In Defying 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.
The fundamentals usually determine elections. But campaigns can matter at the margins, and in a close race, the margins matter.
At the close, Trump's campaign is incompetent.
Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman at Politico:
Was chance that GDP growth story would be big last-minute Trump boost but doesn’t even look likely to register. Several things undermine:— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) October 29, 2020
1 Coverage is elsewhere
2 COVID fears
3 Market reaction
4 News outlets not touting as pure good news
5 Conservative media/Trump pre-occupied
JUST TAKE A LOOK AT HOW TRUMP talked about the weekly jobless claims on Thursday -- he said they were boring: “Weekly jobless claims, this is boring but it’s really good, just hit a seven-month low.” He then went on to talk about Fox News’ JOHN ROBERTS.
TRUMP ON GDP, in Tampa: “You see the number today? 33.1 GDP. The biggest in the history of our country by almost triple, right? Almost triple. Now it’s very much bigger than any GDP we’ve ever had. You have to go back to the 1950s, and then it’s less than half. This is the greatest number, 33.1%.” HE THEN continued on, talking about other items.
THE PRESIDENT SEEMS TO BELIEVE HUNTER BIDEN is a better closing message. HERE’S TRUMP IN TAMPA: “I get a call from all the experts, right? Guys that ran for president six, seven, eight times. Never got past the first round, but they’re calling me up, ‘Sir, you shouldn’t be speaking about Hunter. You shouldn’t be saying bad things about Biden because nobody cares.’ I disagree. Maybe that’s why I’m here and they’re not. But they say, ‘Talk about your economic success. Talk about 33.1%, the greatest in history.’ Now, look, if I do, I mean, how many times can I say it? I’ll say it five or six times during the speech. 33.1.”
“But you look at that and you look at Tucker Carlson, what he did the other night. Great. Great. And followed up by Sean and followed up by Laura. And the next day, nothing at all, right?”
MUCH OF THIS IS EERILY REMINISCENT of 2016, when HILLARY CLINTON’S email issues dominated the final days of the campaign. But this time, TRUMP is trying to inject into the campaign a story that’s only existing in the right-wing mediasphere. As we have mentioned, the WSJ and other right-leaning, nonpartisan and left-leaning outlets haven’t found any evidence that JOE BIDEN got involved in his son’s business activities. On Thursday night, Sinclair’s JAMES ROSEN reported that the FBI is looking into HUNTER BIDEN -- but, again, this story seems to be chiefly carried by Sinclair.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told "Axios on HBO" he doesn't think the Trump campaign's focus on the Biden family's business dealings are having any sway with voters. The big picture: After watching the Trump-Biden debate with "Axios on HBO" on Thursday night, Cruz said he thought Trump had done very well. But when asked whether he thought voters were moved by the release of the Hunter Biden emails, Cruz replied, "I don't think it moves a single voter." Cruz also said that "one of Biden's best points was when he said, 'All of these attacks back and forth about my family and his family, they don't matter. What matters is your family.'"
But voters in battleground states do not approve of Trump's largely maskless, packed rallies, a poll released Wednesday by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA found. And more troubling for the president, voters in those states also overwhelmingly blame the president for the second wave of coronavirus infections across the country.
The survey of six battleground states – Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – found that majorities of voters saw Trump "much less" or "somewhat less" favorably because of his practice of holding in-person rallies, with people standing shoulder to shoulder and not wearing masks.
...Dareh Gregorian at NBC:
In Arizona, 56% saw Trump less favorably because of his rallies compared to 26% who saw him "much more" or "somewhat more" favorably; in Florida, the split was 58% unfavorable to 22% favorable; in Michigan, it was 57% unfavorable to 25% favorable; in North Carolina, it was 55% unfavorable to 25% favorable; in Pennsylvania, the divide was 58% unfavorable to 22% favorable; and in Wisconsin, it was 55% unfavorable to 25% favorable, according to the poll.
Despite warnings from public health officials and protests from some local political leaders, Trump has conducted an active in-person campaign during the pandemic, stepping up his rally schedule in recent weeks while he remains stubbornly behind Biden in the polls.
A crowded Trump rally in steamy Tampa, Florida, on Thursday resulted in 17 attendees needing medical attention, with a dozen being taken to the hospital, fire officials told NBC News.
Trump spoke for just under an hour in 87-degree heat at the event outside of Raymond James Stadium to a largely mask-less group of supporters.
A fire truck at the rear of the rally sprayed water in the air to rain down on some rallygoers, but the heat was too much for some attendees, many of whom had been waiting for hours. Tampa Fire Rescue said one of the attendees fainted and another had a seizure. The other 10 who were taken to the hospital were just listed as "sick" with no other details.
The incident came two days after 30 rallygoers in Omaha, Nebraska, needed medical attention after transportation issues resulted in hundreds of attendees being stuck for hours in the freezing cold. Officials said seven were taken to area hospitals with a variety of ailments.