A Debate, Endorsements and Counting Cash: This Week in the 2020 Race

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, appearing at his first event since his heart attack two weeks earlier, seemed like his old self and aimed to dispel some of the concerns about his health. And Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota had big nights, sparring with Ms. Warren and setting themselves up as moderate voters’ alternatives to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr, who largely faded into the background.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file their third-quarter reports with the Federal Election Commission. Our colleagues compiled the fund-raising totals, analyzed how they compared to previous quarters, and created a graphic that shows who’s up and who’s down in the money race.

The candidates also provided a few surprising top lines: Mr. Biden is relatively low on cash; about half the field spent more money in the third quarter than they took in; and Tom Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund manager who is largely self-financing his campaign, spent $47 million in the past months.

But the real oddity was on the other end of the spectrum. Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., reported raising a grand total of five (5) dollars from July through September.

As the three-hour debate was winding down on Tuesday, word came that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive political star from New York, was planning to endorse Mr. Sanders at a rally this weekend.

Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, soon gave her support to Mr. Sanders, too, scoring him a highly coveted endorsement two weeks after his heart attack.

Both women are among the first-term Democratic women of color known as “the squad.” The other two members of the group, Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, have not made a presidential endorsement.

In a speech on Thursday at Georgetown University, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, argued forcefully against the idea that the social network should be an arbiter of speech, doubling down on a stance that has drawn wide condemnation as the company continues to face accusations of amplifying disinformation.

Ms. Warren renewed that criticism after Mr. Zuckerberg’s speech, saying late Thursday in a tweet: “Facebook is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation. Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. They might do it again — and profit off of it.”

The comments continued an increasingly public feud between Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Warren. Earlier this month, Ms. Warren bought a political ad on Facebook that purposefully included the false claim that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook backed Mr. Trump’s re-election — and essentially dared the social network to remove it. (Neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor Facebook has endorsed a candidate.)

Mr. Zuckerberg at one point invoked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make his point about free speech, which drew a response from one of Dr. King’s daughters, Bernice King. “I’d like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians,” she wrote on Twitter. “These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Warren also announced that she would not take any contributions over $200 from executives at big tech companies, big banks, private equity firms or hedge funds.

Several Democrats released policy proposals this week, many of which echoed ideas from their rivals.

  • Mr. Biden released a plan to “guarantee government works for the people.” Among other things, it called for a constitutional amendment to make elections publicly funded; tougher restrictions on super PACs in the short term; a commission to enforce ethics laws; and a requirement that all federal candidates release their tax returns. Candidates like Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana have released similar plans focused on money in politics and corruption.

  • Mr. Buttigieg marked Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a plan to increase tribal nations’ autonomy. It would affirm that tribes have the right to tax activities on their lands; create a commission to study the disappearances and murders of indigenous women; and increase funding for schools run by the Bureau of Indian Education, among many other things. Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and the former housing secretary Julián Castro have released similar plans.

  • Senator Kamala Harris of California released a plan for rural America that would offer a tax credit for businesses that create jobs in rural areas; establish a $100 billion investment fund for those areas; and eliminate Mr. Trump’s tariffs. Almost all of the top and second-tier candidates have outlined how they will help the heartland. Mr. Buttigieg’s plan, for example, includes an $80 billion “internet for all” initiative.

  • Mr. Sanders announced a corporate accountability plan that would require large companies to give workers ownership stakes and board representation. It would also give workers the right to buy a company if it is about to be sold or closed; review recent corporate mergers; and increase the Federal Trade Commission’s authority.

We leave you with this photo of Mr. Steyer and his tie.

Your humble hosts are not experts in neckwear, but lucky for you, Vanessa Friedman — The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic — actually is. She has written a piece containing everything you ever wanted to know about the tie, its Twitter account(s), Mr. Steyer’s penchant for tartan and, well, you get the idea.

This is a rabbit hole. We welcome you down it.

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