A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds President Trump with an upside down approval rating, 46% to 49%.
In hypothetical match ups with the five leading Democratic candidates for President, Trump ranges from trailing by 3 points to leading by 3 points. Trump gets 46 or 47% regardless of the Democrat he’s tested against, while the level of support for the Democrats fluctuates based on their name recognition.
The two Democrats with leads over Trump are the best known: Joe Biden is up 49% to 46% on him and Bernie Sanders is up 48% to 47%. Trump narrowly leads the lesser known Democrats: it’s a 47% to 46% edge over Kamala Harris, a 48% to 46% one over Elizabeth Warren, and a 47% to 44% one over Pete Buttigieg.
Time: “Gone is the rickety operation that eked out an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. In its place, advisers boast, is a state-of-the-art campaign befitting an incumbent President. Trump’s campaign is gearing up to spend $1 billion, and may well get there. His team has spent more money, earlier in the campaign, than any re-election bid in recent history. Campaign staff sit in slick offices in a glass-skinned tower overlooking the Potomac River in Arlington, Va. And Trump has won total control of the Republican National Committee, which fought against him for much of 2016.”
“Despite the trappings of convention, however, Trump has for the most part thrown out the playbook for incumbency. The last three two-term Presidents were lifted in important ways by a bipartisan message. Bill Clinton ran on the 1994 crime bill and tax reform. George W. Bush ran on keeping America safe in the wake of 9/11. Barack Obama reminded voters that Osama bin Laden was dead and General Motors was alive.”
“Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016 and is the only President in the history of Gallup polling never to crack 50% approval, says he’s ready to defy that legacy. ‘I think my base is so strong, I’m not sure that I have to do that,’ he tells Time, after being asked whether he should reach out to swing voters. The mantra of Trump 2020 is ‘turnout, turnout, turnout,’ as campaign manager Brad Parscale puts it. ‘People all think you have to change people’s minds. You have to get people to show up that believe in you.’”
Edward Luce: “The thing about freak accidents is that they do not keep happening. Donald Trump benefited from more than one lightning strike in 2016. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, offered a living, breathing picture of America’s reviled establishment. The director of the FBI, James Comey, was an unusually incompetent investigator. His last-minute intervention helped sway the election. The US electoral college managed to skew a popular defeat for Mr Trump into a victory. Finally, Facebook offered the ideal platform for Vladimir Putin’s fake news blitz.”
“None of these conditions is likely to recur in 2020 — or at least not in the same way. Yet Mr Trump is betting that history will repeat itself.”
“President Trump said he hadn’t thought about live-tweeting the first Democratic debates but now that the media has brought it up, he just might,” Politico reports.
“Several people close to the president told Politico and The Wall Street Journal that Trump’s closest aides hoped the president wouldn’t unleash a stream of consciousness on Twitter during the debates but were resigned to the fact that restricting the president would be unlikely.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), a well-connected Democratic incumbent, is now facing an insurgent primary challenge from Jessica Cisneros (D), a 26-year-old immigration attorney who once interned in his Washington office, CBS News reports.
“The centrist congressman has represented Texas’ 28th congressional district, which stretches from Laredo and other border communities along the Rio Grande to the outskirts of San Antonio, since 2005.”
Said Cisneros: “He might have that ‘D’ next to his name, but in reality he’s been walking and talking like a Republican. He’s Trump’s favorite Democrat.”
Politico: “Biden’s support for the death penalty was consistent throughout his 30-plus years in the Senate. Whether that stand holds will be another case study of how he reconciles long-held beliefs with the leftward march of his party. His record is full of tough-on-crime bills and statements that were in line with Bill Clinton-style centrism, but now look out of step.”
“Most of Biden’s Democratic opponents support abolishing—or at least halting—capital punishment.”
Washington Post: “As seemingly random as it was for Biden to reference Sen. James O. Eastland, a long-ago deceased segregationist senator from his own party, some in Biden’s campaign had heard him discuss this relationship before — and warned him against mentioning it in public. Eastland, who represented Mississippi in the Senate from the early 1940s to 1978, often said that African Americans were ‘an inferior race.’”
“Aides said they had urged Biden to find a less toxic example.”
Said one: “It might move him to pick a different senator. But he’s not someone you can go to and just say, ‘You’ve been doing this x number of years and you can’t do this anymore.’”
Politico: “But rather than bolster his image as an effective pragmatist, Biden’s parables of working with long-dead Dixiecrats have started to reinforce two of his biggest liabilities: his age and his record on race.”
Marianne Williamson, one of the 20 contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 election, called mandatory-vaccine policies “Orwellian” at an event in New Hampshire, NBC News reports.
Said Williamson: “To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate. The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.”
Washington Post: “Instead of showcasing Buttigieg’s ability to lead through a crisis, however, the shooting is exposing what has long been considered an Achilles’ heel of his candidacy: his frosty relationship with South Bend’s black residents. Since arriving on Sunday, Buttigieg has alienated the family of the dead man, Eric Logan, 54, skipped a vigil at the scene of the shooting, and sought advice from outsiders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.”
“The shooting has handed Buttigieg the first significant challenge of his charmed campaign. To allies, his decision to leave the campaign trail and then hold two days of private meetings signals deliberate, considerate leadership. But to detractors, including many of South Bend’s black activists, his actions show that he still doesn’t get it.”
“The House GOP campaign arm is under fire from Republicans who are growing increasingly anxious about the party’s plan to win back the chamber in 2020,” Politico reports.
“Republicans still don’t have an answer to Democrats’ online fundraising behemoth ActBlue. GOP leaders are bickering behind closed doors. The head of recruitment has decided to retire. And some rank-and-file lawmakers are starting to express alarm about the party’s strategy as the campaign ramps up.”
Aaron Blake: “Most polls have shown a majority of Americans — as many as 57 percent in one poll, but usually a slimmer majority — say they will definitely not vote to reelect Trump. It’s one thing to lack appeal to such a large segment of the population; it’s another for them to rule out supporting you entirely. If this segment of the electorate doesn’t budge, it would make Trump’s reelection very difficult; he’d have to hope these people simply don’t turn out to vote, that he could win with a plurality thanks to third-party candidates and/or that he could carry the electoral college without winning the popular vote (again).”
“As problematic for Trump is that this number seems to be bearing out in early polling — in the form of a ceiling. Most matchups in high-quality national polls have him struggling to climb out of the low 40s, no matter who his opponent is.”
A new Pew Ressearch poll finds just 3% of Democratic or likely Democratic voters think the optimal age for a president is someone in their 70s.
Ron Brownstein: “Trump’s unrelenting emphasis on stoking that base—both in his rhetoric and through his policies—creates two distinct but interrelated problems for his reelection. One is that he’s providing the fuel for Democrats to mobilize their own core constituencies, particularly young people and non-white voters. The second problem is even more formidable and may represent the biggest obstacle to winning a second term: His polarizing approach to the presidency is alienating an unusually large number of voters satisfied with the economy.”
“That dynamic clearly wasn’t on his mind at his Tuesday rally in Orlando. He did dutifully tick off a list of economic accomplishments in his speech, but only after an hour of splenetic reliving of old grievances about the Robert Mueller investigation, the media, and Hillary Clinton. He demonized immigrants with sweeping condemnations. He raged, blustered, and summoned his supporters to a battle for survival against Democratic opponents, who he portrayed as not only misguided on policy but as fundamentally un-American in their aims.”
Said Trump: “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”