Biden 406
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Trump 132
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Dem 51
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WaPo/ABC Poll: Biden Ahead of Trump 55% to 40%

Last week there was a Quinnipiac University Poll with Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 15 points. Now a Washington Post/ABC News poll came out yesterday with the same 15-point lead for Biden. In May, this poll had Biden ahead by 10 points. In March it was 2 points. The poll was among registered voters, but among those who say they are certain to vote, Biden's lead is 11 points. Among likely voters it is just a tad lower, at 10 points.

Let's put this in perspective. Biden's lead is greater than that of any challenger since Bill Clinton seized the lead over George H.W. Bush in 1992 after Ross Perot dropped out in July (before dropping back in again in October). At this point in 2016, Hillary Clinton led Trump by 3 points. At no point in 2016 did her lead go above 8 points, and it reached 8 only briefly. Also, Biden is above 50%. That means even if all the undecideds break for Trump (which is extremely unlikely), Biden will still win the popular vote. Clinton wasn't above 50% at any point in 2016.

Many pollsters have asked about enthusiasm, but this poll finally asked the right question: What are you excited about? Here are the results:

What is important to voters; number breakdown forthcoming

The cat is now out of the bag. Trump voters want to reelect Trump. Biden is just collateral damage. On the other hand, Biden voters want to defeat Trump. Electing Biden isn't really a priority. The Democrats could have nominated Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) or a can of tuna fish and it wouldn't have had a lot of effect on Democratic voters, although it might have had some effect on the 21% of Trump supporters who a primarily motivated by their dislike of Biden. This implies that there is relatively little Biden could do, short of transmogrifying into Trump, to blow this lead. Trump's only real hope now is cheating one way or another (e.g., voter suppression, shutting down the Postal Service in October, etc.).

Another interesting question is on whether Trump has united the country or divided the country. A full 35% said he has united the country and 61% said he has divided the country. Surely Trump voters know very well that Trump is trying to divide the country, as Fox News tells them daily how awful the liberals are and how Trump is doing his best to squash them like bugs. Are they just trolling the pollsters? It makes one wonder.

By double-digit margins, voters think that Biden has the temperament to be president (+26), would better unite the country (+24), better understands people (+17), is more honest (+14), better represents their values (+12), and has a better idea of what America should stand for (+10) than Trump. The only personality point where Biden doesn't win is on who is a stronger leader, where it is tied at 45%.

On the issues, Biden wins on race relations (+25), the virus (+20), and crime (+9). Trump wins on the economy (+2). The poll drilled down a bit on the economy to see why Trump scored well on that question. Asked whether the top priority should be stopping the virus (even if that hurts the economy) or restarting the economy (even if that lets the virus spread), 63% want to stop the virus and 33% want to restart the economy. Presumably this 33% consists primarily of people with no job and no money and who see a restarted economy as their only hope. (V)

Partisan Gap Is Huge and Favors the Democrats

One of the questions pollsters often ask is: "Which party do you identify with?" According to Gallup, the answer to that question has moved sharply toward the Democrats since January, as shown by this graph:

Party affiliation; the gap
was 47-44 for the Democrats in May, now it's up to 50-39

The current gap of 11 points is historically large. It's happened before, but it is not common. The Democrats led by more than 10 points after Barack Obama's second election win, after Bill Clinton was impeached, and during George H.W. Bush's last summer as president in 1992. The Republicans have never led by more than 10 points at any time since Gallup began asking the question in 1991.

The implications are fairly clear. Since only 39% of Americans are Republicans, there is no way Donald Trump can get reelected in the absence of a strong third-party candidate (sorry, Howie, Jo, and Kanye, you don't qualify), unless large numbers of Democrats sour on their candidate and vote for him. So far polling doesn't show any major group of voters about to desert Joe Biden in favor of Trump. But once again, this has been an incredibly volatile year and, well, stuff happens. For example, see the item below on liver cancer. (V)

Biden's Strategy: Do No Harm

While some pundits are mocking Joe Biden for hiding in his basement and not taking positions on many controversial issues, it might be just what the doctor ordered. After a tumultuous 3½ years of Donald Trump, many voters just want things to calm down and Biden is Mr. Calm. While young Democrats would prefer a much more dynamic candidate or one with progressive ideas, many of them hate Trump so much they will go to the polls to defeat Trump (see above), and a vote to defeat Trump is indistinguishable from a vote to elect Biden.

In Wisconsin, for example, Biden is already way ahead of where Hillary Clinton was, even without much effort. The state used to be part of the "blue wall," but it flipped in 2016. It could very well flip again in 2020 because voters who hated Hillary Clinton don't see Biden as threatening. His being milquetoast is actually a plus with many moderates, especially in the suburbs of Wisconsin and other states. Many older voters, in particular, are not interested in breaking down barriers with historic candidates like Barack Obama and Clinton. They just want someone who won't cause any damage. Biden fits that description well.

Groups that the Biden campaign is targeting include seniors, suburban voters, and even rural voters in a state like Wisconsin. These are groups that are not interested in Bernie Sanders' revolution, or anybody else's revolution for that matter. They just want all the screaming to stop. Biden is their man. How about this as a campaign pledge:

America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.

While it fits Biden's style well, he would be advised not to use it, since he has previously been tarred for plagiarism. This was Warren Harding's basic platform in 1920. Harding summed it up by saying he was for a "return to normalcy." And while Harding didn't hide in his basement during the whole campaign, he basically didn't leave his front porch in Ohio the whole time. It's kind of the same thing ±8 feet. And it worked. Harding beat James Cox (D) 60% to 34%. (V)

North Carolina Makes Early Voting Easier

On Friday, the North Carolina Board of Elections, which has a 3-2 Democratic majority, issued a new rule that requires polling places during early voting to serve no more than 20,000 voters. For example, Wake County (Raleigh) has 460,000 registered voters, so it must have at least 23 polling places. North Carolina will not copy the Wisconsin primary, in which Milwaukee, a city of 600,000 people, had a single polling place.

For rural areas with far less than 20,000 voters, nothing will change, but for all towns and cities with more than 20,000 voters, extra polling places will be added. This helps the Democrats far more than it helps the Republicans. Republican state Sen. Ralph Hise immediately complained, saying that it wasn't fair that areas with many Democrats would get more polling stations and those that are predominantly Republican would not. He also asked who would pay for the extra polling stations. Of course, there is nothing prohibiting rural areas from having as many polling stations as they would like and there was money in the CARES Act to pay for extra voting costs during a pandemic. (V)

Chris Wallace Fact Checks Trump on Fox News

Not all Fox News interviewers are in the tank for Donald Trump. One who isn't is Chris Wallace. An interview Wallace did with Trump was broadcast yesterday (outdoors, but with neither one wearing a mask). In the interview, Trump lied repeatedly and Wallace confronted him repeatedly. For example, Trump claimed that U.S. COVID-19 mortality is the lowest in the world. Wallace didn't accept that and told Trump that not only is it not the lowest, it is the seventh highest.

Trump also claimed that Joe Biden wants to defund the police. Wallace pointed out that Biden has specifically rejected that position. When the subject of polling came up, Wallace brought up the Fox News poll showing Biden ahead by 8 points. Trump simply said it was fake news. Wallace was not impressed.

Trump also said that the coronavirus was nearly contained. Actually, the Friday total of 77,000 new cases is an all-time high, so the virus is anything but contained. When Wallace pressed Trump on his lack of a national plan for handling the virus, Trump blamed the governors. Trump also defended the Confederate Battle Flag and whined about not being allowed to hold big rallies in states with Democratic governors.

This is the first Sunday morning news show interview Trump has given in a year (after all, there's golf to be played) and the first one with Wallace in 2 years. Given the President's performance yesterday, no doubt new campaign manager Bill Stepien is going to tell Trump to avoid all interviews with folks not named Hannity or Carlson until after Nov. 3. But Trump does not take direction well, so we'll see. (V)

Ruth Ginsburg Has Liver Cancer

Late Friday Justice Ruth Ginsburg announced that she has liver cancer. This is her fourth bout with cancer. She previously had colon, pancreatic, and lung cancer (and, indeed, the current cancer may well be a metastasis of the previous bout of pancreatic cancer). All four are in the top seven causes of cancer deaths in women. She said she is being treated by chemotherapy using gemcitabine and has no plans to retire. She said that the chemotherapy is working and there are no serious side effects.

We have no doubt that if she were to announce that she wanted a liver transplant, there would be hundreds of donors, probably even if that meant likely death for the donor. But she is 87 and in poor health, so the risks from such a long and complicated surgery pretty much rule it out. And as long as the chemotherapy is working, there is no need for anything more drastic. As we have pointed out before, if her health deteriorates but she refuses to resign before Jan. 3 or 20, depending on who wins what, we could be in uncharted territory.

However, if Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is defeated on Nov. 3 and Joe Biden wins, Republicans up in 2022 will make a mental note of that and will be less likely to take part in any shenanigans such as quick-like-a-bunny voting to confirm a successor before Biden takes office to avoid being Collinsed in 2 years. (V)

Many Absentee Ballots May Not Be Counted in November

In a certain sense, the primaries provided a dry run for states, counties, cities, and towns to learn how to handle absentee ballots. The results aren't encouraging. In Florida, over 18,000 ballots weren't counted because they arrived too late. In Nevada, over 6,500 ballots were rejected because the signatures couldn't be verified. In Pennsylvania, had a court not intervened, tens of thousands of ballots would have been rejected because they arrived late. In a close election, thousands of rejected ballots could flip the result. States will undoubtedly warn voters to send their ballots in well in advance of the deadline and please follow all instructions carefully, but voters are people, so that is not going to work.

Voter sloppiness isn't the whole story, though. State laws are also a problem. In many states, the date of the postmark determines whether a ballot is valid. But often the Post Office is overwhelmed and doesn't bother to postmark every ballot, leading to rejected ballots. At the very least, state law could say that any ballot received without a postmark within five days of Election Day is presumed to have been mailed on time and automatically valid.

Other problems include minor errors, such as listing the birth year of the voter or a witness as a two-digit number instead of a four-digit number or a stray mark or small tear on the outside envelope. In some states, these invalidate the ballot.

Another problem is signature verification. Sometimes the ballot is not signed. Sometimes the voter's current signature is different from the one on file—for example, due to a recent name change as a result of a marriage or divorce. In some states, a witness is required and the witness must write down his or her address—which may not match the records due to a recent move—leading to rejection of the ballot.

In all of these cases, a proper system would allow any voter to provide an e-mail address or a cell phone number. When the ballot arrived at the election office, a bar code on the outer envelope could be scanned to bring up the voter's registration form (including the signature) on the election worker's monitor. If everything is in order, the voter would get a notification that the ballot was received and counted. If there is a problem, the voter would get a notification that something was wrong and how to fix it. All this requires are changes to state law, new equipment, hiring and training personnel, educating the voters, and money—lots of it. Fixing it nationwide for 2020 is out of the question, but if states start now, it might be doable by Nov. 2024.

It is not completely hopeless, though. Some states have a history of absentee voting and know how to do it. Five states conduct all-mail elections, which means every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail and can automatically vote absentee, if they choose (though in-person remains an option in most of these states, as well). Some states and counties have lots of absentee ballots in every election, even though in-person voting is allowed, and yet still have low rejection rates. Maricopa County, AZ, the fourth most populous county in the country, with 2.4 million registered voters, had a ballot rejection rate of 0.03% in 2018. That comes down to 307 rejected ballots out of 1.2 million absentee ballots received. The county also notifies voters if there is a problem and gives them the opportunity to cure it. If Maricopa County can do it, smaller counties certainly ought to be able to do it. But they aren't. In 2018, statewide in Georgia the rejection rate was 3%, which is 100x worse than Maricopa County.

Another issue is ballot design. The infamous Palm Beach County "butterfly ballot" used in Florida in 2000 caused thousands of voters who intended to vote for Al Gore to actually vote for Pat Buchanan because they inadvertently marked the second circle from the top instead of the third one. Here is the ballot:

Palm Beach County ballot 2000

In Ohio, the secretary of state is working with ballot-design experts to make sure the ballot has no ambiguities. The other 49 secretaries ought to be doing likewise, but not all are. In some states, the ballot has a stub that is torn off at the office after the ballot comes in. If the voter does that, the ballot is invalid. The ballot and instructions should make that crystal clear to the voter. Again, a lot can be done, but states have to make fair and honest elections a priority (and reflect that in their budgets). (V)

Trump Is Trying to Eliminate Testing for the Coronavirus

Senate Republicans are working on a bill to provide $50 billion to states and federal agencies to increase testing for the coronavirus. During the weekend, administration officials worked hard to kill the bill. Senate Republicans are not happy with this pushback and the outcome is not clear yet.

Why would the administration (which, in this case, surely means the President because no other top official opposes testing) want to block testing in the middle of a pandemic? It's not hard to understand once you realize what the President's goal is. It is getting reelected. Having constant reporting in every media outlet about thousands of deaths from COVID-19 every day doesn't help achieve this one key goal. So to reduce the official count of new cases, hospitals are now required to report to the Dept. of HHS, where the numbers can be more easily fudged. Actual deaths are much harder to fudge, but by reducing testing, the people who die will not have officially died of COVID-19, so the number of COVID-19 deaths will not grow so quickly. Statisticians will see that the number of total deaths and the number of deaths from unknown causes may skyrocket, but Trump can then trumpet the news that deaths from COVID-19 are down. Problem solved.

Maybe. Senate Republicans who are up for reelection this year may decide they don't want to play this game, as their opponents would then label them as part of the cover-up. On the other hand, they also are frightened about receiving a tweet of death if they openly oppose Trump, so they have to be very careful while the sausage is being made. Another factor is that the House has to approve any new relief bills and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is not much of a fan of reducing testing in order to label the upcoming wave of COVID-19 deaths as "unknown cause."

That said, it is also clear that improvements need to be made in the testing process. Yesterday on "Meet the Press," Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) noted that it often takes, seven, eight, even nine days to get results back. By then, an infected person can spread the coronavirus to dozens or hundreds of people without knowing it. He called the delay in getting results back a "complete disgrace." (V)

Eleven States Will Elect Governors in November

With the presidential race and a dozen Senate races sucking up all the media oxygen, the 11 gubernatorial races aren't getting much attention at all. Nevertheless, as we have learned this year, governors are important because they have a lot of say about public-health regulations and things like whether schools open and how. Since 2020 is a redistricting year, they can also sign or veto congressional and state district maps in many states, which help determine political power for the next 10 years.

Currently there are 24 Democratic governors and 26 Republican governors. In seven states with a Republican governor, there is a gubernatorial election. In four states with a Democratic governor, there is a gubernatorial election. Here is the map:

Gubernatorial map 2020

Part of the reason there hasn't been much attention to the gubernatorial races is that few of them are competitive. FiveThirtyEight rates six of them as "safe" for the incumbent party and two more as "likely" for the incumbent governor running for reelection. That leaves only two leans and one toss-up to get excited about, in their view. Here is the list:

State Incumbent Party Rating Partisan Lean
North Dakota Doug Burgum R Safe R R+33
Utah OPEN R Safe R R+31
West Virginia Jim Justice R Safe R R+31
Missouri Mike Parson R Likely R R+19
Indiana Eric Holcomb R Safe R R+18
Montana OPEN D Toss-up R+18
North Carolina Roy Cooper D Lean D R+5
New Hampshire Chris Sununu R Lean R R+2
Washington Jay Inslee D Safe D D+12
Delaware John Carney D Safe D D+14
Vermont Phil Scott R Likely R D+24

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is trying for a second term against Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R). However, most polls have Cooper well ahead, so we question whether it is really in doubt. If the RNC's move from Charlotte to Jacksonville turns out to be a disaster, Cooper's slogan could be "I told you so" or more likely "I protected the people of North Carolina." That is probably going to work.

We also don't really believe New Hampshire is in doubt. It's true that the state looks poised to go for Joe Biden, and that ticket-splitting is pretty rare these days. It's also true, however, that Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is an incumbent, has OK approval ratings, and is a member of the state's most prominent political dynasty. It's like a Kennedy running in Massachusetts, or a La Follette running in Wisconsin, or a Bush running in Texas. There hasn't been much polling of the race, since the Democratic nominee won't be known until Sept. 8, but what there has been shows Sununu trouncing all comers by double digits. The most recent, conducted back in June, has Sununu up on his likeliest challenger, state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes (D), 59% to 20%.

That leaves us with one state that has true gubernatorial drama, in our view. Although Montana is very red in presidential elections (or was—we are not so sure about this year), in the last four gubernatorial elections the Democrat won, so Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney (D-MT) has a decent chance against Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), who became a controversial figure for hitting a reporter in 2017.

There is not much of interest in the other states. The last line in the table above may be surprising, with a Republican governor the strong favorite in a D+24 state (note that "Partisan Lean" is FiveThirtyEight's version of PVI). But Scott is popular with both Democrats and Republicans and is a shoo-in. One of us (V) met him a year or so ago and talked to him for a while. He seemed like an intelligent, well-informed, and quite likable person. (V)

Some State Legislatures Could Flip This Year

If Joe Biden really wins by 10+ points, this is likely to be a blue wave year. Such a large wave will have an effect downticket. Not only will it keep the Democratic majority in the House, it could also wash away as many as 8-10 Republican senators. And if there is a lot of straight-party voting, it could also affect the state legislatures. Control of the legislatures is crucial because in some cases it will determine (among other things) which party will get to gerrymander House and state districts for the coming 10 years. In other cases it will break existing trifectas and force honest House and state maps. No one is expecting a red wave, so let's focus on what a blue wave might do to the state legislatures.

The table below shows how many seats each chamber has, which party the governor belongs to, and the distribution of seats according to National Conference of State Legislatures data corrected for changes since it was published on April 1. Nebraska is omitted because it has a nonpartisan unicameral legislature.

State Senate
State Gov Seats Majority D R Needed
Massachusetts R 40 21 36 4 -16
Rhode Island D 38 20 33 5 -14
Hawaii D 25 13 24 1 -11
Illinois D 59 30 40 19 -10
California D 40 21 29 11 -9
Maryland R 47 24 32 15 -8
New York D 63 32 40 23 -8
Vermont R 30 16 22 6 -7
New Jersey D 40 21 25 15 -5
New Mexico D 42 22 26 16 -5
Washington D 49 25 29 20 -4
Connecticut D 36 19 22 14 -4
Maine D 35 18 21 14 -3
Oregon D 30 16 18 12 -3
Nevada D 21 11 13 8 -2
New Hampshire D 24 13 14 10 -2
Colorado D 35 18 19 16 -1
Delaware D 21 11 12 9 -1
Virginia D 40 21 21 19 -1
Minnesota D 67 34 32 35 2
Arizona R 30 16 13 17 3
Wisconsin D 33 17 14 19 3
Alaska R 20 11 7 13 4
Florida R 40 21 17 23 4
Michigan D 38 20 16 22 4
West Virginia R 34 18 14 20 4
Texas R 31 16 12 19 4
North Carolina D 50 26 21 29 5
Pennsylvania D 50 26 21 28 5
South Carolina R 46 24 19 27 5
Montana D 50 26 20 30 6
Georgia R 56 29 21 35 8
Iowa R 50 26 18 32 8
Missouri R 34 18 10 24 8
Louisiana D 39 20 12 27 8
Ohio R 33 17 9 24 8
Arkansas R 35 18 9 26 9
Utah R 29 15 6 23 9
Kansas D 40 21 11 29 10
Alabama R 35 18 8 27 10
Kentucky D 38 20 9 29 11
Mississippi R 52 27 16 36 11
Idaho R 35 18 7 28 11
Tennessee R 33 17 5 28 12
Wyoming R 30 16 3 27 13
South Dakota R 35 18 5 30 13
North Dakota R 47 24 10 37 14
Indiana R 50 26 10 40 16
Oklahoma R 48 25 9 39 16
State House
State Gov Seats Majority D R Needed
Massachusetts R 160 81 126 31 -46
New Hampshire D 400 201 234 162 -34
New York D 150 76 104 42 -29
Maryland R 141 71 99 42 -28
Rhode Island D 75 38 66 9 -28
California D 80 41 61 18 -21
Hawaii D 51 26 46 5 -20
Vermont R 150 76 95 43 -20
Connecticut D 151 76 91 60 -15
Illinois D 118 60 74 44 -15
Maine D 151 76 89 56 -13
New Jersey D 80 41 52 28 -12
New Mexico D 70 36 46 24 -11
Colorado D 65 33 41 24 -8
Minnesota D 134 68 75 59 -8
Washington D 98 50 57 41 -8
Nevada D 42 22 28 13 -7
Oregon D 60 31 37 22 -7
Delaware D 41 21 26 15 -5
Virginia D 100 51 55 45 -5
Alaska R 40 21 23 17 -3
Arizona R 60 31 29 31 2
Iowa R 100 51 47 53 4
Michigan D 110 56 52 58 4
North Carolina D 120 61 55 65 6
Montana D 100 51 42 57 9
Pennsylvania D 203 102 93 110 9
Texas R 150 76 66 84 10
West Virginia R 100 51 41 58 10
Ohio R 99 50 38 61 12
Kentucky D 100 51 38 62 13
Florida R 120 61 47 73 14
Wisconsin D 99 50 36 63 14
Georgia R 180 91 75 105 16
Mississippi R 122 62 46 74 16
Louisiana D 103 52 35 68 17
Indiana R 100 51 33 67 18
South Carolina R 124 63 44 80 19
Idaho R 70 36 14 56 22
Wyoming R 60 31 9 50 22
Kansas D 125 63 41 84 22
Utah R 75 38 16 59 22
Tennessee R 99 50 26 73 24
South Dakota R 70 36 11 59 25
Alabama R 105 53 28 77 25
Oklahoma R 101 51 25 76 26
Arkansas R 100 51 24 76 27
North Dakota R 94 48 15 78 33
Missouri R 163 82 48 114 34

The last column is the key here. It is the number of seats needed for a majority minus what the Democrats already have. In other words, it is the number of seats that need to flip (in principle) to give the Democrats control of the chamber. We say "in principle" because in some chambers there are independents who caucus with one of the parties. There are also a few cases of Democrats who caucus with the Republicans, or vice-versa. Negative numbers mean the Democrats already have control. Large positive numbers mean they need to flip large numbers of seats, which is unlikely. The interesting lines are the ones with small positive numbers in the last column in either chamber.

It is hard to say how many seats is a plausible number to flip. It is different for each state, as the table doesn't show how many districts are closely balanced. Still, if we take four seats as "potentially doable," then the state Senates in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are potentially flippable. On the House side, Arizona, Iowa, and Michigan could flip. In all, that is 11 chambers. However, there is nothing magic about four seats. In a big wave, eight or ten seats could flip. (V)

Georgia Democratic Party Will Pick John Lewis' Replacement

The death of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has left GA-05 without a representative and without a candidate for the November election. Georgia law requires a special election to fill the seat until Jan. 3, 2021, but Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will probably schedule the special election for Nov. 3, leaving the D+34 district, which covers about three-quarters of Atlanta and some of its suburbs, without representation until then. The winner of the special election will serve until Jan. 3, when the new Congress is sworn in.

However, if no candidate for the special election gets a majority on Nov. 3, there will be a runoff on Jan. 5 for a term that ends on Jan. 3. That is right, they will win the right to serve for -2 days. There will also be a regular election on Nov. 3 for the term beginning on Jan. 3, 2021, and running until Jan. 3, 2023. Unlike special elections in Georgia, which use jungle primaries, regular elections have partisan primaries. The Republicans have already nominated reality TV star Angela Stanton-King for the regular seat and will presumably also encourage her to run in the special election. Given the enormous lean of the district, she can run in as many elections there as she likes and will lose them all.

The Democrats have a problem, though, since they were expecting Lewis to run in November. They have formed a committee of local leaders to advise the state Democratic Party whom to put into Lewis' slot. In the end, the state party gets to decide whom to put on the November ballot for the regular election. That person will no doubt also sign up for the special election. If no other Democrat runs in the special election, the state-party-backed candidate might get 50% +1 of the vote on Nov. 3 and thus be elected without a runoff. This could matter if Congress comes back into session after the election. Also, it would give the new Georgia representative a bit of seniority over members sworn in on Jan. 3. (V)

Canned Beans Are Now Political

In keeping with the new trend that everything is political, eating beans has now become a partisan matter. And it is not vegetarians against carnivores. It is a proxy fight for the Latino vote using kidney beans. The battle began on July 9 when Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya, the largest Latino-run food company, praised Donald Trump. His company sells refried pinto beans and many other products used in Latin cuisine, commonly in stores that cater to a Latino clientele.

Up until Unanue spoke up, many Latinos were proud of the company and bought its products. Instantly, many people on social media urged shoppers to boycott the company, while recipes for Mexican cooking without Goya products were everywhere. Videos of people throwing Goya products into the trash went viral. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), one of the highest profile Latinas in the country, fired off this tweet about Adobo (a marinated meat dish, popular in Latin America and the Philippines, that is easier to make with Goya's pre-packaged seasoning):

And sure as night follows day, there was a backlash, and Trump supporters who couldn't tell a pinto bean from Mr. Bean were stocking up on Goya products. Trump himself egged them on by posing for a photo in the Oval Office with Goya products (note the bottle of Adobo seasoning). So did Ivanka Trump:

Trumps with Goya products

It is a violation of federal ethics laws for any federal employee—except the president and vice president—to endorse any product. So Ivanka Trump's endorsement of Goya black beans was actually a crime, while her father's endorsement was merely shameless and unprecedented. Ivanka won't be punished, of course, but this incident certainly does put to rest the longstanding notion that she is some sort of a moderating influence on her father. When asked to take the field in the culture wars, she was more than happy to strap on her combat boots, metaphorically speaking, and oblige.

The general consensus is that the Trumps were trying to connect with conservative Latinos here, with the idea being to communicate that Democrats are freedom-hating wackos run amok. If so, then whether Trump gets any more Latino votes as a result remains to be seen, especially since AOC is on the other side. That said, we are somewhat skeptical that Latinos were the real target; this seems to us more like a white grievance thing that just so happens to be expressed through a Latino-skewing product. Certainly, the tweets on the matter, and the GoFundMe campaign that raised over $300,000 to purchase Goya products and donate them to food banks, overwhelmingly reflected white, conservative rage (the fellow who organized the GoFundMe, Casey Harper, works as a TV producer for Blaze Media).

In any event, Goya is surely the loser here because the Trump supporters who went out and bought some Goya beans to show support probably don't drop in at the bodega or the supermercado very often, and won't be repeat customers. But the Latinos who are angry with the company can easily switch to Rosarita, Cacique, Juanita's, or other competing brands. Indeed, (Z) hasn't met the governor of Vermont (see above), but he did just visit the local Latino convenience store (to buy some Mexican ice cream, which is made with whole milk and so is less heavy than the American counterpart). The shelves with Goya products appeared untouched, while the other shelves were all-but-empty.

Fortune even ran a piece extolling the bean war as an indicator of how great capitalism is. Consumers can vote on Unanue with their mouths and wallets. It is relatively easy to switch to a different brand of beans. If the CEO of a luxury goods company, say BMW, had endorsed Trump, most people couldn't switch from BMW to, say, Cadillac, because they don't buy expensive cars every week. And those who do buy luxury cars probably wouldn't switch anyway because in terms of the factors that go into picking a car, the politics of the company's CEO are probably fairly far down the list. (V & Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul19 Sunday Mailbag
Jul19 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul19 Today's Senate Polls
Jul18 John Lewis Has Died
Jul18 Saturday Q&A
Jul18 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul18 Today's Senate Polls
Jul17 Trump's COVID-19 Fantasy Clashes with COVID-19 Reality
Jul17 Brian Kemp Channels His Inner Trump
Jul17 Republicans Won't Let Go of Burisma
Jul17 Your Interview Begins When the Clock Strikes Thirteen
Jul17 Florida Felons Can't Vote, After All
Jul17 Republicans Press Trump to Change His Tune on Mail-in Voting
Jul17 Voter Fraud Is Real
Jul17 Democrats Are Raking It In
Jul17 Mary Trump Book Selling Like Gangbusters
Jul17 All the Way with Kanye?
Jul17 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul16 Biden Now Has a 15-Point Lead Nationally
Jul16 Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Shifts Map Toward Biden
Jul16 Republicans Worry about What Happens If Trump Can't Hold Rallies
Jul16 Shake It Up...Shake It Up
Jul16 Don't Mess with Texas
Jul16 Democratic Spending Is Focusing on the Rust Belt
Jul16 New Cases of COVID-19 Are Mostly in Republican-Led States
Jul16 GoFundMe Campaign Wants to Poll More States
Jul16 Democrats are Meddling in Kansas Senate Race
Jul16 Payments to Farmers Have Surged to Historic Levels
Jul16 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Resting at Home
Jul16 Massachusetts Will Vote on Ranked-Choice Voting in November
Jul16 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul15 Maine, Texas, and Alabama Vote
Jul15 RBG Hospitalized Again
Jul15 Trump Administration Resumes Federal Executions
Jul15 Is There Any Rhyme or Reason Here at All?
Jul15 Can You Believe What the Trumps Did?
Jul15 Biden Says He's Open to Killing the Filibuster
Jul15 Biden Airs First Ad in Texas
Jul15 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul15 Today's Senate Polls
Jul14 It's Officially the White House vs. Anthony Fauci
Jul14 About Those Forced School Reopenings
Jul14 About that Economy Rebounding
Jul14 Desperation Sets in for Trump Campaign
Jul14 Biden Campaign Gets Serious about Latino Outreach
Jul14 Mary Trump Is Ungagged
Jul14 COVID-19 Diaries, The Return
Jul14 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul14 Today's Senate Polls
Jul13 Trump Is Being Stoned