Democratic voters appear to be reassessing their approach to health care, a pragmatic shift on their party’s top 2020 issue. “Medicare for All” remains hugely popular, but majorities say they’d prefer building on “Obamacare” to expand coverage instead of a new government program that replaces America’s mix of private and public insurance. Highlighted by a recent national poll, shifting views are echoed in interviews with voters and the evolving positions of Democratic presidential candidates on a proposal that months ago seemed to have growing momentum within their party. Several have endorsed an incremental approach — rather than a government-run plan backed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. It could mean trouble for Sanders and his supporters, signaling a limit to how far Democratic voters are willing to move to the left and an underlying skepticism that Americans will back such a dramatic change to their health care. “We hear Medicare for All, but I’m not absolutely certain what that means and what that would then mean for me,” said Democrat Terrie Dietrich, who lives near Las Vegas. “Does it mean that private insurance is gone forever?” Dietrich, 74, has Medicare and supplements that with private insurance, an arrangement she said she’s pretty comfortable with. She thinks it’s important that everyone has health care, not just those who can afford it. She said she would support Medicare for All if it was the only way to achieve that. But “I don’t think we can ever get it passed,” Dietrich added.
“She was a woman of grace, faith and hope. She has left an eternal mark on all who knew her, because she was generous and unconditional in her love, warm in her embrace and genuinely interested in the welfare of others,” Blanco’s family said in a statement issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office.
Democratic presidential candidates will descend on Iowa next week to do something that Native Americans say doesn’t happen enough: court their vote. At least seven White House hopefuls have said they’ll attend a forum in Sioux City on Monday and Tuesday named for longtime Native American activist Frank LaMere, who died in June. Tribal leaders and citizens will talk with candidates about issues including health care, education and violence against Native women. Several candidates attending the forum, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson, have issued platforms dedicated to the needs of indigenous people. Marcella LeBeau, a 99-year-old registered Democrat and a citizen of the Two Kettles Band of the Lakota, said that’s a change from the past when politicians largely overlooked Native issues. “We’re like a third-world country,” she said. “No one really listens to us.” Many Native Americans live in “hard-to-count” rural areas and are not reflected in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, so the census cannot accurately measure their voter registration as it would for black, white, Asian and Hispanic citizens. Census estimates say Native Americans make up around 1.7% — or 5.3 million — of the U.S. population, and suggest that more than 3.7 million Native Americans are of voting age. As more Native Americans gain access to the polls, they may be a powerful asset for candidates. Richard Witmer, a political scientist from Creighton University who specializes in American Indian politics and policy, said the Native American vote can swing
President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy despite the stock market volatility and told rallygoers in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection. “Whether you love me or hate me you have to vote for me,” Trump said. Speaking to a boisterous crowd at Southern New Hampshire University, Trump dismissed the heightened fears about the U.S. economy and a 3% drop Wednesday in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was fueled by a slowing global economy and a development in the bond market that has predicted previous recessions. Avoiding an economic slump is critical to Trump’s reelection hopes. “The United States right now has the hottest economy anywhere in the world,” Donald Trump said. Trump, who reached the White House by promising to bring about a historic economic boom, claimed, as he often does, that the markets would have crashed if he had lost his 2016 bid for the presidency. And he warned that if he is defeated in 2020, Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts will go “down the tubes.” The president also defended his tactics on trade with China. He has imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion of imports from China and has threatened to hit the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese imports with 10% tariffs. He has delayed that increase on about half of those items to avoid raising prices for U.S. holiday shoppers. He said
A top Trump administration official says that the famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants into the country is about “people coming from Europe” and that America is looking to receive migrants “who can stand on their own two feet.” The comments on Tuesday from Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, came a day after the Trump administration announced it would seek to deny green cards to migrants who seek Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance. The move, and Cuccinelli’s defense, prompted an outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates who said the policy would favor wealthier immigrants and disadvantage those from poorer countries in Latin America and Africa. “This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,” tweeted former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate. The administration’s proposed policy shift comes as President Donald Trump is leaning more heavily into the restrictive immigration policies that have energized his core supporters and were central to his 2016 victory. He has also spoken disparagingly about immigration from majority black and Hispanic countries, including calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals when he launched his 2016 campaign. Last year, he privately branded Central American and African nations as “shithole” countries and he suggested the U.S. take in more immigrants from European countries like predominantly white Norway. Cuccinelli said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday night that the Emma
The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken how it applies the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions. The action, which expands the administration’s rewrite of U.S. environmental laws, is the latest that targets protections, including for water, air and public lands. Two states — California and Massachusetts, frequent foes of President Donald Trump’s environmental rollbacks — promised lawsuits to try to block the changes in the law. So did some conservation groups. Pushing back against the criticism, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other administration officials contend the changes improve efficiency of oversight while continuing to protect rare species. “The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” he said in a statement. “An effectively administered Act ensures more resources can go where they will do the most good: on-the-ground conservation.” Under the enforcement changes, officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. Blanket protections for creatures newly listed as threatened will be removed. Among several other changes, the action could allow the government to disregard the possible impact of climate change, which conservation groups call a major and growing threat to wildlife. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the
Shifting the gun violence debate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he now wants to consider background checks and other bills, setting up a potentially pivotal moment when lawmakers return in the fall. The Republican leader won’t be calling senators back to work early, as some are demanding. But he told a Kentucky radio station that President Donald Trump called him Thursday morning and they talked about several ideas. The president, he said, is “anxious to get an outcome and so am I.” Stakes are high for all sides, but particularly for Trump and his party. Republicans have long opposed expanding background checks — a bill passed by the Democratic-led House is stalled in the Senate — but they face enormous pressure to do something after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people. McConnell, who is facing protests outside his Louisville home, can shift attention back to Democrats by showing a willingness to engage ahead of the 2020 election. “What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” McConnell said. “What I want to see here is an outcome.” McConnell said he and Trump discussed various ideas on the call, including background checks and the so-called “red flag” laws that allow authorities to seize firearms from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others. “Background checks and red flags will probably lead the discussion,” McConnell told Louisville’s WHAS-AM. He noted “there’s a lot of support” publicly for background checks. “Those are two items
Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white Missouri police officer stands as a seismic moment in American race relations. The fledgling Black Lives Matter movement found its voice, police departments fell under intense scrutiny, progressive prosecutors were elected and court policies revised. Yet five years after the black 18-year-old was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on a steamy August day, racial tension remains palpable and may be even more intense. From the march on Charlottesville to President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking congressional Democrats of color and Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling at NFL games, the country often seems more divided than ever. Ferguson “drew attention to the practices of police violence and a lot of the stereotypes and viewpoints that people had about black Americans,” said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a Washington University sociologist and expert on race relations. “I wish I could be a little more optimistic about its overall implications, but I am not sure yet that there is too much reason for optimism. I think that we’re in a place where we kind of see some progress coupled with some steps backward.” The suburban St. Louis community has changed, though to some, not fast enough. The government for the city of 21,000 is now more reflective of its populace, which is two-thirds black. Four of the six City Council members are black, compared with just one in 2014. The police force that was overwhelmingly white in 2014 is now far more diverse. The town has