S3E42/43: The 2020 Debate and the fight against gerrymandering

On last Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s podcasts we discussed the 2020 debate with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttiegeg and the rest of the very large field.

December will be the last debate before the Iowa caucus.   According to polls, Warren’s support  in Iowa and nationwide appears to be softening after the last 2020 debate.  Meanwhile, nationwide Biden still looks strong. 

Meanwhile the Associated Press is reporting a super PAC supporting Cory Booker has shut down.  The PAC, Dream United was founded by a former classmate of the Senator’s but had not raised the 10 million it set out to raise this year.

This could very well be the end of the road for the senator as he has not met the threshold for the next 2020 debate. Meanwhile Kamala Harris is working hard to make Iowa notice her as she has rolled out endorsements from 100 teachers.  

Meanwhile, Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak (remember them?) have officially ended their campaigns for president. The Montana governor, Bullock, has also said he will not run for the senate.

But on Tuesday’s podcast our focus is clearly on the mayor from South Bend, former senator Biden  and senator Elizabeth  Warren:

Episode Forty- two

Then on Wednesday’s podcast we round out the debate with Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and the remain candidates:

Episode Forty-three

2020 debate candidate Pete Buttigieg in South Carolina
South Carolina for Mayor Pete

Mayor Pete and his black and latino problem

Mayor Pete is having a rough time of it.  While his numbers are moving up in the polls after the last 2020 debate, things are not going quite so well with African Americans and Latino voters.

First, for blacks, the wanna-be-president released a proposal which was hit by Kamala Harris on the debate stage.  Mayor Pete’s Douglass plan, named after, you guessed it, Frederick Douglass has fallen flat amongst some on the left.

The plan, according to Vox, will help African Americans in a number of different ways:

  1. The plan calls for a $25 billion investment in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions.
  2. Buttigieg also has proposed the Walker-Lewis Initiative, named for black entrepreneurs Madam C.J. Walker and Reginald Lewis, that would aim to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds over 10 years.
  3. Similarly, the plan would create a fund to invest in minority-founded businesses,
  4. offer loan deferments and forgiveness programs to black college students who start businesses after graduating,
  5. and increase the amount of federal contracting funding given to small business owners from marginalized communities.

He also supports restoring section five of the voting rights act, a 21st century homestead act to fight blight by buying abandoned properties and provide them to eligible resident and fighting against the over incarceration of blacks

But one part of the plan got him into the headlines in a bad way.  When talking about boosting numbers of teachers of color Mayor Pete in 2011, seemed to suggest  one of the problems  with under privileged children  is they do not see enough teachers and successful people like them in their community.  Therefore, they do not aspire to be better and successful in life.

To this, The Root.com, Michael Harriot wrote an article calling Pete Buttigeg a “lying M–Fer”.   Days later, the candidate called  Harriot and the writer went on to do a follow up article called “Pete Buttigieg Called Me. Here’s what happened.”

In the article, Harriot says he put the candidate on blast for 18 minutes and 45 seconds. For his part, Buttigieg said the statement did not reflect the totality of his feelings about race. Beyond that polite conversation there does not appear to be anything more that happened.

Harriot went on AM Joy over the weekend to elaborate on the incident.

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting in the super Tuesday states of Nevada and California, mayor Pete has no name recognition. For his part, the campaign sees this as an advantage allowing him to enter the heavily Latino states with a strong message through targeted ad campaigns.

Obama versus Sanders

The Hill is reporting, what amounts to gossip, that the 44th president Barak Obama would speak out if Sanders became the nominee.  The former president’s people are pushing back with previous statements.

“Look, we have a field of very accomplished, very serious and passionate and smart people who have a history of public service, and whoever emerges from the primary process I will work my tail off to make sure that they are the next president,” Obama said earlier this month, according to his spokesperson.

The fear of Bernie Sanders is being felt even  in major league baseball as ex Tigers pitcher Aubrey Huff tweeted he was teaching his kids to shoot a gun in case Sanders becomes president.

2020 debate candidate Bernie Sanders with Peter Daou
Peter Daou / Bernie Sanders

Clinton backer supports Sanders

In another twist in the story of Bernie Sanders campaign, Peter Daou, a Clinton devote who worked on the 2016 campaign trying to stop the Vermont senator, has decided to join his campaign.

The former aide appears on the campaign’s podcast, heaping praise on the Sanders campaign for its nearly 300,000 social media followers.

Daou is quoted as saying:

“I was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter and now I’ve moved to a position where I think that the Democratic Party establishment needs to change,” Daou told POLITICO. “Bernie Sanders is the sole candidate advocating for systemic change — democratic socialism, really questioning the capitalist system, questioning the entire establishment.”

Katie Fahey  and the importance of activism in 2020
Katie Fahey

A “political novice” in Michigan fights back

We take a moment away from the 2020 debate to write about an issue that this blog has been following for some time. We spent and continue to spend time writing about gerrymandering.  In states all across this country when republicans held power in state legislatures and governors during the census, they redrew district lines to favor themselves.

This way in states  with 50/50 republican voters, GOP legislatures were able to still get 60/40 voting power.  This was due to what is known as packing and cracking districts.

But the people  are fighting back.  In Pennsylvania, the courts redrew the district lines for the republicans.  This resulted in more democratic wins in 2018 and earlier this year.

In North Carolina, one of the nation’s most gerrymandered states, the courts ruled district lines needed to be redrawn for congressional and legislative elections

And now Michigan joins the fight as a so called “political novice” put up a facebook post in 2016 asking citizens if they wanted to do something about gerrymandering in the state.  Michigan is another badly gerrymandered state giving republicans outsized advantage in government.

The GOP in Michigan, in 2011, even bragged about packing “dem garbage” into districts to dilute their legislative power.

Using online tools a resident, Katie Fahey, began a grassroots movement called Voters Not Politicians.  Their goal?  To amend the state constitution to take the power of drawing district lines away from legislators and into the people.

From the Guardian:

In 2017, the group drafted the measure to give redistricting authority to 13 Michigan residents – four Democrats, four Republicans and five non-affiliated voters, instead of lawmakers. More than 2.5 million Michigan voters approved the measure to amend the Michigan constitution and create the commission last year.

Republican were not happy with this and decided to sue in federal court.  A US district  judge declined to take up the matter, but that did not stop the organization from coming under legal assault by republicans once again.

Meanwhile, the new commission  is expected to draw the maps come this 2020 census and not republican lawmakers. For now, at least, voters not politicians have won.

Fahey has decided to take her act on the road starting a new group called  The People. And Oklahoma is following the same plan.  A group  called “Lets Fix This” is working to help voters in the state  get engaged so that the voters pick the legislators and not the other way around.

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