washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

J.P. Green

Political Strategy Notes

In his post, “Republican internal polling signals a Democratic rout” at CNN Politics, Harry Enten shares this insight: “Whenever I hear an operative complain about public polling, I have just one thing to say: Put up or shut up. Release your own numbers that show the race in a different place than the public polling, or let the public polling stand. This is especially true in House races, where public polling is limited and there’s a real chance to shape the conventional wisdom…Perhaps, it’s not surprising then that when one party puts out a lot more internal polls than normal, it is good for their side. Parties tend to release good polling when they have it. Since 2004, there has been a near perfect correlation (+0.96 on a scale from -1 to +1) between the share of partisan polls released by the Democrats and the November results…Democratic and liberal aligned groups have put out 17 House polls taken in April or later. Republican aligned groups have put out 0. That’s a very bad ratio for Republicans.”

Arlette Saenz and Sarah Mucha report “Biden campaign readying hundreds of lawyers in expansive vote protection effort” at CNN Politics. ” Joe Biden‘s campaign is assembling hundreds of lawyers nationwide to monitor potential voting issues as part of its extensive voter protection efforts heading into the general election…Speaking at a virtual fundraiser Wednesday, the presumptive Democratic nominee said his team has organized 600 lawyers and others across the country to “try to figure out why the chicanery is likely to take place.” He also said they have recruited 10,000 people as volunteers…”Too often the norm in a campaign is that voter protection staff come on the ground in September or even sometimes in October unfortunately, and they’re sort of on-hand to triage issues that come up, on Election Day or leading up to it,” said David Bergstein, the director of battleground state communications for the DNC. “That model is not the best one to be utilizing particularly this cycle.”

At Vox, Ian Millhiser explains why progressives shouldn’t entertain the delusion that Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are not so bad, after all. Commenting on two new high court rulings, Millhiser writes, “In recent weeks, the Court has handed down a handful of left-leaning decisions — including a narrow decision temporarily preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)  program and an even narrower decision striking down a Louisiana anti-abortion law…But on the most important question in a democracy — whether citizens are empowered to choose their own leaders — this Supreme Court remains unsympathetic to parties seeking to protect the right to vote, despite the greatest public health crisis in more than a century.” All evidence indicates that Justice Roberts has not changed much at all on voting rights since the days when he was the Reagan Administration’s point man for voter suppression. Nor can voting rights advocates expect any support from Gorsuch or Kavanaugh.

In Jake Braun’s “A Perfect Storm of Vulnerabilities Could Determine the 2020 Election,” in The Boston Review, he observes “As we have seen all year, beginning with the days-long debacle of tallying delegates for the Iowa Caucus, Georgia is not the exception but rather a particularly egregious instance of the rule for 2020 election catastrophes. It is imperative we take action now to protect the security and integrity of our elections. Over the last few years four key weaknesses have emerged in our election ecosystem: flawed infrastructure that invariably breaks, organically generated conspiracies and public outcry, vulnerability to low-cost, unattributable system hacks, and susceptibility to trolls and bots. Each of these weaknesses is problematic enough on its own, but taken together they compound the effect of one another to generate a seemingly insurmountable challenge. To ensure the integrity of our elections, we must understand the vulnerabilities as a whole rather than confront them in isolation…Enhancing the transparency of our election infrastructure and security measures with a publicly accessible database would dramatically enhance the security of our elections. Further, talking openly to the public about the broad threat landscape will harden their cognitive security. Both these transparency measures engender trust in our elections and give stakeholders the tools needed to enhance the security of our elections. While these measures would not fully mitigate the expanded threat landscape we face, it would dramatically enhance transparency of election administration—one positive step in what will surely be a decades-long struggle to secure our elections.”

“As for deliverables to the electorate,’ E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in “A vicious culture war is all Trump has left,” his Washington Post column, “Biden has it all over Trump. The former vice president’s website is chockablock with popular and specific proposals on matters ranging from access to health care and higher education to infrastructure, climate change and higher wages. What is Trump offering? When Fox News’s Sean Hannity recently askedTrump what he wanted to do in a second term, the president offered 138-words of rambling emptiness adding up to nothing. Lacking even a few ideas scribbled on a “sheet of notepaper,” he can only conjure terrorizing national nightmares…It’s true that Trump’s Independence weekend escapades mean we face months of being led by someone so desperate to avoid defeat that he will warp our history, shatter what little unity we have left, and leave it to others to clear the wreckage. But there is hope here, too: Trump is acting like a frightened man who realizes that if his opponents keep their heads and avoid rising to his bait, his days are numbered.”

Democratic campaigns looking for a succinct indictment of Trump/Republican health care policy should check out Harold Meyerson’s article, “Still Exceptional After All These Years” at The American Prospect. As Meyerson writes, “the share of our economy devoted to health care—to pharmaceutical companies, the insurance industry, hospital chains, and so on—far exceeds that of any other nation…When a nation this rich and powerful is also this vulnerable and weak, the causes of its dysfunctions must run very deep. The most proximate cause, of course, is a national government that, since Donald Trump took power, has arrayed its power against fictitious threats it has manufactured itself, like dangerous immigrants or fraudulent voters. This makes it all the easier for conservatives to stoke fear and anger within their political base. At the same time, the Trump administration has ignored the very real threats to its citizens posed by mutating diseases and a worsening climate—not just ignored them, but consistently downplayed them, and diminished our capacity to counter them by defunding public-health agencies and driving scientists from the government, lest their empiricism dispel the imagined enemies and fake cures that Republicans parade before us…while we tally just that 4 percent of earthlings, we constitute a mind-boggling 25 percent of the earthlings who’ve come down with COVID-19 and a further 25 percent of those who’ve died from it.”

At Mother Jones, Kara Voght notes that “The Coronavirus is Knocking Progressive Priorities Off the Ballot: Progressives have increasingly turned to ballot initiatives in red states. COVID-19 has screwed that all up,”  and observes, “Across the country, coronavirus and the efforts to contain it have made it impossible to meet the requirements for putting measures on the ballot. The pandemic will stymie a cycle’s worth of progressive policy that, in some instances, would have directly addressed the medical and financial hardships it has worsened…Twenty-seven US states and territories allow for ballot measures, and in order for a proposed measure to make it onto the ballot, organizers need to collect some minimum number of handwritten signatures…In addition to Idaho’s minimum wage campaign, activists in Arizona suspended their signature-gathering for a measure that would have stopped surprise medical billing and increased health care worker pay. In Oregon, a petition for safe gun storage has stopped, as well, as has a push to legalize marijuana in Missouri. Most of these efforts can reboot for the 2022 cycle, but some cannot: A Oklahoma campaign to establish an independent redistricting committee –an effort to combat gerrymandering—will have lost its window of opportunity by then.”

As reported by Steven Shepard, Politico’s Election Forecast, “based on continual interviews with strategists and operatives, polling and other data streams and the electoral and demographic trends driving the 2020 campaign,” finds that “President Donald Trump is now an underdog to win a second term, and Republicans’ Senate majority is in serious danger of being swept out with him, according to the latest edition of POLITICO’s Election Forecast…A series of crises over the past three months has seen the political environment deteriorate markedly for Trump and his party. The percentage of voters who think the country is headed in the wrong direction is hitting new highs — a record 75 percent in the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — and Trump’s approval rating is settling near his all-time lows….Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s lead over Trump is swelling to roughly 10 points nationally — and for the first time, our forecast classifies Biden as the clear favorite in the race…But the race for Senate control is now close to a coin flip. Democrats now have discernible leads in Arizona and Colorado. Retired astronaut Mark Kelly has consistently outpolled appointed Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona’s special election.”


Political Strategy Notes

At Politico, Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki comment on Biden’s media and public appearance strategy: “…After laying out his own plan to slow the coronavirus, the presumptive Democratic nominee made what now amounts to news in this bizarre election: He opened the floor to questions from reporters, waving off aides when they tried to cut him off and marveling at how strange this has all become…The focus on his latest outing reflects the strange reality of a campaign in which he’s grown his support in polls by stepping aside….“They’ve allowed Trump to just implode,” said Pete Giangreco, a Democratic strategist. And by releasing a renewed coronavirus plan on Tuesday, Biden was able to keep the heat on Trump as the president struggles to contain a resurgence of the virus across the country, including in states key to his reelection hopes….“There’s the old adage, ‘when your opponent’s drowning, throw him an anvil,'”…Biden only recently began attending events outside of his Delaware home. His fundraisers and town hall-style events are held virtually. While Biden hadn’t held a press briefing in months, he has sat for national TV interviews. He’s also routinely taken part in one-on-one interviews with local news outlets in battleground states. Biden boasted on Tuesday that his efforts had reached 200 million people.” What I like about Biden’s strategy is that less wear and tear from travel and public events keeps him well-rested for the home stretch. Let Trump wear himself out on the trail at poorly-attended events.

It’s fun watching Republicans hem, haw and squirm about their earlier dismissive comments and inadequate policies with respect to the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. This week Dems are having a grand time witnessing the Great GOP Walk-back, especially by Trump, regarding their earlier coronavirus statements, and Dems have surely amassed a huge stockpile of video clips of Trump’s ridiculous comments about the virus back in March. One interesting question is, how much collateral damage will Trump’s comments do down-ballot — not that Republican Governors, paticularly in Florida, Georgia and Texas, don’t have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do about their own lame policies regarding the pandemic. The hope is that Democratic operatives in those states have their act enough together to produce ads that hold the GOP accountable.

As Stephen Collinson notes further in his article, “Trump’s anti-mask crusade is coming back to bite him” at CNN Politics, “Some Republicans have been trying to walk back earlier squeamishness about a step that runs counter to conservative talk show dogma by finding ways to make mask wearing more politically palatable. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who’s a strong Trump ally, suggested that with Independence Day approaching, Americans should show their patriotism with red, white and blue face coverings. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, has been resplendent in a plaid mask that recalls the red and black shirt he wore when he hiked across his state and was elected governor decades ago.”…Trump’s apparent shift on mask wearing probably does not signal a corresponding change in his denial about the worsening crisis and refusal to provide strong presidential leadership…In the same Fox Business interview, he claimed that “we did it all right” on coronavirus, a pandemic that he initially ignored, then mismanaged and politicized, and finally went back to ignoring even with more than 127,000 Americans now dead…”We did a great job. We’re credited with doing a great job,” he said, before returning his typical fantasy-based predictions about the virus.”

In his New York Times column, “Trump Wants a Backlash. Can He Whip One Into Shape?,” Thomas B. Edsall writes, “Donald Trump is already running ads online and on TV attempting to capitalize on these trends. One spot shows looters and burning buildings while the words “Joe Biden fails to stand up to the radical left” appear on the screen. Another Trump ad that ran on Facebookwarned: “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem…So far, Trump’s attempt to focus public attention on the looting, burning and sometimes indiscriminate toppling of statues has been outdone by the emergence of an ever longer list of African-American victims of police brutality, by new videos of police violence, much of it collected by T. Greg Doucette, a lawyer in North Carolina, and by the filing of murder charges on June 17 against an Atlanta police officer in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks…”

Edsall continues, “Traditionally, it has been the Democratic Party that was most vulnerable to fracture over race, racism, crime and family dysfunction. But this year, as my Times colleague Adam Nagourney pointed out on June 29 in “Trump’s Self-Inflicted Wound: Losing Swing Voters As He Plays to His Base,” the susceptibility to division is also a Republican problem: “Mr. Trump’s focus on his base at the expense of swing voters,” Nagourney wrote, “is almost certainly not enough to win him a second term.”…The key group, Nagourney continued, is the nine percent of the electorate identified in the Times/Siena poll as undecided, but these voters may be out of reach: They, like much of the country, hold unfavorable views of Mr. Trump’s job performance, and particularly his response to the pandemic and to the demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police...Across the country, significant support has emerged for broad efforts to combat police brutality and racism, but that support is not monolithic. The current tilt in favor of the demonstrators is likely to face concerted, ugly pushback from Trump and his minions — and there are four long months to go before the election.”

At CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster reports that “Ex-George W. Bush officials launch new group supporting Joe Biden,” and writes “A group of former George W. Bush administration and campaign officials has launched a new super PAC to mobilize disaffected Republican voters for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden…The group, launched Wednesday under the name “43 Alumni for Biden,” “seeks to unite and mobilize a community of historically Republican voters who are dismayed and disappointed by the damage done to our nation by Donald Trump‘s presidency,” according to a release. The formation of the group is the latest example of efforts being made by anti-Trump Republicans to defeat the President in November…Karen Kirksey, the director of the committee and who worked on the Bush 2000 election campaign and in the Labor and Agriculture Departments, said the endorsement of Biden is “not necessarily in full support of his political agenda but rather in full agreement with the urgent need to restore the soul of this nation.”

“The underappreciated story in Congress is that it’s Democrats who want to do the most to limit the economic damage caused by covid-19, while McConnell’s Republican Party slow-walks action,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his Washington Post column. “This reality should inform negotiations on the new round of relief that the country requires — and that those most battered by the economic downturn desperately need. The paradox is that if Democrats play hardball on behalf of a larger package and more assistance to the most vulnerable, as they must, they will be making Trump’s reelection a little bit easier…They should thus insist that the $3 trillion relief bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already pushed through set the terms of the discussion. McConnell can say he’ll ignore the House bill, but guess what? The man who most needs Congress to act is the Republican in the Oval Office. If McConnell wants to foil a genuinely bipartisan agreement, the failure will be on him, his party and his president…McConnell and his friends will no doubt cry hypocritical tears about deficits they never worry about when they’re handing tax breaks to the wealthy. But, yes, let’s think about the long term: If Congress doesn’t act boldly now, with an amount of money closer to the level the House has proposed, the resulting damage to the economy and to our most vulnerable citizens will linger for many years…We know the only thing Trump cares about is reelection. He may soon realize that his best interests lie in calling McConnell and telling him: If Pelosi and Schumer are willing to help me, give them what they want.”

Kyle Kondik reports at Sabato’s Crystal Ball that Democratic candidates are doing well in the battle for the burbs. “Joe Biden’s currently strong lead in the presidential race is being felt in the suburbs, which if it lasts could imperil Republicans in some of their formerly dark red turf…Texas merits special attention, where as many as 10 Republican-held House seats could become vulnerable if Trump were to lose the state…We have 11 House rating changes, 10 of which benefit Democrats…Overall, our ratings now show 227 House seats at least leaning to the Democrats, 194 at least leaning to the Republicans, and 14 Toss-ups. Splitting the Toss-ups down the middle would mean a 234-201 House, a one-seat GOP improvement on 2018…That said, as we scan the Leans Republican and Leans Democratic columns, there may be more GOP seats than Democratic ones that are closer to drifting into the Toss-up column. Second-quarter fundraising reports, which will be trickling out over the next couple of weeks, may provide some additional clues as to the state of these competitive races. All in all, the Democrats’ grip on the House majority remains strong.”

Also at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, in a graphic-rich post, Rhodes Cook shares some notes about the presidential race on the all-important, ‘keystone state,’ Pennsylvania: “The Philadelphia suburbs, once a Republican stronghold, now have a Democratic registration advantage in all four counties, with Chester County flipping to the Democrats in May. It is reportedly the first time there have been more Democrats than Republicans in the county since the Civil War…In 2016, Donald Trump inspired higher Republican turnout in Pennsylvania, while Hillary Clinton couldn’t offset her losses in the non-metro parts of the state…Voter registration trends in Pennsylvania are mirroring the 2016 picture — all of the counties in Philadelphia’s suburban collar are Democratic by registration while Republicans have flipped some working class counties…With the third party vote projected to be down from 2020, former Gov. Bill Weld’s (R-MA) relative strength as a Republican protest presidential candidate in this month’s Pennsylvania Republican primary may be a warning sign for Trump…Joe Biden, who frequently talks up his working class Scranton background, gives Democrats a good chance to move the state back into the blue column, but it’ll hardly be an automatic shift.”


Political Strategy Notes

In their article, “No excuse not to fix broken Ga. election system by Nov. 3,” Alan Abramowitz and Jonathan Krasno write “There are lots of ways to describe Georgia’s primary election, but no one would argue that it was anything less than an enormous embarrassment for the state. Some voters, particularly Black voters, were forced to wait for hours to cast their ballots while others breezed through without any trouble…This is not the way democratic elections are supposed to work. But things like this keep happening here, and no one should have any confidence that they are going to stop anytime soon since the state government now claims it is not responsible for fixing them. The question is whether Georgia’s business community is willing to tolerate being associated with what looks at best like sheer incompetence or at worst deliberate racism…We are talking about the tourist industry that draws millions of visitors to attractions like Savannah’s historic district and the Atlanta Aquarium…We are talking about leading brands headquartered in Georgia like Coca-Cola, Home Depot and UPS. All of these, plus plenty of smaller companies, have long told potential employees and customers of the advantages of their state: warm weather, low taxes, cosmopolitan Atlanta, the New South, etc…Failed elections tinged with racism do not fit with that picture…For many business leaders, that alone will offend. For all of them, there ought to be the uncertainty whether connection with Georgia will affect their bottom line…Just ask businesses in North Carolina. Its “bathroom bill” launched a boycott movement that cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in conventions…An even better example comes from Indiana, where then-Gov. Mike Pence signed a “religious freedom” bill that critics charged gave businesses and organizations the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people. While a few businesses were overjoyed with the law, the vast majority were appalled because they felt it cast their state in a poor light…They fought back. Angie’s List, headquartered in Indianapolis, canceled an expansion of its offices that would have brought an additional 1,000 jobs to the state. Salesforce suspended all activity in the state. The NCAA announced its intention to reevaluate its business there…Etc. Within months, the Legislature passed an additional law adding LGBTQ protections.”

It’s a month old, but, according to “Public Opinion on Single-Payer, National Health Plans, and Expanding Access to Medicare Coverage” by the Kaier Family Foundation, “A hallmark of Senator Sanders’ primary campaign for President in 2016 was a national “Medicare-for-all” plan and since then, a slight majority of Americans say they favor such a plan (Figure 4). Overall, large shares of Democrats and independents favor a national Medicare-for-all plan while most Republicans oppose (Figure 5). Yet, how politicians discuss different proposals does affect public support (Figure 6 and Figure 7). In addition, when asked why they support or oppose a national health plan, the public echoes the dominant messages in the current political climate (Figure 8). A common theme among supporters, regardless of how we ask the question, is the desire for universal coverage (Figure 9).” However, “KFF polling found that when such a plan is described in terms of the trade-offs (higher taxes but lower out-of-pocket costs), the public is almost equally split in their support (Figure 11).  KFF polling also shows many people falsely assume they would be able to keep their current health insurance under a single-payer plan, suggesting another potential area for decreased support especially since most supporters (67 percent) of such a proposal think they would be able to keep their current health insurance coverage (Figure 12).”

Further, The Kaiser Family Foundation notes, “KFF polling finds more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would prefer voting for a candidate who wants to build on the ACA in order to expand coverage and reduce costs rather than replace the ACA with a national Medicare-for-all plan (Figure 12). Additionally, KFF polling has found broader public support for more incremental changes to expand the public health insurance program in this country including proposals that expand the role of public programs like Medicare and Medicaid (Figure 13). And while partisans are divided on a Medicare-for-all national health plan, there is robust support among Democrats, and even support among over four in ten Republicans, for a government-run health plan, sometimes called a public option (Figure 14). Notably, the public does not perceive major differences in how a public option or a Medicare-for-all plan would impact taxes and personal health care costs. However, there are some differences in perceptions of how the proposals would impact those with private health insurance coverage (Figure 15). KFF polling in May 2020 finds about half of Americans support both a Medicare-for-all plan and a public option (Figure 16). So while the general idea of a national health plan (whether accomplished through an expansion of Medicare or some other way) may enjoy fairly broad support in the abstract, it remains unclear how this issue will play out in the 2020 election and beyond.”

A new anti-Trump ad from The Lincoln Project:

From”Why you shouldn’t believe Trump missed a guy chanting ‘white power’ in the video he shared” by Chris Cillizza at CNN Politics: “Why shouldn’t you believe the idea that Trump simply missed a guy chanting “white power” in the first few seconds of a video that he shared with his 82.5 million supporters on Twitter? Because, well, history — both recent and not-so-recent…From a housing discrimination lawsuit in the 1970s to his comments about the “Central Park 5”to his assertion that “both sides” were to blame for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 — and dozens of smaller moments in between — Trump has again and again showed he simply does not get it when it comes to America’s ongoing racial problems. Or, seen through another lens, that he gets it all too well…And, of late, with his political fortunes flagging badly, Trump has leaned more and more heavily into barely-coded appeals to racist sentiment in the country…In fact, the ways in which he has worked to weaponize race and exploit racial divisions for his own personal political gain suggests that all Trump did on Sunday morning was say out loud what he has been saying slightly more quietly and subtly for years…”‘White power’ isn’t a dog whistle,” tweeted Soraya Nadia McDonald, the culture critic at The Undefeated. “It’s an air horn.”

Harry Enten writes, also at CNN Politics: “Trump’s average net approval rating during his presidency has been the worst of any president in the polling era…He’s averaged just a 42.5% approval rating among voters for his entire presidency. Trump’s disapproval rating during that same span has been about 53%, which makes for a net approval rating of -10.5 points…There’s very little chance Trump’s going to win reelection if his net approval rating is in the negative double-digits. We know that in basically every poll this year that Trump’s winning about 90% or more of those who approve of his job performance, while Biden is taking about 90% or more of voters who disapprove of Trump…The idea that Trump will somehow get his net approval rating into positive territory seems like a long shot. His net approval rating has only been positive for 1% of his entire administration and all those days were at the beginning of it (i.e. his honeymoon period).”

Do Campaign Visits Pay Off?” Analyzing “Evidence from the 2016 Presidential Election,” Alan I. Abramowitz, author of “The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump,” addresses the question at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “With infection levels rising in many states and several Trump campaign staffers having tested positive for COVID-19, it is not clear how many more live rallies the Trump campaign will be able to conduct between now and Election Day. The Biden campaign currently has no plans to hold live campaign rallies. However, the findings reported in this article indicate that whether either campaign holds live rallies and whether one holds more rallies than the other will probably have little or no impact on the election results at the state level. Campaign events may have other benefits such as energizing supporters and stimulating donations, but in 2016 they did not appear to have any effect on how well candidates did in the states in which they were held…Campaigns may derive indirect benefits from rallies, though, such as voter contacts, press coverage, and donations. But there’s not much evidence to show that the number of rallies in a given state had an impact on the results.”

“Far from adjusting to different times, Trump is betting — as he did in 2016 and as the tea party did in the Obama years — that the leftover right-wing slogans from the 1960s (see: “LAW AND ORDER!”) and a defense of Confederate “heritage” will win him the overwhelming majorities among older white voters that he needs to carry battleground states,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his Washington Post column. .\”But this isn’t working, and not only because former vice president Joe Biden is an older white guy who is rather hard to tar as an agent of the revolutionary left. It’s also failing because many older voters are petrified of what Trump’s astonishingly inept handling of the coronavirus pandemic means for their health and their very lives…But more importantly for the long run, the 2020 electorate is not the electorate of the tea party wave, or even of 2016. The new generations that Obama realignment enthusiasts acclaimed 12 years ago are, at long last, the dominant groups in the electorate…As a Pew Research Center study showed, members of Gen Z (born after 1996) couldn’t even vote in 2012 and made up just 4 percent of the 2016 potential electorate. But they will account for 1 in 10 eligible voters this year. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) will constitute 27 percent of this year’s eligible voters. In combination with Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980), more than 6 in 10 of this year’s electorate will be younger than 55…Three things are true: (1.) The post-boomer generations are more diverse than the rest of the electorate. (2.) Younger whites are more liberal than their elders on matters of racial justice — as a Washington Post-Schar School poll showed this month — and on social issues. (3.) The share of millennials who vote will be higher than in Obama’s elections simply because they are older than they were in 2008 or 2012.

A reminder for any undecided voters you may know:

 


Political Strategy Notes

In today’s New York Times frequent TDS contributor Ruy Teixeira writes in his op-ed, “Who Are the Key Voters Turning Against Trump?“: “Joe Biden may be ahead in national and many battleground polls, but Democrats are still fretting about whether key constituencies will turn out in November…But the Democrats have a secret weapon in 2020 on the other side of the age spectrum: senior voters. Among this age group — voters 65 and older — polls so far this year reveal a dramatic shift to the Democrats. That could be the most consequential political development of this election…The bipartisan States of Change project estimates that Mrs. Clinton lost this group by around 15 points. By contrast, the nonpartisan Democracy Fund + U.C.L.A. Nationscape survey, which has collected over 108,000 interviews of registered voters since the beginning of the year, has Mr. Biden leading among seniors by about six points. We are looking at a shift of over 20 points in favor of the Democrats among a group that should be at least a quarter of voters in 2020. That’s huge.”

Teixeira continues, “This pro-Democratic shift is very much in evidence in 2020 battleground states. The list includes Florida, where seniors should be an unusually high 30 percent of voters (a 17 point shift); Pennsylvania (24 points); and Michigan (26 points). In short, the age group that was President Trump’s greatest strength in 2016 is turning into a liability. In an election where he will need every vote against a strong Democratic challenge, that could be disastrous — and a harbinger of a new, broader coalition for the Democrats…Who are these seniors who are turning against Mr. Trump? As you might expect, the racial composition of the 65 and over population is majority white — about four in five. And among white seniors, we see the same shift as among seniors as a whole, over 20 points. The movement of white seniors against the president is clearly driving this trend…this shift is the most consequential we have seen in this election season. If it remains through November and beyond, it could define a new era in American politics.”

At Vox, Matthew Yglesias adds that “Consider current polling that says Biden is narrowly favored in North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio while tied in Iowa. If you treat these as four independent contests, it starts to look extremely unlikely that Trump could sweep all four states…The bad news for Trump is that winning North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, and Iowa wouldn’t be nearly good enough for him. He needs to win Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania to carry the day. And right now, Biden’s leads in those states are big enough that it would take a very large and genuinely rare scale of polling error for that to happen.” However, “The good news for Trump is that his Electoral College edge remains large. In the FiveThirtyEight average, he’s losing nationally by 9.9, but he’s only losing Pennsylvania by 5.8 percentage points. That means that if Trump could cut his national polling deficit down to 5 or so — which could be easily enough achieved by reminding right-of-center voters who are currently undecided that they have fundamental disagreements with Biden on policy — he’d be within “normal polling error” range in the pivotal state. Even then, he’d be favored to lose, and it’s certainly possible that Trump’s numbers will get worse in the future rather than better (especially if the economy worsens when emergency measures expire in August), but the point is just that his large deficit is hardly insurmountable…After all, Michael Dukakis was up by 17 points in mid-July 1988.”

And Grace Sparks notes at CNN Politics: “Former Vice President Joe Biden leads over President Donald Trump in one of the critical Midwestern states that helped the Republican Party win the presidency four years ago, according to a Marquette University poll from Wisconsin…And a new poll out of Ohio from Quinnipiac University shows a tied race in a state where Trump bested Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points in 2016…The Wisconsin poll, released by Marquette University Law School on Wednesday, finds Biden widening his lead over Trump, garnering 49% of registered voters to Trump’s 41%. In early May, Biden stood at 46% and Trump at 43%…Trump’s job approval has ticked down slightly — 45% of Wisconsin voters who approve of the job he’s doing as president, 51% disapprove. That’s moved from 47% approve and 49% disapprove in early May…In Ohio, Biden received 46% support among registered voters and 45% support Trump, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday…Trump’s approval stands at 44% approve, 53% disapprove in the Buckeye State and 43% approve, 54% disapprove of his handling of coronavirus.”

In “The Electoral College: Trump’s Floodgates are Creaking: Florida, Pennsylvania shift toward Biden, but he’s still shy of the magic number 270 in our ratings” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik explains: “Florida moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up, and Pennsylvania moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic…This means 268 electoral votes are rated as at least leaning to Joe Biden in our ratings; 204 are at least leaning to Donald Trump; and there are 66 electoral votes in the Toss-up category…Biden is decently positioned, although his current lead may be inflated.” However, “we have to be on guard for polling, particularly state polling, that may inflate Biden’s lead. Steve Shepard of Politico wrote recently about some of the remaining concerns with state polling. And, going back to Michigan, one of the pollsters that did well there in 2016, Republican pollster Trafalgar Group, recently showed Biden up just one point there. So not all of the numbers have been bad for Trump lately, but most of them have been…Overall, our suspicion is that Biden’s lead is artificially high right now.”

NYT columnist Thomas B. Edsall probes a question of pivotal importance to millions of American workers, “Why Do We Pay So Many People So Little Money? The coronavirus pandemic is forcing America to confront its epidemic low-wage problem.” In his conclusion, Edsall warns of a threat to Democrats who support policy reforms to reduce income inequality, which surfaced in Georgia’s recent primary: “The state’s voting system “suffered a spectacular collapse, leading to absentee ballots that never got delivered and hourslong waits at polling sites,” The Times reported, noting that “Georgia is being roiled by a politically volatile debate over whether the problems were the result of mere bungling, or an intentional effort by Republican officials to inhibit voting.” Further, Edsall adds, “Donald Trump and the Republican Party clearly see Georgia as a model, and they are determined to capitalize on the pandemic to suppress the vote and conduct an overtly anti-democratic election on Nov. 3. If they have their way, one of the first targets of suppression will be the essential work force that has learned better than anyone the severity of the damage than can be inflicted by a Trump administration.”

Washington Post syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. also has a warning that should be of interest to voters and candidates concerned about political corruption: “Shudder for the rule of law in our nation. Be alarmed that a politicized Justice Department will be allowed to do whatever it wants in service to a sitting president. Be amazed that judges can spout errant nonsense to reach a result that just happens to square with the interests of a president who shares their partisan leanings…Yes, the decision by two Court of Appeals judges to block efforts to scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its prosecution of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, is that disturbing. Here’s hoping the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit insists on reviewing this scandalous decision and overturns it…Flynn himself pleaded guilty to two charges of lying to the FBI about his 2016 conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then-Russian ambassador to the United States, about sanctionsthen-President Barack Obama imposed on Russia for its interference in the 2016 campaign. Vice President Pence later said that Flynn lied to him about the nature of his contacts with Russia…After only 24 days on the job, Flynn was dismissed by President Trump, who explained in a December 2017 tweet: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.”

In her article, “Progressive Black candidates swept key races on Tuesday: The Democratic Party is starting to look more like Democratic voters,” Ella Nilsen writes at Vox: “In the 2018 midterms, the most successful candidates were women. In 2020, a year shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against police brutality, Black candidates are proving they’re the ones to watch — winning a spate of key races on Tuesday night…In New York and Virginia, young, progressive candidates of color swept races against powerful incumbents and in open competitions alike. In Kentucky, where a key Senate primary is too close to call, Black progressive candidate Charles Booker is still locked in a competitive racewith Marine Corps veteran Amy McGrath….“In 2018, Dem voters showed an unprecedented desire to nominate women,” Cook Political Report House editor Dave Wasserman tweeted. “In 2020, we’re witnessing another sea change in desire, this time toward Black candidates…Even with the Kentucky Senate race too close to call, the June 23 primaries show young Black candidates have momentum on their side this year.”

From “Dissident Republican Groups Shift Into High Gear to Kick Trump While He’s Down” by Hanna Trudo at The Daily Beast: “The increased interest in courting Republicans, including those who have been most vocal in their opposition to Trump’s re-election, comes as Biden continues to gain ground with supporters in key swing states, including those that the president flipped from blue to red four years ago. In several recent surveys, Biden leads Trump by double digit margins…“When it comes to Donald Trump, people who tell you that there are no swing voters are wrong,” said Sarah Longwell, the strategic director for Republican Voters Against Trump, a sizable operation amid the groundswell of GOP activity working against the president’s reelection. “I talk to them all the time.”…“It’s really about permission structures,” she said. “It’s a hard thing in our tribal partisan environment for people to move against the tribe. But once they see lots of other people like them saying, ‘hey this how I feel so this is what I’m going to do about it’ … that they find very compelling.”

Political Strategy Notes

Harry Enten explains why “There’s no sign of ‘hidden’ Trump voters” at CNN politics: “Even though the national polls were accurate in 2016, one of the complaints I hear most often about the polls is that Trump’s supporters are either lying or won’t talk to pollsters. Polls like Ipsos get around that argument because they use machines (e.g. they’re done online) to conduct the interviews. There’s no reason to lie to a machine. If Trump was doing significantly better in these non-live interview polls, then these critics of the polls may have a point…The evidence indicates these detractors are, at least in this moment, wrong. There’s no sign of shy Trump voters. Trump doesn’t do any better in polls without a live interviewer…The average of national surveys (accounting for the fact that some pollsters survey more often) this week from pollsters who didn’t have a live interviewer put Biden up over Trump 50% to 39% (10 points unrounded). That’s a huge advantage and very similar to the latest live interview poll average that has Biden up 51% to 41%…Biden’s lead over Trump this past week was double what it was a month ago in the non-live interview polls.”

“Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has performed better in recent polling among white evangelicals — and other religious groups — than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and is widely perceived as more religious than the current White House occupant,” Gabby Orr writes in “Trump allies see a mounting threat: Biden’s rising evangelical support” at Politico. “A Pew Research study conducted earlier this year showed that a majority of U.S. adults (63 percent) think Trump is “not at all” or “not too religious,” versus 55 percent who said they believed Biden is somewhat or very religious…Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist who has argued that Biden has an opening to make inroads with Christian conservatives, said the candidate should invoke his faith more often, as opposed to constantly referencing his accomplishments from his time as vice president and a member of the U.S. Senate…“He would be well-served to talk more in those terms, instead of telling people to check out his record,” Stutzman said. “There are a lot of themes that fit the moment related to justice, authority and loving your neighbor and not in a way that would necessarily make white evangelicals uncomfortable if Biden could speak to them.”

At The Nation, John Nichols argues that Kentucky State Rep. Charles Booker’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination have improved dramatically om recent weeks. Nichols says Booker “now has a real chance of beating the pick of DC insiders for the party’s nomination in one of the highest-profile Senate contests of 2020…A fresh Data for Progress poll puts Booker at 44 percent versus 36 percent for retired Marine fighter pilot and Democratic primary candidate Amy McGrath, whose “unimaginative and uninspiring” campaign has, in the words of the Louisville Courier-Journal, “fallen flat in these final weeks of the campaign.” In addition to securing the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria   Ocasio-Cotez, “Booker has also collected endorsements from Kentucky’s two largest newspapers, the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader; popular sports commentator Matt Jones; legislative leaders from across the state; former Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes (who ran against McConnell in 2014); and former state attorney general Greg Stumbo.”

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, “Trump’s begging Chinese dictator Xi Jinping to help him win reelection and his praise for Xi’s detention of 1 million Muslim Uighurs in indoctrination and forced-labor camps are the most shocking revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book…These revelations matter because they show that the very heart of Trump’s appeal — to “Make America Great Again” by putting “America First” — is a lie all the way down. The paltry crowd he drew to his Saturday rally in Tulsa suggests that a spirit of doubt is taking hold even in his onetime strongholds…So from here forward, remember that whenever Trump uses the word “China,” he is talking about a regime he approached as a supplicant and whose repressive powers he envies.”

Sttephen Wolf reports that “House Democrats are poised to pass statehood for Washington, D.C., next week as Senate support grows at Daily Kos, and notes, “On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the full U.S. House will vote on granting statehood to Washington, D.C. on June 26. With a majority of House members already in support, Washington, D.C.’s statehood is expected to soon pass a chamber of Congress for the first time in U.S. history. This vote comes in response to the nation’s recent wave of unrest over police brutality and discrimination against Black Americans. It would serve as a pointed rebuke to the Trump administration after it teargassed peaceful protestors and used the military to occupy parts of the city, which Trump was able to do largely because of the lack of statehoodand its legal protections against federal interference.” Among the political calculations: “If Democrats win back the Senate in November, statehood supporters come within striking distance of a majority, especially since Democratic candidates who’ve come out in support of statehood—such as Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock—could flip Republican-held seats. If Democrats eliminate the filibuster, it would only take a simple majority vote to admit Washington, D.C. as a state, and if statehood-supporter Joe Biden wins the White House and his vice president breaks a tie in favor, statehood would only need 10 more Senate votes to pass.”

In “How Americans Feel About ‘Defunding The Police’,” Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight, “There’s some disagreement about what exactly the slogan means. Some activists actually do want to disband police departments entirely, while others argue that police budgets should be radically decreased, but not brought down to zero. But even among those who want to abolish the police, some say they want to do so over time…But while the slogan is suddenly everywhere, so far it doesn’t poll well. Four polls conducted in the past two weeks1 found that Americans opposed the “defund the police” movement or “defunding police departments” 58 percent to 31 percent, on average…The slogan is unpopular with most demographic groups, too, with two notable exceptions: Black Americans and Democrats. In the two polls where results were broken down by race, Black respondents said they supported defunding the police by an average of 45 percent to 28 percent, while white respondents opposed it by an average of 61 percent to 23 percent.”

In “Other Polling Bites,” Rakich notes, “Researchers at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Texas at Austin are out with a cool YouGov poll surveying Americans on the cases before the Supreme Court this term… For example, respondents said 83 percent to 17 percent that they believed it should be illegal for employees to be fired because of their sexual orientation, the subject of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. Respondents also favored keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the subject of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, 61 percent to 39 percent. And this week, the court sided with the American public on both cases.”

“The Biden campaign plans to seize upon Trump’s Tulsa claim that he asked officials to “slow the [coronavirus] testing down, please” to focus on Trump’s broader policy goal of dismantling the Affordable Care Act (Trump’s campaign later said he was joking.),” Jonathan Swan reports at axios.com.The Biden strategy is pretty straightforward: Reiterate Biden’s commitment to Obamacare while signaling that he is open to revising it with a public option — all while drawing a contrast with President Trump, who continues to call for its repeal…Even during the pandemic, the Trump administration is continuing its assault on one of President Obama’s signature issues and is expected to file a Supreme Court brief to repeal the law this week…Biden’s campaign is salivating about that expected filing and will use it to bludgeon Trump on both his COVID-19 response and his opposition to Obamacare…Expect Biden’s team to call on Trump to explain how he plans to provide health care to an estimated 20 million Americans who have lost their jobs, and likely, their health insurance.”

At The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter writes, “Polling out this week from the Des Moines Register also found Trump’s standing to be weakening in the Hawkeye State. He led Biden by just one point, 44 to 43 percent. Back in March, Trump enjoyed a 10-point (51-41 percent) lead over Biden…Even so, the demographics of Iowa are still going to be a challenge for Biden. According to an analysis of the 2016 electorate for the liberal think tank, American Progress, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin found that 62 percent of the Iowa electorate was white and did not hold a college degree. They voted for Trump by 23 points. As Teixeira and Halpin wrote last year about this state: “For the Democratic candidate, his or her fortunes are clearly dependent on moving the very large white non-college group in their direction…The Des Moines Register poll found some significant movement among non-college white women. According to the survey, Biden leads among this group by 18 points. In 2016, exit polls showed Trump winning with these women by two points (49-47 percent). Among non-college men, Trump still held a wide lead of 36 points.”


Political Strategy Notes

An excerpt from Geoffrey Skelley’s “The Latest Swing State Polls Look Good For Biden” at FiveThirtyEight: “As for the polling picture in the Sun Belt states — Arizona, Georgia and Texas — they all seemed more or less in line with what you would expect, once you account for Biden’s lead in the national polls and how these states voted in 2016. But they do signal potential trouble for Trump. For instance, the fact that Trump carried Arizona by 3.5 points in 2016 seems to have been erased by Biden’s polling lead. On average, Biden led by 3 points, including a high-quality early June survey from Fox News that showed him up 4 points. In Georgia and Texas, on the other hand, Trump was still in the lead, by 1 and 2 points, respectively. Yet this is not as cushy of a margin as one would expect for Trump, considering he carried Georgia by 5 points and Texas by 9 points in 2016. If this trio of states are all in play — and Arizona is possibly even leaning Democratic — that would give Biden many additional paths to 270 electoral votes…Polls in Florida, the über swing state, also tilted slightly toward Biden, though we didn’t have much in the way of high-quality polls here. These surveys all gave Biden a narrow lead ranging from 1 to 5 points. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s eight polls suggest a competitive race in the state — collectively, the results ranged from Trump by 3 points to Biden by 4 points, averaging out to about even.”

In “Other Polling Bites, Skelley notes, “60 percent of people who said they intended to vote for Biden in November said their support for Biden is more “a vote against Donald Trump” than “a vote for Joe Biden,” according to a new CNN/SSRS poll, while just 37 percent of Biden backers said that their support for Biden was more a vote for him. Conversely, 70 percent of Trump backers said that their support of Trump was more a vote for him than against Biden, while just 27 percent described it as more a vote against Biden than a vote for Trump.”

In “The Tea Party’s Last Stand: The legions that swept over the Republican Party in 2010 aren’t ascendant today—and they’ve scared a lot of other Republicans away,” Stanley B. Greenberg writes about Trump’s supporters at The American Prospect: “His relentless, venomous base strategy has created a bloc of Republican refugees who have nothing but contempt for his armed Tea Party, anti-stay-at-home protesters…The proportion of Republicans who call themselves moderates has dropped from 23 percent in 2018 to only 16 percent now. When the McCain conservatives are added to those moderates, they now constitute 35 percent of the party, down from 41 percent two years ago. That leaves President Trump with a secure hold over his enthusiastic base—but as I wrote in March in The Atlantic, the Republican Party is “a diminished party” that is “shedding voters.”…When Trump took office, about 39 to 40 percent of Americans identified with the Republican Party. That fell to about 35 to 36 percent. Today, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, Republican identification has fallen to 33 percent.”…President Trump is trapped by a pandemic and protests that only magnify his insecurity and weak hold on his own party—and by his need to provoke a Tea Party to make its last stand.”

Observations from Rep. Jim Clyburn on the topic of police reform vs. ‘defund the police’, as reported by Zeesham Aleem  at Vox: “In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Clyburn firmly opposed embracing the concept amid Democrats’ push for criminal justice reform legislation…“I would simply say, as I have always said, nobody is going to defund the police,” he said. “We can restructure the police forces, restructure, reimagine policing. That is what we are going to do…“The fact of the matter is this is a structure that has been developed that we’ve got to deconstruct. So I wouldn’t say defund. Deconstruct our policing,” he said..The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play. What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in…Clyburn has previously suggested that he opposes defunding the police because he believes it is a phrase that is vulnerable to opposition messaging from the GOP…“You know all that will do is give Donald Trump the cover he needs,” Clyburn told CNN’s Ana Cabrera Saturday in a separate discussion about the slogan. “I’ve been saying to people all the time, ‘If you allow yourself to play the opponent’s game, you’re going to lose and the opponent will win.’ Let’s not play his game.”

In “As virus cases rise in states where Trump won, Republican attitudes may shift,” Tom McCarthy notes at The Guardian: “In the early stages of the pandemic, African Americans died of Covid-19 at three times the rate of white people, according to figures compiled by the non-partisan APM Research Lab. Only 21% of Covid-19 deaths by late May were recorded in counties won by Trump in 2016, according to a New York Times analysis…But coronavirus cases are now growing quickly in some rural and exurban areas with strong Trump support. Covid-19 cases are climbing in Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas, and in Texas hospitalizations for Covid-19 are up 42% since Memorial Day…A relative lack of health infrastructure in parts of rural America and economic devastation from the Covid-19 closures mean that already vulnerable communities could be overwhelmed. Older, rural voters in Republican-led states that declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are more likely to lack health insurance than the urban poor, according to a 2018 study.”

Simon Tisdale explains why “Joe Biden needs more than virtue to win. He will have to pick an exciting vice-president,” also at The Guardian: “Biden indicated last year that, should he win, he would only serve one term. Running again as an octogenarian was more or less ruled out, assuming he could count on a trusted successor. That makes his choice of vice president, or veep, vastly more important than usual. His pick can expect a ready-made launchpad for their own 2024 presidential bid – and a reasonable chance of success…More than anything, picking a black woman, with the possibility of her becoming the first female president, would be a historic move. It would inject excitement and moral authority into Biden’s campaign, especially among younger voters. It would be hailed as a major, practical advance for racial equality and a rebuff to the white supremacist Trump rump…It would be a signal that America really is changing. And it would offer posthumous vindication to George Floyd and the many, many others who have suffered as he did.”

“A lot of the reason why young people don’t turn out and vote is because they see voting and registration as overly complex and difficult and foreign to them,” John Holbein, co-author of ‘Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action Reforms‘ notes in an interview at The American Prospect. “Reforms that make registration easier, such as same-day registration that allow young people to register when they show up at the ballot box (if they missed a voter registration deadline) and other reforms that make registration more transparent and easy— increase youth voter participation quite a bit…So number one is teaching young people the skills and knowledge they need to participate. Number two is making the voting process more streamlined, more transparent and easier. Given that young people really want to engage, these types of things will actually help them follow through on that…The evidence that we have on vote-by-mail suggests that young people really latch onto this reform. There’s great evidence out of the state of Washington, which implemented its universal vote by mail system a couple of years ago that suggests that young people when given the opportunity to vote by mail, it increases the chances that they’ll go vote. They spring into action.”

Thomas B. Edsall shares perceptive insights about racial injustice and politics at this political moment from Democratic Pollster Celinda Lake”: “1) There has emerged a much stronger awareness of racism and discrimination especially around policing and the chance to get ahead. 2) The pattern of killings and the video have had a cumulative effect of creating a real turning point. 3) Trump’s response had been so out of touch with what people were feeling and the pain, healing, and change they want. 4) It’s a different America than Trump understands especially with young voters so diverse and white women so upset at his style of governing. 5) And then there are unexpected and vivid validators, the generals and police themselves.”

Washington Post coilumnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes that “the coming months are critical as the news turns inevitably back to the resurgence of the novel coronavirus. Former vice president Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have an obligation to turn the shock of moral recognition from Floyd’s murder into a movement for a new community…Precisely because Biden is widely seen as a traditional figure of restoration, he has been given a historic opportunity to argue that restoration demands change. To become “who we think we are,” Americans must break decisively not only with the Trumpian present but also with the long history of reaction the president represents…More than that: Biden can make the case, as he has begun to, that those who genuinely seek, yes, law and order must embrace justice and reform as the only alternatives to fragmentation and ongoing chaos. We will continue to be tormented, as the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer observed, as long as we refuse to deal comprehensively with our legacy of racism.”


Political Strategy Notes

The Democrats have a nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia now occupied by Republican Sen. David Perdue. As Greg Bluestein reports at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Jon Ossoff captured the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, emerging from a crowded field that included two well-financed rivals to win an outright victory in the race to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue…Ossoff, 33, notched a clear win that eluded him three years ago when he waged a special election campaign for a suburban Atlanta congressional district that earned national attention..His victory comes after a primary marred by long lines, equipment malfunctions and missing absentee ballots that put the state’s voting problems in the national spotlight…Ossoff’s victory was called by The Associated Press as absentee ballots from metro Atlanta, his biggest base of support, steadily boosted his vote total above the 50% mark.” His message: “This is not a moment to let up. This is a moment to double down,” said Ossoff, who owns an investigative journalism firm. “We can no longer go down a path of authoritarianism, of racism, of corruption. We are better than this…“I expose corruption for a living,” he said at a forum, “and David Perdue sells access for campaign cash.”

Bluestein continues, “The coronavirus pandemic may have helped his campaign, too. All three candidates were forced to resort to virtual campaigning as restrictions took hold in March, but analysts said it could give candidates with high profiles and deep pockets an edge since old-fashioned retail politicking was largely off-limits…Armed with the endorsements of U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis — veteran Democrats he considers mentors — Ossoff has embraced left-leaning policies he didn’t emphasize during his 2017 campaign…Ossoff has talked often about deep racial inequities that shape every facet of American life, and he’s promised to fight for stronger civil rights protections, an end to mandatory minimum prison sentences and a ban on private prisons…One of his recent TV ads invokes the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old shot dead while running near his Brunswick neighborhood, in his push to overhaul the criminal justice system. He’s called the pandemic a “massive wake-up call” to expand health insurance and bolster public health funding.”

Ossoff had the endorsement of Rep. John Lewis, and he hopes to build a broad electoral coalition to win the seat. African Americans are nearly 1/3 of Georgia’s eligible voters. So it’s possible that Ossoff could win in November with 2 out of 7 white voters. Stacy Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Governor in 2018, has mobilized an energetic campaign against voter suppression, and if her efforts produce an increase in Black voter turnout, Ossoff could benefit. Georgia’s other senate seat, now occupied by  Republican appointee Kelly Loeffler, will also be on the ballot in a special election. Voters will chose from a long list of candidates on the ballot, with party identifiers by their names. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on January 5, 2021. Both Republican incumbent senators are facing tough questions about insider trading and profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic.

At Newsweek, James Walker reports that “Donald Trump’s Economic Approval Rating Falls Below 50 Percent for First Time in Over Two Years.” Walker writes, “The latest presidential approval poll, published by Gallup on Wednesday, found that 47 percent of U.S. adults approved of the president’s record on the economy…When the same poll was conducted in January, Trump’s economy approval rating was 16 points higher—standing at 63 percent…The last time the president had an economic approval rating below 50 percent was in November 2017, when Gallup found only 45 percent of U.S. adults backed his record on the issue…In the pollster’s latest survey, 51 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy—a level also unseen since Gallup’s November 2017 poll…Asked for their overall opinion of Trump’s performance in the Oval Office thus far, less than four in ten (39 percent) said they approved. Fifty-seven percent of surveyed Americans said they disapproved of the president’s record in office…The current unemployment rate exceeds anything seen since the Great Depression, when roughly a quarter of the working population was out of a job.”

John Cassidy explains why “Why the Polls Are Alarming for Donald Trump” at The New Yorker: “Here are some bad signs for Trump that struck me after I spent some time burrowing into the invaluable polling databases that are maintained by RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight…In the past two months, Trump hasn’t led in a single national poll. The FiveThirtyEight general-election database contains the results of hundreds of surveys, and the last one showing Trump in front of Biden nationally was conducted by Change Research on April 2nd and 3rd—a moment at which Bernie Sanders was still contesting the Democratic primary. Back in 2016, Trump trailed Hillary Clinton in the vast majority of national surveys, too. But, during the two-month period from April 9th to June 9th of that year, he led in five of them, including a poll in May from ABC News/Washington Post that got quite a bit of attention. Since early April of this year, every single national poll in the FiveThirtyEight database, including some that tend to lean Republican, has shown Biden ahead.”

Cassidy adds, “Polls from key states are also pointing to trouble for Trump. The R.C.P. database lists thirteen states as battlegrounds: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. According to R.C.P.’s poll averages, Trump is leading in just three of these states—Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas—and only in Iowa is his advantage more than three percentage points. In Arizona, Florida, and Ohio, all of which Trump carried in 2016, Biden is slightly ahead. And in Michigan, which was another linchpin of Trump’s 2016 victory in the Electoral College, a new poll released on Monday showed Biden doubling his lead, to twelve points, compared with a survey that the same pollster, EPIC-MRA, took in January…Finally, compared with this point in 2016, Biden is much less unpopular than Clinton was.” Hoever, “Biden’s polling lead in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—two of the Rust Belt states that ensured Trump’s Electoral College victory in 2016—is small: 3.3 percentage points and 3.4 percentage points, respectively, according to the R.C.P. averages.”

At The Boston Review, professor Jocelyn Simonson shares some insights regarding “Power Over Policing,” which Democratic candidates may find helpful in honing their messaging. Simonson notes that “There is a distressing disconnect between the ringing demands for justice on the streets and the suite of “police reform” proposals that many experts say satisfy these demands. Protesters and social movements talk about divesting from policing and investing in black communities. They talk about ensuring that “the most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us,” as the Movement for Black Lives stated in its list of demands this week. The call is for stability, resources, control. The call is for power.” Further, “expert explications of the gold standard methods of “reforming police departments” focus on how to increase the efficiency and decrease the harmfulness of existing police forces. They emphasize measurable “success” in police reform: either instrumentally focusing on the “costs” and “benefits” of particular police tactics or seeking out “legitimacy” and cooperation between law enforcement and communities.”

In his article, “Biden: The 21st-Century FDR?” Harold Meyerson writes at The American Prospect that “the president who Biden now hopes to model himself on isn’t so much Lincoln as it is Franklin Roosevelt—specifically, the FDR who tilted public policy in favor of workers and a more and better managed capitalism…If Biden is serious about initiating the huge economic reforms and the economic recovery the country so manifestly needs, not to mention the reforms required to move us toward more actual, more lived racial equality, he’ll need to rely on advisers who aren’t the 21st-century versions of Douglas and Morgenthau—who aren’t, in short, Summers and Emanuel. He shouldn’t take my word for it; he should ask what would Roosevelt and Lincoln do?”

“Biden, by most accounts, has been a different man since the pandemic hit,” Michale Tomasky writes at The New York Review of Books. “Last year, he sometimes spoke of his presidency as a return to a pre-Trump era. Now, with unemployment nearing 15 percent and calls for change from protesters becoming more urgent—and with the crisis starkly laying bare the economic precarity in which so many Americans were living even before the virus hit—he sees himself in the mold of Franklin Roosevelt, a leader who would rise to the vast challenge history has thrust upon him and introduce sweeping change. The change in Biden has sometimes been overstated. But it is real, and it makes the prospect of a Biden presidency (provided it’s combined with Democratic capture of the Senate) far more intriguing than it was just two months ago…It’s not so much that the virus has moved Biden to the left. Rather, it has nudged reality leftward, and Biden has followed…So Biden’s current shift is probably less a policy shift than a persona shift. But we shouldn’t gainsay the potential importance of persona shifts. They can lead politicians to change their emphasis and their actual priorities.”


Political Strategy Notes

Stephen Collinson’s article, “Pressure mounts on Trump to project unity” at CNN politics iluminates a  glaring weakness of the GOP in the 2020 campaign, alongside one of Joe Biden’s unique assets as the likely Democratic presidential nominee. Collinson reports, “President Donald Trump, appearing badly out of touch with a national outpouring of support for racial justice and shedding political support just five months before the election, is edging toward a belated call for national unity…But after spending two weeks ripping at racial wounds and painting a picture of a nation under siege from looters, domestic terrorists and radicals, he’s probably already missed his chance…Trump’s team is beginning to signal a shift that might see the President tone down the rhetoric in a bid to win back independents and moderate suburban Republicans that he needs to win in November.” This would be a very tough sale for Trump, having squandered three and a half years dividing and polarizing Americans to an unprecedented extent. And it’s not just Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has marinated in scorched-earth partisanship. Together, Trump and McConnell have branded the GOP as the party of polarization, and five months won’t be enough time to turn it around. At the same time, Joe Biden’s compassionate personality, his impressive ability to reach out to disadvantaged Americans and his appeals to polarization-weary Americans to build bridges of unity instead of walls of division should serve Democrats well in November.

In his article, “Voters Unlikely to Want to Stay the Course” at The Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook puts it this way: “As far as intraparty politics, it would seem that Trump now practically owns the Republican Party, having taken it away from those who had been its establishment figures and benefactors. According to the same strategist, there are three “institutional realities” that make Trump’s success within the party and how he wins his 90 percent approval rating among Republicans time and again. He cites “the Fox et al information system, greater credibility with and support from Republican voters than almost any of the 53 Republican senators enjoy in their own states, and a Republican Party that has been accelerating its abuse of norms in response to its diminishing popularity.” I have often wondered myself what was behind Trump’s hostile takeover of a party that he had only recently joined and whether the party’s back-to-back losses to Barack Obama, a figure reviled within the tea-party movement, might have contributed to this primal scream of frustration and rebellion against the long-dominant establishment…We still have just over five months until the election, which is plenty of time for things to change. But right now, this election is not headed in a direction that any Republican can like. Moreover, events of the past two months are hardly ones that would make voters want to “stay the course” or chant “four more years.”

New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall explores the possible political fallout of the protests, coronovirus pandemic and economic meltdown, and writes, “While fear of disorder and crime tend to play into the hands of the Republican Party, at least traditionally, the opposite is true of health care and economic crises, which play to Democratic strengths as the party more sympathetic to the concerns of those who are suffering…In the context of three simultaneous crises — the pandemic, the economy and nationwide protests over police brutality toward African-Americans — Trump’s attempts to assert his role as the hard-nosed embodiment of law-and-order have been undermined by the public’s harsh assessment of his leadership role during the pandemic.”

Edsall continues, “How the protests, both peaceful and violent, will play out on Nov. 3 remains uncertain. Perry Bacon Jr., a senior writer at FiveThirtyEight.com, points out that over the last decade, many whites, especially white Democrats, “have become increasingly conscious of discrimination against black Americans — particularly in the years since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in 2012 and Michael Brown was shot and killed in 2014.”…The looting of drugstores and high-end retail — much of it videotaped and repeatedly broadcast — may undermine the strength of these emerging liberal convictions. But will that matter more than Floyd’s stark death, which also exists on tape for all to see?…Which narrative prevails in the aftermath — legitimate grievance or rapacious looting — will play a key role in determining who our next president is and how the nation will resolve the tension between grief and anger.”

Noting the mess in last week’s primaries in Maryland and Washington, D.C., E.J. Dionne, Jr. warns, “Both the District of Columbia and Maryland hoped to push as much voting by mail as possible. It was an admirable instinct during a pandemic, but it didn’t work out so well…A big problem in both places: Optimism about voting by mail encouraged election officials to slash the number of polling places and voting centers — in Washington from the normal 143 to a mere 20. In Baltimore, a city with 296 precincts, there were only six Election Day voting sites…Mail voting means that even efficient systems can take a long time to get to a final result. Mailed ballots typically count as long as they are postmarked on Election Day. This means votes are still flowing in a week or more after the election. Americans need to be prepared for the possibility that because of mail voting, we may not know the winner until well after election night. Forewarning is the vaccine against the virus of Trump’s voter fraud claims.”

“Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doubled his lead over President Trump in the battleground state of Michigan, according to a new poll,” Rebecca Klar writes at The Hill. ” Biden leads Trump by 12 points, earning 53 percent support compared with Trump’s 41 percent, according to a EPIC-MRA poll reported by the Detroit Free Press on Sunday…Biden’s lead in the latest poll is double his 6-point lead over the president in a poll conducted by EPIC-MRA in January, when Biden had 50 percent support compared with Trump’s 44 percent…The majority of independent voters, a key bloc in the battleground state, said they are backing Biden, with 63 percent saying they support the former vice president and 23 percent saying they support Trump, the newspaper reported…The same poll found that the majority of likely Michigan voters said they were not pleased with Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic…Fifty-eight percent of likely voters gave Trump a negative rating, 41 percent gave him a positive rating, and 1 percent were undecided or refused to say, according to the report of the survey.”

Alex Thompson and James Arkin write in Politico that “The left wing has been wiped out in Senate primaries or failed to recruit at all in states across the map this year, leaving a slate of centrist candidates more in the ideological mold of Joe Biden than Bernie Sanders…Still, some take heart that at least many of the candidates in swing states are more liberal than their counterparts just a decade ago. Every Senate candidate in a major race, from Mark Kelly in Arizona to Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, supports a public option to compete with private health insurance plans. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock supports repealing the Senate filibuster so that legislation can pass with a simple majority…Even if Democrats win control of the chamber and eliminate the filibuster from Senate rules, their majority would be slim — meaning any big ticket agenda items would need the support of more moderate incumbent senators like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Synema and the incoming moderates…Party strategists argue their recruited candidates have won or are poised to win because of their fundraising power, in-state political networks and voters’ desire to back the candidate seen as most likely to unseat the incumbent Republicans.”

At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Alan I. Abramowitz writes that “Recent polling in 13 swing states shows a consistent advantage for the presumptive Democratic challenger, Joseph Biden, over the current Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. Biden leads Trump in all 13 states, although his margin in five states is less than five points. In several of these states, the final 2016 polling overestimated Hillary Clinton’s support. However, Biden is also doing considerably better in the polls than Clinton did in the final 2016 polls in these swing states…Not only is Joe Biden doing considerably better in recent swing state polls than Hillary Clinton did in these states in the 2016 election, but he is also doing considerably better than she did in the final polls in these states. In fact, Biden’s recent polling is better than Clinton’s final poll results in 11 of these 13 states, with Minnesota and Wisconsin the only exceptions. On average, Biden is polling almost five points ahead of Clinton’s final poll results in terms of margin.” Abramowitz adds, “The recent 2020 polling results correlate much more strongly with the 2016 election results than with the final 2016 polling results…This suggests that pollsters have adjusted their sampling and weighting procedures to correct for some of the problems that occurred in 2016 in light of the 2016 results.”

Christopher Reeves shares some thoughts on “Nuts & Bolts: Inside a Democratic campaign. Creating your own frame” at Daily Kos: “The one mistake that Democratic candidates make in trying to achieve the frame is that it cannot be about just a bumper sticker. It cannot be about a big, bold refusal. Republicans respond to bumper stickers. Democratic voters want paragraphs. To convince both, you have to have both. You have to have a quick point and substance, too…In your local races, you should find signature issues you are for and discuss them first. Make them simple to understand, advance the framework, and make sure your opponent answers the questions. You also have to be prepared to show that you understand that topic, really care about it, and that it isn’t just a buzzy talking point. You do so by making sure your argument demolishes the Republican counterargument…Use your arguments at every level to snare your opponent, get them talking about issues you are advancing, and deal with the true issues on the ground rather than in hypotheticals…If you allow Republicans to spend an election cycle talking about problems they create and bad guy straw men they must defeat, you will have very little time to get your own messages out into the race and start the discussion on those issues.”


Political Strategy Notes – Conservatives Turn on Trump Edition

Every day brings news of more Republicans getting fed up with Trump’s polarizing insanity and his  ‘Reign of Rage.’ In “Bush administration alums form pro-Biden super PAC,” Tal Axelrod reports at The Hill: “Former officials from the George W. Bush administration have formed a super PAC to support former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House campaign…The super PAC, dubbed 43 Alumni For Biden, referring to the 43rd president, was formed Monday, according to a Tuesday filing with the Federal Election Commission…Karen Kirksey, a former Treasury Department official from the Bush administration, is listed as the group’s treasurer and custodian of records.”

At Newsweek, Jason Lemon reports, “Senator John Thune, the Senate Majority Whip, has come out against deploying military troops to quell unrest in cities across the country, backing similar remarks made by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, which were at odds with President Donald Trump’s previous warnings….”I think that these tasks ought to be relegated as much as possible to the state and local authorities, the law enforcement and police,” Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, told reporters on Wednesday. The senator noted that “the goal always is to de-escalate, not escalate.”…The GOP lawmaker added that he believes “the Defense Department by and large ought to stay out of the political fray. They’ve got a job to do and we count on them heavily to do it.”

A few other GOP senators added their comments. As reported by Marianne Levine, Andrew Desiderio and Burgess Everett at Politico: “There is a fundamental — a constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” added Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who also decried rioting and looting. “Every public servant in America should be lowering the temperature.”…And Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said it was “definitely not” right for peaceful protesters, who were gathered around Lafayette Park in front of the White House, to be sprayed with tear gas. And he criticized the president for walking to St. John’s Episcopal Church right before the 7 p.m. curfew, because “everyone knew there were going to be protesters in that area.”

Then there’s Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who has a few choice words about Trump’s failed ‘leadership’ of recent weeks, as reported by Paul LeBlanc in “Massachusetts GOP governor rips Trump’s ‘bitterness, combativeness and self-interest‘” at CNN politics: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday excoriated President Donald Trump’s “bitterness, combativeness and self-interest” as nationwide protests have intensified over the death of George Floyd..The Republican governor made the comments at a press conference when asked about Trump’s video teleconference call, in which the President urged state leaders to aggressively target violent protesters. The call came after nearly a week of protests across the country that at times have turned violent over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis…”I heard what the President said today about dominating and fighting. I know I should be surprised when I hear incendiary words like this from him, but I’m not,” Baker told reporters. “At so many times during these past several weeks when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found.”…Instead, he continued, “we got bitterness, combativeness and self-interest. That’s not what we need in Boston, it’s not what we need right now in Massachusetts and it’s definitely not what we need across this great country of ours either.”

From The Guardian: “Former defense secretary James Mattis has broken his silence on the Trump administration, fiercely criticizing the president’s handling of the recent mass protests over George Floyd’s death….In statement published by the Atlantic, Mattis accuses the president of dividing the country and ordering the military to violate the constitutional rights of Americans….“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” ..Mattis, who resigned as defense secretary in 2018 in protest over Trump’s widely criticized decision to withdraw US forces from Syria, goes on to accuse the president of having violated the rights of Americans for a photo op in Washington DC this week….“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,”the statement says. “Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.””

Conservative columnist George Will also weighed in, as Eric Black reports at MinnPost: “A long-time famous columnist with a large vocabulary lost his you-know-what with the latest – what’s the word, antics? lies? degradations? or depredations? or both, or all of the above? — committed by the current occupant of the Oval Office and the famous columnist wrote these three paragraphs which some (not me) might view as intemperate: “The president’s provocations — his coarsening of public discourse that lowers the threshold for acting out by people as mentally crippled as he — do not excuse the violent few. They must be punished. He must be removed. …This unraveling presidency began with the Crybaby-in-Chief banging his spoon on his highchair tray to protest a photograph — a photograph — showing that his inauguration crowd the day before had been smaller than the one four years previous…This weak person’s idea of a strong person, this chest-pounding advertisement of his own gnawing insecurities, this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron.” Black continues, “Which squishy liberal said this about Donald John Trump? I won’t drag it out any longer. It was columnist George F. Will of the Washington Post, a long-time leader of American conservatism who still sets the standard for conservative thought and argumentation among those who haven’t traded in their lifelong principles for Trumpian lies, insults and other expostulations.”

Another passage from Will’s much-quoted article: “The nation’s downward spiral into acrimony and sporadic anarchy has had many causes much larger than the small man who is the great exacerbator of them. Most of the causes predate his presidency, and most will survive its January terminus. The measures necessary for restoration of national equilibrium are many and will be protracted far beyond his removal. One such measure must be the removal of those in Congress who, unlike the sycophantic mediocrities who cosset him in the White House, will not disappear “magically,” as Eric Trump said the coronavirus would. Voters must dispatch his congressional enablers, especially the senators who still gambol around his ankles with a canine hunger for petting…In life’s unforgiving arithmetic, we are the sum of our choices. Congressional Republicans have made theirs for more than 1,200 days. We cannot know all the measures necessary to restore the nation’s domestic health and international standing, but we know the first step: Senate Republicans must be routed, as condign punishment for their Vichyite collaboration, leaving the Republican remnant to wonder: Was it sensible to sacrifice dignity, such as it ever was, and to shed principles, if convictions so easily jettisoned could be dignified as principles, for . . . what?”

Former four-star Marine General John Allen joins the fray in his article, “A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope: We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of American democracy, but there is still a way to stop the descent” at Foreign Policy (paywalled). As Ken Meyer reports at Mediaite, “Retired Marine Corps General John Allen, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition against ISIS who currently serves as president of the Brookings Institution, said President Donald Trump’s threats to wield the U.S. military against the American people could be a harbinger for the end of democracy in America…In an opinion piece for Foreign Policy magazine, Allen condemned Trump for his lack of leadership since the death of George Floyd sparked social unrest throughout the nation. The former envoy blasted Trump for his conduct earlier in the week, saying “to even the casual observer, Monday was awful for the United States and its democracy.”…“The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020,” said Allen. “Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.”

Meyer continues, “The op-ed goes on to criticize the Trump administration for their focus on rioters and looters when “the truth is that they are minuscule in numbers. The vast majority of the people protesting in the streets are justifiably furious at the murder of George Floyd, but they’re even angrier over pervasive injustice, mass incarceration, frequent false arrests, and an institutionalized devaluation of black lives and property.”…Finally, Allen condemned the use of force against D.C. protesters who “had done nothing to warrant such an attack.”…“It wasn’t enough that peaceful protesters had just been deprived of their first-amendment rights — this photo-op sought to legitimize that abuse with a layer of religion,” Allen wrote. “Donald Trump isn’t religious, has no need of religion, and doesn’t care about the devout, except insofar as they serve his political needs. We know why he did all this on Monday. He even said so while holding the Bible and standing in front of the church. It was about MAGA—’making America great again.’”


Political Strategy Notes

Democrats can be proud that their party includes one of the most inspiring and credible visionaries in congress, Rep. John Lewis, whose statement about the protests – and the rioting and looting – in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor provides a lodestar for other Democratic candidates: “To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country: I see you, and I hear you,” he wrote. “I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive. History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.”  Tia Mitchell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes further that Lewis said on MSNBC, “We must continue to teach the way of peace, the way of love, the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence…And never, ever give up on any of our brothers and sisters. We’re one people; we’re one family.”

Democratic candidates who like the idea of winning should also read Josh Kraushaar’s article, “Democrats risk backlash if they don’t condemn rioting” at The National Journal. Kraushaar notes that “It’s worth recalling this data in the wake of the riots and violence in Minneapolis this week, which occurred after a wrenching videotaped incident of police brutality against an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd. The episode brings to the political forefront a polarizing brew of issues surrounding civil rights and law enforcement…Polls already show most Americans support the arrest of the offending officer, who was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.” But Kraushaar believes more Democratic candidates should emulate the strong statement of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: “One of the few Democrats to loudly denounce the violence was Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who spoke with moral clarity as riots descended on her city Friday night. “What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” she said. The mayor, who is also on Biden’s list of potential running mates, was one of the few Democratic voices to speak unequivocally against the riots.” Ruy Teixeira added on his Facebook page, “I Hope the Biden Campaign Is Taking a Very, Very Close Look at Bottoms for Vice-President.”

Kraushaar explains that “Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, two senior fellows at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, wrote one of the most trenchant political analyses in recent months. Using data from the in-depth Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape surveys designed to capture a nuanced portrait of the American electorate, the two scholars found that there’s a significant cohort of Donald Trump-Joe Biden voters emerging in this year’s election, a persuadable constituency large enough to tip the election…While the notion of swing voters may sound alien in these partisan times, the analysis showed that nearly one-tenth of Trump voters from the last election are poised to switch sides. They’re a demographically diverse mix: Just one-third make up the popular Trumpian stereotype of working-class white voters, while one-third are white college graduates, and the remainder are nonwhite…But the most important finding was the ideological makeup of these potential Trump defectors. They identified as economically progressive—supporting higher taxes for the wealthy, a higher minimum wage, and mandated paid family leave—but held markedly conservative positions on a wide array of social and cultural issues…A whopping 78 percent of these swing voters feel that government should promote family values in society. Nearly two-thirds oppose efforts to ban all guns. And by huge margins, they oppose racial reparations and believe there are only two genders. Put simply, this isn’t a politically correct bunch.”

Regarding “The Voters Who Don’t Like Trump Or Biden,” Geoffrey Skelley notes at FiveThirtyEight that “in 2020, Trump may have lost his edge among the “haters” — that is, the voters who hold an unfavorable view of both presidential candidates. Two recent national surveys found that former Vice President Joe Biden has a big lead over Trump among those who have unfavorable views of them both. An April survey from NBC News/Wall Street Journal put Biden ahead of Trump 60 percent to 10 percent, and an early May survey from Morning Consult gave Biden a lead of 46 percent to 14 percent…However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when talking about the “hater” vote. First, this voting bloc is probably not as big as it was in 2016. According to the RealClearPolitics average of favorability polls, the two nominees aren’t as disliked this time around…the net favorability (the favorable rating minus the unfavorable rating) for both Trump and Biden is around 10 points higher than the figures for Trump and Clinton in November 2016.”

Some notes from Chris Brennan’s “Another loss from coronavirus: The rituals of election day” at The Philadelphia Inquirer: “More than 77% of the usual polling places in Philadelphia have been closed. More voters in the city have requested mail ballots than did across the whole state for the primary in 2016. Almost two million Pennsylvanians have requested to vote by mail…And after several election cycles that saw an increase in political activism due to the national political scene, this primary really holds only one competitive statewide race, the Democratic battle for the relatively low-profile post of auditor general…Philadelphia elections officials expect more than half the votes to be cast by mail. But it’s hard to know how many of the 220,000 or so voters who have requested ballots will actually return them on time for the election-night deadline, instead of voting in person or not at all. In the past, about one out of five voters who requested an absentee ballot ended up not using it…Who ends up voting by mail, and how the pandemic might reshape the electorate, is also impossible to predict. Voters in low-income neighborhoods requested mail ballots at lower rates than even past turnout would suggest, and the voters requesting mail ballots are also older than the overall electorate. Voters over 60 years old have requested 36% of the city’s mail ballots while making up 27% of the active voters on the rolls. Voters under 30, meanwhile, make up about 16% of ballot requests but 21% of active voters.”

A very well-done pro-Biden ad:

Lauren Egan reports at nbcnews.com: “As health experts warn that the country could still be grappling with the coronavirus pandemic this fall, lawsuits aiming to expand access to mail-in ballots in key battleground states could help determine the outcome of the presidential race…Nonpartisan groups, such as the Campaign Legal Center, as well as a handful of Democratic organizations, including Priorities USA, are backing lawsuits in more than a dozen states in an effort to eliminate administrative hurdles that could make vote-by-mail difficult or even inaccessible to voters.“…A large percentage of people are going to vote by mail, maybe even a large majority,” said Paul Smith, vice president of litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization that works to support access to voting and is currently litigating cases related to the coronavirus and vote-by-mail in Minnesota, Texas and New Jersey.”

Egan adds, “Most battleground states offer no-excuse absentee voting, meaning that any registered voter can vote by mail without needing a reason to do so. But all of these states have regulations — such as requiring a witness signature or requiring the ballot to be received by Election Day — that voting rights experts and activists say are onerous and could lead to mass disenfranchisement this fall…In North Carolina, for example, Democratic legal groups filed a lawsuit arguing that the state should provide prepaid postage for all ballots, eliminate the requirement for two witnesses to sign a mail-in ballot, extend the deadline for when a mail ballot must be received, and allow for voters to fix any signature discrepancies before the state can reject a ballot…In Florida, Democratic organizations filed a lawsuit seeking to suspend ballot-return deadlines and laws limiting who is allowed to collect vote by mail ballots and deliver them to local election offices…Similar lawsuits have been filed in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which will be critical in deciding the race between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden…The North Carolina and Arizona suits could also affect tight Senate races in those states that could determine which party controls that body after Election Day.”

From a profile of Jessica Post, “the high energy leader of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which is fighting to flip statehouses in November” at scoopsquare24.com: “Post leads the Democratic party’s national strategy for electing far more Democrats into every state legislature across the country. As she points out- “The impact of state legislatures is enormous. State legislatures actually control and govern most of your day to day life- the quality of the schools that your kids might go to, the quality of roads, mass transit, the economic opportunities in your area, voting rights, the districts that you might vote in- all of those are determined by state legislatures…Today, she is optimistically enacting her DLCC strategy to flip eight to ten state legislative chambers from red to blue in the November 2020 election. Since 2016, the Democrats have flipped more than 430 legislative seats from red to blue, and were successful in reclaiming the majority in 10 legislative chambers. “We only have to win four seats to flip the state legislature from red to blue in Michigan and in Texas we realized we only need to flip nine seats for the Texas state house to go from red to blue,” she says excitedly.”