A Democratic Tsunami?

Even Republicans are wondering if President Trump is at his "Katrina moment."

Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter reports President Trump is falling further behind and dragging Congressional Republicans down with him.

This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points), and Wisconsin (9 points). He’s even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina. 

We’ve made changes to our Electoral College ratings to reflect this reality. 

* WisconsinPennsylvania, and Nebraska’s 2nd district move from Toss Up to Lean Democrat.

* Maine, once in Lean Democrat, moves to the safer Likely Democratic category. 

* Georgia has joined Arizona, North Carolina and Florida in the Toss Up column, although, at this point, Biden would be slightly favored to win at least Arizona and Florida. 

*Maine’s 2nd district has moved from Likely Republican to a more competitive Lean Republican. 

These moves alone push Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold (to 279). 

Their map looks like this:

That Texas is merely leaning Republican and Georgia and North Carolina are tossups is bad news, indeed, for Trump and the GOP. And all three of the Rust Belt states that narrowly pulled him to a shocking win in 2016 are leaning the other way this cycle.

Republican strategists we’ve spoken with this week think Trump is close to the point of no return. A couple of others wondered if Trump had reached his “Katrina” moment: a permanent loss of trust and faith of the majority of voters. 

In talking with strategists on both sides this last week, it’s also clear that Trump is dragging Republican congressional candidates with him as well. 

Plugged in strategists on both sides tell us that Trump is running behind in districts he easily carried in 2016. As one GOP strategist told us this week, “I’d be surprised if any House GOP challenger is able to outperform Trump — they are tied to him.” Meanwhile, Democratic Senate candidates — even those in second and third-tier races — are pulling in eye-popping second-quarter fundraising totals.

We’re still nearly four months away from the election and more shocking things have happened. But I just don’t see how he recovers from this.

Trump has not been above water for even a single day starting a week into his Presidency. His handling of the pandemic has been nothing short of catastrophic, causing the economy to crater. The white nationalism that he’s capitalized on so brilliantly is under assault from all sides.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    To me it’s noteworthy that FL, NC, and especially GA are less red than OH. That’s not how things used to be. GW Bush won Ohio by only a whisker in 2004. I’m not sure what’s happening in OH.

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  2. Jon says:

    Even Republicans are wondering if President Trump is at his “Katrina moment.”

    I feel like there is a Katrina Pierson joke in there somewhere that I just can’t quite put my finger on.

    4
  3. Mister Bluster says:

    …a permanent loss of trust and faith of the majority of voters.

    That it has taken this long, 3 1/2 years, for a majority of voters to to lose “trust and faith” in this despicible human being is not reassuring.

    34
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Cook is generally among the most circumspect in their poll analysis, that makes them valuable. To climb out of this hole would require an extremely consistent and focused candidate and that ain’t Tiny.

    Typically at this point in a presidential race, voters aren’t fully engaged, but with the virus and the state of the economy, that is different this year. The fact that Joe has jumped out to a such a definitive lead so early can lead to it being self reinforcing, which can drive down repug turnout. And Dem turnout as well.

    5
  5. reid says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I was thinking the same thing myself. I always used to consider Ohio a traditional toss-up. What pushed it to the right?

    As James’s last paragraph describes this unbelievably abysmal and nasty presidency, I’m just hoping that this is the start of the well-deserved end. If nothing else, we can hopefully thank Trump for hastening the effective demise of the GOP.

    2
  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    But I just don’t see how he recovers from this.

    Russian help. Voter suppression. Maybe he jettisons Pence and picks up Haley. And maybe, just maybe, someone somewhere makes up something crazy about Biden with a couple weeks to go. You know…like Comey and her emails.
    Having said that…it better be a tsunami. Because if it isn’t, Trump and McConnell and Barr will drag this out until it gets to the SCOTUS and the Justice Boof Court.

    “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”

    10
  7. EddieInCA says:

    My post that is still in moderation on another thread makes this point:

    I’m in Salt Lake City working for two months. I’m surprised by how much this city, anecdotally, HATES Trump. So I started digging. The last poll, June 1st, has President Trump beating Biden by 3 points. In Utah.

    3 points.
    Utah.

    Before BLM.
    Before Lafayette Square.
    Before Tulsa.
    Before “White Power” tweet.
    Before Mt. Rushmore.

    I don’t think Utah is in play. But if Utah is really 3 points on Election night, that would mean Texas, NC, OH, PA, MI, MN, NC, IA, GA, FL, AZ, are already in the Dem column. Additionally, it would put even states like IN, MO, SC, and KS into play.

    Now is the time for the DSCC, DNC, and Biden campaign to HAMMER Trump in these states. Expand the map while not ignoring the firewall states.

    4
  8. reid says:

    @EddieInCA: Utah is pretty unique. I think Trump is disliked by LDS church members more than in other religious sects, and his ongoing battle with Romney probably doesn’t help. So yes, hammer Trump in Utah if it makes sense, but don’t assume that puts states like KS and SC into play.

    18
  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It’s very odd. My first guess was “Ohio is more rural than I thought,” but a look at urban population percentages denies that theory. It’s urban vs. rural mix (77% urban) is closer to Delaware and Washington’s numbers (low 80s) than, say, Iowa (66%). My sense–and it’s only a sense, since census numbers are a decade old–is that Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland were all growing at a healthy clip while rural areas were losing population. It’s racial demographics aren’t much different than any other state. Sure, one could point at Dewine’s approval ratings to explain (perhaps) why the GOP is more popular than expected at this moment, but the trend has been there since before Dewine took office.

    Weird.

    3
  10. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I’m not sure what’s happening in OH.

    Indiana is leaking.

    12
  11. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Okay, that made me laugh.

    3
  12. Kylopod says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    To me it’s noteworthy that FL, NC, and especially GA are less red than OH. That’s not how things used to be. GW Bush won Ohio by only a whisker in 2004. I’m not sure what’s happening in OH.

    I think it’s simply part of the gradual process where the Rust Belt grows redder as the Sun Belt grows bluer. While Obama won Ohio twice, it was still significantly more Republican than his national numbers both times. More broadly, I’d say Ohio was well on its way to red-state status by the mid-2000s. Obama simply propped it up temporarily when he had his own blue tsunami that brought already strongly red states like Indiana, Missouri, and Montana into his orbit, and then in 2012 he had the advantages of incumbency (which is also why I think Sen. Brown was able to win reelection in 2018). If Biden wins Ohio this year, I think it’ll be yet again the circumstances letting him artificially hold onto a state that’s been trending red.

    2
  13. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Now is the time for the DSCC, DNC, and Biden campaign to HAMMER Trump in these states. Expand the map while not ignoring the firewall states.

    The DSCC is key here. They need to spend on tying Trump tightly to every GOP Senator running in 2020 by putting POTUS’s words into their mouths. If they try to separate themselves from Trump, the base will abandon them as they see loyalty to Trump as all important. If these candidates embrace Trump, they will hemorrhage suburban voters.

    8
  14. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    As much as I’d prefer not to be cynical, it’s really the economic recession that made a large number of people lose “trust and faith” in that poor excuse for a human being.

    7
  15. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott F.:

    Exactly.

    1
  16. JohnMcC says:

    Your sub-head ‘even Republicans are wondering is this is President Trump’s “Katrina moment”‘ actually echoed a thought I’ve had for a few days. (Possibly because we Floridians check the ‘noaa-nhc’ site daily and hurricanes are never far from mind this time of year.)

    It seems that the entire nation is New Orleans. Our levees failed. The national gov’t failed us. We’re clinging to our rooftops hoping for rescue.

    But rescue is not coming anytime soon.

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: There is a column by Max Boot in a recent WaPo “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” that will chill your marrow. He recounts a ‘war game’ created by a group of DC insiders in which he played on ‘Team Trump’. The basis was a very close electoral victory for Mr Biden (278 – 260). The methods the Trumpists used to overcome their 10pt deficit started with the Rust Belt states. In Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania the governors are D-party but all three legislatures have bilateral R- majorities. They got the legislatures to not ‘certify’ the election. The entire RW Media world ‘found’ China, Antifa and the Deep State had stolen the election and hooted that tune to the heavens. AG Barr sued to prevent Congress from certifying the electors’ votes.

    I could go on. But — here’s the thing — it wouldn’t be the first time. The 1876 election ended with Tilden ahead in popular and electoral votes but three states refused to certify their results. A Congressionally appointed commission voted on party lines and gave the office to Mr Hayes.

    Mr Boot points out that internet rumors have brought armed militias flocking from hundreds of miles to gather to confront ‘flag-burning-marxists’. (The most recent was at Gettysburg over the 4th.) The war game predicted armed conflict on American streets. When the Supremes get the case, the chaos would impel them to shut down the dispute the most rapid way possible, they predicted, just as Justices O’Connor and Kennedy voted to end the 2000 FL recount.

    His conclusion: “Unless Biden wins by an electoral college margin that no one can possibly dispute, our democracy may be imperiled as never before”.

    So, Dr Joyner, about that ‘Democratic Tsunami’? From your lips to God’s ears.

    9
  17. Mu Yixiao says:

    Walter blew it.

    “Democratic tsunami”? Really?!

    C’mon! The phrase “Blue Tsunami” is perfect. It rolls of the tongue, it has vowel repetition, it’s memorable, and it’s the perfect name for a foo-foo drink that the 19-25 demographic would order by the pitcher at cheap college bars.

    I’m thinking….

    Blue curacao
    Bacardi 151
    blended with ice
    add 7-up for a “white cap”
    garnish with a single shrimp

    $10 in the midwest, $25 on either coast.

    9
  18. An Interested Party says:

    So I was looking at the Biden Backlash post on the right side of this page and the comments on that thread (I wonder what happened to poor James Pearce and pathetic john430)…wow, how things change! And in just a little over 3 months…

    @JohnMcC: I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that if Trump were to somehow “win” reelection using Boot’s scenario, we really would have another civil war in this country…the relatively meek way that Gore handled the situation in 2000 would not repeat itself…

    1
  19. Michael Cain says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I’m not sure what’s happening in OH.

    After the 1990 census, OH lost a US House seat. After the 2000 census, OH lost a House seat. After the 2010 census, OH lost two House seats. Most estimates say that after the 2020 census, OH will lose another House seat. For more than a generation, people with prospects — the frequently referenced “best and brightest” — have been leaving OH. Or at least, not moving in.

    I live in Colorado, which gained a House seat after the 1990 census, another after the 2000 census, and will almost certainly gain another after the 2020 census. Despite our fairly mediocre record with education at the secondary and post-secondary levels, a ton of people with degrees acquired elsewhere move here. (The effect is so pronounced that “the Colorado Paradox” is a thing in the academic literature.) Over the last 30 years, as OH got more conservative and redder, Colorado has become more liberal and bluer. More generally, substitute “the West” for Colorado and “the Midwest” for Ohio and the broad trends are the same.

    My wife and I are moving to a different place in Colorado later this year. I have a friend who is an anthropologist who says, “If you want to know about a place or an activity, find out what jokes are told about them.” The most common joke about Fort Collins, where we are moving, is “Chances are your barista has a better degree than you do.”

    4
  20. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao: You had me right up until you put the shrimp garnish on it :^)

    3
  21. rachel says:

    @reid:

    Utah is pretty unique. I think Trump is disliked by LDS church members more than in other religious sects, and his ongoing battle with Romney probably doesn’t help. So yes, hammer Trump in Utah if it makes sense, but don’t assume that puts states like KS and SC into play.

    Yeah. This.

    (And besides that, SLC and the Wasatch Front in general tend toward the more blue end of the spectrum.)

    1
  22. gVOR08 says:

    @EddieInCA: Besides his history, this is why I haven’t been giving much credence to the Brave Sir Robin Mitt narrative. He’s not risking anything with the home folks in Utah when he does his token anti-Trump gestures.

    1
  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: You had me right up until the shrimp garnish.

    And the price. I don’t go to bars that sell $25 cocktails since I left Korea. And even there, a $25 cocktail was only $12-15. Even in Hongdae.

  24. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, for a pitcher of drinks that’s not unreasonable…

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    …a permanent loss of trust and faith of the majority of voters.

    That it has taken this long, 3 1/2 years, for a majority of voters to to lose “trust and faith” in this despicible human being is not reassuring.

    That’s funny, I could of swore Hillary got 3 million more popular votes than trump did in 2016. By my calculations that means he never had the “trust and faith of the majority of voters.”

    4
  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @JohnMcC:

    It seems that the entire nation is New Orleans. Our levees failed. The national gov’t failed us. We’re clinging to our rooftops hoping for rescue.

    But rescue is not coming anytime soon.

    Isn’t that what the GOP has been running on for decades? Make Government so small that you can drown it in a bathtub?

    As long as those that die are the great unwashed (ie: the other bastards out there, not me) then there is no problem.

    The GOP has been programmed to reject government programs that improve health, improve insurance, improve retirement, improve air, water, minority rights… the list goes on.

    For them, “rescue” is big government, and big government is evil. Revenuuuers be shot on sight!

    Not a bug. It’s an intentional feature.

    .

    I suggest that we get them all to move to Kansas, rename it Freedonia, let them build a wall around it, and have daily Trump rallies there.

    While I would miss the Burnt Ends at the Blind Tiger, there are still ribs in KC MO.

    1
  27. DAVID M Anderson says:

    @Jay L Gischer: The Rust Belt has been losing population and what population it has is more heavily Over-65 than the rest of the country and that Over-65 population identifies as more white than the country as a whole. There are urban clusters with growth prospects that will have a good number of college educated 25-45 year olds working there, but those areas are swamped by the burbs and exurbs. The economies are based on resource extraction or manufacturing much more than other regions and in the past 30 years, that has given regions with that matrix a reddish tint.