The Campaign Report – Boring Republicans

Associated Press on Trump’s big speech tonight: “Though he will promise national greatness, there was little expectation he would deliver a message designed to unify the divided electorate. In 2016, his message was ‘I alone can fix it.’ This time, while trailing in the polls, he will offer himself as the last remaining defense against radical forces threatening the American way of life.”

“Aides have closely guarded details of the address, which was being revised the night before Trump was to speak from the White House South Lawn. While Trump has centered his recent stump speech on anarchists that he depicts overrunning city streets, aides signaled that Thursday’s speech will not be as dark as his infamous ‘American carnage’ inaugural address.”

A new Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania shows Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in the presidential race, 49% to 42%. Important takeaway: “There are fewer registered voters in 2020 who express support for a third-party candidate or who are undecided compared to August 2016.”

A new Navigator poll finds Donald Trump falling short on some of his key themes from the Republican convention.

  • Just 43% feel he’s living up to “Make America Great Again,” while 53% disagree.
  • Just 40% think he’s made America more respected, while 55% disagree.
  • Just 39% think he’s restored law and order, while 55% disagree.
  • Just 36% think he’s gotten the pandemic under control, while 64% disagree.

Also important: 61% say Trump wants what is best for himself rather than what is best for the country.

Daniel Dale does an epic fact checking job of the third night of the Republican National Convention. He later tweeted: “This is a partial list. I say I could’ve gone another three minutes.”

The Washington Post says the night “offered a cascade of false claims, especially in Vice President Pence’s speech.”

A RNC video showing rioters setting a city street on fire in “Biden’s America” is actually a photo from Barcelona, Spain, BuzzFeed News reports. The video was intended to be a warning of the dire consequences if Biden is elected president.

“We will make America great again—again.” — Vice President Mike Pence, admitting the contradiction at the core of Donald Trump’s argument for re-election.

“Democrats in one of the most pivotal battleground states are pushing past concerns about the efficiency of the Postal Service and making voting by mail a centerpiece of their election mobilization strategy,” McClatchyreports.

“Despite a president who has continually maligned the process, Republican lawsuits aimed at restricting the practice, and an edict from former First Lady Michelle Obama at last week’s Democratic National Convention to ‘vote in person if we can,’ Pennsylvania Democrats have settled on a concerted effort to urge their voters to cast ballots through the mail — a campaign that already appears to be paying dividends.”

“Democrats in Pennsylvania account for two-thirds of the 1.3 million mail ballot requests that have already been made.”

Charles Stewart: “In an article forthcoming in the Harvard Data Science Review, I have worked to quantify how much riskier it is for someone to vote by mail than in person. Depending on the state in which a citizen is voting, the increased risk of having your vote lost — meaning, not counted in the election — ranges from 3.5 percent to 4.9 percent.”

“In states where a voter must apply for a mail ballot, the ballot application could get lost in the mail; the local election office could lose the application or deny it; the ballot might not make it back to the voter, for instance, getting lost in the mail; and the marked ballot might not make it from the voter back to the local election office. Even if the ballot arrives, it could be rejected because it arrived late or lacked a signature — the two most common reasons for rejection. Finally, the ballot could have an error that she could have caught had she voted in person.”

“Four years after an unorthodox presidential bid that laid bare deep divisions among Republicans, President Trump is accepting the nomination for a second term before a party that has largely united behind him, embracing his America-first foreign and economic policies and unorthodox, sometimes chaotic style,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

“Mr. Trump has taken command of the GOP through a combination of persuasion and purges. He has brought rank-and-file Republican voters around to his views on economic, social and foreign-policy issues.”

“He has supported loyalists to help take control of state and local party infrastructure around the country and has jumped into primaries for House, Senate and governor to reward allies and punish apostates.”

Politico: The GOP is now Trump — it’s just not sure which one.

New York Times: “Trump advisers said on Wednesday that they did not intend to change people’s minds about the president. Voter opinions about him have been remarkably impervious to the good and bad news about him, fluctuating little since he took office. Rather, the aides said, they were seeking to remind suburban voters of policies Mr. Trump has supported — like granting citizenship for legal immigrants and reducing harsh criminal statutes — that will give them something to hang onto in the voting booth in November.”

Politico: Democrats fear swing state damage from Kenosha unrest.

Washington Post: Trump and GOP go all in on law and order.

Politico: “More than 30 former staffers from Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign are signing onto an effort to elect Joe Biden — the same man they worked to defeat during the 2012 campaign.”

New York Times: “Mark Salter, who led the effort to gather signatures along with the former McCain aides Christian Ferry, Niki Christoff and Joe Donoghue, said they had confined their outreach to staff members, and did not seek out McCain family members.”

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen House Democrats for reelection, triggering a revolt within the right-leaning organization and drawing fierce pushback from the group’s powerful GOP donors,” Politico reports.

“The decision represents a sharp departure for the traditionally conservative Chamber, which has spent over $100 million backing Republican candidates over the past decade, and it threatens to further complicate the party’s prospects in the November election while driving a split in the business community.”

Playbook: “In endorsing Democrats, the Chamber seems to be seeking relevance in a Washington that’s shifted away from them. These Democrats they’re endorsing have views that are simply incompatible with where the Chamber has been for years. But many of them will be elected officials next Congress — and the Chamber could, theoretically, take a bit of credit for that and find itself some new allies on the left.”

“The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office says county auditors cannot set up drop boxes to accept absentee ballots this fall — something several auditors say they did during this year’s primary election,” the Des Moines Register reports.

New York Times: “Even as president, Mr. Trump has often appeared most comfortable in the role of back-seat driver, jeering his own government like a common bystander, insisting that someone really ought to do something about all this.”

“The effect during a week like this one — as a public health crisis proceeds apace and unrest consumes Kenosha, Wis., after another police shooting of a Black man — is particularly jarring, all the more because Mr. Trump has also strained throughout the convention to display himself in various scenes of presidential busyness: issuing a pardon, meeting with freed hostages, presiding over a naturalization ceremony. In the process, Mr. Trump and his team have effectively ignored distinctions between campaign activity and official business — less line-blurring than ostensible law-violating — co-opting public resources for political gain.”

“Through it all, the intended takeaway has seemed clear: Mr. Trump is in control of the good but not responsible for the bad, worthy of praise for America’s successes and exoneration for its struggles.”

“Donald Trump Jr. is urging voters to cast absentee ballots in robocalls detected across the nation Wednesday — even as his father continues to rail against widespread mail-in voting,” Politico reports.

“The robocalls, which reference this week’s Republican National Convention have been deployed in 13 states — Arizona, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Texas and Maine — all states the Trump campaign is targeting. They indicate that either the Trump campaign or Republican National Committee has already mailed absentee-ballot requests to those being called.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a Republican who has repeatedly eschewed national GOP politics, threw himself into one of the state’s most contentious Democratic races on Thursday, endorsing Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) in his primary fight with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse (D), the Boston Globe reports.

“President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, stars in a new Democratic attack ad in which he describes Trump as a liar and warns Americans not to trust him,” the Washington Post reports.

“The 60-second television commercial from American Bridge 21st Century, the Democrats’ largest super PAC, will air Thursday morning on CNN and Fox News — during Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends — for the last day of the Republican convention. It will air again in the evening ahead of Trump’s acceptance speech.”

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