Dear All, While so many Democrats are mired in despair, good news abounds. Polls uniformly show Trump’s support is cratering among a cross-section of key groups — women, suburban voters, sane people with a conscience. As Trump's unhinged “Chopper Talk” rants become more nonsensical, pundits rhapsodize that not even the power of incumbency and a good economy may be able to save him in 2020.
And yet, fear — not optimism — seems to be driving the Democratic narrative.
We’re afraid the Democrats will screw it up — again.
Afraid to support Joe Biden because voters may want a fresh-faced candidate who will lead a progressive revolution: afraid to support Elizabeth Warren because voters may want a centrist, safe candidate who can beat Trump; afraid to support any of the other primary contenders because maybe they don’t make our hearts beat faster. Well, except for Mayor Pete who makes us feel like our best days are still ahead but he’s-gay-so-he-can’t-possibly-win.
We’re all still living the post traumatic stress from the shock when impossibly, inconceivably the 2016 election was called for Donald Trump. Despite data that shows Trump is in deep electoral trouble by every reliable, conceivable, imaginable metric, we are afraid to let ourselves hope, to believe 2020 will be different.
But right now, just about all of the salient numbers suggest it could be different. That doesn’t mean Trump can’t win. It doesn’t mean we should kick back. It just suggests there’s no evidence we should be sitting shiva.
For the past month I’ve been stockpiling pieces that underscore how Democrats should be hopeful about 2020. You have about 48 hours before you plunge back into post-Labor Day reality. If you want to spend a little time deprogramming your fear factor, here’s your syllabus. (Blue links are clickable.)
In this WaPo piece “Trump may still be a historical underdog for reelection,” Charlie Cook, the dean of political data, debunks the fear that Trump will prevail in 2020. New York Magazine hones in on Trump’s tanking numbers across the country.
Read “Trump’s State-by-State Approval Should Scare The MAGA Out Of Him” here.
As writer Ed Kilgore concludes about Trump’s unlikely reelection, “Even those who succeed by selling their souls to the devil don’t have the collateral to pull that off twice.” “Suburbs Spell Trouble for Trump,” says this piece in The Hill.
Trump’s increasingly toxic brand of searing racial attacks, hardline immigration policies and economic turbulence is having a trickle-down effect on suburban voters in red states, too. Read WaPo reporter Robert Costa’s piece "‘They’re afraid’: Suburban voters in red states threaten GOP’s grip on power" here.
Next, Rachel Bitecofer, the scholar who nailed the Blue Wave midterm prediction that Democrats would win 40+ seats, weighs in with her 2020 forecast.Rather than fearing Trump’s ability to repeat his 2016 upset, Bitecofer released her 2020 projection in July, showing Democrats winning 278 electoral votes versus 197 for Trump, with several swing states too close to call. For Bitecofer’s take on whether Democrats will hold their House majority and her analysis as to how the Democrats will beat Trump, read the Salon piece by Paul Rosenberg here.
I’m including this essay by New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan, arguably the best analyst of the Obama era, because it turns on one of my favorite themes: how next year’s campaigns can be framed as a fight for the soul of America. After hearing a speech delivered by Joe Biden, Sullivan was inspired to write because "I felt a slight but measurable twinge of hope. For the first time, I heard a speech that, while measured and well-balanced, homed in relentlessly — and with passion and authority — on the core moral unfitness of Donald Trump to be president of the United States.”
While I’m not endorsing the speech’s messenger, I do endorse Biden’s message as crucial to our 2020 quest. Read “Biden Know How To Make The Moral Case Against Trump” here.
The New Yorker’s inestimable David Remnick wraps things up with an intriguing admonition, "As perilous and unnerving as things are under the Trump Administration, any form of political despair at such a moment remains unforgivable.” He explains why in his exquisitely written commentary, “Trump Clarification Syndrome.”
Finally, reward yourself with a jaunty cap that captures your optimism for our prospects in 2020. A portion of the proceeds from the “Save America/#Vote 2020" hat go to benefit the Vote.org which uses technology to simplify political engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy.
Order your hat here.