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As decision day nears, VP hopefuls rake in big money for Biden

Sen. Kamala Harris — who headlined two fundraisers alongside Biden and appeared at several other events — has raised more than $5 million, according to a source familiar with the total. And Sen. Tammy Duckworth has co-headlined three fundraisers with Joe and Jill Biden, and appeared at other events, bringing in more than $3 million for the campaign.

For the VP hopefuls and their donor backers, hosting events that generate eye-popping totals is “a flex,” or a means of showing off their political muscle, said one Democrat affiliated with one of the considered running mate candidates. Another Democrat aligned with a different VP contender called it a “measurable sign of enthusiasm behind certain people.”

Though Biden has said he’s looking first and foremost for a governing partner with whom he’s “simpatico,” fundraising prowess is unquestionably a plus.

“They’re going to park the VP in a basement and have them do nothing but media interviews and Zoom fundraising calls. Maybe they’ll let them out for bathroom breaks,” said Pete Giangreco, a Democratic strategist who has worked on nine presidential campaigns. “Raising money is going to continue to be a big deal, and if you’re looking for someone with a fundraising base, like Kamala Harris, or a real draw on a Zoom, like Tammy Duckworth, then they bring more assets to the table than someone who is a nontraditional pick.”

Notably, Susan Rice — a VP finalist who was national security adviser under President Barack Obama and has never run for office herself — hasn’t hosted any fundraisers for Biden. But she has headlined two fundraisers without Biden present, according to a source familiar with the events.

Biden’s delayed decision on a running mate isn’t slowing down the machinery to roll out the duo: The campaign is preparing for a high-dollar event, billed as “Introducing our Running Mate.” Tickets range from $500 to $250,000, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO. Those paying $100,000 or more will get a pre-event meet-and-greet. Details for the fundraiser “will be sent to all confirmed participants 24-48 hours prior to the event,” the invitation read.

Fifteen of Biden’s fundraisers since March — or one of every five — have featured a person on Biden’s VP list, according to presidential fundraising pool reports and interviews. The events have collected more than $20 million.

Last week, California Rep. Karen Bass headlined an event for Biden, raising more than $2.2 million. A source familiar with the event said it exceeded the initial fundraising goal by more than double. Gretchen Whitmer, meanwhile, has hosted two fundraisers with Joe and Jill Biden. The Michigan governor has drawn renewed attention in recent days after she reportedly met with Biden for an in-person meeting, chartering a flight from Lansing, Mich., to Delaware.

Florida Rep. Val Demings, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have all headlined one fundraiser alongside Joe or Jill Biden.

Raking in big cash for the nominee is not limited to vice presidential candidates, of course. Pete Buttigieg, his onetime rival in the Democratic primary who’s seen as a likely appointee in a Biden administration, has raised more than $6.7 million through events, emails and digital ads for the campaign, according to a source familiar with the total.

“They’re all trying to show off their fundraising abilities, and the advantage definitely goes to the more established candidates with broader bases,” said Doug Herman, a California-based Democratic consultant. “These are all folks who are auditioning for a spot, and this is a box that needs to be checked and they all need to demonstrate they can do it.”

Biden has nearly closed the fundraising gap with President Donald Trump. But after outraising the president two months in a row, Trump and the Republican National Committee topped Biden and the Democratic National Committee by nearly $30 million in July.

The fundraisers held by VP hopefuls also provide a platform for donors to pitch their preferred No. 2 to the Biden campaign.

Earlier this month, Gerald Acker, a Michigan-based attorney who led a fundraiser with Whitmer, told Jill Biden that “when she gets off this Zoom tonight and goes to see the vice president for dinner, the name she ought to take to him for vice president is Gretchen Whitmer,” according to the fundraisers’ pool report.

Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo made a similar pitch to the former second lady in May on behalf of Demings. “Obviously, I’m trying to push for her, as a Floridian,” Taddeo said on a fundraising call. And before Sen. Amy Klobuchar took herself out of the running for vice president, a donor told the Minnesota Democrat and Biden on a May 5 fundraising Zoom call that “you look really great together.”

“Do donors lobby for the person they want? Yes. If their person wins, they know the VP now,” said one Democratic donor. “They’re going to show up for them in force.”

The semi-public exchanges at fundraisers between Biden and prospective vice presidential candidates are one of the few glimpses of the pair’s dynamic — another side effect of the coronavirus pandemic. One moment that raised eyebrows came when Biden told Harris on April 8: “I’m so lucky to have you as part of this, this partnership going forward, because I think … we can make a great deal of difference,” Biden said. “I’m coming for you, kid.”

Just last week, at a virtual grass-roots fundraiser, Biden apologized for talking too long in response to a question about dismantling systemic racism. Warren, Biden’s co-headliner for the event, interjected: “No! Don’t be sorry, I love everything you had to say.”

“It’s all through Zoom, and that makes it hard — I’m sure it makes the chemistry part of the decision harder,” said Taddeo, who was vetted and selected as Charlie Crist’s running mate during his unsuccessful 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign.

The Biden campaign is also leaning on his various VP options to raise money online, primarily through emailed solicitations. In late July, during the end-of-the-month fundraising push, Biden’s campaign sent four emails signed by Rice, Duckworth, Harris and Warren.

Warren, with her vast email list, has been particularly helpful on this front. Biden has sent four email solicitations to Warren’s own email list of supporters, as well as lending her name to more than a half-dozen emails to Biden’s list. An email announcing her endorsement of Biden on April 15 broke Biden campaign records at the time.

With days until his announcement, Biden’s campaign is fundraising off the anticipation surrounding the selection. In an email last week, he told supporters they’re invited to a grassroots event. He said he’d be sending “the exact date, time and all the other details once they’re finalized, but I didn’t want to wait on giving you the opportunity to reserve your spot at this historic event.”

Natasha Korecki contributed to this report.

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Our Path Forward After Bernie Must Include Rank-and-File Unionism and Class-Struggle Elections

With the Bernie 2020 campaign behind us, socialists and progressives face a question of where to focus our energies in the coming years. As urgent fights against racist police violence, COVID-19–inspired austerity, the Right’s assault on immigrants, and the fossil fuel industry’s unrelenting march to climate catastrophe demonstrate, there is a desperate need for the Left to grapple with long-term questions about how to build a movement that can successfully challenge the ruling class and bring about a more just, free, and equal society.

After working on the Bernie 2020 campaign for ten months as a member of the National Organizing Team and reflecting on the outcome of the race and the broader state of the Left, I think two points have become clear. First, that Bernie lost in large part because we lacked the strong working-class institutions needed to go toe-to-toe against the establishment. Second, that we can build those institutions by waging class struggle elections and ramping up rank-and-file labor organizing.

A closer look at why Bernie lost helps shed some light on where we go from here. There are plenty of campaign autopsies out there, claiming that Bernie’s platform and message were either too radical or not radical enough; others argue that lack of accountability to or investment in paid field staff fundamentally held the campaign back from a potential victory.

On the first count, explanations that critique the campaign’s politics typically are looking through the overly narrow lens of electoral arithmetic, assuming that its sole purpose was to win a majority of votes in a single cycle rather than act as a vehicle for a political revolution that can enable and accelerate leftist politics for decades to come. Of course, we want to win elections, but to do that as a democratic socialist in the United States by definition means committing to a long-term strategy of reshaping political priorities and expanding the electorate to build a winning multiracial working-class coalition capable of overcoming powerful political and economic elites. To expect that effort to come to fruition in one or two elections was always an optimistic prospect. To think we can bypass it altogether and keep our radical politics is delusional.

On the second count, reports that emphasize strategic missteps regarding resource allocation between field organizing, distributed organizing, and paid communications are typically burdened with overstated conclusions. It’s generally understood that the isolated impact of even extremely effective field programs on final election results is in the low single digits, far less than Bernie’s margin of defeat in nearly every state we lost (Maine, Washington, and potentially Texas being the exceptions), meaning these are not really postmortems explaining why we lost, as much as focused analyses of how we could have narrowed our margin of defeat.

A more sober and holistic assessment of why Bernie failed to win the nomination reveals a significantly simpler and perhaps more obvious explanation: that the institutional forces of a largely unified Left (with some obvious exceptions) were not able to beat the institutional forces of a highly unified corporate center.

As soon as the Democratic Party establishment consolidated behind Joe Biden, Bernie’s chances of winning the nomination plummeted. Following the simultaneous endorsements of neoliberal darlings Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke, Biden won a majority of delegates on Super Tuesday and then went on to nearly sweep the March 10 and 17 states, expanding his margins along the way.

He accomplished this despite significant disadvantages when compared to the grassroots juggernaut that was Bernie 2020. For starters, our campaign raised more money than any other candidate, crushing previous records for small-dollar donations at every point in the race. We built an unprecedented volunteer-driven organizing program capable of contacting tens of millions of voters, utterly dwarfing the efforts of Biden and other rivals. And of course, we had the momentum that comes with (or that should have come with) winning the first three nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, in part due to groundbreaking field and constituency organizing programs that brought out workers, students, and immigrants to vote and caucus for Bernie.

But it wasn’t enough. The Democratic primary electorate, after being relentlessly barraged for an entire year by a corporate media obsessed with the idea that Joe Biden was the best candidate to beat Trump (and that Bernie was too radical to do so), needed only this signal of apparent party unity to confirm their position: vote Biden.

One can of course reasonably argue that Bernie and campaign leadership could have made different strategic decisions to improve our chance of victory (especially when it came to how the campaign approached the South Carolina primary). But with Biden commanding double-digit leads in states like Oklahoma and Michigan where Bernie won in 2016 and made significant investments in 2020, it’s a stretch to claim that any given shift or tweak would have produced a different end result.

The more reasonable (and perhaps difficult) reality to face is that despite running a remarkably strong campaign, the institutional forces arrayed behind Bernie were not strong enough to overcome those united to defend the status quo. The power imbalance between the Left, backed by progressive social movement organizations and elements of organized labor, and the center, backed by corporate America and the Democratic Party establishment, was too great.

How do we rectify this imbalance? How do we move beyond winning the battle of ideas to actually winning the power needed to implement those ideas and materially improve people’s lives? A big part of the answer is that we need stronger institutions on the Left: militant labor unions, robust membership organizations, and independent media outlets.

Workers must be at the heart of any political left formation because of their unique structural ability to impose economic costs on capitalists and disrupt society at large by collectively withdrawing their labor. This power to strike as part of a union can force significant short-term concessions while also reshaping the long-term political conditions that determine future struggles.

So it should come as no surprise that the Left’s historic decline and marginalization from the 1970s onward corresponded with a historic dismantling of much of the labor movement, resulting in our current situation where union density is at an all-time low of about 10 percent.

That fact alone significantly hurt Bernie’s chances. Among national unions, we won early and strong support from the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union, and National Nurses United. But despite being by far the most pro-worker candidate in the race and probably the most pro-union candidate to run for president since Eugene Debs a hundred years ago, these three unions virtually stood alone on the national stage behind the campaign.

If other national unions would have backed Bernie (and if union density were much higher and unions more powerful to begin with), it would have offered more material resources to the campaign, created direct inroads to the working class, and helped drive a legitimizing media narrative that Bernie was the clear and unequivocal choice of American workers. This in turn would have helped undercut the pernicious idea that Bernie was somehow unelectable against Trump in a general election, especially given the corporate media’s insistence that Trump won in 2016 because he captured the support of white working-class voters.

Bernie Sanders walks the picket line with striking United Auto Workers union members as they picket at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

More militant unions would have also helped Bernie, as attention-grabbing strikes made for popular demands like guaranteed health care, a living wage, and clean air and water would resonate with and amplify core parts of Bernie’s agenda like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal. And with Bernie personally showing up to picket lines and the campaign using its infrastructure to send volunteers to support striking workers, the connection would be hard to miss.

We also need much stronger membership organizations dedicated to building a long-term working-class base of support and perhaps to act as a kind of party surrogate that can organize that base around a common platform and strategy. Organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Our Revolution, and the Sunrise Movement are already acting as essential vehicles for ordinary people to meaningfully engage in politics, learn concrete organizing skills, build sustaining relationships, and acquire valuable political education.

If such organizations had been larger and if there had been more of them in 2020, it would have meant more grassroots organizing power for Bernie’s campaign and, again, a legitimizing media narrative that working people and young people were rallying behind a single candidate.

But of course, favorable media narratives depend not just on objective political conditions, but on the incentives and biases of the media institutions forming those narratives. It’s hard to think of a clearer demonstration of the corporate media sacrificing all journalistic integrity upon the altar of ratings and institutional bias than their coverage of Bernie’s run(s) for president.

Their early treatment of Bernie was to largely ignore or marginalize the campaign altogether; when he won Iowa and New Hampshire, the victories were downplayed and trivialized; when he won Nevada by a landslide, their dismay and contempt came on full display; and once he lost South Carolina and Super Tuesday, they pronounced the campaign (not for the first time) dead, despite only a narrow delegate lead for Biden at the time.

While independent and explicitly left online media has grown substantially over the last decade, we clearly need much more of it in order to provide the critical narratives, thoughtful analyses, and fact-based reporting voters need to understand and make rational decisions about politics. The difference between the majority of Democratic primary voters getting their news from CNN, ABC, and MSNBC vs. Democracy Now!, the Intercept, and Jacobin during a presidential election is hard to overstate.

Leaving the issue of the media to the side — a topic that deserves and has received much of its own in-depth treatment — our question then becomes: How do we build the expanded and militant labor movement and grassroots membership organizations we need to bring about a Left with powerful and lasting institutions? Two of the most promising approaches are class-struggle elections and rank-and-file organizing.

Although the stage was set by the 2008 financial collapse and movements like Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and Standing Rock, the Left’s rise out of decades of marginality can be clearly linked to Bernie’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Bernie’s runs for the presidency have reinvigorated class politics, fostered the resurgence of an explicitly socialist movement, and given concrete and visible expression to a popular but previously unrepresented worldview, one that embraces justice and solidarity and is openly disgusted with the greed and corruption of capitalism.

The bedrock of Bernie’s success is his consistent focus on core economic issues like health care, income inequality, and student debt. By hammering home a message that the economy has failed ordinary working people and lifting up popular and commonsense solutions in the form of universal social programs like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, free college, and canceling student and medical debt, Bernie has dramatically raised the expectations of the electorate and thereby rapidly expanded what is politically possible.

A critical part of this approach is that Bernie names the enemy. He makes it clear that the reason we don’t have guaranteed universal health care is because the insurance and drug companies won’t let it happen. The reason we haven’t passed sweeping climate legislation is because the fossil fuel industry won’t permit it. The reason that three people control as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population while paying a pittance in taxes is because billionaires control the economy and the political process.

This point is so important because it leads people to understand an obvious truth that is almost universally obscured by establishment politicians: that we will never achieve the transformative reforms we desperately need without coming into direct conflict with the ruling class, which maintains and profits from the status quo. In other words, it clarifies the key class distinction between working people and economic elites.

But Bernie did not only name our class enemy. He also identified the agent of change: us, the multiracial, multigenerational working class that forms the vast majority of society and which has a collective stake in transforming the current system.

This emphasis on bottom-up grassroots organizing as the engine of social progress forms the crucial bridge between waging a class-struggle election like Bernie’s and forming and reinforcing durable political institutions like labor unions and membership organizations. Electoral campaigns that focus on issues with broad moral resonance (rather than specific personalities), that draw sharp class distinctions between working people and elites, and that organize themselves to maximize grassroots participation by knocking on doors, making calls, sending texts, or showing up to events will naturally lead supporters and volunteers to want to continue the struggle and seek out other avenues for political action, both during and after the campaign.

Left membership organizations and labor unions can provide this landing pad for newly politicized members of the working class, swelling their ranks and advancing their agendas by energetically supporting leftist candidates and, whenever possible, strategically running their own candidates.

Bernie provided a model for class-struggle elections, and we’ve already seen its success in numerous down-ballot races since 2016. In 2018, a wave of socialists were elected onto Chicago’s city council and radicals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar were swept into Congress. In 2020, we’ve already seen leftist insurgents Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush defeat well-funded, establishment-backed incumbents, AOC and Rashida Tlaib crush their centrist opponents in landslide elections, and five DSA-backed democratic socialists in New York City get elected to the state legislature.

For better or for worse, elections are the time when the most people pay attention to politics. By running class-struggle campaigns, we can harness this heightened political interest and activity to not only win elections and put democratic socialists in power, but to bring working people into our movement and create strong left institutions with the power to broadly reshape the political landscape.

While there is now no denying the strategic utility of class-struggle elections, running campaigns and winning elected office in isolation will never allow us to fundamentally challenge capital, nor could we ever hope to win enough elections to even attempt to do so without an organized political base. The foundation of this base must be workers, because only workers, as a class have both the strategic leverage and material interest to upend our capitalist system in favor of a more just and egalitarian democratic socialism.

The history of labor’s decline over the last four decades is also the history of unions becoming more risk-averse, bureaucratized, and focused on staff-driven electoral advocacy rather than member-driven strikes and agitation. Both the historically low rate of union membership and disintegration of union militancy have led to a renewed interest in the rank-and-file strategy, which calls for socialists and other radicals to get jobs within strategic sectors of the economy where they can organize their coworkers to form militant, democratic unions.

At the heart of the rank-and-file strategy is the idea of creating a militant minority of dedicated worker-organizers who, by earning the trust and respect of their coworkers, are able to act as credible leaders in advocating for a more aggressive and bottom-up approach.

We can draw lessons and inspiration from the recent wave of teacher strikes. In the so-called red state revolts, militant minorities within the rank and file were able to galvanize and mobilize their fellow teachers to strike en masse, despite opposition from their unions. In Los Angeles and Chicago, well-organized militant minorities were able to take control of their union leadership outright, allowing them to make full use of the union’s resources to organize highly sophisticated and remarkably successful strikes.

Unions led by their rank and file can also be a potent social force for racial equality. While US labor history provides plenty of examples of unions upholding segregation and racism, it also provides inspiring examples of solidarity and cooperation across race. We can see this among the black and white New Orleans waterfront workers who united for a general strike back in 1892, among the CIO union members who helped win groundbreaking civil rights protections in the 1940s, and among the bus drivers, dock workers, and teachers who in recent months have stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by refusing to transport arrested protesters, organizing strikes and work stoppages, and waging campaigns to end discriminatory school policing.

Today’s labor movement may be at a historic low, but its potential to deal powerful blows against systemic racism is significant. Black workers are the most likely racial demographic to belong to a union. Public-sector workers, who enjoy a 33 percent union density rate nationally (compared to 6 percent in the private sector), are in a unique position to cut ties with reactionary police unions, thereby making departments more vulnerable to defunding demands.

And perhaps most fundamentally, labor unions that are built up and controlled by rank-and-file workers can provide organic social structures that position workers of all different races as members of the same collective project, working together toward common goals to protect and advance common interests. This process of collaboration reliably erodes racism and generates solidarity among the working class.

Creating more militant, democratic unions who are willing to strike has the potential to create cascading benefits for the labor movement and the Left.

First, it will enable more workers to win better concrete material conditions for themselves in the form of better wages, better health benefits, improved worker safety, and more. Second, the experience of striking to achieve those wins will build workers’ confidence that they are capable of collective action, allowing them to imagine future strikes and future wins. Third, strikes led by a militant minority that sees their broader utility in class formation will have demands crafted to strengthen not only striking workers, but the working class as a whole, incorporating community concerns that build solidarity between workers and an increased sense of class consciousness among them.

Fourth, successful strikes in one industry or location can inspire strikes in other industries and locations, spreading our movement. Fifth, the more strikes and militant labor activity become culturally commonplace among workers, the more they will be able to widen their targets and demands to the scope of statewide and national politics, allowing nurses to strike for Medicare for All or teachers to strike for fully funded public schools, paid for by taxing the rich.

As these benefits accumulate and mutually reinforce each other, unions can regain relevance with workers, making it easier to grow their membership and expand into unorganized areas of labor. And with a far larger and more militant labor movement on the scene, routinely making headlines with mass strikes demanding radical reforms, the political landscape could be fundamentally altered, pushing public opinion and elected officials to the left, and dramatically widening the space that class-struggle campaigns and membership organizations would have to operate within.

Class-struggle elections and rank-and-file organizing will help build left institutions that will allow the working class to win and wield power. But strong left institutions will also expand the opportunities for class-struggle elections and rank-and-file organizing by providing durable sources of material resources, committed and experienced organizers, and an essential link between socialists and ordinary working people.

This positive feedback loop has the potential to continue, if not accelerate, the Left’s recent resurgence in US politics, reshaping not only the contours of political debate, but the concrete realities of who wields power and how resources are distributed.

We can see these feedback effects in the teacher strikes of 2018, led in large part by militant educators inspired by Bernie’s 2016 run for president. We can see it in the explosion of new DSA members following the 2016 campaign, DSA’s major national campaign for Bernie in 2020, and now another surge of new membership. We can see it in the Emergency Organizing Workplace Committee, founded by Bernie staff, surrogates, and high-level supporters, which is now assisting frontline workers to organize their workplaces, demanding and winning key rights and protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With both acute and chronic crises in public health, the economy, the carceral state, political democracy, and the climate amplifying the suffering of millions of people at home and billions abroad, the moral stakes of this moment could not be clearer. The Left cannot afford to retreat back into marginality, nor can we afford to ignore the lessons of our recent and more distant past. Now is the time to lean into the strategies we know have the power to transform political conditions, both to avoid the potentially catastrophic harms of this moment and to move beyond its extreme precarity to a world where all people can live with dignity, security, and freedom.

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Trump’s campaign knocks on a million doors a week. Biden’s knocks on zero.

Biden’s organizing program was slow to ramp up after the primary. Senior leadership for critical states like Florida and Pennsylvania were announced only in July and the campaign set a goal of just 600 hires by the end of June. The Biden campaign, however, told POLITICO it will have over 2,000 battleground staffers by the end of August through a coordinated committee with the DNC.

Political scientists disagree on the extent to which organizing programs matter, but it’s broadly acknowledged that they can sway a close race and that they are particularly effective in turning out base voters. Operatives say such organizing could be even more important than usual this fall because of the surge in mail-in ballots.

Reminding voters to fill out their ballot and then collecting them — or “ballot catching,” as some field organizers call it — is one of the most critical programs on any campaign, although laws on it vary by state. Biden campaign staffers said they likely would not do in-person ballot collection but expressed optimism that they could deploy an effective program regardless through phone and text, pointing to their successful efforts in Wisconsin this spring in a state Supreme Court race.

The decision to forgo door-knocking is part of a larger gamble that voters will give Biden credit for taking the coronavirus more seriously than Trump. The strategy has extended to Biden’s own activities: He’s been mocked by Trump for campaigning from his basement, though Biden has ventured out to more public events lately. The campaign’s Philadelphia headquarters is mostly empty, and many new hires are working remotely.

Trump and his campaign have been far less restrained, betting that voters won’t be turned off by campaign workers ringing their doorbells. Officials report to work at Trump campaign headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C., where some have said they feel peer pressure not to wear masks.

Some Democratic operatives believe that Biden’s shift to phone and digital will end up redounding to his benefit.

“Politics is the last remaining marketing entity — which essentially is what a campaign is — that utilizes door knocking as a technique,” said Michael Halle, a former senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign. “The Trump approach of measuring door knocks is very antiquated and I think the Biden campaign may be following that model if they hadn’t been forced to think differently because they’re acting responsibly in a pandemic.”

The dueling approaches are apparent in down-ballot races as well — a dynamic that is giving some Democrats anxiety and stoking anger at Republicans for their lack of caution. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said its field staffers are being trained for organizing that’s not done in-person. A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson was not aware of any Democratic Senate campaign doing in-person canvassing.

The contrast is on display even in Montana, with its spread-out population and relatively low Covid-19 caseload. State Republicans are knocking on doors for Sen. Steve Daines, but Democrats are not doing so for his challenger, Gov. Steve Bullock, who is running largely on his leadership during the pandemic

The RNC declined to say whether any field staffers or volunteers have tested positive for Covid-19 but said every staff member is provided an eight-page document of health protocols including CDC guidance. The committee said it provides canvassers with masks and encourages them to take a few steps back after knocking on doors. A spokesperson added that the committee has spent over $100,000 on PPE and office cleaning.

“I think it’s possible to do it in a responsible way, preferably not in a state where trends are going the wrong way,” said Dr. Howard Koh, the former assistant secretary for Health during the Obama administration. “If somebody is outside and stays outside and stands 6 feet away and masks are mandatory—not optional—plus has gloves and hand sanitizer, I think those are acceptable guidelines to follow.” Still, he added, “Canvassing can be done virtually and that’s the best option in a time like this.”

The partisan divide over in-person campaigning is a manifestation of the deeper political divisions that have scrambled America’s response to the public health crisis. Republicans are less supportive of mask mandates and have felt more comfortable going to public places like restaurants and salons than Democrats, according to polls.

Many Republican lawmakers rallied behind small-business owners who have broken lockdown orders. Some Democratic governors and lawmakers have been much stricter about lockdowns and mask mandates, while Republicans have argued that some of the measures are creating more problems than the disease.

That divide may make it impossible for Democratic campaigns to deploy door-knockers even if they want to. Progressive Turnout Project, a deep-pocketed liberal super PAC that hired hundreds of field staffers to knock on doors in competitive states this year, began sending canvassers back into the field earlier this summer. The group soon faced a public resignation, a staffer who tested positive for Covid-19, and a revolt from lower-level employees over safety, as McClatchy first reported.

Last week, the group suspended all door-to-door canvassing and said their staffers — approximately 1,200 across 17 states — would focus on phone calls, texting and “relational organizing.”

Alex Morgan, the group’s executive director, declined to be interviewed. Asked whether he’s worried that Democrats could be at a disadvantage, he said through a spokesperson that “we hope that the coronavirus situation improves enough for progressives to return to the doors this cycle, but safety comes first.”

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Kamala Harris attack on Biden a backdrop in VP pick

Kamala Harris was conflicted.

California’s senator needed a big splash in the first Democratic presidential debate, and her main rival, front-runner Joe Biden, seemed to have teed up a perfect opportunity. Days earlier, at a New York City fundraiser, he reminisced of a bygone era in the Senate and his ability to work civilly alongside two segregationist lawmakers.

Harris, only the second Black woman ever to serve in the chamber, was deeply offended. But she also had warm feelings toward Biden, a friend and past political ally.

Her decision to call him to account before a national prime-time audience produced one of the most electric moments of the 2020 campaign and, more than a year later, continues to echo as the presumptive Democratic nominee chooses his vice presidential running mate. Harris is seen as a top contender.

The heated exchange on a tropical June night in Miami, however, has complicated Harris’ hopes of landing on the ticket, even as Biden appears — at least publicly — to have forgiven his former rival.

More broadly, the clash and deliberations leading up to it suggest the approach Harris would take as Biden’s running mate — a style not far removed from her days as a prosecutor, when she relied on meticulous preparation, a dramatic presence and the willingness to set aside personal feelings to do whatever was needed to prevail.

“It’s kind of like being in the courtroom,” said an associate from Harris’ days as California attorney general, who described her capacity to compartmentalize. “You might have the utmost respect and good relations with the defense attorney or the public defender. But you’re there to win.”

Harris declined to be interviewed. But numerous people involved in her presidential candidacy spoke for this article; most wished not to be identified in order to freely discuss the campaign’s internal workings.

Some praised her debate performance, saying it showed Harris’ tenacity and strength in the spotlight and separated her from the sprawling pack of Democratic contestants.

“She proved she is somebody who can throw and land a punch,” said Brian Brokaw, a longtime Harris strategist who ran an independent political action committee supporting her presidential bid. “One of the attributes you want is somebody who doesn’t shy away from a fight and taking on people in power. That’s something she has demonstrated time and time again.”

Others were more critical, saying Harris’ genuine anguish over Biden’s remarks on working with Southern senators was overshadowed when she raised another issue, school busing, and then muddled their differences and undercut her attack.

Some Biden backers, meantime, continue to nurse hard feelings, believing Harris — who was good friends with Biden’s late son, Beau — unfairly blindsided him. They have lobbied against selection of California’s junior senator, one of half a dozen or so women floated as potential running mates.

Biden has said he would announce his pick sometime around Aug. 1.

‘It’s kind of like being in the courtroom. You might have the utmost respect and good relations with the defense attorney or the public defender. But you’re there to win.’

An associate from Kamala Harris’ years as California attorney general

Whether she is chosen or not, Harris’ initial debate performance remains a defining moment of her time on the presidential stage.

She launched her candidacy in January 2019 with a massive Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally in Oakland and immediately emerged as a top contestant for the White House. But by the time the first debate rolled around six months later, her campaign was adrift and Harris had fallen back in the Democratic field as others, most notably former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, captured the imagination of voters.

The debate was seen as a relaunch of sorts.

Harris’ strategy for claiming the Democratic nomination had always been to get past the opening contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, win Nevada, then prevail in South Carolina, quickly building momentum from there.

The problem was Biden’s deep ties to the Palmetto State and loyal following among South Carolina’s large Black electorate.

The debate offered Harris a chance to take on Biden directly and, by highlighting his comments about working with segregationist senators, seek to undermine his Black support.

But Harris was concerned. She liked and respected Biden a good deal and said during debate preparations she did not wish to portray him as a racist.

“The conundrum was how to go after someone … she had a long-standing relationship with,” said one political advisor. “How do you go on the attack without doing it in such a way that you burn any and all bridges?”

Harris’ solution was to begin with a direct statement when she faced Biden onstage. “I do not believe you are a racist,” she said, then continued. “I also believe, and it’s personal … it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”

Angling her body toward Biden, she said he worked with those senators to oppose school busing as a means of desegregation. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

It was not a new revelation. Harris had often spoken of that chapter of her life, growing up in Berkeley, but it landed with force. Biden looked flustered, then angry.

“I was prepared for them to come after me,” he said later on CNN. “But I wasn’t prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me.

“She knew Beau,” Biden added. “She knows me.”

Something else raised eyebrows. Within hours of the debate, a picture of Harris as a schoolgirl was emblazoned on a T-shirt hawked on her campaign website. Though it is hardly unusual for a candidate to cash in on a moment like that, critics said the merchandising made it seem like Harris’ sentiments were more calculated than heartfelt.

She pressed the attack in a blitz of media appearances. “Listen, we’re on a debate stage, and if you have not prepared and you’re not ready for someone to point out a difference of opinion … then you’re probably not ready,” she said on ABC’s “The View.”

But Harris soon came under scrutiny for her own position on busing. During the debate she said it was a matter of federal concern, then, in subsequent days, said the decision should be left mostly to local officials, with Washington intervening in rare cases.

The Biden campaign accused Harris of criticizing him for holding essentially the same position. While that was not entirely true — the assertion overlooked Biden’s actions opposing busing in the 1970s and 1980s — it blunted Harris’ attack, dissipated her momentum and took a good bit of the glow off her debate performance.

The two moved on. Biden apologized before Black voters in South Carolina for his comment about segregationist lawmakers. Harris slowly fell out of contention.

On the occasions their paths crossed the two were friendly, according to people who joined them on the campaign trail. When Harris quit the race in December, Biden called her up and afterward offered kind words. “She is really a solid, solid person and loaded with talent,” he told reporters.

Asked about their heated debate exchange, Biden said, “I’m not good at keeping hard feelings.”

Others, though, did not find it as easy to forgive or forget.

At a March fundraiser, Biden’s wife, Jill, recollected the relationship their son forged with Harris during his time as Delaware attorney general and her husband’s surprise when she confronted him in Miami.

“Our son, Beau, spoke so highly of her and … how great she was,” Jill Biden said, “And not that she isn’t, I’m not saying that. But it was just like a punch to the gut. It was a little unexpected.”

More recently, appearing with Harris on a Zoom call to discuss the Affordable Care Act, Jill Biden praised the senator as “a role model to girls and women across this country” and cited “the special connection” she enjoyed with Beau.

Still, some who oppose Harris’ selection as vice president referred back to her performance in the debate.

“I’m Irish and we Irish hold grudges,” John Morgan, a Florida attorney and major Biden donor, told the Washington Post. “It was vicious. It was meant to kill him. And she was probably the one he never would have expected it from, which to me made it more treacherous.”

Another longtime Biden supporter sees her actions as a personal betrayal and questioned how Harris might perform as vice president. “Can you trust her?” said the informal Biden advisor, who declined to be identified discussing the candidate’s deliberations over his running mate. “I don’t think so.”

Appearing last month on the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Harris was pressed about her criticism of Biden and how the two seem to have mended their relationship.

“How do you go from being such a passionate opponent on such bedrock principles for you and now you guys seem to be pals?” Colbert asked.

“It was a debate,” Harris said, laughing, then repeated the point several more times.

When Colbert persisted, Harris turned serious.

“I’ve known Joe a long time and I care about him deeply,” she said. “And as you know we all have family members or friends with whom we have disagreements. That doesn’t overcome or overshadow the commonality between us and the connections between us.

“I am,” Harris said, “1,000 percent supportive of Joe Biden.”

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The treason of epidemiologists – Liberty Unyielding

Protest outside Brooklen Museum (Image via Twitter)

[Ed. – ‘Listening to medical experts should not be political.’ –Pete Buttigieg]

We spent the last couple of months being hectored by public health experts and earnestly righteous media personalities who insisted that easing lockdown policies was immoral, that refusing to social distance or wear masks was nigh upon murderous. … But now that the George Floyd protests are serving as some kind of Great Awokening, many of the same are saying “never mind” about all of that. …

Now, I don’t begrudge anybody for believing that the fight against racism or police brutality is important. But this “argument” rests on some preposterous assumptions.

[Thomas] Frieden … is very concerned about public trust. Me too. But you know what erodes public trust in people like Frieden? When they say that you’re a fool or monster who will get people killed for wanting to go to church or keep your business open but you’re a hero when you join a protest they approve of.

Trending: The Left’s disgusting response to tweet by young woman whose father, a cop, was killed in line of duty

Continue reading →

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Wikipedia Page For Kamala Harris Getting Scrubbed To Remove Potentially Damaging Information

Everyone knows Kamala Harris is on the short list to be Joe Biden’s running mate.

Now something is happening which suggests she might be the final choice.

Her Wikipedia page is apparently being heavily scrubbed for anything that could potentially be used against her.

Breitbart reports:

TRENDING: Radical Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar Calls For “Dismantling” of US “Economy and Political Systems” (VIDEO)

Wikipedia Editors Sanitize the Page of Potential Biden VP Kamala Harris

An article in the Intercept last week reported that a Wikipedia editor was scrubbing the page of former Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), considered a prominent member of the shortlist to be Joe Biden’s Vice Presidental pick. The piece mentioned changes such as removing a past campaign finance scandal and Harris’ record as a hard-line prosecutor.

Changes not mentioned include removals of the alleged role nepotism played in her early political career and significant favorable additions about Harris.

Other Wikipedia editors have begun working to undo the changes made to the Harris page, although many details remain missing. On Twitter, the Wikipedia editor responsible for most removals was identified as Bao Nguyen, a former volunteer organizer for the Harris campaign.

Similarly, editors previously created pages for fellow Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang without disclosing their connections to them.

The Intercept article by Aida Chavez notes that in 2016, editors had been heavily involved in contributing to the article on Tim Kaine prior to him being announced as Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential pick.

Doesn’t this seem to suggest she will be picked by Biden?

They’re trying to hide her record.

What does that tell you?

Cross posted from American Lookout.

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Tik Tok teens sabotaged Trump rally attendance

While the far left and their cohorts in the media were busy celebrating the fact that there were some empty seats in the BOK Center arena in Tulsa Saturday night, the instigator of an organized effort to sabotage attendance may surprise you. Those empty seats were meant as a political statement against President Trump, an action taken to embarrass him and his re-election campaign.

People like socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are giddy with glee over the fact that so many young adults, teens, and political activists like those ex-Republican grifters who are leading the anti-Trump PAC, The Lincoln Project, pulled off a prank with the help of social media and the popularity of K-pop. The idea came from a grown woman, Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother, living in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The former campaign worker on the Pete Buttigieg campaign used her Tik Tok account to put out the call – hey, kids, sign up for free tickets to the Trump rally in Tulsa. Laupp uses the excuse of her indignation that the President of the United States dares to come to Tulsa on Juneteenth. The date was changed but the plan was already underway by then.

The campaign offered two tickets for each cell phone request. By texting the campaign for tickets, the campaign gets the person’s contact information. So, Laupp tells the kids that they can stop Trump campaign texts that will come after their ticket requests are filled. Her hope was for the arena to be empty and the president standing on the stage all alone. Ms. Laupp has an active imagination, apparently.

@maryjolaupp

Did you know you can make sure there are empty seats at Trump’s rally? BLM.

♬ original sound – maryjolaupp

So, by now we know that the plan seems to have had some success. There were empty seats in the arena and that is unusual for a Trump rally. The empty seats may also be attributed to the fact that some Trump supporters may have changed their minds about attending, due to the coronavirus or other personal reasons. The arena holds 19,000 people.

In an interview with CNN last week, Laupp said her Tik Tok account, at the time she had 1,000 followers, blew up after she put the political call out. Normally Tik Tok is used for silly dance videos and pranks, not political messages. Lo and behold, Ms. Laupp works at a high school. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that she turned a silly app into political activism. I wonder if she knows she likely opened up the young people and others who participated in the sabotage to the Communist Chinese acquiring their contact information. Anything to own Trump, amirite?

Her idea prompted multiple other TikTok users to post similar videos calling on their followers to do the same — visit the website, register for the event, fail to show up.

One video, with more than a quarter of a million views, called on fans of South Korean pop music in particular to join the trolling campaign. Fans of the music, which is known as K-pop, are a force on social media — they posted over six billion tweets last year alone. And they have a history of taking action for social justice causes.

Earlier this month K-pop fans rallied around the Black Lives Matter movement, drowning out “White Lives Matter” and other anti-black hashtags. It is not clear if K-Pop fans have registered for the Trump Tulsa rally in big numbers.

The K-pop fans are being credited for the large number of young people participating, especially by the likes of AOC. The Tik Toks were often set to the Macarena with the kids doing the dance and showing ticket confirmations.

Trump supporters fired back to some of the culprits.

Even a CNN reporter had to admit it was still a pretty darn big crowd.

The Trump campaign argues against the left’s success.

“Leftists always fool themselves into thinking they’re being clever. Registering for a rally only means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh in a statement to Reuters. “But we thank them for their contact information.”

We know that Trump prides himself on his ability to draw very large crowds to his campaign rallies. In contrast to Joe Biden, there is no contest on that claim. Biden has a real enthusiasm deficit, despite his favorable polling at this point in the campaign. Trump’s supporters have remained loyal and enthusiastic about his re-election. Lower attendance than expected is given as the reason for an outdoor rally for the overflow crowd being canceled. Both Trump and Vice-President Pence were to have spoken to them. Parscale blamed agitators, anti-Trumpers disagreed.

Perhaps it was the “teens of America” who enjoyed participating in some easy political action against Trump that caused those empty seats in the arena. There is no way to know. What we do know, though, is that this is a bare-knuckles presidential campaign and there is good reason to believe that Trump is up to the fight. The media, bitter NeverTrumpers and the left are aligning to deliver the election to Joe Biden. That includes using teenagers who may not even be old enough to be registered to vote.

Today Brad Parscale released a statement addressing the gleeful reporters who never even bothered to ask the campaign for comments on the theory that online trolls hacked the event to affect attendance. He blames the over-the-top media coverage before the rally and safety concerns of families due to the possibility of violent protesters.

“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work. Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop fans – without contacting the campaign for comment – behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade. Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission – entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required. The fact is that a week’s worth of the fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire, had a real impact on people bringing their families and children to the rally. MSNBC was among outlets reporting that protesters even blocked entrances to the rally at times. For the media to now celebrate the fear that they helped create is disgusting, but typical. And it makes us wonder why we bother credentialing media for events when they don’t do their full jobs as professionals.”

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TikTok users troll the Trump campaign over Tulsa rally

Many of those who asked for tickets may have been trolling the President — in a stunt organized mainly through the social media platform TikTok.
Last week, Trump tweeted that “Almost One Million people requested tickets for the Saturday Night Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma!” and one local official said they expected 100,000 to show up near the arena. But on Saturday, registered attendees didn’t fill Tulsa’s Bank of Oklahoma Center arena, which admitted rallygoers on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the Trump team abandoned plans for the President to speak to an “overflow” area outside the arena.

A coordinated effort was underway on TikTok in the days leading up to Trump’s Saturday rally, encouraging people to register online for the free event and not show up. TikTok is normally thought of as a platform for dancing teenagers and not, necessarily, political action.

A Trump campaign official pushed back on the suggestion such posts played a role in the turnout, telling CNN, “We had legitimate 300k signups of Republicans who voted in the last four elections. Those are not [TikTok] kids. It was fear of violent protests. This is obvious with the lack of families and children at the rally. We normally have thousands of families.”

While the TikTok effort seems to have overwhelmingly involved teens and other young people, Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother living in Fort Dodge, Iowa, appears to have played a central role in encouraging people to go to Trump’s website, register to attend the event — and not attend.

“All of those of us that want to see this 19,000 seat auditorium barely filled or completely empty go reserve tickets now and leave him standing alone there on the stage,” Laupp told her then-1,000 or so followers on TikTok.

And then, alongside the choreographed dances, comedic dares and schoolyard pranks, the grandmother’s prompt became a challenge of its own. Inspired users began posting videos showing they too registered for the event. Similar posts on Instagram and Twitter clocked up thousands of likes.

One video, with more than a quarter of a million views, called on fans of South Korean pop music in particular to join the trolling campaign. Fans of the music, which is known as K-pop, are a force on social media — they posted over 6 billion tweets last year alone. And they have a history of taking action for social justice causes.

Earlier this month, K-pop fans rallied around the Black Lives Matter movement, drowning out “White Lives Matter” and other anti-Black hashtags.

Laupp, who said she worked on former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign in Iowa last fall, told CNN she made the initial appeal when upset that the rally was originally set to take place on Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The Trump campaign dismissed the effort last week. Erin Perrine, principal deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, told CNN on Tuesday, “Leftists do this all the time. They think if they sign up for tickets that will leave empty seats. Not the case at all. Always way more ticket requests than seats available at a rally. All they are doing is giving us access to their contact information.”

On Saturday night, as images showed empty sections of the BOK Center, Laupp and young people on TikTok celebrated. “Gen Z is unstoppable,” one young person wrote on TikTok.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, “You just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.”
Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who managed John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, tweeted, “The teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump. All across America teens ordered tickets to this event. The fools on the campaign bragged about a million tickets. lol.”

TikTok, owned by a Chinese company, has previously caught the attention of US lawmakers.

Last year, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton urged the US intelligence community to assess the national security risks of TikTok and other Chinese-owned platforms.

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Biden Eyeing Aug.1 as Date to Pick VP Candidate

Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden announced he plans to have a running mate by Aug. 1, just two weeks before the Democratic nominating convention in Milwaukee.

During a digital fundraiser hosted by former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Biden said contenders on his shortlist have already been interviewed.

“We’re in the process of deciding the basic cut — about whether or not they really want it,” Biden said. “Are they comfortable? They’ve asked a lot of questions.”

“I think that I need somebody who in fact is simpatico with me, both in terms of personality as well as substance,” he said.

“That means they don’t have to agree with me on everything, but they have to have the same basic approach to how we handle the economy and how we handle everything,” Biden said.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., along with former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams, and Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., are considered to be on his shortlist. 

“I want to make sure that . . . whoever I have has some qualities that I don’t possess as well as is willing to, in fact, tell me the truth, but also do it in a way that is between the two of us, between her and me, so that they can, in fact, be completely candid with me, because I want to have people around me that have strengths and capacities I don’t,” Biden said. 


© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Family of black man George Floyd says firing of four cops is a start and calls for their prosecution

The heartbroken family of black man George Floyd have called for cops to be charged with murder after four were fired over the video of a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest.

Two of George Floyd’s cousins said the firing of the officers was just ‘a start’ after watching footage of the shocking incident and the cops ‘murdered our cousin’. 

The family’s lawyer has called for white cop Derek Chauvin to be charged with murder and the other three officers involved charged as murder accomplices as he revealed Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a staggering eight minutes and blasted the case as ‘worse than Eric Garner’.  

Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died after officers arrested him for allegedly trying to use forged documents at a local deli. 

Four members of the Minneapolis Police Department who were involved in Monday’s incident have now been fired, and the FBI and state law enforcement authorities have launched an investigation into the man’s death.  

The heartbroken family of black man George Floyd (pictured) who died in police custody after a white cop was filmed pinning him to the ground by his neck have said the firing of four police officers involved is only ‘a start’ to getting justice

Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

Floyd’s devastated family have now broken their silence over his death in an interview with TMX.news, where they told how they watched the horrific footage on TV before realizing it was their ‘baby cousin’.  

‘I actually saw it before knowing it was my cousin – I saw it on Gayle King,’ said Shareeduh Tate.

‘And I remember thinking how devastating this would be for the family who have lost their family member like this… then about five minutes after that I got a phone call saying that it was my cousin.’ 

She thanked the bystanders who were heard in the footage urging the police to stop what they were doing and warning them that they were killing Floyd.

‘I can’t thank them enough. We always see these kinds of things take place and we always wonder what we would do in that position and we’re so grateful… and even more so grateful for the person who was there with a camera to capture it as so many times there is not a witness around and it’s questionable as to what has happened,’ Tate said.

Floyd’s other cousin Tera Brown called the footage ‘unbelievable’.

‘It’s unbelievable to see someone suffering in the way that he did,’ she said. ‘And to have so many people around asking for them to basically allow him to live.’

His devastated family have now broken their silence over his death in an interview with TMX.news, where his cousins Tera Brown (left) and Shareeduh Tate (right) told how they watched the video not realizing it was their 'baby cousin'

His devastated family have now broken their silence over his death in an interview with TMX.news, where his cousins Tera Brown (left) and Shareeduh Tate (right) told how they watched the video not realizing it was their ‘baby cousin’

Tate said the firing of the four police officers was ‘a start’ but is ‘definitely not enough’ as she blasted the authorities for ‘murdering’ the father-of-one.

‘They murdered our cousin,’ she said.

Brown described him as ‘the cousin that everybody loved’ who was ‘always happy’ and a ‘jokester’. 

‘He was everybody’s favorite everything – he was the favorite friend, the favorite cousin,’ she added.  

She said news of his death has been especially hard on Floyd’s daughter who she said is ‘not doing well’. 

Ben Crump, the attorney for the victim’s family has demanded officers face murder charges over the killing and said this is ‘worse than Eric Garner’ because the officers held Floyd down by the neck for a staggering eight minutes. 

Ben Crump, the attorney for the victim's family has demanded officers face prosecution over the killing and saying this is 'worse than Eric Garner' because the officers held Floyd down by the neck for a staggering eight minutes

Ben Crump, the attorney for the victim’s family has demanded officers face prosecution over the killing and saying this is ‘worse than Eric Garner’ because the officers held Floyd down by the neck for a staggering eight minutes

Crump pointed to the similarities in the case with the death of unarmed black man Garner who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by New York City police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.     

Parallels have already been drawn between the two cases but Crump described Floyd’s death as even ‘worse’.

‘I mean it was 8 minutes. It is in many ways worse than Eric Garner as they have his knees on his neck and he is begging, pleading for not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes but eight minutes – begging them to let him breathe so we have “we can’t breathe” again in 2020,’ he said.

‘It just takes you back to Eric Garner and now we have another black man saying to police “I can’t breathe” and them not offering any humanity.’

Crump said news that the officers had been fired was a ‘good first step’ but said it does not go far enough to getting justice for the dead man. 

‘I think the officer should be charged with murder,’ Crump told TMX.news, about Derek Chauvin, who has been identified as the cop who held Floyd down by the neck. 

‘It was clear that he was begged by public bystanders to take his knee off George’s neck.’ 

Crump also called for the other officers involved to be charged as accomplices to murder.  

‘They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George. We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people that are supposed to protect and serve us,’ he said.    

Disturbing footage captured by a bystander shows the moment a white police officer pins a black man to the ground with his knees during his arrest on Monday

The man is heard repeatedly telling cops he can't breathe

Disturbing footage captured by a bystander shows the moment a white Minneapolis police officer pins  a black man to the ground with his knees during an arrest on Monday 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Tuesday that four officers are now ‘former employees’ of the force.

‘We know there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing but the vast majority of the work we do never require the use of force,’ Arradondo said.

The names of the four fired cops have not been released, however two officers seen in the video were identified by Floyd’s family’s lawyer as officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.

The two were filmed in a video taken by a bystander on Monday which showed Floyd struggling to breathe on the ground as a white cop kneeled on his neck for several minutes.  

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey responded to the four officers’ termination on Twitter saying the move was ‘the right call.’  

Floyd, who was arrested on suspicion of forgery on Monday night, was heard repeatedly telling officers that he could not breathe as he lay on the ground next to the tire of a squad car. 

The man, unresponsive and handcuffed, is then placed on a stretcher before being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died shortly after

The man, unresponsive and handcuffed, is then placed on a stretcher before being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died shortly after 

Footage of Eric Garner's arrest in 2014

Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, said the incident reminded her of the Eric Garner case. Garner (pictured) was an unarmed New York man who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life saying he couldn't breathe

The incident has drawn comparisons to the case of Eric Garner (pictured)  an unarmed New York man who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life saying he couldn’t breathe

‘Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,’ Floyd, who is shirtless, begs the  cop. 

The officer repeatedly tells him ‘Well get up and get in the car then,’ while he continues to pin Floyd to the ground.

Floyd responds ‘I will’ but the cop continues to hold him to the ground by his neck.   

‘My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts,’ Floyd is heard gasping at one point, before saying he needs water. 

After several minutes, one of the officers tells him to ‘relax.’ 

‘Man, I can’t breathe,’ Floyd responds, before eventually passing out. 

A number of politicians and public figures have since spoken out against the incident on social media, calling for the police officers involved to be held accountable. 

Floyd was identified as the victim on Tuesday by Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who said he had been hired by Floyd’s family.  

Crump is also representing the family of 25-year-old black man Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by two white men in Georgia earlier this month. 

‘This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge,’ Crump said in a statement. 

‘We will seek justice for the family of George Floyd, as we demand answers from the Minnesota Police Department. How many “while black” deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?’ 

The black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday has been identified as George Floyd on social media. The attorney representing Floyd's family Benjamin Crump tweeted this photo of the victim on Tuesday, calling for police officers to be brought to justice

The black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday has been identified as George Floyd on social media. The attorney representing Floyd’s family Benjamin Crump tweeted this photo of the victim on Tuesday, calling for police officers to be brought to justice

Floyd, seen in a Facebook photo, was arrested on suspicion of forgery, however details of his alleged offense or what he was doing in the lead up to his arrest were not released

Floyd, seen in a Facebook photo, was arrested on suspicion of forgery, however details of his alleged offense or what he was doing in the lead up to his arrest were not released 

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of 25-year-old slain black man Ahmaud Arbery, has been hired to represent Floyd's family. Crump identified Floyd as the victim on Tuesday, as well as the two officers officers involved in the incident

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of 25-year-old slain black man Ahmaud Arbery, has been hired to represent Floyd’s family. Crump identified Floyd as the victim on Tuesday, as well as the two officers officers involved in the incident 

When asked by reporters about the use of the knee on the man’s neck, Chief Arradondo said the department has ‘policies in place regarding placing someone under control’ that ‘will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.’ 

The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement earlier this morning confirming Floyd died in hospital after officers had responded to a ‘forgery in progress.’    

They did not release details on Floyd’s alleged offense or what he had been doing in the lead up to his attempted arrest. 

According to CBS Local, he was apprehended outside Cup Foods grocery store around 8pm after he allegedly tried to use forged documents at a deli.

Police found the man, believed to be in his 40s, matching the suspect’s description in his car. 

‘He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,’ police spokesman John Elder claimed in a statement. 

‘Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.’

He was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said.

But in the footage, shared by onlooker Darnella Frazier, the arresting police officer was seen pinning Floyd to the ground for more than six minutes as he pleaded with officers to release him. 

‘Please, please, please, I can´t breathe. Please, man,’ the man is heard telling the officer. 

Despite his pleas and agonizing screams, the officer continued to kneel on the man’s neck for several minutes.  

Multiple witnesses were also heard arguing with the two cops over their excessive use of force. 

THE 2014 DEATH OF ERIC GARNER

Eric Garner, was killed in 2014, after NYPD officers placed him in a lethal chokehold during his arrest

Eric Garner, was killed in 2014, after NYPD officers placed him in a lethal chokehold during his arrest

Eric Garner, 43, died on July 17, 2014, after NYPD officers placed him in a fatal chokehold during his arrest. 

Video footage of the incident and Garner’s subsequent death sparked national outcry over police brutality towards the black community. 

Police had suspected Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the street in Staten Island. 

The confrontation was caught on amateur video, including Garner’s words ‘I can’t breathe,’ which become a rallying cry among protesters. 

The city medical examiner’s office later ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by neck compressions from a chokehold.

In 2019, the New York Police Department began disciplinary proceedings against White police officer Daniel Pantaleo, but the trial did not result in any charges. 

Pantaleo was fired from the NYPD in August 2019.  

‘Bro, you’ve got him down at least let him breathe, man,’ a male onlooker says.  

‘He’s not even resisting arrest … he’s human, bro.’ 

One of the officers then replies: ‘This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.’

‘This ain’t about drugs, bro! He’s human,’ the bystander says.

‘You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language, you bum. You know that’s bogus right now,’ he adds. 

About four minutes into the video, the man appears to begin to lose consciousness before becoming unresponsive. 

An ambulance then arrives and police officers move the man’s limp body onto a stretcher. 

‘You just really killed that man, bro,’ the male onlooker says. 

‘And if he’s not dead, he’s close to death, that’s crazy,’ Frazier adds.  

The video, which has been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, has sparked outrage among viewers on social media.

‘They killed him right in front of Cup Foods over south on 38th and Chicago!! No type of sympathy. #PoliceBrutality,’ Frazier wrote in a Facebook post.  

A man holds a 'Stop Killing Black People' placard while protesting near the area where a Minneapolis Police Department officer allegedly killed George Floyd

A man holds a ‘Stop Killing Black People’ placard while protesting near the area where a Minneapolis Police Department officer allegedly killed George Floyd

A Black Lives Matter memorial was left for George Floyd who died in custody on May 26

A Black Lives Matter memorial was left for George Floyd who died in custody on May 26

People gather around a makeshift memorial Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis, near where a black man was taken into police custody the day before who later died

People gather around a makeshift memorial Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis, near where a black man was taken into police custody the day before who later died

Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter spoke out against Floyd's killing on Tuesday, calling for the police officers to be held accountable

Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter spoke out against Floyd’s killing on Tuesday, calling for the police officers to be held accountable  

Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the site of Floyd’s death on Tuesday, where mourners were seen placing flowers and balloons at a makeshift memorial. 

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed the FBI has joined in its investigation. 

All body camera footage has been turned over to the BCA, which investigates most police shootings and in-custody deaths. 

The officers involved were initially put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the incident in a press conference on Tuesday morning, calling events in the video ‘wrong at every level.’ 

‘Being black in America should not be a death sentence,’ he said.

‘For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man. For five minutes. 

‘When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help.

‘This officer failed in the most basic human sense. What happened on Chicago and 38th, this last night, is simply awful.’ 

Frey also apologized to the family of the man as well as the black community. 

‘He was a human being and his life mattered,’ he said.  

Throughout the video, the arresting officer is seen kneeling on the man's neck as he lay motionless on the ground

Throughout the video, the arresting officer is seen kneeling on the man’s neck as he lay motionless on the ground 

The two officers have been placed on paid leave

The two officers have been placed on paid leave

The FBI is now investigating the man’s death and the two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave 

Minnesota state Senator Amy Klobuchar released a statement following the mayor’s media briefing, calling for the police officers involved to be held accountable. 

‘We heard his repeated calls for help. We heard him say over and over again that he could not breathe. And now we have a seen yet another horrifying and gutwrenching instance of an African American man dying,’ she said.

‘Every single person in every single community in this country deserves to feel safe. As the Mayor Minneapolis noted, this tragic loss of life calls for immediate action.

‘There must be a complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.

‘Justice must be served for this man and his family, justice must be served for our community, and justice must be served for our country.’

Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, said watching the footage that was shared on social media made her ‘sick to her stomach’ and called the incident another example of police brutality toward African American men, the Star Tribune reported.

‘Whatever the man may have done should not have ended in a death sentence,’ she said. 

‘What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man.’

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the incident in a press briefing on Tuesday morning, calling the events in the video 'wrong at every level' and saying the officers involved 'failed in the most basic human sense'

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the incident in a press briefing on Tuesday morning, calling the events in the video ‘wrong at every level’ and saying the officers involved ‘failed in the most basic human sense’ 

The video has sparked outrage among viewers on social media and has been shared more than 7,000 times

The video has sparked outrage among viewers on social media and has been shared more than 7,000 times

Levy-Armstrong said the incident reminded her of the Eric Garner case. 

He was an unarmed New York man who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life saying he couldn’t breathe. 

A grand jury later decided against indicting the officers involved, sparking protests around the country.

Police in Minneapolis have come under the microscope in recent years for deadly run-ins with citizens. 

A 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault. 

A county prosecutor declined to prosecute the officers, saying Clark was struggling for one of the officers´ gun when he was shot.

A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call. 

That officer, who is black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence.

Gayle King breaks down on live TV while discussing death of George Floyd after white cop knelt on his neck, as she leads big names speaking out about the killing and says it ‘feels like open season’ on black men in America  

Gayle King broke down on live TV as she warned that it ‘feels to me like open season’ on young black men in America after footage emerged of the white cop kneeling on the neck of George Floyd who then passed out and died.   

King led celebrities and politicians Tuesday in voicing outrage over his death, with many taking to social media demanding the police officers involved are arrested and that the US tackles what many regard as ‘systemic’ racism against young African-American men. 

King’s voice broke on CBS This Morning Tuesday after she watched the horrifying footage of Floyd’s death followed by another video of a racist incident in Central Park, New York, where white investment banker Amy Cooper called 911 to report an ‘African-American man threatening her life’ when he simply asked her to leash her dog.

An emotional King said she was ‘speechless’ and that ‘this is really too much for me today’ before she asked her co-hosts to step in to take over talking about the shocking incidents. 

‘I don’t even know what to do or how to handle this at this particular time… I am speechless,’ King said, as she holds back tears.

‘Once again, I say thank goodness that there’s video tape. You know, I think as a daughter of a black man and a mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today. I’m still rattled by the last story.’

Gayle King broke down on CBS This Morning Tuesday as she warned that it 'feels to me like open season' on black men in America after footage emerged of a white cop kneeling on the neck of a black man who then passed out and died

Gayle King broke down on CBS This Morning Tuesday as she warned that it ‘feels to me like open season’ on black men in America after footage emerged of a white cop kneeling on the neck of a black man who then passed out and died

An emotional King said she was 'speechless' and that 'this is really too much for me today' before she asked her co-hosts to step in to take over talking about the shocking incidents

An emotional King said she was ‘speechless’ and that ‘this is really too much for me today’ before she asked her co-hosts to step in to take over talking about the shocking incidents

‘I’m so sorry. I’m still so upset by that last story where the man is handcuffed underneath a car, where people are pleading, ‘Please he can’t breathe,’ and we’re watching a man die,’ she said.

‘So we go from that story now to this story where she falsely accuses a black man on television.’

‘I am really, really speechless about what we are seeing on television this morning,’ King added. 

‘It feels to me like open season, and that it’s just not sometimes a safe place to be in this country for black men. And today is too much for me.’ 

Floyd’s death has sparked outrage across the nation, with politicians and celebrities including Ice Cube, Debra Messing and Martin Luther King III taking to social media to brand the Minneapolis cops murderers and demand they be arrested. 

This comes less than a month after footage emerged of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery being shot dead in a street in Georgia by two white men who evaded prosecution for more than two months.

Black celebrities led the cries for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd's death Tuesday, after it emerged four cops had been fired over the incident

Black celebrities led the cries for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd’s death Tuesday, after it emerged four cops had been fired over the incident

The leak of the video sparked outrage across the nation with LeBron James, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner all leading cries for Travis and Gregory McMichael to be charged with murder. 

The father and son duo were only arrested and charged with murder after the video went viral. 

Black celebrities led the cries for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd’s death Tuesday, after it emerged four cops had been fired over the incident.

‘How long will we go for Blue on Black Crime before we strike back???’ Ice Cube tweeted. 

The rapper then had to defend his use of the words ‘strike back’ when some said he was encouraging vigilantism.

He responded with a follow-up Tweet: ‘Anybody coming at me for what I said ain’t ready to do s**t…’ 

Singers Ariana Grande, Madonna and Justin Bieber also waded into the issue, sharing posts condemning the police brutality with their millions of followers

Singers Ariana Grande, Madonna and Justin Bieber also waded into the issue, sharing posts condemning the police brutality with their millions of followers

Ice T also spoke out about Floyd’s death in a series of Tweets.

‘They Killed another Brother.. On Video,’ he wrote.

He followed it up with another post that read: ‘I play a Cop on TV… But I’ll NEVER stop speaking about injustice… EVER. F that.’

Snoop Dogg simply posted a meme showing the white cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck alongside an image of black athletes kneeling, saying ‘This is why’. 

The post was in reference to the #TakeAKnee protest which has involved some black American athletes kneeling during the US national anthem at sports events in protest against police brutality and racism.

Martin Luther King III also took to social media over the footage with the slogan: ‘Say his name. #GeorgeFloyd #icantbreathe’.

Singers Ariana Grande, Madonna and Justin Bieber also waded into the issue, sharing posts condemning police brutality with their millions of followers.

Grande posted an Instagram story of a black screen with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #justiceforGeorgeFloyd.

‘Justice is not just about specific officers being arrested. It’s about dismantling the systems that make it possible,’ she wrote.  

Pop star Bieber posted a photo of the incident and decried it as ‘sick’.

‘This makes me absolutely sick. This makes me angry this man DIED. This makes me sad. Racism is evil We need to use out voice! Please people. I’m sorry GEORGE FLOYD,’ he wrote. 

Madonna slammed the police officer responsible for Floyd’s death saying he ‘knew he was being filmed and murdered him with arrogance and pride’. 

Will & Grace star Debra Messing uploaded a post that echoed the victim’s family’s pleas that the firing of the four cops does not go far enough to getting justice for the man’s death.  

‘#GeorgeFloyd is the African-American man being MURDERED on this video. You watch it happen. With no respect for human life, these cops used unnecessary force on a man who was already detained. They have been fired. I WANT THEM ARRESTED!,’ she tweeted.  

Several politicians have also slammed Floyd's death and called for action against what they describe as a 'systemic problem' in policing across America

Several politicians have also slammed Floyd’s death and called for action against what they describe as a ‘systemic problem’ in policing across America 

Several politicians have also slammed Floyd’s death and called for action not just over his death but over all incidents of racism and police brutality.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‎ pointed to a systemic issue across America as she said ‘police brutality’ is a ‘leading cause of death for young Black men’. 

‘#GeorgeFloyd should be alive. Instead, he was killed as he begged police for his life. The impunity of police violence is a systemic problem we must face to save lives,’ she tweeted.

‘Police brutality is now a leading cause of death for young Black men in the US. The status quo is killing us.’  

Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also said there is a ‘systemic’ issue as he pointed to both Floyd’s death and the Central Park case. 

He tweeted: ‘The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The racism on display in Central Park. This can’t just continue to be a day in the life in the USA. This is systemic and it won’t change on its own.’

Presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted late Tuesday urging for the FBI to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’ and for the officers to be ‘held responsible for their egregious actions’.