Tag Archives: Democrats

Democrats say U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty may be illegal

Democrats say U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty may be illegalSenior U.S. Senate Democrats on Monday accused President Donald Trump’s administration of violating the law when it declared his intention last month to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper, the Democrats said the administration had not given the legally required 120 days’ advance notice to Congress before beginning the withdrawal process.

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Democrats grapple with U.S. protesters' demand to defund the police

Democrats grapple with U.S. protesters' demand to defund the policeU.S. Democrats have largely embraced the activists packing into streets nationwide to decry the killings of black men and women by law enforcement but so far express wariness at protesters’ calls to defund the police. Senator Cory Booker said during an interview Sunday on NBC News that he understood the sentiment behind the “defund the police” push but would not use that phrase. “We are over-policed as a society,” he said, adding that spending on police departments was not solving problems.



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Democrats grapple with U.S. protesters' demand to defund the police

Democrats grapple with U.S. protesters' demand to defund the policeU.S. Democrats have largely embraced the activists packing into streets nationwide to decry the killings of black men and women by law enforcement but so far express wariness at protesters’ calls to defund the police. Senator Cory Booker said during an interview Sunday on NBC News that he understood the sentiment behind the “defund the police” push but would not use that phrase. “We are over-policed as a society,” he said, adding that spending on police departments was not solving problems.



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Biden sexual assault claim divides Democrats as Republicans pounce

Biden sexual assault claim divides Democrats as Republicans pounceWhile high-profile Democrats voice support for the presumptive presidential nominee, some progressives call for a closer look at Tara Reade’s allegationsThe allegations of sexual misconduct by Tara Reade against the former vice-president Joe Biden have caused new fault lines within the Democratic party, especially between its left wing and the establishment.Reade is a former Biden Senate staffer who has accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her while she worked in his office in the 1990s. Biden and his campaign have flatly denied the allegations and major news outlets have continued to investigate.Meanwhile, liberal grassroots activists have clashed with centrist Democrats and senior party figures over how to respond to the allegations. The arguments often point to how Democrats approached previous high-profile sexual assault allegations, such as the accusations by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh during the now supreme court justice’s contentious confirmation hearings.Peter Daou, a Democratic strategist who has argued that the “Democratic establishment” has moved to undercut Reade’s allegations, said three basic factions had emerged.“You have Biden’s opponents on the Republican side and they’re going to seize on this,” Daou said, adding that there was also “the left – progressives and leftists” who want to see Reade’s allegations taken more seriously, and then the Democratic party establishment figures who are trying to undermine Reade. The latter group, Daou said, is “just absolutely wedded to Biden right now, will not let go, so they’ll defend him at all costs – even if that means completely destroying the MeToo movement”.Daou pointed out that other women have accused Biden of unwanted touching. In response to those accusations, Biden has said he would work to better respect other people’s personal spaces.Republicans have been eager to confront as many rank-and-file Democratic politicians as possible with the allegations. The National Republican Congressional Committee has been blasting out emails targeting specific Democratic House candidates over Reade’s claims.The subject line of a Friday email from the NRCC read: “Why does McBath not believe Tara Reade?” It asked why the Georgia congresswoman Lucy McBath was “yet to say whether she’ll stand by her endorsement of Biden amidst allegations of sexual assault, although she was quick to support Dr Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings”.Similar questions are being asked by progressives and some more moderate Democratic party leaders. David Sirota, a former speechwriter and senior strategist for Bernie Sanders, has argued that Democrats have been too eager to discount Reade’s allegations.A small group of insurgent Democratic congressional candidates have begun to raise concerns that Reade’s allegations are not being taken seriously enough. Rebecca Parson, a liberal Democrat challenging the Washington state congressman Derek Kilmer, said in an interview on Friday that Biden should step down over Reade’s allegations. Parson said she believes Reade and thinks the charges create too much of a vulnerability for Biden in the 2020 presidential election.“I want to defeat Donald Trump in November and yes, I’m a progressive and I’m in the left-wing of the party, but something that really unites the people in the centrist wing and the progressive wing is we all want to defeat Trump,” Parson said. “I don’t think we do that with somebody who has all these allegations against him, especially because Donald Trump has assault allegations against him and unfortunately with Donald Trump, Trump doesn’t care about being a hypocrite.”Parson added: “I think that Biden should withdraw and any one or more of the candidates who aren’t running should restart their campaign because the Democratic primary isn’t over yet.”Those arguments aren’t shared by many of the most high-profile figures in the Democratic party. The New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading advocate against sexual harassment and sexual assault, told reporters on Tuesday that she supported Biden amid the allegations.“So when we say believe women, it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard. And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done,” Gillibrand said, according to CNN. “She has come forward, she has spoken, and they have done an investigation in several outlets. Those investigations Vice-President Biden has called for himself. Vice-President Biden has vehemently denied these allegations and I support Vice-President Biden.”The former Georgia state house minority leader Democrat Stacey Abrams also said she believed Biden.“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” Abrams said in late April.Others, including the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, have also said they support Biden in response to Reade’s allegations.But Parson is not alone in arguing that at this point Biden should drop out of the race. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that over a third of Democratic voters surveyed say the party should switch out Biden as their presumptive nominee because of the allegations.Other Democrats argued that Biden can both adequately address Reade’s allegations and still be a viable opponent against Trump. The Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a progressive favorite, wrote a Medium post arguing that the allegations can be examined without undercutting Biden’s chances of beating Trump.“I reject the false choice that my party and our nominee can’t address the allegations at hand and defeat the occupant of the White House,” Pressley wrote.



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Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.



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