Republicans think 175,000 dead Americans is okay, and that’s not all

The sorry, sad state of the morally bankrupt Republican Party: 

57 percent of Republicans think 176,000 coronavirus deaths (and counting) is acceptable. Holy shit. pic.twitter.com/dd737aoOmj

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 23, 2020

By double-digit margins, Republicans think 175,000 Covid-related deaths (and counting) are “acceptable.” These are the same Republicans who now think that Russian meddling in our politics is okay, that “family values” was a cynical joke on our moral discourse, that “law and order” was something that mattered, that no one stood above the law, that leading the world in pursuit of shared democratic ideals is best replaced by boyish fandom of murderous despots, and that the entire purpose of the Republican Party is nothing more than the singular worship of their idiotic man-boy president. 

Oh, and the response to anything is whine, whine, whine:

.@GOPChairwoman responds to @CBSNewsPoll showing 57% of Republicans say the number of those dead from #COVID19 is acceptable at 175,000: "I think that is a really unfair poll..Republicans do not want to see people suffering from this pandemic." pic.twitter.com/E43B4p9rck

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 23, 2020

Republicans literally are okay with people suffering during this pandemic because they—like their dear leader—are utterly devoid of empathy for their fellow neighbors. It’s the reason so many still resist wearing face masks, putting everyone around them at risk. It’s the reason Republicans continue to support their president despite knowing what they know now, which is exactly what they knew then:

Ted Cruz knew. Rand Paul knew. Nikki Haley knew. Marco Rubio knew. Kellyanne Conway knew. Mike Pompeo knew. Glenn Beck knew. Rick Perry knew. Susan Collins knew. They all knew. pic.twitter.com/73XyJkiNkv

— act.tv (@actdottv) August 21, 2020

Nothing about Donald Trump has been a surprise. Everything that has happened was predictable. We didn’t know we’d suffer a global pandemic, but we knew Trump would be tested during his first term—every president is—and that he would fail spectacularly. 

What wasn’t predictable was how quickly his whole party would become as sociopathic as Trump himself, how quickly they’d acquiesce to his rampant lawlessness. The party that once went into hysterics because former President Bill Clinton had a quick chat on an airport runway with Attorney General Loretta Lynch is now silent as the curent attorney general acts as Trump’s private lawyer. The same party that went into hysterics and filed multiple lawsuits over former President Barack Obama’s executive orders now turns the other way as Trump escalates the same practice. 

And a whole party that once declared fealty to “law and order” is totally mum as Trump literally thumbs his nose at the Supreme Court. What army do they have, anyway? 

USCIS makes it official. They will ignore SCOTUS ruling and, "will reject all initial DACA requests from aliens who have never previously received DACA and return all fees." Furthermore, renewals will be limited to one year. https://t.co/RUIZ3LXw3n

— Ali Noorani (@anoorani) August 24, 2020

There is a single constitutional remedy for such defiance of our nation’s laws: impeachment. But Republicans decided that they were okay with Trump’s lawlessness, and he’s returned the favor by making an even greater mockery of the very institutions that make our democracy work. 

It turns out they're quite fragile, indeed. All it takes is one despot and an enabling party to watch those institutions crumble. Turns out, the only thing keeping them in place was a belief in our democratic system. Republicans don’t care for our system. Or democracy.

The “party of life” never was, but at least now everyone can stop pretending. Their opposition to abortion has nothing to do with “life,” and everything to do with controlling women. 

The “party of national security” is a laughable joke. Russia strongman Vladimir Putin pulls the strings. 

The party of “law and order”? Trump has literally argued that as president, he is above the law, and Republicans have been happy to play along. 

Tax cuts is all that’s left of what Republicanism was all about. The rich and powerful still get their payday. They always do. Nothing like global economic devastation to redistribute even more wealth to the top 0.01%. 

But the stuff that was supposed to trickle down to the masses? All of that is shredded, in tatters, as the Republican Party devolves into an outright cult of personality and Q-inspired conspiracy mongering. 

Trump’s campaign IS the cesspool of corruption and incompetence we thought it was

Olivia Nuzzi’s stunning look inside the Trump presidential campaign confirms everything we’ve been saying, for so long—that it’s a disorganized disaster of a mess, riven by internal discord and rival factions, with no guiding strategy that could plausibly give the incumbent president a path to reelection. 

We’ve seen and discussed it before, but Nuzzi offers new insight. About the nepotism and grift that infects the campaign

“The campaign was spending all this money on silly things. Brad’s businesses kept making money,” the first senior White House official told me. “Everyone was like, What does he even do? He’s just milking the family, basically. And nobody could understand why Jared and the family were putting up with it. That was the talk all the time. Why? Why Brad? He’s not some genius. And I guess people just came to the conclusion that, well, who else would be campaign manager? We’re kind of stuck with this guy.”

Note, the campaign is still spending money in silly things, like TV ads in the Washington DC market so that Donald Trump can see himself as he wastes entire days staring slack jawed at the TV screen. And are the partners of the two Trump siblings still making $15,000 every month in a nepotistic fleecing of campaign donors? There are no indications that has changed. 

We know that the campaign has no message, and continues to have no message, comically fumbling the response to the Kamala Harris VP rollout. Indeed, this is the campaign that expended serious resources to build a case against Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine—an effort that led to a historic impeachment of the president, only to see a bored Trump toss it aside with little use. Also, remember Obamagate, the single most horrible scandal in the history of America? That one lasted like three days. Meanwhile, Trump can’t pivot away from “the best economy in the history of the world” (it wasn’t), even after his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic drove it into a ditch. 

So, having “rebooted” the campaign by ditching Brad Parscale and installing Bill Stepien instead as campaign manager, how has that campaign message changed? Nuzzi asked: 

But while replacing Parscale with Stepien has the look of a reboot, at the strategy level it does not seem much has changed or is likely to. Asked how the campaign can formulate a coherent message, given what life is like for most people across the country today, senior adviser Jason Miller said, “It’s very direct: President Trump built the greatest economy in the history of the world, and he’s doing it again.”

Oh well. 

Finally, we’ve seen how Trump’s actual actions only serve to shrink his potential base of support, further alienating key demographic groups that have abandoned him, like those suburban college-educated white women who delivered the House to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in 2018. (38 of the Democrats’ 41 House pickups were in suburban districts.) 

This is an ongoing Trump feature, from attacking Supreme Court decisions popular with those suburban swing voters (like protecting abortion rights, protecting young immigrants, and defending LGBTQ rights), to demonizing the Black Lives Matter movement, to defending Confederate monuments. So, what is the campaign doing to expand its base and win? Reading the Nuzzi piece, apparently nothing more than engage in wishful thinking. Take this passage, for example: 

“I don’t think we’re gonna lose this campaign,” said Bob Paduchik, Trump’s 2016 Ohio state director and a senior adviser to the 2020 campaign. “I don’t think we’re losing this campaign.” He told me the polling averages didn’t show Biden winning Ohio. I said that was wrong. Well, Paduchik said, the RealClearPolitics average didn’t show Biden winning. I told him that was wrong too — that I happened to be looking at that particular website as we spoke. Even Rasmussen, Trump’s preferred polling outfit, had Trump down by five, I said. “No,” Paduchik said, Rasmussen didn’t have a poll like that. When I said it sure did, that I was looking right at it, Paduchik said he couldn’t speak to that poll since he hadn’t reviewed it himself. Either way, he said, the polls were silly, based as they are on the premise that they measure how people would vote if the election were held today. “Well, the election is not today!” he said. “We haven’t had our debates and our convention yet. It’s sort of a fantasy guess.”

This newfound belief that the debates will bail Trump out is a new level of wishful thinking. Debates don’t mean shit. Hillary Clinton wiped the floor with Trump, for all the good it did. Conventions also don’t do much to move the numbers in any lasting way, but they’ll be even less relevant in this year’s online format. But when you don’t have a message or an organization or a viable strategy to win back lost support, then wishful thinking is the final fallback. 

There’s one final fascinating piece of news in Nuzzi’s piece, one that we hadn’t really seen before, and that is whether the Trump campaign is truly as organized as it claimed it is. We saw a hint of this during the hilariously botched Tulsa rally, when the campaign claimed it had 1 million people clamoring to attend. In the end, about 6,000 did. The expected overflow area outside the convention hall was dismantled even before Trump took the stage. (Herman Cain, one of Trump’s few Black friends, died because of that rally.)

The embarrassingly empty overflow area outside Trump’s failed Tulsa rally.

But that failure could easily be placed at the feet the pandemic. The campaign could be as organized as it claimed to be, and yet still fail to get a crowd because death is quite the demotivator, right? In Pennsylvania, a must-win battleground state for Trump, and one he won by a sliver in 2016, the Trump campaign claims 1.4 million volunteers and an unprecedented ground game. As Nuzzi summarizes it, “The campaign says it’s the greatest ground game to ever exist, that while you don’t see enthusiasm for the president reflected in the rigged polls, you do see it when you talk to his real supporters where they live in Real America. In fact, they talk about surveys of enthusiasm not just as though they are more reliable than real polls but as though they are the polls — as though the traditional kind simply don’t exist, or matter.”

Nuzzi sets out to find this ground game in action, attending trainings and gatherings advertised by the state’s campaign. It’s a hilarious stream of empty rooms, closed doors, and puzzled campaign staff. Like this vignette: 

“What event?,” Kevin Tatulyan, an Allegheny County Republican official, asked as he waved me into the room.

“What event?,” Dallas McClintock, the regional Trump-Pence field director, asked.

One of the women, with lilac-colored hair, whipped her head toward McClintock.

“It’s your email here!” she told him, pointing to the advertisement I’d mentioned.

“My email?,” McClintock said in disbelief.

“Yeah!” she said.

He scrunched up his face.

For the next several minutes, the staffers tried to sort out how, with fewer than 100 days until the election, they had unknowingly advertised official campaign events that didn’t exist to potential campaign volunteers in the most important swing state in the country.

They squinted at their screens and asked questions.

“What time?”

“Where did you learn about it?”

“What was the address?”

The second event had been listed with an apparent misspelling in the street name, a detail that prompted the girl with the lilac hair to laugh.

“Sounds right,” she said dryly.

Trump thrives on good news and rose-colored information. Like a typical despot, he doesn’t want to hear the truth, so his staff tells him what he wants to hear. And they tell him those things were he’s sure to consume them—in the media. 

So is the Trump’s campaign entire narrative about its massive ground game a fiction, designed to appease their boss? Nuzzi’s dive into this little slice of Pennsylvania certainly suggests so. Of course, we can’t and shouldn't assume that’s the case anywhere. And in any case, is anyone really staying home this November? I doubt it’s possible to suppress this vote with “good news”. 

And even if Pennsylvania’s Trump operation is a mirage, that doesn’t mean it’s equally ineffective elsewhere. Remember, we’re not playing to win the presidency anymore. This is another 2018—we’re playing to deliver maximum electoral pain to the Republican Party. 

What this does suggest is that a Republican Party that has surrendered to Trump, both out of fear of his tantrums, and hope that his rabid foot soldiers can bail them out, may have miscalculated to a degree that we hadn’t even dare consider. If the vaunted Trump ground game is a fiction, our down ballot opportunities may be even greater than we hoped. 

I’ve said before, we are lucky that Trump is as stupid and ineffective as he is. The dumbass even admitted to gutting the USPS for electoral gain last week, like a cliche movie villain’s monologue. Now no one can pretend that Trump’s efforts aren’t nefarious, even those who wanted to like Fact Check. His penchant for surrounding himself with morons and refusal to follow federal law when making decisions has ensured that the damage he could cause was limited at best. (A quote in Nuzzi’s piece illustrates this perfectly: “What Trump does is take people who are mediocre talent at best, who know they could never have the position they have if it were not for Trump, and it creates this instant loyalty to Trump.”)

Among those unqualified people? Jared Kushner reigns supreme (of course). 

Trump has epically messed up the country, but it could’ve been worse. And now he’s bringing his special kind of incompetence, the kind that bankrupts a casino,  to his reelection campaign. 

That incompetence is a silver lining in what has been among the bleakest four years in our lives. It means we are on path to ridding ourselves of Trump and his party. Because at this point, we’re not fighting for November, we’re fighting for the next generation. 

Trump House sycophants now concerned about being Trump sycophants

Next year’s collective Republican amnesia will be something to behold. Forget “I didn’t read this tweet” responses to the latest outrage from America’s buffoon “leader” Donald Trump. They’re all going to pretend that he never existed as they rediscover their supposed “values” like not surrendering to Russia, family values (for thee, not me), and concern over budget deficits. 

But for now, Republicans are still marching in lockstep toward that November cliff called “Election Day.” At least they’re doing so publicly. Privately? They’re being extra ridiculous. 

“Discontent with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is on the rise in the House, as Republicans increasingly fearful of a loss by President Trump on Election Day gear up for an intraparty war over the future of the GOP,” reports The Washington Post. “A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference. And a small group of members is discussing whether someone should challenge him for minority leader if Trump is defeated Nov. 3.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

[Deep breath]

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

This is rich

Every single Republican in the House voted against articles of impeachment against Trump. The lone conservative who voted yes, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, had to leave the party and become an independent to do so. 

And now, as House Republicans face further decimation in the House, two years after they got body slammed into the minority, they’re wondering if someone else has been too close to Trump? 

Oh, and these profiles in courage still can’t talk on the record, “[T]he frustration with McCarthy had already been brewing for weeks as Trump’s polling has sagged behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. According to interviews with more than 10 House Republicans — all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank — some GOP lawmakers are worried that McCarthy has tied the conference too much to Trump, refusing to stand up to the president or act as a buffer to distinguish the conference from him.” [Emphasis mine.]

Those 10 “worried” Republicans sure didn’t vote to impeach, that’s for sure. And when it came time to vote for the now-stalled coronavirus relief measure in May, only one voted yes—New York Rep. Peter King. And we know he’s not one of the 10 fretting GOPers. How do we know? Because he already announced his retirement.

That’s not Kevin McCarthy casting those votes. 

Of course, all Republicans have every reason to worry about November. Democrats maintain a healthy 8-10 point lead in the Civiqs generic congressional ballot daily tracker. (The same tracker spotted Democrats a 6-point 50-44 lead in 2018, an election in which the Democrats won the House popular vote by 8.6 points, 53.4-44.8.) 

And for sure, being tied to Trump has been an electoral disaster for the GOP. Look at college-educated white women, the lone demographic to have significantly moved in the past four years:   

National vote,

college white women

Vote Margin 2016 exit polls (Prez) 2018 exit polls (House)
51-44 Dem +7 Dem
59-39 Dem +20 Dem

Polling this year has consistently shown continuing trouble among all college-educated whites, and especially women. (Trump and his party are even losing ground among non-college whites, but I don’t trust them to deliver Democratic votes just yet. They’ve been shown to be susceptible to racist appeals in the past.)

Trump is going down. He’s taking down his party’s Senate majority, and another chunk of House Republicans in mostly suburban districts. All that is clear. 

But anonymously whining that some guy is too pro-Trump, while every one of your public actions are explicitly and proudly pro-Trump, is a new level of ridiculous. 

Everyone who has enabled Trump, and that’s a near-unanimous calculation when it comes to Republican elected officials, deserves to be wiped out electorally. That entire QAnon-fueled party needs to be burned to the ground. And if a science- and reason-based conservative party emerges from its ashes? Fine. Let’s have debates on the future of our country based on observable reality. 

But unless your name is Mitt Romney, you don’t get to complain about the sorry, sad state of the modern GOP.

A Democratic wave pickup of 10 Senate seats is a real possibility

Early in the cycle, the big question was wether Democrats could pick up the net-four seats they needed to get control of the U.S. Senate (assuming they won the presidency, and the tie-breaking vote). It was a tall order, given that only one top pickup opportunity (Colorado) was in a 2016 blue state. But Donald Trump’s disastrous and deadly presidency hasn’t just crushed his own reelection chances, but is now threatening Republican Senate seats no one would’ve ever thought would be at risk, even in some solidly red states. 

Welcome to my inaugural ranking of Senate races, by most likely to flip. 

TIER ONE (expected to switch)

1. AlabamaDoug Jones (D)

Our two-year Democratic rental, thanks to a narrowly won special election against a child predator, should come to an end this November as Alabama’s strong Republican lean and a run-of-the-mill Republican challenger ends Jones’ term. No regrets. It was great while it lasted. 

2. Colorado, Cory Gardner (R)

Joe Biden will win Colorado by double-digits. There’s no way Gardner overcomes that margin, and especially not against former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who remained popular throughout his two terms in office. In fact, Gardner has acted as someone vying for a spot on a second Trump term, reliably defending his president during the impeachment proceedings, rather than a blue-state senator trying to differentiate himself from the top of the ticket. 

3. Arizona, Marth McSally (R)

McSally narrowly lost in the Democratic wave in 2018, and since appointed to fill Sen. John McCain’s seat after his death, she is headed toward another defeat at the hands of Democrat Mark Kelly, an astronaut and husband to former congresswoman and gun violence victim Gabby Giffords. Polling is showing both Biden and Kelly pulling away, in a state in which resurgent Latino voters and suburban white women are heavily engaging. 

4. North Carolina, Thom Tillis (R) 

Democratic Iraq and Afghanistan war vet Cal Cunningham has proven a surprisingly strong challenger to first-term Republican Thom Tillis, handily leading him in all recent polling. It’s not even looking close, in a state in which Biden has also led (albeit more narrowly). Tillis runs weakly against Republicans, who see him as a traitor to Trump’s cause. And the double-whammy of Trump losing the state, and Tillis losing Trump voters, looks too much to overcome. 

5. Maine, Susan Collins (R)

Collins survived decades as a Republican in blue Maine by pretending to be a “moderate” independent-minded legislator. The Trump years have torn that facade away, as she’s sided with the wannabe despot in both his Supreme Court nominations, and in voting to acquit him during the impeachment proceedings. Democrat Sara Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House, is leading in all recent polling, and would be the first woman of color (Indian American) elected in Maine. 

These five races would net Democrats the +3 seats they need for a 50-50 Senate, with Biden’s vice-president casting the tie-breaking vote. But what a nightmare that would be, right? We’d have the nominal majority, but well-short of the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and without the Democratic votes needs to eliminate that stupid filibuster. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has already declared he’d vote against any such efforts. So it is imperative that Democrats pad their majority in order to have the votes to get rid of the filibuster and push through critical legislation like statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico (if its residents vote for it), voting right protections, economic stimulus, police reforms, measures to address climate change, and other Democratic priorities. 

TIER TWO (toss-ups)  

6. Montana, Steve Daines (R)

How can Democrats be competitive in a state which Trump won by over 20 points? First, convince popular Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock to run, then watch Trump’s numbers collapse to the point that Biden is actually competitive. Recent polling in this hard-to-poll state show Republicans with the narrow edge, but it’s narrow. 

7. Iowa, Joni Ernst (R) 

This wasn’t a state that was supposed to be competitive, with Trump winning by nine points in 2016. Yet Trump disastrous trade wars decimated Iowa farmers, and the coronavirus pandemic has only added to anti-GOP sentiment. So this state of rural non-college whites—the core base of the modern Republican Party—is suddenly flirting with voting Democratic. Most recent polling shows Trump leading by a hair, the same as Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield. 

8. Georgia, Kelly Loeffler (R)

Georgia has a racist Jim Crow-era election system, in which candidates require 50% in the first round, otherwise the race moves to a January runoff. This is a special election, thus features a “jungle primary” in which all candidates, of all parties, run on the same ballot. If none reaches 50% (and none will), this gets decided January next year. Democrats are running several candidates, and would be best served if they rallied around Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (where Dr. Rev, Martin Luther King preached). 

While Democrats have traditionally suffered turnout woes during the runoff elections, I doubt that’ll be an issue this cycle. January will be HOT in Georgia. 

9. Georgia, David Perdue (R)

Same as above, except that there’s no jungle primary. Democrats nominated Jon Ossoff to take on the incumbent. Polling has been mixed in this race, with some showing a tied race, and others showing Perdue close to 50%. But at the same time, almost all polling is showing a competitive presidential contest. If Biden can extend his lead in this coronavirus-stricken state, he could very well pull Democrats across the line with him, at least into January runoffs where defeated and demoralized Republicans might just sit things out. 

TIER THREE (lean Republican)

These solidly Republican states shouldn’t be competitive at the Senate level, yet amazingly, they are! 

10. Kansas, Open (R)

The conventional wisdom is that if Republican nominate crazed right-winger Kris Kobach, that this seat in this +20 2016 Trump state becomes far more competitive in November. That would make sense, since Kobach cost Republicans the governorship in 2018. Our own Civiqs polling, actually, found Democrat Barbara Bollier competitive no matter who Republicans nominate. A tough state, for sure but Kansas is one of the few remaining Republican states with high educational attainment (the other being Utah). Given the nation’s partisan stratification based on college education, we can expect Biden to narrow the gap from 2016, improving Bollier’s chances down the ballot. And if Republicans nominate Kobach? That can’t hurt, either. 

11. Alaska, Dan Sullivan (R)

Alaska is competitive at the presidential level (more here), despite the fact that Trump won it by 15 in 2016. No polling has shown the Senate race competitive, but that’s because 1) there is no Democratic nominee—an independent is filling that slot, and 2) that nominee, Al Gross, has a name ID of about zero percent. Gross is now up in the air, and that should boost that name ID in this cheap state. Also, Democrats will now learn that he is their guy, and will answer accordingly the next time they’re polled. 

Without strength at the presidential level, this seat isn’t in play, but Alaska has been trending Democratic for several cycles now, and this year may be the year when that vast swath of land is painted in glorious blue. 

12. South Carolina, Lindsey Graham (R)

Pinch me I must be dreaming. Infamous Trump bootlicker Lindsey is vulnerable? Yes. Yes he is. The polling has shown the state tightening at the presidential level, and the pandemic is hitting South Carolina hard, further weakening the state’s dominant Republican Party. Democrats have an awesome candidate in Jaime Harrison. His problem has been that while he’s running even with Graham, most undecideds in the race are conservative voters. It’s a tough hill to overcome. But this is happening: 

Every point Trump falls is a point that could cost him in the presidential election, and every point that presidential race narrows is one point less Harrison needs to overcome to win the Senate seat. The play here isn’t for Biden to win, he doesn’t need South Carolina (as nice as it would be!). We need it close enough to give ourselves a chance down ballot. 

This is a long-shot, by all means, but it’s a real shot. And Harrison has raised record amounts of cash and has the resources to wage a real campaign in this final three-month sprint to Election Day.  

13. Texas, John Cornyn (R)

The big question in Texas is whether it is competitive at the presidential level or not. It’s clear where the state is trending, and no doubt in a cycle or two it will be legitimately purple. But polling is mixed on whether this is the year. And that will inform whether the Senate race is flippable. On its merits, Cornyn should be cruising to reelection. He has none of the baggage Sen. Ted Cruz had in 2018, where he held on to his seat by just 2% of the vote. But if Texas Democrats can get the state’s chronically underperforming Latino vote to activate, then all bets are off—at both the presidential and senate levels. 

CONCLUSION

Of the 13 Senate seats currently in play, 12 of them are held by Republicans. The odds of Democrats picking up 10 or 11 seats are currently low, but the trends just keep getting worse and worse for the GOP. The toll of the pandemic isn’t just worsening nationwide, it’s currently disproportionately affecting some of the very states discussed above, like Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina, and Texas. 

Meanwhile, Trump is doing nothing to reverse his precipitous collapse in his national standing, while also refusing to allow Republicans to distance themselves from him. 

So can we get to a double-digit pickup in the Senate? Not today, we wouldn’t, but Republicans still have three months to fall. 

Trump didn’t just break the GOP, he broke conservatism

Remember when you could all describe, in one succinct sentence, what the Republican Party was all about? “Family values, lower taxes, and a strong national defense.” Democrats spent decades trying to come up with their own pithy slogan and failed. We are just too diverse a coalition to condense into a single sentence. And turns out, we don’t need to, because the head of the conservative movement, Donald Trump, has exposed just how empty that statement of values always was. 

It was quite the feat, actually, to take the one man with inarguably the worst record on “family values,” and then rally around him with zero sense of irony or shame. Trump had multiples and then cheated on them with pornstars while ignoring his children. He didn’t (and doesn’t) go to church, give to charity, or show any semblance of humility. In fact, the did the opposite of charity—he used a charity to grift. 

In fact, has any one man ever embodied the seven deadly sins more perfectly than Trump? Pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. He is a wretched human being, morally bankrupt and ethically corrupt. And through it all, evangelical Christians have stuck with him, proving that they never ever cared about any actual morality. 

On national defense, Republicans have acknowledged that Trump is a puppet of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. The current House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, a solid Trump ally, who was recorded saying back in 2017, “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.” Then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, another Republican, thought that was funny, ““This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”

Hilarious. 

We went through a whole impeachment process in which Trump’s attempts to enlist foreign governments to help his reelection campaign were fully exposed, and Republicans did nothing but shrug. 

But nothing tops revelations that Russia paid Taliban fighters in Afghanistan a bounty for every dead American they killed, and Trump couldn’t be bothered to give a damn. Instead, Putin’s loyal lapdog keeps checking in with Moscow every month, to discuss who knows what. You’d think Republicans would care about America’s top historical geopolitical opponent encouraging the murder of our troops, but nah. 

They did get to the “lower taxes” bit, however. Nothing like destroying our nation’s finances in order to justify the cutting of our social nets to really get Republicans excited. … Then again, “bailing out billionaires” isn’t particularly the most populist and popular policy plank on which to hang all your electoral hopes. 

So we know that all of this has utterly crushed the GOP, and we’re headed toward another anti-Republican wave election this fall. But now we’re seeing evidence that this goes deeper than simple anti-GOP sentiment. By exposing its flimsy pretenses, Trump is breaking conservatism itself. Check out Gallup’s polling on self-identified ideology over the course of this year:  

American’s ideology Jan/Frb mar/Apr May/Jun Conservative Moderate Liberal
40 37 34
34 36 36
22 23 26

That’s a stunning collapse in such a short period of time, while the long-demonized term “liberal” is making a strong comeback. (Many Democrats prefer the safer-sounding “moderate,” as you can see if you follow the link above. Black, young, Latino Americans all prefer “moderate” to “liberal,” when we know they are politically liberal.)

More Gallup:

The decline in self-identified conservatism in 2020 has been seen about evenly among men and women, and among all political party groups.

However, it was more pronounced among adults in upper-income households as well as among middle-aged adults (aged 35 to 54) than their counterparts.

The conservative falloff has also been stronger among White and Hispanic Americans than Black Americans. Relatively few Black Americans (25%) identified as conservative in January/February, and thus there may have been less opportunity for the rate to decline.

Among those who earn more than $100,000, the number of self-identified conservatives dropped 11 points, from 40% to 29%. And since we’ve tracked suburban voters so closely for the last several cycles, they are also leaving the conservative fold, from 36% to 28%. In fact, and this is crazy—there are fewer conservatives now in the suburbs than in cities (33%)!

Still, don’t count out rural areas, getting hit harder and harder by COVID-19. They’ve gone from 50% conservative to 43%. That’s why states like Alaska, Iowa, Montana, and Ohio are suddenly back in play at both the presidential and Senate levels. 

Republicans exist only insofar as conservatives exist, as they and Trump fight to make their tent even smaller and unwelcome to anyone who isn’t ideologically pure. Seeing at close range the kind of rampant hypocrisy, corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence inherent in conservatism, Americans are ditching the label and, with it, their votes for Republicans. 

And they still have a lot further to fall. 

Former Ohio Republican governor to speak at the Democratic convention

Ohio has burrowed itself deep in impeached president Donald Trump, who may or may not be hiding in his bunker at this time. It’s not a state that will decide the presidency. Trump won it by eight points in 2016, and if he loses it this year (and chances are growing by the day), he will already have lost Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and several other states—giving presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden more than enough electoral votes to end our long national nightmare. Yet his campaign has now made Ohio the second-largest recipient of advertising dollars, behind only Florida. 

So how do you think Trump will react when he finds out that former Ohio two-term Republican governor John Kasich is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention? Hilarious, right? 

The Daily Beast has leaked details on Democratic plans for the mostly online convention, which includes the information on Kasich’s participation. The Associated Press has more information on the Kasich coup, and adds this hint: “Kasich is among a handful of high-profile Republicans likely to become more active in supporting Biden in the fall.” The Biden campaign, feeling secure in its base, is clearly focused on expanding his potential base of support, and the never-Trump crowd, while small, could have a big impact in close races up and down the ballot. 

Ohio is a perfect example, a state in which Trump’s standing has fallen more precipitously during the coronavirus pandemic (and because of it) than most places. 

As noted in a previous analysis, Trump’s general election matchup numbers are closely correlated to his approval numbers. His 47% approvals here means he’s getting between 47-49% in the head-to-head matchups versus Biden. That’s enough for victory, but barely. Trump is hanging on for dear life in a state that he comfortably won in 2016, and which shouldn’t be in play given its demographics—mostly white, mostly non-college.  

Meanwhile, Kasich left office a popular politician, with a 52-36 rating the last time Quinnipiac checked in before he was termed out of office in 2018. But even then, there were storm clouds that hinted at a party split: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich gets a 52-36 percent job approval rating, doing better with Democrats than he does with his fellow Republicans, Democrats approve of Kasich 57-33 percent. Republicans are divided as 46 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.” You see, he had run against Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, and Trump hit him for, among other things, giving his state’s residents health care via Obamacare Medicaid expansion. 

pic.twitter.com/ZQ0osiFEJQ

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2016

The campaign eventually ended, but the feud never did. For example, here was a typical interaction between the two, in 2018:

pic.twitter.com/wqtmN9SwhT

— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 13, 2018

Pretty good, right? Kasich also attacked his party for looking the other way as Trump made a mockery of party orthodoxy, steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as for tolerating Trump’s attacks on national institutions like the FBI and the Justice Department. After the 2019 Dayton mass shooting, Kasich called Trump “sensitive” and “thin-skinned.”  

Kasich spent some seconds this year “running against Trump in the GOP primary,” but no one took that seriously. The Republican Party is the Party of Trump, and vice versa. There’s no longer any room for Kasich-style moderate fiscal conservatives in the GOP. We don’t want them either! But at least this year, those never-Trumpers realize the damage that Trump is doing to the country. As Kasich told the Washington Post, “[The Republican Party] coddled this guy the whole time and now it’s like some rats are jumping off of the sinking ship. It’s just a little late. It’s left this nation with a crescendo of hate not only between politicians but between citizens. ... It started with Charlottesville and people remained silent then, and we find ourselves in this position now.”

Kasich may be the highest-profile Republican to flip to Biden right now, but there is definitely something happening among Republicans. Look at Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans: 

So 87-9 seems ridiculously high, right? Except that during the impeachment hearings, that number was 91-6. That means that in just a few short months, Trump has lost a net-seven points of support among Republicans. 

Don’t scoff. Every Republican that gives up on Trump is one less vote. They may vote for Biden and say the heck with it, they’ll vote for Democrats in critical Senate and House races. Or maybe they stay home in frustration, which is almost as good. 

Every Republican defection makes it harder for Trump to bounce back. How is he going to expand his coalition if he can’t even hold on to his own core base? 

Kasich isn’t a play to win Ohio. We don’t need Ohio. Let Trump piss his money away on a state that is irrelevant to whether he wins or loses. While there are two Republican-held House seats that could be in play, control of the U.S. House isn’t at stake. 

But there are Republicans who aren’t happy being associated with a racist sociopath who is putting our children at risk to boost his reelection chances, and Kasich is a signal to them freeing them from Trumpism. There are alternatives. Because this thing, whatever it is that Republicanism has become? It really hasn’t quite worked out well for the country now, has it.

But even if Kasich doesn’t swing a single vote—which is quite possible—the inevitable Trump tantrum will be reason enough to stand up and clap. You know it’ll be glorious. 

Donald Trump isn’t serious about being reelected

Donald Trump wants to win reelection. 

He’s not serious about winning reelection. 

How do you square those two statements? You look at what vestiges of a “campaign” he’s running and you realize that there’s nothing in what he says or does to suggest he’s actually doing what is necessary to get to 50% of electoral college votes. 

Fundamentally, Trump is in deep electoral trouble. His map is … quite impossible at this point with states like Alaska, Montana, and Texas competitive, and new states like South Carolina creeping into unexpected contention. His campaign is bleeding money on nonsensical expenses like advertising in places like Ohio, which will not decide the election, and insanely high legal expenses as he tries to sue his critics (and reality, at times) into silence. His attempts at generating a white backlash against the movement for Black Lives is going nowhere. His campaign is incompetent, and yet the same people who delivered Trump’s Tulsa humiliation (speaking in front of 6,000 when he had promised 1 million) are still in charge of the joint. 

The Trump campaign truly is a disaster. But, we are warned, don’t be complacent! He can still turn things around! 

There are reasons not to be complacent: We have a second historic opportunity (after 2018) to utterly annihilate the GOP and reshape American politics for a generation. No one took it easy in 2018 despite polling predicting big Democratic gains. No one is relaxing this year. 

But it’s not being “complacent” to simply realize that absent some impossible-to-imagine event, Trump isn’t turning anything around. And the reason is because he’s not trying to turn things around. He is in the mess that he is now because of the very things he can’t stop doing. And it starts with the words that come out of his mouth. 

All campaigns have a message. It’s literally the bedrock of any electoral effort: “You should vote for me because _______.” But what is Trump’s? 

He had that whole “Hunter Biden in the Ukraine” thing that went nowhere except for the history books as a rare presidential impeachment. There was an aborted attempt to create a thing called “Obamagate.” 

Then he was really into protecting Confederate statues, but that has seemingly been set aside as Salvadoran MS-13 gangs make a cameo after their abject failure to deliver Republican victories in 2018. And don’t forget that we were supposed to vote for him because presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden was “sleepy” and “hiding in his basement.” Except, of course, that it was Trump himself who was literally hiding in his basement.  

There’s a lot of whining about poor him and presidential harassment mixed in with whatever loony Q-inspired theories emerge from the Twitterverse or Fox and Friends. There’s calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hate” while blaming Dr. Anthony Fauci for his continued indifference to actually doing something about a national mass death event that has killed 140,000 and counting. 

What else? There’s attacking Joe Biden for wearing a mask because that was somehow a thing, as well as repeated unsupported attempts to tie Biden to the Chinese Communist Party. Why he, in the pocket of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, would want to bring attention to the issue of foreign involvement in the election is beyond any rational attempt to explain. 

And this week’s masterstroke of political communication? 

If it�s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020

Obviously Trump and the GOP were never going to win core Democratic constituencies: youth, voters of color, single women, and urban whites. But the Republican Party finds itself in dire straits because of defections among college-educated suburban white women. 

And tell me, what, of that list above, is going to win a single college-educated suburban white woman? Quite the opposite, in fact—every single one of those items merely reinforces the very reasons those women fled from Trump and his party in the first place: his idiocy, his inability to handle a national crisis (much less several of them), his refusal to listen to science and the experts, the racism, the sexism, and his boorish bullying behavior.

And as that tweet from Ivanka shows, their unserious and shallow base impulses. Quite clearly, the tweet was designed to “own the libs” who have been organizing a boycott of Goya products after the company’s CEO publicly lavished praise on Trump. I’m sure their cheering section of deplorable dead-enders cheered along with it. But that’s not winning them any elections! And at this late stage of the campaign, everything they say or do should be laser-focused on winning votes. 

But they can’t do it! They can’t run a disciplined, focused, and appeal-building campaign because the person at the top, Donald Trump, has zero interest in broadening his appeal, much less being disciplined and focused. 

In 2016, Trump lucked into the “but her emails” bullshit narrative the GOP had spent years building. It was simple enough and stupid enough for him to repeat ad nauseam. But he doesn’t have the benefit of any pre-laid right-wing narratives this year, and he’s made it impossible for the Republican machine to singularly focus on or even create any of their typical manufactured outrages. Huntergate? Obamagate? Yeah, nice try, a--holes. 

So that’s where we are. 

Donald Trump wants COVID-19 to go away, but he won’t do anything to make that happen. He certainly can’t sic his lawyers on the virus to either threaten it into oblivion or pay it off for its silence.

In that same way, Trump wants to be president for four more years, but he won’t do what he needs to do to make that happen. 

He’s failed upwards too many times in his unjustly charmed life. But too many people now know how dangerously incompetent he is. His luck has finally run out. 

It’s time for Lisa Murkowski to leave the GOP

The Republican Party and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have always had a rocky relationship. The daughter of Senate giant Frank Murkowski, she has always seemed an odd fit for a party that has evolved ever right. 

She was appointed to her seat in 2002, and cruised easily with a primary victory in 2004 before squeaking out a general election win 49-46. But in 2010, during the apex of the frothy tea party-movement, Murkowski was ousted in the Republican primary against Sarah Palin-backed Joe Wilson (remember her?). She is a senator today because during her write-in campaign, Alaska Democrats rallied around the lesser-of-two-evils. Yet as we saw Thursday, Alaska is shifting leftward while Senate Republicans are headed into the minority. Republicans back home hate her. So why fight it? It’ll soon be time for her to ditch the GOP, become an independent, and caucus with the Democrats. 

Yesterday’s Alaska poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) confirmed what we have been seeing in our own Civiqs data, and what I’ve been hearing from insiders—that Alaska is a battleground state this year—at the presidential, Senate, and House levels.

According to PPP, impeached racist Donald Trump has a narrow 48-45 lead against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the presidential contest. In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan leads by a woeful 39-34 against independent (and de facto Democrat) Al Gross, despite the latter having a name ID of almost zero. And in the House race (Alaska only has one), Democrat Alyse Galvin leads long-time Republican incumbent and crank Don Young 43-41. 

But here’s something else that is really interesting: only 29% of poll respondents approved of Murkowski when asked about her job approvals, compared to 55% who disapproved. That’s not a base upon which one builds a successful reelection campaign, which she will in 2022.

Amazingly, among Republicans, those job approval numbers are an eye-popping 17-71%! She is loathed inside her own party. Meanwhile, Democrats’ approvals of her are at 41-41%!

Of course, Democrats like her because she’s become a thorn on the GOP’s side. While she voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial, she has legislatively bucked the GOP in key moments—the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the only Republican “no” vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation vote, a rare “no” on George W. Bush’s PATRIOT Act, a vocal critic of Trump’s racist border wall, the list goes on. She has needled her caucus leader, Mitch McConnell, for his unwavering focus on judges. “It’s unfortunate that we’re kind of viewing [judicial nominees] as this is the one thing we can do,” she said. “We’re not focusing on [legislation] as much as I think we should or we could.” Republican Senate whip John Cornyn, in charge of getting his colleagues to vote however leadership wants them to vote, said, “I would say she’s the most independent.” 

There is definitely no love lost between her and Trump. After her Kavanaugh vote, he did what Trump does and lashed out on Twitter: 

Few people know where they�ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020

Trump was joined by Alaska’s most famous grifter: 

Hey @LisaMurkowski - I can see 2022 from my house...

— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) October 5, 2018

Murkowski hasn’t backed down, by any measure. Where Maine Sen. Susan Collins pretends to be oh-so-concerned before caving to Trump and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Murkowski just doesn’t give a damn. When former Trump defense secretary Gen. James Mattis unloaded on Trump, Murkowski singularly stood out among her cowardly caucus by underscoring the important of that criticism.

“I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis’ words were true and honest and necessary and overdue,” she told reporters. “When I saw General Mattis’ comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally. And have the courage of our own convictions to speak up.” 

She added that she was “struggling” over whether she could support Trump.

So it’s obvious, Republicans hate her and are gunning for her. Murkowski isn’t stupid, and she sees the dangers she faces in a Republican primary. That’s why her crew is pushing a ballot initiative that would replace party primaries with a “jungle primary,” in which all candidates run on the same line. The top four finishers (regardless of party) would advance to a runoff to determine the ultimate winner. 

That could certainly save her hide, but why bother? What is keeping her a Republican, at this point, besides fealty to the legacy of her father? She can strike out and build her own legacy. 

Alaska has a rich tradition of Democratic-caucusing independents. She doesn’t need to become a Democrat, just caucus with them. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, I’m sure, would be happy to let her keep her committee assignments, and in particular, her chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources committee—of obvious importance to Alaska. 

Obviously, it would be stupid of her to do this before November, while Republicans still control the chamber. But she’ll have to decide, if Democrats take the Senate (which is likely at this point), whether she wants to live in the hapless minority in a new, filibuster-free Senate, or whether she wants to keep her chairmanship, her influence, and—perhaps most importantly—the ability to vote her conscience without having to deal with the likes of McConnell, Cornyn, and the rest of the male-dominant Republican Party.

It would also be the ultimate “fuck you” to Trump and Palin, and you know Murkowski wants to deliver that message. The disdain is visceral. 

Ultimately, she won’t win reelection on the strength of Republican voters. Her base is now Alaska Democrats. They are the reason she is in the Senate today, and they will be the reason she keeps her job, even if the jungle-primary ballot initiative is enacted. So why not own it? 

Given Alaska’s shift leftward in recent cycles, it’s also the smart political-electoral play. 

Alaska presidential elections Republican vote % 2016-Trump 2012-Romney 2008-McCain 2004-Bush
51.3
54.8
59.4
61

Trump is doing everything possible to make safe red-state Senate seats competitive

Senate Democrats are looking like winners in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina. Their leads are so large at this point that it’s hard to see, absent scandal, how they won’t win. Democrats are also looking good in the next tier of races, tied or leading in Iowa, both Georgia seats, and Montana. Kansas and Texas are in the third tier, which is lean or likely Republican, but within the realm of possibility. 

And then there are the fourth-tier races—those that are “likely or safe Republican.” While some early polling looks encouraging, it would be really tough for Democrats to pick up absent a massive Democratic wave. And here, I’m mostly talking about challenges in Kentucky and South Carolina, and our incumbent senator in Alabama. And yet, Trump’s national polling collapse threatens Republican holds on these seats even if they remain safely red in the presidential race. 

Alabama has been considered a lost cause almost from the moment that Democratic incumbent Doug Jones won the seat in a 2017 special election 50-48.3—a margin of just 22,000 votes—against a child predator, someone who even admitted approaching teenage girls while he was in his 30s. It has seemed inconceivable that Democrats would ever hold that seat during a presidential year in a state that gave Trump a 61-34 victory in 2016. 

And certainly Civiqs’ daily tracker of Trump’s job approvals in Alabama shows his job approval rating hovering in the 60-40 range for the last three years. But look what suddenly happened: 

That’s a fall from +20 net approvals during impeachment to single digits +9 today, or a net 11-point drop. That outpaces the drops we’ve seen nationally (around a net 5-point drop). 

The drop is even bigger in Kentucky, the third most pro-Trump state after Wyoming and West Virginia. 

That’s a drop from his high-water mark of around +25 net approvals (60-35) to +13 today (54-41), or a net 12-point drop.

The last of these three tough fourth-tier Senate states is South Carolina:

The drop here is actually in line with national results: a 5-point drop from +8 net approvals to +3 (50-47). 

Now, Trump will win all three of these states. And he’ll win them all easily. That’s not the point here. 

The point is that for Democrats to have any chance, they’ll need ticket splitters or voters who don’t fill the ballot past the presidential contest. The stronger the pro-Trump vote is, the tougher that task becomes.

In 2008, incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is the current Republican leader in the Senate, won his election race 53-47. That same year, on the same ballot, John McCain defeated Barack Obama 57-41. McConnell ran 10 points behind the top of the ticket. 

So yeah, if Trump wins Kentucky along the same lines as his 63-33 victory in 2016, then the Democrats won’t defeat McConnell, period. But as we’ve seen in recent polling, Trump’s share of the Biden versus Trump vote is closely correlated to his personal ratings. If Trump’s popularity continues to falter in the state (and the pandemic and job losses aren’t going anywhere any time soon), that presidential race could tighten, and that hill Democrats must climb gets easier and easier. Same goes for Alabama, South Carolina, and pretty much every single other state. 

Can Democrats win these three states? If the election were today, they wouldn’t. But given Trump’s inability to show anything akin to leadership in these critical times, the more he falls, the better our chances. 

You want to chip in and help? It wouldn’t be a bad idea, so here you go!

Trump’s polling collapse puts Ohio back on the map

Once upon a time, Ohio was the ultimate swing state. President Barack Obama won it as recently as 2012! But then, non-college whites turned sharply in favor of bunker-hiding Donald Trump, and Ohio was both (82% non-Hispanic white, and ranked 35th in college graduates). Trump won it easily by over 8 points.

So Ohio wasn’t included in the early tally of 2020 battleground states. Early polling wasn’t encouraging for Democrats, and there were seven other states that would clearly decide the November contest: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

But, you can now officially add Ohio to that list.

As I wrote in my last story, we’re seeing clear correlation between Trump’s personal ratings, and his head-to-head matchups. In other words, whatever his favorability rating is, that’s what he’s pretty much getting against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Here are the four last Civiqs state polls:

STATE TRUMP FAVORABLES TRUMP vs. BIDEN GEORGIAKANSASNORTH CAROLINASOUTH CAROLINA
47-51 47-48
51-47 52-40
45-53 46-49
51-47 52-42

Also, in the last story, I wrote about Trump’s overall collapse in his personal approval ratings. Well, Ohio has had a more exaggerated collapse compared to the country at large. 

During impeachment, Trump had a +4 favorability rating in Ohio, or 51-47. That’s important because it meant he was likely over 50% in head-to-heads against Biden. We were right to keep the state off the battleground map. 

However, those approvals have dropped a net total of 12 points, to an anemic 45-53. So what other states have approval ratings in that -8 range? 

APPROVALS NET APPROVAL Iowa Florida Ohio Georgia North Carolina Wisconsin Pennsylvania MICHIGAN Arizona
45-52 -7
45-52 -7
45-53 -8
44-53 -9
43-54 -11
43-54 -11
42-54 -12
42-56 -14
40-57 -17

We know Florida is tied because not only the polling says so, but, you know, it’s Florida. (Actually, the polling gives Biden a small lead in Florida, but it’s Florida. So it’s tied.) 

Trump’s ratings in Ohio are a hint worse. Trump’s Ohio ratings are still better than they are in Georgia and North Carolina, two states we know that he is narrowly losing. But they’re all in the same range, with Trump getting roughly 45-46% of the Trump versus Biden vote. He’s slipped away from that 50% mark. The state is in play. And it makes that Fox News poll last week showing Biden leading in Ohio 45-43 make plenty of sense. 

Now Ohio won’t be deciding this election. If Biden wins the state, it’s because he already won the other seven battlegrounds. There is no scenario imaginable in which Ohio casts any deciding Electoral College votes. (Iowa and Texas are in a similar situation, as well as Minnesota and Nevada for Trump. If he wins those last two states, he’s already won the election.) 

What it means is that a panicking Trump campaign is already spending money trying to shore up the state. 

Over the past few weeks, the president’s operation has spent about $1.7 million on advertising in just three states he carried in 2016 — Ohio, Iowa and Arizona — that it had hoped would not be competitive at all this year. Much of that sum went to a concentrated two-week barrage in Ohio [...]

As I wrote last week, this spending is proof that Trump’s campaign is either being driven by Trump’s whims—he likely hates the idea that he’s losing Ohio, or his campaign manager Brad Parscale is utterly incompetent. Again, if they lose Ohio, they already lost the election, so why waste money there when Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have all fallen seemingly out of reach?

(To spare you the math, picking up just those four states—Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is a 289-249 Biden victory. Including North Carolina, which also has a Trump double-digit approval deficit, makes it 304-234 Biden.)

But whatever the motivation to piss away millions in Ohio, it again proves that the state is in serious play. And that is, quite simply, remarkable. There’s nothing about the state that suggests it should be competitive. It seemed headed into Missouri territory—a once competitive state relegated by demographics to solid red status. And yet, here we are. 

Ohio, welcome back to swing-state status!