2019年11月23日 星期六

On Politics This Week: Debate No. 5

Some lower-polling candidates were able to break through — at least for one news cycle.

Welcome to On Politics on this Saturday morning.

It was a busy week in the Democratic presidential campaign, with a flood of new policies and, of course, another debate.

Let’s get right to it.

A surprisingly subdued debate

Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at the presidential debate in Atlanta on Wednesday.Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

There weren’t a lot of sparks in this week’s debate, the fifth of the Democratic primary. But in the absence of a clear front-runner, several lower-polling candidates were able to break through — at least for one news cycle.

Senators Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey all had strong nights. So did Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who did not face nearly as many attacks as expected in his first appearance since he shot to the top of the field in Iowa.

Good news and bad news for Buttigieg

Mr. Buttigieg has had a remarkable rise in Iowa, rocketing from 9 percent (fourth place) in a CNN/Des Moines Register poll in September to 25 percent (first place) in one released last weekend. Between that and a Monmouth University poll four days earlier also showing him in first place, it is clear that Mr. Buttigieg has become a serious contender there.

The bad news for him: He is polling terribly among black voters.

A Quinnipiac poll in South Carolina, where black Democrats are the most powerful voting bloc in the primary, showed him at 0 percent in that group. And while his current supporter base could be enough for him to win Iowa, which is mostly white, no Democrat in modern history has won the presidential nomination without winning a majority of black voters.


The candidates courted black voters

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday night honored the historic legacy of black women at Clark Atlanta University.Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

After the debate, several candidates fanned across Atlanta to pitch themselves to black audiences.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gave a speech at Clark Atlanta University on Thursday evening, saying that “race-neutral laws” were not enough, and that the government had an obligation to mend the damage caused by “decades of active, state-sponsored discrimination.” She was joined onstage by Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who has endorsed her, and Ms. Pressley ended up speaking directly to pro-charter-school protesters who interrupted the speech.


Earlier in the day, Ms. Harris held a “black women’s breakfast,” and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave a speech tying his family’s experience in the Holocaust to the discrimination black Americans face.

Messam is out

The Democratic presidential candidate, Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., called it quits this week.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday.

If you hadn’t known he was running to begin with, well, don’t worry about it. Mr. Messam had never appeared on a debate stage, reaching only 1 percent in exactly two debate-qualifying polls all year, and had raised a mere $15,000 in the third quarter.


“I knew the odds were a steep hill to climb, but I have always fought for what is right and will continue to break barriers never broken,” he said in announcing his withdrawal.

Policies from … well, everyone

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. introduced a wide-ranging plan this week to expand on the Violence Against Women Act.

Among other things, it would create a new housing program for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, require colleges and universities to improve reporting systems, establish a task force on online harassment and provide $100 million a year to end the backlog of untested rape kits.

The proposal also focuses on survivors’ ability to sue: It would ban mandatory arbitration clauses that block employees from suing over sexual harassment and restore a provision in the act that would allow people to take civil action against their abusers in federal court. The Supreme Court blocked that provision in 1999, and Mr. Biden is calling on Congress to pass a version that “fills the gaps the Court found fatal last time.”

In other policy news:

Mr. Biden was one of seven candidates who released plans this week — including Ms. Warren, who, as is her wont, released two.

  • In a plan to combat white nationalism, Ms. Warren pledged to make prosecuting domestic terrorism a top Justice Department and Homeland Security priority, require local and state governments to report suspected hate crimes and create a federal task force to combat radicalization. The plan also includes gun control and police reform proposals.
  • Ms. Warren’s other new plan, on “protecting and empowering renters,” is an extension of her previous housing proposal. It calls for more protections against eviction, funding for local efforts to provide legal representation for tenants who cannot afford it, a federal hotline for tenant complaints and new public housing.
  • Mr. Buttigieg released his alternative to “free college for all” plans. It would make public colleges free for families earning up to $100,000 a year, subsidize tuition for those earning up to $150,000 and increase Pell Grant funding by $120 billion. He also addresses student loan repayment, apprenticeships and food security for students.
  • Mr. Sanders also addressed education in his latest plan, which focuses on historically black colleges and universities. He wants to make tuition free at all H.B.C.U.s, both public and private; let low-income students use Pell Grants for books and living expenses; and expand training programs at H.B.C.U.s for public schoolteachers.
  • Andrew Yang, in a new voting rights plan, proposed banning voter ID requirements, regulating voter roll purges more strictly and allowing same-day registration and more early and absentee voting. His plan also addresses obstacles for Native Americans and people with disabilities, and calls for lowering the voting age to 16 and allowing people in prison to vote.
  • Tom Steyer announced a health care plan based on a public option. It would be separate from Medicare and Medicaid but administered by the same agency, and medical providers who accept Medicare and Medicaid would be required to accept the public option as well.
  • Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana released a mental health plan that would increase funding for mental health care providers, make Medicaid cover inpatient treatment and end solitary confinement for people with serious mental illnesses, among other measures.

And finally …

We will leave you with Ms. Harris’s reaction after Mr. Biden, touting an endorsement from former Senator Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, said he had the support of the only black woman elected to the Senate


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