To say “Happy New Year” as World War III quickly approaches seems a bit strange, so I’ll just say I wish everyone the best in 2020. It’s gonna be a doozy, that’s for sure.
There’s plenty of sludgery to catch up on. This week I’ll continue my 2020 campaign updates and dive into the Iran disaster.
Let’s get right to it.
5. The Revolving Door: Barbara Boxer, Rick Perry & Tea Party Crazies
Democrats and Republicans going through the revolving door is a proud American tradition, but it’s always interesting to find out who ends up where.
Former longtime California senator Boxer is officially joining the lobbying world, signing with Mercury Public Affairs, after a paid consulting gig defending Lyft against an effort to make the company treat its workers like actual workers. Boxer, who left Congress in 2017, will not register as a lobbyist but will advise corporate and government clients on transportation, infrastructure, health care, and municipal issues; some of these clients of Mercury include Airbnb, AT&T, and the governments of Qatar and Turkey. (Politico)
Not long after getting mixed up in Ukrainegate and resigning from the Department of Energy, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is back on the board of Energy Transfer, the company that owns oil and gas pipelines including the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The news comes on the same day that Pennsylvania regulators announced a record $30.6 million fine for Energy Transfer over an explosion of the company’s Revolution pipeline.” (DeSmog)
And now members of the class of Tea Party representatives, who were elected on a right-wing populist platform that opposed the Wall Street bailout, is cashing out and representing big business on K Street. (The Hill)
4. 2020 Sludge—The Democrats
The Democratic presidential primary is heating up with less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, and the seemingly never-ending shady campaign moves continue. Here’s the best of the last couple weeks.
Mike Bloomberg, who is polling at under 6% nationally, has already dropped a colossal $153 million on ads to boost his hopeless candidacy. A Super Bowl ad cost him a cool $10 million. He might be doing better than fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent a paltry $117 million, but come on, there’s no way Democrats are going to swiftly change their allegiances to the frontrunners for a New York billionaire who used to be a Republican and implemented the racist stop-and-frisk policy.
Turns out Bloomberg’s massive spending may not be quite as costly as it seems. That’s because he launched a “secretive tech firm” in the spring and is now using it to help his presidential campaign. Former Facebook and Foursquare execs head up the firm, which recently scored a former Goldman Sachs executive. The firm, Hawkfish, will be the “primary digital agency and technology services provider for the campaign.” (CNBC).
On the donor front, one of wine cave enjoyer Pete Buttigieg’s fundraisers dangled access to the candidate in exchange for a generous donation. “If you want to get on the campaign’s radar now before he is flooded after winning Iowa and New Hampshire,” Buttigieg’s check bundler emailed a wealthy prospective donor, “you can use the link below for donations.” This type of pay-for-play is exactly the kind of donor access on display at Mayor Pete’s wine country fundraiser, where donors who maxed out at $2,800 got to dine underground, among wine casks, with the candidate himself. (Axios)
It is my belief that to oust Trump, a candidate needs to be his foil: Trump caters to the wealthy elite, so his opponent should be an economic populist. Trump caves to health insurance and drug company interests, so his opponent should advocate a strong single-payer health program. And Trump is probably the biggest liar to ever grace the White House; his opponent should be known for honesty and sincerity. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was a member of the political establishment and generally favored modest liberal policies ($12 minimum wage, improving Obamacare, etc.) instead of bold, progressive ideas. Voter enthusiasm was low in some key swing states, and she lost the Electoral College (which should be abolished—what a disaster).
Unfortunately, Joe Biden has been lying about his record on the Iraq War, claiming he opposed it from the beginning. Folks, he didn’t. (CNN)
And finally, AP reports that Our Revolution, a dark-money nonprofit originally founded by Bernie Sanders after the 2016 elections, is helping the current Sanders campaign in a possible breach of campaign finance law. “Our Revolution appears to be skirting campaign finance law, which forbids groups founded by federal candidates and officeholders from using large donations to finance federal election activity.” If this reporting is accurate, I don’t see why Our Revolution doesn’t simply do nonpartisan get-out-the-vote work, which would benefit Sanders anyway. (Associated Press)