Biden 388
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Trump 150
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Dem 51
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Ties 2
GOP 47
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  • Strongly Dem (213)
  • Likely Dem (100)
  • Barely Dem (75)
  • Exactly tied (0)
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  • Likely GOP (27)
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270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2016 2012 2008
New polls: GA
Dem pickups vs. 2016: AZ FL GA MI NC PA TX WI
GOP pickups vs. 2016: (None)
Political Wire logo Large Majorities Disapprove of Trump on Key Issues
Senate Republicans Worried About Kansas Seat
Democrats Pour Record Cash Into Battlegrounds
Postal Service Backlog Sparks Election Worries
Trump Revisits Playbook for Disastrous News
Duckworth Confirms She Was Interviewed by Biden Team

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Another Grim COVID-19 Milestone
      •  Trump Continues Russia-friendly Foreign Policy
      •  No Progress on Latest Stimulus Package
      •  Trump Not Subtle about His Suburban Strategy
      •  Lewis' Funeral Is Today
      •  100 Days
      •  VP Candidate Profile: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
      •  Today's Presidential Polls
      •  Today's Senate Polls

Another Grim COVID-19 Milestone

It was really only a question of time, and now the day has arrived. On Wednesday, the U.S. surpassed 150,000 deaths in all of the major COVID-19 trackers. Here is an updated version of the chart we compiled to put things in context:

Las Vegas shooting,
2017, 58, Worst mass shooting in U.S. history; Tulsa race massacre, 1921, 75-300, Worst racial violence in U.S. history;
estimated; Oklahoma City bombing, 1995, 168, Deadliest domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history; Sinking of the RMS
Titanic, 1912, 238, Overall death toll (including non-Americans) estimated at 1,635; Hurricane Katrina, 2005, 1,836,
Estimated; Johnstown Flood, 1889, 2,209, Worst man-made disaster of the 19th century; estimated; Bombing of Pearl
Harbor, 1941, 2,467, Deadliest military strike on U.S. soil; Hurricane Maria, 2017, 2,982, Estimated; 9/11 attacks,
2001, 2,997, Deadliest terrorist attack in world history; San Francisco earthquake, 1906, 3,000, Estimated; Battle of
Antietam, 1862, 3,675, Deadliest single day in U.S. history; Galveston Hurricane, 1900, 6,000-12,000, Worst natural
disaster in U.S. history; estimated; Battle of Gettysburg, 1863, 7,058, Deadliest battle in U.S. history; H1N1, 2009,
12,469, Swine flu; COVID-19, Trump projection, 2020, Less than 20,000, Feb. 28; Revolutionary War, 1776-83, 25,000,
Estimated; Normandy campaign, 1944, 29,204, Deadliest military campaign in U.S. history; Korean War, 1951-53, 36,516,
Military deaths only; COVID-19, Trump projection, 2020, 50,000-60,000, Apr. 21; Vietnam War, 1964-71, 58,209, Military
deaths only; COVID-19, Trump projection, 2020, 60,000-70,000, Apr. 28; COVID-19, Trump projection, 2020, 100,000, May 4;
World War I, 1917-18, 116,516, Military deaths only; Deaths from stroke, 2020, 145,000, Estimated; #5 cause of death in
the United States, annually; COVID-19, actual, 2020, 153,845, July 30, Worldometers figure; Deaths from respiratory
disease, 2020, 155,000, Estimated; #4 cause of death in the United States, annually; COVID-19, CDC projection, 2020,
160,000-175,000, July 30; projected only through Aug. 15; Deaths from accidents, 2020, 170,000, Estimated; #3 cause of
death in the United States, annually; COVID-19, IHME projection, 2020, 219,864, July 30; projected only through Nov. 1;
World War II, 1941-45, 405,399, Military deaths only; Deaths from cancer, 2020, 600,000, Estimated; #2 cause of death in
the United States, annually; Deaths from heart attack, 2020, 650,000, Estimated; #1 cause of death in the United
States, annually; Spanish Flu, 1918-19, 675,000, Estimated; Civil War, 1861-65, 800,000, Military deaths only;

We've added the estimated number of deaths from the five most common causes of death in the United States, annually. As you can see, COVID-19 is already going to be the fifth-most-common cause of death in 2020, and it may already have laid claim to the #4 slot. It is on its way to #3, probably by the end of August.

As we have pointed out before, the human brain is not great at grasping the differences between large numbers, like 140,000 vs. 145,000 vs. 150,000. Sometimes, a small but noticeable symbolic development can have more impact than another 1,000 or 5,000 deaths. And on that front, COVID-19 skeptics lost two more champions on Wednesday. First, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who was notably defiant in refusing to wear a mask on the floor of the House of Representatives, has been diagnosed with the disease. He says he will start wearing a mask going forward (not that he has a choice, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, has now mandated them). Second, Bill Montgomery, the co-founder of conservative student group Turning Point USA, and another pandemic skeptic, succumbed to the disease.

So, things aren't going so well in the United States. They aren't going so well outside the United States, either. Even in countries that thought they had tamed the COVID lion, cases are on the rise once again. That includes Japan, Israel, Lebanon and Hong Kong, among many others. This certainly looks like the second wave that many had feared, and it comes well before the full fury of flu season is unleashed, something that is expected to make the coronavirus situation markedly worse.

In view of these sobering facts, infectious disease experts across the country are calling for the U.S. to not only return to square one (i.e. full lockdowns), but also to get serious about shutting down this time. The Donald Trump of last week might just have signed off on something like this, since either he, or someone near him, knows there's no way to get reelected if 500-1,000 (or more) people are dying each day. The Donald Trump of this week, who is back to extolling the virtues of hydroxychloroquine and taking advice from doctors who believe in lizard-people conspiracies? Not so much. (Z)

Trump Continues Russia-friendly Foreign Policy

When Vladimir Putin decided to muck around in the U.S. election, his primary goal was to undermine faith in democracy, and maybe to do some damage to his archenemy Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump's win was a surprise and a bonus, and any additional benefits that accrued from that were just icing on the cake from the vantage point of the Russian "President."

Quite clearly, Putin succeeded in doing a great deal of damage to the American democracy. Meanwhile, Vlad has also been rewarded with enough icing to make a Korolevsky Cake for every person in Russia. And he got even more of it on Wednesday. First, the Trump administration announced that it is going to reduce American troop strength in Germany by 12,000 as soon as is possible. This is being framed as an important implementation of the President's "America First" philosophy, although both the President and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper struggled to articulate exactly how the U.S. will benefit from the move. What is known, however, is that it will cost billions of dollars to execute, and will weaken the American presence in a key part of the world. The move was lambasted on both sides of the aisle, and by retired military personnel, with many specifically referring to it as a "gift" to Russia.

That wasn't this week's only development on the glad-handing Vlad front, either. The President chatted with the "President" last week, and was asked Tuesday if the topic of placing bounties on American soldiers' heads came up. "No," said Trump, "that was a phone call to discuss other things. And frankly, that's an issue that many people said was fake news." The Donald was unable to recall exactly who those "many people" are, but said it was "I think a lot of people." The White House also continues to obfuscate on exactly when Trump found out about the bounty program, or whether he even knew at all, which means they appear to have successfully created the same sort of fog that got Ronald Reagan off the hook during Iran-Contra.

Each week, we get multiple questions about the harm Donald Trump might do in the 80 or so days after the election if he's a lame duck with a chip on his shoulder and nothing to lose. Maybe the focus should be on the harm he might do in the 100 or so days before the election, desperate to win, and possibly even more desperate to protect himself and his family against what comes next when he's a private citizen again. At best, he appears willing to sacrifice national security in order to please the base and because he's afraid to stand up to a strongman. At worst, if you're conspiratorially minded, he's greasing the skids for the eventual construction of Trump Tower Moscow and/or a request for asylum. (Z)

No Progress on Latest Stimulus Package

Tomorrow, the very last of the federal unemployment supplements will be paid out, protections against eviction will end and, in general, everything Congress has done to reduce the impact of the pandemic will be a thing of the past. Given that the pandemic still rages (see above) and that the economy is still teetering on the brink, that would seem to argue that more needs to be done. As it turns out, pretty much everyone in Washington agrees with that. What they don't agree on is exactly what to do. We laid out the main elements of the Republican and Democratic plans earlier this week, but broadly speaking, the two main issues are: (1) how much money the government should spend, and (2) whether the focus should be on helping businesses or on helping individual citizens.

The Democrats are pretty unified on their answers to these two questions: (1) a lot of money, and (2) on helping individual citizens. The Republicans are not. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulled things together enough to announce a plan on Monday, it is now clear he was hoping that public pressure would cause his caucus to fall in line. It hasn't worked. The Democrats were highly critical of the plan, but congressional Republicans were arguably even louder. Some of them, like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), think the GOP plan (to say nothing of the Democratic plan) involves the outlay of too much money. Still others are embarrassed by specific elements of the plan, like the $1.75 billion for the new FBI building or the tax breaks for business lunches. Quite a few of them, including Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Braun (R-IN) pretty much hate the whole bill McConnell put forward. "[T]here are a hundred problems with the plan," said Sasse.

Under these circumstances, a president with political capital or cat-wrangling skills (or both) would be enormously valuable. Donald Trump has neither, and the two people he's appointed as his negotiators—Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—are pretty much at opposite ends of the Republican spectrum, with Meadows advocating tea-party-style austerity and Mnuchin pressing for a much more generous outlay. The net result here is that the members of Congress, particularly the Republicans who are trying to find some sort of position they can unite on, don't even have a clear sense of what the White House wants or what it will support. After all, what Steve Mnuchin says today may not be what Donald Trump thinks tomorrow, or even this afternoon.

Given the mess that currently exists, a state of affairs that has resulted substantially from the Senate spending all of its time in June approving judges and not worrying about COVID-19, Mnuchin is pushing for a short-term deal, to give more time to negotiate. The "kick the can down the road" bit is certainly a favorite of Congress, but Nancy Pelosi is a hard "no," at least at the moment, and many Senate Republicans are in agreement. If we said we have the faintest idea of how this will turn out, we'd be lying, but we do still think the Democrats have the stronger hand to play here, and that the Republicans will be hurt more by a protracted standoff. (Z)

Trump Not Subtle about His Suburban Strategy

We do not believe that Donald Trump's sense of the political landscape is fine-tuned enough for him to figure out, on his own, that the suburbs are key to his reelection bid. We also do not believe that he is capable of developing and implementing a multi-prong, multi-month strategy for trying to win the suburban vote. What we do believe is that there are people working for Trump who are capable of this insight, and capable of making these plans, and who have sold the President on their approach. Bill Stepien is an obvious candidate here, inasmuch as the suburban focus began around the time that he supplanted Brad Parscale as (the nominal) campaign manager.

Assuming our assessment is right—and we feel pretty confident it is—there are two challenges that Stepien (or whoever is plotting strategy) still has to overcome. The first is that Trump is not very good at staying on message. The second is that he does not do subtlety, and subtlety is required to connect with the (almost exclusively white) voters the President is aiming for without setting off alarm bells.

It was this second difficulty that was on display on Wednesday, as Trump signed the rollback of the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which was intended to give teeth to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and thus to make sure that people of color were not discriminated against when renting or buying a place to live. After applying his signature, Trump took to Twitter to celebrate:

Ah yes, the Suburban Lifestyle Dream. Wasn't that what Willy Loman was after? In any event, most homeowners like their property values to remain as high as possible, and there are probably even quite a few who, in their heart of hearts, would prefer that poor people not move into or near their neighborhoods. However, even for those who are not paying attention, Trump's framing puts the suburbanites in the position of being classist jerks who might as well hang "Let them eat cake" signs in their front yards. And for those who are paying attention, Trump's verbiage puts them in the position of being racists and segregationists, since the beneficiaries of the AFFH rule were people of color. There aren't too many people in 2020 who wish to think of themselves as elitist oppressors, and yet that is exactly the role Trump is putting them in due to his inability or unwillingness to put the "dog" in "dog whistle."

Also on this front, the administration is declaring victory in Portland, and is prepping to back off from that city and redeploy to cities in the Midwest. Trump sent a pair of tweets celebrating his administration's "success," but also threatening a possible return (which is not likely to happen):

Is it plausible that anyone who is not already firmly on board the SS Trump is going to be won over by such outlandish, over-the-top rhetoric? Especially since the "victory" he is claiming here is basically the same "victory" the U.S. secured in Vietnam, namely "ok, we're going to leave now, having achieved nothing tangible, and let the locals take over." Meanwhile, the next phase of deployments will reportedly be to Detroit (42 federal agents), Cleveland and Milwaukee (25 each). That's right, a grand total of 92 officers for three cities with a combined population of 1.65 million. Or, to put it another way, roughly one federal officer for every 17,900 people. If that is not security theater, we don't know what is. And given that one of the defining features of modern suburbanites is that they tend to be highly educated, we don't think many of them are going to be fooled. (Z)

Lewis' Funeral Is Today

John Lewis, who has received a six-day memorial commensurate with his long service in the House and his status as one of the towering figures of the Civil Rights Movement, will be laid to rest today. His funeral will take place in Atlanta, with former president Barack Obama giving the eulogy, and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also participating in the ceremony. Though Jimmy Carter lives fairly nearby (about 160 miles away), he and his wife don't travel anymore, which is understandable given their combined 187 years of age and frail health. However, the 39th president did send his regrets, and a letter of condolence to the Lewis family.

That means there will be exactly one living president who will (apparently) pay the occasion no heed. Donald Trump did tweet a brief message after Lewis' passing over the weekend, but he has since completely ignored the commemorations surrounding the Representative's passing. Given Lewis' stature, it would have been entirely appropriate for Trump to attend the funeral. On the other hand, given the distraction presented by a sitting president and their security detail, it would have been entirely appropriate for Trump to send his regrets (plus, the Lewis family likely made clear he's not particularly wanted). But even if the President decided to forgo the funeral, he had other opportunities to pay his respects with a bare minimum of effort. He could have visited the Capitol while Lewis' body was lying in state. Or, if even that was too much, Lewis' casket arrived at Joint Base Andrews just minutes after Trump departed on Air Force One. All Trump needed to do was wait about five minutes, and he could have made some small gesture, whether it was saying a few words, or giving a salute, or whatever.

This actually connects with the item immediately above. Usually, even those politicians running on a racially-tinged platform seize upon opportunities like this because it complicates the argument that they are racist, and gives them plausible deniability. "If Richard Nixon is a racist, then why did he attend Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral?" is the general idea. We can think of only three explanations for why Trump did absolutely nothing to be a part in the celebration of Lewis' life: (1) He's so petulant that he simply cannot put aside the fact that Lewis was a political opponent and a critic, (2) He is so concerned about losing the votes of closet racists and overt racists that he did not want to be seen honoring a Black man, or (3) He is himself racist enough that he can't personally bear the thought of his honoring a Black man. Maybe there are other explanations that are not immediately occurring to us. (Z)

100 Days

On Sunday, the U.S. reached something of an electoral milestone, as that marked 100 days until the presidential election. We thought we would look back at the past few elections to see how firm the 100-day numbers have proven to be. Let's start with predictions for the popular vote share; the numbers below are rounded to the nearest full point, and the 100-day figures are an average of all the national polls published in the week prior to and including the 100-day mark:

Election Dem 100 Days Rep 100 Days Difference Dem Actual Rep Actual Difference Change
Bush vs. Kerry (2004) 45% 51% R+6 48% 51% R+3 3%
Obama vs. McCain (2008) 44% 44% EVEN 53% 46% D+7 7%
Obama vs. Romney (2012) 46% 45% D+1 51% 47% D+4 3%
Trump vs. Clinton (2016) 39% 40% R+1 48% 46% D+2 3%
Trump vs. Biden (2020) 51% 42% D+9 ??? ??? ??? ???

This is mostly bad news for Donald Trump. As you can see, it is unusual for a candidate to be above 50% this far out, and the one who was (George W. Bush) ended up winning. The other concern for the President is that for four straight elections, the popular vote has moved in the direction of the Democrat over the last 100 days. Maybe that's a fluke, but maybe it's not.

The one bit of good news for Trump is that there are candidates who have been in the low 40s at this point in the cycle and gone on to win their election, namely Barack Obama and Trump himself. That said, in both of those cases, their opponent was also in the low 40s/high 30s, meaning there was a sizable chunk of undecided voters available to be won. By all indications, there are many fewer undecideds this year.

Now let's take a look at EV projections. There aren't too many sites that do EV projections on a daily basis, and who have their numbers available for each day dating back to the 2004 election, but fortunately we know one of them, so those are the numbers we used. For EVs that were tied 100 days out, we split them evenly. If the number was odd, we gave the extra EV to the frontrunner. Note that the math does not always add up perfectly because of the one faithless elector in 2004, and the seven faithless electors in 2016:

Election Dem 100 Days Rep 100 Days Difference Dem Actual Rep Actual Difference Change
Bush vs. Kerry (2004) 316 222 D+94 251 286 R+35 64 EVs flipped
Obama vs. McCain (2008) 318 220 D+98 365 173 D+192 47 EVs flipped
Obama vs. Romney (2012) 332 206 D+126 332 206 D+126 0 EVs flipped
Trump vs. Clinton (2016) 308 230 D+78 227 304 R+77 81 EVs flipped
Trump vs. Biden (2020) 406 132 D+274 ??? ??? ??? ???

This tells us something we already knew, namely that the popular vote is not entirely predictive. This is because the modern-day alignment of parties gives the Republicans a bit of an advantage in the Electoral College. So it is that in two of the four elections, the popular vote moved in the direction of the Democrats, and yet the electoral vote moved in the direction of the Republicans.

The good news for Donald Trump here is that there is at least some precedent for overcoming a big 100-day electoral vote gap. That precedent, of course, is Donald Trump 2016. The bad news is that: (1) His 2016 comeback was an outlier compared to other recent elections, and (2) in 2020 he needs to come back even further, flipping a minimum of 138 Electoral Votes. The President is going to need to improve his standing, and at the same time hope for a few Biden slip-ups if he's going to close the gap.

Finally, let's take a look at approval rating. We're using Gallup's numbers here for consistency, and we will use the poll completed closest to the 100-day mark and the one completed closest to the election. To give ourselves a little more data to work with, we will extend it to the last 10 elections in which an incumbent was running:

President Year Approval, 100 Days Approval, Election Day 100-Day Change Result
Lyndon B. Johnson 1964 74% 70% -4% Win
Richard M. Nixon 1972 56% 56% No change Win
Gerald R. Ford 1976 45% 45% No change Loss
Jimmy Carter 1980 32% 37% +5% Loss
Ronald Reagan 1984 55% 62% +7% Win
George H.W. Bush 1992 32% 34% +2% Loss
Bill Clinton 1996 52% 54% +2% Win
George W. Bush 2004 48% 48% No change Win
Barack Obama 2012 47% 52% +5% Win
Donald Trump 2020 38% ??? ??? ???

This is probably the grimmest of the three tables from Donald Trump's perspective. There's a pretty clear correlation between approval rating and victory. Every winner was in the high 40s or better at the 100-day mark and also on Election Day. Every loser was in the mid-40s or lower at the 100-day mark and also on Election Day.

Obviously, the ship has sailed for Trump's 100-day approval rating; he's squarely within "loser" territory. At this point, all he can do is shoot for a dramatic improvement. Since 1964, it's taken a minimum 48% approval to win (George W. Bush); it's conceivable that Trump might pull it off with something as low as 45% (even though it didn't work for Jerry Ford). So, the President needs to pick up at least 7 points of approval, and he'd be much better off with 10. More often than not, presidents do improve over the last 100 days, though only the very popular Ronald Reagan managed to pick up 7 points, and that was running against a pretty weak opponent in Walter Mondale. It's not impossible for Trump to improve, particularly since he's got so much room for it, and he's even been at 49% a couple of times in Gallup's poll this year, including as recently as mid-May. That may have been a bit of a fluke, though; the only other time Gallup had him in the high 40s before this year was the day after his inauguration.

In short, if you were assigned to give a presentation to Trump entitled "We're still in this thing!" and you could only use these numbers, you could do it without having to fudge the data. But you would have to cherry-pick the very best numbers, and then assume improvement over and above those. Trump is clearly in the weakest position of any candidate in a long time, and while 100 days is approximately 14.29 lifetimes in politics, the data overwhelmingly point toward a loss in November. (Z)

VP Candidate Profile: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)

Gotta get these done before Joe Biden makes his pick. Here is the list of candidates that we will profile, and the order in which we will profile them:

  1. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) [Score: 27.5]
  2. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) [Score: 26]
  3. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) [Score: 20]
  4. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) [Score: 17]
  5. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) [Score: 27]
  6. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
  7. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-Atlanta)
  8. Stacey Abrams
  9. Former NSA Susan Rice
  10. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
  11. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)
  12. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

As a reminder, we're awarding up to 10 points across five different areas of concern: How ready the candidate is to assume the presidency, if needed; what kind of coattails the candidate might have in terms of helping the Democratic ticket in their state/region; what the candidate brings to the table in terms of "nuts and bolts" political skills like fundraising and debating; the depth of the candidate's relationship with Biden (to the extent that information is publicly known); and how well the candidate balances out Biden. So, the perfect running mate would score a 50, while Thomas Marshall would score a 0.

Karen Bass
  • Full Name: Karen Ruth Bass

  • Age on January 20, 2021: 67

  • Background: The daughter of homemaker Wilhelmina and postal carrier DeWitt Talmadge Bass, Karen Bass grew up in Los Angeles during the height of the civil rights and Black Power movements. She watched the former unfold on television and the latter in person, and was witness to the Watts Riots of 1965 (though she was not a resident of the portion of the city where the riots took place). She attended Alexander Hamilton high school, where many Black and Jewish classmates (and their parents) had become radicalized; she says this influenced her to become an outspoken activist.

    Following her high school graduation, Bass followed a circuitous path when it came to her education. She began as a philosophy major at San Diego State, then earned a physician's assistant certification from USC. While working as a physician's assistant, she completed her undergraduate degree at Cal State Dominguez Hills, taking a B.S. in health sciences. A master's degree in social work, also from USC, followed. She worked at the USC hospital, and taught as a clinical instructor, for a number of years.

    In the late 1980s, Bass—disheartened by the crack epidemic that had gripped much of South Los Angeles—helped organize the Community Coalition, which seeks to transform the area by influencing public policy and also providing resources for the community. The Coalition, which has become a force in Los Angeles politics, works in particular to encourage investment in Black-owned small businesses and in affordable housing.

  • Political Experience: Beyond her community organizing, Bass' early political involvement came in the form of volunteering for others' political campaigns, beginning with Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Her name did not appear on a ballot until 2004, when she was elected to the California State Assembly. On the day she arrived there, she was the sole Black, female member. She served three terms before being term-limited; during the last of those she was Speaker of the Assembly, and the first Black female speaker for any legislative chamber in the country.

    After leaving the state house in 2010, Bass immediately launched a bid for the U.S. House of Representatives, with an eye toward replacing retiring representative Diane Watson (D). With Watson's endorsement, Bass faced no serious primary opposition, and easily secured the Democratic nomination with 84% of the vote. The district (then CA-33, now CA-37) is one of the bluest in the country, at D+37, and so Bass had an even easier time in the general, winning 86% of the vote. She has since been reelected four times, and has risen to become chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

  • Signature Issue(s): The issues she has worked most on while in Congress are America's foster care system and its relationship with Africa. Those aren't exactly the sort of things you build a presidential campaign around so, given her work with the Community Coalition and her service on the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, she would become the campaign's point person on police reform and renewing urban environments.

  • Instructive Quote: On George Floyd: "That was a slow, torturous murder, and the whole world saw it. I think it was just one murder too many," (June 10, 2020).

  • Recent News: Bass has something of a history of saying indecorous things. For example, while serving in the Assembly, she characterized her Republican colleagues as "terrorists." When Fidel Castro died, she eulogized him as "comandante en jefe," which many Cuban Americans found overly deferential to the former Cuban leader. Bass has spent the last week trying to clean that up, recognizing that it's a serious barrier to her getting the #2 slot.

  • Ready for the Big Chair?: She's spent time in Washington, but all of her experience is legislative and in the lower chambers of the respective legislatures in which she has served. She does have unusually solid foreign policy chops for someone who has only served in the House, and for just five terms. In the end, she lags most of the VP field in this area, though. (3/10)

  • Coattails: California is about as sure thing as it gets for the Biden ticket, with the possible exception of Hawaii. As with fellow Californian Harris, there is no real argument that she might pull some non-California state, like Arizona, into the Democratic column. In fact, given Bass' lower profile relative to Harris, the Representative's argument is even weaker on that front. (0/10)

  • Nuts and Bolts Skills: She's an excellent fundraiser, but really hasn't faced that many tough election campaigns, which means she's got limited experience as a high-profile public speaker, and no experience as a debater. She does have a talent for shepherding bills through the legislative process, though if the Democrats retake the Senate that won't matter all that much, and if they don't, it will matter even less. (2/10)

  • Relationship with Biden: They interacted a bit while he was VP and she was starting her political career, but they don't have a substantial relationship. (1/10)

  • Balance: She brings ethnic balance to the ticket, of course. Plus, she has an extensive background in community improvement, and zero background as a criminal prosecutor, unlike some of her VP rivals. Politically, she was pretty lefty early in her career, and has become more pragmatic over time, such that she is the preferred candidate of George Will, of all people. She might be the kind of candidate who can appeal to all wings of the party, though she might also be the kind of candidate who is attacked as a PINO (progressive in name only). (7/10)

  • Betting Odds: She's getting from 12/1 to 10/1, which implies an 8-10% chance of being selected.

  • Completely Trivial Fact: While only one president has ever gone straight from the House to the White House (James Garfield), it's a little more common for VPs, having happened five times. However, three of those five were the leader of their party in the House (Schuyler Colfax and John Nance Garner were speaker, and Gerald R. Ford was minority leader). Only two Representatives did it as a humble foot soldier (Richard Mentor Johnson, William Wheeler).

  • The Bottom Line: Bass is reportedly a "serious" candidate, though exactly what that means is unclear, given how closely to the vest Team Biden is playing its cards. Ultimately, as our score of 13/50 implies, we just don't see it. The fact that she's never run a national, or even statewide, campaign is a real problem as it means she's going to be considerably less vetted than a Kamala Harris or an Elizabeth Warren, no matter how good Biden's investigators are. The Castro thing is another big problem; can the campaign really gamble with Florida in order to bring whatever benefits Bass would bring? Seems unlikely.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, you're on deck. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Bill Stepien is going to have Georgia on his mind for the next three months. Clearly, it's going to come down to the wire in the Peach State. (Z)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Georgia 47% 48% Jul 23 Jul 27 Monmouth U.

Today's Senate Polls

Another poll of Michigan that says Sen. Gary Peters (D) is safe. Meanwhile, this is the worst poll Ossoff has gotten since locking up the nomination, but it's probably just variation within the margin of error. He's the underdog, but probably by something more like 3 points than 7. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Georgia Jon Ossoff 43% David Perdue* 50% Jul 23 Jul 27 Monmouth U.
Michigan Gary Peters* 41% John James 34% Jul 19 Jul 21 Marketing Resource Grp.

* Denotes incumbent

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Jul29 Barr Testifies
Jul29 Trump Jr. Disciplined by Twitter
Jul29 Trump Will Accept GOP Nomination in North Carolina
Jul29 There's No Joy in Mudville
Jul29 Today in Photoshop Bigotry
Jul29 Biden Says VP Pick Coming in the First Week of August
Jul29 VP Candidate Profile: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Jul29 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul29 Today's Senate Polls
Jul28 McConnell Unveils HEALS Act
Jul28 House Judiciary Committee Will Consider Bill (Barr)
Jul28 Conservatives Furious about SCOTUS
Jul28 COVID-19 News, Part I: NSA Robert O'Brien Tests Positive
Jul28 COVID-19 News, Part II: Presidential Debate Moved
Jul28 COVID-19 News, Part III: Baseball Season Already Going Off the Rails
Jul28 VP Candidate Profile: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
Jul28 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul28 Today's Senate Polls
Jul27 Trump Is in Retreat
Jul27 The Bill Is Due
Jul27 Poll: The Pandemic is Not Over and the Worst Is Yet to Come
Jul27 Poll: Country Is Headed in the Wrong Direction
Jul27 John Lewis Crosses the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the Last Time
Jul27 Could the Election Be a Disaster?
Jul27 Cohen Sent Home
Jul27 Democrats See Path to Senate Majority
Jul27 Rupert Murdoch's Son Gives $2 Million to the Democrats
Jul27 House Republicans Are Begging the RNC for Money
Jul27 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul27 Today's Senate Polls
Jul26 COVID-19 Diaries: Back to School?
Jul26 Sunday Mailbag
Jul25 Saturday Q&A
Jul25 Today's Senate Polls
Jul24 Unconventional: Trump Abandons Jacksonville Plans
Jul24 However, He's Still Pressing for Schools to Reopen
Jul24 Trump Campaign Doubles Down on Suburban Strategy
Jul24 Trump Fundraising in Disarray?
Jul24 Republicans' Aid Plan Will Wait until Next Week Due to Infighting
Jul24 Republicans Try to De-Ratf**k the Kansas Senate Race
Jul24 VP Candidate Profile: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Jul24 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul24 Today's Senate Polls
Jul23 Undecided Voters Are Leaning Toward Biden
Jul23 Trump Raises $20 Million at a Virtual Fundraiser
Jul23 Three-Quarters of Voters Can Vote by Mail in November
Jul23 Three Coronavirus Scenarios of What Happens Next
Jul23 Texas Voters Think That the Coronavirus is Out of Control in Texas
Jul23 Democratic and Republican Lawmakers Disagree on the Next Relief Package
Jul23 Trump Wants to Start a War between the States--and the Cities