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Not in a good place: Trump and the state-by-state approval polls

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
President Donald Trump shown at a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27.

If the 2020 election is an up-or-down referendum on whether Americans want four more years of Donald Trump as president, he has little chance whatsoever of winning re-election.

Of course, his national approval rating has been locked in the low 40s (or occasionally the high 30s) during most of his term. But the Electoral College is a state-by-state affair. I base my strong statement above on state-by-state approval polls, just released by Morning Consult, compared to the results of the 2016 election in those states.

The overall impression these results give is consistent with what most reputable pollsters are finding. Nothing magical about this one poll, except that Morning Consult’s online polling technique enables it to get fresh state-by-state results every month or so at a reasonable cost. The latest numbers from each state, discussed below, are from July.

The most recent Morning Consult approval/disapproval numbers are here, and if you got to the site, you can check out July results for every state individually.

Trump currently has an under-water approval rating (meaning not just that his approval number is below 50 percent, but that he has more disapprovers than approvers, disregarding those who had no opinion) in in enough states to cost Trump re-election by a healthy margin. He has a net negative approval rating in more than enough states to support my opening statement, and he is way under water in many of them.

Let’s get some important caveats out of the way, before I give you the numbers. Some people who disapprove of Trump will vote for him anyway, if he can convince them that his opponent would be even worse. He has kind of a knack for that. Some will vote for minor candidates, and those votes aren’t reflected in this analysis (but, of course some of those third-party voters might also prefer Trump to his Democratic opponent, so that one cuts both ways).

Turnout is another complication. Then there’s cheating, and intentional disfranchisement of eligible voters through various means at which Republicans demonstrated in 2016 they are good and are willing to employ.

But I stand behind my first sentence above: If the election is a referendum on whether people want four more years of Donald Trump (and elections involving an incumbent president are said to be heavily influenced by that logic), he’s not in a good place, based on these state-by-state Morning Consult poll numbers, as linked above and specified below.

Let’s get Minnesota out of the way. Although Trump didn’t carry Minnesota in 2016, Hillary Clinton carried it by just a 1.5 percent margin of the popular vote. The latest Morning Consult poll (which is consistent with most other polls of Trump’s approval in Minnesota) shows him below water (more disapprovers than approvers) by 14 percentage points. Fourteen points. I know people talk about Minnesota as a possible Trump pickup, based mostly on how close he came in 2016 (although when they make that argument they tend to disregard Democrats’ very strong showing up and down the ballot in the 2018 midterm). I don’t call them dumb. I can’t be sure they’re wrong. But Trump’s net-14-percent negative approval rating will be hard to overcome.

That’s the only state I’ll mention in this piece that Trump lost in 2016. (I do so for the obvious reason that I and most MinnPost readers live here.) The rest will all be states Trump carried.

Let’s do the three famous “blue wall” states that Trump carried, without which he would not have won his electoral college majority in 2016: Pennsylvania, Michigan and our neighbor, Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania: Trump beat Clinton in 2016 by 0.8 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania. His current Morning Consult approval rating there: Trump is eight points under water. Eight percent higher disapproval than approval.

In Michigan, it’s worse for Trump. He carried Michigan by just 0.23 percentage points. He’s currently 11 points under water in approval among Michiganders, according to Morning Consult. Eleven points. That’s a lot of people he has to convince that he’s the lesser of two evils.

Wisconsin. Still worse for Trump. Carried it by 0.75 percentage points. Under water by 14 points. Fourteen points under water.

If Trump carried all the rest of the states he carried in 2016, but lost those three, he would lose the electoral vote. But they aren’t the only states he carried in which he has an under-water approval rating.

Arizona. Trump carried by 3.5 percent margin. Current approval seven points under water.

Iowa: Trump carried by 9.5 points (!!!). Current Morning Consult approval: 11 points (!!!) under water.

And lastly, one that Trump carried narrowly, and is now under water approval-rating-wise, but just barely:

North Carolina: Trump carried by 2.65 points. Current approval: One point under.

I’m certainly not putting North Carolina in the bag for whomever the Democrats end up nominating. I’m not putting any of the states mentioned above in the bag. Nothing is in the bag. The election will not be an up or down vote on Trump. It will be a choice between Trump and a specific Democrat.

Part of Trump’s dark genius is to demonize whomever it is to his advantage to demonize. He will assign an insult nickname. He will mock their appearance. He will lie. He will frighten. He might be able to get some people who disapprove of him to vote for him as the lesser evil. He might get some who would never vote for him to stay home by convincing them that the alternative is no better. He might lose both the popular and the electoral vote and refuse to leave office, claiming the vote was rigged. I’m just saying, based on current polling, he’s in a lot of trouble in a lot of states he needs to carry.

Comments (96)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/08/2019 - 09:29 am.

    And, using Real Clear Politics summary polling data:

    Texas, Trump V Biden Biden +4

    Ohio, Trump V Biden Biden +8

    Florida, Trump V Biden Biden +3

    It’s hard to see how Trump’s “solidify the base and turn ’em out” strategy is a big enough vote mover. His antics of late only motivate anti-Trump turnout.


    And these potential results and you get a 400+ D electoral college win. Which is likely what it will take to evict him from the White House…

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/08/2019 - 12:25 pm.

      Let us hope.
      The question is whether Trump can come up with some scary ‘national emergency’ right before the election.

      • Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 08/08/2019 - 01:57 pm.

        You mean like an UNNECESSARY war with Iran that would prove deadly for Americans, not to mention too damn expensive in so many ways?

        That will NOT endear Trump new voters by any stretch of the imagination.

        • Submitted by Jim Spensley on 08/09/2019 - 06:59 am.

          I think anonymous disapproval, by human nature, is stronger than anonymous approval. People are unlikely to vote for a candidate they think will embarrass them in office. They are even less likely to attend a pre-election rally if they would be ashamed to admit it friends and relatives.

          Another way to think about polls is the negative strength of single-issues. Voting for a candidate who has approved caging children is more shamful (I hope) than voting against a candidate who might approve universal health care

    • Submitted by george rob on 08/08/2019 - 05:58 pm.

      History has proven that polls one year before election are not in anyway accurate. The reason is because over the course of a campaign voters learn more about the individuals who are running. For example, Kamala Harris was the star of the first debate, but then her record as Attorney General was exposed in the second debate. People who know Kamala Harris, know know that she is very vindictive person (keeping prisoners in jail well beyond their sentence, hiding evidence of innocence and so forth), but most people who live outside California might not be privy to this information.

      Clinton was down 10 points in the polls in 94, and won in a landslide in 95. Obama was down in the polls in 2011, and won convincingly in 2012. Bush was losing in 2003, and won in 2004. The fact is that trump is currently running against himself, and that is a very difficult thing to do. Once his opponent is set things will become more clear, and the two candidates can be judged based on their policy proposals.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/08/2019 - 09:26 pm.


      Georgia, Trump V Biden, Biden +6

      North Carolina, Trump V Biden, Biden +8

      D = 412 R = 125

      A good place to start from…

    • Submitted by Krista Boston on 08/15/2019 - 07:11 am.

      Unlikely. The democratic candidates are too kooky to compete for any sane moderate.

    • Submitted by Drew Gmitro on 08/15/2019 - 12:09 pm.

      I find this article hysterical. The author is buying into these polls as if what they’re showing is so much different than BEFORE the 2016 election, yet the outcome was a complete 180. He states “Trump is significantly down in every one of these states”. It’s exactly like it was in 2016 yet Trump won. The author says “in MN Trump is down by 14 points, yet in 2016 he only lost MN by 1.5%” as if to say it’s soooooo much different now. What did the polls show Trump was down in MN before the 2016 election ??? It was exactly the same thing, double digits, yet come election night, Trump barely loses MN and wins WI, MI, PA, all states the polls showed even election day, that Trump couldn’t win. 2020 is going to be a repeat of 2016 in every way and you far left liberals are going to be left with the same “wind drawn out of your sails” come election night, all staring blankly saying “what just happened”.

  2. Submitted by Joel Fischer on 08/08/2019 - 10:21 am.

    Is it possible to trust these polls?

    Sure, there are proud Trump supporters who will say so, but how many people that WILL vote for Trump would never tell anyone? I would guess quite a few.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 10:30 am.

      The Bradley effect redux?

      I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that people are so afraid of the opinions of a probably anonymous poll-taker that they would not give an honest answer to the question “whom do you support for President?”

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/08/2019 - 12:17 pm.

        “U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro said Wednesday that he tweeted a list of top Trump donors in San Antonio not because he wanted to see their homes picketed or their businesses boycotted.” He just wants San Antonians to `think twice’ about Trump donations.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 01:30 pm.

          Which has what to do with anything, apart from a burning urge on your part to highlight “misconduct” by liberals?

          Campaign contributions over a certain amount are public information. Rep. Castro was just making public information that the public was already able to see. If the donors are ashamed to be giving to Trump, perhaps they shouldn’t be giving to him in the first place.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/08/2019 - 03:26 pm.

          A leader in Conservative thinking once said this in regards to political contributions:

          Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.

          Justice Antonin Scalia.

        • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/08/2019 - 03:46 pm.

          Dennis, when someone retweets Castro, adds “Shoot ’em” to the Tweet and Castro chuckles, get back to us. If I were you I’d be hiding my head in shame.

    • Submitted by george rob on 08/08/2019 - 06:12 pm.

      I think there is some truth to that. The media has not done a very good job at portraying trump accurately. There is deep resentment, and hatred that exists, and you can point to his rhetoric and make an argument that to some extent he is responsible. But I think those who are moderate/independents, like myself, and who live in NY, we know that Donald is not a racist. And the more the media promotes that, the more people become dissatisfied with how he is being treated. There is a very big disconnect that exists between academic elites, the intelligentsia if you will, and people like Donald who are a bit rough around the edges but know how to get things done. There was an ice skating rink in NY many years ago that swallowed about 10M in taxpayer money, and did not get completed. Trump told the city of NY (for publicity of course) that he would fix it in 4 months with his own money for less than half of that price. And he did. When you are a business owner you understand how corrupt politicians are. For example, two months ago I was approached by a politician (I will not name him) who asked for a 100,000 gift to secure the rights to a property we are bidding on. This happens regularly, and when you realize that politicians are about lining there own pockets and not about doing what is right for the american people, you become a lot like donald. I think in some ways its refreshing to have a business man in office. You may disagree with policy, that is fine, but if he has done anything we can all agree upon I think he has shed some light to the general public on corruption that has previously been hidden in the darkness behind closed doors. And that is a great thing. There is also a great deal of concern about the right to free speech. University campuses are banning conservative view points, this very website is moderated and journalists can pick and choose what comments get posted, that should be a concern regardless of what you believe. Every group – even disgusting racists – need to be able to express their speech. You cannot opress them. If government can pick and choose that is a pandoras box that once opened can never be closed.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:25 am.

        Trump’s problem is that the media HAS portrayed him accurately.
        When he makes obviously racist comments on public TV where everyone can see and here, his (and your) denials are vacuous.

      • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 08/09/2019 - 10:38 am.

        Thanks for your comments. I don’t doubt that there is corruption, self-dealing, and efficiency. And it certainly appears to be bipartisan.

        But please educate us on how you and other New Yorkers know he is not a racist. Because from what I’ve read of his background in real estate and what he has said publicly certainly don’t demonstrate a lack of racism.

        You may argue that he hasn’t been absolutely proven to be a racist (others may disagree with you), but that’s not the same.

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/10/2019 - 01:42 pm.

        The Mueller Report shows what was found about Trump and his associates. You can’t hang out with criminal associates without being one. What does a caged animal do when cornered as Trump is? They fight harder. You can count on the caged animal in the White House, Trump, to become more bizarre the closer we get to the 2020 election. Unfortunate for Trump, he is his own worst enemy. The threat of impeachment hangs out there, but worse yet will be the cases Mr. Mueller forwarded to the New York courts. Trump will have much less wiggle room in the New York courts.

        Polls are current time snapshots. None are totally accurate, but polls do develop into trends with time. The current trend does not favor Trump. More and more Trump supporters will be dropping their support as the caged animal will finally hit a point where his behavior will be a bridge too far for many to support.

      • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 08/13/2019 - 04:24 pm.

        RE:”University campuses are banning conservative view points, this very website is moderated and journalists can pick and choose what comments get posted, that should be a concern regardless of what you believe.”
        I didn’t agree with anything you posted and you provided little evidence for most of it. This stood out as the most obtuse though. Private Universities and web sites like this have every right and I would argue the responsibility to moderate what is being said on their platform. They do not represent the government nor are they obliged to uphold your 1st amendment rights. They want to make money to stay in business and allowing UN-moderated access to the platform they created would destroy it in short order. I know I wouldn’t pay for it.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 08/09/2019 - 10:38 am.

      I think more so in 2016 than in 2020.

  3. Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 08/08/2019 - 10:26 am.

    Trump’s antics keep his base under thrall, but I suspect has limited appeal to others after prolonged exposure to him. Perhaps these polls indicate that voters who responded to Trump’s economic and shake up Washington message are finding that he has not delivered on that message and that his antics now outweigh whatever positives he might bring to the table.

    • Submitted by george rob on 08/08/2019 - 06:42 pm.

      I think he has delivered on his promises.

      He promised to expose corruption, and he has. He promised to get tough on China, and he has. He promised to save jobs from being gutted from our country – he is trying. He promised to curtail drugs and illegals on the southern border – he is trying. He said he would overturn the affordable care act – failed in the senate. He said he would take our troops home, and stop engaging in unnecessary regime change wars and he has done that. He said he would take on the military industrial complex – he has failed, but so did Eisenhower, Kennedy, Obama and Clinton – not an easy task. He said he would get tough on russia if needed – he has by applying additional sanctions. He said he was willing to have dialogue to ease tensions with countries like north korea – he is trying. He said he would remove us from trade deals like TPP which would only send more jobs to southeast asia – he has done that.

      Look, he is not perfect. But nobody is. Sometimes you have to separate personality from policy. There are not many people who find Trumps personality attractive, but personality should never be considered in policy. Bernie is a great example. Wonderful guy, really is passionate about helping others, but have you ever tried to do the math! I mean, everyone likes free education, free healthcare, UBI, etc, but usually there is a catch. And there is! Raising taxes to 50-60% is not really business friendly. We will lose more jobs, more foreign investment will go to South East Asia where the tax for business is 20% or less. Nothing is free folks, and anyone who says “free” is either a snake oil salesman or naive. Facebook is not FREE. Google is not FREE. Data mining is big business! There is not one thing provided by government or private enterprise that is free. Just remember that and then ask yourself would you rather have lower taxes and choose how to spend your money, or give that money to government and let them decide what you need? I would prefer to make my own choices. This is the true nature of what it means to be a conservative. Individual responsibility and individual choices.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:26 am.

        He certainly has exposed corruption; most of it centered on him and his associates.

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/10/2019 - 01:25 pm.

        I can’t get past Trump’s totally self-centered personality, bald faced lies, dictatorship, racism, multiple phobias, etc. all in our face every day. What he says has a shelf life of minutes sometimes depending on who he is talking to. Between Trump and McConnell, they are turning the Republican Party into a “Junk Party” where anything goes. Blatant racism is okay, debt and deficits are okay, repeal and replace without an alternative is okay, polluted air and water are okay, only serving the top 1% is okay, Tax cuts sold to help the middle class, but didn’t, are okay, and the Senate has been turned into a one man vote. It all boils down to Trump and McConnell who have sucked the life out of the party because of the cowards in congress handing their authority to Trump. Now the party goes forward without any principles, compassion, ethics, morality, or commitment to the country.

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/08/2019 - 10:55 am.

    It will all depends on what the Democrats do. If we run a candidate spouting a lot of the nonsense we’ve heard at the debates, Trump is getting re-elected.

    • Submitted by David LaPorte on 08/08/2019 - 12:38 pm.


      There is strong support for a public health insurance option. It was part of the ACA until the insurance lobby got rid of it, fearing that it would be too popular. But banning private insurance, as some candidates are proposing, polls at 13%. Few who have private plans want to be coerced into giving them up. If the public option is as popular as the health insurance fears, it could voluntarily morph into Medicare for All, but we’d still need the private insurance companies, because that’s who processes all Medicare and most Medicaid claims.

      Decriminalizing illegal border crossings is another toxic issue. Never mind that the vast majority of deportations have been done by civil law. Trump has used the criminal law to justify family separations as a deterrent, but it hasn’t worked because the choices are being locked up alive in a crowded cage versus being killed by gangs. Going back to just civil law is reasonable and effective, but the Republicans would easily conflate that with open borders, which nobody supports.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/08/2019 - 01:20 pm.

        Exactly. Those two positions are absolute poison for Democrats. I was just shaking my head watching. The one thing that turned people off about the ACA was that it compelled people to buy insurance. The idea that people are going to go for replacing their private, often employer-funded insurance with government coverage is ludicrous. Forget Medicare-for-all. Just do Medicare-for-anyone-that-wants-it. If it really is better, then people will choose to ditch their private insurance.

        • Submitted by David LaPorte on 08/08/2019 - 01:53 pm.

          I question the judgement of any candidate who’s advocating for eliminating private health insurance. It’s not like the 13% approval rating is a secret.

          I have slightly more sympathy for decriminalizing border crossings, since the criminal code isn’t necessary for secure borders when the civil code has been effective. However, anything that has to be explained or could be misrepresented by the opposition is a bad campaign position.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 08/09/2019 - 05:41 am.

            I don’t know. They seem to be able to find a way to misrepresent pretty much anything.

            Remember “death panels”?

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:30 am.

          The problem is economics.
          If you allow healthy people to gamble and opt out of any health insurance, it runs up the cost for the rest of us (and for any health care that they do need and can’t pay for).
          As the Europeans have demonstrated, the soundest systems, both in terms of economics and of providing health care, are ones where the government sets costs. Whether the government provides health care at those rates (France) or leaves private insurance and providers in place but sets costs, it provides care at least as good as ours at half the cost.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 05:50 pm.

            There are two different questions – what makes sense and what is politically feasible. I have no doubt that Medicare for all would be better than the current system. But the concept of taking away private, often employer-funded insurance and replacing it with a tax increase and government-funded care is political poison.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/10/2019 - 10:16 am.

              It would be like Medicare and Obamacare.
              People would object to the idea, but after it was in place for a while they’d say ‘keep your government hands off of my Medicare.’

            • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 08/10/2019 - 11:51 am.

              Tell the whole story:
              (1) When taxes go up for a national insurance program, all current premium, copay, co-insurance, and other fees go away for individuals and employers. (For employers, that’s why the same model car is cheaper if made in Canada than in the U.S.)
              (2) Everybody has health care coverage. (Not access; that’s a separate issue.)

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 01:54 pm.

        Charlie Pierce likes to quote this anecdote about Ulysses Grant:

        [Grant] rose to his feet, took his cigar out of his mouth, turned to the officer, and replied, with a degree of animation which he seldom manifested : “Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/08/2019 - 03:34 pm.

      Thinking like this produced Presidents Gore, Kerry & Hillary Rodham Clinton.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/08/2019 - 04:12 pm.

        Two of which were popular vote victories.

        • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/08/2019 - 06:41 pm.

          I’m sure that’s comforting.

          I have a question. Or two. Why, do you think, did Obama build the momentum to beat Hillary in the primary, then handily beat McCain in the general?

          Why, 8 years later, did Sanders prove so difficult to beat in the primary; and then, Trump managed to beat Hillary in the general? He was easily the most dubious, risky, offensive candidate in the modern era, yet he won.

          One more: how is it that Minnesota had a proudly, loudly liberal Senator like Paul Wellstone, who served concurrently with similarly devout conservatives like Rod Grams and Rudy Boschwitz?

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/09/2019 - 01:37 pm.

            It’s not comforting whatsoever, to live in a society where the most important individual officeholder is not decided by who gets the most votes, but by the distribution of votes received, in a system which clearly provides disproportionate advantage to land-owning white males.

            I won’t respond at length to the first two questions, (they seem to be mostly rhetorical, and seem to assume that I only want to seek a triangulating, middle-of-the-road candidate), except to point out that, from a senate voting record perspective, Hillary was more liberal than Barack at the time of the 08 primaries (especially on GLBTQ issues and women’s rights), and received a higher percentage of the popular vote, while Barack got a majority of the superdelegates. So I don’t necessarily buy the argument that Barack _was_ the most liberal choice, even IF that difference is minute. And Kerry was certainly more liberal than Dick Gephardt or Joe Lieberman.
            Regardless, there is a litany of opinion and scholarly writing on the topic, with which we are all familiar. Hindsight is always 20/20.

            I still adore Paul Wellstone. It’s a great sadness to me that I was never able to cast a vote for him, though I was proud to vote for Walter Mondale in his absence. I attended Camp Wellstone in the same cohort as Tim Walz in 05.’ Peggy Flanagan was working as an instructor in that cohort, as I recall.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/08/2019 - 07:06 pm.

          And the third was ‘swiftboated’

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/09/2019 - 09:08 am.

          But didn’t end up in the White House did they? Clinton especially should have known that what really matters is the electoral college, but she didn’t campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan in the final months of the election and that gave the election to Donald. I suspect they thought it was in the bag. I think that’s the same reason Democrats didn’t fight for, well honestly the old guard Dems don’t fight too hard for anything, the Merrick Garland nomination McConnell was blocking. They figured Hillary was going to win so why bother.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:31 am.

            And then there was Comey’s last minute announcement.

            • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/09/2019 - 01:28 pm.

              There’s always an excuse, but the reality is these elections should never be this close. They are in part because Dems refuse to embrace their base, they tend to run away from them. Just before the 2010 midterms, another time Dems lost big, Obama was out there complaining about the Professional Left. We also heard don’t let the perfect get in the way of the possible and look forward not back and a whole lot of other BS directed at the left while they were trying to talk sense to the party. It looks like that’s changing, but judging by the comments here, maybe not fast enough to stop Donald’s second term. We’ll see.

              • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/10/2019 - 10:11 am.

                ” There’s always an excuse, but the reality is these elections should never be this close. ”

                I’m not sure why you say that Henk?

                I think the fact is the electorate of the country is pretty evenly split between the right and the left, so I’m not sure why it would be any surprise that our presidential elections are often and in fact usually are fairly close.

                The elections are close because of the near-even split – the rural areas are solidly republican, and the urban areas democratic, and in the presidential election, the electoral college give an edge to the rural areas, because the popular vote doesn’t decide the election.

                So of course most of the presidential elections are close calls.

                When a true left-of-center democrat like McCarthy or George McGovern ran, then it was NOT close, they lost very, very badly, because this country does not have a way left-of-center electorate, except in certain areas of the country.

                I have read many comments on the board saying Gore lost, or Hillary lost, etc, because they weren’t liberal enough, but I don’t think there’s anything to actually really back that up opinion.

                You could just as reasonably say they lost because they were too liberal.

                Often I’m guessing there is more than one reason – e.g. Hillary’s unlikable persona along with Comey and Russia’s opposition, Gore having votes siphoned by Nader, and probably other factors in every election.

                But I don’t think it’s at all surprising that these elections are close.
                calls, given the near-even mix of right and left in the electorate of the country.

                And in fact we’ve had two recent elections now where the electoral college gave us a republican president, where the democratic candidate won the popular vote.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 04:33 pm.

        Exactly! Democrats have been running scared from progressive principles since 1972.

        The Republicans are going to make ridiculous claims no matter what Democrats do. The neoliberal pastiche of Obamacare is still presented as a government takeover of health care, and the progressive income tax is still presented as “penalizing the successful.” It’s time to stop worrying about what tired old talking points the Republicans are going to trot out..

        • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/08/2019 - 09:40 pm.

          RB, do you think the democratic party will win in the swing-states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missiouri, etc) in 2020 with a democratic candidate and a platform advocating strongly for reparations, free college for all students (perhaps even for the children of illegal immigrants as was agreed to by all in the 2016 debates?), writing off student loans, medicare-for-all and perhaps other controversial policies?

          I understand your frustration with the idea of things not moving quickly enough on a progressive agenda, but honestly do you see the undecided voters in those swing states, which will determine the election (and not just for the presidency, but for all the senate and house seats up for grabs also) voting for a democratic candidate and for a party who have run under the banner of strongly promoting those policies?

          In New York and California fine – sure, those are probably democratic wins no matter what.

          But the states that are up for grabs and will determine the outcome of the election, namely – Ohio?, Florida?, Pennsylvania?, Michigan, Missiouri and the other swing states???

          Will those policy proposals be approved of by undecided voters in those states?

          My own guess is they will probably predominantly be rejected and quite strongly in many of those states.

          Perhaps even many who are not real fans of Trump will come to believe that perhaps he is the “lesser of two evils” because of those policies and end up voting for him.

          Do you really think a democratic running under all these policies can win in those swing states and with those undecided voters?

          I ask because I hope that we’re all about WINNING in this upcoming election, and getting rid of Trump, who I think is a real, and deep and dangerous threat to democracy.

          I would hate to see a symbolic ‘statement’ made by the democratic party of fighting for progressive ideals, come hell or high water, and losing because not enough attention was paid to practical realities (like how they IMO are NOT going to vote for reparations in most of these swing states), but feeling okay about it, because “oh well, at least we fought the good fight.”

          Everyone can have their own opinion of course, but in my mind, no, giving it the college try is NOT good enough in this case, we have to win, I’m not sure the country will survive in it’s current form with 4 more years of Trump.

          And I think the best way to do that is to objectively look at what positions undecided voters in the swing states will vote for, and what they will be repelled by, and take that strongly into consideration in campaigning.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/09/2019 - 10:57 am.

            “Will those policy proposals be approved of by undecided voters in those states?”

            Will they? That depends in no small part on the messaging. Is “free college for all” going to be presented as a way for students to get higher education or training that they will need without incurring the debt that is still crushing their parents, or are Democrats going to accept the inevitable Republican characterization of it as another way for irresponsible lotus-eating anthropology majors to freeload?

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 05:57 pm.

          Yes, because they know they will lose. Nearly all the congressional seats the Democrats won to retake congress were by moderates, while the progressives in competitive districts lost.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/08/2019 - 09:49 pm.

        IMO, Hillary lost because of she was a near-zero charisma, dishonest person, with poor campaigning skills and lots of baggage (not to mention having the Russians working against her). She did NOT lose because she was too much of a moderate, she lost because of all her personal flaws, her corrupt track record as secretary of state and track record of lying (she dodged sniper bullets in a meet-and-greet trip to Bosnia in the 90’s for example).

        Gore lost because a very progressive candidate named Ralph Nader ran against him who siphoned away just enough votes.

        If the answer was having a more progressive candidate, why didn’t Nader win?

        BTW, I say Nader ran against Gore, because he spent the last few weeks of the campaign in Florida, where he knew he had no prayer of winning, but where he knew he could help Gore lose, and it worked.

        Gore lost to Bush by 587 votes in Florida, and Nader got well over 100,000 votes for progressives who thought Gore wasn’t good enough for them to vote for.

        So Gore would have won Florida easily and the presidency easily, if not for Nader, and we wouldn’t have had the Iraq war, with it’s 6 trillion dollar price tag in dollars and God knows how many lives lost or ruined.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 05:54 pm.

        And thinking like presidents Obama and Bill Clinton. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Obama was a moderate. Bernie Sanders was going to primary him in 2012. Sometimes the moderates win, and sometimes they lose. But you have to go back to FDR to find a Democrat who won who was a real liberal.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/08/2019 - 09:04 pm.

      I agree that that is the biggest danger – I hope a moderate can win the nomination, otherwise not only Trump, but the Trumpublicans as a whole have a decent chance of doing well in 2020.

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/08/2019 - 11:43 am.

    I can’t trust ANY poll this far out from the election unless it’s a tried-and-true one that has Trump down by 30+ points. None of the ones I’m familiar with suggest anything like that.

    The notion of Trump refusing to leave office if he loses the election ought to be laughable. Does he – or do his supporters – really believe the military will support him in an egregious coup attempt? I know we have some neofascists in the armed services, something that’s probably true of armed services for every country, but I’m not able to persuade myself that enough soldiers and officers have been taken in by a habitual liar like Trump to violate every shred of their oath to the Constitution.

    Lacking that, what is Trump going to do? Barricade himself into the Oval Office with an AR-15? I doubt Melania would join him – at least not voluntarily – nor would Mitch McConnell.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/08/2019 - 03:26 pm.

      I’d like to agree with you but—
      there are a lot of things we thought no one would do before Trump did them.
      My worst case scenario is that he would declare a state of emergency and suspend the Constitution, and thus elections. That would be challenged in the courts (what would Roberts do?), but that could take years to play out. Would a judge suspend such an action until the Supreme Court approved it?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/08/2019 - 03:50 pm.

      In reality, I agree he will go peaceably; but not quietly. The “basket of deplorables” that make up his hard core base maybe a little different. His innate inability to acknowledge anything but his superiority in all facets of life will be sorely tested. He isn’t capable of even a Dick Nixon; “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” moment. I have no idea how he explains a landslide loss and he doesn’t either….

  6. Submitted by John Evans on 08/08/2019 - 11:47 am.

    To quote Duke in Doonesbury, “always bet on a cornered rat.”

  7. Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 08/08/2019 - 02:00 pm.

    The 3 Republicans in Congress are going to be TIED to Trump’s RACISM and White Supremacist’s views whether they like it or not. How they continue to defend the indefensible will be interesting because people in Minnesota I know, and I know many, are getting sick and tired of Trump. Some happen to be farmers who are close to declaring Bankruptcy because Trade Markets have been closed to them.

  8. Submitted by Joe Bontems on 08/08/2019 - 02:20 pm.

    How could anyone vote for a leader who is well on his way toward turning the country into the “GREATEST FAILING STATE ” in history?

    And by “failing” I mean failing to protect the national security (both from internal, as well as external threats); failing to place the national interest above personal gain; failing to assure the future well-being of American young people; failing to protect a viable environment; failure to respect the Constitution and laws of Congress; failing to promote a positive image of the USA internationally; and lastly….destroying the fragile solidarity of a delightfully diverse society.

    Donald Trump often ends his diatribes with ‘God Bless America’! Possibly even he recognises that only God’s intervention could now save the nation…

  9. Submitted by joe smith on 08/08/2019 - 03:04 pm.

    The same polls had Hillary as a lock to win White House in 2016. Trump constantly fills 20k arenas, Dems can’t fill H.S. Gymnasium that holds 500. I remember here, on this site, “experts” said his ability to fill arenas prior to 16 election didn’t mean a thing.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 03:21 pm.

      No, they didn’t. Read what they said.

      The fact that Trump can still claim that huge crowds of goobers come to his rallies, and that there are people who believe him, is likewise meaningless.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 08/08/2019 - 06:08 pm.

        Completely false that polls had Trump winning. Revisionist history doesn’t make it true.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/09/2019 - 10:10 am.

          No one said they “had Trump winning.” They said that there was a greater likelihood that Clinton would win. She was not a “lock,” even though it makes good material for taunts.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/09/2019 - 06:04 pm.

          Its not revisionist history. You are just wrong. The final polls had Clinton with a 2-3 point lead nationally, which is exactly where it ended up.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/08/2019 - 03:30 pm.

      Yes, the Romney campaign thought they had the 12 election locked up too.

      I remember the 16 election differently than you. I do not recall any reliable sources claiming HRC had it “locked up.” To be sure, many prognosticatirs predicted she would win, and she certainly won more votes. But those watching the state polls & projecting likely electiral vote outcomes knew Trump had a decent chance of winning. Few payed attention to Nate Silver, of 538, who pointed out that slight demographic shifts were likely to be consistent across multiple states, not randomly distributed by state. Which is basically what swung PA, MI & WI to Trump. A couple core Dem constituencies failed to show up, swinging the elction to Trump by a thin margin.

      In other words, a slim shift in the other direction; say, from soft Dem supporters who regret not voting in 16, could have a big effect on the election. As Eric points out, the gap is very small in a couple key states.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/08/2019 - 03:30 pm.

      Hillary got about the number of votes that the polls predicted.
      Even in Weimar it took more than 20,000 people to win an election.
      After three years the employment figures in Michigan still haven’t improved significantly. You think his pig-in-a-poke promises will still work?

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/08/2019 - 03:49 pm.

      Joe. two words for ya….”Inaugural Crowd”

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 08/08/2019 - 07:34 pm.

      Well, the “Clinton Lock” consisted of pre-election leads in PA, & MI within the margin of error and in WI just outside the margin of error.

      Clinton suffered from, right or wrong, inherent and historic dis-likability and general Clinton weariness.

      Trump benefited from the great unknown of a completely different approach to the Presidency: Big time change vs. the status quo.

      Both these elements will be gone this time.

      Not to worry though, Trump TV will launch in 2021 for all you loyalists out there.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/10/2019 - 09:59 am.

      Regarding your point that Democrats are drawing very small crowds, it must be taken into consideration that there are still more than 20 Democrats competing for the nomination. People who support Candidate A are not likely to go see Candidates B, C, D, E…or S, for that matter. When the field gets winnowed down a bit, the larger crowds will materialize, and the vast majority of Democrats will rally around their nominee. It must also be said that there are people who attend Trump rallies not because they are Trump fans, but simply because of the spectacle. People in ancient Rome who watched Christians being thrown to the lions weren’t necessarily anti-Christian. Many were just pro-lion.

  10. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/08/2019 - 03:20 pm.

    Eric’s post reiterates the point I’ve been making for a while. The Dem nominee has to outperform HRC by a point or two in just a couple states to beat Trump. He was an unknown quantity at the time, and she had some of the highest disapproval rates of any nominee, ever.

    Now that he’s a known fabricator & has higher disapproval ratings than either Clinton has ever had, it’s hard to see his path to victory.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 08/08/2019 - 11:21 pm.

      1) The cornered rat will have, by far, the most heavily funded campaign ever. Large media organizations want that money, and will say or do whatever gets them more of it. That usually involves distracting, incendiary nonsense stories. They enjoy getting played like a fiddle, and they like giving the cornered rat lots of airtime.

      2) Voter suppression has increased, not decreased. More votes than ever will be suppressed.

      3) Um … the cornered rat has an army.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/12/2019 - 01:57 pm.

        No, the United States has an army, whose members swear to uphold the Constitution.
        Trump may be the Commander in Chief, but commanders can be replaced.

  11. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 08/08/2019 - 03:21 pm.

    Why so many articles on POLLING when the author almost always admits the polls have little value?

    I think we need to get back to the real Issues…..

    collusion, collusion, collusion – – Russia, Russia Russia – obstruction, obstruction, obstruction – Mueller, Mueller, Mueller ( sorry – we skipped that one for obvious reasons) , no spying, no spying, no spying – – Name calling, name calling, name calling – racism, racism, racism- white ….etc.

    In the mean time – the “journalist” will have to wait for the next round of “talking points” from the DNC, or maybe it is the other way around?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/08/2019 - 03:36 pm.

      You missed one:
      guilty guilty guilty.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 08/09/2019 - 08:29 am.

        Yep – you would make a fine candidate to serve on the senate judiciary committee.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:37 am.

          Mueller made it clear that:
          …1. The Russians interfered in the election.
          …2. He would have indicted Trump for obstruction of justice if the rules under which he (Mueller) was operating permitted it.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/08/2019 - 04:47 pm.

      Your third paragraph leaves some crucial things out. What about the incompetence, the misogyny, the corruption, voter suppression, the general lack of truthfulness?

      Oh, sorry, you were going for ironic and cutting? I guess I missed that.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/08/2019 - 06:51 pm.

      Mr. Black deals in truth. I understand your pain when you get the truth, it must be surprising when your guy will never tell you anybody the truth. You see, there is one person in your guys world, him. Maybe you are backing the wrong horse. The choice is yours.

  12. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 08/09/2019 - 07:56 am.

    451 days to the 2020 election. That is like an eternity in politics. Probably current polls aren’t entirely meaningless, but they surely aren’t of so much import to state a thing so categotically as that lead sentence.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/10/2019 - 09:46 am.

      While it’s true that it’s a long time until Election Day 2020, the fact remains that Trump’s disapproval ratings have been well above 50% for nearly his entire presidency, and have been relatively steady, while his approval ratings have fluctuated considerably. What that suggests is that people who dislike him aren’t likely to change their minds….unless, of course, the Democrats choose an even more unlikable candidate. Unfortunately for the Republicans, Donald Trump is as unlikable as they come.

  13. Submitted by Mark Gruben on 08/09/2019 - 08:01 am.

    In 2016, Trump won 46.06% of the national popular vote, the 8th lowest in history for a winning candidate, and the lowest on record in an election without a major third-party challenger. Given the fact that he’s now considerably less popular, as evidenced by the Morning Consult state-by-state numbers – and those numbers remain fairly constant – I find it very hard to believe that he’ll manage to reach 46% again. Aside from his base, some 35% of the electorate, just who is he bringing over to his side?

  14. Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/09/2019 - 08:27 am.

    I think that unfortunately there’s a pretty big unintentional bias in Eric Black’s reasoning in this article.

    While he concedes that “Some people who disapprove of Trump will vote for him anyway, if he can convince them that his opponent would be even worse.”, it seems like he kind of down plays the importance of that, as if he believes it’s probably not that big a deal.

    But I think that actually IS a pretty big deal, that was worth more than one sentence.

    It’s actually IMO a pretty huge leap to assume that just because example incumbant Bob has a fairly high unfavorable rating that Bob’s unnamed opponent will get most of the votes of those who gave Bob a disapproval rating.

    It’s not just a minor possibility that when an actual specific person is on the ballot against Bob, that a large percentage of those who gave Bob a disapproval rating may have an even higher disapproval of Bob’s opponent!

    Let’s look at Hillary Clinton for a recent example.

    I bet a HUGE number of people who were not that keen on Trump in 2016 voted for him anyway, because they despised Hillary!

    Let’s be honest, for many of us, half or even 2/3rd of the time, we are choosing the “lesser of two evils” when we vote at these elections.

    I think this is especially true right now, when so many of the democratic candidates are pushing policies that I think many if not most undecided voters in the critical swing states that will decide the election in 2020 will in fact probably disapprove of, and IMO will probably strongly disapprove of some of the policies.

    So while I wish things were as rosy and hopeful as was painted in the article, I think that the democratic chances are not anywhere near as good as was portrayed.

    I’d also take into account the massive war chest the Trump has already put together and is continuing to build.

    He is so flush with cash that his campaign can probably run attack ads non-stop in the swing states for several months prior to November 2020 – hitting the vulnerabilities of those controversial policies and building existing resistance to those policies into much fiercer resistance in the minds of swing state voters.

    Resistance that can very likely cause undecided voters who disapprove of Trump to some extent, to disapprove of the democratic candidate much more.

    Yes, he will run those ads in any case, but there is a huge difference between trying to take a significant EXISTING resistance to a policy in the mind of a voter and expanding on it, versus trying to create doubts and resistance from scratch.

    So I really think the democratic candidates should start thinking of how these policies are going to be received in those critical swing states, because if they are not received well, they and the democratic party don’t win the presidency, the senate and the house – which is the only way ANY change at all of any significance occurs!

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/09/2019 - 10:39 am.

      So, we have the best government that mopney can buy.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/09/2019 - 12:30 pm.

        “So, we have the best government that mopney can buy.”

        Yes, and even worse than that, decades of money funneled to congressmen and senators who then do their bidding has bought many of our commonly held public opinions and deeply held beliefs.

        Bought and paid-for politicians preach the party line over and over, for year after year, decade after decade, until many in the public have no question in their mind that it’s completely true.

        Hitler and his people knew this very well, just keep telling that big lie over and over again, and in various ways, and eventually it will become “common knowledge” that very few will even question.

        That is what people who want to make major changes to the status quo are up against.

        You don’t like it, I don’t like it, but it’s a mistake in my opinion to pretend that it doesn’t exist, it does exist, and has to be taken into account if one wants to actually accomplish even modest amounts of change, as opposed to just making a symbolic election “statement”, and then losing, and changing absolutely nothing at all.

        Some of the policies being proposed, such as medicare-for-all, I’m personally in favor of, but all those decades of conditioning by health insurance companies that government universal health care would be the end of the world is going to take more time to change – the public abhorance for that in swing states anyway is not going to happen before 2020 in my opinion.

        Some of the other policies, like reparations, I think are just a mistake, and even if I’m wrong on that, I don’t see the swing state voters doing anything but rejecting that very strongly in 2020.

        I think the wise thing for democrats to do is to focus on policies and positions that are more accepted in the swing states, and then after winning the presidency, the senate and the house, start working on trying to counteract some of the decades of conditioning regarding medicare-for-all as an example, and start with fact based reasoning, convincing voters that maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.

        It will take some time, but I think it can be done.

        But I think we need to be reality-based here – probably 90% of the public would be in favor of increasing our election security from attack by foreign governments, but we have one man, Mitch McConnell, who is stopping that by simply refusing to bring the bills doing that to the floor.

        So how in the world are policies that much of the general public is skeptical of going to actually get passed into law, unless the senate is won to dethrone McConnell, same with the presidency, and the house held as well.

        And I don’t think that happens if the democratic candidates push too hard and too soon for policies that for right or wrong, much or even most of the swing state voting public will have probably be strongly reluctant to voting for..

        I know it’s not what you would like to hear obviously as a progressive, all of us want change we are in favor to happen asap, but do you think my reasoning expressed here, is actually incorrect? Thanks.

  15. Submitted by Tom Crain on 08/09/2019 - 11:21 pm.

    While it does appear unlikely Trump can can thread the needle again like in 2016 given his poor ratings in the so called battleground states, it should be noted that he needs to only win one of the three mentioned.

    All three of these aging, relatively white states have some of the nation’s highest shares of white voters without college degrees — a group trending away from Democrats over the long term. Trump could lose Michigan and Pennsylvania and still win the Electoral College, so long as he carries every other place he won in 2016.

    There are two more reasons Trump can win in 2020, one mentioned in the article: cheating. I expect another controversial election result like we got with Bush/Gore. The documentary ‘The Great Hack’ (Netflix), shows the way data tracking, harvesting, and targeting to develop “psychographic” profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online can turn an election, be it the US presidency or the Brexit vote.

    The last reason Trump will repeat is if (when) the Dem. party machine produces another incrementalist, politics-as-usual candidate like handsy Uncle Joe, for example. This guy was “prostituting himself” – his words not mine – to big donors before many voters today were even born. Give the electorate something to vote FOR!

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/10/2019 - 08:28 am.

      ” Give the electorate something to vote FOR! ”

      But Tom, do you honestly in your heart think that “the electorate” wants to vote FOR reparations?

      Regarding ‘the electorate”, given we unfortunately still have the electoral college, and therefore New York and California, Washington, etc can only have so much influence no matter how many people vote democratic, I think “the electorate” that really matters are the swing states – Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc.

      They are the ones who choose our president every four years, whether we like it or not.

      100% of the people in New York, California, Washington and other reliably democratic states could be super-fired up by the democratic candidate, and it has no more influence on the electoral college than if it was only a tepid 51% democratic vote.

      Given that fact, do you believe undecided voters in Ohio, or retired voters in Florida, or unemployed coal miners in West Virginia are really hankering to vote FOR reparations?

      When they wake up in the morning, is that what they really wish Washington would get off their butts and do?

      Trump won in 2016 in part because for all his faults, he knew that the unemployed coal miner wanted his job back, so he lied and said he was going to bring coal back.

      In general, he said he was going to bring jobs back to the US, and that IS something that people wake up in the morning and wish Washington would do.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think democrats learned the lesson of 2016, they keep pushing issues that while they may be something to vote FOR! and get all excited about with leftists, are not big motivators for the bulk of the public, at least the bulk of the public in the swing-states, which again, is the electorate that determines the outcome in terms of which party will have the presidency, the senate majority, and the house majority.

      And without those in democratic hands, no changes of any significance will get done.

  16. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 08/10/2019 - 10:25 am.

    If his reelection is in doubt next year, watch for him to create a patriotic crisis of some sort, like a war with Iran, then demonize critics, especially Democratic candidates, as traitors.

  17. Submitted by Tom Crain on 08/10/2019 - 03:44 pm.

    Oh Henry, you’re preaching to the choir. Anyone paying attention knows its really only the voters in a dozen (probably less) states that matter (for Pres), thanks to our electoral system.

    Also, I agree that the issues of reparations and immigration are not generally winners for a Democratic nominee. Reparations and abolishing ICE, for example, both poll at only about 25% approval.

    The thing is, the DNC doesn’t have control over the issues of the debate. At least not complete control. You’ve needlessly got your hair on fire over the issue of reparations. I tend to agree with Bernie Sanders who said “First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.” But unlike their counterparts, the Dems have real debates about real issues and their candidates need to put forth positions on those issues. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both support gov’t paying reparations. Biden demurs and states he “believes that we should gather the data necessary to have an informed conversation about reparations”. This is not a top issue for most voters.

    Where we disagree is you think persuadable swing state 2016 Trump voters can be lured to vote for a centrist, corporate backed, big donor funded politicians who have support of the Dem establishment. Recent history tells us that idea is not a sure winner (except maybe OH)

    OTH, some of these 2016 Trump voters (and many more who stayed home in 2016) will indeed vote for a populist messages like those of Warren or Sanders. In both nation-wide and various swing state polls, Sanders and Biden both beat Trump by 8-12. Warren and Harris both beat Trump also by closer margins. This narrative you’re pushing that only ‘moderate’ Dem candidates can beat Trump is simply not true. That’s the impression one might get watching the bobble-heads on cable news, but if you dig deeper you’ll see that’s not case.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 08/11/2019 - 12:48 pm.

      You may be right that I’ve been too pessimistic on the chances of some of the more progressive candidates in the general election, although I’d say the Trump war chest hasn’t gone into over-drive to demonize those candidates yet, and we’ll have to see how effective or ineffective that is with those critical swing-state voters.

      But I think more than pitching the idea that only moderates can’t win, I believe I’ve been suggesting that all the candidates pay more attention to the ideas they are putting forward and how they will be received in those critical swing states we agree actually determine our presidential elections.

      And also the idea that it would be smart for the party in general to put the focus on Trump and not those issues – because IMO Trump is his own worst enemy.

      Frankly, sometime I think that all the democrats have to do to win perhaps is to pretty much shut-up – Trump seems to say and do one outrageous thing after another that alienates a bit more of the electorate (the undecided’s that is, not the core believers who believe he can do no wrong).

      Along those lines, I’d say the candidates would be wise to compete with each other more in these debates to see who can verbally take Trump and his record apart most effectively, instead of attacking each other viciously as they’ve been doing up to this point.

      I don’t think it’s running any more, but I saw a great cartoon the other day on the politico website that showed a big, brightly colored pinata shaped like Trump hanging in the air, and a bunch of donkeys surrounding it, all bashing the hell out of each other, while the pinata was untouched!

      It’s true the candidates have made a few jabs at Trump in the debates, but it seemed that most of the serious emphasis has been in tearing each other down, and pretty viciously too.

      Not a good idea IMO – that guy you’re attacking in a really nasty way, whether, it’s Biden or Bernie, might be the nominee, and you don’t want to see yourself in a future Trump TV ad telling the world how terrible your own party’s candidate is!

      • Submitted by Tom Crain on 08/12/2019 - 07:01 am.

        Personally, I’d rather the primary debate be about issues, not Trump. I don’t get all this hand-wringing about ‘infighting’. That’s what the Primary debate is for! Which ideas are best and who can execute them? We all know that all the candidates are opposed to Trump, we don’t need hours of jabs at Trump. That might whip up both bases for a week but solves nothing.

        The problem is the format. Why in the world does the DNC give control to the cable stations? All we get are questions framed for entertainment, little time for anything but sound-bite answers that are interrupted by the candidates and moderators. Partisan audiences cheering their favorites. What a disgrace. The second CNN debate was really over the top with time wasted on ‘announcing’ the candidates one at a time, like it’s a sporting event complete with national anthem.

        It’s no wonder we have a reality show presidency. I don’t need to point that out to any reader of MP, but why perpetuate this troubling trend? The DNC should manage their own debates, pick their own moderators (no one gets debate questions before-hand, HRC!) and invite any media that wants to cover it.

  18. Submitted by Joe Musich on 08/10/2019 - 10:33 pm.

    I think Trump’s Plan is not to win the election but to harvest all the donations for he and his family. That is the pattern.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/11/2019 - 10:15 am.

      I think you are right. He never wanted the job of President in the first place. I will give him credit as he has done a good job of not being President. His theory was if he ran for President he would garner the attention he so badly needs to support his fragile ego. Personally I will consider him persona non grata to ever be heard from after he leaves office.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2019 - 11:53 am.

      Personal use of campaign contributions would be illegal.
      Just one more thing to jail him after 2020.

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