Democrats thought they were going to win big four years ago — and then they lost to President Trump. Now, there are signs that they could win big in November. And this time, they’re nervous it could all go south again without them understanding why.
“They … worry their party still does not fully understand what led voters to Trump in the first place, and they are terrified that overconfidence, like some of them enjoyed four years ago, will lead to complacency,” reports The Post’s Matt Viser, who talked to Democratic officials across the country.
Biden arrives June 17 at a soul food restaurant in Pennsylvania. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Less than five months from the election, here’s what’s going right for former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign:
- He is leading Trump in most national polls, some by double digits. While polling of the entire nation helps capture the national mood, the election will be won or lost in certain swing states. And in all key swing states right now, Biden is leading Trump in polls.
- Biden is raising lots of money. In fact, he raised $7 million more than Trump in May. Biden is going to need to keep doing that, because Trump has been raising money for his reelection for four years now and has about a hundred million more than Biden in the bank. Money is both a sign of strength for a campaign and a necessary commodity to buy more ads than the other guy, to make sure your message reaches voters. That’s especially helpful when campaigning in person will be limited.
- Trump is facing some of the strongest head winds any president has ever faced going into his reelection: a pandemic, which he’s received poor marks for handling; a resulting economic downturn that has left tens of millions of Americans unemployed; and racial tensions that the country has largely been in favor of addressing but Trump has chosen to inflame.
Those are some of the key indicators in this election, and most of them favor Biden. But what don’t we know? In 2016, Democrats couldn’t fathom that enough of America would choose to put Trump to put him in office. This time, they are fully aware there are dynamics they could be missing that could get Trump reelected.
The weekend Justice Department drama you should know about
Friday night into Saturday, Attorney General William P. Barr ensured the firing of a federal prosecutor in New York who had been investigating people close to Trump, including Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani.
Why this New York office is so important: This is also the office that investigated whether Trump and his lawyer illegally gave hush money in 2016 to women alleging they had affairs with Trump. Trump’s former lawyer went to jail for it after naming Trump an unindicted co-conspirator. It’s the clearest line connecting Trump to potential illegal activity of any federal investigation surrounding Trump so far.
What happened this weekend: Barr announced Friday night that the prosecutor leading the office investigating all this, Geoffrey Berman, would step down. Berman said he had no such intention. He eventually did Saturday, after Trump intervened. The whole incident took on a familiar pattern of Barr making unusual moves within the Justice Department that also please Trump.
Trump distanced himself from Berman’s firing, saying it was Barr’s choice. Barr said it was Trump’s. Until the president can get the Senate to confirm someone else, the office will be run by someone who plans to continue its investigations. It’s fair to ask whether that was the opposite of what Barr intended.
What’s going on with Voice of America?
A demonstrator raises his fist near the White House. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
Here are some of your most recent political questions. Ask me something anytime.
What is going on with the takeover by Trump appointees of Voice of America?
It happened. As The Post’s Sarah Ellison reports, Trump’s pick of a conservative documentary filmmaker to lead Voice of America and other independent, international-focused news outlets funded by the federal government was not a high priority in Washington. Then coronavirus happened, and the Trump administration became frustrated that Voice of America wasn’t sufficiently bashing China for its role. Also, a Voice of America reporter asked Trump tough questions at a coronavirus briefing.
The Republican-controlled Senate moved this to the top of its priority list, and as of last week, Michael Pack is the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Top editors at Voice of America resigned, leaving him to remake the news outlet that broadcasts across the world.
What are the facts about Antifa?
It’s a far-left movement made up of radical anti-racists who want to take matters into their own hands to try to stop white supremacy.
Trump and Barr have alleged that antifa was spreading violence and looting during protests after George Floyd’s killing, particularly in Minneapolis. But The Post’s Fact Checker video team “spoke to witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis.”
And they found: “There has not yet been a single confirmed case in which someone who self-identifies as antifa led violent acts at any of the protests across the country.”
What would it take to put term limits on members of Congress?
Every election, there are some candidates for Congress that support this idea. But go figure — once lawmakers get to Congress, they tend to want to stay in power. Some even violate term limits they set for themselves. Term limits just aren’t happening anytime soon, and actually, political scientists worry that it could give lobbyists too much power over a rotating cast of lawmakers.