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Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro joins 2020 campaign

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Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro joins 2020 campaign

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Assailing President Donald Trump for “a crisis of leadership,” former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro joined the 2020 presidential race Saturday as the rush of Democrats making early moves to challenge the incumbent accelerates.

Castro, who could end up being the only Latino in what is shaping up to be a crowded Democratic field, made immigration a centerpiece of his announcement in his hometown of San Antonio, less than 200 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Two days after the president visited the border to promote his promised wall, Castro mocked Trump for claiming that the U.S. faces an “invasion” from its ally to the south. “He called it a national security crisis,” Castro said. “Well, there is a crisis today. It’s a crisis of leadership. Donald Trump has failed to uphold the values of our great nation.”

Castro, the 44-year-old grandson of a Mexican immigrant, said he was running for president “because it’s time for new leadership, because it’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities that I’ve had are available to every American.”

He made the announcement during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and as the field of 2020 contenders widens and anticipation grows around bigger names still considering runs.

Castro was San Antonio’s mayor for five years and U.S. housing secretary in President Barack Obama’s second term. He became the second Democrat to formally enter race, after former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has also started an exploratory committee for president, and four other Democratic senators are taking steady steps toward running. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to Congress, said this week she is planning a bid, too.

For his part, Trump said he isn’t worried about the burgeoning field of Democratic opponents. He has already announced that he’s running for re-election.

“I love what I see,” Trump said Saturday night when asked about the competition during a telephone interview with Fox News Channel. He recited a list of what he views as his accomplishments, including low unemployment, tax cuts and trade deals.

“I don’t know. How does somebody beat that?” the president said.

Asked to identify the one Democrat he’d like to run against, Trump named former Vice President Joe Biden, a two-time presidential candidate who has yet to announce his intentions for 2020.

Castro is getting an early start in trying to stand out. His first trip as a candidate comes Monday, to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, where an outcry has begun as the White House considers diverting disaster funding to pay for the wall.

The impasse over paying for a border wall that Trump made a central part of his 2016 campaign has led to the partial federal closure. That stalemate, along with Trump’s hard-line immigration stands, drew sharp rebukes from Castro.

“There are serious issues that need to be addressed in our broken immigration system, but seeking asylum is a legal right. And the cruel policies of this administration are doing real and lasting harm,” he said.

He argued for securing the border in a “smart and humane way.”

“There is no way in hell that caging babies is a smart or a right or good way to do it. We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community. We say no to scapegoating immigrants,” he said.

Joining Castro at the campaign kickoff was his twin brother, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the Hispanic congressional caucus and a frequent Trump critic. The Spanish-style plaza in the Castro twins’ boyhood neighborhood was packed with supporters who streamed through the gates between a mariachi band. Castro had said leading up to his announcement that a Latino candidate was a must in the 2020 field.

That group of hopefuls is starting to take shape even though the first primary elections are more than a year away.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California this past week published a memoir , a staple of presidential candidates. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke is doing little to dim speculation that he might jump into a field that has no clear front-runner.

Castro is aware he lacks the name recognition of potential 2020 rivals or the buzz surrounding O’Rourke, whose flirtations with 2020 have tantalized donors and activists after a close race last year against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Even some supporters at Castro’s announcement could be torn if O’Rourke gets in the race. Diana Delrosario, a social worker in San Antonio, warned she might cry while she recounted how Castro once went out of his way as mayor to help wheel her mother out of a restaurant.

“I have this heart for Julian. But it’s going to be a big discussion if Beto decides to run,” said Delrosario, 45.

Castro, who has repeatedly dismissed talk that an O’Rourke candidacy would complicate his own chances, has framed the neighborhood and his upbringing as the story of an underdog.

He was raised by a local Latina activist, and after a brief career in law, was elected mayor of the nation’s seventh-largest city at 34. It wasn’t long before Democrats nationally embraced him as a star in the making, particularly one from Texas, where a booming Hispanic population is rapidly changing the state’s demographics and improving the party’s fortunes.

Castro delivered the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Two years later, Obama picked him to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He was on the short list of Hillary Clinton’s potential running mates in 2016. During Castro’s trip this past week to Nevada, one state Latino business leader told Castro that he should again be a top contender for vice president if his campaign falls short.

Like other Democrats running, Castro has said he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions, and he has sought to introduce himself to voters as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing.

___

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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Democrats

Joe Biden is considering Stacyy Abrams as his running mate. Why hasn’t he declared yet?

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Joe Biden is considering Stacyy Abrams as his running mate Why hasnt he declared yet

The Joe Biden saga keeps getting stranger every week. While most anticipate the former Vice President is going to run for President in 2020, he still hasn’t announced despite most of the major candidates who were expected to run have already made their announcement. Now, a report that his staff is considering asking former Democratic contender for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams continues to add fuel to speculation while also making this whole thing even more strange.

In 2016, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the rare move of announcing his Vice Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, before securing the nomination. It was a desperate move at a time when his prospects for defeating Donald Trump were fading and it didn’t work out. Biden’s alleged move is very different. He’s ahead in the very early polls even before the first debate, let alone the Iowa caucus. Yet speculating about a potential VP seems out of place, just like everything else in this whole debacle.

My theory is he’s trying to minimize the potential attack channels by cautiously field-testing everything first. By gathering data without officially announcing a run, he has the luxury of riding the speculation train as long as he can. He would be the instant frontrunner if he were to announce, but if history tells us anything, frontrunner status rarely means much. Hillary Clinton was the frontrunner from beginning to end in 2016, but even then the speculation of a late run by Biden was appealing to many Democrats.

Biden likely fears being the early frontrunner will generate fatigue for his name being tossed around so often. It’s still early; at this point in 2015, only one major GOP candidate, Cruz, had officially announced his run. Biden wants to ride the speculation as long as possible knowing once he’s officially in, he’s open to attacks. Just as his old boss President Obama did in 2008, some lesser known high-energy candidate could sneak up on the frontrunner and knock them off quickly. In 2015, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker were early frontrunners before being embarrassingly tossed aside by Trump and the other candidates.

Whether or not Biden selects Abrams, and if she’s willing to take the nomination, this type of speculation allows him to stay in the news while people continue to hold their collective breath about a future announcement.

Bottom line, he’s running. He’s been running for a while. The fact that he’s not official yet only plays into the fundraising he’s missing, which he’ll be able to make up quickly once he announces. All in all, the Democratic race is turning hilarious.

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Democrats

Babylon Bee satire piece pretty much nails the Democrats’ incentive on Electoral College

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Babylon Bee satire piece pretty much nails the Democrats incentive on Electoral College

The founders decided to employ an Electoral College in picking the President to prevent tyranny by majority. They realized back then exactly what is happening today – the establishment of urban and suburban echo chambers that would rather see flyover country engulfed by a giant tornado than to “suffer” through conservative and Christian ideologies, especially in Washington DC. This is the driving force behind the sudden push to abolish the Electoral College, and the satirical masterminds at Babylon Bee nailed it.

Democratic candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading the charge to make the process that saved us from a Hillary Clinton presidency obsolete. Why? Because they can’t figure out how to win otherwise. Sure, they were able to dominate the Electoral College with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but the last two Democratic Presidents were running against weak Republicans in both of their elections. Had they been running against conservatives, especially in each of their first elections, the results may have been very different and the country may be in much better shape by now.

Nevertheless, this is what the Democrats want. Any system that can yield President Trump is a system they know they can fight against with their unhinged supporters, blind followers, and Trump haters.

That’s the nature of America today. Satire doesn’t need to venture too far away from reality in order to get a hilarious version of the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in, especially as it pertains to the loony party on the far left.

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TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs, minimum wage increase

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TIL the famous bar AOC worked at shut down over rising costs minimum wage increase

Today I learned something that surprised me, not because of the event itself but because so few people have talked about it. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is known for being a leader of the socialist movement in Washington DC after rising from the humble status of bartender to the Congresswoman of the 14th district in New York. Her policies include a push for a “living wage” of $15 per hour. I’ve always thought the wording was odd considering Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others have been calling for a rise in “minimum wage.” Today, I found out why she’s shying away from that phrase.

When New York City raised their minimum wage $15, many businesses were hit hard, especially in the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars started cutting hours and often even closing their doors over the increase. One of those hit hard by the massive bump was The Coffee Shop. Owner Charles Milite blamed the closure on high costs, with the rise in minimum wage as the last straw.

“The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees,” he said.

The Coffee Shop is the bar where AOC once worked.

Keep in mind, this wasn’t some random bar. The Coffee Shop in Union Square was considered a high-end establishment, buzzing all the time with “A-list” patrons. It was featured many times in the HBO show Sex and the City and had built a reputation as an “it” spot for Manhattan residents and tourists alike. In other words, this wasn’t a hole in the wall hanging on by a string. It was a vibrant, successful business for almost three decades before New York City’s untenable leftist policies, including a $15 minimum wage, became more than the bar could bear.

On the surface, many voters may see the very basic math of “oh, Democrats want to pay me more” and assume there’s no repercussions for such actions. This is why Democrats prey on those people who currently make lower wages. They feel if they can promise them something that sounds good even if they know with 100% certainty based on empirical evidence that it will actually hurt them, these new socialists are willing to make that trade. They figure they can blame the conservatives later for why the place they were working at before cut their hours, removed their jobs, or shut down because of raising the minimum wage.

As usual, socialists rely on ignorance and emotion as the driving forces behind their plans. They’re not stupid. They know their ideas won’t work. But they’re willing to push them on people anyway in hopes that ignorance will keep them in power.

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