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As Rivals Head to California, Biden Chooses New Hampshire

Joe Biden won’t be among the parade of White House hopefuls in California this week, skipping the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting to campaign in New Hampshire instead.The former vice president will have the nation’s first primary state essentially to himself as his top rivals jockey for attention from hundreds of Democratic officials gathered in San Francisco for the party’s last national meeting before presidential voting begins in February.
Biden’s choice is partly a reflection of Democrats’ new rules that strip DNC members of their presidential nominating votes on the first 2020 convention ballot. But it’s just as much an indication of Biden’s deliberate front-runner strategy as he continues to lead national and state primary polls: The 76-year-old candidate is choosing carefully when to appear alongside the candidates who are trying to upend him, and he’s keeping a distance, at least publicly, from the party machinery that ultimately proved an albatross to Hillary Clinton in her 2016 loss to Donald Trump.
“He has a real commitment to be in the early states,” said Biden’s campaign chairman, Cedric Richmond, pointing to Biden’s recent four-day swing through Iowa, the first caucus state, along with upcoming trips to South Carolina and Nevada and a return to Iowa. “I wouldn’t make any more of the scheduling decision than that.”
Indeed, Biden has joined multicandidate “cattle calls” in Iowa; Nevada, the first Western state in the nominating process; and South Carolina, which hosts the South’s first primary.
The Biden campaign also isn’t ignoring the DNC. Campaign manager Greg Schultz will be in San Francisco on his boss’s behalf. Yet the national Democratic gathering is a notable absence for the candidate himself, given Biden’s deep connections across the party as a two-term vice president and six-term senator who’s run for president twice before; and Biden aides have noted quietly that they are keenly aware of the criticism Clinton absorbed in 2016 as progressive activists who backed Bernie Sanders accused the DNC of favoritism. Biden’s team doesn’t want a repeat if he’s the nominee.
With Biden away, DNC members will hear from, among others, Sanders and his fellow senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, the hometown favorite who served previously as a local prosecutor and California attorney general. Several candidates have scheduled their own events in California beyond the DNC sessions.
California will be critical to the nomination after moving up its primary to join a Southern-heavy Super Tuesday lineup next March. The state will have 400 pledged delegates at stake, the largest of any state and about a fifth of the total necessary to win the nomination.
Democrats in California criticized Biden’s absence in the spring, but prominent DNC member and Californian Christine Pelosi said it makes sense this time around given the audience.
 “We’re not a room of 400 superdelegates anymore,” said Pelosi, a daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We’re just a room full of activists. … And everyone knows Vice President Biden. This is far more important for candidates who aren’t as well known.”
That said, Pelosi noted that party events in California can sometimes draw boisterous crowds of progressives, like the one at the state party convention that jeered as some party moderates warned against veering too far left. And while Biden certainly wouldn’t face a hostile crowd of DNC delegates, there’s plenty of potential for activists or protesters to make their presence known.
“Some people can crash and scream,” said Pelosi, who says she will not publicly back a candidate during the nomination process. “That might make for good TV, but it’s not really advancing the cause” or ideal for Biden.
There’s also another variable for Biden — and his fellow candidates — to consider: the big money that it takes to compete in California. In New Hampshire and Iowa, voters expect aggressive retail politics and close contact with would-be presidents. That doesn’t work in a state of 40 million residents, with candidates instead forced to spend heavily on traditional television advertising and digital ads to reach voters.
 “He will be back to California again,” Richmond said. “And we will have the resources to compete there.” 

Michael Bennet Banking on Moderation in Age of Trump

Michael Bennet was about as fired up as he ever gets at the Iowa State Fair’s Political Soapbox, railing against Bernie Sanders’ health care plan — but politely.”I respect him because he tells the truth about what’s in his plan, but I disagree that that’s gonna get us universal health care in America,” said Bennet, a Colorado senator and decidedly lower tier Democratic presidential candidate.He prompted boos from the crowd, most of whom were waiting in the heat to see Sanders speak shortly after him, but Bennet wasn’t too fussed. As admirers thronged to the Vermont senator, Bennet went on to tour the fair and hop aboard a few rides with his daughters.Bennet is pursuing the presidency as the anti-Donald Trump: measured and moderate. Contemplative and competent. With the energy in the Democratic Party radiating from the left and the president so often shouting from the right, Bennet’s journey has been a lonely road.But he insists he won’t change course.”If we are forever trapped in a world of instantaneous celebrity that is driven by social media, it may be that I’m not the person for that time,” he said in an interview. “But just like with many other things, I prefer not to think that we’re living in a permanent state of a broken-down political system that won’t deliver on all the promises these candidates are making.”Bennet’s odds of winning the Democratic presidential nomination are as long as his thoughts are deep.His new book is his version of an urgent call to arms to restore American democracy and no one’s idea of a bestseller.And yet, Bennet is tying his candidacy to perhaps the most audacious proposition of all, that voters may actually crave the opposite of the relentlessly turbulent tenure of Trump.He made that pitch explicit in a tweet, pledging, “If you elect me president, I promise you won’t have to think about me for 2 weeks at a time. I’ll do my job watching out for North Korea and ending this trade war. So you can go raise your kids and live your lives.”James Carville, a top strategist on both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s early presidential campaigns, is bullish on Bennet because he believes that “the way to beat Trump is to be as profoundly different from Trump as you can be.””Just be nice, be calm, get out of everybody’s face,” he said. “If the country is looking for the most unlike Donald Trump person, I think Michael Bennet is that person.”Carville said he’s spoken to other Democrats who believe Bennet would make the best president out of any candidate in the field. Carville said he would make an even better nominee than Joe Biden because “he’d be new, different, younger and … could project forward.”Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet speaks at the Des Moines Register Soapbox during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.But before Bennet can even be taken seriously as the challenger to Trump, he must emerge from a field of two dozen other Democratic hopefuls, including a cluster that shares some version of his pragmatic approach, such as Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Many trees must fall before primary voters would see Bennet as their alternative.He is at his most animated when he is assailing “Medicare for All,” Sanders’ signature policy proposal and one also embraced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.”I really believe that, better than the other people that are in this field, the agenda that I’m pursuing is an agenda that Democrats in Iowa and South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada will recognize themselves in,” he said.Indeed, some voters in Iowa do see an appeal in Bennet’s calm.”That’s what I want — someone who’s really steady, and he has a reputation for being really knowledgeable about policy,” said Linda Simonton, a 71-year-old retiree from Des Moines, after seeing Bennet speak at the fair. “He knows what he’s doing. He’s worked in the Senate, he’s worked on immigration, he’s worked across the aisle.”And the Des Moines Register editorial board praised Bennet after sitting down with him, encouraging caucusgoers to give him “more attention.””He offers a much-needed reality check on the promises candidates are offering and what it will take to accomplish meaningful change,” the board wrote.Bennet is Trump’s opposite even in style. Compared to other candidates who shout or sermonize on the stump, Bennet tends toward monotone that can make his speeches sound like a well-intentioned lecture from someone’s father. On the stump at the state fair, Bennet, who delayed his entrance into the race because he had prostate cancer, even joked to the crowd that they should get their prostates checked.Asa Leonard, an 18-year-old art student who saw Bennet in Knoxville, Iowa, said he was “charmed” by the senator’s style.”He’s very much a dad-jokey kind of guy, very nice and calm and open, and a little stern but not aggressively so,” he said.That style appeals to even some voters who identify as more progressive. Leonard, who said he favors South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg or Sanders to Bennet, said Bennet was “the most compelling person from the moderate policy lineup.”Audience members wearing “Moms Demand Action” gun reform T-shirts listen to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet speak at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.Still, some of Bennet’s supporters are skeptical that he can break through. Phyllis Weeks, a 69-year-old Democratic activist, enthusiastically asked Bennet if he needed donations to get into the next debate because “I think you have some really good things to say.”Weeks said she liked that he’s a “steady hand” and “has a lot of authority and wisdom,” but said she was skeptical of his chances in the primary.”I don’t know that Michael Bennet can win the nomination,” she said.And Simonton, who saw Bennet at the fair and said she likes that he’s a “nice kind of mild-mannered guy,” also admitted “it’s actually my belief” that a more “macho” guy would be more motivating for voters.”I have to think about who other people would like … like with Steve Bullock, I think, OK, here’s a really good-looking, kind of macho, nice guy, all wrapped up in one, that I think a lot of people would find really appealing,” she said.Bennet’s heard this kind of thing before. But he doesn’t feel compelled to change his style, or his message, to prove them wrong.  “I’ve heard people say … are you too nice?” he said. “But I think what they’re really asking is, ‘Are you tough enough for this? And I think I am tough enough for this.'”

Romney Says Climate Change Happening, Humans Contribute

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday that he believes climate change is happening and human activity is a significant contributor.During a speech at the conservative Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City, the senator acknowledged that the position is rare among his fellow Republicans, but one that younger people seem to respond to more strongly than older conservatives.”In some respects, (by speaking with newer conservatives), I’ll be able to make inroads with some of the young people coming along,” he said.The former GOP presidential nominee has acknowledged climate change before, and said during his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate in Utah that “climate realities” will make wildfires more common and destructive in the West. His comments Monday took that stance a step further.Still, Romney said he’s opposed to the Green New Deal economic package intended to fight climate change, calling it “silliness” in part because much of the growth in emissions is coming from developing countries such as India and Brazil rather than the U.S.The U.S. should instead provide incentivizes for entrepreneurs to develop cleaner energy sources while also helping people who work in industries that could be left behind, such as coal mining, he added.”I’m not willing to sit by if there are major sectors that are losers … and watch people and communities suffer because of that change,” he said.Romney discussed the benefits of a carbon tax, a fee based on each ton of carbon dioxide emissions produced by fossil fuels that some major oil companies have adopted. He suggested a portion of the tax revenue could go to coal workers in rural communities that would suffer financially from the move to cleaner power alternatives.The former Massachusetts governor also criticized “Medicare for All” proposals supported by candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination that would put the government in charge of most health benefits.Romney said the “deeply discounted” Medicare payments would cripple the revenue of “virtually every hospital in rural America.”On immigration, Romney said he shared the angst of Democrats over family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling it a “very dark chapter” in the country’s history. He stressed the need for tougher border security and a “merit-based system” of legal immigration, but added that Republicans need to agree on a stance before negotiating immigration policies with Democrats.The senator has yet to endorse a candidate in the 2020 presidential election but has said that Trump will likely win re-election in 2020 as an incumbent presiding over a strong economy.

Netanyahu’s Partisan Streak has Paid off, but for how Long?

In the eyes of critics, Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bar two Democratic congresswomen at the request of President Donald Trump is the latest reckless gamble by a prime minister willing to sacrifice Israel’s national interests for short-term gain.The move infuriated Democrats and risked turning Israel into even more of a partisan issue at a time when Americans are fiercely divided and Trump faces a tough fight for re-election.And yet the pursuit of such allegedly short-sighted policies has kept Netanyahu and his Likud party in power for more than a decade, making him the longest-serving leader in Israel’s history. The latest move, popular among his right-wing base, comes as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term in next month’s elections.Israel’s steady, two-decade lurch to the right shows no sign of reversing. Its refusal to accede to international demands for concessions to the Palestinians has not only brought no serious consequences from Washington, but is now being rewarded and encouraged by the White House.“Since Likud came to power in 1977 and Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Israel has lived with dire warnings about the growing rift between American and Israeli Jews, or about the contradiction between Israel’s claims to be a democracy and its undemocratic rule over more than one million Palestinians,” said Nathan Thrall, the head of the Arab-Israeli Project at the Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank.“The sky has not yet fallen.”Last week Netanyahu barred the entry of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, newly-elected Muslim congresswomen who have been fierce critics of Trump and of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Netanyahu said the two were banned over their support of the international boycott movement, but Israel had said as recently as last month that all members of Congress would be welcome.Instead, the decision seems to have been made in response to Trump, who has sought to make the left-wing congresswomen the face of the Democratic Party as he seeks to fire up his base ahead of the 2020 elections. Trump said he spoke to “people over there” about the visit, without elaborating, and tweeted that it would be a “show of weakness” for Israel to let them in.In the wake of the decision, Israeli commentators and analysts said Netanyahu had blatantly disregarded a bedrock principle of Israeli foreign policy — that it remain above America’s partisan fray.“The problem is not with these two members of Congress, or with the boycott movement against Israel, whose achievements are zero,” columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday.“The problem is that Israel is losing the Democratic Party, which for years was Israel’s mainstay in the U.S. It is losing its elected officials, and what is much worse, it is losing its voters… Anyone who is opposed to Trump is finding it more and more difficult to support Israel.”Netanyahu’s critics issued similar laments a decade ago, when he dismissed calls from a popular and newly elected President Barack Obama to freeze the growth of settlements in the occupied territories in order to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians. Netanyahu had a notoriously prickly relationship with Obama, and was widely seen as siding with Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. elections, allegations the prime minister denied. In 2015, Netanyahu drew fire after addressing a joint session of Congress to argue against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran — an extraordinary breach of U.S. protocol.But Israel suffered few if any consequences. Obama signed the largest military aid deal ever concluded with Israel — or any other country — in his last year in office. The Obama administration also largely shielded Israel from criticism at the U.N. and other international bodies, even as the peace process went nowhere and settlements continually expanded.Under Trump, things have only gotten better for Netanyahu. The U.S. has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, recognized the annexation of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and cut aid to the Palestinians — all without calling for a Palestinian state or a suspension of settlement activity.Those moves proved divisive in the United States — but not in Israel, where polls find Trump is more popular than in his own country.The partisan alliance between Trump and Netanyahu is “really dangerous in terms of Israeli national interests,” said Gayil Talshir, a political science professor at Hebrew University. “But I don’t think the voters in Israel vote on these kinds of issues.”The decision to bar Tlaib and Omar could pay further dividends. Netanyahu has spoken of annexing parts of the West Bank, something for which the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has expressed support . That would be seen by the Palestinians and much of the international community as yet another major blow to any hopes for a two-state solution, but could give Netanyahu a boost ahead of next month’s elections.His supporters, meanwhile, say it’s the Israeli media that endangers national interests.“The same media that enlisted to advance President Obama’s suicidal peace plans and nuclear agreement, and which cast every one of the historic measures that President Donald Trump took in Israel as dangerous, has now committed itself to a nightmarish depiction of the damage that supposedly has been caused to our relations with the Democratic Party,” columnist Eldad Beck wrote Sunday in Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu daily.Netanyahu’s luck could run out.He faces a pre-indictment hearing and a series of corruption cases . He has denied any wrongdoing and, like Trump, has accused the media and law enforcement of a witch-hunt. After failing to form a coalition government following April’s elections, Netanyahu dissolved parliament, forcing a repeat vote scheduled for Sept. 17.There’s also the possibility that Trump might lose re-election, and that the next U.S. president could be one of the many Democrats who criticized the decision to bar the congresswomen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also criticized it, but she told The Associated Press that the U.S. relationship with Israel can “withstand” Trump and Netanyahu.“The decreasing support for Israel among progressives is a very slow moving and long term threat,” Thrall said. “It has not yet translated into any changes in policy or even in proposals by Democrats to change policy… So Israel and Netanyahu don’t have much to worry about right now.”

Omar, Tlaib Host News Conference on Travel Restrictions

Democratic U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan plan to host a news conference Monday afternoon on travel restrictions to Israel and Palestine, after they were denied entry into Israel last week.
At the urging of President Donald Trump, Israel denied entry to the two Muslim representatives over their support for the Palestinian-led boycott movement. Tlaib and Omar, who had planned to visit Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank on a tour organized by a Palestinian group, are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and support the Palestinian-led international movement boycotting Israel.Before Israel’s decision, Trump tweeted it would be a “show of weakness” to allow the two representatives in. Israel controls entry and exit to the West Bank, which it seized in the 1967 Mideast war along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – territories the Palestinians want for a future state.Trump’s request to a foreign country to bar the entry of elected U.S. officials and Israel’s decision to do so were unprecedented and drew widespread criticism, including from many Israelis as well as staunch supporters of Israel in Congress. Critics said Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision was a reckless gamble and risked turning Israel into a partisan issue and threatened to undermine ties between the close allies.Tlaib and Omar are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Supporters say the movement is a nonviolent way of protesting Israel’s military rule over the occupied territories, but Israel says it aims to delegitimize the state and eventually wipe it off the map.Last week, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Tlaib had requested and been granted permission to enter the West Bank to see her aging grandmother. Deri’s office released a letter that it said was from Tlaib, which promised to respect travel restrictions during her visit. But after the announcement, Tlaib tweeted she wouldn’t allow Israel to use her love for her grandmother to force her to “bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”The two congresswomen are part of the “squad” of liberal newcomers all women of color whom Trump has labeled as the face of the Democratic Party as he runs for re-election. He subjected them to a series of racist tweets last month in which he called on them to “go back” to their “broken” countries. They are U.S. citizens – Tlaib was born in the U.S. and Omar became a citizen after moving to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia.

Sanders, Warren Among 2020 Candidates to Address Native Americans

For the first time in more than a decade, Native Americans have the opportunity to question presidential candidates on issues of importance to Indian Country.“This is our chance to tell candidates that they can earn our votes,” said organizer O.J. Semans, co-executive director of the national Native American voting rights organization FILE – O.J. Semans, of Rosebud, S.D., executive director of the voting advocacy group Four Directions, At a South Dakota Election Board hearing, July 31, 2013.Nine presidential hopefuls, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development Julian Castro, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Montana Gov., Democrat Steve Bullock, Navajo pastor Mark Charles and author Marianne Williamson say they will participate in the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum.The two-day event opens Monday in Sioux City, Iowa. Organizers say invitations were extended to candidates from all major political parties, although so far only these nine candidates hoping to unseat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election have confirmed their attendance. The organizers also say talks are continuing with several other campaigns.Mark Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and editor of Four Directions co-founder O.J. Semans, right, and Marcella LeBeau, whose ancestor died at Wounded Knee, June 25, 2019,Of the hundreds of issues of importance to Native American voters, panelists will focus on two in particular, said Semans:The Earth Feather Sovereign, left, of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, playing drums and signing in the Capitol Rotunda after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Olympia, Wash.“Actually, underfunding is the fundamental to all these issues,” said Semans. “We wouldn’t have to be discussing funding for our transportation or infrastructure, we wouldn’t have to have discussions on housing and health care and law enforcement if the federal government fully honored the treaties.”In a related development, Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Friday she will work with New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna) on legislative proposals addressing chronic federal underfunding of tribes, as well as barriers to tribal sovereignty.The federal government has a responsibility to write a new chapter in the story of its government-to-government relationship with tribal nations. Read my and @SenWarren’s OP-ED in @IndianCountry: https://t.co/6dmxGrzswm— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) August 16, 2019The last time Native Americans had a chance to speak directly to presidential candidates was in August 2007 at the “Prez on the Rez” forum on the Morongo Reservation in California. Only three candidates, all Democrats for the 2008 race, participated. Then-New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel took part.This week’s forum is named for civil rights leader Frank LaMere, a citizen of the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska. He died in June.Co-sponsors include the Native Organizers Alliance, the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund.

Warren, Sanders Get Personal with Young, Black Christians

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren framed their Democratic presidential bids in personal, faith-based terms Saturday before black millennial Christians who could help determine which candidate becomes the leading progressive alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden.Sanders, the Vermont senator whose struggles with black voters helped cost him the 2016 nomination, told the Young Leaders Conference that his family history shapes his approach to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the rise of white nationalism in the United States.”I’m Jewish. My family came from Poland. My father’s whole family was wiped out by Hitler and his white nationalism,” Sanders said at the forum led by the Black Church PAC, a political action committee formed by prominent black pastors.”We will go to war against white nationalism and racism in every aspect of our lives,” Sanders said, promising to use the “bully pulpit” to unite instead of divide. Warren, a Massachusetts senator and United Methodist, quoted her favorite biblical passage, which features Jesus instructing his followers to provide for others, including the “least of these my brethren.””That’s about two things,” Warren said. “Every single one of us has the Lord within us. …. Secondly, the Lord does not call on us to sit back. The Lord does not just call on us to have a good heart. The Lord calls on us to act.”Sanders and Warren are looking for ways to narrow the gap with Biden, who remains atop primary polls partly because of his standing with older black voters. Polls suggest that younger black voters, however, are far more divided in their support among the many Democratic candidates.The senators, both of whom are white, connected their biblical interpretations to their ideas about everything from economic regulation and taxation to criminal justice and health care.”This is a righteous fight,” Warren said, who noted that she’s taught “fifth-grade Sunday School.”Sanders, while not quoting Scripture as did Warren, declared that “the Bible, if it is about anything, is about justice.” His campaign, he said, is “not just defeating the most dangerous president in modern American history. We are about transforming this nation to make it work for all of us.”Warren and Sanders received warm welcomes, with notable enthusiasm for their proposals to overhaul a criminal justice system both derided as institutionally racist and to eliminate student loan debt that disproportionately affects nonwhites. “They obviously tailored their message in a way that would resonate with this audience,” said Chanelle Reynolds, a 29-year-old marketing specialist from Washington, D.C. But that means they spoke to issues and concerns that we care about.''Reynolds described her generation of black voters - churchgoing or not - as more engaged than in the past, but cautious about choosing among candidates months before the voting begins. "I'm going to take my time,'' she said, adding thatthe last election, with Trump, shook us up, and we’re not going to let this one go by.” Indeed, the youngest generation of voters typically doesn’t shape presidential primary politics, for Democrats or Republicans. Impact of black votersBlack voters collectively have driven the outcome of the past two competitive Democratic nominating fights. But Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 built their early delegate leads largely on the strength of older black voters in Southern states with significant African American populations. Those states again feature prominently in the opening months of Democrats’ 2020 primary calendar, giving black millennials in metro areas such as Atlanta, along with Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, a chance to wield their influence early in the process. Beyond the primaries, the eventual Democratic nominee will need younger black voters to flip critical states that helped elect Trump: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. “Anybody who’s not talking to every community, particularly within the African American community, you’re running a fool’s race,” said the Rev. Leah Daughtry, a pastor from Washington, D.C., and member of the Democratic National Committee, who co-moderated the Black Church PAC forum.Three other 2020 candidates – Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana – attended the conference on Friday. Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris are the most prominent black candidates in the 2020 race.Mike McBride, a pastor who was Daughtry’s fellow moderator, stressed that the black church and the black community as a whole are not monolithic. Democrats, he said, must reach beyond the traditional Sunday services in places such as South Carolina, the first primary state with a sizable black population. “We need candidates to show up on our turf, not always asking us to show up on their turf,” McBride said in an interview. Daughtry said all Democratic candidates were invited, and she noted the absence of other leading candidates, including Biden, who is attending campaign fundraisers in the Northeast this weekend.”He missed an opportunity,” Daughtry said, to “make his case” to younger voters “who don’t know him like older folks do.”

Florida Leaders Move to Condemn White Nationalism 

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Florida legislators are moving to officially condemn white nationalism, with Democrats and Republicans alike drafting resolutions against hate-spurred violence, but the unity could be short-lived as elected officials plunge into debates over how the government should intervene to prevent more mass killings and rein in white supremacists. 
The condemnations come amid an outcry over a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which authorities believe the gunman posted a racist screed online shortly before the attack.  
Following the shooting, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, a Republican, called the violence a “reminder that we have more work to do,” and he called on a legislative committee to review what can be done to address white nationalism.    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.Earlier this week, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic presidential hopeful, called for a federal red flag'' law that would allow law enforcement to take away guns from white nationalists, if a judge agrees if a person poses an imminent danger. 
While Galvano says he's open to possibly expanding the Florida's
red flag” laws, he told the Associated Press on Thursday that the two issues should be addressed separately. 
Do both issues need to be considered and talked about? The answer is yes, but I don't know if you can just merge them,'' Galvano said. 
Since Florida's
red flag” law went into effect in March 2018, there have been 2,434 risk protection orders reported to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which prompted the agency to suspend 595 concealed weapons licenses. The protection orders give law enforcement the authority to temporarily confiscate guns. Rubio’s call
Following the 2018 mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio called on Congress to follow his state’s lead in enacting a federal red flag'' law — a call that  he again made following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that killed 31 people. 
In the wake of those shootings, Florida Republicans have focused their condemnation on hate groups and their attention on keeping guns away from those with mental illness. 
A trio of Republican state senators began circulating a resolution on Thursday that rejects white nationalism as
hateful, dangerous and morally corrupt.” 
That followed a move earlier in the week by Democrats in the Florida House, who introduced legislation spurning white supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of Florida and the United States.'' 
But while both parties were united in their condemnation of race-based hate, it remains to be seen what policy changes will be enacted.  FILE - Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, participates in debate April 17, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla.
We can have lots of discussions about hate as it relates to white supremacy and white nationalism, but it does not get us to the solution of dealing with guns — and that’s the bottom line for any discussion that should be done,” said Sen. Audrey Gibson, the Democratic leader in the Republican-controlled state Senate. 
In a letter sent to Galvano on Wednesday, she said it was still too easy to access a gun in Florida. 
Gun-control activists are trying to place a measure on the 2020 ballot that would ban assault weapons. Common thread
Whether the massacre unfolded in El Paso, Dayton or Las Vegas, Newtown, Parkland or Pulse, the one inescapable common thread that has bound each and every one of these horrific mass shootings is the presence of an assault weapon,'' Gibson said. She said the state could do better in controlling access to guns, strengthening background checks for private gun sales and expanding the state'sred flag” laws to allow relatives, not just law enforcement, to seek a court order when they think a family member might pose a risk. 
Galvano said everything would be on the table'' as his chamber begins work on strengthening laws to curb mass violence and to expand the laws enacted in response to the Parkland shootings. But when pressed, Galvano said he would leave it to legislative committees to come up with specific legislation. 
In the best-case scenario, the most effective way to begin to approach the state’s role in these things is to look comprehensively — everything from law enforcement and how we’re doing it, and policy changes in funding, mental health screenings, red flags and gun safety.” 

Hickenlooper Ends White House Bid, Weighs 2020 Senate Run

DENVER — Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday ended his longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and said he might run for the Senate in 2020 against a Republican considered one of the most politically vulnerable incumbents. 
In a video message, Hickenlooper said many in his state had urged him to enter the Senate race. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought,'' he said.  
Colorado's shift to the left could put GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in jeopardy, and at least 10 Democrats have launched campaigns, setting up a competitive primary even before Hickenlooper, 67, decides. 
Hickenlooper became a political giant in Colorado for his quirky, consensus-driven and unscripted approach to politics. He once jumped out of a plane to promote a ballot measure to increase state spending and he won two statewide elections during years of Republican waves. He also was Denver's mayor. 'Worthwhile' effort
He began his White House campaign in March, promising to unite the country. Instead, he quickly became a political punch line.
While this campaign didn’t have the outcome we were hoping for, every moment has been worthwhile,” he tweeted on Thursday. 
Founding a series of brewpubs made Hickenlooper a multimillionaire. But shortly before taking his first trip to Iowa as a presidential candidate, he balked on national television at calling himself a capitalist. Then, at a CNN town hall, he recounted how he once took his mother to see a pornographic movie.  
With the campaign struggling to raise money, his staff urged Hickenlooper to instead challenge Gardner. But Hickenlooper stayed in and hired another group of aides in a last-ditch effort to turn around his campaign.  
He positioned himself as a common-sense candidate who couldn’t be labeled a socialist'' by Republicans. But Hickenlooper couldn't make his voice heard in the crowded Democratic field of about two dozen candidates.  Not much of a speaker
It didn't help that, by Hickenlooper's own admission, he was a mediocre debater and an erratic public speaker. In the end, he could not scrape together enough money for many of his trademark quirky ads, only launching one in which avid beer drinkers toast Hickenlooper by comparing him to favorite brews.  
Hickenlooper softened his denials of interest in the Senate in recent weeks as his campaign finances dwindled and pressure increased from other Democrats. He started telling people he'd decide by the end of this week.  
He even met with Colorado's Democratic secretary of state, Jena Griswold, who was mulling a run against Gardner. Griswold last week announced she would not challenge Gardner, and that helped to spark speculation among Colorado Democrats that Hickenlooper would eventually jump in.  
If he entered the Democratic primary, Hickenlooper would be
the absolute favorite,” said Mike Stratton, a veteran Democratic strategist in Denver.  
But some of Gardner’s challengers have said they don’t intend to step aside even if the former governor runs.  
“What I heard Gov. Hickenlooper tell everybody who asked is he wasn’t cut out to be a senator and didn’t want the job,” former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, one of the primary contenders, said in a radio interview. 
Hickenlooper isn’t the first Democratic hopeful to end his 2020 presidential bid. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California announced his departure in July. 

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