RNC chair, Labor secretary cancel on Latino conference

The Republican National Committee chair and the secretary of Labor both abruptly canceled appearances in front of the country’s largest non-partisan Latino political organization.

The National Association of Latino Elected Officials’ (NALEO) annual conference begins Thursday in Phoenix. Late Wednesday afternoon, organizers received word from the RNC that Ronna Romney McDaniel would not be attending to give a speech, scheduled for Friday afternoon in front of all the members.

McDaniel’s office provided no explanation for the cancellation, other than to express “regrets,” according to Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s executive director. He said the move was particularly troubling coming in the midst of the crisis over separating immigrant children from their families.

“Getting this last minute cancellation is deeply disappointing especially at a moment when the folks are gathering here are trying to understand what the direction of the country is,” Vargas said, adding that the invitation had been extended in November Continue reading “RNC chair, Labor secretary cancel on Latino conference”

Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’

Tom Steyer wants the country to hear the children crying.

The billionaire activist is launching a new ad Wednesday with 15 seconds of audio from within the detention centers, followed by his voice: “Terrible things happen when you leave a lawless president in power,” he says, in an early version of the ad obtained by POLITICO.

He then turns the attention to Congress: “If they won’t stand up to him, they’re just as responsible as he is.”

Steyer’s Need to Impeach organization is paying for the ad, which people familiar with the purchase say will run in the seven figures, and air on CNN, MSNBC and on Fox during the World Cup. It will also be pushed out heavily on social media.

Steyer has continued to travel the country pushing impeachment, but he has slowly expanded his focus to other issues — while linking them all back as reasons Continue reading “Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’”

Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’

Tom Steyer wants the country to hear the children crying.

The billionaire activist is launching a new ad Wednesday with 15 seconds of audio from within the detention centers, followed by his voice: “Terrible things happen when you leave a lawless president in power,” he says, in an early version of the ad obtained by POLITICO.

He then turns the attention to Congress: “If they won’t stand up to him, they’re just as responsible as he is.”

Steyer’s Need to Impeach organization is paying for the ad, which people familiar with the purchase say will run in the seven figures, and air on CNN, MSNBC and on Fox during the World Cup. It will also be pushed out heavily on social media.

Steyer has continued to travel the country pushing impeachment, but he has slowly expanded his focus to other issues — while linking them all back as reasons Continue reading “Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’”

Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’

Tom Steyer wants the country to hear the children crying.

The billionaire activist is launching a new ad Wednesday with 15 seconds of audio from within the detention centers, followed by his voice: “Terrible things happen when you leave a lawless president in power,” he says, in an early version of the ad obtained by POLITICO.

He then turns the attention to Congress: “If they won’t stand up to him, they’re just as responsible as he is.”

Steyer’s Need to Impeach organization is paying for the ad, which people familiar with the purchase say will run in the seven figures, and air on CNN, MSNBC and on Fox during the World Cup. It will also be pushed out heavily on social media.

Steyer has continued to travel the country pushing impeachment, but he has slowly expanded his focus to other issues — while linking them all back as reasons Continue reading “Steyer ad links children crying to ‘lawless president’”

Trump Is Pushing the ‘Devil’s Schemes,’ Says Gillibrand

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Kirsten Gillibrand has a different word for the family separation policy which the attorney general and White House press secretary call “Biblical.” Her word is “evil.” In the Biblical sense.

Referencing the “devil’s schemes” from the Book of Ephesians, the New York senator said President Donald Trump’s administration qualifies for that label “if you were talking in Christian language.”

“To me? Yes, these are all things that come from the darkness that are ripping children from their mothers’ arms. That’s outrageous. I mean, that is not a positive, good thing. It is an evil, dark thing,” she told me in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast.

She ducked calling Trump himself evil, or saying that the person she accuses of acting out the devil’s schemes is the devil himself. Continue reading “Trump Is Pushing the ‘Devil’s Schemes,’ Says Gillibrand”

Donald dreams of dictators

President Donald Trump reliably tells the truth on one thing: He likes the way dictators do business.

“He speaks, and his people sit up at attention,” Trump said on Friday morning of North Korean despot Kim Jong Un in an interview with Fox News – a network where he receives no shortage of praise. “I want my people to do the same.”

Some of the people who worked for Kim have been fired, Fox & Friends hype man Steve Doocy pointed out. Trump corrected him: “Fired may be a nice word.”

Some less nice words: Poisoned. Blown apart by anti-aircraft guns. Sent to work camps.

It’s not that Trump isn’t aware. Fox’s Bret Baier reminded the president of Kim’s record earlier this week during their Air Force One interview en route home from the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore that Kim is “clearly executing people.”

But the president Continue reading “Donald dreams of dictators”

‘This is the new Republican Party’

Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP.

The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears.

They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain. They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan.

And each time they watch another of their own go down, they Continue reading “‘This is the new Republican Party’”

Obama group announces midterms hit list

Organizing for Action, the group formed out of Barack Obama’s old campaign apparatus, is moving more directly into politics than ever before, deploying in 27 House races around the country this year.

Through an existing partnership with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, OFA will also work in nine states to campaign for ballot initiatives and Democrats running for governor and state legislature positions. The group is pushing for greater Democratic control over gerrymandering ahead of the next Census.

OFA explicitly stayed away from campaigns in previous cycles. The group used to say that direct politics wasn’t its purpose. Instead, it focused on pressuring officials already in office.

Last year, for example, OFA was a key player in helping organize the town halls around the country that helped amp up opposition to repealing Obamacare.

But OFA spokesman Jesse Lehrich said the change was necessitated by an “all hands on deck” moment.

Continue reading “Obama group announces midterms hit list”

Voto Latino aiming to register 1 million new voters by 2020

Saying that they feel Latinos are in President Donald Trump’s “crosshairs,” Voto Latino, the group committed to engaging and empowering Latinos in politics, is preparing to roll out a campaign to hit 1 million registered voters by 2020.

The roll-out of the new program comes as Voto Latino adds three members to its board, including former Housing Sec. Julián Castro, who is eyeing a presidential bid of his own in 2020.

The new initiative, called Somos Mas (We Are More), will focus on seven states: Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and California, including on 27 college campuses spread among them. They’ll also have a digital effort concentrated on North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“I gently remind people that once Latinos register, their chance of coming out to vote is 80 percent,” said María Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino’s president and CEO. “The game is going to be played Continue reading “Voto Latino aiming to register 1 million new voters by 2020”

‘The Baton Got Dropped’: Obama Alums Run to Finish What He Started

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So many Obama administration alumni are running for office this year that the former president’s staff has lost count, but they’re keeping close tabs on whether they’re winning their primaries—and nearly all are, everywhere around the country.

That’s a big change from the years when Barack Obama was in the White House, when almost no one who’d worked for him stayed involved in politics and—with the exception of a few, like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser—weren’t at all interested in running themselves.

They were done. They loved the president, and couldn’t imagine anyone or any campaign would live up. They cashed out. They marketed themselves on the strength of Obama’s strategy and cachet. Some took corporate jobs. They assumed Hillary Clinton would win, and they could settle down to watch their guy Continue reading “‘The Baton Got Dropped’: Obama Alums Run to Finish What He Started”

Inside Obama’s secret meetings with 2020 contenders

Barack Obama has in recent months met with at least nine prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, pulling them in for one-on-one sessions at his Washington office.

All the meetings were arranged quietly, without even some close advisers to the people involved being told of the conversations, in part because of how much Obama bristles at his private meetings becoming public knowledge. All have been confirmed to POLITICO by multiple people who have been briefed on the secretive sit-downs.

The meetings have been at Obama’s personal office on the third floor of the World Wildlife Fund building in D.C.’s West End neighborhood, and they show how a stream of ambitious, searching politicians are looking for guidance and support from the man who has remained the reluctant leader of the Democratic Party, eager to be involved, though not directly. He’s Continue reading “Inside Obama’s secret meetings with 2020 contenders”

Ellison launches bid for Minnesota attorney general

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison jumped into the race for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday, the final day candidates were allowed to file.

Ellison won‘t leave Congress immediately, but he will not run for reelection. He will also remain deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee during his campaign.

The decision follows several days of political chaos in Minnesota. Current Attorney General Lori Swanson failed to get re-nominated for her job at the Democrat-Farmer-Labor convention over the weekend. Then on Monday, she announced she would run for governor instead, with retiring Rep. Rick Nolan as her running mate.

The move has been a long time coming for Ellison, who toyed with jumping into the race at the end of last year before opting against it under the assumption Swanson would run again. He’s eager to take on a more prominent role in the Democratic opposition to the Trump administration, and he sees Continue reading “Ellison launches bid for Minnesota attorney general”

The Long-Shot Presidential Candidate Gaining Ground in Iowa

John Delaney thinks the Democrats who intend to run for president in 2020 should stop lying about what they’re doing and announce already.

After all, he has. And the little-known Maryland congressman thinks that’s part of what will transform a presidential run that pretty much no one takes seriously into the next Jimmy Carter-style, out-of-nowhere explosion onto the presidential debate stage.

Delaney, who made his fortune founding two commercial lending companies, has already spent $1 million out of his own pocket, using it for TV ads in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids and a campaign office in Iowa. Since last summer, he’s taken 11 trips to the caucus state, plus eight to New Hampshire. He’s even written a new campaign book.

What does he have to show for it? While he’s been all but ignored in the national media, Delaney has an internal poll from Iowa that ranks him fifth Continue reading “The Long-Shot Presidential Candidate Gaining Ground in Iowa”

DNC Vice Chair Ellison expected to run for Minnesota AG

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is expected to make a last-minute entry into the race for Minnesota attorney general on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with his plans.

“I will make a decision tomorrow because it’s the filling deadline,” Ellison said, not disputing that he is likely to enter the election.

Ellison has been in Congress since 2007, and served as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee since last year, as a leader of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. But he’s been chafing for months at both roles: being in the minority in Congress and being subsumed to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who beat him for the top job.

Ellison had looked at jumping into the AG race earlier in the year but passed on it after incumbent Lori Swanson skipped her own expected run for governor and seemed set to run for re-election. But then Continue reading “DNC Vice Chair Ellison expected to run for Minnesota AG”

Bernie vs. Hillary war fizzles in Iowa

Democratic presidential wannabes, take note: Iowa politics looks nothing like it did just two years ago during the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders smackdown.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary for governor — the first and only statewide Democratic race before the 2020 caucuses — the Clinton-Sanders dynamic has been a non-factor.

It’s not that the dynamic isn’t there: A pair of candidates in the crowded primary have aligned themselves with the 2016 presidential hopefuls who fought bitterly to a razor-thin Clinton win. But it’s a wealthy, white 67-year old man with a long history in business and state politics who’s expected to win.

And even the gubernatorial contenders in the Clinton and Sanders molds say that the Democratic divide is so 2016.

“We are ready to put that to bed,” said Cathy Glasson, a nurse and union leader who was one of Sanders’ biggest backers and is endorsed by Our Revolution, the Continue reading “Bernie vs. Hillary war fizzles in Iowa”

Steyer: Pelosi Is ‘Normalizing’ Trump By Not Talking Impeachment

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Tom Steyer says the Democrats telling him to call off his impeachment crusade are like those who told civil rights activists to be patient, and says Nancy Pelosi and others holding back on calling for impeachment are “normalizing” Donald Trump’s presidency.

Steyer doesn’t care that Democratic leaders are worried that he could blow their chance at winning the House by talking up impeachment around the country and in his TV ads—though he argues he’s actually helping Democrats. He says he’s the only person willing to tell the truth. And the thing about a self-made billionaire with nothing to lose: it’s hard for anyone to convince him he might be wrong, or to get him to stop.

“Impeaching the president of the United States is upsetting the status quo. Anytime in American history that there has been an Continue reading “Steyer: Pelosi Is ‘Normalizing’ Trump By Not Talking Impeachment”

Perez infuriates liberals with Cuomo endorsement

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has said repeatedly that the national party shouldn’t, and won’t, endorse in primaries. But on Thursday, he stood on a Long Island stage and endorsed Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor who is facing a challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon.

The decision to pick favorites in a primary pits the DNC chair against the DNC deputy chair, Keith Ellison. And it has re-opened an ongoing internal fight within the party, while giving critics ammunition to question Perez’s leadership.

The New York race isn’t just any two Democrats fighting for the nomination: Nixon is making her race explicitly about a challenge from the left and the new progressive energy of the party that she says Cuomo is out of sync with. And she’s doing it with the support of many progressives in the state who identified with Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

It also comes as the Continue reading “Perez infuriates liberals with Cuomo endorsement”

Second top official resigns from Bernie Sanders group

The tumult at Our Revolution continued raging with the resignation of another founding board member late Wednesday.

The decision by Catalina Velasquez, an undocumented immigrant and transgender activist who was co-vice chair of the Bernie Sanders-inspired organization, came during a week of reverberations in the wake of a POLITICO report detailing widespread problems within the group.

A number of people have complained about inattention by the group to Latino and immigrant issues. Others have cited open hostility by a woman whom Our Revolution President Nina Turner had tried to make her chief of staff.

“For the past month, we have been fighting divisive narratives targeting immigrants and pinning us against other oppressed peoples,” wrote Velasquez in a letter she posted on Twitter. “I have faced this with little to no support from the organizational leadership.”

Velasquez’s departure follows the resignation of Lucy Flores, a former Nevada Assemblywoman and fellow Continue reading “Second top official resigns from Bernie Sanders group”

Sanders group reverses, ditches aide who made anti-immigrant comments

The Bernie Sanders-inspired Our Revolution has cut ties with group president Nina Turner’s personal consultant, following a public airing of anger from board members and staff over past anti-immigrant and pro-Donald Trump comments.

Turner announced that the group would stop paying Tezlyn Figaro on Wednesday afternoon. Turner had said as recently as Tuesday afternoon that Figaro would stay on, despite the complaints published in a POLITICO article on Monday.

An Our Revolution spokesperson declined to explain what had changed.

"Consistent with my practice of not disclosing employment matters, I will not comment further on Tezlyn Figaro other than to say that she is no longer with the organization. We wish her well," Turner said in a statement provided by the spokesperson.

On Friday, Turner told POLITICO she was "really surprised" to hear the group’s board of directors had complaints about Our Revolution. Earlier this month, however, board members blocked Turner Continue reading “Sanders group reverses, ditches aide who made anti-immigrant comments”

The new AG itching to take on Trump

The man aspiring to be the new face of the resistance is a practicing Sikh who likes to call attention to his turban and happens to have jurisdiction over 20 of President Donald Trump’s properties, including Bedminster.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says he sees an opening in the continuing wake left by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s surprise resignation, and he’s ready to take it.

“If with him not being there, there’s a gap, we’ll fill that gap to make sure there’s no backsliding,” said Grewal, ticking off a list of active or potential lawsuits against the administration over immigrants, the stripping down of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, threats to the state coastline, the proposed citizenship question on the Census and more.

In four months on the job, Grewal has joined or started 30 actions against the federal government, from debt collection to carbon emissions. He Continue reading “The new AG itching to take on Trump”