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During this festive debate week, may we present the annual Wide World of News “Out and In” list about the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination battle:
IN: Attacking Biden
OUT: Pete Buttigieg’s youth
IN: Elizabeth Warren’s experience
OUT: Impressing David Ignatius
IN: Impressing Stacey Abrams
OUT: Candidate Super PACs
IN: Email solicitations for $1
OUT: Cory Booker comeback
IN: Amy Klobuchar comeback
OUT: Preserving general election viability
IN: Keeping up with whatever Twitter wants
OUT: Tom Perez
IN: Guy Cecil
OUT: Spending money on tuna tartar for big donors
IN: Spending money on Facebook for small donors
OUT: Bernie Sanders’ floor
IN: Joe Biden’s floor
IN: Policy proposals
OUT: Marianne Williamson profiles
IN: Maya Harris profiles
OUT: Pandering to Iowans
IN: Pandering to Rachel Maddow
OUT: Beto O’Rourke
IN: Mike Donilon
OUT: Congressional endorsements
IN: Podcast appearances
OUT: Old-hand campaign managers
IN: New-hand campaign managers
OUT: Campaign slogans
IN: Campaign memes
OUT: Early wins
IN: Delegate accumulation
OUT: Facebook posts
IN: Medium posts
OUT: Demonstrating commander in chief credibility
IN: Being snappy on Snapchat
OUT: Kamala Harris’ focus on South Carolina
IN: Kamala Harris’ focus on Iowa
OUT: “The field is way too big.”
IN: “The winnowing is happening way too fast, denying the party some important voices and denying the voters a chance to weigh in at the ballot box.” (This one isn’t “IN” yet, but, trust me, it is coming soon.)
In other news:
Trump Unrelenting on Targeting of Baltimore, Cummings
President shows no sign of backing down.
My take: I can’t stop thinking about the little children of Baltimore, who have a president who basically says they aren’t human. With Congress scattering, the Democratic presidential debates looming, and Mick Mulvaney’s 95%-throated defense of Trump’s words (“Everything [he says] is offensive to some people”), this story will not get the political traction it deserves right away.
But don’t overlook how this episode is engaging the Obamas, with a Saturday Michelle Obama tweet celebrating the good people of Charm City, paired with a Barack Obama tweet sharing a letter from 149 African-Americans who were aides in his administration denouncing Trump’s attacks on The Squad.
The former First Couple tries super hard to honor the practice of past East Wing residents avoiding criticism of those who succeed them. My hunch is that this pair of Trump outrages are a paradigm shifter for how the Obamas will approach their 2020 public role.
Whatever cynical calculations or emotional reactions went into Donald Trump’s picking these two fights, if one of the results is a greater role for Michelle Obama in the looming presidential race, the current occupant of the Oval Office has made a cosmic political error.
Dan Coats Departing As Intel Topper
Texas Congressman/Trump loyalist John Ratcliffe slated to take over.
My take: It is one of the more amazing facts of the Trump administration that Coats stayed in the job this long. Another hunch: Don’t assume Ratcliffe’s confirmation is a foregone conclusion.
US-China Trade Talks Get Underway
Wall Street Journal says a small bargain is now on the table.
My take: With the North American trade deal still stalled, getting some sort of agreement with China is a high political and substantive priority for a president who promised he could make the “best” deals on trade, compared to what career politicians have done. Even with the Chinese economy slowed, we are seeing a familiar dynamic: Chinese leaders think in terms of 100 years, American leaders think about four-year terms. That always gives China the edge.
The latest on the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. link
STOP! Read These
Part of my job is to tell you what is essential reading — in other words, what is, uhm, worthy of your time.
It is imperative that you go back and read these three pieces from the weekend if you have not already:
1. The Washington Post examines Jared Kushner’s role in the re-election campaign.
My take: Critics (including those blindly quoted in this article) who dismiss the president’s son-in-law as an ignorant and arrogant beneficiary of nepotism should remember that Kushner is 1 for 1 in presidential contests. Rejecting the old ways of running campaigns and emphasizing digital organizing are not necessarily wrong – and in fact are right in a lot of cases.
2. Yale’s Samuel Moyn explains why depending on Mueller and impeachment are huge errors for those who detest Donald Trump.
My take: This is the single best piece I have ever read defending the Pelosi point of view. To be clear, Moyn is no Trump lover – to the contrary. But his muscular reasoning cuts through the intellectual and political clutter that often fogs up reality.
3. Wall Street Journal ed board member Barton Swaim says the Democratic Party has moved to the far left because of a mass psychological reaction to the election of Donald Trump.
My take: I am not sure this thesis is fully correct, but it is intriguing and powerful. It certainly is part of the explanation for why some Democrats, including a big majority of the presidential candidates, have taken positions that led Clinton ’92 alum Paul Begala to say this:
“Calling for ending employer-provided coverage could be a strategic catastrophe that re-elects Trump. I don’t think I have ever seen a party willfully take its greatest strength and turn it into its greatest weakness.”
Top sports story: Koepka tops McIlroy at St. Jude for 1st WGC title
Top business story: Safety groups want FTC, state probes of Tesla’s Autopilot system–and its marketing efforts
Top entertainment story: Box Office: ‘Lion King’ Reigns Overseas With $142 Million, Nears $1 Billion Globally
‘Turn it up,’ Cory Booker’s backers say as SC campaign tries to hold on to spark.