A new Associated Press-NORC poll finds just 22% of Democrats registered to vote say they know a lot about the presidential candidates’ positions, while 62% say they know a little. And only 35% say they’re paying close attention to the campaign, with almost two-thirds saying they’re paying some or no attention.
Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) announced she will challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2020, the Portland Press Herald reports. Gideon said she will run against Collins “because Mainers deserve a senator who will always put our state first.”
Former Democratic state Sen. Cal Cunningham joined the race for Senate last Monday, and a new poll finds he may already be competitive against Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. On behalf of Cunningham’s allies at VoteVets, the North Carolina-based Democratic firm PPP sees him leading Tillis by a 41-40 margin. This is the first time this cycle that any publicly available poll has tested that matchup. This same poll also had Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper leading GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by a 45-41 margin for re-election, and it had Donald Trump’s approval rating slightly underwater at 49-46 disapproving.
While Tillis only trails by a single point for Senate, what may be far more concerning for him is that PPP finds he has a dismal 23% approval rating with 46% disapproving. While some of that disdain for his job performance may be from conservatives who will ultimately back the Republican nominee over any Democrat, Tillis is currently facing a primary challenge from businessman Garland Tucker over the senator’s insufficient fealty toward Trump. Tillis may therefore be in the uncomfortable position of needing to shift right to win his primary, which in turn may hurt his general election chances.
“Tensions spilled over at a town hall held Sunday by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg following the fatal police shooting of a black man, drawing further scrutiny on the Democratic presidential candidate’s record,” The Hill reports.
“The issue shines further light on what is becoming a major stumbling block for Buttigieg as a presidential contender: his lack of popularity with black voters, seen as the crucial must-win demographic for candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination.”
New York Times: “For Mr. Buttigieg the candidate, this is a critical time. The first Democratic debates are this week, an opportunity for him to prove to voters that the 37-year-old mayor of a midsize Midwestern city deserves consideration in a field brimming with senators, governors and a former vice president.”
Washington Post: “In a crowded field in which Sanders’s Democratic socialism and Warren’s heavily regulated capitalism are elbowing for supremacy on the far left and Biden is positioning himself as a centrist best positioned to beat Trump, Harris is known more for her prosecutorial performance in Senate hearings than she is for advocating any particular approach to policy.”
“The result, so far, is a policy portfolio that often seems comprised of one-off announcements that put her largely in line with long-held, mainstream Democratic positions.”
Joe Biden laid out his immigration policy in a Miami Herald op-ed:
“That starts by recognizing that DREAMers are Americans, and Congress needs to make it official. The millions of undocumented people in the United States can only be brought out of the shadows through fair treatment, not ugly threats. Trump’s efforts to repeal Temporary Protected Status (TPS) across the board have injected unnecessary uncertainty into the lives of thousands of families. Our asylum system needs to be improved, but the answer is to streamline and strengthen it so that it benefits legitimate claims of those fleeing persecution, while reducing potential for abuse.”
“And it’s imperative that we secure our borders, but ‘Build the wall’ is a slogan divorced from reality.”VIS
“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will propose on Monday eliminating all $1.6 trillion of student debt held in the United States, a significant escalation of the policy fight in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary two days before the candidates’ first debate in Miami,” the Washington Postreports.
“Sanders is proposing the federal government pay to wipe clean the student debt held by 45 million Americans — including all private and graduate school debt — as part of a package that also would make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free.”
Vox: Sanders’s free college proposal just got a whole lot bigger.
Wall Street Journal: “As the first round of Democratic debates approaches, presidential candidates polling around 1% look for a breakout moment.”
E.J. Dionne Jr.: “If you’re in a lower tier, you have to decide on the one thing you really want voters to know about you or the issue you want to push to the fore.”
“For some candidates, that’s relatively easy. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will be talking climate change, while Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke have been more upfront than anyone on immigration.”
“As Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for their first 2020 primary debate this week, 74 medical and public health groups aligned on Monday to push for a series of consensus commitments to combat climate change, bluntly defined by the organizations as ‘a health emergency,’” the APreports.
“The new climate change agenda released by the groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, comes amid early jostling among Democratic candidates over whose environmental platform is more progressive. The health organizations’ policy recommendations, while a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s approach, represent a back-to-basics approach for an internal Democratic climate debate that has so far revolved around the liberal precepts of the Green New Deal.”
“You won’t hear Elizabeth Warren say it, but allies at a national progressive group working closely with her campaign will: Joe Biden supporters ‘are ready to bolt,’” BuzzFeed News reports.
“That’s part of the premise behind a new effort by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, launched on Monday morning, to highlight and collect information from Democratic primary voters who previously supported another candidate or identified as undecided, but made the move to Warren after seeing her ‘in action’ on the trail.”
The group has also launched a new website: Switch to Warren.
Beto O’Rourke called for Congress to enact a “war tax” any time the country goes to war, with the proceeds going to care for veterans of the conflict, Politico reports.
“It is not a tenable strategy… His message is that he’s the guy who can beat Donald Trump and he is viewed as the least risky choice. Over time, if the only interactions he has is around these screwups and gaffes, then he is going to start losing that message.”
— David Axelrod, quoted by the Daily Beast, saying Joe’s Biden’s media avoidance strategy isn’t viable.
New York Times: “The debates on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and another two at the end of July, may represent the first, best — and for some, the only — opportunity to stand out from an enormous throng of competitors and build national momentum in the Democratic primary.”
“If these debates are designed to let candidates showcase themselves to a national audience, for some they could end up serving less as a moment of introduction than as a farewell, as they separate the Democrats capable of exciting the imaginations of primary voters from those who lack that gift. More than half of the candidates debating this week risk being blocked from debates starting in September unless they can significantly lift their polling and fund-raising numbers before then.”
“Across the country, in spare hotel conference rooms and bustling campaign offices, many of the 20 Democrats who will debate Wednesday and Thursday have spent long hours holding their own debate simulations and rapid-fire policy drills. In each debate, the candidates could have as little as six or seven minutes of speaking time to put all that practice to work.”
The Hill: Everything you need to know ahead for the first Democratic showdown.
Climate Debate: Climate change becomes the focus for first debates.
Politico: “Behind Elizabeth Warren’s trust-busting, Wall Street-bashing, tax-the-wealthy platform is a brain trust that extends well beyond the Beltway thinkers who often rubber stamp campaign proposals.”
“Instead, the former Harvard professor and her tight team of policy advisers have waded deeper into the world of academia than is usual in presidential campaigns, according to interviews with more than a dozen people her campaign has consulted and a review of the scholarship underlying her plans.”