Friday, June 7, 2019

Biden Reverses on Hyde

Frontrunner bows to the politically inevitable.

My take: “Circumstances have changed,” Biden said, in announcing his decision to abandon a position he has held for decades and reaffirmed just on Wednesday.

The Washington Post has one of the most euphemism-filled quotes of all time, explaining the reversal:

“’It seemed like he heard a lot of feedback and opened his mind to thinking about this in a different way,’ Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in an interview after Biden announced his new position.”

Now that Biden has gotten right on paper with the pro-choice community, there

are three implications of this episode:

1. Biden’s rivals are now emboldened to probe and prod to look for political weaknesses.

2. Since Biden was willing to drop his long-standing principled view in support of Hyde, many are asking why didn’t he do it two days ago, thereby avoiding all this negative coverage.

3. We will have to see if Team Biden learns the obvious lessons from this episode, or if this is the beginning of a series of the kind of Bidenesque bobbles and gaffes that many thought would characterize (and perhaps sink) his third presidential bid.

Another National Poll With Basically the Same Numbers!

Consistent standing of top prospects is quite something.

My take: Look at these figures from the latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll and get déjà vu all over again:

Biden              31%

Sanders          14%

Warren              9%

Harris                 6%

Buttigieg             5%

O’Rourke             3%

“Among registered Democrats, 41% said the most important factor for a presidential candidate was his or her ability to beat” Trump. “

“In comparison, only 12% said they were looking for someone who was strong on health care, the top issue for Democrats over the past few years.”

Among registered voters:

Biden              50%

Trump            36%

This additional set of data that largely squares with almost every other recent poll, backs up the sense among Democratic strategists that the dynamics of the race are still relatively frozen. Despite the Hyde flap, Biden continues to raise money, garner political support, and ride high in the polls.  With the exception of Warren, no other contender is on the surface having a quarter that appears to have breakthrough potential.

Trump Tariff Stick Bringing Mexican Carrots

Status of US-Mexico talks the same as Friday dawns: POTUS still threatening Monday 5% tariffs, while negotiations continue to bring Mexican concessions on immigration.

My take: There’s no deal yet, with the talks awaiting the return of Trump from Europe to weigh in on whether Mexico is giving in enough on border enforcement and immigration processes to hold off Monday’s brandished tariff deadline.  Trump might not get the deal he wants, but there’s no denying his threat has pushed the Mexicans to agree to policy changes that they have never been prepared to make before.

Strengthening Trump’s hand: now there’s speculation that the Fed could cut rates, mitigating some of the damage from Trump’s use of tariffs for leverage over Mexico and China.

Trump Bashes Pelosi in Fox Interview

President calls Speaker “vindictive…horrible…nasty.”

My take: On one level, Pelosi will just brush the jibes off her shoulder; she’s not the least bit surprised at Trump’s remarks, just as he is not surprised at her saying she wants him in prison. On another level, to state the super-obvious, this war of words makes impeachment more likely, and trade and infrastructure deals less likely.

Top sports story: Blues take a 3-2 series lead in Boston


Top business story: Global stocks climb while investors await U.S. jobs data

Wall Street Journal

Top entertainment story: Obama’s production group signs exclusive podcast deal with Spotify


Big Four


Gov. Kim Reynolds released from hospital after going to the emergency room for chest pain.

Kamala Harris ramps up staff, organizing in Iowa: ‘It’s game on.’

2020 Iowa caucus: Bennet hires Iowa state director, a former Indiana congressional campaign manager.

Klobuchar’s mental health policy inspires Iowa endorsement.

Beto O’Rourke stumps with his wife amid struggles with women.

New Hampshire

Judge rules N.H. school funding formula inadequate, unconstitutional.

Senate moves to rollback new low on voter residency rules.

Opioid crisis, system shortfall hurts New Hampshire children.


Sisolak OKs test of pot banking, bans minors buying kratom.

Hot in here? Research shows extreme heat is killing Nevadans, and it’s only getting hotter.

South Carolina

Jill Biden takes notes of Spartanburg’s model schools.

SC lawmakers pass bill to stop future advertising of lab-grown ‘meat’.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Joe Biden Has a Problem

Re-stated position on Hyde Amendment creates slow-motion crisis for frontrunner.

My take: No matter how Biden tries to caveat his support for a long-standing measure barring federal funding for abortion, his position puts him at odds with his Democratic rivals for the nomination, leading abortion rights groups, and, most importantly, Americans who feel Roe and reproductive freedom are under assault.

The caveats: Barack Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress did not overturn Hyde as the law of the land; public opinion surveys generally suggest support for the concept embedded in Hyde; Biden is otherwise mostly in sync with support for abortion rights; and Biden’s campaign says he is open to revisiting the issue if abortion rights come under more siege.

The reality: None of those caveats matter to those who object on principle to Biden’s position, and the political dynamics going forward are as obvious as they are dangerous for Biden.  His competitors for the nomination will continue to come after him hard on this.  The press will push Biden to explain his complex position (something that does not play to his strength). And abortion rights supporters, especially young women, will now have grave doubts about the concept of Joe Biden, wire-to-wire frontrunner.  Don’t underestimate the strong principles and emotions animating the opposition to Biden’s stance.

If you think this isn’t poised to be a full-blown crisis for Biden, read this paragraph from Danielle Campoamor in a Washington Post op-ed:

“If Joe Biden wants to carry the banner of a party that claims to champion, protect and uphold the inalienable rights of black, brown and poor people, he must reverse his support of the Hyde Amendment and follow the lead of his fellow Democratic candidates. Anything less would be the former vice president throwing under the bus the people whose support he needs most directly, at a moment when they are uniquely vulnerable. These positions may not stop Biden from getting the Democratic Party’s nomination. But they make him unfit to lead.”

Perhaps Biden will flip flop and change his position. That would create for him a new set of problems. It appears he is clinging to his long-held stance out of principle, not in some Sister Souljah move to help him in a general election by standing up to the left. 

The danger for Biden here is much bigger than just his alienation from abortion-rights supporters.  There already was an Iron Triangle wanting to knock Biden from his frontrunning perch: the other Democratic candidates, the press (which wants a competitive race to cover), and the Republicans, who need a contested primary on the other side to weaken the eventual nominee.

Now Biden has a fight on his hands with one of the Democratic Party’s most important constituencies, a fight that is filled with the symbolism and substance of all the doubts many progressives have about the former VP: that he is too tied to the past, too centrist, and too out of step with a changing and changed Democratic Party.

The fact that a new poll shows Biden topping Trump in Texas is washed away by that reality.

US-Mexico Tariff/Immigration Talks Continue

More mixed signals from Trump as Monday deadline looms.

My take: With border crossings and apprehensions reportedly surging, the House Republicans standing with Trump’s tariff threats, and the Mexicans looking to appease Trump in order to stave off the economic danger and save the broader North American trade deal, it appears the president might get a deal he wants and will back down.

But the greatest sign that Monday’s deadline might be delayed comes from this Washington Post reporting about a person who is generally as frustrated with Trump as Chuck Schumer is:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has asked White House officials to postpone any decision until after Trump is able to personally hear lawmakers’ concerns, said two people familiar with the exchange…Such a scenario could require the White House to delay the tariffs.”

Pelosi Still Fighting Off Impeachment

Judiciary Chair Nadler pushing for probe.

My take: As the drumbeat for a formal inquiry gets louder, the Speaker likely needs to offer the left more than the status quo to keep the dam from bursting. The pro-impeachment forces want to be on a more clear track to impeachment hearings, as opposed to just “investigations that might lead to impeachment hearings.” Pelosi thinks she knows what’s best, and/but she also knows what the traffic will bear.  Her allies still think she is right on the politics to avoid a formal impeachment process that would help Trump politically. But they also know she might have to change course if she can’t stop the momentum running against her.  She needs a little luck to stave this off now, like some new storyline that unites the caucus.

Top sports story: Curry’s 47 points aren’t enough as the Raptors take Game 3

CBS Sports

Top business story: U.S. futures rise and crude oil rebounds with rate cut optimism


Top entertainment story: YouTube opts to demonetize Steven Crowder for his homophobic language


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Trump Still Alone on Mexcian Tariffs (Except Maybe for House Republicans…)

Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, Mexican officials, conservative media, and Big Business all agree: the tariffs are a bad idea and should be stopped.

My take: High-level talks set for Wednesday in DC could change the contours, but for now, Trump seems determined to impose an initial 5% tariff on Mexican goods on Monday.  And House Republicans would probably offer enough support to let a presidential veto stand if Congress tried to step in.

The Washington Post sums up the stand-off perfectly:

“Mexican officials have been confused about what precisely the White House is demanding in exchange for the tariffs to be withdrawn, and White House officials will not say exactly what Trump wants. Some White House officials believe the meeting will mark the beginning of earnest negotiations that will pick up in intensity after the tariffs have been in place for a while. But many GOP senators view the imposition of the tariffs as unacceptable, and even as they hoped for a positive outcome from Wednesday’s talks they weighed their options for stopping the levies.”

Mexico wants to figure out how to calm the waters, but it won’t give in to Trump completely.  Goldman Sachs put the chances of the tariffs going into effect at 70% and substantially downgraded the chances of passage of the new North American trade deal.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, speaking basically for Mitch McConnell and almost all Senate Republicans (not to mention the US business community), said at a DC press conference, “By what we have seen so far, we will be able to reach an agreement.  That is why I think the imposition of tariffs can be avoided,” adding he thinks the chances of heading off the Monday imposition of tariffs ahead of Wednesday’s bilateral meetings are 80%.

Perhaps showing his cards, the president responded to Chuck Schumer’s Senate floor political punditry (“President Trump has a habit of proposing asinine and dangerous policies before backing off.”) by calling the Democratic leader a “creep” on Twitter.

Republican Senators are much more tolerant of a tariff war with China than with Mexico primarily for three reasons. One, the Mexican tariffs would have a much more immediate negative effect on their constituents and donors.   Two, American public opinion is much less favorable towards China than Mexico.  And, three, the threatened Mexican tariffs could derail the NAFTA replacement deal that leaders in both parties would like to see passed.

If Trump were a “normal” Republican president, he would look at the voices arrayed against his proposed tariffs and use Wednesday’s meetings to find a way to claim victory and withdraw the threat.

But two elements of the president’s brand are hanging in the balance. In his mind, Trump stands for strength in the face of attacks (especially from the DC establishment) and for using every tool in the tool box to shut down illegal immigration and win trade fights. 

The betting remains in most quarters that Trump will give up and give in.  And he might. But taking him seriously and literally, right now, suggests the tariffs are coming, with major political and economic implications.

In other news:

House passes Dreamer plan.  Will die in Senate.

Harry Reid changes course in favor of Trump impeachment, while Biden basically echoes that position.  Will be ignored by Pelosi.

Biden and Warren put out climate plans, while Biden faces fresh plagiarism charges.

Trump weak, Biden strong in new North Carolina poll.

Hope Hicks holds back government documents from House, while offering up campaign material.

Top sports story: Durant out, Klay questionable for Game 3 against Raptors


Top business story: Dow rebounds as Fed signals potential interest rate cut

Wall Street Journal

Top entertainment story: Behind Amazon’s marketing campaign for Mindy Kaling’s new movie


Big Four


Des Moines Register

President Donald Trump’s Iowa visit will include Council Bluffs stop to tout E15.

Trump to hear thanks, concerns in Iowa; governor grateful for flood help but worried about tariffs.

South Carolina

Michael LaPierre launches challenge against Lindsey Graham.

A Pickens horse farmer and self-described “Reagan conservative” announced Tuesday he is seeking the seat of incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Nobody Likes Trump’s Mexico Tariff Scheme

Except Trump!

My take: Congressional Republicans are threatening to block the president’s 5% threat before the current June 10th implementation date. Mexico (while teasing retaliation and/but pledging to negotiate and looking to appease Trump) is banking on high-level Wednesday talks in DC to defuse the situation. The Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are barking that the tariff gambit risks both economic pain and passage of the new Mexico/Canada trade deal.

Administration officials trying to calm the situation by claiming the tariffs don’t imperil the trade pact are wrong. While there remains patience on Capitol Hill to see if Trump can “win” his trade war with China, the disruption the president threatens in North America has overloaded the circuits for too many members of Congress whose constituents would suffer greatly if the tariffs are imposed.

The most likely outcome right now: Trump pockets whatever concessions he can garner out of Wednesday’s talks with Mexico regarding controlling illegal activity on the border, drops the threat, and goes back to the (still) difficult task of trying to convince Speaker Pelosi to support the overall trade deal. And back to his war with China.

Anti-Trust Boomlet Goes Boom

Congress joins FTC/DOJ in looking at big Silicon Valley tech players.

My take: Google, Facebook and others will have to lawyer up and lobbyist up to deal with subpoenas, investigations, hearings, and eventually possible breakup attempts. But officials in both branches of government still haven’t grappled with the reality that consumers like their free products and depend on them. Many citizens discount privacy concerns and won’t look kindly on any fallout that could lead to a change in services. Lots of money is about to be spent on both sides and there will be embarrassing and questionable disclosures. But we are a million miles away from any meaningful anti-trust-driven actions.

Clyburn Walks Back Sunday Impeachment Talk

Number 3 House Democrat gets back in line with Pelosi in waving off the prospects of beginning the process any time soon.

My take: The toothpaste went back in the tube. Clyburn’s original remarks made it seem like a big crack in the Democratic leadership that presaged unprecedented pressure on Pelosi to bow to the minority of the majority and move to impeachment pronto. With purpose and implication, the South Carolina congressman restored the status quo ante with his Monday comments: Pelosi and her deputies want to keep the investigations going, but still see formal impeachment hearings as a political loser that would help Trump.

Read This

The Republican Party has 99 problems. Here is a big one.

My take: The key paragraph in this must-read David Brooks’ column, “According to Pew, 57 percent of millennials call themselves consistently liberal or mostly liberal. Only 12 percent call themselves consistently conservative or mostly conservative. This is the most important statistic in American politics right now.”

Top sports story: Blues even the series at 2-2

Top business story: U.S. Manufacturing slumps to its lowest level since 2016

Top entertainment story: Hollywood producer recruits other execs to spend big against Georgia abortion law

Big Four


Des Moines to consider banning high-capacity magazines, bump stocks in wake of Virginia mass shooting.

Her alcohol addiction weighed on Gov. Kim Reynolds’ veto of medical cannabis expansion.

2020 hopeful Cory Booker rolls out Iowa steering committee.

South Carolina

Jill Biden returning to South Carolina to meet with SC teachers.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Trump, Pelosi Face June Reckonings

President faces-off with China, Mexico, while Pelosi deals with impeachment pressures.

My take: Read this very fine Wall Street Journal roundup of the status of tariffs and trade talks with China and Mexico, which highlights the two countries’ weekend suggestions that they are willing to negotiate with Trump.

While some in the administration and many Trump business allies are deeply worried about the impact the tariffs might have on the US economy, the president remains bullish on using every tool in the box to keep his rivals on edge and try to break their backs.

He wants substantive wins, but he will take symbolic ones.

On Mexico, he’s now twinned trade and immigration, giving him more leverage for a victory and more talking points if his latest tariff threat brings down the new NAFTA deal. It seems like it is a dangerous gambit, but Trump can restore the status quo with one tweet.

If markets continue to look shaky as Trump visits the UK, he might look to back down and save face. Talks with Mexican officials could provide a fig leaf, with Trump claiming progress.

On China, the Los Angeles Times smartly points out that the trade war is just part of a wider, defining competition between the world’s two biggest economies.

For Pelosi, her efforts to forestall impeachment hearings will continue, made more challenging by the fact that the media, about a quarter of House Democrats, liberal activists, and Trump himself are all goading her to change course and create a formal impeachment process.

The odds of Pelosi bending went up slightly over the weekend, when the House Democrats’ number three official, Jim Clyburn, suggested that impeachment is inevitable. But the correct bet is still that she stalls so deep into the 2020 process that she never changes course.

On his twin trade fights, Trump has put a lot of additional uncertainty into the machinery. His goal is to test just how badly China and Mexico want a deal and how much they are willing to do to get Trump off their backs. What happens with these two fights remains anyone’s guess.

Subtle Doesn’t Do It

At Cally Dem Convention, Biden Rivals Flick Gently at Frontrunner

My take: All the leading contenders but the former vp appeared before the Golden State’s top activists over the weekend, with the media taking the most innocuous stray remarks and turning them into presumed attacks on Biden.

Make no mistake, liberals are worried that Biden’s hold on the top slot is going to be hard to undermine. Also, make no mistake, indirect criticisms of Biden are never going to take him down.

Assuming Biden doesn’t self-destruct, the key question is what combination of criticisms might topple Biden from his towering perch.

If you missed it, go back and read Sunday’s column by Dan Balz of the Washington Post, in which it is correctly pointed out that elections are generally about change and the future, and Biden will have a hard time making the case that he represents either one.

Some of Biden’s rivals made that argument in California over the weekend, but history suggests the attacks will have to be more explicit and frontal if damage to the frontrunner is going to occur.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren’s standing has risen among close observations of the nomination fight, with some vaulting her into the elite tier of those few candidates who at this stage appear positioned to POSSIBLY take the nomination. That list now includes Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, and Warren.

As I’ve written before, in most respects, it is not as “early” in the process as the media and the trailing candidates like to say. But there is still enough time for other candidates to get into the “can be nominated” category.

Warren has fought her way there with policy pronouncements, aggressive campaigning, and investments in staff hiring. The big questions here are (1) who is in a position to replicate that model? and (2) is there another model to achieve this goal in 2019?

Top sports story: Warriors overcome a 12-point deficit to steal Game 2 in Toronto

Top business story: Goldman Sachs predicts a global trade war

Top entertainment story: Godzilla tops the weekend with a lackluster box office performance
The Huffington Post

Big Four


Nevada lawmakers work over final weekend in session.

South Carolina

Where 2020 presidential hopefuls have traveled in SC looking for Democratic primary votes.

Friday, May 31, 2019

A Day Later, Impeachment Fervor Seems to Cool

Despite widespread Wednesday punditry that Mueller’s announcement would begin a stampede for a formal House probe of Trump, signs point the other way.

My take: Reading this New York Times headline “Trump Accuses Mueller of a Personal Vendetta as Calls for Impeachment Grow,” would lead one to believe that Mueller’s words had indeed put pressure on Nancy Pelosi to bend to the pro-impeachment voices in her caucus.

In fact, the article itself does almost nothing to back up the headline’s use of the word “grow.”

Even Bernie Sanders Thursday stayed in line with the Pelosi position: continue investigating Trump, but be cautious of impeachment, since the Republican Senate will not convict him, leaving voters to wonder why the House effort was made. There have been only a trickle of new Democrats who have called for impeachment since Mueller spoke, hardly enough to shake Pelosi from her anti-impeachment stance.

Trump’s renewed attacks on Mueller Thursday and these must-read columns by David Von Drehle in the Washington Post and Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal all point to the status quo ante Mueller: Pelosi thinks impeachment is a political loser and wants to focus on getting Trump out of office by beating him in 2020.

It is difficult now — maybe impossible — to see what would cause the Speaker to change her political calculation.

Even by Normal Trump Standards, This One Is Hard to Explain

Tariff threat against Mexico just as administration tees up trade pact mystifies members of Congress of both parties.

My take: The president’s Thursday one-two punch on trade with Mexico baffled almost everyone. A procedural move to start the process of seeking approval for the NAFTA replacement deal from the Pelosi-controlled House drew a rebuke from the Speaker, who used harsh language to say the move was premature.

Then Trump unsettled border watchers by threatening an escalating series of new tariffs on Mexico over immigration.

Trump could back off on both moves, but many are vexed, the Hill is up in arms, and the Mexicans are panicked.

Trump usually plays checkers on trade, reserving the right to leave his finger on the piece and withdraw the move. That’s probably what’s going on here.

Or the president might be worried that the trade pact is going down to defeat and he wants to try to create a pair of ginned up goblins — the Mexican government and Nancy Pelosi — to blame for the failure to replace NAFTA.

Merkel Slams Trump at Harvard Speech

Report: North Korea Nuke Negotiators Executed for Failure

Top sports story: Raptor’ s bench leads Toronto to a Game 1 win

Top business story: Dow drops as Trump threatens Mexico with tariffs over immigration

Top entertainment story: Hillary and Chelsea are forming their own production company

Big Four


Joe Biden will return to Iowa in June, the same day Donald Trump will campaign in the state.

Federal prosecutors in Iowa make gun prosecutions a top priority.

New Hampshire

Senate overrides Sununu to end death penalty in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Senate puts marijuana legalization on hold.


Sisolak vetoes presidential popular vote bill.

Presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar vows to bridge rural-urban gap in Carson campaign stop.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mueller Changes Everything…And Nothing

Indy counsel departs amid confusion, criticism, and congressional chaos.

My take: Pro-impeachment forces got nothing new from Mueller (except something they DIDN’T want — his fresh position that calling him to testify before Congress would yield nothing beyond what is in his report).

But they took from his opaque words that Mueller was inviting them to impeach Trump for obstruction. Many cable commentators echoed that interpretation.

The new dilemma for Democrats, before they actually get to a climactic battle over whether to impeach Trump, is how much they fight to get an unwilling and unenthusiastic Mueller to testify. That effort would take their focus off of Trump and off of Attorney General Barr. And, of course, off of health care.

And, say they win the fight and get Mueller to appear. Will his reading aloud from his report, while dodging questions about his relationship with Barr, really help the Democrats’ cause?

Nothing Mueller said immediately changes the four realities that drive Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to beginning impeachment proceedings:

A. Public opinion still remains largely against impeachment.

B. Senate Republicans still are lock-step against removing the president from office.

C. Pelosi’s vulnerable members in Purple and Red districts mostly did not talk about impeachment in their Wednesday statements.

D. There is now no Mueller public appearance in the offing that is going to reframe the debate in a way that leads a stampede towards support for impeachment.

Public opinion might have moved slightly in favor of impeachment proceedings, but not enough to shake Pelosi’s confidence that she should keep the option of impeachment open while congressional investigations continue, but keep the bar super high for actually pulling the trigger.

Helping Trump politically: three serious conservative voices (John Podhoretz, Rich Lowry, and the Wall Street Journal ed board) all denounced Mueller’s conduct in a way that will rally the right inside and outside of Washington.

The smart betting remains: Pelosi lets her chairs continue to investigate, but she tries to run out the clock on impeachment into the 2020 presidential cycle.

Bernie Sanders Is Either Stalled or Revving Up

Vermonter no longer alone in Tier 2.

My take: This must-read Washington Post story nicely sums up why Sanders is under performing almost as much as Biden is over performing. With Elizabeth Warren crowding him out for some voters and Sanders having trouble expanding his appeal, it is legit to ask if the 2016 runner-up needs a second act. There are still reasons to believe that Sanders has loyal supporters who will get him to the finals at a minimum, and might even allow him to out-organize and out-energize Biden and the rest and win Iowa and New Hampshire. But polling and other metrics suggest he is suffering the effects of the large field as much as everyone but Biden has so far.

Trump Can’t Get Over John McCain

Namesake Navy vessel ordered hidden during presidential trip to Japan.

My take: The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, put in sharp relief just how consumed Donald Trump still is with McCain, even after the Senator’s passing. What is most surprising about this tale is that it isn’t the least bit surprising.

Facebook Draws Pelosi, Clinton Ire

Failure to take down doctored video altering Speaker’s speech is dinged by both Pelosi herself and Hillary Clinton in Wednesday remarks.

My take: Facebook of course has been a punching bag now for politicians of all stripes for some time. But these two powerful voices add fresh problems for the tech giant, with questions being raised about their competence, vigilance, and values.

Top sports story: Blues tie up the series in OT

Top business story: Bond market’s ‘Recession Indicator’ flashes amid trade deal doubts

Top entertainment story: Disney joins Netflix in threatening boycott over new Georgia Law
The Hollywood Reporter

Big Four


Iowa judge temporarily blocks law restricting sex ed funding for Planned Parenthood.

New Hampshire

For Sanders supporters, it’s all about big ideas and electability.


Nevada Senate committee passes ‘red flag’ gun measure.

South Carolina

SC Democrat Jaime Harrison attacks Graham as ‘political windsock’ in US Senate bid.

As SC lawmakers weigh strict abortion ban, 2020 Dems pitch ways to block it.