The guy who can do the most damage to Trump...is Trump.
The biggest super PAC focused on electing Joe Biden grew dramatically in recent weeks, as donors moved to help whittle the financial advantage that President Trump has held heading into their presidential contest.
The group, Priorities USA said it has raised more than $38 million in contributions and commitments since early May, with more than two-thirds of the donations made over the last three weeks, according to figures shared with the Times.
The organization is planning to spend at least $200 million to help elect the prospective Democratic nominee.
"Momentum is building for Joe Biden and that is translating into an increase in donor support for Priorities,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of the organization.
“We've been matching the Trump campaign and his super PAC on TV and online in key battleground states and successfully filled the gap prior to the Biden campaign's spending.”
Priorities and other super PACs for Democrats have been battering Trump on the airwaves while Biden was focused on winning the party's nomination race, and then shoring up his campaign infrastructure and fundraising as he reoriented toward the general election campaign against Trump. The Biden campaign has now unleashed its first wave of general election spending, and it will continue ramping up. The super PACs will also keep spending heavily to elect him, though by law they operate independently of the campaign.
The windfall for Priorities comes as Biden has seen his own bonanza in recent weeks. The former vice president, whose history as a weak fundraiser initially worried some Democrats, has been routinely holding hourlong fundraisers that raise several million dollars per event. A recent online event with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren netted the Biden campaign $6 million. Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised almost $81 million in May.
The infusion of campaign cash has occurred as donors are motivated to act both by the civil rights protests that have erupted nationwide and by the Trump administration’s erratic handling of the pandemic.
The sums are fast helping Democrats catch up with Trump financially as the election approaches.
Biden recently outspent the Trump campaign on Facebook advertising, a notable benchmark in a medium Trump has long dominated.
Priorities and other super PACs, meanwhile, have used their surge of cash to match Trump’s spending in advertising in key battleground states.
The spending is aimed at consolidating recent gains in the polls for Biden, who now leads Trump nationally by more than 8 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.
Biden is ahead in most of the battleground states, and his supporters are beginning to campaign in other places that long had seemed hopeless for Democrats. Polls show Trump is now vulnerable in Texas, Kentucky, and Iowa, for example, and trailing in Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold.
The shift has forced the Trump campaign and its allies to expend resources in several states that initially had been expected to be safely in the president’s column.
That is cutting into the funds available to them for more traditional battlegrounds Trump must win, including Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Trump is down by 8 points in Michigan, according to the polling average.
Priorities and other groups supporting Biden have been advertising heavily there, matching advertising spending by pro-Trump groups.
The Democratic groups have done the same in Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin.
They are now making a big push into Arizona.
Cash floods into pro-Biden super PAC.
As the Democratic primary drew to its conclusion, a flurry of Students for Bernie college organizations made clear where they stood: There was no way they could vote for Joe Biden. If Sanders wasn’t the nominee, they planned to either sit out the fall election or vote third party.
But as coronavirus deaths mount and Donald Trump strikes a law-and-order pose against the protests sweeping the nation, many of the leaders of those groups are rethinking their hardline position. And faced with a choice between a candidate they distrust due to his lack of progressive bona fides, or ushering in the second term of an incumbent they loathe, more than a few leftist college student leaders are learning to live with Biden.
“In recent weeks, it's become pretty clear that Trump is willing to crack down on free speech, and so it's definitely making me lean more toward Biden now,” said Harry Feldman, a Georgia Tech senior and co-chair of the school’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter, who was considering voting third party in Georgia.
The last straws, Feldman said, were Trump’s threats to put down unrest with military force and his “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet.
Amira Chowdhury, the co-director of a left-wing University of Pennsylvania group that vowed in late March it “will never endorse, nor support Joe Biden,” has also come around on the former vice president. She attributed it to what she called Trump’s failure of leadership, bigotry, and racism in recent weeks and her role as a voter in a swing state that Trump captured by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.
“With a heavy heart, and with great anger and frustration, and with great rage towards the Democratic establishment, I will vote for Biden,” said Chowdhury, whose Penn for Bernie group is now known as Penn Justice Democrats.
The 77-year-old Biden still has a ways to go with all younger voters, a demographic cohort he struggled to gain traction with during the primary season. Chowdhury’s organization, for example, has declined to formally support the presumptive Democratic nominee.
But recent polling suggests that Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his response to the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests has softened the resistance to Biden among younger voters.
In early April, according to POLITICO/Morning Consult polling, Biden had the support of 48.5 percent of voters between the ages of 18 to 29. By early June, that percentage had jumped to 53 percent.
A Global Strategy Group/NextGen America poll of young voters also saw support for Biden spike after the first wave of protests. Biden’s advantage over Trump among 18-to-34-year-olds increased from 18-points between May 20 and May 23, to 27 points between May 29 to June 3.
Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of Global Strategy Group, a Democratic polling firm, said Trump’s polarizing rhetoric on racial justice pushed an important issue for young voters to the forefront of their voting calculus.
“It is the issue where they already saw the biggest distinction between the candidates, because they understand that Trump is a racist who has no interest in changing and tackling systemic racism in this country,” Baumann, who oversaw the report's youth voter research, said. “But it’s also put a rocket booster on that. Trump’s response has made it even more clear how dangerous he is to them.”
Baumann said he’s seen qualitative and quantitative evidence that young voters are shifting toward Biden due to Trump’s handling of the protests — even in cases where their opinion of Biden hasn’t drastically changed.
Hayley Mon Goy, a Florida State University junior who supported Sanders in the Democratic primary, agreed that Trump’s response to the anti-racism and police brutality protests solidified her decision to vote for Biden, even though he was far from her first choice.
“Looking at Trump now, he’s really shown his true colors in how he’s handling the situation in the country, not only with coronavirus, but with all the protests,” Mon Goy said. “As a progressive, even though people may not love Biden, it’s pushing them towards voting for him.”
Other college activists say they are looking harder at Biden because they are confident the 77-year-old could handle the Covid-19 crisis better than Trump.
“The coronavirus pandemic has definitely made me feel that Biden would be a more responsible leader in office,” said Bhargav Tata, the founder of Georgia State for Bernie. “But with regards to the massive protests, one thing that does give me pause is Joe Biden's history with racism.”
Tata, who is transferring to New York University this fall but will cast his ballot in Georgia, said he is “60 percent” sure he will vote for Biden.
Pointing to Biden’s adoption of parts of Sanders’ free college plan, as well as Biden’s gun safety efforts and clean energy pledges, Students for Biden coordinator Lubna Sebastian said leftist college students can find a home in the Biden camp.
“It's really important to realize that a lot of the policies that Joe is talking about, and his vision for America, is very progressive,” Sebastian said.
There are still quite a few college Sanders supporters who remain unconvinced.
“Right at the time [Sanders dropped out], I was very up in the air of whether or not I would vote for Joe Biden,” said Creighton University sophomore Joey Rougas. “But seeing Joe Biden's response to first the coronavirus pandemic, and then his response to the recent protests around police brutality, I don't think that I'm going to vote for him because I think his response has been very lackluster.”
Esau Delgado, a University of Michigan junior who was a leader of his school’s Students for Bernie chapter, is another student who says he recently shifted away from voting for Biden. He pointed to the Tara Reade sexual assault allegation as cause for his suspicion of Biden.
“But on the other hand, I know that I need to do my part and obviously, Joe Biden for me is better than Donald Trump,” Delgado said, noting he would likely make up his mind on election day.
Multiple states are facing dire budget shortfalls as November's general election approaches due to the coronavirus pandemic, signaling that local governments could have a real problem holding elections while the disease lingers in the country.
Experts at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice have estimated that states need an additional $4 billion to adequately prepare for this election cycle, but the CARES Act only allotted $400 million nationwide for COVID-19 related election expenses.
States need money for increased mail-in voting, educational materials for voters, protective equipment to make in-person voting at the polls as safe as possible and more, according to the university's experts.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the the Senate committee that oversees federal election funds, told Reuters that money intended for election security is being used by local governments to buy masks and other cleaning supplies for in-person polls.
"That's not a one-or-the-other choice. We need voters to be safe and we need our elections to be secure," she told the newswire.
However, the allotted election funding is not enough.
For example, in Georgia, all voters received forms for absentee ballot requests before its June 9 primary elections, a move that cost the state an estimated $5 million. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) told state lawmakers in late June that the same thing wouldn't be able to happen in November due to lack of funds.
Georgians wanting to request an absentee ballot will now reportedly have to do so online.
In Philadelphia, where a quarter of the state's Democrats reside, officials have cited that the city's election budget is $12.3 million, well short of the $22.5 million election budget that was proposed in March, according to Reuters.
Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the hotly contested battleground states; President Trump won the Keystone State by less than 1 percentage point in 2016.
(D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are getting most of the buzz, but former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is also getting a lot of attention in Joe Biden’s campaign as he considers who to pick as his running mate, sources say.
Rice, who also served as former President Obama’s national security adviser, has seen her stock rise amid a series of crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know she’s very much in the mix,” a source close to the Biden campaign said.
One factor to watch is Biden’s relationship with Rice. The two worked closely in the Obama administration, and personal chemistry is an underrated factor in vice presidential decisions.
“I know they have a good relationship — perhaps the best relationship of anyone on the list,” the source close to the Biden campaign said. “They’ve known each other for years, they’ve worked alongside each other and she’s been tested in a way that a lot of folks on the list just haven’t been.”
Biden, who has committed to selecting a woman as his running mate, has said repeatedly that he is looking for someone who is “ready to be president on day one.”
He is also under pressure by some Democrats to pick a woman of color after the death of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed urging an end to systemic racism.
Harris has widely been seen as the favorite, but sources said Rice should not be counted out.
“Everyone automatically thinks of Kamala when they think he needs to pick a woman of color. It’s become conventional wisdom,” said a source who worked in the Obama administration alongside Biden and Rice. “But if you look at Susan’s credentials, she makes perfect sense. She’s a rock star who has the confidence, stature and gravitas to be vice president.”
In an interview with Norah O’Donnell of CBS last month, Biden said he wants a partner in the White House who is “simpatico.”
“It’s really important that whomever you pick as a vice president agrees with you in terms of your philosophy of government and agrees with you on the systemic things that you want to change,” Biden said to O’Donnell.
Those close to Rice say she more than meets the job qualifications.
“I have never worked with anyone who is more skilled at rallying all parts of government into action and bringing people with diverse views together to tackle thorny problems,” Ambassador Brooke Anderson, who served as Rice’s chief of staff at the United Nations, said in an interview.
“She’s incredibly smart and strategic,” Anderson continued. “It’s not enough to have good ideas. You also need to have an understanding about how you get things done. She combines both and has deep experience in both.”
Some Democrats have wondered privately if it hurts Rice’s chances that she has never run for political office, as Harris and Warren have. Biden is also considering other elected Democratic officials, including Rep. Val Demings (Fla.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Rice associates counter that her extensive resume speaks for itself. They also note that she has significant experience on presidential campaigns dating back to her time as a staffer on Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign. She also served on John Kerry’s 2004 White House campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser and went on to serve on the Obama campaign as a policy adviser and top surrogate.
“We’re at a time when people are looking for leaders who bring vision, skill and energy to solving problems, and that’s her strength,” Anderson said. “And that is perhaps more compelling today than someone who has a long track record running for office.”
The time Biden and Rice shared in the Obama administration also carries some weight.
“They worked shoulder to shoulder together on a whole range of things — eight years of working together solving problems,” said source familiar with Biden and Rice’s work in the administration. “It's not just that they were in the administration together, but they were working directly with one another on a daily or weekly basis.”
Rice wouldn’t confirm or deny that she is “in talks with the Biden campaign” during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow this week.
“To the extent that it is reported that I am under consideration in a serious way for the vice president slot, let me just say that I’m extremely humbled and honored to be talked about in the context of so many extraordinary women,” she said.
“All I care about is getting Joe Biden elected president of the United States so that we again have competent, compassionate, loyal, effective leadership in the White House,” Rice added.
Biden’s campaign has not weighed in on who exactly is on his shortlist. Biden said this week he is considering a number of women of color, and that Latinas and Asian women are in consideration.
“There’s nobody who understands what the job of vice president entails more than a former vice president. There’s nobody who knows a job candidate’s abilities better than a former boss,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton who served in the State Department while Rice was the U.N. ambassador. “So if Joe Biden is considering Susan Rice as his running mate, he knows what he’s doing.”
Some Democrats fear that selecting Rice would awaken the Republican talking points on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
At the time, the former U.N. ambassador appeared on a round of Sunday shows and said the attack on the consulate was the result of a protest that turned violent instead of a planned terrorist attack. The administration later concluded it was a terrorist attack.
For years, Republicans used the attack against Clinton, Rice and Obama, who was running for reelection at the time.
Having Rice on the ticket — or even as a nominee as secretary of State, as some predict — would unearth the attacks.
But Democrats say that the attacks won’t matter.
“The Republicans are all about shredding an opponent’s good name,” Reines said. “With Susan, they have an eight-year head start with their favorite conspiracy theory of the 21st century. But it was baseless then and baseless now.”
The source close to the Biden campaign vouched for that: “Ambassador Rice has been through it. She knows what to expect. She gets it in a way that others do not.”
Susan Rice, a former national security advisor, has emerged as a leading contender to become the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Rice also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama.
She has stated that defeating the Republican President Donald Trump is a top priority, along with helping Democrats regain control of the Senate and maintain their majority in the House.
Susan Rice might not be explicitly saying that she wants to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate — but the former national security advisor hasn't been shy about suggesting she's more than ready, willing and qualified to fill that role if he wants her.
"Bring that one on, that's all I'll say," Rice told radio show host Ricky Smiley last week when he commented on how happy he would be if she ended up debating Vice President Mike Pence.
And after noting the strengths of other women being considered by Biden, Rice said that in terms of her own strengths, "if I can put it that way, is that I have served in the executive branch in the White House. At the top levels of the federal government for almost two decades."
"I know how to make things work and how to get stuff done," she told Smiley.
Rice, who served in the Obama administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then as national security advisor, indeed has a long, impressive foreign policy resume.
Before holding the senior-level posts, Rice, a Stanford grad, had a four-year stint in the mid-1990s on the National Security Council during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and then spent Clinton's second term as the assistant secretary of State for African Affairs.
Rice's foreign policy chops — and her two-decade history of working and dealing with Biden when he was a U.S. senator and President Barack Obama's vice president — in the past alone would have made her a legitimate contender for the role as Biden's running mate.
Rice is the only person on the vice presidential short list who has spent hundreds of hours in person with Biden, who places a premium on trust and personal rapport on his list of running mate VP qualifications.
In recent weeks, the 55-year-old Rice has come to be considered among the front-runners for that position.
Biden has said he will select a woman to be the vice presidential candidate and is expected to announce his selection in early August.
Amid the dramatic public response to the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, Biden has shown an unprecedented willingness to consider several Black women — Rice among them — for that role. Rice's late father, Emmett Rice, in 1979 became the second Black person ever appointed to the Federal Reserve board.
"I don't know that there's another African American woman in the country, or any woman other than maybe Hillary Clinton, who has the stripes that she has on foreign policy," House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., told The Atlantic, after giving Biden a list of potential VP picks that included Rice.
Rice was not available for an interview with CNBC.
But a person close to her said: "She's not campaigning for anything."
"This has never been about her," the source said. "As she herself has said, she's focused on helping elect Joe Biden in November because she believes it is essential to America's future that we defeat Donald Trump."
One potential mark against Rice in a checklist of qualifications for vice president is the fact she has never run for, much less held, elective office, unlike the other women being considered by Biden as a running mate.
While Rice had suggested in a 2018 Twitter post that she would challenge Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, she never followed through on that.
The last major-party vice presidential nominee who never previously held elective office was Sargent Shriver, who was Democratic nominee Sen. George McGovern's running mate in 1972.
Shriver was the first director of the Peace Corps. He also served as President Lyndon Johnson's director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and then as President Richard Nixon's ambassador to France.
But Shriver was an anomaly in several respects.
He happened to be a brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy and his two senator brothers, Robert and Edward Kennedy, at a time when the Kennedy name was close to sacrosanct in the Democratic Party. Shriver also was tapped as the second running mate for McGovern after then-Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri dropped off the ticket following revelations that he had undergone electroshock treatment for depression.
Rice told The New York Times in an interview this week, "It is true I have never run for office on my own behalf, but I've run for office on behalf of others."
"If I were to decide to do it, there's nothing about it that on its face would feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar," said Rice, who currently is a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University's School of International Service.
Last fall, she published a New York Times best-selling memoir, "Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For."
In addition to Rice's lack of elective office experience, at least one item on her resume, serving as U.N. ambassador in 2012 when four U.S. compound staffers were killed in Benghazi, Libya, also might weigh against her with some voters.
The Benghazi attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, has been a hobby horse for Republican criticism of Rice, as well as of Hillary Clinton, who was Obama's secretary of State at the time.
Rice was accused by GOP members of Congress of misleading the public by stating, in news interviews days after the attack, that it was "a spontaneous reaction" to demonstrations against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, which themselves were prompted by outrage against an anti-Muslim film.
It later emerged that the attack in Benghazi was coordinated by an Islamic militant group.
Rice had relied on a CIA assessment for her claim and had noted in news interviews that it was based on preliminary information.
Obama defended her from critics of her statement.
But months later, she withdrew her name from consideration as Clinton's successor as secretary of State, citing the need to avoid a "very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting" Senate confirmation process.
Another factor that could weigh against the Rhodes Scholar is her reputation for being blunt in dealings with others.
A number of news profiles of Rice have used the terms "sharp elbows" and "brusque" to describe her.
When asked about those characterizations, the source close to Rice said, "We would not even be having this conversation if she were a man."
"I mean, nobody is disputing Ambassador Rice's effectiveness or integrity," the source said. "The fact is, she has always been about getting results for the American people."
Rice herself, in news interviews, has pointed to her foreign policy positions and her work for other candidates as selling points that would make her valuable to Biden, specifically as his running mate.
"Joe Biden needs to make the decision as to who he thinks will be his best running mate, and I will do my utmost, drawing on my experience of years in government, years of making the bureaucracy work," Rice told NBC News' "Meet The Press" recently.
"I've worked on multiple campaigns, presidential campaigns. I've been on the campaign trail as a surrogate, and I'm going to do everything I can to help get Joe Biden elected and to help him succeed as president, whether I'm his running mate or I'm a door knocker," she said.
She also said, "I just want to get Joe Biden elected and see the Democrats control the Senate and retain the House because ... we are at a moment where our democracy is at stake, where our leadership role in the world is at stake, where the lives of tens of thousands of Americans are on the line, lost to incompetence and callous leadership that could care less. We've got to change that."
In another interview, with Roland Martin's "Unfiltered Daily Digital Show," Rice said, "My experience and what I would bring to a partnership with Joe Biden on behalf of the country is my years of experience in senior levels in the executive branch."
"So what I know is how to make decisions to forge policy out of different agencies with different budgets and different interests and constraints, how to get stuff done," Rice told Martin.
If Rice is tapped as Biden's running mate, there is sure to be renewed attention paid to her son, John David Rice-Cameron, one of the two children she has with her husband, former ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron. Their daughter is Maris Rice-Cameron.
Multiple news stories in 2018 noted that John David Rice-Cameron at the time was serving as president of the Stanford University College Republicans Club and was a strong supporter of Trump.
"My mother and I have a great relationship, and my mother believes strongly in the free and respectful exchange of ideas," Rice-Cameron told Fox News in a 2018 interview.
"We disagree on most of the standard Republican/Democrat disagreements," he told the outlet. "However, we agree that America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen, and thus, we believe that America has an important role to play as a force for liberty and justice on the world stage."
AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday extended the early voting period for the upcoming November 3 elections, in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Early voting will now begin on Tuesday, October 13, six days earlier than the original date of October 19.
"As we respond to COVID-19, the State of Texas is focused on strategies that preserve Texans' ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the virus," Abbott said in a statement. "By extending the early voting period and expanding the period in which mail-in ballots can be hand-delivered, Texans will have greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19."
Early voting will continue through Friday, October 30.
Abbott's proclamation also expands the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk's office, allowing such delivery prior to as well as on Election Day.