Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The walls close in on the sociopath in the WH

Stu Rothenberg/Roll Call:

With all the chaos, the shape of the Trump-Biden race is unchanged

President did not expand his appeal during his term

With one week until Election Day, you don’t need another column from me on swing voters or key states. You don’t need more of my analysis of President Donald Trump’s style and how that has affected the race. You don’t need more of my thoughts on the suburbs or partisan polarization, or which Senate races will be crucial and who has the edge in the fight for control.

Sometimes, enough is enough. I’ve already told you what I think about all those things and how I got here. The shape of the presidential contest has not changed fundamentally since early 2019, when I started handicapping the race. The president had plenty of opportunities to change things. He simply chose not to, or maybe (as in the case with COVID-19) he just was not up to the task.

I’d like to “sound the alarm” on Joe Biden: he’s likely to win next week’s presidential election.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) October 27, 2020

Message making the local rounds on my social media:

Reporter: how long have you been waiting to vote?
Voter on line: 4 years
Trump leaving supporters out in the cold is the perfect metaphor for his presidency— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) October 28, 2020

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Could Trump end up going quietly? Here are 5 ways that might happen.

We already know Trump hopes to prematurely declare himself winner while invalidating millions of mail ballots, which could unleash a sustained post-election struggle.

But if you squint, you can discern various scenarios in which Trump ends up going quietly — or relatively so. Presuming for now that Joe Biden wins, here are five such possibilities:

Biden wins by a landslide. This is the most obvious: Biden wins in a rout so convincing that there is literally no avenue open for Trump to contest or resist it.

President (National) Biden (D) 51% Trump (R) 40% 10/21-10/24 by CNBC/Hart Research/Public Opinion Strategies (A-) 800 RV Woof woof! Can I have a treat? Poll #135071 #ElectionTwitter— Stella 2020 (@stella2020woof) October 27, 2020

Biden doesn’t have a 17 point lead in WI, but you can’t accuse ABC/WaPo of herding with other polls. Should be an interesting poller coaster this week with Monmouth (GA and FL) and MULaw (WI) state polls due, and who knows what else.

Josh Kraushaar/National Journal:

Predicting the presidential race, one week out

Joe Biden is on track to win the election decisively, with both Rust Belt and Sun Belt battlegrounds flipping into the Democratic column.

New Post-ABC polls: MI: Biden 51, Trump 44 WI: Biden 57, Trump 40 “Findings suggest concerns about the coronavirus are weighing heavily on Trump’s candidacy, particularly in Wisconsin, which has seen case counts climb to record levels in recent weeks.”— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) October 28, 2020

Florida Politics:

Where are all these Democratic votes coming from? Some of Florida’s reddest counties.

So far, Collier has seen the highest Democratic turnout of any Florida county.

A look at county totals shows some of Florida’s Republican strongholds also see the highest turnout rate among Democrats so far this election cycle.

The clearest example comes in Collier County, where Democratic turnout 10 days out from the election has already exceeded 62%. As of Saturday morning, 26,310 Democrats had returned their mail ballot and another 7,553 cast votes at early voting locations. That’s a total of 33,863 votes already locked in.

That means Democrats in the county boast a higher turnout rate than they do in any other county in Florida.

It’s all the more remarkable considering Democrats make up just 24.5% of voters in the county, a total of 54,845 Collier Democrats in total.

ACB’s confirmation process demonstrates that the Republican Senate can move incredibly fast when they think something is important. They just didn’t think COVID relief was important.— Leah GOTVberg (@Leahgreenb) October 26, 2020

David Rothkopf/USA Today:

How do Trump’s extraordinary betrayals stand up against history? He could be the worst.

Putting Trump in context is the best way to highlight and understand his betrayals. History is the highest court, and its verdict can’t be appealed

It is not a small thing to call the president of the United States a traitor. But it is an even greater offense to fail to call him one if he has betrayed his country as often and as egregiously as Donald Trump has done.

That said, the dictionary definition of a traitor is “a person who betrays a friend, country or principle.” There is no doubt that Trump has betrayed the country time and time again. It is a matter of public record that he encouraged our Russian adversaries to become involved in the 2016 election. When the intelligence community provided evidence of the threat posed by Russia, we saw Trump dismiss it, ignore it, fail in his duty to “preserve, protect and defend.”  

NEW: Our analysis of nearly 70,000 open-end survey responses collected Feb. 15-Oct. 8 among U.S. adults reveals one main pattern: negative views of President Donald Trump.— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) October 27, 2020

Laura Rosenberger/Foreign affairs:

The Real Threat of Foreign Interference Comes After Election Day

Americans Are Primed to Accept Their Adversaries’ Narrative of Doubt

The good news is that the United States is better prepared to address many such threats than it was four years ago: its intelligence community, private companies, and independent researchers have met interference attempts with early detection, exposure, and countermeasures, and they have acted particularly effectively to secure U.S. election infrastructure. But Americans should be prepared for foreign actors to take some of their most significant actions in the days and weeks after Election Day—when the country may actually be most vulnerable.

Such a scenario has precedent. Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election in 2016, according to the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, not simply to hurt one candidate and help another but also “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” To that end, if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had won, Russian officials “were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results” through statements and social media campaigns. Instead, Trump was announced the victor, and Moscow shifted gears to take advantage of a divided, and in some quarters outraged, American public.

Two things surprised me about reaction to Biden’s oil comment. One, commentators’ surprise. What did they think his net-zero by 2050 commitment meant? The other, the general lack of knowledge about how much America’s energy sector has already changed.— Ben Storrow (@bstorrow) October 26, 2020

Matthew Yglesias/Vox:

Nepotism and the 2020 election, explained

Joe Biden isn’t the only candidate with family in question in this campaign.

The whole Hunter Biden situation, from top to bottom, reeks of the kind of cozy cronyism that makes a lot of people detest establishment politics and explains the appeal of the idea of a rich businessman who can’t be bought swooping in to drain the swamp.

And then there’s the reality of Trump.

Trump’s daughter wields unprecedented influence

Joe Biden’s son got a job on the Amtrak board that he was not particularly qualified for. Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who was no more qualified than Hunter for any public sector position, instead got a role as a White House senior staffer. Her husband, Jared Kushner, also is totally unqualified for government work and also has a job as a White House senior staffer. Their father intervened to get them security clearances.

Ivanka Trump is involved in policymaking in a way that’s simply unheard of for a presidential child, especially one with zero prior experience in politics and government:

She has overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants.
She represented the United States at the G20 summit.
She was involved in shaping the 2017 tax cut that stands as her father’s main legislative achievement.
She was even involved at a high level in a search for a new World Bank president.

While not qualified for any of these roles, she’s also managed to repeatedly break the law in public service. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington once documented a 48-hour period in early October during which she violated the Hatch Act eight times. She then violated it 11 more times by October 20.

That’s all it was ever about.— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) October 26, 2020

Olivia Nuzzi/New York Magazine:

THE SWAMP OCT. 26, 2020


The tortured self-justification of one very powerful Trump-loathing anonymous Republican.

He was of the Establishment but never deluded about the righteousness of his chosen side. George W. Bush, for instance, couldn’t earn his support because of “how badly he had fucked up” the Iraq War. “I still don’t think Republicans have been held to account completely for that,” he said. The election of the country’s first Black president gave life to right-wing extremism, and over eight years, polarization and negative partisanship — or hatred of the other side — accelerated as it hadn’t since the Gingrich revolution. By the end of the Obama administration, the party sounded more like Glenn Beck than Barry Goldwater, and although mainstream conservatives liked to pretend that the “crazies” said little about them, there was no denying that a fear of such people motivated much decision-making in Washington. This transformation all but invited what happened next.

I know that Republicans are convinced that the court expansion stuff is a bluff and Democrats lack the intestinal fortitude to do it. But they’re really misunderstanding how quickly and radically centrist Dems are shifting on the issue. I’ve never seen anything like it.— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 26, 2020

Will Bunch/

Trump may try to steal November’s election. Meet the people who wrote the book on fighting back. 

In the presidential election of 2000, with the future of the United States hanging by the chads of a contested presidential vote count, the Democrats essentially brought a knife to a gunfight, and lost.

That piece of very recent history looms large over a new 40-page guide authored by three leading progressive activists entitled, simply, The Count, that lays out the stakes and the potential critical dates if President Trump tries to thwart the election process once the 2020 vote counting begins on November 3. Twenty years ago, their report notes, the GOP used any means necessary, including public protests, to push for a victory for George W. Bush, while Democrats took a timid approach and hoped for the best in the courts.

The president’s decision to downplay the severity of COVID at multiple late October rallies in Wisconsin might be the biggest display of tone-deafness I’ve ever seen, and I cover hundreds of campaigns a cycle.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) October 27, 2020

NY Times:

In Georgia, Democrats Target the True Silent Majority: People Who Don’t Vote

As Democrats eye the Southern battleground, high turnout will be crucial for them, and that means persuading nonvoters to participate. But experts warn that changing electorates is hard and complicated.

Jon Ossoff may not have known it, but a possible key to victory in his Georgia Senate race had just pulled up beside him in a dingy black van.

Mr. Ossoff, a 33-year-old former journalist who is seen as one of Democrats’ brightest hopes in year when Georgia could be crucial for the battle of Senate control, was arriving at State Farm Arena in Atlanta this month to vote early. To his left, the van unloaded a gaggle of older Black men.

“First-time voters!” the driver yelled as two of the men, Richard Sanabria and Tony Lamar Jones, walked out.

Mr. Lamar Jones, 42, looked at the media circus surrounding Mr. Ossoff and asked, “Who’s he?”

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