with Brent D. Griffiths
It's Friday. We made it. Thanks for waking up with us. See you on Monday.
REPUBLICANS FOR BIDEN: A growing faction of anti-President Trump Republicans is now calling for conservative voters to split the ticket and vote for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden — as the president's drop in the polls starts to drag down GOP Senate candidates.
They say it's no longer enough to eschew Trump by not voting for him, or writing in another candidate, as some Republican opponents said they did in 2016 — and they're ramping up their get-out-the-vote efforts for Biden in key battleground states.
- “If you don't vote for Trump that's a victory but if you're actively supporting Biden, that's a huge victory. That's a-two vote difference,” John Weaver, a Republican strategist who is on the Lincoln Project super PAC's leadership team, told us.
- 🚨: “The future of the Republican Party depends on cutting this cancer out now and not allowing the party to continue on the current trajectory it's on,” Matt Borges, a former chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and founder of Right Side PAC, told Power Up.
Hindsight is 2020: Anti-Trump Republicans “should have been proactively for [Hillary] Clinton in 2016,” Weaver said. An important part of the mission of the Lincoln Project, launched last year by veteran Republican operatives opposed to Trump, he added, is to provide conservatives with “the permission slip to do the right thing.”
- The Lincoln Project released a new pro-Biden ad that will run in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan: “Biden is the clear choice when it comes to compassionate and decent leadership. In a battle of heart, mind, and character @JoeBiden wins by a landslide. We need to ensure that’s reflected in the vote this November,” tweeted the group, which is co-founded by attorney George Conway who is married to Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
- “Republican are hierarchical,” Weaver said. “So what’s not getting a lot of attention right now is the structure we are building — the permission ramp for Republicans so that they will have some comfort that they are not alone in doing the right thing.”
Right Side PAC, a recently-launched group that includes former Trump and George W. Bush administration officials, is actively seeking to convert people who voted for Trump in six key states to back Biden through direct mail and digital campaigns. Borges, who ultimately voted for Trump in 2016 after supporting his opponent ex-Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary, says the group's target individuals are Republicans who may despise Trump but “are having a difficult time with the idea of actually supporting a Democrat” — essentially, he says, someone like Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.
- By identifying and connecting with these voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida, Borges believes that the group can help net a win for Biden. “The day someone requests an absentee ballot, we can be in touch with that person immediately,” Borges said. “Hopefully we can capture those and get them to vote.”
- The group's message will be focused on promoting Biden's character, personal conduct, record on free trade and diplomacy: “What we’re trying to do is increase the vote share,” Borges explained. “The universe might not be enormous — but in some of these swing states where we’ve seen them be close races in the past, numbers like this can make a huge difference.”
- Trump, Borges said, is hurting the future of the Republican Party: “We're scaring voters we’re going to need to rely on in droves and we might never get them back,” said Borges, who says he'll be otherwise be voting for only Republican candidates.
GROWING CHORUS: Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who ran for president against Trump, is also urging Republicans to back Biden at the ballot box.
- Fiorina called out several Republicans for condemning Trump but declining to support Biden: “Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she agrees with former Defense Secretary James Mattis that Trump is a threat to the Constitution, but is ‘struggling’ with whether to vote for him, is putting politics over principle,” Fiorina told The Atlantic's Edward Isaac Dovere. “John Bolton, who has said he hopes for America’s sake that Trump loses but that he’ll write in a conservative Republican, looks to Fiorina like he’s ‘desperately trying to preserve some position in the Republican Party as a conservative Republican.’”
Republicans on the Hill are concerned about Trump's widening polling gap. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters that the polling is a “message that there needs to be a — certainly a change in probably strategy as far as the White House's messaging is concerned.”
- “Right now, obviously, Trump has a problem with the middle of the electorate, with independents, and they're the people who are undecided in national elections,” said Thune. “I think he can win those back, but it'll probably require not only a message that deals with substance and policy but, I think, a message that conveys, perhaps, a different tone.”
- Another Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), had this advice for the president on his sinking numbers: “Just make it more about policy, and less about your personality,” he said, according to our colleague Seung Min Kim.
By the numbers: A New York Times/Siena national poll released this week shows Biden 14 points ahead of Trump, polling at 50 percent versus Trump's 36 percent.
- Even more worrisome for the Republican Party: “Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by enormous margins with black and Hispanic voters, and women and young people appear on track to choose Mr. Biden by an even wider margin than they favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump in 2016. But the former vice president has also drawn even with Mr. Trump among male voters, whites and people in middle age and older — groups that have typically been the backbones of Republican electoral success, including Mr. Trump’s in 2016,” per the New York Times's Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Matt Stevens.
- The polling also looks problematic for down-ballot Republicans seeking to protect their Senate majority:
Let's talk about how bad those NYT battleground polls are for down-ballot Republicans. In North Carolina, both GOP candidates -- including an incumbent U.S. Senator -- are at 39%! In Arizona, GOP Senator McSally is at 38%. Oof. pic.twitter.com/la9KtNEgJk— Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) June 25, 2020
Trump's handling of dueling crises — the novel coronavirus and the protests against racism and police brutality— appears to be dragging down vulnerable incumbents like Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and even those who did not anticipate competitive races such as Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, a state Trump won by 10 points in 2016.
- “ [By] aligning themselves so closely with Mr. Trump, Senate Republicans now risk the same fate that could await the president without a drastic change in fortune,” the New York Times's Martin and Stevens write.
Trump is also trailing Biden in Florida, Georgia, and Texas – a state he won by 9 points in 2016 – according to a Fox News poll released last night.
🚨 FOX NEWS POLL 🚨— Ashley Moir (@ashleymoirDC) June 25, 2020
FL: Biden 49, Trump 40
GA: Biden 47, Trump 45
NC: Biden 47, Trump 45
TX: Biden 45, Trump 44
Even in Ohio, which Trump carried by 8 points in 2016, Biden has a slim lead. A poll released by Quinnipiac University this week shows Biden with 46 percent of the vote, compared to Trump at 45 percent in a general election matchup.
- “You have to go back 60 years to find an election where Ohio was NOT a linchpin or a pathway to the presidency,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said of the poll. “That is why this very close horse race is so deeply consequential. The mantra in the backrooms of GOP and Democratic campaign headquarters has to be … 'Don't lose Ohio!'"
- Yet Borges says ‘The Right Side PAC’ won't be spending any money in the Buckeye state: “If [Trump] is actually losing Ohio, it’s indicative of a landslide election elsewhere.”
From the Courts
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ASKS SCOTUS TO STRIKE DOWN OBAMACARE: “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late last night to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that ‘the entire ACA must fall.’ The administration’s argument comes as thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs amid the pandemic,” Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn report.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the move: "President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” she said in a statement.
A decision in the case may not come until after the election: Oral arguments in the case brought by a coalition of Republican governors are scheduled for later this year.
Outside the Beltway
24 MILLION MAY HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS IN U.S.: “The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, based on antibody tests, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said,” Lena H. Sun and Joel Achenbach report.
One of the most stunning parts of this finding: 92 to 95 percent of the population “remain susceptible to a coronavirus infection. Experts say this is the critical data point showing that the pandemic remains in its early stages and people need to continue to try to limit the viral spread,” our colleagues write.
- How they found this: “The antibody tests examine a person’s blood for indicators that the immune system has mounted a response to an infection. The serological surveys are being done around the country as epidemiologists try to measure the reach of the virus to date. [CDC Director Robert Redfield] said he believes 5 to 8 percent of the population has been infected so far.”
U.S. SETS DAILY CASE RECORD: The previous high mark was only a day old. “Texas, Alabama, Missouri and Nevada reported daily highs. The death toll also spiked, to about 2,500, as New Jersey added 1,854 probable deaths to its overall tally,” Hannah Knowles, Katie Mettler, Kim Bellware, John Wagner, Adam Taylor, Hamza Shaban, Steven Goff and Michael Brice-Saddler report.
Some areas of the country have been setting records for weeks: “The counties home to Dallas, Phoenix and Tampa all reported record-high averages on at least 15 straight days in June,” Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner report. “And even more worrisome: Several states — Arizona, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Utah — have recently reported new highs in the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized.”
- Americans are living through a split-screen pandemic: “Their leaders are relaxing restrictions while their states set records for new coronavirus infections. Churches, beaches and bars are filling up, and so are hospital beds.”
ANOTHER WAY TO SEE COVID'S DISPARATE IMPACT: “Nearly 1 in 3 black Americans know someone personally who has died of covid-19, far exceeding their white counterparts, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll,” Amy Goldstein and Emily Guskin report this morning.
No other group comes close: “The nationwide survey finds that 31 percent of black adults say they know someone firsthand who has been killed by the virus, compared with 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and 9 percent who are white,” our colleagues write.
- The gap widens when the question is focused on just symptoms consistent with covid-19: “Sightly more than half of black Americans say they know at least one person who has gotten sick or died of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Fewer than 4 in 10 white or Hispanic Americans say they do.”
On The Hill
HOUSE PASSES POLICING BILL THAT THE WHITE HOUSE THREATENED TO VETO: “The largely party-line vote of 236 to 181 epitomized the polarized debate in recent weeks, despite public polling showing broad support for some restrictions on law enforcement after the high-profile deaths of [George] Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police,” Felicia Sonmez, Paul Kane and Rhonda Colvin report.
- Only three Republicans broke ranks: “Reps. Will Hurd (Tex.), the lone black GOP House member; Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), and Fred Upton (Mich.) — broke ranks and joined Democrats in backing the House bill.”
What happens now: “With Congress set to adjourn later next week for an 18-day break, [Sen Tim] Scott expressed concern that the momentum for compromise was fading. ‘It’s dissipating as we speak,’ said Scott, the lead sponsor of the Senate GOP's proposal. “And they know it. They are playing a dangerous game of politics that they can afford to wait until November or next year. That’s a dangerous game.”
HISTORIC D.C. STATEHOOD VOTE EXPECTED TODAY: The House is expected to pass legislation for the first-time making the District the nation's 51st state later today, it's also the first floor vote on the issue since 1993, Jenna Portnoy reports.
The White House formally threatened to veto such an action earlier this week: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes statehood and has vowed not to hold a vote in the chamber, making a presidential action moot. (The House legislation has 226 co-sponsors and 40 in the Senate, all Democrats or Independents that caucus with the party.)
- Senate Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) slammed the idea: “Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing,” Cotton said, Colby Itkowitz and Jenna Portnoy report. “In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state.” Cotton's Democratic colleagues chastised him for “job shaming.”
In the Media
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Dunford eyed to oversee Congressional Oversight Commission: “Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford is the leading contender to chair the Congressional Oversight Commission, a key oversight mechanism for the Cares Act that has been leaderless since the legislation passed in March, according to three people familiar with the situation,” Erica Werner reports.
Mary Trump prepares to tell all: Mary's book about the president “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” remains under wraps before its publication next month. “But clues to her dark view of [him] can be seen in lawsuits, and interviews with former colleagues and teachers, academic papers and a series of now-deleted tweets, including one that said her uncle’s election was the ‘worst night of my life,’” Michael Kranish reports this morning.
- For now, the Trump family's efforts to squash the book are failing: “A New York judge rejected an application by Trump’s brother Robert to try to halt its publication, the Daily Beast's Lachlan Cartwright and William Bredderman report.