S3E10:our Finale! whos popular on today’s podcast

The very popular, still talked about debate on MSNBC, NBC News and Telemundo’s is over but it is our focus on today’s podcast.

The debate, held June 27th is still making news. In our last blog post and podcast episode, we discussed Kamala Harris and her criticism of Joe Biden’s record on busing.

In this episode, Denise from California and I give opinion and analysis of Joe Biden and the remaining candidates featured on the final night of the debates.

Listen here:

Where things stand

I want to do an analysis on what has happened since the debate. There are only three candidates that are still popular with the media as mentioned in the podcast.

They are: Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and they are making a lot of noise since the debate. So where do things stand?

Joe Biden

After wasting days defending himself and his record saying stuff like “I don’t have to attone…”, Joe Biden on Saturday is apologizing for his statement on working with racists.  Well kinda…

“Now was I wrong a few weeks ago, to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again? Yes, I was. I regret it. I’m sorry for any of the pain or misconception that I caused anybody,”

The Senate “was full of segregationists” at that time and he did not believe he was wrong to work with “those who we find repugnant to make our system of government work for all of us.”

Biden repeatedly defended his record on civil rights in a primary that has come to be dominated by race-related issues including segregation, busing, education and housing.

Unfortunately the apology is a non-apology apology — something we see a lot these days.  Remember the Parkland High School kid who apologized for his past racist statements without apologizing?

I tend to believe an apology usually begins with “I’m sorry” and describes what the person is sorry about. What Biden did is apologize to anyone who was hurt by his statement. So he is not sorry about what he did – he is sorry about hurting people by telling him what he did.

And, to be clear, was the sin working with southern racists or is his anti busing stance?   As I wrote previously, Biden went from a pro busing advocate to one of the strongest enemies of mandated school busing.

The use of busing was what, as Kamala Harris said, allowed her to stand on that stage a week ago Thursday. Busing changed the lives of many African Americans.

According to reports, Biden’s apology has satisfied critics like Booker and Klobuchar.

Host of the popular liberal podcast The Majority Report with Sam Seder, Sam Seder has a theory that the former vice president will be in third place by the fall. I tend to agree.

It’s going to take a lot to reduce Biden’s numbers. He is still popular with the democratic base even if podcast hosts disagree. But there’s more to Biden and his rich history of capitulation while in the senate. Will Democrats be willing to bring it up?

Elizabeth Warren

While Joe Biden was doing damage control in the black community, both Elizabeth Warren and Senator Harris revealed new plans targeted directly at black voters.  

At an event by Rev Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, the Massachusetts democrat was greeted with a standing ovation that neither Tulsi Gabbard or Amy Klobuchar, who also attended, received.

As news reports have already stated, Warren has an uphill battle ahead of her.   While she is popular among liberals, activists, bloggers, podcast hosts, and journalists, she is not very well known in the black community.

She’s not from the community like Booker or Harris and her resume does not include being the first black president’s running mate.

The lack of diversity at campaign events is obvious.  Go to rallies in big cities with large black constituents, the crowds look whiter than they should.

So Elizabeth Warren is planning to reach out directly to leaders in the community.  This is a good plan according the political strategists:

“For grassroots activists especially, to get a personal call, it’s a rare thing to happen but when it does people take note,” said the Rev. Leah Daughtry, a Democratic political strategist who co-authored the book “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics.”The personal outreach is really remarkable in my opinion, and it’s a testament not just to her but to the team she’s built really pointing her in the right direction.”

Can Warren close the gap with two African Americans in the race? Jesse Jackson think so:

“Jimmy Carter did it from Plains, Georgia. Bill Clinton did it from Hope, Arkansas. Blacks voting for whites isn’t new, whites voting for blacks is new,” Jackson said in an interview after Warren’s speech. “I watched people respond as she was quoting scripture and the ministers were saying, ‘She’s coming down the line with it!’ And people began to stand up because wherever she has a platform she draws fire. I mean in a positive sense, she draws fire.”

She has wisely stayed away from the “rising tide lift all boats” form of policy carving out plans that specifically target blacks.  Such as:

The housing proposal was actually launched late last year.  On her website she says:

“Housing is the biggest expense for most working families – and costs for everyone, everywhere are skyrocketing. Rural housing is falling apart and decades of discrimination has excluded generations of Black families from homeownership.

My bill would cut rents by 10% and give families in urban, rural, and suburban communities more economic security…This proposal will attack the rising cost of housing by helping to roll back needlessly restrictive local zoning rules and taking down other barriers that keep American families from living in neighborhoods with good jobs and good schools.

After bungling housing policy for decades, it’s time for Congress to make things right and pass my bill.”

Finally, in her favor, is her past. 

Although Warren was a conservative many years ago, she later fought for working families as she grew older. Reporters looking into her past and digging through her law review articles found something surprising.

In an article written back in 1975 she wrote about the issue of busing and the Supreme Court’s ruling against it.  From The Hill:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sharply criticized a Supreme Court ruling against busing in her first law review article published more than 40 years ago.

In her article, Warren wrote that de facto segregation, which occurs as a result of social norms, prejudices and self-selection, and de jure segregation, which existed because of laws mandating racial segregation, had been silently “reaffirm[ed]” by the court’s ruling, predicting that such segregation would dominate public schools, CNN reported.

“Effectively separate schools, even if equal, and certainly if unequal, are condemned by the Constitution, regardless of the reason for the separation,” Warren wrote.

She continued, the decision could..”lead to central-city schools which are inferior in facilities, student-teacher ratios, and other educational advantages because the funding is not commensurate with that available for suburban schools.”

To be clear, forty years ago while “Uncle Joe” was fighting busing, Warren called on Congress to…

“…support voluntary local efforts to increase racial diversity and socioeconomic diversity…[and to] develop a judicial remedy for urban school segregation.”

The Hill spoke to Warren’s communication director who said the candidate stands by those statements and believes

“…if localities are not taking action to desegregate schools, Elizabeth believes the federal government has a constitutional obligation to step in to deliver on the promise of Brown v. Board, including, if necessary, busing…”

This is the strongest position of any candidate on the issue of busing.

Kamala Harris

At the Essence festival, the California democrat, who has begun skyrocketing in the polls, in some cases even beating Sanders, Warren and Biden, called for a plan to “deal with the racial wealth gap”.

Her plan?

One hundred billion dollar federal program to help black people buy homes. This would amount to 25,000 to folks living in redlined communities.

The money would be targeted to families making between 100-125,000 per year.

“A typical black family has just $10 of wealth for every $100 held by a white family,” she said. “So we must right that wrong and, after generations of discrimination, give black families a real shot at homeownership — historically one of the most powerful drivers of wealth in our country.”

Harris has grown popular as we discussed in our podcast and blog. Since the debate she raised 2 million dollars in the first 24 hours. Her campaign reportedly took in 12 million this quarter.  This is dwarfed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 24 million he raised in the same period. 

But it’s important to note, Mayor Pete was almost consistently in third or fourth place in the polls leading up to the debate. Harris, on the other hand, was in the middle of the pact, around seventh or eighth place.

 Harris’ second quarter total drew on donations from more than 279,000 people, including almost 150,000 new donors, her campaign said.

She raised more than $7 million through her digital program, with the average online contribution $24, and her average contribution overall $39.

Harris’ online store generated nearly $500,000, including
1,400 sales of “That Little Girl Was Me” T-shirts, (a nod to the line she so effectively leveled at Joe Biden during the debate).

And the rest…

As for the remaining candidates?    

Mayor Pete is still popular and, as discussed in the podcast, he had a run in with a racist at an event which the media is giving him high marks for handling.

The Buttigieg campaign reports they received an astounding $24 million in campaign funds last quarter. With that money he is building out his campaign team. We wait to see what new proposals he has in store for us at the next debate.

Beto is #shook as his 2.0 restart/remake got decimated at the last debate.   Meanwhile Colorado governor Hickenlooper’s campaign is reportedly in shambles and reports are Bernie’s backers are getting a little worried the Vermont senator is not doing better.

What about rotating judges?

During the debate, Bernie Sanders (who is still very popular in the liberal base) is the only person who made a statement about judges as I mentioned in the podcast.   He seemed to believe as President he could simply “rotate judges”.  

The jury is still out as to whether this is constitutional, but this is not the first time Bernie has proposed the idea.  At a previous town hall in the spring he called for sending judges on the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeals.

Some have begun looking into this writing:

Under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, life appointments of Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court is not specifically granted, nor is there anything that prevents Justices from being rotated to lower courts. Instead, the language of Article III §1 merely clarifies that “[t]he judges both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold office during good behavior, …”

Pursuant to current interpretations of this language, Justices can be removed in one of three ways: (1) impeachment by Congress, (2) voluntary retirement, or (3) death.

Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, Supreme Court Justices were commonly authorized to take on roles in lower courts, effectively called “riding circuit.” Thus, Supreme Court Justices were assigned to hear cases on the lower circuit courts alongside a designated district court judge.

Congress’ passage of the Judiciary Acts is indicative of its power to control the structure of federal courts. This includes prospective, future changes to the Supreme Court. Thus, the movement of Supreme Court Justices to lower courts would be possible provided legislative authorization from Congress.

Passage of such sweeping changes to longstanding Supreme Court practices faces significant political hurdles…”

The article goes on to say, if Congress does not increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, in order to “rotate in” a judge, a vacancy would need to be created.

A living, sitting judge would need to be impeached or voluntarily step down for such an opening to exist.   Then a district court judge could be “rotated in”.  That “new” judge would need to be nominated by the executive branch and confirmed by the legislative branch.

This could be a complex and timely process that would need to be repeated over and over and over again.  Would Congress have the stomach for it?

Krugman on education and inequality

During the Obama years, the common wisdom was, inequality was caused by lapses in education.  The reason folks are poor is because they cannot afford to get a good education.

Paul Krugman (the popular nobel prize winning economist whom I discussed in the podcast) took this argument on, back in 2011 he noted:

“The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.

But there are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly.  “

He goes on to talk about collective bargaining and healthcare as an answer to the problem of inequality not higher and higher levels of education.

That’s all for now

The next Democratic debate will be held July 30-31st in Detroit, Michigan. It will air on CNN.

We will be podcasting and blogging then.