Early-Voting State Elections Provide Glimpse Into 2020

Merkley is endorsing a slew of candidates in those states.

Hanna Trudo
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Hanna Trudo
Sept. 12, 2018, 10:54 a.m.

“For the first time since Donald Trump’s election, voters in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire—the four critical early presidential states—have spoken in statewide and congressional elections, offering a glimpse into what the massive Democratic presidential field can expect in the 2020 primaries.

“What are the lessons of the 2018 early-state primaries? Democrats are sick of losing. In statewide contests, they didn’t back hardline Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton-aligned candidates so much as candidates who had a message they care about and a solid campaign operation.

“Even typically left-leaning Iowa Democrats ushered in a more centrist candidate who seemed best positioned to win in a general election. And in each of the gubernatorial contests in these states, old-school campaign tactics still seemed to work—the Democrat who spent the most on TV messaging was the victor.

“Across the early states, there were only scattered signs that insurgent forces within the Democratic Party were in the driver’s seat. Old-fashioned clout mattered. Harry Reid-backed candidates won in Nevada, and the New Hampshire party establishment dominated in Tuesday’s primary there.” (Politico)

COVER STARS. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are on the cover of Ebony magazine with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) for the October issue. (Ebony)

MERKLEY. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) “is endorsing and cutting checks to a slate of candidates in early-voting states who could help him wage a long-shot bid for president in 2020.

“Merkley's Blue Wave Project PAC will issue its first wave of endorsements on Tuesday. Of the seven congressional candidates he's backing, two are in Iowa and a third is in Nevada. The next set of endorsements is expected to deliberately include candidates in New Hampshire.”

“The Blue Wave Project has raised about $300,000 so far. Each candidate Merkley is supporting will receive at least $2,500, in addition to staff providing field support and phone banking help, locally or remotely. Merkley has been recruiting, training and embedding staff on campaigns and in state parties. Merkley will then have those aides in his orbit as he weighs whether to go forward with a presidential campaign.” (Politico)

AVENATTI. “The Democrats’ 2020 field will feature plenty of candidates who wish to reshape their party’s consensus on ideological matters. Elizabeth Warren (and/or Bernie Sanders) will call for evicting the money-lenders from Team Blue’s temple; Kamala Harris (and/or Kirsten Gillibrand and/or Cory Booker) will implore Democrats to redouble their efforts to bend the arc of history toward racial and gender justice. But no progressive darling has made a sustained case against their party’s staid consensus on procedural questions—like Senate Democrats’ resilient attachment to the legislative filibuster, or their refusal to use the full extent of their powers to keep reactionary judges off the federal bench. Which is to say: No one has called on the party to pursue the progressive movement’s goals by any (technically legal) means necessary. None, that is, but Michael Avenatti.”

"The celebrity attorney knows that he can’t win any intra-party debates over policy or ideology. He doesn’t have the record to run as the most authentic champion of any Democratic constituency’s cause, or the policy chops to ‘own’ any high-profile issue. What he does have is a total lack of reverence for Capitol Hill’s norms, and a personal brand as an uncompromising advocate for the clients he represents. For these reasons, he’s centered his nascent campaign on a call for tactical ruthlessness.” (New York)

CLINTON. Hillary Clinton “will make a fundraising stop in Denver later this month as she jumps back into the political trenches ahead of midterm elections.” Clinton “is set to headline an evening fundraiser Sept. 23 at the northwest Denver home of former Interior Secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar.” (Denver Post)

DELANEY. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) “will return to New Hampshire this week, speaking on the future of the country and outlining the policies we need to ensure the country can thrive in the decades to come. In his remarks–titled ‘America, 2030’–Delaney argues that “the cost of doing nothing is not nothing” and that years of extreme partisanship in Washington has stymied progress and prevented our government from taking the necessary steps to prepare our citizens for the challenges of the future.” (release)

STEYER. Mega-donor Tom Steyer’s (D) NextGen America “will be one of the lead sponsors of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. The summit, which will take place from Sept. 12--14, will bring together international leaders, grassroots activists, scientists, and influencers to discuss climate action and make bold new commitments to meeting the goals put forward at the Paris Climate Conference.” (release)

PAST PRESIDENT. “Former President Jimmy Carter sees little hope for the U.S. to change its human rights and environmental policies as long as Donald Trump is in the White House, but he has a warning for his fellow Democrats looking to oust the current administration: Don't go too far to the left.

“‘Independents need to know they can invest their vote in the Democratic Party,’ Carter said Tuesday … where he offered caution about the political consequences should Democrats ‘move to a very liberal program, like universal health care.’” (AP)

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