5. Deal or no deal?: 

“While there was some encouraging news, much work remains,” Pelosi said in a letter sent to her colleagues on Sunday afternoon. “I am optimistic that we can reach agreement before the election. To that end, we are writing language as we negotiate the priorities, so that we are fully prepared to move forward once we reach agreement.”

The nut of the issue appears to be the size of the bill — particularly as it relates to funding for testing (and other Covid-19-related issues) for minority communities. 

The White House offered a $1.8 trillion bill last week which Pelosi quickly rejected. (Some Democratic Party leaders — including 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang — have suggested Pelosi needs to cut a deal for the good of the country.)

And while she seems open to the idea of a deal generally, other parts of Pelosi’s letter are, um, less encouraging.

“The White House had assured Democrats that they would accept our language on testing with a ‘light touch,'” she wrote. “Unfortunately, as the committees of jurisdiction review the White House’s language provision-by-provision, it has become clear that these changes are not a light touch but instead, a deep dive.”

The clock is ticking. 48 hours and counting.

4.  A down-ballot disaster:

Yes, President Donald Trump looks like he is going to lose the presidential race to former Vice President Joe Biden. But it now increasingly looks like his unpopularity with the electorate could also cost his party the Senate and drive them even further into the House minority.

Inside Elections, a non-partisan handicapping tip sheet run by Nathan Gonzales, a CNN contributor, revised its seat projections in the Senate and the House in Democrats’ favor.

Gonzales is now predicting a four- to six-seat Democratic gain in the Senate, which, if it comes to pass, means that Democrats will win the Senate majority whether Biden wins the White House or not.

On the House side, Gonzales now says Democrats are likely to gain between 10 and 20 seats, which could well double their current majority. (Republicans need a net gain of 17 seats to win the House majority, which is, well, not happening.)

If Inside Elections is right, Democrats would have full control over Washington that they haven’t enjoyed since the first two years of Barack Obama’s first term.

What that would mean is, effectively, an undoing of the last four years of Trump’s presidency — whether on health care, the environment, the tax code or the overall regulatory process in the nation’s capital.

Side note: Keep an eye WAY down-ballot on the battle for state legislative control. This will be the last election before the country redraws its state legislative and House district lines in the wake of the 2020 Census. Which party controls the majority controls the line-drawing software in many of these states.

3. 22 million (and counting):

More than 22 million people — across 45 states and the District of Columbia — have already voted, whether by mail or in person.

That’s roughly half of the total number of early votes — 46 million — cast in the 2016 election. And we are still more than two weeks from the actual Election Day!

Some of the swing state vote total comparisons tell the story of the booming early vote in 2020.

In Florida, almost 2.3 million votes have been cast in this election, roughly double the number of ballots cast at this point in 2016. In Michigan, the vote total is near 1.3 million, nearly three times as large as 2016.

And it’s just not large turnout that’s the story. Democrats are dominating the early vote in the 27 states who reported ballots cast by party affiliation. To date, 5.4 million registered Democrats have voted early while 2.5 million registered Republicans have done so. 

(NOTE: This voting information comes from by Catalist, a data company that provides data, analytics and other services to Democrats, academics and non-profit issue advocacy organizations.)

To be clear: Party registration — and early vote numbers — aren’t determinative of outcomes. (My friend Harry Enten explains why here). But what we know is that early vote turnout is very likely to shatter every past record — and that Biden is very likely to have a considerable lead when Election Day dawns.

2. The last debate:

It’s been three weeks since Trump and Biden first shared a debate stage. And that first debate was an unmitigated disaster for the President as his bullying, interrupting and white-hot rhetoric triggered a decidedly negative reaction in the electorate.

Trump’s refusal to participate in a virtual second debate now means that Thursday night’s head-to-head in Nashville, Tennessee, is Trump’s last chance to alter in some way the operating dynamic of the race.

It’s not totally clear how Trump will do that, although my best guess is that he will spend a lot of time talking about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his time spent on a board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.

Those attacks, however, have to date been of limited appeal outside of Trump’s most loyal followers. Those voters aren’t Trump’s problem. It’s the loosely affiliated Republican and independents that the President needs a message for. 

If the past few days is any indication, Trump doesn’t have that message. What he has been pitching in his whirlwind series of campaign stops since his recovery from Covid-19 is just more of the same base-stroking.

One other thing to keep in mind: Biden has said he would not participate in this final debate unless Trump tests negative for coronavirus.

“He just had Covid,” Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, told CNN’s Jake Tapper of the President on Sunday. “He has now been cleared of Covid, which means he took a negative test, I’m sure he’ll take another one before the debate.”

1. How low can Trump go?:

The most dangerous animal is a wounded and trapped one. That goes for humans, too — specifically the President of the United States.

Trump finds himself, with just over two weeks before the election, down in national and swing-state polling, being heavily out-raised and outspent by the Biden campaign and seeing signs everywhere of Republicans starting to jockey for what the party will look like when/if he loses.

Trump’s tweets — and campaign rally speeches — over the past few days suggest that he a) knows he is losing b) has no idea how to turn it around (see item No. 2) and c) is going to try to burn down, well, everything on his perceived way out the door.

That reality makes Trump even more dangerous to Biden — and the country — than he has shown himself to be over the past almost four years. Trump will say and do absolutely anything between now and November 3 — motivated roughly equally by a desire to win and a passion to make things as bad and ugly and awful as possible for Biden in the event he wins.

Trump has already taken to trumpeting potentially hacked materials tied to the Bidens. He has repeatedly questioned Biden’s mental health and acuity. He has encouraged the QAnon movement. He has suggested that the Navy Seal Team 6 killed an Osama bin Laden body double.

And that’s just in the last few weeks! How much lower can Trump go than that, you ask? I am not even sure what “lower” looks like but I am absolutely certain there is no bottom for this President. Never has been.

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