Rising Newsletter: Thanksgiving Edition
Billionaires, Identity Politics, and Obama Election Meddling
|Saagar Enjeti||Nov 29, 2019|| 6|
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 Friday 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) Zaid Jilani:
Why: Zaid lays out a personal story of how a critical story he wrote about Michael Bloomberg was met with hostility from the Center for American Progress (CAP) because of the billionaire’s financial influence. Zaid also responds to alleged comments from former President Barack Obama that he may intervene to stop Bernie Sanders if he becomes the Democratic nominee.
2) Ryan Grim:
Why: Ryan responds here to progressive criticism of his latest piece on Elizabeth Warren which touts her rhetorical embrace of the labor movement. Critics argue that while she may invoke that legacy of militant unionism, she herself has not engaged in that struggle. Ryan explains how he views Warren, her priorities, and her theory of change based on years of covering her.
Why: Young activists are leading a movement to force Harvard and Yale to divest from fossil fuels going so far as to storm the field of a major football game, delaying the event for over an hour. One of the organizers joined us to explain why and what they are planning for their next action.
Answer (from both): It is certainly possible! We discussed this on show Wednesday after the release of a Quinnipiac poll which showed her loss of nearly 14 points over a single month nationally with major losses in fields such as most electable, tells the truth, and other important barometers.
Warren’s M4A roll out was reminiscent of a typical politician who goes to great lengths to gaslight on the very basics, such as not including a payroll tax or saying she would pass full M4A in the third year of her presidency. The plan signaled that healthcare is simply not a priority for the Warren campaign and that she is always trying to get the right answer rather than say what she actually thinks. To voters it all just stinks of typical Washington BS.
Answer (from Saagar): Ha, yes. Lamenting class struggle isn’t something that belongs only to Democrats and liberals. I think what throws you for a loop is that I’m one of the few (but growing number) of people on the right that shares the same view of progressives that concentrated corporate power is the biggest threat to American democracy and prosperity.
Where we differ is what to do about it and what priorities we must have once we take power. I place an emphasis on trade policy, restrictive immigration, and reorientation towards geopolitical competition with China. Progressives in my view seem instead to look to healthcare, expansive immigration, and de-militarization.
Answer (from Krystal): My definition of “progressive” is pretty simple, it’s anyone who believes in the fundamental dignity and economic rights of every human. Anyone who believes that all are worthy of care, community, and the essential basics of life to include health care, education, clean water, clean air and a living wage. That’s what FDR was talking about when he proposed his 4 Freedoms. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Sadly so many in the Democratic Party spend their time thinking of excuses for why these basic essentials are impossible to provide for all our people rather than fighting to realize FDR’s vision.
Krystal’s Takeaway: Obama’s “Stop Bernie” plan
Another week brings fresh indicators that Bernie’s surge is real and durable. A new Emerson poll has him climbing to the top of the pack in New Hampshire and a new Morning Consult early state tracker has him rising 9 points in just the past month.
So it’s no surprise that establishment Democrats are beginning to sound the alarm about the dangers of his candidacy. In particular, we learned this week in a Politico Magazine profile of President Obama written by Ryan Lizza, that the former President and his aides feel they will simply *have* to intervene were Sanders to look like he was running away with the nomination. You’ve got to love the classic passive aggressive way they issue this warning shot too. According to Lizza: “He said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.” And don’t worry, Obamaland advisors are also on board with the #neverbernie plan. Here’s Lizza again: “I asked one close adviser whether Obama would really lay himself on the line to prevent a Sanders nomination. ‘I can’t really confirm that,’ the adviser said. ‘He hasn’t said that directly to me. The only reason I'm hesitating at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. But I don't think that's likely. It's not happening.’ Another close Obama friend said, ‘Bernie's not a Democrat.’”
The “Bernie’s not a Democrat” argument is always hilarious to me. These people have never for one second reflected on what it says about their Democratic Party that the most popular person in it isn’t even a Democrat. These comments though were I’m sure made very intentionally to Lizza and should be a real wakeup call for supporters of Sanders and all other anti-establishment candidates. The powers that be do not plan to go down without a fight. Their methods may look like the type of shenanigans they pulled in 2016, or it might look like trying to steal the nomination in event of a brokered convention. Already their media allies ignore, smear and dismiss anyone and everything that challenges establishment power.
Remember, Obama still holds quite a lot of power in the Democratic party. Just look at how a withered and diminished Biden still manages to hold a grip on the top spot thanks exclusively to his Obama association even WITHOUT an official endorsement. So, to those of you dedicated to upending business as usual, in case you had any illusions, Obama’s comments prove that you better be prepared for the fight of your lives.
Saagar’s Takeaway: Republicans Play Identity Politics
Earlier this week I lamented the rise of identity politics on the left and how satisfying it is to watch black voters in the Democratic primary defy elite’s obsession with race.
The problem however is just as pervasive on the Republican side. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is reportedly opting to choose a female financial executive with a history of donating to Democratic causes to replace retiring Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson. Kemp’s reported rationale is that it will be easier to win back female voters in the suburbs if he elevates a woman to the office and runs alongside her in 2022 when the term runs out.
It is the height of idiocy to think that simply picking a woman for Senate is enough for female voters to vote Republican again in 2022. As evidenced by black voters in the Democratic primary, women (like all *people*) vote for candidates that best fight for their class interests. A female financial executive with no political experience is almost certainly likely to espouse Mitt Romeny-esque positions with some verbal fire thrown in that she supports President Trump on issues like impeachment.
Republicans continue to unlearn the lesson of the 2016 presidential election by doubling down on free market libertarian adjacent economic policy and wondering why they lose. They don’t understand that Trump’s explicit bucking of this ideology coupled with cultural right positions is what delivered him the White House.
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