U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a news conference after he announced his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 30, 2015.
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Why Bernie Sanders likely helps Hillary Clinton

Here comes the economic-populist debate… Social conservatism + economic populism = powerful force… Why Bernie Sanders likely helps Hillary… Jeb Bush: “I love you… I just think you’re wrong on immigration”… Bridge-gate/Christie Watch: Wildstein to plead guilty in court, plus other indictments coming?… House votes to overturn DC law… To paraphrase Tom Cruise’s character in “Risky Business,” it looks like University of Chicago for Obama’s presidential library… And on “Meet the Press” this Sunday: John Boehner, Martin O’Malley.

FIRST THOUGHTS

*** Here comes the economic-populist debate: The political conversation, understandably, has focused on the unrest in Baltimore (see this week) and foreign affairs (the past few months). But yesterday’s presidential announcement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and next week’s announcement by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are reminders how economic populism will be a front-and-center issue — in both the Democratic and Republican presidential primary fields. Worker’s wages. The minimum wage. Trade. Income inequality. They’re all going to be elevated (and elevated in different ways), especially by likes of Bernie Sanders, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum.

*** Social conservatism + economic populism = powerful force: Huckabee, who is set to announce his presidential bid on May 5, has always been underestimated by the D.C. political crowd. But the reason he won Iowa in 2008 — and why Santorum won it in 2012 — wasn’t due solely to being a social conservative. It also was because he’s an economic populist. Just check out this new Huckabee video leading up to his announcement. Don’t forget how social conservatism + economic populism = a powerful force in Republican politics. As we’ve seen in the last two presidential contests, it’s not enough to get you the Republican nomination. But it’s enough to make you a serious player.

*** Why Bernie Sanders likely helps Hillary: Bernie Sanders’ official entrance into the 2016 presidential race is most likely a good outcome for Hillary Clinton. Why? He will elevate many of the issues that Clinton and the entire Democratic Party want to discuss during the primary season (income inequality, curtailing the role of big money in presidential politics, climate change). And he’ll do so as someone who isn’t interested in scoring political points – especially in the form of negative attacks – against Hillary. Hillary’s Harlem (err Brooklyn) Globetrotters now has its Washington (err Vermont) Generals. The question we have is whether it’s enough competition to up Hillary’s game.

*** Jeb Bush: “I love you… I just think you’re wrong on immigration”: Unlike what we saw from John McCain in 2008 and what we’re seeing now from Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, it looks like Jeb Bush isn’t backing away from his belief in comprehensive immigration reform. At the summit hosted by National Review, Bush “held fast on his immigration record, and argued that it is better to narrow access to citizenship to spouses and children and ‘expand based on need,’ rather than cutting off that pathway completely,” National Journal says. More Bush: “I love you and I love National Review,” he added. “I just think you’re wrong on immigration, and you think I’m wrong.”

*** Bridge-gate/Christie Watch: From our colleagues at NBC’s New York affiliate: “The former Port Authority official who resigned amid the political uproar over the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013 is due in federal court in Newark Friday, where he is expected to enter into a plea deal in the scandal, according to sources familiar with the matter. David Wildstein, a former ally of Gov. Chris Christie and a Christie appointee to the Port Authority, is expected to plead guilty to unspecified criminal charges in connection with the lane closures at an 11 a.m. court appearance, sources familiar with the case said.” Maybe more importantly: “Authorities have also planned an afternoon news briefing for Friday, at which point they are expected to announce the names of other former Christie aides indicted in the scandal, which skewered the Republican’s presidential ambitions and caused his popularity in the Garden State to tank.”

*** House votes to overturn DC law: Roll Call: “In a largely symbolic move, the House voted mostly down party lines late Thursday night to block a District of Columbia bill that D.C. officials say would combat workplace discrimination. A corps of mainly Republicans passed a joint resolution of disapproval 228-192, aimed at the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which dictated that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their reproductive health decisions. Conservatives argued the act could force employers to violate their religious beliefs.” NBC’s Alex Moe writes that it’s the first time in more than 20 years that the House voted to strike down a DC law. “Conservatives in the House argue the legislation passed by the Council violates religious freedom.” But it doesn’t appear the measure will become law. More from Moe: “The Congressional review period for the legislation ends on May 4th and – while Congress has the ability to halt laws passed by the DC City Council — the resolution would need to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed by President Obama first.”

*** To paraphrase Tom Cruise’s character in “Risky Business,” it looks like University of Chicago for Obama’s presidential library: “President Obama is poised to announce that he has chosen to situate his future presidential library in the South Side of Chicago, according to an individual briefed on the decision,” the Washington Post writes. “The decision to accept the University of Chicago’s bid to host the library would end months of speculation over where Obama would seek to establish his post-presidential legacy. Columbia University, his alma mater, and the University of Hawaii sought to win the library for New York and Honolulu, respectively. The University of Illinois at Chicago had also vied to host it.”

*** On “Meet the Press” this Sunday: Among Chuck Todd’s guests: House Speaker John Boehner and potential presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

OBAMA AGENDA: Body camera announcement

From NBC News: “A $20 million pilot program to extend the use of police body cameras for “transparency” was announced by the Department of Justice on Friday, amid nationwide protests over police treatment of suspects.”

The Washington Post writes that nearly half of the state insurance marketplaces set up due to the ACA are in financial trouble.

The White House’s digital strategy director is stepping down.

CONGRESS: Reforming the Patriot Act

The New York Times reports that both parties are coming together for reforms to the Patriot Act. More: “Under the bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, the Patriot Act would be changed to prohibit bulk collection, and sweeps that had operated under the guise of so-called National Security Letters issued by the F.B.I. would end. The data would instead be stored by the phone companies themselves, and could be accessed by intelligence agencies only after approval of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.”

The House has voted to overturn D.C.’s reproductive health law.

POLITICO talks to Mitch McConnell: “In an unusually blunt interview in his Capitol office, the Senate majority leader said he’s concluded the chances of striking a major agreement with Obama on tax reform or raising the eligibility age on entitlements are nil. So McConnell said he’s setting his sights on smaller but still tangible accomplishments — reforming how the Senate functions and passing bills on trade, education, surveillance, Iran and cybersecurity that members of both sides parties agree on.”

OFF TO THE RACES: It’s not easy being a senator running for president

The New York Times notes the complications faced by senators who are running for president.

The Washington Post, with a headline you might not expect: “Koch brothers make push to court Latinos, alarming many Democrats”

BUSH: He met privately with a group of House lawmakers this week, POLITICO reports.

He is about to hire Marco Rubio’s 2010 campaign manager as a Hispanic outreach adviser.

He told the National Review’s Rich Lowry yesterday “I love you. I just think you’re wrong on immigration.”

CHRISTIE: From NBC New York: “David Wildstein, a former ally of Gov. Chris Christie and a Christie appointee to the Port Authority, is expected to plead guilty to unspecified criminal charges in connection with the lane closures at an 11 a.m. court appearance, sources familiar with the case said.” MORE: “Authorities have also planned an afternoon news briefing for Friday, at which point they are expected to announce the names of other former Christie aides indicted in the scandal, which skewered the Republican’s presidential ambitions and caused his popularity in the Garden State to tank.”

CLINTON: The New York Times, on Hillary Clinton’s implicit critique of her husband’s crime policies.

From the Boston Globe: “The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton’s tenure from 2009 to 2013, Maura Daley, the organization’s spokeswoman, acknowledged to the Globe this week. She said the charity deemed it unnecessary, except in one case that she described as an “oversight.”

CRUZ: Frank Thorp reports on what Ted Cruz offered as his reason that he missed Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote.

O’MALLEY: POLITICO: “Martin O’Malley’s political career, which started on the streets of Baltimore, may also end there: Half of Democratic insiders in the early states believe this week’s riots have hurt the former mayor’s already long-shot presidential hopes.”

SANDERS: The Boston Globe talks to Vermonters skeptical of Bernie Sanders’ bid.

And around the world…

BRITAIN: The Washington Post has a great primer on the upcoming British election, where onetime longshot Ed Miliband has surged.

NBC News’ Mark Murray and Carrie Dann contributed reporting.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Why Bernie Sanders likely helps Hillary Clinton