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One Way We Know Bernie Is The Real FDR Democrat In The Race

This is not a Pritzker

The MSNBC circle of #NeverTrump conservative Republicans may hate Trump, but they hate Bernie as well, if not even more. One of the most disgusting of the lot, AOC-hater Donnie Deutsch, admitted on the air, on Morning Joe, that if Bernie is the nominee, he'd vote for Trump: "I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this country... I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being... (at which point Scarborough shut him up before he could say the words). Watch:

Soon after, MSNBC gave Deutsch his own show, which failed to get any viewers, was universally panned and lasted for about as long as his friend The Mooch lasted as Trump's press secretary.

On Monday morning, the Daily Beast published a piece by Lachlan Markay: They Donated to Trump’s Inauguration. Now These Big Donors Are Funding His 2020 Competition. Well, they're funding certain candidates, but not Trump's real 2020 competition. The deranged-- and mostly crooked-- multimillionaires and billionaires who hoped to buy favor from Trump by funneling millions of dollars directly into his pockets through an inaugural committee that was nothing but a payoff scheme for Trump, have been donating to almost everyone-- even John Delaney!-- but Bernie (of course).

In January 2019, Jennifer Pritzker wrote an impassioned plea to her political party: She was a lifelong Republican, but the GOP was driving her away with messaging and policies targeting transgender people.

It had only been a few years since Pritzker, the world’s only known trans billionaire and a Republican megadonor, had chipped in a whopping $250,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. But three months after publicly objecting to the GOP’s stance on trans issues, she gave $1,000 to Democrat Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.

Pritzker is a member of a prominent, wealthy, and politically active family (her cousin J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic governor of Illinois, and his sister Penny was Barack Obama’s commerce secretary). But she is far from the only donor to Trump’s inauguration who has financially supported one of his potential Democratic presidential challengers.

The Daily Beast tallied 15 such donors who collectively gave more than $700,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee but who have since contributed to the presidential campaigns of Democratic candidates, including Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Eric Swalwell, and John Delaney.

The donors have a mixed record of prior support for Republicans. Some, like Pritzker, consistently contributed large sums to GOP candidates. Others had more bipartisan giving histories. And some chipped in to the Trump inaugural despite largely supporting Democrats in the past.

Taken together, though, the crop of donors who ponied up to celebrate Trump’s 2016 victory only to actively combat his re-election a few years later represent some notable political defections. And while the Trump re-election effort certainly is not hurting for cash as the election year begins, those defections signal some discontent among donors who, undoubtedly for various reasons, chose to signal their support for the new president just a few years ago.

...Greg Maffei, the chief executive of the Colorado-based media company Liberty Media, is another $250,000 donor to the Trump inaugural who is backing Democrats in 2020. Though he didn’t donate to Trump’s presidential campaign, he did so for Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.

This time around, though, Maffei has supported the two Democratic presidential candidates from his home state. In March 2019, he gave the per-election maximum of $2,800 to Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor. Two months later, after a max-out donation to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, Maffei donated $100,000 to a super PAC supporting Hickenlooper. After Hickenlooper withdrew from the race, Maffei donated the legal maximum to Bennet’s presidential campaign.

...Chrysa Tsakopoulos Demos, the chief executive of California land-development company AKT Investments, is a longtime Republican donor who backed Sen. Ted Cruz’s bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. She donated $5,000 to the Trump inaugural, and continued donating to Republicans through 2018, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence’s political group.

But Demos’ only federal political contribution so far in the 2020 cycle is the $2,800 she donated last year to Biden’s presidential campaign.

...Leonard Wilf, a real-estate developer and co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, has donated to both Democrats and Republicans. But just a few weeks before the 2016 election, he donated $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign and an additional $5,000 to a PAC supporting her. When Clinton lost, Wilf chipped in $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee. With Trump back on the ballot, though, Wilf is once again supporting a Democrat; in March 2019, he maxed out to Klobuchar’s campaign.

Florida physician Azzam Muftah maxed out to Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and wrote a handful of checks to the Democratic National Committee. But he donated $3,000 to the Trump inauguration, and during the 2018 cycle donated to a number of Senate Republicans, including Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, Mike Braun, and Jim Risch.

Come 2019, though, Muftah began chipping in to Trump challengers. So far this cycle, he’s donated to both Buttigieg and Booker.

Bruce Mosler, the chairman of real-estate giant Kushman & Wakefield’s global brokerage practice and a $25,000 donor to the Trump inaugural, really likes to hedge his bets. During the 2008 presidential race, he donated to the campaigns of Clinton, Biden, and Rudy Giuliani. In 2012, he supported both Romney and Barack Obama. Four years later, he donated to both Clinton and Trump.

In 2020, though, Mosler is supporting Biden. He’s donated $5,000 to Biden’s PAC and another $2,800 to his campaign.

Monday morning, NJ.com reported that when DCCC-Blue Dog Jeff Van Drew flipped from a Trump-supporting fake Democrat to a Trump-Worshipping Republican, his campaign manager, political operative Josh Roesch slid right into running the campaign of one of the establishment Democrats running against Van Drew, the Kennedy wife in this case.

Goal ThermometerRoesch, apparently a moron, told NJ.com, "I thought I was working for a Democrat. I’d like to go work for a Democrat still." I hope Amy Kennedy is more of a Democrat than Van Drew ever was. The DCCC recruited him when he was the most-Republican member of any Democrat in the New Jersey state legislature. It's always what the DCCC wants in candidates. These kinds of things may be important to you and I, but among the elites, a Biden or Mayo Pete or a Trump... mostly all the same. A Jeff Van Drew or a Kennedy... same/same. And that's exactly why Bernie stands out and why you won't find people like Josh Roesch, let along a Donny Deutsch, a Jennifer Pritzker or a Greg Maffei backing him. Bernie's the candidate of working men and women, not of the elites. And that's why I've embedded the ActBlue thermometer on the right. Please click on it and make Donny Deutsch, Jennifer Pritzker and Greg Maffei cry.

Last night, Politico published a more serious piece than we usually come to expect from them-- The coming clash between Bernie and Biden by Marc Caputo and Holly Otterbein. And it's about Biden's longstanding record of trying to gut Social Security and Medicare. Bernie staffer David Sirota told them that "Biden has repeatedly worked to cut Social Security, and has never offered up a good explanation for that crusade. His Social Security record is not only atrocious on a policy level, it is an enormous political vulnerability in both a primary and a general election. Bernie Sanders has exactly the opposite record-- he’s fought those cuts and fought to expand Social Security, and that is a contrast Democratic voters deserve to know." And tonight's the night.

Biden’s advisers said the former vice president will be ready to take on Sanders and prevail against his attacks onstage just as he did when opponents Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julián Castro, and Bill de Blasio went after him, only to see their critiques fall flat as they lost ground and exited the race as Biden pressed ahead.

Sanders, though, differs from those other candidates in one important way: He has a devoted base of loyal followers who show no signs of deserting him, many of whom want to see Sanders take the fight to a rival they view as the embodiment of the Democratic establishment by focusing on one of the party’s signature legacy programs, Social Security. He has also already repeatedly criticized Biden for his votes for the Iraq War and free-trade deals on the debate stage without seemingly suffering.

The Sanders team’s expected assault comes as he is at the top of the polls in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, but still significantly polling behind Biden among seniors. It’s not guaranteed he will execute the attack on Biden in a sustained way: After previous debates, some of his aides and supporters have been disappointed that he hasn’t confronted Biden more aggressively.

The two men’s history over the issue provides a window into their political personas, pitting Sanders, the left-wing outsider against Biden, the moderate dealmaker with a legacy of working with Republicans. Already, that positioning that has proved politically challenging for Biden in the leftward-shifting Democratic primary.

In proposing a Social Security plan during the primary with none of the cuts or changes he once countenanced, Biden has moved more toward Sanders-- a triumph for a progressive movement that fought for years to ensure Democratic politicians would only consider growing the program, instead of raising age eligibility requirements or freezing cost-of-living adjustments to make it pay out less.

“Bernie was key in that evolution,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who served as Biden’s chief economist and economic adviser from 2009 to 2011.

It was in December 2010 that Sanders filibustered the Biden-negotiated deal with Republicans that extended Bush-era tax cuts, cut the estate tax, continued unemployment benefits and created a temporary Social Security payroll tax cut, or “tax holiday.”

The deal was struck just a month after Republicans, in the words of President Obama, had just “shellacked” Democrats at the polls. Obama and Biden were facing reelection in less than two years; the president wanted to position himself as a reasonable centrist who was serious about deficit reduction. He was mindful he had to deal with divided government in Congress, and feeling the pressure to stimulate the economy with tax cuts because the scars of the recession were not healed.

After Biden briefed the Democratic caucus about the plan, Sanders was angered, said his senior adviser Warren Gunnels: “You can see Bernie sitting there listening to that and his blood starting to boil.”

Sanders said he believed the only concession Democrats received was the jobless benefits extension-- but his team had determined that that such benefits had been extended on a bipartisan basis every time the unemployment rate was as high as it was at the time. And he fretted that temporarily trimming Social Security taxes could ultimately help weaken the program.

So Sanders filibustered, mentioning Biden three times only by his title-- but never saying his name-- on the Senate floor as he blasted the deal the then-vice president negotiated with Republicans.

“I know the vice president recently made the point this was originally a Republican idea,” Sanders said, referring to the caucus meeting. “Why did the Republicans come up with this idea? These are exactly the same people who do not believe in Social Security.”

Biden responded with an op-ed in USA Today a month later where he accused opponents of the deal, without naming Sanders, of spreading “misinformation.”

Sanders failed to stop the measure. And his specific fears about weakening Social Security’s tax structure didn’t come to pass, though Social Security advocates said it helped popularize the idea of payroll-tax holidays.

But it catapulted Sanders into the burgeoning progressive movement’s national spotlight by criticizing Obama and Biden from the left. His speech trended on Twitter and blanketed cable television news, and Sanders’ office was inundated with more calls than they had ever received, an aide said.

“Bernie won the debate outside the Beltway,” Gunnels said. “I really think that lit a spark for the movement that Senator Sanders has led to create. That was really kind of the launching pad.”

Bernstein, Biden’s former adviser, agreed, saying Sanders was “showing himself to dissent from the mainstream Democratic playbook, trying to break from a fold that he felt was not pursuing good politics or policy. There’s clearly been a constituency of Democrats who are seeking a more liberal or progressive set of policies than the mainstream was serving up in those years.”

“That group has gotten a lot more attention from candidates and even the more moderate candidates have to their credit evolved with this constituency,” Bernstein said.

Sanders supporters chuckle at the irony that Sanders’ national political profile-- which is helping him mount one of the biggest threats to Biden’s presidential ambitions-- is, in part, the inadvertent byproduct of Biden’s penchant for cutting deals with Republicans.

Bernstein cautions that, while there’s a “leftward drift in the evolution of our agenda” that Sanders helped harness, Democratic voters are still moderate and Biden is a “full-throated and full-blooded supporter of Social Security.”

While Biden’s campaign won’t discuss his previous support for Social Security cuts and spending freezes, his defenders acknowledge he changed. They say the major reasons for that weren’t due to Sanders, but the bad economy of the recession, the bad faith of Tea Party Republicans who dictated the congressional agenda after winning the House in 2010, and a new perception in Washington political circles that didn’t view deficits, especially from safety-net programs, as nearly as dangerous as they previously had.

Biden’s earliest forays into Social Security cuts happened in 1984, when congressional concerns over Reagan-era deficits grew and he co-sponsored a failed proposal with Republicans to freeze spending, including cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security, which would have had the effect of a financial cut for recipients and a savings for government. Reagan and the Senate Republican leadership opposed it, saying it contained serious cuts to Social Security.

Sanders’ campaign pointed out last week that Biden in 1995 recalled on the Senate floor his four prior attempts to balance the budget, saying that he had been ready “to freeze all government spending, including Social Security, including everything.”

Before his second failed bid for president, Biden in 2007 said he would “absolutely” consider Social Security and Medicare spending limits but noted the political risks in pursuit of balancing the budget.

“The political advisers say to me is ‘whoa, don’t touch that third [rail],’” Biden said in a 2007 Meet the Pres” interview. “Look: the American people aren’t stupid.”

During the 2012 reelection, Biden struck a different posture when he told voters in Virginia that “I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.” But after reelection, the Obama administration, locked in negotiations with Republicans over what was known as the “fiscal cliff,” offered to change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. Ultimately, the plan went nowhere because Republicans refused to consider tax increases and progressive Democrats balked, led partly by Sanders, at the Social Security plans.

Biden’s campaign accused Sanders and his team of failing to account for the liberal work the former vice president and president did for safety-net programs by passing Obamacare, the 2009 stimulus bill and the 2010 tax cut package that included the Social Security “tax holiday” that was deemed effective by some economists and his team said was a “godsend for working Americans hit indescribably hard by the financial crisis.”

...To progressives, though, Sanders was a voice in the wilderness standing up for Social Security during that time.

“It was a very lonely place,” said Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works and a Sanders supporter. “There was a cacophony of calls for doing something about the debt and Bernie Sanders basically rejected the premise that that’s what it was about...In 2010, the ‘grand bargain’ was at the peak of its popularity in the elite media, in the elite political circles in D.C., in this reinforcing bubble that decided that it made a lot of sense to cut benefits.”

Source: 
Down With Tyranny

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