TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Losing Strength in New National Polling

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Jim Cole—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions during a campaign stop on July 28, 2015, in Nashua, N.H.

She is strong against Democratic challengers, but weaker against Republicans

Six weeks after setting her candidacy into high gear, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are continuing to fall, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Across nearly every key metric, from trustworthiness to caring about voters to leadership, Clinton has seen an erosion in public approval, as likely Republican rivals have erased her leads in the poll. Clinton has a net -11 favorability rating in the poll, with 40% of the American public viewing her positively and 51% negatively, with more than 50% of independents on the negative side.

If the election were held today, Clinton would be tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the poll—down from significant leads in a May 28 survey—but would top the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

The poll, which was conducted amid new reporting on the existence of classified information on Clinton’s private email server, found further declines in Clinton’s perceived trustworthiness, with 57% of Americans now viewing her as neither honest nor trustworthy. And as Clinton has invested heavily in a campaign designed to appeal to Americans who feel left behind in the economic recovery, a majority of Americans now believe Clinton does not care about the needs or problems of people like them. But while the numbers have softened in recent months, Clinton is continued to be viewed as a strong leader by 58% of Americans.

Despite her struggles in general election match-ups, Clinton’s position as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination remains solid with 55 percent of Democrats supporting her—roughly unchanged from a year ago. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ gains, meanwhile, have slowed. The May poll found the avowed socialist’s support spiking from 8% to 15% from a month before; this month he has the backing of 17% of Democrats.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, meanwhile, has struggled for recognition, with 76% of Americans and 78% of Democrats saying they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion of him. Despite intense campaigning and jabs at Clinton and Sanders, O’Malley only garners the support of 1% of Democrats, unchanged from two months ago.

The poll of 1,644 registered voters has a margin of error of ± 2.4 percentage points and was conducted from July 23-28. The smaller sample of 681 Democrats has a margin of error of ±3.8 percentage points.

TIME

#BlackLivesMatter: Liberal Activists Shift 2016 Endorsement Rules

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-CHARLESTON
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI—AFP/Getty Images People gather at the Confederate Museum during a protest in Charleston, South Carolina on June 20, 2015.

A liberal activist group changes its 2016 endorsement process after a #BlackLivesMatter protest

Democracy for America, a progressive grassroots network, will change its candidate endorsement process in response to a Black Lives Matter protest in Phoenix last weekend.

After a racial justice protest halted a meeting with Democratic presidential candidates on Saturday, the one-million-member network will now include candidates’ proposals for addressing racism among the central criteria for DFA’s endorsements, according to an advance copy of the announcement obtained by TIME.

The criteria apply to candidates from local elections to the presidential level.

Additionally, in its questions of candidates in local races, DFA will ask how candidates will support the Movement for Black Lives and confront racism and our “culture of white supremacy,” according to the DFA announcement.

“We want the candidates we endorse to not only say that #BlackLivesMatter, we want these candidates to know that progressives—including those in organizations with largely white memberships and staff like DFA—expect them to stand up to, name, and address systemic racism as fundamental and foundational to the movement to end income inequality,” wrote Charles Chamberlain, DFA’s executive director, in a note likely to appear on the group’s website next week.

DFA represents an important bloc of activist progressive voters, many of whom give small-dollar donations to candidates, canvass and make telephone calls before the elections. Founded by Howard Dean in 2004, the group can be a barometer of Democratic enthusiasm and has played an important role in mobilizing liberal voters in recent elections.

DFA is weighing endorsing a Democratic candidate in the primary but has not yet committed to throwing its support behind a candidate before the general election. Its new rules may have the greatest impact on state and congressional races.

The group’s change to its endorsement process follows a protest at Netroots Nation, the largest gathering of progressives in the country, where a few dozen Black Lives Matter activists interrupted a town hall meeting featuring Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders.

The protest flummoxed the candidates and left them scrambling over the following days to address racism. O’Malley and Sanders have all since said “Black lives matter” and sought to address systemic racism, as has Hillary Clinton, who did not attend the event.

The new approach announced by DFA marks a significant shift for one of the country’s largest progressive activist networks and reflects the influence the Black Lives Matter movement is having on the presidential race.

“At Netroots Nation, #BlackLivesMatter leaders called on all of us to use our power to respond to the current state of emergency,” said Chamberlain. “Democracy for America is ready to heed that call to action and make sure it has real electoral consequences in 2016 and beyond.”

TIME Foreign Policy

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Backs Iran Nuclear Deal

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., leave a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus to discuss the Iran nuclear deal on July 15, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Pelosi's support will help the Obama administration to win over skeptical Democrats

(WASHINGTON) — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the nuclear deal negotiated by the United States, Iran and Western powers “will have my strong support.”

“I’m very optimistic about our ability to support the president” on the agreement, Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference.

The Obama administration has launched a full-court press to win over skeptical Democrats in Congress, and Pelosi’s support is a key gain. The historic agreement would curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

By law, the administration must submit the deal to Congress, which has 60 days to review the pact and vote to approve, disapprove or remain silent.

Vice President Joe Biden met with House Democrats on Wednesday to brief them on the deal. The vice president was returning to Capitol Hill on Thursday for a session with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are scheduled to testify before the panel next week.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s New Mantra: It’s the Wages, Stupid

Decoding a major economic address from the Democratic frontrunner

It’s the wages, stupid.

That’s the magic sauce—in just four words—that Hillary Clinton believes will make her the next President of the United States. In a speech Monday to lay out her approach, she chose a more verbose version of the same message. “Wages need to rise to keep up with costs. Paychecks need to grow. Families who work hard and do their part deserve to get ahead and stay ahead,” she said. “The defining economic challenge of our time clear. We must raise incomes for hardworking Americans.”

As a theme, the approach is not new. A chart showing the divergence between median income growth and productivity growth over the last decade sat at the heart of Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign for President. “‘I’m working harder and falling behind,'” David Simas, Obama’s political strategist, explained after the 2012 election. “That was the North Star. Everything we did and everything we said was derivative of that sentiment.” As she spoke Monday, Clinton’s campaign tweeted out a version of the same chart that once hung at Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters and now hangs in Simas’ West Wing office.

The difference now is that Clinton inherits a situation that is even more dire for American voters than the one that Obama struggled with over his past two campaigns, both of which promised improvement for middle class incomes that has yet to arrive. Even as the labor market has tightened in recent years and the national economy has continued to grow, wages have remained flat or, in many cases, declined.

A recent analysis of Census data by Democratic economist Robert J. Shapiro, whose work helped inform the Obama campaign’s approach, found that the economy shifted gears for American incomes after the 2001 recession. “Everybody declines from 2002 on relative to the 1980s and 1990s, and probably a majority of the country saw their incomes decline as they age,” he said, noting that unlike many economic indicators, this is one that voters feel directly. “It’s politically important because it’s people’s actual experience.” Shapiro found that the only two groups who saw their incomes increase on average between 2002 and 2013 were college graduates and households that were in their early 20s at the beginning of the decade.

To counteract this shift, Clinton proposed a variety of policy buckets she plans to focus on, many of which she did not detail. These include tax changes that will encourage large companies to share profits with employees, tax increases for the wealthy and new regulations of the financial sector. “The truth is the current rules for our economy do reward some work, like financial trading, for example much more than other work, like actually building and selling things, the work that has always been the backbone of our economy,” she said. “To get all incomes rising again, we need to strike a better balance.”

The focus on wages also gives a frame for Clinton to roll out a raft of other evergreen liberal policies, which could have indirect impacts on wage growth. These include better family leave policies to encourage more women to enter the workforce, lower health care costs, better early childhood education subsidies, more spending on infrastructure and “enhancing” Social Security.

Overall, the rhetoric draws heavily on the work of the left wing of the Democratic Party, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Clinton Administration economist Joseph Stiglitz. Though Clinton stopped short of calling for redistribution of wealth to combat inequality, a constant theme of the left, she did embrace the notion that the current economic stagnation for many Americans is a policy choice. “The choices we make in the years ahead will set the stage for what American life in the middle class and our economy will be like in this century,” she said.

At two points, Clinton contrasted her vision with the Obama Administration. First, she criticized the Justice Department and regulators for not being aggressive enough in prosecuting the misdeeds of financial firms. She also called for more financial regulation. “I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that too big to fail is still too big a problem,” she said, in a swipe at Obama, who has argued that the problem of too-big-to-fail was largely solved by financial reform in 2010.

Perhaps most important, the speech set up a contrast with Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush, who has laid out an economic vision of rising prosperity based on growing the whole economy by 4% annually, a target that few economists think can be reached. Clinton’s argument is that total growth is not enough. There also needs to be a reshuffling of the rules that makes the gains from that growth more widely distributed.

The question for Clinton is much the same as the challenge faced by Obama. She may have diagnosed the disease in a way that the American people have endorsed in the past, but can she deliver the antidote? Republicans, who have a dramatically different world view, have been able to block many of Obama’s reforms, and would likely have similar power under a Hillary Clinton Administration. There is also a skepticism, shared by many liberal economists, about just how much the reforms she laid out will impact incomes, which have been under pressure because technology and global competition have put a cap on prices and an increase in the unemployment rolls.

But that is a question for a later time. The first jobs for Clinton are to win the nomination and then the White House. And by borrowing heavily from her successful predecessor, her team believes she has a winning formula.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s Trustworthy Trap

Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses supporters at an organizational rally on July 7, 2015 at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City, Iowa.
David Greedy—2015 Getty Images Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses supporters at an organizational rally on July 7, 2015 at the Iowa City Public Library in Iowa City, Iowa.

Unforced factual errors tarnish an early interview

Trustworthiness is a tricky thing in politics, a label that everyone demands but no one fully deserves. The reason has less to do with the integrity of the players than the rules of the game. Distortion, denial, defamation—they all work. Only a straight-talking sucker would really play it straight all the time.

So one must be careful not to pass too harsh a judgement on Hillary Clinton, for whom polls reveal a real perception problem when it comes to being honest or trustworthy. CNN’s national polling sample says 57% of Americans don’t think she is either. ABC News and the Wall Street Journal put that number at 52%.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton blamed the numbers on her political enemies. “This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years,” she said. “And at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out.”

Then she proceeded to demonstrate why voters may not ultimately come down on her side. While casting herself as the victim of false smears, she mischaracterized the circumstances surrounding her handling of records kept in a private email server Secretary of State. The comment that set off the fact checkers was a five-word sentence.

“I’ve never had a subpoena,” Clinton said, even though she has been subpoenaed. Her allies tried to clean up the flub the next day by explaining that she seemed to be answering a narrower question than the one that was asked. “Obviously everyone—including Secretary Clinton—knows Chairman Gowdy issued a subpoena,” explained Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the committee that issued the subpoena. “It appears clear that Secretary Clinton was answering a question about whether she deleted emails ‘while facing a subpoena.’ ”

But Clinton’s interview betrayed a larger pattern of dissembling, based either on a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation of the rules and law. “When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system,” she said. “Now I didn’t have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.”

This is not true. She was required by law and rule to turn over the official records that she stored on her private server. “At the time she left office, the existing rules that were in place said that she was under a duty to transfer to an official record keeping system any email records on a commercial account that pertained to official business,” says Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle, and former director of litigation at the National Archives.

Federal records are legally defined to include all recorded information made “in connection with the transaction of public business” that show “evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the United States Government.” As Clinton’s office has admitted, this would include emails she sent and received about government business that did not ever show up in official State Department email accounts.

Federal rules (36 CFR 1234.24) clearly require agencies to collect those records from “external electronic mail systems” so that they can be stored inside the government. There is also a federal law (44 USC 3106) that authorizes agencies to take legal action through the Attorney General “for the recovery of records” that are threatened by destruction, deletion or erasure. Willfully destroying a federal record is a crime, punishable by fine and prison.

How did Clinton get it all so wrong? Her campaign has not volunteered a response. But it is clear that she was recounting her email story as part of a larger effort to portray herself as a victim of political enemies. “This is being blown up with no basis in law or in fact. That’s fine. I get it,” she told CNN. “This is being, in effect, used by the Republicans in the Congress, OK. But I want people to understand what the truth is.”

There is an irony here worthy of Shakespeare. In fighting back against what she sees as unfounded attacks, she threatens to become the thing her foes always accused her of being—not someone who can be seen as honest or trustworthy.

Read next: How Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Fury is Remaking Democratic Politics

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TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Hopeful For Iran Nuclear Deal Next Week

Democratic presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a grassroots-organizing event at the home of Dean Genth and Gary Swenson on May 18, 2015 in Mason City, Iowa.
Scott Olson—2015 Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a grassroots-organizing event at the home of Dean Genth and Gary Swenson on May 18, 2015 in Mason City, Iowa.

The Democratic frontrunner speaks on a campaign swing through New Hampshire

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that she is hopeful that a nuclear agreement with Iran can be reached before next week’s deadline, indicating support for the draft agreement that may or may not come into force.

Speaking to a crowd of about 850 largely college-aged supporters on the campus of Dartmouth College, Clinton addressed the latest deadline for the P5+1 nuclear talks in Vienna, July 9, saying “these things always come down to the wire.”

“I so hope that we are able to get a deal in the next week that puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program because that’s going to be a singular step in the right direction,” Clinton said. The previous June 30 deadline was extended to give negotiators more time to try to hammer out lingering disagreements between the Iranian government and the governments of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

“But even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran,” Clinton said. “They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, they use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel. So even if we are successful on the nuclear front, we still are going to have to turn our attention to working with our partners to try to rein in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness.”

Critics of the ongoing negotiations and draft agreement contend that it does not go far enough in reducing Iran’s stockpile of radioactive materials and enrichment program. Clinton had previously adopted a measured tone on the talks, expressing support, but raising questions about whether Iran would uphold its end of the agreement.

In April, she said she would back a deal that “verifiably cuts off all of Iran’s paths to a nuclear weapon, imposes an intrusive inspection program with no sites off limits, extends breakout time, and spells out clear and overwhelming consequences for violations.”

“The onus is on Iran and the bar must be set high,” she added at the time.

One way or another, Clinton is likely going to have to own the agreement, as the seeds of the current round of talks began under her tenure in the Obama administration. Her chief foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan helped carry out the secret back-channel negotiations to lay the groundwork for the Joint Plan of Action announced in 2013.

Clinton also spoke about the Affordable Care Act, seeking to keep alive a potent Democratic turnout tactic a week after the Supreme Court decided against undermining the law.

“I am so thrilled that we are at a point where all calls about repeal, repeal, repeal mean nothing unless they elect a Republican president,” Clinton said, addressing the crowd from a concrete stage in front of a shady lawn on the college campus known as the “BEMA” — “big empty meeting area” — just across the river from Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’, home state.

“If the country elects a Republican as president, then they will repeal the Affordable Care Act,” she warned. “That is as certain as I can say unless we take back the Senate and take back the House. I hope we can do both, but on the safe side, let’s elect a Democratic president who is committed to quality, affordable healthcare.”

All Republican presidential candidates have vowed to repeal the law, but privately many of their aides acknowledge that a complete repeal would be nearly impossible to pull off, given how entrenched it has already become in the American healthcare system five years after passage. Republicans on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, have largely abandoned serious efforts to upend the law, owing to Obama’s staunch veto threats.

“Let’s break that and have a Democratic president to continue the policies that actually work for the vast majority of Americans,” Clinton said.

Clinton promised that she would begin to unveil her proposals for the economy in “about 10 days.”

 

TIME Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Calls for Broader End to Deportations

Democratic Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) greets supporters during a visit to his Iowa campaign headquarters on June 13, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Scott Olson—2015 Getty Images Democratic Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) greets supporters during a visit to his Iowa campaign headquarters on June 13, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.

White House hopeful says he would expand protections to include parents of those in the United States illegally.

Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders on Friday called for ending deportations for not just the children who were brought to the United States as young children but also their parents who are in the country illegally. It was an effort to outflank Sanders’ chief rival for the Democrats’ leading contender for President, Hillary Clinton.

Speaking to Latino elected and appointed officials in Las Vegas, the Vermont Senator delivered a rousing sermon about economic populism and social justice a day after Clinton offered remarks to the same crowd. While there were fewer reporters crowded on the press riser, Sanders still drew a full ballroom on the glitzy Vegas Strip and brought the crowd to its feet several times.

“Brothers and sisters, there is a lot of work to be done,” said Sanders, a political Independent who caucuses with the Democrats. “But when we stand up to those people on top whose greed has done so much damage to this country … there is no limit to what this great country can accomplish.”

Sanders said he backs President Barack Obama’s policy that spared some younger immigrants in the country illegally deportation. It was particularly helpful to children whose parents were brought them to the country as children, occasionally known as Dreamers.

Sanders he would expand the program to “parents of citizens, parents of legal permanent residents and parents of Dreamers.”

“We cannot and we should not be talking about sweeping up millions of men, women and children, many of whom have been in this country for years,” Sanders said to applause. He said splitting up families—leaving children in the United States while parents or cousins were sent home—was against the country’s values.

Sanders, for sure, is running behind Clinton in polling and fundraising. But he has been workmanlike in building a campaign. His slow-and-steady approach has captured the imagination of Democrats’ most liberal corners, who are skeptical if not hostile to a second Clinton being President.

Sanders has been tapping into that sentiment, all the while avoiding any direct criticism of the former Secretary of State and Senator. Clinton remains the party’s favorite candidate and has a far larger political machine behind her.

“American kids who deserve the right to be in the country they know as home,” said Sanders, whose father came to the United States from Poland. “We are a nation of immigrants. That is, in fact, the strength of America.”

As Sanders made his way toward the exit, conference participants rushed toward him, cell phones held overhead to snap pictures and arms stretched out to shake his hand. He may not win the Democrats’ nomination but he certainly spoke to the party’s base.

TIME global trade

House Democrats Derail ‘Fast Track’ Trade Measure in Blow to Obama

US-POLITICS-TRADE-OBAMA
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images Anti-trade protestors hold banners outside of the Cannon House Office Building as US President Barack Obama arrived on Capitol Hill to lobby House Democrats on June 12, 2015 in Washington, DC.

The path forward for Obama’s trade agenda, his top legislative priority, is hardly clear

President Obama suffered a stunning defeat Friday when fellow Democrats in the House hobbled his push for a legacy-defining Pacific Rim trade deal.

House Democrats used a tactical maneuver to deny Obama the fast-track negotiating authority he needs to finalize that pact, sinking a worker assistance program that’s become a precondition for Democratic support of such agreements. The vote was 126-302.

The path forward for Obama’s trade agenda, his top legislative priority, is hardly clear. “I don’t think anybody knows,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a member of House Democratic leadership, said after the vote.

Complicating the outlook, House Republicans managed to eek out a majority for the fast-track power itself following the implosion on the worker assistance funding. But procedural rules prohibit GOP leaders from taking only part of the package, which already passed the Senate, and sending it along to the White House for the president’s signature.

Republicans indicated Friday afternoon that they are looking to bring the legislation back up for another vote early next week, and the Obama administration needs to use the weekend to change scores of minds among the Democratic ranks.

In the meantime, Republican leaders appeared happy to heap blame on the White House for botching a key priority they shared. “The president has not only faded, he’s irrelevant, and he proved it again today,” Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said.

The setback also marks a humbling blow to the corporate lobby, which marshaled all its muscle — including a multi-million dollar media campaign and a newly organized program to enlist workers’ voices in the debate — to try to overcome a raucous, bruising effort by labor unions to turn Democrats against the White House.

But the loss comes with a personal sting for Obama, considering he launched a rare, last minute blitz to twist arms in his own ranks. He made an unannounced appearance at Nationals Park baseball stadium on Thursday night to buttonhole lawmakers there for an annual Congressional game, and then he trekked up to the Capitol on Friday morning to make a final appeal to Democrats in a closed-door meeting.

The program that Democrats voted down — officially, Trade Adjustment Assistance — provides extended unemployment benefits and job retraining for workers laid off as a result of expanded trade. Most Republicans view it as welfare and oppose it. But with the trade agenda’s fate hinging on the worker assistance funding, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — two of the most powerful business lobbies, both of which typically lean right — put lawmakers on notice that groups will be factoring how they voted into the scorecards they use to determine their election-season support.

The pressure evidently didn’t change many minds, though it highlighted again how the odd politics of the issue scramble traditional allegiances. That dynamic was on display Friday morning in the subterranean room in the Capitol Visitors Center where Obama delivered a final appeal to House Democrats. The president made an impassioned case that the economic benefits of his trade program will be widely shared, attendees said, and he argued that his record of sticking up for working families should earn him some good faith from members of his own party. But walking out, Obama telegraphed to reporters that he knew he hadn’t closed the sale. “I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here. It’s always moving,” he said.

For one, the president undercut his cause by appearing to question the integrity of Democrats who’d line up against a worker assistance program they otherwise support to take down the broader package. “There were a number of us who were insulted by the approach,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told reporters after the meeting. “He said you’re not playing it straight if you vote against TAA but you supported in the past and you’ll support it in the future. That’s questioning someone’s integrity. We’re legislators, and it’s the only legislative tool we have to stop something that is otherwise inevitable.”

Likewise, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said he didn’t consider the Democratic move a legislative maneuver, “but even if it was, we engage in legislative maneuvers all the time.” One giveaway about the stakes, he said: “Every lobbyist here in Washington whose job it is to increase profits is for this deal. And every lobbyist in town whose job it is to increase wages is against this deal.”

Democratic objections run deep, a fact that may make it impossible for the White House to salvage the package in just a few days. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.)—the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which overseas trade—stood off the House floor on Friday afternoon surrounded by reporters and ran through a litany of substantive problems with the Trans Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation pact that Obama wants the negotiating ability to finalize. Fast-track authority would allow him to wrap up the deal and submit it to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote, meaning lawmakers would not be able to amend it. Levin said from what he’s seen of the trade deal’s language, the administration has retreated from some critical priorities—and he views the wrangling over the negotiating package as leverage to force the administration’s hand on those matters.

Wherever the debate leads, the collapse of the administration’s agenda at the hands of its erstwhile Congressional foot soldiers was historic. Compounding Obama’s abasement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—a typically reliable lieutenant — remained publicly uncommitted in the weeks leading up the vote only to announce her opposition on the House floor moments before it began. “Our people would rather have a job than trade adjustment assistance,” she said. “Today, we have an opportunity to slow down.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME 2016 Campaign

‘Run Warren Run’ to Disband

Sen. Elizabeth Warren listens to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testify, at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2015.
Kevin Lamarque—Reuters Sen. Elizabeth Warren listens to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testify, at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2015.

Six months after launching “Run Warren Run,” a quixotic campaign to draft Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race, the two progressive organizations behind it will call it quits and focus more broadly on a populist agenda in the 2016 presidential race, according to a spokesman.

Democracy for America and MoveOn.org, which together spent $1.25 million dollars launching the campaign last December, plan to visit Warren’s Washington, DC office on June 8 and deliver a petition with 365,000 signatures asking the senator to run.

The organizations will then pivot to more issue-specific advocacy, including thwarting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an enormous, 12-nation free trade pact that liberals argue will kill jobs and reduce labor and environmental standards worldwide. Warren, who has said repeatedly that she has no intention of running for the White House, has been a staunch critic of the trade pact.

Despite their lack of success at convincing Warren to run, both DFA and MoveOn.org described the short-lived campaign as a victory for liberal populists. “Even without her in the race, Elizabeth Warren and the Run Warren Run campaign she inspired have already transformed the 2016 presidential election by focusing every single Democratic candidate on combatting our country’s income inequality crisis,” Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of DFA, said in a statement. Ilya Sheyman, the executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action, said the campaign helped bring issues of inequality and corporate dominance to the fore.

The two organizations cited as “key accomplishments” an extensive, multi-column March op-ed in the Boston Globe urging Warren to run, as well as public statements of support from prominent figures in the progressive movement, including Van Jones and Lawrence Lessig. More than 60 state legislators in the early-voting state of New Hampshire joined the Run Warren Run campaign by this spring.

Run Warren Run, which opened field offices and hired staff in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, ran a traditional, grassroots campaign. Volunteers hosted house parties and organized roadside “honk and waves.”

It was a effort defined largely by blind optimism. Even as Warren said publicly, time and again, that she was not running for president, and had no intention to do so, the campaign consistently urged her to reconsider. Its unraveling was no different. At the end of a statement announcing the dissolution of Run Warren Run, Chamberlain sent up one last flare: “We still think there’s plenty of time,” he said, “for Sen. Warren to change her mind.”

TIME 2016 Election

Martin O’Malley Looks to Future But Can’t Escape the Past

Hecklers appear at the former Baltimore Mayor's presidential campaign launch

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who plays guitar in a rock band and regularly emerges shirtless from the frigid water of Polar Bear plunges, maintained his reputation for youthful vigor Saturday morning. An American flag the size of a parachute billowed behind him, and the Baltimore harbor glimmered in the hot morning sun. O’Malley rolled up his shirtsleeves to announce his candidacy for President. He also repeated the word “new” nearly a dozen times.

“For over 200 years we’ve been the architects of our own future. And now we must build anew today,” O’Malley said to cheers. “All of us are included,” the former governor and mayor continued. “Women and men. Black and white people.”

O’Malley’s crowd in this majority-black city, however, was populated mostly by affluent white supporters of the two-term governor and friends, many of them from Washington D.C.’s suburbs. Dozens of men wearing the purple shirts of O’Malley’s all-boys Jesuit high school Gonzaga filled in the audience. He chose Baltimore’s Federal Hill Park as his stage, miles from the neighborhoods struck by rioting after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

And outside the rallying area, small groups of mostly black Baltimoreans heckled the former mayor and two-term Maryland governor. “100,000 arrests under your watch, O’Malley!” shouted one man, referring to the number of arrests by the Baltimore police department in 2005 while O’Malley was mayor of the city. “You’re going to leave them homeless, you’re going to leave them out of a job, you’re going to leave them hungry!” said another. “Stop Killer Cops,” read one sign.

The split-screen quality of O’Malley’s campaign launch—an energetic candidate speaking above the glistening harbor he rebuilt, and the scattering of angry black Baltimore residents in the crowd—reveal the challenges in the campaign ahead. Even as O’Malley seeks to look to the future by drawing on a progressive record and his relative youth, the recent riots in Baltimore threaten to chip away at his legacy as mayor.

Read more: Martin O’Malley Phoned Hillary Clinton Ahead of His Presidential Launch

At his rally, the self-appointed emissary of newness was surrounded by the youth he hopes to project: toddlers ran around in the audience before his speech, and three of the introductory speakers were millennial Marylanders. At 52, O’Malley is 15 years younger than former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and 21 years younger than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, his two competitors for the Democratic nomination.

O’Malley points to his deep-blue Democratic record: as governor, he pushed to raise the minimum wage, pass gay marriage legislation, and end capital punishment in the state. He spoke out early against President Obama’s deportation of children who crossed the Mexican border in 2014. He spoke out on Saturday against what he calls the excesses of Wall Street and talks about his platform like a populist.

“We cannot rebuild the American Dream here at home by catering to the voices of the privileged and the powerful,” O’Malley said on Saturday. “Let’s be honest. They were the ones who turned our economy upside-down in the first place. And they are the only ones who are benefiting from it.”

His aggressive policing policies in Baltimore have earned him a mixed reputation in the city, especially among the non-privileged. While crime rates in Baltimore dropped by over 40% when he was mayor, clearing the way for some economic revitalization, police-community relationships worsened during his tenure by some accounts. The more than 100,000 arrests in 2005 during his second-to-last year as mayor led to a lawsuit by the ACLU and an $870,000 settlement with the city. Years later, Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of the Baltimore Police unleashed a wave of rioting, and many blamed the former mayor’s policies.

In his speech, O’Malley addressed the riots directly, attributing the unrest to poverty and unemployment in American cities like Baltimore. What happened in Baltimore, he said, was “not only about race” and “not only about policing.”

“Conditions of extreme and growing poverty create conditions for extreme violence,” O’Malley said. “We have work to do. Our economic and political system is upside down and backwards and it is time to turn it around.”

Read more: What Martin O’Malley Hopes to Learn from Gary Hart

Whatever the reasons for the riots, the unrest has shaken some of O’Malley’s support in his home base.

“Had the riots not happened, O’Malley would have been a golden boy and an adopted black son,” said Rev. Ron Owens, a prominent black Baltimore minister who helped organize the funeral for Freddie Gray. “He had a ‘black card,’ and it was taken from him.”

“I don’t know what could possibly be his platform,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, another influential Baltimore minister. “The schools are in disrepair, he is the father of mass incarceration in Baltimore city, and there was no great economic upswing for minorities during his time.”

Despite the hecklers on Saturday, O’Malley enjoyed enthusiastic support from many of his allies in the audience. “We had a Catholic guy who supported gay marriage. He took a stand against the death penalty when that was not popular,” said Alice McDermott, a supporter and acquaintance of the governor who teaches at Johns Hopkins University. “That says a lot about him.”

O’Malley recycled many familiar tropes from his campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as cable television green rooms. “I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street,” O’Malley said, digging at the Clintons, the Bushes and the big banks all in one familiar swing. “The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.”

On paper, O’Malley is a candidate ready-made for Democratic caucus-goers. But in a year dominated by Hillary Clinton, he is struggling to establish clean policy distinctions with her on make-or-break issues. “He’ll have to find something where he and Clinton have a different position,” said Craig Varoga, a top consultant on O’Malley’s 2010 reelection campaign for governor. “In order to win he’d have to be a perfect candidate, and then get very lucky.”

Read more: Martin O’Malley Prepares to Launch Campaign

By any measure, O’Malley faces a long uphill battle for the Democratic nomination. He is polling nationally among Democrats at around 1% compared with Clinton’s near-60%. The other underdog Democratic candidate in the race, Bernie Sanders, has taken some of the attention from O’Malley’s launch by occupying a position further to the left. Sanders is at 15% in the polls.

O’Malley’s distance behind Clinton may liberate his campaign to try to catch up with bold strokes, like a perennial Iowa and New Hampshire campaign and pointed attacks on the former secretary’s record. “It’s like Janis Joplin said: ‘Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,’” said Ned Parrott, a Virginia attorney and friend of the governor who attended the rally.

The real freedom trick for O’Malley, though, may be shaking free of his Baltimore hecklers.

-With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

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