Tuesday’s debate: Is the 2018 election season winning or losing

Published by Emma Media on Nov 21, 2018.

We chatted with Neil Sabin, VP of digital marketing at Victors & Spoils and Glen Torres, vice president of media relations at Patriots, to learn what winning, losing and a whole lot of watchery was really about in the first matchup of the 2018 midterm election debate series, sponsored by the University of New Hampshire’s Brown Campaign Institute and the nonpartisan New Hampshire Public Radio.

1. Was this more like watching the XFL versus the NY Giants/Dallas Cowboys?

AC: This debate was classic New Hampshire football. It was 21-21 at the end of regulation. It was a game that could be won and lost in the final minute. New Hampshire has that grit that these candidates would utilize if they had the opportunity to win, to be able to overcome the adversity and hit the ball right down the field, even if the chances are not great, right?

Glen: I think this first debate is the best of the bunch. This was more focused on their records, more focused on important things that the Granite State wants to see, that any candidate will have to demonstrate. So this gave voters a chance to see how these candidates really govern.

2. What a neat way to have that format!

NM: Think about what voters are going to remember. They’re going to remember to cast their ballot when they go out to the polls on Election Day.

AC: And there’s a smart way for voters to keep each candidate accountable. It’s not so much about who the governor is or who won the debate, but who is this candidate accountable to? And was that person in the best position to be accountable for his or her record?

NM: I’m totally on board with that. This is like the extra, long period of play in the Super Bowl.

3. How do the chances feel differently after this debate?

NM: There are several factors that come into play. We had seven candidates, the margin of error, seven candidates, but what really struck me was how everyone was so stiff. The candidates looked so professional and so presidential, as if they were rehearsing for a televised prime-time performance in front of millions of people. They did so far better at the debate than the pundits had anticipated.

AC: The first few debates were pretty polarized debates. A candidate wasn’t talking to most Granite Staters. But because so many people watched in the primary, that’s what people have come to expect — attack ads, a lot of heat.

Now we are seeing that, for the first time, one candidate was running against both political parties, and Trump was not part of the discussion. I think we are going to see a coming out party of independents. We have such a diverse group of people running, and the degree of moderation of their campaign is going to play a big part.

NM: This is probably the closest we’ll get to the general election. A lot of this, going forward, is going to depend on the debates, what kind of endorsements these candidates are getting. Who do they secure? Who do they get inroads with? There is just a lot of intrigue coming into the rest of the year.


Advancement Project Hosts Voting Rights Summit in Atlanta, Atlanta Grassroots Legal Aid defends the voter ballot in ruling

The Advancement Project , a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C., will be hosting its second annual Voting Rights Summit in Atlanta this weekend, as national voting rights advocates come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for ensuring every eligible voter has a voice in our democracy, either directly or through the voice of their political party.

The summit, being held at the Georgia Tech College of Law campus in Atlanta, will host hundreds of voting rights advocates and voters to discuss ways in which we can achieve access and equality at the ballot box.

In Georgia, we are counting on voters to step up and register ahead of Election Day. Registration deadlines have been extended, and there will be free registration spaces available on the election day.

In its initial project, Atlanta Grassroots Legal Aid sued the Board of Elections and the State of Georgia in order to guarantee voters had adequate opportunities to register in 2017. In June 2018, Georgia voters overwhelmingly agreed with their legal counsel, eliminating the backlog of unused voter registration cards.

Here at Advancement Project we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure voters have access to the opportunity to participate in the political process in Georgia as we strive for a fair and fair election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Click here to see pictures from the Voting Rights Summit in Atlanta.

On page 2 of this article, we see New Democracy Root of the Problem.


High-profile Democrats outline abortion views at CNN debate

High-profile Democrats are coming together to draw a sharp line in the sand when it comes to the issue of abortion, with the top contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination all on record in the last week.

At a CNN debate Monday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke all took pro-choice stands when asked what position they would take on abortion rights.

In response to a question from Jake Tapper about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Warren said she opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation on a number of grounds, including that he is “extreme and wrong on many fundamental rights and he will reverse Roe v. Wade, and I don’t support him.”

When Tapper followed up and asked if she supported the Roe v. Wade ruling, Warren replied: “Yes. And I would call on President Trump to immediately stop trying to take away women’s health care choices.”

O’Rourke said he supports Roe v. Wade, with a caveat. “As we defend that right,” he said, “there are going to be other issues that come along like Blunt-McCain.”

Not to be outdone, Harris said she would support every abortion “legally and morally appropriate” in the United States — an indication of her willingness to align herself with progressive values she is likely to espouse as the nominee for the Democratic ticket.

Following the debate, CNN released a short, 28-second video in which each candidate answered specific questions posed by six voters in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Vermont. The voters also opted to address the candidates’ positions regarding abortion rights, Climate Change, Health care, Immigration, Gambling and gun violence.

The full video is available at

The full transcript of each candidate’s answers:

Jake Tapper (opening): I’m Jake Tapper. CNN welcomes you to a conversation with six American voters. Let’s bring our first town hall to Florida. First, we’ll start with Ron Wulfman (ph) from Tampa. Ron, thank you so much for joining us. Ron: Thank you. Tapper: You asked a question about the Kavanaugh hearings and the impact on the Roe v. Wade case, so let’s hear what all of you thought.

Ron: Well, I think that this is a decision that is more difficult than others, and I would have, at the very least, wanted confirmation before making an actual judgment on it. … The whole point of having an independent judiciary is so you don’t have one judge in particular impose their viewpoint on the entire country.

Larry (from Lynchburg, Virginia): … was about the security of the human life of every life, regardless of where it begins or whether it is full term. … O’Rourke: … but I think what was coming out of the Kavanaugh hearings was a deeply troubling way in which the concept of “suspect vote” was being espoused. … I believe we need to defend our Roe v. Wade ruling, as I think the vast majority of Americans do. … Harris: … I agree with you on “suspect vote”, but as I also said, I think that the Planned Parenthood funding, the minority of Democrats who supported it, should have been restored. … Warren: … what Brett Kavanaugh could do that he hasn’t done yet is overturn Roe v. Wade. … I believe strongly that the highest court in the land will defend the American Constitution. … Sanders: … as for reproductive rights, of course I support Roe v. Wade, and I would call on President Trump to immediately stop trying to take away women’s health care choices. …

Our second town hall is coming up in a bit. Keep an eye out for more.


Rick Scott refers to Andrew Gillum as Andrew Gillum again in fiery debate

Rick Scott tried the now-familiar line of attack in a stark state to campaign for statewide office that he’s doing a poor job as governor, according to the harsh words that emerged from last night’s debate.

The Republican governor on Wednesday repeated a familiar line of attack against his opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, accusing him of not having delivered on key reforms he had promised to deliver by his second anniversary.

And Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to echo that line when he said: “In just two years, four major legislative sessions, 2,000 appointments across the state, that’s eight different initiatives in 32 months. The list just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.”

He contrasted that to what Gillum described as the governor’s deep commitment to free college, his call for universal pre-K, the “commonsense protections” of auto insurance rates.

Here are a few of the chief differences:

Scott pointed to charter schools as having been ineffective and said they have a weak record on teacher performance.

Gillum called for more charter schools and expanded students’ involvement in the school building program that might give them a shot at transferring to higher performance schools.

Both men said they were most proud of trying to address the sanctuary city ordinance and supporting voting rights, among others.

Scott revealed that while he was at Goldman Sachs on a state consulting job in 2001 when he was blasted in the media for racy tweets sent while he was governor, he never resigned.

DeSantis – the former congressman who was elected in November – said he did not know Scott or even met him while he was in Washington D.C.

The candidates appeared to have little to say in response to a moderator’s question about what they thought of the president.

On a lighter note, Gillum, a Democrat and Tallahassee mayor, compared the GOP attack on the universal health care law “Obamacare” to 1950s censorship.

The transcript provided to the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald reads:

“OK, you’re not getting Obamacare to privatize our healthcare anymore – we understand – and we understand. We know the American people are tired of Obamacare, and my opponent wants to repeal it, which means it’s going to repeal itself. It’s going to put that healthcare right back out of the hands of the American people.

“I guess what I want to know, Andrew, is if we go back to a single-payer healthcare system, you’re going to prohibit people from taking insurance with a doctor they like, with a plan that fits their needs? We made a mistake at the last time with the Affordable Care Act. So I’m going to stand up, too, for what we did under Obamacare but want to continue to improve it.”

The Times and Herald both had the debate-related debate transcripts in their paper Wednesday.


We were back on the podcast: A look at what came up on the first post-election edition

NEW YORK — Feel like the political world lost its mind last night? Feel free to hand over your pillows. It was the first post-election “On Politics” podcast edition, and it certainly brought in some sharp moments — and some uncomfortable views.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — one of a handful of big names involved in a new Democratic effort to take control of the House of Representatives — offered his views on what the new Congress should do. But he mostly tried to downplay expectations.

“I think if anybody’s in office and they think they know what they’re doing, then they probably should not be in office,” Holder said, offering a thought or two about things such as the new Democratic majority’s ability to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I think there’s no greater word that I can make about the fact that the grand jury is doing an investigation into Trump,” Holder added. “What does that mean? Does it mean he’s going to be indicted? Are we going to impeach him? We’re not going to call it impeachment.”

To get a sense of some of the other hot-button issues that dominated the night, New York Times staff writers Maggie Haberman and Mike Grynbaum welcomed Twitter’s former head of politics Zeke Miller into the fray.

Author Sarah Posner said she’s “not sure what to make of the departure” of ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Longtime Fox News host Shepard Smith went in for a conversation about his network’s coverage of the midterm elections, during which Trump supporters were confronted by female protestors and some viewers were angry about lost coverage.

And Andrea Mitchell and The Washington Post’s Marwa Eltagouri, in Denver to cover the debate over renaming a street after former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, discussed the campaign for a rematch, which was nearly derailed by Republican Doug Robinson’s showing last week.

Plus, the panel went behind the scenes at the National Republican Congressional Committee meeting in Washington to find out how the party plans to reclaim the House next year.


Democrats Direct Fire at Trump in Debate

Former vice president Dick Cheney and first lady Laura Bush (both center) listen to Vice President Mike Pence, left, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, right, speak during the final Republican debate of the 2016 presidential primary campaign. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo Congress Democrats Direct Fire at Trump in Debate

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump’s threat to shutter the government just got tougher.

As House Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach the president, his top backers stepped up their criticisms of their most vocal critics, with Vice President Mike Pence labelling criticism from Bernie Sanders and many other progressives a “taxpayer-funded political exercise.”

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And Bernie Sanders continued to assail Donald Trump for raising questions about whether a judge was biased against his administration, underlining the financial pressures facing the president as he braces for another shutdown — and thinks about how he could impeach his White House.

Sanders’ criticism of Trump comes in the run-up to a new CNN poll, which is set to come out in the next few days. It will likely put pressure on other Democrats to jump on the increasingly popular theme of impeachment as a viable political strategy.

The poll, coming from CNN’s Polling unit, is set to use a standard methodology of testing a wide range of potential election outcomes across the country, and will ask whether the survey respondents support or oppose impeaching President Donald Trump. That question has yet to be added to the polling pool as CNN does field testing, but presidential impeachment in 2020 isn’t out of the question.

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While Trump and his allies are open to the idea of impeaching a sitting president, it’s a hotly debated issue among Republican operatives. As long as Republicans maintain their majorities in the House and Senate — and as long as they control the Supreme Court — many Republicans are telling friends and allies in the early 2020 campaign that they won’t be able to block impeachment proceedings should Democrats hold the House.


Other Republicans want to answer Bill Gardner’s question: What are the electability tests of the Democratic Party?

Bill Gardner is a Brown University political scientist with a reputation for being one of the Bay Area’s smarter political thinkers. Lately, he’s also been advising Republican donors who want more candidate debates — including a Republican candidate who wants to make a “electability” argument about how he’d perform in a hypothetical race against Democratic nominees for president.

“We’re sending the message that you need to get more Republicans involved, and that you need to listen to them in the primary,” Gardner said.

Also See: Who’s That Man in the Dem Debate? (From What We Can Tell)


What’s more, Gardner said, the GOP has taken cues from Democrats’ campaigns when it comes to engaging voters on electability. More than two dozen Democratic candidates — with different messages — debated last week in Nevada, nearly three years before the 2020 election. More debates, Gardner argued, help GOP candidates shore up their favorability ratings ahead of the campaign’s later stages.

“The Republicans should be more active in using the success of the Clinton campaign to ask themselves, ‘What are the tests the Democrats have used to challenge the Republicans?’” Gardner said. “The Democrats did this. The Democrats got caught up in tests that people have used.”

Democrats, in contrast, have mostly used tests to set up “poll after poll after poll” against Republican candidates, Gardner said. They’ve done so, he added, to “prove a point,” rather than in pursuit of a single outcome.

Greg Guterbock, a political consultant and one of the Republican candidates in the debate in Las Vegas, said that “electability” is just one of several arguments he would use to argue that he’d be a better candidate. He cited his voting record, his and his family’s history with Republicans, and his experience in government and business.


“A lot of people are focused on who’s electable, but there’s other kinds of things that I think is also important,” he said.

From their vantage point at The New York Times, reporters have followed Republican presidential candidates on their pre-debate road shows — including a group of wealthy GOP donors who met privately with Trump last week to discuss an endorsement, and announced after the event that they would back him if he won the nomination. Those candidates are stepping up their efforts, trying to demonstrate their appeal to party regulars, especially those in Iowa, where the first caucus next year is taking place.

Not all Republicans are so eager to take this kind of approach, however. Despite the array of candidates vying for their votes, many say that it’s wiser, at this stage, to focus on defining themselves to a party they hope is unsettled by the rancor now infecting the Democratic contest.

Other Republican hopefuls, particularly former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, are trying to use the debates to convince GOP voters that Trump is the candidate who can save the party. And the quest to convince Republican donors to back candidates who they think may do well in a general election has already become a popular topic of conversation.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, for instance, has argued that Trump’s potential challengers for the GOP nomination should hold a debate in Iowa, where a general election is likely to be held. It was perhaps fitting, then, that a Republican candidate she backed in New York’s recent congressional primary ended up losing to a Democrat she did not support.


The Iowa Democratic debate: Moments from the contest

The Donald Trump effect was in full force during the Iowa Democratic Party’s debate Tuesday night. For all of the political fireworks that were expected, there was also something akin to an oddly comforting presence. And that something may just have played a part in the party’s decision to finally hold a primary debate this time around.

While Tuesday’s event was at times heated, the moderators rarely steered the conversation away from the negative impact Trump’s candidacy has had on the country and its politics. When that topic came up, the candidates were often careful to dodge the issue and steer the conversation back to policy and their own specific plans to transform the nation’s health care system. To their credit, the candidates agreed on a few issues — universal health care and Medicare for all are staples of the Democratic agenda — but by and large, it was an interesting conversation about policy and how it relates to the lives of everyday Americans.

Here are the most memorable moments from the debate, featuring Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who also participated in the previous debate.

Dem presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is an outsider

This didn’t start off as a particularly friendly debate, and it only got worse as the night wore on. “The Elizabeth Warren moment” (or “Cornyn happening” as moderator Jake Tapper referred to it) got a lot of play in the opening minutes of the night, as Harris and Warren each had to defend being newcomers to the national political stage. Both got in a few shots at Warren, who was making her first trip to Iowa and who has attracted a largely favorable media spotlight over the course of the past year. But in the end, the discussion steered away from the Iowa front-runner to an already-formed front-runner who has spent years building a national following.

Read more from Bala Nair and Lisa Lerer.


The Most Powerful Scandal of the Century? Get Out While You Can.

Watch Harris Rip Kavanaugh For Criminal History Neglect

California Sen. Kamala Harris ripped Sen. Al Franken Tuesday night for acknowledging that “we understand that if you are black,” in referring to each other, “we understand how you can try to pick the worst possible attributes in that person.” With excerpts from her book—Dubious Achievement: Uncovering Racial Injustice in the Criminal Justice System—currently being widely circulated across social media, Harris discusses sexual assault, systemic racism, and how political correctness can only be read in black terms.

While Harris says that while she is no “rapist,” she does not disavow the idea that men and women are not equal. So rather than simply standing by Franken’s anecdote as an act of political correctness run amok, Harris taps into the underlying truth of having to have one’s priorities aligned with the politicians we vote into office. “More than putting up with overt racism in our politics, we have to stop believing the innuendo that we have to understand a black person’s facial expressions and would not just do well by calling us beautiful,” Harris notes in one passage.


Cory Booker Says Biden May Have Been High When He Banged on about Legalizing Marijuana

Senator Cory Booker says Vice President Joe Biden just might have been high when he recently made comments about legalizing marijuana.

“Well he’s clearly a very intelligent guy, and is a public servant, but you know we’ve heard those words before—’He’s a theocrat’—what else is new,” said the New Jersey Democrat when asked about Biden’s remarks at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit Wednesday.

“But I think it’s interesting that when you think about the attacks that this administration has gotten from the left—over Brexit, over Brett Kavanaugh, over so many other issues—it’s really odd to see a Democratic figure declare his support for legalizing marijuana right in the midst of the most hostile moment that there’s been for the president that this administration has gotten.”

Biden, a 1972 Catholic high school grad, mocked Fox News hosts on-air after declaring last week that he “hates to see what’s going on in Washington.”

“I’m getting so much feedback on the president,” he told Tucker Carlson during the interview. “I hate to see what’s going on in Washington. I think we need to legalize marijuana.”

President Donald Trump rejected that line of thinking in a Friday interview with Axios, citing how it would jeopardize the drug war.

“If you look at what’s happened with our country over the last 30 years with marijuana, it’s gone out of control,” Trump said. “It’s gone wild. It’s not that I love it, it’s that I hate the laws that are happening, because most people want it legalized. They want it taxed properly, and I want to treat it that way, and we’ll see what happens. But when you look at these arguments, it’s to me unfair for the person being murdered next to you, or the enemy that’s coming over the border.”