We’ve been covering news roundups of the Democratic primary, but it’s also worth expanding this format to include more aspects of the 2020 presidential election. After all, Donald Trump is a key figure in the 2020 race, of course, but he’s not part of the Democratic Party primary process. Welcome to the first roundup of all 2020 presidential election news which includes reporting on the Democratic primary, Libertarian party, and everything surrounding Donald Trump on the Republican side.
GOP Rep. Justin Amash may still challenge Trump as a Libertarian
We’ve reported on this previously, but the prospect remains that Michigan Representative Justin Amash is still considering leaving the Republican Party to mount a Libertarian Party run against Donald Trump in 2020, according to The Hill:
In interviews this year, Amash has toyed with the idea of abandoning the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian. That could have major implications for Amash’s home state of Michigan, which Trump carried by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016.
There’s a full-scale effort underway to convince Amash to take the plunge.
“There are a lot of Libertarian Party members actively encouraging Rep. Amash to switch parties and seek the Libertarian nomination,” said Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. “This is probably the most organized recruitment effort I’ve seen going back to 2012 when people were trying to recruit [former Texas Rep.] Ron Paul.”
Trump and his allies have mobilized quickly to shut Amash down.
The president called Amash a “total lightweight” over Twitter, saying he opposes “some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there.”
The article notes that Amash could “unite” factions of #NeverTrump Republicans, but I honestly don’t think those factions are all that large anymore. Recent reporting indicates that many big donors and GOP operatives who sat out supporting Trump in 2016 have decided to back him in 2020. Still, Trump can’t afford to ignore this threat since in a tight race, having a viable Republican-leaning libertarian candidate could peel away votes in key states, such as Pennsylvania.
Biden responds to Trump’s claims of “abandoning” Pennsylvania
Earlier this week, while speaking at a rally in the Keystone State, President Trump attacked former vice president Joe Biden by hitting him at the core of his blue-collar appeal. Trump made the argument, to Pennsylvania voters, that Biden abandoned the state for greener pastures to launch a political career. Biden hasn’t taken too kindly to the attack, and on Tuesday, he responded:
Joe Biden responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s claim that the former vice president “deserted” Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.
“Donald Trump tried to attack me at his campaign rally by saying I abandoned Pennsylvania,” the Democratic presidential candidate wrote in a fundraising e-mail Tuesday. “Well folks, I’ve never forgotten where I came from. My family did have to leave Pennsylvania when I was 10 — we moved to Delaware where my Dad found a job that could provide for our family.”
“Let’s be clear: this isn’t just about me. This is proof that Donald Trump doesn’t understand the struggles working folks go through,” Biden wrote. “He doesn’t understand what it’s like to worry you will lose the roof over your head. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to wonder if you’ll be able to put food on the table.”
This is an example of Trump hitting Biden on what is supposedly one of Biden’s strengths, his blue-collar appeal, and roots. If Trump can chip away at this appeal, it would help neutralize the rust belt threat posted by Biden. On the contrary, however, Biden will take similar shots, as demonstrated above, about how Trump may have blue-collar appeal, but he never struggled financially as many families do from time to time.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has a voter attention problem
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Sen. Bernie Sanders retains a high level of popularity among a certain segment of voters. For most candidates, this would be a good thing. However, in this case, Bernie is holding this high level of popularity among voters who are paying the least amount of attention to the 2020 presidential election, according to Newsweek:
Among voters who have paid little or zero attention to the 2020 race, Sanders came out on top with 28 percent. Biden garnered 23 percent of support and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) came in at third place with six percent in the same category of respondents. An additional 22 percent said they didn’t know which candidate to support.
Among voters who have paid some attention to the 2020 race, Biden was the number one pick, with 33 percent of votes. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) followed behind in second and third place, garnering 19 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Finally, among voters who have paid a lot of attention to the 2020 race, Biden remained in the top spot with an even higher result of 42 percent. The same category of individuals backed Warren for second place with 15 percent and Sanders fell to third, garnering eight percent among Americans that closely followed the presidential campaign.
The upshot here is that either Bernie’s fans need to start paying more attention, which could help his overall poll numbers, or that as more and more voters start looking at the race, Bernie will continue to lose support. It could very well be the case that Bernie was leading earlier this year since only the most ardent activists were truly paying attention to the race. As the winter months subsided, and the Spring campaign season kicked in, more voters took notice, and that’s when Biden started to rise and claim the top spot by negatively eroding Bernie’s support.
Sen. Kamala Harris floats corporate fines to fight the gender pay gap
Earlier this week, California Sen. Kamala Harris floated the idea of leveling fines against corporations to help fight a gender pay gap in corporate America. According to Harris, the goal of the plan would be to hold “corporations accountable for transparency and closing that gap,” as Fortune reports:
The plan would require all companies with 100 or more employees to earn “equal pay certification” by proving they pay men and women the same for doing work of the same value, or else be fined 1% of their profits for every 1% wage gap. It would also force corporations to report the share of women in leadership positions, bar them from asking about prior salary history, and prohibit them from using forced arbitration to handle pay discrimination claims.
Harris has continued her steady campaign of touching on key issues among progressive voters in the Democratic primary. Her prior time writing an op-ed about affordable housing dovetails into this pay gap measure and stays within the bounds of her campaign focused on social justice issues. It’s a considerably “safe” tact to take at this point for Harris, who continues to maintain steady national polling support.
Pete Buttigieg gets the Fox News town hall treatment
Also happening this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, appeared at a town hall event on the Fox News Channel. Some candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, have vowed that they will not appear on the conservative-leaning network, though Buttigieg felt that he would be leaving votes on the table by not participating. Politico reports on Buttigieg’s Fox News Town Hall:
By appearing on Fox News, Buttigieg — who’s quickly risen from an almost complete unknown to one of the top-tier Democratic 2020 candidates — further introduced himself to an audience that might otherwise not know him.
A day before the town hall, Buttigieg sent out a fundraising email titled, “Why I’m going on Fox News.”
“If we ignore the viewers of Fox News and every news platform that doesn’t share our worldview, we will surrender our ability to speak directly to millions of American voters,” he wrote.
Buttigieg, responding to Wallace‘s question about Trump’s tweet, sought to look beyond the president’s preferred social media platform.
“Every time that we’re looking at the show and the latest tweet and the latest insult, what we’re not looking at is the fact that we’re the ones trying to get you a raise and they’re the ones blocking it,” Buttigieg said of Democrats working in opposition to the Trump administration.
In case you missed it, the entire video of Buttigieg’s Fox News Town Hall is available from RealClearPolitics. Buttigieg earned high marks from the Fox audience and the event probably helped raise his profile and build credibility as a candidate who is unafraid to defend his views regardless of the venue.
Following the Buttigieg Town Hall, President Trump lashed out at Fox for even daring to host any Democratic candidates, saying, “Hard to believe that Fox News is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete, as Chris Wallace likes to call him. Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They got dumped from the Democrats boring debates, and they just want in.”
Beto O’Rourke appears to be trending down
Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke mulled over a 2020 presidential campaign for months, eventually decided to join the race. Since that time, he’s raised a lot of money but watched his poll numbers dwindle and campaign rally attendance diminish along with it. As Vanity Fair now reports, fewer candidates are looking for opposition research against Beto because they no longer view him as a threat:
O’Rourke seems to be little danger to Biden, let alone Trump, judging by the number of people not looking to take O’Rourke down. “The requests for oppo on him have completely died off,” a staffer at America Rising, a Republican PAC that does opposition research on Democratic candidates, told the Daily Beast. Requests to the R.N.C. for damaging information on Beto have similarly dried up. Even Fox News appears largely disinterested.
O’Rourke, after all, appears fully capable of damaging himself. Between the gaffes, the corrections, the ill-considered plan to shun national media, the accusations of white male privilege and apologies for said white male privilege, O’Rourke’s poll numbers have collapsed into the low single digits, averaging less than 5 percent across several national polls, and less than 3 percent in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
On Tuesday evening, O’Rourke participated in his first Town Hall event with CNN. The campaign appearance was billed as a way for Beto to recapture his narrative and get his campaign back on track. You can view most of the clips and get more information on Beto’s answers from this CNN live blog of the event.
That’s all we have for this week! Stay tuned as the 2020 campaign rolls on into this Memorial Day weekend.