Ryan Cooper: “The 2016 candidates spent almost all their time in a handful of states, most of them medium or large. Two-thirds of campaign events happened in just six states — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan. If we include Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona, then those 12 states account for 96 percent of campaign events.”
“The nine smallest states (including D.C.), meanwhile, got precisely zero attention. Only the tenth-largest, New Hampshire, got any events at all. In total, 25 states (mostly small and medium-sized) got no events whatsoever. And while it’s true the states that got huge attention are mostly on the big side, the very largest states were almost totally ignored as well — California and Texas got one event apiece, and New York none.”
“The reason for this is obvious. Almost every state gives all of its electoral votes to whoever wins the state — allowing candidates to take the votes of strongly partisan states for granted. Indeed, it’s actively foolish to campaign where you are guaranteed to win or lose — only the swing states matter.”
Ezra Klein: ‘The Democratic Party has lots of policy ideas. But policymaking is downstream from power. The kinds of policies that get crafted, considered, and passed, reflect the balance of power in society. And for all the clarity and rigor Democrats bring to the policy debate, they don’t have a clear theory of power — who they think holds it, and what, if anything, they want to do about it.”
“The Democratic National Committee set a June 12 deadline for qualifying for the first presidential primary debates and outlined a tiebreaking system in case more than 20 candidates qualify for the two-night event,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The DNC, which is running the debates, has said that to qualify for the June 26-27 debates in Miami, candidates must either raise money from at least 65,000 donors, including a minimum of 200 each in 20 states, or achieve at least 1% in three national or early primary-state polls.”
“If more than 20 candidates qualify for the debate, the party said candidates who meet both criteria will be given priority on the debate stages. If more than 20 candidates qualify using both methods, those candidates with the highest polling averages will be given preference.”
“Joe Biden is crafting a climate change policy he hopes will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters that elected Donald Trump, according to two sources, carving out a middle ground approach that will likely face heavy resistance from green activists,” Reuters reports.
“Terry McAuliffe toyed with a presidential bid for months only to bow out. But back in his adopted state of Virginia, it’s assumed he’s going to run for a second term as governor,” Politico reports.
Politico: “They’re shutting down the conspiracy theorists at local meetings who continue to insist the 2016 caucus outcome was rigged for Clinton. They’re holding back on candidate endorsements in the hopes of avoiding conflict. They’re even encouraging the individual candidates to save the aggression for the general election, while going so far as to hold social events to help rival Democratic campaign staffers build a rapport.”
“By exerting subtle but persistent pressure on the campaigns to remain respectful to each other, Iowa officials are aiming to keep Democrats focused on the prize — defeating Donald Trump — rather than risk a repeat of a destructive cycle three years ago that ultimately hobbled the party as it moved toward November.”
Politico: “Celebrating defeat is unusual for a politician, and doing so makes O’Rourke notably different from the rest of the unwieldy field of Democrats running for president. … O’Rourke instead presents his loss to Cruz as a prominent selling point.”
“For O’Rourke, the phenomenon on display in that race—failure without negative effects, and with perhaps even some kind of personal boost—is a feature of his life and career. That biography is marked as much by meandering, missteps and moments of melancholic searching as by résumé-boosting victories and honors.”
David Weigel: “The president’s Wednesday night rally in the Florida Panhandle ended without much of a theme. He took shots at Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke. He attacked China for its aggressive turn in trade negotiations, then shrugged that “It’ll work out.” And he appeared to laugh when a crowd member yelled about shooting undocumented immigrants.”
“What made less news but mattered much more for the president’s reelection hopes was a pledge to redirect nearly half a billion more dollars toward hurricane recovery — and a promise to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, damaged by last year’s storms. That was exactly what the coalition working to reelect Trump wanted to hear: Every visit to a swing state, every offer of help from the government, could help them get reluctant voters excited about 2020. And Trump campaign representatives were working the rally, collecting data from attendees who might want to reelect the president.”
America First Action, an outside group supporting President Trump, intends to spend $250 million in six battleground states as part of a major effort to boost his chances of being reelected in 2020, The Hill reports. The states identified by America First are Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia.