Donald Trump Archives - Page 6 of 279 - Florida Politics

N.Y. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hearts Gwen Graham for Governor

Gwen Graham scored a major national endorsement Tuesday when New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced backing Graham’s campaign for Florida governor.

“I am proud to join thousands of others in supporting Gwen Graham, a strong progressive leader, for Governor of Florida. In the age of Trump, we need courageous leaders like Gwen who will always put people over politics and aren’t afraid to stand up to anybody to do what is right,” Gillibrand said. “For her strength and leadership skills, her fortitude and passion, I offer my strongest endorsement of Democrat Gwen Graham for Governor of Florida. Take it from me: with Gwen Graham as governor, Florida will have a champion for progressive values in the Governor’s office.”

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s presidential election, Gillibrand was on the short list of potential Democrats to run for president in 2020. However, she quashed that talk early last month saying definitively she was ruling out such a run.

Nevertheless, it’s a big get for Graham, currently involved in a three-way race for the 2018 Democratic nomination against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park businessman Chris King.

“After almost 20 years of Republican rule and with Donald Trump in the White House, Florida needs a governor who will stand up for our values and fight to strengthen public education, expand access to health care, and protect civil rights,” Graham said. “Senator Gillibrand is a warrior in Washington fighting for our shared values. Kirsten’s support and the support of women from across the country who share our mission to turn Florida blue is humbling and driving our campaign forward.”

Graham has previously earned the endorsement of Emily’s List, the national political action committee that backs pro-choice Democratic female candidates for office.

In the statement accompanying the announcement of Gillibrand’s endorsement, the Graham campaign made sure to mention that she earned a 100 percent rating from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and co-sponsored legislation to renew the battle for an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

John Rutherford: ‘Not concerned’ about Russian collusion with Donald Trump campaign

On Tuesday in Jacksonville, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford — an ally of President Donald Trump — discussed the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the parallel investigations of the Trump Administration.

“I want them to look at Russia’s attempt to interject themselves into our election process through cyberactivity and all that,” Rutherford said, “but I don’t see any collusion, I don’t think they’re going to find any collusion. It’s been almost six months now.”

“If they were going to find collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, I think it would have already been uncovered. So I’m not concerned at all about that. And I’m also not concerned about this idea that somehow … whatever the conversation was with [former FBI Director James] Comey, obstruction of justice,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford believes that much of the maelstrom around this story is politically motivated.

“Not the investigation that’s dealing with the cyberattack. Obviously, that occurred; we know it occurred; we know it’s been occurring. In fact,” said Rutherford, “we have to address not only the Russian hacking and others — China, others — who hacked not only our voting system but also our electrical grids and all sorts of attacks we’re experiencing.”

Rutherford, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, does not expect that panel to take up any of this in the foreseeable future.

“The Intelligence Oversight Committee in the House and the Senate,” Rutherford said, “is doing their job.”

And, contrary to the disquiet some feel about President Trump’s Tweets, Rutherford sees them as a way of communicating with “his constituents.”

“It’s not for me to advise the President … whatever his strategy is is his strategy,” Rutherford said. “I’m not going to give the President advice on how to Tweet.”

Cuba rejects new U.S. policy, saying pressure will not work

Cuba’s foreign minister has rejected President Donald Trump‘s new policy toward the island, saying “we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat” and refusing to return U.S. fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna Monday that Trump’s restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government. He said they would instead create unity behind the communist leadership.

He described fugitives such as Joanne Chesimard, a black militant convicted of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, as political refugees who had received asylum from the Cuban government and would not be returned because the U.S. has no “legal or moral basis” to demand their return.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Rick Scott remains tight-lipped about U.S. Senate bid

Gov. Rick Scott remains tight-lipped about his 2018 plans, telling CNN he won’t make any decision about the U.S. Senate race until “later.”

“I’ve always said the same thing: It’s 2017. The race is in 2018. I won’t make a decision until later,” said Scott during an interview with Erin Burnett on her show Erin Burnett OutFront. “Politicians seem to worry about their next job. I’ve got 570 days to go in this job. I’m trying to make Florida No. 1 for jobs, No. 1 for people being safe … and No. 1 for education.”

Scott is widely believed to be considering a U.S. Senate run in 2018. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has already said he plans to run for re-election.

The Naples Republican has been boosting his national profile for months now. In May, he announced he would chair the New Republican, a federal super PAC aimed rebranding the Republican Party and helping President Donald Trump.

The super PAC was founded by GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, and several Scott allies have been tapped to oversee the day-to-day operations. Melissa Stone, the governor’s former chief-of-staff and campaign manager of his successful 2014 re-election campaign, serves as the executive director; while Taylor Teepel, served in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and spent two years as former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief of staff, is New Republican’s finance director.

If Scott decides to run, he’ll have a big-name backer. President Donald Trump has encouraged Scott to run on several occasions, including last week when they were in Miami to announce the president’s Cuba policy.

“He’s doing a great job,” the president told the crowd. “I hope he runs for the Senate.”

Scott told Burnett that wasn’t the first time Trump put him on the spot, telling Burnett that Trump “did the same thing … a week and a half ago” when he was with him at an infrastructure conference.

Ted Yoho urges Ben Carson to reverse Obama-era ‘Housing First,’ reinstate homeless shelter funds

Gainesville Republican Ted Yolo, joined by 22 other House Republicans, co-signed a letter calling Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to reverse the “Housing First” emphasis in policies during the Obama administration.

“Housing First” philosophy holds that the best solution for homelessness is moving people into permanent, independent housing as quickly as possible. In order to implement those guidelines, HUD began increasing programs following that approach, cutting support for traditional shelters.

GOP lawmakers say that because of Housing First, successful homeless shelters in their districts have lost federal funding; they believe Carson needs to review the policy now.

“The Housing First approach may work for some, but it isn’t — and can’t be — the answer for all,” says California Republican Darrell Issa, who also signed the letter to Carson. “This misguided policy has caused some of the most effective homeless assistance programs in our district to walk away from the funding they need to help families get back on their feet.”

Federal officials have acknowledged that the change represents a major shift, with some programs receiving federal dollars in the past are now cut off, making it a more cost-effective way to reach the ambitious goal to end homelessness by 2020 set out by the Obama administration.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has also endorsed the approach.

The text of the letter:

Dear Secretary Carson:

We are writing to you to express our concerns about current U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies and priorities regarding homelessness assistance.  It has come to our attention that HUD’s current procedures in administering such assistance have put homeless families, youth, and children at risk, in addition to jeopardizing holistic-based programs that work to alleviate the effects of poverty by supporting sobriety, work, and accountability.

As you know, in recent competitions for the Continuum of Care program, one of the program priorities articulated by HUD has been the “Housing First” approach, which focuses on providing immediate access to housing, prioritizing providers that offer services to clients on a voluntary basis, rather than those programs that require sobriety or participation in education, work, training, or service programs.  Under this policy, HUD now gives considerable preference based on a program’s commitment to using the Housing First model, placing programs that do not use that model at a severe disadvantage in receiving financial assistance.

By implementing its preference for the Housing First model, HUD has removed any incentive for independent housing programs to operate under a model that includes mandatory services, accountability, or sobriety.  In doing this, the Department has effectively used its administrative and regulatory power to impose national priorities on communities, forcing communities and providers to maximize services for certain populations — chronically homeless adults — at the expense of other equally worthy populations — families, youth, and children — and particular program models, regardless of local circumstances, needs, or a program’s effectiveness to lift participants out of poverty. Communities as a whole, which benefit from having these programs, are now unfortunately and unfairly penalized by the elimination or decline of such programs.

We strongly urge you to thoroughly review the Department’s procedures with respect to providing assistance to programs combating homelessness and to appropriately exercise your authority in providing support for these types of programs that include families, youth, and children and the community-based program models that serve them well by enabling them to increase their incomes and educational attainment, maintain sobriety, and acquire permanent life skills that will help prevent them from returning to a life of homelessness.

In order to support these families and their children, we also urge you to end the recommended scoring guidelines that currently punish programs that prioritize work, education, and sobriety. We believe that families have the best opportunity to escape dependence on public assistance when they are supported in their recovery and given education, training and work opportunities.

We look forward to working with you to break the intergenerational cycle of family homelessness by promoting programs that serve families and provide safe and drug free housing.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Robert Rische in Congressman Issa’s office at (202) 225-3906 or robert.rische@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Darrell Issa (CA-49)
Don Bacon (NE-02)
Andy Barr (KY-06)
Mike Conaway (TX-11)
Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
Trent Franks (AZ-08)
Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
Randy Hultgren (IL-14)
Mike Johnson (LA-04)
Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Roger Marshall (KS-01)
Mark Meadows (NC-11)
Luke Messer (IN-06)
Alex Mooney (WV-02)
Gary Palmer (AL-06)
Steve Pearce (NM-02)
Robert Pittenger (NC-09)
David Rouzer (NC-07)
Steve Stivers (OH-15)
Mark Walker (NC-06)
Joe Wilson (SC-02)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)
Ted Budd (NC-13)

Peter Vivaldi calls on Donald Trump to give Puerto Rico as much attention as Cuba

A Puerto Rican activist in Central Florida is calling on President Donald Trump to give as much attention to Puerto Rico as he is giving to Cuba.

Peter Vivaldi, a Republican who has unsuccessfully run for Congress and the Florida Senate and who is a frequent organizer of bipartisan efforts in Central Florida to address Puerto Rico, has penned an open letter to Trump urging the president to join the call for statehood.

“It is extremely difficult to believe that in 2017, a nation like ours is still willing to oppress American citizens in Puerto Rico with the colony status,” Vivaldi wrote.

“On June 11, 2017, over half a million Puerto Ricans on the island voted. Ninety-seven percent of the voters overwhelmingly voted to become the 51st state,” he continued. “They want to experience the freedoms and liberty afforded to every other American.”

Vivaldi acknowledged he was writing for himself but expressed confidence he was passing along the views of the overwhelmingly-dominant “silent majority” of islanders and the estimated 5 million Puerto Ricans who, like him, live stateside. That includes a number of Puerto Ricans who live in Florida estimated to have surpassed 1 million last year, and which Vivaldi put at 1.2 million in his letter.

“When I saw what was going on Friday, I thought, ‘Oh, this is so cool,” Vivaldi said of the uniting of Cuban-American community there with national policy.

“This needs to get the same attention. That is so much needed, especially after 120 years,” he said. “That is the goal.”

Central Florida is the epicenter of Florida’s Puerto Rico diaspora, and Vivaldi is among the most outspoken of local leaders. Last week he joined a group that included fellow Republicans Anthony Suarez and state Rep. Bob Cortes, and Democrats state Sen. Victor Torres and state Rep. John Cortes and others in calling for Congress to take up and approve statehood for the island. Central Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation, including U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Stephanie Murphy also have called for Congress to act.

Vivaldi noted that Trump visited the Little Havana community in south Florida with Cuban-American U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio last week, and that he had discussed Cuba’s situation with Rubio over dinner.

Puerto Rico’s turn, Vivaldi suggested. He offered to have a cup of coffee with the president to talk about the Puerto Rico situation, for the 3.5 million people still living on the island.

“I am hoping that over a cup of coffee we can discuss you you can help not only the 3.5 million Americans on the island, but also the over 5 million who live in our great nation,” wrote Vivaldi, a lifelong stateside resident.

“I am one voice in a silent majority that believes Congress must act on behalf of Puerto Rican American patriots. After 100 years of ambiguity, we want to become full-fledged stakeholders in the American dream.

“I ask you to consider my request as millions of Puerto Ricans, on and off the island, await your support as the president of the colony of Puerto Rico, U.S.A. Your task to ‘Make American Great Again’ is no different than our wish to become the 51st state.”

Kartik Krishnaiyer, one of Florida’s leading progressive bloggers, to take hiatus from political writing

It was a really bad weekend for Florida progressives; not just because the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Gala ended in racially-tinged acrimony.

Kartik Krishnaiyer, one of Florida’s leading progressive bloggers and publisher of the award-winning Florida Squeeze website, wrote Friday he was “stepping away from covering party politics or Democratic Party happenings.”

At a time when President Donald Trump is advancing a reactionary, neo-nationalistic brand of GOP politics and Florida Republicans are beginning to demonstrate there is a shelf-life to one-party rule in the state, Krishnaiyer’s withdrawal from blogging and writing is a genuine blow to the progressive cause.

However, according to Krishnaiyer’s final post, Democrats and progressives only have themselves to blame for isolating a blogger once recognized by The Washington Post as one of the best state-based blogs in Florida.

“Whenever we publish work on the GOP, its excessive right-wing policies or hypocrisy they generate FAR less traffic than critiques directed at accountability of Democratic officeholders or the Democratic Party itself,” Krishnaiyer writes.

Krishnaiyer no longer wants to be a party to the Democrat-on-Democrat crime.

“It seems so many in our party live in a bubble, and while there’s a hunger for real talk on how to fix it, many of our articles just seem to create more acrimony and tribalism within the party. It at times gives aid and comfort to malcontents and gadflies with agendas that aren’t positive for the party or a progressive ideology while making little impact on those in power.”

What Krishnaiyer wrote Friday seemed to be on full display come Sunday when, as Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida first reported, Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel was forced to apologize for racially-tinged remarks directed at black lawmakers who were upset with Bittel for allowing event planners to skip a feature to recognize state House and Senate Democrats.

“A party that, despite constant losses, puts the ethnic and gender profile first and a candidate’s qualifications, loyalty and ideology second isn’t an entity worth fighting to reform any longer,” Krishnaiyer wrote presciently.

Krishnaiyer, a staunch Democrat, began his political advocacy in the mid-90s as president of the University of Florida College Democrats. By 1998, he was active in the governmental and public relations sectors, where he stayed for a decade on political campaigns, nonprofits and advocacy organizations.

Before becoming a consultant, Krishnaiyer served as a staffer in the Florida House, acting as a political director for both organizations and campaigns. He played a role in the 2000 Presidential recount in Palm Beach County, working on behalf of the Palm Beach Democratic Party. He was statewide field coordinator for the Florida Democratic Party working through the DEC Chairs Association during the 2002 election cycle. He ran several local campaigns in both 2002 and 2004 in Palm Beach, Broward also in Central Florida.

In addition to his political work, Krishnaiyer has been a major figure in soccer reporting from 2007  to 2013, returning to political punditry in 2012 writing for the Political Hurricane. He founded the Florida Squeeze in 2013.

Krishnaiyer now serves as the managing editor and podcast co-host for World Soccer Talk, an international soccer blog. He is the author of “Blue with Envy,” a book about Manchester City Football Club, and is a regular contributor to the Florida Politics email digest Jacksonville Bold.

It’s unclear what will happen to The Florida Squeeze without Krishnaiyer’s writing propelling it forward. To be honest, the volume and quality of the site’s content dropped off considerably since winning The Washington Post recognition. It should have parlayed the accolade into a larger footprint in Florida politics.

But, for whatever reasons, that never materialized.

Still, the site continues to be widely read within Florida Democratic and progressive circles. It has an active comment section where insiders, in mostly anonymous fashion, spar with each other. And with a wide-open Democratic primary for governor and other statewide offices, the Squeeze could have offered an arena where Democratic activists and thinkers shaped the big debates of the 2018 cycle.

Unfortunately, that does not look like it will happen.

On a side note, Krishnaiyer’s stepping away from the table is more evidence that Florida’s fledgling political blogosphere died a long time ago. It’s no longer enough to call this website a blog, nor is The Sayfie Review, with its complete lack of original content, a blog.

No, a blogosphere is/was something that was populated by wonderful, interesting sites like The Political Hurricane/The Florida Squeeze: mostly non-commercial platforms giving voice to a broad array of opinions. They weren’t always the best-edited websites, and sometimes they looked as attractive as a dog’s breakfast, but they were worth reading.

There was a time, less than six years ago, when prominent Florida political blogger, Kenneth Quinnell, actually staged an awards contest to recognize the best of blogging in the state. There were more than 150 websites which merited consideration!

Those were the days.

After a while, though, many amateur writers lost interest in blogging. “Why am I writing all of this if no one is reading it?” is the question which probably kills off most blogs.

The New York Times reported at the end of the blog era that 95 percent of blogs are essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

My friend Kartik Krishnaiyer tried his damnedest to fulfill his blogging dream. But in the end, it went unfulfilled. And we are all the worse for that.

Fact check: Donald Trump keeps much of Barack Obama’s Cuba policy

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he’s “cancelling” his predecessor’s policy toward Cuba is a good deal less than meets the ear.

Trump’s move, announced Friday in Miami, actually leaves in place most of the important elements of President Barack Obama’s moves to open relations with the island.

And while his policy has the stated aim of helping the country’s nascent private sector, it contains a measure that could damage thousands of small-business people who host, feed and transport independent American travelers to Cuba.

Trump’s policy keeps a U.S. Embassy open in Havana and allows U.S. airlines and cruise ships to continue service to Cuba. Cuban-Americans can still send money to relatives and travel to the island without restriction. U.S. farmers can continue selling their crops to the Cuban government.

The new policy aims to starve military-linked businesses of cash by banning any U.S. payments to them. It pledges to help the entrepreneurial class that has grown since President Raul Castro enacted changes after taking office a decade ago.

“Effective immediately, I am canceling the previous administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” Trump said. “We will very strongly restrict American dollars flowing to the military, security and intelligence services that are the core of the Castro regime.” He promised, “concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future.”

The policy will undoubtedly reduce the flow of cash to GAESA, the military-linked conglomerate that operates dozens of hotels and other tourism-related businesses. But those businesses host hundreds of thousands of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists a year, and do unfettered business with corporations from around the world, reducing the impact of any U.S. cutoff.

Weakening the impact further, Trump’s policy carves out exceptions in the military ban for airlines, cruise ships, agricultural sales and remittances.

The policy also allows Americans to continue patronizing state-run hotels and other businesses that are not directly linked with Cuba’s military and state security services. And, of course, nothing prevents the Cuban government from simply moving revenue over to the military or state security, a vulnerability in the policy that the White House has not addressed.

The policy risks harming independent business people by restoring a requirement for most American travelers to visit Cuba as part of tightly regulated tour groups. The Cuban government has traditionally steered those tour groups to state-run business, meaning the majority of American travelers to Cuba will probably no longer be able to patronize private restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and taxi drivers.

Private entrepreneurs say Americans represent a disproportionate share of their revenue because they spend more than other travelers for high-end services that badly run state-operated business typically cannot provide.

Trump also demanded the return of U.S. fugitives including Joanne Chesimard, a black militant convicted in 1977 of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper.

“The harboring of criminals and fugitives will end,” Trump said. “You have no choice. It will end.”

Many of the high-profile fugitives in Cuba are black or Puerto Rican militants who were offered political asylum by Fidel Castro during the 1970s and 1980s.

Cuba has repeatedly said it will not renege on the promise of the former president, who died in November.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

 

Rick Kriseman: As a father, an obligation to support climate action

Like Dads across the country, this Father’s Day I’m looking forward to receiving some special attention from my two kids. But I’ll also be reflecting on my obligation as a father to protect my children from growing threats like climate change.

We don’t have the luxury of being in denial here in Florida, where rising sea levels are already imperiling coastal property and infrastructure. To turn a blind eye to escalating climate impacts is to say to our kids and grandkids that we really don’t care about their future.

That’s why when Donald Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, I joined mayors, governors, university and college leaders, businesses and investors from throughout the nation to declare that “We Are Still In.”

Here in St. Petersburg, we are going further.

Later this month, I will be attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting to share our city’s message that we are committed to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. More than 80 mayors from across the country have endorsed a goal of powering our cities with 100 percent clean and renewable energy. We know that the best way to slow fossil fuel-driven climate change is to repower our economies with clean, renewable sources like wind and solar. Here in the Sunshine State, that’s a no-brainer. Working toward 100 percent clean energy will help ensure that St. Pete remains a ‘city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play.’”

We will continue to support strong climate action and a transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity and health. After all, the facts on the ground (or in the oceans and atmosphere) haven’t changed. Just the politics.

I’m proud of the fact that St. Petersburg has been on the cutting edge of preparing for climate change. We were the first city in Florida to update our land-use plans to comply with the “Perils of Flood” state law, and we are upgrading our infrastructure at a rapid pace. But while we prepare our city to adapt to climate impacts such a rising ocean, more severe storms and heat waves, I’m more determined than ever to do everything I can to help bring about a rapid transition to a clean energy economy that gets to the root of the problem.

Moving quickly toward 100 percent clean, renewable energy will not only help slow climate change, it will improve our air quality, protect our kids’ health, strengthen our economy and create exciting opportunities for today’s workers, and those who have yet to enter the workforce. Solar jobs in Florida increased by 26 percent per year last year, but we’re still far behind where we can and should be. The sky is the limit. Clean, renewable energy produced right here in Florida means more money stays in our communities, rather than being sent to out of state fossil fuel corporations.

While Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep us bound to 19th-century fossil fuels like coal, and all of its consequences, St. Petersburg and cities and states across the country are recommitting to a clean, healthy, prosperous, clean energy future. For every step backward by the Trump administration, we’ll take two steps forward.

Long after my service as mayor is done, my kids Jordan and Samuel will be living their lives with families of their own. As parents, our most important shared legacy will be the health of the world we are leaving them. Everything we do today to confront climate change with clean, renewable energy is a gift of hope and love to our kids.

___

Rick Kriseman is Mayor of St. Petersburg.

At Florida Democrats Leadership Gala, Joe Biden argues progressives can still win working class vote

In the immediate aftermath of Hillary Clinton‘s stunning Electoral College loss to Donald Trump last November, Democrats took to writing think pieces and conducting heated arguments about how they lost working-class white voters.

Questions like: Was it too much of “identity politics”? Were they too elitist?

Joe Biden has heard and read about those discussions, and he’s sick of them.

“This phony debate going on in the Democratic Party, the Hobbesian choice that we’re given — we either become less progressive, and focus on working folks, or forget about working folk and become more progressive,” he said while giving the keynote speech to more than 1,200 Democrats at the party’s Leadership Blue Gala at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood.

“There is no need to choose, they are not inconsistent,” he said to a cheering crowd.

That’s easy for Biden to say. Biden’s unique political persona as a longtime member of the U.S. Senate representing Delaware has been one of representing the working class whites that Clinton lost to Trump last fall.

Biden himself thought hard about running for president, but with no clear daylight and so much of the Democratic Party establishment supporting Clinton (including President Barack Obama), he opted to stand down, but made the case on Saturday that the party could win back those voters, with an obvious inference being that he could be that candidate to do so in 2020.

Citing congressional ratings that showed him to be among the top ten liberal senators in the nation in his 36-year career, Biden said he has been a progressive and someone who could capture the working class vote, so Democrats should know that they could get those votes as well.

“These folks we’re talking about who left us — they voted for a black man named Barack Obama!” 

In fact, exit polls show that approximately 12 percent of voters who supported Obama turned around and chose Trump in 2012.

The former Vice President talked about the working class voters that the Democratic lost in the crucial Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He said it was things like digitalization and automation that are putting people out of work, in what he called “this fourth industrial revolution” which is causing real anxiety and fear among many Americans.

“They’re worried that they won’t be able to keep up,” he said. “So we saw of playing to their fears, their lesser angels, their basic instincts, rather than their better angels can still have a powerful impact as a political tool.”

He then dug deep into what he said was the “hopelessness” of some of these Americans, mentioning the statistic that white men aged 45-54 who are dying at a quicker rate than any other demographic right now.

“Highest rate of drug abuse. Not the ‘hood. There,” he barked.

And Biden talked about how that anxiety can play out by lashing out at “the others,” such as undocumented immigrants, Muslims and the transgendered. “Anyone not like you can become the scapegoat.”

It was a compelling speech, marred only by a detour into how cutting tax loopholes could free up money to pay for the community college being the only soft spots in the 51-minute address.

He also chastised Democrats for failing to think big, going for an incremental change instead.

“What the hell is happening?!” he asked. “We build new things by breaking old things.”

“No, no. I’m being deadly earnest,” he followed up, one of half-dozen times he would point out his previous comment, making sure everyone knew he wasn’t joking.

While his intensity came close to yelling at the audience at points, a few times he dropped down to a whisper, where the audience had to literally lean in to hear him, such as when he described a conversation with his father, who once told him: “Joey, I don’t expect government to be able to solve our problems, but I do expect them to understand them. Just understand them.”

Remaining sotto voce, Biden admitted: “That slice of people that Barack and I had, Democrats have always had, that don’t think we understand them anymore. It’s not a lot, but it was the difference in the election.”

The former VP also asked for more civility in our politics, without mentioning the current president’s name. “We have to treat the opposition with more dignity,” he said, then boasted that there wasn’t a single Republican on Capitol Hill who doesn’t trust him or won’t talk to him.

The 74-year-old Biden recently launched “American Possibilities PAC,” a political-action committee that will keep him engaged to help other Democrats, but immediately sparked more discussion about a possible 2020 run, when he would be 77.

Then again, Donald Trump is already the oldest president in our history, having turned 71 last week.

Though there will be plenty of other Democrats in the mix, two of the leading lights — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — will also be in their 70s in three years. Sanders would be 78; Warren would be 71.

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