S3E6: 2020 Candidates -harris and biden and the 13 keys

MSNBC, NBC and Telemundo will air the democratic debates on Wednesday and Thursday. The debates will not be like many of the political shows on MSNBC.

We expect one or more of the candidates to be eliminated tonight and for others to rise.

This is the second part of this blog. With me is Denise from California.

Our focus on the show is Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Joe Biden.

Then we discuss a few caveats I see as potential game changers for Democrats or Republicans like the 13 keys and Supreme Court outcomes on gerrymandering as well as the census question.

Finally, what happens if Roy Moore is the Republican nominee again in Alabama.  Will Doug Jones remain in his seat for a longer term?

Listen here:

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13 Keys and Real Time

As mentioned in the podcast, you can listen to Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher with Allan Lichtman here.  

He is the first guest after the monologue and one of many guests in the overtime section.

As mentioned in the podcast, the 13 keys accurately predicted every election since the 1980’s. The concept was created Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University in Washington, D.C.

“The keys are presented as 13 statements that can be scored true (1) or false (0). According to this method, if the sum of these scores is larger than 6.5, then the incumbent party will win the election.”

We will innumerate the keys here:

Party Mandate



Third party

Short-term economy

Long-term economy

Policy change

Social Unrest


Foreign/military failure

Incumbent charisma

Challenger charisma

As I mentioned in the podcast, an article that measures the 13 keys, has Donald Trump at 7.8 which, if correct, says he will win in 2020.

I believe the new reporting of Robert Mueller’s pending testimony on July 17 could help erase the .8 pad for two reasons.  

  1. It could spur impeachment, which Mr. Lichtman believes would be problematic for Trump.
  2. It could spur a third party candidate to run (ala Justin Amash in Michigan), which the keys says will be problematic for Trump.

You can find a link to the  book, the 13 Keys To The White House here*.

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Kamala Harris star is fading?

As mentioned in the podcast, Iowa democrats are not happy with the one of the 2020 candidates

Kamala Harris skipped out on an event in Iowa at the last minute.

This AP story comes after a report in the Des Moines Register  that she was “scaling up her focus on Iowa”.

Outside of her procecutorial background (which was on full display over the weekend), she has very little to show for herself. 

Since she took over retired Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat, she hasn’t done much but grill Justice Kavanaugh and William Barr.    She has pushed no meaningful legislation during her time in the senate.

Only now are there reports that she and fellow Californian Kate Porter will introduce a bill to take on the “Big Banks”.

This is squarely in the Elizabeth Warren lane yet she is trying to lean on her prosecutor role on this one:

“As a former attorney general, I know firsthand how vital it is for state law enforcement to have the tools needed to conduct thorough investigations in order to hold bad actors accountable,” Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. “Congress must act to restore authority to state attorneys general to conduct oversight of national banks and ensure their compliance under state law. This bill will help put in place an additional layer of accountability for banks, which will protect consumers and prevent the type of illegal behavior that caused the Great Recession.”

But her critics say she has been absent when it comes to issues that plague her strongest constituency, African Americans.

At the top of that list is housing affordability. 

As anyone who has watched the Last Black Man in San Francisco can tell you, affordable housing has become hard to find in the bay area. 

She’s attempted to address that crisis with the Rent Relief Act which has gone nowhere in the senate.     And one would be hard pressed to hear her talk about any of this like Elizabeth Warren talks about the “Big Banks”.

Vice News has pointed out:

“[there is an]… apparent avoidance of the issue on the campaign trail –– Harris has dodged inquiries from the Los Angeles Times about the latest homelessness figures in California, and she declines to talk specifics about how to address the country’s rental crisis when probed by voters.

Speaking of Warren, as I mention in the podcast, while the Massachusetts senator was going after the crooked banking industry, Harris was talking about throwing parents of tardy children in jail while she was DA.

Video of her glee at the notion of this can be watched on Roland Martin’s YouTube Channel:

How will this play in tomorrow’s debate?

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Staffers say she’s like Trump

Denise from California can’t get over it and neither can I.  

Reports, earlier this year, are that Amy Klobuchar has an anger problem.

A Vanity Fair article quotes a staffer comparing the Minnesota senator to the commander in chief for her abusive ways.

Of the Senators, Politico reports Klobuchar has the highest turnover rate for staffers.

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Amy Klobuchar

This year Buzzfeed Reported:

“That anger regularly left employees in tears, four former staffers said. She yelled, threw papers, and sometimes even hurled objects; one aide was accidentally hit with a flying binder, according to someone who saw it happen, though the staffer said the senator did not intend to hit anyone with the binder when she threw it.

“I cried. I cried, like, all the time,” said one former staffer.

In the emails seen by BuzzFeed, often sent between 1 and 4 in the morning, Klobuchar regularly berated employees, often in all capital letters, over minor mistakes, misunderstandings, and misplaced commas. Klobuchar, in the emails, which were mostly sent over the past few years, referred to her staff’s work as “the worst in … years,” and “the worst in my life.”

When staffers made mistakes, the emails show, she reamed them out—and sometimes, emails show, threatened to fire them—over threads that included many of their colleagues.

A former staffer told the Huffington Post about an alleged incident in which most of the staff had been running late to the office, prompting Klobuchar to leave tardy slips on their desks. It apparently was no joke, and an aide who was called into her office left “in tears.”

And what has the senior senator from Minnesota accomplished?

As mentioned in the podcast, she is running along the moderate, almost right wing part of the Democratic party.

She is best known for her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, and Vox says she was instrumental in changing laws that allow newborns to be brought on the floor of Congress.

But she has also stayed out of the fight on big issues and instead likes to “brag” about how many bills she helped get signed into law under President Trump.

“She hasn’t signed on to Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal. She supports universal health care and reducing drug prices more generally. Her views on trade are more middle-of-the-road. Her answer to college affordability isn’t free tuition but rather a student loan refinancing proposal called the Red Act. On immigration, she was part of a bipartisan group of senators who tried to reach a compromise with Trump. And as Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Booker compete with progressive bills to combat inequality, Klobuchar is touting a proposal she sponsored with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) that would allow people to use tax-advantaged savings accounts to pay for educational expenses like skills training.

Her candidacy has been focused on trying to make the case for pragmatism. “

Up against heavy weights like Sanders, Warren, Biden and even middle weights like Harris, can Klobushar distinguish herself?

Stay tuned tonight.  Are we going to see Minnesota nice or ass kicking boss?

The problem with Joe

The oped in Essence is clear

Joe Biden Is The White Moderate Dr. King Warned Us About

I will not go into a lot on Joe since we discuss him at length on the podcast and there is so much time left to go in the race.

Suffice it to say, Joe Biden has a lot of problems as his record becomes known.

The white moderate is a problem.   Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton all over again.  When it comes to the big issues of us vs them, of bold progressive change, he is not a fighter he is an appeaser.

Put that aside for a moment. 

The question everyone asks is, is he electable? The answer, according to the polls, appears to be yes.

But Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times has a fascinating essay that launched two days ago.

Goldberg followed Biden during his time in South Carolina and says the former Vice President does not look as impressive on the trail as he does in sound bites.   She says:

“Seeing Biden on the stump often feels like watching an actor who can’t quite remember his lines. Even if you don’t support him, it’s hard not to feel anxious on his behalf.”

At the South Carolina fish fry she says:

His performance was unnerving. I don’t want Biden to be the nominee for ideological reasons, but polls show him far ahead, and if he’s going to be the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer against Donald Trump, I want him to be a strong one.

He didn’t seem strong in South Carolina:

Biden…was just shaky. And while there’s great affection for him on the ground, there’s little excitement. You can see why his campaign has been limiting his public events and why he’s been avoiding the press.

While I expect Biden to bring it on Thursday, if he gets attacked will he be knocked off his feet, disheveled or volatile as some have said about the Irish senator?

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