Trump's long shadow and Iowa's pivotal Senate race

Dan Guild has “never seen anything like it. The president so dominates the landscape that senators don’t have a distinct political identity.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Selzer & Co. is out with a new Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom.  It found President Donald Trump tied with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each supported by 47 percent of likely voters surveyed. 

Iowa is not considered likely to be decisive in the race for the Presidency. But it may be decisive in determining control of the U.S. Senate. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, for example, currently rates only two states as toss-ups: Iowa and North Carolina. Since they predict that the rest of the Senate will split 49-49, the importance of Iowa’s race is clear.

As Brianne Pfannenstiel reported for the Des Moines Register, both sides recognize just how important Iowa is: $155 million has been spent or has been committed to influence the outcome.

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What Kanye West's candidacy says about Iowa's process and Iowa Republicans

When Iowans begin voting on October 5, they will see nine tickets for president and vice president at the top of the ballot.

The most controversial campaign may be that of Kanye West, widely seen as a stalking horse for President Donald Trump and a gravy train for Republican campaign consultants. He has been knocked off the ballot in some states but survived two objections to his candidacy in Iowa last week.

West’s inclusion reflects well on Iowa’s ballot access policies but poorly on the Republican operatives who got his name in front of voters.

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Sister Souljah Redux

Ira Lacher: We need Joe Biden to speak before Donald J. Trump succeeds in making “law and order” the number 1 issue of the 2020 election. -promoted by Laura Belin

If there ever were a need for a Sister Souljah moment, it’s now.

In 1992, Bill Clinton, locked in a  tight race with President George H. W. Bush, blasted the rapper known as Sister Souljah for urging blacks to kill whites in retaliation for the death of Rodney King at the hands of Los Angeles police, who were acquitted of any crime. Speaking to the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the Democratic nominee from Arkansas repudiated her comments as incendiary.

“If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black,’ and you reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech,” Clinton told the group, referring to the then-leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Metaphors

Ira Lacher: Donald Trump is Cain, who slays his brother Abel, hoping to gain favor from God. Joe Biden is Job, who suffers so much yet remains faithful. -promoted by Laura Belin

What did we learn from the just-concluded Zoom meeting organized by the Democratic National Convention? We learned that the 2020 election is a battle of metaphors.

Donald Trump is the greaser you’d shoo away from your daughter with a shotgun. Joe Biden is the kid who always gets your daughter home by curfew, walks her to the door and sees that she gets safely inside, all without even trying to steal a goodnight kiss.

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Joe Biden got small bounce but has commanding lead

Dan Guild has four takeaways from the first round of presidential polling following the Democratic National Convention. -promoted by Laura Belin

I wrote here frequently in 2016 about conventions and bounces. Four years ago, polling showed that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received a good bounce from their conventions. Did Joe Biden?

This is the first time since 1964 that we did not have high-quality polling between the conventions. The data, such as it is, shows four things.

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Does a presidential nominee's choice of running mate matter?

Dan Guild sees Joe Biden’s choice as influenced by Bill Clinton’s counter-intuitive but “phenomenally successful” pick for vice president. -promoted by Laura Belin

After weeks of speculation, Joe Biden has made his choice: Kamala Harris. He wasn’t late. As the table below shows, his announcement was actually a little earlier than most by a day or two.

Will it matter? Political scientists have studied the matter and usually concluded no. I think the answer is more nuanced than that. 

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