With 48 days to Election Day 2020, here’s the news that you’ll want to know:
Democrats worried about Biden’s “invisible” campaign.
“It’s not even clear Biden has opened any new dedicated field offices in the state; because of the pandemic, they’ve moved their field organizing effort online. The Biden campaign in Michigan refused to confirm the location of any physical field offices despite repeated requests; they say they have ‘supply centers’ for handing out signs, but would not confirm those locations. The campaign also declined to say how many of their Michigan staff were physically located here.” (TIME)
- What’s happening: Another day, another story about Joe Biden’s lackluster campaign. This time, it’s a lengthy piece on Biden’s “invisible” campaign in Michigan: the campaign won’t even confirm whether it has an office in the state.
Instead, Biden’s campaign manager argued that they’re pursuing a new strategy of contact online and via phone calls or text messages — which TIME dubbed the “invisible campaign.”
“Voter contact” — the catch-all term for personalized outreach to potential voters — is always a critical part of campaign’s strategies to get out the vote, with personal contact at the door or by phone generally perceived as the most powerful and potentially persuasive.
- What’s at stake: Democrats seem to be in disarray just under 50 days out from Election Day.
(1) Michigan is an important battleground state, and Biden’s no-show strategy there is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s loss of Wisconsin in 2016 after she didn’t travel to the state.
In 2016, President Trump won Michigan by 0.2% — a tiny margin, but important for its 16 votes in the Electoral College.
(2) Blinded by their hatred of President Trump, Democrats assumed 2020 would be an easy win … and they’re surprised that it’s not.
Biden’s low-key “basement” campaign was accepted in the early days of COVID-19. But now it’s given way to daily news reports of Democrats concerned about his strategy.
And remember these past stories which we shared with you in The Vote?
— August: CNN hosts worried Biden and Democrats weren’t addressing rioting, while it was a high-priority issue for many Americans.
— May: Top Obama strategists worried about Biden’s digital strategy (and likely started the basement campaign branding that’s stuck).
Bottom line: although Democrats will blame conspiracy theories if President Trump wins re-election in November, it seems like they’re really just building a case to prove it was their own strategy that caused them problems.
- What else to know: Although the Biden team isn’t door-knocking — and seems to dismiss the practice — down-ballot Democratic campaigns, i.e. candidates running for offices below president, are out and knocking on doors.
As POLITICO reported: “Even so, canvassing has been a constant topic of debate among Democrats in recent weeks. In calls between the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its ‘frontline’ candidates — those vying for the most competitive seats in the country — some campaigns are bringing up door-knocking nearly every week, said a person familiar with the talks. The candidates have expressed concerns about the DCCC’s decision to avoid door-knocking, the source said.”
Report: 1,666 ballots discovered in “mislabeled bin” months after New Jersey’s July 7 primary.
“Election workers discovered 1,666 uncounted New Jersey state ballots last week. The ballots, from New Jersey’s Sussex County, were found in a ‘mislabeled’ bin.
The primary election was on July 7.” (The Blaze)
- What’s happening: Election workers discovered 1,666 uncounted ballots in a “secured area” of the local Board of Elections office in New Jersey. The ballots were later processed, counted, and added to vote totals for the New Jersey July primary they were from — though it didn’t change any election outcomes.
- What’s at stake: Aside from concerns about increased potential for voter fraud with mail-in ballots, there are likely significant logistical and processing concerns ahead.
This summer, CBS News did its own independent simulation of a mail-in election — and found significant delivery and delay issues with its mock ballots. (Watch their full report here.)
And it’s not just a theoretical concern.
— Almost 3,000 Georgia voters say they never received absentee ballots for the state’s August run-off election. A local news station later “obtained” a photo that “showed some of the ballots still inside a post office Aug. 12 – the day after the runoffs – meaning the undelivered ballots were no longer usable by voters if they eventually received them.”
— More than 550,000 absentee ballots already have been rejected in elections this year. Many of the rejections are due to timing issues, like ballots arriving after deadlines.
Bottom line: Experienced lawyer Cleta Mitchell laid out reforms that must be taken right now to ensure the dramatic increase in voting by mail doesn’t become “a disaster” in November. Check out her analysis here.
AOC: “We can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues.”
“‘I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,’ [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)] continued. ‘I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one. Criminal justice is another area where we can pursue a lot of progressive direction.’” (Daily Wire)
- What’s happening: Although Joe Biden has campaigned as a moderate — with the help of glowing coverage from the mainstream media — evidence continues to mount that he’d govern as a member of the progressive left.
Bernie Sanders said Biden could be the most progressive president since FDR.
And now AOC has said she thinks the progressive movement “can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues.”
- What’s at stake: President Trump and Republicans have wanted to tie Biden to the progressive left in the presidential election. This video interview with AOC will certainly be used by the campaign.
And you can expect more stats like it to come up in the first presidential debate, less than two weeks away:
— A new study from the Wharton School has found that the Biden agenda would come $3.4 trillion more in taxes over the next 10 years; another report tallied up his domestic spending at $5 trillion.
— On the campaign trail last year, Biden said, “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts.” (Senate Democrats have since walked back that promise, likely because it would be incredibly unpopular with the American people.)
- What else to know: AOC has committed to vote for Biden, but has not formally endorsed him. Her Democratic convention speech time was used for a pro forma nomination speech for Sanders.