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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Seniors Against Trump

Who Are the Key Voters Turning Against Trump?

They’re senior voters, and they could be Joe Biden’s secret weapon.

By Ruy Teixeira in The New York Times
Read the Article.

Stan Greenberg in The American Prospect

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.


Read the Article.

Democrats – Get Ready for the Inevitable Republican Counterattack

It’s coming, and we should be prepared.
By Andrew Levison

Read the Strategy Memo.

Seniors Against Trump

Key Voters Turning Against Trump?

They’re senior voters, and they could be Joe Biden’s secret weapon.

By Ruy Teixeira in The New York Times
Read the Article.

Stan Greenberg in The American Prospect

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.


Read the Article.

The Daily Strategist

August 4, 2020

Affirmative Action Restoration Leads 12 California Ballot Initiatives

California ballot initiatives often set national trends and affect down-ballot races in the Golden State. I wrote about this year’s batch at New York:

California offers reasonably easy access to the ballot for groups wanting to change state policies, and requires public approval of constitutional amendments passed by the legislature. So it has a rich history of ballot initiative fights that sometimes overshadow elections for public office, from the tax revolts of the 1970s to the immigration backlash of the 1990s and beyond. 2020 is no exception, with 12 measures on the ballot in a year when California won’t be competitive in the presidential contest and has no Senate seats up for grabs.

Going into 2020, it was widely anticipated that a so-called “split roll” initiative removing strict limits on property tax increases from commercial property might blot out the sky and produce one of the most expensive and consequential battles ever. Long the apple of the eye of many public-sector unions and good government groups seeking a broader tax base, the initiative would limit the sacrosanct Proposition 13 protections against tax increases to (largely) residential real estate, exposing commercial property to tax assessments based on current market value rather than its value when the property last changed hands.

Backers of a “split roll” figured a presidential year with high Democratic turnout would be the best time to pursue this measure, but didn’t account for the arrival of the coronavirus and a deep economic recession, which may have made voters averse to major changes in the status quo. The defeat by voters of a statewide bond initiative for education in the March primary may indicate California’s entering a period of fiscal retrenchment, though the huge budget deficits the state is now facing could cut the other way. An April PPIC survey showed.a slim majority of voters then favoring the split roll initiative.

While Prop 209 won 55 percent approval from California voters, the state’s demographics have significantly changed since then. Additionally, past hostility to affirmative action among the state’s Asian-American leadership has abated; a majority of Asian-American legislators supported the repeal initiative on grounds that whatever losses their community might have in university admissions would be more than offset in gains in public employment and contracts, but there may be grassroots opposition among white and Asian-American voters. The repeal is being supported by Governor Gavin Newsom, the Regents of the University of California and most elected Democrats.

Two other ballot initiatives of note would be aimed at expanding voting rights. One would extend restoration of voting rights to parolees as well as the probationers who currently qualify. According to one study, about 40,000 Californians would benefit from this initiative if it passes. A separate amendment would allow those who will turn 18 by any general election date to vote in the preceding primaries (or special elections) at the age of 17.

An initiative relaxing state limits on local imposition of rent control was defeated in 2018. A narrower measure is back on the ballot this year that supplements a new state law limiting the size of rent increases generally.

Another initiative that could spur heavy ad spending is one backed by Uber and Lyft and some delivery services that would essentially exempt their drivers from a new California law designed to limit the classification of workers as independent contractors to avoid minimum wage and benefits obligations.

And in one other notable battle, “split roll” isn’t the only ballot initiative that would change the Prop 13 property tax system. Another backed by realtors (who failed with a similar initiative in 2018) would let homeowners over 55 keep Prop 13 protections when buying new properties. As a sweetener to progressives often hostile to Prop 13, the initiative would also eliminate the so-called “Lebowski Loophole” (so named because actor Jeff Bridges was a major beneficiary, though he is all for its elimination) whereby children can continue Prop 13 protections on expensive investment and rental properties they inherit.

The California airwaves will be busy with ads for and against initiatives in the fall, and could help goose turnout, affecting U.S. House and state legislative races if not the presidential contest.

Which Anti-Trump Ads Resonate?

From “Democratic ad makers think they’ve discovered Trump’s soft spot” by David Siders at Politico:

As in 2016, ad makers are focusing on Trump’s character. But unlike four years ago, they are no longer focusing on his character in isolation — rather they are pouring tens of millions of dollars into ads yoking his behavior to substantive policy issues surrounding the coronavirus, the economy and the civil unrest since the death of George Floyd.

“You can’t chase the Trump clown car,” said Bradley Beychok, president of the progressive group American Bridge. “Him drinking water and throwing a glass is goofy and may make for a good meme, but it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things … What people care about is this outbreak.”

Siders notes that “In their preparations for 2020, outside Democratic groups spent more than a year surveying voters in swing states by phone and online. They convened in-person focus groups and enlisted voters in swing states to keep diaries of their media consumption…Multiple outside groups said they began to test their ads more rigorously than in 2016, using online panels to determine how likely an ad was to either change a viewer’s impression of Trump or to change how he or she planned to vote.”

In addition, “Priorities USA, a major Democratic super PAC, alone expects to test more than 500 ads this cycle. Priorities, American Bridge and other outside groups, including organized labor, have been meeting regularly to share internal research and media plans.”

Among research findings, Siders reports:

The advertising elements that appear to work, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democrats involved in message research, vary from ad to ad. Using Trump’s own words against him often tests well, as do charts and other graphics, which serve to highlight Trump’s distaste for science. Voters who swung from President Barack Obama to Trump in 2016 — and who regret it — are good messengers. And so is Joe Biden, whose voice is widely considered preferable to that of a professional narrator. Not only does he convey empathy, according to Democrats inside and outside Biden’s campaign, but using Biden’s voice “helps people think about him as president,” said Patrick Bonsignore, Biden’s director of paid media.

Siders concludes, “But the ad makers’ overarching takeaway from their research was this: While Trump may not be vulnerable on issues of character alone, as he demonstrated in 2016, he is vulnerable when character is tied to his policy record on the economy and health care.”

Teixeira: Dems Can Avoid Backlash – If They Reject Divisive Policies

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Should or Should We Not Be Worried About Backlash? (2)

Well, at this point I’m not too worried, given the dire situation in the country and how badly Trump has handled it, both in policy and political terms. Voters increasingly just want to get rid of the guy, which makes them less likely to be swayed by issues that in other circumstances would have some significant potential for backlash.

But that’s no reason for complacency. Danger still lurks. And backlash remains a more significant potential problem than, say lack of support among black or young voters, which recent polls show firming up rapidly.

Indeed, the most activist-minded among these constituencies, who have been turning out for the BLM/George Floyd protests, seem likely to vote overwhelmingly for Biden. A tidbit from the most recent recent Tom Edsall column:

“In an article posted June 28 at Business Insider, [Sociologist Dana] Fisher wrote that in studying the demonstrators:

Every single person surveyed at events in Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles over the past month reported that they would be supporting Joe Biden in the election. In fact, not one respondent reported that they would vote for Donald Trump.”

This certainly suggests there is no reason for Biden to embrace the more radical demands coming out of the protests, such as for defunding the police and reparations. He’s already got the protesters’ votes and presumably those of their co-thinkers around the country.

But backlash, as I noted, has more potential to be a real problem. From the Edsall article:

“Fisher wrote that 60 to 65 percent of the demonstrators agreed with the statement “some level of violence is justified in the pursuit of political goals….

“The views of protesters concerning the legitimacy of violence stand in contrast to the views of voters taken as a whole.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey found that 72 percent of those polled disagreed with the statement “more violent protests and unrest are an appropriate response to the killing of an unarmed man by police,” including a solid majority of Democrats.

An even larger percentage (79), including 77 percent of Democrats, agreed with the statement: “The property damage caused by some protesters undermines the original protest’s case for justice.”

The Times/Siena survey asked voters whether they support or oppose “reducing funding to police departments,” a less extreme step than the call among some demonstrators to “defund the police.”

Nearly two thirds of voters polled, 63 percent, opposed reduction of funding of police departments, including 50 percent who said they “strongly oppose” such actions.

What makes these issues even more potentially polarizing, going into the 2020 election, is that there has been an increase in violent crime, especially homicide and shooting incidents, in the weeks since George Floyd was killed, in some of the cities experiencing sustained protests and anti-police demonstrations. These cities include Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Chicago.”

So continue to worry. Trump is his own worst enemy but that’s no reason to hand him issues that he can–and will–try to exploit to avert his free fall.

Imperial President Wants to Run For Reelection As Outsider

One of the odder takes on Trump’s reelection strategy drove me to a mocking response at New York:

You may have heard that Donald J. Trump is president of the United States. If you are inclined to forget it for a moment, he is ever ready to remind you by incessant tweets, abrasive public comments, loud rallies, expensive ads, and the hallelujahs of his chorus of supporters that he is the man. Not only is he the president, he is, he insists, the greatest president ever, whose administration is dizzy with success and muscle-bound with accomplishments. His midterm self-assessment was modestly entitled “500 Days of American Greatness.” Trump’s presidency is quite possibly the most imperial of imperial presidencies, characterized by contemptuous disregard for any constitutional limits on his power (“I have an Article 2 [of the Constitution] where I have the right to do whatever I want as president” he once said).

I reiterate these well-known attributes of our narcissistic chief executive by way of background for this astonishing Wall Street Journal story:

“President Trump’s case for re-election reprises his pitch for a first term in office, as he and his team try to portray presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden as an incumbent while accentuating his own outsider credentials.

“In advertisements, interviews and social-media posts, Mr. Trump is highlighting Mr. Biden’s four decades as a Delaware senator and vice president — the most consistent message among several the president has driven so far about his competitor.”

Now, it’s not surprising that an incumbent president running for reelection at a time when objective conditions in the country are dreadful — in part because of his own hubris, negligence, and, yes, narcissism — wants to avoid a “referendum” election. And that’s particularly true of an incumbent whose personal favorability indices are as horrible as Trump’s (about half the electorate has a very unfavorable opinion of him). Typically, a president in this sort of jam will try to engineer a “choice” election; when Jimmy Carter was in a world of hurt in 1980, his strategy was to frame the election as a “two futures” choice between him and his controversial challenger Ronald Reagan. It didn’t work, but it made sense.

“’Trump is the president, not simply a candidate,’ said Steve Bannon, the chief executive of the 2016 Trump campaign. ‘He is the protagonist in this drama. You drive action like a president, govern like a president, show leadership like a president and you will be re-elected. It really is that basic.’”

Sure, it’s possible, even credible, for Team Trump to treat Joe Biden as a figure from the past who would drag the country back into the swamp from which the 45th president has sought to rescue it. But that doesn’t absolve the president from what has happened since Biden returned to private life in 2017. The best Trump’s campaign can do is to beg for more time:

“Jason Miller, a Trump campaign adviser, said the campaign plans to paint Mr. Biden as ‘part of every job-killing, failed policy decision of the past 40 years.’ The campaign wants voters to see the race as a choice between ‘President Trump’s record of success in less than four years versus Joe Biden’s record of failure over more than 40 years.’”

But even if you are willing, somehow, to describe the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations as a long saga of failure before the so-much-winning of the current regime — and blame it all on Joe Biden — the fact remains that Trump is responsible for where the country is today. A new Pew poll asked Americans if “in thinking about the current state of the country these days” they felt angry, fearful, hopeful, or proud. Only 17 percent answered “proud,” which is a terrible rebuke to a president who has made “America First” nationalism his central theme alongside hatred for those who dare to question his or the country’s divinely anointed destiny.

No, Trump isn’t going to get to proclaim his power and glory as president for three and a half years and then rerun his 2016 campaign as though his presidency did not exist. It is in fact the dominant reality of American political life — joyous for some and painful for many — and perpetuating or ending it is unavoidably going to be the big question for voters in November.

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.”

Graham: Changing Views of Racial Injustice Sinking Trump

David A Graham explains the “surprising reason” why “White Voters Are Abandoning Trump” at The Atlantic. Staff writer Graham argues that, even more than the pandemic and tanking economy, “the driving factor for Trump’s collapse appears to be race.” Further,

Polls have consistently shown that Americans disapprove of his response to protests of police violence and believe that he has worsened race relations. In the New York Times/Siena poll, race relations (33 percent) and the protests (29 percent) are the only areas where issue approval lags behind his overall vote preference. In the Harvard/Harris poll, the same two areas earn Trump his worst marks of any issue, though they are still slightly higher than his expected vote.”

Voters are right that Trump is worsening race relations and handling the protests poorly. In the past two days alone, the president has retweeted (and then deleted) a video of one of his supporters shouting “White power!” and another of two white supporters pointing guns at black protesters marching past their house…As my colleagues and I have reported, exploiting racial tensions has been a way of life for Trump since the earliest days of his business career, and it was the unifying concept of his 2016 campaign. He has followed that path during his presidency, including his notorious response to a violent white-supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, in which he found “very fine people” on both sides.

Graham says, “What is different this time is the way people are responding”:

But why? Perhaps it’s just a matter of what issues are most important to voters right now. There’s always been a sizable contingent of reluctant or conflicted Trump supporters. In 2016 exit polls, only 35 percent of voters said Trump had the temperament to be president, but he won 46 percent of the popular vote. These voters are a familiar staple of news coverage too—the ones who preface their support with “I don’t always like the way he phrases it” or “I wish he would tone it down a little, but…”

There are apparently a sizable number of voters – nobody knows how many – who are not particularly liberal on racial justice issues, but recognize that Trump has gone out of his way to fan the flames of racial discord to further divide and polarize Americans and needlessly disrupt our society to an unprecedented level. Graham notes that “the profusion of news coverage has made issues of race impossible to ignore,” and:

Alternatively, perhaps voters are shifting not just their priorities but their views. As the political scientist Michael Tesler writes, there’s evidence of real shifts in public opinionon race over the past six weeks or so. While views on policing are moving in response to a wide range of incidents, it’s clear that the Floyd case—brutal, senseless, and captured in excruciating clarity on video—has captured white attention in a way other deaths at the hands of police have not. One reason for that may be the coronavirus. Ashley Jardina, a political scientist who studies racial attitudes among white people, told me that she suspects because people are stuck at home due to the pandemic, they’re consuming more news and changing their views on race…

The hardest-core Trump supporters—especially non-college-educated white men—are unlikely to be swayed by the news. They are why Trump’s approval likely has a floor somewhere in the 30s, and why his share in national horse-race polls does too. But if reluctant Trump voters from 2016 are undergoing a change on their view of race relations, it could have seismic implications for his reelection.

Graham doesn’t dispute that former Vice President Biden’s positive image further undermines Trump’s tanking prospects, and notes that, “steady-rolling Joe Biden—creates a contrast that is unflattering for Trump, especially in times of crisis.”

With political preferences hardening and time running out, Graham concludes that “In a new YouGov poll, 94 percent of registered voters said they had already made up their mind about how they’ll vote in November. That gives the president little maneuvering room to regain them and get back in a winning position—especially since there’s not much chance that he’s going to change his own rhetoric or style.”

Put another way, Trump’s racially-driven ‘inflame the base’ strategy has reached its limit in a polarization-weary electorate. His mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic and limp response to the declining economy also make a Democratic landslide a growing possibility – if Biden and Democrats play a wise hand for the next 17 weeks.

Teixeira: Hold the Line, Joe!

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

The most militant activists in and around the Black Lives Matter movement continue to hector Biden to adopt strenuously radical demands such as defund the police. So far, he has refused. Excellent. There is no reason for him to do so. He doesn’t need the votes of these hyper-activists, since they are few in number, and as for the people these activists claim they represent, he already has strong support across the board. He doesn’t need to embrace defund the police to get their votes. And most of all, he just needs to keep the support he’s already built up among suburban, moderate, older and white noncollege voters to win a smashing victory. A ringing call to defund the police will only undercut, not build, the Biden coalition.

The fact of the matter is that people aren’t interested in getting rid of their current police force–as defund the police implies–and somehow replacing it with a new one. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, just 14 percent supported eliminating and replacing their current police department, while 81 percent were opposed. Even among black voters, the split was only 32 percent for/61 percent against.

In the same poll, 67 percent of voters said they supported the ongoing George Floyd protests. What that means–making the reasonable assumption that all eliminate and replace voters also supported the protests–is that 4 in 5 protest supporters do not want to get rid of and replace their current police force.

So defund the police just doesn’t cut it with American voters. And, no it doesn’t work to explain what the slogan “really means” is providing some more money for social services and changing the mix of police activities, etc, etc. If you’re explaining, you’re losing.

From the Politico article on this controversy:

“During the primaries, Biden bet everything on winning overwhelming support from African American voters, who eventually reversed the near collapse of his campaign in the first three states.

Biden’s advisers were often less attentive—and sometimes downright dismissive—of certain obsessions of the social media left. Biden did not discuss white privilege the way Kirsten Gillibrand did. He didn’t endorse reparations or the legalization of marijuana when some of his chief rivals did. He stubbornly insisted that the two most important primary constituencies were political moderates and older working-class African Americans, two groups without much influence online. The Biden campaign’s unspoken primary slogan could have been, “Twitter isn’t real life.”

This cautiousness and skepticism has spilled into the general election. One way to think of the Biden campaign’s navigation of racial issues is that he and his advisers care a lot more about addressing policy demands than they do about addressing cultural issues.

“There is a conversation that’s going on on Twitter that they don’t care about,” one Democratic strategist observed. “They won the primary by ignoring all of that. The Biden campaign does not care about the critical race theory-intersectional left that has taken over places like The New York Times. You can be against chokeholds and not believe in white fragility. You can be for reforming police departments and don’t necessarily have to believe that the United States is irredeemably racist.”

Amen, you don’t and Biden doesn’t and that’s a very good thing!

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:


Brownstein: Dems’ Sunbelt Momentum May Get Boost from GOP’s Failed Leadership vs. Pandemic

Ronald Brownstein, columnist for The Atlantic, explains why “The Sun Belt Spikes Could Be a Disaster for Trump: Democrats were already gaining ground in the region before the pandemic hit,” and observes:

The wildfire of coronavirus cases burning through the Sun Belt’s largest cities and suburbs could accelerate their movement away from President Donald Trump and the GOP—a dynamic with the potential to tip the balance in national elections not only in 2020, but for years to come.

Until the 2016 election, Republicans had maintained a consistent advantage in the region’s big metros—including Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix—even as Democrats took hold of comparable urban centers in other parts of the country. But under Trump, the GOP has lost ground in these diverse and economically thriving communities. And now, a ferocious upsurge of COVID-19 across the Sun Belt’s population hubs—including major cities in Florida and North Carolina where Democrats are already more competitive—is adding a new threat to the traditional Republican hold on these places.

“There’s a lag between the trends that we have seen in some of these big northern metropolitan areas and the southern metros,” Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, told me. “But they are definitely going in that same direction.”

In 2016, Trump won all five of the large Sun Belt states that could be battlegrounds in November. But the improving Democratic performance in the big metros provides Joe Biden a beachhead to contest each of them. Polls consistently give the former vice president a lead in Arizona and Florida, show him and Trump locked closely in North Carolina, and provide the president only a small edge (at best) in Texas and Georgia. New York Times/Siena College polls released today give Biden solid leads in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina, and commanding advantages in the major population centers of each state, including Phoenix, Miami, Charlotte, and Raleigh. Fox Newspolls also released today show Biden leading Trump narrowly in North Carolina, Georgia, and (even) Texas, while opening up a comfortable 9-point advantage in Florida. Among suburban voters, Biden led by 20 percentage points or more in each of those states except Texas, where suburbanites still preferred him by 9 points.

After winning one Arizona Senate seat in 2018, Democrats are also pressing to capture Republican-held Senate seats in Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia, and more suburban House seats near Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Tampa, among others.

Brownstein quotes Republian pollster Whit Ayres, an expert on southern suburbs, who says, “The problem, of course, is that the Republicans are trading larger, faster-growing areas for smaller, slower-growing areas, and the math does not work out in the long run with that sort of trade.”

Brownstein also argues that the coronavirus explosion underway in the south, where governors have led the ‘reopening’ of public facilities, could feed the trend of southern voters moving away, not only from Trump, but also from his GOP enablers across the region.

Across almost all of the Sun Belt states, the spikes are exacerbating tensions between Republican governors who rely mostly on suburban and rural areas for their votes, and Democratic local officials in the most populous cities and counties. Taking cues from Trump, Republican Governors Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Greg Abbott in Texas, and Doug Ducey in Arizona have all moved aggressively to reopen their state economies; refused to deviate from that course as the caseloads have increased; and blocked municipal officials from reversing or even slowing the pace of the reopening…Very little polling is available to show how voters across these Sun Belt states are reacting to the surge in new cases or the determination of the GOP governors to plow forward despite them. Mike Noble, who polls for nonpartisan clients in Arizona, told me that in his surveys this year, most residents have consistently worried more about reopening too quickly than too slowly—though with a sharp partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans. He told me that he expects his next survey in early July to show heightened anxiety and diminished confidence in Ducey’s handling of the outbreak.

Much depends on the affects of the pandemic’s recent surge in southern states. As Brownstein writes, “The core political question in the large Sun Belt metro areas may be whether residents are grateful that their governors have given them more freedom to resume daily activities or resentful that they have put them at greater risk by reopening so widely. Ayres said the answer is likely some of both…For Trump and the GOP, an urban/suburban backlash against these Republican governors—combined with a broader negative verdict on the federal pandemic response—risks accelerating the trends reshaping metropolitan politics across the Sun Belt.”

It could also give dems tractiuon in senate races, especially if the already hospital-deficient rural southern communities are overwhelmed. Brownstein spotlights Georgia and Texas:

Take Gwinnett and Cobb counties, outside Atlanta. In 2014, Republican Senator David Perdue, who’s up for reelection in November, won comfortable margins of about 55 percent in each. In 2016, though, Hillary Clinton won both by relatively narrow margins against Trump, and in 2018, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams, carried them more resoundingly. Abramowitz expects them to continue moving toward the Democrats in 2020, with margins sufficient enough to give Biden and Perdue’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, a competitive shot at the state, and also to flip an open U.S. House seat in Gwinnett.

In Texas, the arc looks similar. The University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray has charted a clear blue bend in voters’ political preferences in the 27 counties that comprise the state’s four huge metro areas—Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin—which together account for about 70 percent of the state’s votes and jobs. As recently as 2012, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 55 percent of the vote across them. But in 2016, Trump fell just under 50 percent, the first GOP nominee to lose them since Barry Goldwater running against native son Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. In 2018, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke carried all four of those metros with 54 percent of the vote.

in addition, GOP prospects are declining in Arizona’s pivotal Maricopa County, where a “fearsome surge [is]vnow buffeting the area.” As Brownstein concludes, “Across the Sun Belt, November will test whether Trump’s base-first strategy can overcome the resistance that’s coalescing against him in the population centers now confronting the full force of the coronavirus outbreak.”

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.”