2019年11月2日 星期六

On Politics This Week: Beto Is Out and Warren’s Way to Pay

Here's a rundown of what happened in the Democratic primary race this week.

Welcome to On Politics on this Saturday morning.

For one day this week, the 2020 Democratic primary included "Gory BOOker," "Steve BOO-lock" and "BoOOLián Castro." How's that for Halloween spirit?

We'll return to the holiday later. For now, here's a look at the more substantive things that happened in the race this week.

Beto O'Rourke's exit from the presidential campaign brings the total of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to 17.Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Beto O'Rourke is out

Former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas ended his presidential campaign on Friday, saying he had concluded that "this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully."

"My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee," he said in a message to supporters. "Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country."

Mr. O'Rourke began his campaign as a potential front-runner, with some polls early in the year showing him as high as third place. But his numbers have steadily sunk, and by this month he was polling mostly at 2 percent or less.

Warren's plan to pay for 'Medicare for all'

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts laid out how to pay for her "Medicare for all" plan on Friday, proposing $20.5 trillion in new spending through significant tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans, but not, she said, on the middle class.


Under Ms. Warren's plan, employer-sponsored health insurance would be eliminated and replaced by free government coverage for all Americans. Like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, she would essentially eliminate medical costs for individuals, including premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

To fund it, she said that over the next decade, she would require employers to pay trillions of dollars, create a tax on financial transactions like stock trades, change how investment gains are taxed for the top 1 percent of households, and increase her signature wealth tax proposal for billionaires. She also proposed cutting $800 billion in military spending.

  • You can read more about Ms. Warren's plan, and its implications for her and the rest of the field, here.
Senator Kamala Harris during a forum in Philadelphia on Monday.Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Kamala Harris is cutting her staff

Senator Kamala Harris of California, once in the top tier of the Democratic field, has fallen as low as 3 percent in recent polls. And on Wednesday, her campaign announced that it would lay off some aides, reduce top staffers' pay and throw its full weight into Iowa.


In a memo to staff members, Ms. Harris's campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, said the layoffs and pay reductions would free up enough money for more than $1 million in advertising.

Mr. Rodriguez also took a thinly veiled jab at Julián Castro and Cory Booker, who raised money by telling supporters they would drop out otherwise. A successful campaign, he wrote, must "make difficult strategic decisions and make clear priorities, not threaten to drop out or deploy gimmicks."

Castro out of danger — for now

About that fund-raising effort from Mr. Castro, the former housing secretary: As we mentioned last week, he had announced that he would end his campaign if he didn't raise $800,000 by Oct. 31.

Well, Oct. 31 was Thursday, and (surprise!) Mr. Castro's team announced Friday that he made it.

"We're not going anywhere," his campaign manager, Maya Rupert, said in a statement. "Julián will keep being a voice for the voiceless, and a champion for the Americans who have been left behind."


A tight race in Iowa

Four Democratic presidential candidates are locked in a close race in Iowa, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely caucusgoers released on Friday.

The survey puts Ms. Warren (22 percent) slightly ahead of Mr. Sanders (19 percent), Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. (18 percent), and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (17 percent).

In policy news …

  • Tom Steyer released a plan for rural communities that would invest hundreds of billions of dollars in modernizing energy infrastructure, expanding broadband, fighting climate change and more.
  • Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana introduced a women's rights plan, including measures aimed at closing gender pay gap, restoring Title IX standards and codifying Roe v. Wade.
  • Mr. Bullock also released a plan for people with disabilities. Among other things, it would create a "National Office of Disability Coordination" and bar companies from paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage.

And finally …

We've got a few Halloween treats for you this weekend.

First off, we like polls, and Monmouth University, one of the most highly respected polling groups out there, gave us this very serious survey on how Americans feel about Halloween. One takeaway: 36 percent of Americans picked Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as their favorite candy, making it the clear leader.

Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Harris, Mr. O'Rourke and Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado were among the candidates who picked it as their favorite in a survey done by our colleagues in Opinion.

They were also asked to name the worst candy. The entrepreneur Andrew Yang expressed his distaste for candy corn and offered the following observation: "There are better candies and better corn."

Finally, we leave you with this video from Ms. Warren, whose dog, Bailey, channeled his inner tax policy wonk this year, appearing as his mom's two-cent wealth tax.


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