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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Bad Trump Weekend

IDefying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.   It unfolds as Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.  

Trump has COVID.

“Today feels like the election’s over,” said a veteran Republican strategist who, like others in the party, requested anonymity to speak candidly. “The polls have dropped all last week everywhere, it just feels like the end is near. And I don’t know what they can do to rehabilitate it until he gets better. There’s too many seniors who think he’s been irresponsible and this all started when he politicized the coronavirus. It started back in April and May, but it’s really peaking now.”

A senior Republican congressional official spoke for many by arguing that the handling of the issue over the weekend was “incredibly worrying,” but that it was too early to judge whether the issue further jeopardizes Trump’s reelection chances, the Barrett nomination or GOP control of the Senate.

“Do people show sympathy because he’s sick and is trying to battle through this?” he asked. “Or do they say, ‘You’re the president and if you had taken common sense precautions there’s no way you would have gotten sick.’ If it becomes, ‘You are reckless and this is the metaphor for how reckless he was,’ then we’re facing a tsunami. But it’s too early.”

The official added one caveat, a scenario that he believed would crush the GOP on Nov. 3.

“If the White House lied about the timeline and he went to events and was around people knowing he was covid-positive,” he said. “I think that is the single biggest thing that would resonate with regular people in terms of how irresponsible he was — if he put other people in danger.”

He added, “That could turn this into a death spiral.”
Mark Murray at NBC:
Joe Biden's national lead over President Donald Trump nearly doubled after Tuesday's presidential debate, with voters saying by 2-to-1 that Biden has the better temperament to be president, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll was conducted in the two days after the unruly and insult-filled debate Tuesday but before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalized Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Biden is now ahead of Trump by 14 points among registered voters, 53 percent to 39 percent — up from his 8-point lead in the previous poll, before the debate.
Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and Hannah Knowles at WP:
Current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast Sunday night at President Trump’s trip outside the hospital where he is being treated for the coronavirus, saying the president endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt.

As the backlash grew, multiple aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations also called Trump’s evening outing an unnecessary risk — but said it was not surprising. Trump had said he was bored in the hospital, advisers said. He wanted to show strength after his chief of staff offered a grimmer assessment of his health than doctors, according to campaign and White House officials.

A growing number of Secret Service agents have been concerned about the president’s seeming indifference to the health risks they face when traveling with him in public, and a few reacted with outrage to the trip, asking how Trump’s desire to be seen outside his hospital suite justified the jeopardy to agents protecting him. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis has already brought new scrutiny to his lax approach to social distancing, as public health officials scramble to trace those he may have exposed at large in-person events.