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August 15, 2018

Before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) officially won his Democratic nomination in Vermont on Tuesday, he sat down with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Colbert asked why he wasn't in Vermont — Sanders said he'd voted that morning — and what democratic socialism means for Sanders and his allies. Sanders said it meant a $15-an-hour minimum wage, a national right to health care, tuition-free public college, and clean energy.

"Other people have espoused those ideas without calling themselves socialists," Colbert noted. The Democratic Party has been "socialist-curious" since the New Deal, he added, so why adopt "socialist," a label "freighted with so much negativity"? Sanders said his ideas are now "mainstream" and broadly popular, "and I think also people, in their gut, understand that we're living in a very strange moment in American history, above and beyond Donald Trump — which is very strange." Colbert asked what could be stranger than Trump, and Sanders said the unbelievably voracious "greed of the people on top," America's yawning wealth inequality, and the limitless dark money in politics.

Colbert brought up the 2020 election, noting that a betting site has Sanders tied with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as the likely Democratic presidential nominee. "You want to lay a bet on who gets to face Donald Trump in 2020?" he asked Sanders, who said absolutely not. So Colbert asked if Sanders would "announce to the people here that you are not running in 2020," and Sanders said "no" to that, too. He added that he's focusing on ending the GOP's grip on power in Washington this year, and "it is too early to be talking about 2020." Watch below. Peter Weber

August 9, 2018
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Michael Avenatti is looking ahead to 2020.

Avenatti, the attorney representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump, is in Iowa "exploring a run for the presidency of the United States," he told the Des Moines Register Thursday. He said he wanted to come to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, in order to "listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework." Avenatti spent Thursday at the Iowa State Fair, where he was stopped by people asking for selfies, and he plans on speaking at the Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser on Friday night.

Avenatti is known for his many television appearances, where he blasts Trump and most people in the president's orbit, and he told the Register he would "never think to come to Iowa in order to use the state or the people of the state to raise my profile," adding, "the trust of the citizens of Iowa is going to have to be earned."

He will tell Democrats in the state that they need to take on Trump, and believes "there's a huge appetite within the party for a fighter. I think the party has yearned for a fighter — a fighter for good, if you will — for a significant period of time. And for many, I'm probably seen as that individual." Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2018

After months of speculation, Mitt Romney has at last announced that he is running for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R).

In a video shared on Twitter, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts says "Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington," citing the state's balanced budget while D.C. is "buried in debt." Romney additionally says "Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world" while "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion,” a direct jab at President Trump.

In an October poll, The Salt Lake Tribune found that 75 percent of voters said Hatch should not run for an eighth term, while a plurality favored Romney as his replacement. Jeva Lange

September 1, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg, he's just like us! Zuckerberg spent Thursday night debating people in the comments of his Facebook post, as one does. "I stand with the DREAMers," wrote Zuckerberg, who is definitely not running for president, following reports that President Trump could cut the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that allows young immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children to avoid deportation and temporarily work and study in the U.S.

"DREAMers have a special love for this country because they can't take living here for granted," Zuckerberg went on in his initial post. "They understand all the opportunities they have and want nothing more than the chance to serve their country and their community. And DREAMers deserve that chance."

The comments thread naturally exploded. "If they have been here for so long how come they have not done the work to become CITIZEN'S [sic]" one person wrote. Zuckerberg jumped in to engage: "There is currently no pathway for undocumented immigrants to become citizens while living here," he replied. "I've mentored a student who would like nothing more than to get his citizenship and maybe run for office one day, but he currently has no way to do that."

Another commenter wrote, "Immigrants who are honest hardworking, this country needs. The ones who do harm to the people could go back to where they came from." To that Zuckerberg replied: "Any DREAMer who commits a crime already loses their DACA status and has to leave the country. The DREAMers who are here on DACA are the hardworking immigrants you believe this country needs."

Read his full thread here. Jeva Lange

August 3, 2017
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is definitely not running for president, has hired top Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pollster and strategist Joel Benenson, Politico reports. Because Zuckerberg is not running for president, Benenson's work is restricted to research for Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan's charity organization; Zuckerberg and Chan have promised to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares, an estimated $45 billion, to charity.

While Benenson was the chief strategist to Clinton's 2016 campaign, the Benenson Strategy Group does do a lot of work for non-profit groups, including conducting a recent mental wellness survey on behalf of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation. That being said, Zuckerberg, who is not running for president, has also hired in the past year Obama's 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe; former communications adviser to one-time vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Joe Biden aide, Amy Dudley; and the head of former President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, Ken Mehlman.

Zuckerberg is also touring the United States with the goal of meeting ordinary Americans, some of whom happen to live in Iowa, the first state to vote in the primaries, and Ohio, which has been carried by every winning presidential candidate since 1960. And while he isn't running for president, Zuckerberg also recently toured a Ford factory in Detroit just because.

"Some of you have asked if this challenge means I'm running for public office," Zuckerberg wrote last spring. "I'm not." Jeva Lange