Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Trump Goes Full Superspreader As New Infections Hit All-Time High

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

As the nation soared past 80,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday for the very first time in a single day, Donald Trump was busily wrapping up a week of superspreading at a rally in a Florida retirement community known as the The Villages.

"We're rounding the corner beautifully," Trump told the mostly maskless crowd Friday evening, right around the time the country ticked past its previous record during the summer surge in the Sunbelt. As for his rival Joe Biden, Trump said, "All he talks about is COVID, COVID, COVID. Because they want to scare people." Well, there's some 225,000 fewer Americans to scare because they're already dead.

Read Now Show less

As Trump Schedules Final Paltry Ad Buy, Biden Keeps Going Bigger

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On a call Monday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien revealed the campaign's total ad buy for the last two weeks of the presidential race would be a whopping paltry $55 million ... split among no fewer than 11 states.

Um, just wow. And that's not only the Trump campaign, it represents coordinated spending with the Republican National Committee (RNC) too. Far from being a muscular way to close out the race, it feels more like a cry for help. By comparison, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said last week that she still anticipates raising another $234 million through the election.

The 11 states included on the target list for both entities are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine-2, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

According to an Axios article last week, Stepien views Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Maine's 2nd district as the foundation of their path to 270—in other words, must gets. In fact, the article quoted Stepien calling that line up the "easy part," but apparently not so easy that they're forgoing dropping money in all four supposed gimmes.

As New York Times journalist Shane Goldmacher, who was on the call, noted, "On the one hand, Stepien says he is 'certain' that they are winning Ohio and Iowa. On the other hand, he announces the campaign will be up with ads in those two states in final two weeks." Go figure.

One state the Trump campaign appears to have finally given up on altogether is Minnesota. Earlier on Monday, the Trump camp had announced cancelling ad buys in several Midwestern states even as they were preparing to reinvest in some of them through this coordinated ad buy with the RNC. But Minnesota, which has pretty much always been a pipe dream for Team Trump, was dropped altogether.

Even before this final Trump ad buy in the closing weeks, Biden's ad spending had outpaced Trump's by a 2-to-1 ratio for months, according to The New York Times. In a review of the two campaigns' spending in 10 battleground states, the only state where Trump outspent Biden was Georgia—which doesn't exactly jibe with that state's inclusion in Stepien's so-called "easy" list.

Biden's spending strategy has clearly centered on the Midwest. "His dominance is most pronounced in three critical swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — where he spent about $53 million to Mr. Trump's $17 million over the past month largely on ads assailing the president's handling of the virus as well as the economy and taxes," reports the Times.

And while Trump initially enjoyed a digital ad advantage in the early part of the campaign, Biden has steadily closed that gap in recent months, achieving near parity in the last 30 days at $50 million for each ad campaign on Google and Facebook, according to the Times.

What is perhaps most interesting in these final weeks is just how small Trump is playing even as Team Biden has played very big—and not just in terms of overall spending. As this Politico piece explains, the Biden campaign has seen so many paths to 270 open up that in some cases they realized it would be more cost effective to make national buys rather than spending astronomical amounts in smaller battleground markets. It's a worth a read.

Under normal circumstances, most campaigns at this point would be making buys to leverage their position in 10 or even fewer states. But the Biden campaign realized that making some national buys through the networks would actually cost only slightly more, for instance, than purchasing air time in states with major Senate races like Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia, where pricing had gone through the roof. The big upside of the national buys was that they had the advantage of not only reaching the desired markets in key battlegrounds but also establishing a Biden presence in states that were newly on the radar, like Texas.

"We are looking at a very wide map right now," Becca Siegel, the Biden campaign's chief analytics officer, said. "Normally at this stage of the campaign, we would be narrowing in. But at this stage of the campaign, we have a lot of pathways that have opened up."

So as Trump closes out with a whimper, Biden is heading out with a roar, and his sizable cash advantage has made all that possible.

New Post-Debate Polls Show Biden Blowing Out Trump By Double Digits

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A new CNN-SSRS national poll released Tuesday puts Joe Biden up over Donald Trump by a whopping 16 points among likely voters, 57 percent - 41 percent. And the poll isn't exactly an outlier. Another national poll released over the weekend by NBC News/Wall Street Journal gave Biden a 14-point advantage among registered voters.

Both polls were taken entirely after Trump's off-the-rails performance last Tuesday, but CNN's poll—taken Thursday-Sunday—also captured most of the window in which the public learned Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, support for Biden's response to the pandemic spiked in the latest poll, giving him a 21-point advantage over Trump on the matter.

Overall, on the issues, voters gave an advantage to Trump on basically nothing. Even on the economy, Biden held a slight edge, with voters preferring Biden over Trump 50%-48%. And then there was everything else—where Biden dominated.

  • Coronavirus: Biden 59 percent, Trump 38 percent
  • Health care: Biden 59 percent, Trump 39 percent
  • Racial inequality: Biden 62 percent, Trump 36 percent
  • Supreme Court nominations: Biden 57 percent, Trump 41 percent
  • Crime and safety: Biden 55 percent, Trump 43 percent

To review, Biden now has a slight edge over Trump on the economy and wide double-digit leads on basically every other issue.

But Biden's yawning 21-point advantage among likely voters on his response to the coronavirus is particularly notable. In CNN's last poll (Aug. 28-Sept. 1), Biden only enjoyed a 12-point advantage on the coronavirus among registered voters (RVs in this month's poll preferred Biden by a similar margin to likely voters, 59 percent - 37 percent). That jump in support for Biden on the pandemic suggests Trump's positive COVID-19 test and how he's handled it since have hurt him with voters.

Also, voters are on to Trump's blatant efforts to suppress votes and cast doubt on the election outcome. Only 38 percent approve of his handling of the security of U.S. elections, while 55 percent disapprove. Another 58 percent said they didn't believe Trump would accept the outcome of the election and concede if he lost, while 71 percent said Biden would accept the outcome if he lost.

Finally, most Americans now have a positive view of Biden at 52 percent, while Trump's favorability rating is stuck at a dismal (but still too high) 39 percent.

What President Biden Would Have To Do If Republicans Fill Ginsburg Seat Despite Election Loss

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

At the very least, Senate Republicans stole one seat from the American people in 2016 when they refused to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February that year fully nine months before the November election.

Within hours, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged that his GOP caucus would refuse to replace Scalia until the presidential election took place. "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," McConnell said, as Democratic lawmakers were still offering condolences to Scalia's family. And after President Barack Obama nominated a relatively moderate judge, Merrick Garland, to fill Scalia's seat, McConnell refused to even give him a hearing, let alone a vote.

Read Now Show less

White Suburban Women Ever More Eager To Dump Trump

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The past week delivered a crush of new stories about white college-educated women continuing their 2018 stampede away from Trump. As Markos Moulitsas noted last week, it's the only voting bloc that has moved against Trump and the Republican Party in sizable numbers since 2016, which is exactly why it could be one of the most decisive demographics of the 2020 election.

Trump seems keenly aware that he needs these female voters but, frankly, he's too preternaturally gross to woo them back into the fold. In fact, recent anecdotes suggest that many of the women who have left the GOP's camp since November 2016 realized they had made a colossal mistake within months, weeks, or even days of Trump's inauguration.

Read Now Show less

Treasury Sanctions ‘Active Russian Agent’ Behind Giuliani Smears Of Biden

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Thursday on a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker the agency said had been serving as "an active Russian agent for over a decade."

The lawmaker, Andrii Derkach, is the son of a former KGB officer and also happens to be a key source of disinformation for top allies of Donald Trump who have been actively working to smear Joe Biden with baseless claims of corruption. Chief among those allies are Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Read Now Show less

Vulnerable Senate Republicans Squirm Over Trump’s Pandemic Confession

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Back in July, as Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was being pressed on her previous assertion that two Ebola deaths on Obama's watch amounted to "failed leadership," Ernst told CNN that Donald Trump was really "stepping forward" on stemming the coronavirus. At the time, despite 130,000 Americans having already died, Ernst managed to squeeze out that claim with a relatively straight face.

But now that we know Trump did exactly the opposite by admittedly downplaying the pandemic, Ernst, the erstwhile self-professed hog castrator, is running scared. Thursday marked the second day in a row the GOP incumbent senator who's locked in a very tight reelection race ducked questions about Trump's taped confession that he lied to the American public about how deadly the coronavirus is.

Read Now Show less

Biden Is Crushing Bankrupt Trump Campaign In Battleground Spending

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Donald Trump's campaign is broke, and his ad spending in the first week of September took a major hit. In six key battleground states, the Trump campaign spent just under $4 million in TV and radio advertising for Sept. 1-7 while the Biden campaign posted nearly $20 million in ad spending, according to NBC News.

Read Now Show less

New Subpoena Will Demand Trump Tax Returns (Including Ivanka, Eric, And Don Jr.)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Following a Supreme Court ruling on the matter, the House Intelligence Committee has narrowed a subpoena request to focus more specifically on Donald Trump and the immediate members of his family: Eric Trump, Don Jr., and Ivanka Trump.

The subpoena, which was originally broader and issued to Trump's longtime lender Deutsche Bank, "no longer seeks financial records for any other members of President Trump's family," according to a memo released by the House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff. Schiff added that the panel had taken action voluntarily in order to "accelerate resolution" of the matter.

Read Now Show less

New Poll: Scranton Loves Biden, But Queens Despises Trump

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

When Donald Trump visited Old Forge, Pennsylvania, on a campaign stop last week, he touted the idea that Joe Biden "abandoned" his birthplace—Scranton, which was about 15 miles away. Biden was ten when he moved away from Scranton with his family because his dad had found steady work in Delaware

Trump has repeatedly floated the notion that Biden somehow slighted Scranton by leaving with his family, saying Biden either abandoned or "deserted" the Pennsylvania town known for its blue collar grit. But when Public Policy Polling (PPP) surveyed Scranton voters, they seemed plenty proud to claim Biden as a native son, with 62 percent of respondents saying they're proud Biden is from Scranton.

And per usual, nearly everything Trump says about other people is a projection of his own worst qualities. When PPP surveyed Queens voters about Trump hailing from the New York borough, they were a lot less than thrilled, with just 17 percent saying they're proud the Don is from there. In fact, fully 70 percent of Queens voters said they are ashamed that Trump hails from their neck of the woods.

The same is true of what voters believe about which candidate abandoned their hometown—only 26 percent of Scrantonians think Biden abandoned their city, while 66 percent of voters in Queens think Trump abandoned them.

In terms of being embraced by residents, Biden completely crushes Trump in both cities, with 64 percent of voters in both Scranton and Queens saying Biden cares about people like them. Just 16 percent of voters in Queens thinks Trump cares about people like them, while only 27 percent of voters in Scranton say Trump cares about them.

But New York is going for Biden no matter what. The real question is whether Trump can repeat his narrow victory in the Keystone State, where he edged out Hillary Clinton by less than a point in 2016. Right now, Biden holds a clear advantage of nearly six points, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

So Trump can crow all he wants about Biden supposedly deserting Scranton at the age of ten, when Trump himself, a native New Yorker, formally declared himself a Floridian just last year. Keep talking, Trump—you're just as offensive as you ever were and reminding voters of that just months out from the election is ideal.

New Pandemic Poll Shows That Most Voters Now Distrust Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

New polling underscores the motivations behind Donald Trump's desperate bid to steal the election by kneecapping vote-by-mail systems at the state level. Trump has 100 percent blown what has become this election's pivotal issue: the coronavirus.

The new NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Friday showed that fully 71 percent of Americans now consider the coronavirus to be "a real threat." That's not only an eye-popping share of the electorate, that's a major jump from March when 56 percent deemed it a major threat.

Read Now Show less

Comparing Trump’s Current Approval Rating With Presidential History’s Biggest Losers

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

A couple weeks ago, Trump hit 40 percent approval rating in FiveThirtyEight's polling aggregate. I watched eagerly to see if he might fall below that threshold, which would have been a clear sign the bottom was absolutely dropping out from his campaign.

Unfortunately, Trump managed to bounce back a bit, but not by much. He's currently sitting at 41.4 percent approval and has been bobbing around that 41 percent mark since early June. But not to worry, a look at the worst political routs in modern U.S. history shows that presidents and major-party nominees pretty much get 40 percent of the votes no matter how dreadful their leadership or campaign.

Read Now Show less

Trump’s Suburban Support Collapses Into Gender Chasm

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Remember when all we ever heard about were former Democrats who defected to vote for Donald Trump in 2016? Would they really stick with Trump? Could Democrats ever win them back? Political reporters spent a solid three years perseverating over nothing but disaffected Democrats who might be permanently wed to the GOP moving forward.

Well, good news—political reporters are now looking elsewhere for their dog-bites-man electoral stories. The new shiny objects of 2020 are the once reliably pro-Republican suburbs turning on Trump. As we saw in the 2018 midterms, if enough college-educated GOP voters run toward Democrats, they can neutralize and, in some critical states, more than offset non-college white Democrats who gravitated toward Trump in 2016.

Read Now Show less

GOP House Caucus Gearing Up For Post-Blowout Civil War

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The very real possibility that House Republicans lose rather than gain seats in November already has the minority caucus drawing the battle lines for an epic leadership fight.

"If Trump loses, there's gonna be a mad scramble if we're in the minority," one Republican lawmaker told Politico. "There's people seeing this as an opportunity. … I think it's gonna be a real fight."

Read Now Show less

Enfeebled And Losing, Trump Tries To Discredit Election In Advance

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

An enfeebled Donald Trump made a desperate bid this week to snatch victory from the jaws of electoral defeat. Baselessly impugning mail-in voting as a drag on election integrity, Trump offered, "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

Not only does Trump lack the constitutional authority to do anything of the sort, no one was going for it. Not the pro-Trump co-founder of the ultra conservative Federalist Society, Steven Calabresi, who called it grounds for "immediate impeachment." Not the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which suggested that perhaps Trump should scrap his reelection bid and "let someone run who isn't looking for an excuse to blame for defeat." And even some vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection this cycle managed to part ways with Trump on something for basically the first time ever.

Read Now Show less

To Reboot Failed Messaging, Trump Campaign Suspends Advertising

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In yet another sign Donald Trump's internal polls aren't all they're cracked up to be, the Trump campaign has halted ad spending over the next few days due to their "messaging strategy," because that's clearly the problem.

Following the campaign shakeup in mid-July, a senior campaign official sought to frame the cessation as completely par for the course. "There's understandably a review and fine-tuning of the campaign's strategy," the official told CNN, adding that they would be back on the air "shortly."

Read Now Show less

‘Like Guinea Pigs’: Parents Reject Trump’s Rush To Reopen Schools

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

In the battle of Donald Trump vs. the coronavirus, the virus has ultimately prevailed at every turn. Trump bowed to that reality this week, suddenly re-upping White House coronavirus task force briefings and abruptly canceling his precious in-person GOP convention scheduled for next month in Jacksonville, Florida.

Trump's repeated failures to outwit science followed by his patent admissions of those failures have now cast his aggressive push for reopening the nation's schools in the purest of Machiavellian terms. In short: Trump's track record on placing the health of the American people above his own political fortunes stinks, and that has not been lost on the country's parents, teachers, and school communities.

Read Now Show less