Gabbard will be in the debate after all

In a tweet yesterday, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced that she will not in fact boycott the debate tonight. She offered no reason for this change of heart, simply announcing the change in six words. She wrote:

“I will be attending the debate.”

And, I guess, end story.

How to watch tonight’s debate

Next up, how to watch tonight’s debate. It’s hosted by both CNN and the New York Times, and there are some interesting new options for checking it out. So if you, like me, don’t have cable, well, let’s talk about you’re gonna watch this debate.

First off, the timing. The debate starts tonight at 8pm Eastern time. For our international listeners, that’s actually zero hours UTC on Wednesday, October 16th. The debate is scheduled for three hours, and CNN will offer both a pre-show and a post-show, each of which lasts an hour.

Next up, the actual viewing options. First, obviously, if you have cable, just tune in to CNN. If you don’t, you can point your web browser at CNN dot com or NYTimes dot com and you’ll get streams there—no logins and no hassle. And I AM confident that this will work, because they did it back in September. So, those are solid options.

Also, for what it’s worth, this is the first debate that will be broadcast live on National Public Radio stations, so if you’re in the US pretty much anywhere, you should be able to get the audio on whatever NPR affiliate is near you via over-the-air radio, or stream it online if you prefer. If you’re not sure what your local station is, just go to NPR dot org and at the very top, there is a thing to let you find it AND stream it.

Also, most smart speakers, whose trigger names I’m not going to say, but, you know, the thingies from Amazon and Google and Apple and whatever—most of those can stream radio as long as you phrase your request just right. In my case, my NPR affiliate is OPB, so I can say, “Hey so-and-so, play the radio station OPB.” And then it just kinda happens. The debate will ALSO be carried on the Westwood One Radio Network AND SiriusXM channels 116, 454, and 795. So if you are a radio person, they have got you covered.

All right, so what other video options do we have? There are a TON of them, and I’m going to list them in the order that makes sense to me. The video will stream on Facebook, plus the CNNgo app which is on many smart TVs and basically all the smart streaming boxes and sticks you can plug into a TV. So, we’re talking Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, all of those have CNNgo apps and those will all flip into a no-login-required mode right before the debate. But, you’re gonna want to download the app first and just make sure it’s there and more or less works.

In addition, the debate is available via the CNNgo apps on Android and iOS, so you can watch it on your phone or tablet. And finally, the only Spanish option I’ve seen is the broadcast network CNN en Español.

So, I hope your plans are locked in now. I DO NOT see YouTube on the list of possible streaming platforms for this one, but Facebook is one of them, so that may be good enough. Frankly, if you’re using a website to stream this, I would suggest just going to CNN dot com.

Sanders unveils a plan for employee ownership of corporations

Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders released a new plan to restructure corporate ownership. You need to know about this today, because I am certain Sanders will mention it tonight.

The plan is called The Corporate Accountability and Democracy Plan. It is REALLY complex, with lots of moving parts, but I’ll try to boil it down here.

At its core, the plan calls for large companies—those with at least $100 million dollars in annual revenue, plus ALL publicly traded companies—to become partially owned by their employees. This would work by having each company give 2% of its stock each year to a fund owned by employees, until the overall percentage of stock owned by that fund is at least 20%. That fund would be managed by employees, and any dividends on the stock would go to employees.

The plan would also force large corporations to allow 45% of their board members to be elected by employees of the company. This should allow employees to have a substantial voice in what happens in the boardroom.

And the plan would ban stock buybacks. It would take a while to explain all the reasons why corporations buy their own stock back, but I can summarize them by saying it’s a move to increase the value of the company, at least as perceived by people who dig the stock market. The Sanders plan would do away with that practice entirely.

In a move that ties in with that last item, Sanders wants companies that put themselves up for sale or move overseas to first offer the employees a chance to purchase the company. Related to THAT, the plan would establish a new government-run bank that would offer loans for employee groups looking to buy their own companies.

The plan would also drastically change the rules for corporate mergers, and roll back a bunch of existing mergers. It would also undo the Republican tax cuts for corporations passed in 2017. That would mean the overall corporate tax rate goes back to about 35%, up from its current 21%.

There are a bunch of bans in the plan as well, like banning non-compete clauses in contracts, banning mandatory arbitration, and a few more. It’s a BIG plan. As for how much this costs…well, that is addressed near the end.

“As president, Bernie will raise up to $3 trillion [dollars] over 10 years by repealing all of the disastrous corporate tax breaks enacted under Trump, closing corporate tax loopholes, and demanding that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
Of this revenue, $2 trillion [dollars] will be used to help fund Bernie’s Green New Deal to combat climate change, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure to make it more climate resilient, and create millions of good-paying union jobs in the process. The rest will be used to help create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent.”

The complex topics in tonight’s debate

Tonight’s debate is going to cover some different ground compared with all the previous debates. While you can expect the same general pattern of lower-polling candidates going after higher-polling candidates in the hopes of getting into a rebuttal loop, there’s one big word hanging over the whole thing: impeachment.

This is the first debate we’ve had since the impeachment proceedings in the House have formally begun. And, now, every single person on that stage supports impeachment—that wasn’t the case just a few weeks ago.

Adding to the complexity, of course, is that Joe Biden will be onstage. He’s going to have to handle questions about the impeachment inquiry, which was sparked by President Trump’s phone calls ABOUT HIM and his son, Hunter Biden. There’s also the matter of five sitting Senators being onstage—those Senators will have to vote, if articles of impeachment are actually brought to the Senate. So how they position themselves NOW has a lot to do with how that vote could work, or be perceived, later.

And to make things even more complex on that issue, Hunter Biden just resigned from the board of a Chinese company and committed to stopping ALL work with foreign companies if his father wins the presidency. Plus, Joe Biden has urged his fellow candidates not to fan the flames of the bogus Trump attacks by getting into the Ukraine stuff. But it seems unlikely that the moderators or the candidates will avoid the Ukraine stuff, given what a huge political issue impeachment is right now. We’ve already had reporters ask Warren, for instance, what her position would be on letting her adult children sit on corporate boards if she’s the president. And her response was kind of an ask-me-later non-answer type of thing. I assume the moderators will push this issue at least for Biden, and probably for everybody. At this point, EVERYBODY who has adult children probably needs a coherent answer to that question. Reading from a CNN email newsletter citing CNN Political Director David Chalian [“CHALL-ian”]:

“In advance of tomorrow’s CNN/New York Times Democratic debate, Joe Biden and his campaign have formulated a new response to questions about Hunter Biden’s work on a Ukrainian energy company’s board while Biden served as vice president [.…] Biden now acknowledges he will have a different standard about family members working for foreign entities as president than he did as vice president."

The other elephant in the room—as if we needed more of them—is Senator Bernie Sanders and his health. This will be his first big campaign appearance since his heart attack. My guess is he’ll do fine, and my other guess—especially if you’ve read those Debate Bingo cards—is that he’ll get a standing ovation just for walking onto that stage. That’s a heck of a thing, it’s a strong move, and it’s a concrete way to demonstrate his quick recovery and viability in the campaign. But prepare yourself for awkward questions from the moderators about the health and age of ALL of the oldest candidates—who will, by the way, all be in the very center of the stage because they’re at the top of the polls.

And, last, I want to remind you where we sit in the calendar. This is the fourth primary debate. There are just two more this year, then another SIX between January and April. But given the ever-increasing requirements to get on those stages, the November debate is already looking likely to be an eight-person field, and we just don’t know what happens after that. So, tonight may be the last time we see four of these people on a stage for a DNC debate. They know that just as well as we do, and I would not expect them to go down without a fight.

Last call for Debate Bingo

Last up today, a bit more on Debate Bingo. Again, you can grab those bingo cards using the top link in the show notes, or just go to ridehome dot info slash bingo. Reminder, there are THIRTY cards in that PDF, so you probably don’t need that many and I don’t want you to waste too much paper.

So, here are a few tips on Debate Bingo. First, when you print these cards out, print them SINGLE SIDED, because you can’t work the back side while the front side is showing. If you don’t like printing stuff, you can just open the PDF on a tablet or whatever and just scribble over the phrases when they are spoken.

Second, you can pick whatever card you want. They are randomized, so if you’re hanging out alone at home, you can do Card A or Card Q or whatever. At HQ, we’re only tracking the first ten cards, so if you’re beyond that, we won’t be announcing when bingos for those cards occur on Twitter, but we will still tell you when any given SQUARE is filled in.

Third, I will announce official rulings from the [at] @ElectionPodcast Twitter account tonight during the debate. Meaning, when I determine that a square deserves to be filled in, I will say so. I will also tag those tweets with the hashtag ERHbingo. If you spot something that I miss, tweet at ElectionPodcast! Your help has invaluable in the past, as I really do miss things while I’m juggling a couple of laptops and bingo cards.

Fourth, if you’re tweeting about bingo, please use the hashtag ERHbingo so we can all see it. It’s been really cool in previous debates seeing pictures of your cards and your pets and your parties and how you’re staying hydrated during this three-hour marathon.

Fifth, there are no prizes. This is just for fun. But I figured I’d say that case, I don’t know, lawyers or something. Feel free to give your own prizes in your own room if you want.

Sixth and finally, don’t take it too seriously. If it’s distracting you from actually hearing what’s being said, put away the bingo!

The point here is to try to figure out who you think would make a great president. The point here is NOT to get the most points at bingo or, um, stay the most hydrated while you’re doing it, if you take my meaning.

Okay, grab those cards—top link in the show notes—get them ready, and we will do this together in just a few hours.