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Anti-Israel Activists Arrested in Merrimack Tied to Mass. Dems, Disney Channel

One of the three women charged in Monday’s antisemitic vandalism at Elbit Systems in Merrimack is a former teen celebrity who has been the subject of fawning press coverage for years. Another appeared on several Disney Channel TV shows.

Calla Walsh, 19, Bridget Shergalis, 27, and Sophie Ross, 22, are all charged with criminal trespass, riot, and sabotage after they were arrested Monday on the roof of the Elbit facility in Merrimack armed with spray paint and incendiary devices. Walsh and Ross were issued $20,000 cash bail due to previous arrests. Shergalis was given $5,000 bail.

Their stunt at Elbit’s Daniel Webster Highway location is part of a long-standing campaign by Palestine Action US. Elbit Systems of America’s parent company – Israel-based Elbit Systems – is the largest defense contractor for Israel. Palestine Action US says its mission is “dismantling Elbit Systems and the Zionist War Machine.”

Walsh may just be 19 years old, but she has an extensive history of Democratic activism and support for Palestinian violence toward Israel.

Walsh is active in the anti-Israel “Boycott/Divest/Sanction (BDS) movement, which many critics say is antisemitic due to its sole focus on the Jewish State. More problematic is Walsh’s involvement in the so-called “Boston Mapping Project,” which created an interactive map identifying places where Jews tended to congregate as well as the locations of Jewish community organizations in Massachusetts. The map included locations of Jewish daycares and schools.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Mapping Project identifies Jewish communal groups as “‘Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit” and accused not only of “supporting the colonization of Palestine” but also of “violence worldwide.”

The New York Times has described Walsh as “representative of an influential new force in Democratic politics,

Calla Walsh

activists who cut their teeth on the presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.”

But U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) was no fan of her work on the Mapping Project.

“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections, and political string-pulling,” Auchincloss, who is Jewish, told the news site Jewish Insider at the time. “To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”

Walsh is also the founder of Students for Markey, the army of young people who knocked on doors and worked the phones to get progressive Sen. Ed Markey past Joe Kennedy III in the 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary. Walsh became a semi-celebrity for her Markey activism.

“I just support whoever is the most progressive in the race … I definitely do tend to support the person who’s challenging the incumbent, but Ed, I think, is a special case just because he’s led on so many issues that matter to young people,” Walsh told Dig Boston at the time.

Walsh is credited for being a leader in the “Markeyverse,” the online army of hundreds of teens who used their social media accounts to campaign for the Massachusetts progressive.

Markey’s office did not respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with whom Walsh campaigned.

Walsh never hid her feelings about Israel and her support for Palestinian violence while she was working on the campaigns of prominent Massachusetts Democrats.

“There is no ‘peaceful solution’ under military occupation. One can’t claim to want to see Palestine liberated if one doesn’t support Palestinians’ actually means of liberation,” Walsh tweeted last year.

Bridget Shergalis

Shergalis had been a working actress with television roles in teen shows like “So Random” on Disney, “See Dad Run” on Nickelodeon, and “Criminal Minds” on CBS. Her social media appears politics-free, and it isn’t clear when she became involved in the anti-Israel BDS movement.

Representatives with A3 Artists Agency in Los Angeles, which represents Shergalis, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ross, unlike Walsh and Shergalis, has a low profile and appears to not have public social media accounts. 

Both Walsh and Ross were ordered held on $20,000 bail Tuesday. The pair had recently been arrested at an Elbit protest in Cambridge, Mass., and were out on bail when they were arrested Monday. Shergalis’ bail is set at $5,000.

Police were called to the Elbit facility around 8 a.m. Monday for reports of people blocking the entrance and smoke coming from the roof. According to a Merrimack Police Department press release, “Officers discovered the front of the building had been spray painted with red paint, windows had been smashed, and at least one of the main lobby doors had been locked shut via a bicycle anti-theft device.” 

The three women reportedly lit “incendiary devices” and took them to the roof, where more damage was found.

Warren’s Sexism Claim A Tough Sell in New Hampshire

Is sexism responsible for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent slide in the polls? Will her gender-war dust-up with Sen. Bernie Sanders turn around her struggling campaign?

The early polling is unclear. But of all the states where Warren can complain of sexism, the very worst may be New Hampshire.

In 2016, the same night Hillary Clinton won the state’s four Electoral College votes, New Hampshire’s woman governor was elected to the U.S. Senate, giving the state an all-female congressional delegation. There are only two U.S. senators in purple states with an approval rating above 50 percent in the latest Morning Consult poll. Both are women — and both are in New Hampshire.

So when Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) says sexism facing women candidates like herself “is so bad,” it’s hard to reconcile with the record of New Hampshire primary voters.

Complaints about unfair treatment of women candidates is nothing new. In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said explicitly that “misogyny and sexism were a problem on the campaign trail.” Across the aisle, supporters of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin pointed out egregiously sexist attacks coming from left-leaning outlets.

Also not new: Studies showing that women candidates succeed or fail at about the same rate as men. It’s true that women are less likely to run — a fact that is evidence itself of sexism, some say — but when they run, they’re just as likely to win as their male counterparts. In 2018, they were more likely.

These facts haven’t stopped the surge of statements, news stories and analysis suggesting that America in general — and Democratic primary voters in particular — are uncomfortable voting for women.

“We have a deeply misogynistic country,” 2020 Democrat Andrew Yang said at a recent Concord, N.H. campaign stop. “I would one hundred percent agree with anyone who thinks the deck is stacked against female candidates because, of course, it is.”

But is that what’s keeping Warren and Klobuchar out of the top of the early-state polls? Particularly an early state like New Hampshire, with three women and an openly-gay man representing them in Congress?

“Keep in mind that the majority of Democratic primary voters in every state, including New Hampshire, are women. They tend to make up 55 to 60 percent of the electorate,” Emerson College Director of Polling Spencer Kimball told InsideSources. In the new Emerson poll of Granite State Democrats released Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former mayor Pete Buttigieg are on top at 23 and 18 percent respectively, while Warren’s numbers continue to slide.

A year ago, Warren was at 25 percent in the Emerson poll, and last September she was at 21 percent. But since November she’s been stuck at 14 percent, even as her top competitors have been on the rise. Interestingly, it was Amy Klobuchar who got the biggest bump, from 2 percent in the September Emerson poll to 10 percent — and right on Warren’s heels — today.

Sexism at work?

The case that primary voters are reluctant to back women is also undermined by Warren’s own performance. Throughout 2018, Warren was a frontrunner in both New Hampshire and nationwide. At one point, nearly 30 percent of Democrats were backing her, more than any other candidate. Since then, her support as fallen by half, most of which is attributed, not to misogyny, but to her mishandling of the Medicare For All issue.

That may explain why Warren is both in fourth place overall in New Hampshire and in third place behind Sanders and Buttigieg among women voters.

Still, few people argue that sexism is non-existent.

Kimball says that women candidates do face a somewhat steeper campaign climb, and he says that based on the polling data, the problem is — their fellow women. “Women voters hold female candidates to a different standard,” Kimball said. “Senator Klobuchar is actually getting more support from men than from women.”

“I do think some biases do exist among some people,” New Hampshire Democratic National Committeewoman and former state party chair Kathy Sullivan told InsideSources. “Look at Warren: right after she announced, I had a reporter from a national paper call and ask me if ‘likeability’ would be a problem — a question I never ever hear about male candidates. And Amy Klobuchar — there was the story that she was tough on her staff that got a lot of coverage early on. A similar story was written about Bernie Sanders four years ago by a Vermont media outlet,  and no other media outlets seem to have run with it.”

Jennifer Horn, a former GOP state party chair who ran for Congress in New Hampshire, told InsideSources that sexism is real, though she says it’s not a significant force. Instead, she believes the way women candidates handle sexism is far more important.

“Yes, it was harder to run for office as a woman than a man. But you just have to face it and overcome it,” Horn said. “When we buy into it, or when we complain about it to save our campaigns, it just makes us look weak.

“And this is really a problem for Warren because she already struggles with the authenticity issue. That’s a much bigger problem for her campaign that what Bernie Sanders might have said at dinner.”

What Happened to Liz Warren?

Three months ago this week, Senator Elizabeth Warren looked like the 2020 frontrunner so many Democrats dreamed she could be. After months of languishing in the New Hampshire polls — a must-win state for the Massachusetts senator — she had roared back to the top of the pack. She was leading in Iowa, too, five points ahead of second-place Joe Biden. She had even managed to raise more money than Bernie Sanders in the previous quarter.

Today? Warren is fading — and fast.

The former frontrunner is in fourth place in both Iowa and New Hampshire. In the Granite State, her support has fallen by a jaw-dropping 50 percent. In a sure sign that the campaign is struggling, the Warren camp is celebrating the endorsement of former HUD Secretary Julian Castro as a big win.

The Washington Post referred to it as a “timely boost.” The New York Times says the endorsement “could help Ms. Warren reignite excitement at a critical moment.”

But in the last New Hampshire poll taken before he dropped out, Castro was polling at 0 percent.

How did Warren, a one-time Democratic rock star who seems to fit her party’s 2020 mood so well, wind up trailing a relatively unknown Midwestern mayor in her own New Hampshire back yard?

Some campaigns struggle with message. That’s Sen. Cory Booker, who’s offering an optimistic vision of unity and partisan reconciliation to a Democratic base that’s ready to rumble with the Republicans.

Some campaigns have structural problems: Not enough money, too little name ID, no natural political base. Would governors like John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee have made good nominees? We’ll never know.

And then there are the campaigns facing the most daunting obstacle of all: Their own candidate. (See “O’Rourke, Beto.”)

The first two problems can be fixed. The last one can’t.  And every day the evidence builds that the Liz Warren campaign’s biggest problem, is Liz Warren.

“She got an authenticity problem,” one DC political operative told NHJournal. “It’s the one thing about her that’s real.”

The authenticity issue appeared again this week when Warren amended her views on the U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani, after blowback from progressives. Her first reaction was to declare Soleimani a “murderer responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans.”

Within 24 hours she was calling him a “senior government official,” who had been “assassinated,” and she repeatedly refused to concede that Soleimani is a terrorist. (He was declared the leader of a terrorist organization by both the Bush and Obama administrations.) Rather than celebrating his demise, Warren was suggesting that Soleimani only died because Trump is facing impeachment.

“Wow. We went from ‘murderer’ to ‘wag the dog’ in the space of a few days,” quipped CNN’s liberal commentator Chris Cillizza.

Why the shift? Because progressives like Sanders were denouncing the Trump administration’s action as illegitimate, and were uncomfortable with criticism of Soleimani that might support Trump’s case.

“Given where she is in the race, Warren simply could not withstand that sort of criticism from the left,” Cillizza wrote.

The Soleimani story is small potatoes. But it’s part of a growing list — her claims of Native American heritage, her debunked story about being fired over a pregnancy, her misleading statements about her children attending public school and her backtracking on Medicare For All — that suggests Warren is willing to say whatever it takes to get elected.

“She started off as a candidate with a strong message: ‘I want to fight for you, I’m going to take on corruption.’ She sounded like someone who knew exactly what she wanted to do,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne told NHJournal.

“Now she sounds like a candidate who’s still looking for a message, and that’s not good.”

Some Democrats disagree. “I don’t think the Native American thing or these other stories are hurting her. I think she’s got an explanation for all of them,” said Bob Shrum, director of USC’s Center for the Political Future and a veteran of multiple presidential primaries. “I think it’s one thing: Medicare For All.”

That’s a common explanation for Warren’s weakness. Democrats and pundits point to the release of Warren’s poorly-received $52 trillion healthcare plan as the moment her campaign began to founder. “It’s not true that New Hampshire Democrats don’t like Warren,” one senior Democratic Granite State source told NHJournal. “They just hate her Medicare For All plan.”

But even the Medicare issue highlights Warren’s authenticity problem. One reason she was forced to release the politically-damaging specifics of her plan was because she’d spent weeks refusing to say whether her proposal would require a middle-class tax hike. She gave so many obviously evasive answers that late-night TV host Stephen Colbert begged her on the air to find a better response.

Warren supporters are quick to suggest that she’s the victim of misogyny, that conversations about authenticity and likeability are just code words for being uncomfortable with a woman nominee. But that hardly makes sense in New Hampshire, where three of the four Democrats in the congressional delegation are women, the two previous governors were women and where Hillary Clinton won both the 2008 primary and the 2016 general election.

These are voters who are more than willing to vote for a woman. At the moment, however, they appear reluctant to vote for Liz Warren.

And that’s a ‘candidate’ problem.

When it Comes to Charitable Giving, Warren and Sanders Are Millionaires Who Don’t ‘Pay Their Fair Share’

If you woke up New Year’s Day feeling guilty about all those last-second charitable solicitations you ignored, it might ease your conscience to know you aren’t alone. Just ask Liz Warren.

On the campaign trail, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tirelessly attacks the greed and self-interest of America’s wealthy, the “millionaires and billionaires” who, she claims, are “waging war on America’s middle class.”

“It’s time for the millionaires to pay their fair share!” Warren demands.

But when it comes to spreading the wealth to charitable causes and community service, Warren is one of the millionaires who apparently hasn’t gotten the message.

According to the tax returns Warren has posted on her campaign website, she and her husband Bruce Mann have earned more than $10 million since 2008, but they’ve rarely donated more than 4 percent of their income to charitable causes. For example, in 2014 Warren earned more than $1.6 million but gave just 2.7 percent to charity. The following year she took in nearly $1.2 million, but donated just 2.3 percent.

All that changed, however, in 2017 when Warren was preparing to formally enter the presidential race. That year her charitable donations suddenly spiked to 8.4 percent, leading some to speculate that her newfound generosity was more about electability than philanthropy. In 2018, she donated 5.5 percent of her income to charity.

Exclude her “presidential primary” years, and Warren donated an average of just 3.5 percent of her millions in income to charitable causes. That number is low for the average American in her income bracket (the average millionaire donates nearly twice that amount), and it sounds particularly ungenerous given her political platform of income redistribution, trillion-dollar tax increases and “you didn’t build that!” rhetoric.

And yet compared to her fellow 2020 progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren’s the Oprah Winfrey of the Democratic field.

In 2016, Sanders donated just $10,600 of his $1 million income — around 1 percent — to charity. His total household donations since 2009 manage to get him to the two percent level.

According to analysis by Forbes magazine, the least charitable Democrat is also the poorest: Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Despite his progressive bona fides, including a “paid” volunteerism program,  Buttigieg has donated just 1 percent of his income to charity since 2009.

And then there’s former Vice President Joe Biden, who made headlines in 2008 when Barack Obama tapped him to be his running mate it was discovered the Bidens had donated just $3,690 to charity over the course of an entire decade. He’s since raised that number to six percent, much of it donated to Biden family foundations.

Thus far the issue of charitable giving hasn’t come up on the campaign trail, perhaps because Democratic primary voters are also less likely to support charitable causes themselves.

According to multiple studies, Americans on the left are less charitable than their Republican counterparts. States that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 were, on average, less generous in their charitable giving than those carried by Donald Trump.

Arthur C. Brooks, a social scientist at Harvard’s Kennedy School and author of the book on charitable giving Who Really Cares says his research finds, “People who favor government income redistribution are significantly less likely to donate to charity than those who do not.”

Data from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy show that a smaller percentage of Americans are donating to charity each year, but overall donations are rising. In fact, over this same 2009-2017 period during which millionaire candidates like Warren and Sanders give so little, total U.S. donations to charity rose by nearly $100 billion, from $314 billion to $410 billion.

The same “millionaires and billionaires” whose greed is allegedly endangering our democracy are giving more to charity and community service. Even as progressive politicians give so little.

There are exceptions, most notably Sen. Cory Booker. The former Mayor of Newark has donated nearly half a million dollars — about 11 percent of his income — to charity over the past decade. Unfortunately, Democratic primary voters aren’t being as generous toward his campaign and Sen. Booker continues to linger around 2 percent in the polls.

From free healthcare for illegal immigrants to paying off everyone’s student loan debt, Elizabeth Warren has lots of plans for taxpayer-funded generosity. American voters may want to ask why her charity doesn’t begin at home.

In New Hampshire, Worry That Warren’s $20 Trillion Tax Hike Is ‘Dangerous’ To State’s Democrats

Nothing is certain but death and taxes, and for New Hampshire Democrats, tax hikes have been political death.

So, what will they make of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new $52 trillion Medicare for All proposal that relies on $20 trillion in new taxes?

To say that Democrats in the Granite State are averse to broad-based tax hikes is an understatement. When a legislator brought up an amendment calling for a state income tax on top earners, her fellow Democrats were so anxious to distance themselves from it they voted it down in the same committee twice.

State politics here centers around what locals call the “New Hampshire Advantage” — no sales or income taxes. And Democrats who’ve run for statewide office proposing to raise either one have not fared well.

“Every so often, our party will go too far and back a tax proposal,” veteran Democratic state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro told NHJournal. “And the consequences are never good.”

The Medicare for All plan Warren released on Friday would be jaw-dropping even in the most liberal environs. The entire 2019 federal budget is around $4.4 trillion, for example, and Warren wants to spend more than $5 trillion a year on healthcare alone. This on top of her trillions in spending for the Green New Deal, guaranteed free childcare, free tuition, etc.

It also eliminates the private-sector health care industry which, as Warren acknowledged to NHPR earlier this week, would cost two million American jobs.

Nevertheless, she persists.

Warren insists that “we don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare for All,” and has proposed a series of taxes on top earners, corporations, investors and (believe it or not) illegal immigrants.  She says providing a “pathway to citizenship” for people in the country illegally, and increasing legal U.S. immigration, would bring in $400 billion in new tax revenue.

“You get out, and you dream big and you fight hard for what you believe in,” Warren told reporters Friday as she defended her plan. “We need to be an America that dreams big, an America that aims high.”

Not surprisingly, some of her opponents are aiming back.

“She’s making it up,” Joe Biden said of Warren’s Medicare for All math. His spokesperson released a statement saying, “Senator Warren would place a new tax of nearly $9 trillion that will fall on American workers.

“The mathematical gymnastics of this plan are all geared towards hiding a simple truth from voters: it’s impossible to pay for Medicare for All without middle-class tax increases.”

The $9 trillion is a reference to Warren’s tax on larger businesses currently contributing to their employees’ healthcare. She would force them to keep paying 98 percent of that amount per employee–essentially a ‘head tax’ on every business with a health plan– to the government.  A $9 trillion business tax isn’t a message New Hampshire Democrats want to run on.

Political analysts agree that New Hampshire Republicans are likely to suffer in state and local 2020 elections due to Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket. But what happens in New Hampshire if a Democrat proposing trillions in tax hikes and shutting down the private sector healthcare industry is at the top of theirs?

“If Warren’s the option the Left chooses to go with, President Trump and the GOP are a lock here in 2020,” state Rep. Fred Doucette tells NHJournal. He’s the state chairman of the Trump 2020 campaign and says Warren is “unaligned with New Hampshire values.

“We don’t print enough money in this country to pay for all of her plans,” he said.

Sen. D’Allesandro reluctantly agrees that Warren’s plans would put New Hampshire Democrats at a disadvantage if it’s the face of the party.

“It would be a very dangerous situation for Democrats I’m afraid,” he said.

But Warren’s poll numbers, while flat of late, remain strong in New Hampshire and some state progressives are happy she’s setting the bar high.

“I love the fact that she’s aiming for the stars,” Democratic state Rep. Wendy E. N. Thomas told NHJournal. “I tell people why start negotiations at less than what you want to accept?”

Joel Payne, a national Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, believes this is a good move for Warren. “She’s showing her math. And she’s following through on her promise to confront the system with big structural change. She’s been very clear she believes the middle class will be better off under her plan. She’s being bold. It’s what voters have come to expect from her.”

Any worries that Warren’s aiming so high that she might make the average New Hampshire voter uncomfortable?

“She’s making Republicans uncomfortable,” Thomas said.

Maybe. But they don’t sound like it.

“New Hampshire voters are tax-savvy compared to other states, and a $20 trillion tax hike doesn’t fit in with their ‘Live Free or Die’ values,” the RNC’s Nina McLaughlin told NHJournal.

Doucette was more direct: “People looking at the polls wonder how Donald Trump can win New Hampshire? This is how.”

Liz Warren’s “Rachel Dolezal” Problem

Forget “Pocahontas,” President Trump. The nickname most likely to upend Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential hopes?

“Rachel Dolezal.”

Senator Warren got stuck with it in the worst possible way: Live, on national radio, with millions of African-Americans listening and, presumably, laughing. It wasn’t a political hit from a partisan opponent; it was an observation from a morning-drive talk host who appeared genuinely puzzled by Warren’s story of why she kept calling herself an American Indian well into her fifties.

Friday morning the Massachusetts senator appeared on the Breakfast Club, a popular radio show heard on stations across the country.  One of the hosts, Charlamagne tha God (“I bust Stupid Dope Moves and Bomb Atomically”) has more than two million Twitter followers. The rest of the crew, DJ Envy and Angela Yee, add another 1.6 million or so. Not surprisingly, Democratic candidates for president who need support among black voters are desperate to do the show: Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have all made appearances.

What makes the show work, and what worked against Warren, is that it’s three smart-but-typical people having the same conversations normal people have, as opposed to a stilted political roundtable where for far too many journalists, the real audience is other journalists.



And so Charlemagne the God (CTG) asked the questions about Warren’s problematic Native American claims that regular Americans wonder about but, not elite journalists.

“Why did you do that?” he wanted to know, specifically referring to Warren repeatedly declaring herself an “American Indian” (her words) in official documents throughout her career, including while a Harvard professor.

“It’s what I believed,” Warren answered. “It’s what I learned from my family.”

And then the roundhouse kick: “When did you find out you weren’t?”

Warren sat stunned. She stumbled. She never answered the question, instead offered a telling non sequitur: “I’m not a person of color.”

The puzzled look on CTG’s face said it all. Of course Elizabeth Warren isn’t a “person of color.” Who would look at her and think she was? “When did you find out that you weren’t” is really just another way of asking “What made you think you were?”

This has always been the unanswerable question for Warren, a white woman who grew up in the suburbs and, by her own admission, never lived a single moment of her life as a Native American.  Whatever the American Indian experience is, it isn’t hers.

As much as she tries to focus on the red herring of heritage and family lore, the real question is what made Elizabeth Warren ever think– for the purposes of official identity, legal documents, and professional status–that she was a person of color? And if she knew what everyone else knew (that she wasn’t), why did she keep claiming it?

There are millions of white Americans who’ve been told they have a black or Hispanic or Native American somewhere in their family tree, or who ping higher than 20 percent in a racial minority category on a ’23 and Me’ test.  But unlike Liz Warren, they’ve never filled out a form claiming minority status.

Which led CTG to his devastating verdict: “You’re kind of like the original Rachel Dolezal, a little bit.”

Trump’s “Pocahontas” line is merely a lame joke. (Actually, it’s not even that. The real joke is the “Fauxcahontas” nickname she earned during her first Senate campaign.) “Rachel Dolezal,” on the other hand, is a description. It’s an indictment of Warren’s difficult-to-defend behavior regarding her identity.

In a political moment when voters crave authenticity, Elizabeth Warren may or may not be able to pass herself off as a Native American. But she has no hope of passing herself off as authentic.

Elizabeth Warren Strikes Trumpian Themes in First Granite State Campaign Stop

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren got a warm welcome in neighboring New Hampshire at her first Granite State event of the 2020 campaign season, though the vision of America she offered the audience was far from bright.

“Here’s the deal. Rules matter. We have one set of rules for the rich and one set of rules for everyone else. That’s not America. That’s not who we are,” Warren told the crowd of some 300 people gathered at Manchester Community College on Saturday afternoon.

“We need to make change in this country. Not little, itty-bitty change. Not a nibble around the edges. Not even pass one good law here and one good law there. We need to make systemic change in this country,” Warren said.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire, making her first appearance in the Granite State in two years.


Again and again, the Massachusetts senator hit what appears to be an emerging theme of her 2020 campaign, arguing that corporations and the wealthy are benefitting from a form of “corruption.”

“An America that works only for the wealthy and the well-connected? That’s corruption, plain and simple, and we need to call it out,” Warren said. “And that’s the first we can make systemic change, change the rules in Washington.”

“The rules that are written in far off Washington are rules that are written to help the rich and the powerful, not rules that are written to help little families like mine,” Warren said.

The corruption theme is also on the front page of Warren’s campaign website (“We will save our democracy. We will end Washington corruption. Will you join us?) and a Google search for her home page brings the headline “End Corruption in Washington. Join our grassroots movement.”

Warren’s speech echoed the dark view—some would say “Trumpian” view—of an America where an elite is riding roughshod over a victimized middle class that were featured in her campaign-launch video.  “10,000 rich families in America have more power than all the other millions and millions combined,” she told the New Hampshire crowd.

“Americans are really mad about the current system: the economic system, the political system, they ‘re both corrupt,” said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group closely allied with Warren,  after the speech.  “Trump said it was corrupt, but he made it more corrupt. What Trump said in 2016 was that the system is not working for working people, it’s working for the big guys–then he went in there and helped the big guys. Sen. Warren’s the real deal.”

It’s a message that resonated with some in the audience.

“Working-class Americans understand that they’re getting a raw deal and that the system is rigged,” said a voter who identified himself as Tom from Concord, NH. “Sen. Warren has put her finger on exactly who it is who’s giving them a raw deal and that the system is rigged. think have figured out that the system is rigged, and Elizabeth Warren.”

Tom brought his mother, a recent transplant to New Hampshire from Florida, to the rally. “I’m happy to come, but I really like that [Julian] Castro from Texas. I want to find out more about him,” she said.

However, the issue that generated the most reaction from the audience was climate change and energy policy.

During the Q&A portion of the program, Warren was asked about the EPA and environmental protection. “I’m going to say something really shocking about all of our questions about clean water, clean air, the urgency of this moment, about the direction and survivability of this earth. I’m glad many of you are sitting down. Ready?

“I believe in science,” Warren said, to applause and laughter.

When asked about the EPA “dropping the ball” on enforcing clean water regulations, Warren made her only direct attack on the Trump administration: “This EPA hasn’t dropped the ball. They’ve thrown the ball on the ground,”

With the New Hampshire primary more than a year away, few voters are prepared to endorse any of the more than 30 potential Democratic candidates in the race. Several members of the audience said they saw this as part of the traditional process of Granite State voters seeing the candidates up close.

Leann from Bedford and her 16-year-old daughter Lily said they just happened to have the afternoon free and “just stopped by to listen.”

“That’s one of the nice things about living in New Hampshire is that you get to see a wide range of potential candidates,” Leann said.  However, they both acknowledged that the fact Sen. Warren is a woman is part of her appeal.

“I’m definitely an activist feminist and to see a woman stand up and run for president again is super-inspiring to me,” Lily said.

And what about the other women candidates, like California Sen. Kamala Harris and Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard?

“We’re interested in all of them,” Leann said. “We just have to have someone to beat Trump.” 

Relax, New Hampshire–Liz Warren Is On Her Way!

The NHDems have announced that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is scheduled to keynote the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club dinner on Feb. 22.

“We are pleased that Senator Elizabeth Warren will join our 60th annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club event,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley. “Senator Warren has long been an ardent supporter of New Hampshire Democrats.”

Sen. Warren’s coming off a good weekend in Iowa–a much-needed bump to her candidacy which many insiders have said is otherwise off to a shaky start. Warren has consistently underperformed in polls of Democrats as a whole and progressives in particular. In addition, Warren’s one of the few high-profile Dem 2020 candidates who’s underwater with voters as a whole.

“The 100 Club event is an excellent opportunity to get ni front of large gathering of NH activists and voters,” Democratic strategist Jim Demers told NHJournal.  “Coming from Massachusetts, the crowd will even bigger than usual because she ban bring supporters from across the border. I expect the dinner to be a big success for the state party.”

Grabbing this high-profile platform–where she will be the only 2020 contender on the stage– is more than a boon to just Warren and the NHDem’s coffers. It’s also a lost opportunity to other potential candidates, in particular fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders. They are expected to wage a Battle Royale for their border-state voters.

Warren donated $5,000 to every state party in the US last year, and she sent two staffers to work for the NHDem party. Sen. Kamala Harris gave $25,000 to the state party and reports are that Sen. Cory Booker gave some $170,000 to various New Hampshire Democratic candidates and causes in the 2018 cycle.

One NHDem insider told NHJournal “The candidate who wants these slots most usually gets them.”

Warren definitely wanted–and needed–this event.

As a “NH Neighbor,” Liz Warren Enters POTUS Race as a Candidate On the Cusp

As she announces her decision to launch a formal exploratory committee for a 2020 POTUS bid, “Senator Warren is a candidate on the cusp,” according to a prominent Massachusetts-based pollster.

“In many ways she’s a candidate in-between,” David Paleologos tells InsideSources. Paleologos is director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.  “Warren’s definitely a viable candidate, no doubt about that. But she’s neither a top-tier candidate nor a long shot. She’s not a new face, but she’s not an old hand like [former VP Joe] Biden or [Sen. Bernie] Sanders, either.  She’s on the cusp in many ways.”

While the 69-year-old Massachusetts senator’s announcement has been long expected, the timing–on New Years Eve, and early in the cycle while other big names remain on the sidelines–is somewhat surprising. Traditionally, top-tier candidates tend to sit and wait, attempting to build up some drama before the big announcement. Warren’s decision to jump in early may be her campaign acknowledging their back-of-the-pack position.

“Her decision to enter early is clearly an acknowledgment that she has considerable work to do with early state voters (and major donors) to repair the self-inflicted damage of her attempt to put the Native American question behind her,” says CNN’s Chris Cillizza. 

Joel Payne, a DC-based Democratic strategist who advised the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, agrees that Warren’s early negatives could be a problem.   “While people point to the Native American heritage uproar,  I think the biggest danger to her candidacy is her high name ID because many voters may already have hardened opinions about her,” he told InsideSources.

And in a series of polls over the past month, those opinions among Democrats aren’t great for Senator Warren. As InsideSources has previously reported, Warren has consistently been out of the top tier of polling among Democrats, behind candidates like Biden, Bernie Sanders and Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke.  In the most recent CNN poll, Warren was the only major Democratic candidate whose approval was underwater (negatives higher than her positives) at 30 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove.  Sen. Sanders, on the other hand, was at 51/35 percent and Joe Biden was at 54/29 percent approval/disapprove.

According to Paleologos, the top tier of candidates is “I don’t know yet” and Joe Biden, with a second-tier that includes Biden, Beto, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey’s Sen. Cory Booker. “Warren’s in the third tier–another reason she couldn’t afford to wait,” Paleologos said.

This early in the race, Warren’s sagging support among progressives is her biggest challenge. Progressive activists who traditionally energize and deliver voters in primaries have plenty of choices in 2020 (as opposed to 2016 or 2008), and they’ve yet to rally around Liz Warren. Two straw polls of progressive organizations, and Democracy for America, both find Warren trailing the “Three A-Bee-gos,” Biden, Bernie and Beto.  In the DFA straw poll, she’s in fourth place at 8 percent and in the MoveOn poll (the same group that spend about $1 million on the #DraftWarren movement four years ago) she’s in fifth place at 7 percent.

According to the latest Suffolk poll, American’s top wish for Washington, DC is for politicians to work together (29 percent) far higher than more divisive issues like impeaching President Trump (9 percent). That may not bode well for a candidate best known for battling with the president.

Paleologos also notes a Suffolk poll of her own constituents in deep-blue Massachusetts earlier this year that found 58 percent of Bay Staters didn’t want her to run for POTUS in 2020.  The fact that she’s essentially announced her candidacy even before she’s been sworn in to the new US Senate term local voters just gave her shows how concerned her campaign is about their current position in the polls.

“By announcing now, she’s saying ‘I’m serious. I’m in it to win it.’ It shows that she sees a path to victory,” Paleologos said. And that path goes right through New Hampshire.

Jim Demers, a key New Hampshire Democrat, told InsideSources: “As a neighbor, New Hampshire is a must-win state for Senator Warren. Getting in early helps insure she will be in every news story in the coming weeks.” Demers, who’s backing Cory Booker, believes that “the New Hampshire primary is wide open.”

Payne believes Sen. Warren’s hopes could possibly ride on New Hampshire as “her firewall…given its proximity to Massachusetts,” while Paleologos predicts Warren will “play the home girl–twice.”

“First she’ll go to Iowa as the ‘Sooner Sister,’ the fellow Midwesterner running in the caucuses. Then she’ll morph into the ‘New Hampshire Neighbor’ from Massachusetts. After that, she’ll have to hope that some of her fellow progressives have dropped out by the time she gets to South Carolina.”


Warren’s campaign video, also released on New Year’s Eve, certainly highlighted her Oklahoma roots more than she has in the past.  Warren also goes out of her way in the video to attack Ronald Reagan–an interesting decision given that the Gipper’s approval rating among Americans in 2018 was 72 percent.

Fairly or unfairly, Warren continues to struggle with the #Fauxcahontas scandal, a story that many on the Left say has hurt her far more than originally realized. “There just aren’t a lot of Democrats talking about Liz Warren at the top of their list,” one New Hampshire Democratic activist told InsideSources after her announcement. “She’s just not generating much excitement.”

Still, progressives have hardly turned their back on Warren. “Senator Elizabeth Warren’s formal entrance into the 2020 race for President today helps launch what we believe will be a vibrant discussion of bold, inclusive populist ideas in the Democratic Primary, and we look forward to the wide array of progressive candidates that we expect to join her in it in the year ahead,” Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America told InsideSources in a statement.

Iowa Confirms Early-State Trends: Biden, Bernie and Beto Rise as Warren Wanes

First Politico, then SRSS and now a new CNN/Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers confirms that, in the early going, the top names in the Democratic field are Biden, Bernie and–surprise!–Beto.

In Iowa, Biden’s at the top of the pack with 32 percent support, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 19 percent and Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 11 percent. They were the only people in double-digits.

On the same day the poll was released, dozens of grassroots supporters gathered in Manchester, NH for a “Day of Action” organized by the Draft Beto 2020 movement.

The Iowa numbers are similar to a recent Politico poll of Democrats nationwide: Biden 26 percent, Sanders 19 percent and O’Rourke at 8 percent. The three Democrats shared the same ranking in another CNN poll, conducted by SRSS, of Democrats across the country: Biden 30 percent, Sanders 14 percent and O’Rourke 9 percent.

In all of the latest polling, Liz Warren lags behind the top tier of candidates.

While Beto’s numbers, hovering around 10 percent, aren’t particularly impressive, the fact that he consistently ranks ahead of more established candidates–Sen. Elizabeth Warren in particular–is a sign of how he’s sparked interest among Democrats. A year ago, the Texas congressman was virtually unknown outside his district while Sen. Warren was viewed as a front-runner. Today, Warren’s suffered high-profile setbacks while O’Rourke has inspired a movement to pull him into the primary.


A group of Beto O’Rourke supporters gathered in Manchester NH for a Day of Action


Other numbers that should concern Sen. Warren are the favorable/unfavorable ratings from Iowa caucus goers. While Joe Biden’s favorables are extremely high at 82 percent and his unfavorables are a low 15 percent, Warren’s numbers are a more modest 64 percent approval, 20 percent disapproval. That 20 percent is the highest negative numbers among Iowa Democrats (Though nowhere close to Hillary Clinton’s gasp-inducing 47 approve/49 disapprove.)

For his part, O’Rourke acknowledged to the Dallas Morning News that the question of his preparedness for the job of president is a legitimate one.  “I ask it myself,” he said.

“I just don’t feel comfortable talking to anybody in Iowa or New Hampshire, because I don’t want to stoke. I just truly have not made a decision or even really begun the serious work of making a decision, so I just don’t want to lead anyone to think that we’re doing something or not doing something.”

But that’s not stopping Democrats across the country from expressing true interest in his candidacy. So much so that, according to the AP, the Biden camp is considering an “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy, floating a Biden/Beto ticket for 202o.

The Associated Press reports that past and current advisers to Biden, 76, have expressed some “concerns about age” and have raised the possibility of O’Rourke, 47, as a possible running mate. If 76 sounds old, keep in mind that Biden’s fellow front-runner, Bernie Sanders, is 77. He would be 79 if sworn in as president in January 2021.

This may be part of the reason why so many Democrats are taking a second look at a fresh new face like Beto’s.