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GreyhoundFan

2020 Presidential Election 2: The Primaries are upon us

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GreyhoundFan

Continued from here:

 

"With primary’s first winnowing at hand, candidates face tough choice: Drop out or continue on ‘fool’s errand’"

Spoiler

After the first two Democratic debates, Rep. Tim Ryan’s audiences grew from two or three people to 20. Former congressman John Delaney noticed an uptick in people approaching him in airports: “They grab my shoulder and say, ‘Hang in there. Your message is what we need to hear.’ ”

But now those low-polling candidates, and at least six others, are facing banishment from the prime-time glow of a national audience. The party’s rules for the next faceoff, on Sept. 12 and 13, will cut off any candidate who can’t score at least 2 percent in four approved polls and attract 130,000 donors.

That means the first real winnowing of this historically large field is at hand. About half the current candidates could be tossed off the debate stage and see their profiles sharply downgraded within days — a change likely to be cheered by many Democratic voters, who often say they find the sprawling field overwhelming.

It also presents those candidates with a tough choice as the Aug. 28 deadline to qualify approaches. Do they gracefully bow out of the presidential race, hoping to preserve goodwill and maybe a chance at higher office? Or do they become “zombie” candidates, staying alive long after the viability of their presidential dreams has ended?

That dilemma is prompting difficult conversations in many campaigns.

“The risk that all of these candidates have is continuing a presidential campaign that looks and feels like a fool’s errand,” said one adviser to a campaign, requesting anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “They are at risk of doing damage to their credibility and their future ambitions.”

Two candidates, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, have already dropped out in recent days.

Some of the candidates are deeply frustrated by the Democratic Party rules forcing them off the debate stage, and they may voice their complaints at a Friday meeting of the Democratic National Committee in San Francisco.

Five men who appeared onstage in July — including the governor of Montana, the senior senator from Colorado and the mayor of New York City — have little hope of making the stage in September. Spiritual author Marianne Williamson is also likely to lose her spot.

Two others, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), still have a narrow chance of making the cut, along with newcomer Tom Steyer, a financier who has spent millions on television ads to juice his poll numbers.

The excluded candidates will have a shot of getting back on the big stage in October if they can meet the qualifications by then. But after that the road gets harder — DNC Chairman Tom Perez has made clear he intends to steadily raise the polling and donor thresholds for future debates.

Ten candidates have qualified for the September and October debates. If more make the grade in coming days, the debates will probably be split over two nights, with the candidates sorted by a random drawing.

Some Democrats fear that if numerous candidates hang on for months despite gaining little traction, it will be harder for the party to unify around a challenger to President Trump.

It would not be the first time presidential hopefuls have been slow to bow out of a primary — see former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in 2012 and former California governor Jerry Brown (D) in 1992. What’s different this time is the sheer number of Democratic candidates — currently 22 — including prominent figures who may be reluctant to exit.

The prospect of missing future debates helped prompt Hickenlooper and Inslee’s exits. Hickenlooper’s campaign began to rupture in June, when the debate rules were announced for September and October and some of his advisers concluded that his failure to qualify would be a prohibitive barrier to continued fundraising, according to people familiar with the discussions.

But for now, the remaining candidates facing demotion are promising to continue their campaigns undaunted. Some have focused their fire on the DNC’s rules, which they say allow those with deep pockets to buy their way onto the stage.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is especially critical of the way the DNC rules let someone such as Steyer, who is estimated to be worth $1.6 billion, spend his money to attract donors and run ads in hopes of driving up his poll numbers.

“The DNC donor requirements created a situation in which billionaires can buy their way onto the debate stage, and campaigns are forced to spend millions on digital ads chasing one dollar donors — not talking directly to voters,” he tweeted on Aug. 13.

The issue is likely to erupt into the open when Democratic Party leaders gather in San Francisco for their summer meeting. Thirteen presidential candidates are scheduled to speak on Friday, including six who have not qualified for the September debate and could use the occasion to air their grievances.

Craig Hughes, a senior adviser to Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), who is almost certain to miss the September cutoff, said the debate rules were “developed in secret without consultation with state party chairs, activists or actual DNC members.”

He added: “A few operatives in Washington went into a backroom to put a thumb on the scale on behalf of perceived front-runners, celebrities and billionaires who can buy their way in. This is completely counterproductive to the interest of Democratic voters.”

Party officials say that they have been fully transparent about the debate rules and that it is reasonable to exclude candidates who cannot hit 2 percent in the polls or show grass-roots support after months of campaigning. Democratic leaders are sensitive to allegations that the 2016 nomination was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton and say they are working hard to avoid an appearance that anyone was prematurely excluded.

The DNC, in its San Francisco meeting, is considering whether to loosen a rule blocking candidates from participating in debates that are not sponsored by the party, a change that could give low-polling candidates more venues.

Some candidates hope the fact that so many of them will be shut out will give rise to a sort of shadow campaign in which the left-out candidates can work together to raise their visibility.

“There is going to be an interesting dynamic,” said Delaney, the former Maryland congressman. “Half are going to be on the debate stage, and half are not. There will be a lot of programming opportunities for the candidates who are not.”

Former congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who did not appear at the first debates and is unlikely to make the next one, has been vigorously campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire nonetheless, in what may be a model for other candidates in the months to come.

Some candidates point out that the first debates did little to significantly change the polls; an initial spike in support for Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) after the first one appears to have faded. They also note that the first votes in Iowa and New Hampshire are still months away and that polls show that many voters have yet to make up their minds.

That means it is premature to keep anyone from the debates, they say. Even so, Ryan (D-Ohio), one of the few centrists in the race, said there is a lot of room to campaign even outside the debate hall.

“You are still going to be working the early states. You are going to be getting local TV in the early states,” he said. “And I think I have a pretty unique voice.’”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio boasted last week of his recent appearances on two major television programs — the “Hannity” show on Fox News and “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central — with a combined audience he estimated at 5 million.

The Internet, too, gives candidates myriad ways to make contact with voters outside the party structure, from Instagram posts to digital ads.

“I think this is a wide-open situation,” de Blasio said. “There are going to be a lot more ways to spread the message.”

Yet already the landscape has been getting tougher for those outside the campaign’s top tier. Campaign advisers say it has been harder in recent weeks to book prime-time cable news spots for campaigns that are not registering in the polls.

In one sign of the shift, CNN has scheduled a town hall on climate change for Sept. 4 — but the network invited only candidates who have qualified for the September debate.

And the polls have become no kinder in recent weeks for those in the bottom of the pack. Gillibrand has committed more than $1 million — about 12 percent of her campaign chest as of the end of July — to television and digital ads in New Hampshire and Iowa in an effort to attract the 130,000 donors and 2 percent in polls that would qualify her for the debate. But Gillibrand has registered 2 percent in only a single poll, in early August in Iowa.

The senator from New York nonetheless remains upbeat about her prospects.

“We just had our first qualifying poll, and I expect to get the rest that I need in the next few weeks,” she said Monday in an appearance at a Washington Post Live event.

Delaney, who has spent two years campaigning with little impact on national or state polls, has hinted that he may begin airing ads after Labor Day in an effort to meet the polling threshold. A wealthy former businessman, Delaney has an outstanding loan to his campaign of about $15 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings. He spent less than $10 million through the end of June.

He suggested that if he misses the September debate, he could still hit his numbers in time for October.

“Not making the third debate but making the fourth isn’t actually a terrible story,” Delaney said. “You paddle to the next bend in the river.”

 

Edited by GreyhoundFan

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GreyhoundFan

I can't stand Walsh, but I'm glad he's doing this. Maybe he will end up running as a third party candidate to siphon votes away from the mango moron: "Former congressman Joe Walsh announces primary challenge against Trump"

Spoiler

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh announced Sunday that he will challenge President Trump in the 2020 primary, becoming the second Republican to wage a bid against the president.

Walsh, a talk-radio host, was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the tea party wave and served one term. He has described himself as an immigration hard-liner and said he would not challenge Trump from the center but from the right and on moral grounds.

“I’m going to run for president,” Walsh said Sunday in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week,” charging that the president is “incompetent,” “a bigot” and “a narcissist.”

Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld also has declared that he is running against Trump in the Republican primary, but he has struggled to gain traction.

In Sunday’s interview, Walsh staked his run on harsh criticism of the president and questioned Trump’s support among Republicans, despite polls showing that the president is popular with the overwhelming majority of GOP voters.

According to a Monmouth University poll released last week, 84 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job performance. His highest recent approval mark among fellow Republicans was 88 percent in a Fox News poll of registered voters earlier this month.

“He’s nuts. He’s erratic. He’s cruel. He stokes bigotry. He’s incompetent. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, George, he’s a narcissist,” Walsh told host George Stephanopoulos.

Walsh also apologized for his past criticism of former president Barack Obama during his time in office, saying he and other tea party Republicans helped create a partisan political environment that facilitated Trump’s election.

“I got personal and I got hateful. I said some ugly things about President Obama that I regret … that helped create Trump, and I feel responsible for that,” he said.

But Walsh has also made inflammatory comments in more recent years, and Stephanopoulos raised some of those remarks in the interview, describing them as “textbook racism and sexism.”

“Obama is a Muslim,” Walsh tweeted in December 2016, adding, “Happy New Year!”

In March 2017, Walsh tweeted that the country held Obama “to a lower standard cuz he was black.” Months later, Walsh made a similar remark about Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), stating, “If you’re black & a woman, you can say dumb things. Lowered bar.”

Stephanopoulos noted Sunday that Walsh “called President Obama a Muslim, an enemy, a traitor. And you often spoke out on racial themes.”

Walsh, who has said he voted for Trump in 2016, responded by claiming that the president’s rise had caused him to reconsider his past remarks.

“Well, again, the beauty of what President Trump has done is, George, he’s made me reflect on some of the things I have said in the past,” he said. “I had strong policy disagreements with Barack Obama, and too often I let those policy disagreements get personal.”

Stephanopoulos pressed him: “Did you really believe he’s a Muslim?”

“God no,” Walsh replied. “And I have apologized for that.”

Walsh also faced a child-support dispute with his ex-wife that ended in a settlement in 2012.

Others who are mulling Republican primary challenges against Trump include Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, and former Ohio governor John Kasich.

Jeff Flake, a former senator from Arizona and a Trump antagonist, also has said he has taken a flurry of recruitment calls from GOP donors rattled by signs of an economic slowdown and hungry for an alternative to Trump.

 

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Waffle Time
smittykins

Every time I see “Joe Walsh,” I have to remind myself that it isn’t the musician(although he did jokingly claim to be running for President around 1980, despite only being in his early 30s at the time).

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GreyhoundFan

One more is out: "Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ends her presidential bid"

Spoiler

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who struggled to gain traction in a crowded field, ended her presidential run Wednesday, indicating a winnowing down of the Democratic contest.

In a two-minute video that is mostly a montage of her time on the campaign trail, Gillibrand said she will focus her resources on helping unite Democrats to beat President Trump.

Gillibrand’s decision comes after news that she’d fallen short of meeting the requirements for the September Democratic primary debate.

The senator, 52, had branded herself as “the best candidate for women,” touting a record fighting for women’s rights, especially on issues of sexual assault, even at the expense of her own party.

But Gillibrand couldn’t break past 1 or 2 percent in national polls and struggled to have a breakout moment like other candidates.

 

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fraurosena

I'm not a real fan of his, but this is inspiring.

 

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Meh
Dandruff
On 8/29/2019 at 5:43 AM, fraurosena said:

I'm not a real fan of his, but this is inspiring.

 

It is inspiring...and I'm a big fan of his.  One of the things that impresses me most is that he's a kind, decent human being and has managed to get and stay where he is in politics without sacrificing those good qualities.

Small rant:  I thought it was completely absurd for the Democratic Party to allow twenty candidates into an initial debate.  If there are too many candidates to be in the same room at the same time, then (IMO) there are too many candidates, period.  The more candidates, the more sniping, and Trump & Co. got to sit back, watch and take notes.  I hope no one forgets what the real goal is.  I believe that candidates who don't stand any real chance on being on this ticket should promptly back out and, in some cases, STFU.

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GreyhoundFan

This is an interesting analysis: "The 2020 electoral map could be the smallest in years. Here’s why."

Spoiler

In a politically divided nation, with attitudes among many voters hardened and resistant to changing, the 2020 general election could be contested on the narrowest electoral terrain in recent memory.

Just four states are likely to determine the outcome in 2020. Each flipped to the Republicans in 2016, but President Trump won each by only a percentage point or less. The four are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. Many analysts point to Wisconsin as the single state upon which the election could turn.

Shifting demographics, the growing urban-rural divide and the gap between white voters with and without college educations have helped to create an electoral map unlike those of the recent past. So too have Trump’s unique profile, messaging and appeal.

“Because of the partisanship of the country and the partisanship of the president, we are now looking at the smallest map in modern political history,” said Jim Messina, who was the campaign manager for former president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Both Trump’s campaign and that of his eventual Democratic challenger will seek to put other states in play. But those opportunities are fewer than in past campaigns.

Trump has done nothing to expand his base while in office, which Democrats claim will make it extremely difficult for him to win states he lost in 2016. Trump campaign officials disagree. Democrats’ aspirations for expansion rest in part on whether politically changing, Republican-held states such as North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona are truly ready to shift.

Current polling nationally and in some of the key states shows the president vulnerable when matched against several of the Democratic presidential candidates — though he overcame weak approval and favorability ratings to win the 2016 election. Based on current attitudes, he will have to do so again to win reelection.

One obvious wild card is the identity of the Democratic nominee and how that shapes the general election debate. Will that nominee be running on a platform that moderate voters see as too far left? Will that nominee be able to energize the party’s woke base and still appeal to white working-class voters?

Regardless of who that person is, the 2020 election will put a focus on several demographic groups in particular.

First, white working-class voters who went strongly for Trump and are an important part of the GOP’s base. Of particular concern for the president will be white women without college degrees.

Second, college-educated suburban voters, especially women, who have moved decisively into the Democrats’ coalition and who powered the party’s gains in 2018 House races.

Third, African Americans, and particularly younger African Americans, whose turnout levels will be critical to Democrats’ fortunes.

Fourth, Hispanic voters, who will play a key role in Florida and some other states, especially in the West.

How strongly each of these groups supports Trump or the Democratic nominee and the numbers by which they turn out to vote are variables that election modelers are analyzing closely and tweaking regularly even at this early stage.

The math of 2020

In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by roughly three million people but won 304 electoral votes and the presidency. Based on current polling, his chances of winning the popular vote are at least as challenging as in 2016, leaving open the question of whether he can again produce an electoral college majority.

The electoral college combinations all begin with Florida and then move to the upper Midwest. One scenario not out of the realm of possibility would produce a 270-268 victory for Trump, but only if he again secures one of Maine’s four electoral votes.

If Trump were to win Florida again, Democrats would need to recapture all three of the northern states — or find substitutes — to win the White House. If Democrats could win Florida, any one of the three in the upper Midwest would give them the White House, unless Trump can put something else in his column.

The three northern states were part of a group of 18 states and the District that had voted for the Democratic nominee in every election between 1992 and 2012, what Democrats believed constituted a “blue wall” of resistance to repeated incursions by Republican nominees.

Trump broke through that wall, threading the narrowest of paths to victory. His combined margin in those three states, however, was just 78,000 votes out of nearly 14 million cast.

Election analyst Ruy Teixeira said the three states were so closely decided that even small changes could shift them to the Democrats, from the demographic changes taking place since the 2016 election to a white voting block that is moving away from Republicans or even to modest increases in turnout in the minority community.

“There are a lot of knobs you could twist and you don’t have to twist them very far to move them into the Democrats’ column,” he said. For Trump, that means there is an “absolute necessity” to maintain and likely to increase his margins among white, non-college voters next year.

While many Democrats are optimistic that the gains in the 2018 midterms foreshadow success in 2020, a report earlier this year by the progressive firm Catalist noted, “It is not safe to assume that Democratic gains from 2016 to 2018 will hold.”

A changing electoral map

In past campaigns, when there were a dozen or more truly competitive battlegrounds, presidential nominees could chart multiple paths to 270 electoral votes and worked to keep as many of those options alive as long as possible.

Over many years, however, growing polarization has created red and blue strongholds, with bigger and bigger and bigger victory margins. In 2016, with a narrow popular vote margin, more than two dozen states were decided by margins of 15 points or more. In 1988, when the popular vote margin was seven points, there were just 17.

The electoral map is never truly static for long. Before the Democrats’ “blue wall” there was the so-called “Republican lock” on the electoral college. Years ago, California, Illinois and New Jersey were presidential battlegrounds. Today all are solidly Democratic. Missouri long was considered a bellwether state. Trump won it by almost 19 points.

One way of looking at how the electoral map has changed in recent years is to gauge which states are most likely to provide the final votes needed to hit the necessary 270. During the two elections won by Obama, Virginia and Colorado were perched at that tipping point. Today, because of Democratic gains among college-educated voters, both have moved significantly toward the Democrats.

One of the most significant changes in the 2020 map is the reduced role Ohio will play in the calculations of the campaigns. Underlying trends have moved Ohio toward the Republicans in statewide races, and Trump’s candidacy provided an extra boost.

Democrats say they will not ignore the state, though how much they invest there is questionable. A Quinnipiac survey in June showed former vice president Joe Biden leading Trump in Ohio by eight points. If the president is trailing in Ohio by that margin in the late fall of 2020, his reelection prospects likely would be doomed.

Iowa is another example of how Trump’s appeal to rural areas and to older, predominantly white voters has changed the electoral map. No state in the country saw as many counties that had voted for Democratic nominees in five or more elections consecutively switch allegiance and support Trump.

Trump won the state by nine points in 2016, and strategists in both parties see it as less competitive than other places. But the president’s tariffs have hit the Midwest farmers hard. If they are feeling pain next year, Trump’s hold on Iowa could be at risk.

The big four states

Florida has been ground zero in presidential politics for two decades. George W. Bush won it by 537 votes in the disputed election of 2000. Obama carried it by a fraction of a percentage point in 2012. Trump won it by slightly more than a percentage point in 2016. In 2018, the gubernatorial and Senate races there were decided by margins of less than half a percentage point.

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With 29 electoral votes at stake, Florida is the biggest competitive prize on the map. Neither Trump nor the Democratic nominee can afford not to invest the maximum there, though at this point, Trump appears to have a slight advantage.

Florida is also the most complex and costliest of the major battlegrounds, and for Trump, it is the most important state in the country. Trump’s team has divided the country into nine political regions. Only Florida constitutes its own region. Its importance was highlighted by the decision to open the president’s reelection campaign with a rally in Orlando.

Both sides know what they need to do in Florida. Compared with some other states, Florida’s electorate is not just narrowly divided but also relatively inelastic. Unlike some other states, where Trump’s candidacy produced different regional margins from past elections, voting patterns in Florida more closely followed those of 2012. Unlike the northern states, Florida was a state where both Trump and Clinton got more votes than Mitt Romney and Obama in 2012. For 2020, the issue will become who comes out to vote.

Of the northern states, Trump won Michigan by the fewest number of votes, just 11,000. Between 2012 and 2016, the Democratic vote badly eroded, with Clinton falling about 300,000 votes short of Obama’s total, including about 75,000 fewer in Wayne County, which is home to Detroit.

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Bitterness lingers among Democrats in Michigan over the 2016 campaign and how it was played by Clinton’s team. The 2018 midterms since have given Democrats some cause for optimism. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recaptured the governor’s mansion and the party picked up two congressional districts.

Democrats made gains among white, working-class voters who had broken to Trump in 2016, but also added votes in areas where Clinton had done better than Obama. Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, said that poses a question about the strategy for 2020.

“Is the better hope of returning some traditional Democrats back into the fold or continuing to make gains among highly educated voters that were more traditionally Republican?” he said.

The Democrats’ formula for success once followed Interstate 75 north from Detroit through Pontiac and Flint to Saginaw. But declining populations have hurt the Democrats.

“With lower populations in Detroit and Flint, that is not enough of a winning coalition,” said Amy Chapman, a veteran Democratic strategist in the state.

Macomb County, birthplace of the Reagan Democrats, still draws attention but is not as important to Democrats as nearby Oakland County, a once-Republican stronghold that has moved significantly toward the Democrats.

Democrats also have opportunities in some outstate areas. Kent County, home to Grand Rapids, is one area of Democratic growth. Other prospects include higher-educated counties such as Grand Traverse along Lake Michigan and Midland in the center of the state.

Richard Czuba, a Michigan-based independent pollster, said the biggest threat to Trump is the prospect of increased Democratic turnout. Trump got about the normal number of votes that past Republican candidates have received; Clinton was significantly below not just Obama but other Democrats. Though both sides are highly motivated, Czuba said, “The only upside in an increased turnout is for the Democrats.”

Pennsylvania presents another challenge for Trump and for the Democrats. Clinton was criticized for her campaign’s failure to pay more attention to Michigan and Wisconsin, but that was not an issue in Pennsylvania, where she campaigned constantly and invested heavily.

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The results reflect the difference. Clinton held her own in Philadelphia and its suburbs, winning the Philadelphia media market by about 25 points, roughly the same as Obama in 2012, according to analysis by Clinton strategists. But Trump swamped her in other parts of the state. In the Scranton market, Obama lost by about 4 points, Clinton by 25. In the Johnstown area, Obama lost by 25 points, Clinton by 37. In Democratic Erie, which Obama won by 5 points, Clinton lost by 13.

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, said he doesn’t rule out another Trump victory in the state.

“But to do it he’s got to win those rural and small towns with significant turnout and/or find a way not to lose the Philly ’burbs by a larger percentage than [against Hillary],” he said.

David Urban, a political adviser to the president and his campaign, predicted that Trump voters will be out in force but added, “The president put a lot of time and effort into Pennsylvania [in 2016] and it paid off. This time in 2020 he’ll do the same, but he’s going to have to put a little more effort into Pennsylvania because Democrats who took him for granted in 2016 will not be taking him for granted in 2020.”

Former Democratic governor Ed Rendell said he would watch five counties as clues to 2020: Delaware and Bucks in the Philadelphia suburbs; Luzerne, home to Wilkes-Barre and long a Democratic county; Cambria, home to Johnstown; and Clinton, home to Lock Haven. But he said he was bullish about 2020 because he expects voters who seemed to abandon Clinton at the end will be back in force.

That leaves Wisconsin, where Democrats will hold their convention next summer, as potentially the most competitive of the three. Wisconsin is seen as more difficult for the Democrats than Michigan or Pennsylvania because it has a higher percentage of white voters overall, particularly of white non-college voters, and because the Democratic infrastructure was weakened during former Republican governor Scott Walker’s eight years in office.

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Wisconsin has seen a notable shift in voting patterns over the past decade, changes that Trump accelerated in 2016. As Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote shortly after the 2018 elections, “Most Wisconsin voters live in places that are trending in one political direction or the other. But the state persists as a partisan battleground because all those regional shifts over the past two decades have somehow canceled each other out.”

Northwestern Wisconsin has become more deeply entrenched as Republican territory, while southeastern Wisconsin has become less friendly to the GOP. The city of Milwaukee and Dane County, home to Madison and the University of Wisconsin, remain the biggest and most important vote producers for the Democrats. Counties in the southwest and along the Mississippi shifted to Trump in 2016 but could move back to Democrats next year.

In 2016, Clinton suffered a falloff in the Milwaukee media market that was about double that of the state as a whole. Much of that erosion was concentrated in African American precincts in the city of Milwaukee. Combined with Trump’s big margins in the northwestern part of the state, that was enough to doom her chances.

Where Democrats see particular opportunities — and Republican see reasons to worry — are in three Republican counties in suburban Milwaukee: Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. Dubbed the “WOW counties,” all still favor Republicans, but Democrats have been gaining in their share of the vote.

“Those counties are still voting Republican, but as much as 16 points less on the margin now than they were,” said Charles Franklin, who conducts the Marquette University Law School poll.

Brian Reisinger, a Republican strategist, said the Democratic growth in those suburban areas in 2018 was “a real wake-up call for people to see there was a way for our traditional coalition to not be quite enough.”

Both sides approach Wisconsin nervously. Republicans see the dangers but are more unified behind the president than they were in 2016. Democrats elected a governor — Tony Evers — in 2018, but narrowly. Then they lost a state Supreme Court race in the spring that they expected to win.

“We underperformed,” said a veteran Democratic strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “We have to get smarter about how we do our work.”

Expansion opportunities

The Trump campaign and Democratic strategists point to states beyond the big four as opportunities for flipping. The president’s political team has its sights on New Hampshire, which the president lost by less than half a point, as well as Minnesota, which he lost by only a point and a half.

Trump’s team also has said Nevada and New Mexico will be targets in 2020. Both present obstacles unless Trump can expand his electorates. Trump advisers also have mentioned Oregon as a possible target, though Democrats take that less seriously.

Trump advisers say that, as Democrats focus on picking a nominee, they have an opportunity to begin to build organizations in these kinds of states and to identify sporadic voters who are attracted to the president.

“We have the luxury of having the resources to protect the states President Trump won in 2016 and expand into states we think we can add to his column in 2020,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.

Cornell Belcher, who was a pollster for Obama’s campaigns, said that, because of the changing status of some traditional battlegrounds such as Ohio and Iowa, it is more vital than ever for Democrats to compete hard elsewhere.

“Democrats have to expand the playing field and not put all our eggs in the basket of the traditional battleground states,” he said.

David Bergstein, the Democratic National Committee’s battleground states communication director, said the party is doing that even in the absence of a nominee.

“[We] are laying the groundwork now to ensure our eventual nominee has multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes,” he said.

Democrats see opportunities in North Carolina, despite losses there in 2012 and 2016, as well as Arizona and Georgia. Arizona, which Trump carried by just 3.5 percentage points, might prove to be a more attractive target for Democrats than either of the two southern states.

Some strategists see Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, as a possible hedge against a loss in Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes. In-migration from other western states and a growing Latino population have changed the political makeup of the state.

Public Opinion Strategies charted the ideological movement of Arizona voters earlier this year and found that the state today is only marginally more conservative than the nation as a whole, a significant change since 2010.

“The Arizona as you knew it is gone,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. But he added that Trump’s strong support among older white men and potential appeal to some Hispanic men could help to offset some of the movement in the state.

One state not likely to figure prominently into expansion possibilities for the Democrats is Texas. However attractive it might be as a state in transition, Texas would require an enormous investment. Democrats will play there only if everything else is moving in their direction.

 

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fraurosena
2 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

This is an interesting analysis: "The 2020 electoral map could be the smallest in years. Here’s why."

  Hide contents

In a politically divided nation, with attitudes among many voters hardened and resistant to changing, the 2020 general election could be contested on the narrowest electoral terrain in recent memory.

Just four states are likely to determine the outcome in 2020. Each flipped to the Republicans in 2016, but President Trump won each by only a percentage point or less. The four are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. Many analysts point to Wisconsin as the single state upon which the election could turn.

Shifting demographics, the growing urban-rural divide and the gap between white voters with and without college educations have helped to create an electoral map unlike those of the recent past. So too have Trump’s unique profile, messaging and appeal.

“Because of the partisanship of the country and the partisanship of the president, we are now looking at the smallest map in modern political history,” said Jim Messina, who was the campaign manager for former president Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Both Trump’s campaign and that of his eventual Democratic challenger will seek to put other states in play. But those opportunities are fewer than in past campaigns.

Trump has done nothing to expand his base while in office, which Democrats claim will make it extremely difficult for him to win states he lost in 2016. Trump campaign officials disagree. Democrats’ aspirations for expansion rest in part on whether politically changing, Republican-held states such as North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona are truly ready to shift.

Current polling nationally and in some of the key states shows the president vulnerable when matched against several of the Democratic presidential candidates — though he overcame weak approval and favorability ratings to win the 2016 election. Based on current attitudes, he will have to do so again to win reelection.

One obvious wild card is the identity of the Democratic nominee and how that shapes the general election debate. Will that nominee be running on a platform that moderate voters see as too far left? Will that nominee be able to energize the party’s woke base and still appeal to white working-class voters?

Regardless of who that person is, the 2020 election will put a focus on several demographic groups in particular.

First, white working-class voters who went strongly for Trump and are an important part of the GOP’s base. Of particular concern for the president will be white women without college degrees.

Second, college-educated suburban voters, especially women, who have moved decisively into the Democrats’ coalition and who powered the party’s gains in 2018 House races.

Third, African Americans, and particularly younger African Americans, whose turnout levels will be critical to Democrats’ fortunes.

Fourth, Hispanic voters, who will play a key role in Florida and some other states, especially in the West.

How strongly each of these groups supports Trump or the Democratic nominee and the numbers by which they turn out to vote are variables that election modelers are analyzing closely and tweaking regularly even at this early stage.

The math of 2020

In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by roughly three million people but won 304 electoral votes and the presidency. Based on current polling, his chances of winning the popular vote are at least as challenging as in 2016, leaving open the question of whether he can again produce an electoral college majority.

The electoral college combinations all begin with Florida and then move to the upper Midwest. One scenario not out of the realm of possibility would produce a 270-268 victory for Trump, but only if he again secures one of Maine’s four electoral votes.

If Trump were to win Florida again, Democrats would need to recapture all three of the northern states — or find substitutes — to win the White House. If Democrats could win Florida, any one of the three in the upper Midwest would give them the White House, unless Trump can put something else in his column.

The three northern states were part of a group of 18 states and the District that had voted for the Democratic nominee in every election between 1992 and 2012, what Democrats believed constituted a “blue wall” of resistance to repeated incursions by Republican nominees.

Trump broke through that wall, threading the narrowest of paths to victory. His combined margin in those three states, however, was just 78,000 votes out of nearly 14 million cast.

Election analyst Ruy Teixeira said the three states were so closely decided that even small changes could shift them to the Democrats, from the demographic changes taking place since the 2016 election to a white voting block that is moving away from Republicans or even to modest increases in turnout in the minority community.

“There are a lot of knobs you could twist and you don’t have to twist them very far to move them into the Democrats’ column,” he said. For Trump, that means there is an “absolute necessity” to maintain and likely to increase his margins among white, non-college voters next year.

While many Democrats are optimistic that the gains in the 2018 midterms foreshadow success in 2020, a report earlier this year by the progressive firm Catalist noted, “It is not safe to assume that Democratic gains from 2016 to 2018 will hold.”

A changing electoral map

In past campaigns, when there were a dozen or more truly competitive battlegrounds, presidential nominees could chart multiple paths to 270 electoral votes and worked to keep as many of those options alive as long as possible.

Over many years, however, growing polarization has created red and blue strongholds, with bigger and bigger and bigger victory margins. In 2016, with a narrow popular vote margin, more than two dozen states were decided by margins of 15 points or more. In 1988, when the popular vote margin was seven points, there were just 17.

The electoral map is never truly static for long. Before the Democrats’ “blue wall” there was the so-called “Republican lock” on the electoral college. Years ago, California, Illinois and New Jersey were presidential battlegrounds. Today all are solidly Democratic. Missouri long was considered a bellwether state. Trump won it by almost 19 points.

One way of looking at how the electoral map has changed in recent years is to gauge which states are most likely to provide the final votes needed to hit the necessary 270. During the two elections won by Obama, Virginia and Colorado were perched at that tipping point. Today, because of Democratic gains among college-educated voters, both have moved significantly toward the Democrats.

One of the most significant changes in the 2020 map is the reduced role Ohio will play in the calculations of the campaigns. Underlying trends have moved Ohio toward the Republicans in statewide races, and Trump’s candidacy provided an extra boost.

Democrats say they will not ignore the state, though how much they invest there is questionable. A Quinnipiac survey in June showed former vice president Joe Biden leading Trump in Ohio by eight points. If the president is trailing in Ohio by that margin in the late fall of 2020, his reelection prospects likely would be doomed.

Iowa is another example of how Trump’s appeal to rural areas and to older, predominantly white voters has changed the electoral map. No state in the country saw as many counties that had voted for Democratic nominees in five or more elections consecutively switch allegiance and support Trump.

Trump won the state by nine points in 2016, and strategists in both parties see it as less competitive than other places. But the president’s tariffs have hit the Midwest farmers hard. If they are feeling pain next year, Trump’s hold on Iowa could be at risk.

The big four states

Florida has been ground zero in presidential politics for two decades. George W. Bush won it by 537 votes in the disputed election of 2000. Obama carried it by a fraction of a percentage point in 2012. Trump won it by slightly more than a percentage point in 2016. In 2018, the gubernatorial and Senate races there were decided by margins of less than half a percentage point.

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With 29 electoral votes at stake, Florida is the biggest competitive prize on the map. Neither Trump nor the Democratic nominee can afford not to invest the maximum there, though at this point, Trump appears to have a slight advantage.

Florida is also the most complex and costliest of the major battlegrounds, and for Trump, it is the most important state in the country. Trump’s team has divided the country into nine political regions. Only Florida constitutes its own region. Its importance was highlighted by the decision to open the president’s reelection campaign with a rally in Orlando.

Both sides know what they need to do in Florida. Compared with some other states, Florida’s electorate is not just narrowly divided but also relatively inelastic. Unlike some other states, where Trump’s candidacy produced different regional margins from past elections, voting patterns in Florida more closely followed those of 2012. Unlike the northern states, Florida was a state where both Trump and Clinton got more votes than Mitt Romney and Obama in 2012. For 2020, the issue will become who comes out to vote.

Of the northern states, Trump won Michigan by the fewest number of votes, just 11,000. Between 2012 and 2016, the Democratic vote badly eroded, with Clinton falling about 300,000 votes short of Obama’s total, including about 75,000 fewer in Wayne County, which is home to Detroit.

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Bitterness lingers among Democrats in Michigan over the 2016 campaign and how it was played by Clinton’s team. The 2018 midterms since have given Democrats some cause for optimism. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recaptured the governor’s mansion and the party picked up two congressional districts.

Democrats made gains among white, working-class voters who had broken to Trump in 2016, but also added votes in areas where Clinton had done better than Obama. Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, said that poses a question about the strategy for 2020.

“Is the better hope of returning some traditional Democrats back into the fold or continuing to make gains among highly educated voters that were more traditionally Republican?” he said.

The Democrats’ formula for success once followed Interstate 75 north from Detroit through Pontiac and Flint to Saginaw. But declining populations have hurt the Democrats.

“With lower populations in Detroit and Flint, that is not enough of a winning coalition,” said Amy Chapman, a veteran Democratic strategist in the state.

Macomb County, birthplace of the Reagan Democrats, still draws attention but is not as important to Democrats as nearby Oakland County, a once-Republican stronghold that has moved significantly toward the Democrats.

Democrats also have opportunities in some outstate areas. Kent County, home to Grand Rapids, is one area of Democratic growth. Other prospects include higher-educated counties such as Grand Traverse along Lake Michigan and Midland in the center of the state.

Richard Czuba, a Michigan-based independent pollster, said the biggest threat to Trump is the prospect of increased Democratic turnout. Trump got about the normal number of votes that past Republican candidates have received; Clinton was significantly below not just Obama but other Democrats. Though both sides are highly motivated, Czuba said, “The only upside in an increased turnout is for the Democrats.”

Pennsylvania presents another challenge for Trump and for the Democrats. Clinton was criticized for her campaign’s failure to pay more attention to Michigan and Wisconsin, but that was not an issue in Pennsylvania, where she campaigned constantly and invested heavily.

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The results reflect the difference. Clinton held her own in Philadelphia and its suburbs, winning the Philadelphia media market by about 25 points, roughly the same as Obama in 2012, according to analysis by Clinton strategists. But Trump swamped her in other parts of the state. In the Scranton market, Obama lost by about 4 points, Clinton by 25. In the Johnstown area, Obama lost by 25 points, Clinton by 37. In Democratic Erie, which Obama won by 5 points, Clinton lost by 13.

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, said he doesn’t rule out another Trump victory in the state.

“But to do it he’s got to win those rural and small towns with significant turnout and/or find a way not to lose the Philly ’burbs by a larger percentage than [against Hillary],” he said.

David Urban, a political adviser to the president and his campaign, predicted that Trump voters will be out in force but added, “The president put a lot of time and effort into Pennsylvania [in 2016] and it paid off. This time in 2020 he’ll do the same, but he’s going to have to put a little more effort into Pennsylvania because Democrats who took him for granted in 2016 will not be taking him for granted in 2020.”

Former Democratic governor Ed Rendell said he would watch five counties as clues to 2020: Delaware and Bucks in the Philadelphia suburbs; Luzerne, home to Wilkes-Barre and long a Democratic county; Cambria, home to Johnstown; and Clinton, home to Lock Haven. But he said he was bullish about 2020 because he expects voters who seemed to abandon Clinton at the end will be back in force.

That leaves Wisconsin, where Democrats will hold their convention next summer, as potentially the most competitive of the three. Wisconsin is seen as more difficult for the Democrats than Michigan or Pennsylvania because it has a higher percentage of white voters overall, particularly of white non-college voters, and because the Democratic infrastructure was weakened during former Republican governor Scott Walker’s eight years in office.

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Wisconsin has seen a notable shift in voting patterns over the past decade, changes that Trump accelerated in 2016. As Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote shortly after the 2018 elections, “Most Wisconsin voters live in places that are trending in one political direction or the other. But the state persists as a partisan battleground because all those regional shifts over the past two decades have somehow canceled each other out.”

Northwestern Wisconsin has become more deeply entrenched as Republican territory, while southeastern Wisconsin has become less friendly to the GOP. The city of Milwaukee and Dane County, home to Madison and the University of Wisconsin, remain the biggest and most important vote producers for the Democrats. Counties in the southwest and along the Mississippi shifted to Trump in 2016 but could move back to Democrats next year.

In 2016, Clinton suffered a falloff in the Milwaukee media market that was about double that of the state as a whole. Much of that erosion was concentrated in African American precincts in the city of Milwaukee. Combined with Trump’s big margins in the northwestern part of the state, that was enough to doom her chances.

Where Democrats see particular opportunities — and Republican see reasons to worry — are in three Republican counties in suburban Milwaukee: Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. Dubbed the “WOW counties,” all still favor Republicans, but Democrats have been gaining in their share of the vote.

“Those counties are still voting Republican, but as much as 16 points less on the margin now than they were,” said Charles Franklin, who conducts the Marquette University Law School poll.

Brian Reisinger, a Republican strategist, said the Democratic growth in those suburban areas in 2018 was “a real wake-up call for people to see there was a way for our traditional coalition to not be quite enough.”

Both sides approach Wisconsin nervously. Republicans see the dangers but are more unified behind the president than they were in 2016. Democrats elected a governor — Tony Evers — in 2018, but narrowly. Then they lost a state Supreme Court race in the spring that they expected to win.

“We underperformed,” said a veteran Democratic strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “We have to get smarter about how we do our work.”

Expansion opportunities

The Trump campaign and Democratic strategists point to states beyond the big four as opportunities for flipping. The president’s political team has its sights on New Hampshire, which the president lost by less than half a point, as well as Minnesota, which he lost by only a point and a half.

Trump’s team also has said Nevada and New Mexico will be targets in 2020. Both present obstacles unless Trump can expand his electorates. Trump advisers also have mentioned Oregon as a possible target, though Democrats take that less seriously.

Trump advisers say that, as Democrats focus on picking a nominee, they have an opportunity to begin to build organizations in these kinds of states and to identify sporadic voters who are attracted to the president.

“We have the luxury of having the resources to protect the states President Trump won in 2016 and expand into states we think we can add to his column in 2020,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.

Cornell Belcher, who was a pollster for Obama’s campaigns, said that, because of the changing status of some traditional battlegrounds such as Ohio and Iowa, it is more vital than ever for Democrats to compete hard elsewhere.

“Democrats have to expand the playing field and not put all our eggs in the basket of the traditional battleground states,” he said.

David Bergstein, the Democratic National Committee’s battleground states communication director, said the party is doing that even in the absence of a nominee.

“[We] are laying the groundwork now to ensure our eventual nominee has multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes,” he said.

Democrats see opportunities in North Carolina, despite losses there in 2012 and 2016, as well as Arizona and Georgia. Arizona, which Trump carried by just 3.5 percentage points, might prove to be a more attractive target for Democrats than either of the two southern states.

Some strategists see Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, as a possible hedge against a loss in Wisconsin, which has 10 electoral votes. In-migration from other western states and a growing Latino population have changed the political makeup of the state.

Public Opinion Strategies charted the ideological movement of Arizona voters earlier this year and found that the state today is only marginally more conservative than the nation as a whole, a significant change since 2010.

“The Arizona as you knew it is gone,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. But he added that Trump’s strong support among older white men and potential appeal to some Hispanic men could help to offset some of the movement in the state.

One state not likely to figure prominently into expansion possibilities for the Democrats is Texas. However attractive it might be as a state in transition, Texas would require an enormous investment. Democrats will play there only if everything else is moving in their direction.

 

This is an interesting analysis, but it completely ignores the biggest contributing factor to American elections: hacking, either foreign or domestic. I believe that Dems ignore that at their peril. Any state targetted by the Trump campaign will in all probability be subjected to the most egregious hacking the Repugliklans/foreign entities can think of. Any state that does not use hand marked paper ballots will also be vulnerable to hacks. 

Any proponent of American democracy cannot and must not act as if elections are safe and fair and normal. They are - quite visibly - not. Trump would not be in the White House if they were.

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GreyhoundFan

An op-ed by Jane Fonda: "Jane Fonda: Here’s what happened when I went door-knocking in Pennsylvania"

Spoiler

Jane Fonda is an actress and activist.

I’m scared. I’m scared for our democracy, for our ability to live together in community across lines of race, class and religion. I’m scared for my grandchildren and for the planet. The country is contorted and polarized, with the flames of hate fanned by leaders at the highest level. But I saw a path forward recently in Scranton, Pa., where I spent a hot, humid evening knocking on doors with Working America. (By the way, when I do this, I only give my first name and am rarely recognized.)

Steve, in his 40s, had a bad day at work but was willing to speak with me. He said there’s no politician who will fight for him. He doesn’t trust any of them. That’s why he doesn’t pay attention to any news. He voted for the Green Party last time as a protest, but he also doesn’t like immigrants getting public benefits. We learned all of this because, like with every Working America conversation, we started the conversation by asking Steve what mattered to him, what was on his mind. At the end of our questions, Steve said, “Can I ask you something?  Why do you do this?” He wanted to keep talking.

Edith is in her 50s. She likes what President Trump has done but doesn’t like the way he talks sometimes. She thinks cutting government red tape is important, and she’s concerned about outside interference in our elections. As we were leaving, she told us, and maybe herself, “I don’t talk to anyone. Why did I just talk to you?”

Last year in San Diego, Sharon said she was 100 percent for Trump, but when I told her Trump’s health-care bill would allow her son’s insurance company to stop covering him because he has a serious preexisting condition, she seemed to stop breathing for a moment. “I had no idea,” she gasped. “I can’t let that happen.”

It’s voters like these we need to talk with — those who are dispirited and confused like Steve; ambivalent like Edith; and uninformed like Sharon. A respectful conversation that started with their concerns and opinions hooked each of them, so when Working America goes back, the door is open to information from a new trusted messenger, which can encourage them to take action on issues they care about and vote with that new information in mind.

Authentic engagement works — it’s a no-brainer. For years now, the researchers measuring the most effective way to win votes have told us that face-to-face contact has the biggest impact. The results in 2018 show us there’s an important swingable segment of the electorate that will pull the lever for Democrats if we can reach them. And the science says voters are even more attentive to a canvasser conversation if they’re a member of the organization that’s delivering the message.

I’ve seen the power of face-to-face contact since I became an activist five decades ago. In Modesto, Calif., I met some of the 800 volunteers who knocked on doors for more than a year before the 2018 election, and in Scranton I met the professional organizers, many of whom are working-class people of color. They talk with people year-round, reaching out to those hungry for information and a connection.

As tangled as things seem right now, the way we get out of this mess is straightforward. We outsmart the Facebook algorithms and digital foreign meddling by holding face-to-face conversations. I've seen it. The process builds trust, and it sends a message: You matter enough that I'm here on your doorstep.

Fear can be so powerful, but what overcomes fear is connection. We don’t need to choose between Democratic base voters and swing voters. All working people, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, faith, or sexual orientation or gender identity, need a stake and a say in our society — and they all need to hear that they’re part of “We the People.” Talking with them, not at them, is the best way to do it.  Working America and other organizations are helping volunteers spend time in working-class communities around the country to have those conversations.

I’ve learned over my long life as an activist that people can change. That process starts with trust, best done through person-to-person organizing. People such as Steve are looking for someone to help them sort things out and to dare to care again. We can start the process of healing and winning back our country one conversation at a time.

 

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Becky

I wish I had the guts to go door-to-door, or even to engage my neighbors or family in conversation, but the atmosphere around political topics is so toxic and confrontational.  So thank you, Jane, for your work.  

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fraurosena

Good point. Nice and succinct.

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GreyhoundFan

"Republicans to scrap primaries and caucuses as Trump challengers cry foul"

Spoiler

Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers.

Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans.

The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination — or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him.

Trump advisers are quick to point out that parties of an incumbent president seeking reelection have a long history of canceling primaries and note it will save state parties money. But the president’s primary opponents, who have struggled to gain traction, are crying foul, calling it part of a broader effort to rig the contest in Trump’s favor.

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” said former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president. “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

“Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do,” Walsh added. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said in a statement, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

The cancellations stem in part from months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Trump campaign. Aides have worked to ensure total control of the party machinery, installing staunch loyalists at state parties while eliminating potential detractors. The aim, Trump officials have long said, is to smooth the path to the president’s renomination and ensure he doesn’t face the kind of internal opposition that hampered former President George H.W. Bush in his failed 1992 reelection campaign.

Trump aides said they supported the cancellations but stressed that each case was initiated by state party officials.

The shutdowns aren’t without precedent. Some of the states forgoing Republican nomination contests have done so during the reelection bids of previous presidents. Arizona, GOP officials there recalled, did not hold a Democratic presidential primary in 2012, when Barack Obama was seeking a second term, or in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for reelection. Kansas did not have a Democratic primary in 1996, and Republican officials in the state pointed out that they have long chosen to forgo primaries during a sitting incumbent’s reelection year.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick noted that his state decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection, or in 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking a second term. South Carolina, he added, also skipped its 1996 and 2012 Democratic contests.

“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary,” McKissick said.

Perhaps the closest comparison to the present day is 1992, when George H.W. Bush was facing a primary challenge from conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. Several states that year effectively ditched their Republican contests, including Iowa, which has long cast the first votes of the presidential nomination battles.

Buchanan said in an interview that the cancellations overall played little role in his eventual defeat, adding that Bush won renomination “fair and square.”

But Buchanan said he was rankled by what he described as a concerted and ultimately successful GOP-led effort to prevent him from appearing on the South Dakota ballot. Buchanan said he felt confident that he could perform strongly in the conservative state, whose contest came just days after a New Hampshire primary that he performed surprisingly well in.

Not being able to compete there crushed him, Buchanan said.

“If you think you can’t fight city hall, try overthrowing the president of the United States,” Buchanan said.

Officials in several states said in statements provided by the Trump campaign that they were driven by the cost savings. State parties in Nevada and Kansas foot the bill to put on caucuses.

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte,” said Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald. “We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”

Kansas GOP Chairman Michael Kuckelman estimated it would cost his party $250,000 to hold the caucus, money he said can be deployed to win races.

Trump aides have long said they aren’t worried about a primary challenge and laughed off his Republican challengers. But the president’s political team has pored over past primary results and is mindful that unexpected things can transpire — such as in 2012, when a federal inmate received 41 percent of the vote against Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

 

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fraurosena

See, this is how uplifting it can be when you stand united.

 

The contrast with this divisiveness is so poignant.

 

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Tired
47of74

ABC to Democratic candidates at the debate, give the sailor talk the ol heave ho

Quote

A warning for the Democratic presidential hopefuls ahead of tomorrow night’s debate – watch your language.

ABC, the network broadcasting the event, and the Democratic National Committee note the debate will not be on a delay, and is the first primary debate to be broadcast on an over-the-air network rather than cable, thus rendering profanity a violation of FCC rules.

Why do they even have to say this?

Because open cursing has become a staple of modern-day political discourse.

If I was a candidate I'd probably be like

 

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Becky

What, no debate chatter?? I admit to DVRing the first two and then scrolling through much of it, too many candidates, too much time.  I recorded last night as well, and got through the first topic of health care so far.  I will watch the rest over the next couple of days.

I agree with Joe Biden on many of the issues, but he is looking like he has lost a step or two (at least what I've watched so far).  Bernie rants like someone's crazy uncle.  Warren has already said "Let's be clear..." about a dozen times, Kamala Harris wants to punch Donald Trump in the schnozz (I get it, so do I), and Amy Klobuchar giggled at Andrew Yang's opening statement (again, I get it!).  

I am honestly concerned about the ability of any of these people to beat Trump.  I see waaayyyyy too many MAGA hats, Trump 2020 signs and flags, and honest to pete, the local county fair had an entire vendor booth devoted to Trump merchandise and they were making money hand over fist.  The support that was underground last election is out in the open now. 

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Meh
Dandruff

Perhaps the Democratic party should be out selling merchandise too?

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GreyhoundFan

I didn't watch the debate because I had the chance to go to a fan event for my beloved "Downton Abbey"! I've read up on some of the things that were said. One that really stood out was Beto's push for gun buy backs. Of course, a lawmaker from Texas had to threaten him. "‘My AR is ready for you,’ Texas Republican lawmaker tells Beto O’Rourke over mandatory buybacks"

Spoiler

Beto O’Rourke has already backed mandatory buybacks for assault weapons, but at Thursday’s Democratic debate, he left no ambiguity about what that would mean. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said.

Less than an hour later, O’Rourke received what he described as a “death threat” from a fellow Texas politician. “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis,” Briscoe Cain, a Republican state representative from the Houston area, wrote on Twitter, using O’Rourke’s legal name.

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Cain did not respond to multiple requests for comment about his message. But many read it as a clear threat of violence, and a spokeswoman for O’Rourke’s campaign told The Washington Post that staffers had reported the tweet to the FBI.

“This is a death threat, Representative,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter. “Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 — and neither should anyone else.”

Cain shot back: “You’re a child Robert Francis."

Twitter also took action, removing the lawmaker’s tweet roughly two hours after it appeared. A spokesman told The Post that it violated the company’s terms of service, which prohibit violent threats.

Thousands responded to the tweet before it was taken down, and Cain engaged with some. Asked whether he had just threatened to shoot a presidential candidate and former member of Congress, he replied, “You’re an idiot.” When another critic told him they had saved a screen shot of his comments for the FBI, the lawmaker responded, “Cool bro.”

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Cain’s provocation came shortly after a moderator at Thursday night’s debate asked O’Rourke if his proposal to require assault rifle owners to sell their weapons to the government amounted to taking away people’s guns. As The Post’s Amy B Wang reported, the former Texas congressman didn’t flinch, saying that assault weapons such as AR-15s and AK-47s were developed for combat and use the kind of high-impact, high-velocity round that “shreds everything inside your body because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield, not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.”

“When we see that being used against children,” he said, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

Since Aug. 3, when a gunman armed with an AK-style rifle killed 22 people at a Walmart in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso, the candidate has been an outspoken proponent of stricter gun-control measures, including mandatory buybacks. He had previously supported banning the sale of new AR-15 rifles but stopped short of advocating for taking existing guns out of circulation, telling talk radio station KFYO in 2018, “If you purchased that AR-15, if you own it, keep it, continue to use it responsibly.”

Since the mass shooting in El Paso, O’Rourke has been emphatic about what a mandatory buyback would mean. Asked by a reporter earlier this month if he could address fears that the government was going to take away people’s assault rifles, he replied, “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” But his forceful “hell yes” on Thursday became one of the most memorable lines of the presidential debate. By the end of the night, it had turned into a slogan, appearing in red, white and blue letters on T-shirts sold on O’Rourke’s campaign website.

The proposal has widespread support among Democrats nationally — 74 percent support a mandatory buyback program, compared with 31 percent of Republicans, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found.

Cain’s assertion that his AR-15 was “ready” struck many as insensitive in light of the mass shootings that took place last month in El Paso and Odessa, Tex., where a gunman armed with an assault-style rifle killed seven and injured 22.

“In case you forgot, people were just killed in El Paso,” responded Mary E. Gonzales, a Democratic member of the Texas House. “People were murdered. The language you are using and the way you are using it is dangerous.”

Speaking to reporters after the debate, O’Rourke said that Cain’s comment “sure reads” like a death threat. “I think it’s a really irresponsible thing for him to do,” he added, “especially somebody who is a public servant and in a position of public trust to be sending that kind of message.”

Cain, an attorney, frequently uses his official social media accounts to air inflammatory and hyperbolic views. On Wednesday, for instance, he suggested on Twitter that the Texas legislature should “abolish” the famously liberal city of Austin.

First elected to the Texas legislature in 2016, Cain was ranked the most conservative lawmaker in the state’s House of Representatives the following year, and he also received the dubious distinction of appearing on Texas Monthly’s list of the 10 worst legislators in the state in 2017. Typically, the publication explained, freshman lawmakers are exempted from the list, but they cited Cain’s “uninformed and belligerent performance.”

An outspoken supporter of Second Amendment rights, Cain was kicked out of the Texas Democratic Party convention in 2018 after he showed up with what appeared to be a sidearm and began handing out fake yard signs that said, “This home is a gun-free safe space,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The paper noted that when students across the nation left class to protest gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Fla., last year, Cain responded by introducing legislation that would temporarily revoke state funding from any Texas schools where similar walkouts took place.

David Hogg, a former Parkland student and co-founder of March for Our Lives, argued that Cain’s tweet proved the necessity of mandatory buybacks.

“If you threaten to kill a presidential candidate you should not have a gun,” he wrote.

Gee, what a prince /sarcasm

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formergothardite
On 9/13/2019 at 7:38 AM, Becky said:

I am honestly concerned about the ability of any of these people to beat Trump.

So am I. Trump has a cult following. He is going to play dirty. Normal political campaigns won't be able to touch him. The only way to beat him is to find someone who will inspire massive amounts of voter turn out. We can't count of "hate Trump" to get people out of vote, there has to be a candidate that can get huge amount of Americans out to vote and I'm worried there won't be one. 

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Giddy
AmericanRose

The idea of Trump being President inspired me to vote (for Clinton, obviously)!

Though personally, I find Warren inspiring.

Edited to add that watching Obama's 2 terms made me realise the importance of having a Congress that would actually work with the President.

Edited by AmericanRose

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GreyhoundFan

The 2020 campaign for the mango moron stole and manipulated an image:

 

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fraurosena

The Trump campaign doesn't only steal photo's...

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fraurosena

Wow. If they turn out as well as, or even better than in 2018, things will finally start to change.

 

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GreyhoundFan

An op-ed from the candidate: "Pete Buttigieg: Here’s a better way to do Medicare-for-all"

Spoiler

Pete Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend, Ind., and is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Earlier this year, I lost my father to cancer. I make decisions for a living, but nothing could have prepared me for the kind of decisions our family faced as his illness grew more serious. But as challenging as that time was for my family, one thing we did not have to worry about was whether his illness would bankrupt our family. Because he was covered by Medicare, we were free to focus on what mattered most.

I want every family to have that same freedom. But as anyone who has ever visited a doctor knows, health care in the United States remains too expensive, too complicated and too frustrating. The system seems almost designed to leave us feeling powerless and confused.

As president, I will put Americans in charge of their own health care with affordable choices for all. I’ll ensure that every American has access to affordable coverage either through private insurance or a public alternative. If a private insurance plan through your employer or the marketplace isn’t affordable, you can get a plan that is. It’s what I call “Medicare for All Who Want It.”

Many Democrats have proposed a Medicare-for-all plan, and while each of us would achieve universal coverage, there’s a real difference between the plan I’m announcing on Thursday and the ones offered by candidates such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). Rather than flipping a switch and kicking almost 160 million Americans off their private insurance, including 20 million seniors already choosing private plans within Medicare, my plan lets Americans keep a private plan if they want to. If private insurers are unable or unwilling to offer better plans than they do today, competition from this public alternative will naturally lead to Medicare-for-all.

And with my plan, we can achieve universal health care and a public alternative without raising taxes on the middle class. I’ve always said that anyone who lets the words “Medicare-for-all” escape their lips should tell us just as plainly how they plan to get there. The only way we’ll rally Americans behind a reform that affects so much of our lives and our economy is if we’re honest and straightforward about the details. So I’ll be upfront: My plan will cost about $1.5 trillion over a decade, paid for by cost savings and corporate tax reform to ensure big corporations pay their fair share.

My approach isn’t just the right thing to do for Americans — it will bring us together rather than push us even further apart, so we can achieve our bold objective of universal affordable health care.

Lower-income people living in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid would be automatically enrolled in the public plan. Others without insurance, such as those who forgo employer coverage because it is too expensive or those who do not purchase coverage on the exchanges because they are not eligible for subsidies, would also have access to join the public plan with income-based subsidies.

We’d also make private health care more affordable for the millions of Americans who struggle to pay their premiums. For example, a 60-year-old in Iowa making $50,000 could face a monthly premium of roughly $1,000 for the most popular type of marketplace plan — nearly a quarter of their annual income. Our plan would cap marketplace premiums at 8.5 percent of a person’s income, which means that the same 60-year-old would pay no more than $354 a month for better-quality coverage.

My plan would also take an extra step to reach universal coverage by automatically enrolling those eligible for free coverage in Medicaid or the public coverage alternative. And anyone who falls through the cracks and ends up needing health care would be retroactively enrolled in the public plan.

That’s only part of how our plan would empower Americans. We’d also ban the surprise medical billing that has left patients slapped with five- or six-figure bills after a bike crash or a heart attack. We’d limit out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare and ensure that health providers such as hospitals price their services fairly by capping out-of-network rates at twice what Medicare would pay for the same service. My administration would also bring transparency to pricing and reduce the wasteful administrative costs that ultimately get passed down to patients. On top of Medicare for All Who Want It, our campaign will be putting forward additional plans to address issues such as drug pricing, innovation and health equity.

With bold and unifying policies such as Medicare for All Who Want It, let’s bring down costs and guarantee coverage for everyone. Let’s put power into the hands of each American and create a healthier future for us all.

 

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GreyhoundFan

I can't say I'm sorry to read this: "New York Mayor Bill de Blasio leaves presidential race"

Spoiler

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race after failing to gain traction in the crowded field, saying, “It’s clearly not my time.”

“Getting out there — being able to hear people’s concerns, addressing them with new ideas — has been an extraordinary experience, but I have to tell you at the same time I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election, and it’s clearly not my time, so I’m going to end my presidential campaign,” de Blasio said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

De Blasio, who launched his campaign with a video in which he pledged to “put working people first,” vowed to “keep speaking up for working people.”

His departure comes as recent polls have shown three candidates — former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — significantly ahead of their rivals.

De Blasio, who failed to qualify for the third Democratic debate last week in Houston, joined the race in May. A September poll of New York showed zero percent support in his home state, and he has lagged in national polling as well.

During his MSNBC appearance, de Blasio said he was not ready to endorse any of his fellow Democrats but said he would support the party’s eventual nominee.

“Whoever’s the nominee, I’m going to be there for them,” said de Blasio, who won his second term as mayor of the country’s biggest city in 2017.

“I would say there’s some very good candidates,” de Blasio said of those remaining in the field. “I actually think this is one of the, you know, most impressive fields we, as Democrats, have had in a long time.”

De Blasio is the sixth Democratic candidate to exit the race since July. Others who have dropped out include Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.).

President Trump was quick to weigh in on de Blasio’s departure, posting a sarcastic tweet.

“Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years!” Trump wrote.

He later mocked de Blasio while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office.

“He only had one real asset,” Trump said of de Blasio. “You know what it was? Height. Other than that, he had nothing, though.”

In an opinion piece posted Wednesday morning on an NBC News website, de Blasio argued that Democrats “must return to our roots as a party focused on bold solutions that speak to the concerns of working people.”

“If we do not, we will lose in 2020,” he said. “Yes, Donald Trump lies to working people, but he at least pretends to talk to them. That may be enough for him to win, if we do not constantly make it clear that the Democrats are the party of everyday Americans in rural counties and urban centers, the coasts and the heartland.”

De Blasio also vowed to “redouble my efforts to improve the quality of life of everyday New Yorkers.”

 

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