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Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Special pre-debate edition of the Daily Presidential News Briefing

Catch up on the 2020 presidential race one week before the first debate, from Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 19, Brew. I’m replacing today’s Daily Brew with a special edition of Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing. We’ll resume our regular Daily Brew tomorrow morning! 

The nation will see 20 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida, for the first debates of the 2020 primary season.

Keeping track of a massive Democratic field, an incumbent president seeking re-election, and the issues both sides see as critical to their political success is tough.

We’ve got you covered — with our Daily Presidential News Briefing.
 
The Daily Briefing gives you the news you need, delivered right to your inbox. It’s the kind of coverage you expect from Ballotpedia — just the facts, none of the spin.
 
You can see for yourself in this sample issue how we are approaching the 2020 election season. 
 
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Oh, and best of all? The Daily Presidential News Briefing is free.

So please — read, share, and don’t forget to subscribe. And if you have feedback on the newsletter, please drop us a line at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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Notable Quotes of the Day

“It is clear that the inherently dubious nature of [the debates] has been exacerbated by the party’s new rules. A real debate would provide a substantive back and forth between candidates on major issues; but despite the considerable build-up, that’s not what these nationally televised sessions deliver.”

—Elizabeth Drew, Daily Beast

“The field will winnow. And I don’t think that it’s worth it for the DNC to be involved in the winnowing. I don’t find it concerning or alarming to have 20 people running for president. I think it’s great.”

—U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Politico


Number of candidates

With 24 candidates running, the 2020 Democratic field has surpassed the number of Democratic and Republican candidates combined in 2016

Only 20 could make the debate stage—10 per night—next week. Here’s a breakdown of who made the cut and how they have been campaigning in recent weeks.

Wednesday, June 26 Democratic debate

  • Cory Booker issued his housing platform, which would include a tax credit for renters filling the gap between 30 percent of the renter’s income and fair-market rent in their neighborhood. He also called for the creation of a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom focused on “coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care” at the federal level.

  • Julián Castro was the first candidate to release an immigration platform. His plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million individuals residing in the U.S. without legal permission and repeal Section 1325, a law which makes it a federal crime to illegally cross the border. Castro said he believed his path to the White House ran through Texas and Nevada.

  • Bill de Blasio was the last candidate to enter the field. While de Blasio has a net favorability rating of negative 24 percent, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council endorsed him earlier this month and said it would send members to campaign for him in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada.

  • John Delaney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling Medicare for All “political suicide for Democrats.” He issued a $2 trillion infrastructure platform and $4 trillion climate action proposal that would introduce a carbon tax and attempt to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050.

  • Tulsi Gabbard has highlighted her noninterventionist foreign policy and military experience as an Iraq War veteran. In May, Gabbard co-founded the bipartisan Servicewomen and Women Veterans Congressional Caucus and criticized Trump on his foreign policy in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.

  • Jay Inslee, who calls his presidential campaign a “climate movement,” proposed manufacturing zero-emission vehicles, eliminating the carbon footprint of all new buildings, shutting down coal-fired power plants, and requiring utility companies to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2035. The DNC declined his request for a debate focused exclusively on climate change.

  • Amy Klobuchar opened her campaign headquarters in Minneapolis in May and issued a series of farm policy proposals, including changing rules that allow small refineries to be exempted from biofuel laws. She has also promoted her Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act designed to protect U.S. elections from foreign influence.

  • Beto O’Rourke has made policy statements on immigrationvoting access, and LGBT policy in the past month. After initially sidestepping national media, O’Rourke began doing more television appearances, including a town hall on CNN.

  • While campaigning in New Hampshire, Tim Ryan said he would “be the education president.” He advocated for social and emotional programs and more mental health counselors in public schools.

  • Elizabeth Warren said she would sign a moratorium on both offshore drilling and new mining on federal lands on her first day in office. Her next policy priorities: setting anti-corruption rules for elected officials and passing a two percent wealth tax on assets exceeding $50 million and three percent on those exceeding $1 billion.

Thursday, June 27 Democratic debate

  • Michael Bennet released a $1 trillion climate change platform focused on land management and agriculture. He challenged the direction of the party, saying, “I don’t think the base of the Democratic Party is anywhere near where the Twitter base of the Democratic Party is.”

  • Joe Biden entered the race in April as the frontrunner, raising $6.3 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign and topping national and early state polls before he had declared. He has been running what The Washington Post called a “limited exposure” campaign to focus on fundraising, policy development, and campaign infrastructure rather than public activities.

  • Pete Buttigieg received a polling boost after his CNN town hall appearance in March. He has since participated in town halls on Fox News and MSNBC. In his first list of policy priorities, Buttigieg said he wants to create a “Medicare for All Who Want It” as a precursor to Medicare for All, implement a Green New Deal, and establish independent redistricting commissions to end gerrymandering.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand released a “Family Bill of Rights” proposal that would address several medical, educational, and tax policies. Among the proposals is requiring insurance companies to cover fertility treatments like IVF and providing refundable tax credits for adoption. Gillibrand has spoken against anti-abortion laws in Georgia on the campaign trail.

  • Kamala Harris proposed addressing gender pay equity by fining corporations who fail to receive a newly created Equal Pay Certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harris says her career as a prosecutor would be her greatest asset in a general election against Trump.

  • Self-described “pragmatic progressive” John Hickenlooper said Democrats need to distinguish themselves from socialists. “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” he said. Hickenlooper supports a public option similar to Medicare and Medicare Advantage to move toward a single-payer system in one or two decades.

  • In a speech at George Washington University, Bernie Sanders laid out his vision for democratic socialism in the United States. Sanders said that “we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.” He also attended Walmart’s shareholder meeting in Arkansas earlier this month and called on the company to raise its minimum wage to $15.

  • Eric Swalwell said addressing gun violence would be the top priority of his presidency. He has hit the television airwaves early with an ad promoting his proposed gun buyback program in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. “I say keep your hunting rifles, keep your pistols, keep your shotguns, but let’s ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America,” he says in the clip.

  • Marianne Williamson said the United States needs a “moral and spiritual awakening.” She has called for the creation of a Department of Childhood and Youthto address chronic trauma among children. In the spring, Williamson moved to Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s been about showing her commitment to the Iowa caucuses,” state director Brent Roske said.

  • Universal basic income is the foundation of Andrew Yang’s campaign. He has selected two families in Iowa and New Hampshire to receive $1,000 per month for a year to showcase his policy proposal.

Did not qualify for the first Democratic debates

  • Mike Gravel, whose campaign is being run by two teenagers, is running to push the field to the left by participating in the primary debates. The campaign said it had nearly 47,500 unique contributors—less than 20,000 away from the threshold to qualify for the July debates.

  • Seth Moulton has spoken about living with PTSD after serving four tours in the Iraq War and called for expanding health services for military members and veterans. Moulton said he will focus on campaigning in New Hampshire over the summer.

  • When announcing his candidacy May 14, Steve Bullock highlighted his 2016 gubernatorial win in Montana, a state which President Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016.

  • The centerpiece of Wayne Messam’s presidential campaign is canceling $1.5 trillion in student debt. Messam has criticized FEC rules which do not allow him to use leftover campaign funds from his mayoral campaign and the DNC’s debate criteria.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump and pro-Trump groups have spent more than $10 million on digital advertising in battleground states like Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin. Trump kicked off his re-election campaign yesterday in Orlando, Florida. At the rally, he discussed the media, Russia, federal judges including Brett Kavanaugh, immigration, and border security, among other issues.

  • Bill Weld is targeting states with open primaries. “I’ll be focusing on the 20 states that permit crossover voting. It’s not just Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, it’s 17 other states,“ Weld said. He is also opening a campaign office in New Hampshire by the end of June.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Stacey Abrams has not ruled out running for president, saying the nominating process will “winnow out who is actually viable” and that she could enter in the fall. Abrams said, “I will enter this race if I think I can add value to it. I don’t have enough information at this moment to make that decision.”

  • Larry Hogan announced he will not challenge Trump in the Republican primary. Instead, he is launching the advocacy group An America United to “support bipartisan, common-sense solutions to create more and better jobs, cut taxes, protect the environment, build our infrastructure, and improve education.”

  • Howard Schultz announced he was putting his presidential exploration on hiatus for the summer to recover from three back surgeries.

Save the Date

The first presidential primaries are seven months away. Here are some key dates to keep in mind:

  • June 26-27, 2019: The first set of 12 Democratic primary debates are held in Miami, Florida. Tune into NBC News, MSNBC, or Telemundo to watch it live.

  • July 15, 2019: Second quarter financial reports are due to the FEC.

  • July 30-31, 2019: Detroit hosts the second set of Democratic primary debates.

  • Sept. 12-13, 2019: ABC News and Univision are partnering for the third Democratic primary debate.

  • Feb. 3, 2020: Iowa caucuses.

  • Feb. 11, 2020: New Hampshire primary.

  • Feb. 22, 2020: Nevada Democratic caucuses.

  • Feb. 29, 2020: South Carolina Democratic primary.

  • March 3, 2020: Super Tuesday primaries with California included for the first time.

Have more questions about the presidential race? We’ve got answers.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Republican presidential contenders Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum spoke at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. Lindsey Graham was scheduled to attend but returned to his home state following the Charleston church shooting two days earlier.



The Daily Brew: One SCOTUS redistricting case decided, two to go

Today’s Brew highlights the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing Virginia’s redrawn state House maps to stand + a new way to learn about Texas’ 10 constitutional amendments in 2019  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, June 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling
  2. Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures
  3. Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Virginia House of Delegates lacked standing to appeal a lower court order that struck down the state’s legislative district plan as a racial gerrymander. As a result, the state House’s legislative maps which were drawn by a court-appointed special master will stand. Those maps were used in Virginia’s state legislative primary elections held last week.

In Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, the Court decided that the House of Delegates does not have the authority to represent Virginia’s interests in this matter. Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Thomas, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Gorsuch. She wrote, “the State did not designate the House to represent its interests here. Under Virginia law, authority and responsibility for representing the State’s interests in civil litigation rest exclusively with the State’s Attorney General.”

Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh. He wrote that the district court’s decision redrawing the legislative maps harmed the state House so as to give it standing to appeal the case. He wrote, “we must assume that the districting plan enacted by the legislature embodies the House’s judgment regarding the method of selecting members that best enables it to serve the people of the Commonwealth…It therefore follows that discarding that plan and substituting another inflicts injury in fact.”

The legislative maps that were drawn by a court-appointed special master and challenged by the House of Delegates first went into effect in January. They were the result of a sequence of lawsuits that began in 2014.

That year, opponents of Virginia’s legislative map filed suit in federal district court alleging that 12 state legislative districts constituted an illegal racial gerrymander. The district court rejected this argument, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. In 2017, SCOTUS remanded the case in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, finding that the district court had “employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts.”

In 2018, the district court ruled that the 11 districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. After the state legislature did not adopt a remedial plan, the district court appointed a special master to draft one.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Under the old maps, Hillary Clinton won 51 districts in 2016 and Donald Trump won 49. Under the new maps, Clinton would have won 56 districts (7 currently held by Republicans) while Trump would have won 44 (none currently held by Democrats).

The Supreme Court has yet to issue opinions in two other redistricting cases heard this term—Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek. The cases concern whether the congressional district maps adopted in North Carolina and Maryland, respectively, constitute an illegal partisan gerrymander. Decisions in both cases are expected by the end of June.

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Upcoming Insights


Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures

Voters in Texas will decide 10 measures on November 5 in a statewide constitutional amendment election. All were referred to the ballot by the Texas legislature and cover topics from education to taxes to law enforcement animals.

My colleagues on our ballot measures team developed a new Learning Journey to guide you through all 10 amendments, including how and why legislators put them on the ballot and what each amendment would do.

Each day, we’ll send you an email with information, examples, and exercises to help you understand this subject. Along the way, you’ll be able to contact us with any questions and comments you may have.

I’ve written about a few of these Texas constitutional amendments earlier this year in the Brew, and I can’t wait to learn about the rest. I hope you’ll join me!

Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Last week I introduced you to what we’ll be doing during Fourth of July week—Ballotpedia Summer Camp!

During that time, I’ll hand over the keys to the Brew to other Ballotpedia team members to share their perspectives on the most interesting stories of the year.

We also want to share ideas and stories from our amazing readers. How are you spending your summer? What political story has captured your attention the most so far in 2019? What topic do you think will be most significant in the second half of the year?

Just reply back to this email with an answer to any or all of those questions, and we might share it with other Daily Brew readers that week.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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