The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free Press

Stemming the tide of Over-Regulation

Last Friday a federal court of appeals blocked the EPA’s controversial “Waters of the U.S.” rule. This proposed rule would expand the EPA’s authority to regulate water and wetlands, many of which are held by private citizens. The rule has previously been used only for “navigable” waters, but the EPA’s rule would apply to what are little more than puddles and streams.

This regulation would have a devastating effect on farmers, coal miners, and homeowners across West Virginia. Over the past months I have joined multiple letters to EPA officials to block and delay this rule. Additionally, in May I voted in support of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would block this rule and require the EPA to work with local stakeholders to come up with a reasonable solution. While the fight is not yet over, this marks an important step in pushing back against the EPA’s federal overreach.

President Obama to visit West Virginia

This coming week, President Obama will travel to Charleston to discuss the growing drug epidemic in West Virginia and the United States. West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the nation and it shows no sign of slowing down. Battling this growing issue will take the full force of federal and state governments, as well as churches, community groups and the medical community. To address this issue I have cosponsored several bills, including H.R. 1725 which will create a national prescription database to prevent “doctor shopping” and prescription abuses.

While the President’s focus on the drug abuse epidemic is important and appropriate, many of his other policies have had a disastrous effect on our state. It is my hope that during his visit President Obama will take the time to visit with miners, workers, and families who have been affected by his regulations. Many of these families have individuals who have turned to drug abuse due to the economic hardships our state has faced over the past few years. West Virginian’s deserve an honest answer from the President and help battling the social and economic problems in the Mountain State.

Mountaineers Update

This Saturday, the Mountaineers head off to Waco to face the Baylor Bears. WVU is coming off a disappointing homecoming loss to Oklahoma State in overtime. With a 0-2 conference record, WVU needs to double down on their offense to gain an advantage over the Bears and keep them contained.

Baylor is coming into this game with a 5-0 record, including two Big 12 victories over Kansas and Texas Tech. Baylor will be looking for payback tomorrow, after WVU shutdown the Bears and ended their playoff chance in 2014. Hopefully our boys can repeat history and upset Baylor’s streak. Let’s Go, Mountaineers!

Finishing the Job

This week the Obama Administration announced that current troop levels in Afghanistan will not change through 2016. The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops involved in assisting Afghan forces and conducting counter terror operations. Under the Administration’s plan, these levels will remain constant through 2016 and will be reduced to 5,500 troops by 2017 as President Obama departs office.

The Obama Administration’s decision to remove troops from Iraq in 2009 is one of the main causes of the continued violence we see in the region. We cannot risk the same instability in Afghanistan and allow it to once again become a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists.  President Obama has previously ignored the pleas of top Generals who have cautioned against further reductions. During my trip to Afghanistan in 2014, I saw first hand the hard work the men and women of our armed forces are doing. While President Obama would like to close this chapter before he leaves office, there is still much work to be done and we must ensure our servicemen and women are well led to handle the challenges.

Have a great week,

David McKinley
The Gilmer Free Press

Ellen Sits Down with Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders appeared on “The Ellen Show” (if you watch to the end, you’ll see a super awkward high five)

Sanders came on stage dancing to “Disco Inferno.”

The Democratic Debate Spin Room, in 360

Pros and Cons: Watching the First Democratic Debate

A Trojan Horse In Clinton’s Pledge To “Enhance” Social Security?

The Free Press WV

Unless you listened carefully, you might have missed the expanse of daylight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders when asked about their plans for Social Security at the CNN Democratic debate Tuesday.

It’s a gap that is alarming people who are fighting to protect and strengthen Social Security – just as the program is getting renewed attention because of today’s expected announcement that Social Security recipients won’t be receiving a cost-of-living adjustment in their checks in 2016.

Clinton was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether “Senator Sanders’ plan to expand Social Security” was “something that you would support.”

“Well, I fully support Social Security,” Clinton began. “And the most important fight we’re going to have is defending it against continuing Republican efforts to privatize it.”

Case closed? Not quite. Bash pressed on: “Do you want to expand it?”

That yes-or-no question got neither. “I want to enhance the benefits for the poorest recipients of Social Security,” she said, singling out “particularly widowed and single women” who didn’t make a lot of money during their careers. “I will focus on helping those people who need it the most,” she concluded.

What alarmed Social Security activists is that underneath Clinton’s positive language – “fully support,” “enhance” – appears to lie support for policies, including from leading conservatives like Pete Peterson – that would actually undermine Social Security.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Ways and Means Committee chairman who is being wooed to take over as House speaker, was broadly attacked for proposing a plan that singled out Social Security’s “poorest recipients” for protection. Ryan proposed “progressive price indexing” that would reduce benefits for the top 70 percent of wage earners while maintaining benefits for the bottom 30 percent. When Ryan first proposed this in 2010, coupling this with a plan to divert Social Security funds into stock market accounts, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that “the result would be a system in which Social Security is very unattractive to affluent people … These changes would risk undermining the broad-based support that Social Security now enjoys.”

Douglas Elmendorf, the former Congressional Budget Office director who will be dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, this week proposed a Social Security plan that was less radical than Ryan but along the lines of what Clinton seemingly would support. “I would not increase Social Security benefits across the board, as some have advocated, because I think scarce federal resources should be used in more targeted ways,” he wrote. “Instead, we should focus on reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits for high-income beneficiaries and raising payroll taxes on workers with high earnings.”

Elmendorf’s plan is a left-right hybrid. Progressive advocates for Social Security have argued in favor of lifting the cap – currently about $110,000 – on the amount of income subject to Social Security taxes. Some conservatives have questioned whether wealthy people should get the same retirement benefit as a retired low-wage worker, and several Republican presidential candidates have called for means-testing Social Security much like other assistance programs. Even Donald Trump, who has been outspoken in protecting Social Security benefits for working-class people, embraces cutting benefits for the wealthy. “I have friends that are worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars and get Social Security. They don’t even know the check comes in,” he said at a New Hampshire forum earlier this week.

Lynn Stuart Parramore wrote in 2012 that she understood why “well-intentioned liberals” end up embracing Social Security policies that would treat the “vulnerable” differently from everyone else. But she warned that these schemes are “a sneak attack on vital programs meant to weaken and eventually destroy them” and “a highly effective political strategy for getting liberals and progressives to act against their own values and interests.”

Chief among her arguments are the point that Social Security benefits are not “handouts to the needy.” They are “benefits that people pay for as they work. They are also smart social insurance programs that spread risk across society in order to protect everyone at rates no private insurance scheme, with its much smaller risk pool, could touch.”

Like your insurance policy, when you file a claim the size of the check you receive is not based on your income or net worth; it’s based on the amount of coverage you purchased. Car insurance companies that paid less in claims to Mercedes owners, presumably because they are wealthier than owners of a working-class Chevy Cruze, would lose high-end customers – and eventually would collapse.

There are real threats to Social Security that Clinton could have called out in Tuesday’s debate.

There are reports this week that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants cuts in Social Security and entitlement programs in exchange for support for increasing the debt ceiling next month. The fact that there will not be a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients underscores a fundamental flaw in how benefits are calculated: the particular spending patterns for seniors, particularly in health care, aren’t captured in the index used for adjusting Social Security payments. Finally, as this petition from Social Security Works warns, if Congress does not act soon, the Medicare Part B premium and deductible are expected to increase significantly for older adults and people with disabilities in 2016, and Social Security recipients won’t have the extra dollars to cover those costs.

The last thing we need right now is to fear a Trojan horse from a presidential candidate who says she “fully supports” Social Security.

~~  Isaiah J. Poole ~~

Democratic Debate Fact Checks

The Free Press WV

CNN aired the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday featuring five candidates, including former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Not every candidate uttered facts that are easily fact checked, but following is a list of 13 suspicious or interesting claims. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios when we do a roundup of facts in debates.

“What democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of 1 percent in this country own almost 90 percent — almost — own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

The first part of Sanders’s statement is based on a 2014 working paper by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman that found that wealth has become increasingly concentrated among the super-wealthy, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The average wealth of the bottom 90 percent  144 million families with average wealth of $84,000 increased in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, but then collapsed in the financial crisis.

The top one-tenth of 1 percent comprises 160,000 families with net assets of at least $20 million. These families saw their share of wealth increase from 7 percent of total household wealth in the 1970s to 22 percent in 2012; by contrast, the bottom 90 percent saw their share of wealth drop from 35 percent in the mid-1980s to 23 percent in 2012. As Sanders noted, that means the top 0.1 percent own almost as much as the bottom 90 percent.

There is some evidence that the situation may have improved since 2012. Sanders used to say that 70 percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent based on another Saez study, but he had to shift his rhetoric after Saez in June updated that study with figures dating to 2014. The new numbers showed that the top 1 percent captured 58 percent of total real income growth. “The recovery from the Great Recession now looks less lopsided than in previous years,” Saez said.

Sanders gets props for being up to date on the literature.

“African American youth unemployment is 51 percent. Hispanic youth unemployment is 36 percent.”


This is a favorite Sanders talking point, and he often clarifies that he is referring to the “real unemployment.” But in his opening statement, he exaggerated this talking point with misleading wording. Sanders is not referring to actual unemployment rates, but the broadest measure of underemployment.

Sanders’s figures come from a report by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. (Our friends at PolitiFact  and  have fact-checked this claim, and Sanders’s staff has pointed to this report.) The report shows that minority youths are less likely to have a job than white youths, and that black youths traditionally have had high unemployment rates.

Sanders’s statistics refer to high school graduates between 17 and 20 years old and not enrolled in additional schooling. This report is different from the official unemployment rate as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS does not specifically break out data for the 17- to 20-year-old age range. Instead, this report looks at employment status for high school graduates who are unemployed, working part-time and “marginally attached to the labor force” (meaning, “those who want a job and have looked for work in the last year but have given up actively seeking work in the last four weeks”). It uses the broadest measure of underemployment, called the U-6 measure of labor underutilization.

“I’d shut down what exists right now is that virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA. That is unacceptable to me.”

— Sanders

Sanders appears to be referring to call metadata program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but he wrongly suggests that that content is collected. Moreover, the program he says he would shut down as president would be ended long before the next election.

The NSA program, secretly initiated in 2001 under executive power and approved by the surveillance court in 2006, has collected metadata from billions of phone calls from an unknown number of large phone companies. Such data includes the number, time and duration of calls, but not the content.

Congress passed legislation in June ending the program and barring the government from collecting phone and other records in bulk. Nevertheless, the NSA can continue to do so until Nov. 29 as it transitions the collection effort to phone companies, to which the government can direct queries with court approval.

The NSA can collect call content on individuals in the United States with a court order based on probable cause that the person is an agent of a foreign power. Under the PRISM program, the NSA can collect without an individual warrant calls on targets who are not U.S. persons and who are overseas and who talk to someone in the United States, but that’s not indiscriminate collection of everyone’s phone calls.

“The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House.”

— Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton

Clinton draws this claim from a 2014 paper by Alan S. Blinder and Mark W. Watson of Princeton University, which did indeed find this connection. But the conclusion also said the data at this point did not support a claim that this was due to macroeconomic policy choices.

“Both fiscal and monetary policy actions seem to be a bit more stabilizing when a Republican is president  even though Federal Reserve chairmen appointed by Democrats preside over faster growth than Federal Reserve chairmen appointed by Republicans by a wide margin,” the paper said. “It seems we must look instead to several variables that are mostly “good luck,” with perhaps a touch of “good policy.”

“Take the trade deal. I did say, when I was secretary of state, three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week, and in looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards.”

— Clinton

Clinton is subtly adjusting her words here when confronted with a question about her consistency on policy positions.

But the fact is she never used the word “hoped.” Instead, she was more declarative.

“This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” she said in Australia in 2012. “And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”

“He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower.”

Clinton, referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden

This is a complicated subject, but The Fact Checker once dived deeply into this question after Snowden asserted that contractors (such as him) were not covered by whistleblower protection. We concluded  that “he cannot quite make the blanket claim that there are no protections for contractors, but he may have been correct in believing that there appear to be no clear protections, especially from retaliation.”

In other words, Clinton is likely wrong that Snowden would have received the protections of a whistleblower. Read our complete fact check on this matter here.

“Our middle class is shrinking. Our poor families are becoming poorer. And 70 percent of us are earning the same or less than we were 12 years ago.”

— Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley

O’Malley’s general point has merit — that a large portion of Americans saw wage stagnation over a recent 12-year period. But this statement is based on outdated data, and it is unclear exactly whom he is referring to when he says “70 percent of us.”

His statement is based on June 2014 research by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which shows broad stagnation for American families and the economy from 2001 to 2013. Since then, however, real wages and earnings have increased broadly, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. O’Malley refers to “earnings” — according to BLS data, average weekly earnings of non-supervisory employees increased by 5.3 percent from August 2003 to August 2015.

EPI’s data on hourly wages for the 10th through 60th percentiles in 2013 were lower, or relatively flat compared with their hourly wages in 2001. The trend begins to change in the 70th percentile, whose 2013 hourly wages were slightly higher than in 2001.

O’Malley says “70 percent of us” are earning the same or less. That can be interpreted to apply to 70 percent of individual Americans, or Americans at the 70th percentile. The percentile data do not reflect individual Americans’ wages, and instead show the distribution of wages. So people who were in the 70th percentile in 2001 may not be in the same percentile in 2013.

“What I did was allowed by the State Department, but it wasn’t the best choice.”

— Clinton

This is Clinton’s standard line, but it’s a stretch. When Clinton was secretary of state, there were in place State Department rules on how to handle e-mails and whether to use a personal e-mail account. Moreover, no other previous secretary of state set up an exclusive and private e-mail server for all of his or her departmental communications.

In 2009, just eight months after Clinton became secretary of state, the U.S. Code of federal regulations on handling electronic records was updated: “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” The responsibility for making and preserving the records is assigned to “the head of each federal agency.”

On top of that, when Clinton was secretary, a cable went out under her signature warning employees to “avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.”

In reality, Clinton’s decision to use a private e-mail system for official business was unusual and flouted State Department procedures, even if not expressly prohibited by law at the time. Moreover, while she claims “what I did was allowed,” she appears to have not complied with the requirement to turn over her business-related e-mails before she left government service.

“We have 27 million people living in poverty.”

— Sanders

Sanders greatly underplays the number here. It is actually 46.7 million people, as of 2014, according to the Census Bureau. In fact, he often says we have more people living in poverty today than almost any time in the modern history of this country” — which earned him a couple of Pinocchios because the numbers were likely higher in the Great Depression.

One presumes Sanders misspoke in the debate. Perhaps he was thinking of another favorite statistic of Democrats — that Social Security kept 27 million people out of poverty.

“We should not be the country that has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country and more wealth and income inequality than any other country.”

— Sanders

Sanders’s statements compare the United States to “major” countries. While the United States ranks among the highest in the three categories he cites, there are a few other industrialized countries that rank higher.

Sanders’s staff have said the senator is comparing the United States to other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A 2014 UNICEF report showed the United States has among the worst childhood poverty rates of wealthy nations. But the United States is behind OECD countries Greece, Spain, Israel and Mexico.

The same goes for income and wealth inequality. OECD data on income inequality show the United States ranked fifth in market income before taxes and transfers, and third in disposable income after taxes and transfers — the two standard measures of income inequality.

Wealth inequality is more difficult to quantify and compare between countries. OECD data show the United States ranked highest among 13 member nations recorded in the dataset, in terms of how much of a country’s wealth was concentrated in the top 10, top 5 and top 1 percent of earners. But another widely used measure of wealth — as reported in the Credit Suisse Research Global Wealth Databook — shows the United States ranked lower than in the OECD data.

Host Anderson Cooper: Do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?

Sanders: Of course not. This was a large and complicated bill. There were provisions in it that I think made sense. For example, do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don’t.

The law Sanders is referring to, the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, does more than protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits if a murderer uses their gun to kill someone.

The law gives broad protections to gun manufacturers, including for negligence, and can protect them from being sued in certain types of claims relating to the gun’s design. Few industries have federal liability immunity like this. (Vaccine manufacturers have limited protection from lawsuits if their vaccine led to an injury. The airline industry is immune from lawsuits arising from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But unlike the gun law, both cases established a compensation scheme for victims to recover money for damages.)

The law allows victims to sue if there was a design defect or a malfunction with a gun, but there have been exceptions. Notably, the Illinois Supreme Court in 2009 cited this law in dismissing a case where a young boy who was playing with his father’s gun accidentally shot and killed his friend. The victim’s family sued the gun manufacturer, saying the gun did not have proper safety features or proper warnings. But the court found the plaintiffs did not fit the technical definition in the law and dismissed the suit.

“When I was a young man, I strongly opposed the war in Vietnam. Not the brave men like Jim who fought in that war, but the policy which got us involved in that war. That was my view then…. I am not a pacifist.”

— Sanders

The senator skates close to edge here. He makes it sound as if he was merely protested the policy of sending U.S. troops to Vietnam, but his campaign has confirmed that he applied for conscientious objector status during the war. (The application was rejected due to his age.) In order to submit the application, Sanders would have had to declare he was a pacifist and opposed to all wars. So while Sanders may say he is no longer a pacifist, that was his position during the Vietnam conflict.

“We put our city on a path to reduce violent crime, Part 1 crime, by more than any major city in America over the next 10 years…. Arrests peaked in 2003, but they declined every year after that as we restored peace in our neighborhoods, so that people can actually walk and not worry about their kids and loved ones being a victim of violent crime.”

— O’Malley

There’s some context missing here.

O’Malley is referring to FBI Part 1 crime data that include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, arson and motor vehicle theft. The FBI warns against comparing raw crime rates between cities, because such comparisons “lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions.”

O’Malley’s data on Part 1 crimes check out. Baltimore’s overall crime rate (number of crimes per 100,000 people) fell by 48 percent between 1999 and 2009. Baltimore saw the third-highest drop in violent crimes among major cities during the period. In 1999, (the year O’Malley became mayor), Baltimore had the highest violent and property crime rate among major police agencies in the country. In 2009, the city dropped to 13th highest. But Baltimore was not alone. The city’s drop in crime rates mirrored a national trend. Other major cities saw similar large drops in violent crime leading up to 2009.

O’Malley talked about the “zero-tolerance policy” — a strategy of using CompStat, a system that closely tracks arrest data and practices. Many large police departments adopted this policy after New York City began using it in 1994. This approach led to increased arrests.

O’Malley said arrests began declining as violent crime was going down. But at the peak of arrests in the city, about two-thirds of people in jail were there for nonviolent offenses, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. A new police commissioner switched the arrest strategy to target the most violent offenders, driving down arrest numbers to 77,595 in 2009, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The First Democratic Presidential Debate Had Adults On The Stage

The Free Press WV

The first Democratic debate showed the country what it is like to have adults on a stage. It doesn’t matter who “won.” The candidates showed they all are concerned about governing the country and proposing actual policies that will help actual people have better lives. And they showed that we have a serious and lively Democratic primary race in front of us. The country will be the winner.

In contrast to the entertaining Republican cage fight clown show racist, anti-government insult fest “debates”, the first Democratic debate was almost entirely a serious debate on issues and policies, by serious people with serious policy proposals, who all did very well. It was a debate for people who actually care about governing the country and making regular people’s lives better. It was a debate that would make Americans feel better about the future of their country.


Finally, A Democratic Debate

The Democrats finally held their first presidential candidate debate Tuesday. It seems the party has tried to avoid having any debates. (At this point in the 2008 cycle there had already been a dozen or so.) Tuesday being the day after a three-day weekend for many people, they decided to risk it. This debate showed just how big a strategic mistake this thinking was for Hillary Clinton and for the party’s ability to take their case to the public in November of 2016.

Hopefully this will convince the party’s leadership to expand the debate schedule. The Democrats all did well, and this debate showed that the party has a good and convincing message to deliver to voters. The party needs to have more public debates – on weeknights in prime time – both for the Presidential race and for Democratic “down ticket” candidates.


The Candidates

The candidates in the debate (click the name for the campaign website) were:
●  Hillary Clinton
●  Bernie Sanders
●  Martin O’Malley
●  Lincoln Chaffee
●  Jim Webb

For a comparison of the policy positions of these candidates please visit CAF’s Candidate Scorecard The Candidate Scorecard measures the positions of Democratic candidates for president against the Populism 2015 platform endorsed by organizations representing 2 million Americans.


The Debate

The debate will be analyzed over time; things will become more clear. The public will weigh in. But here are some quick impressions:

●  There were lots of “establishment” cheap shots by moderators at Sanders (and a few at Clinton) on guns, “socialism” (oh, scary) and immigration. But these gave Sanders and Clinton a chance to respond and give good answers. It backfired.

● Clinton gave a lot of rehearsed, obviously focus-group-tested answers done very, very skillfully. Again and again she talked about “comprehensive plans” to imply that Sanders does not have the ability to get things done. She talked about being the “first woman president” to appeal to the female demographic, saying she can “find common ground” because polls show that voters want politicians who will “compromise.” It was a perfection of “politics” as we have come to know it, for better or worse. These are not bad things; it might still be what it takes to win elections in the U.S. and this is important. This “kind of person you want to have a beer with” approach might still be how you get votes, but Clinton also did well when she was forced to move away from this style.
●  There were still too many “zingers,” like “I know how to find common ground and I know how to stand my ground.” Some of the prepared zingers were really great, such as “They [Republicans] don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood, they’re fine with big government when it comes to that, and I’m sick of it.”
●  Clinton’s attack on Sanders over guns failed, and gave him an opportunity to give a good response. Clinton won’t attack Sanders again.
●  Bernie Sanders came across very, very well. He showed he is experienced, showed the public he is “presidential” and introduced himself to a lot of new people, depending on how many people watched. He is now introduced to many people who have not heard of him or heard his message. Sanders also had a few prepared phrases, like, “Every other major country on earth has … ” (health care for all, family leave, maternity leave, etc.) and “we are an international embarrassment.” He also said variations on “the Secretary is right” a number of times.
●  Sanders repeatedly called for a political revolution, asking millions of people to take on “the billionaire class” to change America. Will he get enough millions?
●  O’Malley was very good on most policies, but was rather rehearsed and did not appear quite ready to be on this national stage. As Van Jones said later on CNN, “He did not come across as commander-in-chief.” Clinton and Sanders did.
●  Chaffee and Webb possibly wrote themselves out of the race. They both showed themselves to be serious people with very good resumes, but not candidates who are ready to be in a Democratic party race at this time. And Webb was channeling Rand Paul.
●  Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley gave great answers on “Black Lives Matter.”
●  Biggest applause line: Sanders, in support of Clinton, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about the damn emails.” “Enough of the emails.”

One last thing. Joe Biden doesn’t have an opening to enter the primaries now.


Democrats Are A Progressive Party Now

These candidates understand that winning in Democratic primaries means they have to spell out solid progressive policy proposals that actually help solve the country’s problems. Progressives are entirely driving the debate on a range of issues now.

This is because time has shown that a progressive approach to solving the problems of the country will work – and conservative or “centrist” (almost conservative) policies have hurt regular people and the country while driving inequality. The public has also realized that the old-style “Marlboro Man” politics of image has not worked for regular people. It is now apparent that “economic democracy” is the way an economy and a country can work.

Note (again): The website Populist Majority collects polling results showing that the public backs progressive solutions to the country’s problems, often by large majorities. The website Candidate Scorecard rates candidate according to the Populism 2015 platform.

~~  Dave Johnson ~~

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