Harris Hits The Ground Running

[ Posted Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024 – 15:23 UTC ]

Vice President Kamala Harris is now the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. She clinched this status yesterday, only a little more than 24 hours after President Joe Biden announced he would be ending his re-election bid. Convention delegates in state after state quickly met and then proudly announced they were unanimously behind Harris. This completely precluded the idea of a "mini-primary" (which many pundits had been hoping for), since no other viable Democrat even came forward to challenge Harris. So with remarkable speed, the Democratic Party has now unified behind Harris as their standard-bearer. Within the same 24-hour period, a jaw-dropping $81 million was donated to her campaign (the total is now well over $100 million). People are already volunteering to work for the campaign by the tens of thousands. Numbers aside, though, Harris has already achieved a remarkable feat -- she has excited voters.

After three weeks of angsty Democratic nail-biting, all of a sudden it is a whole new race. No longer will voters be faced with the same two old men as last time. Now they have someone younger, someone historic, and someone with plenty of energy to make her case to the people. Today Harris held her first rally as the presumptive nominee in Wisconsin. By all accounts it was an exuberant event. The campaign said Harris pulled a bigger audience than they've had for any previous events in the entire campaign (for either Biden or Harris) -- which is a very good sign indeed. Democrats are now energized in a way that simply wouldn't have been possible with Biden still at the top of the ticket. They see hope and possibilities with Harris -- the chance to completely redefine the race as one now filled with enthusiasm (instead of dread).

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Republicans' Big Wish Is For Things To Get Even Worse For Them

[ Posted Monday, July 22nd, 2024 – 14:27 UTC ]

Members of the Republican Party, from Donald Trump on downward, were all caught pretty flat-footed by the announcement yesterday that President Joe Biden was bowing out of the presidential race. The only thing they could agree upon, at least in the initial hours after it happened, was a knee-jerk reaction that is just a monumentally stupid position for them to take (politically-speaking). Because if they got their wish -- if Joe Biden immediately resigned the presidency -- then Donald Trump's chances of winning the race in November would go down even further. But not many of them seem to have realized how self-defeating their calls on Biden to resign truly are.

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[ Posted Sunday, July 21st, 2024 – 11:52 UTC ]

Thank you, Mister President.

You did the right thing.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


Friday Talking Points -- More Cracks In The Democratic Dam

[ Posted Friday, July 19th, 2024 – 17:27 UTC ]

The political message of this week was that Republicans are unified behind their presidential nominee Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats are increasingly fractured, unsure of who they even want at the top of their ticket.

The Democratic dam didn't exactly break today, but it is getting a whole lot weaker as time goes by. A third sitting Democratic senator called for President Joe Biden to step aside and make way for someone else to run, in addition to nine more Democratic House members -- the largest one-day total yet. To date, a full 35 congressional Democrats have now done so. Biden is currently quarantining at his home in Delaware (suffering from his third case of COVID-19), and so far shows no signs of heeding the call to turn the reins of the campaign over to anyone else.

[Note: while writing this column, two more Democrats joined the call for Biden to step down, including a fourth Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown. This puts the total at 37, as we write this.]

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Pelosi's Bombshell

[ Posted Thursday, July 18th, 2024 – 17:10 UTC ]

[Program Note: This column was, pretty obviously, written in two segments. I was all set to solely write about the Republican National Convention today, but while I was busy doing that the Washington Post dropped a bombshell report under the headline: "Pelosi Has Told House Democrats That Biden May Soon Be Persuaded To Exit Race." So once again, the GOP convention news has been completely overshadowed by the Biden-on-the-brink news from the Democratic side of politics. Due to this stunning development, I abandoned my plans halfway through the column, but left in what I had written so far.]


After diligently watching three nights of the Republican National Convention, I guess it is time to write a full column about it all. Because last night served as a buildup to the introduction of Senator J.D. Vance, Donald Trump's selection for his running mate.

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Schiff Calls On Biden To End His Campaign

[ Posted Wednesday, July 17th, 2024 – 16:51 UTC ]

The second night of the Republican National Convention is now over, and once again I am finding it hard to provide any sort of comprehensive review. Ted Cruz spoke. Do you really want to read a rundown of all the odious things he said? Yeah, me neither. I will sum the experience up with a description by one of the New York Times journalists, who notably called him: "The human oil slick Ted Cruz...." That seems about right. Last night seemed to be the "night of the also-rans," with Vivek Ramaswamy, Ron DeSantis, and Nikki Haley all swallowing their pride and bowing down to the man who beat them in the primaries. Haley has now completed a full flip-flop-flip, since she started out by swearing she wouldn't run if Donald Trump did, then turned around and ran anyway, and now she is back on his side again. Pretty much par for her course, really, as she has always been somewhat of a weather vane, twisting and spinning in the prevailing Republican winds. What else happened? The governor of West Virginia brought his bulldog on stage, to the delight of the crowd, and Trump showed up in person again to watch the show. Some delegates have taken to wearing mock ear bandages, which could be a new MAGA fashion trend. The whole "kinder, gentler convention" idea went straight out the window, as speaker after speaker tossed red Republican meat to the crowd. That's about it for my reactions, really.

Across the aisle, Democrats are making news once again, but not in any kind of good way. Representative Adam Schiff -- who is almost certainly going to be California's next senator -- today added his voice to the chorus calling for President Joe Biden to drop his re-election campaign. This brings the total number of congressional Democrats who have done so up to 23 (22 in the House, plus one senator). These are not exactly overwhelming numbers, but Schiff's announcement today was the first one since Trump's attempted assassination on Saturday, which might be a green light for others to now speak up as well.

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The Other Political News

[ Posted Tuesday, July 16th, 2024 – 16:53 UTC ]

So the Republican National Convention got underway yesterday, capped by a cameo appearance by Donald Trump, with bandaged ear. The biggest news from the convention was the announcement that Senator J.D. Vance would be Trump's running mate, but Trump's surprise appearance was definitely the most memorable moment of the night. The other big surprise last night was hearing from a Union boss (Teamsters), which is not exactly a usual thing at a Republican convention (to put it mildly). Is Trump (and now Vance) truly shifting the Republican Party to a more populist outlook, or was it more of a "let's make the Democrats scared" type of stunt? It's impossible to say, really. The Union boss did get the key speaking slot (he was the last big speech of the night) and was allowed to speak for at least 15 minutes (which is a long speech for a convention). The applause was pretty tepid, though, as plenty of GOP delegates are not exactly friendly to Unions in general.

But instead of a play-by-play of yesterday's convention I am going to write primarily about Democrats today. Because there was big news from the other side of the aisle as well.

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Trump Moves To Center Stage

[ Posted Monday, July 15th, 2024 – 16:15 UTC ]

After a two-week detour through the landscape of Democratic angst, Donald Trump has once again reclaimed the center stage of the political world. President Joe Biden will be interviewed on NBC tonight, but this will likely become no more than a footnote in a dramatic week for Trump and the Republican Party.

Part of this shift in focus was planned, as the Republican National Convention gets underway in Milwaukee today, but the most dramatic event was not. Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt in a small town in Pennsylvania over the weekend, as his ear was apparently grazed by a bullet fired at him from a roof overlooking his rally. One spectator was killed and two seriously injured in the attack. This is likely to generate some sympathy for Trump, although assassination attempts are rare enough that it's impossible to say what the political effect will be. One thing that's certain is that it will become a central focus at the convention.

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Friday Talking Points -- Democrats In Limbo

[ Posted Friday, July 12th, 2024 – 16:37 UTC ]

Well, that was another week mostly wasted.

This isn't just our opinion, either. Here is what Biden campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillon had to say in an all-staff call yesterday:

We had two very, very, very hard weeks, very bad weeks. I told you I'd level with you; they've been bad fucking weeks. This two-week window has really sucked, and it is hard, there is no doubt about it.

This week began (since our weeks here are divided by when this column is published) with President Joe Biden sitting down for an interview with George Stephanopoulos last Friday night. The whole thing lasted only 22 minutes, and while Biden did do a better job than he did at his trainwreck of a debate, that's not really saying much.

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Reviewing Biden's Press Conference

[ Posted Thursday, July 11th, 2024 – 18:57 UTC ]

President Joe Biden just gave a solo press conference today. Before it took place, the media had a lot of time to kill, due to the presser being postponed multiple times (it finally began just before 7:30 Eastern, almost two hours after it was scheduled). The most cogent comment I heard from the pundits was someone essentially saying that it could be a "break" moment (if Biden did badly), but that it probably wouldn't be a "make" moment, since no matter how good Biden did the fears will not be completely put to rest -- we'll just be in a sort of endless cycle of every unscripted appearance by Biden becoming its own make-or-break moment on its own. That seemed about right, to me, and it still seems right after watching Biden's performance.

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