Welcome to the Fitz File

Hi there, Internet reader. My name is Tristan Fitzpatrick, and I am a communications professional based in the Washington, DC metro area. Today, I am launching The Fitz File, a blog focusing on progressive news, commentary, and opinions ahead of the 2020 US presidential election (and possibly beyond, if our country survives in its current iteration).

As of today, there are 144 days until the general election in America. Until then, there are many opportunities for progressives to get out the vote about the causes that are important to us, including expanding affordable health care, raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing worker protections, investing in our infrastructure, providing good jobs, expanding civil rights, etc. My hope, in starting this blog, is that I’ll be able to provide relevant and thoughtful reporting around these issues.

Each weekly blog will follow a similar format, starting with a short piece of analysis/news, followed by This Week’s WTF Moment in Congress (featuring the most out there clips of folks in Congress, which would honestly be funny if they weren’t so cringeworthy), and a reading list of goings-on I’m following in the political world.

Without further ado, here is the first edition of The Fitz File.

Joe Biden will have to decide what kind of president he wants to be.

I tweeted earlier this week that if Joe Biden wins in November, who he turns to for policy advice will be among the biggest decisions of his presidency.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that Biden “is now seeking input from more than 100 left-leaning economists and other researchers, but there is little clarity on who has true influence.” The members of this secretive group aren’t all known to the public, but they do include some mainstream Democratic policy thinkers like Jared Bernstein, Ben Harris, Heather Boushey, & Lawrence Summers, along with more lefty economists like Gabriel Zucman (creator of Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax).

I am glad Biden views re-building the economy as one of the most pressing concerns he will have to face, should he win office. But if Biden continues listening to Summers and his ilk, we are in for deep trouble. The American Prospect has done some great deep dives into Summers’ record recently, but long story short he’s played a major role in some big economic blunders over the past few decades, including deregulating the financial industry as Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary & pushing austerity when he was part of Barack Obama’s National Economic Council following the Great Recession.

If Biden is comparing himself to FDR, he will have to make a similar decision that FDR did in his presidency: listen to the Harry Hopkins’ of the political world who advocate for Keynesian economic stimulus, or to the Henry Morgenthau’s who will push for balancing budgets in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

This Week’s WTF Moment in Congress

Is Sen. Tom Cotton asking if we are going to tear the Washington Monument down and rename it the Obelisk of Wokeness. Am I the only one who thinks that name actually sounds cool as hell?

Reading List

Biden’s VP list narrows: Warren, Harris, Susan Rice, others (AP News)

It appears that the veepstakes is entering a new phase, as names like Stacey Abrams & Sen. Amy Klobuchar get dropped further down the list.

Warren & Harris have both won statewide office before, which would seem to be a good match if Biden is looking for someone to be presidential from day one. While neither hail from a swing state, they each would be able to motivate key constituencies in the Democratic Party to vote for Biden.

I’m not really sure what the appeal is electorally behind Rice…she could help keep Maine’s three Electoral College votes in the Team Blue column, but I don’t foresee turnout in Maine being a problem due to the expensive Senate race between Sen. Susan Collins & Sara Gideon.

Sidebar: I would totally watch a show in which Biden puts all of his VP candidates in a March Madness-style bracket.

Is Jamaal Bowman About to Take Down a 30-Year Incumbent in New York’s 16th? (Slate)

This newsletter contains a good overview of the surprisingly competitive primary challenge Bronx principal Jamaal Bowman is waging against 30-year incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel, whose missteps (so far) include being caught on a hot mic at a news conference in New York saying, “If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care.” Politicians, anything you say can and will be used against you…

Trump Administration Issues Rule to Roll Back Transgender Protections in the Affordable Care Act (The Wall Street Journal)

Yet another horrible Friday night news dump from the Trump administration. This one came on the four year anniversary of the Pulse massacre, and a day after the Republican National Committee published a memo extolling the president’s “unprecedented steps to protect the LGBTQ community.”

Charles Booker Is Changing the Thinking About Who Beats Mitch (The Nation)

Speaking of primaries…this article takes a look at the Senate Democratic primary in Kentucky, where the DSCC-endorsed former House candidate Amy McGrath faces state Rep. Charles Booker for the right to take on the Grim Reaper. While McGrath has the institutional support and has drastically outraised Booker, Booker has gotten some notable endorsements in recent weeks, including from the two largest newspapers in the state (the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington-Herald Leader). In another sign the race is heating up, the campaigns have also been trading some nasty insults at each other on Twitter…

Until next week…

-T

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