“Republicans are increasingly nervous they could lose control of the Senate this fall as a potent combination of a cratering economy, President Trump’s controversial handling of the pandemic and rising enthusiasm among Democratic voters dims their electoral prospects,” the Washington Post reports.
Said one GOP strategist involved in the Senate races: “It is a bleak picture right now all across the map, to be honest with you. This whole conversation is a referendum on Trump, and that is a bad place for Republicans to be. But it’s also not a forever place.”
“Multiple strategists said they believe GOP candidates will recover once the nation — and the presidential campaign — returns to a more normal footing.”
Harry Enten: “Biden’s lead is about as steady as it can possibly be. Not only is he up 6 points over the last month or so, but the average of polls since the beginning of the year has him ahead by 6 points. Moreover, all the polls taken since the beginning of 2019 have him up 6 points.”
“The steadiness in the polls is record breaking. Biden’s advantage is the steadiest in a race with an incumbent running since at least 1944. That could mean it’ll be harder to change the trajectory of the race going forward, though this remains more than close enough that either candidate could easily win.”
New York Times: “Today, [Senator Kamala] Harris — now a senator from California who ran for president last year — finds herself at another political crossroads, and is approaching it with similar caution. Though she is among the favorites to become Joe Biden’s vice-presidential nominee, joining him on the Democratic ticket to try to defeat President Trump, she has kept a noticeably lower profile than other possible contenders.”
Politico: “Biden’s campaign has formally started vetting a group of prospects that includes roughly a dozen women. But in interviews, more than two dozen Democrats, including advisers, allies and donors aligned with Biden, returned to Harris as an early frontrunner.”
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the favorite among progressives, was also seen as rising above the pack.”
Washington Post: “Some of Trump’s advisers described the president as glum and shell-shocked by his declining popularity. In private conversations, he has struggled to process how his fortunes suddenly changed from believing he was on a glide path to reelection to realizing that he is losing to the likely Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, in virtually every poll, including his own campaign’s internal surveys, advisers said. He also has been fretting about the possibility that a bad outbreak of the virus this fall could damage his standing in the November election, said the advisers, who along with other aides and allies requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.”
“The president is also eager to resume political travel in June, including holding his signature rallies by the end of the summer in areas where there are few cases… Trump’s political team has begun discussions about organizing a high-dollar, in-person fundraiser next month, as well as preliminary planning about staging rallies and what sort of screenings might be necessary.”
Axios: “In a late April survey of U.S.-based investors with at least $1 million of assets, UBS found that 53% said they planned to vote for Biden. But 52% think Trump will win.”
“The world’s most popular betting destinations show Trump as the clear favorite. The RealClearPolitics average of betting websites gives the advantage to Trump with an average spread of 8.2 as of Sunday night.”
“After weeks of holding back, President Trump’s re-election campaign will unleash a series of tailored, swing-state attacks against Joe Biden, targeting him in Florida, Pennsylvania and the industrial Midwest,” Axiosreports.
“The pandemic forced a pause, and a lighter touch, on Trump’s original attack plan against his presumed general election opponent.”
“Advisers warned against too much overt negative campaigning at a time when thousands of Americans are dying and voters want the president focused on running the country.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “The truth is that no November campaign was ever won by advertising in May. Political scientist John Sides put it this way: ‘For journalists writing about the new Trump `Death Star’ ad blitz, it’s imperative to discuss the research showing how quickly the effects of presidential general election advertising wear off. The impact of advertising in May on what happens in November is likely zero.’”
“So why do it? Mostly because they can. Presidential campaigns these days raise far more money than they can spend effectively. Even if the chances of influencing the outcome are only ‘likely’ zero, it may still be rational to spend the money, because in a very close race any little bit is helpful. (Of course, this election may not turn out to be close, but no one can say at this point.)”
“That’s not all. Both bureaucratic momentum and, in some cases, profit motives can lead to more advertising.”
CNN: “Democrats and Republicans with medical backgrounds have long used their MDs to convey competency, compassion and a commitment to service when running for Congress. But Democrats, especially, think the coronavirus pandemic has become a strong proof point in their argument that the defense of science can be a winning campaign message — and some party strategists think that’s given candidates with scientific backgrounds an advantage.”
“They’re drawing contrasts between their candidacies and the GOP — namely the President and the down-ballot Republicans who have mostly stood by him.”
“It was a shocking margin of victory in what was expected to be a close race: an 11-point blowout by a liberal judge over a conservative incumbent for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” the New York Times reports.
“Now Wisconsin Democrats are working to export their template for success — intense digital outreach and a well-coordinated vote-by-mail operation — to other states in the hope that it will improve the party’s chances in local and statewide elections and in the quest to unseat President Trump in November.”
A new AP-NORC poll finds 55% of Americans disapprove of the protests that have popped up in some states as some Americans begin chafing at stay-at-home measures, while 31% approve of the demonstrations.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to disapprove of such protests, 67% to 51%.
President Trump claimed without evidence that Democrats are trying to rig the special election this week in California’s 25th congressional district.
Said Trump: “Governor Gavin Newsom of California won’t let restaurants, beaches and stores open, but he installs a voting booth system in a highly Democrat area (supposed to be mail in ballots only) because our great candidate, Mike Garcia, is winning by a lot. CA25 Rigged Election!”
Washington Post: “Because of the coronavirus, voters were encouraged to mail in ballots, with every voter receiving a prestamped ballot to fill out and return. But a limited number of in-person polling places were long planned to be open… A new polling place was added in recent days in Lancaster… It is not the most Democratic area in California as Trump suggests.”
“President Trump has been increasingly engaged in the legal battles unfolding across the country over the issue of vote-by-mail, urging his political advisers to take an aggressive posture to counter Democratic lawsuits on the issue,” CNN reports.
“Trump met with his political aides on Thursday at the White House about the legal efforts… The source said Trump has been particularly interested in combating ballot harvesting, which allows party officials and outside organizations to collect signed and sealed mail-in ballots, a practice legal in some states.”
Gerald Seib: “Michigan has nearly every ingredient going into the 2020 stew. It is a classic swing state that had been reliably Democratic blue in presidential politics until President Trump turned it Republican red in 2016. Now, Mr. Trump trails in polls there. Michigan has a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who is on the shortlist of potential Democratic vice presidential nominees.”
“More immediately, Michigan has become a case study in the cultural and political divide that has opened up over the coronavirus crisis. It has been hit hard by the virus, and Ms. Whitmer has responded with aggressive orders to limit public movement and business activity. Recently she extended Michigan’s state of emergency until May 28; many have cheered her actions.”
“But her extension of the state of emergency also drew a legal challenge this week from Republican leaders in the state legislature, who charged that she has overstepped her authority. Beyond that, the governor’s stand also has brought angry counterprotests in the state capital of Lansing by citizens demanding the state be reopened for business, including some protesters who carried assault rifles as they marched into Michigan’s capitol building.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats should hold their convention in a huge stadium, The Hill reports.
Said Pelosi: “So my suggestion to Mr. Perez was get a gigantic stadium and put people six feet apart. So maybe instead of having 80,000 people there, you would have 16,000 people there and just do it all in one day… have your platform and then nominate your vice president, nominate the president, have your speeches and everyone go home.”