Sen. Bernie Sanders’ electoral victories in the first three early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada make it much more likely that the political revolution will win the Democratic nomination for president and probably the White House. If Democrats are looking for Obama 2.0 - an inspirational figure with the drawing power of a rockstar celebrity and a mass, multiracial movement behind him - they've found one. But Sen. Sanders is notoriously much more combative and ideologically driven than former President Barack Obama, who famously promised to transcend bipartisanship but only delivered more polarization. Unlike Obama, Bernie’s truly diverse and working-class base isn’t beholden to any party machinery, billionaire donors, or corporate interests. Bernie will need more than ideological purity and an independent base of power to avoid the pitfalls of his predecessor. Pundits across the spectrum are already saying Sanders can’t deliver what he promises, setting up the democratic socialist project to be discredited if his agenda doesn't pass into law. Here are the five ways a hypothetical Sanders administration can differentiate itself from President Obama's, and succeed where he failed.
Candidates Debate Tonight In South Carolina
5 things to watch for in Tuesday's South Carolina Democratic debate. NPR: "Days before the South Carolina primary, seven Democratic candidates will face off in a debate in Charleston, S.C. on Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET. The debate comes after Sen. Bernie Sanders handily won the Nevada caucuses, won in New Hampshire and tied in Iowa, and will be broadcast for free by CBS and streamed live at CBSN. Sanders won Nevada decisively and expanded his base in doing it. He won the most votes out of Iowa and won the New Hampshire primary, but he did so in both places with only about a quarter of the vote. In Nevada, most importantly, he won Latinos overwhelmingly and cut into Biden's margin with black voters. If he continues with that pattern on Super Tuesday, he could be tough to catch. Half the states voting March 3, just three days after the South Carolina primary, have significant numbers of black primary voters. And California and Texas, the two biggest prizes on Super Tuesday, have big shares of Latinos. So if his opponents want to stop the Sanders express, they probably have to put some dents in him Tuesday night. Sanders has faced more scrutiny than in 2016, but the dump truck is about to be backed up, if not by the Democrats now, then by Trump and the Republicans in the general election. The question is, which of his Democratic rivals have the best ability to do it? Bloomberg is certainly preparing to do so, but he has his own record to defend. And does Sanders ably parry the likely attacks?"
Trump Demands SCOTUS Judges Recuse
Trump demands two liberal justices recuse themselves from his cases. NYT: "President Trump lashed out at two liberal Supreme Court justices on Tuesday, escalating his battle with the judicial system to new heights despite entreaties by his attorney general to refrain from Twitter blasts that complicate the administration’s legal fights. Weighing in on a domestic matter before embarking on a day of ceremony and meetings in India, Mr. Trump seized on an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a years-old comment by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to demand that the two Democratic-appointed jurists recuse themselves from any cases involving him. Mr. Trump may have been referring to a recent dissent by Justice Sotomayor against an order by the court to allow the Trump administration to proceed with a plan to deny green cards to immigrants who are deemed likely to become “public charges” reliant on government aid programs. Justice Sotomayor wrote that the Trump administration had become too quick to run to the Supreme Court after interim losses in the lower courts."
'Wealth Test' For Immigrants Takes Effect
Trump's 'wealth test' begins for U.S. immigrants. BBC: "A controversial new policy that denies legal residency to migrants who have received government assistance has come into effect in the U.S. The policy, termed the "public charge rule" by proponents and a "wealth test" by critics, was cleared by the Supreme Court last week. It means that many legal immigrants who previously had qualified for residency no longer would, studies show. Republicans and President Donald Trump argue the rule protects US taxpayers. The policy, which was first announced in August but delayed until now by federal courts, adds restrictions to the "public charge" rule that immigration agents consult when considering individual cases for green cards, which grant permanent US residency. The vaguely-defined public charge rule has been in place for over 100 years, and says that migrants who are likely to require extensive government welfare should not be admitted. But under the new rules, some recipients of "non-cash" benefits including particular types of healthcare assistance, food aid and housing subsidies can also be turned down - on the basis that they are 'a public charge.' The update also raises the salary required for a family of four from $32,000 per year to $60,000. The policy applies to anyone who received government welfare for 12 months at any point in the past 36 months."
Bloomberg Would 'Defend The Banks'
Bloomberg called Warren 'scary' and vowed to 'defend the banks' in closed-door 2016 event. CNN: "Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at a private event in 2016 that his presidential campaign platform would have been to "defend the banks" and also labeled the progressive movement and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, now a rival for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as "scary." When asked his views on the rise of the far right in Europe, Bloomberg warned about the rise of progressive politicians in the US, citing Warren. 'The left is arising. The progressive movement is just as scary,' he says. 'Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?' Bloomberg, who was elected mayor as a Republican and as an independent, also criticized President Barack Obama, saying that his 2012 endorsement of Obama was 'backhanded' and that he thought Republican Mitt Romney could have done a better job if he'd been elected. Bloomberg is now running a largely self-funded multi-million-dollar campaign for the Democratic nomination, positioning himself as a moderate as his rivals -- a crowded field that includes not just Warren but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who is now the front-runner -- are trying to paint him as an out-of-touch billionaire who is trying to buy an election. Bloomberg has argued that he is using his wealth to advance progressive causes and defeat President Donald Trump in November."
Is Sanders A Socialist?
Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff on Bernie Sanders’s Democratic Socialism. Truthout: "Bernie says he loves Denmark. I love Denmark. I think Denmark is an illustration of how decent a society can be. The Danes don’t think that they’re socialists. They think that they’re social democrats. They don’t use the word “socialist.” And it isn’t socialism as we’ve always used to understand it. It’s not government ownership of the means of production. It’s not seizing the commanding heights of the economy. It’s a really strong social safety net and a strong labor movement, all of which I support. In Arguing with Zombies, I have a whole chapter called 'Eek! Socialism!' which is about the Republican habit of playing three-card monte. You say that you’re for universal healthcare; they say, 'That’s socialist.' You say you’re for universal child care; they say, 'Think about how many people Stalin killed.' You know, it’s this crazy stuff. So, why use the word? Why describe yourself? I think it’s kind of self-indulgent to call yourself a socialist and give the Republicans unnecessary ammunition. I think, probably, we’re for the same — I’m for the same kinds of policies. I’m for universal healthcare, universal child care, all of these things. Why buy into the Republican effort to make this sound like something Stalin would do?"