Which candidates America was Googling during the first Democratic presidential debate

It’s too early to say which of the presidential candidates in Wednesday night’s Democratic debate managed to convince Americans to vote for them. But at least we know which of them inspired the millions of people watching to Google them.

Little-known Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker got the most Google search traffic in the U.S. over the two hours of Wednesday night’s debate, according to the company’s Google Trends service. They were followed by former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Google traffic isn’t a stand-in for who debate-watchers are supporting — in many cases, viewers could be turning to Google to try to figure out who these people actually are. But it’s at least one sign of which candidates’ answers are the most intriguing to voters, and which candidates they want to know more about.

Each candidate spiked in search traffic when they were asked a question and got their 60 seconds in the spotlight. And the responses that seemed to provoke the most searches often involved the contenders talking about their personal lives and relating national policy issues to their own experiences.

Notably, Gabbard led in searches across most of the country while Booker was at the top in Southern states. Warren was in first only in her home state of Oklahoma, which she mentioned during the debate.

Map of Google search traffic for the candidates in the first Democratic presidential debate. (Courtesy Google Trends)

Some of the answers that led to the biggest spikes:

Gabbard’s responses on foreign policy. The Hawaii congresswoman was near the bottom of the pack of the debate in terms of speaking time. But nearly every time she showed up onscreen, she saw a big rise in search traffic. That was especially pronounced during …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Democrats rail against economy-for-the-rich in first debate

By Juana Summers and Steve Peoples | The Associated Press

MIAMI — Ten Democrats railed against a national economy and Republican administration they said exists only for the rich as presidential candidates debated onstage for the first time in the young 2020 season, embracing class warfare as a defining theme in their fight to deny President Donald Trump a second term in office.

Health care, more than any other issue, led the debate. And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, more than anyone else, stood out — on her own at times — in calling for “fundamental change” across the nation’s economy and government to address persistent issues of inequality.

“I think of it this way. Who is this economy really working for? It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” Warren declared shortly before raising her hand as one of the only Democrats on stage willing to abolish her own private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan. “Health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights.”

The debate marked a major step forward in the young 2020 presidential campaign as Democrats seek to break out from the crowded field that has so far been dominated by former Vice President Joe Biden, who will appear in a second debate featuring another 10 candidates Thursday night. Biden was not mentioned during Wednesday’s faceoff, a civil debate with moments of modest policy clashes and few instances of Democrat-on-Democrat confrontation.

Immigration was also on their minds as the candidates’ minds as they pointed to the searing photos of a drowned Salvadoran father and his toddler daughter at the Rio Grande and blamed Trump and his policies on migrants crossing into America illegally.

Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro said, “Watching that image of Oscar and his daughter Valeria …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Grand jury: Oakland Unified wastes millions each year on administration, consultants

OAKLAND — Oakland Unified School District’s budget problems — often attributed to declining enrollment and inadequate state funding — are largely due to a “broken administrative culture” that squanders millions of dollars instead of spending the money on students, according to a scathing Alameda County Civil Grand Jury report.

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the district spent about $95 million more on non-classroom costs, including administrative staff, contractors and services, than the median amount spent by 37 Bay Area districts, according to the report released this week. It also spent more than $55.7 million for consulting services and operating expenses that year, or three times more than the statewide average.

Plus, the report adds, Oakland Unified spent 45 percent above the statewide average on non-teacher staff and six times the state average on supervisors’ and administrators’ salaries.

More than 20 witnesses — including school board members, top-level managers, outside experts on school district management, former and current district employees — testified before the grand jury. They criticized the district for failing to follow its own policies, inadequate monitoring of bond expenditures, lax competitive bidding practices and self-serving decisions.

The grand jury also scolded the school board for lacking a “sense of urgency” in dealing with the district’s ongoing multimillion-dollar funding shortfalls.

The grand jury calls on the district to “significantly reduce” its administrative staff, as well as how much it spends on contractors, consultants and other outside services. It also recommends the district realign its priorities to focus on student needs.

“The Oakland Unified School District board has failed in its responsibilities to serve the students of Oakland,” the grand jury said in one of its findings. “Collectively, the board has not provided leadership and strategic direction to correct the severe financial problems facing the district.”

Oakland Unified school board president Aimee Eng …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Former Israeli PM Barak is challenging Netanyahu

By Ruth Eglash | Washington Post

JERUSALEM – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced Wednesday that he was returning to the political ring and would seek to topple the incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu as voters prepare for a redo of elections this spring that left the country’s politics deadlocked.

A former military chief of staff, Barak is the only politician who has ever defeated Netanyahu at the polls. Barak, 77, is also the last prime minister to emerge from the left-wing bloc, and his defeat in 2001 led to a succession of right-wing leaders.

In announcing his political return, Barak criticized Netanyahu for leading Israel into “the darkest days we have known,” with Israeli democracy and its judiciary facing unrelenting attacks and racism rampant.

Netanyahu’s camp responded with a terse statement, saying, “We don’t interfere in how the left wing divides its votes.”

Israelis are scheduled to go back to the polls on Sept. 17, less than six months after elections gave Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc a narrow victory but left them unable to form a new government. After Netanyahu’s failure to attain a 61-seat majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, he diverged from political custom last month, opting to dissolve the legislature and take the country to another round of elections.

But Netanyahu now seems eager to undo the election redo he initiated a month ago. He said in a statement Wednesday that he is considering an initiative by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, No. 2 in his Likud party, to draw back from the second election.

Legally and politically, it is unclear whether such a move is possible. But Edelstein said the apparent U-turn was prompted by a growing number of parliamentarians from various political factions who have said the decision to hold another election so soon after the last was a “foolish move.”

“The …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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