2020年1月30日 星期四

On Politics: Where Are the Candidates Going?

Strategic Iowa trips, a Sanders cash haul, Facebook ads: This is your morning tipsheet.
Good morning and welcome to On Politics, a daily political analysis of the 2020 elections based on reporting by New York Times journalists.

Where things stand in the race

  • Want to know which parts of Iowa Democratic candidates think are most crucial to their success in Monday’s caucuses? Don’t listen to what they say — watch where they go. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have released their final Iowa schedules, and each tells a similar story: They believe their fortunes depend largely on eastern Iowa. Democrats often spend much of their time in this liberal-leaning part of the state, but these two candidates’ commitment to communities large and small in the region is striking. Ten of Buttigieg’s scheduled 15 events between Thursday and Monday are to be held east of Des Moines, the state capital and population hub of central Iowa. Similarly, nine of Biden’s 11 events before the caucuses are slated for eastern Iowa.
  • Many moderate Democrats are far from excited about the prospect of a Bernie Sanders nomination. But they’ve had trouble finding ways to dent his momentum. When a Democratic super PAC released a negative ad this week painting Sanders as unelectable, his campaign raised $1.3 million in a single day from fired-up supporters.
  • From political Facebook ads, you can see that Biden wants voters to think about how a president can affect the United States’ standing in the world. Elizabeth Warren wants to talk about ridding Washington of corruption. Sanders’s campaign has invested heavily in making sure his Iowa supporters can get to caucus sites — even offering a digitally hosted car pooling operation. How candidates present themselves on Facebook can tell you a lot about their campaigns.
  • For his part, Biden has been hitting the message of electability hard. A key part of that pitch: emphasizing his strength among voters beyond Iowa (read: those in less predominantly white states) as he makes his final case in the Hawkeye State. On Wednesday, our reporter Katie Glueck listened to him tell a crowd in Council Bluffs that caucusgoers “don’t just look at what in fact you want particularly in your state.” Instead, he encouraged Iowans to assess whether candidates “can survive out of Iowa and have a chance at becoming the nominee.” On Thursday, Biden plans to give a speech strongly rebuking the president.
  • A Monmouth University poll was released Wednesday, and you could probably guess what it told us: The Iowa caucuses are not a sure bet for anyone. The survey found Biden at 23 percent support and Sanders at 21 percent, followed by Buttigieg at 16 percent and Warren at 15 percent. Our Upshot colleague Nate Cohn has explained why Monmouth’s polling may be underrepresenting a sliver of the Iowa electorate that happens to be favorable to Sanders. Then again, all polls have different methodologies, and we won’t know who really makes up the electorate until caucus night is over.
  • By the way, why was Tulsi Gabbard at a Sanders campaign office this week? Why might the Biden camp be making nice with Amy Klobuchar’s team? Well, since every candidate must reach a 15-percent threshold at any given caucus site to be considered viable there, the run-up to the big day is often dominated by pact-making and quiet strategery. And this year more than ever, much remains up for grabs. Despite a jam-packed top tier of Democratic candidates, the Monmouth poll found that less than half of very likely Iowa caucusgoers had a firm first choice.

Photo of the day

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

With the caucuses looming, any space in Iowa can become a political venue. Take, for example, this museum that sells historical furniture, RVP-1875, which hosted a Buttigieg event on Wednesday in Jefferson, Iowa.


Sanders endorses a progressive challenger in Texas

By Isabella Grullón Paz

Sanders waded into a closely watched House race in Texas on Wednesday by endorsing Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old immigration lawyer running a progressive campaign to unseat Representative Henry Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

Cisneros was one of the nine congressional candidates Sanders threw his weight behind, including all four members of “the Squad.” Cisneros is the only one seeking to knock out a Democratic incumbent. She now has the backing of two presidential candidates; Warren endorsed her in September.

Cisneros, for her part, has not yet committed to supporting a presidential candidate. One of the people Sanders endorsed Wednesday — Ayanna Pressley, a first-term Massachusetts congresswoman and “Squad” member — had already backed Warren for president.

Like many candidates, Sanders has increasingly looked beyond the first four nominating states and has tried to ramp up support in Super Tuesday states like Texas. Biden and Warren have the most endorsements in the state so far.


Until recently, Texas appeared to be a long shot for Sanders, but a Texas Lyceum poll administered this month found him in a virtual tie with Biden, and 13 points ahead of Warren.

Questions, answers and ankle bracelets at the impeachment trial

The president’s impeachment trial hit a fever pitch on Wednesday as it entered the question-and-answer phase.

The White House and Senate Republicans were pushing for a quick end to the proceedings, working aggressively to discount John Bolton’s revelations and line up the votes to block new witnesses from testifying.

Trump’s legal team put forth a number of arguments that immediately struck some scholars as outlandish. One was from Alan Dershowitz, who said that anything a president does to aid his re-election could be considered in the nation’s interest, and would therefore not be impeachable. Expect more of the same on Thursday.


One of Wednesday’s most startling scenes occurred just outside the Senate chamber, when Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been indicted over his involvement in the Ukraine affair that set off impeachment, arrived at the Senate to get a peek at the proceedings.

Our colleague Patricia Mazzei got a firsthand view of what happened next.

The hour before the start of Wednesday’s impeachment trial found me kneeling on the floor in the office of Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, as we reporters crammed inside, seeking a front-row view of the Lev Parnas show.

Parnas — the Soviet-born, now-indicted businessman who worked to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Trump’s political rivals — had come to Washington in an attempt to enter the Senate visitors’ gallery so he could watch the trial in person. But he didn’t even make it into the Capitol, for one reason: no ankle-monitoring devices allowed. Security rules. (He’s wearing one while out on house arrest, though he declined to have it photographed.)

No matter. Parnas pulled a throng of us reporters along with him anyway as he abandoned the gallery and strode down narrow hallways and into elevators, eventually making his way to Schumer’s office. “Trumpworld,” he opined at one point, “is like a cult. And a lot of the senators are in the cult.”

Bloomberg’s Super Bowl ad buy

Author Headshot

By Nick Corasaniti

Domestic Correspondent, Politics

Sandwiched between the Super Bowl’s pop music-filled halftime show and the kickoff of the second half, Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is hoping to “stop people in their tracks” with an emotional ad featuring a mother who lost her son to a random act of gun violence.

The 60-second ad, which cost $11 million to reserve, features a mother talking about her son, George, who was killed by gunfire while he was in college.

Bloomberg himself decided the ad should focus on gun control. The campaign said it did not worry about running a weighty, emotional ad amid the lighter beer and snack-food ads that tend to fill commercial time during the actual game.

“Amid the dancing raisins and souped-up cars, a mother speaking fundamental and powerful truths about her experience and her son’s loss will draw an awful lot of attention,” Howard Wolfson, a top adviser to Bloomberg, said in an interview. “Deservedly so.”

Recommended reading

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