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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Bloomberg has pumped an unprecedented $464 million of his own fortune so far into White House bid e - CNNPolitics

 Bloomberg addresses supporters during a campaign stop in Sacramento, California.

"(CNN)Billionaire Michael Bloomberg plowed nearly $464 million into his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination through the end of January, new campaign filings show -- blowing past all previous records for self-funding candidates in his quest to face President Donald Trump in November's general election.

The media and business data tycoon spent more than $220.6 million in January alone -- much of it on advertising and to quickly assemble a campaign staff that now tops more than 2,000, his aides said. In all, Bloomberg has spent $409 million between November, when he entered the race, through the end of January.

The figures come a day after Bloomberg's weak performance in a contentious debate Wednesday in Las Vegas. The former New York mayor, in his first appearance on the Democratic debate stage, faced ferocious criticism from his rivals over his record at the helm of the nation's largest city, his policing policies and his treatment of women in his private ventures.

Bloomberg and his aides argue his vast resources and centrist positions make him the best contender to confront the President.

"Mike is the only candidate with the record and resources to build the national infrastructure Democrats need to beat Donald Trump," campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement Thursday.

In January alone, Bloomberg spent $126.5 million on television commercials. Another $45.4 million went to digital advertising, more than half of which went to Facebook, his filings show.

His campaign also sent more than $13.6 million last month to one of Bloomberg's companies, Hawkfish LLC, which serves as the campaign's digital ad agency. Another $2.1 million went to MRB4USA LLC, a firm that Bloomberg's media strategist Bill Knapp launched to work on the campaign.

The campaign also wrote checks totaling $45,000 in January to the consulting firm of one of his prominent endorsers, former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, a "national co-chair" of the Bloomberg campaign.

All presidential candidates must file reports Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, detailing their fundraising and spending. The filings cover January activity only.

Bloomberg has continued to spend heavily this month on advertising in a push to overwhelm his rivals ahead of the Super Tuesday contests on March 3, when he will appear on the ballot for the first time. As of Thursday morning, he has spent more than $427 million on advertising, according to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The nearly half a billion dollars Bloomberg donated to his campaign through January dwarfs the spending by other rich candidates who have sought federal office. Trump, who partially funded his 2016 White House bid, spent a little more than $66 million of his own money and has relied on donations from others to fuel his reelection.

On Thursday, Trump and the Republican National Committee said their joint fundraising efforts had brought in $60.5 million in January. Team Trump started this month with more than $200 million in cash reserves, campaign officials said."

Bloomberg has pumped an unprecedented $464 million of his own fortune so far into White House bid e - CNNPolitics

Friday, February 21, 2020

Republicans mail out fake census documents

Pete Buttigieg’s race problem - The Washington Post

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg speaks at a town hall in North Charleston, S.C., last May.  (Meg Kinnard/AP)

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg speaks at a town hall in North Charleston, S.C., last May. (Meg Kinnard/AP)
As the Democratic nomination race shifts to the South and into states with more African American voters, the party’s white front-runners must directly confront the question of race and explain how their policies uplift black America. Each of them has been criticized for harboring a superficial understanding of American anti-blackness, if not manifesting outright racism. Amy Klobuchar has a questionable prosecutorial record; Joe Biden has drawn criticism for his voting record on civil rights legislation; Elizabeth Warren’s campaign was accused of marginalizing staffers of color, for which she apologized; and Bernie Sanders was criticized for conflating the conditions of poor whites with people of African descent.
But it is Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who arguably demonstrates the most consistent racial ignorance among his cohort. Not only does he hold a dismal record in representing the black residents of his municipality, but his past musings on race and the state of black America — from his 2011 discussion of young black kids failing due to the lack of role models, to his invocation of the “All Lives Matter” mantrajust five years ago, to the recent accusations that his campaign uses black supporters as political props — expose shallow analysis of systemic racism throughout his political career.
To his credit, Buttigieg rarely tries to rationalize these remarks and promises to work through his past mistakes regarding race relations and systemic injustice. But his recent remarks invoking the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. should keep concerns about his commitment to addressing racism front and center. While Buttigieg encouraged Americans to “recommit” to King’s work, and asserted that we can realize King’s dream by building a future defined not by exclusion “but by belonging,” he repeated a common error committed by white Americans in King’s time and today. His posts said nothing of the specific plight of African Americans and appeared to invoke a colorblind vision of post-racial unity that many incorrectly ascribe to MLK.
For many on the left, Buttigieg represents the corporatist, moderate wing of the Democratic Party, in which candidates court donations from billionaires, support continued military engagements and reject the expansion of social programs. It is this demographic of “white moderates” that now-celebrated figures such as King vocally criticized. In 1967, King published his fourth book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” in which he called for equitable housing and education, condemned systemic inequities that left black people poor and marginalized and warned against craven allies who betrayed the principles of the civil rights movement. His message — both the ideas he advocated and the allies he warned against — still matter today for a Democratic leadership struggling to lead on issues of racial equality.
King argued that after the civil rights movement secured legal victories after the march on Selma, it needed to address the deeper structural issues of inequality: poverty, exploitation and discrimination against African Americans. This second phase of the movement, he claimed, never garnered widespread support among white liberals who had supported the quest for legal equality: “When Negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared.” King proposed that such abandonment revealed how the “ordinary white citizen” had more in common with the white segregationist than “either had with the Negro.” In other words, white people expressed support for the struggle but refused to push for radical social change, and they retreated from the ground-level organizing.
Elsewhere in “Where Do We Go from Here,” King wondered, “Why does white America delude itself … why does it rationalize the evil it retains?” Indeed, he noted that most white Americans “consider themselves” committed to justice for African Americans but drift away after the legislation is passed. Because white allies viewed legal segregation as the primary driver of inequality, they also assumed that the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the implementation of affirmative action solved the problem of racism.
But they didn’t. King cited the grim statistics confronting black Americans to show how by every socioeconomic measure, African Americans lagged far behind their white counterparts. In all positive areas of life, including housing, education and well-being, African Americans lagged behind whites by a whopping 50 percent. Similarly, by all negative measures, African Americans received a double share in comparison to European-descended Americans, including in black unemployment and infant mortality. In driving this point home, King poignantly declared, “When the Constitution was written … the Negro was 60 percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare he is 50 percent of a person.”
What’s more, King noted, most white Americans still remained uncomfortable with full integration. Many rejected interracial marriage or even black people moving into majority-white neighborhoods. For all the legal victories won by civil rights activists, white Americans were reluctant to actualize the movement’s ultimate goals. As King put it: “A good many observers have remarked that if equality could come at once the Negro would not be ready for it. I submit that the white American is even more unprepared.”
In many respects, King was predicting sentiments expressed by Pete Buttigieg when the mayor admitted he was “slow to realize” that South Bend remained racially segregated into the 21st century. Buttigieg’s lack of urgency about remedying the systemic inequities faced by South Bend’s black population reflects how an indifferent white majority deals with racial friction: Ignore it and pretend it is irrelevant until it can no longer be ignored.
But King also presented a solution, one that Buttigieg and the other Democratic candidates need to understand: they must make a sustained effort to educate themselves out of racial ignorance. White allies must not abandon the quest for social and economic justice under presumptions that U.S. laws are enforced in a colorblind fashion.
King held a deep concern for everyone affected by poverty, and he actively recruited poor whites to join his “Poor People’s Campaign.” He also reflected glowingly on the white allies who risked everything to march with him, even if they were a small percentage of white Americans. His concern for the white poor allowed him to understand how different groups must work together and recognize their unique roles in the struggle, stating: “Negroes hold only one key to the double lock of peaceful change. The other is in the hands of the white community.”
When considering that the candidates for the Democratic nomination went from one of the most racially diverse groups in history to the remaining front-runners, all of whom are white, it is worth asking how these politicians can be held accountable for the promises they make to people of color whose votes they must win to secure the nomination. If Buttigieg hopes to be an ally and pursue social justice, he should study King’s radical model for a cross-racial alliance that, if truly realized, could set the path for authentic societal change. King recognized who shattered his dream, and if we want to repair it, we must reclaim the totality of his vision and work to fulfill it.

Pete Buttigieg’s race problem - The Washington Post

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - POLITICO

Michael Bloomberg

"LAS VEGAS — Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party 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, 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..."

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - POLITICO

Steve Schmidt says Trump not wanting Congress briefed on Russia interference 'An abuse of power'

Black and Latino Voters Are Looking for ‘More Than Just Some Token Words’ - The New York Times


Black and Latino Voters Are Looking for ‘More Than Just Some Token Words’

Voters in Nevada and South Carolina face an all-white top tier of 2020 candidates that was winnowed down by a largely white electorate.
Bridget Bennett for The New York Times
"LAS VEGAS — Kristina Alvarez, a 36-year-old medical aide in Las Vegas, knows how badly the Democrats want her attention and ideally her vote. So does JA Moore, 34, a state representative in Charleston, S.C., whose endorsement was highly sought after.
The people being wooed most aggressively by Democratic candidates at the moment — Latino voters in Nevada and black voters in South Carolina — are essential to victory in both states, where white voters make up less than half of the Democratic electorate. The courtship includes mariachi bands and gospel choirs at campaign events, and an extensive debate stage discussion about the importance of “black and brown” voters.
It’s a one-size-fits-all approach in many mays, and it’s not always resonating with the voters the all-white top tier of 2020 candidates are hoping to reach.
“We want to hear more than just some token words,” Ms. Alvarez, who is undecided about which candidate she’ll support on Saturday, said last week. She cares most about college costs and the worrying rise in hate crimes around the country, but found the Democratic candidates to be more focused on responding to President Trump than anything else. “He’s made it so that if we hear anything aside from racism, we want to say hallelujah,” she said. “There’s something else, but what’s the something else?”
Mr. Moore was even more direct in his assessment of the efforts some candidates were making.
“It’s degrading,” he said, during an event, featuring a gospel choir, for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in South Carolina. “Black people listen to more than gospel music.”
Interviews with dozens of black and Latino Democrats in both states in recent days show that many feel ambivalence or disappointment in the party that is relying on them and anger over the process that narrowed the most diverse slate of candidates in history to the current contenders.
In South Carolina, the word “rigged” came up several times as black voters contemplated the remaining options, expressing sadness that black candidates had been forced out by financial woes and poor poll results before South Carolinians had a chance to cast their votes.
In Nevada, Latino voters said they were resigned to mostly superficial talk around race for the foreseeable future, and expressed resentment that candidates were relatively slow to focus on crafting an appeal to them.
For many people, the frustration was not over the fact that they wouldn’t have the chance to vote for someone who shared their background or who looked like them. Rather, they chafed at the narrowness of the message when candidates address black and Latino voters.
Tierra King, a political science major at the University of South Carolina, was never that enamored with the black candidates.
“There’s a saying that everybody’s who’s skinfolk ain’t kinfolk,” Ms. King, 20, said as she walked on campus last week. “I didn’t feel that the candidates were speaking to me.”
Mr. Moore, the South Carolina representative, had considered Mr. Biden, who has been looking to the state’s black voters to resurrect his floundering campaign.
But he ultimately took issue with Mr. Biden’s record, and his suggestion that his poor showing in Iowa and New Hampshire was because those states lacked diversity. Now Mr. Moore is backing former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and argues that residents of those two mostly white states actually have a lot in common with people in South Carolina.
“African-Americans are Americans,” Mr. Moore said. “I have a young daughter, so I’m concerned about her public education. I’m concerned about health care. I’m concerned about clean water to drink.”
Zayda Russiello, a 72-year-old retired educator in North Las Vegas, felt similarly about what she’d heard at a candidate forum.
“They are addressing issues with mass incarceration, but they’ve got so many other things they are focused on,” she said. “I want to hear more about education, about action.”
In Nevada, black and Latino voters repeatedly mentioned the similarity of a lot of the pitches they were hearing from Democrats: boasting about the diversity among campaign staff, talking about their family’s migration from European, reminding immigrants that they, too, are welcome in the country. Above all, criticizing President Trump, calling him a racist and decrying the way he has divided the country around racial and ethnic lines.
For some voters, reacting to President Trump is precisely the problem. They say the president has made it so that Democrats devote their speaking time and mental energy to decrying him, rather than articulating their own policy positions.
Isaac Barron, a high school teacher and city councilman in North Las Vegas, a suburb with a large Latino population, has watched nearly every candidate come through his neighborhood in the last several months. They try, he said, to appeal to communities like his own, but there is always something missing, absent a mix of urgency and passion when it comes to talking about the problems they’re facing.
“It just goes to show you that it might be 2020, but things haven’t changed,” Mr. Barron said, adding that in many ways he feels the conversation about racial injustices has lost a sharp focus in recent years. “There’s a real lack of understanding. Poverty is a huge issue, but we’re not talking about it. We care about immigration, yes — I’ve lost track of the number of students who come to me with tears in their eyes because their father got arrested by ICE. But we still have difficulty getting beyond the basics.”
Steven Olmos, a 34-year-old operations manager, initially supported Senator Kamala Harris, but worried that as a black woman she would face too many insurmountable challenges, including being seen as too forceful.
“Right now, they are being careful not to offend anyone, not to take on topics that are too hot and will alienate people,” he said, as he stood outside a rally for Pete Buttigieg in North Las Vegas on Sunday, holding a “Juntos con Pete” sign.
Mr. Olmos was not impressed with this week’s debate, either. “They talk about having support from certain demographics, or reaching out to those groups, but I don’t believe any of them spoke about how their policies correlate to those groups.”
Juli├ín Castro, the former federal housing secretary, had hoped to be in Nevada this week as a candidate but is instead here as a surrogate for Senator Elizabeth Warren. He dropped out of the 2020 race at the beginning of the year and has spoken critically about the way black and Latino voters are essentially boxed out of the earliest and most decisive contests because Iowa and New Hampshire set the terms for the entire race in terms of polling, attention and resources.
“This is really a voting rights issue — who gets to vote for their first choice candidate?” he said. “There are people who dropped out of the race that if other states were to go first, may well have had a stronger footing.”
The question of who makes the ballot also speaks to voter engagement, and who feels represented in the political process.
Darius Davis, a 20-year-old music major from Beech Island, S.C., had never been interested in politics until Senator Cory Booker came to his campus here, Allen University.
Mr. Booker’s speech last year at the historically black college left Mr. Davis with a candidate crush for the very first time.
“I would have voted for Cory Booker hands down,” said Mr. Davis, 20, who had been swayed by Mr. Booker’s upbeat message of unity as well as his oratorical skills. “That made me want to learn more about politics.”
“I was pretty disappointed,” Mr. Davis said of Mr. Booker’s withdrawal. “Not pretty. I was very disappointed.”
Terrence Culbreath, the mayor of Johnston, S.C., was also a Booker supporter.
Last week, though, he found himself packing up the detritus of a failed political campaign — gas canisters used for a barbecue, lapel buttons, posters, and a pile of bright blue “Deval for South Carolina” T-shirts.
Deval Patrick had been the last black candidate standing in the 2020 race, and it was time to shut down his office in the
Before joining Mr. Patrick’s campaign, Mr. Culbreath, who at 35 is one of the state’s youngest black mayors, had been the South Carolina political director for Cory Booker, whose office four blocks away had been shut down in January.
He only worked for Mr. Patrick for 10 days, brought into the campaign in what he described as a “Hail Mary.” Mr. Culbreath said he was now uncertain about the remaining candidates, but optimistic about the future for black candidates, generally.
“It’s a prequel for what the future looks like,” he said. “You’re going to see more black candidates, and not just for president.”
“What size do you wear?” asked another campaign worker, offering a free Deval Patrick T-shirt."

Black and Latino Voters Are Looking for ‘More Than Just Some Token Words’ - The New York Times