Kamal Ravikant on the Transformative Power of Failure

Failure teaches and it can be transformative --- if you let it.

Kamal Ravikant, author of Rebirth: A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Friday for a riveting conversation about his life experiences and the most important lesson he's ever learned --- how to love himself.

"What was the turning point?" Glenn asked.

Ravikant --- a self-made tech icon who served in the US Army, lost everything, trekked to one of the highest base camps in the Himalayas and walked 550 miles across Spain --- described how a message from Pastor Rick Warren motivated him during a very bleak time.

"I made a vow to myself that I was just going to figure out a way to get out," Ravikant said.

Glenn then asked how Ravikant changed things, if he'd bet on an investment.

"No, no, I bet on myself, on my inner self. And I just sat and worked on my inner self and to get myself out of it because ultimately, it's all inside," Ravikant said.

Enjoy this complimentary clip from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: I don't know why I'm having -- you're in Texas. We're going to call you Pete from here on out. Kamal is with us. Kamal is a friend of mine. We met about three years ago. I read a poem of yours on the air. I didn't remember this. You reminded me of this yesterday. Read a poem of yours on the air. And then, did you write to me or call?

KAMAL: No. Someone from your staff reached out.

GLENN: Really? So then you came town. Right?

KAMAL: Yes, sir.

GLENN: And you have a fascinating life. When you came down, did I know who your brother was or who you -- I don't think so.

KAMAL: I don't know.

GLENN: Yeah. Because you have -- if you're in Silicon Valley, you're very well-known. Your brother is very well-known. Like really well-known. And we'll talk about that here in a second. You've written a new book. It's called Rebirth, which is kind of your story.

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: I was telling guys when we first came in that, you know, your story is very much, in some ways my story. You know, you kind of go and you lose it all. And then -- what was it, Pat? What was the next part of the story? Oh, yeah. You get fat. He doesn't have the fat part of the story yet. So...

JEFFY: It's coming, my friend. It's coming.

GLENN: But your story is the quintessential American story because you came from India.

KAMAL: Yes, sir.

GLENN: Nine years old.

KAMAL: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Tell me about it.

KAMAL: Single mom. Came here with my brother --

GLENN: You were a single mom at the time?

KAMAL: Yeah, I started early.

Single mom. My brother and I, two little kids, left an abusive father.

GLENN: In India?

KAMAL: No.

GLENN: Here in America?

KAMAL: He was here. He was here. He was still abusive here. And she said, "You know, I'm not raising my boys with this example." And she took my brother and I and left.

And we went through everything: Homeless, food stamps, bouncing one place to the other, and her just working minimum wage jobs day in and day out.

And I got to see her go through some very hard stuff, and she raised my brother and I on nothing. In Jamaica, Queens. We had ten locks on our doors.

GLENN: Jamaica, Queens -- do you guys remember? Did you guys go to Jamaica, Queens, ever? Yeah, I mean that's --

KAMAL: I think Run-DMC and a lot of the original rappers came from there. That kind of place.

GLENN: That's a dicey, dicey place.

KAMAL: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, got jumped a bunch of times. You know, I was a skinny little shy kid.

And then when I graduated, I left and went to college for a year and then just said, "Screw this," and joined the Army, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I was a (inaudible) soldier and did that for three years. And then went to college after that. And moved out to Silicon Valley after that. Then started building companies.

GLENN: Would you join the Army now?

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: You would?

KAMAL: Yeah, of course.

GLENN: Without hesitation?

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: Would you have your son join the Army now?

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: Wow.

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: No hesitation.

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: We've had this conversation internally a lot of times. I'm not sure what we're doing anymore.

KAMAL: Oh, of course not. I mean, it's -- the mission is a mess, but the art -- the -- being a soldier is the best thing I ever gave myself as a boy to become a man.

GLENN: And what part of it made you a man?

KAMAL: Being challenged in boot camp every day. Most of my friends thought I wouldn't ever make it. You know, I didn't need to go to the Army. I had a scholarship to college. And I went on my own, and I was a skinny kid from the city. Like I never held a rifle, never shot at --

GLENN: You had never seen the woods before.

KAMAL: I had never seen the woods. You know, and all of a sudden, I'm with a shaped hat, different haircut than this.

GLENN: Yeah, I would imagine a lot different.

KAMAL: You know, like -- sharing bunks with guys from like gangbangers and basically guys who were from everywhere in the US.

And, you know, you had to gel together, to come together to serve one purpose. And there were a lot of -- we didn't get along well, but by the end, we were like a well-formed unit. We were on mission. So you really get to see what this country is about. That was a great gift.

GLENN: I think you were telling me yesterday that -- that the service -- we have -- how did you phrase it?

KAMAL: Gentleman soldiers.

GLENN: Gentleman soldiers. What do you mean by that?

KAMAL: Well, I'll give you an example. I have a friend of mine who is FA (inaudible). And he's getting out soon. So I'm kind of guiding him on an entrepreneurship. And he just came back from a tour. And he was -- you know, the guy was bombing ISIS. And he was actually showing me some of the unclassified footage of one of the major bombing runs he did. And he took out a lot of ISIS soldiers there. It was where their barracks were, in the middle of the city. And it was very surgical. In the middle of the city. And yet he was telling me, he thinks about the civilians around there, what they must go through. They're stuck with these guys. They have no choice. They're under terror rule. And all of a sudden, the whole place is blowing up. And so he went on YouTube, and so he could look and see the civilian's perspectives, the videos they took of his bombing.

But we have very thoughtful soldiers. You know, people -- you know, people talk about this cowboy -- we don't have that. We have people who really care.

GLENN: You're such an interesting guy. At nine years old, you come over -- you're here coming over to America. You've lived in some of the worst places in America for poverty and violence. You grew up in a violent home. Yet you are one of the most peaceful, gentle, kind men I know. I get the nicest emails from you. And you're so thoughtful.

I think the first time we met, I think one of the first things you said to me -- and it was genuine. Was something along the lines of, how can I serve you? How can I be helpful to you? Where did that come from? What happened?

KAMAL: Well, first of all, thank you. I'd say my mom. I think it comes from who raises you. You know, she was an example.

GLENN: You told me that you rarely saw -- I mean, there were times that your mom was gone because she was working all the time.

KAMAL: Commuted two hours a day.

GLENN: So how did she give you that example?

KAMAL: I think I saw what she had to go through to take care of my brother and I on nothing. And how strong she had to be, but I could see what she was going through and what it took. And she is the most loving, amazing human being.

GLENN: I'd love to meet her sometime.

KAMAL: She is. She volunteers for battered women's shelters. You know, she works with seniors. She just gives.

So like she was an example. I don't think she ever told me to be this way. But I watched her be that way. And ultimately, that's all we can be.

GLENN: Were you ever afraid you would be your dad?

KAMAL: Yeah, yeah. It's something I dealt with in my 20s, you know.

GLENN: Anger, or just the fear of anger?

KAMAL: Anger. The fear of anger. And, you know, honestly, when you take anger and you turn it in -- if you don't let it out and you -- it turns it into depression. You beat yourself up. So I dealt with that in my 20s.

And it was ultimately then coming to terms with his death, with him. I was able to just let it go and realize, I am not him. I will never be him. He was an example for me in ways of not to be. I also have other examples.

You know, I met amazing men in my life who have been mentors to me. Had a great mother. So use that and --

GLENN: You can have other examples. And it's amazing. My son-in-law grew up in a very -- with a very dicey situation with father figures. And to the point to where I hear some of the stories, and I was, you know, watching him very closely on --

KAMAL: Sure.

GLENN: Okay. So who are you? Because figure after figure after figure in his life was not good until recently. And then I came along and screwed it up.

But he is -- he made the choice, I'm not going to be that guy.

KAMAL: Yes. Yes, yes. That's ultimately what we come down to, who we want to be. And then we have to live it.

GLENN: Okay. So let's cut to the chase before the break because I want to talk to you about what you think America means, because you have a great perspective on it.

Are we losing it? Are we getting closer, farther away? What do we do? And then I want to talk to you a little bit about technology.

KAMAL: Sure.

GLENN: But -- so you -- you had this struggle. You gained everything. Then you lost everything.

You end up in Silicon Valley. Did you lose it in Silicon Valley the first time?

KAMAL: Yeah. I made -- built it in Silicon Valley, lost it in Silicon Valley, rebuilt.

GLENN: Okay. Okay. Tell us who -- you know, you and your brother are kind of royalty in Silicon Valley. Why?

KAMAL: Well, my brother is known as one of the most entrepreneur-friendly investors in Silicon Valley. So he's been a investor -- first investor in Uber. You know, one of the first investors in Twitter. And so forth. He's known for being a very, very helpful guy. And he knows what he's doing. Because at one point in his career, he got screwed over by VCs, and I was living with him then. And he had to go through a lawsuit to actually prove it, and he won. I remember him --

GLENN: Meaning that the venture capitalists are vultures -- they can be.

KAMAL: They used to be more. Yeah.

GLENN: Right. And they can come in and take you.

KAMAL: Yeah, they were the money guys. And you needed money. Entrepreneur, you're not thinking like that. You just want to build your business. You want to make your dream. You're not thinking what you just signed away, until it's time, and all of a sudden they come and they take it.

GLENN: Right. Right. Right.

KAMAL: So at that time, I remember when he was going through that, the genesis of what happened, he said, "I'm going to level the playing field. I'm going to give entrepreneurs a power."

So first he started by actually creating a blog called Venture Hacks, where he just shared everything. Deal terms. How to negotiate for entrepreneurs. Just how the whole things works.

And then an angle list for angels to sharing different ideas with them and then built this platform called AngelList, where any entrepreneur now raises money for startups. So you don't have to spend six months begging VCs. You can go there if it's a great thing -- individuals. You know, people with money will just jump in and fund you.

So, like, Uber raised their first round on AngelList.

GLENN: How much was it the first round?

KAMAL: Uber at that time was worth I think maybe less than 8 million dollars. And they raised maybe 1.2 or something.

GLENN: And how much are they worth now?

KAMAL: About 60 billion.

GLENN: Jeez. Holy cow. Did you get in on that first round?

KAMAL: You know, that's a whole different story.

(laughter)

But I have friends of mine who did.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: And, you know, that one -- a 25,000 on investment at that point in Uber probably results, by the time we go public, at like 30 million, $40 million.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

KAMAL: That's Silicon Valley math for you.

GLENN: Yeah. That's crazy.

STU: That's when you need a flux capacitor.

GLENN: Yeah. And they're working on one, I think.

STU: Okay. Good.

GLENN: Okay. So we're going to come back, and I want to talk to you a little bit about your book and how you view America. Because we're an idea. And we're not talking about the idea of America anymore.

KAMAL: I think it's an ideal more than an idea. An ideal is something you uphold. You know, it's a principle. You know, that's what America --

GLENN: And are we -- we'll get into it here in a second.

[break]

GLENN: Kamal Ravikant. A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart. The name of the book is Rebirth.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Kamal has a way -- and I think I have read either Edgar Allan Poe, or what's his name? The other one? If. Rudyard Kipling on the air. I've read his. And his novel is, I believe -- and this is probably going to make you uncomfortable. But I believe it is as good anything McCormick McCarthy has ever written.

It's just -- to me at least, it's just -- there's an art to it that you have, that you rarely, rarely see. And the story is really, really great as well. And it's kind of -- it's kind of your story of -- when your dad died, you promised that you would take his ashes back to the Ganges. Right?

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: I mean, I don't know if you did this intentionally, but you brought him back --

KAMAL: No, it was given to me.

GLENN: Really?

KAMAL: In a red Marlboro lunchpack, which think of the irony on that, right?

GLENN: Right. It's just my dad's ashes in the Marlboro pack.

KAMAL: I mean, I don't know who thought of that.

GLENN: Right. So you went -- and you were supposed to be just gone for a couple of eight days. You spent eight months.

KAMAL: Spent eight months away.

GLENN: And you ended up doing a Christian pilgrimage in Spain.

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: And how?

KAMAL: It changed my life.

I -- first of all, walking -- it was 550 miles long from the French-Spanish Border, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

GLENN: And then back?

KAMAL: No. I took a plane.

GLENN: You took -- you're supposed to go back.

KAMAL: Well, in the old days, right. In the 11th century, there were no planes. But like -- millions of people had walked this. And so, you know, no matter who you are, you stop following the footsteps of millions of people, from their hopes and dreams, and following their beliefs -- and, just, many people died along the way, originally.

And you walk this, so the kind of people who come and walk it are interesting people, people who are all resolving things in their lives. And you start to share with each other stories of your lives. And when you share stories is how you actually learn and grow.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: And so that's actually where I learned -- you know, I was in my mid-20s. I was lost. I was broke. My dad had died. I was trying to come to terms with the anger I had towards him. And I couldn't resolve it because he was gone. And so all these issues I was working through, actually got worked out by walking and being out in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in vineyards and wheat fields and castles and churches. And just talk about personal transformation.

GLENN: Were you religious or spiritual at the time? Because you went up to the Himalayas before this. And you did the thing with the Dalai Lama's monks, right?

KAMAL: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: He's -- have you ever met him?

KAMAL: I've listened to him, but I haven't shook hands with him or anything.

GLENN: Yeah, no, he is a really funny guy. In person, he's hysterical. But there's something about him. But, anyway --

KAMAL: There is.

I'm not religious, although when I was in the Army -- in boot camp, I was baptized Southern Baptist. Full-on immersion.

GLENN: Right. Right. Right. Okay.

KAMAL: So it's been a foundation of mine. But it's not something I talk much about. I just go live my own thing.

So -- and this was a Catholic pilgrimage too. And though these days pretty much anybody walks it.

GLENN: Right. The guy that you met -- or, the character meets in the book. Did that guy -- is he a collection of everybody that you met, or?

KAMAL: You know what I did was I took people I've known that I've loved and, like, created characters based on them. And some of them are based on people I met. But all served a story of the lessons he needs to learn. And so as he grows, he meets the right people.

GLENN: Biggest lesson from the book?

KAMAL: Forgiveness. Letting go. You know, that's where freedom is.

When we're hanging onto the past, we can't move forward. And in the story, moving forward, get up, walk west, day after day, towards Santiago de Compostela, which is the destination, where the tomb of St. James the apostle is. And you just get up, and you walk West.

And as you walk, you just -- there's growth that happens. And you got to -- you're leaving the past behind, literally. And so you learn to actually not just let it go physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. And so forgiveness is the biggest lesson. And that is the biggest lesson of this book.

GLENN: Did you crash before you went on that pilgrimage? You had not made your money yet?

KAMAL: No.

GLENN: Okay. When you crashed, did you have a hard the time letting go?

KAMAL: You know, I had no choice. I was incredibly sick. I was depressed. I was suicidal. I think if I had --

GLENN: It made you physically ill?

KAMAL: Yeah. I had been going two and a half years, no vacation. Lost everything. And, you know, thought I was a failure. And I swear like, if I had the strength, I would have walked and thrown myself off the Bay Bridge. Those days -- I'm actually glad I didn't have a firearm. You know, it worked in my favor there.

GLENN: It's funny because I've often said -- because I've gone through that -- you know, when I was younger, in my 20s, and I thought, "I'm glad I'm a coward." Because, you know, I could have pulled myself, you know, off of a bridge, but I know I would have gotten on the bridge and went, "Okay. All right. Okay. This is too -- you know, I'm not -- I'm too much of a scaredy cat to do that." And that, I think, is what saved my life.

KAMAL: I'm glad.

GLENN: Okay. So you pull yourself back from the brink.

What is the -- only got 30 seconds. So we'll come back. I want to know, what was the lesson you learned there? Because now you're about to turbo your life and change everybody's life. And I want to talk about that. And as somebody who came here with nothing, been homeless, and in one generation, you love America more than most Americans, what is the secret of America that maybe we're missing?

[break]

GLENN: Kamal Ravikant is with us. Rebirth: A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and a Following of Your Heart.

A good friend of mine, a brilliant writer, and a brilliant man, and one of the more kind men I know as well. And really thoughtful on how you approach life.

So you bottomed out. You lost everything. You come over here -- for anybody who is joining us, you come over here from India at nine. Your father is abusive. Your mother says, "Not going to raise you here." You're homeless for a while. Tough, tough upbringing, but a loving mom.

You join the military. Your dad dies. You go over to India. You go to the Himalayas -- I mean, you're a movie.

(laughter)

You come back, you go to Silicon Valley, and you and your brother at the same time are hitting it?

KAMAL: My brother got their first.

GLENN: Okay.

And for anybody who doesn't know, Ravikant is kind of a royal name in Silicon Valley, if I can embarrass you a bit. And then you lose everything.

KAMAL: Uh-huh.

GLENN: You just said, "If I had the strength -- because you were so sick -- I would have thrown myself off the Bay Bridge."

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: What was the turning point?

KAMAL: Turning point was actually, I watched this talk -- TED talk by Rick Warren. I don't think I've told this publicly before.

And it's my favorite TED talk. And at the end, he goes -- he's sitting there, kind of just like giving a very casual talk, and he's talking about the purpose driven life, and he's talking about how -- he said, "You know, in the end, we're all betting on something. Find what you're betting on and go on." And I thought at that point, "Okay. I'm going to bet on something and either go all in or die trying." I was going to get better. I made a vow to myself that I was just going to figure out a way to get out.

GLENN: So did you bet on an investment?

KAMAL: No, no, I bet on myself. On my inner self. And I just sat and worked on my inner self and to get myself out of it. Because ultimately, it's all inside. You know, like everything, we're stuck in our head. So I just worked on this. And I got better.

But it was like the focus full-on vow. I'm a big believer in commitment. Because once you commit, the ships -- they don't burn, they explode behind you. Right? That's the only way.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

Once you can get to a place to where you can see it finished, you've done so much work that you're like -- it's not convincing yourself. It's just, all of a sudden, it just rings true. It's done.

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: And then your life changes.

KAMAL: It transforms.

GLENN: Transforms.

KAMAL: It really does. And my life changed. And I built myself back up. And I started writing these books to share what I learned. And they started doing very well.

And me being the real me. Not trying to be some hotshot Silicon Valley guy. Me just talking about my failures. And it's been amazing.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. Most people who meet you, they have no idea you're a hotshot Silicon Valley kind of guy.

So let's talk a little bit about what is America. What is it? You say it's an ideal.

KAMAL: Uh-huh. I think ultimately, for me, you know, the gift Silicon Valley gave me is the fact that everyone there is doing something. Dreaming and building. Which is what America is for me. It's -- we're always trying to create something better and be better. And, you know, that's -- America was an experiment that could have very easily failed when it started. You know, the Founders could have been shot by the British, and that would have been it. You know, it's about taking risks. It's about falling flat on your face. And Silicon Valley, we don't punish failure. If you did your best, you really tried something, it didn't work, we'll invest in you again. That I think separates it. That's why Europe will never be able to create a Silicon Valley. Because every European entrepreneur I know is terrified of failing. They'll never be able to do anything ever again if they fail.

GLENN: Failure teaches -- if you're smart, failure teaches you really important lessons. Failure is just as important as success. In fact, success can be crippling.

KAMAL: Yeah. Having said, the worst thing that can happen to a writer is early success.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: You know, like, I was writing and obsessively writing that book for over a decade.

GLENN: Holy cow.

KAMAL: Eight full drafts. Sending them to agents and publishers. Getting rejection letters. And those rejection letters are the best gifts I ever got. Because it made me become a better writer.

You know, I was writing very clever drivel, not from the heart.

GLENN: Yeah, yours is really on it. There's something -- have you ever heard someone say that about your writing? There is something completely unique about your writing. And it's not pretentious, ostentatious. It's not like -- it's not like clever, like you're trying to do something. It's just so authentic. Your sentence structure is different. I mean, it's really good. Really good.

KAMAL: Thank you.

GLENN: So where are we on the American life cycle?

KAMAL: Oh, that's a great question. We're in some interesting times, that's for sure. You know, I get to meet -- because I run a fund -- I invest in entrepreneurs. Even in Silicon Valley, people come from all over the world to be entrepreneurs there. So the American dream is very much alive. It's a matter of choosing who you want to be.

GLENN: You and I were talking yesterday off-air about this concept of -- that Silicon Valley is in its own bubble. And it doesn't relate to the rest of the country, in some ways. You invested in a company -- what is it? The RV --

KAMAL: RV Share. It's my favorite.

GLENN: Yeah. And what is it?

KAMAL: It's Airbnb for RVs. It's amazing. It's brilliant. It's a 12-man team, and they built it from scratch. And 12-man meaning there's a couple -- a few women and men team --

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: -- in Cleveland, Ohio, in this little office park. And they're changing people's lives.

You have an RV, and all of a sudden, you can make a living off it by just renting it out just to individuals. And make it stupid simple. People come find your RV. They rent it --

GLENN: Silicon Valley would have never thought of that.

KAMAL: They thought of Airbnb, but they didn't think of RVs, which is outside of Silicon Valley.

GLENN: Right. Right. This is -- would you compare this time in history to the War of the Currents? Of the Industrial Revolution --

KAMAL: Industrial Revolution. There's changes coming that are just going to transform society.

GLENN: What are people -- and this is something we've talked about working together on. Because I -- I talk to the people in Silicon Valley, and I'm both energized and -- and in a way, horrified because no one is talking about what's coming. And the change is so -- it is the difference between living in -- on a farm, with no telephone, no electricity, no plumbing, and ten years later, you're living in a city. I mean, it's profound change that is coming.

And nobody is explaining this to the center of the country. It's exciting and exhilarating. But it's going to change the way we think -- everybody is -- for instance, education is still preparing us for the 1950s.

KAMAL: Oh, gosh. Yeah, it's terrible. It's actually terrible. I would never hire someone just straight out of a traditional education. The best people I've ever met, I've hired, barely graduated high school, but they were doers.

You know, like traditional education these days does not prepare you to start companies.

GLENN: It doesn't. It doesn't. I think it actually hurts.

KAMAL: It hinders you.

GLENN: Yeah, it does. Because you think in that box.

KAMAL: You think that everything is taken care of. Whereas, if you start something from scratch, as you know, you do everything. You mop the floors. You make the sales calls. You take all the risk. But that is the American dream.

GLENN: Most exciting thing that you have seen that maybe others have missed. What's the most exciting trend line or idea that you have heard that you think is game-changing?

KAMAL: Well, I think ultimately the nearest term stuff is going to be like augmented reality. People talk about virtual reality. Augmented reality is just here. Like all these things, all these beautiful things you have here -- they didn't have to be here, but they'll just be projections that you put on glass that you just see there.

So that's actually coming -- that's actually even more interesting than virtual reality. Because then you can --

GLENN: Because it interacts with real --

KAMAL: Carbon reality.

GLENN: You have to wear glasses?

KAMAL: Glasses. Maybe contacts after a while. It's really interesting. And no one really knows where this is going to go. People can guess. Because ultimately as we talked about, technology is a tool.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: It's up to -- you know, I think one of the things that you mentioned that people on this side versus that side don't understand -- like, here's Silicon Valley. Here's somewhere on a farm. There's no one speaking a common language.

GLENN: Yes.

KAMAL: We speak a very different language in Silicon Valley and a very different language here, which I think is what we need. Like a middle ground.

GLENN: People don't know -- nobody is talking to the people in the center of the country from Silicon Valley. And so they're just seeing these products roll out, but it's not. It's about fully changing the way you think about everything. And I think the people in the center of the country, A, are going to be thrilled when they see it.

And they will find -- you know, the guy who did the original radio tube. I'm trying to remember his name. But he -- he made the radio tube. The amplifying tube. He didn't even know what it was for. He didn't have any idea what it was for.

Another guy comes along years later, named Armstrong, and he says, "Oh, my gosh. I can amplify sound so you don't have to have headphones anymore." The guy who invented that didn't even see that as the application. And that's what's going to happen when you include the rest of the country.

KAMAL: Yes. And, you know, the best inventors are the guys in the garage and playing with stuff. So there are so many out there.

I think if there is a closer collaboration of it, just language, you're going to create all these new entrepreneurs and new inventors out there that don't exist yet.

GLENN: Scariest thing you see on the horizon?

KAMAL: Virtual reality.

We talked about this before as well. It's amazing what it can be, but also it can be an amazing drug that will just pull you away from reality, which is what a drug does.

You know, just escape reality. And then we lose the incentive to go and change -- I think ultimately, we are all responsible for our lives. And we have to step up and take control and make a choice. Right?

If we're always escaping, that doesn't happen. And we lose -- I think we lose something fundamental as a human being in that process. So that, I'm concerned about.

PAT: How far are we from perfecting that? The virtual reality?

KAMAL: It's here. I mean, it's a matter of --

PAT: I know we actually have it.

GLENN: How long do we have the suit where you can feel the pressure --

PAT: Yeah, the tactile version.

KAMAL: They have that.

PAT: They do have that already? Wow.

KAMAL: To make it mass market, years. A few years.

GLENN: Like three years, five years, ten years?

KAMAL: Five years.

GLENN: Five years.

KAMAL: There's all these interesting things coming out, that, yeah, you can just lose yourself, which is the scary part.

GLENN: Really scary. Because there's a lot of people that want to lose themselves.

KAMAL: Yeah. And I think that could hold us back as human beings and as a society.

PAT: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

GLENN: How concerned are you with the -- the gathering of so much information? Not that anybody is doing it in a nefarious way now, but all you need is an excuse. And all of a sudden, the government can take this --

KAMAL: Yeah. Civil liberties are very easy to take away. You know, very hard to get. You know, we have them, and we've lost some of them, and we're going to lose more.

Everyone in Silicon Valley -- like most people -- we were talking about earlier. People I know, Silicon Valley, they don't use SMS. They use these secure messaging apps that are just -- you know, not that we have anything to hide. But if it tells you that people at the forefront are thinking this way --

GLENN: I use Confide. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

KAMAL: I use Signal.

GLENN: Signal?

KAMAL: Yeah. And really, like whenever I go through TSA, I always get pulled aside. Get patted. I don't care. I have nothing to hide. But still, you start thinking, like, if these things are happening, where is it going to go next?

As long as I don't lose due process, I don't mind being frisked. If I lose due process, then I'm in trouble.

Same thing with collecting information. It's very innocuous. But then everyone is being passive that we're being spied on, and then basically you have control over everyone. You know what they're doing.

GLENN: I only have a couple seconds left with you. But let me ask you this -- you know, we were talking about fake news. And the answer to that is everyone needs to be more responsible. And we've done it before. I mean, fake news has been around since the town criers, you know.

Ancient Rome, they had fake news. You can count on it. We have to be more responsible as human beings and more engaged and discerning.

I've talked to -- even Ted Koppel said to me in an interview, he said, "Don't you think that we need to license people who have these websites and blogs, and journalism?" And I said no. But that's where a lot of people will start heading, as things, you know, continue down this --

JEFFY: Well, they already are.

GLENN: Yeah, they already are.

So can you shut -- can people shut the internet and information down? Do you think that's possible at this point?

KAMAL: When you say people, do you mean...?

GLENN: Do you think a government can come in and really shut down the freedoms we have online on the air.

KAMAL: Sure. Look at China. They have entire, you know, full-time job. They're shutting it down. They do a pretty decent job. And you do it -- you know, all of it is done step by step. That's the scary part. You know, it's like when you put a frog, and you boil it slowly. That's what scares me. Right? So that's why I'm a big believer in civil liberties and due process, is that, you know, at least we have the system of law, where you can challenge them. When you can no longer challenge the secret courts, that's when we have problems.

GLENN: The name of the book is Rebirth. Kamal Ravikant. I can't recommend it highly enough. Grab it, read it, you'll love it. Rebirth. Kamal Ravikant. Thank you, Kamal. We'll see you again soon.

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

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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

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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.