The Democratic Party’s political machine has set its sights on Charles and David Koch. In Harry Reid‘s floor speeches, the multitude of releases coming from the DSCC, and a new ad released this week from Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, blasting the Koch brothers is shaping up to be a dominant message in the 2014 Democratic playbook. But is this really a smart play for Democrats?
— Voters don’t consider the billionaire duo from Kansas at the top of their 2014 priorities list. They care about jobs, they care about Obamacare, and they might even care about looming foreign policy crises. Most hardly are familiar with the Kochs. The messaging is strikingly similar to the Democratic attacks against well-funded outside groups, like the Chamber of Commerce over “foreign money” or DCCC hits against Karl Rove and Crossroads in 2010. Those attacks didn’t stop Republicans from netting 63 districts and retaking the House.
— The key for Democrats is trying to make a group as influential as the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity the centerpiece of the election. Usually, most attacks against well-heeled donors are about mitigating damage. But this time, Democrats are trying to make the Koch brothers akin to the candidate. The Alaska Senate never mentions the GOP frontrunner, Dan Sullivan, but blares K-O-C-H in giant letters.
— Watch how one of the Democratic Party’s best midterm hopes, Michelle Nunn, handles the Koch brothers. They own Georgia-Pacific, a company that employs thousands in the Peach State. Will she have to distance herself from her own party’s attacks?
The Democrats’ strategy makes sense as a way to rally liberal activists and donors to their cause. And the Koch brothers’ business activity could put some Republicans in uncomfortable positions. But with a difficult year looming, Democrats are ignoring history if they think it will be a silver bullet that will overcome voter dissatisfaction with the economy and the health care law.
— Alex Roarty
What We're Following See More »
Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."
In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."