De Blasio drops out

This morning, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out of the presidential race. He went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to make the announcement. Let’s listen to that brief clip here:


Now, as with all major candidates who drop out, let’s look back at some highlights from the de Blasio campaign. First off, he announced on May 16th of this year, which was very late. The only two Democratic candidates I’m tracking who announced later are Joe Sestak and Tom Steyer. De Blasio spent 127 days in the race.

In an article for New York Magazine, Margaret Hartmann summed up the New York perspective on the race:

“Despite a list of progressive accomplishments in New York, such as universal pre-K and raising the minimum wage to $15 [dollars], what de Blasio contributed to the primary race was mainly an opportunity to make jokes about the wild unpopularity of his presidential bid. In the months before the mayor announced his campaign, everyone from former aides to his own wife expressed doubts about his run. In April, a Quinnipiac poll found 76 percent of New Yorkers felt he should not launch a 2020 campaign, with only 18 percent supporting the idea. These reservations proved well-founded. After he entered the race, de Blasio consistently polled around 0 to 1 percent, and he had little chance of qualifying for the October debate. A Siena College poll released three days ago had de Blasio at 0 percent among voters in both New York City and New York State.” END QUOTE and ouch.

So I’m going to pick one solid highlight from de Blasio’s campaign. In a CNN Town Hall on August 25th, de Blasio gave an excellent answer to a question about immigration. Reading from my own script the next day:

“A student named Joy asked him the question, “Wouldn’t a guaranteed right to health care, including undocumented immigrants, only incentivize more undocumented immigrants to come to the United States?”
De Blasio thanked the student for asking the question, and, in a gentle way, proceeded to reject its premise and explain what he called, “our actual reality.” He went on to describe how President Trump’s rhetoric around immigration creates a perception of immigrants as an invading force that somehow takes away from other citizens. De Blasio rejects that premise, and gets into specifics about what he thinks the real problem is.”

And here’s that clip:


In an article for NBC News, de Blasio explains in his own words why he is leaving the race, and offers some advice to the remaining candidates. Reading from that article:

“...I promise I’ll fight for New Yorkers and workers everywhere to ensure there’s an actual plan to protect their livelihoods from being automated out of existence.
I’ll also help ensure our party continues to be remade in the image of the activism I’ve seen all across this nation. Democrats must return to our roots as a party focused on bold solutions that speak to the concerns of working people.
If we do not, we will lose in 2020. Yes, Donald Trump lies to working people, but he at least pretends to talk to them. That may be enough for him to win, if we do not constantly make it clear that the Democrats are the party of everyday Americans in rural counties and urban centers, the coasts and the heartland.”

Sanders reaches one million donors

Yesterday I talked quite a bit about the elusive one-million-donor mark, which is a huge deal. Shortly after I stepped out of the recording both, Senator Bernie Sanders crossed that mark as he had predicted. Sanders now has more than one million unique people in the US donating to his campaign. And what’s more, many of them have donated multiple times.

There’s not a whole lot more that we know right now, except that the campaign did say at least 125,000 of those donors have recurring monthly donations set up. This is essentially hinting that Sanders will have a good Q3 fundraising result, and saying it nice and loud before Q3 even closes at the end of this month. Even if his top-line number isn’t the biggest in the field, he’s likely to have a massive grassroots base. And if he has both, well, that’s an even bigger deal.

Now, I do want to read you one little bit from the end of a Politico story by Holly Otterbein that puts this all in perspective.

“According to Sanders' aides, the top employer[s] of his donors are Starbucks, Walmart and Amazon, and the most common profession is teacher[…]. In counties that voted for President Donald Trump after supporting Barack Obama, the biggest employers are Walmart, the U.S. Postal Service and Target, the Sanders campaign said.
In 2008, Obama reached the 1-million mark in late February. In his first campaign for the White House, Sanders' campaign said he received donations from 1 million people by early January.”

So just to make that math a little clearer, Sanders has reached one million donors by September of the year BEFORE the election. In the previous election cycle, he reached that milestone in January of the actual election year. By contrast, Obama hit that number in LATE February of HIS actual winning election year. So Sanders is beating Obama—and himself—in all of these metrics, and in some cases by a LOT.

Key moments from MSNBC’s Climate Forum

Today marks the conclusion of MSNBC’s two-day Climate Forum, and of course, it’s also the day of the Global Climate Strike. As part of that, there is an abundance of discussion, today, about climate change. I want to bring you some key clips from the MSNBC event to give you a sense of where presidential candidates stand on some of these issues.

First up, let’s hear a brief snippet from Andrew Yang, from yesterday on MSNBC. Here, he is answering a question from a student in the Georgetown audience. Listen in:


And here’s a clip from Julián Castro, where he ties his policies around refugees together with climate. Listen in:


And finally, here’s a clip from Senator Bernie Sanders, in which he ties the issue of climate to overall themes of his campaign. Listen in:


There are a LOT more clips out there from a ton of candidates. Check the links in the show notes—basically, if you go to the MSNBC website, there’s a LOT more where this came from.

In fact, while I record this show, the event is still going on, so I haven’t heard from part the field yet. By the time this show airs, the event should be concluded, so get yourself over to MSNBC and check out the highlights.

A candidate anecdote from Booker

And last up this week, a candidate anecdote from Senator Cory Booker. This one’s a little long, but I thought it was a lot of fun and it gets at several key themes Booker talks about consistently—including faith, and multiculturalism, and race, and how those intersect…sometimes at a party.

Now, a quick reminder—every Friday, we close out the show with a personal story from a candidate that is not specifically about politics. It helps if there’s some humor in there too. If you’ve got a story like that from a candidate you love, please send it to me. I found this particular clip in a long YouTube address from 2012 in which Booker spoke to students at Yeshiva University. The full video is linked in the show notes.

The things you need to know as setup going into this story are that it takes place at Oxford University in the 1990s, Booker refers to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Mike Benson, the latter of whom was studying Modern Middle Eastern History at Oxford at the time and is a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which, back in 2012, was commonly called just the Mormon church.

Okay, let’s roll the tape.


Well, that is it for one more episode of the Election Ride Home. I have been your host, Chris Higgins. You can always find me on Twitter @chrishiggins. I want to take a moment here in the outro to remark on the students and others who are protesting today around the world. If you go online today—or in many cases if you GO OUTSIDE today, it’s impossible to ignore the images and voices of huge crowds assembling to draw attention to the climate crisis. When you report on politics every day, you end up with this weird mix of zooming the lens way in and way out. Like, one moment I’m talking about margins of 1 percent in one poll in one state, and the next I’m talking about catastrophes that threaten our planet. It’s a weird place to be, and I appreciate the people who continue to speak up and force the issue on climate. It may now be up to the young people—if y’all don’t keep speaking up, nobody will. As always, thanks for listening, and I will talk to y’all on MONDAY.