Sen. Elizabeth Warren weighed in on the DNC, Bernie Sanders and the President
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he has no idea what he'll be doing in 2020
Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took a side in the Democratic Party’s roiling divide over 2016 — and set the terms for moving past it — with her one-word answer when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Thursday afternoon whether the primary was, in her view, rigged against Bernie Sanders.
She was responding to former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile’s book excerpt published by Politico alleging that Hillary Clinton had secretly taken over the party long before becoming the nominee.
“This is a real problem,” Warren said. “But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now is we’ve got to hold this party accountable. When Tom Perez was first elected chair of the DNC, the very first conversation I had with him is to say, ‘You have got to put together a Democratic Party in which everybody can have confidence the party is working for Democrats, rather than Democrats are working for the party.’ And he’s being tested now. This is a test for Tom Perez. And either he’s going to succeed by bringing Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders representatives into this process, and they’re going to say ‘It’s fair, it works, we all believe it’ — or he’s going to fail. And I very much hope he succeeds.”
Thursday was not a good day for Democratic unity. The morning began with Brazile’s bombshell — which led Sanders’ political organization Our Revolution to send an email blast with the subject line “It was rigged all along.” It ended with the Howard Dean-founded Democracy For America lambasting Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign as “racist,” which led to Dean himself lashing out at the group he’d founded. And in between all that, Perez fired his finance director, Emily Mellencamp Smith, after five months on the job. A Senate Democratic campaign veteran who’d worked with Mellencamp Smith called, furious, to say “she was the most functioning thing they had there” and “the best person the DNC was going to get.”
It was, however, a notable week for Warren — the progressive hero who was back to sparring with President Donald Trump on Twitter Friday morning. (Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” again; Warren shot back that Trump’s tweets “won’t stop (Robert) Mueller’s investigation or keep your people out of jail.”)
She also made news by becoming the second Democrat, after California Sen. Kamala Harris, to say she’ll oppose a budget deal if Congress hasn’t extended protections for those previously covered by former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or “DACA”) program, which Trump is rescinding.
News and notes:
BIDEN CALLS TRUMP A ‘CHARLATAN’: Former Vice President Joe Biden ripped into Trump on Wednesday, calling Trump a “charlatan” at the Chicago Council of Global Affairs. “Ladies and gentlemen, silence is complicity,” Biden said. “I will continue to stand up and speak out.”
More Biden: “How many of you now, whether you voted for him or not, are beginning to wonder if the roots, the invisible moral fabric that holds everything up, is eroding in a way that’s dangerous for democratic institutions? If we don’t stand up, the liberal world order we championed will quickly become an illiberal world order we suffer.” Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere has more.
— Some Biden 2020 watch news Friday morning: He filmed a 33-second home video for Joyce Craig, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire. Watch it here. Biden had previously cut a video for eight Democratic candidates for judgeships in Pennsylvania.
— Biden isn’t slowing down his efforts to work toward an end to cancer. On Wednesday, Biden will be speaking at an event put on by Axios titled Future Shapers: A New Era in Cancer Innovation at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. He’ll be joined by his wife, Jill Biden, along with oncologists, cancer survivors and others working towards the same goal of ending cancer.
RYAN, MOULTON, DELANEY TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is heading to New Hampshire this Saturday to serve as the keynote speaker at the Manchester City Democrats Countdown to Victory Dinner. This will be his second trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state, before making a third later this month when he and Maryland Rep. John Delaney will both speak at the 2017 Kennedy Clinton Dinner in Manchester on November 17. Delaney, the only announced Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, has visited the Granite State several times since announcing his candidacy in July.
Also in New Hampshire this weekend: Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who will campaign for young Democratic candidates in Nashua alongside Colin Van Ostern, the party’s 2016 nominee for governor.
MCAULIFFE 2020? On this week’s edition of The Axe Files podcast with David Axelrod, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was asked whether he harbors any aspirations of seeking the highest political office when he ends his term next year. McAuliffe said he has “no idea” what he’ll be doing in 2020. He said he plans to travel to support Democratic gubernatorial candidates, saying his focus is squarely on the 2018 races.
“It drives me wild when Democrats talk about 2020. Because if we don’t have a successful night in 2018, and we’re going to get redistricted … our party and the principles we care about are going to get wiped out,” he said. However, when pressed about whether he would rule out a run, McAuliffe said he’d “never rule anything out.”
— McAuliffe has a lot on the line in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia. Virginia’s economy is strong, with sub-4% unemployment, and voters there broadly say the state is on the right track while they say the nation is on the wrong track. A Ralph Northam win would also be a validator of McAuliffe’s legacy.
DON’T COUNT O’MALLEY OUT: FiveThirtyEight’s Seth Masket had an interesting take on Martin O’Malley’s potential as a 2020 contender. The former governor of Maryland has endorsed a 2018 gubernatorial candidate in Iowa and continues to make visits to the three early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. O’Malley spent more time in Iowa than either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders before the 2016 election, but garnered less than 1% of the caucus vote. His visits to the Hawkeye State haven’t slowed, however. He’s among the most active potential 2020 candidates in terms of visiting three early-contest states and courting activists there. Masket writes: “O’Malley is operating in the McGovern/Carter model, betting that party elite control is dead or under great duress right now and that his strategy will work better in 2020 than it did in 2016. This is not an unreasonable gamble.”
KAINE ADDRESSES SEXISM: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, wrote an op-ed in Esquire magazine this week calling on men to join the fight to ensure equal opportunity for women. He described how he was enthused to join Clinton on the trail as her running mate, but the sexism he saw directed towards Clinton demonstrated that men have a ways to go. “The attitudes toward Hillary that we saw on the trail — the ‘lock her up’ chants, the ‘Killary’ and ‘Shrillary’ memes, the proliferation of bogus conspiracy theories and vulgar attacks — showed how far away American men are from respecting women and accepting our own role in combating sexism,” Kaine wrote.
The week ahead:
Tuesday, November 7 — Election Day. Democrats will be watching the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races, and hope to win a Washington state senate seat that would give the party unified control of the government there. Down-ballot races for the Virginia state assembly, as well as for lieutenant governor and attorney general, will also get attention.
Wednesday, November 8 — Joe Biden attends an event on ending cancer hosted by Axios. It’s at 3:30 p.m. ET at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Before you go:
The frugal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders used to cook over toilet paper Sterno, he told NBC’s Seth Meyers. … Minnesota Sen. Al Franken told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he “failed to tell the truth” about his Russian interactions during the campaign. … New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed Donald Trump for the President’s tweets about the New York City terror attack this week, saying that “the last thing it’s about is politics, period.”
CNN’s Greg Krieg, Jennifer Hansler, Sophie Tatum, Ashley Killough, Miranda Green, Saba Hamedy and Betsy Klein contributed to this memo.