Trump's coronavirus problem isn't getting better

With just 51 days until the 2020 election, it will be here before you know it. Every Sunday, I deliver to your inbox the 5 BIG storylines you need to know to understand the upcoming week on the campaign trail. And they’re ranked — so the No. 1 story is the most important of the coming week.

5. Early voting starts now!:

Later this week — Friday, to be exact — early voting starts in four states: Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.
Within the next week, New Jersey (September 19), Vermont (September 21), Illinois and Michigan (September 24) begin early voting as well.
    Which means that the political environment, nationally and in swing states, starts to really matter. 
    That is bad news for President Donald Trump as his approval rating remains mired in the low 40s — anchored down by his handling of the coronavirus.
    It’s also a reminder that Election Day, especially this year, is more like election month.

    4. The Bloomberg Effect:

    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t done dipping into his massive personal fortune to beat Trump in the fall.
    Bloomberg will spend upwards of $ 100 million in Florida alone between now and Election Day, a massive sum in a state that Trump won in 2016 and simply cannot afford to lose in November.
    Any doubt whether Bloomberg will actually spend what he says should have been cleared up by the $ 1 billion — yes, BILLION — he spent on his own campaign for the Democratic nomination between November 2019 and March 2020.
    Trump, who has long been bothered by Bloomberg’s wealth and time as mayor of his hometown, immediately responded to the Florida spending news.
    “I thought Mini Mike was through with Democrat politics after spending almost 2 Billion Dollars, and then giving the worst and most inept Debate Performance in the history of Presidential Politics,” tweeted Trump in a feat of insecurity, um, trumping political smarts.
    Bloomberg has chosen a smart target in Florida. No Republican has been elected president without winning the Sunshine State in almost 100 years.  
    And since April, Trump has led in a total of one poll conducted in the state. Biden had led in 25. Three have showed a tie.
    Bloomberg’s heavy spending — in addition to what Biden’s campaign (and the various super PACs affiliated with him) are dropping — could help the Democrat not just win the state but win the White House.

    3. Joe Biden’s schedule becomes an issue:

    Trump, desperate to change the subject from the coronavirus, has zeroed in on his opponent’s schedule.
    “Once again, Sleepy Joe told the press they could go home at 9 A.M.” tweeted Trump on Saturday night. “Meanwhile, your Favorite President, me, will go to Reno, Nevada tonight, three stops in Las Vegas tomorrow, with California and Arizona on schedule Monday. Don’t worry, we won’t be taking off Tuesday, either!”
    Trump had also taken to calling the former VP “Joe Hiden” in attempt to drive home what he believes to be a weak spot. (It’s also, of course, a tacit concession that Trump’s attempts to label Biden with past nicknames has failed.)
    Biden has, without question, kept a lighter schedule than Trump who, in pursuit of acting as though the coronavirus is gone (or going), has taken to holding in-person rallies with thousands of attendees — many of whom are unmasked.
    But of late, perhaps aware of the criticism, Biden ramped up his schedule — visiting Pennsylvania twice, Michigan and New York. This week, the former vice president will be in Minnesota.
    Watch to see how active Biden is this week and in the coming week. And whether he can beat back Trump’s latest nickname for him.

    2. Trump is losing the “law and order” debate:

    Trump has spent much of the last six weeks trying to paint the protests — some violent, most not — over racial injustice the country as evidence of rampant lawlessness in the country.
    “If Joe Biden is elected, far-left lunatics won’t just be running failed Dem Cities—they will be running the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Supreme Court,” he tweeted recently. “No city, town or suburb will be safe.”
    A set of Siena College/New York Times polls in swing states — Nevada, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Minnesota — released last week suggests he is losing that fight.
    Asked whether the “biggest problem” in the country is “riots in America, or racism in the criminal justice system,” the numbers broke down like this:
    Minnesota: 42% riots/51% racism
    Nevada: 41% riots/53% racism
    New Hampshire: 40% riots/51% racism
    Wisconsin: 46% riots/46% racism
    That is bad news for Trump. Because numbers like those suggest he loses if the election is about racial inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd in late May. And he loses if the election is about coronavirus (much more on that below).
    Which leaves him with not a lot of good options at the moment.  
    Trump, because he is Trump, will likely not back away from his fear tactics around “law and order,” largely because he knows that he simply cannot win an election centered on the coronavirus.
    But these new swing state numbers suggest that Trump has a lot of selling still do on the issue between now and November.  3. And the public may not be buying.

    1. Trump’s coronavirus problem isn’t getting better:

    Trump is heavily invested in the idea that the coronavirus is getting better.
    We are “rounding the corner” in the fight against the coronavirus, Trump told the audience at a campaign rally in Nevada on Saturday night.
    That is, from a public health perspective, not true. “I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with that because — if you look at the thing that you just mentioned — the statistics, Andrea, they’re disturbing,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell late last week.
    Those statistics are daunting. There are nearly 6.5 million cases in America with almost 193,000 dead. One influential model shows 415,000 dead by January 1, 2021. And while the pace of cases — and deaths — has slowed somewhat, we are still seeing more than 40,000 new cases a day and more than 1,000 deaths.
    And unfortunately for Trump, the public — or at least a large chunk of the public — isn’t buying what the President is selling.
    A new ABC/Ipsos poll puts Trump’s approval on his handling of COVID-19 at 35%, the fourth straight ABC poll that has shown the President with a rating in the mid-to-low 30s on coronavirus.
    The consistency of those numbers coupled with how low they are suggest that public sentiment is hardened against Trump. And it continues to have a negative effect on his overall numbers against Biden in the general election.
      In the CNN poll of polls, Biden leads Trump 51% to 43%, and there has been no discernible movement upwards for the incumbent in recent weeks.
      So, Trump can say the country is “rounding the corner.” But there’s no evidence — from a public health or political perspective — that makes it true.

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