Biden-Trump showdown looms after Sanders ends presidential bid

first_imgBiden seeks party unity Biden immediately hailed Sanders as “a good man, a great leader, and one of the most powerful voices for change in our country.”He urged Sanders supporters to join his campaign, which already has the backing of nearly all other ex-rivals in the race including senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, and former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.”I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country,” Biden said in a statement to Sanders and his supporters.”I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.”Trump made his own pitch for Sanders’s supporters, though in a more abrasive tone.”Bernie Sanders is OUT!” the president posted on Twitter. “The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!” Trump said.Trump won the 2016 election with help from disaffected working-class voters who believed they were being left behind by politicians in Washington.Sanders also appeals to those voters.He said he would not remain in an unwinnable campaign that would “interfere” with important anti-coronavirus work while the country is gripped by crisis.Biden said his focus is on ending the pandemic, but promised to continue campaigning despite the logistical challenges.”First things first: how we’re going to keep America safe and get this crisis under control and provide economic assistance,” he said during a virtual fundraiser.  Leftist US Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump in November.The feisty 78-year-old democratic socialist shook up the 2020 race with his relentless pursuit of “economic justice” for all Americans and a demand for universal health care.But he acknowledged his campaign had fallen short, as party voters determined Biden would be a stronger candidate to go up against Trump in the general election.  ‘Strengths where I have weaknesses’ And he repeated a pledge to choose a woman as his running mate — a topic on which he said he has asked former president Barack Obama for advice. At a second virtual fundraiser later in the day, he seemed to imply he had an eye on former rival Harris, who had hoped to become the first black woman president.The two had one particularly memorable clash on a debate stage before she dropped out of the primary in December and later endorsed his candidacy. “And I’m so lucky to have you as part of this, this partnership going forward,” Biden said of 55-year-old Harris, who also made a virtual appearance Wednesday.”We can make a great deal of difference, and the biggest thing we can do is make Donald Trump a one-term president. So I’m coming for you, kid,” Biden said. Trump injected his own comments into his rivals’ contest during a coronavirus briefing, wondering why Obama had not yet endorsed his former vice president, who Trump regularly dismisses as “Sleepy Joe.” “He knows something that you don’t know,” Trump warned voters of Obama’s silence so far. But Obama did not endorse the previous Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state, until June 2016, after it became clear she would be the party’s nominee. Sanders stressed he would remain on the ballot and seek to gain as many delegates as possible in order to “exert significant influence” over the direction of the party.And while Biden may be to the center of Sanders, former Obama team member Jon Favreau pointed out last month that Biden “will run on the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in history,” crediting Sanders and his supporters for that change in the party’s ideology.  But he was eclipsed by a surging Biden, who won the vast majority of remaining primaries and now holds a commanding lead in the all-important race for delegates who choose the nominee.Sanders brought his liberal ideological platform — including a call for universal health care and a $15 hourly minimum wage — into the mainstream.”Together we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become, and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice,” Sanders said.Several lawmakers have come out in support of his policies, and Biden has shifted leftward to incorporate some Sanders positions, although he does not support Sanders’s Medicare for All plan.center_img “I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful,” Sanders told supporters in a livestream from his home, where he has remained for the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic that put all in-person campaigning on hold.”Vice president Biden will be the nominee,” he said, adding that he congratulated his rival, a “very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination in 2016, mounted a formidable 2020 bid.He raised astonishing amounts of money from record numbers of donors, becoming the frontrunner early this year and earning the most votes in the first three state-wide contests. 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Civil groups refuse to ease pressure on pandemic response law

first_imgThree civil society groups have already tried challenging the emergency provisions at the Constitutional Court, vowing to continue pushing back on what they see as “malicious intent”.Read also: Perppu on COVID-19 aid puts graft fight at stakeThey include the Alliance of the Nation’s Children (AAB), the Indonesian Anticorruption Community (MAKI) and an unnamed group comprising 24 plaintiffs, including public figures Din Syamsudin and Amien Rais.The groups insist that the order shields state officials responsible for fiscal and monetary measures from legal charges behind the argument that they acted in good faith, as explicitly stipulated in Article 27 of the law. Any fallout would be considered an “economic cost” and not “state losses”, possibly absolving the officials of any corruption charges. But the judicial reviews they filed last month might be aborted, with the court set to drop all challenges once President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signs the law and legal scrubbing is complete.“The Perppu will turn into a law, so the court can no longer proceed with our previous lawsuits. We would like to, therefore, file another judicial review against the upcoming law,” AAB leader Damai Hari Lubis told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.“We find Article 27 to be evil, and it must be removed because it undermines antigraft efforts in the country.”Damai said the provision needs to be challenged because it fails to define what indicators for state budget allocation fall within the criteria of “goodwill”, arguing that it violates Article 79 of the 2014 Government Administration Law, which calls for the state to uphold accountability and transparency.The article is open to interpretation and could even override the 2001 Corruption Crimes Law, he added.Read also: House grills govt over ‘unconstitutional’ PerppuMAKI coordinator Boyamin Saiman said he would file a new judicial review to the court, having prepared a 53-page lawsuit document to support his group’s case.The unnamed group of plaintiffs will be doing the same, said Ahmad Yani, one of the collective’s defense lawyers.Constitutional Court spokesman Fajar Laksono said the court was still processing the previous challenges to the Perppu because the President had yet to sign it into law.“But once the legal scrubbing is complete, the public can [take it back] to the court,” he said.The court resumed trial over the Perppu case on Thursday, two days after the House passed the Perppu as a Law.Despite increasing pressure on the incoming provision, the government was adamant that the law does not intend to grant impunity to state officials caught misappropriating state funds.Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus playbook explainedLaw and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said anyone who under any circumstances misappropriated the state budget would still be charged under the 2001 Corruption Crimes Law.“Article 27 only provides a legal guarantee for state officials to promptly issue a policy to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy,” Yasonna said in a statement.“We should not forget that Article 1 of the 2001 Corruption Crime Law stipulates that those who have embezzled from state funds relating to disaster relief can face the death penalty.“Since the President declared the pandemic a national disaster, state officials who [commit any such act] can be charged with the aforementioned article.” Topics :center_img Even after convincing lawmakers to enact an executive order on the country’s pandemic response, the government still faces scrutiny from civil groups claiming the order gives officials the opportunity to embezzle state funds.A contentious regulation in lieu of law (Perppu), which the House of Representatives endorsed on Tuesday, allows the state to increase spending for programs related to the national COVID-19 response.The resulting law will justify any state move to extend the budget deficit beyond the legal cap of 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), alerting critics to possible misappropriation.last_img read more