Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump has headwinds going into the election

Niall Stanage/The Hill:

The Memo: Suburbs spell trouble for Trump

President Trump has a problem with suburban voters — and it could have profound consequences for his chances of reelection next year.

An NBC News analysis Monday noted that Trump has been “underwater” with suburban voters in five out of six NBC News–Wall Street Journal polls conducted this year.

That finding comports with other surveys that show Trump performing poorly with some of the key voting blocs that populate the nation’s suburbs, notably white women and white college graduates.

Those dynamics make Trump’s path to reelection a steep one, experts say.

“We are a long way off from November 2020, but my general sense is that it is going to be very tough for him to reverse the Democratic trends in the suburbs,” said Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs and a polling expert at Franklin & Marshall College in the electorally crucial state of Pennsylvania…

The margins were so narrow that any shift in the suburbs could swing those states back into the Democratic column, even if Trump were to retain the enthusiasm of his base.

Been saying that. His base is not big enough to win with.


I pay close attention to Trump’s tweets. That’s why I’m firmly #NeverTrump Women will determine #Election2020 & we’ll be placing our #PrinciplesFirst https://t.co/GcxvmEQYs3

— lisa S Marie (@frequentbuyer1) August 14, 2019


What always strikes me about Trump speeches like that is that they’re covered by most media as if they’re remotely normal. At most explicit, they’ll be described as “freewheeling.” The headline will be likeTrump talks up energy policies at Pennsylvania plant.”

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 13, 2019

Jill Lawrence/USA Today:

Joe Biden isn’t the boringly reassuring candidate Democrats were hoping for

If they nominated Biden, the general election campaign would be nerve-wracking for Democrats. And if Biden won, his presidency would not be all balm.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado recently made a pitch on Twitter that a lot of voters across America might find persuasive: “If you elect me president, I promise you won’t have to think about me for 2 weeks at a time. I’ll do my job watching out for North Korea and ending this trade war. So you can go raise your kids and live your lives.”

Alas for Bennet, and perhaps all of us, he has not electrified the electorate. In fact, he’s at .3% in the Real Clear Politics average of South Carolina primary polls and invisible — as in, doesn’t even register — in the six other states and national polling RCP is tracking.

What worries me is that the third of Democrats who support former Vice President Joe Biden may believe he will be a similarly stabilizing force: someone who will quietly take care of business and not force Americans to think and fret constantly about their commander in chief.

They need to take the blinders off.

This is interesting (think “neo-liberal”, “intersectional”, “centered”, all examples in the piece. As folks know I hate the term neo-liberal, which is used, except in the hands of experts, as “I don’t like what you said”): 


This article on Trump‘s use of language and the challenges the left has on countering it has some real lessons for the foreign policy community, which also uses language to exclude and obscure.https://t.co/hZ2qN697aN pic.twitter.com/fOgnJp0vLR

— Mieke Eoyang (@MiekeEoyang) August 13, 2019

Andrew Prokop/Vox:

Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign, explained

The billionaire jumped in the race late. Here’s his background and platform.

In the fall of 2017, Steyer found a new cause: the impeachment of Donald Trump.

Citing many reasons — Trump’s “relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia,” his “willingness to exploit the office of the Presidency for his personal gain,” his “conduct” in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence, and even his “decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords” — Steyer started a new group called “Need to Impeach,” and began a push to win more elected officials to his cause.

In the course of the effort, Steyer’s organization collected more than 8 million email addresses from anti-Trump Democrats who signed a petition. He also paid for ads in which he would personally make the case for impeachment on camera, and toured the country hosting pro-impeachment events.

If there are 2 debates in the fall (10 have or will qualify, maybe 11 if Castro gets in), Steyer should be in both so everyone can take their shot. IMO.


“We don’t really know” is an unsatisfying answer, but I think it’s an important one.- @perrybaconjr https://t.co/aoZgHPfBFy

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) August 13, 2019

NY Times:

Trump’s Push to Bring Back Jobs to U.S. Shows Limited Results

Mr. Trump’s tax cuts unquestionably stimulated the American economy in 2018, helping to push economic growth to 2.5 percent for the year and fueling an increase in manufacturing jobs. But statistics from the government and other sources do not support Mr. Trump’s claim about his policies’ effectiveness in drawing investment and jobs from abroad.

Foreign investment in the United States grew at a slower annual pace in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s tenure than during Barack Obama’s presidency, according to Commerce Department data released in July. Growth in business investment from all sources, foreign and domestic, accelerated briefly after Mr. Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017 but then slowed. Investment growth turned negative this spring, providing a drag on economic output.


I have reached the point where my requirement for a president is “not dangerously unstable” and “not in bed with a hostile foreign power.” You’d think that would be easy to find, but no, not in the GOP. So Dems, if you pass those two tests, your nominee has my vote. /2

— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) August 12, 2019

Quin Hillyer/WashExaminer (conservative columnist):

The Trump recession could be right around the corner

The signs of health risks for the U.S. economy suddenly are everywhere. And President Trump’s prescriptions for prevention would actually be poison for the patient.

At a single time today, the Drudge Report featured four stories all pointing to different worrisome economic indicators, while the Wall Street Journal’s website was publishing a fifth. Trump’s quack medicines for the problems include significantly higher federal spending, significantly lower interest rates, and more aggressive trade wars. What’s needed instead is lower federal spending, steady interest rates, and a major relaxation in trade tensions.

Let’s review the bad news. Story number one is headlined, “Bankruptcy filings rise across the country and it could get worse.” Both individuals and businesses are struggling with debt loads, even worse than during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, that they cannot handle.


priceless https://t.co/8RbXB9CmMp

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) August 13, 2019

Yeah. That Godwin.

Edward Isaac-Dovere/Atlantic:

The Contradictory Americana on Display at the Iowa State Fair

Democrats went through the performative motions of the American electoral system this weekend—even though that system may be severely broken.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts drew more people to her speech on the soapbox than most of the other candidates combined. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg received a hugely enthusiastic reception at the Wing Ding from the moment he walked out, and it continued through a speech that called for a fresh start with serious answers. Biden, meanwhile, sounded tired and ran long, not realizing that “We Take Care of Our Own,” the Bruce Springsteen song his campaign has cribbed from the old Obama playlist, was playing to nudge him offstage. (He tried to shout over the track.)..

Gillibrand handed her dripping ice-cream cone to an aide as she and I spoke. “There’s an ever-present anxiety, because [Trump has] put us at such risk in so many ways that people really do fear the future,” she told me. It can be hard to focus on fair games a few hours after speaking at a quickly organized presidential forum on gun violence. “You do have to separate it,” she said.

Then she was off to see the butter cow, which was accompanied this year by a butter Big Bird, a butter Oscar the Grouch, and a butter Cookie Monster, watching a butter TV.

Butter emails. Next year, maybe.


The problem is not that Democrats are correctly describing reality. It is that what would normally be hyperbolic rhetoric that has no place in our discourse is, in fact, all true—and that many Republicans refuse to face the reality of who our president is and the role he plays.

— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) August 12, 2019

James B. Stewart/NY Times:

The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People

So one of my first thoughts on hearing of Mr. Epstein’s suicide was that many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.

During our conversation, Mr. Epstein made no secret of his own scandalous past — he’d pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting prostitution from underage girls and was a registered sex offender — and acknowledged to me that he was a pariah in polite society. At the same time, he seemed unapologetic. His very notoriety, he said, was what made so many people willing to confide in him. Everyone, he suggested, has secrets and, he added, compared with his own, they seemed innocuous. People confided in him without feeling awkward or embarrassed, he claimed…

When I later reflected on our interview, I was struck by how little information Mr. Epstein had actually provided. While I can’t say anything he said was an explicit lie, much of what he said was vague or speculative and couldn’t be proved or disproved.


Here’s a great @civiqs display of presidential approval with big events tagged on the trend line. Nicely illustrates how nothing in a maximally chaotic presidency substantially moves approval. Partisanship rules the world. https://t.co/58pwFbpnYC pic.twitter.com/aD852XTBuD

— Nathan Kalmoe (@NathanKalmoe) August 12, 2019

Later discussion highlights the conventions and the rallying effect, but that’s not until summer of 2020.

Yascha Mounk/Atlantic:

Democrats Should Just Stick to What’s Popular

Voters are more open to progressive economic policy now than in the recent past. But they are not opposed to capitalism.

Seductive as these arguments may seem, they fly in the face of compelling evidence about the kind of radicalism that American voters are—and, just as importantly, are not—willing to countenance. While Americans seem more open to progressive economic policy now than in the recent past, for example, they are not nearly as opposed to capitalism as some Democrats like to claim. The same Voter Study Group survey that found strong support for breaking up big banks also found that a plurality of Americans object to the idea of the government reducing differences in income and favor less regulation.

Other polls make clear that most Americans remain hostile to socialism. According to the most detailed study on the question, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Americans have a positive view of capitalism, while 42 percent have a positive view of socialism. Some 55 percent have either a very negative or somewhat negative view of socialism.


Items that divide the pro-Trump coalition:-whether he opposes white nationalism-whether he encourages violenceWhere we are as a country. https://t.co/bC5XzKy8yd

— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) August 13, 2019

Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

Take it from Democrats in red districts: Focus on beating Trump

One can see a microcosm of the electorate here. The Democratic nominee isn’t going to win over the vast majority of Republicans. “Don’t write off anyone” might be a fashionable catchphrase, but it’s ridiculous in the current atmosphere to spend time worrying about how to convert the nonconvertible like Carol’s two lawyer neighbors. There is the vast number of Democrats, every woman whom I spoke with, who’d crawl over glass to vote for the nominee. They simply want Trump out. And then there is the small number of persuadables, people like Scott Holt, who would prefer to get away from hyperpartisan, extreme politics. Provided with a unifying figure, they’d make the leap.

From what I saw, it’s a misnomer to think that accommodating persuadable Republicans will mean some Democrats lose interest or stay home. The latter are motivated by a passion to get rid of Trump. If that means going for a less-than-scintillating moderate, they’ll still go all out to oust Trump. The revulsion at the prospect of four more years of Trump — often manifested physically with a shudder or hands-on-the-head gesture — is all the motivation they need.


Can Democrats beat President Trump on gun control? @POLITICO‘s @morningmoneyben has the answer in this week’s U.S. Politics #In60Seconds pic.twitter.com/gD7ItWNCoI

— GZERO Media (@gzeromedia) August 12, 2019

Upshot/NY Times from Feb 2019, and an excellent reminder of trade-offs:

Build Your Own ‘Medicare for All’ Plan. Beware: There Are Tough Choices.

A panel of health policy experts helps you make decisions along five key dimensions.

Update: Through February, the aggregate reader response was 1) Yes to universal coverage 2) Split verdict on ending job-based coverage 3) Yes to ending individual markets 4) Yes to ending premiums 5) No to ending cost-sharing.


former GWB administration official 👇 https://t.co/egU41cJkje

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 13, 2019


the part of DC with all the power at the time wanted its taxes cut and insisted this wouldn’t happen https://t.co/w87B4cWJ0U

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 13, 2019


other specific parts of DC – Congressional Democrats and the entire economics profession – said that wasn’t true, that the deficit would go way upjournalists with their eyes open reported itthe side that was wrong about this had the votesthe side that was right did not

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 13, 2019

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