2020 U.S. election

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In crucial Florida, some senior voters cast a skeptical eye toward Trump’s reelection
(WaPo) While Democrats have worried about Biden’s struggles to excite younger voters, older voters who are upset with the president are poised to be potentially more influential in November, especially in swing states whose populations skew their way, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
In Florida, more than 20 percent of those who voted in the 2016 election were over age 65, according to exit polls. In 2016, Trump won the Florida senior vote by a 17-point margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. The state ranks as one Trump must almost certainly win to insure his victory, while Biden has other paths to the White House.

20 May
Trump Is Brazenly Interfering With the 2020 Election
The president appears to be gambling that openly tweeting his threats will let him get away with them.

David A. Graham
(The Atlantic) Imagine that the White House chief of staff wrote a secret memo, at the behest of the president of the United States, to the Treasury secretary and the director of the Office of Management and Budget. In the carefully hidden memo, the chief of staff directs the two to secretly and illegally cut off all federal funding to two key swing states, both led by Democratic governors, with the goal of rigging turnout in favor of the president’s party in the 2020 election.
Now imagine that the memo leaked to The Wall Street Journal, which splashed the story across its front page. The other major papers would quickly follow. Cable news would cover it wall to wall. There would be congressional investigations.
Now imagine that instead of conducting all this skulduggery in private, the president just openly tweeted it out. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it. You can just surf over to Donald Trump’s Twitter feed this morning. … two cases of Trump tweeting threats to states that have sought to expand access to voting by mail as a response to the pandemic sweeping the nation, which has already killed nearly 100,000 Americans (you know, the one Trump has repeatedly declared victory over). And for good measure, he’s tagged Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, OMB Director Russ Vought, and the Treasury Department.

18 April
Senate battle hinges on four races
(The Hill) With 200 days to go until Election Day, the Democrats’ path to a Senate majority currently hinges on four states: Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina, where Republican incumbents are fighting off challenges from well-funded Democratic opponents.
Democrats’ softest target may be in Colorado, where Sen. Cory Gardner (R) is facing changing political headwinds and a challenge from John Hickenlooper, the state’s popular former Democratic governor and the prohibitive front-runner in a crowded primary field.
The party is also confident of defeating Sen. Martha McSally (R) in Arizona. McSally already lost a bid against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in 2018 and took office only after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appointed her to fill the seat vacated by the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
And in Maine, Democrats have it out for Sen. Susan Collins (R), a four-term senator whose vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations touched off a flurry of anger from the left. She’s widely expected to face Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, the Democratic front-runner, in November.
Democrats are also looking to oust Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina. He’s set to face off against national Democrats’ candidate of choice, Cal Cunningham, in November, and recent polls suggest a tight race.

23 March
Voting in a time of national emergency
Tom Wheeler
(Brookings) Our government was apparently unprepared for the novel coronavirus despite warnings; let us not repeat that again when it comes to the election. With election day eight months away, what are we doing now to prepare to protect our citizens’ right to vote (and the health and safety of poll workers)?
Thus far this year, multiple states have delayed their primary elections. There is much less flexibility insofar as the national election. Congress in 1845 established the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November as the date of the general election. The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guiding off that schedule, mandated that the new Congress convene on January 3 and the President be inaugurated on January 20.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), along with 24 other senators have indicated they intend to introduce the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 to allow for national vote-by-mail as well as the expansion of early voting. That all the sponsors are Democrats illustrates how the issue has often been perceived as partisan. Yet 33 states currently give their citizens the right to vote-by-mail without any extenuating excuse. Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon have all-mail elections.

21 March
The 2020 Election Won’t Look Like Any We’ve Seen Before
Voting by mail is key to ensuring the integrity and accessibility of November’s vote.
(NYT editorial board) There is no good time for a pandemic to hit. Still, it’s hard to imagine a more vulnerable moment than the one we find ourselves in, only months before some 130 million Americans expected to head to the polls to vote for the next president and thousands of other officeholders. The outcome of the November election could shape the contours of American politics and government for decades.
Right now, most people are rightly preoccupied with the immediate impacts of the coronavirus on public health and the national economy. But a functioning democracy requires elections that are free, fair, accurate and on time, even during a global health crisis.
For tens of millions of Americans, the traditional visit to the local polling site on Election Day may not be an option. Several states have already postponed their primaries for this reason. That may be the right call for the time being, but it won’t work for the general election in November, the date of which is prescribed by federal law, and which is followed soon after by the constitutionally mandated inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20.
The most practical fix is to make voting by mail a clear and free option for every eligible voter in the country. This means, at a minimum: printing tens of millions of mail-in ballots and envelopes; ensuring that all registered voters receive one automatically, can request a replacement if they don’t, and can return it by Election Day; and finally, having the human and technological resources, like ballot scanners, available to count those votes quickly and accurately.

10 March
The presidential race entered extraordinary new ground as the leading Democrats called off primary-night events in Cleveland, and President Trump’s signature rallies also faced an uncertain future.
(NYT) The new uncertainty about political rallies and face-to-face contact with voters has the potential to remake the entire presidential campaign. … It is Mr. Trump, more than any American leader in modern politics, who has used mega-rallies to motivate his supporters, dominate cable news airwaves with coverage and feed his own ego and morale.
In recent days, Mr. Trump has complained to advisers about the toll the coronavirus is taking on his efforts to campaign publicly, and has continued to insist in private, as he has done in public, that worries about the virus are being overblown, according to two people familiar with his comments. Following his lead, the campaign has told reporters that all of its activity was “proceeding as normal.”
But several people close to Mr. Trump have suggested to his campaign and White House officials that he not go ahead with rallies, a person close to Mr. Trump said. It was unclear how forceful any of them had been in pushing him away from them.
Since his 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has left the glad-handing at dinners and the round-table discussions to surrogates, focusing solely on rallies to communicate his message and connect with supporters. Any slowdown or suspension of rallies would deprive him of a major political weapon at a time when concerns about the virus — as well as the damage to a national economy that is Mr. Trump’s calling card in the 2020 race — could further alienate some disaffected Republicans and independents from the Trump camp.
For the first time in months, Mr. Trump has no rally scheduled for the coming weeks. His last campaign rally took place on March 2 in Charlotte, N.C., on the eve of Super Tuesday. But on Tuesday evening, his campaign announced a “Catholics for Trump” event at a convention center in Milwaukee on March 19. It is not technically a rally, but two campaign officials described it as a test run to see how people reacted to the president holding a large-scale event.

9 March
We Are Watching the Probable Demise of Trump’s Reelection in Real Time
By Jonathan Chait
President Trump’s political career has consisted of a series of self-generated crises that he has improbably survived, from insinuating that John McCain was a coward for having been captured during the war that Trump himself dodged to the three-year-long high-crime (and misdemeanor) spree. Throughout these disasters, Trump has maintained a floor of support that is apparently immutable and just high enough to give him a plausible chance of reelection. Yet the pair of crises now enveloping the administration appear to be of a completely different political magnitude than anything that has faced Trump to date. It may now really, finally, truly be over for him.
The obvious factor distinguishing the coronavirus and the probable recession from the Access Hollywood tape, firing James Comey, and all the rest is that they have a tangible impact on the lives of Americans. …
Trump has done one very big thing very well: He rebranded the economic expansion he inherited as his own creation, like the licensing deals he makes to splash the Trump name over hotels and resorts other people built. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus turns his greatest strength into perhaps his greatest liability.
A somewhat less obvious factor is that Trump’s own mismanagement has demonstrably contributed to these disasters. The entire crisis has grown out of Trump’s constitutional aversion to long-term planning.

22 February

Why Donald Trump’s high approval ratings may be misleading
A statistical wrinkle makes the president appear more popular
(The Economist magazine) over the past two weeks the polls have finally been giving Mr Trump some good news. According to an average of public polling data calculated by FiveThirtyEight, a data-journalism website, he is more popular than he has been since March 2017, two months after he took office. The BBC called it Mr Trump’s “best week” yet in office. Political betting markets increased his chances of re-election by roughly ten percentage points.
… Because the people who take part in surveys are often not representative of the population as a whole, pollsters use a statistical procedure called “weighting”, which adjusts the findings to meet certain demographic targets. The technique helps firms ensure that their surveys have enough young people in them, for example, and that they achieve a good balance of minorities and working-class whites.
But even after correcting for demographic biases, pollsters’ data can still be unrepresentative. They may have the right shares of Latino voters and boomers, but nevertheless have too many Republicans or Democrats. This concern is pronounced when an event causes especially good, or bad, news for a political party. At such times surveys can suddenly be swamped with partisans who are eager to voice their love, or hate, for the president.
In the wake of Mr Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, pollsters suspect that such a bias could be affecting polls. Courtney Kennedy, the director for survey research at the Pew Research Centre, says that there is a “strong possibility” that the recent uptick in Mr Trump’s ratings has a wave of optimistic Republicans as its source. pollsters who do not adjust for partisan bias have picked up a recent—and mostly phantom—swing in Mr Trump’s favour. Yet Ms Kennedy is quick to say that weighting is not a magic wand for ensuring high-quality results. A recent Pew report found that online surveys, in particular, can also be unduly influenced by so-called bogus participants who could be causing even more errors in pollsters’ measurements by submitting nonsensical, and disproportionately positive, responses.

President Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now
(New York) Taken together, Trump’s escalating authoritarianism and rising popularity make the present moment the most harrowing of his presidency thus far. With the anticlimactic end of the Mueller investigation, Trump learned that federal law enforcement cannot (or will not) hold him accountable for abuses of power. With his Senate acquittal, he secured confirmation that Congress won’t either. Now, the small but electorally decisive fragment of the American electorate that isn’t tightly wedded to either party is signaling to Trump that it won’t necessarily penalize his lawlessness either.
Meanwhile, Trump’s post-impeachment polling bounce has cowed his congressional opposition into more accommodative posture. And, thanks to the onset of primary season, the president’s most engaged and ardent critics in civil society have been consumed with our own internal disagreements. These developments have further expanded Trump’s latitude for lawlessness. He has been taking full advantage.

2019

18 November
Back-to-back losses in key governors’ races send additional warning to Trump and GOP ahead of 2020
(WaPo) When Kentucky’s Republican governor lost his bid for reelection two weeks ago despite President Trump’s active endorsement, the president and his allies brushed it off by declaring that Trump had nearly dragged an unpopular incumbent across the finish line.
On Sunday, a day after another Trump-backed GOP gubernatorial candidate fell in Louisiana, the president and his surrogates barely mounted a defense.
In a barrage of 40 tweets and retweets by Sunday evening, Trump didn’t mention Eddie Rispone’s loss to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), even though the president had held two campaign rallies in the state in the 10 days before the election aimed at boosting his chances.

5 – 6 November
In Trump’s shadow, Republican suburban slide shows little sign of slowing
(Reuters) – The last time Democrats controlled the government in Delaware County, a suburb of Philadelphia, the U.S. Civil War had just ended.
The Democratic gains in Pennsylvania, a state crucial to U.S. President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, suggest Republicans have yet to staunch the bleeding in the suburbs, where voters have increasingly revolted against Trump’s heated rhetoric.
The results should “scare” Republicans ahead of the November 2020 election, said Douglas Heye, a strategist who previously worked for the Republican National Committee.

Democrats Win Control in Virginia and Claim Narrow Victory in Kentucky Governor’s Race
Control of Virginia’s government fell to Democrats for the first time in decades, while Andy Beshear held an edge over Gov. Matt Bevin in the Kentucky election.
Election Day 2019: Voting Today in Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi
(NYT) Kentucky and Mississippi will elect governors on Tuesday, with Democrats looking for upset victories in those two solidly Republican states.
In Virginia, voters will decide control of the state legislature, where Republicans have slim majorities in each chamber. If the G.O.P. loses, Virginia state government will be under full Democratic control.
Tuesday’s election results will offer insights on two crucial political dynamics heading into the 2020 campaign: the depth of President Trump’s appeal with Republicans and how fully suburban voters have swung to the Democrats.
Trump trails Democratic rivals in national survey as independents move away
(WaPo) One year out from the 2020 election, President Trump trails some potential Democratic rivals in head-to-head matchups, with his national support level currently fixed at about 40 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Trump’s path to victory next year is to replicate the electoral college majority he fashioned by narrowly winning Florida, North Carolina and three states that had long been Democratic presidential strongholds — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — while easily winning Ohio and Iowa, which had been swing states in recent elections.
State-specific polls often have shown Trump’s job approval rating higher than it is nationally, pointing to the challenges for Democrats in their efforts to win back the White House next year. Though the president is not in a comfortable position heading into the election, Democrats still could have limited options and some obstacles to winning an electoral college majority regardless of the popular vote.

2 November
Off-Year Election Preview: Is It All About Partisanship?
(New York) At a time when the national political landscape is dominated by the outsized personality of Donald J. Trump, odds are the elections of November 5 will be anxiously examined for what they mean for the prospect of ejecting Trump from office in 2020 or giving him four more harrowing years.
That’s not entirely inappropriate, though, because partisan polarization and the steady and continued decline in ticket-splitting is at least partially “nationalizing” state elections like those occurring in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia on Tuesday (there is also a gubernatorial election in Louisiana this year, but the state has already held its nonpartisan “jungle primary” on October 12, and incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards will face Republican Eddie Rispone in a November 16 runoff). Republicans have the most to lose, though, since they currently hold the governorships at stake in Kentucky and Mississippi, along with the two legislative chambers at risk in Virginia (there are also elections in New Jersey for the lower house of its legislature, but Democratic control is not in any danger).

7 September
Frank Bruni: The Republicans Are Dropping Like Flies
We talk and write all the time about the Never Trumpers … The more interesting and maybe predictive group are the Republicans who, to varying degrees, tried to make do with Trump, found ways to rationalize him and still won’t acknowledge how offensive he is but have fled or are fleeing government nonetheless. Republicans in Congress, especially in the House [are]making their predictions with their feet, and they’re heading for the exit.
To recap: Before the 2018 midterms, 46 Republicans but only 20 Democrats decided not to seek re-election to their offices in Congress, and among those, 32 Republicans and 11 Democrats weren’t doing that in order to run for some higher, different post. They were just bolting. The discrepancy between the Republican and Democratic numbers amounted to a weather forecast — and an accurate one at that. Although Democrats didn’t improve their standing in the Senate, they picked up a whopping 40 seats in the House.
Heading into the 2020 election, 19 Republicans in Congress have already announced that they won’t seek another term in their current office, a number higher than at the same point two years ago. Of the 19, 17 aren’t retiring from Congress to pursue some kind of political promotion. Meanwhile, only four Democrats in all are retiring from Congress. To analyze these numbers in the context of what happened in the midterms is to conclude that Republicans are limping toward a disastrous Election Day.

6 September
Trump in high-stakes balancing act between oil and corn ahead of 2020 bid
(Reuters) – At a closed-door meeting at the White House on Aug. 19, President Donald Trump looked increasingly alarmed as his top envoy to China delivered evidence of rising Farm Belt frustration over his biofuel policy along with a stark warning: You’ve got a problem in Iowa. …  the political bind Trump has found himself in as he looks to two of his most prized constituencies – Big Oil and Big Corn – to again propel him into the presidency next year.
It also shows how the biofuel debate, once an overlooked policy backwater, has become a volatile flashpoint as Trump tries to appease these competing interests.
The Renewable Fuel Standard requires oil refiners to blend biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the fuel pool or pay a price, but allows the government to issue waivers to small refineries who can prove compliance causes a hardship.
Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has handed out 85 such waivers since he took office, saving the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars but enraging the corn lobby which argues it kills demand.
John Cassidy: “Sharpiegate” and Donald Trump’s Perpetual Cone of Uncertainty
As we move closer to the election, Trump’s war on the news media, and on the very notion of truth, will only intensify. As the past few days have demonstrated, even the onset of hurricanes or other natural disasters won’t stop it.

4 September
Wishful thinking?
Trump is in serious danger, and his own advisers know it
By Greg Sargent
(WaPo) Trump’s conduct is so outsize and crazy, and his advisers’ defenses of it are so strained and absurd, that we often end up overlooking the much more mundane explanation for all of this — that Trump is failing on many fronts, and as a result, he and his advisers fear he’ll lose reelection.
Politico has an illuminating new report that helps pry loose this mask. The gist is that Trump’s own advisers are aware that there are multiple flashing indicators right now that very well might put Trump’s reelection in serious doubt.
Among these: Trump’s trade war with China will likely worsen; his rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement might not pass Congress, denying him a badly needed victory on a signature issue; and the likelihood of a recession has increased. What’s more, the U.S. manufacturing sector just contracted by one very closely watched metric, and Trump’s trade wars are a key reason for that.
‘They are riding a rubber ducky into alligator-infested waters’
(Politico) Trump faces a contracting U.S. factory sector, a narrow path to trade victories and investors spooked by recession risks — all before an election year.

22 August
One of these statements might be dismissed with a sardonic remark, but taken together they indicate a man who is seriously sick and delusional. It is horrific.
The 7 Most Unhinged Things Trump Said on Wednesday
“Numb to Trump” op-eds have become their own micro-genre in the past few years, but every so often a day will come along in which a string of jaw-dropping comments will slap the desensitized awake. Wednesday, was one of those days, with Trump declaring himself the “chosen one,” reiterating that he’s intent on ending birthright citizenship, and joking (maybe) about giving himself the Medal of Honor. Here are all of the unhinged Trump musings you may have missed.

When Trump Talks About Jews, He’s Really Talking to Evangelical Christians
By Ed Kilgore
(New York) Trump’s not as interested in Jewish opinion as he often sounds. He’s just using Jews and Israel to express his solidarity with Israel’s, and God’s, truly loyal followers over there in that nice Evangelical church. He needs every one of them in 2020.
Trump says that Jewish people who vote for Democrats are ‘very disloyal to Israel,’ denies his remarks are anti-Semitic
“I think if you vote for a Democrat, you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people,” Trump said in an exchange with reporters outside the White House before departing for an event in Kentucky.
On Tuesday, Trump had criticized Democrats over the views of Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Both women have long been fierce critics of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. They support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a global protest of Israel.

17 August
Trump has one playbook, and very few plays left in it
By Dan Balz
(WaPo) After a week in which the threat of recession rocked global financial markets, his trade war with China showed no signs of progress and the government of Israel got into a nasty dispute with two members of Congress, President Trump went to bed Thursday night with other weighty issues on his mind.
“Great news,” he tweeted. “Tonight we broke the all-time attendance record previously held by Elton John at #SNHUArena [Southern New Hampshire University] in Manchester!” This is the frivolous mind-set of the president of the United States. Trump’s statements over the past few days have brought into focus once again something fundamental about him: He has little understanding of what it means to govern.
… a new Fox News poll of the 2020 campaign showed Trump losing to every Democrat tested. More telling was that the incumbent president did not break 40 percent against any of them. Polls are polls, and the election is more than a year away, but those numbers should concern the president’s advisers.
Trump is following the same limited playbook that got him elected. Whether those tactics have the same potency they once did is the question that will determine his and the country’s future. Meanwhile, serious problems are in front of him, and he is struggling to find the answers.

12 August
Trump’s State-by-State Approval Ratings Should Scare the MAGA Out of Him
(Politico) There has been a lot of discussion in political circles about Donald Trump’s job-approval ratings, what they portend, and Trump’s Electoral College strategy for 2020, which doesn’t necessarily require a popular-vote plurality. But in the end, of course, the conjunction of the Electoral College with Trump’s state-by-state popularity is where the deal will go down.
The online polling firm Civiqs has published a new set of state-by-state job-approval ratings for Trump as of August 11, and it shows how the president’s overall standing (a 43 percent approval rating nationally, which happens to match the current RealClearPolitics polling average) might translate into electorate votes. It’s not a pretty picture for the president, to put it mildly.
… If you credit these polls at all, Trump’s reelection will require (1) a big late improvement in his approval ratings, which is possible but unlikely based on long-standing patterns during his polarizing presidency; (2) a campaign that succeeds in making the election turn on theoretical fears about his opponent rather than actual fears about a second Trump term, which won’t be easy either; (3) a big Republican turnout advantage, which is less likely among the larger presidential electorate than it was in 2018; or (4) some diabolical ability to thread the needle despite every contrary indicator, which superstitious Democrats fear for obvious reasons.

23 June
Trump warns he’s not ‘prepared to lose’ reelection
President Trump declared that he is not “prepared to lose” reelection in 2020, saying he does not believe the official results of the popular vote count from his first election

18 June
Trump stages his greatest show yet
The president’s elaborate reelection rally in Florida featured thousands of adoring supporters
Trump, at Rally in Florida, Kicks Off His 2020 Re-election Bid
President Trump delivered a fierce denunciation of the news media, the political establishment and what he called his radical opponents on Tuesday as he opened his re-election campaign in front of a huge crowd of raucous supporters by evoking the dark messaging and personal grievances that animated his 2016 victory.
… Mr. Trump mocked and disparaged Democrats, calling them the leaders of an “angry, left-wing mob” and declaring that the 2020 election will be a “verdict on the un-American conduct of those who tried to undermine our great democracy, undermine you.”
He extolled his record as president — the growing economy, the tax cuts and deregulation — but did not offer any new policies or a cohesive agenda for a second term that might expand his political appeal. As he formally declared his intention to run again, he told the audience that his new slogan would be “Keep America Great,” pledging to wage a relentless battle on behalf of his supporters. Fact-Checking Trump’s Orlando Rally: Russia, the Wall and Tax Cuts

Trump Should Be a Shoo-in for 2020, But Low Approval Holds Him Back
By Shannon Pettypiece, Mike Dorning, and Bloomberg June 18, 2019
(Fortune) Donald Trump enjoys a strong economy, a nation at relative peace, the advantage of incumbency and a well funded campaign — assets that make him a good bet for re-election, even though most voters say they don’t like him.
Trump will formally kick off his 2020 re-election bid in a prime-time speech to as many as 20,000 supporters in Florida on Tuesday, beginning a contest that serves as a referendum on both his job performance and his personal conduct in office.
Set aside his sagging approval ratings, the Mueller report and other controversies that have surrounded Trump’s Oval Office. The bottom line is that incumbent presidents seldom lose re-election, especially with a peacetime economy as strong as the U.S. presently enjoys. And Trump has made clear that he wants voters thinking only of dollar signs when they go to the polls.
As 2020 looms, everyone is taking Trump’s bid for a second presidential term seriously
By David Shribman, Executive Editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
(Globe & Mail) Hardly anyone took Donald Trump seriously when he rode an escalator down to his Trump Tower lobby four years ago and said he was running for president. When he repeats the campaign-declaration exercise Tuesday in a 20,000-seat arena in Orlando – no downward descent by escalator this time, as the Trump team will take no chances with the metaphor that might prompt – the country, the world and especially his two dozen Democratic campaign rivals will be taking very seriously the man who is the unlikely 45th president of the United States.
Once again Mr. Trump lags in public-opinion polls and in the very public opinions of the American political establishment. But this time he begins his presidential campaign with the symbolic and real advantages of the incumbent:
A stunning Air Force One jetliner that attracts awe and attention wherever it lands (“The No. 1 perk of being president,” in former president Barack Obama’s estimation);
The power of the White House “bully pulpit” (the phrase comes from one of his Republican presidential predecessors, the fellow insurgent Theodore Roosevelt);
The ability to convert campaign notions to national policy with the stroke of a pen or, just as likely, with the signature Trump twist of a tweet (a capacity available to no one else in politics).
Those Trump second-term advantages are married with substantial challenges, not least of which is that the President lacks several elements his re-elected predecessors have possessed:
Personal discipline (Mr. Trump is contemptuous of the conventional political advice he receives from seasoned veterans);
The authentic support of party leaders (like Mr. Carter, Mr. Trump has surface loyalty from his party but that loyalty is like 19th-century American pioneers’ description of Nebraska’s Platte River, which they had to cross while moving west: broad but shallow); and
A genuine geopolitical base (Mr. Trump commands the Southern states of the Old Confederacy and some of the traditional Midwestern bloc, but many of the farm states are reeling from his tariffs on agriculture exports and his hold on vital swing states is tentative at best).
A grave danger sign for Mr. Trump: The three most important swing states outside of Ohio, which Republicans traditionally capture if they win the White House, are Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. All sided with Mr. Trump in 2016. All elected Democratic governors last year.
16 June
Trump Wants to Neutralize Democrats on Health Care. Republicans Say Let It Go.
(NYT) As President Trump prepares to kick off his bid for a second term this week, he is anxiously searching for a way to counter Democrats on health care, one of their central issues, even though many of his wary Republican allies would prefer he let it go for now.
Since he announced his previous run four years ago, Mr. Trump has promised to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law with “something terrific” that costs less and covers more without ever actually producing such a plan.
Now he is vowing to issue the plan within a month or two, reviving a campaign promise with broad consequences for next year’s contest. If he follows through, it could help shape a presidential race that Democrats would like to focus largely on health care.

5 June
Conservative Icon George Will Shreds Republicans For Turning Into A Trump ‘Cult’
The Republican Party was for decades the party of conservative ideas, but longtime conservative columnist and TV commentator George F. Will said the GOP has abandoned those tenets to support President Donald Trump.
“It’s become a cult ― it’s become a cult because of an absence of ideas,” he said Wednesday on MSNBC. “Because they’ve jettisoned the ideas.”
Then he gave one example of how quickly they’ve sold out a once-core principle to appease Trump:

“For years, decades, all the 20th century almost, conservatives said, ‘We’re for free trade.’ Trump said, ‘By the way, you’re not anymore.’ And they said, ‘OK, we’re not for free trade anymore,’ or they pretend to be.”

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