Needed 1990
Biden 0
Bloomberg 0
Buttigieg 11
Gabbard 0
Klobuchar 0
Sanders 11
Steyer 0
Warren 5
Yang 0
Political Wire logo Bloomberg Meets with Affluent Donors
Trump Working on Second Term Plans
Behind Romney’s Impeachment Decision
Bullock Meets with Obama as Senate Deadline Nears
Navy Secretary Fired by Trump Endorses Bloomberg
Buttigieg Surges In New Hampshire

Senate Acquits Trump

As expected, the Senate acquitted Donald Trump yesterday. On the first article (abuse of power), the vote was 52 for acquittal and 48 for conviction. 52 of 53 Republicans voted for acquittal and all 45 Democrats and both independents voted for conviction. On the second article (obstruction of Congress), the vote was entirely along party lines, with all 53 Republicans voting to acquit and all 45 Democrats and both independents voting to convict.

The only surprise here is that on the first article, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) apparently discovered some previously nonfunctional body parts and voted "guilty." This is not entirely surprising, since Romney also voted to call witnesses. That said, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) also voted to call witnesses, but when push came to shove, she voted "not guilty" on both articles. She clearly made the calculation that voting to convict Trump would so anger her Republican base that she would lose in November, so she took the cowardly way out and voted to acquit, despite not getting the witnesses she asked for.

The consequences of the impeachment and Senate vote won't be known for a long time, possibly not until November, but the spin is starting already. Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager, said: it "will go down as the worst miscalculation in American political history." (V)

Nadler: House Likely to Subpoena Bolton

Even though the Senate has acquitted Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment, the House plans to continue investigating wrongdoing in the administration, as congressional oversight is a well-established power Congress has. This was made clear yesterday, when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said: "We'll want to call Bolton." However, a final decision has not been made.

A complication is that the White House is absolutely certain to try to block Bolton. It could claim executive privilege or try to get a court order forbidding Bolton from appearing. This would set off an epic battle between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, which could take years to settle. On the other hand, if Bolton wants to testify, the administration probably has no way to stop him, other than arresting him on some trumped-up charge, though no judge is going to sustain that. It could get dicey. (V)

Will Anyone Ever Honor a Congressional Subpoena Again?

With the acquittal of Donald Trump on charges of obstruction of Congress, some senators are now worrying that no person will ever honor a subpoena again if the president orders that person not to do so. After all, the argument until now had been that if the president stonewalls Congress, he could be impeached and convicted. That doesn't look very likely anymore since even if the opposition party controls the House, it is very unlikely to have a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Does this mean that Congress' oversight power is henceforth gone forever? It could.

However, there is one scenario in which Congress might get another chance to become relevant. If the House goes through with its (potential) plan to subpoena John Bolton, the case will end up in the Supreme Court, probably in 2021 or 2022. If the Court rules that congressional subpoenas outrank executive privilege and that Congress and the courts may punish people who disobey a valid subpoena, there is some hope for Congress, but that is a ways off and might not happen. (V)

Iowa Results Are Still Dribbling In

We still don't have the full results from the Iowa caucuses, but we're close. The smartphone app didn't work, though it is not clear why the fallback plan (transmitting the results to Des Moines by horse and buggy?) apparently isn't working too smoothly either. The farthest city in Iowa from Des Moines is Granite, IA, which is 253 miles away, which a decent horse can cover in a few days. Most cities in Iowa are closer. This is clearly a huge embarrassment to the Iowa Democratic Party.

The most recent results are as follows, with 97% of the precincts reporting:

Candidate SDEs Pct. Final Ballots Pct. Delegates
Pete Buttigieg 550 26.2% 42,235 25.0% 11
Bernie Sanders 547 26.1% 44,753 26.5% 11
Elizabeth Warren 381 18.2% 34,312 20.3% 5
Joe Biden 331 15.8% 23,051 13.7% 0
Amy Klobuchar 255 12.1% 20,525 12.2% 0
Andrew Yang 22 1.0% 1,752 1.0% 0
Tom Steyer 7 0.3% 407 0.2% 0
Michael Bloomberg 0 0.0% 20 0.0% 0
Tulsi Gabbard 0 0.0% 15 0.0% 0
Deval Patrick 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0
Michael Bennet 0 0.0% 1 0.0% 0
John Delaney 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0

Five different metrics are shown in the table: The state delegate equivalents, the percentage of the delegates won, the final ballot tally, the percentage of ballots received, and the expected DNC delegates won. If one candidate swept the SDEs, ballots, and DNC delegates, then that person would be the unambiguous winner. But this is not going to happen. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is going to slightly outpace Pete Buttigieg in the ballot count, while the SDE and delegate counts are going to be a near-dead heat and a dead heat, respectively. This is another reason to scrap the caucus system: Even when all the votes have been accurately counted, we still can't tell who won because people can argue about what "won" means. With a primary, there are usually only two metrics: The statewide vote and the number of delegates won. (V)

Pelosi Dumps on Trump in a Private Meeting after SOTU

In D.C., private meetings are rarely private, and so it is with the meeting of the House Democratic caucus that took place yesterday morning, the day after Donald Trump's State of the Union address. At the meeting, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she felt "liberated" after defiantly tearing up Trump's speech in front of the entire world. "He shredded the truth so I shredded his speech," Pelosi added. Democrats gave her a standing ovation. There is little doubt that she is much loved in her caucus and is one of the most effective Speakers in decades.

After that, she went on to salute all seven of the House impeachment managers, even though they didn't achieve their goal of getting the Senate to convict Trump. She also said she was disgusted by Trump's awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh, who may have done more to divide the country than anyone else. She called it "pandering" to his base and a "disgraceful display." (V)

Sanders Leads in New Hampshire Poll

Bernie Sanders is on top in New Hampshire, according to a new Emerson College poll. Here are the numbers:

Candidate Pct.
Bernie Sanders 32%
Pete Buttigieg 17%
Joe Biden 13%
Amy Klobuchar 11%
Elizabeth Warren 11%
Andrew Yang 6%
Tulsi Gabbard 6%

That Sanders is doing well in a neighboring state is not surprising. What is surprising is that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is also from a neighboring state, is doing so poorly. That doesn't bode well for her going forward. (V)

New Hampshire Becomes Even More Crucial Now

New Hampshire holds the first primary in the country, so it is always important, but with the muddled Iowa result, the Granite State will assume an even greater-than-usual importance this year—assuming it is capable of counting all the votes within a couple of days, something that seems to have eluded Iowa. If Pete Buttigieg ultimately wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, his campaign will get a boost, especially since beating Bernie Sanders next door to Sanders' home state will definitely deflate the senator's chances.

If Buttigieg wins Iowa and Sanders wins New Hampshire, on the other hand, we will have a split decision. Neither of these candidates does well with nonwhite voters, and the next two contests, in Nevada (Feb. 22) and South Carolina (Feb. 29), have large numbers of Latino and black voters, respectively. If Buttigieg falls flat in both of them, his bubble may be short lived. Sanders' support is so solid, it can survive losses in Nevada and South Carolina without too much trouble.

The person with the most on the line in New Hampshire is Joe Biden. After a very disappointing fourth-place finish in a state full of moderate white people, another third- or fourth-place finish in another almost all white state will really make the Democratic pooh-bahs start seriously wondering if he has what it takes. And if he doesn't, what happens next? They don't have a plan B. On March 3, 15 states vote, and if the result is that four or five candidates all have a substantial number of delegates, the party could be heading for a long and bitter slog for months and possibly even that political unicorn, a brokered convention.

One unexpected consequence of the mess in Iowa is that since there was no election-night victory by an unambiguous winner, the contest has already receded into the background and the marginal candidates with no chance of winning the nomination aren't fully dead yet. Like zombies, they are roaming the mountains of New Hampshire trying to pretend they are still alive. In particular, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, and billionaire Tom Steyer are all in the Granite State trying to find voters willing to listen to them for a couple of minutes. (V)

Biden Still Hasn't Addressed His Son's Job at Burisma

If Joe Biden gets the Democratic nomination, his son's stint at Burisma is going to haunt him until Election Day, unless he finally and forcefully addresses it. In truth, it is easy to address. It is quite common for companies to put people with famous names on their boards, even if they know nothing about the company's business. For examples, see here, here, here, here, here, and here, Here are a few examples:

Person Speciality Company Business
Neil Armstrong Astronaut USX Trucking
Deepak Chopra Author Men's Wearhouse Men's clothing
Julius Erving Basketball player Fusion Telecommunications Internet services
Al Gore Politician Apple Electronics
Cary Grant Actor Fabergé Jewelry
Nikki Haley Politician Boeing Aircraft
Caroline Kennedy JFK's daughter Boeing Aircraft
Billie Jean King Tennis player Philip Morris Cigarettes
Henry Kissinger Diplomat Union Pacific Railroad
Nancy Lopez Knight Golf player Smucker's Jam, Dunkin Donuts, Milk-bone dog biscuits, ...
Garry Maddox Baseball player Federal Reserve of Philadelphia Banking
Shaquille O'Neal Basketball player Papa John's Pizza
Priscilla Presley Elvis' widow CKX Winter clothing and helmets
Nancy Reagan First lady Revlon Cosmetics
Wayne Rogers Actor Vishay Intertechnology Semiconductor manufacturing
Beverly Sills Opera singer Time Warner Magazines and television
Lynn Swann Football player H.J. Heinz Ketchup
Oprah Winfrey TV star Weight Watchers Dieting

None of these people have any real experience in the businesses of the companies on whose boards they sit. Nevertheless, the companies feel that having a high-profile person on the board makes their companies more visible and lends them some prestige. It is likely that Burisma felt the same way about Hunter Biden. They didn't expect him to give them good advice about the oil and gas business, but they did expect that he would put the company on the map. As a test of how well they succeeded, please name any three other Ukrainian companies, in any industry.

If Joe Biden would simply point out that companies do this all the time (with examples) and there is nothing fishy about it, he would probably make most voters just shrug and move on. But he can't seem to bring himself to do it. It's Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, redux. (V)

Cummings' Widow Loses House Primary

After former Democratic representative Elijah Cummings died, his widow Maya Rockeymoore Cummings announced a run for his seat. It has happened more than a few times that after a politician has died, his wife succeeded him. Things got more complicated, however, when the late congressman's long-time aide, Harry Spikes, also decided to run. There was a spirited primary for the Democratic nomination in MD-07 because it is a D+26 district and whoever won the primary may well be in Congress for life. In all, 24 people ran in the primary.

Somewhat surprising is that neither Cummings nor Spikes won. The winner was Kweisi Mfume, who served in the House from 1987 to 1996. He was later CEO of the NAACP. Republican Kimberly Klacik won her primary.

On April 28, the special election will be held in which Mfume and Klacik face off, with the winner serving until January 2021. However, April 28 is also the date of the regular primary for the full term that begins in January 2021. Cummings intends to run in that one as well, so she has another shot at filling her late husband's seat. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Feb05 The Results Are In...Mostly
Feb05 So, What Happened in Iowa, Exactly?
Feb05 Did the Iowa Results Contain Secret Bad News for the Democrats?
Feb05 Trump Delivers State of the Union
Feb05 Impeachment Acquittal Right on Pace
Feb05 Trump Gets Highest Ever Approval from Gallup
Feb05 Most Farmers Are Sticking with Trump
Feb04 And the Winner of the Iowa Caucuses Is...???
Feb04 Don't Forget, There's Also an Impeachment Trial Going On...
Feb04 State of the Union Address Is Tonight
Feb04 This Probably Won't Make the SOTU...
Feb04 ...Or This, for That Matter
Feb04 Bloomberg Gets in the Gutter with Trump
Feb04 Rush Limbaugh Has Lung Cancer
Feb03 Finally the Voters Get Their Say
Feb03 Should Iowa and New Hampshire Go First?
Feb03 Can the Caucuses Be Hacked?
Feb03 Ann Selzer's Poll Will Not Be Released
Feb03 Poll: All the Leading Democrats Could Beat Trump
Feb03 Biden Wins Endorsement from Union That Backed Sanders in 2016
Feb03 DNC Changes the Admission Requirements for February Debate
Feb03 Vote on Trump's Conviction is Expected Wednesday
Feb03 Ernst Says President Biden Would Be Impeached Immediately
Feb03 Schiff Won't Say Whether He Will Subpoena Bolton
Feb02 Drip, Drip, Drip...
Feb02 Sunday Mailbag
Feb01 Party First (and Second, and Third...)
Feb01 Delaney Is Out
Feb01 The UK Is Out, Too
Feb01 Saturday Q&A
Jan31 The End Appears to Be Nigh
Jan31 Sanders Campaign Prepping List of Executive Orders
Jan31 Today in Metaphors
Jan31 Time to Get Creative
Jan31 ERA, Now?
Jan31 Super Bowl Sunday Will Offer No Respite from Politics
Jan31 Abrams Has Her Senate Candidate
Jan30 Senators Finally Get to Ask Questions
Jan30 John Bolton's World Is Upside Down
Jan30 White House Wants to Block Publication of Bolton's Book
Jan30 Poll: Majority Opposes Use of Executive Privilege to Muzzle Witnesses
Jan30 Poll: Biden and Sanders Are in a Statistical Tie in Iowa
Jan30 Biden Gets 200 Endorsements in South Carolina
Jan30 Trump Appointees Will Flood Iowa on Caucus Day
Jan30 Team Trump Hands Out $25,000 to Black Voters
Jan30 Trump May Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
Jan29 Trump Defense Wraps Up
Jan29 Trump Unveils Middle East Peace Plan
Jan29 Casualty Figures for Iran Strike Revised Upward
Jan29 Deficit Officially Reaches $1 Trillion