On Super Tuesday, Joe Biden Carries the South, and the South Carries Joe Biden
It has been an astonishing seventy-two hours for the Democratic Party. On Saturday night, after limping through the first three voting states, Joe Biden decisively won the South Carolina primary, propelled by black Democratic voters in the state. By Monday night, Biden was standing shoulder to shoulder in Texas with three of his erstwhile rivals—Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke—in a show of belated Democratic unity that caught the race’s front-runner, Bernie Sanders2020欧洲杯最新战况, by surprise. A campaign that had been seen as flatlining was suddenly resuscitated.
Going into Super Tuesday, the polls suggested that support was swinging toward Biden in the Southern states that were voting. In Virginia—where he had tanked in February, dropping from thirty per cent of support to eighteen per cent in less than a month, according to FiveThirtyEight’s voting average—he took the state by some thirty points. Exit polls suggested that, as in South Carolina, Biden won a huge majority of the state’s black voters. The story was much the same in North Carolina and Alabama. Biden also won in Tennessee and Oklahoma, a state that Sanders took in 2016. (He won in Minnesota, too, which had likewise gone for Sanders four years ago.) Biden’s victories in several of these states were so decisive that the races were able to be called by the networks soon after the polls closed.
As of this writing, the results in Texas and California, the two most populous states in the country, have yet to come in. Sanders is expected to win California—the final results may not be known for days—and he looks strong in Texas. Colorado came in for him, too. But the delegates Biden racked up in the South make it likely that, even if he loses those states, he will emerge from Super Tuesday in a strong position, if not ahead in the delegate count. In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Sanders across the South, too. Whatever the outcome, this is more than just a tactical or numerical problem for Sanders. Part of his pitch this year has been that the coalition he has built reflects the diversity of the Democratic Party. In Nevada, for instance, he won on the strength of his popularity among Latino voters. But black voters in the South have undermined that argument in a way that can’t be easily explained away. It will have to be reckoned with.
2020欧洲杯最新战况The night looked bleak for two other candidates in the race: Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg. Warren looks like she may well end Super Tuesday having yet to win a single primary, including the one in her home state of Massachusetts. And Bloomberg, after dropping half a billion dollars since his late entry into the race, in November, had only a win in American Samoa to show for it.
There’s been much debate this past year about how and whether endorsements matter for modern Presidential campaigns. But, from where we sit now, there’s a case to be made that two endorsements—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s of Sanders, in October, after his heart attack, and Jim Clyburn’s of Joe Biden, last week, after Biden’s poor showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada—have provided the two most pivotal moments in the race so far. “We know Joe,” Clyburn said in his endorsement. “But more importantly, he knows us.” Back in October, Ocasio-Cortez explained her Sanders endorsement to NPR by , “This is about really creating a mass movement, a multiracial mass movement of working-class Americans to guarantee health care, housing, and education as rights for all.” After Super Tuesday, those two statements, and the audiences they spoke to, will likely define the two-person race to come.
Bernie Sanders Runs Out the Clock at a Chaotic Democratic Debate
Bernie Sanders2020欧洲杯最新战况 went into Tuesday night’s debate in South Carolina as the undisputed front-runner for the Democratic nomination. And, from the jump, he got treated that way by his opponents: the other candidates kept trying to score points at his expense, box him into rhetorical corners, or contrast themselves against him or his record. But there were six of them, and one of him, and the dynamic that has defined the past few weeks of the race—all of the non-Sanders candidates being unable to claim the mantle of strongest non-Sanders candidate—played out onstage. There were simply too many voices, and not enough time, which led to long stretches of muddy argument and several episodes of unintelligible shouting. The moderators kept cutting the candidates off, begging them to wrap up and cede the floor.
The debate began with a question for Sanders, about how he would make the case for his progressive economic proposals in the context of a growing American economy. “The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires,” Sanders said, glancing toward Michael Bloomberg2020欧洲杯最新战况, who had been assigned one of the outermost podia. “Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck.” For a moment, it seemed that we were in for a reprise of the debate that took place a week ago, in Nevada, when the candidates all seemed to visibly delight in pillorying Bloomberg, who has been spending unprecedented amounts of his own money to fuel a late entry into the race. But attention soon moved off the billionaire ex-mayor.
Notably, it was Elizabeth Warren who refocussed attention on Sanders. “Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better President than Bernie,” she said. “Bernie and I both want to see universal health care, but Bernie’s plan doesn’t explain how to get there.” Other candidates appeared eager to get their shots in on Sanders—“Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump,” Pete Buttigieg2020欧洲杯最新战况 declared a few moments later—but Warren’s heart didn’t seem to be in it. Since the summer, she has struggled to find words to make the case for why the progressive base of the party should go with her instead of Sanders, and she didn’t find better words for her case on Tuesday night.
Everyone else got his or her moment against the Vermont senator. Joe Biden questioned Sanders’s record on guns. Amy Klobuchar criticized him for offering policy proposals that “sound good on bumper stickers.” Buttigieg attacked him for not being willing to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate. (“How are we going to deliver a revolution if you won’t even support a rule change?” he said.) Even Tom Steyer, who at times in this campaign has seemed like something of a Sanders fanboy, declared, “Bernie Sanders’s analysis is right. The difference is I don’t like his solutions.” For the most part, Sanders seemed untroubled by the criticism. He yelled plenty, but yelling is his default register at debates. And time worked to his benefit again and again. Even when he didn’t offer his best retort—when the rest of the stage interrogated him on the cost of his Medicare for All plan, or when he was challenged for his remarks that Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba delivered some positive social services—the moderators were never far off from declaring a new topic.
The next debate is scheduled for March 15th, in Phoenix, Arizona. Twenty-six states and territories will have voted by then. It is a safe bet that Sanders will be in Phoenix. Who else will join him there seems much harder to say. It won’t be all seven of the candidates who appeared on Tuesday. The Democrats’ wide-open 2020 primary is finally ending. Someone may yet emerge as the anti-Sanders candidate, but it hasn’t happened yet. And time is running out.
Warren Makes Her Electability Argument by Skewering Bloomberg at the Democratic Debate
On Wednesday night, Michael Bloomberg made his long-awaited début on the Democratic debate stage. The last time Bloomberg had participated in a debate was in 2009, when he was running for a third term as mayor of New York City. By contrast, after eight previous Democratic primary debates, the others on the dais with him were well practiced—and poised to attack him.
Any number of issues could have posed problems for Bloomberg on Wednesday evening, but the most incendiary were related to the degrading comments he has allegedly made to female employees and accusations of gender discrimination at his company. Early in the debate, Hallie Jackson, one of the moderators, confronted Bloomberg directly about the charges, asking, “Should Democrats expect better from their nominee?”
Bloomberg tried to pivot, responding that a woman runs his foundation, that the most senior member of his administration in City Hall was a woman, and that forty per cent of his city commissioners were women. But Senator Elizabeth Warren2020欧洲杯最新战况, who appeared energized on Wednesday night, had a blunt rejoinder. “I hope you heard what his defense was,” she said. “ ‘I’ve been nice to some women.’ ” Warren then challenged Bloomberg to release women who had filed complaints against him from their nondisclosure agreements.
Bloomberg had a legalistic answer. “These are agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet, and that’s up to them,” he said. “They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with them.” Warren pressed her point. “I just want to be clear,” she said. “If they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is that they allege, that’s now O.K. with you? You’re releasing them on television tonight. Is that right?”
Of course, it was not right. After Bloomberg muddled his way through another deflection, Warren turned to the audience and made her case. “This is not just a question of the mayor’s character,” she said. “This is also a question about electability. We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements, and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against.”
Warren’s assessment of Bloomberg’s vulnerability against the President may or may not be correct. Until Wednesday night, however, Bloomberg had been able to steer clear of the Democratic fray and make his electability argument largely unchallenged. That is no longer the case. This has been the season of triangulating Democratic voters, casting about for who is best positioned to beat Donald Trump. They may have to recalibrate once again.
Why Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar Went After Pete Buttigieg at the Democratic Debate
No one running for the Democratic Presidential nomination seems to irk his or her opponents quite like Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The dynamic is so obvious that it has received its . But until Thursday night, it hadn’t spilled out into full view on a debate stage. The topic that set things off, initially, was campaign finance, which made some sense. The leading Democratic candidates agree on many areas of policy, and the big points on which they don’t—health care and education spending, most notably—are projections, plans for what might be in a future Democratic Administration. Campaign finance, on the other hand, involves decisions that the candidates are making right now. Elizabeth Warren, like Bernie Sanders2020欧洲杯最新战况, has sworn off holding high-dollar fund-raisers and private meetings with big donors. Buttigieg, who has gone from long shot to contender thanks, in part, to the money he has raised from wealthy donors, supports campaign-finance reform in the long term but isn’t turning down dollars now. He has made the argument that Democrats can’t unilaterally disarm while Republicans continue to raise money any way they please.
On Thursday, after speaking about her decision to freeze out big donors, Warren described the details of a recent Buttigieg event in California’s Napa Valley. “The mayor just recently had a fund-raiser that was held in a wine cave, full of crystals, and served nine-hundred-dollars-a-bottle wine,” Warren said. “Think about who comes to that. He had promised that every fund-raiser he would do would be open-door. But this one was closed-door.”
There were cheers in the crowd. Buttigieg responded, “According to Forbes magazine, I’m literally the only person on this stage who’s not a millionaire or billionaire. This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.” He raised a hypothetical: suppose that Warren went home after the debate and donated the maximum allowable donation to his campaign, twenty-eight hundred dollars. “Will that pollute my campaign because it came from a wealthy person?” Buttigieg said. “No, I would be glad to have that support.”
Warren changed course. She brought up her pledge, if elected President, to stop the practice of awarding ambassadorships to big donors. “This ought to be an easy step, and here’s the problem,” she said. “If you can’t stand up and take the steps that are relatively easy, can’t stand up to the wealthy and well connected when it’s relatively easy, when you’re a candidate, then how can the American people believe you’re going to stand up to the wealthy and well connected when you’re President?”
Whether you think Warren or Buttigieg—who, for the record, told Warren, “If you can’t say no to a donor then you have no business running for office in the first place”—got the better of this exchange probably depends on which candidate you prefer. This has been something of a problem with the debates, generally, this year: even when they produce moments of sustained engagement between the candidates, they’ve tended only to energize one faction or another. This perhaps explains, in part, why Amy Klobuchar2020欧洲杯最新战况 chose to get involved. She’s the candidate who, in vying for the Party’s moderate wing, has been the most outspoken in her skepticism of Buttigieg’s youth and inexperience. “I did not come here to listen to this argument,” she said. “I came here to make a case for progress, and I have never even been to a wine cave. I’ve been to the Wind Cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you go to.” (Klobuchar cannot resist a Midwest joke.) Then she widened the debate by calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and the passage of the suite of reforms that passed the House earlier this year, known as H.R. 1.
Klobuchar focussed on experience a few minutes later, when the debate turned to the subject of immigration. “When we were in the last debate, Mayor, you basically mocked the hundred years of experience on the stage,” Klobuchar said. “I think this experience works, and I have not denigrated your experience as a local official. I have been one. I just think you should respect our experience.”
“You actually did denigrate my experience, Senator,” Buttigieg said. “It was before the break, and I was going to let it go because we’ve got bigger fish to fry here.”
“I don’t think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a President of the United States,” Klobuchar replied.
2020欧洲杯最新战况Buttigieg was speaking of his experience in the Navy Reserves, and of his commitment to the U.S. Constitution that he said accompanied that service. “I certainly respect your military experience,” Klobuchar said. “That’s not what this is about. This is about choosing a President.” Klobuchar spoke of her “track record” and of the importance of winning big elections and having “coattails.”
“If you want to talk about the capacity to win,” Buttigeg said, “try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with eighty per cent of the vote as a gay dude in Mike Pence’s Indiana.”
Buttigieg has been surging in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, but, nationally, he’s still averaging below ten per cent. Klobuchar is someone who people think might surprise in the Iowa caucuses. The strength of Warren’s organizing operation means that no one can rule her out. It was interesting, watching the exchanges with Buttigieg on Thursday, to notice who wasn’t getting involved. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the race’s two front-runners, seemed content to let things play out without getting dirty themselves.
Joe Biden Stumbles Again on Race at the Fifth Democratic Debate
Last month, when the filmmaker Tyler Perry opened a new movie studio in southwest Atlanta, a three-hundred-and-thirty-acre property on the former site of a Confederate Army base, he it to black entertainment icons. “People,” he said, “who paved the way and motivated and inspired me.” On Wednesday, a soundstage at the studio named after Oprah Winfrey hosted a debate between the top ten contenders for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination. The expectation, going in, was that the competitors’ relationship with black and other minority voters would be a focus of the evening. The four candidates currently leading in the polls—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg—are all white, and Warren and Buttigieg, in particular, have faced questions about their ability to attract diverse support. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, who are black, have both made arguments that Democrats should give them a second look in part because they can speak to and for minority voters. But thus far, with the exception of a memorable moment that Harris had in June, critiquing Biden’s past opposition of school busing, race has been a relatively muted topic during the Party’s seemingly endless procession of official debates.
That mutedness carried over for much of Wednesday night, as the candidates engaged in discussions of impeachment, health care, foreign policy, and other topics—largely alternating between talking points and a few moments of tetchiness. Finally, an hour and a half in, the moderators’ questions turned to the topic of race. Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang, two of the longer shots onstage, offered some thoughts on how to address white-supremacist violence. Then Harris was asked if she wanted to elaborate on her recent criticisms of Buttigieg’s outreach to black voters. Buttigieg is now surging in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, two predominantly white early-voting states, while Harris, who was among the front-runners a few months ago, has been struggling to find a way to regain traction. “For too long, candidates have taken for granted constituencies that have been the backbone of the Democratic Party,” she said. “I believe that we have to have leadership in this country who has worked with and have the experience of working with all folks, and we’ve got to re-create the Obama coalition to win.” Harris supporters have long made this argument, that she’s the natural candidate to attract the broad range of support that sent Barack Obama to the White House.
Buttigieg was given a chance to respond. “My response is I completely agree,” he said. “And, before I share what’s in my plans, let me talk about what’s in my heart.” Buttigieg described his time as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, “a city that is racially diverse,” and alluded to his Christian faith, which he said “teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded, marginalized, and cast aside.” And he spoke of his experience as a gay man. “I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country,” he said. “Turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate.”
This was a healthy debate for the Democratic Party to have: two candidates making their cases—explaining themselves and where they come from—before the voters. Harris can’t quite explain why she’s struggled to assemble the very coalition she touts, but the arguments she made in her favor rang true. Buttigieg’s record on race in South Bend is mixed, but his experience as the first openly gay candidate to mount a major Presidential campaign does have something to contribute to conversations about representation and leadership.
A few moments later, Booker got a chance to speak. “I have a lifetime of experience with black voters,” he said. “I’ve been one since I was eighteen.” This was vintage Booker, using humor to make a delicate subject safe for a broad audience, even at the risk of being corny. He turned to address Biden, who has held on to a persistent lead in the polls among black voters, even as many have questioned how durable that support will prove to be. Booker criticized Biden for saying recently that he still opposes legalizing marijuana on the federal level. “I thought you might have been high when you said it,” Booker said, adding that the issue was about fairness. “Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people.” Booker made the link between these policies and electability: in 2016, he said, Hillary Clinton2020欧洲杯最新战况 lost Wisconsin “because there was a massive diminution in the African-American vote.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况Biden tried to defend himself. He said that he favored decriminalizing marijuana and releasing people serving time for marijuana-related offenses from prison. Then things took a turn. “I’m part of that Obama coalition,” Biden said. “I come out of the black community, in terms of my support. If you notice, I have more people supporting me in the black community that have announced for me, because they know me, they know who I am. Three former chairs of the Black Caucus, the only African-American woman that has ever been elected to the United States Senate. A whole range of people.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况Here, Booker and Harris jumped in. “That’s not true,” Booker said. The audience broke out in laughter and groans, as Harris added, incredulously, “The other one is here.” Someone in the audience shouted something out about reparations, and the moderators announced that it was time for a commercial break.
It’s easy to imagine what Biden meant: Carol Moseley Braun, the former Illinois senator and the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, endorsed him earlier this year. But in the moment, it sounded like the former Vice-President had forgotten that the second black woman elected to the Senate was standing just a few feet from him. This kind of flub—where, even if the meaning is somewhat clear, it’s impossible to excuse what he actually said—has happened to Biden before. “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” he said in Iowa, in August. These statements are part of why people have wondered about Biden’s ability to hold on to support from any group of voters. Taken together, they are the kind of public show of political weakness that a primary process is set up to weed out.
“We Followed the President’s Orders”: Gordon Sondland’s Testimony Likely Assures Trump’s Impeachment
The U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, delivered testimony on Wednesday that all but assured President Trump’s impeachment. Sondland explained that he and other senior officials worked with the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, “at the express direction of the President of the United States” to secure an investigation of President Trump’s potential political rival Joe Biden, in exchange for a White House visit. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt,” he testified. “We followed the President’s orders.”
Sondland said the efforts were known to Vice-President Mike Pence2020欧洲杯最新战况, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former national-security adviser John Bolton, and other senior members of the Administration. He testified that Giuliani “was expressing the desire of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.” Sondland read aloud from e-mails that he said confirmed that State Department officials and senior officials in the White House were “all informed about the Ukraine efforts” and that “everyone was in the loop.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况For weeks, Democrats have sought to prove that Trump explicitly conditioned the White House visit and aid on the announcement of a Biden investigation. Sondland left no doubt of that. “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ ” Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, immediately signalled that Sondland’s statement described impeachable offenses. “If the President abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reëlection campaign, and did so by withholding official acts, a White House meeting, or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid,” Schiff said, “it will be up to us to decide whether those acts are compatible with the office of the Presidency.”
Sondland’s testimony also raised the possibility of an article of impeachment regarding obstruction of justice. Sondland said he had not had access to “all of my phone records, State Department e-mails, and other State Department documents” that would have helped him in preparing his testimony. “These documents are not classified,” Sondland said. “They should have been made available.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况Schiff then issued a direct warning to Trump that framed the withholding of State Department documents as comparable to the acts of obstruction that helped bring down President Richard Nixon.“We can see why Secretary Pompeo and President Trump have made such a concerted and across-the-board effort to obstruct this investigation and this impeachment inquiry,” Schiff said. “And I will just say this: they do so at their own peril. I remind the President that Article Three of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress.”
Trump and his Republican allies immediately attacked Sondland’s credibility and tried to downplay the importance of his testimony. The ranking Republican member of the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, dismissed the hearings as “story time” and “asinine.” Republicans will emphasize that Sondland testified that the President did not personally order him to carry out the scheme. Sondland nonetheless said that he came to the conclusion that it existed. The audience that matters, though, is Republican members of the Senate, who would serve as jurors in an impeachment trial of Trump. Sondland testified under oath that the President manipulated U.S. foreign policy for his personal benefit, and that the White House is blocking the release of specific documents that corroborate Sondland’s account. For those Republican senators who have tried to maintain some distance from the President, the stakes are perilously high.
Trump Impeachment Hearings: William Taylor’s Unspinnable Testimony
Shortly after William Taylor2020欧洲杯最新战况, the acting Ambassador to Ukraine, began giving his opening statement at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, of him began circulating on Twitter.
One was a screen grab of Fox News’s live coverage of the hearing. Taylor, wearing a dark suit and wire glasses, his salt-and-pepper hair gently parted, is glancing down at his notes. Beside him, three text boxes contain what Fox News wanted its viewers to know about the congressional witness. “OCT 23: PRESIDENT TRUMP DISMISSED TAYLOR AS A ‘NEVER TRUMPER,’ ” the first box reads. “WH CALLED TAYLOR’S CLOSED-DOOR TESTIMONY ‘TRIPLE HEARSAY,’ ” the second box reads. “GOP SAYS TAYLOR HAD NO FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE ABOUT UKRAINE AID,” the final box reads. The other image was a corresponding screen grab of Taylor from MSNBC. Instead of three text boxes, the MSNBC graphics producers placed a single box with three bullet points: “Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine since June”; “Testified he had ‘clear understanding’ aid tied to probes”; and “Texted it would be ‘crazy’ to withhold Ukraine military aid.”
Inevitably, in the days to come, Republicans will rely on their supporters in the media to present the impeachment hearings as a matter of interpretation. In the moment, though, Taylor, a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, and longtime diplomat, was sober and deliberate. Like his co-testifier today, George Kent, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Taylor took pains during his opening remarks to describe himself as nonpartisan. “I am not here to take one side or the other,” he said. “My sole purpose is to provide facts as I know them.” He carefully described the situation he stepped into when he became the acting Ambassador this summer. There were, he discovered, two channels of American policy toward Ukraine. There was the “regular” channel, in which he interacted with Kent and officials at the National Security Council, and there was the “irregular” channel, which included Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; and others. It was through this “irregular” channel, Taylor said, that hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance and a White House visit were used to pressure Ukraine to provide Trump with political ammunition against the campaign of Joe Biden.
Taylor made clear the very real stakes of the political and security situation in Ukraine, noting that lives were lost in the current conflict while Giuliani and others allegedly used security assistance as a bargaining chip. He also offered a bit of news: recently, Taylor told the committee, he became aware that a member of his staff was at a restaurant with Gordon Sondland2020欧洲杯最新战况, the Ambassador to the European Union and occasional member of the “irregular” channel, on July 26th. At that restaurant, Sondland had a phone call with Trump that was loud enough for the table to overhear. According to Taylor’s staffer, Trump pressed Sondland about “the investigations.” And Sondland, after the call, told the staffer that Trump cared more about the investigation that he wanted into Biden and his son than about Ukraine.
In his opening, Taylor described how, when he was first offered the opportunity to return to government service and serve as acting Ambassador this summer, he consulted with two people: his wife and an old mentor. His wife opposed his taking the job. But his mentor told him that, if his government asked him to do something, and if he could “be effective” in its execution, then he should do it. So far today, it looks like he’s taking that advice again.
Trump Impeachment Hearings: Adam Schiff Emphasizes the Constitutional Stakes
In his opening statement at the first public impeachment hearing, the House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff argued to the American public that the future of American democracy is at stake. The Trump Presidency2020欧洲杯最新战况, he contended, threatens to reset the traditional checks and balances between the branches of government, limiting Congress’s ability to curtail the actions of a President who abuses his power. If Trump is not held accountable, Schiff argued, he will permanently embolden future Presidents and enfeeble Congress.
“If the President can simply refuse all oversight, particularly in the context of an impeachment proceeding, the balance of power between our two branches of government will be irrevocably altered,” Schiff said. “That is not what the Founders intended. And the prospects for further corruption and abuse of power in this Administration or any other will be exponentially increased.”
Schiff’s argument is a broad and complicated one. Most immediately, Democrats claim that Trump withheld nearly four hundred million dollars in U.S. security aid to Ukraine and dangled a White House visit in an effort to get the President of Ukraine to investigate the family of Trump’s potential 2020 rival Joe Biden2020欧洲杯最新战况. When members of Congress asked the Administration officials to testify before Congress about what occurred, Trump blocked them from doing so. In constitutional terms, the Democrats believe that Trump committed a high crime and obstructed Congress from investigating it.
Schiff is also tacitly arguing that the Ukraine call reflects how Trump has conducted himself as President: he has inflated his powers, relentlessly used his position for personal political gain, and incessantly lied about his conduct and that of his rivals. That argument reflects a central divide of the Trump era. Democrats see Trump as a fundamentally dangerous chief executive setting perilous new precedents.
Devin Nunes, the committee’s ranking member, claimed the opposite, arguing that the impeachment proceeding was a petty partisan effort by Democrats to undermine the President. Nunes and other Republicans frame Trump as rougher around the edges than his predecessors—more boisterous, blunt and looser with the facts—but in no way a threat to American democracy. Nunes mocked Schiff’s claim that Trump had committed an impeachable offense, dismissing the impeachment hearings as a “low-rent Ukraininan sequel” to the Mueller investigation2020欧洲杯最新战况. To Nunes, the hearings were the latest episode of Democrats’ acting out their febrile dream of forcing Trump from power.
The partisan split and the likely margin of victory in the weeks ahead was neatly reflected in a single phrase that Schiff used to make his case. His voice dripping with disdain, Schiff referred to a remark by the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, that an American President using American security assistance to get a political favor was nothing new. “His answer was breathtaking: ‘We do that all the time with foreign policy,’ ” Schiff said. “He said, ‘I have news for everybody. Get over it.’ ” Schiff argued that the President’s pressure campaign was “odious.” If Schiff and other Democrats hope to sway public opinion, they must demonstrate that Trump’s behavior is not, as the Republicans claim, politics as usual, but is, instead, unprecedented, dangerous, and deeply damaging to American democracy. In the noise of the Trump era, that is a difficult but not impossible task.
Impeachment Consensus Makes the Democratic-Debate Stage
For much of the year that followed the 2018 midterm elections, leading members of the Democratic Party were split on whether to push for the impeachment of Donald Trump. The debate was concentrated in the Democratic Caucus in the House, where power over impeachment resided. In the Presidential-primary race, it was never a front-line issue. While several of the top candidates in the field—including Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro, and Kamala Harris—came out in support of Congress moving ahead with impeachment, shortly after the release of the Mueller report, in the spring, others seemed content to wait for November, 2020. Whether for impeachment or ambivalent about it, the most visible members of the Democratic Party were not out on the trail loudly demanding it. They were talking to crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina about broader issues—health care, inequality, climate change, gun violence.
The Ukraine scandal—which at its heart involves Trump inviting a foreign power to sway an election—has quickly and decisively changed all that. House Democrats have come around almost unanimously on impeachment. The Party split has also been resolved in the race for the Presidential nomination. Tuesday’s primary debate began with an expansive conversation about impeachment, and unity and resolve were the themes of the night. Down the line, the candidates seized on the aspect of the story that most spoke to them. Warren: “Sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics.” Bernie Sanders: “This is a President who is enriching himself while using the Oval Office to do that.” Joe Biden: “This President . . . is the most corrupt President in modern history, and I think all of our history.” Harris: “Maya Angelou told us years ago, ‘Listen to somebody when they tell you who they are the first time.’ ” Cory Booker2020欧洲杯最新战况: “This has got to be about patriotism and not partisanship.”
Amy Klobuchar made a rhetorical move that is currently popular in Washington, lumping the Ukraine scandal together with Trump’s recent decision to abandon the Kurds in Syria into one big outrage. Castro, meanwhile, dismissed any suggestion that impeachment was a “distraction.” Tom Steyer plugged his years-long push for impeachment, while Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard both warned that impeachment would not address the underlying reasons for Trump’s rise. Pete Buttigieg, along similar lines, said he was thinking ahead to all of the problems that the nation would face on the day when, one way or another, Trump is no longer in office. “I want you to picture what it’s going to be like—what it’s actually going to feel like in this country—the first day the sun comes up after Donald Trump has been President,” he said.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the night’s three moderators, pressed Biden on the seat that his son Hunter2020欧洲杯最新战况 had on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to cough up dirt on the Bidens is at the heart of the congressional impeachment inquiry, and it prompted Biden to join the ranks of impeachment supporters in his party last week. Biden’s answer to Cooper’s question, however, might not have been as strong as his campaign would have wanted. “Look, my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” he said. “What I think is important is we focus on why it’s so important to remove this man from office.”
2020欧洲杯最新战况The debate over whether to proceed with impeachment is over. What’s left is an argument over how best to sell it to the country. On Tuesday, Sanders got the last word. “It would be a mistake if Americans came to think that Democrats were just taking on Trump,’ he said. “We cannot and must not turn our backs on the pain of the working class of this country.” No one disagreed with him.
Nancy Pelosi Responds to Trump on Impeachment at The New Yorker Festival
After President Trump accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives of hating America, Nancy Pelosi struck back. During an appearance at the twentieth annual New Yorker Festival, speaking with the staff writer Jane Mayer2020欧洲杯最新战况, she described the President as having “a grotesque personality” and accused him of “undermining the integrity of our elections” in a way that was “not only wrong and unconstitutional—it’s poisonous.”
Pelosi said that Trump’s pressuring of a foreign head of state to dig up dirt for his personal political benefit was “so beyond” that “he’s made lawlessness normal. He’s almost trying to make lawlessness a virtue.” She said that she couldn’t tell whether Trump was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong or if he simply doesn’t care. When he described his Ukrainian actions to her as “perfect,” in a phone call last month, she decided it was time to launch2020欧洲杯最新战况 an impeachment inquiry.
“We’ll have an inquiry,” she told Mayer. “Give him all the opportunity to introduce whatever exculpatory information he might have, any evidence that might prove something to the contrary, to be very fair.” She acknowledged that impeachment is “divisive” and said that she understood those who say, of Trump, “I just don’t think he’s worth it to divide the country any further”—a position Pelosi once occupied. But she also argued that Trump has so violated norms and laws that “this is not about him.” She added, “The Constitution is worth it. The Republic is worth it. Our democracy is worth it.”
“Everything he says is a projection of himself. When he calls me ‘Nervous Nancy,’ I know he’s very nervous,” she said, in response to Trump’s name-calling. “When he calls Adam Schiff this or that, this and that, I think he’s projecting. He knows the argument that could be made against him—at least I think he should, or does—so he projects it onto somebody else. And you think, There’s his weakness. He knows.”
Pelosi called Trump’s attacks on Hunter Biden, the son of his potential Democratic Presidential rival Joe Biden, a “ridiculous thing,” and an example of his projecting onto others his own weaknesses: “His kids are so financially invested. Every place . . .” The live audience drowned out the rest of her sentence in laughter and applause.