Four Major Political Developments This Morning
Author: Greg Valliere
July 9, 2020
CONGRESS MAY BE GONE for another week, but four major political stories are in the limelight this morning:
1. JOE BIDEN SPEECH: The former vice president will emerge from his basement today for a major speech in Scranton, Pa. He will focus on reviving the economy, according to a piece on the Bloomberg web site this morning. From what we’ve seen, there are a couple of major take-aways . . .
FIRST, BIDEN APPARENTLY WILL ENDORSE an Elizabeth Warren proposal to use the federal procurement process to implement a “Buy American” policy that would be clearly aimed at China.
SECOND AND MOST INTRIGUINGLY, Biden will not focus on tax increases. We think he knows that the economy won’t be back on its feet in early 2021, so why rush tax hikes that could antagonize the markets and slow the recovery? If Biden wins, we think tax hikes would come later rather than sooner.
2. TRUMP VS. THE SCIENTISTS: Despite overwhelming evidence that much of the Sunbelt opened up too early, Donald Trump is un-deterred; not even a major spike in Covid-19 cases in Tulsa will prevent the next brawl, over opening up schools this fall. Trump’s re-election prospects may hinge on how he handles the school issue.
IT’S UNCLEAR whether Trump has the authority to withhold funding from schools that don’t re-open, but he is demanding that the Centers for Disease Control ease its guidelines. Trump will now own the issue of school openings, and the media surely will pounce if there are new infections. Meanwhile, Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci seem close to a divorce.
3. THE SUPREME COURT ON TRUMP’S TAXES: The high court will release all remaining decisions today, as it heads to its summer recess. That means there will be rulings in three cases on whether Congress and New York prosecutors have a right to examine the president’s tax returns and other financial records.
THIS WILL BE A BIG DEAL: If Trump prevails or if the outcome is inconclusive, this will be confined to a one-day news spin. Or the president could be forced into an embarrassing release of records. We’d guess that he paid little or no taxes — that’s generally assumed — but the big news could involve his dealings with Deutsche Bank and Russian oligarchs.
4. CAN YOU BELIEVE THE POLLS? Polls released early this month showed a huge lead for Biden, who was up by an incredible 14 points in a New York Times poll. Now comes a new survey yesterday by TheHill.com, showing Biden ahead by only 4 points. Who to believe? Methodology is crucial — especially when polltakers try to factor in voter turnout.
WE CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND the daily aggregate of all polls, published on the RealClearPolitics web site. The RCP average this morning showed Biden ahead by 8.7 points. The web site also lists betting odds, which give Biden a 57% chance of winning.
BUT THE WIDE DISPARITY IN RECENT POLLS — and the relatively close numbers in key states — persuades us that while Biden may be the front-runner, he’s hardly a shoo-in.
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