Daily Reformer: Elena speaks

The Nevada caucus is Friday and this Post story indicates plenty of buzz around Sen. Amy Klobuchar but also a lack of preparedness for this moment, including just now hiring a Nevada “operations director.” 

“She struggles especially to connect with African American voters, and black activists say she has made little effort. The campaign in recent days had to ask a former Democratic official for a list of black churches in South Carolina, which votes a week after Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.”

After she was unable to come up with the name of the president of Mexico — I confess I only knew it because I read this great Jon Lee Anderson profile of Lopez Obrador — Klobuchar thought it would be a good idea to tell a Culinary Union Local 226 crowd in Vegas that her name in 4th grade Spanish class was Elena. The joke, or whatever it was, fell flat, and the Internet was displeased.  

Awkward. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ polling momentum is starting to look very real. FiveThirtyEight gives him a two-in-five chance of getting a majority of pledged delegates. The only real rival, also at two-in-five, is a scenario in which no one gets a majority of pledged delegates. Which could make for the very messy convention I wrote about last week. 

President Donald Trump is approaching 45 approval in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate. 

He granted clemency to a bunch of white collar criminals you would never invite to your home.

Legislature

Some stuff that seems interesting to yours truly though other stuff may also be interesting: 

Sen. Dr. Jensen has his own insulin bill up; Senate Enviro will likely tear apart Gov. Tim Walz’s proposal to adopt California auto emissions rules; some criminal and juvenile justice REFORM up in House Judiciary; Sen. Rarick wants to legalize fireworks, Senate Judiciary; Chair Laurie Halverson’s tough vape legislation in House Commerce Committee; a bill to increase teachers of color in House Education Policy (see Rilyn Eischens data reporting on the subject); Rep. Becker-Finn wants to require public restrooms have a baby diaper changing station: Hear,  Hear; Senate Education will highlight high performing schools even when socio-economic data would suggest those schools wouldn’t perform well and that seems interesting; and in House Ways and Means a lot of high profile bills, including insulin, gun background checks, gun red flag and Rep. Ray Dehn changes to presidential primary. Here’s the full Leg calendar

Walz meets with firefighters at the Capitol today at 11. Faith leaders will present a letter of opposition to Enbridge Line 3 to Walz today at his office. 

MPR reports that ice fishing resorts want a bailout after tough winter. Socialism for me, not for thee. 

Former Rep. Jason Lewis, the presumptive GOP candidate for U.S. Senate against Sen. Tina Smith, again dealing with the double-edged sword of his radio career. This time, HuffPost unearths some 2015 audio, and as usual, it’s not pretty — and it’s more recent than the others. 

“Lewis once compared Martin Luther King Jr. to Cliven Bundy, the white farmer who engaged in an armed standoff with the government over cattle-grazing fees he accrued over decades and refused to pay.”

Comparing progressive taxation to slavery, Lewis also said, “We used to call this slavery when we did it by race. Now we do it by economics, so I guess it’s OK.”

Fact check: Nope, not like slavery. 

David Brooks’ best work has always been the longform magazine pieces that are guided by real discovery and reporting, and this piece on how the nuclear family is actually a disaster for most Americans is a good read. He gathers research showing what a weird historical anomaly the 4 person nuclear family is. We used to live with our extended family, or with a wide kinship network that included both blood relations but also just people close to us. We leaned on these clans to help us raise children and take care of aging parents. Then we got rich and had small families and it’s been liberating for the privileged but not great for everyone else. As Brooks points out, Census data show multigenerational living arrangements are returning, in part thanks to the Great Recession. 

Today in the Reformer:  GovTrack is out with its conservative to liberal scale of all members of Congress based on bills they cosponsor, and Allison Stevens reports that Klobuchar is one of the most liberal senators in the entire upper chamber. This is contradicted by the more moderate stances she’s taken on college debt, health care and immigration during the presidential campaign, at least compared to rivals like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Still and all, an interesting counterintuitive piece and you should read it. We have ranking of the rest of the delegation, as well. 

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Have a great day all!