How's That Economic Equality Working Out, Obama?

Biker, gun enthusiast, former bull rider and radio talk show host Mike Broomhead filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Wednesday, December 28.

Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 2 for answers to these questions:

• What has consumer confidence soaring at a 15-year high?

• Does Mike have a celebrity crush?

• How does the US appear to the world after the UN vote?

• How's that economic equality working out, Obama?

• Does the EPA realize fires destroy wildlife habitat?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

MIKE: This is the Glenn Beck Program. My name is Mike Broomhead. Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Happy New Year. Merry Christmas. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day. So much going on around the world. This hour, focusing a little bit more on economy, a CNN story lamenting the fact that the rich are getting richer, which they always do, and saying the poor are actually getting poorer.

It's going to be a fascinating conversation because -- and this isn't to be critical of the outgoing president, but we do know that Barack Obama's policies -- this is about Americanism. It has nothing to do with Republican/Democrat. This is just about what's best for us as a nation. And the American voters vote largely with their wallets. There are people that are card-carrying Democrats that will vote Republican. They are not party loyalists, and vice-versa. Based on what they believe is going to be best for them in the next four years, when they look at the policies of a president.

Because we're looking at right now consumer confidence at a 15-year high. Now, Donald Trump taking all the credit in the world for that, which maybe to some degree he should because I think it's also about more -- it is more about the fact that the economic policies of this administration are on their way out.

Why confidence is going up. There are many people that were supportive, remain supportive of Barack Obama. But also see that what he wanted to do, whether they believe it was the right thing or not, he has it.

What the Obama administration wanted to accomplish largely economically, has been an abysmal failure, whether it's Obamacare or -- especially Obamacare. With what it's going to cost the American people.

When you take that much discretionary income out of the American economy, you are going to do huge damage to the American economy. Obviously, the two senators in Arizona, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Senator Flake's office put out a table earlier this year of what Obamacare costs are ballooning into in 2017, just for our state.

And it was in some cases 120, 130 percent increases in premium costs. There is a big county called Pinal County in Arizona, where there was only going to be one health care provider. There were none, until one said they would provide. And there are people on average paying a lot more money for health insurance -- we're not talking deductibles or copays. Just premium costs. More money for their family than they pay on average for their mortgage. Not going to survive that way. Just not going to survive that way.

So the American people vote with their wallet. They don't vote by race or gender or sexual orientation. There are social issues that carry people, especially in a primary process. I am adamantly and proudly pro-life. I'll defend that position on any level with anyone. And when I look at candidates. I want candidates that are pro-life. That to me can be a deal breaker in voting for somebody.

But largely Americans vote with their wallets. So this hour, a little bit more of a focus on that and this disparity. The inequality as they call it in this story between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots in America, and why that might be.

And then also a conversation -- I mentioned my admiration for Mike Rowe and somebody I hope someday to be able to have a conversation with. I'm not -- I don't get starstruck. It's not about meeting a star and getting a picture with them. I'd love to have a conversation with Mike Rowe about his career path and why he has decided and he has made a great career out of speaking for the working man, you know, with the shows like The Deadliest Catch, which is one of my favorite shows on television where you are admiring the hard work and the dangerous things that people do to make a living and how they can make a really good living, but work in ways that many people couldn't even fathom, couldn't even tolerate, and yet there are people that do this every single day of their lives for a living and kind of honoring them and the way they do that and exposing the great work. And it shows and the American people love it. Because it's one of the most popular shows on television and has been for a long time. And the spin-off shows that have come from that. And so I would love to be able to talk with him about that.

But he was asked about the job market in America and what our problems are. He gave a great answer. I think in this hour, it would be a great time to discuss where we should be and where we can be going in this country, with -- there's a class of people. There is a working class of people that could be doing great things and making a great living, given an opportunity.

So that will discuss. Some of the headlines if you're kind of jumping back in the car, getting back in the real world from vacation time. The Israelis say they've got ironclad proof that the US was behind the UN resolution that made the new West Bank settlements illegal in the eyes of the UN. The US abstained from that vote, which is ridiculous on its face. But the Israelis believe they have proof that America was behind the resolution.

If that's true, can you imagine what that does to US/Israeli relations? We talk so much in this country about propaganda. Everything he do -- we can't -- we can't talk about limiting or more scrutiny on refugees because that's being used as a recruiting tool by our enemy. We can't do these things -- we're not going to say, fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, because by using that phrase, it emboldens our enemies. And they use it as propaganda to recruit against us. And everything is about appearance.

Well, how does it appear to the world when Israel's greatest ally, the United States, goes against them behind their back and abstains from this vote? You tell me what the appearances are around the world. You tell me about the Palestinians and what they want to do with Israel. You tell me about the Iranians who have in the Iranian Constitution, that they will destroy the Zionist state. Their Constitution dictates that they destroy Israel. What do you think it does to those nations in emboldening them when the fiercest ally of the Israelis, the Americans, are going behind their back?

So you want to talk about propaganda. You want to talk about recruiting tools. You want to talk about appearances. How does that appear to our allies? How does it appear to the Israelis first, but then to the rest of the world?

John Kerry -- in the last hour we talked about this -- giving his final speech in the Middle East, with a backdrop of what's happening in Israel. I don't know what he could possibly say. What has he accomplished in the Middle East? The only thing he has done is the nuclear deal with the Iranians, that has the rest of our allies in the region terrified and angry. What could he possibly have to say in this speech?

Actress Carrie Fisher dies. Singer George Michael dies. Big stories all over the internet and Twitter. I'm not -- I'm going to get a lot of people angry. I'm not a big Star Wars fan. So I wasn't struck by the death of Carrie Fisher like a lot of people were. You know, I'm a Star Wars generation. But I'm not a big fan of the movie. So it's not that big of a deal to me in the celebrity of things. George Michael passing. You know, again, why do people get so enamored with celebrities? That's just part of life, and that's how it is. When people of -- you know, notable people pass away, these things happen. So it doesn't mean I'm not sad for her family or his family, it's just, it's not as big a deal to me as it has been to a lot of others.

There was a China aircraft carrier that made its way into the Pacific. They were doing some maneuvers. Again, flexing their muscle in that region of the world. President Obama is working on ways, whether it's through economic sanctions or political sanctions, against the Russians for tampering our elections.

Just some of the headlines of what's been going on in the world. This hour, we talk about economic inequality in America, which was supposed to be fixed under this president and his tax plan and his redistribution of wealth ideas and taxing the rich to help the poor, which never has worked before. It certainly isn't working right now. And why, if that was the solution to the problem, is the consumer confidence higher now than it's been in 15 years?

I've got two answers to that question, which we'll get to here in just a few moments. Again, if you want to reach out to me via social media, on Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. On Instagram, MikeBroomhead, all one word. And Facebook: The Mike Broomhead Fan Page on Facebook. Would love to interact with you on all those social media platforms. I'll be back here in a few moments to talk about the economy of the United States. My name is Mike Broomhead. And this is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: So they say consumer confidence is at a 15-year high. But the inequality between the haves and the have-nots in America is getting wider. The gap between the two. The rich and the poor. The middle class is shrinking. I believe all of that's true. There's two answers to both of these issues: One on the consumer confidence side of things, I believe the policy changes that are coming -- with any president coming in -- I'm not taking anything away from what Donald Trump is doing about job creation and the comments he's made about jobs coming here and saving jobs and, you know, 15 billion-dollar investment from foreign companies and other companies that are staying here now. I'm not taking away anything.

So for the Trump supporters that are listening, this is not about taking anything away from Donald Trump. But the policies of this current administration have been so restrictive to business. Taxation, yes. But how about regulation?

There's a word for any business owner of any size: It's called compliance. Ask a business owner -- you want to see someone perplexed that owns a business. You ask them which would help your company be more profitable? Lower taxes or less regulation? I guarantee you it's not as easy as you would think. The average person would say, "Lower my taxes. Let me keep more of my profits." Obviously that makes a lot of sense for businesses.

But what they spend on compliance. What they spend on just trying to make sure they can -- in the construction business, MSDS, which is material safety data sheets. You've got to keep a log of the things that you have on a job site that would be dangerous in case there were a fire so the fire department has them. You could have a small job site. You know what it's like for compliance?

The risk management companies in this country that make a ton of money because of these ridiculous, even the risk management companies will tell you, government regulation has gotten to be so oppressive to businesses.

You know, the largest ponderosa pine forest in the country is located in the state of Arizona. People picture us as being a desert. When you realize the forest fires that have decimated our area, from the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, back to the Yarnell Hill Fire, where those firefighters, the Yarnell firefighters were killed, the hotshots.

And you're talking about forests where they can't go in and fight the fires. They can't get equipment in to fight those fires, because EPA regulations say you can't thin the forest. You're going to damage the habitat for the wildlife.

Well, what happens when you have a fire that destroys the habitat for the wildlife? Oh, and destroys the wildlife too.

Compliance. So the inequality keeps getting uglier according to this CNN story. The rich and money-making machines. Today, the mega wealthy, the top one percent, earn an average of $1.3 million a year. More than three times as much in the '80s. They only made 428,000 on average in the 1980s. But they are saying now that the bottom 50 percent of American population, an average of $16,000 in pretax income in 1980 hasn't changed much.

If you want an increase -- and I'm in favor of people making more money in this country. I think that it's the lifeblood. I think wealthy business owners love it when they have wealthy people living around them. If you own a restaurant, you want people with the discretionary income to eat at your restaurant. Come into your store. If you sell furniture, you want to sell high-end furniture. You want people to be able to afford new furniture in their homes. New cars.

It's ridiculous to think that the average American business owner doesn't want to pay their employees. But a business owner has the responsibility -- they are tied to the bottom line. Oh, incidentally, the employees get paid first.

Business owners don't get a check until the employees get a check. You've heard the old clichés: You know, I've signed both sides of the check, front and back. I've been the same thing. I've been a small business owner. It's not easy, and it keeps you up at nights. You want what's best for your employees, but you are a slave to the bottom line.

At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, you have got to make sure that bottom line is covered, that your employees are paid, you're paying your vendors, you're paying your taxes, you're meeting the compliance issues that the federal and the state and local governments have.

So why is consumer confidence at a 15-year high if the disparity between rich and poor has never been bigger? The answer is this administration and its policies are on the way out.

We could talk about Obamacare and how it's terrifying everybody, even the people that believed in it. Now, the Republicans are talked about something called universal access, which I think will be a great thing. But solving a problem by deregulation, first of all, by inviting more people to the party is a much better way of doing things. Shared risk. It's just like automobile insurance.

And I always -- the detractors always say, it's not a perfect analogy. Nothing is a perfect analogy.

But in this regard, it works. If you own a car that's 15 or 20 years old and it's not worth a whole lot of money, you have basic coverage, which in some places is called PIP and liability. Personal injury protection and liability insurance. So if you damage somebody else's vehicle, it's covered by your insurance. If you injure other people in an accident, their medical bills are covered by your insurance.

Your car is not covered. You don't have theft. You don't have fire. You don't have vandalism. You don't have glass coverage. Because the car is old and not worth anything. So you pay a minimal amount to make sure you're covered, if you damage somebody else's property or you hurt somebody in an accident.

If not, you've gotten to be my age and you've accumulated some stuff and you drive a newer vehicle. You not only have full coverage, but you jack your limits. You jack your liability on those things. You know, I have 100,000, 300,000 coverage on my vehicle, if I hurt somebody. God forbid. Or damage somebody else's vehicle.

Full glass coverage. I have all towing. I have everything else. I pay a lot of money for insurance because I want to be covered. But the full gamut is there. And there's a ton of insurance companies out there, and they share the risk with bad drivers that have tickets or accidents or claims. Shared risk by the insurance companies. Lower premiums because they're fighting for people's businesses. You can do the same thing for health insurance. But aside from the solution of Obamacare is the problem with Obamacare, what it's going to do with the discretionary income of Americans. Consumer confidence is up because that's one of the things that's going to change.

With Donald Trump telling business owners we're going to lower the corporate tax rate, let you keep more of your money, put a moratorium on regulation, and make it easier for American businesses to produce in America. Sound simple, not as easy as it sounds, but moving in that direction right now, with the prospect of that happening is making consumer confidence rise.

If the Congress is able to work with the president and they come up with a good billion that is what they would call budget neutral or fiscally neutral, where it's not going to cost more in taxes, where it's actually going to bring more tax dollars in. If they're able to pull that off, you will see consumer confidence rise. You'll see wages rise.

We won't need a falsely inflated 15-dollar an hour minimum wage. By the way, in the Pacific Northwest, where the $15 an hour minimum wage has been implemented in those cities. Have you seen what they're going to do there? They're going to automate fast food restaurants. You'll now go to a kiosk to place your order. Somebody will cook it and bring it to you. All those front-end jobs where they take your order, gone.

There's your $15 an hour minimum wage fallout. They're going to eliminate the jobs. So we don't need to falsely inflate wages. There will be jobs available.

So I don't know why we don't see that. It's not about rich versus poor. It really should never be. We've turned it into that.

In the next segment, Mike Rowe was talking about American job markets and why it's suffering in some industries and what he believes is the cause of the problem. And I think his answer was a brilliant one. And it's something I have agreed with, but I haven't been able to articulate it as well as Mike Rowe has in this story. And, by the way, I got this from TheBlaze.com. If you want to go over to TheBlaze.com, you can see this story and Mike Rowe's answer to the economy.

We'll talk about this in a few moments. Because there is a segment of our society that I believe -- I've come from it, that is the backbone of the American economy. And it's underserved. And a way we can serve this community where they can really be a part of a thriving economy. And this is the way to bolster the middle class. I believe the answer is there. We'll talk about that here in the next segment of the show. I'm Mike Broomhead. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

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MIKE: My name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for joining me. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. On Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. I love the interaction with people so far. Only one negative -- one hater. But I even -- I even like the disagreement. So @BroomheadShow on Twitter. The Mike Broomhead Show Fan Page on Facebook.

Or if you're an Instagram user and you want to see some of my blurry pictures that I'm famous for, MikeBroomhead, all one word on Instagram is where you can find me there as well.

I mentioned earlier -- we were talking economy mostly this hour and what's happening in America with consumer confidence being higher. And what we always are talking about is the disparity, the haves and the have-nots. And it's turned into politics in America. And it never should be that way.

You know, I talked about the Communist Manifesto on the show way too much, about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the emiseration of the proletariat, where if people don't know how bad they have it, let's go ahead and tell them how bad they have it. And it's almost the platform for the Democrat Party as of late. And it shouldn't be that way, nor was it intended to be that way. And we can lament how the two parties have gone in different directions and left a lot of people behind collectively.

But when you look at America, most people that I know don't want anything handed to them. They want to earn everything they own. And when you look at a government that largely is saying we're going to give free college and we're going to give you this and we're going to give you that, well, nothing is free, someone is paying for it.

And if you think you're going to get free college when you're 18 to 22 and not pay for everybody else's college from when you're 22 to 62, you're crazy. That's what's going to happen.

But Mike Rowe was being asked about the American job market. And it's a story I got from TheBlaze.com.

And his show, Dirty Jobs, where he goes around the country at some of the hardest working jobs that there are and difficult and just backbreaking disgusting -- and sometimes -- work. And he said along the way he would see "help wanted" signs. He wanted to know what was going on. He was talking with Tucker Carlson.

And one of the reasons he gives is he said maybe one of the barriers are the people guiding them in schools at the secondary level. Liberal arts and poetry majors. He said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that, but they don't see the dignity in welding maybe. Is that part of the problem? Because in North Dakota, there's a young man who is a welder who is now making $140,000 a year as a welder."

He said, "We're also spoiled in that wonderful way that any advance in society becomes when they flip the switch and they don't pause for a second and say, "Holy crap, I can't believe the lights came on again." We are not properly gobsmacked by the reality of the civilization we live in. Consequently, the people who are on the front lines of those jobs are by and large transparent. In fact, he said, when you pay attention to big chunks of people who are typically ignored, interesting things happen.

So I've mentioned, I think he's one of the most interesting people because he's tapped into something that I have believed for a long time. And he's done it in a way that I could never do. He's articulated the working man, not as a hero, but as an example.

And it's just how things are. In our society, the underserved population is the category I fit into. Maybe that's why I feel so much -- so passionately about this.

Had it not been for the trades, I would have fallen through the cracks. I was very intelligent, but not a good student. I lacked discipline. I still do. But I lack discipline.

I was fortunate. I took a job as an apprentice electrician for the sole purpose that it paid a little bit more money than the other job I was working. I just saw it as another job.

Within two months, I saw it as my career path at 18 years old. And it served me to the point where I was management, then I was -- I had my own company with a partner. Then I had my own company.

And I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I saw a way to use my hands and my brain and make a living for myself and my family. Trade schools should be a huge focus for the American government. The NEA and secondary education and college, I wish -- my biggest regret, by the way -- I know this is going to be contradictory. My biggest regret in life now is that I don't have a college degree. What I wouldn't do for an American history degree.

And I know I can go back to school. But that's my regret, that I didn't have the discipline to do the coursework. I'll put my knowledge of American history up with a history major in many regards because I'm self-educated. But I didn't have the discipline to do the coursework to get the certificate and the diploma. And I wish I had.

But Mike Rowe is tapping into something in our society that's largely underserved. And that is, we see, you know, the Carrie Fisher's of the world. Nothing wrong with idolizing somebody that was in such an iconic movie series like Star Wars.

But at the same time, the working class of America really is the middle class. There are jobs out there. And there are people that are really driving this economy because of what they're doing.

Small business owners -- not the large business owners that we hear so much about. But the small business owners that are employing ten and 20 people, or even less than that.

And when you look at that, he's right. They're largely transparent. When you think about, you know, when the lights believe on -- which really struck home with me because I was an electrical contractor. When, you know, there are people -- the building that I'm in right now in Phoenix, Arizona, is being remodeled. They're remodeling our offices.

And so I'm ducking my head around on the construction side of what's going on because I miss it. I miss the feeling that happens at the end of the day when you look at -- for the electricians out there, when you look at a panel that you're wiring or you're running conduit somewhere and you see it, and you think you can see what your hands have created, at the end of the day. I miss that, as much as I love what I do right now.

But there's an underserved part of our population that will drive this economy in the years to come. When Donald Trump went into those states that he flipped, when he was in Florida and he was -- you know, especially when he was in Pennsylvania and he was in Michigan and he was in Wisconsin, when he was telling people, "We're going to keep these factories open. We're going to get the ones that are closed reopened. We're going to give you your jobs back." People weren't looking for a handout. People weren't looking for a minimum wage increase. They were looking for a job. They want their career back.

I know what it's like to have a 5-gallon bucket of tools in the back of a pickup truck and go and do a day's work for somebody and be proud of what you've done.

It's funny. Now that I'm doing what I do, I speak at a lot of events. Or I'm invited to attend a lot of events in ballrooms at beautiful resorts here in Arizona, all over the place. You know what's funny, is when I walk into these places now as a guest, I walk past the electrical work I did on the lights outside or the fountain that I worked on. It makes me laugh to myself. I'm the same person I was then, except now I'm in a suit and a tie walking into the ballroom, instead of a bucket of tools in the back entrance, fixing something so you never see me.

So the CNN story we talked about at the beginning of the hour and the disparity between the have and the have-nots in this country. It's not about limiting what the haves get. We should really be happy that the wealthy in this country have become wealthier, that the successful people have learned how to become even more successful than they ever dreamed of. What are we doing to serve -- and what I mean by serve is not hand anybody that's not making a decent living money or a job.

What are we doing to create an opportunity?

You take somebody that's in the fast food industry, that's working away or in retail, that's working away -- they're working very hard.

But give them an opportunity at a career, whether it's a trade like I was in. Whether you're an electrician, plumber, HVAC, or a welder, and show them the honor and dignity in a job like that. But not just honor and dignity, but a nice living.

You can provide for your family and be proud of the work you do. I think that's Americanism. The wealthy getting wealthier. Good for them. I'm happy -- everybody wants to work for someone that's wealthy. I know I do. I want my check to cash on Friday. I don't ever want to worry that my paycheck is going to bounce. So I don't care how wealthy my boss is.

But when I work hard, Christmas bonus, pay raises, paid vacation, benefit package, and be able to do a job that my family respects, that I can look at myself in the mirror. I think what Americanism is. And Mike Rowe -- nobody paints that picture better than Mike Rowe has. He's done it with dirty jobs. He's done it -- you know, the deadliest catch shows. And the spin-offs from that have just been -- I love that show.

That's the underserved part of our society. The young men and women in high school right now that may not be going to college. And if they do, they're going to get a business degree and barely squeak by and then wonder why they're saddled with student loans. And what did that degree do for them? They could go to a trade school. They could learn a skill that in a couple of years, they are making a nice living, and they're not saddled with such a student loan debt. And they're out contributing to society. And they've got careers that they can lean on, as opposed to just a job.

Not everybody has to be a superstar or a millionaire. There's a lot of people that are happy making a really nice comfortable living, knowing they -- proud they can feed their families on their own without assistance from the government.

So more on this I think before we finish up the hour. Social media users, if you want to reach out, I'd love to hear -- if you're part of that working class I'm talking about, I'd love to hear your story. On Twitter, I'm @BroomheadShow. The Mike Broomhead Show, Facebook page. If you want to reach out to me there. I'd love to hear your story. It really is a great story.

And we'll talk more about the American economy and what is going to bolster that middle class. And I think it is that working class part of America.

And in the next hour, California changing its gun laws, just like the president of the United States tried to do that here in the US. So the gun sales over the last eight years have skyrocketed.

Well, what do you think is happening in California? We'll talk specifically about that from another Blaze.com story in the next hour. So we'll do all that here in a few minutes. Close out this one, and then jump into hour number three in a few minutes. I'm Mike Broomhead. And this is the Glenn Beck Program.

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MIKE: All right. Mike Broomhead in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Before we get into the next hour where we're going to talk about the California -- which have caused gun sales to skyrocket. It's a Blaze.com story. If you want to go and read up on it at TheBlaze.com, before we get to it in the next hour.

Wrapping this hour up with the conversation about the economy and training and giving people an opportunity at success, and success changes for people.

I'm very fortunate. I'm blessed. You know, I was raised by a single mom. I've mentioned this before. And we were raised with very little. So I've been on that side of it. And I was happy, although I wished I had had more.

Now I'm in a career. I've got more than I ever dreamed I would have. I'm no less or more happy because of the things I've accumulated. It's just different.

Success for me was always the ability to take care of myself. And I think for most Americans, that's what we want. We don't want to be cared for. We don't want -- and I'm not -- when people are in need, it should be available to them. We should be a benevolent society. And we are.

But people don't want to be cared for, for their entire lives. They want to be able to care for themselves. They want to feel like they can do that. Giving people an opportunity is what we do as Americans.

Keeping jobs here -- you want to know why people are largely becoming more optimistic about a Trump presidency, it's because he is saying he is going to keep jobs here. And there is proof now that those things are beginning to happen.

Will we stop with the class warfare? Will we stop with the rich versus poor? The haves versus the have-nots? We've got to stop.

There are greedy poor people, and there are greedy rich people. There are kind and giving poor people, and there are kind and giving wealthy people. It's human nature on both sides. And your economic status has nothing to do with what kind of person you are. And political parties have divided haves and have-nots for political purposes way too long.

If your job is insured or is more likely to remain because the government reduces regulation and taxes on your boss, what do you care if your boss gets richer?

And the nice thing about these things is as the job market becomes more competitive, if you don't believe your boss is paying you what your job is worth, there is going to be more opportunity out there for you, when other businesses are opening or expanding. There will be -- that's how things work.

Falsely inflating the minimum wage will do nothing for the economy. The poor working class person that's working at minimum wage level, if it goes up to $15 an hour, their lifestyle does not change because the basics of keeping them sustained will also increase in cost, where their lifestyle won't change. And a wealthy person will eat the increase in the costs that go with an increased minimum wage. What's left of the middle class? Who pays the price?

You know, if restaurant food goes up by, you know, 10 percent, I'm in a place right now financially, I can eat the 10 percent. I'm still going to the restaurant. I may complain about it, but I'm still going. Middle class family, maybe not.

We should be thinking about what's best, instead of what's going to hammer the people we don't like. We got to stop with the class warfare. I just think it's damaging to us as people. And it's damaging to our economy as well.

So I am hopefully optimistic going into next year. And the inauguration. We'll see if economically any of these things continue to go in that direction.

Coming up in the next hour, California's gun sales are skyrocketing right now because the changes in their gun laws that are getting ready to go into effect.

Sound familiar? Sounds like the last eight years nationally to me. That coming up in the next hour. My name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in for Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck Program.

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Featured Image: US president Barack Obama, daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (2nd R) and First Lady Michelle Obama return to The White House in Washington DC, January 3, 2016 after vacationing in Hawaii. (Photo Credit: CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

As we move along this endless primary season, we implement our first major adjustments to our power rankings model. Because of all the changes on the model itself, we'll keep the write ups short this week so that we can get an update posted before we hit the second round of debates.

There are now 40 separate measures of candidate performance which are summarized by the 0-100 score that helps us makes sense out of this chaos.We also have a new style of graphs, where the section highlighted in blue will show the progress (or lack thereof) made by each candidate over the life of their campaign.

In this update, we have our first campaign obituary, a couple of brand new candidates (when will it ever stop) and plenty of movement up top.

Let's get to it.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes. The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground. If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

Campaign Obituary #1

The Eric Swalwell Campaign

California State Congressman

April 8, 2019 - July 8, 2019

Lifetime high: 20.2

Lifetime low: 19.5

I ended my initial profile on Eric Swalwell with this:

"There's a certain brand of presidential candidate that isn't really running for president. That's Eric Swalwell."

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It's now more true than ever that Swalwell isn't running for president, because he has officially dropped out of the race.

To any sane observer, Swalwell never had a chance to win the nomination. This was always about raising his profile with little downside to deter him from taking money and building a list of future donors.

In one of many depressing moments in his FiveThirtyEight exit interview, he noted that one of his supporters told him he definitely thought he'd eventually be president, but it wasn't going to happen this time. (This supporter was not identified, but we can logically assume they also have the last name Swalwell.)

Swalwell did outline a series of reasons he thought his ridiculous campaign might have a chance.

  1. He was born in Iowa. After all, people from Iowa will surely vote for someone born in Iowa, even if they escaped as soon as possible.
  2. He had what he believed was a signature issue: pretending there was no such amendment as the second amendment.)
  3. He's not old.

It was on point number three where Swalwell made his last stand. In an uncomfortably obvious attempt to capture a viral moment that would launch his fundraising and polling status, Swalwell went after Joe Biden directly.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden." This pre-meditated and under-medicated attack, along with Swalwell's entire campaign future, was disassembled by a facial gesture.

Biden's response wasn't an intimidation, anger, or a laugh. It was a giant smile that somehow successfully communicated a grandfathery dismissal of "isn't that just adorable."

Of course, headlines like this didn't help either:

Eric Swalwell is going to keep comparing the Democratic field to 'The Avengers' until someone claps

The campaign of Eric Swalwell was pronounced dead at the age of 91 days.

Other headlines:

Eric Swalwell ends White House bid, citing low polling, fundraising

Republicans troll Swalwell for ending presidential campaign

Eric Swalwell Latest 'Cringe' Video Brags About Omar Holding his 'White' Baby

Eric Swalwell's message to actor Danny Glover is 'the cringiest thing I've ever seen in a hearing'

Eric Swalwell's 'I Will Be Bold Without The Bull' Bombs

25. Joe Sestak 11.0 (Debut) Former Pennsylvania State Congressman

Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who served in Congress for a couple of years in the late 2000s. Besides his military service, his most notable achievement is figuring out a way to get Pat Toomey elected in a purple state.

With Arlen Specter finally formalizing his flip from Republican to Democrat in 2009, he was expected to cruise to reelection. However, Sestak went after him in the primary, and was able to knock him off in the by eight points. Sestak then advanced to face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He lost by two points during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Needless to say, losing to the former president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth isn't exactly an accomplishment that is going to help Sestak in the Democratic presidential primary.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the party— his distinguished service in the Navy probably isn't helpful either.

Other headlines:

Joe Sestak on the issues, in under 500 words

Joe Sestak, latest 2020 candidate, says it's not too late for him to gain traction

Sestak aims to 'heal the soul of America' with presidential bid

Joe Sestak Would Move the US Embassy 'Back Out of Jerusalem'

24. Mike Gravel: 12.5 (Previous: 24th / 15.3) Former US Senator from Alaska

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gravel was able to get celebrities and other candidates to send out pleas to raise funds in effort to get above 65,000 donations and qualify for the second debate.

We may never know if it was grift or incompetence, but Gravel probably should have known that crossing this line made no difference. He'll still be yelling at the TV when the debate starts.

Other headlines:

Gravel meets donor threshold to qualify for Democratic primary debate

Gravel spends a bit of cash to run an ad against Joe Biden in Iowa

Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature

Mike Gravel Is the Anti–Joe Biden

23. Wayne Messam: 12.7 (Previous: 23rd / 15.8) Mayor of Miramar, FL

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Messam has made no impact in this race so far, and has fundraising numbers that don't even get into the six digits, let alone seven. He's not really running a campaign at this point, so there's no real downside in staying in for now.

Other headlines:

Wayne Messam: Money Kept Me Out of the First Democratic Debate. Will It Keep Me Out of the Second?

22. Seth Moulton 17.2 (Previous 20th / 21.5) US Rep. from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Seth Moulton is the invisible man on the campaign trail. Most people don't even know who he is when they're talking to him. His appeal to the Democratic party is heavily flavored with his military service and appeal to patriotism.

Good luck with that Seth.

Other headlines:

Moulton: Buttigieg Was a Nerd at Harvard

Moulton: Democrats shouldn't go on 'moral crusade' against Trump

Moulton talks reclaiming patriotism from Trump, Republicans

Moulton: 'Trump is going to be harder to beat than many Democrats like to believe'

Presidential candidates hear challengers' footsteps at home

21. Tim Ryan 18.4 (Previous: 18th / 24.3) US Rep. from Ohio

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tim Ryan's first debate performance was so bad he lost about a quarter of his score with this update. He's not without a plan to get that support back though. He wants to bring hot yoga to the people.

Other headlines:

Tim Ryan on CNN: Trump 'clearly has it out for immigrants'

Ryan Falls Way Behind in Q2 Fundraising Race, New Poll

20. Marianne Williamson 20.7 (Previous: 21st / 20.6) Author, Lecturer, Activist

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Williamson is not going to be the nominee for the Democrats, but if you throw a debate watch party, she might supply the most entertainment. So much so, Republicans have started to donate to her campaign to keep her in future debates.

Other headlines:

"I call her a modern-day prophet": Marianne Williamson's followers want you to give her a chance

Williamson Uses Anime to Explain 2020 Candidate's Holistic Politics

What Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump have in common

Marianne Williamson's Iowa director joins John Delaney's 2020 campaign

19. John Hickenlooper 22.5  (Previous: 11th / 32.0) Former Gov. of Colorado 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Hickenlooper has been shedding campaign advisors at a relatively furious pace as he admits "there's just a bunch of skills that don't come naturally to me" when it comes to campaigning.

Probably best to pick another line of work.

Other headlines:

Hickenlooper defends campaign fundraising to The Onion: 'The race is wide open'

WP: 'You are who?' The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper

Gary Hart Warns John Hickenlooper Against Campaigning On Bipartisanship Message

Hickenlooper refuses to condemn protesters who hoisted Mexican flag at ICE facility


18. Michael Bennet 27.4 (Previous: 14th / 28.8) US Senator from Colorado

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Michael Bennet is a bit of a boring no name, but give him credit for actually trying to differentiate himself from the field. He's one of the only candidates willing to criticize his socialist opponents from the center, calling out the open borders crowd and student debt. Obviously this has no chance of success in the democratic party, but at least he's trying.

Other headlines:

George Will touts Bennet to beat Trump in 2020

Bennet: America doesn't know what the Democratic Party stands for

17. Steve Bullock 28.3 (Previous: 16th / 27.7) Gov. of  Montana 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Bullock's biggest moment of his campaign, and quite possibly his only important moment , will come in this round of debates. He missed the first round, but squeaks in for round two after Eric Swalwell decided to take his zero percent and go home.

Bullock has a theoretical argument that doesn't look half bad on paper, but it seems impossible for another "moderate*" to make noise with Biden still hanging around.

(*-None of these moderates are actually moderate.)

Other headlines:

For Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's all about the 'dark money'

Steve Bullock hates 'dark money.' But a lobbyist for 'dark money' donors is helping his campaign.

Steve Bullock looking to introduce himself as someone who won in Trump country

Bullock said he's not one to eliminate all student-loan debt

Steve Bullock raises $2 million for 2020 bid in second quarter, campaign says

Lowering of state flag at capitol draws criticism

15. John Delaney 29.5 (Previous 19th / 20.3) Former US Rep. from Maryland 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The power ranking model likes Delaney more than voters seem to like him. He continues to pour his own money into the race and at some point you have to believe someone in his life stops him from setting his cash on fire.

He did steal a key advisor from Marianne Williamson's campaign, which doesn't seem like a path to success.

Other headlines:

Delaney: "Non-Citizens Are Not Covered By My 'Better Care' Plan, But…"

Delaney says he opposes decriminalizing border crossings

Undaunted by low polling, John Delaney keeps his show on the road

Delaney presidential campaign theme: fix what's broken, keep what works

14. Andrew Yang 30.0 (Previous: 15th / 28.3) Attorney and Entrepreneur 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Before the campaign started, if you would have said Yang would be in the middle of the pack at this point, he probably would be happy with that result. His embrace of quirky issues like banning robocalls, giving everyone free cash, and spending $6 billion to fix the nations malls is enough to keep him in the news.

His fundraising was decent, and he remains an interesting and thoughtful candidate. But, Yang has a better chance of dropping out and running on a third party ticket than winning in this Democratic Party.

You do have to wonder how long it will be before the word "Math" moves from his campaign slogan to the reason he needs to drop out.

Other headlines:

Andrew Yang Is Targeting The 'Politically Disengaged' To 'Win The Whole Election'

You can't turn truck drivers into coders, Andrew Yang says of job retraining

Yang's plan to give $1000 a month to everyone is popular with young, poor Democrats

13. Jay Inslee 31.4 (Previous: 12th / 30.4) Gov. of Washington state

CANDIDATE PROFILEf

Expect Inslee to capture the king-czar-chancellor role of the new climate police or whatever draconian nightmare the actual Democratic nominee creates if they win.

In the meantime, he should try to avoid cringe inducing nonsense like this.

Other headlines:

Presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says Trump's immigration policies will 'end his presidency'

Crowd roars for Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee follows to tepid applause

Inslee on listening to Carole King, wanting an anchor tattoo

Inslee Says He Tried to Arrest Fleeing Republicans


12. Tulsi Gabbard 33.4 (Previous: 13th / 28.8) US Rep. for Hawaii 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard really wants to be Joe Biden's vice president. Or, at least, she wants to hold an important role in his cabinet, like Secretary of Defense.

Gabbard has been running interference for Biden, aggressively going after Kamala Harris for her very successful but substance free bussing attack, while hammering Harris as not qualified to be President. These have been among the harshest criticisms levied by any candidate in the race so far, and there is definitely a purpose to all of it. Her presence in the same debate as Biden and Harris should be something Harris prepares herself for. Expect incoming fire.

Along with Yang, Gabbard remains among the most interesting Democratic candidates to Republicans and Libertarians, which is not helpful to her chances of actually winning the Democratic party nod.

Other headlines:

Gabbard says Harris used "political ploy" to "smear" Biden on raced

Which U.S. Wars Were Justifiable? Tulsi Gabbard Names Only World War II

Tulsi Gabbard Says It's A 'Good Thing' Trump Met With Kim Jong Un

Gabbard Sympathizes With Amash, Says the Two-Party System Sucks

Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp's Uses For Just About Everything

Gabbard: '14-year-old girl hacked into a replica of Florida's election system'

11. Tom Steyer 33.5 (Debut) Billionaire hedge fund manager

Tom Steyer is a Democratic billionaire that has spent millions plastering his face all over MSNBC for the past two years begging people to consider impeaching Donald Trump.

The campaign power ranking model loves Steyer's potential because of his unlimited money and theoretical ability to put together a serious campaign team.

All of this is theory at this point though, as the millions spent so far has lead to a giant pile of zilch. If he's serious enough, he should be able to buy his way into the low single digits, and squeak his way into a debate or two.

Steyer's billionaire status isn't an obvious fit as the party of inequality attempts to take down Donald Trump. But, he does have legitimate movement credibility, tons of cash to buy support, and a long developed immunity to embarrassment—so the sky is the limit.

Other headlines:

Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer announces 2020 bid, reversing course

Why We're Not Treating Tom Steyer As A 'Major' Candidate (Yet)

Steyer banks on South Carolina in 1st presidential bid stop

10. Kirsten Gillibrand 37.1 (Previous: 9th / 36.7) US Senator from New York

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There is probably no candidate that enters the second round of debates more clearly in do-or-die mode than Gillibrand. With headlines like "The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand" lighting up her feed, she needs something big to happen, and fast. Her performance in the first debate wasn't actually horrible, but still went unnoticed.

She has zero percent in lots of polls, and that includes all of the benefits she says she's received from white privilege. Imagine if she didn't have that going for her.

Other headlines:

Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Gillibrand Annoyed by Question About Immigration 'Reversal'

9. Robert Francis O’Rourke 40.7 (Previous: 6th / 52.8) Former state Rep. from Texas

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The free fall continues for Betomania.

When campaigns show signs of death, reporters start to write long profiles that aim to tell the story of the demise, or launch the amazing comeback.

Politico's headline (What Beto O'Rourke's Dad Taught Him About Losing) probably wasn't all that helpful.

Beto did secure Willie Nelson's vote though, meaning he can now count on 2 votes, assuming his "Republican" mother votes for him.

Other headlines:

Welcome to America—It's a Hell Hole!

A desperate Beto O'Rourke goes for broke, claims America was founded on white supremacy

Beto O'Rourke finds 'personal connection' to slavery, argues for reparations to unite 'two Americas'

Beto boldly vows not to prosecute people for 'being a human being'Rebooto O'Rourke

Fact Checker: Has Beto O'Rourke visited the most Iowa counties? No.


Beto O'Rourke: Let's Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers

8. Amy Klobuchar 42.9 (Previous: 8th / 41.9) US Senator from Minnesota 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar has been a massive underachiever so far, but is still sticking around in that third tier of candidates. Along with Beto, Booker, and maybe Castro— they aren't exactly eliminated, but can't seem to catch fire. Or even get warm.

Klobuchar would serve herself well to focus on the fundamentals and avoiding desperate pleas for attention if she wants to remain in the Biden VP sweepstakes. Or she could totally shake things up by throwing binders at her opponents in the debate.

Other headlines:

Klobuchar: I Don't Support Open Borders Like Warren, Castro

Deportation raids are about distracting from issues: Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar hoping 'nice' finishes first

Sports bookmakers put Klobuchar as "heavy underdog" in presidential race

7. Julian Castro 43.2 (Previous: 10th / 34.5) Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Castro is a good example of how overblown debates can be. His first debate performance was quite solid, but did more to sink Robert Francis O'Rourke than actually help his own candidacy.

One more good debate performance should be enough to get him into the next round of debates, as he has already passed the donor threshold. Polling, however, has been elusive. Perhaps there is a swath of America that is uncomfortable voting for a Castro for president, like say, all of south Florida?

Still, in a field of a zillion candidates that have shown no potential, he stands out as a long shot with a punchers chance to make some noise. This is reflected with a nice bump in his score for this update.

Other headlines:

Julián Castro Doubles Down On Decriminalizing Migration: Repeal Felony For Reentry, Too

Julian Castro: 'Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE'

Bill Maher rips Julián Castro for remark about abortion for trans women

Julián Castro declines to hold baby

Julián Castro can't speak Spanish

Julian Castro wants to solve homelessness by 2028

A consulting firm made specifically to prevent sexual harassment is providing Castro and other 2020 campaigns advice and training

5. Pete Buttigieg 65.8 (Previous: 2nd / 68.8) Mayor of South Bend, IN

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There probably isn't a campaign that has been more bizarre than Mayor Pete. He was a complete nobody to the public, though as we initially noted, he had support from a bunch of Obama era celebrinerds.

This helped him rise to a top tier candidate with all the money and momentum to make a run at the nomination. Since then we've seen a complete fizzle. He is using the cash to build the infrastructure to make himself a serious candidate, and he should last a while, but he probably must win Iowa to have a chance at the nomination.

Also, finding one African American who will vote for him would be nice.

Other headlines:

Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter.

Buttigieg, Struggling With Black Voters, Releases Plan to Address Racial Inequities

South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments

CNN's Axelrod Rips Buttigieg: Blacks Doing Worse Under His Leadership

Only Pete Buttigieg gets standing ovation from Corn Feed audience

New Republic Drops Out Of Climate Forum Over Backlash To Pete Buttigieg Op-Ed

Pete Buttigieg says it's "almost certain" we've had gay presidents

Pete Buttigieg Sets Hollywood Fundraisers With Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler and More

4. Elizabeth Warren 70.4 (Previous: 5th / 53.4) US Senator from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Looking back at my initial analysis of this field, I'd say it's played out pretty closely to what I expected. Warren has surprised me though.

In an election where beating Trump is the most important characteristic for democratic voters, she seems to be grown in a lab to lose to him. She comes across as a stern elementary school principal who would make kids terrified to be called into her office, because she'd bore them to death by reading them the handbook.

Her DNA kit roll out was so catastrophic, I assumed democrats would see that her political instincts are awful. When put under the intense pressure Trump is sure to bring, she's going to collapse, and I figured democrats would recognize that.

Instead, she's in the top tier. This rise has been legitimately impressive for Warren.

It's also a dream come true for Donald Trump.

Other headlines:

The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President

Netroots Nation was the day Elizabeth Warren became president of the American left

Elizabeth Warren pledges to decriminalize border crossings

Warren plans to increase annual refugee admissions nearly 800 percent from FY2018

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren says she'll push to end Israel's 'occupation'

Warren staffer: 'I would totally be friends with Hamas'

Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure

Elizabeth Warren Wants Reparations For Same-Sex Couples

Elizabeth Warren proposes executive orders to address race and gender pay gap

This is how Elizabeth Warren plans to close the pay gap for women of color

How much would a wealth tax really raise? Dueling economists reflect new split in Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren Brings Ad Buying In-House

Elizabeth Warren says she raised $19 million in the second quarter of the year

3. Bernie Sanders 71.1 (Previous: 3rd / 67.2) US Senator from Vermont

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Sanders has fallen slowly but steadily in the polls the past couple of months, and while not every metric yet reflects it, the socialist wing seems more likely represented by Warren.

That being said, Bernie holds her off for third place. Warren and Bernie have reportedly struck a truce to not attack each other, an arrangement which benefits Warren far more than Sanders.

Bernie's machine and name recognition continues to keep him near the top of the heap, but one wonders how long that lasts as name recognition for other candidates get higher, and Iowa gets closer.

No matter if he wins or loses, he's moved the Overton window of the party in a dramatic way. And don't underestimate the appeal of his Medicare-for-all-humankind dream. Bernie may be too old and cranky to see socialized health care into the end zone, but he has advanced that ball much further than he had any right to.

Other headlines:

Bernie Sanders has 'deep sense of satisfaction' his positions are now 'centrist' among Dems

Bernie Sanders: I Will Cancel All $1.6 Trillion Of Your Student Loan Debt

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sanders: Nancy Pelosi shouldn't 'alienate' freshmen House Democrats

Why Sanders Wanted His Meeting With a Rabbi Kept Secret

Bernie Sanders Says Being the First Jewish President Would Be 'Another Barrier Broken Down'

Liberal billionaire calls Bernie Sanders a 'Communist' and 'a disaster zone'

Blackstone's Byron Wien: Markets are terrified of far-left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Antiwar candidate Bernie Sanders faces backlash over the $1.2 trillion war machine he brought to Vermont

The time Bernie Sanders ranted about baseball in a low-budget film

Bernie Sanders shows off sword Ross Perot gave him

Bernie Sanders Raises $18 Million in 3 Months, Trailing Buttigieg

2. Kamala Harris 79.2 (Previous: 4th / 65.9) US Senator from California 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Harris has given back a good chunk of her post debate bounce, which is to be expected. While she rockets to number two in the power rankings, there are a few things to worry about.

The difference between Warren and Harris is notable. The candidates are nearly tied in most polls, but much of the strength of Harris is based on one spectacular moment. Warren alternatively seems to have a lower ceiling, but a stronger foundation.

The good news for Harris is she does incredibly well among voters that are actually paying attention, while her weakness lies with those who haven't really tuned in yet.

At some point, Harris has to clean up her mess of a policy package, which includes supporting a Bernie style Medicare for All without the Bernie style middle class tax hikes-- a combination that even the left admits makes no sense.

Quotes like this still feel way too accurate, "She's the easy-to-listen-to, poorly defined identity candidate." This needs to be sorted out eventually if she's actually going to win.

Other headlines:

It's Hard To Have A Conversation With Kamala Harris When She Doesn't Even Know What She's Talking About

Kamala Harris: Immigration Raids Are 'A Crime Against Humanity', there are 'babies in cages'

Harris doubles down on criticism of Biden's busing comments on The View

Mother Jones: Kamala Harris Wants to Bring Back Busing? Really?

Kamala Harris's Call for a Return to Busing Is Bold and Politically Risky

Race is 'America's Achilles' heel,' Harris tells African-American group

Kamala Harris claims her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots, also says she's not a plan factory

Harris proposes $100 billion plan to increase minority homeownership

What's Kamala Harris's record on Israel?

Kamala Harris Called Young People "Stupid" in 2015

Kamala Harris lags behind top-tier candidates in Q2 fundraising

Utah man arrested after alleged scheme to plan fake Kamala Harris fundraiser

1. Joe Biden 80.8 (Previous: 1st / 82.3) Former US Senator from Delaware and Former Vice President

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Biden's polling has mostly rebounded to his pre-debate status and he remains the favorite to be the nominee.

He can't survive too many more performances like his first debate however, and he needs to show voters that he can stand up to the heat President Trump is going to bring. In other words, don't get smoked again, fall over on your walker, or look like your dentures are going to fall out in the middle of a debate.

This is a real test for Biden's candidacy. He's had time to prepare, and he's had time to stretch the old muscles. No more excuses.

If Joe can get spry, he probably wins the nomination. But, that is far from a sure thing.

Other headlines:

NBC/WSJ poll: Biden tops 2020 Democratic field...

Joe Biden Decides He Doesn't Need to Stay Above the Fray After All

Biden campaigns as Obamacare's top defender

Biden says Democrats haven't been straightforward about 'Medicare for All'

Biden under fire for mass deportations under Obama

Biden refuses to apologize for high deportation numbers during Obama years

Joe Biden's campaign office opens in Philly with a protest, not a party

AOC: Segregationist controversy and debate performance raised question Biden could be too old for office

Are Biden's Apologies Killing His Electability Argument?

Liberal activists at Netroots Nation bet Joe Biden drops out of race

Joe and Jill Biden have made $15M since leaving White House

How Joe Biden, who called himself 'the poorest man in Congress,' became a multimillionaire

Penn Paid Joe Biden $775,000 to Expand Its "Global Outreach" … and Give Some Speeches

Biden: 'Occupation is a real problem'Joe Biden raised $21.5 million in second quarter, campaign announces

Joe Biden: I Promise To 'End The Forever Wars In Afghanistan And Middle East'

Joe Biden promises to 'cure cancer' if elected president

No, stealth Obamacare won’t fix the failed status-quo

Online Marketing/Unsplash

Another day, another proposed fix to a pressing national problem by a Democratic presidential hopeful. Former Vice President Joe Biden has positioned himself as the "moderate" leader of the Democratic Party, putting pressure on him to come up with a "sensible" alternative to Sen. Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan. But Biden's healthcare proposal, released July 15, doubles down on flawed, top-down solutions without offering any new ideas. Presidential hopefuls should instead pledge to unleash market innovation and lower healthcare prices for all.

Of course, a former vice president will inevitably find it difficult to make a clean policy break from the administration he has repeatedly hailed and defended. Biden's tenure as vice president made him into a second-tier political rockstar, and it makes sense that he's reluctant to separate himself from former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). It's also no surprise that "Bidencare" preserves Obamacare's disastrous expansion of Medicaid, the federal government's insurance program for low-income Americans. His plan even provides a public option for residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid. Perhaps more surprising, or just disappointing, is how thoroughly the Democratic orthodoxy has embraced government medical insurance even at gargantuan cost, despite little evidence that it'll work.

RELATED: Medicare for all: Obamacare was only the first step

Back when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden vigorously defended Obamacare, criticizing Republican governors for failing to expand Medicaid and predicting that all states would eventually see the light. That never quite happened (as of now, 17 states wisely refuse to expand health insurance targeted at low-income Americans). But the Obama administration tried to cajole red and purple states into expanding the Medicaid eligibility threshold "up to 138 percent of the poverty level." Nevertheless, states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina wisely considered the evidence that Medicaid was breaking the bank — without helping the poor get access to the care they needed.

This evidence isn't just based on one or two stray studies produced by the "right" think-tank. In June 2018, Health Affairs published a blockbuster analysis of 77 studies on Medicaid's effectiveness, and the results may be disappointing for fans of government-provided insurance. Around 60 percent of the studies included in the meta-analysis found that health status and quality of care failed to improve for low-income patients after Medicaid expansion. The analysis also finds that a majority (56 percent of studies) found no improvement in the financial performance of hospitals post-Medicaid expansion. This finding contradicts claims by Obama, Biden and co. that Medicaid expansion would shift patients from the emergency room to doctor's offices, lowering system-wide costs.

These findings are scandalous for an expansion program that costs federal taxpayers at least $70 billion per year. How could all of this money be failing to improve outcomes? Plausibly, the types of institutions that accept Medicaid are larger facilities that aren't as great at delivering quality health-care as smaller offices? The copious paperwork and documentation required by the program don't really allow smaller facilities the bandwidth to deal with Medicaid in an efficient manner. Yet this documentation is necessary to curb rampant fraud in the program that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment. Instead of pushing for ever-higher government spending, a President Biden could push for a streamlined Food and Drug Administration approval process for drugs and medical devices, which would keep medical costs down and give a green light to innovators everywhere. The cost to develop a single medication is now more than $2 billion, and an onerous FDA approval process costs lives by being too risk-averse.

Presidential hopefuls such as Biden should also pledge to work with states to roll-back "certificate of need" laws, which force medical institutions to jump through countless barriers to expand their facilities and invest in new services. It's not just hospitals and their patients that suffer from these needless laws; Harvard medical scholar David Grabowski sums up the evidence that these laws make nursing homes far worse and costlier than they need to be. Getting rid of these laws nationwide would give patients and consumers far more options when shopping around for the care and facilities they need.

The price problem gripping the American healthcare system simply won't go away while regulatory barriers and onerous approval processes continue to stifle the sector. Presidential hopefuls such as Biden can make a dent in this problem by supporting market reforms, instead of doubling-down on failed government healthcare.

Ross Marchand is a Young Voices contributor and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both fulfilled their goal of living to see the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, both died later that day — July 4, 1826. Adams was 90. Jefferson was 83.

Because of their failing health, Jefferson and Adams each declined many invitations to attend July 4th celebrations. Adams sent a letter to be read aloud at the 50th Independence Day celebration in his local town of Quincy, Massachusetts. He wrote that the Declaration is:

... a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

It's remarkable how well the Founders understood human nature and what could happen to the United States. It's the postmodern mindset that increasingly rules the U.S. now. It has infected our institutions and untethered us from the bedrock principles of the Declaration. In its place? Hypocritical and vitriolic partisan righteous indignation.

Less than a century after Adams' and Jefferson's deaths, the most serious attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came from America's 28th president — Woodrow Wilson. He wrote:

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence.

As if that's a bad thing.

During Wilson's career as a college professor, he thought deeply and wrote extensively of his contempt for our founding documents. His issue with them formed the core beliefs of Progressivism that are still alive today.

In 1911, before he was elected President, Wilson said in a speech:

I do not find the problems of 1911 solved in the Declaration of Independence ... It is the object of Government to make those adjustments of life which will put every man in a position to claim his normal rights as a living human being.

See what he does there? He completely inverts the Declaration — he's saying, you don't have inherent rights until government puts you in a position to claim them. That's the heart of Progressivism.

In a later speech, Wilson said:

If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface.

Wilson did not think the equality, natural rights, and consent-of-the-governed parts of the Declaration defined the proper role of government. He preferred the Declaration's list of grievances because they addressed specific problems. That's what he thought government existed to do — solve problems for people. And since people's problems change over time, so should the Constitution and government to keep up with the times.

Wilson said:

No doubt we are meant to have liberty; but each generation must form its own conception of what liberty is.

We hear this sentiment echoed all the time today: follow your heart, find your truth, etc.

Another key to Wilson's Progressive theory of government was human evolution. He thought that because humans were now more enlightened, they could be trusted not to abuse government power. The Declaration's committee of five (Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson) would've laughed Wilson out of the room.

It's hard to believe that less than 150 years after the signing of the Declaration, the U.S. president — Wilson — was saying this:

We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence: we are as free as they were to make and unmake governments. We are not here to worship men or a document. Every Fourth of July should be a time for examining our standards, our purposes, for determining afresh what principles, what forms of power we think most likely to effect our safety and happiness. That and that alone is the obligation the Declaration lays upon us.

Wilson was so effective at imposing his philosophy on government that he forever diverted the U.S. presidency away from the Constitution. Progressives have kept Wilson's torch alive ever since.

Progressives are still hostile to the Declaration of Independence because of this idea of “historical contingency" which holds that truths change over time. Progressives think the “self-evident" truths of the Declaration are outdated and may no longer apply. And that means the Constitution based on those truths may no longer apply either. Wilson and Progressives especially don't like the whole separation of powers thing, because it hinders the fast action they want out of government. They want a justice warrior president who will bring swift change by fiat.

The current trend in attacking the Declaration and Constitution is to tear down the men who wrote them. In late 2015, students at the University of Missouri and the College of William & Mary, placed notes all over the statues of Thomas Jefferson on their respective campuses. The handwritten notes labeled Jefferson things like, “racist," “rapist," “pedophile" (not sure what that one's supposed to mean), “How dare you glorify him," “I wouldn't be here if it was up to him," and “Black Lives Matter."

That is the handiwork of students who are blinded by self-righteous victimhood and can't see the value and merit that the Declaration still holds for us today. After these incidents, Annette Gordon-Reed offered a reasoned defense of Jefferson. Reed is a respected history professor at Harvard Law School, who also happens to be a black woman. She wrote:

I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal. I think Jefferson's contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story to pretend that he was not there ... The best of his ideals continue to influence and move people. The statues should be a stimulus for considering all these matters at William & Mary and the University of Missouri.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Woodrow Wilson's disdain for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln loved it. If there is one overarching theme in Lincoln's speeches, it is the Declaration. Lincoln pointed the nation back to the Declaration as a mission statement, which ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Unlike Wilson, who recommended leaving out the Preamble, Lincoln considered it the most vital part. To Lincoln, the self-evident truths were universal, timeless, and more important than the list of grievances. Lincoln wrote that these truths were:

... applicable to all men and all times ... that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

In a speech Lincoln gave in 1861, shortly after he was first elected president, he said:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence… I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.

Lincoln went on to say that he would rather be assassinated than see the nation forfeit the principles of the Declaration. His Gettysburg Address is a brilliant, concise renewal of the Declaration:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot assume that this radical idea of freedom will always be embraced by Americans. It has found hostility on our shores every step of the way. The Declaration's principles must be continually defended. Because while humans do have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, there is darkness in the world, and for some strange reason humans, while valuing freedom, also seem to have a natural bent toward tyranny. That's why we must understand and discuss the Declaration. It's not alarmist. It's not a quaint history lesson. It's a reality, right now, that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are under attack. The Founders would have undoubtedly shuddered at most of the rhetoric from last week's Democratic presidential debates. Left to its own mob devices, even America would turn its back on freedom.

Shortly before his death in 1826, 90-year-old John Adams was asked to recommend a toast that could be given in his honor on July 4th. Adams didn't hesitate. He suggested, “Independence Forever." The small group of visitors silently glanced at each other for a moment, before someone asked Adams if he'd like to add anything else. Adams shifted forward in his chair, leaned on his cane, stared intently at the men, and replied, “Not a word."

China is having its Boston Tea Party moment

Unknown Wong / Unsplash

Freedom. It usually begins as a whisper. A secret passed on between patrons at a secluded bar or private meeting. And no matter how hard the tyrants may try and stop it, no matter how many dams they throw up to try and contain it, the whispers eventually become a flood. Sometimes it takes longer to break through, but it's the same EVERY TIME. Liberty and freedom always wins. It's an unstoppable force that knows no immovable object.

For us it was exactly 243 years ago to this month that those whispers became a flood. A group of ragtag colonists took on the world's only superpower —and won. Our forefathers proved it — freedom refuses to recognize tyranny as an immovable object. The world was forever changed.

And I can't help but see the poetic justice as more whispers became a flood, defying their own immovable object, just three days before all of us were buying fireworks to celebrate our Independence Day. But this time it was just off the coast of mainland China.

Last week over a MILLION protesters filled the streets in Hong Kong. Literally a FLOOD of humans looking for one thing — freedom. They stormed the government building that is the equivalent of their Congress. They smashed windows, broke down doors, and a photo was taken that I think just might be the picture of the year.

A British colonial flag, a symbol thrown out when Hong Kong was given back to China, was draped — BY THE PROTESTORS — over the chair of their head of government. I can't restate how historic this actually is. The people of Hong Kong, with a population that is over 90 percent ethnic Han Chinese, are saying to the mainland that they prefer colonial rule over the tyranny of the Chinese government. Leftists would tell you that communism is the remedy for colonialism, but for those living in the dark shadow of communism, they actually prefer colonial rule over what they now face.

The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

When Hong Kong was given back to the mainland, China agreed to allow them a few freedoms that the rest of the Chinese don't enjoy. They're free to engage in protest against the government and they maintain a legislative body — both of which are outlawed on the mainland. But, as every tyrannical oppressor always does, China has been looking to reel that in. Most recently, China attempted to make it possible to extradite dissenters back to Beijing. The result? The quiet whispers of freedom, the secrets told in private at clandestine meetings, became a flood of millions in the streets.

On July 3rd, police began a crackdown. More than 13 people have been arrested so far. If China eventually gets their way, those 13 people will no doubt be the first of many to be extradited over to the mainland. Their crime? The dream of freedom. As of right now, the extradition law has been temporarily delayed. The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

History has shown who will win in the end. Yesterday, over 200,000 protestors gathered at the high speed train station that links mainland China to Hong Kong. The message was just as clear as the British colonial flag hung inside their legislative building. For our forefathers it was symbolized with the Gadsden Flag and the phrase “Death To Tyranny." The message is simple: “we will not be ruled. Freedom knows no immovable object."

News of the protest movement has been censored in mainland China, but how long will they be able to contain THEIR OWN whispers with over two hundred thousand freedom lovers camped out at the bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China? How long before those whispers spread to secret meeting locations in Beijing or Shanghai? How long before that cascades to the Christian and Muslim minorities that are tired of being rounded up and thrown into camps?

We might have just witnessed the Chinese version of the Boston Tea Party. July 4th is still a long way away for them, but — as it does time and time again — freedom and liberty always win in the end.