2020年1月27日 星期一

On Politics: Our New Morning Tip Sheet

Welcome to our new morning newsletter! Today: Iowa countdown, our Bolton scoop, a big endorsement …

Welcome to our new On Politics morning newsletter, a daily political analysis of the 2020 elections, based on reporting by Times journalists and interviews with Democratic and Republican officials, voters, pollsters and strategists.

Where things stand in the race

  • The Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses are next Monday night and the outcome is impossible to predict, but this much is clear: Bernie Sanders is sounding confident of victory, and his poll numbers and organizational muscle give him reason to hope.
  • Sanders drew more than a thousand people to his rally in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday night, and he said something that we had never heard him say as a candidate in 2016. Referring to big-money interest groups, he said, “They’re looking at recent polls in New Hampshire and Iowa and saying, ‘Oh my god, Sanders can win.’”
  • Hyperbole, maybe. But think about it: Sanders never had more than a long-shot chance of winning the 2016 nomination, but since then he has heavily influenced the party’s move to the left. And this weekend he found himself leading in a New York Times/Siena College poll of Iowans, and tied with Joe Biden in an Iowa poll from CBS News and YouGov. He was also ahead in two New Hampshire polls published on Sunday.
  • Still, it’s too soon to say that Iowa is Sanders’s to lose. The biggest reason: Caucusgoers could unite behind a “Stop Sanders” candidate, especially if their preferred candidates don’t qualify for delegates under caucus rules.
  • Despite Amy Klobuchar’s low polling, her team says there are no plans to quit the race after Iowa, even if she has a weak finish there. Klobuchar has already qualified for the New Hampshire debate, and past face-offs have been fund-raising moneymakers for her operation. And she has been heartened by her crowd sizes — 450 people attended in Ames on Sunday.
  • Some of the better-organized campaigns have built up their lists of Iowa voters so much that they are now targeting invitations to forums in the bigger markets at people they’ve identified as undecided. Take Elizabeth Warren’s event in Davenport this morning: Her campaign invited undecideds — not those who are committed to her.

Maggie Haberman’s take on the Bolton scoop

Our colleagues Maggie Haberman and Mike Schmidt reported on Sunday that John Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has circulated a draft of his book to close associates and submitted one to the White House for review.

In the manuscript, Bolton describes how Trump linked the release of $391 million in aid withheld from Ukraine to investigations into Democrats, including Biden.

Bolton’s book appears to contradict the argument by Trump’s legal team that the president withheld aid to fight Ukrainian corruption. And it could add fuel to Democrats’ appeals that the Senate should allow new witnesses and written evidence.

Here’s Maggie on the book’s possible impact on the trial:

Whether it changes anything at this stage of the impeachment trial in the Senate remains unclear. So far, there has not been movement toward voting to call witnesses — if anything, it’s gone in the other direction.

Bolton has said he is willing to respond to a Senate subpoena to testify. Senators will now have to decide whether they are willing to ignore what Bolton has told people he is willing to say.

Polling shows that a wide majority of Americans think new evidence should be permitted. But Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, have so far refused to commit to allowing fresh subpoenas. If they hold the line on this, the Senate could vote to acquit Trump as early as Friday.

To bring new evidence, Democrats would need four Republicans to defect and vote with them. And four is exactly the number of Republican senators who have signaled that they might be willing to do it. So all eyes this week will be trained on those senators: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.


Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Jon Hathaway went hat in hand for Biden’s signature during a campaign event on Sunday in Des Moines, and the former vice president obliged. (See how many other presidential candidates’ autographs you can spot.)


Biden and Sanders trade barbs in Iowa

Iowa this past weekend became a checkerboard of crisscrossing candidates and campaign workers. With the Senate trial adjourned until Monday, Iowa’s five highest-polling contenders were out stumping and rallying crowds across the state.

Amid all that, Biden and Sanders found good news in various new surveys of Iowa, New Hampshire and the country at large.

The Times/Siena College poll of Iowa showed Sanders had consolidated his strength in recent months among young people and the most liberal voters. An online poll of Democrats in Iowa taken by CBS News and YouGov found Sanders and Biden in a virtual tie. Both candidates have increasingly attacked each other over the past two weeks, sparring on Biden’s past positions on Social Security and Sanders’s record on guns.

Hurling attacks isn’t your usual front-runner behavior, so the weekend’s events seem to reaffirm that the race is too close for any one candidate to claim that title.


Here’s our colleague Sydney Ember, who was covering Sanders this weekend, with her analysis of where he stands:

Bernie Sanders has been saying for months that he will win Iowa, and his demeanor this weekend was largely the same as it has been for months. At stop after stop, he lamented that he was stuck in Washington for Trump’s impeachment trial but largely delivered versions of his familiar stump speech.

He did, however, emphasize more than usual that the Iowa caucuses would all come down to turnout: If the turnout was high, he said, he would win; if it was low, he wouldn’t.

The Times’s Thomas Kaplan, who was with Biden, said the feeling was a bit different at his events — but that’s to be expected.

Biden’s campaign events this weekend did not give the impression that you were watching someone who was surging to victory in Iowa. He doesn’t draw big crowds, and this weekend was no different. But Biden has never been a big-crowd candidate; he thrives in one-on-one interactions with voters along the rope line. So it’s hard to know how much to extrapolate from his less-than-electric events.

“I’m a tactile politician,” he told reporters on Sunday. “The poll I feel is what I’m doing when I’m out, and it feels good.” His prediction for next week’s caucuses: “I think it’s going to be a close race in Iowa.”

A big endorsement gets Warren dancing

While the polls have not been as kind to her recently, Warren got a jolt of good news on Saturday night, when The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest newspaper, endorsed her candidacy. When she heard the news, the Massachusetts senator channeled her inner Ellen DeGeneres, busting out a few little dance moves.

Here’s our reporter Shane Goldmacher, who was out with Warren, on how her campaign was responding to the news:

It’s safe to say that Warren was amped about the endorsement. When her communications director, Kristen Orthman, pulled her aside just after she finished her photo line in Muscatine to break the news, Ms. Warren pumped her fists in the air and burst into an impromptu dance. (She showed off similar dance moves in Brooklyn at her first event with Julián Castro this month.)

It’s also safe to say that Warren’s campaign needed a jolt of energy. I had just been prodding her staff members on how they would generate momentum, as she has slipped in the polls and faces the prospect of being mostly stuck in Washington for impeachment. Well, The Register answered that question.

Curiously, Warren didn’t trumpet the endorsement either in a speech later that night at a dinner for the Scott County Democratic Party, or at a Sunday morning event in Davenport. But she did start featuring it in digital ads on Facebook — not just in Iowa but nationwide.

Buttigieg is targeting Sanders

Pete Buttigieg has campaigned relentlessly in Iowa, though his poll numbers have been on a downward slide of late. He is vying for many of the same moderate voters as Biden, but this past weekend he trained his attacks on Sanders.

Polls show that most of the Vermont senator’s supporters see him as the candidate to fundamentally change politics in Washington — but Buttigieg made the opposite argument. Echoing Hillary Clinton’s recent complaint that Sanders was “a career politician,” Buttigieg (without naming Sanders directly) told a crowd in West Des Moines that his opponent represented “the political mind-set that got us here.”

Our colleague Reid J. Epstein was there for Buttigieg’s address at Maple Grove Elementary School. Here’s what Reid had to say about it:

Buttigieg is no stranger to political combat. His rise in the polls last fall coincided with his attacks on Warren’s health care proposals. Now he’s hoping to take a bite out of the lead Sanders has shown in an array of Iowa polls.

Buttigieg says that a win in Iowa would serve as a boost in other states, where his poll numbers appear weaker. If he delivers a surprise victory on Feb. 3, he hopes it can help him build momentum in New Hampshire, where he has been running strong, as well as in South Carolina and Nevada, where he has not made it out of the single digits in any major polls.

“Iowa,” he said Sunday, “is in position to give everyone else permission to believe that we can do this.”

Jonathan Martin contributed reporting from Davenport, Iowa, and Lisa Lerer from Des Moines.

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