Sanders Is Surging. Can He Keep It Going?

Bernie Sanders has, for the first time, snatched the lead from Joe Biden in a national CNN poll and his numbers are surging in Iowa as well. Can he keep up the momentum?

Though Sanders’s 2016 campaign had a reputation for attracting a disproportionately white coalition, that has changed in a big way this time around. Younger voters and people of color may be the key to Sanders’s path to victory… Sanders’s surge in momentum couldn’t come at a better time for him, in the last weeks before Iowa and New Hampshire.

Another reason to think Sanders can do well beyond Iowa and New Hampshire: his war chest. He raised nearly $35 million last quarter and nearly $100 million over the course of the campaign, which is tops for any candidate. Sanders is sure to have incoming fire from other campaigns. He’ll have a better shot financially of fighting back against than most.

This kind of thing is very, very hard to game out, but especially for someone like Sanders. We’ve seen races where the Iowa result has a huge, unexpected impact on what happens in NH — see 2008 — and some where it’s not totally obvious what the effect is at all.

Does Trump’s Peace Plan Depend on Bibi?

Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz have both been invited to the U.S. in connection to the roll-out of Trump’s peace plan for Israel and Palestine. Inviting Gantz is a sign that Trump sees the plan going forward irrespective of the winner of Israel’s upcoming election.

All three hope to emerge from this week’s meetings perceived as winners  – Trumps as Israel’s biggest defender and author of the ‘deal of the century,’ Netanyahu as the only Israeli prime minister who can deal with the intricacies of  keeping Israel secure while trying to smother his indictments with authority and a firm handshake with the president, and Gantz trying to show that there actually is an alternative to Netanyahu.

Israel is a sovereign nation, and will calculate its interests as it sees fit. If it chooses to implement Trump’s plan in the next few months, knowing that a new American administration in a few more months will oppose it, I think we should be honest with each other about where that could lead.

The Israeli and American governments are mired in legal proceedings. Netanyahu spoke two weeks ago about a window of opportunity that could also close. Whether he is the next prime minister or Gantz, it is preferable for any Israeli government to begin its diplomatic journey with the Trump administration, and it is desirable for this journey to continue after the US election in November.

Why Did Trump Show Up at the “March for Life?”

The March for Life is one of the biggest pro-life events in the country, but its influence on American politics has been minor. Trump is now the first American president to speak at the event. Why did he break precedent and show up?

Trump will be greeted as a pro-life hero, because he is one… No other president has amassed such a record of pro-life victories. But Trump has done more than simply govern as a pro-life conservative; he has embraced pro-life conservatives without shame or hesitation.

Just as Trump’s insistence on appearing at the march should not discounted, it should also not be misunderstood. There is a phrase for what he was there to do on Friday — damage control.

Trump’s historic appearance was a boon for marchers, as it helped draw increased attention to the event and highlight the pro-life movement’s considerable political success in recent years. It also presents an enormous opportunity for him to reach the many Americans who are on the fence about abortion by drawing a contrast with the extreme positions of his 2020 Democrat opponents.

Is Student Debt Cancellation Fair?

At a campaign event in Iowa, an angry dad called out Elizabeth Warren’s student debt cancellation plan. As someone who saved his money and paid for his daughter’s education, he doesn’t see why those who didn’t save should have their loans erased. More at CBS.

Many people have made sacrifices to continue their education, or to allow their children to continue theirs. Others have made sacrifices by taking a path that didn’t include continuing, because they could not afford to do so. None of these are things that could ever be replaced with cash. In other words? No — I don’t think that I should have to pay for someone else making an irresponsible decision when they could have made a responsible one.

“We build a future going forward by making it better,” she said. “By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn’t start it last week for you, or last month for you?” That answer might work with Democratic crowds, but it ignores the man’s point about unfairness and the total dysfunction in student loans.

“[Student debt is] reducing home ownership rates. It’s leading fewer people to start businesses. It’s forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It is a problem for all of us.”

She is right on all counts, which is why, however unfair it may seem to those who struggled to pay their student loans, relieving some of that debt burden would benefit the country enormously.

Should Viewers Be Wary of Netflix’s “The Goop Lab?”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, Goop, has been called out on numerous occasions for promoting pseudoscience wellness products. Now Goop has been turned into a Netflix docuseries called “The Goop Lab.” Is it all good fun? Or should Netflix stop promoting bad science?

What the show does most candidly, though, is shine a light on the desperation people feel when science cannot understand their pain… After watching so many of Goop’s staffers open up about their personal challenges and traumas, it’s hard not to root for them to find a little peace. If energy healing does the trick, well, so be it.

…with health care in this country in crisis, and the promise of easy living just a few website purchases away, many people may buy what Paltrow is selling. Why Netflix decided to help is confounding. And they should be ashamed of it.

When we watched the actual show, we found it was generally less edgy than the trailer suggested — some episodes were downright boring… Yes, there were detoxes, energy healers, and smatterings of woo-woo — but what could have been more dangerous claims were watered down, and presented with numerous warnings to consult with your doctor.

Today’s Hot Issues

Sanders Is Surging. Can He Keep It Going? Does Trump’s Peace Plan Depend on Bibi? Why Did Trump Show Up at the “March for Life?” Is Student Debt Cancellation Fair? Should Viewers Be Wary of Netflix’s “The Goop Lab?”