He kept a letter of resignation locked up in a safe at all times, just in case. [Politico]
He kept a letter of resignation locked up in a safe at all times, just in case. [Politico]
Today’s biggest SCOTUS decision increases the odds that Democrats will take control of the Virginia state government in November
A rare presidential poll in which Beto O’Rourke is looking pretty good
SCOTUS punts latest gay-rights bakery case down to lower courts
If you have the stomach for the backstory of Trump’s fateful escalator ride four years ago, read this
When President Trump announced his seemingly quixotic presidential bid on June 16, 2015 — four years ago Sunday — he descended a golden escalator into the atrium of his Trump Tower Manhattan skyscraper and upended the course of political history.
But at the time, nearly every member of his nascent political team urged Trump not to ride a moving stairway down to his announcement. They fretted it would look amateurish and not remotely presidential. At one point, George Gigicos, the campaign’s director of advance, offered a compromise: that Trump instead take the elevator, give his speech and then ride the escalator back up once he was done — like a mechanical rope line, Gigicos suggested.
Trump was insistent. “No, I’m going down the escalator,” he said — an early example of Trump flouting the norms and conventions of politics at nearly every juncture, and often prevailing.
West Virginia teachers aren’t done protesting
West Virginia teachers went on strike in February to protest a bill that would open up the state to charter schools and help students pay for alternatives to the public education system. They won that strike, and went back to work, when the House of Delegates’ rejected the legislation. Just four months later, history is repeating itself.
Earlier this month, the state Senate passed two bills similar to the one teachers protested in February, but with additional language that makes it more difficult for the educators to go on strike. The fate of the bills is again in the hands of the House of Delegates, which reconvenes on Monday.
The bills represent the latest skirmish in a nearly two-year tug-of-war between local teachers and state legislators, during which teachers went on strike twice. The first walkout, in 2018, protested low pay and health care costs, and was teachers’ first in the state since 1990. It lasted nine days and helped spur a “red state revolt” across the country, as teachers in Kentucky, Oklahoma and elsewhere subsequently staged their own walkouts. The second strike in West Virginia earlier this year lasted just two days.
Was Trump a Mötley Crüe fan back in the ‘80s?
Do not want!
Another area where Mayor Pete is on the rise
Pete Buttigieg’s campaign jolted its top donors with big news on a conference call last month: The upstart mayor had raised $7 million in the month of April alone, as much as Buttigieg had in his entire eye-catching first quarter in the presidential race.
The huge April haul, which was previously unreported, highlights Buttigieg’s explosive rise in the Democratic presidential race — and Buttigieg hopes to do it again next month by announcing a top-tier second quarter haul that at least doubles his last campaign finance report, putting the 37-year-old among the biggest fundraisers seeking the presidency in 2020 and cementing his leap from long shot status at the beginning this year.
A new escalation in the U.S. conflict with Iran
Iran announced on Monday that it would soon exceed the limits on the nuclear fuel it is permitted to possess under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year, leaving the door open to an “unlimited rise” in Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium and potentially triggering another flashpoint with Washington.
The announcement by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization was the country’s latest signal that it will abandon the pact unless the other signatories to the deal help Iran circumvent punishing United States economic sanctions imposed by President Trump. The threat seemed aimed primarily at the European signatories, to convince them to break with Washington and swiftly restore some of the economic benefits of the deal to Tehran.
After the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal, the Trump administration imposed severe economic sanctions that have discouraged any outside companies from doing business with Iran. More recently, it followed that up with measures to all but cut off Iran’s revenues from oil sales, the lifeblood of its economy.
See Jean H. Baker’s biography of James Buchanan
Axios on HBO: “Republicans claimed that John Kerry was a traitor in Vietnam. That Barack Obama was a Muslim. If you were to win the nomination, they’ll say you’re too young, too liberal, too gay to be commander-in-chief. You are young. You are a liberal. You are gay. How will you respond?”
Pete Buttigieg: “I’ll respond by explaining where I want to lead this country. People will elect the person who will make the best president. And we have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal. I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones.”
Axios on HBO: “You believe that we’ve had a gay commander-in-chief?”
Pete Buttigieg: “I mean, statistically, it’s almost certain.”
Axios on HBO: “In your reading of history, do you believe you know who they were?”
Pete Buttigieg: “My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that’s the case.”
“Gerontocracy is rule by people who insist on turning the peak of their career into a plateau.”
Aristotle and the others acknowledged that it carries hidden and insidious effects, and reveals unflattering qualities in the gerontocrats themselves. We can see this most obviously in the effect it has had on the Democratic Party generationally. There is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere. …
We all need purpose and meaning in life. The trick for old folks is to adjust their search for purpose and meaning as they follow nature’s course and give way to their juniors. The avenues to self-fulfillment that were open to them as younger men and women are now the rightful territory of a newer generation, and dignity requires them to find other paths of service and satisfaction.
I can easily imagine a host of dignified futures for our 70-something presidential candidates, far from New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. Biden, for his part, could take on the once-popular, now-neglected role of “elder statesman,” happy to serve when called to a blue-ribbon panel or as a special envoy to trouble spots here and there, to offer advice when his advice is sought, and otherwise to lead a life of recreation, reading, and contemplation. No one will think less of either of them.
Instead, they have chosen the way of vanity and self-indulgence, to the detriment of the political cause they say they want to advance. Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly. They do no credit to their peers with their refusal to acknowledge their natural and inevitable station in life. And they do no favors to the younger people—from Pete Buttigieg, age 37; to Kamala Harris, age 54; and even to Elizabeth Warren, age 69—who are eager, as they are entitled to be, to take their shot.
Governing is hard, okay?
GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal. … The GOP dysfunction — coupled with a new House Democratic majority with its own priorities — leaves the sides much farther apart than they were at this point in last year’s budget process, which ended in a record-long government funding lapse. At the time, Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, but negotiations stalled over funding Trump’s immigration priorities.
Trump and Congress face a trio of difficult budget issues. Congress must pass, and Trump must sign, funding legislation by Oct. 1 to avoid a new shutdown. They need to raise the federal debt limit around the same time, according to the latest estimates. Failure to do so would force the government to make difficult decisions about which obligations to pay, and could be considered a default by investors, shaking markets and an economy already showing some signs of alarm. And by year’s end, they also need to agree on how to lift austere budget caps that will otherwise snap into place and slash $125 billion from domestic and military programs.
Senate Republicans and the administration thus far have not agreed on how to proceed on any of the issues, making it all but impossible for them to enter into substantive negotiations with Democrats. That has left the Capitol in a state of suspension over what the coming months will hold.
Democratic groups plan to play placeholder-on-attack
Democratic super PACs are set to soon launch a yearlong $150 million advertising onslaught countering the millions the president’s campaign has already spent targeting voters. On top of that, billionaire Tom Steyer is funding other groups testing a range of strategies to register and turn out people to vote. And the Democratic National Committee this week began training hundreds of college students to work as field staff in battleground states, an effort that will continue throughout the election.
The efforts, described to POLITICO by operatives involved in the plans, come as some Democrats worry that Trump is going largely untouched during the Democratic primary, amassing huge sums money and lobbing bombs at his would-be rivals as they wage war among themselves. Those concerns were given voice last week by former Obama adviser Ben LaBolt, who wrote in an op-ed in The Atlantic that Trump is “running unopposed” in the 2020 race as his would-be rivals scrap for position in the Democratic primary.
But Democrats interviewed by POLITICO insist that while LaBolt put his finger on a critical imperative, the party apparatus is not sitting on its hands. Instead, they are taking early steps to build a massive anti-Trump effort, preparing to shoulder the load until well into next year, before the eventual nominee’s campaign can build back up its bank account after a depleting primary.
And then there is the battleground state pageant
CBS News first asked which candidates voters are considering supporting — and told them they could pick as many or as few as they liked. (As with many decisions people make, early in the process they’ll narrow their options before settling on one.)
Biden gets the most consideration, from a majority 55% of Democrats. Warren (49%), Harris (45%) and Bernie Sanders (43%) are trailing closely in that regard. Pete Buttigieg is being considered by just under a third (32%) across the earliest states. And in keeping with their view that the field is too large, on average the number of candidates voters are considering is actually relatively small — just under four.
Biden is the most effective at translating consideration into a first-choice vote. He leads across the early states in vote preference with 31% of Democratic primary voters, compared to Warren’s 17%, Sanders’$2 16%, and Harris’$2 10%. Biden converts most of those considering him into picking him as their first choice when pressed, but fewer of those considering Warren or Sanders — roughly a third – pick those candidates as their first choice.
Divided electorate remains divided, in other words
More Democratic voters believe Congress should begin impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump’s conduct while in office, but the country at large remains divided on the matter, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Overall, 27 percent of Americans say there’s enough evidence to begin impeachment hearings now — up 10 points from last month. Another 24 percent think Congress should continue investigating to see if there’s enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future, which is down eight points.
And 48 percent believe that Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and that Trump should finish out his term as president — unchanged from a month ago.
Almost all the growth in support for impeachment has come from Democrats, with 48 percent of them wanting impeachment hearings now, versus 30 percent who said this a month ago. Just 6 percent of Republicans support beginning impeachment hearings now, while a whopping 86 percent say Trump should finish his term as president. Among independents, 22 percent support impeachment hearings now; 34 percent want to continue investigating; and 44 percent oppose impeachment hearings.
Another extraordinary day of protests in Hong Kong