Posts tagged with "DNC"

Democrats postpone presidential convention until August 17

April 6, 2020

The Democrats are “Biden” their time—postponing their convention and presidential nomination process by one month to allow them to “germinate” ideas and policies instead of COVID-19.

Specifically, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pushing back the party’s convention in Milwaukee, from July 13 to August 17, the week before the Republican Party’s convention, Politico reports.

The delay came after likely nominee Joe Biden publicly called for the convention to be rescheduled in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And it followed weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions with party leaders and the campaigns of the two remaining presidential candidates, Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November,” convention CEO Joe Solmonese said in a statement on April 2.

In addition to postponing, DNC officials are discussing ways to scale back the convention, Politico reports. The committee is not flush with cash and wants to avoid the appearance of throwing a big party in the midst of a severe economic downturn.

“People are going to be hurting,” a DNC official said. “It’s not a time be lavish.”

While there has been talk about having a virtual convention, party officials and Biden—the presumptive nominee —would like to have a live event as long as it can be done safely, according to sources within the DNC and one with Biden’s campaign.

“Joe earned this, and we do want something to mark that, but it’s really complicated,” the Biden campaign source said.

The new date would put the Democratic National Convention back-to-back with its Republican counterpart, which is set to begin August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The proximity in time presents messaging challenges for both sides: Biden will not have as much time to enjoy a potential polling bounce before the Republican National Convention begins dominating coverage. And Republicans will not have as much time to plan out responses to speeches and events in Milwaukee.

The new dates also complicate the Biden campaign’s financial situation, because it will not be able to access general election funds until August instead of July. Biden has relied more on wealthy donors who gave the maximum amount than Bernie Sanders did. But the former vice president isn’t legally allowed to access the portion of those contributions dedicated to the general election until he’s officially the nominee.

The coronavirus has undoubtedly taken a toll on Biden’s fundraising just as he was starting to pull in record sums for his campaign. However, Biden’s campaign staff was relatively small for a de facto nominee because of his earlier struggles with fundraising, so the campaign was used to subsisting on less than its rivals, Politico says.

Biden aides said the campaign has saved additional money during the coronavirus crisis because it scaled back on advertising, didn’t go on a hiring binge and doesn’t have to pay the overhead of a traditional campaign as the candidate and staff shelter in place.

“It’s amazing how much you save if you don’t put on rallies and have to fly across the country every day,” an adviser said.

Another Biden campaign official said the new dynamic was manageable. “We can still raise and spend primary money up to the time we are the nominee, and we can raise (and not spend) general money,” the official said. “This is about when the 2008 convention took place, and it didn’t hurt us.”

Research contact: @politico

Battle for the Oval Office: Mike Bloomberg’s campaign to donate $18M to DNC

March 23, 2020

Michael Bloomberg has promised to transfer $18 million from his presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee—boosting the party’s operations instead of forming his own super PAC, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The investment is aimed at strengthening the DNC’s battleground program, which comprises 12 states and is run in coordination with the state party committees According to NBC News, those states include Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia.

Bloomberg also has offered to transfer the ownership of many of his field offices to state party committees, according to a Democratiic official, who said that the former New York City mayor’s contributions would help speed up their hiring for positions in organizing, data and operations.

The multimillion-dollar boost to the party’s field organizing program could serve as a major asset to the Democratic nominee, the Journal says. Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the delegate count and has struggled to amass a large campaign war chest. Senator Bernie Sanders is still in the race, but Biden’s campaign is preparing to build out a larger staff for the general election while grappling with the new realities of campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump’s team has built a large campaign organization and is planning an extensive operation of field organizers and digital outreach to voters. Trump and the Republican National Committee had more than $225 million in the bank at the end of February.

Since he exited the race, Bloomberg’s advisers had been working on a way to absorb his campaign operations into an outside entity that would boost Biden. He said in the statement Friday they had ultimately decided to change course.

“While we considered creating our own independent entity to support the nominee and hold the President accountable, this race is too important to have many competing groups with good intentions but that are not coordinated and united in strategy and execution,” Bloomberg wrote in a memo to DNC Chairman Tom Perez that was made public Friday.

“The dynamics of the race have also fundamentally changed, and it is critically important that we all do everything we can to support our eventual nominee and scale the Democratic Party’s general-election efforts,” the former New York City mayor said.

Indeed, Bloomberg’s contribution to the DNC will be the largest transfer from a presidential campaign in recent history, the Journal notes.

“With this transfer from the Bloomberg campaign, Mayor Bloomberg and his team are making good on their commitment to beating Donald Trump,” Perez said in a statement. “This will help us invest in more organizers across the country to elect the next president and help Democrats win up and down the ballot.

Research contact: @WSJ

Biden sweeps Tuesday’s primaries as voters defy coronavirus fears

March 19, 2020

It may have been, literally, a death-defying act but—in defiance of the coronavirus threat—many Americans in three states made it out to the polls on March 17 to vote in the Democratic primary race.

Joe Biden won all three primaries held Tuesday on a day filled with anxious voting, building a lead in the Democratic presidential nomination race that appears increasingly difficult for Bernie Sanders to overcome, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The two-man race lurched forward against the major disruptions triggered by COVID-19, as the first balloting was held—in Florida, Illinois and Arizona—since the crisis engulfed the nation.

As of Wednesday morning, the former vice president had 52.8% of the delegates allocated so far and 57.6% of the number needed to win the nomination:

  • In Florida, a critical battleground state in the general election, the former vice president won nearly three times as many votes as the Vermont senator and carried all 67 counties.
  • With 99% of Illinois precincts reporting, Biden had garnered 59.1% of the vote versus 36.1% for Sanders.
  • In Arizona, with 88% of the vote in, the former vice president had won 43.6% against his rival’s 31.6%.

Ohio had been expected to hold a primary on Tuesday, but it joined a growing list of states that have delayed their contests until May or June in hopes the coronavirus situation will improve.

The latest large victories for Biden are likely to place more pressure on Sanders to exit from the race so the party can focus on President Trump. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on March 15 found that Biden was favored nationally, 61% to 32%, among those who have already voted in the Democratic primary or planned to do so.

Speaking from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said his campaign is moving toward winning the nomination as he reached out to his rival’s supporters. He delivered his address via a live stream to avoid gathering supporters during the pandemic.

“We’ve moved closer to securing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, and we’re doing it by building a broad coalition,” he said, according to the Journal.

In an effort to close ranks against President Donald Trump in the Demoratic Party, Biden said he and Sanders “may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision” on issues such as health care, wealth inequality and climate change. He told young voters inspired by Sanders, “I hear you, I know what’s at stake.”

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee noted Tuesday night that the president had secured enough delegates through the GOP primaries to become the party’s “presumptive nominee” for president.

“Nobody motivates our base more than President Trump, as evidenced by the historic turnout we’ve seen in state after state this primary season,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Fueled by both our longtime supporters and the thousands of new voters that continue to join our movement, we are united and enthusiasm is on our side.”

In a statement released late Tuesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called for states with upcoming primaries and caucuses to use vote by mail and other alternatives to casting ballots in person, the Journal reported.

“What happened in Ohio last night has only bred more chaos and confusion,” he said, adding that states should focus on figuring out how to make voting easier and safer as opposed to postponing primaries “when timing around the virus remains unpredictable.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Empty stadiums and no babies to kiss? Coronavirus becomes 2020 ‘X Factor’

March 3, 2020

Fears of coronavirus are prompting soccer teams to play in empty stadiums in Italy. If the virus spreads, it’s not hard to imagine rallies for this year’s U.S. presidential campaign looking much the same, Politico reports.

Will the candidates—most of whom are age 70-plus—plucky enough to continue to enthusiastically dive into crowds to shake hands with potential voters, kiss babies, and organize selfie lines?

And will the American electorate show up? Not to mention the tens of thousand of people set to descend on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Charlotte, North Carolina, this summer for the two major party conventions.

“There’s been nothing like this,” Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime Democratic strategist based in New York, told Politico.

If the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States, he said, “We’re going to go through a period, obviously, where public health officials and experts are going to say no shaking hands, no public contact … We may be witnessing an era where television, or more so, social media, becomes the means to campaign in a coronavirus world.”

To most campaign observers, the likelihood of any widespread disruption of the primary remains dim. But if the virus does spread, the mechanical implications for campaigns could be profound.

In the case of an outbreak, Boyd Brown, a former South Carolina lawmaker and former Democratic National Committee member, told the political news outlet, “It’s going to be tough. I’m watching [TV] right now and they’re stoking fears, they’re coming live from face mask manufacturing facilities.”

In South Carolina this week, Mike Bloomberg said the “stock market’s falling apart because people are really worried, and they should be.” Joe Biden pointed to his experience helping respond to the Ebola epidemic, while Elizabeth Warren accused the White House of “absolutely bungling” its response to the disease.

At a breakfast in South Carolina on Friday, Bernie Sanders ripped into Trump, saying that instead of campaigning in the state, he should “worry about the coronavirus rather than disrupting the Democratic primary right here in South Carolina.”

Research contact: @politico

Is the fix in? Bloomberg purportedly is plotting a brokered convention strategy

February 25, 2020

Will Democrats actually nominate the candidate they support? Not only is the Kremlin attempting to reshape results via a not-so-stealthy influence campaign; but now, Politico reports, the fix may be in at the convention.

Indeed, the news outlet alleges, despite his bad showing at the Nevada debate last week—and his promise to fund the campaign of whomever the Democratic party chooses as its candidate—Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party.

Purportedly, Bloomberg is sweet-talking officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him —and block Bernie Sanders—in the event of a brokered national convention.

The effort, largely executed by Bloomberg’s senior state-level advisers in recent weeks, Politico says, attempts to prime Bloomberg for a second-ballot contest at the Democratic National Convention in July by poaching supporters of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the talks and unaffiliated with Bloomberg.

The outreach has involved meetings and telephone calls with supporters of Biden and Pete Buttigieg—as well as uncommitted DNC members—in Virginia, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and North Carolina, according to one of the strategists who participated in meetings and calls.

With Sanders’ emergence as the frontrunner in the presidential primary, Democrats in those states have recently raised the prospect that the Democratic Socialist could be a top-of-the-ticket liability, Politico reports.

“There’s a whole operation going on, which is genius,” one of the strategists, who is unaffiliated with any campaign told the news outlet. “And it’s going to help them win on the second ballot … They’re telling them that’s their strategy.”

However, such a political play could bring havoc to the convention—raising the prospect of party insiders delivering the nomination to a billionaire over a progressive populist.

“Look, I think if the election were today, Bernie Sanders would [have] … the delegate lead,” longtime Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson told reporters Wednesday night. “In part that is because the moderate lane of the party is split, and … many of the candidates are going to split that vote. Now, that may change between now and Super Tuesday, but I think if the election were today, that would be the result.”

He called Bloomberg “the best-positioned candidate to take on Bernie Sanders.”

Responding to a question at the debate on Wednesday about whether the person with the most delegates should be the nominee, Bloomberg said, “Whatever the rules of the Democratic Party are, they should be followed.”

Asked if that meant the convention should “work its will,” Bloomberg replied, “Yes.”

Research contact: @politico

He’s in: Bloomberg qualifies for Las Vegas debate

February 19, 2020

Former New York City three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg  has qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas—marking the first time that the big-spending billionaire will appear onstage alongside his Democratic presidential rivals.

And those rivals are certain to pile on him when they get the opportunity—defending their own hard-won positions in the 2020 race.

new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. released on February 18, found that Bloomberg had garnered 19% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, ; putting him in second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, with 31%. That was a substantial surge since the group’s poll in December, when Mr. Bloomberg received only 4% support, The New York Times noted.

The survey was the fourth national qualifying poll since mid-January that showed Bloomberg with at least 10%t support—enough to earn him an invitation to the debate stage before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. (ET) on February 18.

Onstage, Bloomberg will face off against Sanders; Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Vice President Joe Biden.; and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, the Times reported.  The debate will be hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, Telemundo, and The Nevada Independent.

In the new poll, Biden drew 15% of potential voters; Warren, 12%; Klobuchar, 9%; and Buttigieg, 8%. The poll surveyed 527 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by phone between February 13 and February16; and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5  percentage points.

Bloomberg formally entered the race in November, nearly a year after most of the other candidates. He failed to make the cut for the past several debates in part because he is not accepting outside contributions for his campaign, the Times reported.

But new rules announced by the Democratic National Committee opened the door to his participation, as they enabled candidates to qualify for the Las Vegas debate, as well as the one that will take place on February 25 in Charleston, South Carolina, without meeting a donor threshold.

Tom Steyer, the other billionaire seeking the Democratic nomination, has participated in the five most recent debates, but he is unlikely to be onstage in Las Vegas. He would need to receive 10% support in four national qualifying polls, or 12% in two polls taken in Nevada or South Carolina, before the deadline.

Research contact: @nytimespolitics

GOP to cancel 2020 primaries and caucuses, as Trump rivals cry foul

September 9, 2019

Is the GOP “running scared”? Four states are set to cancel their 2020 Republican presidential primaries and caucuses—a move that would block President Donald Trump’s challengers from even getting on the ballot.

Republican functionaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to announce the cancellations this weekend, three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans told Politico.

According to the political news outlet, “The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination—or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him.”

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” former Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president, told Politico, adding, “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

Walsh warned,“W e intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do,” Walsh added. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Former Massachusetts Governor. Bill Weld said in a statement, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

RNC officials said they played no role in the decisions, the news outlet reported. Trump aides said they supported the cancellations—but stressed that each case was initiated by state party officials.

The shutdowns aren’t without precedent for either the Democrats or the Republicans. South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick noted that his state decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection, or in 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking a second term. South Carolina, he added, also skipped its 1996 and 2012 Democratic contests.

“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary,” McKissick said.

Officials in several states said in statements provided by the Trump campaign that they were driven by the cost savings. State parties in Nevada and Kansas foot the bill to put on caucuses.

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte,” Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald told Politico. “We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”

Research contact: @politico

Giuliani: ‘I never said there was no collusion’

January 18, 2019

And now, from the same man who told Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” that “The truth isn’t the truth” last August comes a new pronouncement.

Referring to the Russia probe, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on January 16, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.”

He added, “I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Indeed, according to CNN, “It’s another remarkable statement from Giuliani, given that the President and his supporters have repeatedly denied any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

The cable news network noted, “A person familiar with the matter told CNN last week that [Paul] Manafort, while serving as Trump’s campaign chairman, tried to send internal polling data from the Trump campaign [to] two Kremlin-supporting Ukrainian oligarchs through his associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who is linked to Russian intelligence.

When Cuomo asked whether the sharing of this data by Manafort constituted collusion, Giuliani said Trump never shared the polling data himself and only found out about it recently in the news.

“Donald Trump wasn’t giving polling data to anyone,” Giuliani said, adding, “he did not know about it until it was revealed a few weeks ago in an article.”

Giuliani attempted Thursday morning to clean up his remarks, telling CNN’s Dana Bash that he did not intend to send any new signals regarding the Trump legal team’s understanding of the investigation.

“The President did not himself, nor does he have any knowledge of collusion with Russians. If anyone was doing that, he is unaware of it and so am I,” Giuliani said. “But neither he nor I can possibly know what everyone on the campaign was doing.”

Giuliani said collusion is not a crime and the term is now being used broadly to describe contact with Russians.

“I can’t possibly say no one had contact about something or in some way,” he said.

Research contact: @caroline_mkelly

In 2016, Manafort held secret talks with Wikileaks’ Assange in Ecuadorian embassy

November 28, 2018

President Donald Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had sought asylum—and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, The Guardian reported on November 27.

Manafort’s March 2016 visit to Assange lasted about 40 minutes, a source told the news outlet. Just two months later, in June 2016, WikiLeaks emailed Russian intelligence (the GRU) via an intermediary—seeking DNC materials. After failed attempts, Vladimir Putin’s spies sent the Democrats’ documents in mid-July to WikiLeaks as an encrypted attachment.

What’s more, this was not Manafort’s first visit to Assange. The Guardian’s “well-placed” source said that Manafort previously had visited Assanage at the embassy in 2013 and 2015.

Indeed, The Guardian reported, Manafort’s acquaintance with Assange goes back at least five years, to late 2012 or 2013, when the American was working in Ukraine and advising its Moscow-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych.

However, it is the 2016 encounter that is especially likely to come under scrutiny by Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Just this week, Mueller said that Manafort had “repeatedly lied to the FBI” after he promised to cooperate with the probe in mid-September. The former campaign manager now has been referred by Mueller to the court for sentencing. Whether the secret tête-à-tête in London already has been investigated Mueller’s team is unknown.

According to The Guardian’s report, Manafort, 69, denies involvement in the hack and says the claim is “100% false”. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian’s questions about the visits.

His defense team says he believes what he has told Mueller to be truthful and has not violated his deal.

One key question is when the Trump campaign, itself, became aware of the Kremlin’s hacking operation—and what, if anything, it did to encourage it. President Trump repeatedly has denied collusion

One person familiar with WikiLeaks said Assange was motivated to damage the Democrats campaign because he believed a future Trump administration would be less likely to seek his extradition on possible charges of espionage. This fate had hung over Assange since 2010, when he released confidential U.S. State Department cables. It contributed to his decision to take refuge in the embassy.

According to the dossier written by the former MI6 Officer Christopher Steele, The Guardian reports, Manafort was at the center of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia’s leadership. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Steele wrote, whom Putin “hated and feared.”

Research contact: @lukeharding1968