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Donkey Dow: all eyes on Biden

Biden, Buttigieg, Bernie...will the manspreading never cease?!

April 19, 2019

7:06 PM

19 April 2019

7:06 PM

Cockburn is introducing the Donkey Dow: a round-up of the movers and shakers in the race to face up against Donald Trump. Here’s how the candidates and contenders fared over the last few days…

donkey dow

The late-April week that was. All eyes were kept peeled for the fateful announcement that would set the course for the next 18 months headed into the 2020 presidential election. Cockburn is talking about, of course, Terry McAuliffe’s Wednesday night decision not to seek the presidency.

You may think the bowing-out of the braggadocious former Virginia governor and Democratic National Committee chair may seem like small potatoes compared to the exonerative report issued by Special Robert S. Mueller III this week – but you’d be wrong. The decision by ‘Gator,’ as Morning Joe hosts call him, to take a hard pass on a crowded field is actually the biggest announcement in months – it clears the establishment deck for Joe Biden, as Joe Scarborough noted, holds off John Kerry, and further discourages a Michael Bloomberg run. Kerry is waiting to see what Joe will do, he told the Times this week. And indications are that Joe is, despite Peggy Noonan’s protestations, a go. The president himself tweeted this week that he believes it’s a coin-flip chance he faces Biden – or, as he terms him, some mentally-addled socialist from Vermont (more on him later.)

As for McAuliffe, he may be swiftly enlisted as a Biden surrogate and bundler, reports Scarborough, rather than roulette his future all to be a likely also-ran. McAuliffe is no layabout, and a formidable feather in the former VP’s cap. As a former member of McAuliffe’s administration in Richmond told The National Interest in February, in comparison to the shoe-polish enthusiast Ralph Northam, McAuliffe is a real dynamo: ‘Terry would work until 2 a.m. Ralph goes to bed at 9. A lot less life at the mansion.’

Biden will need it, as he approaches his ninth decade. But for now, he’s weathered another storm, and is groping (sorry, grasping) his way to an announcement of a third presidential run, this time as the front-runner.


Cockburn is remiss to admit when he agrees with Bill Kristol, but one must wonder: did President Trump intentionally fail to mention Mayor Pete? Now officially in third in national polls and threatening in Iowa, no proof of concept is required: the ‘Midwestern, millennial mayor’ has the juice. Five former Obama administration officials signed on Friday. Cockburn thinks it’s interesting that Team Obama seems to like to knife Biden when it can; unwelcome déjà vu from 2016.

Cory Booker should definitely talk about Rosario Dawson more, even run her in his stead. Said the New Jersey senator of his girlfriend late last week on Good Day: ‘I’ll tell you what, in my best-case scenario, I get elected president, I serve two terms. That’s just ten years…nine years of my life…what I’m trying to create with Rosario is something that’ll last forever.’ Maybe a little overwrought, Cory, but count Cockburn moved.

An impressive MoJo appearance this week for Tim Ryan put the centrist-populist Ohio congressman on the map. He needs Mayor Pete to peak early, however, or as a former senior administration told Cockburn, ‘he’ll go nowhere.’


In recent weeks, donor favorite’s Kamala Harris has seemingly dropped from a formidable third place to a forgotten fifth in the unofficial pecking order. ‘Joyful warrior,’ she’s calling herself: very poor choice of words.

As ever, Kirsten Gillibrand is redefining disaster. If only The Nation got the memo everyone else in the country did.

Also inexplicably on their cover – Amy Klobuchar. First time she’s been seen in weeks. Klobuchar is Cloakuchar: she’s invisible.

Take Cockburn’s word for it: the impeachment gambit is an indication of a candidate’s irrelevance. So let’s put a big ‘no’ next to Julián Castro and Jay Inslee.

Eric Swalwell used the Mueller fervor to appeal for funds, while Tulsi Gabbard has been trying to capitalize on the furore around the report by building traction around her paper ballots legislation. Which has…not worked!

Neither here nor there

Bernie Sanders is a front-runner, not the front-runner. The president, definitely one to talk, may think he should be committed, but for now, the Vermonter shares the stage with the purportedly narcoleptic Biden.

On the one hand, Elizabeth Warren is showing increasingly desperation to break through – on Friday quixotically calling for the president’s impeachment. On the other hand, she is, reportedly, stealthily making headway where her comrade-in-arms, Mr Sanders, has largely failed: with African American voters.

Still waiting

Biden, obviously, though that may change next week…and Bill de Blasio. The New York mayor got out of bed this week – watch out! Soon he could be on the trail, with his message of making all of America, like his declining city, smell of reefer. Just in time for 4/20…

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