By Robert A. Vella

President Trump is reportedly fuming over the news coverage of his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma which kicked off his reelection effort.  The big story from the event was the poor attendance figure which the Tulsa Fire Department estimated at a paltry 6,200.  The Trump campaign claims nearly twice the amount at 12,000, but even that number falls way short of the arena’s 19,000 seat capacity and is only a tiny fraction of the 1 million attendees that the campaign boasted about beforehand.  Obviously, it was an inauspicious start to Trump’s reelection campaign which had hoped to reinvigorate itself after months of bitter controversies (most notably impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic, and the racial injustice protests) had severely damaged his standing with the American people.

We’re also seeing a Republican Party mired in a quandary.  They reluctantly chose to jump aboard the Trump train and rode it to a surprising victory in 2016, but now it is speeding uncontrollably towards a steep electoral cliff.  For many conservatives not holding public office, the defections away from Trump may have begun as a trickle, but now it is more like a steady stream.  Moderates have largely abandoned him, women and suburbanites are swinging towards Democrats, while even the traditional support of senior citizens and working class whites is wavering.  For Senate Republicans seeking reelection this year, the mood is grim.  They can’t directly oppose Trump because that would doom their chances in November, but they are trying to distance themselves as delicately as possible.  Here are two illustrative examples:

  • Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is both a staunch conservative and right-wing war-hawk (he tried to start a war with Iran early this year), has committed the unthinkable sin of declaring that he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden as president.
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee and is facing a difficult reelection battle, unexpectedly announced that he will advance a presidential nominee to replace the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (who was fired by Trump on Saturday) only if the two Democratic senators from New York approve.

Here is our first 2020 electoral map snapshot which shows how precarious Trump’s reelection looks right now.  I’ve simplified the Electoral College projections by weighing the quality and consistency of state polls, by incorporating voter turnout/registration trends and the effectiveness of voter suppression efforts (by Republicans), by moving some states which currently look competitive but which historically favor one party over the other (e.g. Georgia and Texas) to their traditional color, and by deciding two states which split their electoral votes (i.e. Maine and Nebraska) to their dominant political party.  Consequently, I’ve identified only four truly swing states (Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida).  This doesn’t mean that the 46 other states couldn’t go the other way, and it wouldn’t be shocking if Wisconsin voted for Trump or if Georgia voted for Biden;  but, the analysis indicates that such anomalies are unlikely.  The really bad news for Trump is that he can’t win the election even if he wins all four of these swing states.  Furthermore, the scale of his defeat will approach the 2012 or 2008 results if Biden wins any of those swing states.

Today’s news:

From:  Trump ‘furious’ about low Tulsa turnout

President Donald Trump is “furious” about low turnout at his Tulsa rally, a noose was found in [black stock car racer] Bubba Wallace’s NASCAR garage and Democrats want to hear from the ousted U.S. attorney in New York.

From:  More than 100 former Manhattan prosecutors condemn Berman firing

More than 100 former Manhattan prosecutors condemned the firing of former Southern District of New York (SDNY) U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in a Sunday letter.

At least 135 former U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys signed an open letter saying they “deplore” President Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s firing of Berman “without cause,” according to a letter obtained by Corporate Crime Reporter.

“The actions of the President and the Attorney General are an attack on the concept that investigations should be conducted in a nonpartisan manner,” the former prosecutors said. “They are politicizing an office that for more than 200 years has remained apolitical, and are undermining confidence in our criminal justice system.”

“We call on our elected officials – Republicans and Democrats alike – to take all appropriate action to protect the administration of justice in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere from this kind of political interference,” the letter continued.

From:  John Bolton exclusive interview: Trump does not represent the Republican cause that I want to back

As a lifelong Republican who has held high office in the Reagan and both Bush administrations, John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is not someone who normally considers voting Democrat.

Yet, such is the strength of the 71-year-old Washington veteran’s disaffection with Mr Trump’s presidency, that this is precisely how he intends to cast his vote in November’s U.S. presidential election. Rather than voting for the president he served for 17 months as National Security Advisor until his resignation last year, Mr Bolton says he intends to vote for Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate.

“In 2016 I voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Now, having seen this president up close, I cannot do this again. My concern is for the country, and he does not represent the Republican cause that I want to back.”

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Telegraph prior to publication of his scathing book on the Trump presidency, The Room Where It Happened, Mr Bolton insisted that, by casting his vote for Mr Biden, he was not betraying his Republican roots because he did not believe that Mr Trump represented the party’s cause.

“The president does not have a philosophical grounding or strategy,” he explained.  “He does not know the difference between the national interest of the U.S., and the interests of Donald Trump. There is confusion over the national interest and his personal interest, which is very dangerous for the country.”

From:  Trump: Niece’s tell-all book would violate ‘very powerful’ NDA

President Trump said his niece signed a “very powerful” nondisclosure agreement that would legally block her from publishing a tell-all family memoir set to go on sale later this month.

He told Axios on Friday that Mary Trump is “not allowed” to write her book, which is expected to reveal she is the source of confidential documents disclosed in a blockbuster New York Times investigation into the family’s “legally dubious” tax schemes in the 1990s.

The Daily Beast, which first reported the NDA, said Mary Trump signed it following a 2001 settlement following litigation dissipating the estate of Fred Trump, the president’s late father. The report also said the president is considering legal action.


WHO Announces Biggest Single Day Rise in COVID-19 Cases Globally

US coronavirus: nearly half of states are reporting a rise in new coronavirus cases

Life Care fired staffer who revealed nursing home nightmare to Reuters

Supreme Court rules SEC may seize profits from fraudulent companies

Supreme Court declines to hear case challenging Trump steel tariffs

5 thoughts on “Monday Briefing: Today’s news review plus our first 2020 election map snapshot

  1. Trump can’t be too happy with Little Bo Grahm saying what he did about Trump’s pick to replace the SDNY Attorney General. Trump will obviously want a total patsy in that position. Let’s see if Grahm is true to his word.

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