Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Bernie Sanders has been making moves that, to political tea-readers, look a lot like signs that he’s gearing up for another presidential campaign in 2020.
Sanders was hammered in 2016 for lacking foreign policy credentials, something Hillary Clinton—for good and ill—could claim in spades. Now the Vermont senator is meeting with foreign policy experts like William Perry, who served as Bill Clinton’s defense secretary, to plan a series of speeches to better define his international vision, Politico reported on Monday.
He’s also cultivating closer ties to party establishment figures that he’s long railed against, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, whose union endorsed Clinton early on in the primary.
Sanders reportedly hasn’t decided whether he’ll run again in 2020—after a bruising Democratic primary which former interim chairwoman Donna Brazile recently admitted was skewed in Clinton’s favor—but a dozen people close to the senator acknowledged to Politico that these moves could be positioning for 2020.
Ari Rabin-Havt, his senior advisor, flatly dismissed the changes as preparation for the next presidential election, saying Sanders is simply stepping into his new role as outreach chairman for the Senate Democrats.
OK, sure. But here’s what we know: Sanders remains among the most popular politicians in America by a long shot. In a hypothetical 2020 match-up against Donald Trump, recent polling found he wins, as was the case in 2016. That wouldn’t be a bad starting point for the Democrats.
- John McCain, the Arizona senator, said “fuck” a lot of times in a lengthy profile with Esquire, but did make at least one cogent point in suggesting Hillary Clinton shouldn’t have rushed to get the last word on 2016 with What Happened:
What’s the fucking point? Keep the fight up? History will judge that campaign, and it’s always a period of time before they do. You’ve got to move on. This is Hillary’s problem right now: She doesn’t have anything to do.
- Senator Al Franken, of Minnesota, is “embarrassed and ashamed” of the misconduct allegations against him, but is planning on getting back to work today, he told the Star Tribune.
- Israel and the Trump administration are working very hard to keep a nearly-finished United Nations database of companies that operate in the West Bank under wraps. The so-called “blacklist” is said to include dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinational corporations, and won’t be completed for weeks, but Israel’s U.N. ambassador told the AP: “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”
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