Candidates Straining to Show Fundraising Chops

A debate about LGBTQ issues will be held in California.

March 19, 2019, 11:06 a.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), “little known outside his home state, boasts he raised over $1 million in the days after launching his White House bid.” Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) “and others say they did, too.”

“Impressive numbers, even if dwarfed by the $6 million or so reported by” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and now former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX). The seven-digit figures for the lesser-known Democratic hopefuls don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either. Early bursts of donations don’t happen by accident, especially for candidates with little national name recognition such as Inslee, who hit his target thanks in part to an email list of donors he’s cultivated for months.

“He’s among a crowded field of more than a dozen Democrats who are feverishly trying to show they can raise big money and realistically challenge Republican President Donald Trump. With the first-quarter fundraising deadline looming, some are straining credulity to give the impression of a spontaneous groundswell of support.” (AP)

LGBTQ DEBATE. “There will be at least one presidential debate in California. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation — the education arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights organization — and UCLA will co-host a Democratic presidential candidate debate Oct. 10 in Los Angeles.”

"The debate will focus on the candidates’ plans to ‘move LGBTQ equality forward,’ according to the co-hosts. Only candidates who receive one percent or more of the vote in three separate national polls or receive donations from 65,000 different people in 20 different states can participate in the forum. That is similar to the standard being used by the Democratic National Committee to determine who can participate in its first two debates.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

YOUTH VOTE. The 2020 campaign “has arrived on college campuses,—and at a few high schools—as Democratic presidential candidates scramble to establish relationships with young people, aiming to cultivate volunteers and stoke enthusiasm before school lets out for the summer.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) “personally phones local leaders of the College Democrats in New Hampshire, and his team has started recruiting college and high school volunteers in Iowa.” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) ‘huddled with the University of South Carolina’s student body president during a recent visit to this early primary state, and she lamented student loan debt on a radio station serving South Carolina State University.” And Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) “campaign hosted an ‘organizing brainstorm’ at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, last week, and she appeared at a CNN town hall on Monday held at Jackson State University in Mississippi.”

“Democratic White House hopefuls are keenly aware of the power of the youth vote, which played a critical role in powering” Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) “competitive 2016 bid and Barack Obama’s victorious 2008 campaign. Now the 2020 candidates are looking to make early inroads with this important voting bloc in a wide-open race.” (McClatchy)

CLIMATE CHANGE. “The major Democratic candidates for the presidential election are hoping to make climate change a decisive issue in the already crowded race, especially capitalizing on public anger over” President Trump’s “inaction to address it.”

Trump “has consistently dismissed climate change and wrongly cited recent winter snow storms to dispute the scientific consensus that carbon emissions are causing earth temperatures to rise. Democrats hope they can use climate change to distinguish themselves from Trump, whose administration has unwound several environmental protections, including measures to curb greenhouse gases, and has weakened regulations in order to boost domestic energy production from fossil fuels. Trump has also rejected his own administration’s findings and warnings that climate change could decimate the U.S. economy if quick action is not taken.” (Roll Call)

COURT-PACKING. As candidates for president “seek to win the hearts of the primary electorate, they’re not just proposing ambitious policy ideas. They’re also trying to show that they envision a Democratic Party that’s tougher than the one that exists today. And one of the ways some of them are doing it is by considering expanding the size of the Supreme Court.”

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) “have all expressed at least an openness to the idea, and the rest are being pushed by liberal activists to consider it. There’s even an organization called Pack the Courts that is urging Democrats to expand the court by four seats (though two is the number more often mentioned).”

It’s important “to keep in mind that there is one and only one reason why we’re discussing this at all: Merrick Garland.” (Washington Post)

GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS, BAD SPIN. “When the unemployment rate is 4%, or even lower, it presents a challenge for the political party out of power: How do you make the case that things could be better? Or that things are really worse?”

“Some Democrats running for president have tried to make the case that the good economic news is simply an illusion—that people are working two or three jobs to (take your pick) ‘pay the bills,’ ‘put food on the table,’ and ‘survive.’” (Washington Post)

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