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Major Democratic Donors Reported Backing Away From Biden Campaign

Major Democratic Donors Reported Backing Away From Biden Campaign

A growing number of high-level donors to the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden's campaign now say they're in the dark about whether previously scheduled campaign fundraisers will happen.

The New York Times reported Friday that, since Biden's flat performance on the debate stage with former President Donald Trump late last month, several fundraising events Democrats were counting on have since fallen through after donors backed out. One fundraiser in Wisconsin was cancelled entirely — this was despite organizers adjusting their goal from raising $1 million to $500,000, and still not finding a way to reach that number given the number of donors who said they would not be attending.

Florida-based lawyer John Morgan — of the firm Morgan & Morgan — told the Times that a fundraiser he planned was still in flux, and that he's struggled to get concrete answers from the Biden team about whether the event would be held in August or September.

"I don’t think they know the answer," Morgan said.

The megadonor observed that the more Democratic-aligned donors speak out about their concerns over Biden's continued candidacy, the more other donors would feel emboldened to withhold their money until a candidate they felt was better equipped to win this fall emerged.

"It can become an avalanche," he said.

Later this month, Biden was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser in Austin, Texas hosted by Luci Baines Johnson — the daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson — to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the late president's signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, the Times reported that "people briefed on the planning" said the event may no longer be happening.

The paper reported earlier this week that several major Democratic donors were becoming bearish on Biden's chances of winning in November. And an online document calling for Vice President Kamala Harris to be the Democratic nominee is making its rounds among other donors, who prefer the 59 year-old second-in-command to the 81 year-old president.

"In the last week the president has proven he has a strong message and a strong agenda to run on," Biden campaign finance director Rufus Gifford said. "We know our supporters will see the determination he has and ensure we have the resources to win in November."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

'New York Times' Ripped Over Conservative's Smug 'Why Vote?' Op-Ed

'New York Times' Ripped Over Conservative's Smug 'Why Vote?' Op-Ed

On the Fourth of July, the New York Times opinion section chose to publish an op-ed from a Michigan resident making his case to not vote in the 2024 election. One democracy expert slammed the national paper of record for its decision to run the essay.

The column, titled, "Why I Don't Vote. And Why Maybe You Shouldn't Either," is by Matthew Walther, who is a contributing editor to The American Conservative. With a noticeable tone of disgust, Walther describes the term "civic duty" — which voting rights advocates often use when making the case to participate in the electoral process — as "off-putting."

"If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, civic duty is surely the first. Some version of the civic-duty line is trotted out by the sort of do-gooder who hands out voter registration forms to strangers — an activity I find as off-putting as I would an invitation to sit down and fill out a handgun permit," he wrote.

Journalist Stephen Wolf posted an excerpt of the essay to his X/Twitter account with the text: "This is what the New York Times chose to publish on Independence Day just one week after the Supreme Court ruled that Republican presidents are above the law."

While quote-tweeting Wolf's post, history professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat — an expert on democracy and authoritarian governments around the world — admonished the national paper of record for its decision to publish Walther's column.

"This is just very sad and frankly just what the Autocracy Doctor ordered," she tweeted. "Not voting is a vote to let others decide your fate, and we know that many elections are decided by relatively few votes. The goal of many autocracies is 'demobilization': people detaching from politics so they don't resist."

The backlash the Times has received over Walther's op-ed comes after the paper was excoriated by supporters of President Joe Biden for its editorial calling on him to drop out — while notably remaining absent on the continued candidacy of former President Donald Trump despite his 34 felony convictions. Earlier this year, a Times journalist speaking anonymously to Politicoconfided to the publication that the paper's publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, had an axe to grind against Biden for so far declining to do an exclusive sit-down interview with the Times.

"All these Biden people think that the problem is Peter Baker or whatever reporter they’re mad at that day,” the Times reporter said. “It’s A.G. He’s the one who is pissed [that] Biden hasn’t done any interviews and quietly encourages all the tough reporting on his age.”

The Philadelphia Inquirerrecently trolled the Times' editorial board by running an editorial of its own with a title almost exactly replicating the title of the Times' editorial, except switching out Biden's name for Trump's.

"[T]he debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump," the paper argued. "Trump told more than 30 lies during the debate to go with the more than 30,000 mistruths told during his four years as president. He dodged the CNN moderators’ questions, took no responsibility for his actions, and blamed others, mainly Biden, for everything that is wrong in the world."

If 2016 and 2020 are proper indicators, it's likely the 2024 election will be decided by just tens of thousands of votes across five or six battleground states — including Walther's home state of Michigan. The combined Electoral College votes from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin gave Trump the 270-vote majority to win the presidency in 2016. He won those three states by fewer than 80,000 total combined votes. Biden's 2020 electoral vote majority was decided by less than 45,000 total votes spread across Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Bowman's Defeat By Moderate Democrat Exposed Flaws In 'The Squad'

Bowman's Defeat By Moderate Democrat Exposed Flaws In 'The Squad'

Jamaal Bowman's loss was the Democrats' gain. A member of the left-fringe Squad, his primary defeat removes at least one irritant to the Democrats' quest to take control of the House. And if his replacement with a moderate marks the beginning of the end for the Squad, well, bravo for the victor, Westchester County executive George Latimer.

New York's 16th Congressional District includes some New York suburbs plus a slice of the Bronx. Squad founder Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the old socialist Bernie Sanders thought it a good idea to hold a rally for Bowman in the South Bronx.

Never mind that the South Bronx wasn't part of Bowman's district. Ritchie Torres represents that area. Perhaps Bowman figured his working-class audience would relate to his obscenity-filled rants. Torres thought otherwise.

"There is nothing in Jamaal Bowman's unhinged tirade," Torres posted on X, "that remotely resembles the decency of the people I know and represent in the South Bronx."

Bowman insisted that as a Black, he has an "ethnic benefit." Well, Torres is half-Black, half-Latino, and former New York Rep. Mondaire Jones is Black. Both Torres and Jones endorsed Latimer, a 70-year-old white guy who happens to have experience in governing.

Bowman seems to have forgotten that a congressman is supposed to do a thing called constituent service, that is, providing help to the people in the district. The people rarely saw him.

"He doesn't really study government," Latimer said at a recent event for seniors. "He doesn't really understand it. He's out there on a soap box, talking what he feels."

AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, spent a lot of money trying to get Bowman defeated. Headlines say they're the reason he lost. But it took more than AIPAC to produce an incumbent's 17-point loss.

No doubt their barrage of ads played a part, but Bowman's views on Israel were worse than incendiary; they were ignorant. It's one thing to criticize Israel's conduct in the Gaza war. It's another to question the claim that Hamas committed sexual violence in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, as Bowman did.

Bowman clearly has some screws loose. He gave voice to a looney conspiracy theory related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York City. The Daily Beast unearthed Bowman's blog post passing on the paranoid belief that the collapse of Building 7, a skyscraper in the World Trade Center complex, was a controlled demolition.

As a congressman, he famously set off a fire alarm in a House office building, juvenile-delinquent style. This was done, it is believed, to delay a scheduled vote on a government funding bill. Of course, the building had to be evacuated.

Bowman first lied about setting off the alarm. Then when security cameras caught him in the act, he lied about not knowing what it was. You'd think that a former middle school principal would know what a fire alarm looked like.

Bowman had joined AOC in voting against Joe Biden's infrastructure bill — a tantrum over one of their priorities being left out. To this day, unions have not forgiven either of them for that.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Bowman is that his challenger is a man of substance. As a county executive, Latimer makes budgets, manages essential services, including public safety, and sees that the laws are enforced.

AOC, Bernie, and Bowman apparently chose the South Bronx for its symbolic value. And it all fits. Their posturing was for the cameras, not the 16th district's constituents who happened to live elsewhere.

The Squad suffers a serious lack of quality control, and Bowman isn't its only flawed product. May moderate Democrats continue to replace them.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman's Performative Politics May Lose His Seat

Rep. Jamaal Bowman's Performative Politics May Lose His Seat

If polls are to be believed, as well as vibes by those in the district, New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman will lose Tuesday in a Democratic primary race framed around the war in Gaza, following AIPAC’s unprecedented spending in the race. Yet, if Bowman loses, it will be for reasons that go far beyond money or even the passions around the war in Gaza.

A HuffPost story from Sunday chronicles Bowman’s shift from a nuanced supporter of Israel’s right to exist (while criticizing right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s destructive policies), to calling alleged sexual assaults by Hamas on Oct. 7 “propaganda” and embracing some of the most strident anti-Israel rhetoric.

While Bowman’s district is solidly Democratic, he is now embroiled in a competitive primary, which requires a deft hand and sharp political instincts—both things that Bowman seems to lack.

New York’s 16th Congressional District comprises the northern Bronx and southern Westchester County, including the cities of Mount Vernon and Yonkers. It’s hard to get more ethnically and racially diverse than the 16th: 40 percent white, 29 percent Latino, 19 percent Black, and six percent Asian. Nearly 30 percent of the district’s population is foreign born. The per capita annual income of the district, nearly $63,000, is around 1.5 times that of the United States as a whole, and likely related, its education attainment (47.5 percent has at least a bachelor’s degree) is 1.3 times the national number. And Westchester County has a significant Jewish population.

What that all means is that entrenching oneself in this district requires judicious constituent service, being present and responsive to the vastly divergent interests of not just those larger communities but also the myriad subgroups within them. As we should all know by now, there is nothing monolithic about the white, Black, Latino, or Asian communities.

Even before Hamas’ October 7 attack, Bowman was failing the art of politics. His biggest misstep—one that’s been highlighted in plenty of ads—was his vote against President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. His reason was sound as well. You might remember how progressives wanted to tie the infrastructure bill to Biden’s broader Build Back Better Act, a bill to massively invest in housing, education, and health care, among other programs. Biden and the Democratic leadership in Congress caved to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and ended up splitting the bills. Build Back Better failed to pass, though a substantially reduced version of it, the Inflation Reduction Act, did pass—and Bowman voted for it.

However, despite fighting for Biden’s broader agenda, Bowman’s vote against the infrastructure law has given his primary opponent, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, a clear line of attack. And it seems to be landing with voters in the area. From the aforementioned HuffPost story:

“The things that [Bowman and other leftists] are voting against because they’re not getting everything they want, to me, sounds very much like children who are packing up their toys and going home,” said Jim Metzger, an architect and photographer from Hastings-on-Hudson who supported Bowman in 2022.

If an elected official wants the freedom to cast statement votes, they need to rely on a strong base of supporters ready to have their back for casting those statement votes. And that brings us to some of the people Bowman has allied himself with …

Our political system has degenerated into an ungovernable mess where people think screaming and threatening is an effective way to influence policy and politics. Daily Kos has always promoted a programmatic politics in which we build public support before demanding our elected officials take on contentious issues. It does no good to force elected allies to cast futile votes that will hurt their chances of being reelected—and our chances of building political power to create lasting change.

Unfortunately for Bowman, he doesn’t seem to have that base of support in his district. Instead, he’s tried to court a far-left that appears to have little interest in engaging electorally. As one progressive activist told The Hill:

It’s disconcerting how many activists have pushed for Bowman to stand up for Palestinians, but as of yet, as of now, it doesn’t seem all the noise has turned into financial support and that’s why Bowman may lose.

No one is asking Bowman’s supporters to go toe-to-toe with the right-wing pro-Israel AIPAC, which has dumped a shocking $14.5 million into ousting Bowman. But if every pro-Palestinian activist in the country donated to Bowman, he’d have significantly more than the $4.3 million he raised, which is less than Latimer’s own $5.8 million. (Can’t entirely blame that on AIPAC.)

Worse, the far-left that Bowman has courted is now attacking some of the most progressive members of Congress. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has tirelessly defended Bowman, and Sen. Bernie Sanders held a weekend rally for Bowman in the Bronx. The pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetimes attended, but not to sign up to walk precincts, make phone calls, raise money, or otherwise help get out the vote for him. Rather, they protested the event, attempting to disrupt it because no one can ever be pure enough for them.

“AOC, your hands are red. Over 40,000 dead,” they chanted. Her crime? Seemingly, it’s that she supports Biden, whom many in this movement call “Genocide Joe.” On the issue of Gaza, specifically, few are as supportive of their efforts as AOC, and she’s ardently fighting for Bowman, who has adopted much of the same language as the protestors, even accusing Israel of genocide. And yet somehow, this group decided it is these representatives who need to be protested.

Can people possibly be more absurd?

This is the same crowd that would happily enable Donald Trump’s election, even though that would be orders of magnitude more catastrophic for the residents of Gaza. It’s the reason Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rooting for Trump to win in November.

Yet Bowman is cut from the same cloth. Responding to Latimer’s promise to deliver “real progressive results, not rhetoric,” Bowman retorted in a debate that “rhetoric creates movements in grassroots organizing that leads to American revolutions! That is what we need in this moment. We need rhetoric and results. We have both.”

As someone who lived through a revolution, I can tell you there’s nothing romantic about them. People die. Societies are turned inside out. Families are shattered. And the results are seldom what people expect.

Indeed, in American politics, “revolution” is the pining for change unsupported by popular opinion. It’s the (seemingly) easy way forward.

But let’s be charitable to Bowman and assume that he means it as some sort of benign awakening where the magic of his words and that of his allies spur a political realignment. …

Sorry, can’t do it.

Here are some commonsense guidelines for political change that these activists don’t seem to understand:

1) If you have public support, do politics.

2) If you don’t have public support, do advocacy to build public support.

It’s simple, pragmatic, practical, and realistic.

These pro-Palestinian activists don’t have public support, so the votes just won’t be there for them (AIPAC or no AIPAC), and wishing for a revolution to give them what they haven’t earned is naive extremism.

So given that lack of public support, they could’ve focused on advocacy work to influence public opinion while strongly supporting their elected allies. Instead, they turned on those allies while being obnoxious and turning off anyone else potentially open to their message.

That’s the difference between practical politics and performative politics. The right does it too, like mandating the Ten Commandments in classrooms and feigning piety to those commandments while supporting Trump.

The performative left doesn’t have the power of its counterparts on the right, they are in no way equivalent, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing MAGA’s bidding. Many would rather sink Biden’s campaign and hand Trump the victory than acknowledge that politics is messy and that progress takes hard work, money, and time.

New York’s 16th Congressional District seems set to remind Democrats that they value pragmatic results over performative rhetoric. Too bad that lesson will be lost thanks to AIPAC’s flood of cash. But elected incumbents don’t often lose, and it takes more than money to oust them.

If Bowman is defeated on Tuesday, he will have failed by losing touch with his district and by allying with people little interested in doing the hard work to have his back (preferring instead to damage him). The power of incumbency may save him yet. Odds are that it won’t.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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