The Campaign Report – December 16, 2019

Fox News poll found that 50% of Americans want President Trump impeached and removed from office, while 41% believe he shouldn’t be impeached.

Key finding: While 85% of Democrats favor impeachment and removal and 84% of Republicans don’t, there’s a new high in support for impeachment among independents – 45% now favor it, compared to 38% in October.

First Read says there are two ways to look at the unchanging poll numbers on impeaching President Trump:

“One: LOL, nothing matters.”

“Two: Half of the country — and a majority in the Fox poll — want the president impeached over his dealings with Ukraine.”

“So while Trump will probably survive impeachment — with Republicans remaining steadfast — you can’t say impeachment has helped him. His overall political standing is underwater less than a year before his re-election. When the unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent.”

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential field with 24%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 22%, Elizabeth Warren at 17% and Pete Buttigieg at 13%. The top four are trailed by Andrew Yang at 5%, Michael Bloomberg at 4%, Amy Klobuchar at 4% and Cory Booker at 4%.

“Much of the staff serving a freshman Democratic congressman resigned on Sunday after sources said the lawmaker prepares to switch to the Republican Party,” CNN reports.

Politico says the aides in Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s Washington office wrote in a joint letter to his chief of staff that Van Drew’s decision to become a Republican “does not align with the values we brought to this job.”

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the chairwoman of House Democrats’ campaign arm, said she would hire former staffers to Rep. Jeff Van Drew who resigned in protest over his decision to switch parties.

Sen. Cory Booker is urging his followers to support whichever Democrat emerges to run against Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the anti-impeachment congressman who switched parties over the weekend. Interestingly, Van Drew has endorsed Booker’s presidential bid.

Politico: “If President Trump wins re-election in 2020, there will not be lots of people — unlike in 2016 — gasping with surprise at the outcome. But there are plenty of people who remain utterly bewildered by the prospect.”

“How after everything — abysmal polls, the 2018 midterm debacle, this week’s impeachment — is a second-term even a possibility? The belief that the usual rules of politics simply do not apply to this president — whether due to political dark arts or some kind of cosmic destiny — is one of the only things that unites Trump loathers and Trump loyalists.”

“But there is no need to look for mystical explanations. There is a path to reelection for a president who never cracks 50 percent approval in polls that is entirely plausible. It’s not because the normal dynamics of politics do not apply to Trump, but because they do.”

New York Times: “Being a national chairman for the party that doesn’t hold the White House is among the worst jobs in American politics. It’s a high-profile position with little power. There is endless grief from fretting party regulars and nonstop comparisons to the president’s party, which has the president himself as its chief fund-raiser.”

“Thousands of Ohio voters were held up or stymied in their efforts to get absentee ballots for last year’s general election because of missing or mismatched signatures on their ballot applications,” an Associated Pressreview has found.

“The signature requirement on such applications is a largely overlooked and spottily tracked step in Ohio’s voting process, which has shifted increasingly to mail-in ballots since early, no-fault absentee voting was instituted in 2005.”

President Trump confirmed earlier reports that he might not take part in the official debates scheduled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, arguing the group is “stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers.”

The New York Times reported last week that Trump was considering skipping the presidential debates, not out of worry over whom he’d be debating, but who would moderate the debates.

Aides told the Times that the President, who repeatedly accused the debate moderators and polls of being rigged against him in 2016, has the same complaints about the potential debate moderators this time around.

New York Times: “Less than a year before the 2020 election, false political information is moving furiously online. Facebook users shared the top 100 false political stories over 2.3 million times in the United States in the first 10 months of this year, according to Avaaz, a global human rights organization.”

“The examples are numerous: A hoax version of the Green New Deal legislation went viral online. Millions of people saw unsubstantiated rumors about the relationship between Ukraine and the family of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. A canard about the ties between a Ukrainian oil company and a son of Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican, spread widely, too.”

“Still, few politicians or their staffs are prepared to quickly notice and combat incorrect stories about them… Several of the researchers said they were surprised by how little outreach they had received from politicians.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is endorsing MJ Hegar in the crowded primary to challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Texas Tribune reports.

“Hegar, the former Air Force helicopter pilot and 2018 congressional candidate, entered the primary in April and has emerged as the top fundraiser. But polls show the race remains wide open as Democrats look to pick up where they left off from Beto O’Rourke’s near-miss 2018 loss to the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz.”

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) told KFGO that he’s leaning against voting to impeach President Trump, but won’t switch parties.

Said Peterson: “I’m staying in the party, in spite of some of the stuff that’s going on that I don’t agree with, I am not going switch parties at this stage of my career There have been overtures by the highest levels of the Republican party in the last couple weeks to ask if I would consider it and I told them no.”

“Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, which has so far invested more than $100 million on TV ads, launched the ground-game portion of its operation Sunday, opening a field office in a state where most other Democrats have none,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The investment in North Carolina, one of the Super Tuesday states that will hold Democratic primaries on March 3, is part of Mr. Bloomberg’s overlapping primary and general-election strategy that his advisers believe keeps their sights on President Trump while putting resources into states that are more delegate-rich than the earlier nominating contests.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is further fueling speculation about whether he will run for Senate in Kansas by using a new personal Twitter account. So far, he’s tweeted mostly about sports.

The Cook Political Report moves Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s seat from Toss Up to the Lean Republican column in the wake of his party switch, “and that might even be generous to Democrats.”

“In Democrats’ favor, it shouldn’t be hard for their nominee to raise national money against Van Drew, considering the outrage at his desertion. But fundamentally, this is a classic blue-collar, Obama-Trump district that the deeply-rooted Van Drew only won by single digits against an atrocious GOP nominee in a great Democratic year. Van Drew would begin as the favorite if he were to win the GOP nomination.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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