Progressive Breakfast for May 27

Morning Message

Tracking the Progress of the Progressive Agenda

We live in a political era dominated by corporate cash, billionaire “beauty pageants,” and a right-wing noise machine whose rhetorical phasers are permanently set to “stun.” It’s easy to lose track of ourselves when we’re distracted from moment to moment by Fox News pinwheels and celebrity-driven media circuses. But out behind the tents, where the carnival lights aren’t as bright, a lot of people are fighting the good fight. How’s that fight going? One way to track its progress is by measuring recent developments against a populist or progressive agenda.

Bernie Shakes Up Race

Bernie Sanders kicks off campaign in Vermont. AP: “‘With your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally,’ Sanders declared to about 5,000 supporters along the shore of Lake Champlain. ‘Now is not the time for thinking small [or] the same old-same old establishment politics and stale inside-the-Beltway ideas.'”

Draws distinctions with Hillary. NYT: “[A] contrast Mr. Sanders drew with Mrs. Clinton was his promise to ‘break up the largest financial institutions in the country,’ taking aim at Wall Street firms and financial services companies that have contributed heavily to Mrs. Clinton’s past campaigns. He also decried the emergence of super PACs; Mrs. Clinton is relying on one in her campaign…”

Will the media give Bernie a “fair shake” asks Politico’s Dylan Byers: “…the basic laws of editorial judgment suggest that he should get at least as much fair-minded coverage as Ted Cruz — especially since he is Clinton’s only primary challenger to date — and significantly more than, say, Donald Trump.”

Fast Track Could Tip 2016 Races

Dems feeling heat from labor over fast track. Politico: “…Democratic members and staffers who spoke under the condition of anonymity related a range of threats from local and national labor groups to pressure Democrats into opposing Obama. Permanently cut off campaign donations. Pour money into opponents’ coffers instead. Run television ads. Launch protests … primaries from the left.”

Midwest Republicans take risk voting for fast track. Roll Call: “A trio of Rust Belt Senate Republicans — Ohio’s Portman, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin andPatrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania — ended up voting for Trade Promotion Authority, backing Obama, Republican leadership and a top priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce … In states where manufacturing is a major part of the economy — and the scars from globalization dot the countryside — trade bills can be particularly toxic.”

Breakfast Sides

“Greece Likely to Miss May Deal Deadline” reports Bloomberg: “Greece is nowhere close to an agreement with the European Commission and International Monetary Fund, missing a target for a deal by the end of May set last week by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations. Underscoring how far apart they remain, creditors don’t believe the Greek budget numbers add up, two people said.”

Immigration activists warn GOP about squelching Obama’s executive actions: “The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday was a victory for opponents of Obama’s plan to extend deportation protection … It also probably will push the court case stemming from a suit by 26 states into the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign … Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, [said for] Hispanics, ‘It’s not going to be a debate about some abstract constitutional principle.'”

Politico investigates how enviros are beating back coal: “Beyond Coal isn’t the stereotypical Sierra Club campaign … it usually wins by arguing that ditching coal will save ratepayers money … Sierra Club finds itself in foxholes with big-box stores, manufacturers and other business interests, fighting coal upgrades that would jack up electricity bills, pushing for cheaper renewables and energy efficiency instead.”