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On the roster: On Warren’s inevitability and other wishful thinking - Sanders’ stumbles disquiet key supporters - Trump gambles it all on blue collar white voters - McConnell says Trump has to go first on gun laws - Churn down for what
ON WARREN’S INEVITABILITY AND OTHER WISHFUL THINKING
The conventional wisdom about the Democratic nominating process, once as molten and spicy as crock-pot queso, has rapidly cooled and congealed around a new narrative.
Old and busted: One of any number of Democrats will beat Joe Biden.
The new hotness: Elizabeth Warren will beat Joe Biden.
A WSJ/NBC News poll out today certainly shows how well Warren has been doing, climbing from 19 percent in July to 25 percent today. That’s as impressively good as Kamala Harris’ decline from 13 percent to 5 percent is impressively bad.
But the real story in the poll is that the frontrunner, Biden, actually managed to increase his vote share after what was said to be a very bad summer for him. Biden’s lift was as large as Warren’s, climbing from 25 percent to 31 percent.
Then why are we reading about Biden’s being the third most likely candidate to win the nomination, behind even Bernie Sanders who couldn’t even get the job done in a solo match four years ago against the weakest Democratic nominee since Michael Dukakis?
Much as political analysts did in 2016 with Donald Trump and the Republican nod, they are now working under the assumption that Biden cannot win. Rather than paying attention to the performance of the front runner, their gaze is fixed on incremental changes among those chasing him.
This is silly for a couple of reasons.
First, there’s no evidence to support the claim. Now, we tend to think that political analysis these days is overly dependent on data, but we would like to see at least some facts to support the supposed impossibility of Biden’s victory. Each week we are told Biden was the wreck of the Hesperus, but each week all he does is sail on under sunny skies.
Second, even if we were to grant the assumption that Biden was ultimately doomed, how would we then suppose that the rest of the field would remain static in the wake of such a catastrophic failure?
There are lots of reasons that people support Biden we are sure, but we are equally sure that many of his backers are doing so in an effort to block Sanders and Warren from the nomination. The perceived danger of running a radically liberal candidate is widespread among Democrats.
Biden is not Beto O’Rourke. If the 76-year-old former vice president now in his third presidential campaign really does start to slip in the polls and finds himself trailing Warren, it’s not plausible to think that he, like O’Rourke, would drag on in some kind of zombie effort. His key backers would abandon him and his loved ones would lean hard on the idea of getting out with his dignity intact.
So where would all of that support go? Not to Warren, and certainly not to Sanders. That’s why candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg are hanging around. Like the little mammals who thrived after the meteor strike wiped out the dinosaurs, they too could find advantages in the demise of their ecosystem’s megafauna.
As has been our urging all along, we would only remind race watchers to be circumspect about how future events will unfold.
It’s true that Biden may not go the distance, but for now he has more than proven himself as a durable frontrunner. It’s fun to imagine what might happen in the future, but it is only that: Imagining.
THE RULEBOOK: IT TAKES TWO KEYS TO LAUNCH
“It must indeed be clear to a demonstration that the joint possession of the power in question, by the President and Senate, would afford a greater prospect of security, than the separate possession of it by either of them.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 75
TIME OUT: HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
History: “On September 18, 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone to the United States Capitol building, the home of the legislative branch of American government. The building would take nearly a century to complete, as architects came and went, the British set fire to it and it was called into use during the Civil War. Today, the Capitol building, with its famous cast-iron dome and important collection of American art, is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, all developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a young nation, the United States had no permanent capital, and Congress met in eight different cities, including Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, before 1791. In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia from land provided by Maryland.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 28.8 points
Warren: 20.8 points
Sanders: 15.4 points
Harris: 6.6 points
Buttigieg: 5.4 points
[Averages include: NBC News/WSJ, CNN, ABC News/WaPo, IBD and Quinnipiac University.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 40 percent
Average disapproval: 54.8 percent
Net Score: -14.8 percent
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 40% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve - 55% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 56% disapprove.]
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SANDERS’ STUMBLES DISQUIET KEY SUPPORTERS
Politico: “Some of Bernie Sanders’ fiercest supporters are sounding the alarm that the campaign is bogged down by disorganization, personality clashes and poor communication between state operations and national headquarters. After a pair of setbacks this week — the acrimonious shakeup of his staff in New Hampshire on Sunday and loss of the Working Families Party's endorsement to Elizabeth Warren a day later — Sanders’ allies and former aides are worried that recent disappointments are not one-off stumbles but rather emblematic of larger problems in his bid for the White House. The concerns are particularly acute in New Hampshire. … The worries come as the campaign enters a critical, more urgent phase. … ‘In 2016, Bernie was the David who beat Goliath in New Hampshire — the expectations this time around are incomparable,’ said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist with close ties to labor groups.”
Warren tries to beat Trump at his own game - WaPo: “The fight raged on as Trump continued to obsess and fret over crowd size — boasting, touting and sometimes inflating his own adoring masses at campaign rallies and presidential events. Then finally this week, the Democrats — who have long tried to ignore Trump’s bigger-is-better ethos — offered a tangible response of their own in the form of Elizabeth Warren’s Monday evening rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park, where the senator from Massachusetts showed that she, too, could match the spectacle of Trump, right down to the large cheering throngs. ‘Yeah, the lines keep getting longer,’ Warren told reporters in New York on Tuesday, when asked about the four-hour wait for photos with her that capped her Monday rally, which was attended by more than 20,000 people. ‘That’s a good thing!’”
Can Dems play in Arizona? - Politico: “Arizona has long been touted as a potential swing state in the presidential election. Its time may have finally come. Demographic shifts, progressive organizing efforts and President Donald Trump’s potential weakness in the state appear to be providing Democrats in 2020 with their best shot at capturing the state since Bill Clinton won it more than two decades ago. A new poll, commissioned by a state labor union and released today, shows Trump running neck-and-neck with Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in theoretical match-ups. That poll follows several other recent surveys with more bad news for Republicans. A late July survey — conducted by Trump’s own pollster — showed the president losing to Biden, and another in August reported a tie. In Arizona’s closely-watched 2020 U.S. Senate race, two of those polls show GOP Sen. Martha McSally in a tie and a third shows her trailing Democrat Mark Kelly.”
TRUMP GAMBLES IT ALL ON BLUE COLLAR WHITE VOTERS
Politico: “The Trump campaign hopes to seize on that kind of discomfort among disaffected workers — whether coal miners or striking General Motors employees — in its bid for reelection. The president found Reagan-like support with blue-collar workers in 2016, but needs to further dominate the union vote next fall to compensate for the suburban slump he’s already facing. Right now, he is banking on a strong economy to do that … even as many of the workers he’s after are suffering through a manufacturing slowdown under the weight of his trade war. If Trump fails, allies fear his popularity in the Rust Belt will crumble, triggering a cascade of losses across the industrial Midwest that can only be offset by victories in Florida and an unusual collection of traditionally blue states.”
Thomas Edsall: Changing fundraising is changing parties - NYT: “Money is the mother’s milk of politics, as the old saying goes, and the slow motion realignment of our two major political parties has changed who raises more money from the rich and who raises more from small donors. A pair of major developments give us a hint about how future trends will develop on the partisan battleground. First: Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump is on track to far surpass President Barack Obama’s record in collecting small donor contributions — those under $200 — lending weight to his claim of populist legitimacy. Second: Democratic candidates and their party committees are making inroads in gathering contributions from the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Forbes 400, a once solid Republican constituency. Democrats are also pulling ahead in contributions from highly educated professionals — doctors, lawyers, tech executives, software engineers, architects, scientists, teachers and so on.”
MCCONNELL SAYS TRUMP HAS TO GO FIRST ON GUN LAWS
AP: “Six weeks after a pair of mass shootings killed more than 30 people, Congress remains ‘in a holding pattern’ on gun control as lawmakers await proposals from the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. While President Donald Trump has said he would veto a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun purchases, McConnell said Tuesday he is hopeful there are other gun-related proposals that Congress can approve and Trump can support. ‘I still await guidance from the White House as to what (Trump) thinks he’s comfortable signing,’ the Kentucky Republican told reporters. ‘If and when that happens, then we’ll have a real possibility of actually changing the law and hopefully making some progress.’ Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell and Trump were blocking meaningful action on gun violence… Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Trump on Sunday that any proposal on gun control must include the House-passed bill to expand background checks.”
Sinema faces blowback from home state liberals over moderate stances - Fox News: “U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema may face a censure vote by Arizona’s Democratic Party because she votes too often in favor of President Trump’s agenda, according to a report. Since joining the Senate in January, Sinema has opposed Trump 81 percent of the time, The Arizona Republic reported, citing data from the FiveThirtyEight Trump Tracker. That’s apparently not often enough to satisfy many of her fellow Democrats in the Grand Canyon State. ‘Here’s the thing: We really support Kyrsten Sinema, we want her to succeed, we want her to be the best senator in the country,’ Dan O’Neal, state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America, told the Republic. ‘But the way she is voting is really disappointing. We want Democrats to vote like Democrats and not Republicans.’ Sinema’s moderate voting record has helped her win some GOP backing in the state, according to the newspaper, but several votes in particular have riled progressive Democrats.”
Pelosi-Nadler impeachment battle continues - Politico
Fellow mayors plump for Buttigieg - USA Today
AUDIBLE: CAN WE QUOTE YOU ON THAT?
“I have no obligation to be honest with the media.” – Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager now preparing a Senate run in New Hampshire, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee
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CHURN DOWN FOR WHAT
KGW8: “Police are searching for two men who fled a traffic stop involving an Amish buggy equipped with a stereo system. A deputy in Trumbull County, Ohio reported seeing two Amish men drinking as they rode on the back of the buggy early Sunday. When the officer saw a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra on the back of the buggy, he tried to pull it over. The men fled and ran off into the woods, while the horse continued to pull the buggy before eventually coming to a stop, WFMJ reports. Upon investigating the buggy, the deputy found several open containers of alcohol and a ‘radio sound system’ that included several large speakers. The deputy called out over his car's loudspeaker for the men to come forward, but no one emerged from the woods. The buggy was towed and the horse is being cared for by a nearby resident until someone claims the animal.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Every spying program is a compromise between liberty and security. Yet [Obama was] a president who campaigned on the proposition that he would transcend such pedestrian considerations.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 13, 2013.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.