Updates from the Invisible Democratic Primary

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in Washington DC, July 26, 2017
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in Washington DC, July 26, 2017 (American Life League)
  • Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has formed an exploratory committee to run for president and is visiting the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • California senator Kamala Harris has closed her state campaign committee and is on a publicity tour for her new book.
  • Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are planning trips to Iowa.
  • Many in the media continue to advise Joe Biden against running, most recently The Boston Globe, The Economist, Vox and WGBH.
  • Independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is shaking up his staff to make it less male and white. Read more

Cracks in California’s Progressive Model

The sun sets over the San Francisco Bay, California, September 29, 2015
The sun sets over the San Francisco Bay, California, September 29, 2015 (Thomas Hawk)

California may be the future of the Democratic Party, but the left doesn’t have everything figured out in the Golden State.

Michael Greenberg reports for The New York Review of Books that California likes to think of itself as a liberal bastion against the far-right policies of Donald Trump.

It is refusing to cooperate with the president’s anti-immigrant policies. It has enacted its own environmental and net-neutrality laws which, given the size and influence of California’s economy, could have a nationwide effect.

But California also has the highest poverty rate in America and a quarter of its homeless. Read more

Democrats’ Invisible Primary Underway

Former American housing secretary Julián Castro speaks with a voter in Phoenix, Arizona, October 10
Former American housing secretary Julián Castro speaks with a voter in Phoenix, Arizona, October 10 (Gage Skidmore)

The “invisible primary” in America’s Democratic Party is underway.

In this phase — between the most recent congressional elections and the first official announcements — presidential hopefuls quietly court donors, party bosses, friendly journalists and affiliated interest groups.

Here are some of the latest developments: Read more

Give Superdelegates More, Not Less, Power

Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016
Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016 (DNCC/Chris Frommann)

California, Illinois, New York and Texas have 30 percent of the American population between them. Yet because they are late in the primary calendar, they have almost no say in the selection of presidential candidates.

Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have only 3 percent of the population, yet because they are first in line to vote they have disproportionate power in the process. If a candidate fails to win at least one of the first three primary states, he or she usually drops out.

How is that democratic? Read more

A New Generation of Democrats Is Waiting in the Wings

Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California listens to voters during a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, April 21, 2017
Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California listens to voters during a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, April 21, 2017 (Office of Senator Kamala Harris)

America’s Democratic Party looks old. Former and likely future House speaker Nancy Pelosi, former vice president Joe Biden and former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are all in their seventies. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who is expected to seek the presidency in 2020, turns seventy next year. The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is 67.

But a new generation is waiting in the wings.

As the “invisible primary” gets underway — during which presidential hopefuls test the waters with donors, fundraisers, party leaders, political operatives and sympathetic journalists — it is worth taking a look at the party’s potential future leaders. Read more

Now the Battle for the Democratic Party Begins

Voters listen to a speech by Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016
Voters listen to a speech by Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016 (Hillary for America/Alyssa S.)

Up until now, I think rumors of a Democratic civil war have been exaggerated. Democrats have wisely nominated center-left candidates, like Ralph Northam, in Republican-leaning territory, such as Virginia, and progressive candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in safe Democratic districts, for example in New York.

But as Democrats will need to coalesce around a single candidate for the 2020 presidential election next, the battle between the center and left could burst out into the open. Read more

Takeaways from the Midterm Elections in the United States

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 20, 2009
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 20, 2009 (Wikimedia Commons/Bgwwlm)

Democratic victories in America’s midterm elections on Tuesday lacked star power. Andrew Gillum and Beto O’Rourke failed to win their races in Florida and Texas, respectively. Stacey Abrams is behind in Georgia.

But none were favored to win. Nationally, Democrats did not have a bad night at all. Read more