Updates from the Invisible Democratic Primary

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)

Is it really the invisible primary anymore when so many Democrats are officially running for president?

  • New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand has formed an exploratory committee.
  • California senator Kamala Harris has skipped the exploratory phase and announced she is running.
  • Former vice president Joe Biden has apologized for supporting tough-on-crime laws in the 1990s that disproportionately affected African Americans. Read more

Recent Revelations in the Trump-Russia Scandal

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (Presidential Press and Information Office)
  • After Trump fired FBI director James Comey — for refusing to end the investigation into his first national security advisor, Michael Flynn — the bureau started to investigate if the president himself might be working on behalf of Russia. Flynn is now on trial for lying about his foreign contacts.
  • Trump privately discussed withdrawing the United States from NATO.
  • Not only did he meet with Vladimir Putin five times without other officials present; Trump went so far as to snatch the meeting notes from his own interpreter and tell the linguist not to share what had transpired even with administration officials. Read more

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

Mattis’ Resignation Shocks European Allies

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg speaks with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison of the United States going into a North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, February 14
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg speaks with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison of the United States going into a North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, February 14 (NATO)

The resignation of American defense secretary James Mattis has shocked European allies, who were counting on the former Marine Corps general to protect them from the whims of President Donald Trump. Read more

Trump Scandals Keep Piling Up

American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the many scandals swirling around Donald Trump, so my apologies if I’ve missed anything here since my last update. Read more

Good News on Guns and Criminal Justice Reform

The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

Few good things come out of Washington DC anymore, but today is an exception.

  • The Trump Administration is banning bump-fire stocks, which effectively turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns. Owners will have three months to turn in or destroy their devices.
  • The Senate has voted 87-12 in favor of criminal justice reforms. Prison sentences for drug crimes will be lowered, judges will be given more discretion in sentencing low-level offenders and inmates will be allowed to serve more time in halfway homes or under house arrest.