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Morning Briefing: Cory Booker Enters the Race, but Trump's More Worried About Others

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 1, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 1, 2019 |


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Cory Booker, as expected, threw his hat in the 2020 ring this morning, on the first day of Black History Month. Here’s his announcement video. It’s very good.

I think he’s a great candidate, and he might do very well. The competition among Democrats, however, is fierce, so Booker — like the rest of the field — will need to do something to stand out. The fact that Booker is reportedly dating Rosario Dawson sure doesn’t hurt. Did you also know that in Newark, Booker was the first mayor in 45 years to leave office without being indicted? How is that for a résumé builder?

Booker has hired Addisu Demissie — who ran Gavin Newsom’s successful campaign for California governor — as his campaign manager. No offense to Booker, but I kind of want Demissie to run.

One candidate that Booker will be facing is Elizabeth Warren, once considered a very promising 2020 candidate. However, that DNA test gambit didn’t help her at all. She has, however, offered an apology and Cherokee nation has accepted.

I don’t know if that’s going to be enough. Trump has already made this a defining issue for Warren. If Warren had only one formidable challenger — like Hillary had in 2016 — she could probably shake it off, but with so many others to choose from, I expect that to be much more challenging.

On the other hand, I really don’t think Howard Schultz is gonna be an issue. Here’s a review of his book, from Rolling Stone:

Schultz is more of a bore than a monster. On that last point, though, From the Ground Up is exceptionally dull, so completely devoid of ideas that it’s almost interesting. Schultz makes the Romney family cookbook read like Dante’s Inferno.

A political candidate can survive a lot of things — infidelity, bad votes, sexual harassment, and scandal — but in 2020, boring is not going to cut it.

Speaking of Schultz, you know I’m not a big fan of Mike Bloomberg as a candidate, but he’s doing exactly what Schultz should be doing. From The Atlantic:

While no final decision has been made, his aides have been working on a fallback that only a man worth $40 billion can afford. Bloomberg is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a data-centric political operation designed to ensure one goal: crush Donald Trump.

Though a budget has not been set, this effort would almost certainly become the biggest and most powerful political organization in the country overnight. It would also be the only real counter to the operation that Trump’s campaign put together in 2016, which reached out to millions of voters in a more targeted, under-the-radar way, and helped deliver the election to Trump by shaping voters’ thinking for months and then activating them on Election Day.

God bless you, Michael Bloomberg. That’s how you rich, white man the election!

For better or worse, however, I still think that Biden is the man to beat, and according to what Trump’s advisors have been telling him, it’s Biden — with his support in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconson — who is best positioned to wipe Trump out.

That said, in an interview with NYTimes yesterday (lies, bullshit, more lies), Trump thinks that Kamala Harris is his most formidable challenger, so far.

Speaking of that interview, did Trump just … throw Jared and Ivanka under the bus? (This excerpt is on Jared’s security clearance):

TRUMP: I don’t know. I just don’t — I just, I never thought it was necessary. I also know him. He’s a very solid person, and I just can’t imagine he would have — I guess even, Ivanka, they, they, I heard that, uh, something with Jared and Ivanka —


HABERMAN: You just told me — [inaudible]

TRUMP: Yeah, yeah, so there, I, I mean, I take back the other — I didn’t, I was answering a little bit different question. Uh, I have the right to do it, but I never thought it was necessary, Maggie. I never thought it was necessary.


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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