Seventy years ago, before Medicare existed to inspire “Medicare for All,” a Democratic president wrestled with a challenge strikingly similar to what the party’s White House hopefuls face today. Harry Truman, then in his fourth year of pressing for a national health insurance system, parried criticism of his approach in terms that a single-payer health care advocate might use in 2019. The plainspoken Missourian wrote in a 1949 message to Congress that his proposal “will not require doctors to become employees of the government” and that “patients will remain free to choose their own doctors.” Truman’s pitch fell short, and Democrats vying to take on President Donald Trump next year are still debating how to give Americans better health care without shattering a system that’s both flawed and familiar. And despite voters’ keen focus on health care, it’s not clear that the Democratic primary — where presidential contenders traded rhetorical blows on the issue last week — will leave its winner with a mandate to enact his or her vision. That’s in part because, although polling shows most Democrats think the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, the party remains divided along age and ideological lines about the best approach. And even as the party’s leading White House hopefuls are bitterly at odds over solutions, congressional Democratic leaders are pursuing more consensus proposals to shore up the Affordable Care Act. Democrats’ existential battle over health care, in other words, isn’t likely to
The Democratic presidential contenders have some inconvenient truths to grapple with. It’s not easy, for example, to summon foreboding words on the economy — accurately — when the U.S. has been having its longest expansion in history. Health care for all raises questions of costs to average taxpayers that the candidates are loath to confront head on. And in slamming President Donald Trump relentlessly for his treatment of migrants, the Democrats gloss over the record of President Barack Obama (and his vice president, Joe Biden), whose administration deported them by the millions and housed many children in the border “cages” they assail Trump for using now. The candidates will be pressed on the economy, health care, immigration and much more in their second round of debates, this week in Detroit. A sampling of the campaign rhetoric on a variety of subjects and how it compares with the facts: THE CAGES KAMALA HARRIS: “You look at the fact that this is a president who has pushed policies that’s been about putting babies in cages at the border in the name of security when in fact what it is, is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government.” — remarks at NAACP forum Wednesday in Detroit. PETE BUTTIGIEG: “We should call out hypocrisy when we see it. For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God
In a remarkable political repudiation, the Democratic-led U.S. House voted to condemn President Donald Trump’s “racist comments” against four congresswomen of color, despite protestations by Trump’s Republican congressional allies and his own insistence he hasn’t “a racist bone in my body.” Two days after Trump tweeted that four Democratic freshmen should “go back” to their home countries — though all are citizens and three were born in the U.S.A. — Democrats muscled the resolution through the chamber by 240-187 over near-solid GOP opposition. The rebuke Tuesday night was an embarrassing one for Trump even though it carries no legal repercussions, but if anything his latest harangues should help him with his die-hard conservative base. Despite a lobbying effort by Trump and party leaders for a unified GOP front, four Republicans voted to condemn his remarks: moderate Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas and Susan Brooks of Indiana, who is retiring. Also backing the measure was Michigan’s independent Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP this month after becoming the party’s sole member of Congress to back a Trump impeachment inquiry. Democrats saved one of the day’s most passionate moments until near the end. “I know racism when I see it,” said Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, whose skull was fractured at the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march in Selma, Alabama. “At the highest level of government, there’s no room for racism.” Before the showdown roll call, Trump characteristically plunged forward with time-tested
The largest presidential field in modern Democratic politics could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include Julian Castro, who is seeking to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Kirsten Gillibrand, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Cory Booker, who rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, New Jersey. A difficult period lies ahead as the party begins to sort through its expansive roster of candidates. The process will help Democrats zero in on someone to challenge President Donald Trump. But it is also forcing candidates to burn through cash to stay competitive and could result in a field that’s older, whiter and more male — an uncomfortable development for a party that says it prizes diversity. “There are some campaigns that are in something of a Hail Mary mode,” said technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang, one of the lesser-known White House hopefuls who expressed confidence in his own chances. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2% in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. Though many campaigns are worried, DNC Chairman Tom Perez has resisted
Democrats struggling to distinguish themselves in a crowded field for president found their first potentially winnowing issue Wednesday night: Who really represents the progressive trend in their party – not to mention the minority, women and LGBTQ voters so critical to the Democratic base? Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke started by offering part of his first answer in Spanish. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts decried corporate malfeasance and heartily endorsed “Medicare for All.” Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro called for decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, adding cheekily that Americans should be “pissed off” by a heartbreaking photo of a man and his baby daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. And pretty much everyone claimed to be the one candidate who would speak for the aggrieved middle class and poorer Americans given a raw deal by the 1 percent and the corporate inertness the candidates said were in concert with them. In the first of two 10-member Democratic debates this week, the candidates did not attack each other much – and didn’t even mention former Vice President Joe Biden, who is part of the second debate Thursday night. Many heavily criticized President Donald Trump but also did not make the president so despised by the Democratic base a central theme of their pitches. Instead, the candidates eagerly engaged in a policy-heavy debate, discussing guns, climate change, criminal justice reform, equal pay for women, immigration and foreign policy, including the most recent standoff with Iran. And nearly all
The sprawling Democratic presidential field is incredibly diverse, but a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs finds Democrats give a collective shrug to gender, race and age as factors they’re considering when supporting a candidate. Instead, Democratic registered voters are yearning for experience in elected office. A whopping 73% cited that as a quality that would make them more excited about supporting a presidential candidate. Twenty-five candidates are running for the party’s nomination and include several women, a Latino, multiple candidates of African and Asian descent, and a 37-year-old gay man less than half the age of the 76-year-old early front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden. But most Democratic voters say these characteristics make no difference in their enthusiasm, the poll shows. Benji Grajeda, 50, of Santa Ana, California, was once excited at the idea that Hillary Clinton could become the first female president. Now he just wants stability. “I don’t think it matters, gender,” said Grajeda, who, though he is Latino, also said he wouldn’t be any more motivated to back a Latino for president. Instead, Grajeda cited experience in office as his top priority because “Trump has no experience.” “I never really thought about it until he won — he’s just not qualified,” Grajeda said. Four in 10 Democratic voters said they would be more excited about voting for a woman for president, and 36% said the same of a younger candidate. About a quarter were more excited at the idea of supporting a
Jabbing at the press and poking the eye of the political establishment he ran against in 2016, President Donald Trump officially kicked off his reelection campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally that focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a second term. Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center, Trump complained he had been “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down. And he painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and telling the crowd that Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” “A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” Donald Trump said, ripping “radical” and “unhinged” Democrats even as he made only passing mention of any of the men and women running to replace him. The apocalyptic language and finger-pointing made clear that Trump’s 2020 campaign will probably look a whole lot like his improbably successful run three years ago. While Trump’s campaign has tried to professionalize, with shiny office space and a large and growing staff, and despite two-and-a-half years occupying the Oval Office as America’s commander-in-chief, Trump nonetheless remained focused on energizing his base and offering himself as a political
“While the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority. The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to hear the House’s claims and will deny its motion,” McFadden wrote.
Progressive groups are expressing “deep disappointment” over House Democrats’ unwillingness to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and are calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to act, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. The groups said in a letter being released Tuesday that voters gave Democrats control of the House “because they wanted aggressive oversight of the Trump administration.” They said: “The Trump era will be one that evokes the question — what did you do? We urge you to use your power to lead and to stop asking us to wait.” Pelosi has been reluctant to launch impeachment proceedings , despite growing numbers of Democrats saying it’s time to start a formal inquiry. She says impeachment requires more public support and would detract from the legislative agenda. Instead, House Democrats are conducting dozens of investigations of the Trump administration , announced a series of new hearings and promised a vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas. But the groups — whose members include millions of Americans — say those being hurt by the Trump administration’s policies and behavior don’t have the privilege of waiting. “There are people who feel Trump’s boot on their necks every single day,” said Heidi Hess, co-director at CREDO Action. “We expect moral leadership from you.” The groups signing onto the letter to Pelosi include Indivisible and Democracy for America. “As Speaker of
Democratic presidential contenders are in a feverish battle to one-up each other with ever-more-ambitious plans to beat back global warming , curb gun violence, offer universal health care coverage, slash student debt and preserve abortion rights . Largely left out of the policy parade: Immigration. The field of 20-plus candidates is united in condemning President Donald Trump’s support for hard-line immigration tactics, particularly his push to wall off as much of the U.S. border with Mexico as possible, roll back asylum rights for refugees and since-suspended efforts to separate immigrant children from their parents. But only two contenders — ex-Obama Housing Secretary Julián Castro and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke — have released detailed, written policies addressing the future of the immigration system. The dearth of formal policy plans signals the challenge that immigration could pose for Democrats. White House hopefuls can easily rally their party’s base with broad, passionate attacks on what they see as Trump’s failures, but it’s riskier to grapple with the complexity of the immigration system. Trump, meanwhile, has tapped into fervor around immigration to energize his own supporters and has worked to seize on it as an issue of strength — territory Democrats risk ceding to him ahead of 2020 if they don’t find a way to go deeper. “For the most part, the Democrats aren’t even trying to make the case to a centrist voter of what a reasonable immigration plan would look like,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the Washington-based National Immigration Forum,
“The Attorney General does not swear an oath of loyalty to any one individual. The AG swears an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. Barr has made clear that he doesn’t swear his loyalty that way & that disqualifies him from being AG. He should resign,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
In this scruffy, high-desert town encircled by prairies and potato farms, Sen. Cory Gardner drew shouts of approval last week for his message that Democrats are shoving the country toward socialism.
"That's not what government is or what it should be," he told about 200 Alamosa County Republicans at a barbecue fundraiser in a National Guard armory. "We have to stand up and fight. Are you going to join me in this fight?"
For Gardner and other Republicans making the same pitch, including President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the key question is whether it will attract moderate voters, not just their conservative stalwarts. Based on interviews with over three dozen Coloradans last week from Denver's suburbs south to this town in the flat San Luis Valley, the argument has yet to take root, though the GOP has 18 months to sell it before Election Day 2020.
Few volunteered a drift toward socialism as a major worry, with health care and living costs cited far more frequently. Several said capitalism was too embedded in the U.S. to be truly threatened and Republicans were using socialism to stir unease with Democrats by raising the specter of the old, repressive Soviet Union and today's chaotic Venezuela.