The Best Thing About John Kerry's Speech? It Will Be His Last.

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 1 for answers to these questions:

• Who wrote CNN's 16-page diatribe on John Kerry?

• When will Democrats accept the election results?

• How will the Obama administration punish Russia?

• What did Hillary expose about the old boy network?

• Will Bourbon Street be safe this New Year's Eve?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

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

MIKE: Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. My name is Mike Broomhead in Phoenix, Arizona, filling in for Glenn today and tomorrow. Thanks for joining the show. We have a lot going on.

If you want to reach out, social media is the best way to reach out to me. Twitter, I am @BroomheadShow. Don't tweet Mike Broomhead. That's some guy in England who is really upset that he gets my tweets all the time.

So @BroomheadShow on Twitter or the Mike Broomhead fan page on Facebook, best way to reach out to me.

A lot going on in the news. We've heard about the death of a movie star in Carrie Fisher. Big deal because of the Star Wars movies that she's a part of. That may be a part of the conversation this morning.

But so much happening with Israel, the UN, the vote there. The US abstaining. That's going to be a big part of the program today as John Kerry -- I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. What I mean by -- anytime I talk about John Kerry, it makes me angry. But at the same time, it's this final speech in the Middle East. There's good news for America and the rest of the world.

John Kerry will be leaving the post as Secretary of State. And, fortunately, he's such a dolt, he hasn't done much. He hasn't done much damage because I just don't think he's that capable. We'll talk about him.

Harry Reid makes some statements bragging about some of the horrible things he did while he was in the Senate. More good news for America. The Senate will take its next session in January, minus Harry Reid. That's already a great year.

So far nothing but good news. Some of the headlines: President Obama says that they are going to somehow punish Russia for meddling in our elections. You know that 54 percent of Democrat voters -- this is just a poll. And we know that numbers can be skewed. But half of Democrats believe that the Russians changed the vote tally.

Now, the Russian influence had everything to do with emails, if you believe it was the Russians that did the hacking and sent over to make sure it was dropped by WikiLeaks. And if you believe the Russians had a hand in that, that was the extent of what they did in influencing elections. They had nothing to do with hacking into vote tallies anywhere. But 50 percent of Democrat voters -- apparently over 50 percent believed they had something to do with changed the vote tally.

By the way, Jill Stein still not done with protesting elections. At some point, you've got to give up. Don't you? You've got to give up and just say it's over. The electoral college has voted. Joe Biden is going to count those votes pretty soon. You know, on January 20th, Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated as president of the United States.

And I wonder the shoe is definitely on the other foot in America today. I question so many people on the left that I'm friends with. And I enjoyed my friends that think different than me politically. It's one of the things I enjoy the most, is when I have disagreements with people that I admire and I like. Because I would rather figure out how we could be so close to each other and yet so far apart on some issues. And I try to come to the conversation from a position of respect.

I look at Donald Trump moving into the White House, and there are a lot of people on the conservative side who are terrified of a Trump presidency. I've mentioned on this show before. I was filling in here -- and I was honored to be a part of the network for Glenn Beck long before I was friends with Glenn. But I have gotten to know Glenn fairly well.

And, you know, I am not the anti-Trump person that Glenn is, which is -- when I look at somebody I admire as much and knows as much about American history and American politics that I disagree with, I'd rather learn why and what they believe.

But when you look at the pro-Obama crowd, you look at the people in this country that were thrilled with what Barack Obama was doing because Congress would not go along. The Founding Fathers were geniuses in the sense, it was called the great experiment. It still is. Our form of government was never done like this before. Ever.

The House of Representatives being called the people's house, representing very small districts across the country, where individual voices, I mean, supposedly are being heard in the House of Representatives. Those people can be replaced every two years. The house of representative is up for reelection. I'm not giving anybody the civics lesson here. The Senate, every six years. A six-year term. Two senators equally representing every state in the union. Equal power. Two senators from each state doing the business of the states.

That makes up the legislative branch. And the executive branch, the president having veto power. And there is a lot of power that comes out of that office because it is that office. But that power is also not absolute, which is why the Congress is supposed to be the balance.

And to get something through both houses of Congress, to get it signed by them and sent to the White House to become law, and then the check and balance there -- the checks and balance there, of course, are the Supreme Court. We can argue what it's become. And I agree the Supreme Court has become something it was not intended to be. But the Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether or not the laws made by Congress are constitutional. Not good or bad. Constitutional or not.

We realize we now have justices on both side of the aisle over there, that are legislating from the bench, which isn't what they're supposed to do. But in theory, what our Founding Fathers have created, such an amazing thing.

When you have a president that says I have a cell phone and a pen, and if Congress isn't going to go along, I think I've got the power, and the Supreme Court has disagreed with him on some very important facts of his executive powers. And some yet to be determined. When you expand the executive powers and you set the precedent that Barack Obama has, I've asked people on the left before we even had any inkling that Donald Trump was going to be president -- this brash guy that's bucking the system and is going against both parties and all the things he says he's going to do.

I ask people on the left, how are you going to feel if the next president says -- and he's on the far right -- and he says, you know, President Obama was on to something. There is a lot of things that a president can do. He doesn't need Congress for. I'm just going to use executive orders to do everything I want to do. And I'm going to do it the same way Barack Obama did, although it's going to be completely different policies.

You watch how all of a sudden the political left in the next four years is going to become a small government limited power in the executive branch group of people. And when the Democrats are saying we have to stop the ideology and the plans of Donald Trump, which means we have to be an obstructionist, isn't it funny that we -- that the right was told, "You got to work with President Obama. The people elected him. They want his policies in place. So you should go along with what he wants because that's what the American people want." Well, now we're hearing the opposite.

And I'll tell you this, in all fairness, if Donald Trump uses executive powers the way Barack Obama did, I will call him out like I did Barack Obama. Because the Congress is supposed to be included. It never was supposed to -- because if you eliminate them. If you do things by executive order, the Congress either becomes a dissenting voice or a rubber stamp. That's it. Now you've got absolute power. You can't have it. Donald Trump is going to have to negotiate with the Congress. He's got a majority -- obviously a big majority in the House right now. That could change in two years. But right now, a big majority in the House. So it's going to be fairly easy to get some of his policies, when agreed upon through the House.

But with only a two-seat majority, really, in the Senate, it's going to be difficult on some issues. Now, Obamacare has got to be repealed and replaced. That should be easier because there are a lot of Democrats in the Senate that are in places where it's costing a lot of money for Obamacare. So repealing and replacing that may be something they go along with just for their political futures. But other things are going be tougher. And when it requires 60 votes, it's going to be difficult. And there's going to have to be some negotiations.

So that's going to be a part of the discussion today. Here in the first hour, just so we know what we're going to talk about. John Kerry and his final speech in the Middle East before he goes. The president in trying to punish Russia before he leaves office because of their meddling in American elections. And security measures in the United States, big offense like the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the Boston Marathon. And upcoming in what we're going to see in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. What we are learning about, terrorist attacks, and how we're trying to prevent them here in the US. So we'll get to all these here in the first hour of the program. Once again, my name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. I'm in here for Glenn Beck. And this is, of course, the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: Thanks for being here this morning. Mike Broomhead, Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn Beck. Today and tomorrow I will be in for the Glenn Beck Program. Thanks for being a part of it. And making it a part of your day. It is -- John Kerry will be giving his final speech in the Middle East.

Now, this under the backdrop now of what we've seen in the UN resolution, that we're calling the new settlements in the West Bank by Israel illegal. The US abstaining from that vote, which is ridiculous.

We, from every perspective you can think of as Americans, whether it is -- they are our only and closest ally -- I shouldn't say only ally. Our closest ally in the region is Israel. We are their best friend.

From that point of view, from a faith-based point of view from me personally and for a lot of people within earshot of me right now, we have had a responsibility and a long-standing tradition of standing side by side with Israel.

And nor -- the Israelis claim they have ironclad proof that we were behind the resolution calling those settlements illegal. And the Israelis are going to defy the UN, and they're going to continue to settle in the West Bank. And they're absolutely entitled to do so. And anybody out there that wants to talk about the battles between the Israelis and the Palestinians and you're siding with the Palestinians -- I love that conversation because you are a propagandist and are believing absolutely the wrong things.

The tunnels that are being dug are not being dug by the Israelis. The bombs being lobbed are not being lobbed by the Israelis.

And, you know, we can go through history and talk about a lot of these things. Golda Meir and some of the quotes from Golda Meir. And when I say quotes, I'm probably going to screw it up by a word or two, so I don't mean to paraphrase. But I believe it was Golda Meir that said to the Palestinians, "We can forgive you for killing our children. We can't forgive you for forcing us to kill yours." And that has been the Israeli point of view for decades in this war.

They -- the other quote is, "If Israel were to lay down their weapons, there would be no Israel. If the Palestinians were to lay down their weapons, there would be peace." That is another accurate -- in my opinion, accurate statement.

But for the UN to do what they've done and for the accusation even to come from Israel, that they believe -- let's say that they don't have ironclad proof, that it's just a belief that they have, that the US is behind this resolution. Tells you to what degree other relationship between the United States and Israel has deteriorated over the last eight years.

Jews in America largely vote Democrat, most of the time based on social issues, if not economic issues. Definitely social issues. I don't know for the life of me how anybody -- how any American Jew can vote for Barack Obama and the policies of that office.

But specifically, John Kerry now giving his final speech in the Middle East. And CNN had a story that was written about him that is -- I think John Kerry's wife wrote this and just did it under somebody else's name. Elise Labott from CNN global affairs correspondent, John Kerry's Mission to Save Diplomacy, is the title. It is 16 pages on their website.

And it is -- the first paragraph -- and I don't like to read stories on the air. You can read them yourself. But it starts like this: You can see it in everything he attempts to do around the globe, even conflicts he -- every conflict he weighs into, every crisis he refuses to concede. And as John Kerry prepares to step down as Secretary of State next month, he will carry it with him just as he has for 15 years, a deep-seated belief that America and indeed he can solve some of the world's thorniest problems with the right mix of politics, diplomacy, perseverance, and personal charm.

Now, is that a journalist or is this a biographer?

John Kerry sat down over and over and over again with the Iranians and hashing a nuclear deal that was hated by every other nation in the region, to the degree that the Saudis and the Israelis were working together saying that we will work together to make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

The US has very limited publicly as they could do, solve the problem of the fears by the nations in the region because of the deal by selling bigger arms to those nations, arming nations around Iran to a larger degree so they could defend themselves if the Iranians break the deal. That's how confident we were in the deal. Not to mention that every aspect of the Iranian government, from their religious leaders, the ayatollahs speaking in a public forum, the crowd chanting death to America, their religious leader -- who runs the country, by the way. It's not the government. They take their lead -- they are a theocracy. The ayatollah chanting with the crowd. Yes, of course. Death to America. This while John Kerry is negotiating with the Iranians.

One of the Iranian military leaders said, "No matter what happens in this deal, the Americans will always be our enemy." John Kerry didn't push away from the table. So they're right when they say he perseveres. When the Iranian government was voting on this deal behind the scenes to denounce the US -- they can't sanction us. But it was an anti-American vote going on. And I believe with 200 members they had, it was 199 to one. And while members of the Iranian government were voting on this, in what would be their -- we would have the House came home or the Senate came home, while they were voting in their governmental chamber, the parliamentary chamber, they were chanting, "Death to America." Not all of them. But some of them. And yet we continue to negotiate with the Iranians. Every aspect of the Iranian government, chanting in some way, shape, or form throughout these negotiations, death to America. There's your chief diplomat at work.

When the Iranians captured two US vessels and then took those US sailors, stripped them of their uniforms, showed the videotape of them crying around the world, embarrassed and mocked the United States Navy to the entire world, John Kerry thanked the Iranians for the way they treated our sailors. He was in the Navy.

Remember when he ran for president as a Swift Boat captain? He crossed the Delaware and saluted and said, "John Kerry reporting for duty," and he looked like a dope. This guy was in the United States Navy and thanked the Iranians for their treatment of the United States Navy. There's your chief diplomat being talked about as a saint in a 17-page CNN review.

This administration was going to restore the world's confidence in the United States. Anybody believe that's true? Even on that side of the aisle. From Hillary Clinton and Benghazi to John Kerry and Iran -- and not just the Iranian nuclear deal, but when the two American ships were taken. One of the stories we're going to discuss a little bit later on in the show is the Chinese won an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. They're going to monitor us. They're sending us a message.

How incredible is it that we have become what we have become. Our enemies have no reason to fear us. Think what we've done with John Kerry as Secretary of State under the policies of this administration. We have restored diplomatic ties with Cuba, which is an absolute abomination because of the way the Cuban people are treated. I could spend the next 30 minutes talking about Cuba again. But we've restored that with Cuba -- relations with the Cuban government, while the Cuban people still suffer under that communist regime.

We gave the power back with nuclear weapons and billions and billions and billions of dollars to the Iranians. Even John Kerry had to admit, it's probably going to go and foster terrorism. Nothing about ISIS. It's been a failure.

Coming up in just a few moments, the Obama administration, they're going to punish Russia for election interference. How? We'll talk about that, next.

[break]

MIKE: All right. Thank you for being here. Mike Broomhead in Phoenix, Arizona, in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Thanks for making the Glenn Beck Program a part of your day.

The Obama administration close to announcing measures to punish Russia for election interference. I'm going to get to this in a moment.

I'm in Phoenix. Do a local show in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the listeners, her name is Jackie, is the best producer I've ever had. No offense to my producer. She does a great job. She sends me information all the time. I was talking about Harry Reid a little earlier. Harry Reid talking with someone about his career, said, "As my staff will tell you, I've done a number of things because no one else will do it." What was he talking about? The false accusation about Mitt Romney not paying his taxes. And he admits, whether it was changing the rules in the Senate and basically, you know, using a nuclear option to do what he wanted to do there, when he said earlier in his career, if that ever happened, it would destroy the United States Senate and the intent of the United States Senate. And he did it. Because he wanted to get what he wanted to get through. He justified it 18 different ways. It was wrong. And then as soon as he got booted from power because the Republicans took over the Senate, he said, "This shows America wants us to work together."

Well, here's what he said about what he did to Mitt Romney by lying about Mitt Romney. I tried to get everybody else to do that. I didn't want to do that. I didn't have anything against him personally. He's a fellow Mormon. Nice guy. I went to everybody, but no one would do it. So I did.

So when we talk about American politics, we want to talk about what's happening. And you want to hear about the vitriol of people. It's on both sides. I'm not condoning it on either side of the aisle. I've been very critical of Donald Trump when he was running for president about the way he said things and the way he did things.

But I thought he was a much better option than Hillary Clinton. I voted for Donald Trump. And I have been very complimentary about the way he's handled the transition and the way he's handled things since then in a lot of regards. His victory speech which could have been a moment where the Donald Trump supporters from day one, which I was not, but the Donald Trump supporters day one said he was going to win. And a lot of us, myself included, said there's no way that guy could win. When they were proven right and the rest of us were proven wrong, in a moment where Donald Trump could have had a drain the swamp, lock her up, give the country the middle finger kind of a moment, he was gracious and he was humble. And so were the supporters that night. They kind of followed his lead.

So I'm hopeful -- I'm hopeful for the presidency, and I've been complimentary, as much as I was critical. But anybody on the left that wants to come after a Donald Trump, you know, low-hanging fruit of some of the tweets that have been sent out, look no further than your own party, where they don't like the way things are being handled on the right.

If you remember, it was Harry Reid that called the sitting president of the United States, that time George W. Bush, an idiot, his words. I don't know what happened to Harry Reid. I don't know when Harry Reid became what Harry Reid had become. But I'm glad he's gone.

Harry Reid, John Kerry, they just -- I'm glad they are -- thrilled that they are gone from American politics at least in the short-term. I think we're a better country for it.

And, you know, if Nancy Pelosi would have lost her seat, I think that would have been another great service to the American people. And I just wanted to get that out before I got to the other thing with Harry Reid and some of the nonsense he has spewed before.

By the way, I'm in today and tomorrow. If you are a social media user, I love to interact on social media. You can find me on Twitter. I am @BroomheadShow. Not Mike Broomhead. @BroomheadShow is my handle on Twitter. Mike Broomhead on Instagram. All one word. You can find my -- I'm famous for my blurry pictures I post on Instagram. Or the Mike Broomhead fan page on Facebook if you want to find me there. I would love to interact with you if you have questions, comments. If you want to do that on social media, that would be terrific.

The Obama administration is getting ready to announce whether it's going to be economic sanctions or diplomatic censure. But the president of the United States has every intention of punishing the Russians for interference in American elections.

Now, what they did was hack the DNC, most specifically Podesta and emails. And exposed the corruption in the Clinton campaign.

Now, the accusation was out there, where they also hacked the RNC, but didn't turn that information over, which the RNC says it was never hacked. They showed proof that they were never hacked. Reince Priebus saying they were never hacked. That it was the Democrats. Was this a pro-Trump thing or an anti-Hillary thing? I'm pretty sure it's anti-Hillary.

What's funny, be careful what you hear because as far as I know, nobody denied the validity of those emails. Nobody said it wasn't true. Nobody said they were manipulated.

What they said was they were stolen.

The American media was all over it. And then when Donald Trump won the election, now they're blaming the Russians, and they tried to do everything they could to stop what they were a big part of, from the beginning.

But the president himself had to admit there was no tampering with the election itself. They didn't hack into voting machines. They didn't change vote tallies. They didn't get into any voter databases.

What happened was that they were -- if it was them, and so far, it hasn't been proven that it was. But they're -- and I'm hearing from some very high-level people that they believe it was the Russians. So let's go for arguments' sake to say that the Russians were the ones behind the hack that got the emails exposed through WikiLeaks. What they did was expose the corruption inside the Clinton campaign. That's what sank that ship.

When you see Hillary Clinton saying to the entire world, when I become Secretary of State, there is going to be this huge firewall -- her word -- between my Secretary of State's office and my foundation. And then we find out almost from day one that was never the case.

Even when it came to Haiti, earthquake relief, there was a lot of government grants, money that was out there, given the companies that were there to do relief efforts, whether it was humanitarian aid, humanitarian relief, or it was rescue and recovery and rebuilding of Haiti. And when people were applying for that -- for those State Department grants and State Department funds, there were emails being exchanged, that if you weren't friends of Bill or Clinton VIPs to the foundation, then they were sent to a website to fill out the paperwork.

If they were friends with the Clintons or VIPs, then they were told send them to us at the State Department directly. Those were handled in-house. Those people were given the contracts.

There's your firewall. There's the collusion and corruption that the American people were tired of. If anything else in this election cycle, we learned the good ol' boy network was despised by the American people. And Hillary Clinton exemplified that with her office. Seating at state dinners for donors to the foundation. And meetings being brokered because there were diplomats that couldn't get a meeting with the Secretary of State, but their country or they individually had donated a lot of money to the foundation. So the head of the foundation, reaching out to Huma Abedin and some of the other handlers for Hillary Clinton and saying, "Hey, this is a big donor of the Clinton Foundation, trying to get a meeting with the Secretary of State, and can't do it through the diplomatic channels. Is there anything you can do?" And then the email going back saying, "Yeah, we've given them a few dates. Let us know what works for them."

You know, that's the kind of corruption the American people despise. That's what sank that ship.

So the president going along with the theme -- and all it has to do is keep the American people doubtful. You know, when Al Gore lost and George W. Bush's brother was -- Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida. And, of course, that's why he won Florida. And all that stuff died off fairly quickly. Not this time.

Nobody went quietly into that good night this time. The electoral system in the United States is set up for an express purpose in an express ways. They don't want it to be coastal elections. They don't want LA and New York deciding every election, which they would have.

They tried to get the electors to change. I know one of the Arizona electors received over -- they weren't -- this was not a unique case. They received over 40,000 emails trying to get them to switch their vote from voting for Donald Trump as the people of Arizona had done to anybody else, basically.

And that is not -- that's not the way the American people behave.

We know about the terrorist attacks that happened in Germany and France, where they're not using bombs, they're not using guns or knives, they are using vehicles to just mow down people in crowds. It is just a horrifying way to take human lives. But it just shows you, again, the ingenuity and the desire and the hatred for humanity that some of these people -- in the name of religion -- have. And we saw it in Germany at a Christmas market. We saw it in France.

Well, in America, we've got big events here. And are the Americans learning from what's happened in other countries? The best of a horrible situation is to learn from others -- not mistakes necessarily, but learn tactically from things that happen in other countries.

Well, we've got Mardi Gras coming up. What's happening in New Orleans? What happened at the Thanksgiving Day Parade? What happens now at the Boston Marathon? What are happening at some of these events in America to be one step smarter than we were before and try to prevent the mayhem and the death? We'll talk about that here in just a moment. Again, my name is Mike Broomhead. I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

MIKE: All right. Mike Broomhead in for Glenn Beck today and tomorrow. Coming up next hour, we'll talk about the US inequality keeps getting uglier in a CNN story. Talking about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. It's a great topic.

And also in the next hour, one of my heroes -- if I could emulate anyone, which I don't ever want to do, but if there's one person whose career I admire, it's Mike Rowe. Mike Rowe has been the voice for kind of the working man in what he does in his television shows and what you see when you hear him on broadcasts. And he's just one of those working class heroes. And it's genuine. It seems very genuine.

If there's one person out there that I would love to be able to meet some day and just have a conversation with, because I think it would be a fascinating conversation, it would be Mike Rowe.

Mike Rowe talks about why there's a lot of jobs out there that Americans aren't taking. And I think he's right on the money with some things. So we'll talk economy big in the next hour.

But to wrap up this hour of the show, Bourbon Street to be pedestrian mall for New Year's weekend. So it's not just Mardi Gras, but over the new year, they are going to be using blockades and trucks, I think, to block the streets where there will be pedestrian traffic only, to stop the same kind of mayhem where a vehicle is used to murder as many people as possible. We've now seen it in Europe a couple of different times. And now we're looking at a different scenario.

If you looked at Ohio State -- and this was the big argument. The stabbing in Ohio State where a guy rammed a building with his car, tried to run people over, then started with knives and started stabbing people before he was killed by a police officer.

Right away, the anti-gun crowd in America -- because the reports were out there. There was a gunman at the Ohio State campus. Right away, it was an anti-gun message. Right away, the gun control crowd was out there once again in full force.

Turned out that he didn't use a gun. One of the arguments I've always had -- and I'm fortunate to live in a place where our gun laws are probably the most lenient in the entire country. And I live in a very safe place. Phoenix, Arizona, if you've never visited, I hope you will someday. It's a beautiful city. And it's safe. The valley -- all the surrounding cities. We call it the valley. Beautiful and safe place. If you can legally own a handgun in the state of Arizona, you can conceal it without a permit.

Now, a lot of people think that's, "Oh, my gosh. How Wild West is that. No training. No -- the offset to that is criminal conceal weapons all the time. They don't have any training. There's not been an increase in death. There's not been an increase in shootings. There haven't been an increase in violence. None of that.

Good people, law-abiding citizens do not brandish weapons on each other. They just don't.

And now we're seeing the terrorists around the world are using guns when it's effective. They're using pressure cooker bombs when they believe that's going to be effective. And now they're using big trucks. We're going to limit the size of vehicles now. That's what they want to do with guns. Let's limit the amount of ammunition in a magazine. Let's limit the caliber. Let's limit the number of bullets somebody can buy.

Let's -- have we really turned into people that believe that that's going to solve a problem? I could go into the grocery store today because New Year's Eve is right around the corner, I could go in to a grocery store with a hand truck. I could buy six cases of beer, four cases of whisky, and 15 bags of ice and roll it out to my truck, and people would look at me and say, "Where is the party?" No one is going to look at me and say, "Oh, look at all the drunks he's going to be creating on New Years Eve. There's going to be death and mayhem in the streets from drunk drivers."

But you roll out of -- of a gun store with a couple of thousand of rounds of ammunition, and they may follow you home.

There is evil in the world, and people that based on religion, right now -- I mean, there's other reasons as well, are just looking to kill the western way of life. And we have to try to stay one step ahead of the way they're doing things. And this is going to be one way to stop people from driving trucks down Bourbon Street and just running people over that are celebrating New Year's Eve. But they're going to come up with a new way to kill people.

We have to double down and be diligent. The joint terrorism task forces around the country are constantly assessing what's going on around the world to improve how they target people, how they watch people, and how they protect the American citizens. So next hour, we'll talk about the economy iniquities, inequalities in our economic status in America, and what we can do to fix it, according to CNN. Stick around. You're going to love what's next.

Featured Image: Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech on Middle East peace at The U.S. Department of State on December 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Kerry spoke on the need for a two-state solution and defended the Obama administration's approach to Israel. (Photo by Zach Gibson/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."

amp only placement

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.