What My Career in Presidential Politics Tells Me About the 2020 Candidates: Bullock, Bernie, Biden, Warren (Video)

I was interviewed yesterday by Maren Siu of the Kalispell affiliate of MTN News, KAJ. MTN News is a great station and it’s good to see them flourishing. I was named Montana State Director of the Obama/Biden re-election campaign in 2012 and have worked in presidential politics since 2007 when I endorsed Obama in the primary and worked on his campaign. Maren and I discussed the 2020 presidential race and who we saw as major players.

I have a few candidates that I am watching and would consider endorsing in the primary, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Bernie Sanders, Steve Bullock and Tulsi Gabbard.  Joe Biden does not need to run, Biden voted for the Iraq War and Biden voted for NAFTA. Here’s the video of my discussion with Maren Siu from earlier today in Kalispell about Joe Biden and here is an earlier post I wrote on this topic as well:

(One side note, I think my wording was a little confusing in the clip, I was referring to President Trump when I said “dragged back into the dark ages.” Also, I was Montana State Director for the Obama/Biden campaign in 2012, not the student director.)

Link to Biden “Yes” vote on NAFTA

Link to Biden “Yes” vote on the Iraq War and his floor speech here.

“I will vote for the Lieberman-Warner amendment to authorize the use of military force against Iraq,” Biden said in October 2002.

I don’t have a lot to say here that I didn’t say in the video except this, I have voted in four Presidential elections during my adult life. I have voted for the Democratic nominee four times. Two of those times the candidate lost, 2004 and 2016. Both of the Democratic nominees had voted for the Iraq war. We should not nominate Joe Biden because he voted for the Iraq War, it is an error in judgment that the American people obviously cannot forgive. He is not electable.

We elected Barack Obama President twice aided by the fact that he had come out against the Iraq War, publicly and unequivocally, even when it was unpopular to do so.

Here I am introducing then Senator Obama in 2008 to a Missoula crowd of 8,000 plus.

Vice News reported that Joe Biden said:

Biden enthusiastically voted to authorize President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.

“I voted to go into Iraq, and I’d vote to do it again,” Biden said in August 2003.

Link to tweet

I also spoke to Maren Siu about Montanan’s excitement for Steve Bullock to run for President.

Steve Bullock is a champion of Montana families, workers and students and has delivered for them his whole career.

The last legislative session of Steve Bullock’s tenure as governor is a perfect illustration of that.

Bullock is widely recognized as national leader in the fight against dark money and here we see some smart tactics as Bullock ties the control of our politics in dark money to our inability to address climate change. Climate change is the number one issue facing the planet.

I am fairly certain Steve Bullock is running for President. As this tweet reveals the hiring of three amazingly experienced communications staff, one based in Iowa. He already has highly experienced field staff in Iowa for his Big Sky Values PAC.

Another great candidate is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren who is rolling out more well thought out policy than any other major candidate in the field. She is largely being ignored for the sensational made for TV fights but primaries are laboratories for good policy that builds a winning platform in general elections and I hope more folks take notice of her well thought out, far-reaching and completely rational and necessary policies.

Here are just some of the major policy proposals that Senator Warren has already rolled out. via The Cut

Decreasing Maternal Mortality Rates for Black Women: The U.S. has the worst maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world — and black women are disproportionately at risk. (Per the CDC, an average 12 in 100,000 white women in the U.S. die from complications in a live birth; that rate is severely higher — 40 per 100,000 — for black women). On Monday, Warren unveiled her plan to decrease maternal mortality rates for African-American women. Her plan includes giving medical providers “bonus” funds if they lower those numbers.

Ultra-Millionaire Tax: Part of Warren’s plan to cover the costs of the policies she’s proposed is to tax the ultra-rich in America. “The 400 richest Americans currently own more wealth than all Black households and a quarter of Latino households combined,” she wrote on her website, going on to say that the richest 130,000 families in the U.S. have almost as much wealth as the bottom 117 million combined.

Thus, she has proposed the Ultra-Millionaire Tax, which applies only to households with a net worth of $50 million or more. The tax includes paying an annual 2 percent tax on every dollar over $50 million, and a 3 percent tax on every dollar over $1 billion. This would bring in $2.75 trillion in revenue over the course of ten years.

Universal Child Care: She proposed $700 billion universal child-care policy, which would require that no family spends more than 7 percent of its income on quality supervision of their minors. Her policy aims to have the government to create a network of affordable options for child care by partnering with local providers.

“In the wealthiest country on the planet, access to affordable and high-quality child care and early education should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the rich,” she wrote.

Higher-Education Reform: Warren also proposed universally free public higher education, so that we don’t find ourselves in another student-debt crisis. This component of her plan entails free tuition and zero fees for Americans attending two-year and four-year public colleges. The proposal also includes a component to invest an additional $100 billion in Pell Grants to assist lower-income and middle-class students, and cuts off federal funding to for-profit colleges.

Furthermore, she seeks to create a $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions, to require public colleges to complete annual reviews into the enrollment and graduation rates of lower-income students and students of color, and to ban public colleges form considering citizenship or criminal history in their admissions processes.

Student-Debt Relief: Warren has rolled out a staggering policy proposal that would cancel nearly all outstanding student-loan debt. In a post on Medium, published April 22, Warren announced a new higher-education plan that would cancel up to $50,000 in student-loan debt for up to 40 million Americans. More specifically, the plan calls for canceling debt for 95 percent of Americans with student-loan debt — and wiping that debt out entirely for 75 percent of them.

Making Housing More Affordable: Warren has proposed a plan to make housing more affordable, in part, through the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which she recently reintroduced in the Senate. The bill would also allow state and local governments to eliminate zoning rules that drive up the cost of construction. Additionally, Warren states that her housing bill would create a down-payment assistance program that would help first-time homeowners of color who were discriminated against by the federal government in previously being denied the same federal housing subsidies as white families.

Protecting Public Lands: If Warren is elected to the White House, she intends to sign an executive order on her first day in office to protect public lands. The order, she has written, would place a “total moratorium” on drilling — including offshore drilling and on public lands. She also aims to reinstate the methane pollution rule, which would limit the harmful gases released into the air by oil and gas projects, and reinstitute the clean water rule that Trump repealed.

Real Corporate Profits Tax: Warren also wants to institute a Real Corporate Profits Tax for large American companies. In a Medium post, she wrote that companies currently follow a set of different tax accounting rules than the rest of us. These are filled with so many loopholes and exceptions that sometimes major corporations (like Amazon) don’t end up paying corporate income taxes at all. And so, she wants companies that report more than $100 million in profits to pay a 7 percent tax on every dollar of profit over $100 million. The tax will apparently bring in $1 trillion over the next ten years, according to economists she cited.

Barack Obama and I on April 5th, 2008 before I introduced him in Missoula, Montana

Finally, Bernie Sanders, well, I’ll try to be diplomatic here:

Bernie Sanders has an unmatched record of consistency in his policy and judgment.

Bernie Sanders has opposed poorly thought out interventionist wars his whole career, including opposing the Iraq War.

Bernie Sanders has stood up to Wall Street and the Big Banks his whole career.

Bernie Sanders has opened the debate up in the country to real policies that could help dig us out of the deep hole the working class has been put in. He fights for unions. He fights for everyone.

I am glad Bernie is running for president in this brilliant, diverse and talented field. His polling has been looking good of late as well, in battleground states, among young women, people of color, and nationally. Images below:


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Nathan Kosted


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  • I do agree with most of what you say – however, I do hope that IF Biden becomes the eventual Democratic nominee, that you will support him with your vote. We MUST stay united as a party in order to oust the current occupant of the White House, who has no business still being there.

  • “I don’t have a lot to say here that I didn’t say in the video except this, I have voted in four Presidential elections during my adult life. I have voted for the Democratic nominee four times. Two of those times the candidate lost, 2004 and 2016. Both of the Democratic nominees had voted for the Iraq war. We should not nominate Joe Biden because he voted for the Iraq War, it is an error in judgment that the American people obviously cannot forgive. He is not electable.”

    • I will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is. We must defeat Trump to reduce the impacts of Climate Chaos or we are lost. Bullock does not stand a chance against all the fine national Democrats in the running for 2020 and I wish he would just settle down and run for the Senate seat from Montana. That is where us Montanans really need him. Daines is bad for Climate Chaos and bad for Montana.

  • I am new to this site but familiar with montana politics and think bullocks quest is a prime example of reach exceeding grasp there is a surplus of candidates for president but who will take on Raines? Bullock can beat him but who else?

  • Gov Bullock has zero chance of being elected President and he knows it.

    He is just looking for another job with the Dems and he thinks this is the way he gets it.

    Seeing him with the whole clown car of Dem candidates will be entertaining though.

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