Political News

#2020Vision: Iowa heats up; Warren heads to Netroots; Gillibrand talks Medicare for all; Cuomo confronts a Democratic divide

Posted August 11, 2017 1:42 p.m. EDT

Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:

Congress is out and the Iowa State Fair is in - which means 2020 prospects are beginning to beat a path to the Hawkeye State.

Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who's actually already running for president, is spending a few days with the Butter Cow. His visit kicks off a steadier pace of Democratic visits to Iowa. Tonight, Reps. Eric Swalwell and Elijah Cummings and former Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander are in Clear Lake for the Wing Ding.

Two more 2020 prospects, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (already with plenty of Iowa roots), are scheduled to be in the state for separate events August 31. On September 10, the Progress Iowa Corn Feed will feature Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The Polk County Steak Fry on September 30, with Reps. Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan and Cheri Bustos set to speak.

A little more on the Iowa who's-who: Last week, we told you a little about Sean Bagniewski, the new Polk County party chair who is revitalizing the Steak Fry. Another important person to know is Troy Price, the new Iowa Democratic Party chair, who takes the job with the party at a crossroads there, faced with a dire need to attract moderate, independent and Republican-leaning voters to keep Iowa from losing its swing state status.

Price put a big early win on the board this week, when a Democratic candidate scored a 10-point victory for a state legislative seat in a district President Donald Trump won by 22 points last fall.

Price is a veteran of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's Iowa campaigns and is a former state party executive director. He got the job by winning over the state central committee's Clinton and Sanders factions. His first task is a potentially messy gubernatorial primary. But Democrats eying 2020 are excited about Price's presence. One veteran Democratic operative said Price is "the real deal. He is an operative who will be able to add real value to candidates and campaigns."

"He knows Iowa just as well if not better than anyone in the state, has good relationships in all aspects of the party, and understands what it takes to run a caucus process -- he has seen what can go right and wrong," another Iowa veteran Democratic operative said. "The caucus is a huge organizational lift not just for the campaigns but also for the party -- they need someone who knows what they are doing if they're going to keep their spot in the primary calendar."

News and notes:

PROGRESSIVES GATHER IN ATLANTA: It's Netroots Nation time - which means progressives are meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. Two headliners are up Saturday: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will speak at a morning session that starts at 10:30 a.m. ET, and former Vice President Al Gore wraps up the day with a speech at a session kicking off at 4:30 p.m.

- Warren, Moulton and former Gov. Deval Patrick give Massachusetts three presidential prospects. Warren and Patrick, in particular, are seen as viable. Here's the thing: Warren and Patrick are friends - and not just political friends. They and their spouses meet for dinner occasionally. Patrick told Politico on a recent podcast that he went to Warren for advice when he was considering a deal with a company at Bain Capital. So if both decide they're in, would they run against each other? Probably - they exist in separate lanes in the party, and Massachusetts donors might just hedge their bets and support both.

2020 NAMES ON NEW CENTRIST GROUP: There have been "New Democrats" and "Blue Dogs." This week, a new center-left group - called New Democracy - launched with a slate of mayors, governors and lawmakers aiming to steer the party in a pragmatic direction and win back some right-leaning areas.

The 2020 prospects involved in the launch: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Delaney, the insanely early entrant into the Democratic presidential race. A couple early-voting state names you should know who are involved: Steve Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is from Iowa.

GILLIBRAND PRESSES MEDICARE FOR ALL: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand talked single-payer health insurance and "Medicare for all" with an option for anyone to buy in at a town hall this week. "You need to have that not-for-profit goal," she said. "Your goal is to help people, not profit." At another point, Gillibrand said: "Members of Congress are 20 years behind the rest of America on their best day. So let's tell them that we want Medicare for all, we want a buy-in, and it doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican."

CUOMO FEELS THE DEMOCRATIC PRESSURE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to heal the intra-party rifts Democrats face in New York at a meeting last month - but was confronted with sharp pushback that The New York Times' Shane Goldmacher details. He writes: "When the discussion turned to how to best win elections, Mr. Cuomo suggested to the assembled lawmakers - many of them from New York City - that the leader of eight breakaway Democrats, Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, had a better understanding of the suburbs than they had. That was all Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate minority leader who represents the suburbs of Westchester County, needed to hear.

"'You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don't see me. You see my black skin and a woman, but you don't realize I am a suburban legislator,' Ms. Stewart-Cousins said, according to the accounts of five people who were in the room. 'Jeff Klein doesn't represent the suburbs,' she said. 'I do.' Mr. Cuomo reacted in stunned silence."

MARK CUBAN TWEETS POLITICS: Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban has been shooting the political breeze - a lot - on his Twitter feed. Scroll through his feed yourself to check some of it out. One highlight was his take on Trump TV. "I don't know who is paying for it but It's smart and was inevitable. Why depend on 3rd parties to communicate your message? Do it yourself," Cuban tweeted. Asked whether people should question the legitimacy of those messages, Cuban responded: "Of course. We should question everything we get from politicians. But using the internet to communicate was an obvious next step." He also talked Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, uranium sales, Medicare billing mistakes and more.

The week ahead:

Friday, August 11 - The Iowa Democratic Wing Ding dinner in Clear Lake kicks off at 5 p.m. CT.

Saturday, August 12 - Warren and Gore headline Netroots Nation, a progressive gathering in Atlanta.

Tuesday, August 15 - Alabama voter go to the polls for the primaries in the special election for Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat. Sen. Luther Strange faces Rep. Mo Brooks and former Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore, his top two challengers. In Utah, a three-way GOP race to replace retired Rep. Jason Chaffetz will also be settled.

Before you go:

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken plans to appear at Tig Notaro's Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival in Washington on October 26-29. He'll chat with "This American Life" host Ira Glass. ... Merkley joined a rally for transgender rights this week in Portland. ... Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy went hard after Trump's handling of North Korea.