When Bernie Sanders talks, Eli Lilly’s stock takes a hit

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Take two and call us in the morning

It’s a testament to the power of Bernie Sanders that with just one tweet, the Vermont senator was able to send the stock price of a Fortune 500 company to a seven-month low.

“Why has the price of Humalog insulin gone up 700 percent in 20 years?” he wrote, targeting a drug made by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. “It’s simple. The drug industry’s greed.”

His social media team followed that tweet to his 2.7 million followers with a series of them, linking to a Washington Post article on the drug’s decades-long rise from $21 a vial to more than $250. Lilly, in a statement, explained that revenue from the drug has actually been dropping – not that Sandernistas care.

Sanders, a self-styled political revolutionary, has been on a mission to stop runaway drug prices. It has brought him to California several times to stump for Proposition 61, which would prohibit state agencies from spending more for prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

We have editorialized against Proposition 61, not that we have any love for drug companies. We’re appalled but not shocked at the $105 million they have spent to defeat the initiative. Not surprisingly, Lilly is among them. –Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Take a number: $15,000

Unless you knew better, you’d think Propositions 65 and 67 are orphans. They are the too-cute-by-half initiative and referendum duo funded by plastic bag makers who hope to confuse voters into overturning California’s ban on plastic grocery bags. Since September, bag companies have donated all of $15,000 to the campaign, a fly speck given the $458 million donors have spent on this year’s initiatives, by the Associated Press’ count.

Why so little? It’s all about return on investment. My guess is they accomplished their goal. By spending about $6.5 million in 2015 and earlier this year to qualify the referendum and initiative, the bagmen delayed the bag ban by two years, allowing them to sell up to 10 billion more bags, grossing perhaps $160 million, estimates Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste. Like Murray, we recommend no on Proposition 65, yes on Proposition 67.

Our take

Editorial: Hiring full-time political propagandists to work as part-time political analysts long has been a trick of the trade for TV networks looking for a cheap way to fill air time. Turn on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News, and you’re bound to see Paul Begala, Corey Lewandowski, Kayleigh McEnany or Newt Gingrich yakking away about their parties. Sometimes it’s entertaining. Sometimes it’s not. But it always is damaging.

Editorial: Donald Trump pretends to look out for the little guy and bashes Hillary Clinton as part of the wealthy elite. But on the issue of taxes, voters need to realize it’s the exact opposite.

Stephen Green, president of Save the American River Association, and Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, face off on Propositions 65 and 67, relating to California’s statewide plastic bag ban.

Green: Out-of-state bag companies are spending big bucks to kill the plastic bag ban.

Califf: The bag ban is misguided and a big giveaway to grocers.

And you can read advocates debate the other statewide ballot propositions.

Chuck Alexander: California prison guards have good reasons to fear death penalty repeal.

Their take

Orange County Register: Rep. Loretta Sanchez is the right choice for the United States Senate. We disagree.

San Francisco Chronicle: Despite speed bumps, the picture is bright for Covered California.

Charlotte Observer: Sen. Richard Burr’s critics are denouncing him for joking about putting a bull’s-eye on Hillary Clinton. But voters should be at least as concerned about Burr’s putting a bull’s-eye on the U.S. Constitution.

Lexington Herald Leader: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is the right choice for Senate. In his almost six years in the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul, a Republican, has personified the dysfunction that has given Congress historically low approval ratings.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: FBI Director James Comey must provide more details on latest Hillary Clinton email probe – and he must do so now.

David French, National Review: Paul Krugman’s lack of self-awareness is truly stunning. If you think political discourse has a chance to return to sanity after 2016, you’re woefully mistaken. Despite the looming specter of a Donald Trump presidency, some on the left still can’t think straight, still can’t see straight, and still litigate the political disputes of the past as if mainstream Republicans were wild-eyed fanatics straight out of dystopian fiction.

Syndicates’ take

Kathleen Parker: Perverting the presidential campaign.

Ruben Navarrette: In election coverage, Latinos are on losing end.

Dana Milbank: Here’s the honest statement James Comey won’t make.

David Brooks: Read Buber, not the polls.


As a veteran, I can say I do care about this nation and about sane leadership, which is the most important form of national security. Leo McElroy, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

For a progressive, nothing more sobering than driving down California’s Central Valley a week before election day listening to talk radio.– Anthony Wright, @aewright