5. Back to school in a pandemic:
This could have a major impact on the fall campaign. Trump, as the GOP convention last week made clear, is working to put the coronavirus behind him — arguing that things are much improved and he saved lots of lives with his decision to restrict travel from China and Europe.
If a number of elementary schools, middle schools and high schools are forced to shut down in the coming days and weeks, it becomes very, very hard for Trump to make that case. And with a majority of Americans already disapproving of how he has handled Covid-19, a series of high-profile outbreaks with sick kids and teachers might well doom any chances he has of making a comeback between now and November 3.
4. A HUGE Democratic primary:
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III face off in a Democratic primary that has dredged up all sorts of ongoing fights within the party.
Markey, at 74, is a senior statesman within the party and has emerged in Trump’s presidency as a liberal favorite. He has endorsements from, among others, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
While the assumption in the race was that Kennedy III would win — because, duh, he is a Kennedy in Massachusetts — it now appears that Markey is the favorite going into Tuesday’s vote.
Should Markey win, it will be the latest in a string of victories for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party including defeating Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) in primaries this year.
3. Biden set to emerge:
While former Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t been, as Trump suggests, hiding in his basement for the last few months, it’s also true that he has kept a very conservative schedule during the Covid-19 pandemic.
That move comes as Democratic fretting — a perennial condition — has increased of late as some polls suggest Trump made modest gains in the general election polling.
“Though Biden plans to step up his events in battleground states, some Democrats are worried that he could lose his edge as Trump touches off a robust schedule of campaigning to remind Americans that the economy was roaring before the pandemic hit, while rewriting history on his response to the virus.”
The few times Biden has campaigned — or granted interviews — over the past few months have not yielded terribly positive results. He made waves by telling Charlamagne tha God that “you aint’ Black” if you weren’t already voting for Biden.
More Biden campaign travel means more exposure to the media and more potential for gaffes. And the more gaffes Biden makes, the less the race is a pure referendum on the current President.
2. Did Trump get a convention bounce?:
Republicans are working hard to make the case that the President received a major polling boost from his four-day convention last week, pulling himself much closer to Biden.
Trump’s tweets aside, however, there’s not a ton of evidence out there of a major (or even minor) Trump surge. An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday morning showed Trump’s approval rating at just 31%, roughly the same as the 32% approval he had prior to the start of the Democratic convention earlier this month.
1. “Protests” vs. “riots”:
To hear Trump and his allies tell it, the situations unfolding in Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, in response to several high-profile shootings by the police of Black men is rioting, plain and simple.
Trump’s efforts to label what is happening in major cities as “riots” speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking, at the moment.
Trump, sensing that the race is slipping from him, has latched on to the events following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha earlier this month as a sign not of peaceful protests but of radical leftists rioting and destroying cities.
The President’s planned trip to Kenosha on Tuesday will give him a huge platform to make that case. “He will meet with law enforcement and survey damage from recent riots,” according to the pool report announcing the trip. (That bolding is mine.)
Yup. And making sure people view what is happening in the country as “riots” rather than “protests” is a key part of Trump’s comeback strategy.