By Robert A. Vella
As I’ve detailed several times on this blog, Donald Trump‘s reelection strategy – which the GOP has reluctantly accepted – is based on the understanding that he is a historically unpopular president, that anti-Trump sentiment is running very high across the country, that the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic consequences have severely damaged his political standing, and that the only way for him to win is to: 1) demonize his opponents (i.e. Joe Biden and Democrats) via disinformation campaigns, 2) use fear-mongering and race-baiting to recapture support among white voters, 3) attempt to suppress voter turnout through various means especially in key swing-states, and 4) abuse the power of the presidency to effectuate these goals while eliciting and concealing help from hostile foreign interests (e.g. Vladimir Putin’s Russia).
It is a strategy which reflects Trump’s callous disregard for the will and well-being of the American people, his utter contempt for democracy and the rule of law, his pathological embrace of authoritarianism and narcissistic self-interest, and his amoral or immoral willingness to literally do anything to remain in the White House. Had Trump been able to keep this strategy hidden from the public, it might’ve succeeded; but, he wasn’t able to. His strategy was transparent from the start, and Americans – including his own supporters – can easily see it.
Today, we’ll cover this story in-depth from several different angles plus some court rulings. As I write, Trump is heading to strife-torn Kenosha, Wisconsin while his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House subcommittee on the federal government’s failed COVID-19 response, corruption of the massive financial aid enacted earlier this year, and Republican reluctance to renew expired assistance provisions such as unemployment benefits and small business loans (see: Mnuchin testifies after House report finds “high risk” of fraud or abuse with thousands of PPP loans).
Election interference coverup
The US attorney general, William Barr, has reportedly removed the head of a section of the justice department entrusted with ensuring the legality of federal counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities.
The removal of deputy assistant attorney general Brad Wiegmann, first reported by ABC News, has not been explained, but it comes amid rising Democratic concerns that Barr and his justice department will seek to influence the conduct of the November elections in Donald Trump’s favour.
It comes less than three days after the director of national intelligence, another Trump loyalist, John Ratcliffe, told Congress his office would no longer provide legislators with verbal briefings on election security, only a written report without the opportunity to follow up with questions.
On its face, the assumption that moderates and independents might flock to Trump feels consistent with what we learned about white voters and racial resentment in 2016. And the race is tightening up in nearby Minnesota, fueled by demographic tensions between the cities and their outstate counterparts and rising cultural tensions in the wake of the George Floyd protests. But in Wisconsin, the prediction that those put off by the protests will embrace Trump hasn’t yet been supported by the polling or in conversations with pollsters and operatives here.
It’s true that support for Black Lives Matter has fallen in Wisconsin. Often referred to as the “gold standard” in Wisconsin polling, the Marquette University Law School Poll found in late June that 59 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin had a positive view of Black Lives Matter, while 27 percent had a negative one. It also found voters had positive views of the protests by a 61-36 split. Six weeks later, though, the Marquette poll found support for Black Lives Matter had dropped to 49-37 and 48-48 for the protests.
But that shift doesn’t necessarily mean voters are embracing Trump’s calls over the summer for law and order. Not only did the head-to-head matchup with Joe Biden hardly budge, but the president’s handling of the protests continued to be one of his weakest points with Wisconsin voters, even more so than how he’s addressed the Covid-19 pandemic. In June, 30 percent of Wisconsin voters approved Trump’s handling of the protests. In August, 32 percent did—hardly any movement at all.
The state of the 2020 election
Democrats’ historic 2018 midterm gains should put them on the defensive this year, but with the national environment trending their way, they’ve got plenty of offensive opportunities that could help them hold or even expand their House majority in 2020.
In fact, half of the districts on CNN’s inaugural ranking of the top 10 House districts most likely to flip partisan control are GOP-held seats, including the top two. Many share similarities with the kinds of demographically changing and increasingly suburban districts where Republicans saw slippage in 2018. Meanwhile, many of the Democratic freshmen who flipped Trump districts in 2018 enjoy healthy cash advantages over their GOP opponents, while others failed to even attract competitive challengers.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump by 8 points in a new national poll released after the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Biden enjoys 51 percent of support from likely voters, compared to Trump’s 43 percent, according to the Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday.
The findings, gathered after the GOP convention concluded last week, are nearly identical to polling conducted earlier in August after the Democratic event.
The former vice president currently enjoys a 12-point lead among women – 53 percent to Trump’s 41 percent – and an 11-point lead among voters in the suburbs – 52 to 41 percent.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s polling lead over President Donald Trump has remained steady in nearly all battleground states, but he’s pulled further ahead in Arizona and Wisconsin.
Biden is leading Trump in the most recent Morning Consult polls conducted in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — with those numbers remaining largely unchanged despite the recent party conventions. But in Arizona, the former vice president has surged 12 points since early August and now leads Trump by 10 points after trailing him just three weeks ago. And in Wisconsin, where the August 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake sparked racial unrest throughout the state, Biden has also increased his lead.
In each of the above six potential swing states, Biden holds far more support among women and independent voters, but lags among men. However in Arizona, Biden’s 52 to 42 percent lead over Trump includes a 10 point gain in support among male voters. Biden also holds a 7-point lead among suburban Arizona voters and a 15-point lead among Arizona women.
See also: Most Americans plan to vote early: poll