Rising Newsletter: Happy New Year!

Trump Strikes Iran, Bernie's Eye-Popping Fundraising and More

Hello #Risers! Welcome to our newsletter. If you haven’t already, tell your friends to sign up by sharing the link to this post!

As promised every week we’ll tell you what our favorite segments of the week are, give you a written and expanded version of #RisingQs, and give you our weekly takeaways. If there’s anything you love, like, dislike, or hate don’t hesitate to reply to this email with your thoughts!


Favorite Segments Of The Week

1) Trita Parsi:

Why: Trita is one of the few Washington think tank foreign policy experts who challenges the bipartisan war consensus. He also happens to be very well sourced in Iran and offered us invaluable insights into how Suleimani’s death will be viewed by the regime and how they may respond.

2) Krystal and Saagar warn Trump on Iran

Why: We both had deep feelings about just how dangerous of a situation we are in now after Suleimani’s assassination. Saagar in particular had a warning for Trump about the hopes and expectations of those who had put him in office.

3) Panel: Warren falls flat in fundraising

Why: This week we received fundraising numbers for all of the major candidates and they were deeply revealing. Sanders pulled in an astonishing haul of $34.5 million which is the most of any Democrat this cycle. Biden recovered somewhat but still had a rather pathetic number for a frontrunner who does nothing but fundraise. Warren’s decline is yet another sign that her campaign is struggling to hang onto her positioning. We dig into what it all means.

2020 Predictions

Krystal: The next president will be Trump, Biden, or Bernie with Trump being the most likely of the 3. This year will represent a battle Royale between the three tent poles of American politics. The neoliberal establishment restoration types as represented by the candidacy of Joe Biden. The left populist working class movement of Sanders. And the right populist reactionary movement of Donald Trump. This year will reveal much more of the contours of the new reality we are already all living in.

Saagar: This election will be the most contentious since 1968. If Joe Biden wins the nomination the election will once again be an indictment of the neoliberal establishment with the media only fighting even harder against Trump than they did in 2016. If Bernie Sanders is to win the nomination it will instead be an all out brawl on the cultural issues that divide the Republican and Democratic parties. Both scenarios will involve powerful confrontations with major stakeholders in American society. Buckle up.

Weekly Takeaways:

Krystal: Julian Castro announced this week that he was dropping out of the Democratic race, triggering yet another avalanche of people on Twitter pretending to be heartbroken over a candidate they never supported. The reason for Julian’s failure was quickly identified: racism. Eugene Robinson made the case in an op-ed over at the Washington Post headlined: “Democrats are Starting to Look Like a Whites Only Party.”

Of course all of this ignores the many many people of color who did not support Julian Castro. In fact, a rather inconvenient fact for this whole analysis is the reality that people of color are exactly why two “old white guys” are currently the only real contenders for the Democratic nomination. Bernie and Biden have the most diverse coalitions of any of the candidates and their multi-racial working class support is precisely why they are so well positioned. 

The massive stakes involved in choosing a President have been laid even more bare by the act of war Trump just committed against Iran. Hundreds of thousands of lives now hang in the balance. We’re not choosing who we want on a magazine cover or as some sort of promotional branding exercise. We’re choosing a president. We’re choosing a commander and chief. What that person will do, the courage they have demonstrated, the principles they bring with them are endlessly more important than their race, gender, religion, eye color or anything else. 

At the end of the day, the folks who are pretending to be bereft at Julian’s departure don’t even actually care about diversity. If they did, they would celebrate Tulsi and they would celebrate Yang and maybe they would even find the idea of the first Jewish president, a son of immigrants, whose family members were killed in the Holocaust, to be an exciting prospect, especially at a time of rising anti-Semitism. But the truth is, they only care about diversity when it checks the right ideological boxes. There’s actually nothing wrong with that. You support a candidate because of what they stand for. That’s not a problem. But don’t dress it up as something else. Don’t act like you’re morally superior because you pretended to be saddest at Kamala and Julian’s departures.  And please allow everyone else the right to support the candidates who match their ideology as well. Even if it means supporting an old white guy. 

Saagar: Donald Trump’s campaign could very much be in trouble. The President and his advisors have indicated that they are going to run a “Socialism Sucks” style campaign against whomever ends up winning the Democratic nomination for president. Paired with their socialism sucks message will be an all out messaging assault about how good the state of the U.S. economy is from the Dow Jones Industrial Average to people’s 401k’s.

The problem however is that nearly half of all lower-income Republican voters do not believe the economy is working for them. That comes as the entire Democratic party believes the same thing. In other words, the majority of adults in the United States do not believe they live in an economy which works to the benefit of their family and think it is structured for the benefit of the rich.

Trump must instead run against the powerful institutions which tried to destroy his campaign in 2016. He should once again reprise his working class centric message that he touted at the Detroit Economic Club on the campaign promising to rebuild American cities like Detroit instead of crafting American policy to the benefit of Beijing.

The entire Republican establishment has prepared to run against socialism since Ronald Reagan left the White House. They also have lost 6/7 of the last popular vote elections and have accomplished little in the way of winning over the American public. Only a return to Trump’s actual economic message can guarantee his election, if he strays then there are plenty on the progressive left who are willing to make up the difference.