E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes—The first debate showed Democrats are far more in consensus than at odds:
Elizabeth Warren began Wednesday night’s opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary campaign physically occupying center stage. And substantively, the Massachusetts senator held that ground.
It was not at all obvious that being the only one of the top five Democratic candidates in this first gaggle of 10 contenders would be an asset. Most of the drama has been reserved for Night Two, when former vice president Joe Biden will join Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala D. Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for a kind of showdown.
But from the very first question, Warren made the most of her standing. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie accepted the premise of her campaign — listing some of her “many plans” for the economy — but wondered whether they would go over well “when 71 percent of Americans say the economy is doing well, including 60 percent of Democrats.”
Emily Atkin at The New Republic writes—The First Democratic Debate Failed The Planet:
The climate-related questions that were finally asked of the candidates, well into the second hour of the debate, were dismal. The first was a softball from Rachel Maddow, who asked Inslee if his plan to solve climate change would save Miami. “Yes,” Inslee said, “by abolishing the filibuster”—a reference to the GOP’s intransigence on climate issues in the Senate. Beto O’Rourke was given an opportunity to rattle off some talking points about how we’re going to “free ourselves from our dependence on fossil fuels,” without being pressed on how we’re going to do that. Julian Castro was asked if the federal government should be responsible for rebuilding people’s houses after flooding, and Castro quickly changed the subject to the damage Hurricane Maria did to Puerto Rico. Congressman Tim Ryan was asked about whether America should have a carbon tax, and Ryan ... well, let’s just say he did not talk about a carbon tax. (He preferred a distinctly Trumpian position of carping about the “forgotten” working class communities in his home state of Ohio.)
It was, to put it lightly, a disgrace—and not just because climate change was thenumber one issue that Democratic voters wanted to see discussed at the debate. The debate itself was held in Miami, Florida, a city that’s literally being swallowed by the rising ocean.
Emma Green at The Atlantic writes—Democrats Avoided the Toughest Debate Questions on Abortion:
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates see abortion as a winning issue in the next election. That was clear from the first night of the party’s primary debates, where the politicians onstage vied to show how emphatically they support abortion rights. The candidates focused on fear: of the state-level abortion bans recently passed in places such as Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia; of the threat to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Multiple candidates affirmed their support for expansive abortion rights, citing widespread support among Americans.
The candidates also conveniently avoided the most controversial and contested aspects of abortion policy, including limits on the procedure at any point in a pregnancy. Whether this dodge was intentional or the natural outcome of a quick-paced debate, it stood in contrast to one of the most memorable moments of the 2016 presidential debates, when Hillary Clinton endorsed abortion through the end of the third trimester of a pregnancy. So far this cycle, Democrats have been running to embrace the abortion-rights positions that poll well with voters, and steering clear of tougher questions. In reality, however, these nitpicky questions about abortion limits matter: These are the policy areas where most abortion fights actually happen at the federal level.
Laurie Penny at The New Republic writes—Why It Matters How Powerful Men Treat Women:
“I don’t think they want to hear about that kind of thing.” That’s how Boris Johnson, the man about to become the United Kingdom’s prime minister, whether the public likes it or not, responded when a journalist obliquely invited him to reassure the public that he didn’t beat up his girlfriend last Friday night.
Occasionally this mendacious sack of personality disorders yells it like it is. While he evaded the question about what exactly transpired when police were called to a “domestic disturbance” at his home, he’s dead right about one part: A lot of people don’t want to hear about it. Just like they don’t want to hear about the allegation published that same day that President Trump savagely sexually assaulted advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-90s. Just like they don’t want to watch the video of British Member of Parliament Mark Field grabbing a female Greenpeace protester by the throat last Thursday.
Here’s what’s happening: All across the English-speaking world, men seeking or established in high office, icons of elitist entitlement shotgun-married to rank populism, are having to answer questions about just how much violence they have chosen to inflict on the women around them. And all across the English-speaking world, their supporters are rallying behind them.
Lee Camp at TruthDig writes—We Have Less Than a Millisecond Left:
We have less than a millisecond left.
You see, the planet we call home has existed for roughly 4.55 billion years. But numbers that large mean almost nothing to me, nor to most people, so I choose to break it down. If we lay the age of the Earth out over a calendar year, that would amount to 518,264 years per hour or 144 years per second. So if we have 10 or 11 years until the point of no return, as climate scientists have repeatedly told us, that means we have a millisecond left before midnight in which to change our society completely to avoid turning the Earth into a piping hot fajita. (If you want to be more generous and instead look at how long modern homosapiens have been walking around, it’s 315,000 years. So if you lay that over a calendar year, we have roughly 15 minutes before the stroke of midnight to combat climate change. Not sure that makes me feel much better.)
None of us should be thinking about anything other than climate change. We all kind of know it even if we think we don’t know it. Even people who deny climate change exists probably secretly know it.
Chuck Collins at Yes! magazine writes—Taxing the Rich Starts With Knowing Who They Are:
When we talk about the wealthy, who are we really referring to? Is it the billionaires on private jets? The neighbors up the street who seem to always have the flashiest new cars and exotic vacation photos?
This election season, a number of candidates have floated proposals to tax the wealthy to address extreme inequality and finance new spending programs. Often left unsaid is which segment of the wealthy they’re referring to and why taxing the very rich is necessary for everyone to prosper, both to raise revenue and put a brake on the undemocratic concentration of wealth and power. The truth is we need these taxes on the rich, now more than ever. To get there, we need a deeper understanding of who we mean by “the rich.”
Shannon Price Minter writes—The Lesson of Stonewall: There’s No Justice Without a Fight:
We tend to think of LGBTQ history as a linear progression marked by iconic moments of rebellion, struggle, and ultimate victory—as if we could trace a straight line from the Stonewall riots in 1969 to the Supreme Court victory in Obergefell nearly 50 years later. The reality is much different. In truth, our progress has rarely followed a straight line, and no victory has ever been assured. And, as we are painfully relearning now, gains made in one generation can be lost in the next. [...]
By the time of President Obama’s election in 2008, the movement was well-positioned to push for and win broad federal reforms in health care, education, housing, employment, and prisons—including many that benefitted the most marginalized people in LGBTQ communities, such as those who are incarcerated, homeless, or dependent on federal public health benefits. To be sure, these gains were far from complete, and barely scratched the surface of many systemic inequities. But they were important, not only because they improved the lives of so many LGBTQ people, but because they seemed to usher in a new era of potentially more radical change.
Today, as we watch each of these gains being dismantled by the current administration, we would do well to remember that the lesson of Stonewall is not that history and justice are on our side, but that history helps those who fight for themselves. If the cruelty of the push to roll back our recent progress feels unprecedented, it is only because we have so many more victories to defend now than we ever have before. Backlash is inevitable, but the history of our movement is that each effort to drive us back to the margins of society has unleashed new waves of creativity and inspired new generations to come back fighting harder—and smarter—than before.
Richard Wolffe at The Guardian writes—Trump's toadyism to Saudi Arabia: a new moral low:
It’s that time of a presidency when every incumbent pretends to be what he isn’t, or to do what he hasn’t. With a re-election year kicking off, everyone wants to know if the candidate can fill in the gaping holes in his record, to give voters some reason to hope or believe.
In the case of Donald Trump, that means trying to look like something he hasn’t been for the last two and a half years: presidential, sane and worthy of the world’s respect. Just for once.[...]
There was the decisive moment when he turned the jets around as they were about to bomb Iran: an act of leadership that overruled his hawkish aides, as well as his earlier decision to, um, bomb Iran. Totally commander-in-chief.
And then there was the interview with NBC News, where he readily admitted that he puts a higher value on arms deals with Saudi Arabia than on American values like democracy and human rights. Totally making America great again.
Mara Gay at The New York Times writes—Tiffany Cabán and the New Democrats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory was no fluke:
It was election night at La Boom, a Queens nightclub, and Tiffany Cabán’s supporters had something to say.
“Black Lives Matter!” they shouted, an extraordinary cry at the victory party for a district attorney candidate. “Black Lives Matter!”
Such was the scene as the night’s tally ended with Ms. Cabán 1,090 votes ahead of Borough President Melinda Katz in the Democratic primary. The final toll won’t be known until at least next week, when absentee and other paper ballots are counted.
If Ms. Cabán’s lead holds, New York is likely to be added to the list of cities that have elected district attorneys who want to remake the criminal justice system to undo two decades of policies that led to the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of black and Latino Americans, too often for minor crimes and drug-related offenses.
The election also affirms the growing power of a fairly new force in New York politics: a millennial-based coalition pulling the Democratic Party to the left, and challenging its leadership machine.
Bryce Covert at The New York Times writes—America’s Child Care Crisis Is an Economic Crisis. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and other candidates finally take notice:
Child care is particularly expensive in this country. In the United States, it easily reaches tens of thousands of dollars a year, often taking up more of a family’s budget than food or even housing. It consumes a larger share of a couple’s income in the United States than in all but two developed countries, New Zealand and Britain. The rising cost of child care since the 1990s has dampened women’s employment in the United States by 5 percent overall and by 13 percent for those with kids under five. Almost two million parents report quitting a job, not taking a job or significantly changing one because of problems with care.
What’s the solution? According to many of the Democratic candidates, it’s universal relief. Under Elizabeth Warren’s plan, the federal government would offer money to states and local communities to expand child care. It would be free for many lower-income families and capped at 7 percent of income for all others. Three other candidates — Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and Eric Swalwell — also support universal child care, according to Vox, although through congressional Democrats’ more complicated bill to bolster the availability and affordability of child care and preschool. Bernie Sanders has long called for universal child care but hasn’t put forward a plan for it since 2011.
Arwa Mahdawi at The Guardian writes—Someone accused the US president of rape. The media shrugged:
There was a time when an allegation that the president of the United States raped someone in a department store would have been the only thing everyone was talking about. But Carroll’s story was received by many media outlets with a series of tired shrugs. […]
Why the relative quiet around such a big story? Is the media afraid of the president? Is it afraid of losing access or incurring Trump’s wrath? Absolutely not, says Dean Baquet, The New York Times’ executive editor. On Monday Baquet addressed criticism that the Times hadn’t adequately covered the story by stating the paper could not find independent sources to verify Carroll’s account. “We were overly cautious,” Baquet said. Funny how some stories seem to demand an overabundance of caution and others don’t.
To be fair, it wasn’t just media outlets that reacted to Carroll’s accusations with subdued shrugs. When I first read the New York magazine I was shocked at how little I was shocked by it. The news is exhausting and I’m sure many of us suffer from outrage fatigue. America is locking kids in filthy cages, and private companies are profiting from it. The world is hurtling towards a climate catastrophe, and the Trump administration is looking the other way. Every day seems to bring some new nightmare; it is inevitable we become numbed to it.
And then, of course, you’ve got the fact that Carroll is the 22nd woman to publicly accuse Trump of sexual misconduct. And the fact that Trump has publicly boasted about grabbing women without their consent. And the fact that his ex-wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of rape. (She later said she did not mean it in “a literal or criminal sense”.) And the fact that every time he is accused of sexual misconduct, Trump brushes off the accusations in exactly the same way. He accuses the women of lying; he accuses them of being motivated by fame; and he threatens them.
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