Because of the constitutional quirks of the Electoral College, Donald Trump was elected president because of approximately 80,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A newly released NBC News/Marist poll of two of those three states does not bode well for the president nearly two years before he runs for re-election.
In Michigan, the president’s approval rating is 36-54.
In Minnesota, the president’s approval rating is 38-51.
In Wisconsin, the president’s approval rating is 36-52.
In contrast, only about one third of voters in all three states say President Trump deserves re-election.
The poll was done mostly after the President’s widely criticized summit and press conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on July 16. A majority of voters in all three states were in favor of a Democrat-controlled Congress: 45-36 in Michigan, 48-36 in Minnesota, and 47-39 in Wisconsin. A majority of voters in all three states said the message of their vote in November would be that more Democrats are needed in Congress to act as a check and balance on the president.
Besides House congressional races, all three states also have governor and U.S. Senate races as well.
A look at what prospective Democratic presidential candidates are up to:
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) told The Hill he was considering a run against Democratic Senator Doug Jones, who is up for re-election in 2020. He rated his chances of getting in the race as “greater than 50 percent.”
Jones won what was considered a safe Republican seat in a special election last December, defeating former Chief Justice Roy Moore who was politically weakened after a series of allegations that he made advances on teenage girls as a 30-year-old man. He is currently serving the remainder of former senator Jeff Sessions’ six-year term, which expires in 2020. He would likely be one of the most endangered Senate Democrats in that cycle.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) will be the keynote speaker at the Kansas Democratic Party’s bi-annual Demofest convention, scheduled to take place in Wichita during the weekend of August 24-26. It has been widely speculated that McAuliffe, a former chairman of the National Governors Association and of the Democratic National Committee, is considering a presidential run in 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed four down ballot candidates running for Secretary of State in key states for the midterm and presidential election cycles. He made the announcement in an email sent out to supporters of American Possibilities, his political action committee. He cited protection of voting rights as his reason for the endorsements, writing that one of the best ways to accomplish this goal was “by electing strong Secretaries of State, the folks responsible for overseeing elections, all across the country.”
Biden has maintained his public profile by endorsing several state and congressional candidates across the country in the past several months, fueling speculation about whether he is considering another White House run. Biden told the Washington Post that he did not know what he was going to do.
The four candidates to receive Biden’s endorsement were attorney Jena Griswold in Colorado, former Wayne State University Law School dean Jocelyn Benson in Michigan, Assemblyman Nelson Araujo in Nevada, and State Rep. Kathleen Clyde in Ohio. All four states have open races for governor because of term-limited incumbents. Only Colorado does not have a Senate race in the current cycle. All four are competitive swing states in presidential elections.
The significance of the secretaries of state who are elected in this cycle is that they will become the top elections officials in their respective states for the 2020 presidential cycle, which will make them responsible for managing primaries, protecting the integrity of the election systems and process, and certifying the results.
Griswold won her party’s nomination in the Colorado primary this evening.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Florida Democratic Party’s annual Leadership Blue Gala, scheduled for this weekend in Hollywood, Fla. Also scheduled to speak at the event are House Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and incumbent senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is running for re-election this fall.
The event is scheduled one week after Inslee traveled to Iowa to campaign on behalf of Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell, who is running for governor. As was the case in Iowa last week, Inslee is attending the event in Florida in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, although it will also raise eyebrows about his possible 2020 presidential ambitions.
Also scheduled to speak at the event are Democratic state legislators and candidates, including the five candidates running for the party’s nomination in the governor’s race this fall: Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, Chris King and Philip Levine, as well as Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher Kat Posada. Democrats are trying to win the state’s chief executive position for the first time in 24 years.
Larry Sabato and the Cook Political Report both project the Florida governor’s race as a toss-up. The state’s primary is scheduled for August 28.
In light of the national uproar over President Donald Trump’s family separation policy, at least two incumbent House Democrats (Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts) a gubernatorial candidate (Cynthia Nixon in New York) and one possible presidential contender (Kamala Harris in California) has floated the idea of reforming, de-funding or shutting down Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Even the libertarian publication Reason has gotten behind this idea. The most serious move on this issue so far has come from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), who announced this morning that he would be introducing legislation in the House to abolish ICE.
The agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, has come under new scrutiny for its role and actions in implementing President Trump’s policy, as have its architects. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller were heckled by protesters while eating out in Washington DC restaurants last week.
The Republican National Committee hasn’t made much of an issue out of it yet beyond a blog post, although expect that to change if President Trump enters the fray, particularly in close House and Senate races which could make or break the Republican majorities for next year.
President Donald Trump leads former attorney general Eric Holder 37-21 in a hypothetical matchup, with 41 percent of voters undecided, according to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll. Holder underperforms a generic Democrat who, in another poll, is ahead of President Trump 44-36, with 20 percent undecided.
Democrats are divided about the former attorney general as a prospective presidential candidate. Fifty-two percent of Democrats were undecided when asked about a Trump-Holder matchup, compared to 42 percent who said they would support Holder.
Holder said he was considering a presidential run during an interview with MSNBC last April. He also traveled to New Hampshire in May, during which he spoke and took questions at “Politics and Eggs” at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics – a traditional stop for presidential aspirants. Holder has said he remains focused on his work with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
A look at what prospective Democratic presidential candidates are up to:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ohio at the end of June for fundraising events in Cincinatti for Richard Cordray, the Democratic candidate in the Ohio governor’s race; and another event in Cleveland for Democratic senator Sherrod Brown.
- Biden also endorsed Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in her campaign to become the first Democratic governor of Georgia in 15 years, and the first African American woman to ever be elected governor. Abrams has also been endorsed by other 2020 contenders Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
- Biden also endorsed Jena Griswold, the Democratic nominee running for Colorado Secretary of State.
- Governor Jay Inslee traveled to Iowa in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, where he joined the Iowa Democratic ticket Fred Hubbell and Rita Hart at a campaign event. He recorded an interview with Iowa Public Television in which he praised Hubbell as “the perfect candidate.” He will also be the featured speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration in Des Moines on Saturday night. He will also be meeting with Democratic activists in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
- Senator Jeff Merkley did not rule out a possible presidential run during an interview with The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser: “I’m exploring the possibility.”
- Senator Cory Booker was the headliner at the Blue Commonwealth Gala in Richmond, Virginia, an annual event organized by the Democratic Party of Virginia. In addition to Booker, all Virginia Democratic statewide elected officials and former governor Terry McAuliffe – another possible 2020 contender – spoke at the event.
- Senator Kamala Harris sent out a fundraising email on behalf of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, according to Kansas City Star reporter Lindsay Wise. Harris also praised McCaskill during her keynote address before the St. Louis County NAACP, which both senators attended. McCaskill is considered one of the most endangered Democratic senators of the current election cycle.
The Democratic National Committee has scheduled its next national convention for the week of July 13, 2020. According to a statement, the convention is scheduled to begin eleven days before the star of the Summer Olympics to allow the party’s presidential nominee “maximum exposure heading into the fall.” The earlier date also gives the nominee earlier access to general election funds, which are restricted until after the candidate has formally accepted the party’s nomination. Because Republicans control the White House, the Democrats will hold their convention first. According to the Washington Post, the 2020 convention will be the earliest since 1976.
According to CNN, the committee has narrowed down its choice of host city for the convention to eight possible contenders:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Miami Beach, Florida
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- New York, New York
- San Francisco, California
Each city has its pros and cons. With the exceptions of Birmingham and Milwaukee, all have hosted previous Democratic conventions.
- Atlanta: It is one of the most Democratic cities in the south, in a state Democrats have wanted to flip for years that Hillary Clinton lost by five points. If gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams wins the governor’s race in the fall, she will be a rising star in the party and be able to make a strong case for Atlanta as the convention’s host city. She would probably be a contender to deliver the keynote address, which historically has been a springboard for future stars of the party. Having the convention here would also be a boon to the Democratic nominee running against incumbent Republican senator David Perdue. Picking Atlanta would also reaffirm Democratic commitment to trying to compete and win in the south, an area that geographically has trended Republican for years.
- Birmingham: Incumbent senator Doug Jones, who won an upset victory in the Alabama Senate race last year and would be running for reelection, would at the very least be considered for a prime-time speaking slot, if not the keynote address. His reelection campaign and the state Democratic party would likely benefit a great deal from having the convention in Alabama. Like Atlanta, choosing Birmingham for the convention would be a reaffirmation of Democratic intentions to compete in the south. However, the state is still solidly Republican.
- Denver: The Mile High City hosted Barack Obama’s first convention in 2008, and the state has voted Democratic in the last three presidential elections. Hosting the convention could be a boon to the Democratic challenger running against incumbent Republican senator Cory Gardner. Democrats have found success in the Mountain West in recent years, particularly Colorado and New Mexico. Democratic candidates in purplish states like Arizona or Montana could benefit from having the convention in Denver.
- Houston: Democrats have dreamed of turning Texas blue for years, a state dominated by Republicans up and down the ticket since the mid-1990s. Hillary Clinton had the best performance of a Democratic presidential candidate in two decades, losing by nine points. Beto O’Rourke is seen as a long-shot candidate to beat incumbent Senator Ted Cruz this November, though the state’s growing minority population could help Democratic candidates running for the House of Representatives this year. Texas won’t be voting for a Democratic presidential candidate any time soon, but hosting the convention in Houston would be an affirmation of the party’s commitment to making that a reality.
- Miami Beach: Hosting a convention in the perennial and all-important swing state of Florida is never a bad idea for either party. If all the Trump-Nixon comparisons weren’t enough already, here’s another one: the last time the Democrats held their convention in Miami Beach was in 1972 – a few weeks after the Watergate burglary.
- Milwaukee: Wisconsin has had one of the most successful Republican state parties in the country in recent years, thanks arguably to Governor Scott Walker. Having the Democratic convention in Milwaukee would be a form of making amends, both to rebuild the state party and to not repeat Hillary Clinton’s disastrous failure to campaign in the Badger State in 2016.
- New York: The Big Apple has all the existing infrastructure to host a convention, and has done so for both parties many times over the years. It would be geographically convenient for many of the party’s fundraisers, as well as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. The city also appeals to the party’s young, minority, and LGBT base. It would also let Democrats take the fight directly to Donald Trump in his hometown, although Trump lost the city and the state handily in 2016. Besides practicality, there is little advantage to doing it here.
- San Francisco: Like New York, it has all the existing infrastructure and has hosted previous conventions. It would be geographically convenient for many of the party’s fundraisers, as well as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The city also appeals to the party’s young, minority, and LGBT base. The city and state are solidly Democratic. Again, like New York, San Francisco offers little more than practicality.
UPDATE: According to Politico Playbook, the DNC has narrowed the field down to four finalists: Denver, Houston, Miami Beach and Milwaukee.
UPDATE II: The Denver Post is reporting that the Denver bid has been withdrawn, citing incompatibility with the planned July 2020 dates for the convention. Houston, Miami Beach and Milwaukee remain on the shortlist.