The Democratic presidential campaign is most obviously a fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It is also a contest over what kind of party Democrats want to have and what level of purity will be required to be part of it.
The party's leftward swing this year, made obvious by the surge of support for democratic socialist Sanders and his call for political revolution, marks a direct reversal of the party's shift to the center in the 1990s.
Clinton's response to Sanders' strength has been to put forward her own brand of pragmatic liberalism and to insist that her plans are more achievable given Republican strength on Capitol Hill and a deeply-divided country. That is a less-than-satisfying response for many Democrats who want to seize on this campaign to pick a nominee who reflects the party's more-liberal present and not its moderate past. read more
As their party's caucuses and primaries get underway, Democrats face as stark a choice as any in modern times. They must decide between a revolutionary and an incrementalist: Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist who wants to transform the political system, and Hillary Clinton, a more cautious, conventional -- you might even say Clintonian -- liberal.
For some voters, what matters most is ideology: What kind of progressive agenda do they prefer? For others, it's electability -- although that's notoriously hard to predict before people actually start casting ballots.
But there's another factor Democrats ought to consider: governability. How would President Sanders get his revolutionary agenda through a Congress in which at least one house will still be run by a counterrevolutionary Republican majority? read more
As Hillary Clinton and her surrogates scour the country for mega-donors, the one left-leaning billionaire they are not approaching is the one who knows the first couple more intimately than any of the others.
Ron Burkle figures that over the years, he's raised about $10 million for the Clintons at his sprawling Beverly Hills estate. After Bill Clinton left the White House, he and Burkle jetted around the world in an unconventional partnership that netted the former president about $15 million and Burkle entree into the palaces and offices of world dignitaries. For years, when Clinton dropped into Los Angeles, he would only stay at "Ronnie's" place, Greenacres, once owned by silent film star Harold Lloyd. Clinton was fond of the home and its history.
So what's Burkle done for the Clintons lately? Nothing. read more
American workers are poised in 2016 to finally get what they've been missing for years: higher salaries. A variety of wage and salary statistics -- from payroll processors, private analysts and Federal Reserve researchers -- indicate that the underlying rate of pay increase for workers has been picking up much more in the last year than commonly thought. read more
Joseph Tanfani, Los Angeles Times: In his Republican presidential campaign, [Donald] Trump sells himself as a brilliant businessman and consummate dealmaker. With his showman's knack for positive spin, he depicts his history in Atlantic City, bankruptcies and all, as more proof of his genius for timing. "I had the good sense -- and I've gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages ... I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered," Trump said during the first Republican debate. The real story of Trump's rise and fall in Atlantic City is more complicated. His casinos were profitable early. As he expanded, though, Trump's aggressive borrowing and go-go strategy left them laboring under high-interest debt. When he decided to leave, in 2009, the exit was far from smooth and graceful; he gave up after last-ditch battles with bondholders. read more