WARREN NARROWS THE GAP. A new IBD/TIPP poll finds Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential race with 28%, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 24%, Bernie Sanders at 12%, Kamala Harris at 6%, Pete Buttigieg at 5% and Cory Booker at 4%.
No other candidate polled more than 1%. Another 15% of respondents said they were undecided.
In general election match ups, Biden led President Trump by 54% to 42%, while Sanders had a narrow 49% to 45% edge over Trump and Warren and Harris had slimmer 49% to 46% leads.
DEMOCRATS LEAD OR TIE TRUMP IN WISCONSIN. A new Marquette Law poll in Wisconsin finds Joe Biden leading President Trump in a general election match up by nine points, 51% to 42%.
Bernie Sanders leads Trump by four points, 48% to 44%. Elizabeth Warren is tied with Trump at 45% and Kamala Harris is also tied at 44%.
DOWN TO THREE? “The bottom is falling out of the Democratic presidential primary. And the top-tier — no longer five candidates, but three — is becoming more insurmountable,” Politico reports.
“For more than a year, Democrats had approached their nominating contest with a widely-shared belief that — like Republicans in the earliest stages of their primary four years ago — they, too, might take turns rising and falling in an expansive field. That expectation sustained the campaigns of more than two dozen contenders this year.”
“But in recent weeks, the leading band of candidates has contracted unexpectedly early. Heading into the fall, only three contenders are polling above single digits: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.”
MANCHIN STAYS IN SENATE. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will not run for West Virginia governor in 2020, the Washington Post reports.
SANFORD DELAYS ANNOUNCEMENT. “Mark Sanford is delaying his announcement on whether he’ll challenge President Trump with his own White House bid until after Hurricane Dorian and its impact on the Carolinas and the nation are clear,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports.
In a NPR interview, Joe Biden again downplayed reports that he has repeatedly told a false war story on the campaign trail. Said Biden: “That has nothing to do with judgment of whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home, the judgment of whether you decide on a healthcare policy.” He added: “The details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making.”
Josh Marshall from the story above: “His dismissal of the whole issue, politically at least, is the right decision. To be clear, I’m not saying Biden should be the nominee at all. Biden is clearly this guy. He tells yarns. They’re seldom self-laudatory. They always contain some moral he’s trying to convey. But they’re yarns. The exact facts may be jumbled. He’s that guy. He’s definitely not going to stop being that guy, not at 76 and probably not at any prior point in his life. So he just has to be himself and go with it.”
I agree. Biden is who he is.
CAMPAIGN RAMPS UP. “Democratic presidential candidates are ramping up for a post-Labor Day push to win the party’s nomination for the White House, with Iowa caucuses now just five months away and the race still wide open,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The intensifying campaign calendar includes a debate next week winnowed to 10 hopefuls from 20, an important Sept. 30 fundraising deadline, a flurry of events in key states and the launch of new ad campaigns.”
HICKENLOOPER RIVAL DROPS OUT. Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Mike Johnston (D) said he is suspending his campaign, the Denver Post reports.
“Johnston, a 44-year-old former state senator, led the crowded Democratic field this year in fundraising and was a top-tier candidate in the polls. But former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) decision to run left him with a questionable path to victory in next year’s Democratic Senate primary.”
Said Johnston: “I think his entrance required this to be a very different kind of race and required a negative race that’s not one that matches my values and how I would want to lead.”
I agree, my first preference right now is Warren (then Harris, Buttigieg, Beto, Biden).
WARREN ADOPTS INSLEE’S CLIMATE PLAN. Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an ambitious new climate change plan on Tuesday, embracing goals laid out by Gov. Jay Inslee, and calling for $3 trillion in spending over a decade to combat human-driven global warming, the New York Times reports.
“Ms. Warren made her announcement on the eve of a CNN town-hall-style event on global warming… Sen. Kamala Harris is expected to put forth a detailed climate change plan on Wednesday morning, and three other Democratic presidential candidates — Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Julián Castro — have also released climate change plans since Sunday.”
CNN: “Warren also challenged her rivals to meet Inslee’s standard.”
Climate Debate: Will a climate forum allow a productive climate change debate?
BIDEN HOLDS WALL STREET FUNDRAISERS. “Joe Biden is heading back to Wall Street for two fundraisers Thursday, the day after he participates in a climate change town hall,” CNBC reports.
“Biden has shown a willingness to court big money and corporate-linked donors, even as his campaign tries to distance him from lobbyists. His main rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have rejected hosting these kinds of top-dollar fundraisers.”
TEXODUS CONTINUES. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) announced that he will not seek another term in Congress, the fifth Texas Republican to announce his retirement ahead of next year’s elections, the Texas Tribune reports.
“Retirements often happen around long stretches of recess. The first flood of Texans came as Congress let out for August recess. House Republicans have in recent days openly acknowledged that they anticipate more retirements to come as Congress returns to Washington next week.”
TRUMP’S ONLY PATH TO REELECTION. William Galston: “In the Blue Wall triad—Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin—Mr. Trump’s job approval has been consistently lower than in Florida, Georgia and Texas, where it stands at or above 50%, as it also does in Ohio. Three other states—North Carolina, Iowa and Arizona—occupy an intermediate zone in which Mr. Trump’s popularity is higher than in the Blue Wall but lower than in the South.”
“In other words, if the president can hold his Democratic challenger’s popular-vote advantage at or near the 2 percentage points of 2016, he may well prevail again in the Electoral College. At the other end of the spectrum, if the Democrat were to approach Barack Obama’s 7-point margin in 2008, victory over Mr. Trump would be assured. Even if there is a huge mobilization of Democrats in solidly blue states, a 4-point popular-vote advantage would probably include enough voters in swing states to create a blue Electoral College majority. It’s impossible to determine exactly where the tipping point lies between 2 and 4 percentage points.”
BIDEN LOWERING EXPECTATIONS. Jonathan Bernstein: “We must be getting closer to the primaries and caucuses, because Joe Biden’s team on Tuesday began the job of lowering expectations. They’re now making the case that the former vice president could still take the nomination even if he doesn’t win in either Iowa or New Hampshire.”
“As Steve Kornacki correctly says, no one has actually done this since the modern nomination system began in 1972. (And as Kornacki adds, Bill Clinton in 1992 doesn’t count because all the other candidates conceded Iowa to home-state Senator Tom Harkin.)”
“It’s not just that failing to win would hurt Biden; it’s that failing to win would mean someone else won, and that candidate might be well positioned to capitalize on an early victory.”
“Plus, spin only gets you so far. If Biden can’t win, then one of his big supposed advantages – his appeal to voters – will be less credible. Moreover, at this point Biden is thought by most to be the front-runner, and that could make even a strong second-place finish seem disappointing. That means the news about Biden could be quite negative until he manages to win somewhere, especially if party actors turn against him or rally to another candidate. At this point, Biden has the most party endorsements in the race. But his lead could disappear quickly if he loses twice early on.”
DEADBEAT DEBLASIO – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “spent a mere seven hours — less than one full workday — at City Hall during the month he launched his bid for the White House,” records reviewed by the New York Post show.
“Hizzoner showed up at his office on just six occasions in May, taking part in two meetings, four events and five phone calls, one of which was his weekly appearance on WNYC radio, according to entries on his official calendar.”
WHY KAMALA HARRIS HASN’T CAUGHT FIRE – Bloomberg: “Yet despite a shot of adrenaline after confronting front-runner Joe Biden in the first debate, she has failed to catch fire with Democratic voters who are torn between a nostalgic fondness for Biden and a revolutionary desire for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.”
“Harris’s attempt to replicate her feat in the second debate backfired among Democrats who say she went too negative on Biden. The Californian also suffers from a perception that she lacks a deep ideological well to guide her policy ideas, in contrast to her three main rivals who are better-defined. And her past as a prosecutor has earned her supporters and detractors.”