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Bernie Sanders Reaches Frontrunner Status in CNN Poll

According to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has dramatically improved his standing in the 2020 Democratic primary race, as for the first time in CNN’s history of polling this race he has eclipsed Joe Biden. According to the poll, 27% of registered Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents support Sanders, whereas 24% prefer Biden. Though Sanders’ support is impressive, particularly considering his radically progressive policy agenda, the difference between Sanders and Biden is within the margin of error, meaning that this poll shows no clear frontrunner at the moment. That being said, Sanders and Biden are clearly in the lead compared to the other candidates; Warren ranked in 3rd place at 14% whereas Buttigieg is at 11%, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg receiving 5% support. Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar each received 4% support among those included in the poll.

It’s important to note that while Sanders has made significant progress in the race so far, it’s still early in the primary season, as the first votes have not yet been cast. While Biden has consistently remained among the most popular choices for the Democratic candidate, last year he was briefly overtaken by Elizabeth Warren, though Warren has since fallen behind in the polls amid criticism of her Medicare-for-All plan and a personal dispute with Sanders over whether he told her a woman could not be elected president in a meeting between the two in 2018.

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As the primary process continues, the Democratic candidates have intensified their criticisms of one another; a recent Sanders ad questions Biden’s record on protecting Social Security, and Biden rebuked these claims with an attack ad of his own, accusing the Sanders campaign of lying about his record. These attacks have led Democrats to fear that the political damage that the candidates are inflicting on one another will hurt whoever ends up as the Democratic nominee, and these fears are magnified by the intense focus Democrats have on defeating Donald Trump in 2020. 

One of the key factors that influences voter turnout is enthusiasm, and fortunately for Sanders, 38% of Democratic voters say they would be enthusiastic about voting for Sanders in the general election if he wins the nomination, even though enthusiasm towards all of the other candidates has decreased in recent months. Sanders is also seen as the candidate who most often agrees with voters on the issues they consider to be the most important, and he also is considered to be the candidate who best understands the issues facing the American voter.

The current election cycle is a unique one in American history, as it represents an opportunity for Democrats to radically shift the direction of the country

However, at the forefront of most voters’ minds is the issue of electability, as Democrats across the board are most interested in nominating the candidate who stands the best chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election. According to the poll, Joe Biden is still considered to be the most electable candidate by a significant margin; 45% of Democrats say that Biden has the best chance of defeating Trump, whereas just 24% say the same of Sanders. That being said, Sanders has made progress in this field as well, as increasing numbers of Democrats feel that he can defeat Trump, and indeed Sanders consistently ranks more favorably than Trump by several percentage points among voters generally, as do several of the other Democratic candidates. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Republican voters report being more enthusiastic about voting in the general election than Democratic voters do, a likely result of political fatigue after Democrats witness headline after headline of what they consider to be profoundly negative news generated by the White House and Congress.

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When it comes to the issue of which candidate has the best chance of uniting the Democratic party, though, Biden substantially outperforms Sanders; 41% of voters name Biden as having the best shot of uniting the party whereas just 16% say the same of Sanders. This is unsurprising considering Sanders’ record as an independent senator and a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” and considering his ambitious policy proposals, Sanders will have to get Democrats on his side one way or another in order to pass promised legislation such as Medicare-for-All, which is sure to be an uphill battle for him if he wins the presidency. 

That being said, the current election cycle is a unique one in American history, as it represents an opportunity for Democrats to radically shift the direction of the country, as the party is likely to embrace a radical set of policies in order to energize voters to defeat Trump in November. At this stage in the process, no one can say with certainty what will happen several months from now; however, recent polls give renewed enthusiasm to Sanders supporters, many of whom are still bitter about how the Democratic primary unfolded in 2016 amid accusations that the DNC was biased towards Hillary Clinton.

Supermodel Emily Ratajkowski Endorses Bernie Sanders

While many know of Emily Ratajkowski for her tremendous Instagram following, the Polish-American supermodel also works as a political activist, using her platform to advocate for liberal causes. During the previous Democratic presidential nomination, she endorsed Bernie Sanders due to his progressive policies like environmental justice and Medicare-for-All, so it’s no surprise that she has chosen the Vermont senator again as the ideal candidate in the fight against Trump at the ballot box this November. Ratajkowski first declared her endorsement during a podcast hosted by popular liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, where the two also discussed issues relating to women’s rights and the need for a radical candidate who will energize voters and convince them to head to the polls. And in a video produced in coordination with the Sanders campaign, Ratajkowski summarized the reasons for her support of the democratic socialist candidate, praising him for his long history of supporting progressive causes and the authenticity of his character.

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Given the high-profile nature of Ratajkowski’s celebrity status, her endorsement is likely to have a meaningful positive impact on the Sanders campaign, with the first votes being cast in Iowa less than a month away. Ratajkowski told Moore during her appearance on his podcast that she wanted to do as much as she possibly could to support Sanders, meaning it’s likely that the supermodel will make appearances at campaign rallies as the election season continues. As justification for supporting a candidate who is an older, white man over a woman candidate or a candidate of color, Ratajkowski commented that now is a time for action, not symbolism, and opined that a populist, anti-establishment candidate like Sanders has a better chance of defeating Trump in the general election than a moderate like Joe Biden, who is often regarded as a safer choice at a time when the primary issue on Democratic voters’ minds is the need to prevent the incumbent candidate’s re-election.

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Ratajkowski joins a growing field of high-profile endorsements, including Michael Moore and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom appeared at a campaign event to offer their support shortly following the senator’s heart attack late last year. Recently, Sanders announced an impressive fundraising haul of $34.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, and he currently leads the polls in some of the early-voting states, worrying members of the party establishment who fear that such a radical candidate would interfere with establishment goals or cost the Democratic party the presidency. That being said, Sanders enjoys particular popularity among significant demographics who are most likely to experience frustration with their experience of politics as usual, most notably young voters and non-white voters, two major coalitions that may be inclined to sit out during elections after being disillusioned by the political process. As such, turnout among these key demographics may be the determining factor in Sanders’ ability to clinch the nomination and, ultimately, the presidency.

Minimum Wage Increase

Half Of America Will Increase Minimum Wage To $15 In 2020

2020 is hopefully looking to be the year of more sustainable living. Americans often set the goal to live a healthier life going into the new year, and with climate change being the worst it’s ever been many are also trying to live a greener one as well. However, a drawback for both of these major goals is the expense. Going to a gym, buying healthier/organic foods, and buying green/sustainable products in general can add up. Nonetheless, this year, minimum wage is finally seeing the raise that so many have fought for, and for working class Americans, this can make or break monthly expenses.

By the end of 2020, 72 jurisdictions within the United States, so far, will see a minimum wage increase of $15 an hour, or more, depending on location. Starting on January 1st 2020, increases in minimum wage took place in 20 states and 26 cities and counties throughout the entire US. Most of the city-wide increases were made in California, according to sources

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“The minimum wage will increase in 21 states and 26 cities and counties. In 17 of those jurisdictions, the minimum wage will reach or surpass $15 per hour. Later in 2020, four more states and 23 additional localities will also raise their minimum wages—15 of them to $15 or more. This is the greatest number of states and localities ever to raise their wage floors. These increases will put much-needed money into the hands of the lowest-paid workers,” wrote Yannet Lathrop, a researcher with the National Employment Law Project, a Washington DC-based workers rights group.

The federal minimum wage was declared as $7.25 an hour back in 2009, and so was the birth of working class activist group “Fight for 15.” Even back then, ten years ago, the group was fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage, meaning a federal doubling of the then declared wage. The journey has been an obviously long one, but now, the group can hold their heads up high at the massive change that will be occurring within America in 2020. 

Of the 20 states and 26 counties that had the increase in wage go into effect this week, most saw a change into $15 or more, others didn’t get as much, as the increase is all based on the jurisdiction of each county. However, most places saw a dramatic increase in hourly wage regardless. 

The “Fight for 15” movement didn’t get any mainstream attention until back in 2015, when presidential candidate Bernie Sanders vocalized his support for the group and introduced his own personal legislation plans that would change the entire federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

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“Congratulations to the 47 states and localities that are raising the minimum wage today—the largest number of jurisdictions in history,” Senator Sanders tweeted Monday (12/30/19).

Back in the beginning of 2019, when fast food workers in New York City were granted the right to $15 an hour wages, a new and growing concern has lingered alongside this otherwise monumental moment. McDonald’s began installing self-service ordering machines in their restaurants, which allowed the company to hire fewer on-the-floor employees to pay the increased wage. Many have voiced their concern over an increase in hourly wage leading to an overall decrease in employment.    

The United States’ Congressional Budget Office performed an extensive study on the effect that an increase in wage would have on employment. The study concluded that, on a federal level, an increase in minimum wage to $15 an hour would result in a 1.3% loss of overall employment, which would equate to .8% of the current workforce in America today.

Currently, every single leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate supports a $15 minimum wage, and has implemented it as a part of their campaign. With such a massive amount of the country making the change within the next year, it wouldn’t be surprising if the federal minimum wage also got an upgrade some time soon.

Bernie for President Sign

Bernie Sanders Wins Support From Nurses Union In Major Boost For His 2020 Presidential Campaign

Senator Bernie Sanders has received a major boost to his 2020 presidential campaign from the country’s biggest nurses’ union.

Following their endorsement of Mr. Sanders in 2016, National Nurses United have chosen to support him ahead of Elizabeth Warren, who has also laid out her own Medicare for All plan as part of her own campaign.

Members of National Nurses United have been keen advocates in Democratic politics since they started supporting Mr. Sanders and have attended his rallies and events in red t-shirts as well as canvassing neighbourhoods in swing congressional districts. This is mainly due to Mr. Sanders’ plan for a nationalized health insurance system.

There was never any real doubt that the nurses’ union were going to endorse any other candidate after being so loyal to Mr. Sanders in 2016, however he was also the only candidate to attend an in-person interview with them asking for endorsement; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, sent a three minute video, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts spoke with them via a video call while former Vice President Joseph R Biden Jr and Senator Kamala Harris of California both declined the union’s offer to interview completely.

Mr. Sanders’ biggest rival, Ms. Warren, has also announced plans for a single-payer health insurance but despite her plans the union has decided they actually prefer the original layout of Medicare for all and therefore have stayed true to Mr. Sanders.

Who are National Nurses United?

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Created from a merger of three smaller unions in 2009, National Nurses United has around 155,000 members and is a major advocate of the liberal policies Mr. Sanders is proposing. They also played a large part in providing healthcare to the Occupy Wall Street protesters who were situated in Lower Manhattan in 2011, as well as campaigning for a financial transaction tax and single-payer health care.

And it’s not just the union that has endorsed Mr. Sanders. It also comes with the support of the union’s super PAC, a difficult situation seeing that Mr. Sanders disavowed support from super PACs, as have most of the Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 nomination.

During the 2016 campaign the union’s super PAC spent $5 million backing Mr. Sanders in his campaign against Hillary Clinton, which although it sounds like a great sum Jeb Bush had $87 million spent supporting him during the same campaign.

Bonnie Castillo, the union’s Executive Director said the super PAC ‘will be activated’ on Mr. Sanders’ behalf, however none of the union members nor the super PAC would attack or criticize any of his Democratic presidential nomination rivals.

“We’re not going negative. We are a very positive force. It’s a reflection of who we are as a profession. We are healers.”

Mr. Sanders has vowed to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that opened the door to the super PAC era, rallying against the influence of money in politics. And thanks to Mr. Biden dropping his resistance to accepting support from these groups recently, Mr. Sanders has become even more vocal.

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At a recent event in Marshalltown, Iowa, he was quoted as saying, “I don’t need a super PAC. I am not going to be controlled by a handful of wealthy people. I will be controlled by the working people of this country.”

He backed this up by saying ‘We don’t have a super PAC’ while attending a rally in Coralville, Iowa.

Yet Mr. Sanders has not denied any support from the nurses’ unions’ super PAC in 2016, although he has repeatedly pointed out that he does not have one of his own. In fact last Monday he was eager to thank National Nurses United for their support while ignoring its super PAC.

“What the nurses understand is that the current healthcare system is not only dysfunctional but extraordinarily cruel. Together we are finally going to do what should have been done decades ago and make sure that every man, woman and child in this country has quality health care as a human right.”

Currently there have not been many major labor unions endorsing and of the 2020 presidential candidates although Mr. Biden has received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters, while The National Union of Healthcare Workers have not only endorsed Ms. Warren but also Mr. Sanders – with Mr. Sanders also receiving the backing from The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

National Nurses United co-president Deborah Burger has confirmed that they will continue to fight for the winner of the party’s nomination against President Trump, even if that is not Mr. Sanders, stating, “We have made a commitment to endorse Bernie Sanders, but in the end we have made a commitment to our communities that we live in that we will do whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.”

Accounting

Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Plans: ‘Billionaires Shouldn’t Exist’

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been neck and neck in the democratic race for the 2020 election. In their most recent battle, both senators proposed their own plan for a “wealth tax” if they’re elected. Warren announced her initial plan would enforce a 2% tax of wealth on households making an income of $50 million, which would be around 75,000 families, and a 3% tax on households with incomes above $1 billion. Warrens bill plans on bringing in up to $2.1 trillion over the course of 10 years. 

Sanders, on the other hand, released his wealth tax plan after Warren, and after tweeting the statement “billionaires should not exist,” a bold statement followed by an even bolder plan. Sanders plans on implementing his tax on a lower level of wealth, starting with taxing 1% on households making $32 million annually, which would equate to 180,000 families. Wealth valued at over $500 million will be taxed at 4%, and wealth over $10 billion will be taxed at 8%. With his plan of action, Sanders plans on saving up to $4.35 trillion over the course of 10 years. To give an example, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, would pay around $9 billion in taxes this year if Sanders plan was currently being enforced. That’s more than the net worth of the 50 richest Americans, as listed by Forbes Magazine annually. 

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In addition, Bill Gates would be paying $8.6 billion, Mark Zuckerberg – $5.8 billion, Larry Page – 4.8 billion, and so on, according to NBC news. The money that would be saved over the course of a decade would be used for the national student debt crisis, health care and other expenses the government doesn’t provide enough for middle to lower class Americans. 

Warren stated in an interview with the New York Times that “If we put that 2 cent wealth tax in place on the 75,000 largest fortunes in this country, 2 cents, we can do universal child care for every baby 0 to 5, universal pre-K, universal college, and knock back the student loan debt burden for 95 percent of our students and still have nearly a trillion dollars left over.”

61% of voters seem to support Warren’s plan, also according to the Times, and even Bill Gates said he would be on board with such a plan. If Warrens wealth tax had been imposed since the 1980’s Bill Gates would be currently worth around $38 billion as opposed to the actual $97 billion he’s worth. With Sanders plan he would be worth about $10 billion. Another example of how these plans would affect our current upper class would be that the 15 wealthiest Americans, currently, would be reduced by 54% under Warren’s plan, and a whopping 80% under Sanders plan. The ultimate goal is to make the 1% way less powerful than they already are, and actually take advantage of a “trickle down economy”.

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Sanders has been criticized after tweeting his remark about billionaires that he’s making this tax plan as a means to take down Jeff Bezos specifically. Frankly, he is, and every other multi billionaire out there. There are so many statistics on the internet about how many of the worlds biggest problems could be simply solved just by making a small dent in someone like Bezos’ net worth. For instance, Bezos could solve world hunger about 5 times and still be one of the wealthiest men in America with the amount of money he has, I mean he does make around $3,000 every minute.

However, both have been criticized for having plans that seem “too good to be true” but realistically, they’re not. According to Slate Business, both Sanders and Warren’s plans show “a careful exercise in designing a progressive wealth tax that maximizes revenue while theoretically arresting, rather than just slowing, the growth of wealth inequality between billionaires and the middle class.”

That is the ultimate goal of these two Democratic candidates, to improve economic equality amongst all Americans and reduce the amount of hurdles in the system that lower class citizens must jump over to survive. The overall point of “billionaires shouldn’t exist” isn’t meant to say people who use their wealth and power for good, like Oprah, shouldn’t exist, but instead that no one individual should have the power to decide if they want to cure world hunger one day or not because of the extremely excessive amount of wealth they have. Both candidates have broken down their plans more finely so that everyone can understand that this will be advantageous for the whole country, and no one will be left at a disadvantage besides the middle and lower class if nothing continues to get done.

Questions Voters Want Answered At The Third Democratic Debate

The Ten Democratic presidential candidates are preparing to take the stage in Texas Thursday night for what’s looking to be one of the most informative debates we’ve experienced so far during the race to the 2020 election. For the first time Joe Biden will be standing with his two greatest competitors, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, along with the seven other candidates who are trailing shortly behind them. 

Climate Change

Democratic Candidates Compete to Provide Best Climate Change Plan

Although the Republican Party continues to hold the unique view that climate change is a hoax, or that it’s not a big problem, or that it’s unrelated to human activity, Democratic candidates are incorporating their plans for dealing with the “climate crisis” into their campaign platforms. After the DNC declined the suggestion to host a climate-themed debate, CNN stepped in, hosting a town hall on September 4th during which ten Democratic candidates were given the opportunity to articulate in detail their plans to cut back emissions, expand renewable energy, and execute other initiatives to battle the crisis. Though each candidate tried to differentiate themselves with a unique spin on their climate plan, all ten candidates offered an approach that wildly differed from the Republican Party establishment, which is currently in the process of rolling back regulations designed to limit carbon emissions and protect the environment from further destruction.

Although the town hall format of CNN’s event wasn’t quite the head-to-head debate activists had asked the DNC for, in some ways the event proved to be more useful for voters, as the event lasted a whopping 7 hours and gave voters the opportunity to ask tough questions on a subject that tends to get ignored in the traditional debate format. 

On certain subjects, the candidates were in strong agreement. They agreed that climate change was a threat to the existence of not only the United States, but of human civilization, that the US should rejoin the Paris climate accord, that reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 was necessary, and that radical and unprecedented policies would have to be implemented in order to get us there. But they disagreed about which policies, exactly, would be the best for the country.

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One of the more popular policy proposals among the candidates was a carbon tax, which is notable because politicians have been arguing for decades that placing a fee on greenhouse gas emissions would drive up the price of fuel and stifle the economy, hurting American consumers. A carbon tax, however, is widely considered one of the most effective potential policies for cutting back on pollution. Candidates differed on the specifics; while Sanders’ $16.3 trillion plan does not call for a carbon tax, Biden and Warren incorporate a carbon tax into their proposals, and Yang calls for a tax at $40 per ton of carbon, which would help to fund his Universal Basic Income proposal and initiatives to increase the efficiency of fossil fuels and increase the availability of renewable resources.

Although Governor Jay Inslee did not attend the town hall, as he recently dropped out of the presidential race, his presence was felt throughout the event. The governor ran on a climate-focused platform, arguing that it was by far the most important issue currently facing the country, and had the earliest and most detailed plan for fighting climate change. Elizabeth Warren invoked Inslee’s name specifically, explaining that she had incorporated several elements of his plan into her own. Joe Biden’s staff also planned a meeting with Inslee’s staff to discuss climate policy, and Biden pledged not to accept money from donors from the fossil fuel industry. Biden also emphasized his experience in dealing with international affairs, citing his personal relationships with several other world leaders and noting that climate change is a problem that can only be addressed via cooperation between nations.

Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg also pledged to implement a carbon tax, with Harris also proposing a ban on fracking. Some candidates strictly opposed the use of natural gas, while others viewed it as a necessary stepping stone between the use of oil and of renewable sources of energy. Perhaps the most divisive topic of the night was nuclear energy; some candidates, including Sanders, argue against the use of nuclear power, citing the problems of storing radioactive wastes and the threat of nuclear accidents, while others, including Yang, argue that nuclear energy is an essential component of transitioning to a carbon-free future, and that newer technology allows nuclear power plants to be safer and produce less waste. 

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In particular, Yang’s plan is notable because it goes further than reducing carbon emissions to discuss how to prepare for the predicted negative effects of climate change. Yang proposes investing in initiatives to move people to higher ground, away from the coasts, as coastal cities are the most likely to be devastated by rising sea levels and a growing intensity of extreme weather events. He also proposes investments in geoengineering, including capturing carbon, planting trees to rebuild forests, injecting sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, and installing mirrors in space to reflect sunlight. The fact that these proposals deal with the bleak possibility of surrendering to the reality of climate change, combined with the impression they given of sounding more like science-fiction than reality, means that other candidates are hesitant to explore this territory of climate policy. 

Many of the candidates instead chose to focus on the economic opportunities created by investing in clean energy solutions. The candidates claim that expanding the country’s usage of solar and wind would create millions of jobs. Economists, however, warn that the lofty goals candidates set for job creation are just estimates, and that it’s difficult to predict exactly how exactly the job market would react to such a drastic shift in priorities. One thing is for certain, however: whether or not the United States takes bold action to address the climate crisis, drastic change is coming, whether that be in the form of a major reimagining of our energy systems or the destruction of the environment resulting from global inaction.