Friday, November 9, 2018

Turning Towards 2020

"For Democrats, pragmatism generally carried the day" by Annie Linskey and Liz Goodwin Globe Staff  November 08, 2018

WASHINGTON — The pragmatic Democrats won elections Tuesday night, and the showy liberal stars faded.

The national darlings such as Andrew Gillum and Beto O’Rourke lost in Florida and Texas. Laura Kelly, a moderate state legislator with scant star power, took the governor’s mansion in Kansas.

It’s a lesson for the Democratic Party as it tries to sort out a vast 2020 field: The people most liked by the party’s core liberals aren’t consistently winning in general election matchups. Some of the ones who focus on the middle or are simply less exciting emerged victorious. Or, from a Massachusetts perspective, it was a bad night for firebrand Elizabeth Warren-type candidates and a good one for the more practical-sounding Deval Patricks of the world who might run.

Related: Le$$ons Learned

There is still an undertow out there, though.

Democratic strategists, still poring through election data Wednesday, found that their party made modest gains in areas where Donald Trump won two years ago, while the president wasn’t able to expand his base of supporters — which they see as a good sign for any Democratic nominee in 2020, and there was some evidence that the night went to the less flashy candidates, with Democratic gubernatorial candidates performing particularly well in states Trump won. Those who stayed away from a national slugfest with Trump tended to win.

That’s not a great sign for Warren, or for Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator with a flair for the dramatic, but even if Warren’s style of being a feisty Trump fighter and national phenom wasn’t rewarded in the midterms, progressives argue that the results do show a potency to her economic populist message.

Sherrod Brown of Ohio — another potential 2020 candidate — and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin won in Trump states by pushing such a populist message, said Adam Green, the cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

On the flip side, Democratic senators who downplayed the liberal economic agenda in order to position themselves as moderate Democrats, including Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, lost, he said.

He pointed to data compiled by his committee’s sister organization, the Progressive Change Institute, that show 65 percent of the incoming class of Democratic House freshmen embraced providing some version of Medicare for all or expanding Social Security benefits — ideas backed by the liberal wing.

“That shows the Democratic Party has vastly shifted in an Elizabeth Warren-style direction and that’s the way Democrats are viable in 2018 and in 2020,” Green said, while acknowledging that the high wattage progressive personalities didn’t prevail.

He noted that just five years ago, in 2013, then-President Obama was trying to cut Social Security benefits. Now nearly 90 percent of the incoming class of House Democrats support protecting Social Security, and 46 percent of them want the entitlement expanded.

Remember that?

How quickly the American mind and media has sanitized that guy's corrupt and negligent tenure.

“That’s a sea change from where we all were a few years ago,” Green said, but Warren’s favorites in the campaign came up short, including in two races where she had close ties.

Richard Cordray, the former head of the Warren-conceived Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lost his gubernatorial bid in Ohio, a key swing state in the presidential election, and the other potentially tough news for Warren was Katie Porter’s race in Orange County, in a California House district that Hillary Clinton won in the presidential contest. Porter is significantly trailing GOP incumbent Mimi Walters, though ballots remain to be counted.

Will the Democrats be able to steal the seat like they are trying to do in Florida?

Porter was Warren’s student at Harvard Law School, and Warren’s son Alex was the treasurer in the campaign. Porter ran on a message of taking on Wall Street and providing ”Medicare for all.”

That's where she lost it.

The liberal platform became a liability in the general election, when Walters accused Porter of wanting to raise taxes to fund a “government takeover” of health care.

Tuesday was also a big night for female candidates of color.

“I don’t think there’s anything in the results last night, particularly with the huge field we’re going to have, that I would rule somebody in or out based on what happened,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic operative who helped Senator Doug Jones win a special election earlier this year in Alabama.

The bigger trend, he said, is there’s momentum moving toward Democrats nationally in the Sun Belt and Midwest, and the Democratic debate over its leadership may not break down on the predictable establishment vs. progressive ideological line as it did last cycle, Trippi predicted.

In two years, voters could still be attracted to female candidates, as they were on Tuesday, or they could be seeking a generational change, with a younger Democrat appealing. Or they could want a stable, older statesman figure like Joe Biden to take the reins after a chaotic time in the White House.....

Is it going to even matter?



Warren says it’s ‘too early’ after midterms to explore presidential run

She is just being coy.

"Elizabeth Warren is spending heavily on national Facebook ads in preparation for a possible presidential bid" by Annie Linskey and Nihal Krishan Globe Staff | Center for Responsive Politics  October 08, 2018

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren bent the rules of presidential flirtation last month when she said she’d take a “hard look” at a 2020 White House campaign after she completes her reelection bid next month, but Warren’s actions, in particular her spending on digital advertising, show she’s already looking at 2020. Hard.

Warren has emerged this year as the third-highest spender on digital ads — behind only President Trump and Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat who is running in the country’s highest-profile Senate race. Unlike O’Rourke, Warren’s Senate race is not competitive, and unlike Trump, she’s not president, but her national aspirations are spurring her to get an early start on laying crucial groundwork for a potential White House bid. Part of that job entails expanding her footprint across the country, and that footprint is not just digital. She is peddling Warren merchandise on the Internet customized for voters in all 50 states. She’s dropping into states to help raise money and stump for allies in critical contests.

The Globe, along with the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan Washington clearing house for the study of campaign spending, used newly available data from Facebook to take the first look at Warren’s digital advertising strategy. The review revealed how Warren has mounted a robust effort that’s caught the attention of her potential rivals for the Democratic nomination and drawn the ire of the Republican challenger in her Senate race.

Wasn't that kind of thing behind the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Oh, right, if it isn't Trump or Republicans doing it, it's okay.

In the last two weeks alone, Warren has run 401 separate digital ads on Facebook, seen by as many as 10 million people. These aren’t all geared for Massachusetts: Her ads are getting four times as many eyeballs in other states. Especially noteworthy is her use of Facebook advertising in Oklahoma, the ruby-red state where she grew up. It is a key part of her middle-class biography, a place she’s likely to highlight a lot more if she runs for president.

The majority of those seeing Warren’s digital ads on Facebook are being asked for their e-mail addresses and not money, according to the analysis. That means Warren is building a national list, not a war chest. At least so far.

“She is positioning herself to be able to run if she wants to,” said Kenneth Pennington, the cofounder of Middle Seat, a digital fund-raising and advertising firm. “She’s definitely doing the work.”

Many of the digital messages Warren has sent are off the news, including pleas to provide an e-mail address as a way to “sign up” and oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, lauding women’s rights, or supporting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possible ties of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to Russia.

Warren also occasionally sends out video of herself speaking directly to the camera on an issue. It’s a trendy technique, with Trump doing similar weekly videos.

“The earlier you start building, the better your position if you decide to run,” Pennington observed.

Not everyone has taken the approach of spending money early on a digital infrastructure. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for example, did not build up his e-mail list in the months before making his bid for the 2016 presidential bid. That put him at a disadvantage, former aides say. For Warren in 2020, getting a big head start could be key to contending strongly for the nomination and nudging ideologically like-minded adversaries, such as Sanders, to the sidelines.

“If people coalesce around Elizabeth soon, she definitely has the best chance of any Democrat of having an easy chance of it,” said Arun Chaudhary, a partner at Revolution Messaging. “Everyone else has an incredibly hard time — both getting the nomination and in getting elected.”

There are other signs of Warren’s pre-presidential prep. The merchandise being hawked at her online store includes T-shirts branded with all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. (Warren, a dog lover, is also selling pet collars.) She’s donating money to all 50 state Democratic parties and has traveled to such places as Nevada and Wisconsin to appear on behalf of Democrats.

She is seeding state Democratic parties in the early primary and caucus states of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada with former staffers who will presumably be loyal to her. She has released 10 years worth of tax returns. She’s even started softening with the Washington press corps, giving Washington-based reporters interviews in Senate hallways after years of marching past without pausing to answer questions.

“We punish people for announcing they are running for president too soon, but I’m glad she’s not being so coy about it. I think Americans are sick of the ‘I’m not running for president’ thing.”to run a grass-roots campaign you need a longer runway,” said Chaudhary.

Not everyone admires Warren’s early moves.

“It’s clear that Senator Warren is taking Massachusetts for granted,” said Holly Robichaud, a spokeswoman for Geoff Diehl, Warren’s Republican opponent for the Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Diehl’s campaign recently sent out a news release blasting Warren for placing a series of online ads in Oklahoma, a move that also confused some Democratic strategists.

“Wrong state, Senator,” said Diehl in the release, in which he asked her to sign a pledge to serve out her six-year Senate term if she wins.

In the last two weeks, the Globe and the Center for Responsive Politics analysis showed Warren has spent thousands of dollars trying to build an e-mail list in Oklahoma. The state had only 38 Democratic delegates in 2016 and is therefore not consequential in the Democratic primary race for the nomination. That left some strategists wondering: Is she planning to announce her presidential bid from there? Is she planning a big rally in her home state?

Aides to Warren said the ads were timed to coincide with a public trip she made to the Sooner State state in late September, but Warren’s team doesn’t typically buy online ads when she travels out of state — which she does often.

If Warren does formally consider a run for president, there would be some paperwork involved before repurposing the e-mail list for a national run: She’d have to create an exploratory committee that would pay her Senate campaign fair market value for the list, according to Christian Hilland, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission.

Warren’s camp says a large e-mail list will be useful whether or not she decides to run for higher office. That’s because Warren tends to weigh in on national issues and does not shy away from using her list to nudge senators — even in her own party — in her direction.

“It’s one tool we use to fight for working families and communicate about policies that affect working families so we can make real change,” said Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for Warren.

Warren also uses her e-mail list to raise money for other Democrats; she has sent out fund-raising missives to her list on behalf of dozens of others.

“That’s unique,” said Pennington. “Potentially it’s a play at buying good will from people ahead of a national election, and showing that you’re a team player.”

It's as if Cambridge Analytica never happened.



"Facebook says hackers accessed a wide swath of information — ranging from e-mails and phone numbers to more personal details such as sites visited and places checked into — from millions of accounts as part of a security breach the company disclosed two weeks ago. Twenty-nine million accounts had some form of information stolen. Originally Facebook said 50 million accounts were affected, but that it didn’t know if they had been misused. On Friday Facebook said hackers accessed names, e-mail addresses. or phone numbers from these accounts. For 14 million of them, hackers got even more data, such as hometown, birthdate, the last 10 places they checked into, or the 15 most recent searches. Facebook isn’t giving a breakdown of where these users are, but says the breach was ‘‘fairly broad.’’ It plans to send messages to people whose accounts were hacked."

Better check your phone.

"Facebook takes aim at fake news" by Michael Liedtke Associated Press  October 19, 2018

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive Silicon Valley campus, a locked door bears a taped-on sign that reads ‘‘War Room.’’ Behind the door lies a nerve center the social network has set up to combat fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, hackers are entering the back door!

Inside the room are dozens of employees staring intently at their monitors while data streams across giant dashboards. On the walls are posters of the sort Facebook frequently uses to caution or exhort its employees. One reads, ‘‘Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem.’’

That motto might strike some as ironic, given that the war room was created to counter threats that almost no one at the company, least of all CEO Mark Zuckerberg, took seriously just two years ago — and which the company’s critics now believe pose a threat to democracy.

Days after President Trump’s surprise victory, Zuckerberg brushed off assertions that the outcome had been influenced by fictional news stories on Facebook, calling the idea ‘‘pretty crazy,’’ but Facebook’s blase attitude shifted as criticism of the company mounted in Congress and elsewhere. Later that year, it acknowledged having run thousands of ads promoting false information placed by Russian agents. Zuckerberg eventually made fixing Facebook his personal challenge for 2018.

Haven't seen nor heard a wit of concern about it since election night.

The war room is a major part of Facebook’s ongoing repairs. Its technology draws upon the artificial intelligence system Facebook has been using to help identify ‘‘inauthentic’’ posts and user behavior. Facebook provided a tightly controlled glimpse at its war room to The Associated Press and other media ahead of the second round of presidential elections in Brazil on Oct. 28 and the US midterm elections on Nov. 6.


So they stole Brazil for the right wing thug, and there was meddling here?

What if the posts are by cobots?

‘‘There is no substitute for physical, real-world interaction,’’ said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s director of elections and civic engagement. ‘‘The primary thing we have learned is just how effective it is to have people in the same room all together.’’

More than 20 different teams now coordinate the efforts of more than 20,000 people — mostly contractors — devoted to blocking fake accounts and fictional news and stopping other abuses on Facebook and its other services. As part of the crackdown, Facebook also has hired fact checkers, including The Associated Press, to vet new stories posted on its social network.

Looks more and more like censorship to me.

Facebook credits its war room and other stepped-up patrolling efforts for booting 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past year and jettisoning hundreds of pages set up by foreign governments and other agents looking to create mischief, but it remains unclear whether Facebook is doing enough, said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters For America, a liberal group that monitors misinformation. He noted that the sensational themes distributed in fictional news stories can be highly effective at keeping people ‘‘engaged’’ on Facebook — which in turn makes it possible to sell more of the ads that generate most of Facebook’s revenue.

That's when my printed copy disengaged.

‘‘What they are doing so far seems to be more about trying to prevent another public relations disaster and less so about putting in meaningful solutions to the problem,’’ Carusone said. ‘‘On balance, I would say they that are still way off.’’

The election war room and its inner workings remain too opaque to determine whether it’s helping Facebook do a better job of keeping garbage off its service or if it’s just a ‘‘temporary conference room with a bunch of computer monitors in it,’’ said Molly McKew, a self-described ‘‘information warfare’’ researcher for New Media Frontier, which studies the flow of content on social media. 

What if it is all garbage?

McKew believes Facebook is conflicted about blocking some content it already knows is suspect ‘‘because they keep people on their platform by sparking an emotional response, so they like they like the controversial stuff. There will always be this toeing of the line about pulling down radical, crazy content because that’s what people engage on, and that’s what they want.’’

If that's the Face you are showing to the world.

Facebook defends its war room as an effective weapon against misinformation, although its efforts are still a work in progress. Chakrabarti, for instance, acknowledged that some ‘‘bugs’’ prevented Facebook from taking some unspecified actions to prevent manipulation efforts in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election earlier this month. He declined to elaborate.


Also see:

Facebook purged over 800 accounts and pages pushing political messages for profit

Yeah, they are keeping an eye on things:

"Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen- and camera-equipped gadget intended to make video calls easier and more intuitive, but it’s unclear if people will open their homes to an Internet-connected camera sold by a company with a questionable track record on protecting user privacy. Facebook is marketing the Portal as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. The device’s camera uses artificial intelligence to automatically zoom in and out as people move around. ‘‘The first thing consumers are going to wonder is ‘how much sensitive data is this collecting about me?’ ’’ said John Breyault, at the National Consumers League, a consumer advocacy group. Earlier this year, Facebook acknowledged as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that worked for the Trump campaign. More recently, Facebook revealed hackers managed to pierce its security to break into 50 million accounts. Facebook says it won’t ‘‘listen to, view or keep the contents” of video calls, adding that Portal won’t use facial recognition or identify people in video calls. The device will allow users to disable the camera and microphone with a single tap and to lock it with a passcode. Portal will not display Facebook ads ‘‘at this time,’’ the company said, though it noted that third-party services might embed their own ads. Portal will come in two sizes: a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 ‘‘Plus’’ version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations."

You look through the Portal and they prove my point.

""Facebook Inc. is facing criticism in the United Kingdom after it continued to show ads for baby products to a woman who’d posted on the site that the baby she had been expecting was stillborn. Anna England-Kerr said that after sharing the news on the social network, she continued to see ads for cribs, baby blankets, and bottles, and more recently IVF treatments, despite changing settings on Facebook that should have blocked such appearances. A Facebook spokesman said in a statement that the company had discovered a bug and an issue with its machine learning models in the Hide Ad Topics feature that England-Kerr had tried to use. England-Kerr said she received a call on Wednesday from Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for the EMEA region. She said the executive had expressed her condolences, “and that she was very sorry about how using Facebook had made me feel in the wake of her death.”

Here is a look at Warren's stillborn stump speech:

"‘We want a government that works for the rest of us,’ Warren says" by John Hilliard Globe Correspondent  October 13, 2018

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Saturday stoked supporters’ energy ahead of a critical midterm election next month, tying Democrats’ success in winning majorities in the House and Senate with being able to make progress on issues like climate change, housing, drug prices, and gun violence.

Warren sounded a strong populist message to underscore the stakes for Democrats, who hope to tap into enough anti-President Trump sentiment in the Nov. 6 vote to win back control of Congress.

“We are going to say to the powerful in Washington that we don’t want a government that just works for the wealthy and the well-connected,” Warren told a crowd gathered at a town hall in Roxbury. “We want a government that works for the rest of us.”

Democrats in charge would be able to make a difference on issues like controlling drug costs, she said.

Since when?

Before Warren spoke, fellow Democrats took the stage, including Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is running unopposed in the Seventh Congressional District. Pressley said her faith in government has been “shaken and compromised,” and also sounded a call to action.

She said there is a taint on the Senate that is “demoralizing, demeaning, and dismissive” of sexual assault survivors, including Pressley.

“But we are not done. Because the American people are entitled to the truth, survivors are entitled to justice, and Brett Kavanaugh was not entitled to a lifetime appointment,” Pressley said, later adding, “Survivors vote.”

In Warren’s remarks, she pointed to the need for national legislative efforts to curb gun violence, including in Boston — by the time she spoke on Saturday, there had been seven fatal shootings over the previous week in the city. She said more needs to be done to save lives.

“We’re losing them to gun violence at a time in America when we can’t make the simplest, smallest changes in Washington. And why? Because right now in America, the NRA holds Congress hostage,” Warren said.

Warren said the nation must do more to confront the “ultimate threat” of climate change, calling it a threat “to our very existence.”

“This is about economics, absolutely, it’s about politics, but ultimately, it’s a moral question,” Warren said of climate change. “We have a moral responsibility to leave our children a world where they can drink the water and breathe the air.”

Shall I take that as an antiwar stand?

Jake Resetarits, 29, of Jamaica Plain, described himself as a “big fan” of Warren, particularly because of her focus on housing. Warren said Saturday that she has filed a bill meant to spur the creation of about 3 million new housing units across the country.

Her bills went and go nowhere, even under Reid.

Matthew Lima, 23, of Allston, said he’s a Warren supporter who is concerned about the environmental impact of climate change. “In our system, you have to work within the corporate framework of how things operate,” Lima said. He said he hopes Warren’s bill will “translate into less of a conservative message coming out of corporate America on this issue.”

During her remarks, Warren also pointed to local issues, including throwing her support behind striking Marriott hotel workers, as well as with National Grid workers locked out of their jobs.

She also backed a “yes” vote on state ballot Question 3, which will ask voters in November whether they would preserve a 2016 law preventing discrimination based on gender identity.

“ ‘Yes’ on 3, because ‘yes’ on 3 means ‘no’ on hate,” Warren said.

Warren’s challenger, state Representative Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican and Trump supporter, spent part of Saturday campaigning in Sturbridge, according to a video posted to his campaign’s Twitter page. He said in the video he would be at Fenway Park Saturday night meeting voters at the Red Sox playoff game.

“I’m looking forward to putting Massachusetts first as your next US senator,” Diehl said in the video.

He has called on Warren to drop out of the Senate race after she said she’d take a “hard look” at running for president after Nov. 6.....

It's still too early.


The Globe has some ideas on how Warren should challenge Trump, and one is to not mention the governor.

Another name she might not want to mention:

"Clintons aren’t going away yet, as upcoming speaking tour shows" by Annie Linskey and Jess Bidgood Globe Staff  October 11, 2018

WASHINGTON — The 2020 presidential election season will kick off with some familiar names: Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The couple is launching a 13-city tour, produced by the global entertainment company Live Nation, more known for musical acts than political ones. Billed as “An Evening with the Clintons,” it starts just two weeks after the midterm elections, and it’s prompting some rare bipartisan confusion.

That’s because the Clintons aren’t selling a book. Or a TV show. Or a charitable cause. They appear to be promoting themselves, and they’ll be doing it just as a wide field of Democrats are casting about for a fresh face who can challenge President Trump.

The tour, which will take the former first couple to Boston, where tickets range from $120.50 to $370.50, as well as Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Canada, is part of a political mini-trend. Michelle Obama is on tour with Live Nation — though she’s also selling her book.

Some people don't know when to just go away!

Spokesmen for Bill and Hillary Clinton didn’t respond to questions about whom the ticket sales benefit. Or what, exactly, the message of the events would be. Or why the former two-term president and former secretary of state feel the need to hit the road now as a slice of the nation looks to future leaders to take on Trump.

A video promoting the tour pitches it as an “up close and personal live event” where the audience will have a chance to “witness a one-of-a-kind conversation.” The discussion, according to the promo, will touch on “important events of modern history” and how the Clintons “shaped our world today.”

Political observers see it as an attempt to buff an image that’s taken a beating in the last four years, since Hillary Clinton was last out on a book tour in 2014 as she planned her failed presidential bid.

What are they talking about? 

She went on a tour for her "What Happened" piece of trash.

It will give Hillary Clinton a chance, if she chooses, to point out the dire predictions she made on the campaign trail against Trump that have come to pass since his election. She famously labeled Trump a Russian “puppet” and predicted he wouldn’t criticize them for launching cyberattacks on the United States, and as president, he has indeed defended Russia.

She warned that he would denigrate NATO, and he has. She warned that he would be hostile to immigrants and embolden hate groups. This has also happened.

“This is trying to evoke buyer’s remorse,” said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University. “It’s about reevaluating the Clintons’ lives.”

Republicans have long been skeptical of Hillary Clinton but she’s also generated anger from the left. Her approval rating stands at 38 percent, according to a September 2018 Gallup poll. The survey showed that the former first lady’s standing dropped with Democrats after the 2016 election and hasn’t recovered.

The same poll showed Trump's at 41!

The most recent public polling for her husband put his favorability rating at 45 percent, but that was nearly a year ago in December 2017.

Putting Bill Clinton into the spotlight next to his wife amid the national reckoning on how powerful men have treated women could also be awkward. The post-Clinton Democratic Party has largely embraced the #MeToo movement, but it raises uncomfortable questions for the former president about the women who have accused him of sexual assault.

No, he gets a pass on that.


"I am certain that I am not alone in wishing that Hillary Clinton would walk away from an opportunity to comment on any #MeToo moment. As the avatar of enabling, neither she nor — may God forbid — Bill have any business weighing in on the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Or anyone else. It was hard enough supporting her in 2016 as the lesser of two liars, but there is a time to retire. I ask of both of them: Please do."

It takes a village to raise a giant pumpkin, you know.

“If Bill Clinton is going to reinsert himself into the political process, every Democrat should be asked if they believe Bill Clinton or his accusers,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and former official with the Trump White House.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, put a finer point on it: “The only person with a lower approval rating than Nancy Pelosi is Hillary Clinton. We encourage their road show far and wide,” said Sanders in an e-mailed statement. 

Pelosi is now on track to be speaker, and one shudders at the thought of the Clintons in the White House again.

She added: “Hopefully she makes it to Wisconsin this time,” a dig at Clinton, who has been criticized for ignoring the Badger State during the campaign. She narrowly lost the state to Trump.

Well, Walker was robbed so maybe Wisconsin goes blue next time. 

It occurred to me the other day that we haven't had a one-term president in a while. Trump's in trouble.

Even Democrats, who tend to be more charitable toward the couple, acknowledge that the tour will cause some headaches for the party that’s trying to move past 2016.

“Trump will rub his fingers raw tweeting about the Clintons and will use their tour as yet another distraction for whatever firings he undertakes after the midterms,” predicted Craig Varoga, a Democratic strategist. “But only a very cold heart would begrudge a former president and secretary of state the opportunity to be heard.”

Look at them lay the guilt trip on you to get you to shut up.

Varoga said a handful of Democrats will have announced presidential bids by Nov. 18 — the date of the first Clinton tour event. Some, he said, will be “struggling for oxygen.”

“But to a person, their biggest challenge will be each other and the eight-thousand-pound tweeting gorilla in the White House, not Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Varoga said. “The most viable Democrat is going to be the one who finds his or her voice despite the 24/7 pseudo-reality show that ain’t going away any time soon,” and some Democrats have simply moved past the former first couple.

“I actually have no thoughts about Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, I don’t think of them,” said Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat once on Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential short list.

He said he was unaware of the speaking tour and confused about what the two are doing.

“Sorry,” he said, “I didn’t know about this. Like a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert?”

Others are just resigned to the fact that the pair, with a combined eight years in the White House, eight years in the Senate, four years helming the State Department, and three Democratic presidential nominations, will always have some space on the national stage.

“The Clintons are going to be part of our political debate for as long as they have opinions to provide,” said Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. “I don’t think it makes sense for people to trumpet it or bemoan it, because they’re are going to be very present in the debate whether people like it or not.”



"Hillary Clinton gave mixed signals on whether she’s considering another presidential run, telling a New York City audience Friday that she would be well suited to the office. During a far-ranging interview with Kara Swisher of the technology website Recode (Swisher is also a contributor to The New York Times’ Opinion section), Clinton initially said “no” when asked whether she wanted to run for president again. She then paused and repeated “no,” but after Swisher noted the slight hesitation, Clinton seemed to reconsider her response, saying that a major task of the next Democratic president will be improving the international standing of the United States. “Well, I’d like to be president,” she said, at the public taping at New York’s 92nd Street Y of Swisher’s podcast, but after the remarks were widely reported — and dissected on social media — Swisher tweeted Monday that the reaction seemed to be out of proportion to what Clinton had said....."

Isn't that where Hillary made a racist quip?

Also see:

"The State Department says former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s security clearance has been withdrawn at her request. Clearances for five other people Clinton designated as researchers have also been withdrawn, including for aide Cheryl Mills. The State Department disclosed Clinton’s request in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, authorized the letter’s disclosure following consultation with the department. The letter blacks out the names of four other Clinton researchers whose security clearances were withdrawn last month (AP)."

It was at her request because they were going to yank the status on her. 

Sort of like the choice Sessions had. Either resign or your fired.

So who can be the Democrat's next JFK (or even Teddy, for that matter)?

"Michael R. Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, says he is returning to his roots: He has reregistered as a Democrat — an initial but essential step toward a possible run for president in 2020 as a Democrat. Bloomberg made the announcement in simultaneous social media postings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which showed the left-handed 76-year-old filling out his registration paperwork (and also, incidentally, the absence of his middle “R” initial). “At key points in US history, one of the two parties has served as a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution,” Bloomberg wrote, adding, “We need Democrats to provide the checks and balance our nation so badly needs.” Bloomberg had abandoned the Democratic Party to launch his political career in 2001 and win the mayoralty in New York City as a Republican. But he noted Wednesday that he had been a Democrat “for most of my life.” He ended nearly two decades of estrangement, inspired by what he said was the call of history and the need for an opposition party to provide on a check on President Trump."

If he is your oligarch I $uppo$e that's fine:

"Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who is considering a 2020 presidential campaign, took another step closer to that possibility Sunday with a $5 million national advertising effort that encourages voters to support Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections — and offers Bloomberg’s centrist politics as a counter to President Trump. Bloomberg’s 2-minute television ad, which features him speaking directly to the camera and standing before an American flag, was scheduled to first air Sunday during CBS’ ‘‘60 Minutes.’’ It will air again Monday during the evening news programs on broadcast networks and on MSNBC and CNN. Bloomberg’s political advisers said he firmly believes there is enormous space in the political center and wants Democrats to court voters there."

He sees himself as some sort of 21st-century Alexander Hamilton, so vote early and often.

The names that have been floated as vice presidential timber include Tom SteyerTom Brady and Colin Kaepernick, and "the latter is frustrated over a city and a country that in its view have become enslaved to big corporations at the cost of shared values, and where sports, the right-wing media, and rich insiders can dictate policy to politicians."

You mean like Bo$ton?

The opposing ticket they will be facing off against:

"Nikki Haley to resign as UN ambassador at year’s end" by Maggie Haberman and Mark Landler New York Times  October 09, 2018

She is going to replace Pence for 2020, and who knows what could happen?

NEW YORK — President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Tuesday that she would resign at the end of the year, marking the departure of one of the few high-profile women in the Trump administration.

Haley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, had been an early and frequent critic of Trump, but he named her to the UN job weeks after his election. As ambassador, Haley has been an outspoken and often forceful envoy — someone whom foreign diplomats looked to for guidance from an administration known for haphazard and inconsistent policy positions — and she emerged as something of a star amid the dysfunction of the president’s first national security team.

White House staff members were caught off guard by the announcement, which Haley and Trump had kept closely under wraps. The president said Haley had informed him roughly six months ago that she wanted to take a break. 

So the letter did have its intended effect. He no longer trusts his staff.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he flew to a rally in Iowa, Trump said he was considering a list of five candidates to replace Haley, including Dina Powell, a former deputy national security adviser. Earlier he said that his daughter Ivanka “would be incredible, but it doesn’t mean I’d pick her.”

Another possibility is Richard A. Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, who served as a spokesman for John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, when he was ambassador to the UN under President George W. Bush. Trump said he would consider Grenell but added, “I’d personally rather keep Ric where he is.”

Haley is said to have a strained relationship with Bolton, a longtime critic of the UN and a more dominant figure than his predecessor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, but she has been closely allied with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Oh, then she is a member of the family.

The couple held a dinner in New York months ago celebrating Haley’s tenure there, and during her appearance with Donald Trump on Tuesday, she singled them both out for praise.

“Jared is such a hidden genius that no one understands,” Haley said. “And Ivanka has been just a great friend, and they do a lot of things behind the scenes that I wish more people knew about, because we’re a better country because they’re in this administration.”


That's what we all sensed, and what the media has failed to report (other than a few one-day wonders that are quickly dispatched down the memory hole).

People close to Haley insisted there was nothing behind her decision other than fatigue after nearly two years in a rigorous job. She also wanted to make her decision known before the midterms to avoid the potential for an embarrassing departure if the vote were to go against the president.

It did, at least in the House, and he barely squeaked by in the Senate.

Haley’s joint appearance with Trump and his effusive praise made her a rarity among departing officials, whom he often criticizes as they go out the door, but the timing irked some West Wing aides, who saw the announcement as taking attention away from the swearing-in of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his first day at the Supreme Court.

See: Reopening the Kavanaugh Case

Case closed, and Trump has himself a new lawyer.

Soon after her arrival in New York, Haley, the first Cabinet-level UN ambassador for a Republican administration since the end of the Cold War, quickly made it clear she saw the position as a steppingstone to a higher political office — a possibility that Trump may have resented.

Going to challenge him in the primary?

She became a far more visible face of US foreign policy than her first boss at the State Department, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, and Time magazine celebrated Haley’s ascendance by putting her on a cover as one of the women who are “changing the world,” but Mike Pompeo, Tillerson’s replacement, has recently reasserted the secretary of state’s traditional role, and with Bolton a sometime antagonist, she had less of a role than at the start of the administration.

Haley, who has long been seen as a potential presidential candidate, said Tuesday that she had no intention of running in 2020, as has been speculated. Instead, she said, she plans to campaign for Trump’s reelection.

In the short term, people familiar with her thinking said, she is likely to work in the private sector and make some money.

After nearly eight years in government — six years as governor of South Carolina in addition to her time at the United Nations — Haley has at least $1.5 million in debts, including a mortgage of more than $1 million, her 2018 financial disclosure report shows.

For the moment, few Republican strategists believe that Haley is inclined to run against Trump, but those who know her believe that she is likely to run in 2024, or even in 2020 should the president not run again.

“An open presidential race is a better chance to show off her incredible political skills, rather than some quixotic primary effort,” said Matt Moore, who was the Republican Party chairman in South Carolina when Haley was governor.

The daughter of immigrants from India, Haley favored free markets and global trade and earned international attention when she was South Carolina’s governor for speaking out against the display of the Confederate battle flag in front of the state house in the aftermath of the 2015 massacre at a black church in Charleston.

That's when she lost me.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, she sharply criticized his demeanor and warned what it might mean for US diplomacy — even suggesting that his tendency to lash out at critics could cause a world war.

Those disagreements continued after she joined his administration.

Haley acknowledged her policy disagreements with the president in an op-ed in The Washington Post last month when she criticized an anonymous senior administration official who wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times, describing a chaotic administration in which many of the president’s aides disagreed with their boss.

“I don’t agree with the president on everything,” Haley wrote. “When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.”

In December, Haley said that women who had accused Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard, and they should be dealt with.” It was a surprising break from the administration’s longstanding assertion that the accusations were false and that voters rightly dismissed them when they elected Trump.

“I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up,” Haley told CBS.

Ah, quitting cuz of Kavanaugh.


Here is Trump's attempt to win the African-American vote:

Trump, Kushner to meet with Kanye West at White House

"It was a head-scratching afternoon at the White House on Thursday as rapper Kanye West and some of his many opinions descended upon 1600 Penn. to discuss everything from North Korea to bipolar disorder with his ‘‘brother’’ President Trump. Sporting his now-signature ‘‘Make America Great Again’’ hat, West made his first trip to the executive mansion to move the needle on several issues close to his heart and, before he deleted it, his social media feed — among them prison reform, gang violence, and his hometown of Chicago. Seated across from Trump at the famous Resolute Desk, West began the Oval Office meeting — which also included NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner — with a nearly 10-minute-long speech that the rapper said was ‘‘from the soul,’’ according to White House pool reports. The meandering soliloquy roller-coastered from the personal to the political. West called the president’s work on criminal justice reform (an issue close to wife Kim Kardashian’s heart) ‘‘bravery.’’ West also said he was advised not to wear the MAGA hat, though he did not specify by whom. ‘‘They tried to scare me to not wear this hat,’’ he said. West also had some clarification about his mental health. The rapper had previously spoken out about his bipolar disorder, but told Trump on Thursday that was a misdiagnosis and that West is instead just sleep-deprived. When his monologue was finally finished, it was Trump’s turn to say something. ‘‘I tell you what, that was pretty impressive,’’ said the president. ‘‘That was quite something.’’ Trump added that West could ‘‘speak for me any time he wants. He’s a smart cookie. He gets it.’’

So does Kid Rock.

"One thing these possible 2020 presidential aspirants have in common? They’ve all got a 2018 Senate election" by Jess Bidgood and Libby Berry Globe Staff  October 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders launched a nine-state tour of the country. Elizabeth Warren is helping to elect Democrats all over the nation. Amy Klobuchar was in Iowa this past weekend.

Each of these big names is making the familiar moves of a candidate possibly eyeing the White House. There’s just one thing they need to do first: Win reelection to their current jobs in the Senate.

With a potentially crowded Democratic field looming in the 2020 primaries, several senators on the ballot next month are hinting more brazenly at their national ambitions than is usually politically acceptable.

“The norm is, you run for one office at a time,” said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire. “You basically disavow any inclination or enthusiasm for running for something else,” but these do not feel like normal times, and these Senate candidates’ decision to buck conventions could foreshadow more unorthodoxy to come in a Democratic field shaped not just by President Trump as a looming opponent but also by the vivid memories of how his unusual candidacy upended the wide Republican field of 2016.

“As much as Democrats express their contempt for President Trump,” Scala said, “it’ll be very interesting, when it comes to campaigning to be his opponent, how many of them adopt his tactics, or show relative disregard for the norms that have governed the process in the past, recognizing that something has changed permanently about the way we nominate presidents.”

Warren has been by far the boldest of the senators facing a 2018 challenge in her willingness to express an interest in the presidency.

On Sept. 29, she told voters at a town hall in Holyoke that she would take a “hard look” at running for president after the midterm elections, bringing her ambitions for higher office to the fore just five-and-a-half weeks before asking voters to give her six more years to perform her current job.

“I want to be transparent with the people of Massachusetts,” Warren told the Globe. “I gave as open an answer as I know how.”

If her frankness risks suggesting to voters that she is not solely committed to her job in the Senate — as her Republican opponent Geoff Diehl continually charges — that is a risk she is willing to take, and not all of it has gone well. Warren told the Globe on Oct. 11 that she would be focused on her race and helping Democrats win back the majority through the midterms, but, days later, she released a DNA test showing she has a distant indigenous relative — a move that seemed unrelated to either effort.

What appeared to be an attempt to clear the decks ahead of the expected presidential run instead generated days of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

The others have been more coy when their 2020 plans are broached, hewing closer to traditional political lines.

Klobuchar was helped by the Kavanaugh hearings, Sanders was already popular, and Gillibrand has been an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement, while Warren said “They may have the money, but there’s a whole lot more of us than there is of them.”

It helps that none of these four is in a competitive race: The Cook Political Report says each is in a “solid” Democratic state, and the 2020 election is still two years away.....

When Corey Booker and Jeff Merkley will be up for reelection.

Some politicians have doubled up on the ballot before.

That would be Joe Biden, Paul Ryan, and Rand Paul.



Presidential hopefuls already trekking to New Hampshire

I know Trump is a scam artist who is full of hubris and he won't be winning any peace prizes, but I pray it is him taking the oath in 2021.