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2020 watch
February 14, 2019

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will gladly walk away from the 2020 presidential race if Democrats nominate a centrist, he told The Washington Post on Thursday.

Schultz said he plans on spending the next few months exploring a campaign, and told the Post that internal polling suggests should he run as an independent, he's competitive in a three-way race with President Trump and a liberal Democrat, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). "I would reassess the situation if the numbers change as a result of a centrist Democrat winning the nomination," Schultz said.

One reason he would run as an independent is because he believes Democrats will likely nominate someone considered to be "far-left," and he's critical of moves like expanding Medicare to replace private insurance and increasing taxes for the ultra-wealthy. Schultz has been accused of trying to spoil the 2020 race, handing Trump a re-election, but he disagrees, saying last week at Purdue University that "no one wants Donald Trump fired more" than he does. Catherine Garcia

February 13, 2019

Potential 2020 independent presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at a CNN town hall in Houston on Tuesday night, and he went big on criticizing the Democratic and Republican parties — the "far left" and "far right," as he repeatedly called them — but largely declined to detail how he would do things better. He didn't say if he would drop out of the race if his participation would help re-elect President Trump, but he pledged not to run if that "math doesn't tally up." On "the issue of being a spoiler, how can you spoil a system that is already broken?" he asked.

Schultz called the New Green Deal well-intentioned but "not realistic" and "immoral" because of its price tag, backed ObamaCare but said it needs to be "fixed," and said that while "I don't know what the number is ... what I'm suggesting is that I should be paying higher taxes and I think people across the country are willing to pay higher taxes." And Schultz discussed race.

The April 2018 racial profiling incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia was "a terrible moment for the company," Schultz said, but "we realized that we had a problem, and it's a problem that I think exists widely in this country. And it's something that I would characterize as unconscious bias, that many of us have based on our own life experience." The ongoing race-sensitivity training Starbucks requires for all employees "is deeply a courageous act, because we're doing something that we realize we fell short on, and we're admitting the fact that we have to get better at this," he said. "As somebody who grew up in a very diverse background as a young boy in the projects," Schultz added, "I didn't see color as a young boy and I honestly don't see color now."

Really? Green. Everyone who enters Starbucks sees green, and Schultz more than others.

February 10, 2019

Speaking to voters Sunday in Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said by 2020, President Trump might not be on the ballot — because he'll be behind bars.

Warren is one of several Democrats running for president, and during an event at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, she said next year, "Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person." Speaking to reporters later, Warren asked, "How many investigations are there now? It's no longer just the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller investigation. They're everywhere and these are serious investigations, so we'll see what happens."

She also said Trump is "not the only problem we've got. Donald Trump is the symptom of a badly broken system. So, our job as we start rolling into the next election is not just to respond on a daily basis. It's to talk about what we understand is broken in this country, talk abut what needs to be done to change it, and talk about how we're going to do that, because that is not only how we win, it's how we make the change we need to make." Catherine Garcia

February 10, 2019

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is expected to launch her 2020 presidential campaign from Minneapolis on Sunday with a rally at a park by the Mississippi River.

"I'm asking you to join us on this campaign. It's a homegrown one. I don't have a political machine. I don't come from money," Klobuchar will say, per an advance copy of her planned remarks. "But what I do have is this: I have grit. I have family. I have friends. I have neighbors. I have all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of the winter, all of you who took the time to watch us today, all of you who are willing to stand up and say people matter."

Klobuchar is a third-term senator and a former prosecutor and corporate lawyer. Other declared Democratic candidates include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Read The Week's Ryan Cooper on their likely chances here. Bonnie Kristian

February 9, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is expected to formally launch her 2020 presidential campaign Saturday at an event in Lawrence, Massachusetts, north of Boston. She announced her plans to run on Dec. 31, becoming the first major Democratic candidate to join the race, but only debuted an exploratory committee at that time.

Warren will likely focus on her populist economic platform, highlighting issues of income inequality and workers' rights. Lawrence boasts a "history of working people coming together to make change, where the fight was hard, the battle was uphill, and where a group of women led the charge for all of us," Warren said in a video announcement of her rally.

After her launch event, Warren will head to nearby New Hampshire later Saturday and to Iowa on Sunday, hitting both early primary states before the weekend is out. Other declared Democratic candidates include Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Read The Week's Jeff Spross on where Warren differs from another possible 2020 contender, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), here. Bonnie Kristian

February 3, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign with a rally in her home state Saturday afternoon.

"We must stand against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage and new places for people to die," Gabbard said in her announcement speech, which emphasized foreign policy themes. "These powerful politicians dishonor the sacrifices made by every one of our service members, and their families — they are the ones who pay the price for these wars."

A veteran and Samoan-American, Gabbard was the first Hindu to be elected to Congress and endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the Democratic nod in 2016. She cast her 2020 race as a project to oppose "powerful, self-serving politicians and greedy corporations" and return "dignity, honor, and respect to the presidency."

Other declared Democratic candidates include Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). So far, President Trump's GOP bid goes unchallenged. Bonnie Kristian

January 28, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was greeted by a huge crowd Sunday in her hometown of Oakland, as she officially launched her presidential campaign.

Police estimate that 20,000 people attended the event, held a week after she announced her intention to run for president. The Guardian notes that when Barack Obama announced in 2007 that he was running for president, his kickoff drew a crowd of about 15,000 people.

A former prosecutor and state attorney general, Harris said her "whole life, I've only had one client: the people," and gave a rundown of the issues she is focusing on: Medicare for All, criminal justice reform, giving working families an income boost, and climate change. The U.S. needs to act "on science fact," she said. "Not science fiction." Harris also said American democracy is under attack "like never before," and divisions run deep. "People are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other," she said. "But that is not our story. That is not who we are." Catherine Garcia

January 13, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden has told friends he would like to run for president in 2020, Axios reported Saturday, joking, "If I'm walking, I'm running." Biden's younger brother also said last week he expects the campaign will happen. However, a formal decision is yet to be made, Axios' sources say, and an announcement is not yet scheduled.

President Trump reacted to Biden's possible candidacy in an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro late Saturday, calling him "weak" and a "one-percenter" because Biden "ran two or three times, [but] he never got above 1 percent [of the vote]. And then, [former President Barack] Obama came along and took him off the trash heap, and he became the vice president." Biden withdrew from the 2008 Democratic primaries after a poor showing in Iowa and soon endorsed Obama.

"I'm not worried," Trump concluded, reflecting on the 2020 Democratic field more broadly. "So far, I love the competition. I love what I see." Bonnie Kristian

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