16 votes

This Week in Election Night, 2020 (Week 15)

good morning, tildes--this is not a test. we are 488 days and dropping away from possibly the biggest election day in recent american history. this week was pretty slow because the debates sucked all the oxygen out of the room; as a consequence, there are no opinion pieces this week and relatively few stories in this edition.

the usual note: common sense should be able to generally dictate what does and does not get posted in this thread. if it's big news or feels like big news, probably make it its own post instead of lobbing it in here. like the other weekly threads, this one is going to try to focus on things that are still discussion worthy, but wouldn't necessarily make good/unique/non-repetitive discussion starters as their own posts.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10Week 11Week 12Week 13Week 14



22% Biden
17% Harris
15% Warren
14% Sanders.
No one else in the 23-person field tested hits 5%.

Biden 24%
Harris 16%
Warren 13%
Sanders 9%
... The new standings are hardly set in stone. Twenty-one percent are undecided. Six of 10 who have decided say they might change their mind before the caucuses. One in four say their minds are firmly made up.

Biden 22%
Harris 20%
Warren 14%
Sanders 13%
Buttigieg 4%
No other candidate tops 3 percent.

Biden 29%
Sanders 23%
Warren 11%
Harris 11%
No other candidate tops 4 percent.

Biden 22%
Sanders 16%
Harris 10%
Warren 9%
No other candidate tops 3 percent.

General News

  • from the Trace: Where the 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand on Guns. we lead off today with a piece from the trace on where all the candidates stand on gun issues and gun things in general; these range from whether or not the candidate owns a gun to questions like "Do you have a plan for reducing community gun violence?" and "Should the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act be repealed?". this is probably about as comprehensive of a piece as you'll ever get on an issue with such a crowded primary.
  • from Pacific Standard: The Democratic Primary Field Is Not as Wide Open as It Seems. not all candidates are equal either in potential or in public perception of viability; this is true with the public, but also with campaign staffers---this'll be touched on further down because it's already becoming a problem for some candidates. it somewhat goes without saying that, because presidential campaigns are infrequent, there is a very small pool of experienced presidential campaign staff, and those folks tend to be gobbled up by the bigger, more serious, better looking campaigns. what is less evident is that without experienced campaign staffers, as this article notes, it is extremely hard to seriously contest a primary. as such, by this metric, the number of "serious" candidates is generously less than half the current field, and mostly frontrunning campaigns.

Joe Biden

  • from Buzzfeed News: Joe Biden’s Careful Debate Plan Got Blown Up. it goes without saying, i think, but biden did not come out of last week's debates the winner. aside from the nosedive in polling he's taken across the board (sometimes of up to ten points), biden's carefully-cultivated, extremely-cautious approach in all other things backfired spectacularly in the span of one night. biden's campaign so far has been--if not subtlely hostile to the media--generally avoidant of it where possible. he answers questions on his own terms for the most part and generally does his own things, irrespective of how it'll go over. and that works--or did, anyways--when he didn't have people gunning for him in front of a large portion of the primary's voting base. but now that he's wounded relatively badly in primary terms, i'm not sure the strategy he employed here is going to be practical. not defining yourself to the media and coasting off of obama nostalgia works until it doesn't, and right now, it's really not working.
  • biden's fundraising numbers for this quarter: 21 million dollars. something to cheer about i suppose.

Bernie Sanders

  • from CNN: Bernie Sanders 2020 is in big trouble. bernie's also not having the best time in the polls. although he mostly held his own in the snap polls immediately after the debates, the polls after that have bene less kind to him, broadly. he's still usually second, but increasingly commonly he is third or fourth, and there's an undeniable trend of warren and harris now playing catchup and winning out. to be clear, sanders is probably not at risk of becoming a basement dweller candidate like beto due to his significantly high floor--but his base alone absolutely cannot and will not win him the primary. he needs to expand who is going to vote for him--and on that count, he is seemingly failing so far.
  • sanders's fundraising numbers for this quarter: 24 million; 18 million raised, 6 million transferred.

Pete Buttigieg

  • from the Guardian: Pete Buttigieg returns to South Bend amid tension over police shooting. buttigieg was back in south bend over the weekend to once again deal with the aftermath of the shooting of eric logan. to my knowledge, buttigieg has cut down on or outright stopped campaigning for the time being to deal with this situation; it's not clear how long this situation will be lingering over him or when he does intend to get back into the full swing of campaigning. it's worth bearing in mind that he's also been slightly slipping in the polls recently; whether it's over the south bend situation or because his appeal is wearing thin on people or some other event is probably unattributable.
  • from NBC News: Buttigieg raises nearly $25 million in second quarter. nonetheless, buttigieg has something to cheer about at minimum: he raised an impressive 25 million dollars this quarter, outpacing every other candidate that's announced their totals so far. now he just needs to put that money to good use.
  • from POLITICO: Buttigieg introduces national service plan. buttigieg also has some new policy out this week related to national service, an issue which i am sure is very animating for people:

Buttigieg's plan would immediately increase the number of available national service positions to 250,000 opportunities, up from the current 75,000. It would emphasize recruiting students at high schools, community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and vocational schools, as well as Americans between 16 and 24 who aren't working or in school.
The proposal also calls for establishing grant funding programs for "service ecosystems" focused on local and regional issues.
Service fellows would be considered for student debt forgiveness, hiring preference and vocational training. The plan also calls for developing new types of service corps like a Climate Corps, a Community Health Corps, or a Intergenerational Service Corps.

Cory Booker

  • from Pacific Standard: Cory Booker's Immigration Plan Focuses on Day-One Changes. cory booker isn't looking to congress to be the final arbiter on his immigration plans, which is probably a good idea since it seems unlikely--but absolutely not impossible, mind you--that the democrats will wrestle control from the republicans in the senate in 2020 (note: they'd only need 50 votes if they win the presidency since the VP tiebreaks). booker's plan in the domestic sphere is mostly based on issuing executive orders; it also has ideas for what to do in foreign policy, which is a part of the issue which can't really be ignored (and, for the msot part, is not being ignored by democratic candidates so far).

Kamala Harris

  • from Buzzfeed News: Kamala Harris Just Showed How She'd Debate Trump. kamala harris unsurprisingly came out of the debate nights with a great deal of press, of which this buzzfeed article looking to a hypothetical future with her and trump sharing a debate stage might be the most prototypical. harris, the pretty much undisputed winner of the second debate, is in an interesting position now due to her meteoric rise in the polls. previously she'd been running close-but-not-quite-in with the main frontrunning group of biden, sanders, and warren. now, in the immediate term, she's almost always second or third in the polls. will this bring additional scrutiny to her record? probably. she was already getting a bit of it from online leftists and parts of the media, and suddenly being a frontrunner from a single debate performance is almost certain to have that effect. those lines of attack haven't hurt harris yet, though, and it's arguable that her prosecutorial career is what allows her to have the sorts of successes you see when you put her on a debate stage to begin with. call it a double edged sword.

John Hickenlooper

  • from POLITICO: Hickenlooper campaign in shambles. remember the bit from earlier about how there's only so much talent to go around and how campaign staff can make or break a campaign? well, the hickenlooper campaign, that bastion of perennial once-percenter, anti-socialist and moderate rhetoric, is not a particularly great campaign to be on, it turns out. hickenlooper's campaign is losing five people and will probably run out of money pretty shortly if nothing changes. he has almost no chance of making future debates, either. if i had to guess, he'll be one of the first people to drop out:

The campaign also only raised just over $1 million in the second quarter — about what he raised in the first 48 hours of his candidacy — and will likely run out of money completely in about a month.
At least five staffers have left or are leaving Hickenlooper’s struggling operation, including his campaign manager, communications director, digital director and finance director. Hickenlooper named a new campaign manager on Monday night.
Hickenlooper met the polling requirement to qualify for last week’s debate and the upcoming debate in July. But his prospects for making the fall debates — candidates must have 130,000 donors and hit 2 percent in four qualifying polls — were dicier. The latest CNN poll released Monday shows Hickenlooper with just 1 percent support.


  1. alyaza
    as far as some fun downballot news to fill in the general void of upballot news, democrats are raising a shit ton of money which suggests the blue wave has not quite ebbed yet, donald continues to...

    as far as some fun downballot news to fill in the general void of upballot news, democrats are raising a shit ton of money which suggests the blue wave has not quite ebbed yet, donald continues to be unpopular in a lot of crucial places, and at least one sitting senator can probably already be written off for being reelected:

    • morning consult has some fucking abysmal numbers for donald in some states. there are a lot of caveats to these numbers, of course, and they're probably worse for him than the reality due to small sample sizes, but broadly, even if you give him a few additional points, these are probably not winning numbers in 2020:

    New Hampshire: 37% approval, 60% disapproval (-23 net approval)
    Michigan: 40% approval, 55% disapproval (-15)
    Wisconsin: 42% approval, 56% disapproval (-14)
    Iowa: 42% approval, 55% disapproval (-13)
    Pennsylvania 44% approval, 53% disapproval (-9)
    Arizona: 45% approval, 52% disapproval (-7)
    Ohio: 45% approval, 51% disapproval (-6)
    North Carolina: 47% approval, 50% disapproval (-3)
    Florida: 47% approval, 50% disapproval (-3)
    Indiana: 49% approval, 48% disapproval (+1)

    • cory gardner is just done, lol. currently on 40/39 approval in a state hillary won by 5 despite significant underperformance, his numbers are probably only that good because colorado has a huge republican county (el paso, which contains colorado springs). to keep his seat (which he only won by 2 points to begin with), gardner probably needs to win el paso county by at least 25, maybe 30 points on high turnout to not get destroyed statewide; walker stapleton, a respectable republican, won el paso 56-40 and still lost by 11 points to polis in 2018.
    • democrats have for the most part scored good candidates downballot. they have their probable preferred candidate in montana's governor race, and they have one or more good to solid candidates in the 2020 senate races for maine, south carolina, arizona, colorado, north carolina, kansas(!!), and a few other places. they also have decent prospects in places like iowa.
    • democratic candidate for arizona's senate race (and astronaut) mark kelly raised $4.2 million in a quarter, which is more than several presidential candidates (hickenlooper's and bennet's at minimum). kelly is looking to inflict a second defeat on martha mcsally, who lost jeff flake's former seat to democrat kyrsten sinema in 2018, only to be appointed to fill mccain's vacant senate seat (which is up in 2020 because of arizona election laws) after interim senator john kyl was first appointed to that seat before resigning after mcsally's 2018 loss.
    • democratic candidate for south carolina's senate race jaime harrison raised $1.5 million; like kelly, he is generally regarded as one of the best candidates democrats could have for this race.
    • democratic candidate for maine's senate race sara gideon raised over a million; barring calamity she will also be the beneficiary of, when the primary is over, a $4 million war chest raised against current maine senator susan collins in the aftermath of her vote for brett kavanaugh.
    • democratic candidate for iowa's senate race theresa greenfield raised "only" $625,000 in a quarter.
    • one of the democratic candidates in kansas's senate race, barry grissom, has raised nearly $200,000 in just two days.
    • two colorado senate candidates for the democrats raised over a million dollars: mike johnston ($1.6 million) and dan baer ($1.35 million)
    • democratic candidate for texas's senate seat mj hegar raised $1 million; this is not on pace with beto's fundraising in 2018, for the record, but we still have a long ways to go before things really ratchet up and texas's senate seat would be an obvious stretch seat for the democrats; realistically, if they're on their way to winning texas's senate seat in a presidential year, they're probably on their way to a landslide across the board.
    6 votes
  2. alyaza
    interestingly, it seems maybe the DNC will actually have a climate debate or at least a climate candidate forum after all: Democrats To Consider Climate Debate Amid Mounting Pressure. this would...

    interestingly, it seems maybe the DNC will actually have a climate debate or at least a climate candidate forum after all: Democrats To Consider Climate Debate Amid Mounting Pressure. this would be a significant reversal by the DNC since they tend to a) be pretty stubborn about shit like this and b) they've explicitly shut down the idea up to this point. they don't vote on either resolution until august 23, by which point several candidates will have probably dropped out, so hopefully it won't be a tremendous shitshow.

    5 votes
  3. alyaza
    let the great culling begin: swalwell is dropping out despite doing better than a number of other candidates.

    let the great culling begin: swalwell is dropping out despite doing better than a number of other candidates.

    3 votes
  4. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Tom Steyer is likely to announce his candidacy this week (WaPo, Atlantic) Odd move given there's already enough "wait, who's that again?" white guys running, but Steyer has money to burn so he...

    Tom Steyer is likely to announce his candidacy this week (WaPo, Atlantic)

    Odd move given there's already enough "wait, who's that again?" white guys running, but Steyer has money to burn so he probably figures fuck it.

    Steyer's been pushing hard for impeachment, so he could potentially shake up the other candidates by challenging them on that. But the best place to do that would be at a debate...and he missed the first one and seems very unlikely to qualify for the second one with its increased requirements.

    2 votes