OurWeek in Politics 1/28/19-2/5/19

Here are the main events that occured in Politics this week:

1. Senator Cory Booker Announces His Intention to Run for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination

#Booker

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) became the eight major Democratic Presidential candidate this week.

On February 1, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the former mayor of Newark who has projected an upbeat political presence at a deeply polarized time, entered the 2020 Democratic primaries, embarked on a campaign to become the nation’s second African American president in a Democratic primary field that is the most diverse in American history. Booker announced his candidacy on the first day of Black History Month to the sound of snare drums and with a clarion call for unity. In an email to supporters, he drew on the spirit of the civil rights movement as he laid out his vision for a country that will “channel our common pain back into our common purpose.” “The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Booker said in an accompanying video.

Senator Cory Booker’s announcement had long been anticipated. He was among the most conspicuous campaigners for other Democrats during the 2018 midterm election, making 39 trips to 24 states as he honed a central message, that this was a “moral moment in America” that is likely to frame his future critiques of the Trump administration. In an interview on SiriusXM’s Joe Madison show, Senator Booker touted “the coalitions that we need to build in this country,’’ adding “we’ve got to begin to see each other with a far more courageous empathy to understand that we have one destiny in America.”

The 2020 Democratic primary field now features two African American contenders (Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris) and four women (Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard). In addition, there is also a Hispanic candidate, Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Barack Obama, and a gay candidate, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. This diverse field reflects a party in which women and candidates of color have injected a surge of new energy, and given urgency to the Democrats’ imperative of ousting President Donald Trump, who himself has a long history of bigoted and sexist statements that serve to rally his gullible supporters. Additionally, this diverse Presidential field follows midterm elections in which women and minority candidates for Congress won in release numbers and have assumed some critical positions in party ranks.

2. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Announces Third-Party Presidential Run

#Starbucks #ThirdParty #Independent

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced his intentions to run as a third-party candidate in the 2020 Presidential Election this week.

On January 27, Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, announced that he was considering a Presidential run as an Independent candidate opposed to both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Generally considered to hold conservative views on economic issues, liberal positions on social issues, and supportive of a moderate foreign policy platform, Schultz feels that he would be the ideal candidate to represent the growing number of Americans who do not identify with either of the main political parties. “We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Schultz said in an interview announcing his candidacy. “Republicans and Democrats alike — who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left — are looking for a home,” he added. “The word ‘independent,’ for me, is simply a designation on the ballot.”

Overall, the reaction to Howard Schultz’ proposed third party candidacy has been overwhelmingly negative, with many commentators and politicians alike pointing out that his presence on the ballot would have the effect of spitting the Democratic and Independent vote to the point in which President Donald Trump would easily win re-election to a second term. Shortly after his announcement, Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) tweeted, “Howard, I like your coffee, but please don’t do this. You’re not going to win.” Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also stated that “In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the president” when asked to comment on the candidacy of Schultz. Additionally, former head of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman took issue with Schultz’s focus on reducing entitlement spending as a way to eliminate the budget deficit, noting that large deficits are a function of falling revenues, rather than surging entitlement spending.

Independents have a long history running for the Presidency, but thus far they have had very little success. Over the past Century, the only third-party candidates who have came won any votes in the Electoral College were Strom Thurmond in 1948 and George Wallace in 1968, who both won a majority of Southern states due to their strong opposition to the Civil Rights Movement and right-wing populist positions on the political issues of the time. In 1992, Ross Perot won the medal for the best popular vote performance of a recent independent candidate, a mediocre showing of 19%. In 2000, Ralph Nader, with 3% of the popular vote, was widely blamed for necessitating Al Gore the Presidency. Even when Theodore Roosevelt ran for a third, non-consecutive presidential term in 1912 under the “Bull Moose” banner, he only won 88 electoral votes and less than 20% of the popular vote. These trends show that Howard Schultz likely has a limited chance for success if he runs as an Independent candidate in 2020.

3. Donald Trump confirms US withdrawal from INF nuclear treaty

#NuclearWeapons #ArmsControl

President Donald Trump officially withdrew the US from the INF nuclear arms control treaty this week, sparking fears of a renewed arms race with Russia.

On February 1, President Donald Trump confirmed that the US is leaving the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, saying “we will move forward with developing our own military response options” to Russia’s suspect missile development. In a written statement, President Trump said that the US would be suspending its compliance with the 1987 treaty on Saturday, and would serve formal notice that it would withdraw altogether in six months. Trump left the door open to the treaty being salvaged in that 180-day window, but only if Russia destroys all of its violating missiles, launchers and associated equipment. Since 2013, the US has alleged that Russia has developed a new ground-launched cruise missile which violated the INF prohibition of missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km. Russia for several years denied the missile existed but has more recently acknowledged its existence, saying its range does not violate INF limits.

Despite generally being opposed to the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, US allies in European have been anxious that the death of the INF treaty would lead to a return to the darkest days of the Cold War, and an arms race involving short- and medium-range missiles on European soil. But a senior administration official said any new missiles were still in the research and development phase and deployment was far from imminent. He insisted that the US was only considering conventional missiles in the INF-prohibited range. The official said that while Putin’s development of the new missile was primarily in response to new Chinese capabilities, for the US, “this has nothing to do with China”. “For the US, this is about the threat to arms control and to European security,” the official said.

4. New Jersey becomes Fourth State to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

#NewJersey #MinimumWage

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into a law increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour over a 5-year period this week.

On February 4, New Jersey became the latest state to boost its hourly minimum wage to $15 after Democratic Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a measure phasing in the higher rate over five years. Murphy signed the bill alongside Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver and Democratic legislative leaders at a raucous event in Elizabeth where advocates cheered, “Ready for 15,” carried banners with their union affiliation and applauded loudly once the bill was signed. “It is a great day to make some history for New Jersey’s working families,” Murphy said. “And that’s just what we’re going to do. We’ve talked long enough about putting New Jersey on a responsible path to $15 an hour minimum wage. Today we start our way on this path.” New Jersey joins California, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia in phasing in the higher rate. The $15 wage is a prominent policy goal of left-leaning groups, as well as the fulfillment of a key campaign promise by Murphy.

Governor Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin announced a deal on the higher wage last month following yearslong efforts by left-leaning groups and unions in the state to raise the wage. Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill in 2016 to raise the wage. Republicans and many businesses testified during hearings that the higher wage will increase costs and hurt commerce. Others worried if a recession hits, the high wage could be untenable for businesses. “The amount of job loss that we are going to see among small businesses will be tragic,” state Senator Declan O’Scanlon said in a statement. In an interview, Governor Murphy dismissed these concerns, stating that a higher wage will ultimately lead to increased economic growth and work to bring many individuals and families at last out of poverty.

The bill raises the current $8.85 minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, and then increases the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024, but not for all workers. Farmworkers’ wages will climb to $12.50 over five years, for example. Workers for small businesses and seasonal employees will see their minimum wage reach $15 an hour only in 2026. Tipped workers, who currently have a minimum hourly wage of $2.13, will see it climb to $5.13 an hour by 2024. A constitutional amendment that raised the minimum wage and requires it to climb with inflation went into effect in 2013 in New Jersey. Once the wage reaches $15 in 2024, it will continue to increase based on the consumer price index because of that amendment.

the author

Matt has been studying and analyzing politics at all levels since the 2004 Presidential Election. He writes about political trends and demographics, the role of the media in politics, comparative politics, political theory, and the domestic and international political economy. Matt is also interested in history, philosophy, comparative religion, and record collecting.

No comments yet.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?