Washington Post: “After a year of campaigning, and with less than a month to go before the first and therefore most important single contest in the Democratic nomination fight, few if any are confident of the outcome. At least four candidates are seen as having a shot to win Iowa, or, alternatively, to suffer a crippling result that could hobble their campaigns going forward, especially if there is a late surge by a lower-tier contender.”
“The result is a hotly contested sprint to the Feb. 3 caucuses — a struggle that could either propel a clear winner into the next-voting states with momentum or open a months-long fight for the delegates needed to secure the party’s presidential nomination. Unlike past primaries, several of the top candidates are expected to have the financial resources and dedicated fan base to wage long campaigns even if they finish in the middle of the pack in Iowa.”
Joe Biden lit into President Trump’s tweeting about the possibility of retaliating against Iran Saturday night, calling it “incredibly dangerous and irresponsible,” Politico reports. Biden accused Trump of taking reckless action as “the walls close in on this guy.”
“Its analysis is facile, its hypocrisy relentless, its self-awareness marginal. (The writing is wretched, even by the standards of political vanity projects.) But the point of Triggered is not autobiographical, literary or analytic, and it should not be read or evaluated on such grounds. Rather, the book is most useful as a preview of a possible Donald Trump Jr. 2024 presidential campaign, the contours of which grow clearer the deeper one wades into these pages.”
A new SurveyMonkey poll of Republican voters finds two children of President Trump — Don Jr. and Ivanka — as two of the top four picks for president in five years. The other two are Mike Pence and Nikki Haley.
Andrew Yang will launch a write-in campaign in Ohio after a “bureaucratic paperwork issue” prevented him from appearing on the presidential primary ballot, The Hill reports.
President Trump took aim at Pete Buttigieg at a rally in a Miami megachurch, claiming the the Democratic candidate was faking his faith ahead of the election. Said Trump: “All of a sudden, he’s become very religions… this happened about two weeks ago.” Of course, he also made fun of Buttigieg’s last name.
Politico: “Sliding steadily in the polls and battling a narrative that he couldn’t endure the kind of rigorous campaign schedule Iowans demand, Joe Biden’s Iowa prospects were just about written off earlier this fall. Even his own campaign began to downplay expectations.”
“But with 31 days left before the Feb. 3 caucuses, Biden has managed to turn his fortunes around.”
“He launched a successful, eight-day bus tour through rural Iowa last month that sparked an uptick in volunteers, precinct captain requests and caucus commitments. He doubled his fundraising in the last quarter, allowing him to flood the state’s airwaves with ads.”
Playbook: “Joe Biden is cycling three new ads into his $4 million Iowa ad buy. It’s a six-figure buy that will run in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Sioux City media markets.”
“The first ad is Soul, which reiterates Biden’s message that the fabric of American society will change if Trump has another four years in office. Integrity has testimonials from people about Biden’s character. They also have a 15-second spot, Enough which has a Des Moines firefighter praising Biden.”
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) announced Friday that he will not seek reelection, The Hill reports.
New York Times: “The morning after the Democrats’ last debate in December, the Democratic National Committee announced the thresholds to qualify for the next one, scheduled for Jan. 14 in Des Moines: 5 percent support in four qualifying polls, or 7 percent in two early-state polls. With those steeper requirements in place, just five candidates have qualified so far: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.”
“Those who haven’t made the cut are getting angry about relying on the results of public polling — when no polls that count have been released since the last debate, on Dec. 19.”
“If any of the lower-tier candidates got a boost from that last debate, there have been no qualifying polls to reflect it. With just one week to go before the Jan. 10 qualification deadline, there’s been no way for Andrew Yang or Tom Steyer — who are on the fringe of making the debate stage — or anyone else (like Cory Booker, who needs a lot of help) to secure a spot.”
President Trump rallied his evangelical Christian base of supporters on Friday, portraying himself as the restorer of faith in the public square and claiming that God is “on our side,” the New York Times reports.
Said Trump: “Evangelical Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith have never had a greater champion, not even close, in the White House, than you have right now. We’ve done things that nobody thought was possible. Together we’re not only defending our constitutional rights. We’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege.”
Amy McGrath (D) raised $6.2 million for her U.S. Senate campaign in the fourth quarter of 2019, “marking another impressive fundraising quarter even as she faces grumbling from some progressive Democrats in Kentucky,” the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
“The money McGrath raised in the final three months of 2019 brings her total to $16.9 million, just $2 million shy of what former Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes raised in her bid against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. McGrath’s campaign said it has $9.1 million on hand.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “The end of Julian Castro’s presidential campaign on Thursday offered another opportunity to complain about the nomination process, and plenty of pundits have been doing just that. After all, Castro has more relevant experience than South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who remains a contender, and he’s far more qualified than entrepreneur Andrew Yang or activist Tom Steyer, both of whom scored invitations to the November and December debates. Castro’s final debate was in October.”
“But while I’m a Castro fan (I live in San Antonio, where he was once mayor), it’s hard for me to see any legitimate complaints about the process in this case. I’d agree that Castro in some sense deserved to be one of the remaining candidates, but presidential elections aren’t really about what candidates deserve. Castro had his chance, and for whatever reason he failed to attract much support. He was going nowhere in the polls, both nationally and in the early states, and he ended up at only 1% in Nevada, where plenty of Latino voters joined white Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire in ignoring him.”
“President Trump’s 2020 election strategy relies largely on the white, working-class base that he excited in 2016. But he faces a demographic challenge: The electorate has changed since he was last on the ballot in ways likely to benefit Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Working-class, white voters are projected to decline by 2.3 percentage points nationally as a share of eligible voters, compared with the last election, because they are older and therefore dying at a faster rate than are Democratic groups. As those voters pass on, they are most likely to be replaced by those from minority groups or young, white voters with college degrees—groups that lean Democratic.”
“That means Mr. Trump will have to coax more votes from a shrinking base—or else find more votes in other parts of the electorate.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $21.2 million for her presidential campaign in the fourth quarter of 2019, “a slight dip from the previous quarter and behind three of her top rivals for the Democratic nomination,” the New York Times reports.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised $11.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, “a sum that was more than twice what she collected during the prior three months but still left her no better than sixth in fund-raising for the last three months among Democrats running for president,” the New York Times reports.