Unelectable Blog

Is the Glenn Beck Summer Tour coming to a city near you?

Quick Links: June 14 | June 13 | June 12 | Unelectable Blog - June 6-11

Video Blog... June 14

 Beck Babes

Photo Blog... June 14

Glenn and Chris from Graeter's Ice Cream. Glenn, can't you just wait until the Insider Convention is over before you start to eat the ice cream?

Glenn and Rich doing a walk through in Akron

Okay, okay, one exception to the "no posed photo" rule. Glenn and I in Akron.

Thank you to Angie's List and our Golden Circle Members!!!

Glenn and his Graeter's ice cream. He's actually turned a pint of ice cream into a giant ice cream cone by squeezing the bottom, forcing the ice cream to the top and just chomping away at it--I'd rather watch Bobey drinking.

Bobey can't hold his liquor...Beck can't hold his ice cream...

The world's most expensive umbrella. Glenn seeking shelter from the rain under someone's private airplane.

Photo Blog... June 13

The new book Glenn is reading. Stop reading, get some sleep!

John Bobey, Rich and Adam waiting for Glenn

Glenn putting pen to paper

Glenn preparing before the show, alone with just peace and quiet to keep him company

Celtics? Wow, did Glenn jump on that bandwagon pretty quickly or what????

Backstage snacks...they just look so good.....

Video Blog... June 13

 Four Students and Why They're Glenn Beck Fans

Video Blog... June 12

 Airplane Food & Plastic Knives

Glenn Beck's Carbon Footprint

Live from Syracuse!!! Why's it So Dark in Here?

Fan Feedback on the Syracuse Show

Photo Blog... June 12

Glenn & Adam walking across the bridge into the WSYR studios for the radio show

Glenn, Coke Zero and morning story review

Glenn & Adam getting ready for the radio show from studios of WSYR

Don't Ask, Don't Tell...Because What Happens on Tour Stays on Tour (John Bobey's door)

Glenn with John Carney and John Bobey doing a pre-show theater walk trough

Glenn and Rich preparing for the sound and prop check

Glenn, Rich and John Bobey during the walk through

Forget the Red Bull...it's Thursday so break out the "No Fear" and "AMP" Energy Drinks...

Still no Peach Fresca, I've stopped requesting it--apparently not a popular drink on tour

This picture really doesn't capture the beauty of the Landmark in Syracuse...what a beautiful theater!!!

Adam & Rich checking emails, and phone messages

John Carney, working the PHONE...

Glenn's 570 WSYR interview...

Before the Tour I thought only Chinese Food came in a box (that and pizza)

Glenn leaves a stool sample...

Insider Convention, Beck Babes & Akron - Going Home

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 14, 2008 (Saturday)

My first Insider’s Convention, Glenn has been talking about this since morning breakfast. Listeners have flown in from Hawaii, driven up from Dallas, Oklahoma City, and California. These are the individuals who make a difference. The insiders are going to be real surprised as Tania is attending the convention too—it’s the perfect meeting—Tania and passionate listeners.


 We spend the morning re-reading the responses from the insiders to a survey Carolyn sent out asking what they wanted to see and experience at the convention. Glenn let’s us all know that his goal is to make sure that each insider leaves with a perfect experience. Glenn decides to answer questions, take photos and read snippets from his yet-to-be published book, “The Christmas Sweater”.


 Veterans of insider conventions tell me to be prepared for the energy and passion. The ‘Johns’ tell me I’ve never seen anything like it—and they’re 100% right. During the question and answer session I am struck at the range and depth of topics discussed. I thought this was going to be, “Hey, Glenn—what’s your favorite fish color?” But it’s nothing like that. The questions hit on the Second Amendment, the economy, the mortgage crisis, his relationship with CNN, the death of Tim Russert and where does he get all his energy from—and lots more. Glenn doesn’t pull any punches with any of his responses.


 The next three hours are spent taking pictures. Glenn told us before we arrived that he didn’t want to leave the convention until every insider who wanted a picture or autograph. It’s great to see Glenn and the insiders taking pictures together and signing books. It’s like a group of really good friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time getting together and just doing nothing but catching-up on what’s been happening in their lives since the last time they got together.


 One thing to mention before I move on. Chris, a store manager from Graeter’s Ice Cream was serving ice cream to all the insiders, compliments of Glenn. I’ve got to say it was some of the best ice cream I have ever had.


 I also want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone, but especially the insiders who came up and told me what they liked about the blog and how they read it everyday and looked at the pictures and watched the posted videos. Thanks!


 Around 3:30 we went over to the theater in Akron. It was the first theater on tour that didn’t have aisles. You entered from either side and made your way to your seat. I think Glenn referred to this as continental type seating. It allows more seats because you don’t have to set any aside for aisles.


 Even though Glenn has now performed the show in several cities, he isn’t casual about his preparation time. He still reviews the script and incorporates several local stories into it that he’s come across in reading the local newspapers and stories online. He’s especially cognizant of how tough things are economically in the Akron area. He reads how the township has passed a ‘must mow’ law and how local officials want people to ‘adopt’ homes which have been foreclosed on. He can’t believe how a local power company wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on zoo lights when people are so hard hit financially—he works all of these stories into the script while he prepares.


 He tells the team how Akron, Ohio helped save his life. How Akron is the birthplace of Alcoholic Anonymous and how that organization was instrumental in saving his life. He tells us he wants the audience tonight to know that—to know how close he feels to this community. It’s amazing that with only a handful of hours before the curtain goes up he is comfortable making these changes.


 With about an hour before the show begins I catch Glenn onstage doing a voice check and going through a solo rehearsal. I walk out onstage and notice that he’s got a copy of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” book on the stand (see photo)—I’m convinced it’s his A.D.D. He probably goes rehearses a few pages and then reads a few pages from “Twilight” and then rehearses a few pages and then back to “Twilight.” I see a dog-eared page and this tells me he’s had another night of late night reading.


 It reminds me of a picture I took earlier in the tour (see photo). Glenn’s sitting alone in the theater with my laptop computer balanced open-faced on his head. I snap a photo before I walk up to him. As I approach I can hear that he’s listening to music. I ask him what he’s listening to—he tells me that he’s reviewing music for his Christmas 2008 tour.


 When asked, I tell people that one of the important things I’ve learned on my first tour is that Glenn reviews all the details of every project. He is involved in all the projects. The Christmas 2008 tour for instance: here he is 6 months from Christmas and he’s reviewing some proposed music from the script!!! That’s why his radio, tv, magazine, newsletter and tours—they’re not things that he just does—they are part of him—each of these is Glenn because he’s generating it all—that’s what makes it all enjoyable to his audience—but it’s also what makes it so demanding on him personally.


 The first-half of the show is slightly off. I watch each performance form the audience seats and I’m keenly aware that he’s deviated from the script in several places and has flipped changed the order of some of the stories. There’s no way the audience can tell—it’s funny and it’s still all coming from the heart—but having watched the show for the past week, I can tell. Backstage John Bobey and Glenn are discussing this—maybe he’s tired? Maybe he’s trying to change the pace? But Glenn senses it as well. I do a bunch of audience interviews and they love it.


 Since the first half was slightly off I was expecting something similar for the second half. But that didn’t happen. Glenn was amazing in the second half of the show—it was the best performance to date for the second half. As I listened to the second half, it was the first time that I watched Glenn and thought, “this guy really could run for office”. There are several script deviations—but each one was powerful. There were at least three times when a crowd of about 3000 people was TOTALLY silent—it was amazing—no sound—no talking, no coughing, no movement. Remember the saying that “the pen is mightier than the sword”—I saw that here in Akron—that power of the spoken word.


 Glenn talked about Alcoholics Anonymous—about it saving his life—about this community, its heritage—its promise. I wish I could have heard it but I needed to be backstage before it was said, but I later learned that it was one part of the show which really moved the audience.


 Afterwards we board the airplane for the flight home. Instead of uncorking bottles of booze (much to John Bobey’s surprise) Glenn breaks out a container of Graeter’s Ice Cream—we all talk about the tour for about 10 minutes—then slowly and subconsciously the talk turns to the Christmas Tour 2008. Glenn’s not participating in that conversation—he’s talking to Tania eating his ice cream. The team is talking about the upcoming Christmas Tour. They’re talking about how it’s going to be much more involved and they’re already jockeying to see how they can get Glenn onto the scheduled to do this, that or something else.


 Glenn’s finished making a mess with his cream (see photos) and for the first time, I see him close his eyes on the plane. Wow, he’s going to finally get some sleep—less than a minute later, his eyes are open, he leans forward and says, “let’s make sure we talk about drilling for oil on the outer continental shelf on Monday’s show.” He truly is a sick twisted freak.


 (I hope that the blog has brought you closer to Glenn and the tour team. There are only two blog rules: (1) I’m solely responsible for the stories and commentary because it’s not reviewed before posting and (2) I really try to avoid taking posed photos—I try to capture everyone at being themselves.


 There’s a lot of pictures and video footage that I haven’t posted. Primarily because when I prepare the blog it’s usually around 1am. I’ll go through it once I’m back in New York and see if we can post a post-tour series of video and photos.


 I know the tour isn’t officially over. We are going to Dallas July 17, Houston July 18 and Columbia South Carolina July 19th—but it’s nice to be going home.


 And thank you again for all the email. I really do try to incorporate your suggestions and answer your questions. As Glenn reminds us, “you are the show”, thanks for letting me be part of bringing a behind the scenes look to you)!


 Joe Kerry


The Final Stretch, Tania joins the Fun and New Video Discussed

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 13, 2008 (Firday)

7am Met up with Glenn and Adam for our trip over to WHYN 560 here in Springfield. We were met by Danielle from the station who has been running on about 1 hour a day for the past several days helping promote the station’s fund-raiser while helping out with Glenn’s tour preparations. She seems to draw on some unlimited pool of energy.


 9am The morning started with a monologue Glenn prepared for his father. He listened to every word and was emotional while it played. Even though he was talking to a national audience in a way I think he was speaking directly to his father. Glenn doesn’t read from a script during these monologues. It comes from his heart and mind. It’s like he sits there and thinks about the events he is talking about—and actually sees them in his mind which brings the emotion for his heart.


 After the monologue Glenn asks if people can relate to what he just said about his father and at times the need to reconnect. That they had to agree to give their relationship time and trust and how it was so worth it. Adam says that he can relate.


 11am I should have known this was going to happen. The ‘game plan’ for today’s show was scrambled when Glenn impulsively went with his feelings and heart and started talking about Father’s Day and fathers. Our light-hearted planned Friday morphed into a tribute to dads. Two calls come in from men who tell Glenn ‘thanks’ and that they’re re-focusing on being better dads. It’s been a really good morning.


 Noon Questions and Answers from Blog Readers


 Q: (This question is really a generic question from so many readers that I decided to respond to all of them here). When is Glenn going to come to (Alaska, Michigan, Seattle, Tampa, Ontario-yes the one in Canada, Hawaii, or Alabama, etc) on this tour?


 A: Great news. On today’s radio show Glenn announced that on July 17th the Dallas Unelectable Show will be telecast LIVE to over 350 theaters across the country. Click here for details and locations...


 Q: For some inexplicable reason, I find it especially humorous when you all lampoon and ridicule John Bobey. I have nothing against the guy and know almost nothing about him. I just get the sense that in some cosmic way he has some Karma coming back to him. - Robert


 A: I don’t look at it as ridicule or lampoon, just a recitation of the facts as I see them. John’s a great guy and I really can’t explain it very well, but he’s got a darker side, much like Glenn—not in an evil or mean way—just lots of protective layers.


 Q: We missed our child birth class to come see Glenn’s show, what do you think we missed? - Jeffrey & Maria, Syracuse


 A: That’s not really the right question—the question should be, was it worth it? Having attended childbirth classes let me assure you that you didn’t miss anything. Just look up ‘childbirth’ on the internet. You can believe everything you read there.


 2pm Glenn hasn’t done a show in Springfield, MA before. It’s an interesting demographic political mix separated by what a local resident described as a ‘tofu curtain.’ Since each audience is different and reacts differently I’m waiting to see if this audience thinks the show is off the charts like the other crowds.


 4pm Glenn learned that Tim Russert died of an apparent heart attack. I think for Glenn he’ll always remember where he was when he first heard this story. It’s father’s day and in many ways Tim Russert was one of the father’s of modern television. Glenn’s always said on and off the air that Tim Russert was fair and he beat up on both sides, regardless of political orientation.


 I also think that another reason Russert’s death struck Glenn so strongly was that Russert was a relatively young, not in excellent but good health combined with a job that placed enormous stress on him physically, mentally and emotionally.


 5pm Glenn’s in a really upbeat mood. Tania’s coming in for tonight’s show and we’re going to pick her up right now. I never thought about it but I guess I assumed that family life was different.


 9:30pm The radio station and our local affiliate WHYN 560 has been raising funds for St. Jude. Glenn’s asked his general manager, Chris, if he can donate the profits from the show to the radio-thon. He’s given permission for a $5,000 donation but Glenn can’t stop himself and announces he’s donating one-half of the profits from the show to St. Jude. Chris is not going to be happy. Glenn says it won’t be a problem because he’s sure that there will be a number 5 in the amount that’s eventually donated.


 11:06pm Glenn throws a curveball. He’s been talking about fathers all day today and it’s on his mind. So he asks me about my own dad and my relationship with my father. He remarks that we’ve been friends for about 5 years and he really hasn’t heard me talk about my dad. I’ve got to give Glenn credit—he’s pretty perceptive, but sometimes his frankness can make people wince.


 11:30pm There’s a group discussion on whether video I took yesterday should have been posted on the internet, I opted against it. I thought it was too dark. Glenn really wants it posted, he thinks it’s funny. And there is humor in a macabre way. It’s a video I took in the plane where Glenn and John Bobey have a discussion about suicide. Glenn’s family has a history of suicide. I’ve heard him talk about it and he’s told me that he either looks at that familial past and get depressed or look at it and try to laugh—he and John Bobey went for laughs. You might be thinking—Joe works for Glenn so why isn’t the video on the blog if Glenn wanted it that way. Well, the blog has two rules—one, it’s your blog through my eyes, so there won’t be any editing of content—that way you get it as I see and experience it; two, no posed photos.


 Midnight We discuss the National Insider Convention. Glenn wants to make it special. John Carney, Rich and John Bobey all agree to head over early to help Carolyn out with registration and set-up. I’m excited, it’s my first Insider Convention and I’ve heard lots of great things.

Glenn’s Excitement, Bobey’s Comedy Darkside, Airplane food video and Your Comments

Blogging by Joe Kerry

June 12, 2008 (Thursday)

6am How can it be 6am so early? It feels like I just went to bed a few hours ago, when I realize that I actually did go to bed just a few hours ago. Funny though, my dreams seem to have more color and more vivid. Go figure.

I meet Glenn and Adam downstairs and head out to the radio station. Everyone has that nasally tired voice. I can’t really described it well, but those of you have been tired for a few days and not able to get the sleep you need know what I’m talking about, right?

Syracuse has great weather. It’s perfect. Everyone at the radio station give us the royal treatment. They are so kind and considerate. Glenn’s on a tear preparing for the radio show. I have a portable printer and actually burn through an entire black ink cartridge printing out all the material Glenn wants to review before the show begins.

9am I watch Adam set-up the radio equipment for a remote broadcast and realize that he’s a pretty serious individual—not a lot of laughs or gratuitous conversation. He has a knack for taking the complex and reducing it to the plain and simple. He’s a good balance for Glenn who needs someone to reign him in, settle him down—and on occasion just reinforce the reality of limited time on a very tight schedule.

10:30a Glenn and Tania talk on the phone. It’s almost funny watching how excited, almost giddy Glenn gets when he talks to Tania and the children. I think going on tour would be a perfect experience for Glenn if his entire family could come with him.

11:30a Glenn asks John Bobey to buy him a “book or two” from the local bookstore. Glenn says he needs the books to help him sleep.

Noon. Review some emails received from the blog. Here are a few of the emails received and responses:

Q: You're doing a great job with the blog and the videos. I love food stories. How Glenn can eat what he does and drink Coke Zero like he does and still deliver the fantastic work that he does is mind-boggling. Your sleep deprivation is worth the infotainment you are providing. Thanks. - Carol, San Antonio, Texas

A: Naturally, I have to include any email which pays such high compliments to the blogger. But I want to assure Carol that it’s not just the Coke Zero, but the butter dipped French fries, whipped cream and chocolate bar chasers he regularly consumes which give him all the power he needs

Q: Hey Glenn, I was at the show in Harrisburg last night. My wife bought tickets for us for my birthday. It was the best birthday gift I have ever received!!!! I laughed my A** off for two straight hours and then laughed continuously while we ate afterwards. I am 25 and just really started listening to Conservative talk radio about a year ago. You guys have it down pat, everything you talk about it so right on it is unbelievable.

A: The whole laughing you’re a** off doesn’t seem to be working for Glenn. I actually think it works in reverse for him. Maybe if he goes a few days without laughing we’ll see change?

Q: My reason for writing today was to ask you if the picture of Adam and John Bobey actually shows Adam holding a rifle? If I were John, I'd be very nervous! - Paul, Harrisburg, PA

A: It does indeed. But it’s not real—at least that’s what we thought at the time. If I’m John Bobey I’d be nervous each time Adam entered the room. Talk about two different types of people!

2pm Sometimes when people have a bit of success they forget how to be nice. To be kind. What they were once grateful for they now take for granted. Glenn’s told us that if we see him moving in that direction to just ‘hit’ him. I’ve known him for several years—long before television, the magazine, and tours. He always treated people with kindness and I see that same kindness today. I want to know where that ‘grounding’ comes from. Is it Tania? His family? His church? A combination?

5pm Dinner. We have dinner from a box and it’s tremendously good. Everyone’s enjoying dinner until a piece of thoroughly chewed chicken mysteriously appears at the center of our makeshift dinner table. Since there are no small children in the room it’s clear that someone on the team placed it there but no one comes forward. John Carney finally picks it up in a napkin and disposes of it. But the damage is done—with each bite of dinner I see that nasty looking piece of chicken in my head—so dinner is over as quickly as it began.

8:30pm Okay, Joe just stepped away from his computer so this seems like a perfect opportunity to take this blog in…another direction. I started the day by meeting my mom for breakfast—had some blueberry pancakes at The Market Diner—they were exceptionally good. Just think—while Glenn was plowing through all that “end of the world, gas is expensive, blah blah blah,” I was eating a giant stack of buttery goodness! After that me and Ma went to see my Uncle Bob and Aunt Karen…and I had a beer—GB was prattling on about heaven only knows what, and I was getting my pre-lunch drunk on! Who’s got the better job now?

Then it was back to the hotel to steal some towels…I mean, check out. I grabbed an ice coffee with tour pal John Carney at Federal Espresso and sat in the lunchtime sun…while on a neighboring bench a fat guy covered in a thick blanket of body hair rubbed his belly like a genie’s lamp. It was not appealing, but I guess you take the good with the bad.

I’m backstage now during the second half and packing up for the trip to Springfield, Mass. We’ll be eating roast beef sandwiches from Clark’s Ale House on the ride—say what you will about the trials of life on the road, but the eatin’s good.

This is not the funniest thing I’ve ever written…(John’s wrong—judging by his prior work--this is probably the funniest thing he’s ever written).

9:30p I see John Bobey has taken the liberty of writing in the blog. John Bobey reminds me of Shrek. No, not physically—because Bobey’s not that strong—but with the whole ‘onion/layer’ comparison. John is a nice guy. He’d help anyone out and literally do anything for someone in need. But he’s got a dark edge to him. When we talk about this he tells me that “all comedy is based in pain”. I’ll have to think about that.

10p During the break Glenn wants to know what the proposed 2008 Christmas Tour cities are, even though the list isn’t finalized. Does this guy ever stop thinking about the future?

10:30p We had a great dinner on the plane. You can tell that the tour is more than halfway over as there’s increased levity in the travel now—or maybe it was the beer that was brought onboard? John Bobey says it all helps to keep the voices in his head ‘happy and quiet.’

11:00p Interesting discussion on the plane between the team. John Bobey is asked whether he believes he’s a good person who’ll qualify for heaven or end up in hell. I like John’s answer, something along the lines of “I’m a good person who has done some bad things.” I think most of us fall into that category but wouldn’t admit it as candidly as John just did. He’s got a certain dark humor. The conversation ends with a comparison made by Glenn about how John Bobey is very similar to Dr. House (of television fame).

11:50p I learn that John purchased ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer for Glenn to read and he’s already 30 pages into it.

I’ve worked on several political campaigns—trying to help individuals get elected to office, both at a state and national level—and this tour experience has been so different. In many ways it’s the same: (1) you’ve got to get a group of people from city to city and (2) deliver a message while (3) reaching out to the public who attend. But that’s really where the similarities end. In politics there is so much formality, and repetition. Spontaneity was considered a negative thing. The cities were different but the speech and everything else was always the same.

I contrast that to Glenn and his team that prize spontaneity. When something pops up the first thought isn’t “how did we handle this in the past” it’s approached with a “how can we use this to make the show better” attitude. There is no blame game, there is no “this is my responsibility, that is yours”; it is a team approach. It’s like working on a rapid response team.

Midnight Arrive at the hotel and start to upload videos for the blog. Funny, I didn’t think it would matter, but I’m more excited about loading the blogs for tomorrow seeing all the positive feedback that came in today about yesterday’s videos. I ask why that matters to me—it’ll give me something to think about as I load these up.

(If you’ve seen the show let us know what you thought! joe@glennbeck.com)

Quick Links: Unelectable Blog - June 6-11

Joe Kerry

Joe Kerry Blog: On Tour with Glenn Beck

Have you ever wondered what it must be like to travel on tour with Glenn? Or want to peak behind the curtain to see what happens offstage? Have you ever asked yourself if ‘on-air’ Glenn Beck is the same person when he’s ‘off-air’? I hope to answer these and other questions this week while I’m on tour with Glenn and his team.

I’m a recent addition to Glenn’s crew and it might sound backwards, but I knew Glenn even before I was a fan of the show. Long time fans will remember Glenn calling my cell phone and pulling me out of the courtroom with some pressing legal question which ranged from whether he would be able to sue candy cigarette makers to what the legal definition of ‘entrapment’ was. After four years of unscheduled and impromptu phone calls, Glenn was able to convince his general manager, Chris Balfe, to hire me fulltime.

Now, I see firsthand how Glenn and his team produce his radio, television, tour, magazine, newsletter, and books. With everything he does it always seemed like Glenn was given 37 hours a day while the rest of us lived on a 24 hour clock. How does he do it all?

I hope with this blog I’ll be able to provide some good behind the scene photos and insights to answer these questions—and questions that you may have. I think I have one of the best seats in the house. I’m in the plane as he travels from city to city, I’m backstage as he prepares and am in creative meetings with him and his team—so I hope this blog acts as a type of backstage pass into the tour, his team and Glenn.

(So you made it to the end. If there’s something you’d like to see discussed or have a question about the show let me know: joe@glennbeck.com).

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


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


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 


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


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


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 


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


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 


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 


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 


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


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 


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


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


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 


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


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


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 


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


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 


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


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.