The proverbial blue wave in 2020 threatens to make 2018 look like a ripple. An array of data points make this clear:
- For the second consecutive month, Biden has out-raised the incumbent president. He took in $282 million during the second quarter and $141 million in June alone.
- The number of incumbent Republican senators in toss-up (five) or “lean-Republican” (four) races totals nine; Democrats have only two races that are in worse shape than likely Democratic (Alabama and Michigan, although the incumbent Sen. Gary Peters now looks strong). The Republicans’ Senate majority is in peril in part because voters in purple states (e.g., Arizona, North Carolina) and even in some red states (e.g., Montana) are abandoning the GOP.
- Trump and his base are losing the culture war (e.g., Confederate-named military bases) as Republican lawmakers abandon a president who unabashedly plays the white nationalism card.
- Goldman Sachs, not exactly a progressive bastion, advises: “The 2020 election is just five months away, and prediction markets now price a 77%, 50%, and 51% likelihood of Democratic victories in the House, Senate, and presidential races, respectively.”
- Senior military leaders revolted against Trump’s attack on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square and their strong voice in favor of racial justice. Intelligence and Pentagon personnel, horrified by Trump’s refusal to take action against Russia for placing bounties on U.S. troops, have gone public as well. Republicans have frittered away their recent advantage on national security.
- Polls show support for government to do more rather than less. (In late April, a USA Today-Suffolk University poll found: “Americans by double-digit margins say the federal government is doing too little — not too much — to deal with the health and economic repercussions of the deadly pandemic.”)
This is not to say Democratic victories in the presidential race or in the contests for the Senate majority are sealed. Thursday’s job numbers (4.8 million jobs added last month, although the figures do not account for the exploding number of covid-19 cases in recent weeks) remind us that the economy remains highly volatile and hence a wild card in the race. (By the same token, voters say in poll after poll that they prioritize their health concerns about the virus over concerns about the economy.) What we can say is that something dramatic will need to happen to forestall a blue tide from uprooting Republicans up and down the ticket, coast to coast.
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