Charlie Cook: “Last year, Democrats won the national congressional vote by 8.6 percentage points, with Democratic candidates on average running 6 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance in their respective districts. Today, the RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Democrats ahead on the generic congressional ballot by 8 points. It’s reasonable to conclude that the playing field remains tilted in favor of Democrats.”
“Based on the level of interest in the upcoming election, turnout is likely to be very high, perhaps the highest presidential-year turnout in modern history. In 2016, turnout was 60%, roughly comparable to the last few election cycles. But last year’s midterms had the highest turnout since 1914. When turnout is very high, the electorate is more likely to resemble the universe of all registered voters. Indeed, last year’s midterm polling was dead on; with the exception of the Florida governor race, general-election upsets in statewide races were hard to come by, and the national popular vote for the House was only six-tenths of a percentage point off of the RCP average of major national polls.”
“Of course, a lot can and will happen over the next 15 months, and things can certainly change. But at this point, this looks to be an uphill climb for the president’s reelection.”
NPR: “This previously unreported account highlights a major breakdown within the centrist wing of the GOP in the wake of the 2018 midterms and exposes ongoing concern that the infrastructure won’t be there to help recruit and win in swing districts in 2020.”
“Joe Biden is coasting in the national polls. Surveys show him ahead of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups against President Trump. He has maintained a lead in Iowa all summer, despite facing months of controversies over his record and his campaign missteps,” the New York Times reports.
“But less than two weeks before Labor Day, when presidential campaigns traditionally kick into high gear, there are signs of a disconnect between his relatively rosy poll numbers and excitement for his campaign on the ground here, in the state that begins the presidential nominating process.”
Politico: “The California Democrat is still struggling to rebut attacks from her chief rivals who are poking holes in [her plan’s] specifics and accusing Harris of putting political calculation before true conviction… Harris’ universal coverage plan has been praised by more than a dozen health policy wonks and former Obama administration officials … But politically, it’s been a muddle….”
“For Harris, the health care morass is also threatening to become an ominous symbol for why, after her surge following the first debate, she’s fallen back since early July to where she started. She now polls closer to Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke than Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. … But the Democratic infighting isn’t likely to subside anytime soon. And Harris isn’t the only candidate facing questions about her health plan.”
“I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go.” — Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), quoted by the New York Times, on dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.
“Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a Harvard-educated Marine veteran who struggled to gain traction in a crowded Democratic presidential field, announced Friday that he would leave the campaign, making him the third candidate to depart the race this week,” the Washington Post reports. Moulton said that he would instead seek reelection.
First Read: “As political observer Bruce Mehlman notes, eight of the last 10 election cycles — from 2000 to 2018 — have resulted in a change of party control in the House, Senate or White House.”
“Compare that with 1980 to 1998, when the country saw just four elections cycles when control flipped. Or 1960 to 1978, when power changed hands just in three cycles. In fact, you have to go back to 1946 to 1954 (post-WWII, Cold War, McCarthyism) or the 1910s (WWI, Russian Revolution) to see as much change in control of Congress or the presidency.”
“So due to our increasingly divided politics and the chaotic events over the last 20 years, American voters have been getting a lot of change.”
“The question we have: Are they constantly craving that change? Or are they constantly expressing their dissatisfaction with the way things are — no matter who controls the White House and Congress?”
In a fundraising email sent to supporters, Joe Biden’s campaign pointed out that if someone types “donate Joe Biden” into a Google search, the first link to appear is one that directs them to donate to Donald J. Trump for President, CBS News reports.
The email continues: “Trump’s campaign is paying money to run ads online so that their donation link is the first thing you see when you search ‘donate Joe Biden.’ But, listen, here’s the thing: We can’t stop them because we’re out of money to run online ads for the rest of the month.”
Playbook: “Sure, a few of the more centrist candidates — Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar — will sort of verbally subtweet her, but their criticisms of lefty policy ideas like ‘Medicare for All’ are aimed just as often at Bernie Sanders as they are at Warren.”
“This phenomenon has allowed Warren to effectively use Sanders as a human shield. Or maybe she’s more like a cyclist, drafting off Bernie’s leg work until it’s time to blow past him for the finish. Her patient approach, along with her message discipline and lack of errors, has allowed her to rise steadily in the polls. Is Biden going to wake up one day to find her right on his six?”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) presidential campaign is calling on the DNC to revise its list of debate qualifying polls in an effort to help the congresswoman qualify for the third Democratic debate, ABC Newsreports.
“The Gabbard team is citing what they describe as several irregularities in the selection and timing of the DNC sponsored polls. The campaign points out Gabbard has exceeded 2% support in 26 polls, but only two of them are on the DNC’s ‘certified’ list.”
Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee told the Daily Beast that he is open to running for president as a Libertarian.
Said Chafee: “I’m very motivated as an anti-war American, and also by the deficit. Those are two big issues that, if the Libertarian convention next summer thinks that someone with a long record on those issues… if I fit that, then yes, I’d be open to that.”
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), “who is expected to announce a long shot primary challenge to President Trump in the coming days, is wooing the husband of Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, for a senior role in his campaign — a signal of his intent to troll Mr. Trump into engagement with him,” the New York Times reports.
Said Conway: “I think Walsh’s plan to attack Trump for his dishonesty, amorality, instability and incompetence is absolutely the right approach, and I’ll do whatever I can to help.”