Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Candidate Trump, Tweeting After Dark

Getting ready for first “official” campaign rally in Orlando Tuesday night, POTUS tweets his greatest hits in overnight storm.

My take: The threatened deportation of illegal immigrants; an attack on a Fox poll showing him losing to Bernie Sanders and other Democrats; a celebration of his crowd size; a denunciation of “Fake News” and the New York Times; wonderment at the failure of Hillary Clinton to pay a bigger price for the handling of her emails as Secretary of State; a written chant of “No Obstruction, No Collusion” (the final two tweeted after midnight) – this is how the incumbent set the table late Monday night and early Tuesday morning on his favorite social media platform.

Read two choice paragraphs from this essential read in the Washington Post about the Trump re-election effort:

“[Trump] advisers said conversations have begun on how to attribute some of the country’s economic successes more to the president — and to make the election less of a referendum on the president’s behavior. They have grown frustrated that polls consistently show that a majority believe the country is on the right track economically, and they feel secure, but Trump’s numbers remain mired at 40 percent or below.”

“’The election has to be about something other than the president’s behavior, or we lose,’ one campaign adviser said. But the advisers said no efforts have been made to intervene because they would be useless.”

Most political pros would say “Donald Trump’s Tweeting After Dark” is not going to put him on the path to victory.  But even Trump’s most determined adversaries (actually: ESPECIALLY Trump’s most determined adversaries) have to acknowledge that such behavior worked for him in his improbable victory four years ago.

Kicking things off in Florida with a giant stadium rally, along with Vice President Pence and a full complement of members of his 2016 campaign team, is both a show of strength (none of the Democratic candidates could pull of a rally this big and garner so much media attention) and weakness (Trump is starting things off by playing defense in a red-leaning state he must win for re-election; imagine if this rally were in Macomb County, Michigan, or Green Bay, Wisconsin.).

Peter Baker in the New York Times looks at Trump’s place in American society and the stakes for re-election. It is a strong tone poem that you should read.

The Wall Street Journal has a very good piece on how Trump won Florida in 2016 and what he is doing to try to make sure he takes it again.

Three important indications of the state of play to watch for this evening:

1. How much does Trump deliver remarks that actually enhance his chances of winning, and how much does he just play to the crowd in the room and his own rhetorical whims?

2. How much unannotated live coverage does the event get on MSNBC and CNN?

3. How well-honed are his attacks on his Democratic rivals?

Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s the Economy

The Washington Post rounds up all the reasons to be bearish on investment, GDP, etc as USA rounds the corner into 2020.

My take: There is a massive difference for Trump’s prospects for re-election if he is running next year with growth closer to 2.5% (or higher) than 1.5% (or lower).  Democrats must run now preparing for the higher figure, but if it is towards the lower end, Trump loses not just his primary talking point, but his flexibility to pursue trade wars and other policies that burnish his “strength” brand but create too much short-term economic chaos for the taste of American business decision makers.

Biden: I’ve Raised More Than $20 Million

Frontrunner tells Gotham City fat cat contributors that he has already attracted 360,000 donors, with an average contribution of $55

My take: Biden has never been a strong fundraiser before, so this metric demonstrates as clearly as anything else that he has slid comfortably and unambiguously into the frontrunner slot.  But his rivals point out that Jeb Bush had a huge money edge four years ago and that could not save his candidacy. 

Earlier, Biden told an anti-poverty group that he would compete in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Florida if he wins the nomination.

What Biden needs more than money: a message that satisfies restive progressives concerned he isn’t The One, in part because he says he will work with Senate Republicans if elected.

Top sports story: Braves win their 10th in 11 games, NL East lead stretches to 3 games


Top business story: Despite Tanker attacks, Saudis push for OPEC production cuts

Wall Street Journal

Top entertainment story: Woody Harrelson to play Timothy Leary in “The Most Dangerous Man in America


Big Four


Nevada’s attorney general files a wide-ranging opioid lawsuit.

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South Carolina

Former VP Biden says he’ll win South Carolina in the 2020 election.

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