Tuesday Reads: New Hampshire Primary and Barr’s Injustice Department

Je Suis Un Gourmand, by William Logsdail

Good Morning!!

Last night MSNBC reported on primary results in three small towns in New Hampshire where voting starts at midnight. Not that it means anything yet, but Amy Klobuchar came out on top.

WMUR: First results of 2020 New Hampshire Primary are in. Amy Klobuchar, Donald Trump lead.

Dixville Notch kicked off the primary festivities Tuesday as they have done for decades, and the result was described as “interesting.”

Michael Bloomberg got three write-in votes, one of which was a write-in vote in the Republican primary. It’s a rarity in Dixville Notch for write-in votes. Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each got one vote….

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the popular choice in Hart’s Location, receiving six votes in the Democratic race. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in second with four votes. Andrew Yang and Sanders followed with three votes and two votes, respectively. Former vice president Joe Biden, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer each received one vote….

Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Girl with doll

In Millsfield, Klobuchar took home the win in the Democratic race with two votes. Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders each got one vote. Trump received 16 votes from Millsfield. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld got one vote.

It’s not looking good for Joe Biden. Axios summarized the results of the latest Quinnipac poll:

“Biden no longer dominates on the key question of electability,” with 27% of national Democratic or Dem-leaning voters giving Biden the best chance of beating President Trump — a steep drop from 44% just two weeks ago.

  • Sanders was second with 24%. Bloomberg was third with 17% — up from 9% in late January, and ahead of Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar.
  • Among black primary voters, the poll found Biden’s lead has dropped to 27% from 51% in December, with Bloomberg jumping to the second spot, at 22%, slightly ahead of Sanders.

Meanwhile, the oddsmakers see Bloomberg in second among Democrats right now, behind Sanders.

Here are results of a Morning Consult poll of black voters:

Amy Klobuchar also got 1%.

Politico on the Quinnipac poll: Biden plummets in new national poll, ceding top spot to Bernie.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has plummeted in a new national poll out Monday that also shows Bernie Sanders with a clear lead among Democratic voters heading into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Andrei Petrovich Ryabushkin – Girl with doll, 1890s

The new Quinnipiac University poll, conducted after Sanders’ strong showing in the Iowa caucuses a week ago, has the Vermont senator boasting the support of 25 percent of Democratic voters, making an 8-point lead over Biden and a 4-point increase over the last national survey taken before the caucuses.

Biden dropped 9 points to 17 percent after his dismal performance in Iowa, followed close behind by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who rose 7 points to 15 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who dropped 1 point to 14 percent.

While former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg got a 4-point bump after appearing to narrowly edge Sanders out for first place in the Iowa state delegate count — results which Buttigieg and Sanders are both challenging — Buttigieg came in at fifth place nationally in the Quinnipiac poll, with 10 percent of the vote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar rounds out the top six with 4 percent, a drop of 3 points, while no other candidate broke 2 percent in the poll.

So it’s beginning to look like another primary crash and burn for Biden. A few more opinion pieces to check out:

Ryan Lizza at Politico: This Democratic field is so flawed that even Biden still has a chance.

Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post: There are two Joe Bidens. The wrong one is running for president.

Ben Terris at The Washington Post: On the trail with Joe Biden: What happens when the ‘electability candidate’ starts to lose?

It’s not looking good for Elizabeth Warren either. She’s from Massachusetts and she should be doing well in New Hampshire. I always assumed she would come in second to Bernie Sanders; but that’s not happening–at least according to the polls. She isn’t picking up enough of the black voter either.

Matt Flegenheimer at The New York Times: Elizabeth Warren Is Running Her Race. The Real One May Be Passing Her By.

Two days before a once-mission-critical primary in a state she neighbors, Senator Elizabeth Warren — typically exceptional at holding a room — had not finished speaking when something unusual happened: Dozens of voters began filtering out of the middle school gym she had reserved.

John White Alexander. Portrait of a Young Girl with Her Doll

Campaign staff strained to enlist prospective volunteers on their way to their cars. “Someone, anyone,” one organizer called out as departing guests stepped around him.

And when Ms. Warren wound toward her big finish, the go-out-and-get-’em kicker in these urgent final hours, her mind wandered accidentally to home.

“It’s up to you, Massachusetts, to decide what to do,” Ms. Warren instructed.

Supporters looked back at her, murmuring. She realized why. “And to the people of New Hampshire!” she amended.

On the eve of a contest she had hoped to win (and probably will not, according to polls) — one week removed from a caucus she had hoped to win (and certainly did not, according to Iowans) — Ms. Warren has arrived, almost imperceptibly, at a precarious stage.

In a primary adjoining her own state, it is Senator Bernie Sanders, another New Englander, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who are leading sin polls.

Warren’s campaign also appears to be struggling financially.

What about Amy Klobuchar? Is she really surging in New Hampshire? Stranger things have happened. New Hampshire voters have a tendency to pull off surprises.

Buzzfeed News: Amy Klobuchar’s New Hampshire Surge Might Really Be Happening.

Pundits have been predicting the moderate Minnesota senator’s rise in the Democratic primary since October, as she racked up supposed debate wins and endorsements and built a campaign on her own “electability” in the states Democrats desperately need in 2020. For months, though, there was little sign among voters of that surge. Polls remained stagnant, and small, quiet crowds often tailed her in Iowa.

But this time, after the latest Democratic debate and just before New Hampshire votes in the nation’s first primary, there’s serious evidence that the Klobuchar is becoming a threat to the other moderates in the race: record-sized crowds, impressive fundraising hauls, and polls that suddenly show her in third place, ahead of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.

Louis Adolphe Tessier (1858-1915) — Girl with Doll, 1901

Her delight at this fact, at a succession of diners and packed rallies across New Hampshire, is palpable.

“And by the way, I’ve got a plan for the Midwest — and we can include New Hampshire as well,” Klobuchar told Sunday’s middle school gym crowd. “We’re going to build a beautiful blue wall around these states, and we’re going to make Donald Trump pay for it.”

Click the Buzzfeed link to read the rest.

Vox: Klobmentum could be happening in New Hampshire.

string of strong polls over the weekend have shown the Minnesota senator overtaking Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden to reach third place in New Hampshire, which votes Tuesday. Over the weekend, her campaign reported $2.5 million in post-debate fundraising — an impressive two-day number in the context of the $11.4 million she raised in the last three months of 2019.

It’s a change for Klobuchar, whose national polling has been mired in the low single digits since she entered the race in February 2019. Nationally, she’s in sixth at 4.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling average, 4 percentage points behind former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But Biden’s weak performance in Iowa seems to have given Klobuchar, who came in just behind him in fifth place, an opening. And a strong performance in New Hampshire could bolster her candidacy going into Super Tuesday.

Like Buttigieg and Biden, Klobuchar has positioned herself as a moderate. On the debate stage, she has emphasized practicality, party unity, and a uniquely Midwestern case for electability: She’s mentioned repeatedly that she’s one of the only candidates who’s never lost a race — and that she outperformed Hillary Clinton in multiple Minnesota counties in 2016.

By framing her candidacy in this way, Klobuchar is targeting voters who may still be making up their minds — including some who are searching for a moderate alternative to the white male frontrunners. And recent polls indicate her message might be resonating in New Hampshire.

Read more at Vox.

The problem for both Warren and Klobuchar is that so far they are not winning the black vote. But I suppose that could change if one of them starts looking like she could beat Trump.

The Washington Post: Barr acknowledges Justice Dept. has created ‘intake process’ to vet Giuliani’s information on Bidens.

Jan Sluijters – Portrait of a girl, 1935

Attorney General William P. Barr acknowledged Monday that the Justice Department would evaluate material that Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, had gathered from Ukrainian sources claiming to have damaging information about former vice president Joe Biden and his family — though Barr and other officials suggested Giuliani was being treated no differently than any tipster.

At a news conference on an unrelated case, Barr confirmed an assertion made Sunday by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) that the Justice Department had “created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified.”

Barr said he had established an “intake process in the field” so that the Justice Department and intelligence agencies could scrutinize information they were given.

“That is true for all information that comes to the department relating to the Ukraine, including anything Mr. Giuliani might provide,” Barr said. He did not provide any other specifics.

A Justice Department official said Giuliani had “recently” shared information with federal law enforcement officials through the process described by Barr. Two people familiar with the matter said the information is being routed to the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh.

This could all be a waste of time for Trump and Barr if Biden’s campaign continues to go downhill. I wonder what foreign countries they will ask to help if the nominee is someone else? I guess they could get a lot from Russia on Bernie Sanders.

Raw Story: Barr declares war against sanctuary cities – expert says he’s targeting democratic jurisdictions.

Attorney General Bill Barr has launched an all-out attack against sanctuary cities, claiming they are endangering national security. The AG says he will allow the Dept. of Homeland Security to issue “federal subpoenas to access information about criminal aliens in the custody of uncooperative jurisdictions,” Fox News reports.

Barr says the DOJ is targeting the State of New Jersey and King County, Washington, and will be “reviewing the practices, policies, and laws of other jurisdictions across the country.  This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States.”

Miss Winifred Hudson as a Young Girl, 1888 — by Nicholas Chevalier (Australian, 1828-1902)

In addition to targeting certain state and local governments, Barr appears to be making the targeting personal, declaring, “we are meticulously reviewing the actions of certain district attorneys who have adopted policies of charging foreign nationals with lesser offenses for the express purpose of avoiding the federal immigration consequences of those nationals’ criminal conduct.  In pursuing their personal ambitions and misguided notions of equal justice, these district attorneys are systematically violating the rule of law and may even be unlawfully discriminating against American citizens.”

Read more at the link.

One more from The Daily Beast: The FBI Makes a Bizarre Claim About Pro-Choice Terrorism.

The FBI is expanding its focus on domestic terrorism, and that includes pro-choice violence—even though such violence is so vanishingly rare, it’s all but nonexistent.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray disclosed that the bureau has recently “changed our terminology as part of a broader reorganization of the way in which we categorize our domestic terrorism efforts.” It’s part of a much-heralded reinvigoration of the bureau’s domestic terrorism focus after a rising tide of mostly white-supremacist terrorism.

Among four broad categories of domestic terrorism that the FBI confronts, Wray said, is “abortion violent extremism.”

But Wray wasn’t only talking about the pro-life extremism that murders abortion providers in their churches, he hastened to add, but “people on either side of that issue who commit violence on behalf of different views on that topic.”

His questioner, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), was puzzled at Wray’s seeming equivalence: “People on either side of that issue don’t commit violence.” In fact, the FBI pointed The Daily Beast to just one episode of pro-choice-inspired terrorism—one that did not involve an actual act of violence, but rather a threat in an online comments section.

I just don’t know what to say about all this. We are in big trouble as a country. Hang in there Sky Dancers! As always, this is an open thread.