NDN Blog

Analysis: Biden Taking Control of the Race, Trump Goes On A Crime Spree

Biden Taking Control of the Race, Trump Goes On A Crime Spree

Every Thursday NDN publishes its Thursday Poll Roundup, a deep dive into recent polling and political trends. You can sign up to receive it each week and feel free to review previous editions too.

Top Line- So the post-Convention polls have started rolling out and most of them are finding Joe Biden ahead of Trump by 7-9 points.  The 538 average has the race at Biden 50.2% Trump 42.9%, plus 7.3 for Biden.  But what matters most is that in the two sets of polls from battleground states (Morning ConsultFox News) Biden is at 49 or above in every state polled except Ohio and Texas.  Why does that matter? For it means that if the Biden-Harris ticket picks up a single percentage point nationally and in these states – just a single point - he will at 50+1 in AZ, FL, GA, MI, MN, NC, PA, WI and will then be not just ahead, but winning the election.   

The Fox News state polls have to be particularly rough for Trump this morning, as they find the President far behind even after his 4 day Convention in 3 critical states which in most scenarios are must wins for him: 

AZ  Biden 49% Trump 40%

NC Biden 50% Trump 46%

WI Biden 50% Trump 42%

A reminder that, historically, most late undecided voters break for the challenger, against the incumbent.  They’ve looked at the incumbent, know the incumbent, and just don’t want to go there. It’s what’s happening with Trump now, who seems stuck at 42-43% nationally.  While we think it’s possible he claws up to 45-46% it just clear how much vote is left for him out there above where’s he sitting today.  He only got to 46% in 2016 even with the help of Russia/Comey/Stein (which was in our view was 2-3 pts); the GOP received 44.8% in the 2018 midterms; and Trump has only seen his approval rating top 46% for a few days of his Presidency.  For the past 4 years, including the 2016 election, the President has bounced around in the low 40s, only hitting 45-46% for a few days and never getting above 46% in any head to head with either Clinton or Biden.  Just really hard to see how 45-46% isn’t his ceiling this year  - and that just isn’t going to be enough for him to make the race competitive.  

If must win states like AZ and WI really are starting to track the national spread it means that Trump may actually after to win the popular vote to win the electoral college this time something that just seems out of reach for him. 

Finally, Democrats are going to be very loud down the stretch, far louder than in 2016.  Not only are Democratic candidates raising historic levels of money up and down the ticket, Democrats have all the candidates who won in 2018 for Governor, Congress etc running for re-election or aiding the Biden campaign.  The success of Mark Kelly in Arizona, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, Cal Cunningham and Roy Cooper in North Carolina, or Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Tony Evers in Wisconsin all gives even greater permission for late breaking undecideds to vote Democrat this time.  Cannot understand the impact of all these new great candidates and elected who were not there in 2016 – it makes the collective voice of the Democratic Party far louder, and compelling.  All of this – the money, the talent, a competent Biden campaign, the power of Kamala Harris – will make the Democratic Party’s close far more formidable than 2016. That too should be worrying Donald Trump this morning. 

The President’s Focus on The Unrest Isn’t Working– There just isn’t a lot of evidence that the President’s months long focus on blaming Joe Biden for the unrest we are seeing is working, or is working sufficiently to change the trajectory of the race.   My favorite data point on this is from yesterday’s Navigator daily track which found that only 10% of Democrats and independents thought “violent crime” was among the most important issues facing the country, far far behind things like defeating COVID and the economy which were both way up over 50%.  That track also found Trump’s approval on “the protests” at 41%-54% - again, a bad sign.  A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found 47% of voters trust Biden to handle public safety issues, compared to just 39% for Trump

The Biden campaign clearly recognized that if they didn’t engage the President could make all this into an issue, so they did what a competent campaign does – they engaged. The VP gave a good speech, is heading to Kenosha today and has launched a major ad buy with the VP talking directly to voters about all this.  At the end of the day the VP will end up winning this debate with the President for the President’s position is extreme – ignore police brutality, encourage kids to go illegally acquire guns and kill people? – and the VP’s position, as he spelled it out this week, is common sense, an approach which works and which can garner broad support.  Whatever opening was there for the President will not be there much longer as he once again – like every other issue this year – descends into extremism, Hannityism, and loses any chance of improving his standing and gaining votes.  

All the President’s Cheating– What should worry and outrage everyone is the scale of the President’s cheating right now.  We’ve been writing about this a great deal in recent weeks (here,here,here) for the President won only through cheating in 2016; attempted to cheat in 2019 with the crazy Ukraine scandal and was caught and Impeached; and is now on what we’ve been calling a crime spree.  It really is incredible what’s happening now – the sabotage of the USPS, the wrecking of the Census, the illegal use of the federal government to aid his re-election (many many examples), the fake Kayne campaign, the relentless attack on the legitimacy of mail voting and the election itself (designed to suppress vote, law ground work for an illicit challenge), the increasing use of manipulated media, and perhaps most pernicious of all the clearing the path for Putin to return and once again help his friend in his election.  

Yes Biden-Harris need to stay focused on COVID, the economy, health care, healing the nation – all that. But Trump cheated his way to victory in 2016 and is attempting to do it again. We all should be doing more to stop him. It’s a rancid betrayal of our democracy with no analog in US history. It’s Watergate x100.  Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised given his history and the history of the post Reagan GOP (FL 2000, a decade of illegal redistricting and voter suppression, government shutdowns, Merrick Garland, the suppression of witnesses and evidence at the Senate Impeachment “trial”) but the cheating we are seeing is not something that is compatible with a democracy, and needs to be more aggressively challenged in the days ahead.  

In Salon Interview, Simon Talks About The Future of the Dems, Trump's Illiberalism

To mark this week’s Democratic Convention, we send along a newly published interview of Simon by Chauncey DeVega of Salon, the on-line magazine.  It covers a lot of ground, and includes an extended section about the how the Democratic Party has been, through a period of repeated modernization and innovation, the most successful center-left political party in the developed world, and has been for some time.  These are the themes we hit in our signature presentation, “With Democrats Things Get Better,” which will be shown again next Wednesday.  Try to sit in if you can. 

The interview also does a deep dive on a subject NDN has invested a great deal of energy in over the past four years – countering the rise of illiberal politics, here in the US and abroad.  With the Senate releasing clear, incontrovertible evidence of the President’s partnering with Russia to cheat his way to victory in 2016, we need to make sure we are not now – on the postal service, on his use of the White House for partisan reasons, his corrupting of the IG system and DOJ itself, the Kayne absurdity, on Russia’s return – looking the other way; but rather as we’ve been arguing on the President’s recent sabotage of the postal servicefighting him with everything we have.  It is what our democracy, and all democracies deserve – a vigorous defense, a plan for victory. 

While here, feel free to check out our regular series of pieces looking at the 2020 election including significant deep dives on recent national and state polling; our months long advocacy for the need for a national strategy to defeat COVID; Rob Shapiro’s new Washington Monthly essay on how the GOP is flirting once again with ushering in an all-out depression; Simon’s extensive commentary in Ron Brownstein’s New Atlantic piece on Trump’s weaponization of the USPS and Census, “Just How Far Will Trump Go?” and Mike Tomasky’s rave review of our new presentation, “With Democrats Things Get Better” in the Daily Beast. 

Other work you may have find of interest: 

Congress, States, Cities Must Rise Up, Fight for the USPS – 8/13/20 - NDN is encouraging elected officials from across the country to rise up and help end the President's sabotage of the postal service. 

Taking Trump’s Ongoing Assault On Our Democracy Seriously - 8/10/20 - The President is on a political crime spree - breaking laws, cheating in the election, encouraging Russia to intervene on his behalf - again.   We cannot let him get away with it - again.

Returning to School Is Going To Be Very Hard – 8/3/20 - Just like the President has left the nation to fend for itself in fighting COVID, he is leaving all of us, and our children, to go it alone on returning to school.  It is "tragic and grotesque." 

Analysis: Another Week of Ghastly Polls for the GOP, Loud Dems, Trump’s Illiberalism -  7/25/20 - Our weekly look at 2020 polling finds more brutal poll numbers for the GOP, Dems building a 2020 juggernaut and mystification and worry about Trump's emerging strategy for staying in power.

Analysis: Should Dems Go For It? - 7/9/20 - The Biden campaign faces a big strategy choice in the coming days - how manystates to play in? How big should the battlefield be? Argument for going big is very compelling right now. 

The Coming Reckoning With Russia - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/29/20- Someday, soon, America will have to look at and make sense of Russia’s years of attacks on our interests, its penetration of our political system, its brazen manipulation of our President.  It will be a very ugly but necessary process.

Congress, States, Cities Must Rise Up, Fight for the USPS

Congress, States, Cities Must Rise Up, Fight for the USPS

It’s our hope that in the coming days there is a national uprising against the President’s purposeful sabotaging of one of America’s most important institutions, one created by the Constitution itself, the United States Postal Service. 

NDN is encouraging every government jurisdiction in the nation to begin a formal process to challenge what the President is doing – hold hearings, demand/subpoena Postmaster General DeJoy to testify, investigate and sue/prosecute if necessary.  This has to be an all-out, universal push back from every corner of the country. 

Why? Because by holding back monies and taking other steps to undermine the USPS, the President is harming people in every town, city, and state in the country.  He’s making it harder for businesses of every size to operate, thus slowing the economic recovery; he’s making it harder for people to receive their life saving medicines, and people will surely die in every state from unnecessary delays; every election in the country for every single office, not just the Presidency, will be degraded, and potentially millions of Americans could see their votes invalidated.  

In a time of social distancing and a raging pandemic, we are all relying more on the mail and package delivery to keep us safe.  Frankly, there is something depraved and even sadistic about the furious disabling of the postal service we are seeing right now.  

There is time for the President and Congress to come together behind a deal to give the postal service the resources it needs to help the American people successfully navigate the pandemic.  In these challenging times, the postal service should be getting all the resources it needs; the longer term questions about its role can wait until a time when Americans can leave their homes safely again.  States and localities should be putting as much pressure on Washington as possible to force a deal in the next few weeks.  

Those working to ensure the integrity of the postal service will be able to use the President’s statements from the last few days against him. This came this morning -  “Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. He added: “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped.” 

And the Washington Post reported on his remarks yesterday in the White House this way:

….President Trump says the U.S. Postal Service is incapable of facilitating mail-in voting because it cannot access the emergency funding he is blocking, and made clear that requests for additional aid were nonstarters in coronavirus relief negotiations.

Trump, who has been railing against mail-in balloting for months, said the cash-strapped agency’s enlarged role in the November election would perpetuate “one of the greatest frauds in history.” Speaking Wednesday at his daily pandemic news briefing, Trump said he would not approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service, or $3.5 billion in supplemental funding for election resources, citing prohibitively high costs.

“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess,” Trump said. “Are they going to do it even if they don’t have the money?”

……The final reason we must rise up in the days ahead is that we also must begin a formal process of pushing back on the rampant and unprecedented election cheating and dirty tricks we are seeing from the President and his allies now.  If we don’t push back, forcefully, the President will keep escalating, and the possibility of the US having a free and fair election this fall will be ever more in doubt.  We can’t let that happen.  

Let’s get to work people. 

Wednesdays at NDN - A Weekly Deep Dive on the 2020 Election

A quick note to invite you, your friends and colleagues to the 2020 election series we are calling “Wednesdays at NDN.”  Each Wednesday at 2 pm ET we conduct a live session looking at the election, rotating each week between two different presentations.  Just bookmark that time and try to make as many of these as you can. 

Wednesdays at NDN rotate between two presentations:

The 2020 Poll Roundup – A live look at recent national polling, this Wednesday presentation dives into the most current data the way political analysts do.  Along the way you will not only get up to speed on all this important election, but you will learn how to analyze public opinion data the way the pros do.   The presentation is live over Zoom, takes about 25 minutes and we will leave 30 minutes for discussion.  Our next Poll Roundups are on October 21st and October 28th.  Feel free to invite friends and colleagues - all are welcome. 

With Democrats Things Get Better – This is our signature 2020 presentation, and a deep dive into the performance of the two political parties over the past generation of American politics.  This too is about a 25 minute presentation, with 30 minutes of discussion which follows.  You can learn more about this presentation and the broader project behind it here and read Mike Tomasky’s glowing review of “With Dems” in the Daily Beast.

Due to interest in current polling we are suspending our regular presentations of "With Dems" until after the election. 

We hope to see you at a future event, and feel free to invite others.  The more the merrier for Wednesdays at NDN!

Taking Trump’s Ongoing Assault On Our Democracy Seriously

Taking Trump’s Ongoing Assault On Our Democracy Seriously

In an NBC News column a while back, Glenn Kirschner, MSNBC legal analyst and former prosecutor, made a really compelling point – the current DOJ policy preventing the indictment of a sitting President, whether just or not, should not apply to crimes against our democracy, or cheating to win an election.  “If a president can act unlawfully to influence an election,” Kirschner wrote, “he does not deserve the protections of his ill-gotten office. This incongruity encourages lawlessness in the quest for the presidency and then rewards that lawlessness by inoculating the criminal president against prosecution. Such a construct is dangerous.”

In my conversations with Kirschner we discussed how this absurd formulation has created a massive incentive for American Presidential candidates to cheat and cheat big – for the candidate who doesn’t cheat, loses; or if you cheat just a little bit you lose and can be indicted.  The candidate who cheats in a big way and wins escapes prosecution.  We are in such a horrific situation right now with President Trump.  Trump is struggling to win a traditional free and fair election and has begun cheating/law breaking/ignoring the Constitution at a level never seen before in an American election (this thread details all the ways Trump is cheating now – it’s an exhausting list).  

And Trump does all this knowing that if he wins AG Barr will be there to ensure he isn’t indicted, and if staff broke laws getting him elected – even working directly with Russian intelligence assets – he can pardon them (as he did Roger Stone example).  As Kirschner predicted, there is no reason once you start cheating to do it at the margins of an election – you just have to go for it.  For if you cheat and lose, you and your team can be indicted.  Immunity only comes from winning or staying in power illicitly.  

That Trump is a cheater/law breaker/criminal is well established.  Despite all the cover the AG has given him, the President is under criminal investigation in NY for tax and insurance fraud.  A trial involving rape allegations against the President is moving forward.  Michael Cohen went to jail for their plan to repeatedly break election law in 2016, and the Trump family foundation’s law breaking (including 2016 election law) was so extreme the foundation was dissolved by the state of New York.  We know the President accept and encouraged illicit help in 2016, and even built and designed campaign strategy around information Russian assets provided to the campaign in advance.  And then there is whatever drove Comey to make his dramatic intervention ten days out in 2016 – a move which gave a losing Trump campaign an ill-gotten victory.  Trump was Impeached in 2019 over a truly brazen and months- long effort involving senior leaders of his government to cheat in the current election – a lawless move which was given sanction by the Attorney General and the Senate Republicans.  

The political crime spree the President is on right now has no precedent in American history.  He is breaking/damaging ancient foundations of our democracy – the Postal Service, the Census, Separation of Powers, our Election itself.  He’s using the vast powers of the US government to illegally aid his re-election every day, every day – it’s the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign spending paid by you, me and other American taxpayers.  The absurd, fake Kayne campaign. Russia has returned, and this time the collusion is out in the open, overt; and this time, the government is providing intentional cover for Russia’s intervention, laundering it to make it legitimate.  The President asked China for electoral help, his Ambassador to Brazil asked the Brazilian government for electoral help too.   He’s invented a domestic terror threat which doesn’t exist.  He’s using authoritarian means to stifle domestic dissent, and is threatening an all-out war by the United States government itself against “The Radical Left” (whatever that is).  His Presidency has become an orgy of illiberalism – and as we see in the crack downs in Hong Kong and Belarus, we cannot look the other way, pretend this isn’t happening here.  Trump has shown too much admiration and kinship with authoritarian oppressors throughout the world for us to believe it cannot happen here.  Of course it can.  

In 2016 the media and political elites were slow to recognize the illicit activity which helped give Trump an ill-gotten win.  We naively “waited for Mueller.”  The Republican burying of Trump’s Impeachment – essentially not even allowing a Constitutionally required trial – was for us here at NDN a “Crossing the Rubicon” moment, a moment when the US was no longer really a functioning democracy as we have been taught to understand them.   And so here we are, the place Rep. Adam Schiff and my friend Glenn Kirscher predicted we would be – the President has launched enormous effort to stay in power using all means necessary.  He’s in the process of denying America a free and free election.  He is cheating and breaking American election law at a truly massive scale, right now, every day, in front of our eyes.  His partner, Putin, has returned, and is aiding his re-election again.  There simply is no reason to believe he is going to leave office without a fight.  

Yes I know there are big issues in front of our campaigns now – COVID, our recession/depression, return to school, health care, climate, fighting systemic racism.  But we all must find time in this challenging time to talk about what our President is doing to our democracy itself.  It is a betrayal of country without peer or precedent.  We simply have to do everything we can to make it harder for him to cheat, or stay in power illicitly. We have to prepare the American people for the struggle ahead, and we have to fight – using the Congress, state legislatures and Governors, Attorney Generals and city prosecutors.  The director of the USPS should be in front of Congress explaining himself TOMORROW not in mid-September.  If state and local laws are being violated by Trump prosecutions should happen.  State AGs can subpoena the USPS, WH COS Meadows, others in the WH and ask them to explain in public what they are doing.  Our electeds in the states should hold hearings and events educating the public about how to vote, and the threats we see.  There has to be an enormous national effort to not just defeat Trump in a traditional election but to defend our democracy from his ongoing assault.  But that starts with not looking the other way, pretending there are more important issues to talk about – we can wage both a traditional campaign, and a campaign to preserve our democracy.  We have no choice really.  We can and must do both now. 

We know from history how dangerous this moment is – fellow patriots, let us commit to rise to this moment, together, and do everything we can to defeat this extraordinary threat to everything that has made America great, and an inspiration for free people throughout the world for centuries.  

Returning to School Is Going To Be Very Hard

Just think about what is going to be attempted in the next few weeks.  Some very large number of young Americans – 75m or so - will try to go back to school.  Kids will ride school buses and use other public transportation; they will be, play and eat together again; they will be required to social distance and mask, all day; many will have no access to daily exercise.  Millions of college age kids will travel to their schools via driving long distances, (staying where?), flying, while needing also to somehow transport their stuff.  Some significant percentage will have to quarantine for some time, being restricted to their dorm rooms.   

For those schools which are going virtual we know that virtual school doesn’t really work; that kids can’t sit front of a computer all day, and stay engaged; they miss their friends and are unhappy, depressed; that a large percentage of kids don’t have access to the Internet at home and can’t go to school at all, or have two parents who work out of the home, and many millions may be about to take a huge reduction in their temporary government benefits.  

Behind all of this is the fear that all parents have about either sending kids into the a place where the likelihood of them getting sick, and eventually spreading it to the rest of the family, skyrockets; or the fear of keeping kids at home, taking them away from friends, and attending to them all day, regardless of their age.  

Going back to school should have rightly been seen as an extraordinary national undertaking.  Our government should have been there helping families and communities grapple with a series of terrible choices; it should waged a national effort to defeat the virus this summer so return to school could have been easier; the President and his team should have been conducting discussions with governors and mayors on how to grapple with a DDay like mobilization.  Instead, our government has screamed at all of us to go back five days a week even though the virus is raging and killing across most of the country;  has LIED repeatedly about the threat the virus poses to young people and their families; has watered down CDC school guidance when it didn’t fit their ridiculous vision; has repeatedly undermined a societal wide embrace of masking and social distancing, basic tools we need to re-open; has more focused on golf outings and gassing two hundred protestors in Portland than making all this happen safely.  

As the author Anne Applebaum wrote today America’s attempt to return to school is “both tragic and grotesque.”  I wake this morning with a sense of impending doom.  As in almost every other moment in the COVID crisis we think it can’t really be this bad, this stupid; that somehow, it is just going to get better, or “disappear” as the President repeatedly says.  And it has been that magical thinking, that dangerously delusional thinking – that it was all going to just go away – which has prevented America from at any point in the COVID crisis from doing the right thing, preparing properly for the storm which continues to kill and cause so much harm.   

The President knew about COVID in early January of this year, perhaps as early as November.  We had a lot of time to prepare, like knowing a hurricane was coming a week out.  We could have sensitized the country to the difficult choices we had to make – lock downs, testing and tracing, what to do with the kids, social distancing/masking.  Nursing homes could have started taking precautions.  Testing centers could have been established.  All of those conversations, all of these things could have begun in January.  We could have locked down in February and been opened by April, May.  We could have come together as one country and worked together - as neighbors, parents, colleagues, friends, family – to have defeated the virus, together.  Instead we have this.  A public health catastrophe.  An economic catastrophe.  A human catastrophe.  A governing catastrophe.  A weakened nation, further divided, poorer, more in debt, less capable of looking out for itself.  It is both tragic and grotesque; and the President’s party will need to be held to account for what they’ve done to this once great country for a very long time.  

To the parents, teachers, school administrators, young adults, students, student-athletes, staff out there NDN wishes you the best this fall.  What is about to happen will be indescribably difficult.  As Americans we will give it our best, try to make it all work as best we can, adjust, recalibrate and keep fighting for our kids who deserve so much better.  One could only wish that the most powerful man in the country was right there fighting along with us. 

PS - "This is highly infections, and MLB didn't do what NBA did to put in place a really strict bubble.  It is a warning of what could potentially happen if we aren't very careful with the schools." Dr. Scott Gottlieb, CNBC, 8/3/20. 

PS2 - “The problem is the White House and the task force could never organize themselves to lead a federal response and bring virus transmission down to containment levels,” said Hotez, who has argued for the necessity of a federal containment plan that, if executed effectively, might allow the nation to reopen comprehensively as soon as October. “Instead they took a lazy and careless route, claiming schools are important, as we all know, and the teachers and principals need to figure it out. What they did was deliberately set up the teachers, staff, and parents to fail. It’s one of the most careless, incompetent, and heartless actions I’ve ever seen promoted by the executive branch of the federal government.”  From The Atlantic, 8/2/20.

Today 2pm ET - 2020 Poll Roundup!!!!!!!!!!

Wed, July 29th, 2 pm ET NDN 2020 Poll Roundup – Reserve your spot in the best poll review in DC!  Every few weeks Simon takes us through the latest national and state polls, and shows us how analysts come to their conclusions about elections. The data is fresh each time, so come back every two weeks to get caught up on what is a promising election cycle for Democrats. 

Register here today, and if nerding out on polls is your thing be sure to sign up for our weekly 2020 poll newsletter here.

Today: 230pm ET - Nina Jankowicz On Information Warfare

NDN is excited to be able to bring you one of our "talks" with Nina Jankowicz, author of the new acclaimed book, "How to the Lose The Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict." NDN is a big fan of Nina's work, and is really looking forward to this event. 

You can sign up for the event here, and buy her book on Amazon here

Analysis: More Ghastly GOP Poll Numbers, Loud Dems, Trump's Strategy

Analysis: Another Week of Ghastly Polls for the GOP, Loud Dems, Trump’s Illiberalism

Our weekly poll roundup took a break last week for there just wasn’t a lot of news – everything was still terrible, worst case scenario bad for Trump and the GOP.  There wasn’t much to add to that story.  This week, same thing but couldn’t let two weeks pass.  So, let’s go to the polls!  

New Fox New polling had Biden up 13 in MN, 11 in MI, 9 in PA.  Quinnipiac had Biden up 13 (!!!!!!) in Florida and 1 in Texas.  2 national polls had Biden up more than 10 yesterday, Gallup found Party ID going from 47D/44R to 50D/38R last month, and there is a growing body of evidence Trump’s numbers on the economy have begun to head south – an ominous development for the GOP.  Democrats continued to put up very strong numbers in the key Senate races, and the DCCC reported 50% more cash on hand than the NRCC heading into the home stretch.  

Some notes on what we are seeing: 

What is Trump’s Strategy? As people who have been in politics a long time, it’s just impossible to explain what Trump and his campaign are doing now.  When you are down like he is, you need to associate yourself with issues which bring you more voters.  But again and again – on masking, the schools, refusal to fight COVID, letting the stimulus lapse, obeying Putin, challenging the protestors/defending rogue policing – the President embraces an extreme position, ones which often poll in the mid 30s.  Not one time in recent months has he chosen the popular thing, something that would allow him to work together with Democrats, and get his numbers up.  Instead this strategy of embracing extreme positions – send all kids back to school regardless of COVID! – has driven him to some of the worst numbers of his entire Presidency, and some of the worst an incumbent President has ever seen.  It’s a baffling re-election strategy.  

This lack of interest, or effort, in raising his standing concerns us.  It’s as if he has given up maintaining power through the election itself, and begun to lean into a series of truly extraordinary illiberal acts as his means for maintaining power – weakening the Postal Service, partnering again with the Russians to smear his Democratic opponent, delegitimizing the election, throwing Michael Cohen in jail/pardoning Roger Stone and perhaps most importantly, his fascistic mobilization against his domestic enemies, “the Radical Left.” 

As we’ve written, we worry that the speeches the President gave on July 3rd and 4th were an open admission that he was now going to attack “the left” not just through ads and a campaign, but with the United States government itself.  How else can you read this passage: “American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles, and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the Earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters”?

And as we’ve seen in Portland in recent days, that process of using the government itself to attack his domestic opponents appears to have begun.  Everyone has to have eyes wide open here.  

The Democrats Are Going To Be Very Loud In the Home Stretch – Another thing which will make a GOP recovery this year far more difficult is what’s happened below the Presidential level these last two cycles.  As we enter this final push Democrats are going a new, extraordinary array of capable, well-funded candidates and newly elected statewide elected officials augmenting Biden’s campaign message – Senate races in battlegrounds with unprecedented amounts of money, inspiring House freshman running full out from their re-elections and incumbent Dem governors in MI, NC, PA, WI.  Despite not having the White House, the Democrats will have the money, the talent, the argument and superior campaigns to potentially control the dialogue in the final weeks, or at the very least, make it far harder for Republicans mount a serious counter in the closing days.  A good example is Arizona.  What does Mark Kelley spending $60m and leading by 7 in the Senate race mean for Joe Biden there? A whole heckuva lot.   

Another thing to watch for which may matter in this closing dynamic is whether Trump/GOP money begins drying up.  My guess is that it will, which could create an even more powerful vicious cycle for Trump and his party – to raise grassroots money in the end they have to embrace ever greater extremism, that extremism drives their poll numbers down even further, and so on……That stories appeared this week raising questions about the Trump family’s mismanagement of the campaign’s fundraising could be a sign that money is indeed beginning to dry up.  

The President's Illiberal Escalation in Portland Needs to End

Over the past few weeks, NDN has been raising the alarm (herehere and here) that the Trump Presidency had taken a dark turn, and that the likelihood of some kind of domestic crackdown or illiberal assault on the President’s perceived enemies was growing.

In his July 4th speech from the White House the President told us that he believed he and the US government were engaged in a war against a new enemy, a domestic enemy: "American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing."

In the past few days, we’ve gotten a taste of the kinds of things the President may be contemplating as part of his war against the “Radical Left.” We’ve learned there are unmarked federal troops grabbing Americans off the streets in Portland, Oregon, and taking them away in unmarked vans. The troops are snatching people off the streets of Portland, not just on federal property, and no one has any idea what is happening to the people who’ve been detained. None of these activities are being coordinated with local law enforcement, the city of Portland, the state of Oregon; and DHS has refused to explain what is happening to the public or the media.

Leaders of both parties, in Washington and the states, have to rise up with one voice today and demand the Administration end these lawless actions in Portland, and withdraw these troops and any others which have been “pre-deployed” to other cities in recent days. We also must demand that the President turn the attention of his government from these ridiculous and dangerous provocations to the main task at hand – defeating COVID19. The battle the President should be fighting and winning is against COVID, not a Putinesque one against his fellow Americans. 

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