Look at the Forest, Not the Trees: What We Do and Don't Know About 2020

In this age of constant stimulation and news and information overload, it is harder than ever to get perspective. I am as guilty as anyone of getting sucked into the vortex of political twitter, only to emerge hours later with little to show for it. 

So, this week, I took a break from the BREAKING NEWS alerts and focused instead on the bigger picture view of the upcoming presidential contest. Here’s what we know — and still don’t know — about what to expect for 2020.

Did Trump Just Throw Democrats a Lifeline on Health Care?

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likes to say there’s nothing to learn from a second kick of a mule. But, the Trump White House is doing its best to challenge that. After failing to repeal Obamacare in 2017 (thereby failing to fulfill a campaign promise they’d made for the last seven years), Republicans still managed to pass a bill through the House that put GOPers on the hook for attempting to undercut the most popular provisions of the Obamacare law.

Senate: Do Democrats Have a Path to the Majority?

Senate Democrats believe that winning the majority in 2020 is well within their reach. While the map looks much better for them than it did in 2018, do they have a clear path to the majority?  At least today, this is not a yes or no question.  The real answer is: it depends.  It depends on a range of factors; some of which are in Democrats’ control and some that just aren’t.  

To win the majority, Democrats need to score a net gain of three seats if they win the White House or four seats if Republicans prevail.  

Are Democratic Primary Voters Feeling "The Bern"?

Bernie Sanders has a lot going for him. He’s got almost universal name recognition, campaign infrastructure and an active small-dollar donor base (which has already helped him rake in $6 million since his announcement on Tuesday). His 'tell it like it is' style earned him admiration from cynical voters tired of polished politicians who say one thing on the trail and do another in office. Oh, he’s also got merch. Lots and lots of it.

NC-09 Remains in Toss Up After New Election Ordered

On Thursday, the North Carolina state board of elections unanimously ordered a new election in the state's 9th Congressional District, where Republican Mark Harris's 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready was found to be tainted by an illegal absentee ballot fraud scheme. The bipartisan board will set new election dates at a later hearing, and under new provisions passed by the legislature in December, a new primary election will be held as well.

How Does the "Blue Wall" Look for 2020?

There’s something of a consensus forming that the 'easiest' or least risky electoral path for the Democratic nominee in 2020 is to reconstruct the so-called "Blue Wall" in the industrial midwest. If the Democratic nominee wins every state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, plus Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, that Democrat would win 278 electoral votes — eight more than the 270 needed to win. Just as important, it means that Democrats wouldn’t need to sweat Ohio or Florida. They can lose those big, electoral-vote-rich states, and still have enough to win the White House.

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