and corporations assume a heavier tax burden, is hoping progressives, Latinos and young voters turn out to make his second bid for the Democratic nomination successful.

But fewer than two of 10 voters in the Super Tuesday states are first-time primary voters, the polls showed. Sanders has argued his grassroots political revolution would ignite a surge of new voters.

Sanders has heavily outspent Biden on ads and in building a campaign organization in the Golden State, where 415 delegates will be awarded. At least 1,991 delegates are needed to become the nominee at the party’s convention in July.

The rush of primary elections on Tuesday, in which one-third of the delegates are up for grabs, may provide some clarity in a muddled race with several candidates rising and falling, leaving many Democratic voters torn and uncertain.

Biden, who was President Barack Obama’s vice president, has emerged as a top threat since his South Carolina win on Saturday opened the floodgates on endorsements from Democratic officials worried that Sanders’ proposals to restructure the economy would doom the party’s prospects in November.

Biden is trying to build a bridge between progressive Democrats’ desire for big structural change and more moderate Democrats yearning for a candidate who will be able to win over enough independents and Republicans to oust Trump.

That effort gained fresh momentum on the eve of Tuesday’s voting as moderate presidential rivals Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, endorsed Biden after withdrawing from the race.

Leslie Cohen, a retired teacher in Sacramento, California, said she had planned to support Buttigieg but would now vote for Biden.

“Once he dropped out and Amy Klobuchar dropped out, my decision was made because I don’t want Bernie Sanders. I don’t think he can beat Trump,” Cohen said.

SIPHONING VOTES

Biden’s goal on Tuesday will be to stay within reach of Sanders in the delegate count, giving him a chance to make up ground as the campaign possibly becomes a two-candidate race.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders departs after he and his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders voted in the Vermont primary at their polling place in Burlington, Vermont, U.S. March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Tennessee is one of the states where Biden hopes to do well on Tuesday. A powerful, killer tornado here in the Nashville area delayed the opening of polls there by an hour, and forced officials to relocate some polling locations.

The billionaire Bloomberg remains a wild card as he joins the competition for the first time. The moderate skipped the first four contests and spent more than $500 million of his own money to bombard Super Tuesday and later voting states with ads, but has seen his poll numbers slip after a poor first debate.

Asked by a reporter in Miami if he thought he risked spoiling Biden’s chances of winning the nomination, Bloomberg responded: “You think I’m going to siphon (votes) from him? He’s siphoning them from me.”

Jeff Sunderland, 39, of Arlington, Virginia, said he voted for Sanders because he believes more needs to be done to improve the plight of workers. “I think that the working people of this country deserve better from our government,” he said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was briefly the front-runner in the race last year, also remains in the hunt and hopes to score a victory in her home state of Massachusetts. Opinion polls show her trailing in other states.

The pace of the Democratic race begins to accelerate after Super Tuesday, with 11 more states voting by the end of March. By then, nearly two-thirds of the delegates will have been allotted.

SANDERS LEAD

Sanders headed into Tuesday with 60 delegates to Biden’s 54 in the state-by-state nominating fight. Sanders managed a virtual tie with Buttigieg in Iowa and wins in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Besides leading in polls in California, Sanders also is ahead of Biden by a smaller margin in polls in Texas. Sanders’ strength with Hispanics should pay dividends in that state, where Latinos comprise one-third of the Democratic electorate.

Biden, whose South Carolina win affirmed his popularity with black voters, hopes to win five states where African Americans make up at least a quarter of the Democratic electorate: Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Other states voting on Tuesday are Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah. The U.S. territory of American Samoa was holding a caucus contest, and Democrats living abroad began voting in a primary set to run until March 10.

Slideshow (13 Images)

The first polls will close in Vermont and Virginia at 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT). The last will close in California at 8 p.m. PST (0400 GMT on Wednesday).

The next contests, on March 10, will be in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state.

Reporting by John Whitesides, Jarrett Renshaw, Ginger Gibson, Doina Chiacu, Sharon Bernstein, Trevor Hunnicut and Zachary Fagenson; Writing by Paul Simao and John Whitesides; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Howard Goller

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Why Is Tulsi Gabbard Still in the 2020 Presidential Race After Better Polling Democrats Dropped Out?

In the run up to Super Tuesday, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and billionaire Tom Steyer have all ended their presidential campaigns—but despite low polling numbers and poor showings in the early states, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii hangs on.

While Gabbard hasn’t qualified for the past five Democratic debates—her last was the fifth debate, held in November—the candidate has made a number of campaign stops ahead of the primary elections and caucuses. Gabbard appeared in South Carolina shortly after the New Hampshire primary—skipping the Nevada contest—and held several town halls across the state. She’ll be in Michigan on Super Tuesday, and spent Monday in California surfing with supporters from the City Surf Project.

Still, despite her efforts, Gabbard has consistently appeared in the bottom of polls and has repeatedly come in last among the major candidates in early-voting states. Gabbard has no delegates so far. Her best showing was in New Hampshire with 3.3 percent of the vote. In South Carolina, she only received 1.3 percent, and did even worse in the two caucus states, Iowa and Nevada, where she received 0.0 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.

Given that Steyer dropped out shortly after his highest performance in South Carolina, as well as early frontrunner Buttigieg removing himself from the race, some may wonder why Gabbard is staying in the race. Last month, Gabbard told reporters that she hadn’t discussed dropping out with her campaign.

“I know that our path forward lies in continuing to be able to reach out directly to voters and deliver our message about how I’m the best candidate to defeat Trump in November,” she said.

Some pundits have suggested that Gabbard is staying in the race in an attempt to angle for a position at Fox News. On Saturday, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang said on CNN, “She already said she’s not running for Congress anymore. She’s got a different agenda.”

“What’s the agenda? To be a Fox contributor, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t have any information, I’m just assuming—that’s where she appears,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper replied.

Cooper isn’t alone—last month, his fellow CNN personality, Bakari Sellers made the same accusation, asking “Why is Tulsi still in? How long is this Fox News audition?”

Gabbard has denied that working for Fox News is her motivation, saying that Sellers is “wrong.”

“I wish Bakari would actually listen to what I’m saying, listen to my call for an end to regime change wars, to end this new Cold War nuclear arms race and instead to invest our taxpayer dollars towards actually serving the needs of residents and voters here in South Carolina,” she told The Post and Courier.

Still, Gabbard’s motivations to stay in the race are unclear.

“Tulsi Gabbard represents a constituency of one, and that person’s name is Tulsi Gabbard,” Dr. Brian Klaas, assistant professor in global politics at University College London, told Newsweek.


Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, shown here at a New Hampshire campaign event in February, has no pledged delegates and comes in last in national polls, but is staying in the race even after more popular candidates have dropped out.
Scott Eisen/Getty

Despite a lack of results, Gabbard’s campaign has had a fair amount of controversy, most notably, when 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed Gabbard was being “groomed” to be a third-party candidate.

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said during an appearance with David Plouffe, a former Barack Obama adviser. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Gabbard hit back by calling Clinton “Queen of Warmongers.” She then filed a defamation suit, seeking $50 million in damages. Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, she said saying that Clinton was taking her “life away.”

“This is my life that we’re talking about here. For me as a soldier, as every service member does, I took an oath of loyalty to our country. The country that I love. Willing to put my life on the line for our country, deploying twice to the Middle East to do so,” Gabbard said. “So when you have someone as powerful as Hillary Clinton seeking to smear my reputation and essentially implying that I’m a traitor to the country that I love, what she essentially is doing is taking my life away.”

Newsweek reached out to the Gabbard campaign, but has not heard back by publication time.

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Ted Cruz rejects ‘rumors’ about tying FISA reauthorization to coronavirus funding

A Republican senator criticized a possible proposal tying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization to multibillion-dollar emergency funding to combat the coronavirus.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a member of the judiciary and commerce panels, cast such “rumors” as an indicator that Congress is on its way to renewing key parts of the surveillance law without sufficient consideration for reform, highlighting a split between the GOP and Attorney General William Barr, who has asked for a clean reauthorization.

“Hearing rumors that the swamp is trying to tie long-term FISA reauthorization to emergency funding to fight the #CoronaVirus,” the Texas Republican tweeted Monday night. “This should not happen. FISA process was abused to spy on @realDonaldTrump. We need real reform, not political games.”

Republican allies of President Trump have demanded FISA reform after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December that criticized the DOJ and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page, a U.S. citizen who was never charged with wrongdoing, and its heavy reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier.

With FISA authorities, including roving wiretap powers, the business records provision, and the “lone wolf” amendment, set to sunset on March 15 if not reauthorized, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are considering reforms to the law that determines the procedures for electronic and physical surveillance for counterintelligence or anti-terrorism investigations.

At a private meeting with Senate Republicans last Tuesday, Barr advocated for the extension of soon-to-expire surveillance law provisions and time to implement his own internal reforms aimed at stopping surveillance abuses against American citizens. Barr said his desire for a “clean” reauthorization was supported by the intelligence community, the National Security Council, and the FBI, although the White House Domestic Policy Council was reportedly not on board.

“The attorney general just wanted to underscore the importance of these provisions that were enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said after the meeting. “They are still relevant to our efforts to go after terrorists today, just like they were after 9/11.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Barr “made a commitment to make sure that what happened in 2016 — that internally he’s going to clean up that mess.” The South Carolina Republican added: “You’ve got three provisions to deal with. I think it’d be smart to keep them in place. It would give us some time to work on FISA writ large.”

But in the days since, there has been pushback by some Republicans, and Trump and Barr are set to meet with some of the biggest GOP advocates for FISA reform, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both Republicans have raised concerns about government “spying” on U.S. citizens.

There is talk on Capitol Hill about attaching FISA renewal to the estimated $7.5 billion coronavirus emergency supplemental bill, which is expected to pass the House.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby suggested to Fox News on Monday that he was not against the idea. “It’s not a poison pill if it moves,” the Alabama Republican said.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee’s ranking member, said, “Oh, God, no!” to the idea. Leahy said he wanted the coronavirus legislation to be “clean” and “the people who want to do FISA could have finished it last year.”

Trump’s new nominee for director of national intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe, weighed in last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, noting that “there was illegal surveillance” of Trump. But the Texas Republican defended the value of the surveillance law used to root out terrorists and spies.

Ratcliffe said it “serves our country well and saves lives” while arguing it needed fixes. He said it wasn’t enough to defend the DOJ and FBI: “You have to defend the values behind the institutions.”

Other Republicans in the House said FISA reform was imperative.

“We are right in the middle of reauthorizing the FISA process,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Shame on any member of Congress or senator, including Republicans, if we reauthorize it without reforming it.”

Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the judiciary panel, said he was “not going to approve anything unless we get some FISA changes.”

The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee struck a similar tone.

“Nope, I don’t want to do it — not without major reforms,” New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler told CNN when asked if he’d support a short-term FISA reauthorization.

The House Judiciary Committee suspended a markup session for FISA reform legislation last week after Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren offered five amendments that her Democratic colleagues considered to be “poison pills” that would hinder negotiations.

“If we don’t take this opportunity to reform the FISA process, we are missing an opportunity,” the California Democrat said, according to Politico.

Although the deadline is March 15, because it is a Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said FISA reauthorization needs to happen by March 12, before Congress leaves town.

“The goal is to have the right balance between civil liberties and national security,” the California Democrat said. “It’s really important that we pass the FISA bill.”

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Voters in 14 states and 1 US territory head to the polls

As Super Tuesday, the single biggest day of voting gets underway, the candidates are competing across 15 contests for a treasure chest of delegates, which will be awarded across geographically and racially diverse parts of the country.

The stakes could not be higher as Democrats face a significant turning point in the 2020 presidential race and are tested on a national scale.

Across 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia — and one territory, American Samoa, 1,344 delegates are up for grabs.

Here’s how the day is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.

5:38 p.m. Democratic Party spokeswoman: Judge has ruled all Tennessee polls must extend hours in wake of tornado

In the wake of a deadly tornado which killed at least 25 people, a judge has ruled all Tennessee polls must extend Super Tuesday hours.

5:15 p.m. How much could late-breaking events sway results

With early voting going on for a good while in most states, the potential influence of late-breaking events is an open question – particularly, former Vice President Joe Biden’s win in South Carolina and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s decisions to withdraw from the race and endorse Biden. In preliminary exit poll results, anywhere from 31% in Tennessee to 47% in Oklahoma and Virginia alike said they finally made up their minds just today or in the last few days.

5:13 p.m. Anger at Trump unites Democrats

While divided in their vote preferences for the party’s nominee, Democratic voters are united in dissatisfaction – and for some, even anger – with the Trump administration. Anywhere from 83 to 94% in preliminary results say they’re either angry or dissatisfied with the current administration. Anger peaks in Maine 79%, Colorado 77% and Vermont 75%.

5:13 p.m. Racial and ethnic groups are worth watching at the state level

Racial and ethnic groups are worth watching at the state level, ABC News’ Director of Polling Gary Langer points out. Turnout among blacks should be important given their vast support for Biden in South Carolina, where they accounted for 56 percent of primary voters and backed Biden over Sanders by 61-17%. Preliminary results tonight find black turnout highest in Alabama 44%, North Carolina 27%, Virginia 27% and Tennessee 26%.

Hispanics accounted for just 5 percent of voters in the early states overall, rising to 17 percent in Nevada. They’re expected to account for many more voters in two states – Texas 32% in 2016 and California 30% in 2008, the last year for which we have exit poll data. We’ll update with tonight’s figures as those data come in.

Before today, Hispanics voted for Sanders over Biden by 41-20% overall, and by 50-17% in Nevada, where they were particularly young, 55% younger than 45 and supportive of single-payer government health care, two strong Sanders groups.

5:12 p,m. Here’s some math to ponder

As ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks writes: “On Tuesday night alone, more than 30% of all of the Democratic Party’s pledged delegates are up for grabs in some of the largest states in the union: California has 415 delegates, Texas has 228. Virginia and North Carolina are also voting, both of which have double the number of delegates compared to South Carolina. When the dust settles from the Super Tuesday states, 1499 delegates will have been awarded.”

With so much of the delegate pool at stake in one night, will a single candidate walk away with a lead in delegates that is hard to catch or will the math shake out to show a great divide that could take months to heal and process?

Read more of her take here.

PHOTO: People vote in the Super Tuesday primary at Wakefield High School on March 3, 2020 in Arlington, Va. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

5 p.m. Everything you need to know, but were afraid to ask, about Super Tuesday

Wondering which states vote, when polls close and other pertinent Super Tuesday info?

Well, as ABC News’ Meg Cunningham writes, since there is no national primary voting day, Super Tuesday is as close as it comes. The end of the day’s voting will bring major delegate allocations and answer some of the questions looming over the Democratic primary.

Read more here

PHOTO: Poll closing times for Super Tuesday, March 3. (AP )
PHOTO: Poll closing times for Super Tuesday, March 3. (AP )

Super Tuesday live updates: Voters in 14 states and 1 US territory head to the polls originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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Trump vs. Biden (not Sanders) is the real contrast that matters on Super Tuesday (opinion)

So Jimmy Carter’s promise of honest and ethical government was a counterweight to Richard Nixon and Watergate. Confident California conservative Ronald Reagan ran as the anti-Carter. After Bill Clinton’s scandals, George W. Bush said he’d “restore honor and decency” to the White House. Freshman Senator Barack Obama offered a stark departure from George W. Bush’s dynastic presidency. And, of course, Donald Trump was the polar opposite of “No Drama” Obama — a man he’d baselessly accused of not being born in the United States.

By this logic, it’s easy to understand why some folks see Bernie Sanders as the ultimate contrast to Donald Trump: a Democratic socialist and Sixties-style revolutionary who rails against millionaires and billionaires. But take a step outside the class-warfare paradigm and let’s look at contrasts in character and experience — qualities which typically drive a decision of who to hire for a big job.

Even his critics concede that Joe Biden is known for his decency and empathy among longtime colleagues in the Senate. “As good a man as God ever created,” attested a teary-eyed Senator Lindsay Graham back in 2015, before he went full Trump. Here’s what John McCain said about him: “He is a good and decent man, God-fearing and kind, a devoted father and husband and a genuine patriot who puts our country before himself.”

Every line in McCain’s tribute offers a clear contrast to President Trump. Even his defenders would not offer up “good and decent” and “devoted husband” as the President’s prime attributes. In fact, according to an AP-NORC Center poll, among the first words that Republicans associate with President Trump are “bumbling” and “jerk.”

And at a time when the key criteria for major government positions, like Director of National Intelligence, seems to be unquestioning loyalty to Trump, a candidate who embodies experience with a record of putting country above self-interest would be a huge relief to many Americans.

With Sanders and Biden the two candidates most likely to scoop up delegates on Super Tuesday, we’ll get some insight into who is seen as the strongest alternative to Trump.

In the last 24 hours, we’ve seen the center-lane in the Democratic field clear up considerably with Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, two proud Midwestern moderates, bowing out and endorsing Biden.

That’s the downstream effect from Biden’s blowout win in South Carolina that revived his campaign like Lazarus.

After losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Biden won every county in South Carolina. Every. Single. One. Amid massive turnout, he got more than 260,000 votes — nearly two-and-a-half times more than Sanders, who came in second with over 105,000.

To put this in perspective, Biden won more votes in South Carolina than Sanders won in the first three states combined.

In fact, while Sanders leads in delegates, Biden has actually won more votes in the Democratic contest to date.

Not only was South Carolina far more diverse than Iowa or New Hampshire, it was the most representative of the overall Democratic Party.

In terms of ideology, 19% of SC primary voters described themselves as very liberal, 30% as somewhat liberal, 41% are moderates and 9% call themselves conservative.

This is broadly in line with a 2019 Pew analysis of the Democratic Party by ideology.. Biden’s landslide was so large, he won all the ideological groups across the board.
The threat Sanders poses to Texas Democrats

African-Americans made up a majority of the South Carolina primary electorate, and Biden won 61% of the black vote — thanks in part to Representative Jim Clyburn’s decisive endorsement — while Sanders carried just 17%.

But Biden cleaned up across almost all demographics — winning men and women, veterans and independents as well as first-time voters. Biden won urban, suburban and rural voters. While Sanders carried voters under 30, people who said they never attended church and non-college educated white men (white women without a college degree went for Biden).

Now, the momentum may have shifted back to Biden — who led in most polls throughout 2019 — but he had just 72 hours to translate that energy into Super Tuesday, when roughly a third of all Democratic delegates will be decided.

X-factors abound. Super Tuesday will be the first time we’ll see Mike Bloomberg on the ballot, testing the power of the hundreds of millions of dollars he’s spent already as well as campaigning in states that the other candidates have essentially ignored while they have wrestled for success in the first four states.

Bernie will have the benefit of his front-runner status that presumably will give him a boost in early voting. But we’ll see if Biden’s strong showing among African-Americans in South Carolina will boost his chances in Southern states voting on Super Tuesday, including Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — where Biden recently received the endorsement of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, former Governor Terry McAuliffe and former Republican Senator John Warner.

As we sift through the Super Tuesday vote totals later this week — including California and Texas — it’s worth asking which candidate has the best chance of carrying purple and even red-leaning states in the fall and not just in a polarized Democratic primary.

We have plenty of evidence from Team Trump that they want to run against Sanders — with the President even encouraging Republicans to vote for Sanders in South Carolina.
In contrast, we know that President Trump was so nervous about running against Joe Biden — who is less susceptible to pre-fab “radical socialist” attacks in the general election — that the President pushed Ukraine to announce an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter to hurt the former vice president’s candidacy. It led to Trump’s impeachment. The GOP’s talk of Hunter Biden and Burisma has been comparatively quiet in the weeks since Sanders won New Hampshire and Nevada. We’ll see if it reignites in Republican circles now. I’d bet yes.
Bernie Sanders absolutely could win it all this November

But let’s get back to that core question of contrast in terms of character and experience.

For better or worse, Joe Biden is a known quantity — someone who won his Senate seat at age 29 in 1972, when Sanders was a Castro-admiring activist. It was nine years before Sanders would be elected the socialist mayor of Burlington. When Biden first ran for president in 1988, Donald Trump was building his brand as a real estate tycoon in New York City, before his first bankruptcies and subsequent reality TV stardom.

The 1988 campaign was famously chronicled by Richard Ben Cramer in a classic tome called “What It Takes.” The chapters on Biden show a scrappy, middle-class kid from Scranton with a stutter who was “tough from the neck up.” He was flawed but fearless and fought for what he thought was right. He took on a two-decade Democratic incumbent in a race no one thought he could win. Soon after, he suffered the loss of his first wife and unborn daughter in a car crash that severely injured his sons. But he worked through the pain and deepened his faith.

In the Senate, he was a JFK Democrat wary of extremes and elites who might alienate middle class and blue-collar workers from a compassionate vision of government that helped everyone get ahead in life. He thought that special interests — in the words of Cramer, “had become so wedded to their programs — old ‘solutions’ — that they made busing the issue, instead of equality in education. They let food-stamp fraud become the issue, instead of food for the hungry.”

By the time the 1988 campaign came around, Cramer described a Joe Biden driven by the conviction that people did not want to go back to the “fiction of an America that was right, and white, and neatly authoritarian in its prejudice [and] politics…If Biden was right, what the country wanted was a more perfect realization of its old ideals: Liberty, Justice, Compassion.”

In 2020’s deeply polarized America, those old school ideals — just like the personal virtues of decency, empathy and experience — might provide the most compelling contrast to the Trump presidency. It might attract a broad coalition — including swing voters in swing states — and it might even help begin the daunting task of reuniting the nation.

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Senate Panel Conducts First Deposition In FISA Abuse Probe

The Senate Judiciary Committee had its first deposition Tuesday as part of a probe into the FBI’s improper surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters.

Graham said he did not not remember who was deposed Tuesday. But the South Carolina Republican had asked Attorney General William Barr for permission to interview 17 Justice Department and FBI employees who were discussed in a Justice Department inspector general (IG) report about the bureau’s surveillance of Page.

Graham has also said he plans to hold open hearings with former FBI and Justice Department officials like James Comey and Rod Rosenstein who approved the Page surveillance warrants, which were granted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). (RELATED: Graham Releases FISA Interview Wish List)

The IG report said the FBI made 17 “significant” errors and omissions in FISA applications regarding Page. The FBI relied heavily on the Steele dossier to assert that there was probable cause to suspect that Page was a Russian agent.

But the IG report found that the FBI failed to disclose exculpatory information regarding Page in its FISA requests. Investigators also left out information that called the dossier’s reliability into question.

Graham said last month that his top priority is to interview FBI and DOJ employees who know about a January 2017 interview with dossier author Christopher Steele’s primary source. The IG report said the source, identified as “Primary Sub-Source,” told the FBI and the DOJ that Steele misrepresented allegations attributed to him in the dossier.

Graham’s interview wish list includes a veteran FBI counterintelligence investigator who took part in the interview with Steele’s source. The IG report was highly critical of the investigator, who is referred to as “Case Agent 1,” saying that he was “primarily responsible” for several “significant” errors during the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. The New York Times recently identified the agent as Stephen M. Somma.

As a result of the FBI’s errors, the Justice Department has deemed two of the four Carter Page FISA warrants to be invalid.

The special counsel’s investigation ultimately found no evidence that Page or anyone else on the Trump campaign conspired with Russia or worked as agents of Russia.

Graham’s office did not respond to emails seeking comment on the committee’s deposition schedule.

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Black Activists Literally Turned Their Backs on Mike Bloomberg. Will Black Voters Do the Same?

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SELMA, Alabama — Black activists turned their backs on him in church. African-American leaders said they don’t trust him. Others in the crowd just plain didn’t know him.

A choppy Southern swing for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg

over the weekend doesn’t bode well for his Super Tuesday showing with African-American voters, a crucial voting bloc in states where Bloomberg will have to do well to justify his continued existence in the hunt for the 2020 presidential nomination.

As voters go to the polls in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arkansas, the question is whether Mayor Bloomberg has made enough inroads with southern black voters to mount a serious challenge to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Martin Luther King III praised Bloomberg’s work on climate and gun violence prevention, an issue that they’ve worked on together. But King also said he hasn’t done enough to gain the trust of black voters who don’t feel Bloomberg’s done enough to explain his stop-and-frisk policing policy, which disproportionately hit the black community.

“There’s anger and hostility,” King told VICE News. “Stop and frisk is going to come up, and he’s going to have to find an answer for that or else he’s not he’s not gonna be able to get much support from the black community.”

“I think it’s just an insult for him to come here.”

The hostile and sometimes awkward reception was on display during a pre-march church service at the historic Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma on Sunday. Rev. Leodis Strong, the church’s pastor, welcomed Bloomberg onto the stage by telling the crowd the former mayor was initially too busy to accept his invitation to attend the service. Nevertheless, Strong asked the crowd to hear Bloomberg out and noted that his very presence showed a capacity to change.

During the speech, a handful of attendees stood up from the pews, turned their backs, and remained that way until Bloomberg left the stage.

Lisa Brown, one of the protesters who had traveled from her home in Los Angeles, said she wanted the former mayor to know that she resents his attempt to swoop into the race late and buy the presidency.

“I think it’s just an insult for him to come here,” Brown told VICE News. “He doesn’t have enough respect to take the time and campaign the way that he should, and he’s only there because he can afford to be there.”

Bloomberg spokesman Michael Frazier responded that “there are few who have done more for the black community than Mike,” and touted his record as mayor and as a philanthropist.

“The great thing about this country is that you have the right to speak your mind, or in this case, silently protest,” he said. “Voters have a chance to have their voices heard today and we feel good about the case Mike has made for rebuilding this country.”

Bloomberg has been pitching his Greenwood Initiative to create generational wealth in the African-American community. It’s named after the neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was destroyed in a devastating 1921 race terrorism attack on its well-to-do black residents. Historians estimate the violence resulted in potentially hundreds of murdered African-Americans, making it one of the worst racial attacks in U.S. history.

That riot is seared into the consciousness of black activists. A vendor at the Selma march was selling posters commemorating the attack on “Black Wall Street,” as the neighborhood was called. But at a breakfast before the march, Bloomberg told attendees he had only learned about the attack four or five months ago.

That kind of blind spot to the indignities African-Amercians have historically faced, the indiginities Bloomberg’s policies have subjected them to in New York City, and the late promises to help are the exact reasons his run for office is being met with so much skepticism. At least according to Rev. Al Sharpton, who marched alongside all the candidates in Selma, even as he said he has protested them all before.

That puts Bloomberg in sharp contrast to Biden, who, although he has his own checkered policy past — the crime bill, Anita Hill — has come to earn the trust of many in the community.

“I lead the marches on Bloomberg, and on Joe Biden about the crime bill,” Sharpton told VICE News. “I think that what has happened is that a lot of people in the black community saw eight years of Joe Biden being the partner to Barack Obama and fighting for him since he did the crime bill, and I think the problem with a lot of the other candidates is there’s no body of work since the things that they have done that we disagreed with.”

On Tuesday, huge pockets of African-Americans will also vote in California, Texas, and Virginia, and Bloomberg will need those votes to be a factor in those states. The demographic is, of course, not monolithic, and signs are popping up that even as the activist class turns its back on Bloomberg, his candidacy polls better among average black voters.

But Biden won across age and gender lines in South Carolina, and if that trend holds on Super Tuesday and beyond, it may be difficult for Bloomberg to make up ground. He currently polls third behind first place Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden in second nationally, and Biden and Sanders have been jostling for first place among black voters in national polls.

Bloomberg’s run will fail if he flops with black voters, especially if other black voters around the country take cues from the African-Americans in early states when it comes their turn to cast a ballot.

As Bloomberg entered the church in Selma, Raymond Wynn, a 66-year old welder from Cincinnati, was holding a digital camcorder to get a shot of his entrance among a crowd near the door. He’s an undecided voter, he said, but what happens on Super Tuesday will factor heavily into who he picks in Ohio’s March 17 primary.

“I’m just waiting after Super Tuesday and I’ll see what it all comes down to,” he said. “I’m more likely to just go with the favorite Democrat that’s ahead.”

Cover: People turn their backs on Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg as he speaks at Brown Chapel AME church, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Selma , Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)