The Campaign Report – May 14, 2020

A new CNN poll finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump for president, 51% to 46%.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in the presidential race by eight points, 46% to 38%.

Trump’s approval rate is just 41%, down 4 points from a similar poll that ran in mid-April, while 56% disapprove of Trump, up by 5 points in the same span.

A new CBS News poll finds just 43% say President Trump is doing a good job handling the pandemic, 5 points lower than three weeks ago and 10 points lower than in March.

This decline has most recently been driven by political independents, among whom a four-in-10 plurality now say Trump is doing a “very” bad job, as compared to a “somewhat” bad job, and that description has increased from a few weeks ago. 

“Joe Biden says he has his eye on a dozen women as potential running mates, but those close to him believe the list of top prospects is likely far shorter as a deep vetting process gets underway to determine whether he needs to expand his circle of serious contenders,” CNN reports.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump conservative super PAC run in part by George Conway, is condemning Sen. Thom Tillis’s loyalty to President Trump in a new ad by claiming the North Carolina Republican puts “politics over people,” The Hill reports.

Charlie Cook: “Today there is more than a one-in-three chance that Democrats will win a trifecta in November, the White House, the Senate and the House. The policy and governing implications are enormous.”

“Keep in mind that these outcomes are not independent of each other, a Trump victory would be more likely to be accompanied by retention of the Senate, a Trump defeat would raise the odds of Democrats taking over the Senate. This isn’t ‘coattails,” (I don’t believe in coattails), but the turnout dynamics, the issue agenda and priorities and the political environment that would exist to re-elect, or defeat Trump would also be in place for a Senate that is already teetering on the edge. Our system isn’t quite parliamentary but is getting increasingly more so, the linkage is greater, the ticket-splitting diminishing.”

Jonathan Last: “Brad Parscale has a very keen interest in making sure that his job is portrayed as being a gigantic, all-powerful black box.”

“In 2016, Trump cycled through campaign managers at a rapid clip. The only job security Parscale has comes from convincing Trump that he has built some magical machine which no one else—and especially not Old Man Trump—can understand. Or operate.”

“Creating the impression that the entire Trump campaign will rise or fall with an opaque digital operation is a way to make Parscale un-fireable. Because unlike the 2016 campaign, which was basically about letting Trump be Trump, there is now a great deal of sunk-cost into an operation which is purpose-built to keep the septugenarian boss from understanding how it works. Or even, what it really is.”

New York Times: “Mr. Biden’s inability to influence the political or policy debate about the coronavirus and the nation’s economic collapse has worried some Democratic allies, donors and former Obama administration officials who want Mr. Biden to be more visible. He rarely goes on offense against Mr. Trump in ways that have lasting impact. And his tentative handling of his biggest test recently — responding to the sexual assault allegation by Tara Reade — prompted skepticism among some progressives and others about his instincts and his team’s agility…”

“Interviews with more than two dozen donors, advisers, activists and party strategists portray an operation that is exhibiting some of the same difficulties that proved troublesome in the primary: slow decision-making processes and multiple power centers across Mr. Biden’s sprawling political network, generational differences between some longtime Biden advisers and younger operatives, inadequate staffing and a tendency to be reactive in the face of controversy.”

Howard Stern called on President Trump to resign, the New York Daily News reports.

Said Stern: “I do think it would be extremely patriotic of Donald to say ‘I’m in over my head and I don’t want to be president anymore.’ It’d be so patriotic that I’d hug him and then I’d go back to Mar-a-Lago and have a meal with him and feel good about him because it would be such an easy thing to do.”

Christy Smith (D) conceded defeat to Mike Garcia (R) this afternoon, one day after the closely watched special election runoff for the seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who resigned last year, Politico reports.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Despite — or perhaps because of — the relatively high share of the vote third party candidates received in 2016, we expect the two major parties to have a better showing in 2020.”

“Voters generally feel better about their major party nominees this year than they did in 2016, leaving third party options with less of a raison d’etre.”

Also important: “The field of third party candidates this year doesn’t seem especially strong, and even when prominent names have launched third party bids recently, they’ve struggled to gain traction — even in their home states.”

Politico: “Senate Republicans have a problem in Kansas. And they still think Mike Pompeo is the solution. Staring at a messy primary, a credible Democratic challenger and a real battle for Senate control, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for the secretary of State to jump into the race with just weeks to go until the filing deadline.”

“Pompeo has been firm thus far that he will not reconsider and recently told the White House that he is not running.”

“Nearly eight years after he was last on the ballot, Barack Obama is emerging as a central figure in the 2020 presidential election.,” the AP reports.

“Democrats are eagerly embracing Obama as a political wingman for Joe Biden, who spent two terms by his side as vice president. Obama remains the party’s most popular figure, particularly with black voters and younger Democrats, and Biden’s presidential campaign is planning for him to have a highly visible role in the months to come.”

“For President Trump, that means an opportunity to focus the spotlight on one of his favorite political foils. In recent days, Trump and his allies have aggressively pushed conspiracy theories about Obama designed to fire up the president’s conservative base, taint Biden by association and distract from the glut of grim health and economic news from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Washington Post: Trump and Biden seek to make Obama central to their campaigns.

Paul Krugman: “In other words, the GOP has in effect decided to ignore the science at the clear risk of being held accountable in the near future both for killing thousands and for wrecking the economy, because that’s what a premature opening would do.”

“Why take that risk? Partly they may be high on their own supply, no longer able to conceive that there is an objective reality that might be politically inconvenient. Partly, I think it’s because they know in their hearts that they can’t actually do the job of governing.”

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

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