Welcome to our weekly analysis of the status of the 2020 campaign.
The week in numbers
In good news for President TrumpCook’s political report made two changes to its election forecast: Florida from Lean Democrat to Toss Up and Nevada from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat. Trump advisors see Florida in particular as a must. The shifts reflect Mr Biden’s potential weakness among Latino voters and Trump̵
The Biden campaign continues to dominate and spend the airwaves $ 32 million on television last week during the Trump campaign just spent about $ 10 million. The spending on Facebook is almost the same as the Biden campaign spent $ 3.7 million last week while the Trump team spent $ 3.2 million on the platform.
A survey by Monmouth University released this week found that Biden had a Seven point lead about Trump among likely voters across the country. Among all registered voters only 37 percent said they were sure they would vote for Trump 43 percent who were sure they would vote for Biden.
But an NBC News / Marist College poll in Florida offered the president some rare positive news on the election front: It was him and Biden tied at 48 percent everyone among the likely voters in the state, with Trump backed by 50 percent by Latino voters (albeit a particularly difficult segment of the population to survey).
For the President, the week started with defending himself against a report in the Atlantic and ended with defending himself against a report by veteran journalist Bob Woodward.
Both storylines – one about his alleged disregard for the military, the other about deliberately downplaying the deadly nature of the coronavirus – threatened to undermine his standing with voters he counts on to support, especially soldiers and seniors. Mr Trump himself was back to history, less than 55 days before the election – a time when veteran political strategists said the person who is in the race for a referendum is often the person who loses.
Mr Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president, attempted to take advantage of the negative news coverage during an appearance in Michigan where he blamed the president’s handling of the pandemic for the ongoing recession. In contrast, also in Michigan, Mr. Trump attempted to get a message across about a major American comeback, including reviving old-school Trump rallies he now regularly holds in airport hangars in battlefield states.
Nothing sticks to this president, but just a few weeks before election day each cycle of negative news counts a little more. Here’s how this one played.
For Mr. Woodward’s first book on the Trump presidency, Mr. Trump was not involved in the project, and (sit down?) There was no plan by the White House communications department in 2018 to frame the narrative. That left high-ranking officials freelancing to maintain their own reputations and others who spoke to Mr. Woodward out of fear that they would be the only ones who didn’t.
For Mr. Woodward’s second book, Mr. Trump appears to have over-corrected and this time attended 18 free-running on-the-record sessions with the author. “I gave him some time,” said Mr. Trump earlier this week to Sean Hannity, the Fox News host. “But, as always, the books he writes may not have worked out so well.” why did he do that?
Mr. Trump thinks he can charm anyone. His desire to speak with Mr. Woodward at length underscores the reality of Mr. Trump’s relationship with the news media, despite calls for “false news”. Mr Trump loves speaking to journalists – especially famous ones – and is in large part driven by his desire to receive positive coverage from the establishment.
But he may have been the one who was charmed according to Mr. Woodward’s status (even if he hasn’t read his books).
And he doesn’t seem to care. Unlike other writers who have penned unflattering reports on Trump’s White House, Mr Woodward has yet to receive the book presale threshold that usually occurs after the president denounces an author and his work on Twitter. Mr. Trump seems to have resigned himself to being played, perhaps because most of the harmful content appears to be coming straight out of the president’s mouth. Instead of denouncing Mr. Woodward, Mr. Trump defends himself.
How Biden’s campaign reacts to Trump’s scandals
In recent weeks, Mr Biden has faced a challenge Hillary Clinton was familiar with – how to arm Mr Trump’s scandals. New revelations about the president’s behavior have dominated headlines and cable news chyrons, including his derogatory comments on members of the military reported in The Atlantic, as well as the book by Mr. Woodward and another by Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and confidante.
But it’s difficult to bring these stories to an end, and it is even more difficult to break through to the voters. This is how Mr. Biden tries:
Shipping replacement, not the candidate: Following the publication of The Atlantic and the highlights from Mr. Woodward’s book, Mr. Biden’s campaign hosted a media conference with high profile officials including Senators Tammy Duckworth from Illinois and Sherrod Brown from Ohio. The campaign wanted to extend a news cycle about harmful information for the enemy. Biden’s advisors are also continuing the course they have followed since Mr. Biden took office: while his main battle has centered on Mr. Trump and electorality, his general electoral strategy has often left the attack on the president to others.
Focus on the virus: When Mr. Biden targets Mr. Trump, it has usually been topics that he is most comfortable with. He has attempted to turn this election into a referendum on how Mr Trump handled the pandemic and has armed new information to back up his argument that the government has shirked its responsibility. But the campaign has stayed away from the gossip-driven elements that animate Mr. Trump’s opponents on social media. Books like that of Mr. Trump’s niece Mary Trump and Mr. Cohen’s account of his tenure with the president have rarely made it into Mr. Biden’s campaign news.
Presidential Contrast: Unlike Ms. Clinton, who dealt with the possibility of Mr Trump becoming President, Mr Biden deals with reality. And while the scandals continued in his administration, Democrats believe voters who were ready to take a chance on Mr. Trump’s change of office are now ready for a change of course. This is another element of the Biden campaign that seeks to use Mr Trump’s words against him, arguing that Mr Biden would bring calm and stability to the White House rather than the stream of normative headlines.
Both campaigns agree: the Midwest is best
With both candidates in Michigan this week and top figures like Donald Trump Jr. and Jill Biden in Minnesota, the trip was a sign of how much attention both campaigns are devoting to the Midwest. The intense interest in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania has dwarfed other regions. There are many ways to get 270 votes, but here’s why Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden believe this campaign will be won in the industrial hub of the country.
White working class: Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are both personalities who have advocated a specific connection with white working class voters, a population that was not enthusiastic about Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. Mr. Biden’s advisors believe this is a population their candidate is more likely to succeed with, and industrial-background states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are a great way to test that appeal.
Black voters: There are more Latino voters in the general election, but Democrats and Republicans have likely spent more time focusing on black voters in these elections than any other minority group. Mr Biden drew on his personal relationship with former President Barack Obama, and the Republicans have labeled the Democrats as irresponsible administrators of the black townships. More than any other battlefield nation like Florida or the west, the developed world has cities with black voter turnout that could determine the nationwide totals. This includes places like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.
Mr Biden’s campaign does not expand the map: At the start of the race, some Democratic activists advocated the Biden campaign to expand the traditional battlefield map and invest in states like Texas and Georgia, whose demographic changes have benefited the Democrats. However, if the candidate’s itinerary is any indication, the campaign will focus on the traditional battlefields for now. Mr. Biden’s campaign just announced another trip to the Midwest to Minnesota in the coming week. It shows willingness to defend states. Ms. Clinton won in 2016 when she expanded the map to new states that have long proven to be fools gold for the party.
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