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Will the media let Joe Biden get away with this?

Joe Biden is running one of the most dishonest Democratic primary campaigns in memory. It isn't unusual for candidates to lie about minor issues, or to misrepresent a bad vote or two, but that is not what is happening here. Here's what's happening: on two central issues of this election, war and Social Security, Biden is blatantly lying about his well-established record as a hawk and champion of austerity. And every journalist working anywhere near politics knows this - and yet if their coverage of this primary so far is any indication, it seems entirely likely that they're going to let Biden continue lying without serious pushback.


Why they hate Bernie's supporters

Ever since he launched his Democratic primary bid in 2015, Bernie Sanders has been subject to relentless, aggressive attempts to delegitimize his candidacy. Any one of these attacks, if they stuck, would have completely vilified Sanders as an extremist, or a racist, or a sexist, or corrupt, or an operative of the Kremlin, or a crypto-Republican, and so on. But they have not stuck, and that's why Bernie Sanders remains one of the most popular politicians in our country.

Why haven't they stuck? The short answer is "because none of it is true," but that's just too simple - after all, in political life, reputations are constantly destroyed with attacks that aren't true. That's how the right destroys politicians all the time.

The actual answer: Sanders has endured, at least in part, because every one of these attacks has been met with overwhelming resistance by his supporters.


Tonight, they're coming for Sanders

Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner in several primary polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, is within striking distance of first in Nevada, and has cut Joe Biden's national lead to single digits.

That's a sentence I could have already written a few weeks ago - but since then, a lot has changed. First, Sanders became the face of opposition to Donald Trump's military strikes against Iran, working with Rep. Ro Khanna to introduce the No War Against Iran Act. Then, he spoke out against Trump's plan to cut Social Security. Both of these stands against Trump are enormously popular with the Democratic base and with the broader set of voters Sanders needs to win in November.

And both of these stands have also drawn attention to Joe Biden, who voted for George W. Bush's disastrous Iraq War, and who has repeatedly called for cuts to Social Security. Sanders, favorably positioned in the polls, is fighting two major battles against the frontrunner, and he is on the right side of both of them, and this is happening just days before the Democratic primary voting begins.


Elizabeth Warren is sabotaging single payer, again

Elizabeth Warren is telling voters in Iowa that "people are uneasy...about big changes in health care."

This is true, but Warren is not talking about "changes in health care" like changes in your network or increased premiums or getting kicked off of your plan altogether. Those are the changes that plague Americans constantly, and drawing attention to those changes is how you convince them that we need to get rid of private insurance altogether - but that's not what Warren is doing.


Another very bad argument for Sanders-Warren "unity"

I have a broader article about the Sander-Warren "unity" discourse on the way, but here I want to make a narrow point. Sam Adler-Bell, with a rationale for keeping Warren in the race:
According to Morning Consult, Biden is the second choice of the most Buttigieg supporters, at 27 percent, followed by Warren at 20 and Sanders at 12 percent. So if both Warren and Sanders stay in the race, the left rises if Buttigieg falls. If only Sanders is in the race when Buttigieg begs off, Sanders would fall significantly relative to Biden.
Let's do some math.


Bonds and the burden of climate change

Climate change demands massive investment, and a simple way to deal with the financing problem is for the government to issue bonds. This approach has all kinds of political advantages: as I argued in my proposal for a Global Green New Deal, for example, you can use bonds to insulate climate finance from defunding efforts by the right. Though there are other policy mechanisms that do this as well (for example mandatory spending), in my view any effective short-to-medium term approach to the massive funding that the fight against climate change requires is probably going to demand bonds.

That said, there is also a bad policy rationale for using bonds:
I’ll propose a "Green Victory Bond," backed by the full-faith and credit of the United States by the Treasury Department, to finance the transition to a green economy. These Green Victory Bonds will be sold at levels that allow Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum the opportunity to own a piece of the climate solution, and to benefit from the new green economy that we build together.


How to read those second-choice polls

Since so many candidates are running for president this year, people are spending a lot of time trying to figure out who can take votes from whom. And this has created a lot of interest in polls that ask supporters of each candidate who their 2nd choice is - particular in those conducted by Morning Consult, which updates its numbers quite frequently.

But there seems to be a lot of confusion about how to read these polls.


Get involved and Bernie wins. Don't, and he'll lose.

I'll be direct: the Sanders campaign needs your help. Specifically, it needs you to volunteer - to make the calls, send the texts, organize events, and even travel to early states if you can. Because Bernie has a real shot at winning this, but if something doesn't change, the most likely outcome is that this campaign will end in the next seven months.


No significant evidence of sexism in candidate favorability scores

Research has repeatedly affirmed that systematic and institutional sexism, rather than widespread personal bias among voters, are the primary obstacles to women in politics. Nevertheless, Amanda Arnold, writing for the Cut, asks: Why Do People Really Dislike the Women Running for President?


Why are we calling Warrencare "Medicare for All"?

This article also appears on Jacobin.

If you asked me to create a schematic for the health care plans proposed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, it would probably look something like this: