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Wake Up To Politics - June 25, 2020

Good Thursday morning. It’s June 25, 2020. 131 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Biden assumes commanding lead in national, state polls

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has opened comfortable leads in six key battleground states, the New York Times and Siena College released found in a series of polls released this morning.

In each of the states polled — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — Biden led President Donald Trump by at least six percentage points. Biden led by at least 10 percentage points in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump won each of these states in 2016; if Biden were to capture them, he would win at least 333 electoral votes in 2020, far exceeding the 270 needed, the Times noted.

Graphic by the New York Times

The results in the battleground state polls matched the findings of the Times/Siena national poll — which showed Biden leading Trump by 14 percentage points — and were even rosier than a collection of Biden-friendly state polls released on Wednesday, including a Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin (Biden +8), a Public Policy Polling poll of North Carolina (Biden +2), and a Quinnipiac poll of Ohio (Biden +1).

Biden’s dominance in the Times/Siena national poll was powered by his success among nearly every demographic group: the former vice president led Trump among Black voters (Biden +74), Hispanic voters (Biden +39), Independent voters (Biden +21), men (Biden +3), and women (Biden +22). He even held Trump’s lead among white voters to a slim 1-point margin, and won white voters with a college degree by 28 percentage points.

Biden outperformed Hillary Clinton among each of these groups, according to exit polls taken in 2016.  

This new polling data comes as the two presidential nominees are beginning to return to the campaign trail — albeit in different ways — after a coronavirus-induced pause. Trump has already returned to holding his signature rallies, while Biden has begun to leave his basement studio for smaller events with voters. Biden has also held a series of virtual fundraisers, including one with former President Barack Obama that netted $11 million, allowing him to catch up to the sitting president’s fundraising advantage.

Underlining the contrast between the two, Democrats announced plans Wednesday to move their nominating convention to a smaller venue in Milwaukee, urging state delegations to participate from their homes. Trump has pushed forward with an in-person convention, moving his acceptance speech from Charlotte to Jacksonville to ensure an audience could join him.

At least according to the Times/Siena survey, voters currently prefer Biden’s approach to Trump’s. “Nearly three-fifths of voters disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including majorities of white voters and men,” the Times reported of the results. “Self-described moderate voters disapproved of Mr. Trump on the coronavirus by a margin of more than two to one.”

The Times/Siena poll — which is one of six to boast an A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight — is also not an outlier. As of this morning, Biden led the RealClearPolitics national polling average by 10 percentage points, more than any candidate led by in the summer or fall of an election year in the RCP averages of the past four election cycles.

The Rundown

The United States reported 36,880 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the largest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic began. The bulk of the new infections came from California, Florida, and Texas, which have been hotspots in the virus’ resurgence; Florida and Texas, as well as South Carolina and Oklahoma, posted one-day records of their own on Wednesday. According to Johns Hopkins University, the nation now has more than 2.3 million confirmed cases of the virus.

“The U.S. today is getting closer to the worst-case scenario envisioned in the spring — a nationwide crisis, made worse by a vacuum of political leadership, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and spread out of control,” Axios reported this morning.

  • Recommended read: “How the Virus Won,” a damning analysis from the New York Times tracing the spread of the virus throughout the United States. “At every crucial moment, American officials were weeks or months behind the reality of the outbreak,” the Times writes. “Those delays likely cost tens of thousands of lives.”

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan should immediately dismiss the criminal charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Sullivan had hesitated in accepting the Justice Department’s decision to drop its protection of Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

The court held in a 2-1 decision that “it is not within the judge’s power to prolong a prosecution or examine the government’s motives in the politically charged case,” according to the Washington Post.

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing a “major effort” to protect national monuments, as protesters threaten to tear some of them down. According to CNN, President Trump is planning on “assigning US Marshals to oversee them and signing an executive order meant to protect them.”

The network also reported that “Trump personally instructed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to restore the only Confederate statue in Washington, DC, after it was torn down last week.” The president has repeatedly said in tweets and public statements that the monuments, including those of Confederate officers, are part of the nation’s heritage and should not be taken down.


*All times Eastern

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. at 11:10 a.m. to mark the 70th anniversary of the war’s beginning.

The president will then travel to Wisconsin. He will participate in a Fox News town hall with host Sean Hannity in Green Bay at 2:30 p.m. and visit Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, where he will take a tour at 4:40 p.m and deliver remarks at 5 p.m. Trump will then return to Washington, D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ohio. He will participate in the reveal of the Lordstown Motors Endurance All-Electric Pickup Truck, deliver remarks, and participate in an event with law enforcement and community leaders.

Pence will then return to Washington, D.C.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and vote at 1:30 p.m. to advance the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, the annual defense policy bill.

The House will convene at 9 a.m. and begin consideration of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Democratic police reform package which would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, among other changes. The House vote comes one day after Senate Democrats blocked a Republican alternative, which would have incentivized police departments to halt those practices, without prohibiting them outright.  

After voting on the police reform bill, the House will vote on the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act.

The Supreme Court justices will release opinions at 10 a.m. The justices have yet to release opinions in 14 cases from the term, including major rulings on abortion and President Trump’s financial information that could come today.

The justices will then hold their weekly conference over the phone. According to CNN, they will discuss “whether House Democrats can obtain grand jury material from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation” and “the Justice Department’s attempt to resume federal executions.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will campaign in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He will meet with “families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act” and deliver remarks on his health care plan at 2:45 p.m.

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